Are you a builder or a wrecker?

Pastor Jeremiah shared this poem in church today. 

The author is unknown.

   *******

I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave-ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and the sides fell.

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled
And the kind you would hire, if you had to build?”
And he gave a laugh and said, No indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What other builders have taken a year to do.”

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
“Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder that works with care
Measuring life by the rule and square.
Am I shaping my deeds to a well made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down.”

   *******

One Topic

Two weeks ago, I planned to send out an e-mail to our volunteers and families seeking extra help for our Easter services. But, by the time I left our staff meeting the list of information to include in the e-mail had grown to include all of this:

  • Children’s Easter Programs
  • Serving Opportunities for the Easter Programs
  • AWANA Grand Prix – Get your cars now!
  • Indian Hills Summer Camp – Watch for registration soon!
  • Summer Blast (VBS) – Mark you calendar for this fun week!

I included graphics for each area, bulleted all the right items, put the headers in bold and made it very readable considering all the info that it contained. As pretty as I made it, I didn’t get one single response for people to come serve. 

This week I sent out an e-mail and focused only on the serving opportunites for Easter. I highlighted six areas we needed help in, and included the time slots when the help was needed. So far I’ve gotten at least 20 responses of people stepping up to serve.

Our people sent me a pretty strong message this Easter.
“If you want to communicate with me, make it clear, make it concise, and keep it to ONE TOPIC. Especially if you’re expecting me to communicate back with you.”

********

Since posting this message 3 days ago, I have now gotten another 8 responses for help. Really, keep it short, cover one-topic at a time. It works.

TV Influenced my kid, how about yours?

My 9-year old son, Brendan, had a friend over after church last Sunday. They played out in the yard all afternoon and had a great time.

When I went to put him to bed he proudly said, “I ate a cricket’s head today.”

cricket1

“Wow! . . . Um, why would you do that honey?” I asked.

“Joel and I were playing Man vs. Wild.” he answered.

***********************

I’m not opposed to the show Man vs. Wild, and I think it’s kind of funny that Brendan actually ate a cricket, but I’m left wondering what else is he picking up from watching TV? Is it good, is it bad? Am I monitoring it enough? How much time IS he spending in front of the TV?

If you don’t think TV has an influence on our young people, good or bad, you’re fooling yourself. If my real-life story isn’t enough proof, check out some of these studies:

What do I need to know about children and TV
Lots of stats and interesting information. 

Children And Watching TV
Good insights on actively participating in viewing with your child.

As parent, it’s your responsibility to know what your kids are watching and the message that their absorbing. Make a commitment this week to track the hours they spend in front of the TV and take time to watch some shows with them. Then filter those influences against God’s word and decide for yourself what should be allowed and what shouldn’t. 

Zazu – A 25-Year Reminder to Pray First

Curious Zazu - Senegal Parrot
Curious Zazu - Senegal Parrot

 

Last Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted to get a parrot. I had talked to some family and friends who have birds and it sounded like a fun adventure.

I spent a few weeks talking to people familiar with birds. I did research on the internet checking out breeds. I gathered information on the proper feeding and care. I even watched some u-tube videos explaining how to train birds. Like a any good pet-owner, I did lots of research and homework in my process of deciding whether or not to add a new pet to our family.

However, unlike any good Christian, I didn’t take time to pray about it.

And now I regret it. I let the fun and excitement of a new pet overshadow the need to ask God his opinion. I pretended that doing all the good research and getting educated was like seeking God’s direction. But I never once stopped to ask God if adding this new pet would be his plan for our family. 

I’m sure if I had taken the same amount of time praying over this decision as I did researching, I would have come back with a clear answer from God, “No. this is not a wise choice for you.”

Now, I’m paying the price of not praying. I have this senegal parrot that will be with me for the next 25+ years. Making a mess, stealing my food, acting like the family alarm clock and getting on everyone’s nerves. That’s a pretty stiff penalty for running ahead of God and not seeking his direction.

Zazu loves to eat people food!
Zazu loves to eat people food!

 

Let this be a lesson for you to not forget to ask God for his input on the decisions you are making. When we wander off God’s path in the wrong direction, we ultimately pay a price. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but there is always a cost.

 *************

P.S. Zazu is a very sweet bird, he does just what birds are supposed to do, and when I have the time to devote to him, he is a lot of fun.

