Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Tell Your Kids About How Babies are Made

On Sunday we discussed about when to tell our children certain things. How babies are made is definitely one of those uncomfortable subjects. Here is a quick video that could help the discussion.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Missing the Most Important Thing

I have been sitting on this last week and not making the time to post it. These two emails came back to back and speak right into the topics of Church Shame and the Real Gospel that we went over the last couple weeks. Allison has recently been reading this book and says it is one of his best. It will be one of my next two to read.

Ransomed HeartWhat IS Discipleship?
What have we come to accept as “discipleship”? A friend of mine recently handed me a program from a large and successful church somewhere in the Midwest. It’s a rather exemplary model of what the idea has fallen to. Their plan for discipleship involves, first, becoming a member of this particular church. Then they encourage you to take a course on doctrine. Be “faithful” in attending the Sunday morning service and a small group fellowship. Complete a special course on Christian growth. Live a life that demonstrates clear evidence of spiritual growth. Complete a class on evangelism. Consistently look for opportunities to evangelize. Complete a course on finances, one on marriage, and another on parenting (provided that you are married or a parent). Complete a leadership training course, a hermeneutics course, a course on spiritual gifts, and another on biblical counseling. Participate in missions. Carry a significant local church ministry “load.”

You’re probably surprised that I would question this sort of program; most churches are trying to get their folks to complete something like this, one way or another. No doubt a great deal of helpful information is passed on. My goodness, you could earn an MBA with less effort. But let me ask you: A program like this— does it teach a person how to apply principles, or how to walk with God? They are not the same thing.

(Waking the Dead , 95-96)

Missing the Most Important Thing
We take folks through a discipleship program whereby they master any number of Christian precepts and miss the most important thing of all, the very thing for which we were created: intimacy with God. There are, after all, those troubling words Jesus spoke to those who were doing all the “right” things: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you’” (Matt. 7:23). Knowing God. That’s the point.

You might recall the old proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same holds true here. Teach a man a rule and you help him solve a problem; teach a man to walk with God and you help him solve the rest of his life. Truth be told, you couldn’t master enough principles to see yourself safely through this Story. There are too many surprises, ambiguities, exceptions to the rule. Things are hard at work—is it time to make a move? What has God called you to do with your life? Things are hard at home—is this just a phase your son is going through, or should you be more concerned? You can’t seem to shake this depression—is it medical or something darker? What does the future hold for you—and how should you respond?

Only by walking with God can we hope to find the path that leads to life. That is what it means to be a disciple. After all—aren’t we “followers of Christ”? Then by all means, let’s actually follow him. Not ideas about him. Not just his principles. Him.

(Waking the Dead , 96-97)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Christian Idols

idols failing to protect Common thought among Christians is that they do not deal with idols. While we may still hold God on the throne, Christians commonly have idols in special places of our hearts. Idols are anything that we go to for comfort or protection that is not God. Relationships, food, TV, exercise, etc. can be established as idols in our lives. Spouses and kids are also frequently put up to calm the pain in our hearts.

Where ever we have idols, we are blocking the flow of God's power and comfort into our lives. Therefore we are block the true source of our protection. Jeremiah 10: 14 says that every goldsmith is shamed by their idols. This is because something we can control will never satisfy us in our need for protection. Even love cannot be given under those circumstance. This could be the reason God has given us free-will.

It is painful to remove idols because they have become so closely connected to our source of life that it is like riping flesh to have them removed. But, they must be removed. God loves us too much to have them remained. So He brings about circumstances where our idols fail us. Like the poor super bounce castle in the image, our fortress of protection by our idols starts to fall apart. We can either abandon those false idols for God, or unfortunately like too many we patch up the castle to try to let it protect us again.

As parents we need to address our idols. If not for our own sake, at least for our kids. Whatever idols you have in place are very likely going to show up somehow in your children.

Idols shame us. Jesus brings life, health, and peace. The mental decision is easy. Stepping out in faith is always hard.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's So Good About the Good News?

Edge of the world imageMost of Christianity has built its own set of rules to the Christian life, and success is measured by whether we can keep from the sins that are counted as bad. This is just a new form of religiousity that was given in the law. What did Jesus change from the old covenant?

The new covenant is not between God and His people like the old but between God and His Son. It is new because it does not depend on our faithfulness but on Jesus’ faithfulness. Our role of the new covanent is not to keep the covanent but to abide in Jesus who the covanent is with.

Shame says I must do something in order to be blessed. The truth of the new covenant is nothing can keep me from the blessing of God except the deception that I must do something more in order to receive it.

Sin is no longer something that most be dealt with. Jesus has already dealt with it. Sin is just evidence that our hearts are not fully trusting in God and thus not experiencing all that He has for us. Sin now has become a tool for more healing, because we are no longer fearful of it and can use it as clues to where to invite Jesus next.

"There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter and Following Schedule

Just a quick reminder that we will not be having class tomorrow as we celebrate Easter. Please consider to still come during first service to free up space for new comers. Second service will be packed!

The following three weeks will be...
  • April 19th: Chapter 11: The Highest Vista of All
  • April 26th: Chapter 12: Choose Your God
  • May 3rd: Shame Off You Recap -- Bring your questions.
We are still planning on a break for the summer with a few socials thrown in. Happy Easter everyone!

