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Category Archives: Spiritual Journey
Church ministry is a wide and complex vocation, or avocation, in my case. I am continually amazed at the revelation that God reveals during my everyday life–problems yet untacked, people yet unreached, a pursuit of His presence that’s ever-growing. I like to blog some of ah-ha moments that God shows me through my study and teaching experiences, just in case they can turn on the light in someone else’s head.
These titles, and many more, draw up a wide, tumultuous range of emotions for us. Each, in its own way, suggests a level of intimacy and connection, a unique blending of two lives in a relationship of impact and personality development.
Did you know that the names for God do the same thing? Each name that God gives himself describes his personality and his actions, therefore changing our perception of him and our reception of him. His name transforms the incomprehensible concept of deity into concrete terms.
Yes, he’s called father. “God the Father” to Jesus and an adopted father to us, his “children.” But what if the name father means nothing to you? Or what if it means something awful, something cruel, judgmental, or ambivalent? Then how do you grasp this idea of heavenly fatherhood? How do you connect in prayer and faith with a person you can’t see, can’t hear, don’t know, and can’t control?
I doubt if any Christian parent wants to “shove religion down the throat” of his child. But sometimes, we’re not sure how to get our kids to want to go to church or read their Bibles or have spiritually-stimulating conversations. We take them regularly, we buy them Bibles, and yet . . . . nothing.
What’s a Christian parent to do?
Try a new church? This may solve the problem or it may instigate a routine of church-shopping or staying home on Sunday. I don’t know. Every situation and family is different, but always looking for a new church or better youth group might just give your child a consumer mentality. Regardless of your church, all Christian parents can begin reaching the heart of their children for the Lord at home, on a regular basis.
God must have expected parents to do this because He commanded the Israelites with these instructions: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:7)
God instructed his people to passionately and earnestly appeal to the hearts of the children, to talk about God–who He is, and what He does. he asked them to make their relationship with Him the center of their lifestyle. Not an add-on. Not a Sunday thing. The center. The source for everything else.
So how do we “impress” our kids without forcing outward obedience and inward rebellion? We teach them to love God and love what He loves. Kids’ hearts are soft and moldable, and they respond to love. Expose their hearts to the real power of God at work–to authentic believers and humble servants of God. Then let the Holy Spirit woo them. He’s really good at that. Put your kids in a place to hear, and let God speak to them (they’re so much better at hearing His voice that adults are!). And be careful not to overload their lives with so much activity that they can’t hear God speak and don’t have time to go someplace where He will speak. Continue reading →
Sarah Bessey and Relevant Magazine recently teamed up on Twitter for a social/spiritual experiment: to find out how prejudiced the church is regarding women in leadership. Sarah’s Twitter feed blew up, as you might imagine.
Yes, there were some people who slung some hateful rants against men and hateful rants against women’s rights. We knew that was going to happen. What surprised me was the large number of comments in the middle. The real comments, hurtful comments that keep women from exerting influence and venturing into destiny. Women shared an endless list of foolish and/or bigoted statements from their own experiences–revealing statements about what other people think a woman’s place in the church should be.
Many of Sarah’s tweets came from her book Jesus Feminist, which I read and loved. Sarah shares a list of ill-timed, uninformed, and downright chauvinistic statements that she has received over the years as a woman who could preach and lead in the church. I’ve heard some of the same ones myself. (Yes, even little ol’ me. I imagine it’s a thousand times worse for a minority woman!)
Yet I have often excused people’s heartless comments as merely old-fashioned. Occasionally offensive. Yet they rippled through my psych and whispered lies that perhaps I shouldn’t be so ambitious. Perhaps I wasn’t called to do this thing. Perhaps I should work harder at being quiet and demure. Doesn’t a real servant serve in the background? Doesn’t she do all those tasks no one wants to do? A good Christian girl lets other people stumble through speaking and writing and vision-casting while I just try learning to keep silent.
Apparently, I am not the only one. This problem is wide-spread and so widely-felt, so I don’t have to feel put-down anymore. The problem is not me. I’m not usurping anyone. The problem is prejudice–arrogance, really. And insecurity. (Pride takes so many forms.)