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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Staying Connected

Yesterday, I encountered a huge blessing.  I had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch with some saints from our church.  And part of the lunch was the celebration of communion together.

The occasion that prompted this particular gathering was to say “see you later” to one of the couples around the table.  They have been active pillars of our church since 1966.  Raymond and Betty will celebrate 70 years of marriage this summer and this weekend they are moving from our city.

Over the years, this couple has served in too many roles in our church to even count.  But the one area that rises to the top in my mind is their role in ministering to children.  They have given selflessly to make sure children had a safe and welcoming place to experience the love of Jesus.

I didn’t ask this question, but I believe they would say that working with kids has kept them young.  The both of them are an inspiration.   As times have continued to change, they have worked hard at staying connected to the younger generations.

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I think we need to learn something from their example.  If we are to make sure that future generations grow up to follow Jesus, we must always strive to connect with them.  Raymond and Betty have done a great job doing just that.  In fact, one of the highlights of our time together yesterday was when we lined up to take a group picture and I heard Raymond say, “hang on, I’m trying to take a selfie.”

Raymond and Betty may be moving from our city but they will always be part of our family!

There is a connection that will never be lost.

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There is something special – even sacred – about our relationships with fellow believers.

I had the opportunity to have breakfast with some wonderful people this morning – one of which has been a friend for 15 years.  His kids call me Uncle Brian even though there is no familial relationship.  It’s that kind of relationship!  He is like a brother to me in many ways.  He is in town for the day for work and he carved out some time to get together this morning.Having Coffee

One of the things that I noticed as we talked and caught each other up on family news was that it was as if we picked up where we left off the last time we spoke.  There is something powerful about a relationship with another when hearts are aligned.  There is a sacred bond between people of faith.

As I have reflected on our time together, I have had two parallel thoughts.  One is that I am so thankful for my friendship with Lew – he is a blessing in my life.  The other is a conviction that I should see all the relationships to which God draws me as being just as sacred.

We are wired for relationships – that is God’s design.

What relationships do you see in your life today that you would count as sacred?  Do those people know how you feel?

Let them know they matter!

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Vacation Bible School starts this morning.

The sights and sounds are very different for a Monday morning here in our building.  Hundreds of hours of preparation have gone into this week.  Prayer, sweat and maybe even a tear or two have been part of the process.  And now here we are – time to open the doors and let the children in!

There is little the church does throughout the year any more important in the scheme of eternity than this outreach and ministry to children and their families.  Jesus scolded the disciples when they tried to keep children from rushing to him.  Jesus showed compassion and even reminded us that to truly embrace a relationship with him, we need to approach Jesus with child-like, innocent faith – complete surrender.

What will you do to minister to the next generation today?

How will you show them the way to Jesus?

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KidsWe wrap up Vacation Bible School today.  It has been a wonderful week full of activity, laughter and showing the love of Christ to children.  I am so blessed to be part of a family of believers that values the spiritual progression of kids!

The best testimony I heard this week was overheard.  I was entering our recreation center and a mom was leading her young son out of the building toward the parking lot and I overheard her say to her son – “I’m glad you’ve had so much fun you don’t want to leave, but we have to go.”

A child should want to be in church.  Somehow, we have focused so much of our attention on making sure the adults are getting what they need that we often forget that the experience of church and the need for community is just as real for kids.

Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  (Luke 18:16)

Jesus sees value in a child.

So should we.

Be a blessing today!

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I served with a pastor years ago that used to say something to the effect that Mother’s Day is the day we celebrate mothers and how wonderful they are, but Father’s Day is the day we tell guys what terrible men they are and challenge them to be better.

I suppose there is some truth to that statement.  But yesterday, we took just a couple of minutes out of the service and we tried to remind dads of what a huge blessing and privilege it is to be a father.  It was also a time to encourage our church family to appreciate the dads in our lives.

I often say, “I hope to be like my dad when I grow up.”  He has had such an influence on my life – as much by example as anything else.  I appreciate how he has shown me what it means to love God and love others.  He has a true servant’s heart.

When I think of Father’s Day, I also think about the fact that as a believer, I have a heavenly Father.  Scripture teaches us that when we submit our lives to God, we become his children.  What an amazing thought.  We can be considered a child of the King – a daughter or son of the God of the universe!  Now that IS something to celebrate.

Yesterday we celebrated dads.  Our appreciation should not be limited to one day but should be shown to them throughout the year.  But even more so – celebrate your heavenly Father today – who gives you the right to be called a child of God!

Be blessed!

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Here we are . . . another beginning to a new school year.  This summer has been a whirlwind of milestones in the lives of my children – and family.  In the last three weeks, my oldest son graduated college from Texas Tech University (and is now completely employable by the way) and my youngest headed off to begin his college career.  Today he starts his classes at my alma mater – Hardin-Simmons University.  My middle son will begin classes at Texas A & M Corpus Christi on Wednesday.

So – here we are – milestones . . . new beginnings.

As each new school year begins, I think back to those days when I walked my boys through the parking lot, holding hands to protect them from the craziness that is school drop off.  I remember the looks on their faces – a mixture of excitement and full on fear.  I remember walking away trying not to make eye contact with any other adults thinking that somehow they would not see the tears on my face.  I remember getting back to the car and just sitting, trying to collect myself and praying.  I prayed for their teachers.  I prayed for them to have an amazing day.  I prayed that God would be with them since I couldn’t.

So when we get to the beginning of a new school year, I remember those days.  Then I am reminded that my boys still need God to be with them in the same ways they did way back then.

If you are in the throws of the beginning of a new school year take heart, God will see your little ones through – and you as well.

Jesus had a special place in his heart for kids – and he still does.  Mark 10 gives a vivid picture:

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

He took them in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.  He still does!  What a beautiful picture!

Father in heaven.  Today marks another milestone in the lives of our children (and when we are honest with ourselves – our own lives as well).  Please protect our kids and offer peace to parents.  Put people in their lives that help them grow in their understanding and maturity.  Please walk beside their teachers and administrators as they give their lives to make the lives of our kids better.  Through all of it, grow them into the adults you created them to be and never stop drawing them to yourself.   Amen

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It is hard to believe that summer is gone and it is time to fight school traffic and all the joys that brings. But beyond the traffic and the lunches and the paperwork (yes, the same pages you filled out last year) there is something intimidating about this day for kids and parents as well.

For kids, there is the excitement of something new and challenging mixed with the fear of the unknown and the dread of homework.  But for parents, the intimidation is different.  It comes more in the form of losing control.  That child that has been under your exclusive care is now out of sight and the care is coming from someone else.  That is scary in many ways.  But take heart and find peace in the fact that God is never absent!  So today, when you feel that concern – simply pray.  The reality is – that is the best thing you can do for your kids – and yourself.

Lord God, I pray today that you will protect our kids. Please grow them into the responsible people you want them to become. Develop them into sincere followers of Jesus so they can make a difference in their schools, in our communities and in our world. And walk with us as parents today.  May we know the peace and comfort that comes with the realization that you have our kids in your hands.  Be with the teachers and administrators in our schools.  Strengthen them and guide them as the strive to pour into the lives of our kids!  Amen!

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