Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Should We Say to our Children?

Just a reminder to everyone who reads Freshly Bru’d that this blog reflects my response to what I am currently reading and ideas that are in my mind during the given week. It is not a devotional blog, although there will be times when I will encourage you to look at verses from the Bible.

This week I was reading about children back in school, colleges beginning their semester, the emotions that children have as they start kindergarten and the difficulties mom have sending their child off to school the very first day.

That sparked an idea in my mind of the things we should habitually speak to our children whether they are 2 or 60. Some of the following things might be suited for children older than 2, others may not work if you are a single parent, but most need to be said over and over again.

I love you. I will always love you. No matter what you do, you’ll always be my child. I love you, but I’m still going to discipline you. Yes, I’ll forgive you. Will you forgive me? I messed up. You’re so valuable to me. Let’s go to church. Yes, I’ll drop what I’m doing to play.

No, I’m not too busy. You drew that? Amazing! I’m proud of you. You slipped up, but you’re still precious to me. Can we talk? Let’s hang out. You don’t have a choice here, you’re two years old. You’re safe with me. Yes, I’ll help. Honoring God is always the right choice.

Learning to obey mom and dad is important. Let’s go on a date (mom to son, dad to daughter). Let’s pray. Love those that nobody else loves. Love others more than you love yourself. Love and respect those who don’t love or respect you. Serve others like your life depends on it. Learn to respect those in authority over you (life will be much easier if you do).

There is no problem so big that you can’t come to me. You’ll never do anything to lose my love. You have so many gifts and talents (can I help you use them?). It’s okay to mess up, I mess up too. Be a good friend. It’s okay to be upset. You can never do anything so bad that God would desert you.

Do you have any you would like to add? Send them to me.

P.S. This week we conclude our series “Psalms: A Playlist for Life.” We will celebrate together with a Communion service and discover how to praise God at all times both good and bad.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Stretch Principle

This last week I was reminded of a very important principle that I am going to call “The Stretch Principle.” To illustrate the principle, imagine holding a rubber band in your hand. That rubber band has all kinds of potential-holding a stack of papers together, shooting paper clips at others (just kidding!), putting it around your wrist to remind you of something or snapping it on your wrist as you reach for a candy bar to remind yourself “no, you don’t need that chocolate.”

But a rubber band also reminds us of a life principle. You can only stretch it so far before it breaks or snaps in two. In other words, there is a limit to the stretch.

The same is true for us. We can contribute many great things with our life, but there is a limit to our contributions. Our contributions also carry with them “stress” baggage. Our lives can only tolerate so much stress, so we all must learn our stretch point.

As a pastor, I sometimes forget the stretch principles in the lives of church members. Most church leaders plan church schedules to the max. I forget that people have a limited number of hours to contribute to the church. When I violate this management principle it creates tired, burned out congregants.

There was a time when churches asked people to attend church service, Sunday school, discipleship classes, visitation meetings, committee meetings, men’s meetings, women’s meetings and minister in the community.

I learned last week that something has to give. You do not have to be a skilled mathematician to calculate the issue. It’s not that people are uncommitted as I once thought, but one can only stretch so far.

As a pastor, I need to plan with a “big picture” view in mind. My goal is to help our church distinguish those things that are urgent and important from those that are urgent and not important. Pray for me and in the meantime, remember the stretch principle.


P.S. Who is leading your life? Would you answer that question myself, culture, things, certain people, money, etc...? If i told you there is something far greater than these things to lead your life would you be interested? Join me this Sunday at worship at 9:00 am or 10:30 am and interact with "who is leading my life."