Bible

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

No. I’m not going to talk about Nike, nor am I going to talk about Colin Kaeperinck. Though, I will admit, as a childhood athlete, a football fan, and a former military dependent I could say plenty. I’m going to do what I wish many would do – NOT make this about me.

Believe in something.

My first problem is with “something.” So…just any ol’ thing? Can I believe in unicorns? Leprechauns? What if we get serious here… Can I believe in racial supremacy? A one-world government? I mean “something” is a very general term when you’re talking about a message that is going around the entire planet!

Something, by definition, means “a thing that is unspecified or unknown.” If this world needs anything right now it’s certainly to know what, or WHO, they should believe in.

We live in a world where people are believing in themselves, politicians, governments, celebrities, and more to literally solve all of their problems.

You cannot solve all of life’s problems.

Your president can not solve all of life’s problems.

Your government causes more problems than it solves.

Celebrities don’t know or even understand most things you would consider a problem!

Now, you want to believe in equality? That’s great! You want to believe in peace? Awesome idea. You want to believe in others’ beliefs not being forced upon you? Me, too! You want to stand up for taking care of your fellow man? Most of us would probably agree.

Guess what? All of those things Christ would agree with too!

“What?! No! Jesus hates different people! He wants to make me into something I’m not and unhappy!” you may say.

You couldn’t be more wrong. Jesus talked to a woman at a well that would normally be treated like a dog. Not only did he partake of water from her paws…hands but He went on to offer her a solution to her life’s problems that included self-respect and love.

Peace? When Christ was about to be dragged away and punished for crimes He had not committed, His friend cut off the ear of one of the oppressors and Christ said, “Yeah! We can take’em!” No. Christ replaced the soldier’s ear, healed him, and chastened his friend.

“But…He wants to shove Christianity down my throat!” No. Actually He doesn’t.

See? His idea was to just keep going until you find someone receptive.

“Well, I’m more about worrying about others rather than myself.” Well, settle down Sanctimonious Sally because so was Jesus. Don’t believe me?

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

1 John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. …

1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …

I think you see where I’m going with this. The whole Bible is about love because God IS love!

Remember…

So, now that I’ve strategically shot down all of that, let’s talk about the rest.

Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Really?

I can’t.🤦🏻‍♀️ No, wait. I can. I actually, really, can.

Sacrificing everything?!

Sacrificing friends is part of life. It’s sad but true. As you change, many will fall by the wayside.

Sacrificing endorsements? How about never able to get anyone in earthly power to endorse you.

Sacrificing your career? How about sacrificing YOUR LIFE?!

How far have we fallen when we really think that a guy who makes millions and then millions more in endorsements is “sacrificing” ANYTHING?!

Jesus Christ was and is sinless yet He heaped upon Himself the sins of the entire world, was persecuted and made fun of, sneered at by His own hometown, and still He healed and delivered those that would crucify Him. He didn’t stop there, though! He took the ultimate punishment doled out. He had His flesh shredded, thorns shoved into the crown of His head. He was spat on, kicked. He was bruised, beaten, and had a spear shoved in his side. He had nails hammered into his wrists and feet.

He had His clothes ripped from Him and a mocking sign put above a His head. He died with no dignity whatsoever though He died for us!

How dare we think we know anything about sacrifice?!

So…

If you want to believe…believe in the One who has always believed in you – Jesus.

Even if it means sacrificing everything, because it very well could.

…and the list goes on.

I don’t care about shoes. I don’t care about headbands, shirts, basketball shorts, or Jordans. I believe in Jesus. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

http://youtu.be/wWl27j3V-rA

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Bible, Life, Ministry, Uncategorized

Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible can be challenging at best and discouraging at the worst. It’s frustrating when you want to know more about God, be a better person, have a better life, and yet you can’t understand the manual. If you feel that way – or know someone that may feel that way – this post is for you!

First off, don’t feel like a freak. Everyone – at some point in their journey – has read the Word and gone, “Huh?”

