Thursday, May 29, 2008
I'm tagging this with "kids in community" and "stewardship" because of her comments about creating an opportunity for all ages to relax together and mingle, about looking out for lots of different people (including dads and volunteers) and about looking to be good stewards in the choices they make not just about time and money but for the way they're trying to look out for and manage their people resources and still make the time appealing to unbelievers.
Bravo! I pray it bears good fruit for all involved.
Monday, May 26, 2008
This is a short but profound observation about the handicapped among us from Backyard Missionary.com (May 25, 2008). Click on Mark to see the longer original post. My husband says this all the time. If the church really is inclusive of people from all ages, races, educational, social/economic, physical backgrounds then our congregations would reflect that. The gospel we preach would speak to all of those people. The lives we live would welcome all those people. Just using the language "those people" . . . I repent. . .That's exactly what I'm talking about.
Sometimes it's our physical facilities that need to change. Whether or not neccessary changes are made and how we're willing to spend our time and resources reflect our attitudes and the choices we make may sound perfectly legitimate but they still reflect our attitudes.
Sometimes it's the very gospel we preach, the things we include/the things we leave out, the examples we use, the goals we reach for...The people we don't miss are probably the people we need most.
This passage in I Cor. 12 and 13 comes in the context of spiritual gifts but it still reflects an attitude towards differences. Jesus and His disciples were criticized for the people they ministered to. . . Enough from me. It's a good post.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Here is the Greek word for "spirit" as used in John 4:24 and the other places that same word is used.
Here is the Greek word for "truth" as used in John 4:24 and the other places the same word is used.
What do I mean by concrete observations? What's the most obvious fact in the passage?
It's interesting that the Old Testament's focus is on God interacting with His people Israel but it's getting us ready for Jesus. The Gospels focus on Christ Jesus but it's getting us ready for the Holy Spirit. Acts focuses on the Holy Spirit but a young church is growing. The epistles focus on the church in the context of all of the above still getting us ready for more...
It's interesting to go through the scriptures about the Spirit asking "Who is He?" "Not what is it?" What does He look like? What does He do? It's interesting that the same word is also used for unclean spirits.
Interesting that there are so few references to that word "truth" as used in John 4 and that most of them are in John. Alot of those passages using "spirit" in the gospels are the same story. Which ones aren't? Which ones are unique to that gospel?
In a couple words or less, what do each of those passages tell us about spirit ? What do they tell us about truth? Write a list.
If you look at some of those passages and assume that God isn't operating like that anymore I think you deny that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. I think that if you try to fit Him into your own experience and your own understanding instead of believing that all things are possible for Him, there are things you may never see. Blessed are those who believe without having seen...
I'm pulling my usual. I'm posing a question, not answering it. Experientially, with the roots of that experience deep in the scriptures, I can answer the question for me. I can't do for someone else what God does. I can pray. I can share scripture to ponder and do. I can ponder and do. I can share worship that's meaningful to me and try to find tools and expressions that prove meaningful to the people I'm serving. I'm not performing. I'm enabling other people to bring their hearts and praise to God in ways that will be true for them and true in the presence of God. Old or young. Worship that will be whole-hearted and true, individually or collectively even without me. Worship that will so focus someone on Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that when the tools and the worship leaders change or disappear, people will still be so caught up in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that they won't even notice what isn't there!
What do you think?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Yes, we're human beings, not animals. Yet, it would be interesting to look at praise, reward and correction in scripture - not man to man so much as God to man - how He teaches, how He trains.
Animals learn how to listen to their instincts and environmental signals. They can learn to react or to relax. They learn whether to expect things to go well or badly often based on past experience.
We learn those things, too. When we have something to overcome, there are ways we can engineer those encounters over and over so things go well a little at a time, so we learn to trust ourselves and expect the best instead of the worst in certain situations.
We can be attentive to those needs in children. I don't mean coddle them when what they need is to be praised and rewarded for being brave or for trying something new or for trying something hard or scary. We can set a child up to succeed and to grow confidence even when all they know is failure. They need to hear us say with confidence "You can do this!"
God help us do that for the children we love.
Friday, May 16, 2008
His question to the shelter workers was this - if you tear off the bios/the case study column for each of the dogs and throw it away, will it affect the behavior, the prognosis or the plan to change the behavior that you want to change? The answer was no. His comment was that attaching blame for yesterday doesn't help you fix the problem today - it doesn't change anything. You still have to deal with a recurring behavior that you have to change in order to keep the dog. (Hopefully, you want to keep the dog.) You have to keep moving forward.
If we dwell on the past. It doesn't help us fix today. Yes, we learn from our mistakes. Creatures learn from their mistakes if they're going to survive. But they also move on because they have to survive. We apply it to our own lives and to the children in our care. You do what you have to do to keep moving forward. When learning something determines whether or not you survive, you keep working at it until you get it. If you're afraid, you let God coax you forward until each step, each encounter, gets easier than the one before.
We have to focus on reinforcing and rewarding the behaviors we need today to replace of the old ("old" as in old and destructive not just because they're old) and we have to do it one day at a time. Maybe that's a little of what being a "new creation" is all about. With dogs (and kids, too) praise for a job well done and for making good choices, hard choices - praise goes a long way towards reinforcing the constructive behavior you want.
You can take the idea way out of the realm of behaviorism - the power of patient encouragement and forgiveness helps people move on and grow into new people. God still works supernaturally. I've seen Him do it. Sometimes He changes us on the inside and it shows on the outside, other times changing the outside eventually changes the inside. God is at work, either way. We partner with Him, either way. We praise Him, either way. Why you have to deal with this or that isn't really relevant anymore. You just have to do it. You can call it behaviorism or anything you want to but in the end, both the process and the result look like love to me.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
We've got something messy planned for Sunday's services. Which is great, because messy, more often than not, equals FUN. As part of our Walk the Line Between Sacred and Secular theme, we'll have an art canvas that people will be invited to paint on during the service. And of course we will allow children to participate in this part of worship with appropriate parental guidance.
So: if your kids will be painting, please have them come prepared. The paints are water-based and washable, so it will come off skin very easily, but it will stain clothing, so kids should either wear old clothes or bring some sort of apron or smock.