Monday, September 30, 2013

What I Love Most About Drake-September

Favorite Quote: " I cant do anything right. I am stupid and ugly." Just about broke my heart to hear you say this and think this about yourself. You are bright, loved, and capable. You learn at a different rate, but that does not mean you are stupid. You are fabulous in art, music, and geography. You just learn slower in writing,reading and math. In time it will all come together. You feel you are ugly because you loss so many front teeth at one time that you talk funny and the kids are making fun of you at school :( Once we pointed out all the other kids and the teeth they lost you felt better about going through the same thing.

What has impressed me most about you this month: Your dedication to learn things you are struggling with. You are trying so hard at baseball and school both. I am very proud of you and all your hard work to make yourself a better person. You practice your reading with my most nights. You study your flash cards and you practice your writing. When you are not doing that you are out wanting to play baseball.

Favorite Photo: To some

Scripture Verse: Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

You are created in the image of God, and God doesn't make junk! Like a snowflake, every person is unique. No two are the same. God sees you as a masterpiece; and when you look in the mirror, He wants you to "know that full well."

Where I hope to see you grow:  In independence. You still rely on my alot to help get you dressed and help you organize you room and toys. I have to hover over you to get you to do your housework and pick up after yourself fully and not half way do something. I dont expect perfection from you, but right now you are not really trying just grumbling about having to do anything. Partly my fault I wanted to long to make you be responsible for your own things and now we are all paying the price for it.
Favorite thing we are doing this month:
1. Baseball lessons: You try so hard to hit the ball every-time you go up to bat, but simply cannot do it so i enrolled you in baseball lessons.You do lessons over at Fast Pitch for the month to teach you hitting techniques: how to stand, how to hold your bat, your swing, etc. We found out your issue was the position of your body. You like to point your toes out instead of keeping them straight and that made all the difference in your swing. You still dont make contact often, but when you do you are great. 
2.  Family Fall Festival- It was raining, cold and yukky outside but you had a blast playing games and getting to eat that you simply did not care. You kept us out there for over 2 hours before you were finally cold enough you wanted to leave. 
3. Family-We got to have lots of really great family time this month. We watch movies, played board games, hung out outside, went to the park and just cuddled up watching tv and reading books together.

What I Love Most About Delaney-September

Favorite Quote: " I got a boyfriend" yep its what we have been hearing about. Mr EmoLove and all his glory of darkness with his black hair, blue eyes and love for music and art. How he sings you songs and everything. Its adorable really. Even better is that he lives in Oklahoma!

What has impressed me most about you this month: Your humor. You have been on a roll with your fiery little sense of humor keeping people laughing and in good spirits. You are always a delight to be around, but sometimes more so.

Favorite Photo:
You all glowy and happy

Scripture Verse: Since you are dating I think this one is a pretty relevant reminder of the type of person you should be seeking:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."  "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."  "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Where I hope to see you grow.: In closeness with your family. You are a teenager and you love your alone time-normally in front of the computer. Although we all need this time to ourselves I want you to realize the importance of family and having strong family ties that you nurture and keep as your first priority-outside of Christ.
Favorite thing we are doing this month:
1. Labor Day Parade-We did our first AHG parade and you got to lead it up by calling out commands and keeping everyone in formation.  We marched in the Garland Labor Day Parade and although it was drizzle, freezing and kinda miserable we made the best out of it and had a blast. You passed out in the van waiting for us to leave and the girls picked on you by adding things to your hair and taking pictures next to you making weird faces. It was fun. 

2.  Hockey Game- What made this hockey game any different that the million others we have gone to? Your teacher. Yep, your teacher is a Dallas Stars cheerleader and was so embarrassed when you and Drake recognized her, sought her out and took your picture with her. It was hysterical. She said she has never had a student notice her at a game. Priceless. 

3. Dallas Gem and Mineral Show- This was for badge work for AHG, but you actually won a drawing they did and got to get $25 worth of free gems/minerals. Your room is now officially stocked full of all types of elements for studying for your geology class. You got a black table in your room that you have them proudly displayed on.

Ditching Dead Fish

Ditching Dead Fish

Grab a bottle of sunscreen and a towel! We're about to take a trip to the lake.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.
And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him (Matt. 4:18–22).
When Jesus found these men, they were having just another day at work. Then He gives them a simple command: "Follow me."

