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Showing posts from September, 2009

D6 Conference Reflections, Part 2

So, I hope you had a chance to read the Scriptures that I posted previously as to what God's Word says in regards to the family passing on their faith. These are the foundation on this discussion of connecting the church and home. Today, I would like to share a few quotes that hopefully get you thinking about how we need to change the way we do ministry in the church.

"As the family goes, so goes the future of the Church. Religious life in the home is more influential than the Church." (Peter Benson, Search Institute)

"Perhaps the most important question we can ask is this: How much time, energy, and resources are we investing to make the home the primary place where faith is nurtured?" (Mark Holmen, Building Faith At Home pg. 12)

"I believe it is time for the Church to rescue families." (Mark Holmen, Building Faith pg. 12)

"We've outsourced the cleaning of our clothes, the washing of our windows, the mowing of our yards--and, unfortunatel…

D6 Conference Reflections, Part 1

So, I am home from church today with a sick kid. Molly has a fever, but other than that seems to be fine. She is a little fussy. I thanked God that no one got sick while I was at the D6 Conference. So, I spent a few minutes this morning having worship at home with Molly. We read the story of creation and looked outside and I asked Molly, Did God create the trees? roses? hoppers? sun? grass? birds? bugs? Molly? After her answers, we sang Awesome God to praise Him for creating all things. We sang a few more songs including one from Seeds Family Worship (Go). I closed by praying for Molly and for church and Sunday School at Hesston MB. To God Be the Glory!

So, now Molly is occupied, I decided to write a post reflecting on my time at the D6 Conference. First, let me say that I have so much to pray through and process that today's post is the first of several more. I was first of all blessed by the 1500 or so senior pastors, children's pastors, youth pastors, discipleship p…

George Barna at D6 Conference

I filled two full pages of notes from George Barna at the D6 Conference. Here are a few to get you thinking:

For the research and stats, check out his book, Revolutionary Parenting.

The Bible Addresses Parenting
Perspectives on ChildrenDescribes the parent's roleGives specific strategies, tacticsProfiles the faith componentsSix Important Dimensions of parents who raised Spiritual ChampionsEmbrace Appropriate Life PrioritiesTotal ImmersionEstablish Non-negotiable boundariesBehave Like a ParentDefine Critical Values and BeliefsSet and Pursue GoalsParenting is your primary job in life!You cannot do this without God.How to deal with media?MonitorMinimizeMoralize

Renee Swope at D6 Conference

Renee Swope is Executive Director of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Here some quotes from her:

Look for nuggets of gold buried in your children's hearts.

She says during a difficult time in her own parenting, "I had lost sight of their hearts and instead focused on behavior or actions.

First thing we must understand as a parent is who we are in Christ.

We need to parent from the overflow of our hearts.

The best time saver is spending time with God.

The enemy's tactic for moms is to get them to focus on their flaws.

In family devotions, we need to learn from God's Word and Live Out God's Word.

God meets us in our mess and speaks His message.

3 Things Every Mom Needs to Know:
You are not alone.God has a plan and purpose for you as a parent. God sees beyond who you are to who you are becoming.God is doing a new thing in our churches and families. See Isaiah 43:18When we build strong families, we will have strong churches who strengthen their communities.

Richard Ross at D6 Conference

Richard Ross had a lot of great things to share at the D6 Conference:

We have raised teens with a little Jesus in their pocket.

The single most important thing we can do:
embracing the full majesty of Christbecoming more and more like Himjoining Him in making disciples among all peopleWe have a conduit which carries faith between parent a child. The conduit is a relationship.Check out the last words of the O.T is Malachi 4:6 and opening words of the N.T. in Luke 1:17. Isn't that interesting? We need to pray that fathers' hearts are turned to the children and the that children's hearts are turned to the fathers.What can break heart connections with our kids?too little focused time togetheremotional injuryParents rebuild heart connections by . . .forgiving teenagersasking teenagers for forgivenesscourageously addressing family schedulesdisciple with consequences rather than outburstsloving unconditionallyusing words to bless encourage and build up

Rob Rienow at D6 Conference

Rob Rienow led a great pre-con lab that I attended. His seminar was solidly biblical. Here are some of his comments:

It is never too late to point a family member to Christ.

What gets the best of your heart? Wife, Children, or Work

God created your family to be a discipleship center.

What is the purpose of family? Deut. 6:4-9 & Matthew 22:35-38

Parents, you have God given power over you child's heart.

No one can compete with your ability as a parent to bless or curse your child.

If you want to find authentic community, go home.

God never calls us to do things that He has not empowered us to accomplish.

It is important that we have regular, repeated, multi-daily interactions spiritually with our kids.

God will judge us for how we raise our kids.

The biblical purpose of parenting is to impress the hearts of our children with a love for God.

Be prepared for opposition from the enemy.

The shortest distance between your adult child's heart and Christ is you (the parent).

Jim Daly at D6 Conference

Here are some quotes from Jim Daly (President of Focus on the Family) from D6 Conference:

God pushes us to dependence on Him.

We need to realize God's awesome love for us.

Some Chinese Christians recently told Daly, "The church in America is weak."

