Uncharacteristic as it is for my Monday posts, I’m just going to do a recap of some of Easter’s highlights. Since it’s my favorite holiday, I’m going to continue to let my thoughts dwell on the great time we had celebrating Resurrection Day! Continue reading “Easter Reflections”
Sunday afternoon my husband came into the room where I was seated and handed me the Parade Magazine from the Sunday paper.
“Here’s the invention that will answer many church go-er’s prayers!”
It was this…
It’s a WiFi-Enabled Slow Cooker! Now if you’re in church and the preacher is going a little longer than you’d anticipated and the pot roast you put in the crock pot is going to be ruined, you can change the setting or stop the cooking process to ensure you will not be having a burnt sacrifice for Sunday dinner!
“We’re living in the day of the Jetson’s, Hon!” my husband touted as he made his way out of the room.
It’s unbelievable, isn’t it when you think about all the things technology can do?! A camera in the fridge can let me know if I need more milk. Alexa, is ready at our beck and call to turn on the coffee maker, adjust the heat in the house, update us on the weather, or play a game of Twenty Questions! The robotic vacuum keeps the house clean, and any number of apps on our phones can handle every other detail of our lives!
Since I’d had the stomach flu over the weekend, I missed church on Sunday. But again, due to the blessing of technology, I could “sit in” on our live-streamed service via Facebook! I had my Bible, notebook, and cup of hot tea all set while I sat comfortably in a chair in my bedroom. I got to listen to the sermon, and almost felt as though I was right there, except there was one huge piece of the picture that was missing –
all the other members of the Body.
I was alone. I could pray when they prayed, and even say, “amen,” and listen while my husband preached, but
- To whom would I turn afterwards and greet, and ask how I might pray with them?
- What visitor would I meet and welcome there and show them where to find a small group to join?
- How could I notice one who was missing from our normal gathering of members whom I might reach out to and check on this week?
- How could I invite guests to come home and fellowship with us?
- How could I use my spiritual gifts here with just my black and white cat sleeping soundly at my feet?
Technology might bring the church service to me, but technology can never replace the Church. In fact, nothing can. It’s God’s tool in this dispensation for accomplishing His redemptive work!
We miss so much when we’re not there. For many that can’t attend church due to chronic illness, this is a great blessing, and I’m thankful that genius people can provide such a tool for them. But I also know this – When I am able to go, I need to take advantage of it. I need my Church and it needs me.
Technology can never replace my church!
Are you plugged into a local body where you can grow, be discipled, use your gifts, serve, encourage, pray and bless others? If you’re a believer, it’s your blessing to enjoy all that and more!
I love teaching children the Bible! What a privilege! Today we have awesome resources available to help equip us! I have access to many children’s books, curriculum and web sites. Even Pinterest has thousands of ideas for stories and crafts so we can teach our children the Bible. But if there’s one thing that saddens me, almost to the point of nauseousness, is when authors turn a Bible story character into the hero of the story.
For two days on my blog , I’ve shared about studying Mark 1:30,31 where Jesus heals Simon Peter’s Mother-in-law. I’ve pondered it for many hours, wondering the best approach to teach it to the children. I asked myself, Who is the hero in this story?
- Is it Simon Peter, who told Jesus about the sick relative?
- Is it the woman who was sick?
- Is it Jesus?
I trust it’s so obvious to you that Jesus is the hero! But one site I looked at said,
“Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is today’s hero, because she showed us the gift of health.
No! No! No! This lesson isn’t about health any more than the story of Naaman is about taking a bath! Nor should the emphasis be placed on being kind to our mothers-in-law! The important truth in any story of the Bible is Jesus. He is always the Hero of the story!
I encourage you as moms, grandma’s or teachers of children not to weaken the Bible lessons by giving it some kind of humanistic point, rather than allowing the child to see Christ! To do that is to skip the reason God gave us His Word.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31
Let’s point to the real message in every story, and make our children know that Jesus is the Hero of the Bible!!
What Bible lessons do you think are easiest to miss the point of Christ being the hero?
Every week for over a year, I have met with a small group of women from my church for a time of prayer. On a week morning we gathered together in our church’s counseling room, chair bumping into chair, and we shared one another’s burdens and we prayed for our church. We prayed for the lost. We praised our God. We wept together. We rejoiced when the pleas to God had been answered. It has been a huge blessing in my life.
But then I had to stop going.
The Lord began tugging at my heart with a burden for the shut-in of our church, for the sick, for the stragglers who visited, then were missing. I wanted to do something for them that would be helpful and practical. The Lord brought to my mind the thought of cooking or baking for these folks and periodically taking meals or treats for them to enjoy. But with an already full schedule, each day obligated to this or that, how would I ever accomplish this? I began to pray and seek God’s direction.
One day my husband and I went on a little afternoon excursion away from home. We had time to sit and talk and share our hearts. I poured out to him the burden God had given me, and the frustration of not knowing how I could serve others from my home and my kitchen when every day was so full. God gave him such wisdom and it was so clear to him as he said,
God has given you a burden to use your home to serve Him. You need to focus your ministry out of our house. You can pray in our home as well as at church. Ask others to join you, if they’d like. You all could pray and then cook together. It’s what you love to do, and God is the One who has placed that burden on your heart. Do it!
