Showing posts from February, 2012

Mitchell & Lent

Bethany and I were caught off guard last week when Mitchell began thinking about what he should give up for Lent.  We had not talked about it much at home, but I guess he heard Pastor Brad mention it during a sermon the previous week.  I guess he is listening more than I think he is. 

Mitchell is a creative, intelligent, and passionate individual.  As with all of us, our strengths can also show as weaknesses at times.  For example, Mitchell's passion when directed appropriately is great, but can also come out in anger or being easily frustrated.  My administrative gifts can also get in the way of meaningful conversations with others when trying to complete a task. 

I share all of this to remind myself that my son is growing up.  Even though, we can clash at times, I still love him dearly and the unique personality God has given him. What can at times seem to be a self-focused, authority challenging, & quirky young man can also think deeply, follow Christ, and come up with crea…

3 Ideas for Families during Lent

OK-can I just say that God is awesome and answers prayer?  Last week, I wrote a post about not having any good ideas for families to do during Lent.  But then on Thursday, I was reminded of a couple of ideas as well as a new idea from Pastor Brad that he posted on Hesston MB facebook page.

So, here are three simple ideas to use with your kids:
Resurrection Eggs-Family Life has a great resource for kids called Resurrection Eggs that tell the story of Easter.  You could use these during Lent by hiding them and then telling the story for each egg.  It comes with a booklet for ideas of what to say.  You can paraphrase or read it word for word.  They are available at local Christian bookstores and you can learn more hereJesus Storybook Bible-I am planning to read through the life of Jesus with my kids from this Bible during Lent.  It is a great Bible that has Jesus as the focus of every story of the Bible.  Check it out here.Easter Tree-Thanks Pastor Brad for the link to this idea!  I remem…

Family Camp

A few years ago, a family at my church asked about family camps in the area.  I started looking for good resources to share with them.  I found several around the United States, but the closest ones to us were in Colorado & Missouri.  Some were connected with specific denominations and others were more generic.  I had heard several recommended, but to me the biggest obstacle was cost. 

Here are a few possibilities for you:

KanakukHorn CreekSt. Louis Family CampNew Life RanchAs I think about the possibility of Family Camp, I wonder if people would be interested.  So here are a few questions for you to help me answer.
What is a reasonable cost for a camp where you as a family can have fun and learn together?If Family Camp were offered, would you attend?  Why or why not?What would you like to see included at a Family Camp (schedule, activities, speaker, music)?What would be the barriers for you attending a Family Camp? Grandparents, if parents were unable to attend, would you consider …

Service & Justice with Your Kids

On Thursday, I was reading Sticky Faith again and was reminded about another option for you during the Lenten season.  Powell & Clark share some research about helping develop a heart of service and justice in our kids.  They also talk about the growing number of youth going on mission trips, but not seeing any change long term.  They suggest it is important for service and justice to "hit close to home . . . literally, thematically, personally, and relationally."  In other words, service and justice cannot be occasional events, but instead must become part of our family's lifestyle.

As I reflect on Lent and the sacrifices that Jesus has done for me, it seems natural that part of our growth during Lent can be experienced as we as families serve others and/or seek justice on their behalf. 

So, what can you do?  There are so many opportunities for service and justice in your community and in our world.  Check out organizations like Compassion International, Samaritan&#…

Winter Jam Tonight

Tonight, I am headed to Intrust Bank Arena for Winter Jam.  I am excited about some of the bands, but more excited about spending time with 2 of my kids (Mitchell & Megan).  The other two have chosen to stay with mom.

Mitchell is very excited and has been looking forward to Winter Jam for months.  Skillet is one of his favorite bands.  Some of the other groups are harder and not my choice, but I am trying not to discourage his interest in them. 

It is interesting how as parents our style of music can be very different than our kids.  A typical response to Mitchell is "turn it down."  But I am thankful for the many great Christian bands of different styles available today.  I can remember when Jars of Clay was pushing the envelope. 

So, I am looking forward to many things about tonight so I will look past the crowds and the loudness.  Tickets are only $10 at the door and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Some Choices for Lent

Yesterday, I wrote a post about looking for ideas for families to do during Lent.  I am going to be trying a few things, but do not have definite plans yet. 

However, as I thought about what I might do for Lent, I thought about a few ideas to share with you.  This is a great time to begin a new "habit" to help you grow in your relationship with God. 

Here are a few suggestions for you during the next 40 days:
You Version (on android or Apple devices) has several reading plans for Lent.  I am currently doing one suggested by Pastor Brad.  It is called 40 Days of Lent.Fasting--Have you considered giving up food, TV, facebook, etc. during the next 40 days?  Maybe you should start small and pick one day and fast from your choice.Spiritual Disciplines-There are many great books on the Spiritual Disciplines.  You could choose silence, solitude, meditation, etc. to try during Lent.  I would encourage you to pick up Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith and better understand th…

Lent Thoughts

I have normally not given up anything for Lent.  And I have not decided for this year either.  But I wonder about how families could use Lent in their homes.  What are some ideas for how to use these 40 days to help our kids better understand Jesus and what He did for us?

