Monthly Archives: September 2016

Pumpkin-Spice Quiet Time 

Pumpkin Spice Quiet Time: Delighting in Jesus in Response to His GoodnessThere is nothing like spending time with God in autumn.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
All around us, the world is preparing for cooler weather. However, as followers of Jesus, we must not let the migration indoors catalyze a hibernation of our hearts.
My suggestion: “Pumpkin-Spiced Quiet Times.”
In the wake of autumn, pumpkin-spice is returning to our favorite coffee shops and packaged food lines (pumpkin-spice Cheerios anyone?), and the fans are going crazy! The social media world has documented our delight over this fall-flavor for years. There is no doubt it–Pumpkin-Spice delights the masses.
I am reading Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman, which I highly recommend. This book challenges readers to have an intimate relationship with Christ–one which requires sacrifice, commitment, and a re-arrangement of the heart. Not just an excitement about Jesus kindred to our excitement about s’mores of pumpkin-spiced chai lattes. To be a Christian, Christ requires the Lordship of our lives, which means HE is in charge, not us.
Idleman repeatedly challenges the “Christian-culture” way of claiming Christianity. I agree, we need to stop being fans of Jesus and truly submit to Jesus as Lord.
However, I do think there is a place for the pumpkin-spice kind of delight we can receive from spending time in God’s Word.
Full disclosure here: I am DELIGHTED by Jesus! I am excited about Him, and IN LOVE with Him. Spending time with the letters of love and truth He wrote for us (Scripture), floods me with bliss. I cannot help but get giddy sometimes.
And you know what!? I actually really appreciate Instagram posts about someone else’s time with God too. Those pictures with the steaming cup of tea and the vase of flowers next to an open Bible… some may label them cliché or staged, but when I see them while scrolling, it’s like the mouth of my soul starts watering. Those posts stir my appetite for some intimate time with my Savior, much like a post about sweaters and s’mores makes me long for sometime cozied-up by the fire with a roasting stick in hand.
Maybe I am shallow (or perhaps I am just incredibly susceptible to advertising). However, I think there is value in the childlike delight over Gods Word that makes us want to document our time with Jesus and share it with others.
I think if king David could have downloaded a social media app, he would have occasionally posted something similar:

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.

 Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors.
I am NOT advocating for a self-centered, attention-seeking, find-what-feels-good kind of faith in Jesus. I am not suggesting our quiet times should revolve around how “Instagram-able” the setting is. Delight in our Savior should never replace submission to Him. Rather, delight is a beautiful response to humbly surrendering our wills to our KING!  (Need an example of this? The 2016 film Risen inspired and humbled me with its portrayal of the disciples’ giddy delight in knowing the risen Savior. View it and tell me what you think!)
There is no shame in wrapping up a comforter and sipping a steaming cuppa pumpkin-spice-something-or-another while reading your Bible. You have permission to ENJOY those cozy moments with Jesus this season, filling your soul with good old-fashioned comfort food for the spirit.
And if you feel like sharing, don’t hesitate to document it all on Instagram! Use #campfiregrace to stay connected.
Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
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Lame Church: What To Do When Your Teenager Thinks Church Is Less Than Appealing

Lame Church: What to do when your teenager thinks church is less than appealing

“It’s so BORING.”

“Why can’t I just sleep in?”

“But none of my friends go to youth group!”

“I don’t get anything out of the Bible study, what’s the point?”

“I have too much homework to go to small group tonight?”

“I would rather help in the nursery.”

“I forgot.”

Parents, we have heard it all (amirite)? Ok, my kids aren’t teenagers yet, but my husband is a youth pastor and I get the privilege to reach out to young people alongside him for the glory of God. And I too, have heard all of these statements about “lame church.”

I get it, personally even. I was the kid who “helped” in the nursery for countless Sunday’s because I didn’t want to sit through the sermon. As a teen, I didn’t go to youth group because I was the awkward homeschooled girl intimidated by my gorgeous older sister’s cool friends.