I felt as though a burden had been lifted off of me, and I knew at that moment that this was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do. But that meant that I could no longer attend the morning prayer meeting at church. My next thought was, “What will my friends think? It looks so unspiritual to stop going to prayer meeting!” But I knew that my not going to this morning prayer time was in obedience to what God was asking me to do. When I shared this with my prayer group, they rejoiced with me, as I should have known they would!
It’s so easy to think that I have to do it all. It’s easy to put the guilt on myself and worry about what others will think if my obedience looks like disobedience. But God’s Word says~
The fear of man brings a snare. Proverbs 29:25
I could’ve let my fear keep me at our weekly prayer time (not a bad thing) but I would have missed out on the blessing that this step of obedience has brought! From the very first morning when I began this new cooking ministry, I had absolute peace that I was obeying God! My heart was filled with the joy God gives AFTER we obey. We want it before the obedience, don’t we? After all, it would make it a little easier! But no, we obey, then God gives joy!
It was truly hard to say “No” to that weekly prayer time in order that I could say “Yes” to this burden of baking, cooking and visiting our church folk. Another wonderful thing is that some of the ladies have been able to join me. We stop and pray for each person we’re taking a meal to. We cook and stir up delicious food, and then we deliver it. It has been wonderful…even if it did start out looking like disobedience!
Do you ever feel like you’re responsible for doing it all? There’s freedom in listening to God’s directives and obeying Him. He gave us gifts to use that will never be contrary to His Word. Are you serving Him in obedience? There’s no greater joy!
You looked so forward to being in church last Sunday, but by the time the service was over you had wrangled with your preschooler in the pew, your blouse was spotted with juice drops, the floor was littered with Goldfish Crackers, and you’re more ready for a deserted island alone without food or water than you are for the Sweet By and By!
Been there? Most of us have! But there is hope for you and your child to be able to sit through an entire service and actually hear the message and get a blessing out of it! Read on!
The picture below is the best place to train your preschool-aged child to learn to sit in church…
This is your living room or family room couch. That’s right, the best place to train your child about church is in your own home. If you wait until Sunday morning to try to teach them to sit down rather than run the aisles and to whisper, rather than shout out their requests, you’re headed for disaster and major frustration. Here are my suggestions for training a preschool-aged child to sit in church:
- Clear the area you’re going to sit in and make it free of distractions. TV is off and toys are stashed away.
- Get one or two quiet activities like a Bible flannel book or other quiet book, and perhaps one quiet toy like a coloring book and a few crayons (no markers!). These toys will be reserved only for your Quiet Time, so they’re “new” each time they’re brought out. Purchase or make several books/quiet toys to keep only for this teaching time and Sundays. Take a look at this! Find similar ideas on Pinterest!
- Set the timer for five minutes to start. Gather yourself and your child and tell him he is going to sit on the couch with you until the timer goes off. Give him one book or toy and tell him he may play with it while you sit on the couch, but that he may not get down or talk. It’s time to listen. Show him how to sit, and remind him this is QUIET TIME. Tell him If he talks the toy will get taken away – he must play without talking.
- Turn on a Podcast of your pastor, if available. If your pastor’s sermons aren’t online, use another broadcast. Have your Bible out and you sit still and listen.
- When/if your child starts talking, try not to answer with words, but put your finger to your lips and shake your head “no.” Don’t answer a question for those five minutes. Give a couple silent warnings the first couple of days, but after two heads shaken, take the toy away as you promised you would do. If the child throws a fit or screams, take him out of the room, go to his bedroom or yours and remind him what you’re asking. If he continues to disobey you may need to apply loving discipline to correct his disobedience. The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Prov 29:15
- When the timer goes off, discuss how they did. “You talked to Mommy, but remember, this is Quiet Time; time to listen to pastor preach. Or, “Yay! You sat so quietly and played! I’m so proud of you and so is God! We got to listen to Pastor preach and that makes God happy!”
- The next day and for the whole week, keep up with the five minutes. The next week extend it to ten minutes. Keep at this until you’ve worked up to 30 minutes. A three or four year-old will be able to sit and play without food for thirty minutes. They’ll wiggle, they’ll sigh, but don’t give in and don’t give up! It will be worth it!
- If you have more than one child, have a separate bag for each child. Give only one toy at a time, and have each child on either side of you. Be consistent! If they talk, warn once, then remove the toy.
- If they throw a fit, discipline in another room, but then bring them back in and complete the five minutes. This will be the same routine once you take them into the service at church. If they disobey, you must discipline, and it shouldn’t be just that you go out and play in the foyer – that’s what they want! Either discipline, then bring them back to the back row where you were wisely seated, or sit out there with your arms around them so they are not able to get down and play.
- Make this training time at home something to look forward to – not a miserable drudgery. That can be accomplished by the activity you choose to put into the bag, but again – just a quiet toy – not treats or lots of toys. Make it biblical, if you can, so they’re also “hearing about God.”
Who knows? You might even glean some wonderful Truths during your at home Quiet Times! It won’t be long – just a couple of months until you’re able to sit in church and actually enjoy the service. You know what? Your child will enjoy it a whole lot more, too!
Any questions? Any other suggestions?