Put Shalom back in the dome

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Put Shalom back in the dome

Just lifting the lid of the Dome and replacing it with Shalom.  We'll never have peace until we realize that the old temple has gone, and the new temple is here, in Christ.  Christ in us is what makes us the new, mobile temple, able to "be witnesses of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." - Acts 1:8

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Walk Where Jesus Walked

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Walk Where Jesus Walked

I can't wait to walk where Jesus walked, and share with you why God chose to come to Israel.  

Check out our promo video for the upcoming sermon series - http://www.leawoodpres.org/pastors-blog/2017/3/20/walk-where-jesus-walked

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He Made The Storm Be Still

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He Made The Storm Be Still

Have you ever noticed that throughout the Bible, large bodies of water are the cause of chaos?

There’s the flood of Noah, the Red Sea blocking the exodus from Egypt, the Jordan River stalling Israel from entering the Promised Land, or the storm at sea that had the disciples in a panic. So if I told you that the Hebrew word for 'water’ has the same root as their word for 'chaos', you probably wouldn't be surprised.

But as many times as people face the chaos and turmoil of water, God also shows up to provide a way out. He saves Noah and his family, He parts the Red Sea and the Jordan River, and Jesus calms the storm on the Sea of Galilee. God always takes control of the situation. The message here for all of us is that whatever chaos or uncertainty you’re facing today, God is in control––just as He was throughout the Bible.

Are you facing chaos or turmoil today? If you need prayer, just LIKE this post and write WATER in the COMMENTS … and be reminded that God is in control of your situation too, ready to provide a way out.

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THE DUST-Tim Keller

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THE DUST-Tim Keller

Genesis 3:14-19 (ESV)

 

The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
To the woman he said,
I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

 

When we come to Genesis 3, we encounter a God who curses! He responds to Adam and Eve’s disobedience and the serpent’s treachery decisively. With the pronouncement of each curse and judgment, there is an undoing or reversal of God’s gracious creative works. Adam, who was created from the dust, is now destined to return back to it. Eve, who was created out of Adam, has now become dominated by him. The serpent, who was more crafty than any of the wild animals, is now humiliated, groveling on its belly, eating dust. In this chapter we see that sin has affected all of creation.

 

This text speaks to our desire to overlook our sins. God does not respond lightly to sin. Death entered the world with sin, and all manner of sorrow, suffering and despair. But the worst of the curse would fall upon a different man many millennia later as Paul said in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” Jesus would take upon himself a curse in order to redeem humanity’s status.

 

Prayer

Dear Father, I know you cannot take lightly the sins that I commit because you are a God of holiness who loves justice and does not allow evil to go unpunished. But I thank you for your wisdom and mercy in devising a plan that would allow the curse that was rightfully mine to fall upon your Son. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

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5 WAYS TO PROVE YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS

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5 WAYS TO PROVE YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS

There’s an insecurity inside most of us that asks, “But, does he/she really love me?”

It happens when you’re dating.
Sometimes it still haunts you when you’re married.
It follows you into your deep friendships.
And it definitely makes its way into the heart of almost every child. 

I have NO idea where this idea came from, but I remember being ten years old and thinking my parents paid my friends to be my friends. (I know, I know . . . that’s a few more thousand dollars in counseling to figure how I came to believe that . . . but I digress.) 

No, you’ve never had that thought? I’m a lot more secure than I used to be, but let’s be honest, we’ve all wondered whether someone really loved us when in fact, they did. When in fact, they do. 

How does that translate to parenting?

Other than saying, “I love you,”  what communicates to your kids you love them deeply?

Often our words and actions are disconnected. 

So here are five ways you can show your kids you love them without saying, “I love you” over and over again:

1. GIVE THEM YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION

It’s tempting to think this is a technology issue—and it is to some extent. Your dinner recipe is on your phone or iPad, and while cooking, your Facebook, Instagram, texts, and email notifications keep pulling your attention away. Meanwhile, you were oblivious that someone was calling out, “hey, dad . . . dad . . . dad.”

It’s difficult when the world is in your pocket and follows you around everywhere. But this problem goes back long before we had iPhones and free Wi-Fi.

Maybe you had a hard time pulling your dad away from the football game when you wanted to show him what you built outside. Or your mom was always on the phone with her friends when you really just wanted to tell her what happened at school.

A person’s undivided attention is one of the rarest of gifts in our culture. Give it to your kids as often as you can.

A person’s undivided attention is one of the rarest of gifts in our culture.