On the bright side of things, I now have 25-year reminder to always pray first.

Nickels and Dimes

Is it just me, or are all parents in America getting nickeled and dimed to death?

I just went through my check book and over the last month, my family has spent an additional $363 in unbudgeted items for my kids. This figure includes money spent on class projects, class parties, baseball banners, silent auction donations, field trip costs, ministry donations, church events and more.

As “good” as all these things are, at some point I’m going to have close the check book and just say, “No, we’re not paying for that. We’re going to have to sit this one out.” It doesn’t take much to break a family budget when you’ve got three kids still at home.

What I’m seeing with many organizations fighting budget cuts and lack of funding, is an assumption that they can continue the same programming and events by passing the burden of cost onto the participants. They do it in such a way, that it’s difficult not to comply. For example: I signed my son up for baseball, but didn’t plan on the extra $50 for a banner, silent auction donation and opening day fundraiser. If I choose not to pay, then the burden falls to our team mates. My child also goes to public school, but I didn’t plan on spending $36 for a field trip that happens during school hours. If I choose not to pay, then he’s given a packet of tedious homework to do instead of getting to experience the trip.

So what is a parent to do? I could stand up, and make a fuss, and refuse to do my part, but I’m not that brave. Instead, I’d like to start an underground movement that would hopefully take the world by storm. It’s a new way of rethinking things with the goal of saving us all a little extra cash. It’ll help us step away from the mind set of doing things bigger and better and push us to get back to the basics. Here are some crazy ideas to get it started:

  • Let kids create their own team banner and skip the end of game snack. Savings: $50
  • Cut the cost of the field trip from $36 to $15 by going to the mission that’s 40 miles closer to home this year. Savings: $21
  • Bring a sack lunch to Big Bear ski trip. Savings: $10
  • Build a California Mission out of recycled goods and scrap paper. Savings: $50
  • Plan a movie night with the youth group at church instead of going bowling. Savings $20

   * * * * * * *

Let’s get rid of the idea that the basics are boring. We need to learn that fun doesn’t always cost money, and bigger isn’t always better. Really, if you think hard, any great experience you’ve had, happened because of the people you were with, and not the surroundings, or money you spent making it happen.

As a ministry planner, I’m committed to not nickel and dime my families to death by asking them to fund our events. Instead, I’m going to get creative and provide an environment that will allow for tons of fun, excitement and learning on a shoestring budget. If I can’t do it with what I’ve been given by God, through budgets and supplies, then I won’t do it at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of these items used to cost much less, if not be totally free, but with every organizations shrinking budget, the cost of doing business is getting shifted more and more to the participants.

Drugs, Spin the Bottle, School Fights – Part 2

If you’ve done your homework from Part 1 of this blog post, you’ve hopefully gotten some good conversation out of your Jr. Higher. I’m sure you discovered a few of their beliefs that may have gone slightly astray from where you’d like them to be. Here are a few tips on some creative ways to redirect and intentionally guide them back to better ideas and values.

The Set Up

Instead of telling your Jr. Higher how wrong their views are, work up creative ways to help them experience and see where their beliefs are not accurate.

For example, my son has begun to put more emphasis and importance on the outside appearance of people than he is on their personality and who they are on the inside. Left unchecked, this belief could cause him to make poor choices in girlfriends, his wife and his friends as he grows older.

St. Patrick’s day is coming so I’m going to bring home two gifts. One gift will be wrapped in cool paper and look very appealing. The other I’ll put in a recycled gift bag or maybe even a lunch sack. Inside the “Cool” looking gift will be some sort of cheesy toy. Inside the “ugly” gift will be a new CD he’s been wanting.

During dinner, I’ll bring out the gifts and let him choose. He will most likely choose the “cool” gift, so I’ll give his brother the other gift. He’ll be in for quite a suprise, when he opens the “cool” gift with the cheesy prize, and his brother opens the new CD from the lousy, cheap bag. Even if he chooses the “ugly” gift, the experience will still make an impact because he’ll witness and experience the same idea, only instead of being sad he chose the “cool” gift, he’ll be elated he chose the “ugly” one. That would have even a greater impact in the long run.

By taking the time and effort to set him up, I’ve helped him experience that sometimes the outside of the package isn’t a good picture of what might be on the inside. 

