Monthly Archives: April 2014

Are You “Highly Capable”?

For the past two years, my 6th grade son has had the privileged opportunity to go to a school for “highly capable” students.  To get into this school you have to score in the top 3% on two separate tests.  Let me make it clear, my son’s abilities are a gift straight form God rather than something he inherited from me or my husband’s genes (-smile-).  We’re no dummies, yet neither are we that degree of smart – he gets it straight form God!

When we go into the school to drop off or pick up our son, it is easy to see that this school has a much different feel than your typical middle school.  Being a people watcher, it is always very interesting for me to observe how these students dress and how they interact with each other, and (if I’m being honest) it can feel somewhat intimidating knowing that every young person I see is smarter than I am!  Thankfully, there’s a difference between smarts and wisdom and God prefers the latter.

Just this past week, my husband, daughter, mother-in-law and I were at the school to attend a probability fair.  My son had worked hard on his team project and we wanted to show our support.  At the fair, I introduced one of my son’s classmates to my mother-in-law.  Upon hearing his name, she mentioned that she had taught a student with the same name, but that he then moved to Barbados.  She pronounced it Bar Bade Dose.  To which he replied, “Actually, I think it’s called ‘Barbados’” and he pronounced it Bar Ba Dose.

One of the things I have noticed about “highly capable” students is that they have no problem correcting adults.  If they think they are right about something, they will let you know.  They have a hard time recognizing the difference between how they should treat peers and how they should treat elders/authority figures.  Therefore, they can come across as disrespectful quite often.  It can be a challenge to teach highly capable kids that just because they may be on the same intelligence level as adults, does not mean that time has yet made them “equals” with adults.

Are you “highly capable”?  Has God blessed you with great abilities in the ministry He has called you to?  How often do you respond to God the same way this 12 year old boy responded to someone five times his age, wisdom and experience?  “Actually, God, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”  “Actually, I know better than you do.”  “Actually, I think you should do it this way.”  “Actually. . .”  this or “Actually. . .” that.  Chances are, you and I come across disrespectfully (albeit unintentionally) at times too.  Have you tried to correct God lately?  Be honest (-smile-)!  When will we realize that time will NEVER make us “equals” with God?  Ecclesiastes 5:2 says it like this, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.  God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

May we learn a more appropriate approach for interacting with God.  Proverbs 3:5-7 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”

  • Trust Him with all that you are
  • Don’t rely on your own smarts or abilities
  • Submit to Him in everything (His plans, His ideas, His ways)
  • Don’t think yourself wise
  • Be in awe of God and turn away from evil

Sometimes all it takes is a gentle correction to get us back on the right track with Almighty God.  I am so grateful that He is kind and gracious.  He forgives us when we forget that He is our authority and treat Him disrespectfully.  In the middle of the abilities and capabilities He has blessed us with, let us not become wise in our own eyes, but rely on His wisdom for everything, that is the true definition of “highly capable”.

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Ministry to College Students

We live in a college town, in fact, when school is in session, the population of our little city increases by about 40% or more.  “Doing church” in a college town is interesting.  When we first arrived (nine years ago) our church attendance was about eighty people, 50% of them were college students.  We quickly learned that you cannot build a church with college students, for a variety of reasons including that they are very transient and the majority of them leave town after they graduate.  As the years have gone by, things have balanced out and we are now a multi-generational church with people of all ages and stages of life.

However, since we are in a college town, it is imperative that we minister to the college students God sends our way.  We have tried different things to reach out to them: tailgating parties at the football games, small groups, a Sunday night service geared to them, etc . . .  We finally realized that there are wonderfully effective campus ministries, meeting the spiritual needs of the college students.  What could we offer them that would be different and unique?

One of the things we heard over and over from college students is that they want to be a part of a family.  That’s what they are missing while away from home.  We have a lot of families in our church, how could we match up these families with these students?  This fall we implemented “Adopt an Eagle”.  (The eagle is our university’s mascot.)  It is a really simple yet effective strategy for connecting students with families in our church.  The families adopt a small group of about five students and have them over for dinner two times a month.  That’s it – nothing more.  At this point we have about ten families and 50 college students participating.

As students come to the families homes to eat a home cooked meal, they feel like they are a part of that family.  They get away from their dorm or apartment and sit around the dinner table and share what’s going on in their life.  The parents get to listen to the students share and encourage them.  I speak from my own experience that this has become as meaningful to the families as it has to the students.  In fact, I call our group of students “Our Little Eaglets” and am learning to love them as parents love their own children.