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2. LISTEN INSTEAD OF LECTURE

I’m tempted to think my greatest value as a parent is to keep my kids from making the same stupid mistakes I made, or that I see other people making.

There’s some value in that for sure. 

But while a lecture feels good to give, it feels less awesome to receive it. Especially when it’s every day. All the time.

Sometimes, I think my kids would much rather have just had me listen to them, rather than lecture them.

They already knew what happened wasn’t great. They just wanted someone who understood. Someone who listened. Someone who cared.

Not someone who knew better. 

Maybe a better parenting recipe is five parts listening to one part lecturing. Your kids might even do a great job figuring out the lesson all by themselves, if you just listen.

3. SET SOME LIMITS

At least two things are true about parenting. 

Every kid craves limits.
And every kid pushes back against them.

If you decide your ten-year-old gets one sleep-over per school term, they’ll want two. If you let up and decide they’ll get three each month, then they’ll push for four. 

It’s hard not to throw up your hands and say, “Fine, whatever you want.” Or worse, “Okay okay, you get as many as your friends have.”

But it’s so critical you don’t.

Setting and enforcing reasonable limits for your kids is one of the best ways to communicate both love and safety.

Your discipline as a parent will help your kids develop self-discipline.

Your discipline as a parent will help your kids develop self-discipline.

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4. TALK TO THEM, NOT ABOUT THEM

We all have to talk about our kids to someone. But too often, I’ve heard parents complain loudly about their kids . . . while their kids (or siblings) are in the room.

Bad idea.

Ditto for social media. I’ve seen exasperated parents get on Facebook to vent about how awful their kids are behaving. 

Perhaps they’ve forgotten at some point, their kids will learn to read and maybe even navigate the interwebs, only to discover what Angry Mom really feels about them.

Few wounds pierce as deeply as unkind words spoken by a parent. 

If you have a problem with your kids, talk to your kids about it, in love. Or discretely talk to an adult who can actually help you solve the problem. 

You’ll be so glad you did.

Few wounds pierce as deeply as unkind words spoken by a parent.

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5. PURSUE YOUR SPOUSE

Almost by default, your kids become the center of your life.

But as we’ve said before on Parent Cuethat’s a trap. Child-centered parenting produces self-centered children. 

If you’re married, one of the best gifts you can give your kids is a healthy marriage.

I’ve heard it said that it’s more important for your kids to know you love each other than it is for them to know you love them. There may be some truth in that.

A loving home creates a stable base.

No kid wants to see their dad cheat on their mom, or their mom to roll her eyeballs every time her husband walks into the room. What might be funny or entertaining on a sitcom can be devastating in real life.

Date your spouse. Work through your issues. Pray for each other. 

Take vacations without the kids.

Don’t abandon the romance. Pursue each other passionately.

Your kids will be far more secure as a result.

These are only five ways you can show your kids you love them.  What are some other ways you’ve seen work? Leave a comment!

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POST ELECTION CONVERSATIONS: YOUR KIDS ARE LISTENING MORE THAN YOU THINK

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POST ELECTION CONVERSATIONS: YOUR KIDS ARE LISTENING MORE THAN YOU THINK

I love this great advice for us parents, especially at the Inaugural speech is happening today.

Yesterday was a strange day. This is the fifth election in which I was old enough to vote, and I cannot remember one with this level of intensity. Maybe I’ve forgotten. There were definitely intense feelings surrounding W. Bush and Obama, but nothing that felt like it carried the same level of emotion.

When I opened Facebook yesterday morning, what I saw almost took my breath away. The reactions were everywhere. They were intense. They were coming from people I typically don’t see getting involved in political or controversial issues. I was up early because it was my morning to drive my son to school, and instantly I felt pressure to say something. I knew that he knew about the election, but I didn’t know what he thought or what his friends thought.

When I brought it up, I learned a few things: He was eager to know who won. He had feelings about the outcome. And his friends had been talking—with both strong feelings and detailed information—about this election. In fact, there were names and details that surprised me. I didn’t realize he knew that. I didn’t know he had paid such close attention.

There will continue to be a lot of political conversation around the next few months—and there probably should be. But this was a reminder to me that our kids are listening more than we realize. And really, the most important changes for our future as a nation are found in the little people growing up around us as all of this unfolds.

So, here are just a few thoughts about how we can talk to our kids about the election this week and over the next few months.

