Generosity…Speaking with your kids about being a part of sharing Jesus.

IMG_20171020_103132This 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.

 

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School is coming…finding rest in the chaos!

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School is coming…For some it is already here…For some parents it is a great day, for some parents their will be tears .  For some kids it is a struggle filled with anxiety and for some kids they just cant wait to be back at school with their friends.  It is a mix of anxiety, joy, fear, and excitement for a new year.

One things we will all experience this year is the busyness that comes with a new school year.  It seems to me that every year, sports gets more intense, classes get harder for kids, the schedule for ministry even seems to get more and more intense.  All these things may be amazing opportunities for learning, exercise, friendships, and fun.  These things can make it almost impossible to have opportunities to share a meal, share your day, or just find times to be home and slowing down together with your family.

Somewhere as a family we all learned that to be the best parents we have to run, run, run.  We have to be in everything, be there for everyone, and give our kids the most experiences possible.  I am here to tell you we are all wrong on this front.  Yes experiences for our kids are great.  It is important to give them times to succeed, and fail, to find joy, and sadness so we can help them navigate those moments before they become adults.  The thing I think we miss is how can we also teach them to rest.  How do we teach them to slow down enjoy life with the people God has put in our lives.

This fall our Church is starting something new. We are calling it Family rest nights.  The second and forth Wednesdays of each month during the school year we have opened the school and Church schedule so that no events happen in the building after 4pm.  We want to model for families to be home and with each other gathered around His word. I love food so for us it will include a meal.  We plan to send out emails with devotional questions, scripture readings, and prayers for the family.  The goal is to help model family times of rest.  My prayers is this will help families slow down and be.  Slow down and be in the presence of each other and Jesus.  I know I need to have those times of rest. Join us in resting in Jesus and growing together as a family.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42 NIV)

What a mess!

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This morning in chapel at St. John I thought it would be fun to take all the palm branches left over from Palm Sunday and strewn them all down the aisles.  It was a huge mess.  I would say it might have been the biggest mess you can make in Church.  In fact I was pretty sure after chapel the janitor would no longer be speaking to me with kind words.  Kids walked in and were shocked by the mess on the floors. It was a glories mess. (By the way as a youth leader making a mess is what I do)

I had them read with me Mark 11:1-11. It is my favorite version of the story of Jesus being called king.  In this text, Jesus rides his donkey into Jerusalem and the people were excited that this might be the next king to rule. They are excited because they thought he would come and kick out the romans and rule the world again.  Jesus walks into the temple and does nothing.  He just walks back out.  I would say all the people who are holding those palm branches just dropped them on the floor.  He wasn’t the king they expected, but He is a king and he would show them how he would clean up their mess they had in their lives.

I proceeded to share with the kids and staff about the mess we all live with. My family can make some big messes.  Please don’t ever plan on just dropping in because if you do you will see a mess.  If you give me some time I can clean up some and make it look like my house is clean.  In fact I say to my wife and kids.  The trick is make it look good but not too good so they don’t know we worked for a couple hours making it look clean. You see I think many of us have a mess in our lives we pretend isn’t really there, or we spend a lot of time making clean ups look like we have it all together.  But here is the thing we are a mess.

This week is Holy week.  It is the week Jesus shares with us that he isn’t here as some great king to conquer the world but here to clean up our mess.  He shows us his love Thursday through being a servant, then he continues that service on Friday to make the ultimate sacrifice on the cross to clean up our mess.  He rose again Sunday to keep His promise of new life in Him.

If you haven’t been in worship in awhile I would encourage you to join the Church any Church these next four days.  Come and see all He did for us. It wasn’t necessarily what we expected and certainly is more than just a quick cleaning.  Jesus has come and rose again to bring new life and clean up the mess that is our life.

Thank you Jesus for your love and grace.

(By the way we did clean up the sanctuary today, and the janitor is still speaking to me…)

 

 

I am not giving up something for Lent…I am adding something to my journey to the cross

img_20170301_162211Most of the time during lent people spend the day thinking about what they are going to be giving up for Lent. For me I have never really found that helpful for my spiritual formation. Giving up sweets makes me angry.  Giving up chocolate would make me down right angry.  Mostly I would be thinking all day about how I missed that food or thing I gave up.  For me it doesn’t point me to Jesus. I want you all to know I don’t find anything wrong with giving something up for lent as it is certainly a spiritual discipline of fasting.  Fasting is a time honored way of strengthening ones faith. For me however it has never been appealing or truly beneficial.

So today I decided to do something different.  I decided instead of taking something away I am going to add something to my family’s life.  We are going to spend the next 40 days reading through the Gospels.  We are going to spend this time on the journey to the cross following Jesus’ journey to the cross.  I know for me reading the scripture brings it alive.  I am excited for this journey and would challenge you to think about it as well.

In the reading schedule I gave myself a day off because lets be honest having a day off is needed sometimes.  Life can be crazy busy. I don’t need something else to give me more guilt for messing up.  So below is the plan.

My goal this Lenten season is to journey to the cross with my Lord and Savior. My prayer is that many of you will join in this journey. Let us be in the Word together as we make this journey to the cross and see these great things he has done for us.

in Christ,

Steve

Lent Reading Plan: 2017

2-Mar Matthew 1-3
3-Mar Matthew 4-6
4-Mar Matthew 7-9
5-Mar Break
6-Mar Matthew 10-Matthew 12
7-Mar Matthew 13-Matthew 14
8-Mar Matthew 15-Matthew 16
9-Mar Matthew 17-Matthew 18
10-Mar Matthew 19-Matthew 20
11-Mar Matthew 21-Matthew 22
12-Mar Take a Break
13-Mar Matthew 23-Matthew 24
14-Mar Matthew 25-Matthew 26
15-Mar Matthew 27-Matthew 28
16-Mar Mark 1-Mark 3
17-Mar Mark 4-Mark 6
18-Mar Mark 7-Mark 9
19-Mar Take a Break
20-Mar Mark 10-Mark 12
21-Mar Mark 13-Mark 14
22-Mar Mark 15-Mark 16
23-Mar Luke 1-Luke 3
24-Mar Luke 4-Luke 6
25-Mar Luke 7-Luke 9
26-Mar Take a Break
27-Mar Luke 10-Luke 12
28-Mar Luke 13-Luke 14
29-Mar Luke 15-Luke 16
30-Mar Luke 17-Luke 18
31-Mar Luke 19-Luke 20
1-Apr Luke 21-Luke 22
2-Apr Take a Break
3-Apr Luke 23-Luke 24
4-Apr John 1-John 2
5-Apr John 3-John 4
6-Apr John 5-John 6
7-Apr John 7-John 8
8-Apr John 9-John 10
9-Apr Take a Break
10-Apr John 11-John 12
11-Apr John 13-John 14
12-Apr John 15-John 16
13-Apr John 17-John 18
14-Apr John 19-John 20
15-Apr John 21