Kids and Worship

My husband and I are the children’s pastors at a local church in Tulsa, OK.  It’s not a huge church, but it’s full of great people who love God and people.  It is such an honor to serve the kids and their families on a weekly basis.

About 6 years ago we made a radical decision.  At least in our part of the world it seemed radical.  We had a lovely woman who used to lead worship for our kiddos in their weekly service.  She moved away to use her gifts on the mission field. When she left there was a large hole.  Who would lead worship for our kids?

It was not going to be me.  Sure, I sing in the car and in the shower.  However, leading people in worship is not my gift.  I’m great at administration, singing not so much.

We wondered what would happen if the kids in our church attended worship with the adults?  Would they be bored?  Would they be engaged?  Would parents freak out?  Would they be too loud?  Would they love it?  We decided to give it a try.  The kids still get dropped off in their classes each week, but then their teachers take them to worship.

You might be thinking this does not seem radical at all.  But for our church it was. Our kids spend so much time separated by peer groups.  They don’t always get to observe those older than them.  By bringing our kids into worship they are singing the same songs their parents, grandparents, and older siblings are singing.  They are witnessing those older than them worship. They see their parents raise their hands.  They see people they know and respect clapping, singing, dancing, and weeping. They gain a bigger picture of worship than they would get surrounded only by their peers.

Our youngest son will be 8 next month.  If you saw him in worship you might not know he was engaged.  He’s not raising his hands and some times he doesn’t even sing the words.  But hear me – he is engaged.  We know because when we get home on Sunday, ALL DAY he walks around humming the songs we sang in church.  He might not know all of the words to each song, but he knows the music.  It stirs his soul.  It sticks with him all week.

Our nieces came over yesterday.  We all go to church together.  You know what happened?  Yep!  All four kids were walking around and singing “Can’t Stop Singing” from Covenant Worship.  “Your grace for me will always be more than enough.  The power of Jesus Christ in me is more than enough.”

What great words for their hearts, and ours, to mull over all week!!

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Spring – almost!

I am counting down the days until spring officially arrives.  I love the sunny days.  I love when everything bursts forth to life after a long winter.  I love outdoor recess!!

This spring I’m involved in an exciting project.  I was selected as 1 of 500 people (from 5000 that applied!) to be a part of the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book “For the Love – Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards” coming this August.  I’m 6 chapters in and it’s hilarious and refreshing.  It is a beautiful reminder of God’s gracious love for us and the beautiful truth that we are enough in the roles that we live each day.  Can’t wait to share more in the days ahead.

The trees and plants are beginning to show signs of life, in the same way my heart is full and ready to bloom.  Come on spring!

Thinking of Home Educating?

In the past few weeks I’ve had several people ask me about Home Education.  I’ll be honest, it was never my original plan.  Thankfully, God’s plans are always better.  Personally, I feel every family must seek God’s wisdom on their education journey.  Every situation is different.  For us it was the right fit.  It was what we are called to do.  It is our journey.

Home Education does not have to be complicated and it does not need to look like the traditional model of school.  You get to tailor it to your children and their learning needs.  Some days are a blast and you feel like you are doing awesome juggling the wife, mother, teacher, disciplinarian roles at home.  Other days are just plain hard!  Some days there is a lot of laughter and joy.  Other days there are a lot of tears.  Mostly mine.  Easy days or hard days I wouldn’t trade the experience.  I love being in the middle of my kids education.  I love seeing their eyes light up when something clicks for them.  I love being able to talk to them about their character throughout the day.  I love that my character is tested regularly.  I love that God is molding us to be more like Him.

So, if you ask me about school I’ll tell you why we do what we do and encourage you to do what you are called to do.  If you are considering Home Education and feel overwhelmed by the idea – know that not every day is easy, but every day is worth it.

Christmas Happenings

The season of Christmas is by far my most favorite time of the year.  It is a time to reflect on the coming of our Savior, it is a time to fellowship with family and friends, it is a time for hot drinks and sweet treats, it is a time for Christmas plays, it is a time for parties, and it is a time for beautiful lights.   These are just some of my favorite things.

We are in our third week of Advent and have been reflecting on the word JOY.  As we light our pink candle each night we are reading through scripture looking at moments of joy.  Joy can be seen even in the darkness; it fills our hearts with strength.  Jesus, born a baby, brought joy to a dark world over 2,000 years ago. His joy, the only true joy, remains with us today.

I keep thinking of these lyrics this week:  Joy unspeakable that wont go away, just enough strength to live for today, so I never have to worry what tomorrow will bring, cause my faith is on solid rock, I’m counting on God!

As we celebrate Advent and look to the coming of our Savior we have also had opportunity to share Jesus’ love in different ways.  We had a fabulous time delivering homemade cinnamon rolls to our neighbors.  We also had a memorable time doing secret acts of kindness for those needing a little love this Christmas season!  It is exciting to see our boys heart’s full of JOY as they shared God’s love in tangible ways.

Just for fun I thought I’d share some Christmas poems that Micah wrote for school a few weeks ago.  Enjoy!

Cinquain:

Jesus

In a manger

Came to save us from sin

Grateful for the Holy Child

Savior

Acronym:

Sledding down the slopes

Noisily skiing

Old ice skates

When we’re done it’s cocoa time!