It’s important not to ruin the experience by explaining the purpose of it to your kids. Just let them sit and soak on it. However, I will follow this experience up later in the week by starting a conversation with the boys when we have some time together. I’ll start it by asking Jarrett, “When you picked the “cool” gift, what were you hoping would be inside?” That’ll spark a conversation between the three of us that will then open the door for them to share their thoughts and ideas.

Side Note: I can include Brendan, age 9, in the set-up because he’ll be happy with either gift.

Make it Cost

Know that your kids are going to make poor choices and be prepared. In fact, be prepared to deal with some of the same issues over and over and over again. But don’t take it personally and don’t think that you are failing as a parent.

When you kids do make poor choices, make it cost them something like time, money or labor. 

Last weekend, Jarrett had a friend over and they were playing hide-and-seek all over the house. (I thought they were too old for that, but I guess not.) Jarrett hid in a pile of laundry that was waiting to be put away on the love seat in my bedroom. In the process of being found, he tossed the pile of clothes all over my bed, all over the floor, all over my room. I didn’t discover the mess until I went to bed that night. I could have yelled and screamed but instead, the next day, I told Jarrett he could put away all my laundry for me. When he asked why, I calmly and simply said, “Because it’s not where I left it. Thank you for the help today.”

I don’t like to use restriction or take things away unless it absolutely necessary. Instead, I prefer to give my Jr. Higher additional responsibilities appropriate for the poor choice he made. It needs to be a cost that will help to emphasize that choosing poorly or taking shortcuts, desn’t pay off.

Jump Into Their World

If you really want to get a more comprehensive view of your Jr. Higher’s world, volunteer to work with them. You can do this through church, at their school, or through sports. I’d recommend not volunteering directly with your child, but with their peers. I volunteer at our church’s Jr. High group on Wednesday nights, but I work with a group of girls. That way Jarrett still has freedom to do his own thing without his mom hovering around.

I have gotten so much insight by being around kids his age. Although I’m saddened by many of the issues that the kids are struggling with, it’s reassuring to know that it’s not just Jarrett who’s got problems. Some of his quirks and bad habits are just a part of the stage he’s in. Here are few things I’ve observed over the last few months about most kids in this age group:

  • Life is all about friendship.
  • It’s okay if I talk bad about you, but not if you talk bad about me.
  • I don’t want to be picked on.
  • The way I look is important.
  • I talk in half sentences cause my friends know what I mean.
  • Every sentence ends with, ” . . . and, yeah.”
  • I know what’s right, but it’s hard to do what’s right.
  • I want to know that I’ll be missed if something happened to me.
  • I don’t understand why people say one thing, and do another.

Lastly

Surround your Jr. Higher with other adults who share the same Godly values as you. Get them involved in a youth group on Sundays or during the week. Encourage their grandparents to invest some one-on-one time with them. At this age they begin seeking validation for their beliefs, and what mom and dad think, just doesn’t count. 

You want you kids to hear good stuff, from lots of different sources and from people they respect. If they don’t get that reinforcement, it will become harder and harder for them to resist those worldly temptations. They won’t have any reason not to believe the lies that marketing, TV shows, movies and even friends tell them about they way they should choose to live their lives.

Drugs, Spin the Bottle & School Fights

. . . Drugs . . . Spin the Bottle
. . . School Fights . . . Scary Movies
. . . Girlfriends . . . Dating

I’ve had some great conversations with my 12-year old son, Jarrett, over the last few weeks and the above are just a few of the topics that have come up. If you talked to Jr. High kids across America, I’m certain the resulting list would be similar. It’s almost like there’s this magic door that opens in the 6th grade exposing kids to so much more of the world than we would like.

So as a parents, how can we raise our children to make choices that are honoring to God and respectful to themselves and others? Below are the first three steps I recommend taking. These steps will help you get the best picture of what your child is being influenced by, if they are struggling with anything, and what they think and believe about their world in general.

Listen & Observe

You can’t provide guidance for your child if you don’t know what’s happening in their world. Be intentional about spending one-on-one time with him/her. This will open the doors for some great communication.

If you struggle with getting your child to talk openly, find a casual environment, conducive to conversation, where you can spend a few hours together. Good places to try is the mall, miniature golf, fishing on the lake.  Bad places would be the movies, the dinner table or places that keep you too busy to chat. The more time you allow, the more interesting and honest the conversations will be. It takes children time to build trust in a adult and their motives. They live in a world that is quick to judge, quick to rebuke and doesn’t always value the ideas of this younger generation. 