1. ASK WHAT THEIR FRIENDS ARE SAYING

Some kids will tell you automatically everything their friends are saying. Others will hold it in, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it. Go first. Initiate the conversation with them.

2. TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY

Remember what’s real to them is real to them. Kids, especially under the age of ten, have a harder time with abstract concepts and ambiguity. It’s hard for them to understand some of the nuances that protect our national security or democratic processes. At least, it’s hard to understand if they are fundamentally worried that something is wrong. So, most importantly, reassure your kids that they are safe.

3. TALK ABOUT YOUR OWN VALUES

Regardless of how you vote, this election probably made you think about some of your own values. Use this opportunity to talk about those with your kid.

4. MAKE IT PERSONAL

Talk about good people who voted differently than you. My good friend, Carlos, reminded me of this yesterday, and I can’t stop thinking about how brilliant it really is. Make this personal. Whenever we group people together into a label it’s easy to hate them, fear them, belittle them, or ignore them. But when you remind your kids of people who you know and like who think differently than you, it changes the conversation. Pointing out the good things we see in each other may be the best way to show respect and help our kids feel safe.

In my own house, this election season has been a reminder to love.

Whenever you see fear, let it motivate you to love.
Whenever you see anger, let it motivate you to love.
Whenever you see pain, let it motivate you to love.

These are really hard conversations. I’m going to keep trying in my own house, even if it means sometimes messing them up. And I hope you will, too.

 Listen in on this off-the-cuff conversation we captured for a bonus feature of our Parent Cue Live podcast for more thoughts about how to talk to your kids about the election results.

 

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PREVIOUSPCL Bonus Episode: How to Talk with Your Kids About the Election Results

NEXTI’ll Show You Honor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristen Ivy

Kristen Ivy is the Executive Director of Messaging at Orange and co-author of "Playing For Keeps", "Creating a Lead Small Culture", and "It’s Just a Phase - So Don't Miss It". She combines her degree in secondary education with a Master of Divinity and lives out the full Orange spectrum as the wife of XP3 Students Orange Specialist, Matt Ivy, and the mother of three children, Sawyer, Hensley, and Raleigh. Read more from Kristen on her blog, justaphase.com.

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How To Create Your Ideal Year

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How To Create Your Ideal Year

Do you know where you’re going next year? Do you know what you hope to accomplish?

It’s that time of year when people sit and make New Year’s Resolutions, dream up possibilities for the coming year, or pick a word or a verse for the year that will guide their way.

Sadly, most of the resolutions and dreams made right now will be over and done with by February. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to think through the coming year and accomplish them.

Before jumping into the next year, though, it is important to look back. In his book The Catalyst Leader, Brad Lomenick has some helpful questions to review your year:

8 questions to ask yourself at the end of the year.

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  1. What are the 2-3 themes that personally define me?
  2. What people, books, accomplishments, or special moments created highlights for me recently?
  3. Give yourself a grade from 1-10 in the following areas of focus: vocationally, spiritually, family, relationally, emotionally, financially, physically, recreationally.
  4. What am I working on that is BIG for the next year and beyond?
  5. As I move into this next season or year, is a majority of my energy being spent on things that drain me or things that energize me?
  6. How am I preparing for 10 years from now? 20 years from now?
  7. What 2-3 things have I been putting off that I need to execute on before the end of the year?
  8. Is my family closer than a year ago? Am I a better friend than a year ago? If not, what needs to change immediately?

8 questions to ask yourself at the end of the year.

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Here are six ways to set goals, keep them and accomplish them.

6 ways to set goals, keep them and accomplish them.

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1. Be realistic. If your goal is to lose weight, losing 20 pounds in two weeks isn’t likely or realistic. It’s possible if you just stop eating, but that sounds miserable. The excitement of what could be is easy to get caught up in, but the reality that you will all of a sudden get up at 5am four days a week when you have been struggling to get up by 7am isn’t realistic.

2. Set goals you want to keep. I have had friends set a goal, and they are miserable. Now, sometimes our goals will have some pain. When I lost 130 pounds, it wasn’t fun to change my eating habits, but the short term pain was worth it. The same goes for debt. It will require some pain to get out of debt. You have to walk a fine line here. If it is too painful, you will not want to keep it. This is why our goals are often more of a process than a quick fix.

3. Make them measurable. Don’t make a goal to lose weight, get out of debt or read your Bible more. Those aren’t measurable. How much weight? How much debt? How much more will you read your Bible? Make them measurable so you can see how you are doing.

