Friday, January 14, 2011

Transforming children into Spiritual Champions

George Barna, yes the one that does polling, in his book, Transforming children into Spiritual Champions: Why Children Should be Your Church's #1 Priority, makes a case for churches and dare should I add Christian schools put a heavy emphasis on children ages 5-12. Having been in Christian education over 29 years, I can see why this age is so important to reach. Have churches and schools done a good job reaching these children? Read some of Barna's words below and then make up your mind.

Why focus on this particular slice of the youth market [ages 5- to 12-year old age range]? Because if you want to shape a person's life-whether you are most concerned about his or her moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional or economic development-it is during these crucial eight years that lifelong habits, values, beliefs and attitudes are formed. p. 18

Many Americans believe it is an intellectual stretch to suggest that every choice we make is spiritual at its foundation. For instance, some might wonder how something as commonplace and seemingly unspiritual as the entree they choose at dinner affects their spiritual lives. They fail to see that the content of the food ordered affects the health of their bodies, which in turn affects their ability to fulfill God's calling and purposes for their lives. Additionally, the entree will cost them money. The expense of the meal affects the amount of money they will have to apply toward the priorities they have established in their lives, whether that entails spending in ways that maximize their potential comfort, donating funds to meet the needs of the poor or any of the thousands of other ways the money could be spent. In fact, the choice of whether to eat in a restaurant or at home, as well as the selection of which restaurant to patronize, is a reflection of their sense of responsibility to God, family, community and culture.

The Bible alerts us to the fact that someday we will have to give an account to God for every choice we made (se Eccles. 11:9; Rom. 14:12) This includes how we utilized every resource He entrusted to us on His behalf, which encompasses money, relationships, ideas, time, possessions and words. It follows, then, that the only viable defense we will muster for a specific choice relates to the moral and spiritual foundation of that decision, because that is the basis of God's judgment. pp. 30-31

. . . the probability of someone embracing Jesus as his or her Savior was 32 percent for those between the ages of 5 and 12; 4 percent for those in the 13- to 18-age range; and 6 percent for people 19 or older. In other words, if people do not embrace Jesus Christ as their Savior before they reach their teenage years, the chance of their doing so at all is slim. p. 34

. . . by the age of 13, your spiritual identity is largely set in place. p. 34

Yet if we could see the world through God's eyes, we would quickly recognize that the only return on investment that truly maters is lives transformed to love God more deeply and to obey Him more perfectly. As you ponder how to invest your personal resources of all types-time, money, experience, ability, facilities, expertise, and so on-keep in mind that there is no better investment than nurturing our youngsters for an eternal payback. p. 42

When you try to be something that God did not make you to be, you can count on a life of frustration, dissatisfaction and failure. When you listen to the voice of God to discern what He has called you to be, then you are in line for the blessings that enable you to succeed in the ventures for which He created you. p. 62

. . . we have to remember that it is not we who cause transformation but the Holy Spirit working through us that brings about such inner change. Our responsibility is not to do it all and to perform with perfection but to be available and diligent in our personal spiritual growth and to be willing to invest in the spiritual growth of our children. God will do the rest, sometimes through us and sometimes in spite of us. p. 75

I invited her to sit on my lap while I told her the ultimate, indisputable way that she could know that I loved her more than anything else on the planet. "Buddy, I do everything I can to try to raise you up to be the woman that God made you and wants you to be. There is nothing more important than that you love, obey and serve God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul. And I do everything I can to help you be a little girl who grows up to be a big girl who is God's pleasing and faithful servant. There's nothing more special that any parent can do than to help his or her child honor God; and I will never stop trying to do the things that bring you closer to Him. That's more important than buying you nice clothes or giving you a cell phone, than letting you see every movie you want to see or giving you the biggest room in the house. I really want God and other people throughout the world to be blessed by who you are. pp. 135-136

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The Facts of Life

A fun book to read is Lisa Whelchel (yes, the "girl" from the tv show "The Facts of Life") is The Facts of Life: And Other Lessons My Father Taught Me. The Father in the title is her Heavenly Father. She comes across as a sold out Christian. It is an easy read, but has lots of encoragement in the pages.

