Sunday, September 15, 2013

Don't Give Up. Stick it Out. Persevere.

We started a new series today in Children's Worship called "At the Zoo." via CMD We remembered the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  You know...the Hare thought he had the race won with no problem, and then-boy was he surprised when he woke up from his nap to find that he'd lost the race!

The lesson we learn here is really about perseverance.  And my favorite story of perseverance is about Joseph.  He lived out perseverance for much of his adult life as we have it recorded in the scripture.

So what about you? When have you had to practice perseverance? Maybe that's right where you're living today.  One thing that I can promise you is that God is with you today. He knows. He hears your prayers. And-he has a plan bigger than we can imagine.

If you want to spend some time as a family this week talking about perseverance, here's a little help with that conversation:

1. Have each family member tell about a time in their life when they felt like giving up.
2. Parents-if you can, relate a story in your own faith walk-or that of another believer where someone didn't give up-the persevered-and saw God work out a difficult situation.
3. Pray together than when the tough times come, you will be able to persevere.  If you're living a tough time right now-pray that God will strengthen you as a family to stick it out!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Catching Quality Time. Together.

For quite awhile now, the youth group in our church has taken on the responsibility of cleaning. Our custodian retired, and our youth pastor had this great idea, so cleaning the church has really been a blessing for youth families because the money earned goes to help pay for summer camp, extended trips, or little things like Thursday lunches.  New kids to the youth group and their families are getting a chance to get in on this fundraiser now.

I'm sitting in my office with the doors open and I can hear the sounds of a new 7th grader and his dad working in the church.  I love listening, because it's father and son interacting. I'm sure there are tons of other things both of these guys would enjoy more on a beautiful first day of summer, but they are spending it here at the church.

Uh huh, they are together.
Or to put it another way, they aren't apart, they're together.
Catching quality time. Together.

Dad is coaching son on his cleaning skills. Son is explaining the why's of his particular method. Dad is asking his son's opinion. Son is listening to his dad's direction. Voices aren't raised. Tempers aren't flaring. They are just enjoying being together.

I think as parents we sometimes think together means running the roads; overpriced summer attractions; bigger, better, brighter. And those things are wonderful, I love them every one!  But they aren't the only way to find quality time with your kids.

As I've learned about my own college-aged son, the memories that stick in his head aren't always the ones with the most $$ signs.  Sticky memories are rooted in together.

Side by side.
Give and take.
Patience and time.
Juuust together.

So maybe for you, together needs to be cleaning out a flower bed, or organizing the toy room. Whatever it like at your house, cherish it!  You've got lot of summertime, together-hungry hours ready for you to fill!

Thank you Lord for together!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 our love

I love my church, and today was reminded how special it is.  I went into the Christian bookstore to pick up a book, and when checking out the clerk asked me what church I worked at.

I quickly told her the name and location.  Her eyes got really big, and she said, "Oh praise the Lord.!" I can't believe this! I've been wanting to come to your church.  She said that she passes by the church every day, and something seems to be pulling her to visit. She explained a little about being on the search for a new place to worship, where she can really fit in. 

She went on to tell me about some of the times she's been to our church for our Live Nativity at Christmas, and how the people are always so welcoming and and friendly, and work together so well.   She mentioned the spirit she always feels and how she loves reading our sign when she's driving by, and on and on she had only good things to say.

I invited her, made sure that she knew about the activities for kids (she has grandchildren), and as I got ready to leave she asked me if she could come around and hug my neck. She said, "I feel like I've met a long lost member of my family!" 

She's right. She will be welcomed just like family and will feel right at home.

So thanks DFC family for the way that you show God's love.
Thanks for welcoming new people with smiling eyes and warm handshakes.
Thanks for making sure their children feel comfortable enough to make the treck down to the children's department.
Thanks for notes and phone calls and meals and rides and including everyone and prayers.

That's the kind of church I get to be a part of!
The kind of church where we are known-by our love.

I can't wait to see Mischelle when she comes to visit! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Once a Seeker, Always a Seeker

It was Sunday afternoon, and a group was at the church to unpack all the boxes, and fluff all the wreaths, and test all the lights to make sure the beautiful decorations that adorn our sanctuary were ready for Hanging of the Greens.

I was there too, and while working alone, I asked the Father very simply, “will you show me something new this season? I want to experience Christmas in a whole new way.”  I went on to complete my assignment, but no inspiration hit me that day.

A few days later preparations began for the season at my house. My son was coming home from completing his first semester of college, and I wanted a festive, welcome  home for him.  While working alone, I asked the Father my simple request. “Will you show me something new this season? I want to experience Christmas in a whole new way.”  But no inspiration came to me that day.

For several days, as it came to mind, I asked the question, but still-no answer. Then, while listening in on the children’s Christmas program rehearsal, finally, my answer came. As I watched those wiggly little people trying to get all their lines in and stand in the right place on the stage, I realized that each character in the nativity story shared one common thread.

They were all Seekers. Wise men giving years of their lives to seek and following a star. Shepherds walking off the job and chasing after angels.  Young parents, so good at seeking God that they were chosen to bring up his Son while He lived on earth!

God was saying to me, “Seek me, Mary”.  You see, though sincere in wanting to learn something new, my simple request wasn’t born in action. Honestly, it was a come-and-serve-me kind of request.  That’s not what the Father had in mind for me.
My “something new” was not what God could show me, but in my moving to action.

Seeking him.
For joy, for peace, for promise.

Like the magi. 
Like the shepherds. 
Like the two young parents.
They all longed to be in His presence.

Ah, that’s when the magic happens.
That’s when you hear His voice.
That’s when you are filled to overflowing; when you seek the Lord with all your heart.

Alongside the dirty shepherds and road weary wise men, I found my own place in the Christmas story this year, as a seeker.