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Parents


The Parent Connect: The Power of a Symbol (part 1)

consumedym : March 16, 2014

A symbol is an object that has meaning attached to it, but it is also a great tool in the parent’s tool belt.

Here are some examples of important symbols you may have in your life that carry important meaning:

  • a wedding ring
  • refrigerator art from when your teenager was a child
  • a family heirloom that was passed down to you
  • a moment in time that was captured in a photograph
  • an item from your childhood home that takes you back in time when you look at it

Symbols are powerful. Today I would like to suggest that you harness the power of symbols to help pass down faith to your teenager.

If you read the Scripture, especially in the Old Testament, you will see that God used symbols and memorials to remind His people who they were and who He is.

Think that’s weird Take a look at Washington D.C. and you’ll see tons of memorials and monument set up to help us remember certain people, places or events. Our nation’s history is marked my monuments, just like the nation of Israel. All of these are ways we are reminded of something huge.

If Symbols are a powerful tool for our identity as a nation and if symbols are tools in the hands of our God to communicate to His people, don’t you think using symbols in your home might make a difference?

If I took a tour of your home today and your teenager was the tour guide, would they show me any objects in your home that have special meaning to them? Would there be symbols that remind your teenager of your family’s faith?

Would I find a place marked out for devotions or prayer? Would I be led to the place where families gather together at the end of the day to share how their days went? Would I find pictures of your family from an incredible trip you took a few years ago?

Or would I be guided to the TV? Or the computer? Would I find symbols that do not exactly help you pass down faith?

It’s time to harness the power of a symbol. Get creative and think through a way you can fill your home with meaning through powerful symbols. If you are looking for ideas you can check out the Rites of Passage Experience part on our youth ministry website. There are some really great ideas in that material for symbols to share with your teenager.

This newsletter is my way to encourage you as a parent. Your job is so important, and our youth ministry is cheering you on as you pass down faith to your teenager.

If you have a prayer request or if you want to talk with me about your teenager just contact me. I look forward to serving your family.

Cheering you on,
– Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: Clearing the Way

consumedym : March 3, 2014

We’ve also started a brand new feature that will enable parents to listen to the lesson on Wednesday nights. We’ve got the technology, why not use it? So, we’ll do our best to get a recording of the lesson from Wednesday Night on our website for you to engage in conversation with your student about the things we’re talking about.  Click here for the latest teacing.

In our last session I invited you to do a very practical exercise called REBEL and REPEAT. This week I would like to begin by handing you a machete.

A machete is a long knife typically used in the jungle to cut through thick brush and create a path.

I want to hand you a figurative machete and inspire you to start carving out a path through life for your teenager to follow.

There is no greater spiritual influence in the life of your teenager than you. As your teenager’s youth pastor, the smartest thing I can do is to set you up to blaze a trail of spiritual heritage for your teenager to follow.

That is why I want to encourage you to live out Psalm 145:4 with your teenager.

“One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.”

Here are 3 ways you can blaze a spiritual path for your teenager:

Close the old trails- You might have had a trail marked out for you by your parents that led to lots of pain. We’ve been following a trail ourselves. You don’t have to continue that path. Noticing the old path and knowing where it needs to end can be a huge blessing to your son or daughter. You can close that trail and mark a new one for your teenager to follow.
Mark the trail in word and deed- Far too often we try to make a spiritual impact on our teenager through words alone. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” Consider adding actions to your words. This has a multiplying effect on the integrity and influence you have with your teenager. It’s not meant to heap guilt on your past, but for you to really consider how your current actions speak volumes to your son or daughter today.
Don’t force it- You can mark a beautiful path for them to follow. You can make the entrance clear. You can shine a light on it showing them where to go, but you can’t make them follow the path. That is ultimately their choice. You can’t control their actions or their faith decisions, you can only guide them.

If you haven’t checked our the Rites of Passage Experience yet, please go to the website to check it out. It is another simple and powerful way that you and I can work together to blaze a trail and help you pass down your faith to your teenager.
As always, please don’t hesitate to call or email me with any questions or thoughts you may have.

Feel free to forward this newsletter along to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to receive one too.

Your partner in ministry,
-Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: Rebel & Repeat

consumedym : February 8, 2014

If you missed the last newsletter, you can click here to check out some incredible resources such as all of the Rites of Passage material. We’ve also started a brand new feature that will enable parents to listen to the lesson on Wednesday nights. We’ve got the technology, why not use it? So, we’ll do our best to get a recording of the lesson from Wednesday Night on our website for you to enjoy. The purpose for this is so that you can engage and talk with your kids the things we’re doing on Wednesday nights.  Click here for the latest lesson.

I want to ask you to visit your past and consider Rebelling or Repeating part of it.
One way to dynamically change your home is to have the courage to visit your own teenage experience. How did your parents raise you during the teenage years? What was your experience like? What did your parents teach you? What values did they pass down to you?

It is so important to think back on that time even if it is painful for you because pain can have a purpose. It can show you where you need to rebel.

Your parents were not perfect, just like you are not a perfect parent. So there have to be some areas where you could give your teenager a better experience than you got. This is where I’m suggesting you Rebel against your past. Don’t make the same mistakes your parents made.