We know the end of the story. We have the cheat sheet that shows us Jesus really was God and He was going to use Peter and Andrew for big stuff, but they didn't have access to that information. They simply saw a man on the shore asking them to follow Him—and they dropped everything and did it. Now that's radical!
The Bible says they left their nets, but they left much more than that. They left their jobs, their ticket to security. I'm pretty sure they also left their reputations there on the beach. I doubt many people understood how they could leave their nets and follow Jesus without a ten-year plan. They may have lost family members and friends who shook their heads in disgust at what may have seemed like an irresponsible decision.

Being a radical for Jesus will cost you, too. Don't ever let anyone tell you that it won't. There's a reason why lukewarm Christianity is so tempting—it requires so little from us. To keep water cold or hot, you have to work at it. You either need to keep adding ice or keep adding heat. For lukewarm water, you can just let your cup sit on the counter. It requires no effort, no time, no energy. Effortless faith may sound appealing, but think about what's really at stake.

What if Peter, Andrew, James, and John had told Jesus no that day? Yep, life might have gone a little smoother. Sure, people might have snickered a little less. But on their best day, all they would have to show for their lives would be a boatload of dead fish. That's it. No lives changed. No earthshaking mission. No intimacy with Jesus. Just day after day of dead fish.

Is there anything in your life that you're holding on to instead of jumping off the boat toward a radical faith? Comfort maybe? Or acceptance? Or reputation? Or predictability? Or your plans for the future (vs. His)? I know those things seem important, but at the end of the day, they're likely just dead fish.
What is it that Jesus is saying "follow Me" to you about these days? Will you walk away from the dead fish and obey?

Note: Parts of this post are taken from  My Name Is Erin: One Girl's Plan For Radical Faith.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Christian Stumbling Blocks

You really shouldn’t watch that movie. You really shouldn’t listen to that music. You really shouldn’t read that book. You really shouldn’t drive a car that expensive. You really shouldn’t wear a purse like that. You really shouldn’t allow your kids to read Harry Potter. You really shouldn’t go to that bar to eat wings.

Oh, I didn’t realize. How come?

Because other people think it’s wrong. You might be a stumbling block to them.

This kind of exchange happens pretty often between Christians. Heck I have had this talk with my kids, family and friends myself. We tell other Christians not to do certain things because they might become a stumbling block to someone else or to ourselves. Or we refrain from doing certain things because we are afraid we might become a stumbling block. The only problem is most of us aren’t exactly sure what it means to be a stumbling block.

So what exactly does scripture mean when it talks about causing someone else to stumble?

Let me start by saying what it does not mean. Doing something which other people think is wrong does not necessarily make you a stumbling block. I’m talking about areas not clearly spelled out in scripture. Lying, cheating, slandering, stealing, and sexual immorality are all clearly sin. I’m talking about gray areas here.

Paul clearly addresses the whole idea of being a stumbling block in 1 Corinthians 8. The issue at hand is food offered to idols. The Corinthians, with their “superior” knowledge, knew that idols were not the true God. This knowledge led them to insist that it was perfectly fine for them to eat food offered to idols.
Paul, however, was concerned for those who had been saved out of idol worship. For these people, eating food offered to idols was akin to idol worship itself. And so Paul says to the Corinthians:
But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. (1 Corinthians 8:9-11)
Paul’s concern IS NOT that someone may see the Corinthians eating meat offered to idols and then assume the Corinthians are in sin. Paul’s concern is that a fellow believer may join the Corinthians in eating food offered to idols, even though it goes against his conscience. Paul is ultimately concerned that the Corinthians will encourage fellow believers to act against their consciences.

Let me put a modern day spin on it. Generally speaking, I do not think it is wrong to smoke cigars (within reason, attending to all the appropriate health concerns, making sure you don’t get addicted, etc.) You however, are convinced that smoking cigars is wrong. Do I have to stop all cigar smoking because I know you think I am doing something wrong? No. Scripture doesn’t forbid smoking cigars. My liberty in Christ is not restricted simply by what other people might think of me.

But (and this is really important), if I smoke a cigar around you and that in turn leads you to smoke a cigar, even though you think it is sin, then I have become a stumbling block. My liberty in Christ has actually encouraged you to sin against your conscience. When our “rights” lead others to act against their consciences, we have become stumbling blocks.

This is why Paul says:
Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:13)
Love for my brothers in Christ guides and restrains my liberty in Christ. If smoking a cigar or watching a movie or listening to an album or reading a book will lead you to violate your conscience, then I will cheerfully give up that right when I am with you. Love always triumphs over liberty. Unity always triumphs over personal rights.

