There are days when I look at my wife and say “isn’t this fun?” That sarcastic remark generally comes in the context of our children fighting with each other. My children, like all children I have ever met, have this intense desire to irritate their siblings. It is something that we do not have to teach to our children. When I was a kid I fought with my siblings as well and drove my parents crazy too! The good news it that summer is winding down, and I guess that is also the bad news as well.
We all learn how to have many different types of relationships. We have work relationships, family relationships, casual relationship, and formal relationship. Sometimes people irritate us and sometimes they don’t. There are even times when we irritate other people. (I know, shocking) The difference is that as adults we should be able to work things through with people in a way that honors God. This is in contrast to the complaining or screaming that kids might do. The key to this has little to nothing to do with our own skills; it has everything to do with the work of God in us. Let me highlight three examples of this as an encouragement to all of us who want to live as Christ calls us to live.
Sing Praise to God With Each Other
As churches we do this every Sunday because it lifts up the name of Jesus Christ and encourages each other to do the same. When we worship together our focus is placed solely on the Lord and away from our own potential issues.
This works in my home when the kids want to start fighting about something. We often turn on a song that they can sing along with. Singing to God diffuses those areas of conflict. Try it!
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,” – Ephesians 5:19
Be Thankful — Say Thank You
Being thankful is not an add-on to the Christian life; it is a core piece of a Christian’s life. Why? Because we realize how much we have been given in Jesus Christ compared to what we deserve. God is so good to us!
Try thanking someone for something they did and watch how it changes the relationship. There is something amazing and affirming about genuinely thanking someone. If there is someone you are having a difficult time with, it might be time for you to not only show them kindness, but also to thank God for them. It will change your heart.
“always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:20
The most compelling reason we need to really watch how we relate to each other is because it honors Jesus Christ when we love one another. We need to remain connected to Him in order to accomplish anything.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of this in our homes and churches. Jesus Christ deserves all our praise. He is exalted as we are united in Him. It could be time to set petty disagreements aside in favor of His glory.
“Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. ” – Ephesians 5:21
Relationships are not always easy, but we are called to serve God in the context of relationships. When we keep the focus on God and how He directs us through His Word we find a unity that brings honor to His name. As I tell my boys all the time, maybe it is time to calm down and share your Legos. At the very least it is time to stop and praise God with each other. He will work in our hearts when we do.
I have realized that over the course of time the Lego Jar posts have become a collection of pictures with my children in dirt. Now I understand that there are various types of dirt they can and do get into. My boys took it to a new level this week with their attempt to clean the dirt with water. No, I am not talking about the dirt on their hands; I am talking about the dirt in the yard.
It just fits right into the normal scene we have everyday. I look at the kids and wonder “how did you manage to get so dirt?”
While we are talking about her, she really likes babies. She has several of them, as seen in this picture. She recently discovered the baby albums and flips through the pages with glee at all the babies in there! The problem is she tends to rip pages out. Mom frowns upon that.
And the kids used the camera again.
Lastly, we celebrated my oldest son’s 9th birthday this past week. It is hard to believe. He helped make his cake. It was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips. Wow!
Have a great weekend! Stay clean.
We have now come to the end of Wedding season for this summer. It was a lot of fun, but we are also really exhausted from it all. It was great to get the kids on the dance floor all together this time. This week’s Lego Jar highlights a few different wedding or post wedding experiences.
First, we dance–
Here we have some dancing lessons from a cousin.
The ring bearer with the flower girls -
We went to the beach and my daughter found a way to get really dirty, as usual.
Well, last week was a week where I was away at a youth conference in St. Louis. It has taken a little bit of time to get back into the real world this week. This week’s Lego Jar consists of a picture from St. Louis and a video from my boys this week.
I will say that St. Louis is a pretty quiet city. It wasn’t awful, just kind of quiet. We did spend some time at the City Museum, which was awesome! The arch is quite large, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.
The conference was awesome! There were about 7,000 high school students present giving their time to worship and growth in the Lord.
When I came back to my office, I had a gift!
We went to the beach this week and caught some crabs. We also lounged in on the deck in the wonderful heat of summer.
The other night the boys decided to put on a little show for us. I captured part of it on camera.
I guess that will do it for this week. Have a great weekend!
There are times I wonder what God is doing around me and whether it has anything to do with me or not. I know that God does not need me, that is not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is the way He seems to work in spite of my efforts. It is those times when we gather and my plans are blown up by the work of God. It is the small group discussion that turns into a powerful time of testimony and praise. These things only God can do and we certainly are glad He can!