Your goal is to provide a safe environment that encourages their thoughts and ideas. Don’t offer advice or correction during these meaningful conversations. Save that for later. Just be attentive, be observant and ask good questions.

Remember, sometimes children simply struggle with articulating their thoughts, so allowing plenty of time gives them an opportunity to put their thoughts into speech. You’ll have to resist the urge to finish their sentences, otherwise you’ll be putting words into their mouths, and they’ll just be saying what you want to hear, and not what they really think.

Keeping the Conversation Going

You can easily get a conversation going by asking questions. Avoid general questions like, “How was your day?” This would be too broad, and won’t help your child to focus on a particular subject. Practice asking questions like, “Hey how is your friend Jake doing, I haven’t seen him in a while?” By honing in on a specific topic or person, it will get the gears in your child’s head rolling. If they don’t answer right away, just wait. They may be thinking.  Once they answer one question, they’re likely to jump to a new topic on their own. If they don’t, ask another question and then wait. Patience is the key.

Once your child is engaged, keep the conversation going by asking them more open ended questions.
“Why do you think your teacher handled it that way?”
“What would you do if you were faced with the same situation?”
“If you could change one school rule, what would it be and why?”
“What do you mean by . . . . ” 

Be sure to . . . repeat what they say so they know you are listening.
Empathize with them, “That must have been a hard decision to make.”
Build their self-esteem, “That was a wise decision.”

But don’t . . . make judgement with your mouth or your face if you disagree with their thoughts. Don’t give advice unless you are asked. Don’t tell them what you think, unless you are asked. Don’t lecture. Don’t dominate the conversation. If you do any of these, your conversation will mostly come to an abrupt halt.

Remember, you are there to listen. Correction, guidance and discipline, if needed, can come later.

Initiate the Hard Conversations

There are some topics that your kids may never bring to you, no matter how much they trust you. They are just too difficult. When it comes to things like drugs, alcohol and sex, these are the topics that you will need to be more forward with.

You can start these conversations the same way:
“I heard the drug dogs were on campus today. What was that like?”
“One of your sisters classmates were drunk and wrecked her car the other day. What age do you think it’s okay to start drinking?”
“It sounds like you’re really learning to appreciate girls. Tell me three ways you can a show a girl you care about her.”

Again, questions like these will begin to pry open the door to conversation and let your kids know that these topics are not off limits to talk about. Remember patience is the key. They may try to avoid the topic or laugh and giggle, but it’s important to keep going. You may want, or need, to feed them bits of information to provide some education on the subject, but allow enough spacing in between to ask them what they think or if they have any questions. It’s okay for there to be silence. It gives them time to think.

You might be fearful of exposing your child to information that they might not know, but it’s only a short matter of time before they do. Wouldn’t you rather be the first person to influence them instead of the last? If they are already aware of a certain issue they won’t be so enamored with it when their friends talk about it for the first time. It’ll be old news and they’ll already have a firm foundational belief from which to make decisions. If they’re not aware of a new topic, their curiosity will most likely get the best of them, and without a firm foundation they’ll rationalize their poor choices with poor excuses.

These techniques will work for any age child, but I think Jr. Higher’s are the hardest. Your job this week is to spend some good time conversing with your child. I’m sure you’ll have a few surprises, good and bad jump out at you. Becoming a good listener takes patience and practice. I killed plenty of conversations with my kids with my poor choice of words or responses, but I’ve gotten much better with some intentional practice. The last few week have proven that my effort has definitely paid off.

Next time I’ll offer some suggestions for upgrading beliefs when they go astray, correcting the mistakes they will make, and furthering your understanding of this particularly puzzling age group.

 

Helpful Resources:

Wayne Rice – Has written several books on understanding Jr. High kids. They are insightful and helpful.

Love And Logic Parenting – Books, CDs, DVDs, Tapes For Parents From America’s Parenting Experts.

Boundaries with Kids – A book about when to say yes and when to say no to your children.


Throw a Glow Party

 

Last fall we tried a new outreach that wasn’t an alternative to Halloween, but rather used Halloween and the events surrounding it to promote our event. 

We threw a huge Glow Party, kind of like a mini-rave for kids with a Christian twist. It was amazing in many ways, and while not all of the ideas I share below will work for everyone, hopefully you can glean just one or two to apply to your next great event.