Statistics show us that at least half of students raised in a Christian home who at one point claim to have accepted Christ as Savior will turn away from the Christian faith after high school graduation. This number is not ok with me.

Thankfully, research shows us a significant factor for those that maintain their walk with God into adulthood: they have at least 5 Christian adults investing specifically in the student’s relationship with God. (source)

Churches used to employ the “bouncer” approach to youth–have one adult for every 5 kids at the pizza night. Now, we strive to connect every 1 student to 5 caring and Christ-centered adults who will walk the faith journey with them.

For example, Kadee’s 5 might be:

  1. Mom
  2. Grandpa
  3. Small group Leader
  4. Christian coach
  5. Youth pastor

And let me say, this is not easy. Especially when kids present the “lame church” excuses.

May I suggest that, often the kids who claim “church is lame” are truly “lame” themselves.

Hear me out. Mark 2:1-12  tells us the story of a lame man, stuck on his mat, unable to get to Jesus for healing and abundant life. Four friends were willing to hoist him on his bed, carry him through the city, dig a hole through a roof, attach some belay cables to the lame man’s bed and lower him down to Jesus. This was no small effort.

Adolescents are children moving toward adulthood. They haven’t arrived yet (have any of us?). However, they are still capable of a beautiful, intimate, world-changing relationship with God. But in order to get there, some teens will need a faithful 4 or 5 to help them get to Jesus. As a parent, you are the most influential one of those 5, and you have a significant amount of power in helping find the other 4.

Help for the Lame Teen

So how do you pry the video game controller from your teen’s “paralyzed” hands and usher her into a fighting chance at a relationship with Jesus? Here are a few practical ideas:

Pray:

I dare you to pray Ephesians 3:14-21, on your knees, every day for your teen, and see what God does.

Send a Message:

Does your teen see that YOU believe their faith is important? Do we encourage our daughters and sons to have a Bible study or time spent with God? Dowe sit down with them, not just to help with homework, but to unpack Gods word together? Have we put youth group on the calendar so we don’t forget, even when they claim they do?

Try it out! Ask your son or daughter the following question: “What do you think is the most important part of your life to me?… Why?”

If needed, adjust which priorities you promote for your child through conversation, social media posts, rules and expectations, or praise.

Model:

Make your own walk with God available for the watchful eyes of your kids. Our prayer times can be so intimate when we finally get a quiet, private moment. Unfortunately, our children cannot pick up on habits they have not seen in practice. They can only mirror or imitate what they have visual access too.

Phone a Friend:

Prayerfully invite 3 or 4 other faith-heroes to invest in the life of your teen. Look outside your own peer group. I have seen powerful life-changes through the relationships of senior women who disciple teen girls into Godly womanhood.

Shift the Power:

Is your teen still complaining about lame church? Place the power on their shoulders. One mom always reminded her teenage boys every Sunday night before youth group, “remember, it’s not fun unless YOU make it fun.”

It’s true, kids set the tone for “cool” long before the youth pastor can. And believe me, he is trying. But in the end, we are not here to entertain, we are here to facilitate closer relationships with the living and loving God.

So encourage your teen to be the one that “blows it up” by inviting friends, baking cookies, or simply just asking good questions. Remind them of their power and influence to make church “the” place to be. Encourage them to take ownership of their faith community and invest in it. We all need to remember: church is not for us, church is us.

I understand, no-where in the Bible does it say a student has to attend church or youth group to have a relationship with God. However, the Bible is clear that fellowship with God’s family is not only a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God, it is also a crucial part of having a healthy relationship with God that lasts. If you think about it, it is easy to stray away when you are always on the fringes of community; however, it is more difficult to stray away when you’ve been sitting at the table of God’s family.

Ultimately, I am not suggesting you drag your teenager on his mattress to church this Sunday. And please don’t dig a hole in in the roof of the youth leaders house. But somehow consider how you might put in a lame-man’s-friend type of effort to escort your teenager to a closer walk with Jesus. For his sake, both now and for the next 10-50 years of his life.

Follow Campfire Grace: its like a smore: you like it, you share it.
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