A Secret Weapon

My boys have climbed in to bed and they lay waiting for their blessing. I lean in close to them and place my hand on their head, chest or shoulder and begin to speak into their lives. A message of what I pray that God will grant them, what my hopes are for them, and how special they are. But my message is stronger than just my words – a bond is being formed because I’ve learned how to return to my first language.

Touch is first sense we acquire and is a powerful tool when we communicate. When we hug or place our hand on our children while affirming them it creates an important physical connection and communicates warmth, acceptance and relational health in a way that words cannot fill.
The Power of Touch »

Did I get my blessing?

Blessings are an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to speak into your child’s life. They let them know that you care for them, that you see the positives in their lives and that you are asking God to give them something special.

But at the same time, if, like me, you grew up in a home where this didn’t happen, giving a blessing can feel weird. What do you say? How does it work? Will my kids think I am weird? Are my children too old? Do they really want me to do this?

Those are all good questions and ones that I wrestled with…but over time I realized I didn’t need to answer those questions, I just needed to see the deep need that my children have to be affirmed.

Still not sure, maybe our story might give you answers for some of your questions.

A few years ago, even though it felt weird, my wife and I made a commitment to bless our children at bedtime every night. We didn’t know what to say so we began using the verse from Numbers 6:24-26 and from there started to add things that we wanted to see our kids blessed with: wisdom, courage, patience with one another and so on.

Within the first few nights of this new ritual, one of them fell asleep before our nightly routine. When I tucked them in, I thought about skipping the blessing – after all, they wouldn’t hear it and I didn’t know if they cared.

I’m glad I didn’t. The next morning I woke to find them beside my bed asking, “Did I get my blessing last night?” In a matter of days the blessing became so important to them that they wanted to make sure they were blessed…even if they didn’t hear it.

Parents, our words often have more power than we know.

Eyes Only

When I started Coffee with Dad one of my prevailing thoughts was to write about things that I want my son to hear. I don’t typically point this out, but this topic is one that I wish someone had shared with me – and I certainly want both my boys to know.

My wife and I met, more or less, on a blind date. On our first date we had dinner at Bennigan’s and went to see home alone. Bennigan’s was one of those restaurants that have a lot of mirrors and I tried to use that to my advantage.

Since this was our first meeting, I wanted to see her – but I didn’t want to stare. Much of my time was spent glancing in the mirror of our booth. I thought I was being sly but years later she told me that she knew what was happening. I was evaluating her.

That sounds like a terrible thing – and it can be, but part of attracting is based on looks. I didn’t have the words for it then, but now I would say that I was thinking something like, “Wow, this is the most marvelous creature that God has ever made.”

Now, here’s the part I want my sons to know. Here’s what we, as men, need to understand: We are pushed by culture to look. Some of our attraction is based on looks. And like I said, that is not all bad…but you need to understand something about the heart of women.

Bound up in the heard of women is a proclivity towards fearful comparison. Comparison to every woman around her. This is how the enemy gets to the heart of your wife.
Don’t Join with Satan »

Covenant Relationships

Covenant is a weird word that is used in church when we talk about the relationship of a husband and wife. If there was a more modern word that meant the same thing I would say that we should use that instead…but there isn’t.

Since there isn’t a better word, we should do a better job helping people understand what a covenant is – because most of the time we define it simply as a promise.

But it is more than a promise.

Friendship is a personal relationship, so is marriage. But marriage is more of a legal relationship than a friendship. Doctor/patient is a legal relationship, so is marriage. But marriage is more personal.

That’s a covenant – a stunning been of law and love.
Covenant further defined »

CANCELLED!

Frozen StreetsA major snow storm came through the midwest and eastern states this week, closing churches, schools and many evenings events. It also alerted some people to the idea that they need to have a better plan.

One of my responsibilities as the Children & Family pastor is to make ‘the call’ on weather related closings of weekday events. I also give input on Worship service closings as well.

As I thought about it this week, I realized there are a number of reasons to close that aren’t really good reasons…

Personal History
I lived a little over 4 years in upstate New York, just above the snow belt. (The snow belt is a band of space where cold fronts pick up moisture from the Great Lakes and dump snow through New York.) This means that we would get slammed with snow almost every winter. It also meant that they were good at dealing with snow – one weekend, starting Friday evening, we had 48 inches (yes, 4 feet) of snow and everything was on time Monday morning.
I learned to deal with snow. But that doesn’t mean that DOT or families were I live now are as equipped to deal with snow. My personal feelings aren’t a good reason to close.

School is closed
For evening activities this may be a convenient call, but a major part of our decision should be based on safety, not convenience. Part of why schools close is to keep the roads clear for the plows. They have to make that call very early in the morning so that bus drivers don’t attempt to go to the depot, generally before 4 am. For a church, that’s close to 12 hours before any evening activities start…and that’s more than enough time for the weather and road conditions to change for better or for worse.

Forecast
Incoming weather is something we need to know – and if your tasked with making a cancellation call you should know how to read the forecast for yourself. News stations sensationalize everything, including incoming storms. They also focus on the major cities – where bad weather has a bigger effect. If your in the suburbs you’ll need to help your leaders understand this concept too…Don’t rely on the weatherman, read it for yourself.

Attendance will be low
If it’s a weekly event, there may be people that are counting on your program. Canceling because you aren’t sure who will show up can lead to people thinking that you don’t see value in the program. And, if you don’t see value, why should they?

Leaders will not come
This is much like the one above: If you move forward and your leaders won’t come it stands to reason that you need to consider: Did I make the right call? Are my leaders really committed to this program? Are my leaders committed to following me?
In each of these thoughts you need to have grace and consider what you are asking (especially in relation to the weather).

After thinking about each of these areas I’ve reached the conclusion that I need to base my decisions on safety. Will children be safe on the way to, at church, and on the way home. I also consider the same of my workers.
When I begin to base the decision on anything other than safety my temptation is to lean towards people pleasing…which means I will also displease others.
One thing that I will do different next year (because we have winter every year) is communicate my thought process before winter arrives. I’ll be talking to my workers so they know what the weather policy is: when cancellation is automatic, how and why the decision is reached, and how the decision will be communicated. People are much happier (and you will be too) when everyone is on the same page.
Of course, once you decide to close, you’ll need to have a communication plan in place….but that’s a different post.
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