I am going to experiment with some ideas for Lent this year and hopefully next year I can share some helpful resources for use in the home.  If you know of someone who has already done something for families to use during family devotions or family worship, please comment below.

Adam & Jesus from Romans 5

Before reading this post, I would encourage you to grab your Bibles (or phones) and read Romans 5:12-21.  As I was reading this passage last week, I was amazed how it tied in with a previous post about my reading of Jesus + Nothing = Everything.

In this passage of Scripture, we are reminded of our sin as well as our righteousness.  We cannot minimize or explain away sin.  All of us have sinned.  The result of our sin is death.  It began through Adam at the Fall.  These verses talk about how Adam is a type for all of us as humans.  It also gives us hope as it talks about someone who is to come. 

That last paragraph was really a bummer!  How did it feel for you?  But rather than explain away the truth of sin (as some do personally and within the church), we need to keep reading because the good news is coming.  It talks about a free gift & grace.  We do nothing to receive this gift.  We are also told this grace abounds more than our sin.

The passage continues by comparing sin & …

Thoughts from Colossians 1 from Tchividjian

I am in the process of reading Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian.  Chapter 6 was a great reminder of the great news of the gospel for you and me.  Tchividjian shares how Colossians 1 rocked his world as he went through a difficult situation in his church.  I have listed the verses he refers to below.
11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanksto the Father, who has qualified youto share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. As you read these words, I would encourage you ask yourself the following questions:
  Do you feel worthy? Are you worried about how sin disqualifies you? Are you part of the family of God? Do you feel shame or the need to prove yourself to God & others?Tchividjian points out several past-tense…

Highs for the Week

Here are my "highs" from the past week:
Shopping for Valentines for my wife & kidsFamily Worship about Valentine's Day Lunch with my Valentine on TuesdayDelivering Valentines to Villa with fuzion on Wednesday nightDay off on Friday to go shopping with the familyWatching Mitchell play in MAYB tournament and watching Mitch & girls for indoor soccerMovie night with the familyWorship & Sunday School at Hesston MB

Intergenerational anyone?

What opportunities are available for your kids to interact with the older generations?  Does your church separate all of the age groups?  I am not against youth group or children's activities, but do you have any opportunity for kids, youth, and adults to be together?

You don't have to spend much time with me to know I am in favor of incorporating kids, youth, and adults in worship and other church activities.  I love to plan activities where several generations are together.  However, the challenge is getting the older generations to believe they have something to offer.  And the younger generations to believe they "need" others.  And vice versa.

Kara Powell and Chap Clark agree with this as well.  In their book, Sticky Faith, they talk about the importance of developing a "web of relationships" for children and youth.  This includes other adults who speak into the life of younger generations.  Here are a few quotes and ideas they share.
"And that segr…

Reflections from Art of Marriage

This past weekend, our church hosted The Art of Marriage.  I would highly recommend all couples to attend the Art of Marriage.  The videos are inspiring and challenging and extremely well done.  Family Life has done a great job of incorporating couple projects, real life stories, humor, and teaching from marriage experts to create a worthwhile investment for your marriage.  It would be beneficial for engaged couples, newlyweds, empty nesters, and everything in between.  We can always be learning and strengthening our marriages.

For Sterling alumni, you can even see our very own Ed Lowry, in one of the sketches.

Here are a few quotes to pique your interest:

"Receiving your spouse is a DAILY choice."

"One reason couples drift apart is that they fail to make their marriage the priority it ought to be."

"Culture has created a "gender blender" when it comes to roles and responsibilities in a marital relationship."

"All communication takes place on …

Valentines for Villa

On Wednesday night, our fuzion group (5th/6th grade ministry) delivered Valentines to our local nursing home.  This is an active group of students, but they always rise up to serve in God honoring ways.  I was so proud of them and the smiles they gave and received.  Enjoy a few pictures from the night below.

Your standard is . . .

A few years ago, Bethany and I attended the Song of Solomon Conference in Springfield, MO.  Mark Driscoll was the speaker.  He did a great job and it was a great experience for us.  One of the things Mark said to husbands was, "Your wife is your standard of beauty."  That quote has stuck with me. 

Too often as men we are distracted by the plethora of women we see in magazines, TV or movies.  We can start to compare our wives to these other women.  If my wife looked more like _____________.  We then set the standard of a perfect 10 with these women.  Driscoll's quote was right on.  My perfect 10 is Bethany and no one compares to her. 

But as I was driving today, I started to wonder about romance.  With Valentine's Day over and all these romantic movies being released, do women compare their husbands to the great movie actors?  Is a wife disappointed because her husband didn't act like a character in a TV show or movie?  He didn't say the right things or do the…

Family Worship for Valentine's Day

Here is a simple idea for families to do on Valentine's Day.

Have an adult open in prayer.

Then sing a song about God's love for us.  We picked "More Than Conquerors" by Seeds Family Worship.