We are free to enjoy whatever scripture does not forbid. If a person thinks we’re wrong, so what?

However, our freedom must always be wrapped in concern and care for others. If our freedom actually leads someone else to violate their conscience then we have become a stumbling block.

So let’s eat and drink and not eat and drink for the glory of God.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gods Perspective of Friendship


My daughter and I always discuss the Turning Point lessons and this week was a little weird and led us into the discussions on picking good friends. I am not 100% sure how we got on this topic from the Turning Point discussion but it was enlightening none the less.

Why People Leave 

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 
1 John 2:19

Recommended Reading
Acts 20:29-30
Have you ever sat in church and wondered where a particular person was -- even pondering if they had stopped attending church at all? How many people who sit in Christian churches on Sunday morning are actually true followers of Jesus -- and how many are not? That question does not mean that anyone who leaves a particular church is not a Christian. And without question, there are people who faithfully attend church who are not yet followers of Christ. Based on what John had written about those who left the body of believers, they left the faith first, then the church. They had denied the incarnation of Christ; they denied, and did not have, God the Father; they were liars and deceivers; they had nothing in common with other Christians (1 John 2:19-23; John 4:23; 2 John 1:7).
If someone leaves one solid church to attend another, that's one thing. If he leaves church because he has left the faith, that is altogether different -- and eternally serious.

Unbelief is the root of apostasy.

Picking Good Friends: 

Picking good friends I dont believe is an easy task for teenagers. There is so much worldly pressure and sadly very few true Christians who are upholding and living out the word of God at this age. My daughter and I decided to turn to scripture to see how God picks friends and what His word says about how He wants us to learn to discern between the fool and the wise. For this we turned to Proverbs 6: 16-19 that states: 
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

1. How does your friend demonstrate the qualities laid out in Proverbs 6: 16-19
2. What does this proverb tell you about yourself? Are you demonstrating that you are a wise friend or a foolish friend to have?
3. What does it say about conformity to your friends? 
4. How do you stop yourself from becoming a foolish friend?
5. If you say you are a child of God, yet behave in this manner what do you think non-believers see in you and think about you?

I started talking to my daughter about when I was growing up how I always read the Highlights magazine and specifically a comic strip about Goofus and Gallant. Basically Goofus is the kid always making the unwise decisions. He gets into trouble and is used to illustrate the bad friend. While Gallant is the respectful, thoughtful kid making wise and discerning choices. Although this strip stopped running I believe in 2005, its still relevant to today and I think nicely illustrates Proverbs 6 for us.

Wise Friends are described in Proverbs 27:9 " Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,  and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice." and has a whole chapter devoted to the topic of picking wise friends in Proverbs 13. I ask my children to remember one thing when deciding to make friends or keep friends/relationships:

Does this relationship/friendship cause me to flourish or diminish?

If its the latter maybe it's time to reevaluate the quality of friends you are picking.

Here are a few more verses we discovered about picking wise friends.

1 Corinthians 15:33 

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

Proverbs 13:20 

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 18:24 

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 27:17 

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Matthew 5:22 

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

1 Timothy 3:1-16 

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? ...

John 14:1-31

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” ...

Revelation 11:1-19

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. ...

1 John 4:8 

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 3:1 

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. ...

1 Corinthians 6:9 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

John 17:17 

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Daniel 2:44 

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,

Revelation 12:1-17

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, ...

Zechariah 14:1-21 

Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. ...

1 Corinthians 15:51

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Romans 8:29

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Matthew 18:1-35 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, ...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Chronicles 17:1-27 

Now when David lived in his house, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” And Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in. For I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling. ...

Romans 1:26-27 

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Romans 1:1-32 

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, ...

Luke 23:43

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 16:1-31 

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ...

Matthew 22:1-46

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, ...

Matthew 6:1-34

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. ...

Ezekiel 48:1-35

“These are the names of the tribes: Beginning at the northern extreme, beside the way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, as far as Hazar-enan (which is on the northern border of Damascus over against Hamath), and extending from the east side to the west, Dan, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Dan, from the east side to the west, Asher, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Asher, from the east side to the west, Naphtali, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Naphtali, from the east side to the west, Manasseh, one portion. Adjoining the territory of Manasseh, from the east side to the west, Ephraim, one portion. ...

Psalm 91:1-16 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...

I would love to hear from you on this topic on any ideas on how you help your kids make wise decisions in the friendship department.