Why we praise even in bad situations

Update on Sandra.

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One of the things  we are grateful for is what the writer of Lamentations knew about God. He has new mercies for us every morning. His love is steadfast and unchanging. It seems each day has a new challenge to it, but each day is met by grace that far exceeds anything we could provide.

After Sandra’s first Chemo treatment she responded better than we had expected. It’s hard to know what to expect when your expectations for chemo are set by Hollywood movies. The next couple of days Sandra was tired, but they were mostly uneventful, as the week progressed Sandra struggled quite a bit with tiredness and various other symptoms. The past few days have been much much better. Your prayers are felt and are doing more than you know. Sandra today felt good enough to get out of the house for a few hours. We have much to be thankful for.

One of the prayers we pray is we don’t want to waste this season on self-pity and trying to understand the incomprehensible. One of the things we are learning is how God turns bad thing into good things. In the Dec 8th section of Tim Keller’s devotional on Psalm he has you read Psalm 135 and says this about it:
Why should we praise God? We should praise him…
1.  Because He is good
2. Because it is good to praise him
3. Because in his grace He finds us
4. Because he works all thing together for good.

You Don’t Need To Be Theologian To Teach Kids.

Theolgy

In my last post I made the case for systematic theology and why kids need it. I know many of you might be thinking that there is no way that you could teach your kids systematic theology because you don’t really even understand it yourself. Take heart you are not alone. The good news for you is there are many resources that are now available to help your kids and you understand the basic framework of our faith.

Theology is something that is scary for many parents as many of them were never taught theology because much of it was assumed when they were kids. Their parents assumed they understood things about God. The most important thing about our kids is what they think about God. Because that’s true we can leave nothing to chance.

So where do we start. I would not start with Systematic Theology for kids under 6 or 7 for them I would read them books that tell the large story of God as a Redeemer. To do that I would recommend the following books

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The Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

 

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The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung

Once kids have an understanding of the big picture of scripture the parts will make sense. When your kids are between 7 and 8 I would working through a systematic theology with them. There are three that I would recommend this list is by no means exhaustive. I have broken them up into younger, slightly older and older again this is for connivance what is important is you find what works for you family and do that.

Youngest

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Everything a Child Should Know about God by Kenneth Taylor

Young

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The Ology by Marty Machowski

Older Elementary

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Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware

Teens

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Bible Doctrine: Essential Teaching of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem

 

Gone but not forgotten.

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Most leaders if they are honest will tell you one of their biggest fears is they would give their life and energy to someone or something only to be forgotten once they move on. I have thought about this a lot lately what will people take away from your contribution to your church, family, field.

Here are a few random thoughts I have been thinking and praying over.

1. When I leave a conversation do people think I am important or did I make them feel important

2. The people you poured into will always outlast anything you build.

How To Partner With Parents

Give them a first step

parent

In the kids ministry world the idea of partnering with parents is definitely mainstream. Most people are talking about why this is important. We need to be having this conversation. The more we talk about partnering with parents it reminds us of our primary job to lead and guide not to parent the kids in our ministry. This is so important. We are here to train and equip parents to more effectively lead their homes.

One of the things I often wrestle with personally is how do I take my understanding that I need to partner with parents and translate that into action. It’s so easy for me to nod my head at conferences and tweet things that say partnering with parents is important but how does that become a reality and not just a good idea. I would say the answer is small first steps.

What do I tell my kids when bad things happen?

fortress

Question One of the Heidelberg Catechism

Q. What is your only comfort
in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own,
but belong—body and soul,
in life and in death—

to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

Starr Meade in her devotional based on the Heidelberg Catechism called, “Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds,” she rightly points to the place we must go in the midst of tragedy.  How do we deal with the pains and heartbreaks of life? In her devotional she says the following.

Do you ever imagine “what if-?” What if things went horribly wrong? What if you were seriously ill and were not going to get better? What if something happened to your home or to your parents? Because of sin, all kinds of bad things can happen in our world. Is there anythings that is big enough to comfort us if the worst “what if’s” should happen?

The psalmist imagined “what if” in Psalm 46. He imagined: what if the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the sea? The psalmist comforted himself by remembering that, even then, God would still be our refuge, the place where we can go to be safe. God would still be our strength, and our “very present help,’ even in the greatest trouble.

We aren’t ready to face life unafraid and live it fully until we know we have something big enough to comfort us in any “what if.”

So true thank you Starr for putting into words what my heart needed to hear today.

Psalm 46:1-3English Standard Version (ESV)

God Is Our Fortress

46 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.     Selah