Let's touch as many as we can for Jesus.

Fred Stoeker at D6 Conference

Here a few things from Fred Stoeker's session at D6 Conference. He is the author of Every Man's Battle & Preparing Your Son For Every Man's Battle. Here are a few quotes:

As a parent, I need to make my ceiling, their floor. Commenting on spiritual inheritance passed on to children.

One way he connects with his kids is what he calls "doing book". He reads thru a book with his child & discusses stories from his own life that tie in with the book. Best part: no preparation needed & all parents can do it.

Doing Book allows for a swapping place-a safe place to share stories.

Don't allow the rush of this day (our busyness) steal your children's inheritance!

Angela Thomas at D6

Angela is author of My Single Mom Life. Here are her quotes about the church walking with her family during her divorce:

The church walked with me & carried me.

The Body of Believers came with discernment & with out condemnation.

Body of Christ helps you feel through the darkest times.

Don't allow yourself to fall into bitterness. In bitterness, the lock is on the inside.

Lay your family on the altar.

Choose to live in victory thru Jesus!

Mark Matlock at D6

Here are some things from Mark Matlock's Session on Real World Parenting:

What story are we living in? God's story or ours.

The stories we live in impact the ways we parent. Which of these are you?
*Isolation from the World
*Regulating the World's Influence
*Agreeing with the World
*Transform the World

Darren Whitehead at D6

Here are a few things that Darren Whitehead from Willow Creek shared in his session:

Spiritual development has to change!

Parents have the most influence with their kids.

The church needs to equip parents.

What happened at home was more important than what happened at church.

Plan A-The Family
Plan B-The Church

Whitehead said to parents at Willow, "You are not partnering with us, we are partnering with you."

Something unexplainable happens when the family & truth unite.

The church needs to be known for helping families.

Pre-con labs at D6

I have had a great day of learning at the D6 Conference today. It is so amazing to hear so many speakers sharing their hearts that align with mine. Similarly the pre-con labs have been centered on Scripture with lots of practical application. I can't wait for the next 2 days.

I attended the following labs today:
Shift:Walk the Ancient Path of Spiritual Formation by Brian Haynes
How to Become a Resource to Parents & Families by Michael Chanley
Shift: 7 Milestones Linking Church & Family to Equip the Generations by Brian Haynes
Becoming a Faith @ Home Focused Church by Mark Holmen
Family Ministry & Global Evangelism by Rob Rienow

I am still processing these labs, but I know God has a plan for passing on our faith to the next generation & the family is the key. We as a church need to equip parents & stop saying drop off your kids at church so we can train them. Parents have the most significant impact & God's Word is clear as to how to do this. See Deuteron…

The D6 Conference is less than a week away!

I am excited and ready for the D6 Conference next week. As I began searching for a conference that would specifically relate to my role as Associate Pastor of Family Ministry, I was glad to find the D6 Conference. There are a ton of conferences for youth pastors and children's pastors, but not as much for family pastors. I will be headed to Dallas on Tuesday afternoon and will begin with pre-con labs on Wednesday and then the conference is Thursday and Friday.

I thought I would share a few things I am looking forward to:
Learning more about how to pass on my faith to my childrenEquipping parents to pass on their faith as wellResources for moms and dads (family devotions, discipline, godly fathering)
Understanding better the partnership between the family and churchHearing great speakers challenge the way the church has ministered towards familiesInteracting w/ other parents/ministers who have a heart for reaching/impacting familiesFun, Humor, & Refreshment

Hide & Seek

Mitchell had been asking for a couple of days to play a game of family hide and seek. We were busy the last two nights, but I told him that I had Wednesday afternoon off and we would play then. So, the kids got home and got settled and we started our game. Molly and I were on a team. We counted first. Molly loves to find people. Then when it was our turn to hide, Molly loved finding a place, but as you can imagine-a 2 year old cannot be very quiet and so we usually were found first. It was a great time of fun for the whole family!

This made me think about how we hide from God and from others. Not literally hiding, but instead hiding who we truly are. We feel shame or unworthiness and think we can hide from God. We know God knows all and sees all, but something inside of us reasons we must keep this from God or He will not love me. It's similar to playing peek-a-boo with a baby-they think you can't see them when they have their eyes covered. In the same way, we as C…

Thoughts from Introduction of They Call Me Dad

I am enjoying my time meeting with other dads and discussing the book, "They Call Me Dad" by Ken Canfield. Our times include reports from how we did on our last week's challenge, prayer for one another, and discussion about our chapter from the book. I believe God is doing some wonderful things in our dads already and it is only the second week.

Here are some questions to think about:

Do you agree with this statement: "Dads, we are standing at a crossroads."

Do you believe your influence can be exponential in future generations?

Do your priorities support "being a father as one of the highest acts of spiritual service"?

The following quotes are from the introduction of the book:

"Dad, if you do not become attentive and involved in the lives of your children, you are putting them at risk. It is your God-given responsibility--and your privilege--to be the best father you can be to your children?" (Page 3)

"Meeting with other men for mutual suppo…

Transparent Relationships

This Sunday, Pastor Steve will be preaching on the topic of transparent relationships. This topic is part of our CHRIST acrostic which is an explanation of our purpose as a church. We spent a good amount of time in staff meeting discussing what this is and what it looks like. It was a great discussion!

