Have Serious Fun

When you look back on your life, which life lessons became your lifelines?

After being told he had cancer, family-life expert Jim Burns decided to learn what it really means to live. While his treatment was successful, his new perspective led him to develop thirteen simple yet profound principles to help anyone:

  • Break the cycle of being overcommitted and underconnected once and for all
  • Find more fun even in the toughest times
  • Experience the power of reflexive gratitude to gain greater emotional health

With the clarifying wisdom of this invaluable guide, you’ll be inspired to discover deeper joy, greater purpose, and better relationships—and to start truly living today.  


Sample Chapter

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Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident ParentingThe Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life With Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; two sons-in-law, Steve and Matt; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.


Jim faced mortality with his cancer and was reminded that only a few things are important to make a life worthy. He has shared them here, and they are a gift. Thank you, Jim.

—Dr. Henry Cloud, psychologist; New York Times bestselling author

A lot of parenting books produce anxiety. They tell you that you’re just not measuring up. This is one of the few books that will relieve your fears. Delightful, practical, and at times profound, Have Serious Fun gives you a roadmap to a better you and a better family.

—Carey Nieuwhof, author, speaker, podcaster

When many of us are bogged down by fear and exhaustion because of the pandemic, social division, and unrest, along with just plain anxiety and uncertainty, Dr. Jim Burns gives us a necessary reminder: Have fun. Play. Be silly. Unplug. Be thankful. Focus. “Have serious fun” and the twelve other principles in this book almost feel alien in this time of heightened worry and fear, but this is exactly when we need Jim’s message the most.

—Albert Tate, pastor, Fellowship Monrovia

After devouring Have Serious Fun by my dear friend Jim Burns, I improved my schedule and relationship choices the very next day. Unlike any book I’ve read recently, this book will immediately shape your most important decisions and set you on a better trajectory in your life, relationships, and faith.

—Kara Powell, PhD, chief of leadership formation, Fuller Seminary; executive director, Fuller Youth Institute; coauthor, Three Big Questions That Change Every Teenager

All of us struggle with missing out on life for any number of reasons: stresses, relationship problems, losses, and health issues. We become distracted and anxious and obsess on our challenges, and then wonder where our lives went. Yet the Bible teaches us to number our days, because there are a finite number of them. Jim Burns helps show us how to live fully and right now, in a way that will bring joy and meaning, even in the midst of challenges. Highly recommended.

—John Townsend, PhD, author, New York Times bestselling Boundaries; founder, Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling

Jim Burns is a gift. Over the years, his upbeat personality, wise counsel, and grounded insights have added incredible value to my personal growth, my marriage to Leslie, and my professional work. That’s why I’m thrilled to recommend this power-packed book of legacy lessons. From the first chapter to the last, you’ll find ready-made applications to your life, written in Jim’s trademark easy-to-read style. Don’t miss out on this valuable message.

—Les Parrott, PhD, author, New York Times #1 bestseller Saving Your Marriage before It Starts

When you spend time with Jim Burns, you quickly realize that he’s someone you want to hang out with—a lot. So many of my favorite conversations include Jim around the table, and so much of what I’ve learned in life comes from his influence. What’s made him such a relatable friend shows up quite clearly in these pages. He reminds us that we can take our fun seriously, but that serious can be fun too.

—Reggie Joiner, founder/CEO, Orange/reThink

This powerful volume is filled with invaluable insights and advice about living the kind of abundant life Jesus envisions for all of his people.

—Jim Daly, president, Focus on the Family

Have Serious Fun is like the Magna Carta for a life without regrets. Jim’s thirteen principles leave us the legacy of an elegant rhythm we can all dance to.

—Dr. Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Church and College

As a fellow cancer survivor, I read Jim Burns’s latest book with great expectancy. It did not disappoint. The book is chock full of essential principles for living life well, along with practical lessons for health, balance, and success.

—Pat Williams, NBA Hall of Fame; author, Revolutionary Leadership

Don’t let the title fool you. This book is about so much more than fun. This is perhaps Jim’s greatest book because it is jammed full of wisdom that is life changing, especially—for me—the thank therapy chapter. I traveled with Jim and heard him speak on this and it has become part of my mood-elevation program. Get this book and read it to your kids more than once. Jim has serious integrity. He is at the top of my most admired man list. You will not be disappointed in the take-away value of this book.

—Steve Arterburn, national radio host, New Life Live; bestselling author

Perhaps Jim’s best and most important book. Priceless insight, easy to read, super inspiring, deeply thought provoking, and filled with practical ways to experience God’s best for your life. I highly recommend it.

—Chip Ingram, founder and CEO, Living on the Edge; author, Yes, You Really Can Change

I’ve heard wisdom defined as “skill in everyday living.” By that definition, this book is filled with incredible wisdom. These are important lessons that each one of us needs to learn and relearn throughout our lives. What a great gift from a trusted friend.

—Bob Lepine, cohost, FamilyLife Today

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
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      San Juan Capistrano, CA

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