Family Ministry

advice, thoughts, and discussion

Family Vacation

I am leaving with my husband today on a vacation. We’ll be going to the Outer Banks for his family reunion and then on to Buffalo, NY to see my family. I’m excited to see family that we haven’t seen since our wedding (it’s been 6 months) and relaxing on the beach as well, but I’ve gotta say…I feel pretty guilty.

Being in a ministry job, I feel like I’m letting my church, and God down for going away for a week and a half. So I started to do some research. Is it a good idea to go on a vacation? Am I letting people down by going? Why do I even needd to go on vacation? Are there any benefits to going on a vacation? After pouring through different articles…here’s what I found:

“Works causes your body to be under stress, though you may or may not realize it. Stress takes its toll in part on our body’s ability to resist infection, maintain vital functions, and even ability to avoid injury. When you’re stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill, your arteries take a beating, and you’re more likely to have an accident. Your sleep will suffer, you won’t digest your food as well, and even the genetic material in the cells of your body may start to become altered in a bad way. Mentally, not only do you become more irritable, depressed, and anxious, but your memory will become worse and you’ll make poorer decisions. You’ll also be less fun to be with, causing you to become more isolated, lonely, and depressed.”

So, basically – We all need to take a break every once in a while…Are vacations really the cure?

“Vacations have the potential to break into the stress cycle. We emerge from a successful vacation feeling ready to take on the world again. We gain perspective on our problems, get to relax with our families and friends, and get a break from our usual routines.”

And Vacations are a great way to get yourself re-energized and excited about work. Now what about that guilt?

You can afford a vacation but your neighbor, co-worker, or best friend can’t. The point of a vacation is to rid yourself from as much guilt as possible. If you are so distressed about taking a trip, maybe there’s something else holding you back. Alternatively, you can decide to donate some of your budget originally intended for travel to a charitable cause.”

What we really need to focus on is: vacations are good (as long as you’re not taking one every two weeks or so…), don’t be guilty as long as everything is in order, and make sure you are re-energized for work when you come back…and I think that you should make your relationship with God a focus on your vacation. After all, sabbath times are meant for making our hearts match His.

What’s your next vacation? And how can you glorify God through that time?

 

 

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Kids and the Christian Worldview

James Sire, author of The Universe Next Door, tells a story that helps explain worldviews and kids. The story goes something like this:

A boy came home one day and asked his father, “What holds up the world, Dad?”

The father answered with a storybook reply, “A camel holds up the world, son.”

But the next day the boy was back. “Dad, if a camel holds up the world, what holds up the camel?” The father answered quickly, “A kangaroo.”

Soon, the son returned. “Dad, what holds up the kangaroo?” Knowing he was now in trouble, the father said emphatically, “An elephant!”

“Come on, Dad, what holds up the elephant?”

Exasperated, the father blurted, “It’s . . . it’s elephant — all the way down!”

Besides illustrating that kids never stop asking questions, the story shows that when a parent doesn’t answer thoughtfully or replies flippantly, it doesn’t eliminate a child’s curiosity. Tough questions shouldn’t be avoided. In fact, they offer some of the best opportunities to teach a Christian worldview.

A worldview is “the framework from which we view reality and make sense of life and the world.” The best tool we can give our children is to teach them how to accurately make sense of life.

Some things that need to be clarified in a child’s life are:

1.) What is really real?

2.) Why do bad and difficult things have to happen?

3.) What are we supposed to do?

I know many kids go through a rough time with their faith when they hit their pre-teen and teenage years. I’ve oftentimes wondered why some kids brought up in Christian homes have these issues and why some of them don’t. After all, I know most Christian families stick pretty closely to Proverbs 22:6 – “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Right?

What if, just as much as teaching a child what the word of God says and how to act it out…we actually taught children how to have a Christian worldview?

What if we didn’t avoid the difficult questions?

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July Resources

Here are our Family Ministry resources for the month of July:

All Parents:

Orange Blog

252 Basics (1st grade-6th grade

Parent Cue

Extra Memory Verses

God Time Week 1

God Time Week 2

God Time Week 3

God Time Week 4

God Time Week 5

First Look (age 3- Kindergarten)

Parent Cue

Parent Cue Cards

Our services:

9:00 Sunday morning KidZone (small groups for 1st-6th grade, large groups 3s-preschool)

10:30 Sunday morning KidZone (Large group for 1st-6th grade, small groups 3s-preschool)

6:30-8:00 Wednesday night (teaching and games, 3s-4th grade)

6:30-8:00 X56 (Wednesday night extreme eXplosion for grades 5 & 6)

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The chains of debt

I have a lot of college debt. And when I say a lot…I mean A LOT. Most people come out of college with about $20,000-$30,000 of debt. I have somewhere between $75,000-$80,000. That’s a house! So, how are my husband and I going to pay off my college debt, his college debt (making our grand total around $100,000), and rent? Let alone food, gas, and other expenses.

