- If prices keep going up, we'll no longer be able to buy a week's groceries for $20.00.
- Gasoline now costs 29 cents a gallon. I may be better off leaving the car in the garage. Besides it won't be long before $2,000 will only buy a used one.
- And I am afraid the Volkswagen is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.
- The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I doubt seriously that they will ever catch on.
- Have you heard? They are making electric typewriters now.
- If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store and the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter.
- Some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball. It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the President.
- I wonder if I'll see the day when Government takes half of our income in taxes. Makes me wonder if we are electing the best people to Congress.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
We've been talking about being GIVERS and the challenge of getting our students to church (or, really, getting ourselves to church.) After church, spend a couple of minutes talking about the day. Who did we greet? Who did we help? Who were new friends we met? Remember what is said and use these things to quiz your students about the Sunday events during the week. The time to prepare for next Sunday is this Sunday,
Here's reality. You do everything you can to get your students to come to church with you. They come, seem to enjoy it, and when they get 18, graduate from high school, go off to college or begin a career, they quit coming to church. Wait! Wasn't there a guarantee? What went wrong? What did I forget? Probably not one thing. As a parent, we can only do what God directs us to do. He tells us to lead our family in the things of God. We are responsible to a point. Eventually, every tub sets on its own bottom. (My way of saying, "Eventually, everyone has to make a personal choice how they will serve and honor God.)
Do not give up. If you have no plan, offer no direction, I can give you ONE guarantee: our students will not have a standard by which they follow. Help them make the choice for God while you can..
Enter Early on Sunday
Rehearse the Day
Am I a GIVER or a Taker? Our students are watching.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Not many people can process big events or decisions in an instant. Students need reminders about church before Sunday arrives. To wake up the family on Sunday and announce, "Let's get ready for church," may be the only thought a student may have had about church, God or spiritual things all week long. Share things the family plans to do on Sunday starting a day or two before Sunday morning arrives. Getting the details about any sleepovers, visits or interruptions to the schedule out in the open on a Thursday or a Friday, gives Sunday an opportunity to be a day the family anticipates and even looks forward to.
Dad, consider starting a Family Time once a week that sets the family thinking about Sunday. Do everything you can to make Sunday worship and Bible study happen. It is amazing what small, temporal things can come up and "buy off" all our good intentions, planning and practices when Sunday rolls around. If parents PLAN for Sunday worship and Bible study, it will probably happen. If you have NO plan, anything will be the highest bidder for the most important day of the week. The goal here is thoroughness: knowing what factors will diminish my effectiveness for God if neglected.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
"What does Jesus expect me to do?" Isn't that the real question we must ask ourselves and our students? Parents can't be at two places at the same time, but God can. Somehow we must help our children make the jump from what we want and expect them to do to "What does the Lord expect me to do?" This takes consistent reminders that God is at work in our family and our individual lives. It does matter what others expect me to do, but it matters even more what the Lord wants.
For parents, this means we pray about stuff- all the stuff, all the time! Our students must see that we take it all to God. This makes it simpler to give God the credit rather than taking the credit for what happens in my life.
Perhaps you can begin to see where this settles out. There are two types of people: givers and takers. If we can give God the credit, our children will begin to hear, see and follow the example of a life surrendered to God.
Shouldn't we be givers?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
John 1:46 (HCSB)46 "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Nathanael asked him. "Come and see," Philip answered.
Come and see. Not Go and see. Each child needs a persistent guide if they are to ever discover the usefulness of regular worship and Bible study.This is not a self-guided tour. So, how's our habit of worship and study going? Barna research reveals that at the age of 18, 78% of students abandon their faith upbringing. To me that says there may be a 78% inconsistency issue in our homes. Not always, but something is at work.
Take time to talk about worship, Bible study and ministry throughout the week. We shouldn't expect to "spring" church on our students on Saturday night or Sunday and expect to gather a crowd. Do a little each day of the week. Water your garden with a garden hose , not a fire hose!
Monday, December 14, 2009
One reason children resist coming (oops. I believe we started using the work “going”) is that they “won’t know anybody.” NOTE: Going implies “You need to GO to church.” Coming says, “We’ll pave the way by being a good example.” While parents can’t guarantee who will be there that their child knows, we can do a couple of things.
· Invite one of their friends to come with your family one Sunday. This will require a little advanced effort. Call the friend’s parents and ask permission, preferably earlier in the week. Waiting to the last minute only adds to the challenge. If a sleepover happens on Saturday, make coming to church a requirement (for the student and their friend) for the sleepover. Not every sleepover needs church attendance as a requirement, but we are looking for something that gets the family to church. This week a sleepover, and next week something else. If your child sleeps over at another home, make sure they know the family plans to pick them up, and perhaps the friend, before church. The goal is consistency.
· Call other parents in the student group and see if their student is going. Networking works for the parents just like it works for the students. The goals are only different in the beginning. Other parents will appreciate knowing that they are not alone in the challenge of getting children to come to church.
More in the next part.
Friday, December 11, 2009
“If I had more money, then I could give.”
America’s biggest givers are the lowest income earners. Those who earn less than $10,000 give 2.3% of their income. Those who earn $70,000 or more only give 1.2%. (Source: Passing the Plate. By Christian Smith, Michael Emerson and Patrician Snell)
“I have so many bills and so little money.”
Pick a starting point and move toward giving a tithe. Many don’t do anything or give God only “a tip.” Ask yourself, “Would God lead me to make this purchase (have this service or have this perk), if it meant decreasing my giving to Him?” Giving has little to do with prosperity. When Americans earned less following the Great Depression, they gave more. When income went up, they began to give less of it away.
“I live on a fixed income.”
No one lives on a fixed income. We can make money by decreasing expenses, skipping an activity, trip or “night out friends.” Look for ways to surprise your self in this area of giving.
My greatest joy has been to watch God work in my life through the area of giving. Each year, actually each calendar quarter, Jan & I look for ways to give more. God never fails.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thoughts like these are only good for me and my situation, but they are deadly for the next generation or even those who will come next year. My goal for 2010 is to help create an environment that will impact my community. If you are interested in seeing our church go forward in 2010, will you join together and create an environment for motion, growing and maturity? I’m making necessary adjustments to my comfort zone that will include more people, more touch points, and, more relationships. I’m praying that people will come to our church, classes and groups because they were invited by us and not because they drove by and saw the church.
Friday, December 4, 2009
One danger needs to be avoided, whether the church is large or small. Look around the church. Do you know everybody, or at least most people? If you do, perhaps we’ve overlooked the Great Commission. In the coming year, purpose to invite new people to join you for worship and Bible study each week. Ask them to consider Jesus as their Savior. My prayer is for our ABF classes to be filled with more unfamiliar faces than members. To have more new faces than comfortable faces.
You do not have because you do not ask. James 4:2
Thursday, December 3, 2009
What kind of man was Boaz before he married?
Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
(Ans: Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.)
Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
(Ans: Pharaoh’s daughter. She went to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.)
We were challenged to begin this discipline several years ago while on vacation. Several saints in our path have read the Bible though dozens of times. Though just reading won’t bring a changed life for some, it will provide us the tools the Holy Spirit can use to challenge us in every area of our life. Begin 2010 reading more than you have done in the past. If you need a plan, let me know. There are several which just might give the “push” you need.