Read one of the many passages of Scripture that talk about God's Love for us.  Here are a few: John 3:16,        1 John 4:7-11, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Have the kids make a Valentine to God.  On it, have them list the reasons that they love God.  Or they could also list how they know God loves them. 

Another option would be to have them make a Valentine for someone they think might not receive one and then go and deliver it.  Ideas would be an elderly neighbor or someone at a local nursing home. 

Close your time in prayer.

Note: I ended our time of family worship by giving my wife and kids their own gifts for Valentine's Day.

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Donuts with Dad

This morning was Donuts with Dad.  I always look forward to this event sponsored by HElP (Hesston Elementary Parents).  I could sit in the 3/4 commons all day as dads (and grandpas) come in with smiling kids.  It is a reminder to me about the importance of men in the lives of kids.  All of us dads (or grandpas) looked different (some in suit and tie, others in scrubs, some in khakis & button up shirts, some in work clothes, some in jeans), but we were all the same in our desire to be present with and available to our kids.

As Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church, my desire is to see dads continue to love, be available and play with their kids.  But more important is raising them to Love God & Love Others.   As fathers it is our responsibility to train our children spiritually.  Some of us need to step in and help others where a father has checked out, has abandoned the family, or is not a follower of Christ.

So, dads, how are you doing?  Are you passing on your f…

Family Night Theme: Love

Tonight is our last family night for the year.  Last year, this one was canceled due to weather.  I hope we can gather together as families to eat together, learn together and serve others. 

I am excited about our theme which is love.  This is not a revolutionary idea since Valentine's Day is quickly approaching.  However, it never gets old talking about love especially when we base this love on God.  I have prepared a place mat with activities for the kids to do after they finish eating such as a memory game, Valentine heart hunt, word search, Valentine from God, and even some Tic Tac Toe.

We will then gather together and read 1 John 4:7-11 together.  After reading God's Word, we will talk about how we share love as parents or children and how to share it with others.  We will conclude our evening by making Valentines for the Villa as a practical way to show God's love to others.

I hope you will join us as it will be a fun & rewarding evening for grandparents, parents,…

Who Am I?

No, I am not having an identity crisis.  This question was asked in Sticky Faith by Powell and Clark.  The chapter was focusing on our children's identity.  They shared that Henri J. M. Nouwen during a retreat asked the question above and then explained that we seek to answer the question in 3 ways.

They are:
"I am what I do.""I am what I control.""I am what others say about me."If we believe any of these three, they can be destructive to us and our lives.  Instead, we need to find our identity in Christ.  What does that mean?  For me, it is blessing my children every night with a reminder of who they are based on Ephesians 1.  They are blessed, chosen, holy, blameless,adopted son (or daughter),  loved, redeemed by Jesus, forgiven, sealed by the Holy Spirit, an inheritance.  I then add a few more statements of identity from other passages of Scripture: they are fearfully and wonderfully made, they are gifted, they are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be…

Rejoicing in suffering

On Thursday, I was reading & reflecting on Romans 5:3-5 at the Perk.  I am slowly making my journey through Romans, but there is a lot to grasp & live out.  I have included the verses below.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  I don't know about you, but I do not naturally rejoice when I suffer.  Usually, I complain and see how I can quickly get through it.  But these verses remind me that there is a benefit to suffering.  I think we can agree that is hard to believe while in the middle of suffering.  However, I know God's Word is true and so I can trust that my suffering produces endurance. We also need to remember to not see suffering as a punishment by God.  Suffering is part of what it means to be human, …

The greatest threat to the gospel is . . .

How would you complete this statement?

As I was reading, Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian on Thursday, he filled in the blank.  You might be surprised by this answer.

He writes, "In fact, according to the Bible, the greatest threat to the gospel's advance in this world, and the greatest threat to gospel growth in your life and in mine, is a particular strain of idolatry that arises not from outside the church but from inside... The Bible makes it clear that the gospel's premier enemy is the one we often call "legalism." I like to call it performancism. Still another way of viewing it, especially in its most common manifestation in Christians is moralism." Tchividjian explains legalism as "when what we need to do, not what Jesus has done, becomes the end game.  Are you guilty of this?  I know I am.  He continues with the following quote that steps on our toes, "We know it's wrong to worship immorality, like everybody out in th…

Parenting: Love & Discipline Post from The Gospel Coalition by Jeremy Pierre

Jeremy Pierre is assistant professor of biblical counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of member care at Clifton Baptist Church. He and his wife, Sarah, have five children and live in Louisville, Kentucky. Twitter: @jeremypierre.Watch Your Conjunctions in Parenting
"I love you, but you need to obey."

Every English-speaking parent has said that phrase at some point or another. It's our attempt as parents to express commitment to our children even as we require them to obey: "I love you despite anything you do, but you also need to obey what I tell you." I'd like to take issue, however, with using the conjunction but between these phrases. Using but may be communicating something we don't want to say---namely, that there is some kind of conceptual opposition between "I love you" and "You need to obey."

You may be dismissing me as a sharp-nosed grammarian at this point, but let me explain why this …