Friday, 28 October 2011

an empowering perspective

The following are quotes from a collection of speeches that Michelle Anthony gave at the Upswing Children's Ministry Conference hosted in Edmonton, AB, Canada in Sept. 2011. The quotes were directed to children's ministry workers but I think they have just as much relevance to parents today. These snippets of her conversation caught my heart's attention and I haven't been the same since.

1. The mind and soul learn differently.

2. Your job in a child's life is to nurture and train the soul.

3. This generation is anemic in soul care. We are soul doctors.

4. The work is not ours, that is up to the Lord. But we need to allow the divine to flow through us to meet those we encounter: our kids, friends, other parents, etc.

5. If you know nothing satifies like Jesus, a lack of faith will fear kids taking part of the world. I don't mean have a lack of boundaries or rules, but if you know they won't be satisfied with the world, why are you scared to let them have a taste of it?

6. Stop saying to kids "Don't love the world". Instead offer kids something more compelling that they can do, like "Love Jesus."

7. When I hoist my sail, I am cooperating with the wind. If I want to change my direction, I take my sail down. Are we cooperating with the Spirit and the work He is doing in our kids' lives?

8. It is so rare to have someone cooperate with the Spirit in this crooked and depraved generation. So much so that when it happens, it glows!

9. God redeems everything. His wind is always blowing.

10. Sometimes we don't turn to God with issues because we think they are too trivial for Him. How that breaks His heart.

11. The end goal is faith. Faith is what Jesus will be looking for when He comes back.
Faith is 1. Conviction 2. Personal surrender of heart 3. Corresponding conduct based on the first two.

12. We want to see kids know God's voice, desire to obey it, and obey it in the power of His Spirit.

13. Inheritance - Passed down - Artifacts - Dishes - Objects with stories - Sentimentality. How are you posturing your heart so as to pass on your faith? ... We need to be in constant communication about everything with God; He is in charge. We need a posture of dependance. Passing on faith from generation to generation was God's idea and design.

14. Where you aim your heart and what you believe determines the outcome of your life for eternity.surrendered life to obedience, where we put God's word into action; a life of being hearers and doers of the word.

15. When we talk about faith, we think to the house built on the rock. What is the rock? It's a surrendered life of obedience marked by putting God's word into action by being hearers and doers of the word.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


When was the last time you had a really good work out? I'm talking about one of those good-for-the-soul, gave-a-little-extra, feel-on-top-of-the-world-even-though-you-can't-stand-up-anymore workouts. Maybe you went for a run or perhaps you participated in a group class of some kind? I confess I haven't had one of those physical workouts in a while.

But I'm really okay with that ... because recently, I have other muscles that are being toned, worked and pushed: the muscles of my faith. Don't get me wrong, I totally endorse physical activity as a healthy way to release stress, especially during difficult soul journey moments.

But sometimes the soul work the Lord is doing in us requires all of our physical strength too. Perhaps that's why it's so important to be in good shape - so that when our hearts and souls are in those immediate pressure situations, we can draw on the strength we have developed. At the very least, that is most definitely why we need to be strengthening our faith muscles in the off seasons.

So often though, we don't train our faith muscles in the less intense seasons of our heart journeys. Yet, it is in the quiet times where we rest and build up our strength for the times when we are tested. Reading the Bible, seeking the Lord, and practicing spiritual disciplines all contribute to exercising our faith muscles.

Jesus practiced in the off seasons. The Bible says that “Jesus grew in wisdom…” (Luke 2:52). Being fully human, he had to learn and prepare before he too was tested. And He drew on those lessons during his desert temptation - quoting scripture He had spent time memorizing. For a while, I thought that those verses and the strength to resist just magically came to Him because He was fully God. But He was also fully human, and He had to learn. What an amazing example He sets for us. We know firsthand that it’s not as easy as a wave of a magic wand.

When the muscles of our faith are tested,
it looks painful {just like the physical}.

Training is not easy work. It takes motivation, effort and discipline. It’s a very real reality for me that I pretty much need to exert the same amount of effort to psych myself up for a work out that the workout itself will take. But isn’t it true that the worthwhile things take effort?

Our faith muscles need to grow too. At times, it will be painful for us. It’s also painful to watch others go through those seasons – whether it’s our kids, friends, those we work with or other family members. But we have a trainer who knows what He’s doing. We can trust Him. He knows us so much more intimately than we know ourselves.

Are you in a time of training right now? Utilize it. Are you in a time of testing right now? Endure it. God is in control – you can trust that both of these seasons have value, and whatever one you’re currently in, have faith that you will see the other one soon.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


I babysit two kids twice a week for two hours at a time. Try saying that ten times fast. I absolutely love it.

