I just spent a week at Camp Kletos with sixty-five campers, aged nine to fourteen. They were divided into six groups, each group led by two high school students, one boy and one girl. Six other high school students provided support in activities, and eight adults rounded out our staff. We played games, competed for points, memorized scripture, swam, attended workshops, presented skits, listened to morning teaching and worshiped. Yes, we worshiped.
This was my twenty-fifth year at this camp and I have always been amazed when the children step forward to worship. This year the boys led the way, stepping out of their seats and moving forward toward the band to lift their hands. They wanted to be in God’s presence.
At the beginning, their hearts were open in varying degrees. Some watched curiously; they were not too sure about this. Others entered in wholeheartedly. Many were in between.
Now, watching boys worship is always interesting. (more…)
Richard Mouw tells of a man from New Jersey in the South for the first time. He noticed that several menu items included grits, so he asked the waitress, “Miss, what is a grit?” She replied, “Honey, they don’t come by themselves.”
In a sense, Christians are like grits. We don’t come by ourselves, we come in relationships. (more…)
In the C.S. Lewis story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Father Christmas shows up and gives some unexpected gifts to the four children. With each gift, he explains its purpose and use so that each hero will be prepared for what is coming. Then he concludes by saying,
In our day, we are guilty of doing the opposite. We give our children gifts with this hidden message, “These are not tools; they are toys. Have fun!” Consequently, we are not preparing them for what is to come. We put today’s happiness above their future survival, their effectiveness, and their purpose.
We are raising kids who do not know who they are, why they are here, or where they belong. When I was growing up, we called people like that “lost” and spent time and energy trying to get them “found.” The church today has its greatest harvest field of “lost” people right in our own homes.
Over the next few weeks, I want to encourage you to see that special events are opportunities to give our children tools that communicate identity, community, and purpose.
In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him: We were slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord our God brought us out with a mighty hand. (Deut. 6: 20)
Paraphrased: When your children ask you, “Why do we have these special events each year?” tell them what you know about it and include God in your explanation.
Maybe they will ask “Why do we celebrate birthdays? anniversaries? graduations?”Tell them why these things are significant for you.
Your interpretation of how God has worked in your life can be put together with a special event. Special times are important because they carry emotional weight. This emotional weight marks events and conversations with significance and makes them memorable.
Today, let’s just focus on a birthday as a special event, close and personal to a child. (more…)
Bustling around to get every task complete really was a way of life, especially when company was coming! Life with our six children was full of activity—eventful, engaging, and exuberant! But on this particular morning, my “to do” list looked like it was going to win over my “got done” list! I was preparing our home, cleaning and cooking, for we were to have the great delight of having to dinner a missionary couple, Rob and Deborah Knight.
One way that we connected our kids not only to the community but to God’s purpose, is that each one had a missionary that was his own. Praying, saving change, learning about that country, each one had a vested interest in one particular thing God was doing. Whenever possible we would connect with that individual or family to build a friendship, a relationship.
So here I was…about 10:00 in the morning getting ready to wash the floor. Of course I hadn’t showered yet because I was scrubbing and cleaning….no make up, old clothes. Furniture moved out…check…mop and bucket….check. Unexpectedly, the doorbell rang. (more…)