Give a Parent a Break

TakeItEasy

Many of us that work at churches are guilty of giving parents the hardest time of anyone. Don’t believe me? Well, have you ever had the following thoughts:

Why are they always so late?  

I hate it when they pick their kid up early, right before the good part.

If these parents only knew how messed up their teenager was they’d get them to church more often!

Can you imagine what would happen if all these parents decided to show up on the same Sunday?

If those were my kids I would (insert really smart parenting thing here.)

Why do I even try to send them emails? They never read them.

I’m guilty, you’re guilty, and we’re all guilty together. For just a second we should consider that maybe, just maybe…it’s a HUGE win that they attempted to come. Maybe we could give parents some credit for deciding to be there, even if they decide to leave early. Maybe we could give parents some credit for trying, even if the trying seems half-hearted. Could we please stop complaining when they don’t engage us at every…single…solitary…event?

I’m learning to have enough faith in my church, my God, and myself to know that if they just keep trying; they will find it. If they can find confidence in my smile, then good for them. If they could be inspired by what I don’t say, but they know I’m thinking…then even better.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I’ve watched the organization Plywood People from a distance over the past few years, and I love what they do and all that they’re about.  I was excited to find out that their director Jeff Shinabarger is  releasing a book this March entitled  More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity.  In anticipation of that book they have released a preview video titled, “Enough Time.”

HT:  Bearings.  Check out entire  the story on Bearings here.

Book Giveaway

Keith Ferrin had a very special guest post this week about the #1 Way to Help our Kids Love the Bible. It’s all part of a great new book that Keith has written,  Like Ice Cream: The Scoop on Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God s Word.

That book is great and what’s almost as great is that Keith wants to give away some books!  Follow the instructions in the Giveaway Widget below. It will give you an opportunity to earn entries for the giveaway. You earn entries through twitter tweets, facebook likes, and generally being an awesome blog-reading nerd. Enjoy!

Guest Post: The #1 Way to Help Your Kids Love the Bible

I’ve got a very special guest post today from Keith Ferrin. Keith has recently written a book called, “Like Ice Cream: The Scoop with Helping the Next Generation Fall in Love with God’s Word”. With a subtitle like that there is no explanation needed!

LIke-Ice-Cream

The #1 Way to Help Your Kids Love the Bible

At least once a week, my wife will sigh, roll her eyes, and say, Keith, knock it off! You know the kids are going to do exactly what they see you do! (In fact, it happened last night.) She s right.

It s true, isn t it? In fact, I am blown away by how much they pick up even the littlest things. The way I stand. A certain word I use to describe something. A look. A gesture. It s a bit creepy to be honest.

So why would I think that loving the Bible would be any different?

The #1 way to get your kids to love the Bible is NOT to take them to a good church (though you should probably do that). It s not to get them plugged into a solid children s or youth ministry (though I highly recommend that too). It s not to make sure they learn their weekly verses (again not a bad idea).

Hands down, the #1 way to get your kids to love the Bible is to love it yourself.

Before you say, Yeah, yeah I know hear me out. We say we believe it is true. We say it is reliable. We say it is applicable. But do we loveit? I know I didn t for the first 20 years I hung out with Jesus. And yet take a look at the sentence smack dab in between Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and Impress them on your children.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. (Deut. 6:6, emphasis added)

God knows that if we don t love it, neither will our kids. So how do we do it? First off, this is a long haul issue. If you believe the Bible but don t love it that won t change overnight. That said here are two ideas to get you started.

Idea One: Make an honest assessment about how you FEEL about the Bible?

This is not how you think about the Bible or even what you believe about the Bible. Do you like it? Do you enjoy your time in God s Word. Tell God how you really feel about the Bible. Then tell a friend. Sit down and have an honest conversation with your spouse or small group. Similar to any exercise plan, success starts with assessment.

Idea Two: Stop studying and start reading.

This isn t forever. But it might be several months. Sometimes we get so into studying a book, theme, or person that we forget to enjoy the story. In fact, many of us have never gotten lost in The Story.

It s like analyzing the scenes of a movie before we watch the movie. Absurd. You might learn some things, but it certainly won t be much fun. Don t we do that to the Bible all the time? There are verses we can ramble about forever, but if someone asked what that particular book was about, we d offer a blank stare.

So pick a book a whole book and read it in one sitting. For most books of the Bible this is less than a 30-minute commitment. Or better yet, simply start at the beginning (Genesis, not Matthew J), set aside a time (at least 20-30 minutes) and just read. Don t read all the study notes in your Bible. Just read the Bible. After 20-30 minutes, bookmark the page, and keep going tomorrow.

Watch what happens. It won t take long before you will be enjoying the Bible more than ever. Once you like it more, you ll talk about it more. You ll apply it more. And your kids will notice. And once that happens, the chances of them falling in love with the Bible will have just gone up. Way, way up.

 

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Keith Ferrin is a storyteller, author, blogger, and speaker whose passion is helping churches, families, and students fall in love with God s Word. He holds to the belief that the Bible isn t just true, but it s also heaps of fun. You can see some clips and connect with him on his blog (www.keithferrin.com), Twitter (@KeithFerrin), or Facebook (/KeithFerrin)

 

Leaders Say They’re Sorry

Sorry

If love means never having to say you’re sorry, leadership means always having to say you’re sorry.

I am a confident person. I lean towards over-confidence. When that leaning leans into those around me, I hurt people. When I hurt people I need to say I’m sorry. It may sound like a cycle, but each time I have to say ‘I’m sorry’, God continues to help change, mold, and shape my character just a little more like Him. It’s never easy, but it’s always necessary.

On that note here are a few thoughts on truly being sorry:

Don’t ever let the words, “I’ve been meaning to apologize for a while…” come out of your mouth. Don’t commit the double-apology and apologize for your lack of apology. It marginalizes the effect. When you know you need to set things right, just apologize quickly. If you’re late with an apology, just start from where you are and say you’re sorry. It may be late, but it still may be necessary.

Beware of the Sorry Disclaimer. That’s when you apologize, but then throw a “But you really made me do it when you…”  Don’t place any statement that in any way places any blame on the person you’ve hurt. If you feel you have to do this, then just skip the apology. This disclaimer does nothing for the person you hurt, it only further alienates them.

Do it in person, whenever possible. If the person you need to apologize is in anyway reachable, then go to them. If you aren’t able to lay eyes on them, then make the phone call. If you don’t have time for the phone call, then wait til you do. Letters, emails, and smoke screens don’t communicate your heart like your own voice will.