Most people simply don’t announce that but it’s common place. Even myself, even the elders that I know, sometimes spend days or weeks on one passage trying to understand it by delving through concordances and Hebrew translations.

Reading the Bible is truly a journey. You’ll read a passage and it will mean one thing to you. Many years later, it will be more complex and mean something even deeper to you. That’s one of the most amazing things about the Word of God to me – that the Word never changes yet somehow it always adapts and becomes what you need in your very personal season because it’s alive.

Secondly, God wants you to understand and know Him so He wouldn’t give you a book that you couldn’t understand. He loves you and He want you to succeed.

So, here’s a sort of game plan for you…

1️⃣ Call on God

Don’t just open up the Word and expect it to make perfect sense to you. Don’t open up the Word and expect it to pertain to your moment. Instead of expecting the word of God to apply to what you think you need, go to God and ask him to open your heart and open your mind to what he would have that passage teach you no matter what’s going on in your life right now.

2️⃣Never give up

Often times, when something is difficult, we just want to give up. Reading the Bible is one of those things that, once you get going, you can’t seem to put it down. Unfortunately common too often, it’s that “once you get going” part that’s the challenge. As crazy as this may sound, the devil doesn’t want you to read the Bible. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. He knows that if you read the word of God you will become stronger and you will be armed for battle. So, you will find that distractions will occur, confusion will happen, exhaustion will come against you,… and it’s your job to stick to it and not give up.

3️⃣Trust God

You may feel like, “What does this have anything to do with?” when you are reading the Bible. That’s OK. Just trust God. Usually you will find that the information that you’re receiving, that your etching upon your heart, will be there when you need it though that time may not be right now.

4️⃣Not sure? Test it!

Don’t know if that passage was for you? Test it!

Ask your elders that are more wise than you, those that God has placed in your life!

5️⃣You were meant to understand His Word

As insulting as this may sound to some of you, the Word was written even for the most simplest of minds. Christ spoke in parables so that anyone and everyone could understand. We do not teach children in Sunday School for no reason. If they are capable of understanding the word of God so is any adult that so desires!

6️⃣Understand that you may understand His words, but may not understand all

Sometimes God reveals His words to us just when we need to understand them the most. Sometimes we hide a word in our hearts and at just the right moment the Holy Spirit reminds us of that word and it all suddenly makes sense. Then there are other things such as the idea that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… How can one God be three entities yet one God? If we could all answer these questions, we would have no need for God. All of these things will be understood once we’re with Him. Until then, we have to come to terms with the fact that on this plane we will not understand it all.

7️⃣ Taste and see…

Challenge yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Test Him. Say to yourself, “I’m going to try this Bible reading thing for one year.” In my life, and all the people that I’ve met from around the world, I have yet to meet a person that has told me that the Bible returned void.

8️⃣ Testify

When you see that the Word is good and that it has changed your life for the better, remember where you were before the Word touched your life. Don’t just bury that. Go out and share your testimony so that someone else can have their life changed.

Bible

The Good Samaritan Challenge

Luke 10:30-37 The Good Samaritan
This poor guy was left on the side of the road beaten, half dead. How many times have you felt half-dead? Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally? 


This priest sees him. The priest looked the other way because he can’t get caught up in that. He can’t get dirty. He’s got a sermon to prepare. He ain’t got time for drama. That’s what other people are for: police, counselors, associate pastors. 

Then a Levite comes by, a neighbor. He even takes time to look at the carnage on the side of the road but then “keeps driving” so to speak. He hopes the guy is okay, maybe, but he’s got some place to be. He’s got his own problems. 


Then…a Samaritan comes by, someone seen as lesser than the man beaten, an outsider, possibly even an interloper. 