We had them over for Easter dinner last Sunday and even had an Easter Egg Hunt, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Easter Egg Hunt

One of our Little Eaglets brought us a card on Easter – this is what it said:

Card from Danae

Curious about what Philippians 1:3 says?  “I thank my God every time I remember you.”   Who would have known something as simple as having five students over for dinner twice a month would make such a big impact on their lives.  Are there college students (or young people that age) at your church?  Could you reach out to them with Jesus’ love and a meal?

Your Friend in Ministry,

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How to Keep Your Marriage Blossoming

As mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend was one of the best Easter weekends I can remember.  Part of what made it special was an answer to a prayer that I have been praying for many years.  I have a very dear friend who attended our church while she was a college student.  She led worship at our church and was a leader in the youth group as well.  Through the years we became close friends.  I have been praying for the Lord to send her a Godly husband for about eight years now.  She moved back to her home town two years ago and finally met Mr. Right.

A picture of me and my husband and the happy couple:

Friends

She and Mr. Right came for a visit this weekend and we were able to give her a bridal shower, which I was grateful to be part of planning and organizing.  It was a lovely shower with yummy food and beautiful decorations, mostly fresh flowers.  Based on the flower theme, I was given the special honor of sharing some words of wisdom with the bride-to-be.  What follows is a rendition of what I shared, which is a good reminder for all of us, no matter how long we have been married.

To keep your marriage blossoming, do two things:  #1) water it and #2) remove the weeds.

#1)  Water it by:

  • The first way you water a marriage is by remembering that God sent you your husband as a blessing.  Remember the special feelings you are feeling right now.  You are feeling grateful to the Lord for sending you your husband.  You are feeling blessed and full of hope for the future.  Remember these feelings, they will keep your marriage blossoming as the years go by.
  • Another way to water a marriage is through prayer.  Many women pray for a husband before he comes their way.  Prayer, then, becomes a significant part of your relationship before you even have a relationship.  Prayer is what planted the seed of a future relationship and prayer continues to water the seed that causes a marriage to grow and blossom.  Don’t neglect praying for your husband, now that you got him, keep praying for him.  Pray for wisdom & strength for him as the leader of your family, pray for your attitude towards him,  pray that the Lord will protect your relationship, pray that you can be a good example of Christ & the church to those who see you.  Pray Bible verses over your relationship.  A great one to start with is Ephesians 4:32, Amplified  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.  If you make prayer a priority in your relationship – praying for each other and praying with each other – it will grow.
  • There are many ways to water a marriage.  Three important ways are to water it by remembering the beginning feelings of love, water it with prayer and finally, water it with kindness.  Being kind means you are friendly, generous and considerate.  Kindness is expressed not only in what we say, but more importantly, in how we say it.  You can water your relationship with kindness by becoming a good friend to your husband.  Actively listen to him when he talks about things that are important to him, do things with him that he likes to do or at least watch him do them.  Be generous with your husband.  Make sure he doesn’t always get the leftovers of your time, attention or efforts.  Be considerate of him and his feelings.  It can take very little to keep a husband happy – show him he is needed, wanted and liked by you.  Make sure you tell him you love him.  Make sure you show him you like him.

To keep your marriage blossoming, #1) water it and

#2) Remove the weeds.  Weeds can crop up in every relationship.  Weeds are detrimental because they suck the nutrients away from that which you are trying to nurture and grow.  There will be many weeds that will try to rear their ugly head throughout the years – pride, disappointment, fear.  But I want to warn you of one common and dangerous weed called “comparison”.  Scripture tells us that comparison is unwise.  Yet it is human nature to compare.  You see how a friend’s husband treats her & you compare that with how your husband treats you.  You see the type of marriage others have and you compare that to you & your husband’s.  Comparing your husband to someone else’s is like comparing apples & oranges – you can’t compare them because they’re not the same.  As soon as you see a weed of comparison trying to rear its ugly head rip it up before it takes root.

For that matter, anytime you see a weed of any sort crop up, yank it out as soon as possible.  When you look at a garden and see a bunch of weeds – what you are really seeing is neglect.  Don’t neglect your marriage through the years.  Tend to your garden.  Tending a garden requires a lot of work, but the beauty, fragrance and fruit that is produced is well worth the effort.

To keep your marriage blossoming, water it and remove the weeds.  Thankfully, you have the full resources of the Master Gardener, Jesus Himself.  He chose you and your husband for each other and he desires for your marriage to bear fruit for His kingdom.  As you look to Jesus, he will be your hope, comfort, strength and peace and will allow your marriage to bloom and blossom throughout the years.

Are you tending your garden?

Your Friend in Ministry,

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