4. Have a plan. Once you have your goal, you need a plan. If it’s weight loss, what will you do? If it’s debt, how will you get there? What are the steps? If it’s Bible reading, what plan are you using? No goal is reached without a plan.

5. Get some accountability. Equally important is accountability. One of the things I did when I weighed 285 pounds and started mountain biking was I bought some bike shorts that were too small and embarrassing to wear. This gave me accountability to keep riding. Your accountability might be a spouse or a friend, but it needs to be someone that can actually push you. Maybe you need to go public with your goal and invite people to help you stay on track.

6. Remove barriers to your goals. Your goals have barriers. That’s why you have to set goals in the first place. It might be waking up, food, credit cards, working too late or wasting time on Facebook. Whatever it is that is going to keep you from accomplishing it, remove it. Get rid of the ice cream and credit cards, and move your alarm clock so you have to get out of bed. Whatever it is, do it. Life is too short to be miserable and not accomplish your goals.

Below are more articles by Josh Reich that I think you'll enjoy.

How to create your ideal year.

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You might also like:

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Christmas Wonder

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Christmas Wonder

I love this Christmas reminder by Sarah Anderson that the miracle of what's been given should catch us by surprise so our kids can't help but crave it.  

Sarah goes on here:

I already consider this Christmas a win for our family. Our boys were able to visit Santa, and sit on his lap, shedding exactly zero tears. Total success. I could stand back and simply observe as my boys so effortlessly experienced the wonder of the season. Not just with Santa, but in other ways too.

And amid the relief, it hit me. You don’t have to teach a child wonder. It’s hardwired into them. Just watch their faces—when they see the ocean, visit a zoo, take a bubble bath and eat dessert. Wonder is easy. But especially this time of year. December is ripe with opportunity to be caught up and wrapped up in the magic of Christmas.

It’s one of the reasons I love Christmas so much. Because I am learning that as much as I feel like I have to do—with the

advent-ing,
present-buying,
caroling,
cookie-baking,
present-hiding,
pageant-preparing,
serving,
present-wrapping,
party-attending,
money-worrying,
sugar high-managing,
and general insanity of it all—

the kids don’t really need it.

As parents we feel agonizing pressure thinking if we dropped even just one ball, Christmas might as well be cancelled. But it wasn’t always that way. We were kids once too, and there was a time when wonder came as easily and naturally to us as it does for our kids.

I remember the Christmas I saw “Santa’s” footprint in the fireplace of my childhood home. I remember the eager anticipation each Christmas Eve and the attempt to sleep sabotaged by giddy excitement. I remember the magic conjured up by a living nativity, a cup of hot chocolate, a warm oven and a crackling fireplace.

And then I grew up.

It makes me question if we are going about it all wrong. What if in our efforts to make Christmas special, unique and over the top for our kids, we are missing the point?

Because the truth is I don’t think our kids need to be taught to experience the wonder of this time of year. They get it. They aren’t looking at us to learn wonder. But I think they are looking at us to help them hang onto it.

They’re watching, wondering if one day they’ll wake up having lost the sentiment of the season— like maybe they’ve seen us do.

Our kids may not need another thing to do this season to prime their hearts for the wonder of Christmas. But we do. Our kids need to be able to look to us to see that the magic of Christmas isn’t something that leaks with age. That with every year that passes, it’s possible to not only keep it, but to provoke it until it’s so abundant, it quiets us and leaves us satisfied in awe.

Maybe the conflict in Christmas isn’t whether we can get everything done, but whether we can sustain the magic, the wow-inducing marvel a lowly baby in Bethlehem created.My experience tells me, it isn’t easy to do. My heart tells me, we ought to fight hard to do it.

In her book Help, Thanks, WowAnne Lamott writes, “Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given. We just have to be open for business.”

Unto us, so much is given.

Or as the prophet Isaiah said it first, Unto us, a child is born. A son is given.

Both Ann and Isaiah are right. And this time of year ought to be the time, more than any other, when the miracle of what’s been given catches us by such surprise our kids can’t help but watch and crave it themselves.

Find some time this Christmas to remember, to revel in, to soak in the mystery and majesty that the God who hung the stars, the God who pitched the sky, the God who holds the oceans, the God who counts the sand, entered the world He made, in hopes we might catch a glimpse of the mighty love He has for us.

That is true wonder. Wonder that we can’t afford to outgrow and thank goodness, don’t ever have to.