This Samaritan doesn’t just see the beaten down guy. He actually bandaged his wounds. He didn’t call someone and say, “Hey, could you…uh. Could you take care of this?” He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He even gave him a ride on his own ride. He then took him to an hotel. It doesn’t end there, though. He went in and took care of him. Then, when the Samaritan left…he paid the hotel manager and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”

So, today…I challenge you: be a Good Samaritan. Stop right now and think: Who hasn’t been around? Who do I know is going through something? Who might be hurting?

Then…


1. Go to them: Don’t just call or text. You can do those first but then physically GO TO THEM. 

2. Attend their wounds: This may mean literally. This may mean saying, “Lets look in the Bible together, right now.” This may mean bringing them food, talking with them, and praying with them. 

3. Then “come again”: That means follow up. Go back and check and see if they’re healing.

4. Challenge someone else to do this. Can you imagine if a Good Samaritan Challenge went viral?! How insanely awesome would that be?!

But it starts with you.


You could change someone’s life. You could SAVE someone’s life

This isn’t merely a suggestion nor a trite challenge made by yours truly. This was a tactfully directed commandment made by the Son of God.
“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:30-37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

When Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it?

Start this 6 part series HERE or refresh yourself on the last article.


When I taught children a lot more than I do now, I used to often say, “God sends them to us perfect. It’s our job not to screw them up.”

So, when parents tell me things such as…

“My kiddo was just asked to not come back to church next Sunday as punishment for behavior…this is the third church we’ve been to. We’ll try again the next Sunday, but this momma is afraid we might be three strikes and we’re out.”

“I was dismayed today to have it reported that a nursery volunteer told a child ’you’re a bad boy’ in response to something he did. The church has such a profound influence on a child’s identity formation- we need to take care to reach children that they are beloved bearers of Christ’s image.”

it breaks my heart.


When I asked if I should write on this topic, parents said…

“Yes! I honestly can’t even take my children to church at times because they are trauma kids and need help. But they have been told they were bad, they’ve been put in time out, and I’ve been told that I’m not a good mom and don’t have control over my kids… I know they are tough. I live with them. I don’t need them to be hurt at church.”

Also…

“Definitely! I have that kid, and now when I serve in children’s ministry, I seek out ’that kid’ and their mom, and try to encourage them and love them both!! I also found that the teacher who I initially felt was tough on my kid turned out to be EXACTLY what he needed.”

I want to be clear about something though: all throughout the responses and emails I’ve received, the parents have been understanding! They’ve been understanding about a lack of volunteers, a lack of training, and more. No parent came across angry or unforgiving. Rather they came across to me as simply wanting a solution, and to be a part of it at that! Occasionally, they were clearly hurting, frustrated, confused, or fearful.


So…how do we fix this?

Well, first – as with any problem , a great part of the solution lies in communication. Just because it’s church, doesn’t mean you just hand off your child as you would with maybe their grandparents. Just as if you were interviewing a babysitter or checking out schools for your little one you need to know the situation they are walking into. It’s OK to ask questions. It’s OK to sit in the back of the classroom and see the way they facilitate their class. It can be frustrating to experience the way a ministry may facilitate discipline, celebration, worship,… any list of things if you are not first aware of how they will be doing that, if you’re not already prepared.

As an example:

If you know that your little Johnny gets out of hand when excited then you need to be his advocate and be proactive. Don’t set him up for failure. If you know that your children’s ministry has exciting worship before their lesson, then maybe you go to children’s church during praise and worship and sit by him simply to teach him how to control himself and then wind down for the lesson…and then you leave. Alternatively, maybe you keep him with you wherever you are until the lesson starts and then you escort him to children’s church.

Another example:

If you know that your children’s minister calls people out by name and sends them to timeout but your child has experienced a past trauma that would be revisited or exacerbated by this, then speak privately with your minister and come up with a plan beforehand. Hit it off at the pass!

These were just some of the responses that I received from ministers when I asked them “What does your department consider a ‘problem’ that must be addressed immediately with parents?”