The Glow Party was designed to be entirely evangelist. Everything we did in promoting and planning was with the purpose of getting kids to come, hear the gospel and respond if God had spoken to their heart.

 

Getting the Word Out

Since this was a new event for us, I knew we would need to promote it like crazy, not only to our unchurched neighbors, but also to our own church family.

Front of the Invitation

We created 15,000 Glow Party Invites, each with a glow stick attached.

Then we contacted our local school PTA’s and asked if we could sponsor a booth at their fall carnival. We told them we would provide the game, the volunteers and the prizes. Thirteen out of the eighteen schools we contacted took us up on the offer. We did take time to make sure that each principal was aware of exactly what the prizes were, as well as the wording on the invitation. We’ve learned that if we don’t use Biblical references, like Bible Stories, Worship, etc., the schools are pretty permissive. Some of the schools were selling glow sticks so we swapped those prizes out for fun dip with the invitation attached. Some of the schools didn’t need more booths or games, but took advantage of the volunteers and prizes. That used up about 6500 of the invitations.

You can only imagine the impact we had on the school community because we supported them with our people.

Since I couldn’t possibly pass out the remaining 8500 invitations myself, we enlisted the help of the entire church. We invited all our MHK families, members of Sunday Schools, Bible Studies, and the general congration to help us spread the word. And we gave them lots of ways to do this:

  • They could pick up a bag of 50 invites and hand them out to friends or neighbors during the two week prior to Halloween.
  • They could pick up a bag of 50 invites and hand them out on Halloween
  • They could take a bag of invites and a carnival game and host a mini carnival in their front on Halloween.

Many people came to us with their own ideas for passing out the invitations. One gal talked her principal into passing them out to the entire school. Another volunteer was able to get her city’s park and recreation department to approve passing them out to the kids in the after school program. Another connected us with all the after school Bible clubs and we were able to pass out 800 invitations that way.

The response was overwhelming. We could have easily given out 20,000-25,000 invites if the budget had allowed for it.

 

Planning the Party

We chose to host the party on the Saturday after Halloween hoping to capitalize on the holiday momentum. We also wanted to intentionally provide an opportunity for the parents to experience our Saturday Night “Live @ 5 Service”. We knew it was risky hosting an event the night after Halloween, but we took the chance anyway.

Because we hosted the event during a regular service time we needed to provide a program for all ages. We created a mini-program for the nursery, and age-appropriate programs for the preschool and elementary kids. All of the areas were decorated with black lights strategically placed to accent the programming. In the nursery and preschool they were placed in corners of the rooms so half the room could be lit with regular lighting and half with the black light. That way it wouldn’t be too dark for any one. In the elementary area, we used the black lights to accent the stage. We also decorated with blinking light balloons, glow spheres and fun shimmery decorations.

 

Age-Appropriate Programming

We adjusted the program for each age-level and added lots of fun glow elements to the activities that were planned.

Nursery Area

  • We provided UV reactive Bubbles for the kids to play with.
  • We had fun, kid friendly glow in the dark tattoos to put on their hands.
  • They had glow-in-the-dark beach balls to toss around and use for games.

Preschool Area

  • Made their own glow gak.
  • Created fun shapes with UV reactive Chenille Sticks
  • Each got a glow necklace at the door.
  • Could get their cheek painted with UV reactive face paint.
  • Had UV reactive bubbles to play with.
  • Played games with a glowing beach ball and glowing hoops.
  • Heard the gospel message using glowsticks to represent the wordless book.

Elementary Area

  • Got to choose 3 Glow items from the “Glow Shop” (necklaces, sticks on lanyards or bracelets).
  • Could get their cheek painted with UV reactive face paint.
  • Made an example of their favorite hobby with UV reactive Chenille Sticks
  • Participated in some awesome worship.
  • Heard a message from Moses’ life of when he came down from the mountain and his face was glowing.
  • The message led into an invitation to accept Christ.
  • Saw a presentation with UV painted props that floated across the stage accenting the words of a song.

 

The Results

The response from the community was more than we hoped for. We had close to 800 kids come that night. Thankfully we planned with flexibility in mind so we were able to adjust.