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PLAYING THE LONG GAME IN A WORLD ADDICTED TO INSTANT

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PLAYING THE LONG GAME IN A WORLD ADDICTED TO INSTANT

Do you know why it’s hard to teach your kids perseverance?

Because the rest of the world is built around instantly fulfilling their every need.

Do you remember Blockbuster Video? You had absolutely no guarantee they would have the movie you wanted to rent. It was very likely that some other punk in your town beat you to the one copy of Back to the Future Part II.

Upon finding the empty case, you would curse your bad luck and then wait a few days until the video came back to the store. You had to persevere.

That might seem like an incredibly minor form of perseverance. It hardly fits the way we define the word here at Parent Cue. Were you really refusing to give up when life gets hard? Maybe not, but you did have to wait. You did have to try again. You did get reminded that the world is not structured around fulfilling your every need.

Fast forward to today and things are a lot different. If my phone takes longer than .05 seconds to look something up, I am frustrated. If the show my kids want to watch isn’t on Netflix, they feel a little impatient. If someone doesn’t respond to my text immediately, I am bothered.

We live in an on-demand world, but great things usually take great time.

“Great things usually take great time.” @jonacuff

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It’s our job as parents to teach our kids that the things that really matter require perseverance.

You don’t get great relationships unless you work on them over time.

You don’t get great at a sport unless you practice even when you don’t feel like it.

You don’t get into a great college unless you start planning long before the application is due.

Despite what Siri might tell us, life is not instant and it is not always easy.

We’ve got to play for the long game.

When our kids want to quit on a school project, we have to remind them why sticking with it matters more.

When they want to give up on a friendship because their feelings got hurt, we have to remind them real relationships go through bumpy moments.

When they want to let go of a passion because practice isn’t fun, we have to show them the value of hard work.

As the rest of the world becomes impatient, a little bit of perseverance will pay dividends for years to come.

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I'm Thankful For You

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I'm Thankful For You

Happy Thanksgiving from your Leawood Pres Family

 

Friends,

 

Whether you’re gathering with family to watch the 90th Macy’s Day Parade hoping to see Charlie Brown or Ben Rector, or planning to eat your weight in stuffing while watching three football games, for me, Thanksgiving is the ultimate celebration.

Of course, at Christmas we celebrate the birth of our Savior. But at Thanksgiving we get to celebrate all that He does in our lives! Just Him, your family and friends, and a year full of extraordinary blessings to be thankful for.

 

And today, our family at Leawood Pres wants to thank you!

 

Thank you for your encouragement, your financial support, and your volunteering.

 

Thank you for joining us on this journey to KNOW God, to GROW in the likeness of Christ, to SHOW God’s glory, and to GO make disciples!

 

On The Journey Together,

 

Ryan

 

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Motion Activated Lights Turn-off During Presbyterian Worship Service

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Motion Activated Lights Turn-off During Presbyterian Worship Service

WHITE PLAINS, KY—Reports coming out of United Presbyterian Church are confirming that the church’s energy-saving, motion-activated lights switched off partway through its 10:30 a.m. worship service Sunday.

The lights, recently installed as a cost-saving measure, were designed to turn off after fifteen minutes of inactivity in the building, ensuring the church wouldn’t draw any unnecessary power when the building wasn’t in use.

But church leaders didn’t anticipate the plan backfiring, as both the reverend and the congregants remained so still during opening hymns and the first part of the message that the lights turned off, leaving everyone in partial darkness.

“I checked my church bulletin, but having the lights go out wasn’t in the detailed program of planned events for the morning,” one church member told reporters. “We weren’t sure what to do, so we just continued sitting in stony silence.”

According to witnesses, the reverend simply continued preaching in the dark. When his hour-long sermon was over, the church remained still for the closing hymns and offertory, with the lights finally coming back when they were dismissed and began to stand up to walk out of the building.

This pastor loves the Babylon Bee

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Why I Play Football

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Why I Play Football

CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY

RUNNING BACK / STANFORD

“You good, man? What’s wrong?”

When we got back to Stanford after last year’s season-opening loss to Northwestern, I took a moment by myself outside the locker room. We had huge expectations heading into that game, and I had huge expectations for myself.

It was the first game I ever started in college and I was excited to show what I could do. But we just couldn’t do anything right. By the time the game was over, we had put six points on the board. Six points. On national television. And I felt like I was partly responsible.

What Kevin said didn’t matter nearly as much ashow he said it.

This was supposed to be the start of a big season, and now it seemed like it might already be over.