To avoid using something that Pastor Steve might say on Sunday, I will only be sharing my personal thoughts and beliefs about this topic. I am excited that my wife and Eric Clark will be singing, "Stain Glass Masquerade" as special music this week. In my opinion, Mark Hall of Casting Crowns hits the nail on the head with his lyrics. Here are a few lines from the song:

"Am I the only one in church today feeling so small?"

"I know they'll soon discover that I don't belong."

"So with a painted grin, I play the part again . . ."

"Are we happy plastic people . . . with walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain?"

"Am …

First Wedding I Officiated

This weekend, I had the privilege of officiating at the wedding of a close family friend. I was the ring bearer in the bride's parents wedding, the bride lit the candles at my wedding, and now I was able to be a part of their special day.

Being the pastor for a wedding begins long before the wedding day. We began meeting in March for premarital counseling. I had previously been trained in Prepare/Enrich-a premarital and marital inventory. Both the bride and groom take the inventory and it returns a 30 page report to the pastor to discuss in counseling. I enjoyed talking about strength and growth areas with the couple. As well, as to talk about their own families, finances, conflict resolution, and communication. It was a learning experience for them and got them to ask the hard questions about their relationship. I highly recommend and urge all couples to seek premarital counseling before getting married. I know I will not officiate a wedding without this crucial and impo…

Daddy, Bug!

Molly loves bugs! She is so fascinated by each and every one of them. When I got home tonight from work, she was outside. First, I found her at our neighbor's driveway looking at tiny snails. Then we came back to our driveway where she found a "hopper" as she calls them. She would get near the grasshopper and it would jump. It was almost as if it was playing with her. Mr. or Mrs. Grasshopper would jump a little bit from where it was previously. He or she would wait until Molly almost touched it before it jumped again. Molly just loved it! She laughed and kept saying, "Hopper, jump, hopper, jump." What a great way to come home from work.

After supper, we went on a walk to the edge of Hesston. She usually rides in the stroller, but she wanted to walk tonight. I decided to let her. It was fun walking hand in hand down the street. Again, I had to point out all of the dead animals along the street. We saw a hopper, snake, frog, and bug, all who had met…

Books I Am Reading

Here is what I have purchased recently or I am currently reading:

God, Marriage and Family by Kostenberger

Vintage Jesus by Driscoll

They Call Me Dad by Canfield

Uncommon by Dungy

Unfashionable by Tchividjian

Why We Love the Church by DeYoung and Kluck

Crazy Love by Chan

Here are some books that I recently completed:

Parenting from your Strengths by Trent

Family Driven Faith by Baucham

Shepherding Your Child's Heart by Tripp

Highs for the Week

It's time again to post some of the highlights of my last week. Here they are in no specific order:
Worship on Aug. 30th focusing on reaching the world.Sunday School Teacher's Meeting. We have great teachers and I enjoyed meeting and training with them.Blood Drive-Last time was a nightmare, but not so bad this time.Noon Basketball-I love this exercise. And it's basketball so what more needs to be said.D6 Dads-I am already blessed by this group of dads. I met with three different groups on Tuesday at 6:30 a.m., Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., and Thursday at 9:00 p.m..Soccer practice has begun.Staff Meetings-I know I am strange, but I enjoy and look forward to our church staff meetings on Tuesday and Wednesdays. When you go without staff meetings for four years, you appreciate them when you have them.First official Hide N Seek and 5th/6th ministry. Great ministry and turnout at both!Great visits with people in homes and at the Perk.Reading some great books at the Perk on Thurs…

To God Be The Glory!

Today's post is dedicated to God for his greatness. Last night, was our first "official" night of ministry for our 4 year olds through 6th graders. It went very well! We had a great turnout for both Hide N Seek and our 5th/6th grade ministry. I want to give glory and praise to God for the whole thing because without Him none of this would be possible.

God has provided wonderful volunteers to lead both of these ministries! God has provided a great facility and curriculum to make ministry possible! God sent His son, Jesus, to be our Savior to forgive us of our sins and therefore we want to share that good news with others. Thanks for all the behind the scenes work coming together.

I also have had two of three D6 Dads groups. I have been blessed by each one. I am so excited to see dads seeking God for what He wants them to do and be. It is exciting to see a willingness to grow together and challenge one another. Thank you God for bringing each dad that has attended…

Light in the Darkness

This morning, I was up bright and early for my first D6 Dads gathering. I enjoyed our time together this morning at 6:30 a.m. As I was driving home to pick up the kids for school, I noticed the sun trying to break through the clouds. As we left home to go to school, it started raining. However, that was short lived as soon as I turned to drive to the church-the sun broke through the clouds and was somewhat blinding in my rear view mirror. At the church, I got out of the car and was amazed at the awesome radiance of the sun shining and how it brightened up everything.

It immediately brought to mind the Scripture from 1 Peter 2:9 which says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." Sin in our lives creates darkness, but we serve a risen Savior who deals with that darkness and brings us into His light. This verse challenges u…