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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Ready to go be Orange-d up

Sometimes the journey is just as important as arriving at your destination.  My friends and collegues and I have arrived safely in Atlanta for the annual Orange Conference.  We decided to again make it a road trip, and we really have the best time when we travel together.   At times, the conversation is quite serious and reflective, and at other times, we are laughing to the point of tears (and occasional “depends moments’).

Some 20 hours on the road (with stops along the way), we pulled into the hotel parking lot.  We were happy to be here safely, and able to stretch our legs out.

It got me thinking, our faith journey is sometimes like that roadtrip.  We  take friends with us, sometimes the passengers change, and sometimes we add more in, but we have deep and meaningful conversations, and other times we share tears – through laughter or pain.  We know our ultimate destination is important, but the stops and sights along the way add to the richness of the travel.

This week, I will be sharing my time with 3,000 other like minded Church leaders who want to help the family impact our children’s Faith Journey.  Our prayer for their ultimate destination is to spend eternity with the Saints before Jesus’ throne, but we need to make the getting there meaningful, because Jesus came ” that they may have life, and have it to the full. ” (John 10:10 NIV).

This week, all of my sessions at the conference (www.theorangeconference.com) are set to help me focus on building into the parents I minister among, so that they can build into their kids…all for eternity’s sake.  Let me quote the man behind Orange, Reggie Joiner, from his new book “Think Orange”.  In the introduction he says:

“There are two powerful influences on the planet – the church and the home.  They both exist because God initiated them.  They both exist because God desires to use them to demonstrate His plan of redemption and restoration.  If they work together they can potentially make a greater impact than if they work alone.  They need each other.  Too much is at stake for either one to fail.  Their primary task is to build God’s kingdom in the hears of men and women, sons and daughters.” (pg 20)

I can’t say it any better than that, so I won’t try.  As I reflect each evening, I hope to let you in on the insights, feelings and reflections of the day at Orange…it’s a journey worth joining the ride for.

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Tires and the Gospel

snow-tiresA sure sign of spring today – I took my car to have my snow tires removed.  While I waiting to give my keys to the owner of the garage, we got into a conversation.  It’s one of those that Christians pray to be able to have, and then hold our breath when it actually happens.

 

He asked if I was married to the minister with the same last name.  When I told him yes, his response was, “I would have never guessed that he was a minister.  He’s just a regular kind of guy.  Most ministers I know are so uptight.  Not Jeff.”

I told him that he had just paid my beloved the highest of compliments.

 

He then went on to tell me, that he had grown up in a Jewish community, but he wasn’t very religious.  I told him that neither Jeff or I were very religious either.  The look of amazement was something to behold.  I shared with him, that it’s religion that causes all of the problems people have with meeting God.  The Pharisees were really good at putting rules around people and their behaviours, but really lousy at pointing people to relationship with our Creator.

 

He agreed that the Pharisees were strict, and that’s how he has experienced a lot of ministers.  We talked about how in the Old Covenant, God desperately wanted a relationship with His people.  Adam and Eve were created to commune with God.  They broke that with disobedience, and we have managed to carry on – each generation perfecting the disobedience just a little more.  Jesus came to show us perfect relationship with God, the Father. 

 

I went on to share that Jesus came to fulfill the Law (all the details that had been put into place), and to establish a New Covenant.  One that would allow us the privilege of being in a right relationship with God.

 

It was there that someone else came in, and his attention needed to turn to other customers, but I pray that a seed will have been planted.  He had noticed that we seem to be upfront, honest and approachable people.  Not his experience with “religious” people.  He will have noted that again when it came time for me to pay for his expertise.  He said that if I was paying cash, it was X amount.  When I asked for a receipt, he said he’d have to charge me the tax.  My response was , “I planned to…unto Caesar, and all”.

 

How often do we get in the way of the Gospel we are trying to share.  Do we just say the words, or do we live a life consistent with the truth of the relationship we walk in.

 

When working with families, I remind them that their children are sponges, and they soak in everything they see the parents doing.  If service people are paid under the table, and taxes are not collected, then a logical conclusion for a child is, “Why report all my income? The Government doesn’t need all my tax…”.  Small things with a consistent message are what makes an impact for our children.

 

Praying before a meal, praying when we are in the middle of something difficult, or giving thanks for something good, all model true conversation with our Heavenly Father.

 

If I had been willing to pay under the table, after having a conversation about right relationship, what would that have said about how much I value what God is shaping me into?  Others are watching for Jesus followers to behave just that way – will we point them toward him, or help them to stay out of relationship with Him?

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2009 in church life, orange thoughts

 

Family time this Easter…

you-were-worth-itWe have just celebrated Palm Sunday – the remembrance of Jesus triumphant entry in Jerusalem.  It was this event that began Jesus final week, before the cross.  We in the church tend to do Palm Sunday, and  Easter Sunday really well.  We attend as families, not wanting to miss the opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifice, triumph and gift of the resurrection. But what about the days in between, and even after Easter Sunday. 

One of my devotional books many years ago, had, as one of the day’s focus during Easter week was titled, “If you are a Palm Sunday Christian, You are a Good Friday Traitor”.  Basically, it said that if we simply go from the party of Palm Sunday, to the celebration of Easter – we are no better than the friends who disappeared when the going got rough.  They were happy to be a part of the happy things, but when push came to shove, they were more concerned for personal safety, to the point of denying who Jesus was.

 

As you and your family have extra time together this weekend, I have included some links to activities for you to do together.  It will deepen your appreciation for the real meaning of Easter – and provide some opportunities to have real conversations about just what Jesus did for us. 

http://childrensministry.com/article.asp?ID=2138   a week of devotional time for the whole family.  It provides a short time of discussion and activity for every day this week.

http://childrensministry.com/article.asp?ID=2133  an easter craft…forget me not pot

If you and your family are bakers – try this together, the finished product is a sweet treat…

JESUS IS RISEN ROLLS

To help children understand the meaning of Christ’s empty tomb, make this fun and tasty treat.

Supplies:
1 can refrigerated breadstick dough
Large marshmallows
Spray margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Baking sheet
Wire rack

Directions:
Knead and press each breadstick into a flat circle. Place a marshmallow in the center of the circle and pinch the dough around the marshmallow. Roll the marshmallow-filled rolls into a round ball. Spray the rolls with margarine. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the rolls with the mixture. Place the rolls on a baking sheet with the pinched edges down. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until brown. Cool on a wire rack.

While the rolls bake, tell the Easter story. Then pray, thanking Jesus for taking our place on the cross. Then enjoy a tasty Easter treat as you celebrate that Christ’s tomb was hollow, just as these rolls are hollow.

For the artists in your family – here are a couple of colouring sheets:

http://www.dltk-holidays.com/t.asp?b=m&t=http://www.dltk-holidays.com/easter/posters/beaster10.gif

http://www.coloring.ws/t.asp?b=m&t=http://www.coloring.ws/bible/jesus/john3.16.gif

These are just a few ideas to make your Easter weekend not just be about the Bunny and the eggs…and to be more involved that being in church on Sunday.   Take time as a family to talk about just how big a deal it was to have Jesus die in our place, and to rise again on Sunday to show us the promise of living with Him forever.

If you need more ideas for activities this weekend, just pop me a note.  And have a very Blessed Easter as we gather to meet the One who died and rose to save us.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2009 in Uncategorized