Christian growth · Church · Uncategorized

The One Thing Technology Cannot Do

bedroom seat

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…

crock pot

 

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!

Well, almost…

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! 

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 px

children · Church · Family life · Motherhood · obedience · Parenting

Training Your Preschooler to Sit in Church

Summer is nearly over and this is my last week to repost some old posts.  This week I’m highlighting some of the most popular ones. I trust you’ll find something here that you never read, or that you need to be reminded of!  The first one is about teaching your children to sit quietly in church.  Have your kids mastered it?  If not, here are some suggestions…

 

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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…

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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:

  1. Clear the area you’re going to sit in and make it free of  distractions. TV is off and toys are stashed away.
  2. 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!
  3. pocket sized magnetic fishing set | doodle craft - would be great little addition for quiet bag at church
    This is a magnetic fishing pond! Super easy to make and super fun for your child. Also super cheap!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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!”
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?

Lovingly,

children

Training Children To Sit and Participate in Church

Children can do some really funny things in church.  When I was teaching the five year-old Sunday school class I remember asking my students how we get to go to heaven. A little girl raised her hand confidently. Her answer?

Die.

That remembrance still makes me laugh!

Sometimes, though, the things children do in church aren’t so funny – especially if you’re the parent.  I’m not sure if there’s anything more stressful or humiliating for a parent than trying to teach their little one to sit quietly anywhere, but especially at church.  Your child gets fidgety and talkative just the time there’s a need for quiet, right?  We’ve all been there, and I want to encourage you that there is hope!

I’ve blogged about this before, but I just felt the need to rehearse a few ideas about teaching your child to sit through a church service.

  • Train them. Talk to them before you leave home.  Tell them what is going to happen when you get there.  Remind them that you’re going so you can worship God and learn more about him!
    • Will they be going to Sunday school?  Remind them that you’ll be back to pick them up.
    • Tell them what kind of behavior you expect from them while they’re in class.
    • Will they go to Pastor’s Pals or up front to sing with the children?  Prepare them for what you expect.
  • Fortify them. Feed them a nourishing breakfast to hold them over through the service time.
  • Equip them. Pack a bag to take to church.  Keep it only for church times and fill it with quiet books, crayons, etc. that will help them to listen if they’re old enough.  They could draw a picture of something pastor is talking about.  If they’re older, they might have a special book to write down important words he hears in the message.
  • Help them. Don’t bring or give them sugary drinks or snacks – you’ll only be making it more impossible for them to sit still!
  • Reward them. I read about one mom who played the “Seat game.”  After training her two children to sit quietly in church, their mom told them they could sit one row in front of the parents next week since they’d done so well.  Each week that they obeyed and sat quietly and obediently, they all moved up one row.  Eventually they were seated on rows two and three!  You obviously couldn’t do this with really young children, but it would might be a great incentive for school-aged children.
  • Discipline them. If your child misbehaves, don’t wait for it to get better and stay in the service where they’re causing a ruckus! Take them out immediately and deal with it, and deal with it in a way that they won’t want it repeated.  If they get to go out and run around the foyer, they’ll learn that this is more of a reward than a punishment!
  •  Model for them. Encourage worship.  By your example of engaging in the singing and worship, teach them to follow your lead!  Sing!  Pray!  Open your Bible!  Take notes!
  • Praise them. Be sure to review the service on the way home.  Applaud their good behavior and obedience!
  • Warn them. Deal with the disobedience and use it as a teaching tool for the next service and warn them about what will take place if this happens again.

Training, training, training.  This must be consistent and loving.  It also really, really helps if you attend regularly.  Sporadic attendance will lose any training!  When this is every week, several times a week, they’ll get it!

This takes time, of course, but you probably won’t be getting called to their classroom nearly as often for behavior issues!  Instead, the teacher will pull you aside to ask what you’re doing at home that’s made such a difference. Oh, she may also tell you about the hilarious thing your child said to her in class that day!

Stay at it!  You will make it!

With love,

Uncategorized

A Peek From My Porch – God’s Gift of the Church

How thankful I am for the Lord’s gift to us of the local church. I’m not referring to a building, but the group of believers that gather there. These Christians come together all day on Sunday and again on Wednesday to worship, praise, study, pray, fellowship, encourage and serve.  God knew we would need the church.   It’s not merely another bullet on our “to-do” list, or the obligatory task we fulfill.  The Church is alive because We are the church!I

I recently heard a young college-age man say,

“I’ve realized recently how much I need other believers.’

If we all don’t come to that conclusion, we are missing out on so much!  Let me illustrate:

Last Sunday was Friend Day at my church.  It was such a sweet time!  People were buzzing in the auditorium before the service like happy shoppers in the candy aisle the day after Easter! Our church is such a warm, Spirit-filled group of people and it was evidenced as I witnessed new friends being greeted and welcomed, coffee  being poured and offered, and smiles shared. That’s what the church does!

Then the service time began. I was so blessed to witness a touching scene when my husband asked our men to come and gather in the choir.  The man on the left (Fain) in the picture below is seated in a wheelchair.

Friend Day 001

As the rest of the men went up and gathered in the choir loft, these three joined Fain on the floor and stayed with him and shared his “platform of uniqueness.”  Rather than going up where they would be less visible, in love, they seated themselves beside Fain so that they might encourage and share in his burden.  How kind is that?!  I pulled my phone out and snapped a picture because it touched my heart so much. That’s what the church does!

We had a picnic lunch out on our church lawn after the service.  There was enough food there for the multitude Jesus fed (well, kind of).  People set up tables, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs in the hot sun, sat with our guests, washed dishes, took down tables and chairs, and picked up trash afterwards.  So many served!  That’s what the church does!

Friend Day 003

Then at 5:30, we met back at the church for the evening service where we sang, heard from God’s Word and then shared testimonies of how God has answered prayer.  We encouraged one another all day long!  That’s what the church does!

There’s no ballgame, family gathering, vacation attraction, boat ride, concert, or television program that can do for me what The Church can do!  I am so thankful for my Boones Creek Bible Church family.  I love each member and thank the Lord for them.  That’s what the church does!

Are you fully entrenched in a Bible-believing church?  Christ gave His life for The Church!  He has a great purpose for it in your life!  Don’t miss out on all the blessings you’ll only find in The Church!

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