One of the greatest lies we believe is that something we own, can gain or obtain will make us happy. We confuse the gifts with the giver of the gifts. This starts early for us. We chase after many things, often good things. But we often do it in a way that can lead us from Christ rather than to Christ. Someone once said that we don’t know that Christ is all we need until Christ is all we have. The sufficiency of Christ is the understanding of the reality that all things come from Christ that he is our single pursuit in life. That every good and perfect thing come from him. That we can rejoice in times good and times bad because we have our prize already we have Jesus. That He gives us what we need when we need it not what we want when we want it. Our kids need to know this.
Our kids need to know that Christianity is the only religion that gives material things their proper place. We can enjoy them as gifts from a God who is a good father and loves us with an unending love. We don’t think things are evil, although they can be. The best way for us as parents and family ministers to
The Songs of Jesus (New York City: Viking, 2015)
Finding a good devotional is never easy. For me, the most consistent I have been with a devotional is Keller’s The Songs of Jesus. I find it insightful and personally challenging most days. The quick insights into the psalms and the personal prayers from Dr. Keller are both inspiring and convicting. His devotion from May 5th was helpful particularly since we are in the midst of another election cycle.
59 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me;
2 deliver me from those who work evil,
and save me from bloodthirsty men.
3 For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
5 You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah
6 Each evening they come back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city.
7 There they are, bellowing with their mouths
with swords in their lips—
for “Who,” they think,“will hear us?”
Today’s media make it easier than ever to “spew…words…sharp as swords” (verse 7). Unlike in writing letters, we dash emails and text messages off without weighing them. Unlike in face-to-face confrontation, we blurt things out without fear of seeing the hurt or anger in the other person’s face. Because of anonymity, we think no one can identify us. Words are thus more weaponized now than in David’s day. But every word – even an offhanded careless one (Matthew 12:36) – is an indicator of what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34) and will be judged by God. More often than ever we are saying, “I didn’t really mean what I said.” But you did. Watch and control words to know and shape your heart (James 3:1-12).
Lord, save me from the sins of my tongue and the flaw of character that fuel them. Make my words honest (by taking away my fear), few (by taking away my self-importance), wise (by taking away my thoughtlessness), and kind (by taking away my indifference and irritability). Amen.
When something touching an idol in our lives the three most common reactions are anger, fear, and despair. When something we love more than we should is shaken we respond in anger, fear, and despair which each, in turn, drives us deeper into our idolatrous behavior.
For example, when I was growing up I was not ok in life if others didn’t approve of me and like me. It is something I struggle with to this day. Although by God grace I struggle less today because of the power of Gospel at work in me daily. When I was growing up if someone didn’t like me I felt despair. I would do everything in my power to help them see that I was fun, kind and an all-around good person. I would sacrifice time with people who actually liked me because I need to be liked by everyone. The more I was around these people the more fear and despair I felt.
One of the things that I found as a leader that if you want to continue to grow you need to read books, and not just any book you need to read good books. The problem I have found is there are so many books out there many are great some not so great. A good book should feel like a conversation. Books give you the ability to have a conversation with people you will likely never meet. Great books do that. One of the best strategies I have found to find a good book then read the books by the people they recommend and quote often. Here is a list of 12 good books to get you started.
True Spirituality – Francis Schaeffer
Prodigal God – Tim Keller
Mere Christianity – CS Lewis
Pilgrims Progress – John Bunyon
Confessions – St. Augustine
Reclaiming Conversation – Sherry Turkle
Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute
The Call To Joy and Pain – Ajith Fernando
How to Read a Book – Mortimer J Adler
Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
Amazing Grace – Eric Metaxas
Bonhoeffer – Eric Metaxas
Let me be frank. Multi-site is not easy and is not for everyone. I have hated it at times and am thankful at other times. One of the things I love about multi-site is it forces you to grow, invest in and pray for more leaders. Sometimes people will call asking about Multi-site kids ministry I always tell them we have far from figured it out. Here are the other six things I tell them.
1. Two sites will stretch your parents more than you. Three sites plus will stretch you and your staff more than your parents.
2. There is no perfect model. Everyone has a different take. What you need is not a model to follow but clarity from your pastor on his desire and what that looks like in the context of your church.
3. Multi-site is hardest on the kids ministry because of the massive amounts of leaders and infrastructure need to pull off a Sunday. Once your pastor does one location start planning for five.
4. You have to be more sure of your values they need to be more clear and more simple than ever before.
5. You need a point person staff or volunteer who you trust and who understands the churches DNA and understands you and how you work.
6. You need to trust God more than ever because it really is bigger than you. One site you can manage but get to three or four and your God dependence gets greater. A greater dependence on the work of the Holy spirit and our trust in a God who works all things according to the counsel of His will in our kids ministry has been by far the best thing to come out of our multi-site experience.
12 years in and as we start our 5th campus I still have much to learn.