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Time Matters

consumedym : November 2, 2014

I hate the clock.

No. Really. My grandpa used to collect them. But I ignore them. Ask anyone who knows me at all. When it comes to time management, I’m the worst they’ve ever met. If I’m supposed to be somewhere in five minutes, it usually means I still need to look for my phone, finish reading whatever I was reading, get the kids dressed, brush my teeth, look for my keys, put the kids in the car, go back inside the house to find my phone, and then I will be on my way. It still hasn’t sunk in yet—all of that might take longer than five minutes.

In my daily fight against the clock, there’s a couple of things I’ve learned:

Time is moving. I can’t stop it. I can’t trick it. I can’t manipulate, cajole, or woo it to change. Time moves at it’s own pace regardless of my schedule or my priorities.

There may be no better example of how time moves than watching my kids grow up. This past year, my daughter turned two. That may not sound like a big deal to you. But I promise you, she was born yesterday. It’s like in the “five minutes” it took me to get out of the house for the day, she learned to talk, walk, and play dress-up. For some reason, her birthday hit me in a new way.

I can remember thinking “this is the last day I will ever know Ryann as a one-year-old. Soon, she will be two.” And I wondered, “Did we do everything we should have in this season of her life?”

Do you have those moments, too? It’s when the panic sets in.

Most of the time, I’m not thinking about how fast she is growing. But then, something happens like a birthday or potty training. . . And then there’s that moment of panic. What if I missed a step?

That’s why I love Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Actually, I’m not really sure what “to number your days” really means. It sounds a little fatalistic. But I do know that as parents, we have a limited number of days to influence our children before they grow up, move out, and become adults.

But that doesn’t have to make us panic. When we number the days, it can actually help us relax—because we know the number of days. We can pay attention. We don’t have to wait and feel surprised when they turn eight, and twelve, and fifteen and twenty-two. We see it coming and trust that the investments we make today are having a lasting impact.

So this week – relax.

You don’t have to make the most of every minute with your kid. You can’t. It’s just not possible. And if you try, it might drive you and everyone around you crazy.

But you can make the most of each week. By showing up in their world and being present, you are creating history with them. You are making memories that will lay a foundation for their future.

By being present this week, you are reminding them they have value, they are a unique individual, they belong and have purpose. You are making small investments that will add up over time because TIME has a cumulative effect.

So keep doing what you are doing.

The clock is ticking, but the good news is that TIME may be the best platform you have for investing in the life of your son or daughter. What you do this week matters.

Walking this journey with you,
-Pastor Michael

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Harnessing Your Spiritual Influence (part 2)

consumedym : September 28, 2014

I just want you to know that I am your biggest fan! You as a parent stand on the front lines when it comes to raising your teen. That means you take the hardest hits! And I want you to know that you are not alone. I’m rooting for you. That’s why understanding the role you as parents have in the spiritual training of your teen is so important.

It can get a little mixed up at times. I know it’s easier to let someone else argue your point for you, but you need to know that your teen listens to you much more than anyone else. It doesn’t seem like it, I know, but it is true.

I want to be your backup, not the other way around.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Now, what’s interesting about this verse is that it is a proverb, not a promise. Proverbs are observations about life in general. This verse is not a guarantee that your child will “repeat” your faith. Instead it is an assurance that your influence in their lives makes an impression that they can’t forget. And that influence will continue with them when they are old. It is my goal to cheer you on as you make your mark of influence on the soul of your teenager. Let’s work together to paint such a beautiful picture of Christ that they run to Him with their trust.

Have God-confidence in your ability to train them to become Godly adults. After all, He chose you to be their parent.

Walking this journey with you,
-Pastor Michael

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Harnessing Your Spiritual Influence (part 1)

consumedym : September 7, 2014

What is a baked potato without a steak? French fries without a juicy hamburger? Salad dressing without a salad (for those healthy eaters)? It is incomplete and somehow lacking. The same goes for the spiritual teaching in our teenager’s life if we as parents don’t become actively involved. Youth ministry was never intended to be the sole source of spiritual training.

Ask yourself this question. Who do I depend on to teach my teenager the precepts of God? This question is often easy to answer but very hard to admit. You don’t need a degree in theology to have confidence in teaching your teenager about who God is and what you believe. You just need His confidence. It’s called God-confidence.

If you read Scripture, it’s pretty hard to deny the importance of role of parents in passing down faith. They are meant to be the primary spiritual influence in the life of their kids. All kinds of research and studies of teenagers and their families support this as well. Parents are still the main influences in the lives of their teenagers.

So if all of that is true, then I have a question…

Why do so many of us depend on the youth ministry in our church to be the primary spiritual influences?

Now, I’m not trying take you on a guilt trip at all. I just believe that if we can work towards a healthy balance in this area it would change our families.

You see if the spiritual influence in your teenager’s life were a meal than your influence would be the meat. The influence of your youth ministry would be the appetizer or the dessert.

I only see your teenager a few hours a week at the most. That is no comparison to the amount of time you spend with your teenager.

Now don’t get me wrong. I believe CYM is vitally important in to you, your teenager, and your family. I believe we have some of the best teaching, small groups, experiences around. But any healthy youth ministry serves a support role to the ministry that happens between parent and teenager.