I’ve been reading different articles about how to manage money, and they all seem to say the same thing. You need to make a budget and stick to it! Be radical about not spending your money. Don’t go out to eat or buy new clothes. Don’t even think about vacations!

I just read an article entitled, “Breaking free from Debt” and I want to share some of the information with you:

  1. Have a Written Plan

    A written plan is an absolute necessity to escape debt’s death grip. This plan’s success depends on your family doing two things: creating an itemized list of all your expenses, in their order of importance. And two, classifying our needs, wants and desires. Here are the differences between the three groupings:

    • Needs. These are life’s basic necessities. Food, clothing, employment, home, medical coverage all fall into this category.
    • Wants. Wants involve making choices about the quality of goods we consume: dress clothes versus work clothes, steak versus hamburger, a new car versus a used car.
    • Desires. These are the goods and choices we make not essential to our survival, safety or well-being.
  2. Determine Essentials for Living

    Eliminate unnecessary living expenditures, and look for services around the home that can be done without outside cost. If you hire a cleaning lady, roll up your sleeves and scrub the kitchen yourself or learn handyman skills yourself. Tile and grout your floors, build a deck or paint the house to save costs.

    One more important thing to remember: We assume “expenses” are essential only because of the messages our society sends.

  3. Think Before Buying

    If your family is in debt, evaluate every purchase (see Proverbs 24:3).

    • Is it a necessity? Have I assessed whether it is a need, a want, or a desire?
    • Does the purchase reflect my Christian ethics? (For example, certain magazines on the market do not reflect Christian ethics.) Can I continue to subscribe to magazines or belong to book, CD, or movie clubs while I owe others?
    • Is this the best possible buy I can get, or am I purchasing only because I have this credit card?
    • Is it a highly depreciative item? Am I buying something that will devalue quickly? (Swimming pools, boats, and sports cars fall into this category.)
    • Does it require costly upkeep?
  4. Cut up the credit cards

    If you are in debt from the misuse of credit cards, stop – totally stop – using it. Cut up the cards and mail them back to their respective companies and ask them not to send you any more. Include in your letter the plan for paying that credit card debt back and commit yourself to buying solely on a cash basis.

    While handing out the green for your purchases engrain new attitudes in your daily spending. After all, you’ll have to sacrifice some of the wants and desires in life to break free from debt; otherwise, you will continue to borrow and only get deeper into bondage.

  5. Avoid Leverage

    When in debt, avoid the use of what is called leverage. Leverage is the ability to control a large asset with a relatively small amount of invested capital.For example, if you bought a piece of property that cost $10,000 and required $1,000 down, that represents a nine-to-one lever. You have invested 10 percent of your money and borrowed 90 percent.

    Borrowing money to invest is not a scriptural principle, because when a Christian borrows the money from a bank to invest, the repayment of the bank loan is dependent on the investment making a profit. But if a profit is not made and the investor can’t make the payments, he or she loses the investment and still owes the bank. The result? Financial bondage.

  6. Practice Saving

    Practice saving money on a regular basis. This includes those who are in debt. Even if it is only $5 a month, develop a discipline of saving.This does not mean you should store up a large amount of money while failing to pay your creditors, but one of the best habits a young couple can develop is to save a small amount on a regular basis.

    Families living above the poverty level have the capability to save money, but many fail to do so because of the misnomer that small amounts can’t make a difference. Others believe that God frowns on saving anything. Neither of these two reasons is scriptural. The prevailing thought presented in the Bible is to save on a regular basis, and it is important that Christians develop good habits to replace bad habits.

I don’t have this figured out yet, at all. Let me know if you have any tips! I’ll let you know how this all comes out in the end!

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Let’s get rid of the anger monster

I tend to be an irritable person….okay, I guess I can be a bit angry at times. I know I shouldn’t be an angry person, after all I’m a Family Ministries Assistant Director. But, sometimes I just can’t seem to make my angry monster go away. You know what I mean, somebody just says something at the right time and it even though you know it shouldn’t…it sets you off. You find yourself calling your spouse to calm you down (unless it’s your spouse that upset you in the first place) and just wishing you could be alone or somewhere relaxing.

