Monday, October 26, 2009

Priceless moments

The first time you see HER; The first date; The first kiss; Every kiss after that; Hearing those words, "I do", The birth of the first child (Miranda); 5 more after that (Bethany, Cody, Kayla, Shane & Austin); each child's first words, steps, day of school, date, graduation......... You get the picture.

All of these are priceless moments, important moments, and moments I would never want to miss. Thank you God for letting me be there. All of these moments require a bit of investment. Not so much monetarily, as time. Is it worth it? YES!!!!!!

Never underestimate the value of investing time with your children. The more you invest, the more rewards/blessing you, and they, will receive. For example, reading a book with your child. In the 13 years that I was principal and teacher in a small Christian School, and the 8 years I've been a children's pastor, I've observed that a very high percent of children whose parents invested the time to read to them, have a head start in their learning skills and their social skills. This leads to greater confidence in the Sunday School class room and School room.

The child has already learned how to sit still and listen, and often times has developed an active imagination. These children will often grasp the point of a lesson quicker and earlier than those who haven't had the opportunity to have their parents read to them. Whether they should or not, teachers will tend to give these more mature children, special attention because they are easier to teach and seem hungry to learn. Of course, as in most all things, there are exceptions to the rule.

One of the largest benefits to reading with your children, is the special bond that it creates between you. Notice also that I said reading WITH your children. Some of my fondest memories with my children are when they read to me, before they really knew how to read. They would tell me the story as I turned the pages or they would gleefully inform me when I would make up something other than the way it was written just to see if they were paying attention.

Priceless moments. Moments that I hope to relive with my Grandchildren. Moments that I pray my children will pass on to their children, and they on to theirs. For an example, I encourage you to go to this blog and look at the video of Miranda reading with Brayden. It's priceless.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cultural Swamp

Consider this excerpt from chapter one of the book Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century with me.

In a postmodern world, cultural change is fluid. The trends that once took years to come and go, rise and fall in weeks and days. Culture tends toward the extreme. Sexuality, violence, and profanity mark the television landscape. The Internet is flooded with pornography, gambling, and danger.
In this polluted cultural swamp, children grow.
(emphasis mine)

The writers continue in the chapter to talk about how Christians, or at least Christianity, is often questioned politically, educationally, and philosophically. They point out that the church historically responded to this cultural sewage through separation and/or isolation. The belief is that, “separation from the world insulates and provides understandable security.” On the other hand, they point out, some parents adopt cultural immersion. These homes allow questionable television shows, music, and books. The statement is made, “Consequently, neither isolation nor immersion is ultimately healthy.” They ask a question that I would like to pass on to you. “What’s the solution to the cultural swamp?”

I’ve begun sharing with the children in Elementary Children’s Church a series of lessons about Moses, and I noticed that Pharaoh decided that the way to take care of the problem that the Israelites presented to him was to destroy the male children. In other words, to get rid of the strength of the people and take away their ability to reproduce. When his plan to kill the babies when they were born was foiled, he gave the command to throw all the baby boys into the Nile River (Exodus chapter 1). I believe that Satan is using this same strategy today. The Nile River of today is actually a cultural swamp, not filled with alligators and crocodiles, but filled with alcohol, violence, sexual activity, lying and cheating, etc. The media of today is filled with innuendo that encourages all of this. Our children are or will be surrounded by it.

So I’ll ask again, “What’s the solution to the cultural swamp?” In the case of the Children of Israel, God called a leader, some one to follow His instructions and lead the children out of Egypt. Moses was to be that leader, yet he could only give direction. He went to God and received instruction which he then passed on to the people, and it was up to the heads of each family to carry out those instructions, telling them to their children and them to their children and so forth. I believe that God still gives us instruction, and it’s up to us to carry out those instructions and tell them to our children and them to their children and so forth. If we don’t, our children will be filled with disease and die from the polluted cultural swamp that they’ve been thrown into. The question I must answer and I challenge you to ask yourself is, “What am I doing to clean up this cultural swamp?” Maybe you’re like Moses in that you can find all kinds of excuses not to answer the call. I want to remind you of what God told Moses. He said, “I will be with you.” Exodus 3:12 The same promise was made to us disciples when Jesus said, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.” Matthew 28:18-20 NIRV (emphasis mine)

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Monday, September 28, 2009

Last week I picked up a virus on Face Book. This particular virus was attached to a message I received from a very trusted relative, and she had no idea that she was sending it. You see, the same virus had attached to her Face Book and was sending things to all the friends she had on her list. When I opened one of those, it attached to my Face Book and began doing the same.

