Sunday, March 22, 2009

House Rules: Avoid Trouble

"It is to a man's honor to avoid trouble." Proverbs 20:3

From a previous post, some of you have asked me about our other house rules, so I'm going to be sharing those with you. This verse is rule number 3: Avoid trouble/be a peacemaker

Oh man - we've had some "trouble" at our house! My oldest, who is 9, just got over her two weeks grounding. We've never grounded before so we wanted to make sure we did this first one right!! Two weeks - where basically the only thing she was allowed to do was eat, sleep and go to school --- plus added chores.

The thing is --- she did not avoid trouble, she choose to roll around in it! The history is this:

A little boy that has a crush on her (who has his own cell phone - which is VERY common at that age around here, but not for my 9 yr old --- story for another post) calls our house very frequently. He has already asked her to go to the movies, with his dad as chaperon. This is ACTUALLY the second boy that has called our house this year, 3rd grade, who has asked my daughter to the movies. She knows that 1) we don't have boyfriends at this age 2) we definitely don't go on "dates" at this age. To me, everything is settled - no boyfriend, no dates.

Let's fast forward a few days. Here's what happened next:

We were to meet some friends at a bounce/jumpy place for the kids to play. Saturday morning, the phone rings and it's this little boy for my daughter. The TV is loud and she's holding her ear - so she walks off into another room. She gets off the phone and starts the count down until we go to the jumpy place. When we arrive, she is super eager to get out of the car --- even wanting me to drop her off. I KNOW you can guess where this is headed!

Yep, I'm walking into the jumpy place and this stranger, a man, comes up to me and says, "Well, it looks like our little monkeys scheduled a play date." I think he is off his rocker and has me confused with someone else. I kinda grin an hurriedly walk on, but he keeps talking. Then, I realize that this man is the dad of the little boy that calls my house all the time. Savannah agreed not to go to the movies with this little boy (to avoid "trouble") - but she arranged a "date" at the jumpy place. If a cartoon artist had been watching this scene unfold - he would have had a blast drawing my reaction because I am CONFIDENT steam was coming out of my ears!

Savannah was terrified. She could not stop crying and I was trying to discern if it was true remorse OR the guilt of being caught! During her "woe as me - I'm not worthy to play here" attitude - the little boy's dad had scrammed (assuring me his son had a cell phone and could reach him if needed) and I was left with my three and an extra kid I'd never meet before. My words to Savannah were, "I'm glad that you don't feel like playing, because you shouldn't! But you drug (little boy) into this and you are not going to be mean to him now. You had better play long and hard today because this is the LAST time you are going to play anything for a LOOOONG time!!!"

Whew - the joys of parenting. And, I'm leaving out about 1,000 other things that went wrong that day in the parenting world! So, we will just leave it at that:)

Savannah DID NOT avoid trouble. She knew the rules. She knows right and wrong - and when we do right, we are honored in God's eyes. When we do wrong we are punished.

My thoughts for you today --- pray for your kids to AVOID TROUBLE and pray that IF they DO NOT avoid trouble --- that they get caught in their sin. I told a group of teenage girls last summer in a Bible Study I was teaching that I knew their parents and I knew that some of their parents where praying that they get caught in their sin. For the first time all night - every girl in the room paid attention.

But it's true - we can't put our heads in the sand. We need to be aware of sin and temptations in our OWN lives, as parents. We need to avoid trouble. We need to set boundaries for ourselves and our children in order to avoid trouble. Listen, I don't want to go off on a tangent here, but letting little kids go on "dates" is NOT cute. No wonder they have sex at 12, they are going on dates at 9! Most things in life are a progression. If you date at 9 you progress towards sex much quicker (I wish I could put my hands on the stats to prove it - they are somewhere around this house!). In so many ways, as parents, we are setting our kids up for trouble. And, we are not setting boundaries so that trouble can be avoided.

Remember Proverbs 20:3 - what can you do to 1) set up boundaries for yourself so that you can avoid trouble and 2) set up boundaries for your children ----- so maybe they won't be grounded for two weeks.

More House Rules next time.........

Monday, March 9, 2009

Intentional Relationships

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Some of you might know that I recently went to Alaska to lead a Ladies Retreat. What an AWESOME experience! I was so honored to attend and God did amazing things. The ladies were wonderful:)

On my way there from Tennessee – I was able to have a layover in Seattle and spend some time with a precious friend. She was our youth pastor’s wife and they moved to Nashville back in 2003 to be on our church staff. And, about 6 months ago moved to Seattle to be church planters.
But, the day our church hired Greg as our Youth Pastor and we accepted him into our congregation - I did not immediately become best friends with Shelly, his wife. I met her. We were pleasant and said hello. Probably hugged, because I’m just a hugger that way. But we weren’t BFF’s! That took time. It took me calling her. She asking me to lunch. Me watching her children and vice versa. It was an intentional process. And now – with her moving; I can’t drop a note in her mailbox on my way to Target anymore --- she lived right by the best Target in town! But with our distance – we are still just as close as ever because we are determined to be intentional about our friendship.

Why can we be intentional about developing relationships with earthly friends? Yet, we have a Father in heaven, who sits on a throne – willing to give us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:4) and often we hardly give Him a second glance.

Our God is a God that can be known. He is a God that can be found. He is a God that wants to be close to us. That’s why He is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” But He draws close to us as we draw close to Him (James 4:8).

God wants us to want Him. And after we have made Him our Savior - why do so many "Christians" just stop there? They may attend church occassionally --- or to me, I think worse yet --- attend every week, but their personal relatioship with Christ never deepens. The reality is - God WANTS us to want Him, but we don't. We don't WANT Him, plain and simple. We are not willing to be intentional in our relationship.

This deep and intimate relationship with God that we often "say" we desire and can’t live without – doesn’t just happen. It must be sought after, prayed for, nurtured, and treasured. And we must continually seek after, pray for, nurture and treasure it.

So, are you "saying" it OR are you "doing" it? Do you sit in church, week after week and think - "I wish I knew Christ more." OR are you seeking Him? Do you know where you Bible is? Have you prayed today?

Since I got back from Alaska, I must say Guilty As Charged!! I got in at 1AM on a Monday and jumped right back into life. I had a week of more speaking, meetings, school, church and sports activites awaiting me. It's taken a few days to get back into the swing of really studying His Word.

It's not easy. I'm a Bible teacher for heaven's sake and it's not easy for me --- so no finger pointing on this end! I'm just wanting you to think about your motives - your thoughts and actions. It's one thing to say, "I need to loose weight." It's another to change your diet and exercise.

Don't loose heart. If your Bible's gotten a little dusty - just make today the day you dust it off. No matter how long it's been --- if we call to Him, He will answer. I know that I could use some insight on some "great and mighty things". How about you?