“Anything that a child brings up about their home life that could be harmful. That would be first and foremost. If a child is injured I would bring that up immediately with a parent. If a child wants to be baptized and has questions about Jesus or God, I would always pull the parent to the side and have a conversation with them. I never addressed behavior [with a parent] unless they harmed another child.”

“A ‘problem’ would be anything that is keeping the department or class from running smoothly. If a child were to hit, kick,bite, cause distraction, harm Church property or others, defy leadership. Any of these things happen, parents are notified.”

“One of the few times I had problems with behavior was if after many times of trying to redirect a child who was unruly (fighting, yelling out, being sexually inappropriate, cussing) I would send for their parents or if it was one of my inner city kids, I would get the superintendent. One instance I was able to turn around was a child who I suspected was dyslexic. The kids were teasing him. So I just rewrote everything on the chalk board for the class. No one could read it but the said child. Victory for him! Understanding and empathy for the other children [goes a long way].”

Do you see how very different all three of those answers were? Different churches, different ministries, different ministers will respond and direct differently! You need to know who and what you’re dealing with so you can be proactive.

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part…But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it…Yes, there are many parts, but only one body….while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:12-14, 18, 20, 24-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Second, you have to be understanding of your church’s limitations just as you are their positive aspects. Some churches are blessed with an over-abundance of volunteers in every department of ministry. Others are not. Did you know that children’s ministry needs the most volunteers yet typically is the very ministry that has the very least people that volunteer for it? Further, with things being the way that they are in the world now, churches find themselves having to go to the extra expense of paying for background checks. That cost alone can limit them to the amount of volunteers they can afford. Your simple offer to pay for your own background check could nullify that. Also, while there are many that love children and may be parents themselves, they may have not been given any training in regard to the teaching or caring of others’ children outside of or within a church setting…for whatever reason. If there has been no training offered, you should know that before your child has joined children’s church. If you have a problem with that, then you have some options: 1) you can volunteer yourself; 2) you can spearhead getting training brought to your church’s children’s ministry; or 3) you can take your chances knowing that or keep your child out.

When I asked ministers “Are all of your volunteers trained? Some? If so, how?” these were just some of the responses I received:

“[Our] churches do not have a lot of money for training and materials. We offer them the best training possible which is to tell them what we expect in each class/service. If something were to happen, we are to be alerted as the leaders of the department, and then we talk to the Parents.”

“All volunteers are trained before being placed in a classroom. Training takes place monthly for new team members and is required for all team members because it is held monthly in a team rally situation.”

“We took classes taught by church for training. I had an advantage in that I had my AA degree in child education and additional classes in special needs children.” Not all ministries have the luxury of having formally trained teachers, obviously.

Lastly, you must be an active participant. You can’t treat children’s ministry as if it’s a babysitting service and then be disappointed, upset, or angry when you don’t get the results you’re hoping for (e.g., your child knowing the Bible, knowing Christ, understanding repentance, your child ultimately accepting Christ). Babysitters don’t do anything other than assure that your child is safe while you’re away. If you treat it all as babysitting, then you should expect to get called out of church. After all, you wouldn’t expect your babysitter to discipline your child would you? If you treat them as a babysitting service, you would be shocked and astounded if you came to pick up your child and your child suddenly knew how to read a book.


You know…you may feel like they want to get your kids and to get rid of you at the door. If you feel that way, that’s probably not what’s going on. Teachers and ministers get in a zone just like the players of a game do. Seriously! They get totally focused on their “game plan” and are anxious to initiate it. So, don’t be afraid to ask, “How can I get involved?” Because just as you’re getting different responses here, you may get a very different response from your children’s minister!


When I asked “What do you think parents can do to be most beneficial overall and for their children specifically, in regard to their relationship with your children’s ministry?” These were some responses I received…

“The most important thing a parent can do is serve in kids ministry. Especially if they have a child in kids ministry. It helps them [that] you sweat and it’s not a babysitting service and opens up communication about their children’s faith. Children’s ministry is one of the most important ministries in a church and will help promote church growth if done correctly and parents are a big part of this.”

