This weekend our congregation is going to be sharing the next steps of an initiative with the goal of campus renovation and expansion, in order to expand mission and ministry. It is called ONE Legacy. I started thinking about this weekend and what I want my kids to know about being generous with our finances for God’s ministry, and that prayer is important in our families life.
I was thinking, “What do I want my kids to learn from this moment?”. Often as a parent it is easy to go through the moment of growth and forget about what it is teaching your kids. I want to think, “How am I teaching my kids through this moment?”. My kids see me put something in the offering plate each week – they see me giving to God. Yet don’t want them to think of generosity as only being a ‘parent thing’, but rather that as a part of the community here at St. John, we are all called to share the gifts God has given us.
So here is what we are doing. We are going to have a conversation this weekend at the dinner table. We are going to pray. We are going to think about what are the things in our life we can let go of so that we can help our Church reach many with the Gospel. We may talk about giving up going out to dinner once a month. We may talk about using birthday and Christmas money for ONE Legacy instead, we may pray about giving up cable or Netflix or Slurpee’s!! Honestly I don’t know what it might look like. But seriously I want them to be a part of this moment.
Read John 6:1-13
I love this story because of one very important fact. In this version of the story we find out where the disciples got the five loaves and two fish. It came from a boy. It came from a kid. He had so little to offer and I am sure Jesus looked that boy in the eyes and said with your small gift I am going to change the world. I don’t need your small item to change the world but I am going to use your small sacrifice so that people can know of my love.
Talk with your kids this weekend. Talk with your kids about being generous in this moment. The Lord has given our family so much. It is a great conversation to have and so important as a part of the body of Christ.
When I was first in ministry I worked with a wonderful women who worked in our Sunday school Pre-school. If I could multiply her by 100 I would. She was amazing at what she did with young children. She amazed me with how she could work with any young child. She taught me something I use every day when working with young people. She taught me to get on the floor and look them in the eyes.
It is something so simple we often forget it. When I teach with young people one of the most important things I try to always do is get down on the floor and look them in the eyes. It changes the dynamic. It allows them to see you as a person and allows you to share Jesus with them. It allows you to listen and speak with them. It allows you to be in their world. If you don’t do this with little kids I would totally challenge you to do it.
Here is the thing. I want to remind you as a parent, minister, and friend please get on the ground. Look them in the eyes. When you do, you can share Jesus with them. The first pastor I served with shared with me this thought “People don’t remember the sermons, or messages. They remember the time you sat with them and listened. They remember the time you prayed for them. They remember the time you were just present in their time of need.”
We all have people in our lives we want to stand in the pulpit and preach at. However I would challenge us all to bend down and talk to them on their level. To listen and look them in the eyes so we can share Jesus with them. Too often we stand tall and preach. We need to be people willing to get down on the ground in order to share Jesus.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col 3:12 NIV
I have Mondays off. It is the one day a week I get to have off and I try to guard it like crazy. Well mostly that is true. Honestly my wife is the one who guards it best because she knows if I didn’t get my rest I will be cranky and out of control.
When I was in High school I spent three weeks of my summer in Puerto Rico for a mission trip. I spent that amazing time getting to know some of the people there and would love to go back just to experience that place again. They taught me a whole host of things but the thing I remember taking away from my time with them was how important rest was to their culture. You see every day they had a siesta. It was a time when the whole country shut down for the most part and people were expected to rest. I remember being told by one of the people there that we Americans didn’t enjoy life because we didn’t rest enough. We ran from thing to thing never enjoying the times God gave us to rest.
My life seems to moving faster and faster. I feel more tired and enjoy my life in Christ less and less. My kids feel it too. I am afraid we as a family are too busy with life to enjoy our time in rest in Jesus. We as the family of God need to slow down and rest. We need to spend time in resting in Jesus.
So how are you resting? Are you resting? I know I am not resting nearly long enough. I am running too fast and ultimately teaching my kids to run to fast. Let us all find those times to slow down and rest. Let us teach our kids to rest. The laundry will be there tomorrow, the school work will be there tomorrow, the office work will be there tomorrow. Let us rest in Jesus. Let us teach our kids to rest in Jesus. To focus our time on rest.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
I had a bad day. I am going to bed angry with my children for their attitudes, and their mood swings. I am angry because today one of them lied to my face and she is the young one. She is supposed to be my innocent one. She is supposed to be the one we did this parenting thing correctly. For a moment I thought I need to just pull out my Thor hammer and play whack kid. I was reminded today that I am raising sinners. I was reminded I am the chief of them.
Every parent if we are honest holds to proverb 22:6
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
We think if we just teach them correctly they will be perfect little angels. Today is another reminder that my kids aren’t perfect and that they resemble more closely this verse:
10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Acts 13:10
Here is the rub, on most days I epitomize this verse also. You see every day I know I should have more patient. I know I should have more kind words. I know I should be praying for them and with them. I should be reminding them I am not perfect (although they know it, they need to hear it as well). They need to know the only remedy is Jesus. Jesus’ forgiveness for us brings a new day. It brings healing to these broken relationships. It brings peace to situations that are in chaos.
I think often as parents we are afraid to say this. That we all have days, weeks, months even years where we are chief of sinners. We fail to point our kids to Jesus. Being a parent is hard. We are all sinners in need of Jesus.
So tonight I am on my knees in prayer. I am praying for my kids, I am praying for my wife, and I am praying for me. I am praying we would experience Christ’s forgiveness. Lets join together in prayer as we walk with Jesus.
3 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
Every sunday is a teaching moment for my kids. As a family and youth minister it can be something I take for granted. I was reminded this weekend, as I sat in my new Church, the importance of teaching my kids what is happening in the worship service. A new place means new practices and old ones done in different ways. Often I forget that my own kids may not fully understand or know what is going on. So this Sunday I had a great moment with my youngest.
Durring confession we were asked to kneel or sit and ask God for forgiveness. I think my youngest may not have understood or might have just not paid attention but either way she was kneeling and praying but she looked very confused. So I leaned over and asked her “Do you know what you are supposed to be doing?” She looked at me and said “No dad!” She had that look of embarrassment in her eyes. She was praying. She tried to look like she knew what she was doing. She was kneeling and had her hands folded and eyes shut. I leaned over and said “Ella we are confessing our sin. We are telling God what we did wrong this week.” She turned and with a small smile of enlightenment she got back to it. I was so excited for her because she got to finish her confession and hear God’s words of absolution.
This episode made me think however that more of us need to remember to share with our young and new members what is going on. We in pews need to share with them about what is happening so that they can participate. Just because they are preforming the actions doesn’t mean they know what is happening. Next week as a parent I would encourage you to watch your children and ask if they understand what is going on. Ask if they need help to participate. When we see a new person who looks lost come beside them and ask if they need help. It may just help them hear about Jesus and his awesome forgiveness.
And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.