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February 26, 2009
My twin brother, Mark, has always been a huge encouragement to me in my faith. As a missionary in Japan, Mark understands what it means to do hard things in a hard place. We often talk about the challenges of ministry and how we want to make a difference for the kingdom. I love his challenge here:
Will you be faithful to your call, even when it seems fruitless? Are you committed to Jesus and His glory in your ministry, and not towards numbers? God is in charge of the results as long as we are simply obedient.
I recall my good friend and mentor as a college student, Jim Luebe, saying, “I just want to be a faithful laborer over time.”
That is my goal as well.
- Read his entire post here
February 26, 2009
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Home is the ultimate small group for growth and mission in this world. Think about it. Home life provides a context of discipleship unlike any other where parents serve as primary pastors to their children. Mark Driscoll writes,
Because parents love their children the deepest, know them the best, and are with them the most, they are best suited to be a child’s primary pastor who gospels them, teaches them, loves them, prays for and with them, and reads Scripture to them.
I would only add that the home ought to be a place where parents model a missional life to their children. But let’s be careful not to go too far with this idea of home as a small group. Though it’s true that parents are the primary teachers and shepherds for their children, it doesn’t mean that the Church is secondary and unneeded. On the contrary, our temporary, earthly family is part of a bigger, eternal church family that reinforces and supplements the biblical instruction we ought to be giving in the home. Our home small group is not the church. It is part of the church, indeed, part of the body that grows and adds members through it’s common mission.
February 24, 2009
Mark Driscoll gives a realistic approach to doing family devotions at dinnertime:
Step 1. Eat dinner with your entire family regularly.
Step 2. Mom and Dad sit next to one another to lead the family discussion.
Step 3. Open the meal by asking if there is anyone or anything to pray for.
Step 4. Someone opens in prayer and covers any requests. This task should be rotated among family members so that different people take turns learning to pray aloud.
Step 5. Start eating and discuss how everyone’s day went.
Step 6. Have a Bible in front of the parents in a translation that is age-appropriate for the kids’ reading level. Have someone (parent or child) open the Bible, and assign a portion to read aloud while everyone is eating and listening.
Step 7. Parents should note key words and themes in the passage and explain them to the kids on an age-appropriate level.
Step 8. Ask questions about the passage. You may want to begin with having your children summarize what was read—retelling the story or passage outline. Then, ask the following questions: What does this passage teach us about God? What does it say about us or about how God sees us? What does it teach us about our relationships with others?
Step 9. Let the conversation happen naturally, listen carefully to the kids, let them answer the questions, and fill in whatever they miss or lovingly and gently correct whatever they get wrong so as to help them.
Step 10. If the Scriptures convict you of sin, repent as you need to your family, and share appropriately honest parts of your life story so the kids can see Jesus’ work in your life and your need for him too. This demonstrates gospel humility to them.
Step 11. At the end of dinner, ask the kids if they have any questions for you.
Step 12. If you miss a night, or if conversation gets off track, or if your family occasionally just wants to talk about something else, don’t stress—it’s inevitable.
Adapted from “Family Dinner Bible Studies” by Mark Driscoll in Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter, a study guide. (Mars Hill Church, 2009), pages 69-70.
February 24, 2009
Some thought provoking words about the evil of dish washers from Tim Chester:
1. Despite what all the adverts claim, they don’t wash as well. They mist over glasses and leave a soapy taste on things. We can all tell crockery, mugs and glasses that have been routinely washed in a dish washer.
2. They remove a great opportunity to train your children to serve. Doing the washing up is lesson 101 in serving others.
3. They remove a great opportunity for pastoral care. One person washing while another is drying is a great context for pastoral chats. It’s one-on-one. But you’re doing a task together so it’s not too intense. ‘How are you doing?’ ‘How’s your walk with God?’ Great questions to ask while your filling the washing up bowl. Or how about, ‘You know you wash up like a legalist’!
4. Dish washers guzzle electricity. Not as bad a tumble dryers (another evil and mostly unnecessary household appliance). So reduce global warming – and keep your hands beautiful and soft for free!
Agree/Disagree? I don’t know about you, but this was one of my household chores as a kid and it not only provided a way to serve the rest of the family, it also opened up time to talk with my mom while she washed and I dried. Likewise, for the first 6 years of our marriage, Jaime and I never had a dishwasher and we didn’t seem to mind. But … I think we’re glad we got one now that we have 3 small kids!
February 23, 2009
February 23, 2009
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True teaching aims at life change. I can teach an amazing lesson complete with powerpoint and handouts, but if my students haven’t changed, then have I really taught?
Knowing full well that life change is impossible without God’s intervention, there are still some things that we as teachers must do. I call it the M.I.A. (Missing in Action) as these 3 elements are often missing in our teaching:
- Modeling — (ME) It starts with me. The more I change, the more I can influence others to change. I must become what I want my students to become. Not a perfect example, but an authentic one.
- Involvement — (WE) I must get my class involved in the learning process. I must learn the art of asking good questions and become more of a leader than a lecturer. Too much of our teaching is entirely too passive.
- Accountability — (YOU & ME) When I’m done with my lesson, I’m not done. I must create an intentional plan of action to be done outside the classroom. Oftentimes, teachers feel the pressure to “get through the lesson” and leave out this important step. But good teachers follow up with their students to see if they did what they were asked to do in an environment of humility and grace.
If you’re aiming at life change, look for ways you can build these three elements into your teaching, all the while depending on the Holy Spirit to do what you cannot do.