A great exercise for you to do after you read this newsletter is to grab a piece of paper and make a list of five different ways you want to rebel from the way you were raised. In this case, rebellion is a very good thing. It can be one of the greatest gifts your teenager ever receives.

The second part of this exercise is to Repeat.

I am not at all trying to beat up on your parents. Your parents hopefully did a lot of things right. Think through the different areas where your parents did a great job raising you as a teenager. These are the things you want to make sure to Repeat with your teenager.

It is so powerful when you and I repeat the great truths and experiences we received from our parents. It is what builds a legacy.
So, on that piece of paper where you made your REBEL list, make a list called REPEAT and fill it up with five different ways you are going to give your teenager what was given to you.

1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”

I love that passage because it boldly proclaims that, “I am not afraid to take responsibility and set a path for you, as my teenager, to follow.”

As a parent you are marking a path for your teenager to follow. One of the best ways to insure that the path you are carving out leads to Christ is to look back at the path your parents marked out for you. This will allow you to determine what you should Rebel against and what you should Repeat.

I am proud of you today for taking time to consider how important it is to lead your teenager on a path toward Christ and setting them up to do the same thing one day for their children.

If you would like to share your list with me, I would love to hear them. Send me an email with your answers. Thanks for taking some time today to spend with me. I love serving your family!

-Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: Attitude Check

consumedym : January 25, 2014

Would you like to see your teenager have a better attitude?

As the leaders of the home you get to set the attitude example for your teenager to follow. It’s a gut-check reality that forces us to look deeper into our own attitudes first.

Philippians 2 displays Jesus’ example of the right attitude:

Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God highly honored him and gave him a name above all names, so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here are 2 quick takeaways from Philippians 2 that can help change your attitude in your home this week:

  • Be Cautious with Your Own Interests – So many times we do things out of a very selfish desire. Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t do anything for selfish purposes.” This verse really challenges your motive. Why do you do what you do? Taking care of yourself is not a bad thing. In fact it sets you up to love your family from a position of health. But do a double-check on the purpose or motive as to why you’re doing what you’re doing. Jesus was fully God. But even though he held that position of high authority, he didn’t take advantage of that. What can you do this week to take care of yourself in a way that will show you are watching out for what is better for others?
  • Look to the Interest of Others – It is not wrong to take care of yourself; but it is wrong to take care of only yourself. The Midrash (a collection of Jewish stories) taught that no Hebrew –not even a slave–could be commanded to wash feet. What is fascinating is that Jesus chose to do that in John 13 in order to set a standard of what love looks like. The whole attitude Jesus tried to convey was one of love. To love is to serve. The attitude of Jesus was to serve others in the most self-less way possible. He did things no one wanted to do. He gave up his own life so that others might live. It’s a very different attitude. This example is one that could revolutionize your home.

If your attitude adjusts to look more like Jesus, you might be surprised to see your teenager’s attitude follow that example. So let me ask, how’s your attitude?

Your Biggest Fan,
-Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: Helping You Stay Calm When Your Teenager Isn’t!

consumedym : January 11, 2014

In the last newsletter we talked about Reacting vs. Responding when communicating with your teenager. If you missed it, I encourage you to go to our website to check it out: consumedym.org. It’s loaded with tons of information for you to use and enjoy.
This week, I want to continue that thought by sharing with you a very practical tip to help you stay calm when your teenager is not. It’s called the Rewind and the Flash Forward.

Have you ever noticed that when your teenager is with their friends, they tend to show their best sides; but with you they tend to let their guard down and often times we see their worst sides? When your teenager spews their anger and they show you the worst part of themselves, they are giving you a twisted compliment. They are saying, “I want to show you something that I’m afraid to show everyone else. It’s boiling inside of me and I’ve got to get it out. I’ve got to put it on somebody and I trust you.” When you see this they say, “I believe you’re still going to love me.”

So how do you stay calm? The first step is the Rewind. To rewind you go through the baby pictures of your teenager when they were a sweet little kid. Go find a really good one that when you look at it, it makes you go, “Awe!” What you want is to experience as positive emotion when you look at it. Once you have that, scan that picture and put it on your phone or computer as your screen saver or background. Stick that picture in your car on your dash board or mirror, or put it in your wallet. Really, just put it anywhere that you can see it because what that is going to do is keep in the front of your mind the image of this sweet, adorable little child.

There will be days when your teenager is simply not fun to be around. They’re fighting wild mood swings. They don’t always know how to deal with life so they take it out on you. So when the only image you have in front of you is a screaming teenager, to stay calm you might need to rewind to the image that you have from their childhood. When you rewind it reminds you that that sweet little child that you’ve been looking at is still inside of your angry teenager—and they’re worth fighting for.

The second step is the Flashforward. Imagine the 35 year-old version of your teenager—when they’re an adult. Imagine your teenager now as a wife or a mom, or a dad and a husband—as an adult that’s out there in the world, pursuing their career, living life with character and passion. When you flashforward you can be inspired to parent in such a way that the 35 year old version of your teenager will come back and say, “Thank you!” They might say, “Thank you for not giving in to me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being patient with me when I was pretty much a jerk.”

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When you rewind to remember that sweet little child that still lives in your teenager and when you flashforward to dream of the adult-version of your teenager, it will help you stay calm and offer a gentle answer instead.

So take God’s word to heart today and see how it can change your family.

-Pastor Michael

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