Friday, December 28, 2007

The Importance of a Loving Father

Aside from a brief period in junior high, I never questioned my parents' love for me. And even then, I just had a hard time grasping that my dad loved me for me, and not for what I did (difference in love languages). Little did I know, or even realize until recently, what a profound impact that understanding of love would have on my relationship with the Lord.

At Women's Retreat in November I kept hearing ladies comment on how hard it was for them to accept that God truly loved them. I honestly wondered if there was something wrong with me. I can't think of a time when I've had a hard time accepting God's love. I know He created me in His image, He has a plan for me, and even better than that--He loves me with an everlasting love! I might even err at times on the side of forgetting that I am a sinner because I know how much God loves me. I shared my awkward feelings over easily accepting God's love with a friend of mine and she felt the same way. We finally came to the conclusion that because we felt unconditional love from our earthly fathers, acceptance of love from our Heavenly Father came easily.

Sadly, at one session of the retreat, the speaker asked for all the women who grew up with a loving father to raise their hands. Less than half of the women were able to make such a claim. This retreat was in November, and I still haven't been able to shake that reality. A loving father makes such a difference in a child's understanding of God's love.

I know that I am a daughter of the King because my dad not only called me "Princess," he treated me like one too. I know that God has created me in His image and His design for me is perfect because I grew up being told that I was beautiful. I know that I need have my heart reflect my outside because I was always challenged to be pretty on the inside. And I know that despite a difficult time or phase in my life, God still loves me because after receiving discipline I was told, "I love you."

If only all fathers could understand the importance of loving their daughters. Cherish your little girls. Show her how a gentleman would treat her. Tell her she's beautiful. Your words and your actions will help shape her understanding of her Heavenly Father. Your words and your actions will help grow her up into a woman of God.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Complete Family

A family in our church is in the process of adopting a little girl from China. I just finished reading their story of the process so far, and it made me look forward to the day she joins our ministry!

We need to be sure that we're always ready to minister to children of all backgrounds. Different life stories influence the needs each child has as they enter our doors. Some may not have had a complete breakfast that morning, or even dinner the night before. Others may face instability in their home from day to day and need a safe and secure environment. Some may have recently joined a new foster home, while others may have just been adopted into their forever family. Whatever their story, we want Sunday morning to be one of the happy, joyful and safe chapters of their life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Intentionally Sharing with the Lost

We had a ministry staff get-away today to look at our church's vision statement and evaluate how well our ministries are actually doing at following the values expressed in that statement. The vision of Morning Star is to be a worshipping family of believers who are growing in our faith, loving God and others, serving in our gifts and sharing with the lost. As we looked at the different elements, I felt encouraged by most of them that Children's Ministries is currently in achievement mode. But then when we got to "sharing with the lost," things became diluted. While yes, we are sharing with the lost through the ministries currently functioning under the umbrella of Children's Ministries, but what are we doing to intentionally share with the lost?
We used to do a Fall Fun Fest under the description of "outreach". But when we actually surveyed those who attended, it was realized that only 1% of the 500+ who came were unchurched. VBS could also be considered an outreach because we emphasize the kids bringing friends, and present the salvation message through our lessons over the course of the week. But our purpose isn't specifically to share with the lost.
So now I'm at a loss. It's not like we can take our kids on a mission trip or go street-witnessing downtown. Yes, I can give the kids tools to be mini-evangelists in their schools or neighborhoods. But on the programming end of ministry, what can I formalize along the lines of specific outreach? If you have any thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them. Just post a comment!

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