While I was sitting there, Kevin Hogan, our senior quarterback, walked by and saw me. He stopped and sat down.

The 2015 season was Kevin’s last at Stanford. Out of everybody on the team, I figured he might be the most upset.

But he was smiling. He asked me what was on my mind.

I explained how I was worried about letting my teammates down, and how I felt that I could’ve performed better in our first game.

He put his arm around my shoulder.

“We’re going to be fine, man,” he said. “We have one of the best offenses in the nation and you’re a big part of that. But you can’t harp on this. Not at all. We’re going to need you going forward.”

Those words … they’re so simple. But what Kevin said didn’t matter nearly as much as how he said it. I could tell that he believed in me. And that was all I needed.

That was when I really knew that playing at Stanford is about much more than a single football game.

 

PHOTOGRAPH BY STANFORD ATHLETICS

 

Playing at Stanford is about much more than a single football game.

CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY

Let me tell you about stationary fuel cells.

They’re basically these big power sources that can produce electrical power by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. They can power homes and commercial businesses, and in the case of a system failure, they offer an alternative way to generate power. I’ve also read that they’re on almost every NASA space flight to generate power and to provide the astronauts drinking water.

When guys at practice are discussing Immanuel Kant, or chemistry and calculus, while they’re flipping massive tires, you know you’re in a special place.

Yeah, I’m paying attention in class, Mom.

When you first arrive at Stanford, you find out pretty quickly that you’re surrounded by a bunch of geniuses. It’s something my teammates and I talk about all the time. The thing is, a lot of the guys on the team are geniuses, too.

I mean, just on my offensive line, from left to right, I’m protected by guys majoring in philosophy, biomechanical engineering, Japanese, earth systems and science, and technology and society. When guys at practice are discussing Immanuel Kant, or chemistry and calculus, while they’re flipping massive tires, you know you’re in a special place.

When we’re not studying or playing Super Smash Bros. in the lounge (for reference, Blue Kirby is the best player in the game), we’re trying to win a national championship. Looking back, that loss to Northwestern last season might have been one of the best things to happen to our team. It created an adversity that forced us to come together and made each of us step up. And Kevin was right. We were fine. More than fine. We only lost one more game, to Oregon by two points. And by the end of that season, we were Rose Bowl champions.

 

PHOTOGRAPH BY STANFORD ATHLETICS

 

When the whistle blows and the ball is kicked off, I take a few deep breaths, focus and then explode.

CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY

I don’t play football for the personal accolades. I don’t play football for the fame.

I play football for the love of the game.

When I’m out there, my goal is simply to get as many yards as I can every time I touch the ball. There are a lot of things at Stanford that require me to think deeply, but football isn’t one of them. You prepare meticulously so that when the time comes, you don’t have to think. It’s about instincts and reactions. When the whistle blows and the ball is kicked off, I take a few deep breaths, focus and then explode.

And what’s amazing is that if you do use your instincts and reactions to do great things in this game, you get a platform that allows you to do some good in this world. I learned that from my dad. Back in 2010, he started Dare to Play, a football camp for kids with Down syndrome. When he learned that kids with Down syndrome don’t have many opportunities to play organized football, he decided to change that. Dare to Play offers kids eight years old and up a chance to play on a team, which is pretty darn cool.

When I was a freshman in high school, I joined almost every single one of my football teammates as camp counselors. We were hooked from the moment we met the campers. And the truth is, the kids I work with help me far more than I could ever help them. They’ve made me realize that there’s a lot more to life than just football. So much more. And participating in this camp every June is one of my very favorite things.

He’s a great kid — and a heck of a football player.

Over the years, I’ve developed a special relationship with a few of the campers. One of them in particular is my friend, Dusty. The camp uses an old buddy-young buddy system, and I was paired with Dusty at the first camp back in 2010. We hit it off immediately. He was hilarious. Every year, Dusty would come back and we’d joke, laugh and even play a little football. Eventually, he became one of my best friends. Our families live in the same neighborhood in Colorado so we always stay in touch.

 

PHOTOGRAPH BY STANFORD ATHLETICS

 

The greatest day of the year for me is when I see him.

CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY

He’s a great kid — and a heck of a football player.

Every summer when Dusty returns to camp we don’t miss a beat. This past year, he said something to me that I’ll never forget.

After I saw him and gave him a hug, Dusty said, “This is the greatest day of the year for me.”

I wanted to cry.