The Mayflower

Today we talked about the Mayflower and the voyage the Pilgrims made to a new land.  They left behind everything familiar to them to sail across the ocean and make a new beginning.  It was not an easy journey and there were a lot of casualties.  Not every decision they made was perfect, but they were a community that worked together to start a new life.  They built homes, grew crops, lived life, and worshipped God together.  They could have given up and gone back to England; but in the midst of their trial they stood their ground.  Eventually, more people followed them to America and our great nation was founded.

Our founders weren’t perfect, just as we are not perfect.  No elected official can ever be enough.  No elected official can ever fix all the problems.  No elected official can ever heal all the hurting.   Only Almighty God can fix all that is broken.  God is on His throne.  He continues to reign.  We must pray!  We must take a stand for what is right, and holy, and true!  We must teach our children as we sit at home, and as we walk, and as we lie down so that God’s words will be life giving to their souls.

The pilgrims made the best of their situation and continued to put God first.  May we put God first in every season as we seek His heart for our nation.

Week 1 – Done!

Our 2012-2013 school year kicked off Monday, August 27.  Micah started fourth grade this year, which seems impossible.  Jonas started Kindergarten, which is also pretty tough to swallow. Before I know it they are going to be all grown up. I’m trying to savor every moment of them being children.

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We have had a great week.  We worked through everything that I had planned, we are all still talking to each other, and we even had fun!  This week Jonas mastered counting by 10’s to 100.  He was pretty proud of this accomplishment. He also worked on writing and reading.

This week Micah realized that fourth grade means working more independently. Logic and Science are still his favorite things.  Today we talked about “air” and did some fun experiments to see that air does in fact take up space.  Micah has always liked school – thankfully that seems to remain true.

One more week before CC begins.  That will add a whole new dynamic to our day. For now we are off to a good start.  Praise God that he is at the center of all we do. There is no way this journey would be successful without him!

 

 

Commitment and a Concert (2009)

I am migrating my “notes” from Facebook.  This is from 2009.

On Sunday, October 18 we headed out from our house around 3:30 in the afternoon to drive to Norman for the U2 concert. We had bought our tickets 6 months ago, and finally the day had come to see the show. Loaded up with a full tank of gas, friends, and tons of tunes, we started off on our adventure.

What should have been a 2 hour drive turned into a 4.5 hour drive. Our plans to stop for dinner soon turned into fast food in the car, and our plans to be early soon resulted in us missing the opening act. We finally got to Norman and found the only place to park, a $15 parking garage. Upon paying the lady to park, she says “I hope there are still some parking spaces”. What? Surely you wouldn’t take our money if the spaces were all full? Thankfully, we were able to park and got to the stadium in time for intermission.

We found our seats and proceeded to wait for 45 minutes for the show to begin. Finally, 9:00 came – the stage lit up, smoke began to billow and music took over the arena. The excitement that exploded out of the 50,000+ fans was electric. We had a blast. We sang, we hollered, we cheered – we were truly part of the event. It is a memory I will not soon forget.

By 11:40 we were back in the car and proceeded to drive home which was another 3 hours in the car. In all we spent 7.5 hours in the car and 3.5 hours in the stadium!

During this eleven hours I was thinking about commitment. We planned 6 months ago to go to the concert, we committed time and money to the event, and we were more then willing to spend the unexpected 7.5 hours in the car for a once in a lifetime opportunity to see maybe the greatest band around.

It was so obvious during the concert that U2 is committed to bettering the lives of people around the world. People who need medicine, people who are treated unjustly, people who just need someone to care. And this band and the organizations they partner with are committed to making a difference.

It made me wonder why as Christians it is so hard for us to be committed. Shouldn’t we be ready to give of our time and money to help further the Kingdom of God? Shouldn’t we be willing to help out once a month in our local church to teach children about Jesus? Shouldn’t we be showing those who are lost and broken that someone does in fact love them and care about what happens to them? Shouldn’t we do that in practical ways? Shouldn’t that happen in our lives regularly, not just occasionally? But why is it so hard for us to make that commitment?

But then I thought well, maybe it’s not hard for us to be committed, it’s just that we tend to only commit to what we want to do. It would be easy for most of us to choose to spend 11 hours of our day committed to a concert we can’t wait to see, or to shopping, or to a movie marathon, or to golf, or to football. But it might not be as easy for everyone to commit to plug in at church. It might not be so simple to volunteer once a month. It might seem more of a burden to give more than one day. It is more uncomfortable, it is more long term and there is definitely less hype.

Why should it be comfortable? Jesus died on a cross. That was not comfortable. It was brutal, it was heart breaking, and yet it was completely necessary. For without that sacrifice none of us could know salvation, forgiveness, redemption, grace, unconditional love, truth! Yet, we want our commitments to be comfortable. We don’t really want them to be a sacrifice. We don’t want them to interfere with our lives.

I wonder too, why is there less hype? I mean JESUS DIED on the CROSS for our SIN so we could be SAVED from death!  But it didn’t stop there – HE IS ALIVE!  That is something to shout about. That is something to celebrate. That is something to share with everyone. You may not reach the millions impacted by a celebrity, but you certainly reach those surrounding your day to day. When you enter a room do you light up, does your joy electrify those you meet, do you leave people knowing that the God you serve is touching lives and worth finding out about?

Or are you too busy being comfortable to make a commitment?

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