Friday, September 9, 2011

Children Will Listen

Tonight our family went to the Alliance in Atl to see "Into the Woods."  It was a great show that was predictable at first but then turned to show many layers of complexity and depth.

One of the major themes toward the end was "be careful what you teach your children."  All of the characters at some point had to go into the woods for a journey.  In the first act, they went on this journey to fulfill a wish they'd had for a long time.  In the second act they went into the woods to hide from danger and then when bad things happened anyway they debated staying in the woods to hide from the future.

Once they battled their giants both figuratively and literally, they agreed to teach their children that everyone goes into the woods at some point and if they can learn from the previous generations successes and mistakes, then the journey will be more fruitful.

I've always loved fairy tales.  They start with a dream or a wish your heart makes, then comes a time of learning, and then a time of happiness.  

Maybe its just the Disney magic that Tinkerbell has sprinkled on me but I see that our journey with God is no different.  We dream or pray to know who we truly are.  We embark on a journey of discovery that often takes us into the wilderness - just like it did for Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus.  And after we've learned a few lessons we have a time of happiness.  It isn't necessarily happily ever after but a loop of the same cycle that ends in happily forever after.

So what lessons do I need to teach my children and youth?  Don't worry when happily ever after ends and loops back many times.  Its important to stay on the path but even more important to pick the right path to journey down.  Not making a decision is in fact making a choice.  High heels are a pain in the butt for walking in the woods.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Heir of Christian

In the second book of the Harry Potter series, we discover that through a bit of dark magic, Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort was able to open the Chamber of Secrets back when he was at school and could do so in the present time through an enchanted diary. The only thing making it possible for him to do so was the fact that he was an heir of Salazar Slytherin. It was through his bloodline that he was worthy of opening this dangerous place.

I've recently taken a new job as Youth Pastor. Many people ask me why I feel that youth ministry is so important. Perhaps it was the great memories I had from my youth group. Maybe it was because I saw my own faith become its strongest during this time period. Honestly I think it is because we have the most fun of any other group in the church, but in reality these kids are the immediate future. If you wait just a second, you'll find that they are the ones that are shaping what our society, country, and church looks like and if we don't help them understand who they are and whose they are now, then the future will hold even more uncertainty than it does now.

 Galatians 4 1 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

 These kids (like all kids) are special. At some point they discover that "it matters not what they were born, but what they could grow to be" (HP paraphrased). They can grow to be adopted into the family of God. My job is to help them and their families develop a close relationship with their Heavenly Father so that they can transform the world.

 To me, that is a pretty important task.

 So whether they are heir to a fortune or heir to a rocky start, they have a choice about being heir to Jesus. It doesn't help them to unlock secret chambers or inherit a castle with servants at their beck and call, but it will change their lives by changing their hearts.

 Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do you want fries with that?

A few of you may have seen where I posted a video of my daughter last week. She was throwing one of those terrible two tantrums earlier this year because we had left the playground at McDonalds. She really doesn't like the food so much as the toys and play place that are part of the eating experience. In case you missed it, here it is:

To be fair, she does have a good side. She can be quite gentle and funny. Here's a clip of her putting her baby bunny to sleep:

I'm not sure that these huge mood swings ever leave us as we get older. I think we just learn to control them in public. I can tell you that I sing my daughter a lullaby every night. She's one of the only people who requests my magnificent serenading on a daily basis so I'm more than willing to help. But I also know that if one of my boys blows up a latex balloon in my presence, I will turn into the Incredible Hulk (and they don't like me when I'm angry).

It took three kids for me to actually be able to laugh at the tantrums and to realize that they really are funny if you sit back and watch. Perhaps I should have someone record my Hulk moments so that I can then laugh at myself.

I was reminded recently that anger is not really a bad thing. We always think of it as a "sin" because it is usually directed at someone and we really don't want others to direct anger toward us so why should we be angry at others?

But Jesus got angry. He got angry a lot. He turned over tables. He called people names. I think he even got a bit snarky at times.

But what most of us want to remember is the Jesus with the children around him. The one who tells stories. The Jesus who holds a lamb. The Baby Jesus who doesn't cry.

And what we really have is both. Jesus the angry and Jesus the gentle. Jesus the just and Jesus the giver of grace.

So the next time your child throws a fit and later on gives you an unsolicited hug, remember that they are being Jesus-like. Its our job to help them control their emotions so that they will be the most effective at just the right time.

Or you could just ask them if they want fries with that.

Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Shameless Plug

There are ups and downs with parenting. This is one of the downs. But I'm trying to turn it all around and have a good laugh at my daughter's expends. If you have ever been in this situation before, please "like" the video or comment and share it with your friends. I hope your day goes better than hers.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Prayer for Thanksgiving

Sometimes we just want God to know that we love Him...

Almighty God, giver of every good and perfect gift,
teach us to render to you all that we have and all that we are,
that we may praise you, not with our lips only,
but with our whole lives,
turning the duties, the sorrows, and the joys of all our days
into a living sacrifice to you;
through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Book of Worship 1965

Until Everyone Hears,

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