Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Kids are Getting It!

It was cool to hear some awesome stories from the kids this past weekend of how they are taking the Kindness Challenges.  Erica shared how she's showing kindness to a friend by talking to her about God; Jocelyn said that she sat at lunch with a girl who always sits by herself, and now she has a new friend; Derick's mom called me on Monday to share how moved he was by the challenge.  Even though he wasn't one of the students to get the $20, he was thinking of using his money to do something similar.  He explained this to her in tears on the drive home from Grace, because just the day before he had been so mad at another boy for picking on him, and now he wanted to show unexpected kindness to that boy!!
God has been showing up in our Kid City services over the past few weeks as kids have been challenged to really live out their faith and have stepped up.  This past Sunday, we talked about using our words to show kindness.  They were all challenged to SAY kind things this week to others unexpectedly.  As a bonus challenge, they were dared to use their words to share their faith and invite someone to church on Sunday.  I'm excited to see what happens this week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

I was thinking about Tara this weekend, knowing that Valentine’s Day was coming up, and a thought really struck me.  There is no one in the world that I know more about than Tara, and there is no one else in the world that knows more about me than her.

In a world that tempts us to think that newer is always better, that happiness will come with the latest model, and that we should always just live for the moment, it’s actually nice to have that constant, steady source of love and comfort.  The truth is that both Tara and I are always changing, so it doesn’t have to get boring.  She and I are two different people from the ones who got married almost 12 years ago.  We’ve grown as individuals, gone deeper in our faith, taken on new ideas and values, pursued different education and ministries, become parents, and have adjusted as parents already several times.  The cool thing is we’ve done it all together, and there is something about that which can’t be replaced.

Tara and I love to laugh at ourselves.  We have so many inside jokes that no one else would ever fully grasp, and I love that.  Elli says we laugh and whisper all the time, and she wants to know what’s so funny.  Hopefully, one day, she will be able to know, too.  Here’s a picture from us in college—a bunch of friends went out on a group date together.  Our first stop was at Goodwill where we all bought our dates the outfits  they had to wear the rest of the night—it was so much fun, and we were so mean to other:)

The memories you make together are a photo album that stick with you forever—I can picture different moments in our life together and still remember how I felt, what was happening, what the smells were, and all that stuff.  I don’t want to share that album with anyone else but you, honey.  Thanks for being My Valentine!

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 Filters for Helping Kids Say Kind Words

How many times as a parent have you wanted to crawl in a hole because of something your child said to someone else?  I know that feeling pretty well.   Although, I try to extend grace to my kids, realizing they are what they are--kids!  Not too long ago my 5 year old son, Ethan, was talking to my mom on the phone about her mom, Ethan's great-grandmother.  Ethan thought she was about 40 and was pretty old:)  (With every birthday like the one I celebrated yesterday, I am amazed at how close to "old" I am getting:)  When my mom corrected him and said that Great-grandma was actually 93, Ethan couldn't believe it, adding, "Wow--she's really old. She'll probably die really soon."  Oh, the candidness of kids...

This month we are focusing on Kindness at our church with our elementary age students.  A mom sent me a great little article that a woman wrote about teaching her kids how to use our mouths properly.  I thought it was incredible and will definitely re-use some of her thoughts with my own kids as well as the students in our church.

Whenever her kids would say something that offended someone else, she would have them use these 3 filters to see if what they said was appropriate:

Was it true?
Was it kind?
Was it necessary?

If it met all three criteria, there was no harm.  Often, her kids would see where their words fell short of one of the marks.  Sometimes we blatantly lie.  Other times, we say something that might be true, but we don't say it kindly, or we might say it at a time where it wasn't necessary.

What great questions for kids (and adults) to run through our minds before we open our mouths!  BTW--my grandmother is still very involved in life at 93 and is one of my greatest prayer warriors!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kindness Challenge--Week 1

Yesterday, we introduced the theme of Kindness in Kid City for the month of February.  One of our goals for the year at Grace Community Church is to be the kindest church in the whole world.  (I know, it's not incredibly measurable, but what an awesome goal!)  We looked at Jesus' teaching in Luke 6 where He challenged His followers to be kind, even to enemies and people they didn't know.  You see, being kind to people who will be kind back to us is normal--that's typical.  Jesus wants us to go outside of the norm and show love and kindness to those who don't expect it from us!

The challenge for every child in our church was to eat lunch or play at recess this week with someone they have never done it with before.  I challenged them to nicely ask these other children if they could sit with them at lunch or play with them at recess.  If those weren't options for them, I encouraged them to ask their parents permission to have a child from their community over to play at their home this week (again, someone they have never had over before). 

We also gave a special challenge to one of our older students in 5th or 6th grade.  I gave 3 different students $20 each to show kindness this week in some way to someone God brings in their path using the money.

Next week, we'll get to hear stories from all the students who took the challenges and see how God uses it in their life and the others they touch.  We're praying for loads of God-sightings--should be exciting!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kids can Experience Holy Spirit Moments

Almost every fast-food restaurant these days offer a Junior size of their best sandwiches and sides--something for the kids or for those wanting to watch their calorie intake.  (What's funny about that is the current Junior size is probably the original size of the sandwich itself before we decided we needed to eat a half-pound of meat to be satisfied, but that's another story:) 

I tell you this to explain something about the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 12:13 says that we are all placed into the Body of Christ by the same Holy Spirit.  That means that children don't receive a Junior-sized Holy Spirit--they receive all of Him and His power--just as much as adults.  Sometimes, we underestimate what can happen through the life of Holy-Spirit filled kids.  I don't want to be in that boat.

In February, our kids at Grace will be challenged in the area of Kindness.  Would you pray that there are awesome, mind-blowing, Holy Spirit, breakthrough moments each Sunday?  We want to see God show up in amazing ways so that kids, parents, and volunteers can't wait to see what God will do next.  I have been thinking through and praying about practical challenges to give the students each week to live out their faith in the area of kindness--I'm excited to see what God will do each week through them, and I'm also excited to hear the stories from the kids as we'll be giving time to hear testimonies.

I'll keep you updated as to what happens each Sunday.  Please take moments to pray over this month for God to move...