Pray that the mission team will not let the platform take the place of the mission. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commissioned us to make disciples. That’s our mission. Oftentimes, compassion ministry, construction, or other need-based ministries are the “platforms” that give opportunity for mission trips. But success in meeting these needs is not our “mission.” Our mission is disciple-making. Ultimately the work we do does not fully meet the needs of the people we work with but it provides an opportunity for the love of God to enter into lives that may be hopeless or lost.
I have been beginning my gardening for the year. I love to get out and garden. It allows me space to pray, meditate, get my hands into God’s earth and just be at peace. One of the practices that I have learned is to use the time wisely. As I am watering a plant, I will spend that time in prayer. Just as the plant receives a vital source of life, so we too must soak up the living Word of God. So, as long as I water a plant, I pray. It reminds me to be in prayer, gives me parameters to begin and end my session and has allowed for me to be stronger in my prayer life. I encourage you to find a similar practice and may you soak in God’s Word and life.
They will be like a well-watered garden. (Jer. 31:12)
Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord promised that His people “will be like a well-watered garden” (Jer. 31:12). This promise is tucked between a rich description of who God is and what He does for His children. His everlasting love and unfailing kindness are in the forefront. Then He portrays himself as the one who gives rest, the Restorer and the Rebuilder. He promises to lead His people beside the water on a level path where they will not stumble. He is the Shepherd, Deliverer, and Redeemer. He turns mourning into gladness and changes sorrow into comfort and joy.
So, drink in God’s truth and love today!
Yesterday, I preached about transforming the world. Ultimately, it is Christ who transforms but we are called to be vessels by which God works in the world. So, I am going to put into practice this week what I preached about.
Today, I will be intentional about my words. I am going to reach out and thank at least 3 people for things I have witnessed them doing for Flowing Grace or for me or for someone else. If I am out and about, I am going to let at least one person go in front of me in line. If people ask why I am doing this, I will respond only that as a Christian it is what I am called to do.
Finally, I have already stopped by a pre-school and prayed for those children who are inside, thanking God for them and praying for a bettter world that they might inhabit.
I seek a world that is not my will, but THY WILL!
Many of us are chasing up the wrong tree. We are seeking happiness when we should be seeking joy. Happiness comes out of a material world that is often fleeting. Joy is something much deeper. I found this definition from Kay Warren:
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
Scripture tells us that “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (NIV).
This Advent season there is a great mystery. A child shall be born and He will be the giver of all joy. Seek His joy this Christmas and you will be much more than happy, you will be joyful.
Support the Youth Mission Team by attending the Pasta Dinner/Silent Auction on March 21, 2015 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the ACS cafeteria. Please contact Steve Hoefs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (630) 406-6960 for tickets. Ages 4 & under are free, Ages 5-12 are $4, and 13 & up are $8.
Some of the exciting items we will have up for bidding starting this Sunday, March 15th are:
Bread For a Year from Panera Bread in Batavia, movie passes, babysitters, electrical labor, Raging Waves passes, Colonial kitchen sinks, Roller skating and bowling from Funway, carpentry labor, sweet treats delivered to your home, sports memorabilia, Fox Valley Park District gift cards, Woodman’s gift card, marriage renewal ceremony, SciTech family passes, freezer meals, woman’s hair care, handmade canvases, execution of a basic estate plan, windshield repair, and more!
Check out Flowing Grace in the news:
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
One of the dangers in our world today is the movement to perfection and in our pursuit of perfection we fail to let children understand and use their “weaknesses” instead we seek to eliminate them. I am not talking about the Methodist doctrine of perfection in love. I am talking about expecting our children to be perfect in everything. There are now private coaches for 5 year old athletes. We spend hundreds of dollars to perfect our college entrance exams (SAT, ACT). We are impatient with imperfections and seek to eliminate them rather than helping a student correct or adapt them. I found this from Ahaparenting. It is one of many ways to unconditionally love your child and I thought it was intriguing. Maybe give your child the gift of being imperfect.
Appreciate your child’s “weaknesses.” Everyone has traits that take special effort to manage. But it gets easier if you remember that human “weaknesses” can be understood as the flip side of our strengths. For instance, a child might be incredibly stubborn, arguing with her parents to get what she wants until she simply wears them down. While that trait is hard to live with, the flip side of the trait is dogged persistence. This is the kind of persistence that will serve this child well if she grows up to be a scientist, a novelist, and attorney…. indeed, almost any profession would be served by such persistence.