Difference With Girls

The other day Allison decided to try and let Rachel watch an adult movie just to get a break from cartoons. She looked for something that they both could watch and landed on Facing the Giants.

Obviously not the typical choice for young girls, but they sat down with some popcorn and watch the movie. Rachel as expected sat quietly to watch. What was interesting was her engrossment into the story line. Here are the things that Rachel loved about the movie:
  1. They are winning because they are playing how Jesus wants them too.
  2. She is going to have a baby. (She wanted to skip the football to see if she was pregnant or not.)
  3. I liked the cheerleaders.
I could not even told you there were cheerleaders in the movie. Sure it makes sense, but they could not have had much screen time.

What are some funny things your kids have done that was so boy or so girl?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Is Reynolda a Shame-Free Church?

One of the things we went over in class Sunday is what a shame-free church would look like. I cannot say Reynolda is perfectly shame-free, but I do know that it is a goal of the church. It kind of has to be a goal when your pastor writes a book about getting the shame off people.

Full of grace and truth This image is a diagram of how Reynolda would like to become that shame-free church. Just as Jesus lived a life full of grace and truth. The Church, as the body of Christ, represents Him by being full of grace and truth.

The curvy line represents a barrier that prevents the mingling of the two. If you have grace without truth, you tend to accept every sin in the name of acceptance and can easily be led into deception. If you have truth without grace, you tend to dogmatic, rigid, and unloving.

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." - I Peter 3: 15 - 16
There is truth that needs to be share, but we must always remember that we are talking to people that Jesus died for... people Jesus cares for... people Jesus patiently desires to know Him better.

Grace and truth is a difficult balance, but nothing is impossible with God.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A System of Guilt

It has been a while since I pulled out an Eldredge newsletter, but this reached back in the archive to retrieve this nugget regard shame in church. I recommend everyone signing up for these (www.ransomedheart.com/myprofile). They have some great wisdom. Enjoy.

Ransomed Heart

A System of Guilt

God speaks to Israel through the prophet Isaiah when she is surrounded by enemies and making every effort to appease them through diplomacy, gifts, treaties, and bribes, and says this to her:

“You went to Molech with olive oil
and increased your perfumes.
You sent your ambassadors far away;
you descended to the grave itself!
You were wearied by all your ways,
but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint” (Isa. 57:9–10).
God calls Israel to repent by admitting her weariness and fainting. Instead, she looks for ways to use her personal assets to redeem herself. Jesus spoke to the people about rest and thirst. The Pharisees demanded that they obey a constantly growing weight of religious laws and traditions, and chastised them for staggering under the load. They led people in the exact opposite direction from where their salvation lay—in admitting their weariness and fainting. As long as they hoped in their self-sufficiency, they would not call out to God and receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.

So many of our contemporary churches operate on this same system of guilt. When our people are crying out for communion and rest, we ask them to teach another Sunday school class. When they falter under the load, we admonish them with Scriptures on serving others. One wonders what would happen if all activity motivated by this type of guilt were to cease for six months. Much of organized Christianity would collapse even as the Pharisees saw happen to their own religious system. As Jesus talked about thirst and rest, he brought people to the reality of their own heart.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Shame from Church

Protect me from the ChurchMost people reject Jesus not because of anything He has ever done or not done but because Christians have misrepresented His name. This is going to happen; I know that I have done it. We are not perfect. But, the Church has unfortunately been a breeding ground for shame.

Shame from church a lot of times fueled by good intentions. We see a problem and we want to fix it. That's the mission Jesus has left us with isn't it?

We are to heal the broken hearted, release the captives, seek and save the lost, but we do not do that by convincing people to try harder. The mystery of the gospel is that the more we spend time with Jesus, His desires become our desires. The more we listen to His voice, we hear the words of life that heals those wounded areas leading us to sin.

Most of Christianity has lead people to Jesus for salvation, but then implemented a form of the law for the Christian life. But, just as we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, we are to continue to live in Him. We came by faith; we continue by faith. But this is taking us into the next chapter...

How does this all play into our children? We need to be involved in their lives. We cannot send them to the church nursery or Christian schools and assume everything is fine. As we talk to our kids and take responsibility for their upbringing we can correct incorrect thinking that mingles in.

Reynolda POPs Easter Egg Hunt

Getting a head start on all the Winston Salem Easter events, we had our Reynolda POPs Easter Egg Hunt yesterday at the church. It was perfect weather and having it on the playground was a perfect place to be and let the kids play. Many thanks to Elisabeth who did a lot of the leg work for this. Many of us took pictures, but here are some highlights of ones that I took. It was a great time.

tire swing image father and children image
Pre Easter Egg Hunt Festivities

Easter Egg Hunting Secrets Patiently waiting for group picture
Pre Easter Egg Hunt Advice

Shocked and amazed image Hunting Easter Eggs
Kids finding out there is candy inside the eggs, and the Easter Egg hunt begins.

Fighting for Easter Eggs Still looking for Easter Eggs
Looking for Easter Eggs.

Eating Easter candy image Because it is my blog
Eating the Easter candy, and enjoying the day.