“Talking positively about the teachers. Calling them Ms. or Mr., not their first names. Speaking with parents separate from the classroom. No one needs to hear [about situations] but those involved. Not calling out or speaking about the issue in front of [a] child and [the] whole class. Talk about [the] problem, not [the] child, and without naming names!”

“In our department, we had parents who used us as babysitters. If they would see us as much more than that. We are pouring into the souls of their children for the sake of the Kingdom. If parents could put our classes and services on the top of their priority list, ensure their students are in class on time and as often as classes or an event are held, it only helps. If parents could remind students of how they should behave that would be great. If parents would communicate with leadership and let them know about any special needs the student has, that would be great! As volunteers freely give up their time to serve in the ministry, it is our hope that children and students will have a great time so parents can focus on their own class/service.”

No. You need to treat them and respect them for what they are – educators. They are educating your children on the very most important thing they’ll ever need to know in life – God and His will. Do you recall at the beginning of this series where I lined out how “kids” in the Bible learned?

In Christ’s time, a Jewish child was sent to school within the fifth or sixth year of his life. Until they were ten, the Bible was their one text book. From the ages of ten to fifteen, traditional law was their main subject. After the age of fifteen, they studied theology as it was taught in the Talmud. The Talmud is the record of rabbinic teachings that spans a period of about six hundred years… The rabbinic teachings of the Talmud explain in great detail how the commandments of the Torah are to be carried out.


If with school you get progress reports, you meet with the teacher, you assure that they are behaving properly, you ask them what they learned that day…why would you not do that and more for their lessons on God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit? We are talking about their entire life on this planet and eternity!

Somewhere along the line we all get our priorities messed up, out of alignment, out of order. Sometimes our churches do. After all, they’re ran by us – deficient humans. Sometimes Churches get distracted by trying to entertain the children, trying to hem up the children, trying to grow the ministry. So too, though, do we parents get messed up and begin to treat children’s ministry as if it’s somehow less important than school, a reprieve from parenting for a couple of hours, not our responsibility.


So, today take responsibility for yours! If you feel like your children are being entertained rather than ministered, speak up. Do so with respect and patience; because these folks are working hard for your children.

You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when you are directed by the Holy Spirit and speak as Christ would. After all, complaints are usually filed away and put in one of two boxes in our minds: 1) “I can’t let it bother me”; or 2) the box of insecurities. When spoken to with suggestions and concerns, offers of assistance and encouragement, those words are often put into boxes like: 1) “That’s someone who’s on my side. I can work with them.” 2) “Maybe that’s who God is sending me to help me.” 3) “I see there’s an area I need to work on; and, I’m okay with that.”

Lastly, I would challenge you to pray for your children’s ministers and teachers. Are you praying for our president? Your governor? Your boss? Your pastor? You better be! And, if you are, then shouldn’t you be praying for all of those same people that influence your children’s lives?


Thank you for staying with me throughout this series. I pray that God has brought hope and forgiveness to parents. I pray that God has brought insight to teachers and ministers. Above all, I pray that this series is able to change the outcome of even just one of His children and the path that they take for His kingdom.


Do you want to do more with your children? You might start here: Focus on the Family’s Summer Adventure Kit! It’s completely free (but you can always donate) and is a great way for you to take an active part in the Biblical education of your children in a very fun way.

Do you need some more encouragement on a very real and specific thing you and your child(ren) are going through? I encourage you to check out Focus on the Family’s parenting website. They cover a variety of topics from newborn on up. To learn more about them CLICK HERE.

“Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles.”

STAY TUNED: We’re on vacation this week but because so many of you have responded so well to this series, when I return home, I’m going to be doing a giveaway! Follow my blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, and on Instagram and you’ll never miss a giveaway!

Bible, Children, Church, family, Kid's Fun, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized

When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? (5 of 6)

Begin this six-part series HERE or refresh yourself on the last part.

