Month: December 2014

Top Ten Lessons on God with Toddlers

I recently taught a class of 14 toddlers.  None of them could verbally communicate but I managed to learn a few things about God through them:

1) Snack time: I walk around the table with a bag of animal crackers, if a child needs more they only have to raise their hand.  I know what they want.  I think God is smart enough to know what we want when we raise our hands.  He doesn’t need a lengthy explanation.

2) Most of their needs/solutions are obvious.  Runny nose – tissue.  Smelly bottom – change the diaper.  Crying – they either got hurt or they miss their parents – hold them.  I doubt that our needs are any harder for God to figure out.

3) They cry when they first come but they soon get over it and most have a great time.  If we would all learn to be satisfied and enjoy ourselves, God’s job would be a lot easier.  Who wants to oversee a bunch of whiners?

4) Toddlers may think they want to be with their parents but who wants to sit in adult church when there is play-dough and snacks?  How often do we argue with God about what we THINK we want when HE really knows better?

5) Conflict?  If they can’t share the toys I make them find something else to play with.   What do we fight over?  Maybe we need a diversion.

6) Choking hazards!  Really.  Do we need to have God watch us every second?

7) In a room of 14 toddlers, someone is bound to have a stinky diaper.  In a church, someone is bound to have a stinky life – shit happens.  Help them clean it up.  They probably can’t do it alone.

8) Spilled drinks.  Same as the stinky diapers.  It happens.  Don’t make a big deal about it.  Just clean it up.

9) Have some quiet time.  Toddlers love to sit in a cozy corner, sit on a lap and read books.  Hey, take the hint.  God would love to have a quiet time with you.

10) Have fun.  Toddlers learn from play time.  Have some fun with God.  Don’t be all serious all the time.  Most of what we learn will be through spills, falls, play, sharing and don’t forget the snack time.  Get over yourself.  You’re no different from any of your classmates.  Parents always come back to pick you up!

olive

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The Darkest Valley

Psalms 23 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;

Some weeks are harder to believe this than others.

Some weeks the dark valley seems darker.

Some weeks I can’t stop fearing evil.

Some weeks I am too afraid to walk.

Some weeks I struggle to feel you next to me.

Please hold me.

Please carry me.

Please light my path.

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My Person of the Year

This is a tough challenge.  Last year I nominated 2 men who have stuck through difficult sickness with their wives.  This year, I prayed about generous people who have very little to give, women who work in schools in the slums of Kenya, and even Anna from the movie Frozen (more on that later).

My vote, however, came down to an old man.  A man who I have “known” since I can remember.  A man who has touched the lives of millions during his long life.  A man who has consulted every President since Truman.

Billy Graham just turned 96 last month.  For those of you younger than 50 you may not be aware that Mr. Graham was a staple on TV when we were children.  The song “Just As I Am” was a constant hymn while watching thousands go front for an invitation to accept Christ as their savior.  My dad, who was a preacher himself, marveled at his simple messages that attracted so many.  If you are not familiar with Billy, take a few moments to Google him and learn about his life.  Better yet, take some time to read his autobiography or other publications.  They will be worth their time in giving you inspiration.

There is so much that I could say about Mr. Graham:  How he struggled in the beginning until a non believing publisher felt lead to “push Graham”; how he met and prayed with every President; how he avoided any hint of scandal in over 60 years of ministry; how he stayed loyal to one wife; how he raised and stood by his children and watched them enter ministry; how he has touched so many.  One of those he touched is featured in a new movie coming out this month.  Louis Zamperini life will be played out in an Angelina Jolie movie.  Although I have heard that Mr. Graham is not mentioned, he was the evangelist that led Louis to Christ.   http://www.religionnews.com/2014/12/09/billy-graham-louis-zamperini-two-nights-1949-changed-lives/

Laurie and I were blessed to have an opportunity to see Mr. Graham in 1985.  At that time, we thought it may be our last chance to see him.  We were 25, he was 67 and we thought he was old and ready to retire!

Blessings Mr. Graham!  Thank you for what you have done for God’s Kingdom and what you have done for this country and many others.

Billy

Poor yet Generous

I am working on this year’s “Person of the Year”. My leaning is towards a “poor” person who gave sacrificially. I came across this blog last night as a potential in running . . . Stay tuned.

faith parley


Not long ago I was in line at a downtown Wendy’s when a homeless guy cut in front of me. He literally acted as if he didn’t see me. He stepped up to the counter and ordered a .99 cent hamburger and a water. He handed the teenage girl behind the counter two wadded up dollar bills to cover the grand total of $1.07. As he stuck out his hand for the change, I noticed him reading the label of a donation box for kids with MS. In one quick move, he took the .93 cents he was given in change, jammed every penny into the box, spun around and bolted out the door.

It caught me off guard. And it was my lesson for the day (if not week).

Today I found an article that interested me and reminded me of this experience. It was written by Frank Greve…

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Top 10 Reasons for going to church

I started out working on a blog post – top ten reasons for going to church.  I got distracted along the way . . .

I always resented part time church goers as a kid.  One group was the C&E Christians – they only came on Christmas and Easter and they clogged up the pews like the gym goers in January and February.  Everyone knows they won’t be back.  One pastor I heard said to the congregation on Christmas Day “I’ll see you at Easter”.

Another group was the Cabin Christians.  This group had a weekend retreat and they were gone most Sundays at their 2nd home.

We also had the semi-detached Christians.  Similar to a house that is attached on one side, we had families that were semi involved.  They came most Sundays but left immediately after the service and never really made any relationships in the body.  No one was quite sure who they were or what they were up to.

So I was going to write about the top ten reasons to go every Sunday and questioned why I really was there every Sunday.  Here is what I came up with:

1) I was forced to go every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life unless I had a fever.  In our house it was the unpardonable sin to skip church. This has a definite effect on your psyche.  Will I be struck down if I don’t go?

2) I went to see my friends.  Don’t confuse this with holy fellowship.  This was hanging out with friends and catching up on weekend news.

3) Showing off new clothes.  Ok, ok – This may have not applied to me but definitely to others.

4) I needed to be a good example to my children and force them to go like I was.

5) Worry about what the neighbors will think.  Just like I wouldn’t mow my yard on Sunday I couldn’t just stay home from church either.

6) I had a responsibility to fill – teaching, ushering, or a meeting.  I can’t sing so I wasn’t in the choir.

7) There was a potluck meal afterwards.  Similar to living in the mission, you have to go to the service to get the meal.

8) I hated the phone calls on Monday, “Where were you yesterday?”

9) I want to see my grandchildren and I don’t want them to think I’m a heathen.

10) There were times when I honestly went to worship, learn, fellowship and grow in my spiritual journey but I realized the first 9 reasons happened far more often.

Does that make me a part timer heathen that will be struck down?

Why do you go to church?

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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I DO have my hands up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve got my hands up!  Lord, please help us.  Please give us wisdom and understanding.  Help us to love each other as you have loved us.  Help us to live in peace.  We raise our hands to you in praise!  Amen

1 Timothy 2:8 New International Version (NIV)

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.