When you hear something like that … well, it’s just indescribable. If only Dusty knew how much he and his fellow campers inspire me. And that the greatest day of the year for me is when I see him.

So when you see me take the field, know that I’m playing for more than just football. I have a strong faith in God. I don’t think He’s looking down on me and hoping that I score touchdowns. Nah, He just wants to see that I did my absolute best on that particular day.

I’m not the same player I was last year. I’m better. And now I’m ready to become more of a leader. I’m not expecting everything to be perfect. I know there will be a lot of challenges, but now I have a better understanding of how to handle them, whether it’s on the football field or in a nuclear energy class. So this year, if I see a freshman or a sophomore struggling, I’ll be the one to let them know that everything’s going to be fine.

Sometimes all you need is someone to believe in you.

CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY / CONTRIBUTOR

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So What Do You Do?

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So What Do You Do?

Ever feel like this at work? - http://bit.ly/2dhK34q

Most men are either disengaged, disappointed, over-engaged or underworking.

Oftentimes when we meet someone, we ask, "what do you do?"  Not a bad question, but maybe a good follow up question is, "What do you love about what you do?" It's not just the work that gets done inside the church that can advance the Kingdom of God.  

All jobs are hard, and sometimes it's right to stay in a job, even when it's difficult.  

We have to infuse meaning, working out with God why He has us in the job we're in.

Work is not a result of the fall, or rebellion of mankind.  It's found in the garden before the fall.  Work is a task, a mission, an opportunity, a stewardship that God entrusts to his image bearers to create and cultivate.  

Work serves a practical function as well.  It provides dignity and resources so we can give and spiritual formation. There are just some things that can't be shaped in us without work i.e., punctuality, responsibility, accountability...these things are working on me while I'm working on the job.

Another question you might follow up with is, "How does your faith shape your work?"


I'm looking forward to seeing you all tonight.  

Please make time for this six week enlightening and exciting study on, "A Man and His Work."

On the journey together,

Ryan


PS - Learn about what we're studying here http://www.leawoodpres.org/mens-ministry/

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Life Is Too Short

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Life Is Too Short

by Jim Burns

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself; each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

One day when I was caught up in the tyranny of the urgent, my friend Bill McNabb sent me some thoughts entitled, “Things That Life Is Too Short For.” His thoughts forced me to take a look at my own life and reevaluate my priorities. Perhaps you too might need a dose of reality today:

Life is too short to nurse grudges or hurt feelings.
It’s too short to keep all your floors shiny.
It’s too short to let a day pass without hugging your loved ones.
It’s too short not to take a nap when you need one.
It’s too short to put off Bible study.
It’s too short to give importance to whether the towels match the bathroom.
It’s too short to miss the call to worship on a Sunday morning.
It’s too short to stay indoors on a crisp fall Saturday.
It’s too short to read all the junk email.
It’s too short not to call or write your parents (or children) regularly.
It’s too short to work at a job you hate.
It’s too short not to stop and talk to children.
It’s too short to forget to pray.
It’s too short to put off improving our relationships with people that we love.

Life is just too short. Way too short to settle for mediocrity! Check it out: What does Matthew 6:34 tell us not to do?
Matthew 6:34 also tells us today will have enough trouble of its own. What difficulties will you face today?

Take a moment to pray and ask God to take control of your day and any difficulties you may face.

Also, memorize Philippians 4:6. It will help you keep things in perspective.

 

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He has written many books including Creating an Intimate MarriageCloser: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together and Getting Ready for Marriage.

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THREE MEALTIME QUESTIONS THAT CHANGE EVERYTHING (Including the quality of your food)

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THREE MEALTIME QUESTIONS THAT CHANGE EVERYTHING (Including the quality of your food)

Just kidding about that last part, but they could change a lot of things about how you talk about faith.

I hope this post by Holly Crawshaw encourages you like it did me.

If your house is anything like mine, the bath time and bedtime routine can often turn into a soul-sucking vortex of blood, sweat, and tears. All evening long, I feel like I’m herding cats. But not even nice cats. I’m talking about the mean kind of cats who hiss and scratch and ignore you when you speak.

Oh? No? Your kids quietly and efficiently bathe, spend 20 minutes in meaningful prayer, and tuck themselves in? In that case, MINE TOO! I WAS TOTALLY KIDDING ABOUT WHAT I SAID EARLIER.

But seriously, as soon as dinner is over, and it’s time to head toward bedtime, I take a deep breath and steel myself for the impending negotiations, requests, and resistance. By the time I finally get my two girls clean and in the respective beds, the last thing either of us have the energy for is deep or spiritual conversations.