I am recommending that you look to the Lord for your strength and thank Him for the thorn. Why?

  • Because there's something about not being able to be in control that makes it easier to give God control.
  • Because we're more likely to give God the glory for triumphs when we have tried in our own strength and failed.
  • Because it's a natural progression to our knees when we're getting up from a fall.
  • Because if life were trouble-free, we would never call on the Lord and would miss on the thrill of being rescued. pp. 52-53
In your greatest weakest, turn to your greatest strength-Jesus-and hear Him say, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakest" (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV) p. 53

Sometimes the Lord says no to our dreams in order to birth something healthier in our lives. p. 120

I have questions, but they don't contradict my conviction that God gives us the desires of our hearts. God knows that my ultimate desire is for His will-in His way and in His time. And if He says no, I will say thank you. p. 131

To order this book click here!

Angels Don't Die

I do not always agree with Patti Davis (Ronald Reagan's daughter), but in her book, Angels Don't Die: My Father's Gift of Faith, she does a wonderful job of explaining her Dad's faith. Patti is an excellent writer and you will enjoy this book!

I've always believed that we were, each of us, put here for a reason; that there is a plan, somehow a divine plan for all of us. In an effort to embrace that plan, we are blessed with the special gift of prayer, the happiness and solace to be gained by talking to the Lord. It is our hopes and our aspirations, our sorrows, and fears, our deep remorse and renewed resolve, our thanks and joyful praise, most especially our love, all turned a loving God. Many of us have been taught to pray by people we love. In my case, it was my mother. I learned quite literally at her knee. My mother gave me a great deal, but nothing she gave me was more important than that. She was my inspiration and provided me with a very real and deep faith. ~Ronald Reagan p. IX

The world knows much about Ronald Reagan; it should also be known that he passed along to his daughter a deep, resilient faith that God's love never wavers, and that no matter how harsh life seems, or how cruel the world is, that love is constant, unconditional, and eternal. p. 5

There is an old saying: "Ignorance is not knowing anything and being attracted to the good. Innocence is knowing everything and still being attracted to the good." My father's nature has never lost its innocence, not because he's a stranger to betrayal or meanness but because he has chosen to look for the good. My mother patrolled the grounds, looking for dark intruders, banishing them if they encroached on his light. p. 7

To order this book click here!

How to Pray

Even though it is a small book, R.A. Torrey's, How To Pray, is a wonderful book. It is filled with wisdom. Enjoy the quotes below:

Many a church is praying for a revival that does not really desire a revival. They think they do, for to their minds a revival means an increase of membership, an increase of income, an increase of reputation among the churches; but if they knew what a real revival meant, what a searching of hearts on the part of professed Christians would be involved, what a radical transformation of individual, domestic and social life would be brought about, and many other things that would come to pass if the Spirit of God was poured out in reality and power; if all this were known the real cry of the church would be:

"O God, keep us from having a revival."

Many a minister is praying for the filling with the Holy Spirit who does not really desire it. He thinks he does, for the filling with the Spirit means to him new joy, new power in preaching the Word, a wider reputation among men, a larger prominence in the church of Christ. But if he understood what a filling with the Holy Spirit really involved, how for example it would necessarily bring him into antagonism with the world, and with unspiritual Christians, how it would cause his name to be "cast out as evil," how it might necessitate his leaving a good comfortable living and going down to work in the slums, or even in some foreign land; if he understood all this, his prayer quite likely would be-if he were to express the real wish of his heart-"O God, save me from being filled with the Holy Ghost."

But when we do come to the place where we really desire the conversion of friends at any cost, really desire the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whatever it may involve, really desire the filling with the Holy Ghost come what may, where we desire anything "in truth" and then call upon God for it "in truth," God is going to hear. pp. 40-41

Nights of prayer to God are followed by days of power with men. p. 91

If facing the facts is to be called a pessimist, I am willing to be called a pessimist. If in order to be an optimist one must shut his eyes and call black white, and error truth, and sin righteousness, and death life, I don't want to be called an optimist. But I am an optimist all the same. Pointing out the real condition will lead to a better condition. p. 102

To order this book click here!

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012