I wish I could be more like my husband. He very rarely gets angry. Rude or ignorant comments just slide off his back. He doesn’t get road rage when someone cuts him off and he can handle sarcastic remarks and doesn’t get bitter about things or hold grudges. Now, my husband isn’t perfect (though he might say he’s pretty close…) but he is doing way better at fighting off the angry monster than I am. What are some techniques that me and people like me can use to make this monster stop rearing its ugly head?

I know that environmental stress (work or unsatisfying environment) is a cause, my long (1 hour 20 minute) commute is a factor, and just the way that I’ve been wired are all contributing factors. But, there are some things that I’m starting to do that I think are beginning to help me.The major one being – living a balanced life.

a great article that I recently read states, “If we are to live a balanced life (not “swerving to the right or the left”), then we must be filled up with God. Because He is our Creator, His Word will literally be “life and health” to us.

But, regardless of which “software” we buy for our life, it is all installed through the same “D drive.” Everything enters through our “heart” (not the physical organ in our chest, but the spiritual core of our life). That is the key to, both, transformation and corruption. The Word of God, or the Word of corruption, enters through the heart and begins to take over our life. Then our life changes—for good or for bad.

So the secret to a balanced life is to “guard your heart.” We should post sentries at the gates of our heart so as to only permit entrance to words, or “programs,” which will lead to life and health. All of life will flow from what enters those portals.

Now, you may be wondering, what does all this have to do with anger?

Simply this: anger is one of the main “dashboard” lights in life. When we become angry (or encounter it in others), it tells us that someone’s life is out of balance. When that light starts flashing, wise people know to pull off the road and give attention to what is going on “under the hood.”

This made me think…what in my life is out of balance? Am I spending too much time working at home when I should be spending time with my husband? Do I talk to my parents and brother over the phone instead of watching that movie? Should I be exercising instead of napping? And am I spending as much time with God as I should be?

I quickly realized that my life isn’t balanced. I spend most waking hours working. I don’t sleep at night. I nap during the day. I don’t exercise or spend time with my husband or talk to my family as much as I should. And, instead of spending more time with God than during my morning devotionals, I just do more work.

I need to re-balance my life. I bet you might need to as well.

For more help and information, read this.

 

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Marriage….and stress

Ephesians 5:31-33, ” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become flesh. This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself , and the wife must respect her husband.”

Ephesians 6:1-4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother–which is the first commandment with a promise–that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate you children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

We are called to Love God first, then our spouse, then our children. In order to love our kids and to give them a stable and healthy home, we need to have a strong marriage. Now, I don’t have kids yet…but I am married. And my husband and I don’t often fight because of issues that we have with each other or because of sins that we have committed against each other. We don’t have huge problems, but we do fight.

I think it’s healthy to fight, to an extent (or as my husband and I say…we discuss, sometimes very passionately). There are some things that we shouldn’t fight about, and these are the things that we tend to fight about anyways, even in my marriage. We shouldn’t fight about external stressors. These are the things that we can’t control, the things of this world, the things that aren’t essential to our being or our lives.

A great way to explain why we do this is by explaining how we confuse our priorities. A great article that I think you all should read says, “Have you ever seen a gyroscope? In terms of physics, its purpose is to maintain orientation, by providing stability. You don’t need to understand this in depth to be fascinated by watching a gyro at work – frantic, multi-directional rotation, spinning on three axes, with a fixed center. This center, using the force of inertia, creates a stable force along a single axis.

We can use this metaphor to help us understand one purpose for which God designed marriage – to maintain orientation in three ways: husband and wife toward Him, husband and wife toward one another and, by example, others toward God. Without God’s stability, our marriages risk spinning frantically out of control.”

If you’ve been finding yourself fighting with your spouse and blaming them for your lack of finances, your messy house, your unhappy life, your disobedient kids…you’re looking in the wrong place. Stop looking to the right, and start looking up. The only way that you can help your kids is to;

First – know God and do everything that you can to become more like Him. Read your Bible, speak to Him, do what he commands you to do, and just spend some time LISTENING to Him. We tend to speak at Him an awful lot and forget that He may have something to say to us.

Second – Be selfless toward your spouse. Forgive them when they mess up. Do the dishes even if you were the one who cooked dinner. Instead of asking yourself, “why don’t they…?” Ask yourself “Why don’t I…?”

Third – Teach your kids about God. Teach them about His power, His love, His grace. Then show them. Show them by loving others. Show them by loving your spouse.

How do we produce Godly children? Teach them about God….and show them.

Here’s a challenge for this week: Read your Bible for 15 minutes a day, pray for 15 minutes a day, and make a date night with your spouse. If you already do this, try spending even more time in the Word and in prayer! I pray that your marriage will be blessed this week!

 

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