Posts Tagged ‘training’

This morning as I swung through my local grocery to buy food items for Taking it to the Streets, numerous parental thoughts swept through my mind. Of what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how God has multiplied Steve and my efforts, molding our daughter day-by-day.

I’ve got a lot to say, but little time to say it, so I’ll leave you instead with a catchy slogan, hoping you’ll chew on it and that perhaps God will use it to direct and strengthen your family.

A family that serves together stays together.

Tonight we will go as a family–united in purpose and love–to share God’s grace and truth with Omaha’s homeless and working poor. While there, I will get to see my daughter’s faith and character blossom as she sits with “the least of these.” I will get to see my man humble himself to serve others. United, we will get to experience the incomprehensible love of Christ pouring through us.

The drive over gives us a chance to talk about heart issues as we talk about who and what we might encounter. The drive home provides an opportunity to discuss all that God did while we were there.

Our Fridays have become special–priceless. A glue that binds us. It’s also become a training ground for our daughter–an opportunity for her to put her life into perspective, to develop compassion, to be part of positive change. This inward development has spilled over into every other area of her life.

Each week, we give but a few hours of our time, but a small portion of our resources, yet we gain so much in return. As a mom, my greatest blessing is seeing my daughter live out her faith–not just at Taking it to the Streets, but where ever she goes, seeing others through a lens saturated with compassion. (Because you can’t spend time among the broken and leave unchanged.)

So, to those parents out there, here’s my challenge.

Family time is crucial. Our kids need it, crave it. Each interaction is an opportunity to connect with our children’s heart, but it is also a time to mold their heart.

What if, one Friday a month, instead of spending say $50 or $60 going out to eat, you visited a soup kitchen and used that same money to help provide a nutritious meal to a family in need. (It’s not just the alcoholics and druggies who frequent these places. Each Friday, we see young families–mom’s with kiddos, pregnant ladies.)

What kind of memories might that create? What kind of training might that provide?

And for those living in the Omaha, NE area, come join us! We’re there almost every Friday. And bring bananas or a jug of milk.ūüôā Tonight I’ll be doing a monologue of the Samaritan woman–a woman riddled with shame who found love and acceptance in the Savior.

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This has been a long week. Okay, a long year, with a lot of uphill climbs and mental and emotional stretching. As I’ve mentioned before, if left on my own, I’d choose the path of least resistance, but God’s called me to a higher standard. And as I look at my experiences over the past year–which quite honestly has been a total brain-saturation learning experience–I began to realize I’m in training. (This past month I think God’s training program hit overdrive!) I have no idea what God’s training me for, but that’s not my concern, is it? My concern is to continue forward in full-surrendered obedience, trusting His wisdom and His plan.

About a week ago, I received one of those “reply all” emails. The thrust of the email said thus: “Everything is falling into place for you, therefore you must be in God’s will.”

That could very well be true, because I firmly believe if God’s in it, God will do it. But in my experience, God normally puts me through a few high-knee drills to get there. Of course, He always leaves it up to me to stay the course or go running for the sidelines. So far, I’m staying the course, and I’m beginning to learn a lot about myself–and God.

Today I’d like you to join me at two places. First, stop by Friendship, Faith, and Frappes to talk about closed and open doors and what they might or might not mean in our faith walk. To expand on this further, on Words That Keep, I talk about what happens when we get stuck in the interim, halfway between where we were when God first called us and where He wants to take us. If you’re looking for your easy-breazy, red carpet, read and pray about these posts. Then, join me at Living by Grace as we talk about perseverance, struggle, commitment, and what it means to set your face as flint when you follow after God. For those of you with sweat dripping down your face, legs burning, as you continue that steep uphill climb wondering why God hasn’t lowered the ski lift … don’t give up yet. Struggle doesn’t mean you’re not in God’s will. In fact, quite likely, it means the opposite!

Join us at Living by Grace as we evaluate our lives like an athlete focused to win.

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About a month ago, while prepping me for a root canal, the dental hygienist and I began talking about youth group mission trips. Our family had recently returned from El Salvador (you can read about our trip here) and were anxious to go back. After listening to me share all the things my daughter learned on our trip, things she couldn’t have learned any other way, the woman said, “I’d love for my daughter to go on a mission trip, but…” Then she went on to explain all the reasons she felt her child couldn’t go. Basically, she expanded on fears every parent feels before releasing their child into God’s hands.

While reading 2 Timothy, I reviewed our conversation and thought about my own parenting. Thinking of all the fears I have as a mom, of all the ways I try to shelter our daughter, I had to ask myself a difficult question: Am I teaching fear or faith? Because as I shared a while back in When is Helping Hurting, everything we do as parents forms attitudes and creates habits. We can tout the verses, verses like “offer your body as a living sacrifice…” and “carry your cross daily…” or “but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it…” But if our actions don’t mirror our words–if we create barriers instead of launching pads–they mean little.

In 2 Timothy chapter 1, Paul, Timothy’s spiritual father, demonstrated what it means to train faith, not fear. Writing from a prison cell, with scars, and perhaps even open wounds, marring his body, having been beaten again and again for his faith, he told Timothy to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave him. Not to hide out in fear and self-preservation, but to be bold and courageous, moving forward in the power, love, and self-discipline God provided.

Now take a moment to place yourself in Timothy’s position. You and Paul parted in tears, not knowing if Paul would be brutally murdered, beaten near death, or released. And now, during a time of extreme persecution, Christians are hiding in homes to avoid martyrdom and your leader, the man you’ve come to love as a dear father, sits in a dark, damp prison cell. And what does Paul tell you to do?

“So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8

Timothy, do not be ashamed. Don’t be afraid, but be prepared to suffer with me. Lay it all on the line, even your very life, for the sake of the gospel and the One who defeated death when He died on the cross.

And now I ask you, are you teaching fear or faith?

Join us at Living by Grace where we’re talking about tangible ways we can train faith, not fear, in our children.










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The other night we met a woman struggling to hold on to her teenage son. He’s in his senior year, plays varsity football, and has the typical hit-the-floor running, teenage schedule. As we talked, she shared her concerns and feelings of failure. Over the years, life had gotten in the way, and she desperately wanted a do-over. ¬†She had one year left. One year to pour into this young man’s life. One year to share her faith. One year to connect with his heart. But after a decade of touch-and-go conversations, it wasn’t going to be easy. And as I watched her wipe the tears from her eyes, I was reminded afresh how little time Steve and I have before our princess leaves for college. In five years, I won’t be there to remind her to pray, or read her Bible. We won’t be able to sit on the couch sifting through the events of her day together. She’ll be on her own, with only her values to fall back on. The question will be: have those values penetrated her heart deep enough to hold her up when everything else falls apart? When I think of all the habits, attitudes, and ideas necessary for successful living, there is no time for casual parenting.

With that in mind, I’ll train, even when I get an eye-roll. I’ll connect, even when it feels like I’m chasing the wind. I’ll look past the occasional scowl or mumbled retort and keep my eye on the goal.

Some questions to ponder:

Actions are motivated by attitudes. What attitudes would you like your child or grandchild to adopt and how can you facilitate that process?

Everything we do creates habits. Accidental or casual living often creates negative habits. Purposeful living often creates positive habits. The best way to eliminate negative habits is to replace them with positive. What negative habits have you unintentionally formed in your child or grandchild. What positive habits would you like to see them develop and what steps can you take to see that happen?

What are your core values and how can you demonstrate those values to your child? Are you actively teaching your values to your child/grandchild or are you hoping they’ll adopt them via osmosis?

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