Moving to Florida is (5) years of prayer answered. It is overwhelming to consider that we are actually moving this time…in God’s timing. As I share the news, the response of love and encouragement is overwhelming. I feel loved, for sure. But I will say there is one reaction that has troubled my soul. I live and breathe and serve in a Christ centered community, and out of all the Christians I shared my new endeavor with, most asked me a peculiar question: This is for more money, right?
First and foremost, this question prodded a soul search for me. I’ve discovered that perhaps I have failed in my pursuit for answers over the last 5 years. Perhaps, because I was so overwhelmed with our financial issues, I communicated the message that I serve money. If I ever gave that impression, I do apologize. Although money issues is the bull that stares me straight in the eyes and challenges my faith, I do not choose to serve the god of this world. I have served people for the glory of God.
Secondly, it disturbed me because out of all of those who follow the Lord, money was still at the forefront of their minds. As if we only move across country for the money, or make decisions based on finances FIRST. No one has yet to ask me: How did God reveal this to you? Or What has God asked you to do? Or Is this what God wants you to do? Isn’t that amazing. Although we don’t say it outright as a community of believers, the motivation of money is still at the forefronts of our minds.
No where does it say: a time to be rich, a time to be broke…because God doesn’t want us spending our lives anxious nor consumed about our financial situations. It was not important to Him to speak of the drastic ends of the financial spectrums. It is not our account balance he is concerned with, it is our hearts motivation that remains his primary concern.
Although I’m slow in this area, I am reconciling my faith and my finances. I’m learning that it’s not just about faith, but also about HOPE–A HOPE in a mighty God who alone is our provision. I challenge you to consider how you inquire into the lives of others… Are you searching for gossip, or to quench your curiosity? Are you asking because it makes ‘worldly’ sense? Or do you ask questions to believers that help them stay focused on THE most important thing—our relationship with Christ?!
Archived From March 2010 But stll true today!
I love watching movies about the tragedy in people’s lives. My mom would ask me, “Why in the world would you watch that movie?! That’s a terrible movie!” The more tragic the story line, the more I sit and hang on to every single word. And when it reaches the end, and I wipe the tears, I grab me another cup of hot tea and comtemplate watching it all over again.
Sick and twisted, perhaps. To wallow in someones horrific life–and then to find some excitement and joy in it. So much so, to relive it–over and over and over again. Sick. Sick Sick.
But to me, stories of tragedy are stories of a beautiful journey. A journey in life, through life, about life. A journey that is unique, as unique as the indvidual that travels it. How amazing that each of us has our own story.
I often ask people, “So what’s your story?” and I get the ins and outs of yearly travels and job opportunities. But the few brave will go beyond the Table of Contents of their lives and tell me their tragedy.
I embrace each moment of sadness, every fear submitted to. I feel it. I’m there with them. In the movies, in the conversations, my heart breaks, I cry real tears, with real emotion. God has blessed me, or cursed me, with tremendous empathy for people in their unforseen circumstances. And as I watch them retell the stories of their lives, I witness the transformation of their spirits. I see their growth living along side uncertain immaturaties with every dictated word.
I hold tight to that one defining moment where they either turn back, or take a step forward. My heart races as I go along with them on their journey from tragedy to triumph. And in that beautiful moment, where they leap with faith, I experience their joy. And that joy is what hooks me. Every. Single. Time. I can take the horrible, life sucking pieces of this world, as long as their is hope for a triumphant joy in the end.
And their is always Triumphant Joy. Even if it is unrealized, unspoken, unacknowledged–in Christ Jesus, there is Triumphant Joy. Hope Remains. I hear it in their voices, I see it in their eyes, there was Hope that got them through the valley. And as they live and breathe to tell about it–whether it be divorce, death, abuse, victimization, or the inability to truly find themselves–to them, it’s tragedy. I love tragedy. For triumph is impossible without it!
Archived from June 2008
“I’m not listening! I’m not listening!” Is it possible for two 30 year olds who have: conquered mean landlords, even meaner bill collectors, a lifetime of hard times, and every odd against them –be unable to conquer a 4 YEAR OLD?!
In their heads, yes they’ve done EVERYTHING…but truly have they? Children can be out of control—especially if they don’t feel safe. SAFETY is an important concept that I will speak of over and over and over again. I truly feel that SAFETY is the number one issue of most kids with behavior issues.
So let’s look at the out of control child. We will first explore her behavior and then in the days following we will look at effective tools to bring the child into an emotionally, spiritually and physically safe place.
This out of control child I speak of is not afraid of you, or anyone for that matter. She despises you even more when you DEMAND respect from her. She will push you and push you, and then memorize how far it takes for you to jump over the edge. She deliberately disobeys–and doesn’t even know what the real concept of obedience looks like.
Her siblings resent her because she whines her way into getting what she wants. She never has to pick up toys or go find things for herself–even though she is capable. It is much easier as a parent to do it yourself than it is to fight constant battles.
The problem is, when she’s not fighting you, or disrespecting you-she is preciously sweet. She hugs you and tells you how much she loves you. It makes it even harder to believe that 20 minutes ago she pulled every piece of clothing she could find out of every drawer in the house and refused to pick any of it up. All the while screaming and crying, making “Go to H E double Hockey Stick” faces at you.
Who is this child??!?