If this is our child, we can help her understand that her persistence is an asset, but can also drive others crazy and make them angry at her. She needs to learn to modulate it and use it, rather than letting it control her. Helping children to know themselves well and to manage themselves to best meet their overall goals is one of the most helpful gifts any parent can give a child.
Another potential danger in our current culture is over-stimulation and over-scheduling. I know my kids are so exhausted from their schedules and they often seek just to do “nothing.” Sometimes, this is due to laziness, but my kids are very busy and they need time for just play or just rest. I worry they do not get enough. I realize some kids take advantage of this and use it as an excuse, but you, as a parent, know the difference. So, here is a gift idea. Give your child a coupon for one hour of uninterrupted “Them time.” They can use it whenever they want and hand it in and you have to let them do whatever (within reason) they want for that hour. They can go outside and play, lay on the couch, read or even watch tv. You may want to put some restrictions on the coupon but they will appreciate the coupon and your understanding of their need to rest and you will have a happy child.
Oh, kids also like candy at Valentines day!
For a while it was becoming big business for people to purchase black roses, dead roses, nasty tasting chocolates and the like to give to ex-girlfriends or boyfriends. It was intended to hurt the ones who hurt you. That doesnt seem quite in the Spirit of love. Christ teaches us a different way to live!
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Pray for those who are your “enemies” today and share the love of Christ with them.
Now to some ideas for the man in your life. If you ask most men what they wanted, it would be a similar reply: “I dont need anything. I just need your unconditional love.” BUT, you still probably want to share that in a special way this weekend. So, I scoured the internet to discover new and exciting gifts for men. There really arent any. Socks, coffee mugs, underwear and cologne were listed in almost every article I read. There is nothing really exciting that I have to share. But, this I know. Men, just like women, just want to know that they are appreciated and important. Actually, men need to hear that much more than women I believe (we have frail egos). A card with a top ten list of things you love about us will go very far. But above all TIME. Find ways to spend time together or even give him some time alone to do what he wants. I know one of the frustrations I often have is constant interruptions. They are all for good and legitimate reasons, but I rarely get uninterrupted time. A gift Cathy once gave me was she took the kids away for the day to allow me to do whatever I wanted. I loved it and was very productive. Another thing that a friend of mine once received was the “Honey We’ll Do” list. You have all heard of the HONEY DO list? Well, this was a gift from the wife and children of things that they would help with that he normally was in charge of. For example, he typically was in charge of dusting and vacuuming the house. They promised to do that for him for a week. He loved it. No matter what gift you give him this week, if it is in love, it is enough and will be appreciated.
I remember a friend of mine who had been dating a woman for almost a year and they were about to experience their first valentines together. He decided not to get her a gift or a card because he said that the day was made up for card companies to make money. Instead, he wrote his girlfriend a note that proclaimed his admiration of her and said that their relationship was stronger than just one day and he hoped that their relationship did not have to be conformed to just one day of sharing their love. She had purchased him two tickets to a Packers game. She ended up taking a friend to the game and broke up with him soon after that. The next person my friend dated had a lovely homemade card and chocolates on valentines day.
So guys are you struggling for something special and different? Here are a few ideas:
1. Clean the house;
2. Give her a decision free day – you make all the decisions about lunches, dinner, what to do etc.;
3. CHOCOLATES and FLOWERS are always good;
4. Send her on a scavenger hunt. Have everything pre-arranged with the stores and paid for. First stop: coffee shop where her favorite tea/coffee is waiting along with a newspaper or magazine and time to read it stress free. The worker then gives her a note that guides her to the second stop: A spa where a manicure is ready and paid for, including tip. The manicurist then gives her a note to send her to the third stop: lunch at her favorite restaurant where you are waiting to dine with her. Now, you can add many more stops if you want, but it is a very fun gift.
5. Do something YOU would never want to do but you know she would like. Take a painting class together, write her a poem, go see a “chick flick.” I guess if I were to do this for my wife it would be I would run with her at 5am. Ouch!
While all of these are great ways to celebrate the day. My friend did have it partially correct. We are called to love our spouses EVERY day! We are to imitate the love of Christ that did not come in one day and was not centered around gifts. Every day is a day we should celebrate love and act loving to not only our spouses but to the world.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. -Ephesians 5:25