Then we encountered something God knew we needed – a group of people that just wanted to love my son. Even though my husband still did his leadership gig at “the big church” – and still does – we began attending at a church a ways out from our house. We knew, at the very least, that it was where our son needed to be to heal and we saw this very quickly. His first few Sundays he didn’t trust his teachers for obvious reasons. And…you know what? They thought outside of the box… without even knowing what had happened to him. I found out that Mr. Zach, the youth pastor, was taking him out to the inflated moon bounce every Sunday morning… just the two of them while class was going on. Then, after my son would burn off some energy and see that he was loved and accepted, Mr. Zach would take him back to class.


After a while, I only got random messages (about once every few months) from an usher asking me to check on him. My son would often get excited during music and not be able to calm himself down afterward. I’d sit in class and remind him of his expected behavior. These events only happened on days when there was only one teacher and she couldn’t do it all. It was completely understandable to me. It was a wonderful season for my son that allowed him to see that there was a healthy environment for him to learn about the Lord, away from Mommy’s house, where he could trust the teachers and others to love him and expect good behavior as well.


Thankfully, his preschool school year helped to solidify this as well. God showed us a great school for our son and placed him with the most perfect teachers ever. His preschool teacher was an amazing balance of firmness and love. She saw all that he had inside him: leadership skills, intelligence, zeal, etc. but didn’t allow her love for him to cause her to neglect to be firm and not reward him for poor behavior. No matter how many times he got put in time out or didn’t get “a bug in his jar,” my son never – not once – felt unloved. I told her many times, “This is your calling. Don’t underestimate that for a moment.”


I was beginning to gain perspective that these were all the growing pains of dealing with many other people very unlike myself. These were the growing pains of being made aware of a growing dichotomy between how the church once did things and now do things. After all my children are 15 years apart.


Then my son visited that same church as his preschool, of where he was so successful, for its Vacation Bible School (his preschool was not at the same church of which we attend). On the very first day of pick-up (a day of which included excitement because it was the first day, meeting new friends, bouncie houses, dancing, etc.) the teacher welcomes me by saying, “He was disruptive during music, bumping people next to him while dancing, so I had to pull him out of music.” I didn’t even get a “Hello,” y’all. I swear I am not making that up. Can I just tell you that it was one of those days and I barely made it to the car before I began hiccup crying in front of my five-year-old? That was never my intention. I don’t like to argue in front of my kids. I certainly don’t like to cry in front of them. I’m not saying those things are bad I’m just saying they’re not who I am or, try to be, in front of my kids. Was it an overreaction? Yes – to this one incident. But my reaction was one of a working mom doing her best and getting a “bad report” yet again.

And…it ruined my day. It disappointed my son. It was Vacation. Bible. School. Why was there even in a behavior chart? It’s four days of bible, songs, and games. We didn’t even have a behavior chart at church camp where we stayed overnight, let alone any VBS I ever went to or taught! Is someone going to tell me they do that at camp now, too?!


The following morning I had gotten it together. I told the teacher calmly and even pleasantly (because I had allowed God to adjust my attitude), “Please remind him to stay in his personal bubble during music time and he won’t accidentally bump into his friends. If you have any problems, though, call me and I’ll come get him.” I think that she read from my body language that if that were the case, he wouldn’t be back. Her entire demeanor changed so I believed the very best.


I was pleased when I picked him up to find out that just as I had adjusted my attitude, the teacher had adjusted hers. She shared with me how all of the kids had learned about their personal bubbles and they all stayed in their own. She shared with me her appreciation for me teaching her about the whole “personal bubble” method. God is good!


I had to remind myself that Matthew 22:14 says that “many are called but few are chosen.” I think that every parent has to remind themselves of that when they place their children in others’ hands. I also did something that some may think a little odd but I put my son in a shirt that I bought him last year. I wanted his teacher to remember something about him just as God was reminding me (Matthew 22:14) about volunteers and teachers. His shirt said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Our children are. You know? Whether they’re perfect angels or being selfish. Whether you’re teaching a child that knows every single answer or you’re trying to teach that one kid that just acts as if he’s full of vinegar, God made them and He doesn’t make junk.