We know at least 5 kids accepted Christ, but I believe there were many more. There was such a crowd that we weren’t able to capture the numbers like we would have liked. When Pastor Greg, gave the invitation he told the kids to find a leader and squeeze their thumb. There were so many parents that the kids wouldn’t have known who were leaders and who were parents. But one little girl approached my husband who was standing with his hands folded. She grabbed his hands, pried them apart and squeezed his thumb. That made his night.

During the following weekends we recorded at least 4 families who have begun attending our church as a direct result of the Glow Party. One is a grandma who brings 5 grandkids on Saturday night and then the other 4 grandkids on Sunday morning. A month ago, I greeted another family who was just returning to our church and sited the Glow Party as the reason for coming back.

 

My Evaluation

We learned a lot throwing this first Glow Party and I would definitely make a few minor adjustments next time we host one. If you’re interested in those insights send me an e-mail and I’ll go more in-depth.

But here’s what was great about this event and what I’ve worked hard to make happen at our most recent events:

  • Our families and congregation were empowered to invite their neighbors with the creative invitations.
  • We built friendships and made a lasting impact at the local schools.
  • Our team worked hard, utilized their strengths and did an amazing job pulling everything off.
  • We shared the gospel with everyone who came.
  • Families returned and have gotten plugged in to Shadow Mountain as a direct result of this event.

 

Links to Make it Happen

I hope you’re as excited as I was to throw such a fun-themed event. Here are links to the retailers and places that helped make it all happen.

Windy City Novelties
All the glow sticks & balloon lights 

BlackLight.com
UV Reactive Paints, UV Bubbles, UV Chenille Sticks 

Oriental Trading
Glow-in-the-Dark Tattoos 

Silly Farm
UV reactive face paints 

Party City
All the black lights 

Michaels
UV/Glow-in-the-Dark Craft glue used for the Gak 

 

 

 

 

My husband ticked me off today!

It’s my day off and I had plans to go walking in Wright’s field today. Robert, my husband, asked if he could come along, so I jokingly said “If you can keep up.”

I like Wrights field because it has rolling hills that provide just enough resistance to get my heart rate just high enough to burn some calories and fat. I can go as fast or as slow as I like and do some thinking at the same time. It’s great.

At 8:30 we hopped in the truck to take our youngest to school and go on our walk. As we pulled into parking lot to drop Brendan off, my husband pointed at an old access road leading up the side of the canyon and asked, “You wanna walk there?”. 

“Sure.” I’m always game for something new. Or so I thought.

Our truck is at the bottom of this trail
Our truck is at the bottom of this trail

 

So we drove across the street and parked in a little field at the bottom of the access road. I grabbed a water bottle and started my nifty heart monitor watch. It tracks my heart rate, calories burned, time exercising, time in the zone and time of day.

We started up the hill, and after about 50 feet, my heart rate was already at 140. I looked up the access road which just led up, and up and up, and said to him quite crossly, “Are you kidding me?”

I thought to myself, “This is really, really lame. Why did I let Robert hijack my morning plans?  This is going to be hard. Really hard!” I was so angry.

There went my plans for a nice, comfortable, effective morning walk. But I’m stubborn and not a quitter, so up the hill I kept trekking.

At some points this hill must climb at a 40% angle. It was steep, really, really steep. There were no areas to catch your breath, no flat spots to make it a little easier. It was ALL up hill.

My heart rate was topping 175 and my husbands a mere 100. 

His encouragement would just make me more angry. I didn’t want to be pushed to work harder or get more fit. I wanted to do it at my pace.

But about 3/4 of the way up the trail,  God started speaking to me.

Overlooking El Capitan lake.
Overlooking El Capitan lake.

“Katie,” he said, “Isn’t this what life should be like. If you stay comfortable and move at your pace, you won’t grow very fast. If at all.”

“Ugghhh!” Why is God always right?.

His little nudge changed my whole take on the hike. If I look at this as a challenge, and opportunity to grow, then maybe it’s not so bad after all.

So I continued, only now my heart was in it and I was actually enjoying it. We made it to the top in about 35 minutes. Wow, what a view!

**********

Isn’t that what life is like?
Like what ministry work is like?

We don’t always like being challenged, or stretched, but it’s good for us. And once we get to the end, our perspective it totally different. It makes all the hard work worth the effort. It’s so rewarding.

I’m thankful I have a spouse who doesn’t let me sit idle, who challenges me to grow, and pushes me when I need it.

**********

 

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13