This family also has two cats. I used to love kittens when I young, until I was old enough to realize that they turned into cats. I've never been the biggest fan of cats. I think my distain for cats began in my teenage years. And now, in hindsight, I believe it came from being so like a cat - the selfishness, the short temper, and the conceit. As I've grown older, I've changed and so has my view on cats - just a little. I know now that they are a little more affectionate than I gave them credit for. This new view is largely credited to Ernie, one of the family pets where I babysit.

So there I was, starting an ordinary Wednesday afternoon with the kids when Ernie comes up to me for his regular back scratch. He purrs and jumps on my lap, and confidently plops himself down on his back, encouraging a tummy rub. I obliged.

I couldn't have anticipated what happened next.

Ernie pooped. On my pants.
Turns out Ernie is a little sick.
Turns out Ernie has diarrhea.

It gave me a whole new understanding to the phrase, "Cat caught your tongue?".
I was speechless.

Feeling only slightly bad for the sick cat, I turn to the five year old and ask her to go get some paper towel, baby wipes, tissues, anything. She obediently runs away complaining about the stench. Lucky girl, she could move from the smell. Ugh.

Mixed with sympathy and laughter, the words "Did you know that cat feces can carry toxoplasmosis?" was the response I received from both my Mother and best friend when I told them. Please note: should you ever be as unfortunate as I was to encounter such a situation in your own life, make sure you scrub and wash REALLY well.

Thank you, Ernie, for giving me one more reason not to like cats. In one fell swoop, you have undone all the hope you had started to give me. Back to square one.

Thank you, Ernie, for reminding me to be thankful in life for the little things and the reminder not to take myself too seriously.

Praying that you would be encouraged to smile amidst whatever unexpected 'crap' comes your way today.... literal or otherwise.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

.:.It's okay, right?.:.

Her five year old determination was taking over: the desire to be independant and able to do things on her own. She had already asked for my help once, she was sure she wouldn't need to again.


The piece of construction paper had ripped almost in half as she had tried to pull it from the pack.

Oh no. How was she going to react? Tears? Anger? A firm resolve not to make a card anymore?

A look of startlement came over her face.
Blink. Silence. Blink. More silence.
Each blink seemed to parrallel an acceptance of the situation.
Processing... accept... blink. Repeat.

A few seconds went by, she looked at me and said, "It's okay that my beautiful pink paper ripped, right?"

A look of startlement came over MY face.
Blink {processing, accept and repeat}. Blink.

Why wasn't she upset?! She had been so careful, and now it was ruined.
My perfectionist tendencies emerged
and I projected my own internal immediate reactions onto her.

"Yes, it is okay." I responded, astounded by how the maturity her response showed highlighted my own immaturity.

She continued to take the page out of the book, placed it in front of her and started to decorate it.

The pink paper won't ever be the same, but it is okay. It will still look beautiful. It is still usable. It will still be loved by whoever receives that card because she saw it's potential.

Two hours babysitting... and the Lord teaches me about His grace and redemptive heart.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Aggressive Little Boys

Boys and girls were created differently; it's not rocket science. Both genders were made in God's image and when brought together, make a beautiful picture of completeness.

In babysitting, internships and life experiences, I've noticed the aggressive tendencies of little (and bigger) boys.

The Bible says to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mk. 12:30). Jesus says this is the greatest commandment and is to be prioritized over all others.

Did you catch the last point? We are to love God with our strength. What does it mean to love God with our strength?

Strength of heart: Loving God by being willing to endure all things; loving God by trusting in Him and His plans that exceed our own.

Strength of soul: Loving God by knowing His voice, desiring to obey His call and following through in obedience in the power of His Spirit.

Strength of mind: Loving God by using our free will to obey His precepts; loving God by growing in knowledge of Him and applying His wisdom to our lives; loving God by using our creativity.

Strength of strength: Loving God with the physical strength we possess; loving God by serving others; loving God by protecting others.

Strength is not a negative trait; it’s how you use your strength that matters.

If you have little boys you are trying to raise up to be godly men, who will stand firm in their faith and protect their families, I suggest you teach them to harness their strength and to use it to honor God.

Don't condemn their strength, but rather the poor ways they use it. In a moment where they have mistakenly used their strength for harm, rather than saying it is bad or wrong, say, “That's not what your strength is for”. Teach boys to praise God with all their strength.

As a boy moves from childhood to manhood, they need to be taught how to use their strength. Boys need to be affirmed in their strength. They were created to love adventure, to want to slay dragons and win a princess’ heart.

Loving God with all our strength is a command and calling for both genders. But it looks different when it’s lived out. And that’s a very good thing.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

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