Whoever you are–guilt will get you NO WHERE!!! You’ve done everything you possibly can to “control” this child so no condemnation here! My own children are FAR FAR from perfect.
Luckily, we don’t aim for perfection in life–we work on progressing! I honestly believe that you have done everything possibly that you KNOW HOW! So perhaps I can teach you a few things that will be helpful.
First and foremost, this child wants YOU to be in control. When she has to control circumstances, she feels uncomfortable and in the wrong place. She wants to know that YOU AS THE ADULT have everything within reason and know what to expect and how to deal with things.
This child is acting out on insecurity. Her anger increases as you progress out of control. The more out of control she is, the more insecure you are. The more insecure you are, the angrier and more out of control she is. WOW what an ugly, vicious, vicious cycle.
I mentioned previously (3) ways for a child to feel safe… there are several more sub-categories, but let’s touch on the primary ones:
Emotional: Children need to feel SAFE to express their emotions without criticism, but do so in a way that does not harm anyone around them. Additionally, a child needs to know that emotionally you don’t feel threatened, because that will give them the freedom to explore what and how they feel.
Spiritual: Children need to feel a sense of spiritual SAFETY knowing that regardless of who they are, or what they’ve done, God is always present and always loving them. Some children after an emotional episode are filled with self-condemnation. Loving kids with grace and mercy is imperative to them growing to a fully devoted relationship to Christ.
Physical: Children who have out of control emotions will often destroy what is around them. Placing them in an environment where they can’t physically hurt themselves is necessary to proper discipline.
A rule I use with my own children as well as others is:
IF YOU ARE ANGRY–YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HURT YOURSELF, THINGS OR OTHER PEOPLE!
Over the next few days we will explore how to protect your child emotionally, spiritually and physically and how by doing this, your child will sense safety. When you child senses they are safe, their behavior will ultimately change.
This is a process–this is not ‘FIX YOUR CHILD BY THE WEEKEND.’ God works everything in process. Even though He had the power to create the world and everything in it immediately, he chose to do it in 6 days–and then rest.
Stay tuned and stay hopeful. God loves your child more than you do…Ultimately He’s in control–so you don’t HAVE to be!
There are trees that have been around for hundreds of years. Methuselah the Tree germinated before the Egyptian Pyramids were even built. Trees hold a special link to our past. Their experiences are what we now call history. As a tree continues to stand firm, it becomes the bridge to our future. Most trees will remain when we are long gone, spectacles for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to marvel at.
Like trees, our families are a link to our past and bridge to our future. I often wonder about the history of my family, tempted to sign up for ancestry.com. I have no relationship with my father, he chooses to not be a part of my life. I know nothing about my father’s history, not even his medical history. I know I’m not alone.
I know some of my mother’s. I am a 4th generation American, my great-great grandparents migrated from Germany. But I don’t know much more beyond that. And it’s not so much just where they came from for me, it’s who they were, what they believed. It’s important, you see:
“The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation. ’ “(Numbers 14:18 NKJV)
And what type of legacy am I leaving for my children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Am I living a life of pure faith in a Great God? Am I living with a stubborn heart, filled with the sin of unbelief that will haunt and taunt the hearts of those I love, and will love?
I’m living in the realization that not only do I have the power to effect the future of the church, but I have the power to break the sinfulness of the past of those who came before me. That’s a huge responsibility, and one that should not be carried without concern.
“That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm 78:6-8 NKJV)
To Curriculum or Not Curriculum, That is the Question
One of the greatest challenges of starting a new children’s ministry has to do with curriculum. The pressure to produce a high energy, super creative ministry presses us on all sides. Big stages, lights, a talented class, worship bands–Kids Ministry has reached a whole new level. So how does a small start up church compete with all the whistles and bells of larger churches? Whistles and Bells that are very attractive?
The reality of a church plant is that everyone is probably doing everything. With only one service weekly, volunteers can lose steam if they don’t attend services at some point. In addition, you probably have barely enough volunteers to minister to the kids you have now. Reassure yourself that bigger is not better.
Curriculum can be costly. Most budgets don’t allow for the purchase of curriculum and sometimes sustaining the curriculum incurs an additional expense that most church start-ups aren’t prepared for.
I found in the early stages of ministry was to pull together my own curriculum. This is one of the reasons to love the internet, there are a ton of resources out there to make your curriculum more than a Veggie Tales DVD.
Rotation.org is a site that provides complete curriculum sets using different types of teaching tools to tell the same story. Most curriculum is contributed by other ministry leaders all over the nation. If you would like access to the more complete lesson plans available, there is a small $25/year membership fee.
Sermons4kids.com pulls together all the free resources online for you so that it is easy to sift and sort though curriculum sites.
Cmconnect.org is a social networking site for Children’s Ministry leaders. Through this site there is a group called Swap Shop where other ministry leaders are willing to sale or trade different resources with other churches. When I was on staff of a church a few years ago, I had a Children’s Pastor send me almost $500 worth of curriculum for free, all I had to do was pay for shipping, For the Swap Shop or not, I highly recommend this site!
However you approach your curriculum, be patient about investing in a certain KidMin program until you know for sure the direction of your church. The most important thing to focus on in your curriculum is sharing the Love of Christ in all you do. Beyond the lights, the music, the costumes, Jesus’ saving grace should always be the primary focus of all you do!