So what can you do about it? First of all, don’t settle for just dropping your teenager off at church. Second, refuse to be passive about faith in your home. Try setting a regular appointment with your teenager where you can discuss your faith together. Finally, engage the youth ministry that your teenager is a part of. A great way to do this is to listen to our sermon podcast so you can ask questions about what we’re teaching.

Another simple way is to use the Rites of Passage Experience. These are some incredible ways for you and your teenager to work together and simply have spiritual conversations about important things going on in their lives.

Walking this journey with you,
-Pastor Michael

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Sibling Rivalry (part 2)

consumedym : August 17, 2014

Last time we talked about sibling rivalry and if you missed the newsletter, you can always go online and read the article at our web page, consumedym.org.

This isn’t an easy issue by a stretch. We are dealing with unique individuals who have not yet learned the concept that they quite possibly could be flawed. This might actually come as a surprise to your teen. Teenagers react very passionately to actual or perceived injustices.

It reminds me of Luke 9 when Jesus was speaking to His disciples after His transfiguration. Jesus was visibly transformed before their very eyes. He was communicating with the Father and with those who had long passed. For the disciples, it should have been one of the most spiritually encouraging events. But somehow it ended up in an argument about who had more importance to Jesus among the Twelve. Sibling rivalry. Amidst the incredible joys of being so closely connected to the Father that Jesus could actually talk to him, listen to him and enjoy him, his disciples had to blow it with bickering.

“I’m better than you are. Na na na na na!” said Peter. John replies, “Jesus loves me more!” And of course James has to interject, “But I’ve spent way more time taking care of Jesus than all of you combined.”

All Jesus had to say was, “Whoever is least among you, this one is the greatest.” Have you noticed that Jesus always speaks truth in the most grace-filled way? He didn’t join in the argument. He simply reminded them the more important thing.

We have to teach our teens that it’s about others. Serving is way more important than being served. But first, our actions will be much louder than our words!

How do you as a parent serve your teenager? What do you do when your teenager is the most ungrateful punk on the block? How do you respond when you slave hours over a meal only to find that your teenager makes an off-hand comment that implies it tastes like dog food.

The toughest thing to do as a parent is to continue serving in those moments. You know, those moments when you see your teenagers at their worst. When siblings fight and bicker and just cannot get along. Those moments wen World War 3 seems to be starting in your van ride to church, nonetheless. Those are the moments you remind your teenagers that rivalry is overcome by service.

So let me ask you, how are your serving? Who is greatest among you? Is it the one who serves? Or the one who dominates? I challenge you this week to be the example of Christ–who served in a much greater way that we ever will–to your kids this week.

Your Biggest Fan,
-Pastor Michael

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Sibling Rivalry (part 1)

consumedym : July 20, 2014

Have you ever heard that silence can be loud? It’s that very loud, very obvious absence of sound after your teenager has just had another argument with their sibling and stomped off in the other direction. Does it ever stop? Do they really love each other?
We will be discussing sibling rivalry and what you, as the parent, can do to foster relationship between your teen and their sibling(s).

World War III doesn’t seem that impossible when you experience it first hand. It has to start somewhere right. Well, I believe that these world changing wars begin in the back seats of minivans! And I don’t care what the ages are of the children who are sitting in the back of those minivans. Whether they are 2 or 18, they have a hard time sharing even the same air without some kind of skirmish resulting.

Why do siblings have such a hard time getting along let alone acting like they love each other? Even the very first siblings, Cain and Abel, obviously had very serious issues! Siblings will forever be competitive with one another. They compete for the best grades. They compete for athletic positions. But mostly, they feel they are competing for your attention. And their sibling stands in the way of that accomplishment in their mind.

Is one of your children more athletic than the other? Can one sing and the other can’t? Does one teen make better grades with less effort? Is one taller, shorter, wider, thinner? Yes, yes, yes to all of those! From the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep, our teens are made to feel that they must compete, to stand out. Have you seen the magazines, movies, and TV shows lately?

So where is the first place that our teens will feel the need to compare themselves? In the home. Why do they snap at their “annoying” little brother, but can have the patience of Job with his best friend. Why will they “absolutely not” allow their little sister to even touch their clothes, but will allow 10 of their friends to borrow anything they want?

One of the things that is imperative to teach our teen is to respect and love others–including their siblings! John 13:34 says, “…As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We have to help them see their siblings as individuals and not as a thorn in their side! Respect must be shown in words, actions, and tones. Tone means far more than any spoken word! You can tell someone to stick it where the sun don’t shine or say “Yes, ma’am” and mean the very same thing just by the tone you use.

We also have to allow individuality in our teens. Each of our teenagers rarely has the same type of personality. Please let that be okay! Often we, as parents, feel that we have to treat them the same because it’s fair! It’s not fair to treat an introverted teen the same as you would an outgoing teen! If one is musical, delight in their music and quit trying to make them a football star. If one is athletic, cheer wholeheartedly at their games and quit signing them up for drama camp! We have to help our children be who God created them to be. When we respect and love them unconditionally, maybe they will respect and love their siblings unconditionally too!

Your Partner,
-Pastor Michael

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