It made me think, "Isn't that the way Satan works?" He loves to mess up our communication with each other, and take what is well meaning and good and turn it into frustration and hardship. Often times this happens when we are not even aware that it is happening. He may hurt many people down the line without your even knowing it.

When those messages began going out to my friends, I began to get messages back, some of them stating, "That didn't sound like you, so I ignored it." Praise God!!!!! That stopped the virus for that person. We should do the same in the church. When you here something that's being passed on about another, ignore it and tell the one who passed it to you, that they should do the same. If it's something that causes concern, contact the individual it is about, and make sure it's not true. Then if you find that it is true, in love, help them deal with the situation.

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sheryl, Austin and Kayla spent the weekend in Colorado Springs helping Miranda, Jeff and the kids move to their own home. Or should I say, watching the Body of Christ at Pikes Peak Christian Church help them move. Sheryl said that on Saturday morning, people with pickups and trailers began to arrive and in a couple of hours, everything was loaded, moved and unloaded. People continued to work at painting and cleaning and unpacking. Sheryl said it was awesome and almost overwhelming. Praise God for His Body! I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God! What a blessing it is for this Dad to have the assurance that his children are well cared for by their Christian family. I believe this is a byproduct of training them up in the way they should go.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Questions for parents to ponder

What’s the value of training up a child in the way they should go?
Does it matter if that child hides God’s word in their heart?
Is it good enough to get them to the baptistery?
Does it matter if they have the Holy Spirit in their life?
When they are given the choice to go over to a friends house for the night, what standards will guide the choices they make?
When they go off to school and have the opportunity to choose their friends, what standards will they base those choices on?
When they are left at home alone for the evening, what computer programs will they choose to access, or what TV programs will they choose to watch?
When they go on their first date, or 4th or 12th date, what standards will they make their choices by?
When they move out of the house and go off to college, what guide will they use to live their lives by?
How prepared are they?
Are they well grounded?
If so, in what?
Are any of these questions important to consider?
What can you do about it?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Family Reunion

"I'm 87 going on 70," my father prodly proclaimed. "At least that's what the doctors tell me," he continued. I believe them. Dad looks and gets around great. He's driving, better than many of the other people on the roads, and still teaches Sunday School and preaches a sermon now and then, when given the opportunity. When I grow up, I want to be just like him. It's funny, I remember saying that when I was much younger, and I still feel the same way today. I am so thankful for the priviledge of being trained up by such a Godly man. It was great to go to the reunion and see all the family that attended. I enjoyed hanging around with everyone, and listening as they shared memories of years gone by. A special treat this year was when Tim's boys, Matthew and Benjamin, showed up. The last time I had seen the boys, they were about 10 and 3 yr's old. How good it is to have them as part of the family again. I was saddened that the only one that could go with me from my family was Shane, but at the same time it was great getting to spend some "one on one" time with him. The Williamsons and the Blanshans are much like I remembered them, but much more grown up now. Many children have been added to their families, and it was awesome to meet them. For those of you who couldn't go this year, begin now to make plans to attend the next one in three years. It is time well spent, and I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

VBS, the summer event where parents bring their children to the church and drop them off for other people to watch through the morning. Sometimes I think thats the only way we think about it. It's soooooo much more!
First and foremost, VBS is and opportunity to share Jesus and the truth in His Word, with the community. Also, it's probably the event that gets the most people (all ages) from our congregation involved in any one activity. This creates awesome opportunity to get to know one another better. It also gives opportunity to people to discover and develop their talents. It places adults and youth side by side, working with a common goal. It reinforces the family structure within the body of Christ. Seeds are planted, cultivated and in some instances harvested. What a great event.
I want to say in advance, to those of you who will be helping this year, THANK YOU! If your not helping, and would like to help, it's not too late, please give me a call. If you have children, live in the area, and would like to bring them, please do.
VBS is for ages preschool through 6th grades. The dates are June 22 - 26, and the time each morning is from 9:00 to Noon. Please join me in praying that all who are involved will be blessed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The dates for the Centurian Cycling Club ride on the Mickelson Trail have been set for August 28th - 30th. Please plan to join us on that beautiful ride down the Mickelson Trail through the middle of the Black Hills in SD. It's a great trip for families. I'll be posting more info as I get it.

To prepare for the Mickelson trail bicycle ride this fall, we invite you to come and join us as we ride with the wind on Wednesday evenings in the Centurian Cycling Club here at WestWay. We meet at the church and leave on a ride which ever way the wind is blowing. At the end of the ride, we have snacks and a bible lesson. Then we load the bikes on a trailer, hop in the vans and head back to the church to go home. It's a great time of fellowship. A van with a trailer will follow the group incase there are break downs with the bikes or just physical energy so you can be picked up when needed. Please plan to join us.