Come back tomorrow for the last installment of When Children’s Church Goes Wrong: who’s fault is it? I think it’s the most interesting and informative of them all! And…I have a surprise for you for staying with it through this whole series!

Bible, family, Uncategorized

It’s time: Put your big boy britches on!

In Joshua Chapter 1 it says, “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Moses My servant is dead….” How many feel that way right now? Moses was not merely a man but a ministry. He was a vessel, used by God – a man that was broken and rebuilt. So many of us feel that way about our country right now – we built something, a nation under God, and now that…the idea…the plan is dead. 


GOD DIDN’T STOP THERE. He went on to say to Joseph, “…Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses…” 


God’s all, “Look, he’s dead but I’m not! You’re fretting over a person, a thing, an idea. I’M STILL HERE. I’M THE THING, THE PERSON, THE IDEA. Focus! Put your big boy pants on because it’s time to keep on with the plan I already gave you.”


That needs to speak to our hearts, today – we have the same job today that we had yesterday, last week, last year. You think missionaries in other countries stop their objective when they realize the government they’re in promotes idol worship and slavery? No! They become more adamant! They become so desperate to rid themselves, their flock, their country of the sin that they humbly devour God and His word like ravenous dogs. Are you sitting there like a bump on a log or are you even hungrier for God and to do His works more today than ever before?!


God goes on to assure Joseph that he carries the SAME PROMISES that He had given to Moses,”…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage…that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you;” Stick to the game plan! One of the greatest attributes a Christian can have is steadfastness. Do you have it? Of course you do! 

God is careful to remind Joseph and us, “…do not turn from it (His law) to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” Don’t try and make your life easier by going along with the world. Don’t try and explain away what God “really” meant in His word. It’s plain. It’s clear to all that are filled with His Holy Spirit and it is a right, good, and perfect word. We need not add to it nor subtract from it.

He instructs, “…This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” He says it clearly here – mediate (to calm and empty the mind in order to concentrate on one specific thing) on His word so that you will naturally observe It! It will be second nature for you to do what His word says if you’re daily meditating on it!

(Sidebar: For those of you thinking, “…but New Covenant! Jesus!” Remember this: Christ said, ““Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”)


“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” THIS is how you do it. THIS is how you find prosperity, peace, success – to simply follow His word! And, then again, He reminds, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV)

I assure you that when the pilgrims set out to start new lives unhindered by their government and religious chains, to have a real relationship with God through His word alone, they didn’t stop their plight halfway through. The Israelites, even through their grumbling, didn’t pitch permanent tents in the dessert though many began worshiping golden idols in the middle of a pilgrimage. We might pause to remind ourselves, however, that losing their focus on who would bring them out and looking at each other, their situation, and “stuff” caused them to be in that desert an entire generation longer than they should’ve been! Oh, God, help us not to pitch a tent in the desert but to run through that sucker on ATVs!

Finally, when Christ himself appeared to have died, to have left this world, His followers got three days. They got THREE days to feel sorry for themselves, to mourn, to question, and to worry. BUT THEN CHRIST GOT UP

If you are followers of Christ then hear this: 

YOU HAVE HAD YOUR THREE DAYS! NOW GET UP!!

Life won’t get easier. It’ll be hard and messy! Life didn’t get easier for the apostles! God didn’t promise easy! He promised life eternal, love, peace, and so much more than we could ever imagine…IF WE WOULD FOLLOW HIM! 

It’s money where your mouth is time, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to love them like He loved us when we all are so undeserving.

It’s time for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to change the world, starting at home so that our children will change the world. 

It’s time to flip this planet on its axis like Christ did. Christ said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and GREATER a works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12 NKJV)”

So…what greater works are you striving for? Or, are you content sitting on the sidelines?

photo credit: Baptist Courier