This week I have been thinking this through as it relates to the conference I was at last week. Specifically, I wonder how God calls individuals to specific areas of service. As wide as the field sometimes seems, I know that the success in it has little to do with the task. The success has everything to do with God and His desire to impart His Spirit of power.
For example, David was content serving in the field before God redirected his path. In fact, he was the most unlikely character to lead the kingdom because he was not built like the others. Still, he was the one God chose and the one that it says God imparted the Spirit in power. All of a sudden David goes from protecting sheep from dangers to protecting the people from Goliath. David walks in power he has never experienced before and it makes a powerful impact around him. Sure he had been prepared to some extent, but the real success came as God empowered him.
I love this because it puts the equipping and calling to serve completely on God. Unfortunately many churches will look at someone in terms of their ministry experience and exclude them from some position. It is important to get the right person, but it is important to look at everyone in light of God’s calling and gifting. In short, let’s not miss what God is doing. When God’s Spirit is at work in someone’s life, experience is irrelevant.
What might God be calling you to? Is it something beyond what you have envisioned for you? I know that I ask for God to fill me with the power of His Spirit to both find blessing in what I am doing and in leading me on into the future. It is up to Him.
We had the opportunity to worship at a different church this morning. It is something that is always fun for me because I am able to be a part of worship without having to lead. We had this whole day planned around leaving the Cape and enjoying some time away.
Later in the day my son was reading the side of a bottle of orange soda. It was warm and I was feeling generous, so I bought them a treat. The side of the soda said 100% natural flavors, or something like that. He read it and said: “hey dad, it says 100%. That means it is good for you.” I loved his simplicity, even if it was flawed.
At dinner I asked the boys what they learned at church. This is something I always do after church. Today they were in the service the whole time and heard the sermon. One of them recited a story that was shared in the introduction and the other shared a story that was told later on. They both told a story and missed the point of it.
These are two examples of that highlight the importance of being very intentional with kids. Kids see things in concrete terms. They do not always understand abstract things or big church words. They do understand that if someone takes their ice cream from them that they will be upset about that. They do hear stories and even lean in when they are told. We need to try to capture that simplicity in what we teach or lead them in. Be creative and meet them where they are.
In my case, I did not just dismiss his innocent statement, but shared with him what it meant. Parents need to be engaged in all of those teachable moments each day. They happen all the time.
So, feel free to drink a soda tonight because it is 100% something.
There are lessons that we just need to learn from experience because it is there that the lesson really sticks. I remember the times I get injured the most. Usually these come after a warning like: “don’t touch that.” Except we forget quickly and just don’t care until that moment when it all makes sense. I guess that is the point of impact.
My boys have gotten quite good at making s’mores. What amazes me is how many of them they can consume before I ever realize they have had one. It is a real gift. Of course who could possibly make a s’more without referencing the sandlot character Ham Porter and his ability to teach us all how to make one.
“First you take the graham, you stick the chocolate on the graham. Then you roast the ‘mallow. When the ‘mallow’s flaming… you stick it on the chocolate. Then cover with the other end. Then you scarf. Kind of messy, but good!” (Sandlot)
Despite my attempts to talk some sense into my kids, they insist that a burned marshmallow is equal to some sort of heavenly bliss. Despite my warnings of “you’re going to point your eye out” they still light them on fire and watch them burn. Except the other night it was a little different.
Sure, the mallow was flaming, but that is where things got interesting. My 6-year-old son, with the flick of his wrist, landed a piece of flaming marshmallow on his face. Let’s just say that it hurt. He claims that he lost control of his arm. I guess that is one way to explain it. I actually was reminded of that scene from Dennis the Mennis when he flicks the flaming marshmallow and it lands on Mr. Wilson’s head. In our case, it burned some skin on his cheek. He told me immediately that he learned a lesson. What lesson is that? ”Don’t put hot marshmallow on your face.” I guess that works. As a parent, this is a little funny because I have been telling them all along that this is what could happen if they did not be careful.
In ministry I am often reminded of this with people. God’s Word warns us about the dangers of leaving His path. We are shown how dangerous it is to let sin rule in our bodies. We are warned about the wages of sin – death. Yet, it takes often takes some dramatic event for us to really get it. What would happen if we simply heard and listened to what God said the first time? Well, let’s just say that the world would be a different place. But, seeing as that is not the case, let’s learn from the mistakes we have made and the mistakes of other people.
There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 14:12