So about a year ago, my family started doing something different. We decided to leverage the only time we’re really together and looking at each other’s faces. we decided to leverage dinnertime.

No matter where we are (and let’s be honest, it’s Chick-Fil-A or the Mexican restaurant down the road maaaaannnny nights), we begin our meal with three questions. That’s right. We don’t bless our food before we eat it. You’ll see why. Standby.

Instead of a blessing, we all take turns answering these three questions:
1. What was your funny bunny today? (I’m not really sure where “funny bunny” came from, but normal families will probably just ask: “What was something funny that happened today?”)
2. What was your high today?
3. What was your low today?

By starting with a lighthearted question, both girls are automatically engaged in the conversation. They want to participate. They want to laugh at everyone’s “funny bunny,” and they especially want everyone to laugh at their own.

We use our “highs” as something we can thank God for, and we use our “lows” as something we can ask for help, healing, or forgiveness. Then, we close the meal out with prayer, making sure to mention all the specific things that happened during the day.

For us, shifting these questions to mealtime has been a family-wide favorite tradition. It gives us connecting points. It keeps everyone aware of the others’ needs, hurts, and successes. It teaches our girls to ask questions and to listen. It teaches our girls to pray specifically and intentionally. Hey, it’s taught me the same thing.

Now, we still pray right before bed, and we even have a short devotional we read out of. Half the time, the girls are giggling and poking each other beneath the covers, but God’s Word is powerful, and it’s planting seeds that will grow and bloom as we continue to teach them to prioritize family and faith.

(Confession: Sometimes I am also giggling and poking them beneath the covers. But it’s because I’m ridiculously relieved that we’ve cut down on the length of the bedtime routine!)

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The Easy Way To Double The Fun You Have With Your Kids

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The Easy Way To Double The Fun You Have With Your Kids

I don’t like to run, but I do like my pants fitting.

In order to enjoy that second thing I have to do more of that first thing.

A few times a week I go running, but sometimes my schedule gets really busy. Balancing my career, my family and my faith, sometimes feels like a juggling act.

I have two daughters, age 9 and 11, and a beautiful wife I’ve been married to for close to 14 years. I also have a new book that comes out this spring, you should order it right here, and a speaking schedule that takes me across the country.

I don’t have big swaths of free time in my calendar and need to be really smart about the ways I spend my hours. One trick I’ve had a lot of success with this year is simply inviting my kids into the things I am doing, like running.

My daughters are old enough to ride their bikes with me while I run. Instead of jogging by myself or listening to a podcast, for the last two months I’ve been running with one of my daughters. They take turns going with me so that it becomes a 30-minute midweek date with Daddy.

It’s amazing how much they’ll talk to me during the run. Something about the fresh air, the exercise, and the fun of riding a bike opens up a lot of conversation.

As parents, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to balance it all. What if this week you looked at your calendar and simply said, “What do I need to do that I could invite my kids into?” I needed to run, so I invited my kids. I turned “me time” into “we time” and was blown away by what a simple tweak could do.

Do your kids want to go sit and wait while you get an oil change this week? Maybe not, but they might if it meant you brought a board game they’ve been wanting to play.

Double the fun you get to have with your kids by inviting them to be part of your day.

Double the fun you get to have with your kids by inviting them to be part of your day.

CLICK TO TWEET

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JON ACUFF

When he’s not charging his phone, New York Times Bestselling author Jon Acuff, teaches a goal-setting course called “The 30 Days of Hustle.” To find out more, visit www.30DaysofHustle.com.

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How To Talk To Your Kids About Tragedy

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How To Talk To Your Kids About Tragedy

The news is heartbreaking enough to take in as a parent. Terrorist attacks. Mass killings. Planes blowing up. Beheadings. I know…please just stop right there.

Add to that the political chaos that seems to dominate the headlines, climate change, job losses and more. It’s just too much to take some days, even for us adults.

So as a parent, how do you even begin to engage these topics with your kids?

Well, for starters, you can try to shield them, and that will work for a while. But shielding a child from life won’t actually prepare a child for life. Eventually (far sooner than you’d like, probably), they’ll begin to awaken to the reality of the world around them. You can’t shield them forever. Eventually, they’ll leave home. And long before that, they’ll get a phone, an iPod or an iPad. It’s the world at their fingertips.

Then what do you do? How do you answer their questions?

Here are a few best practices I’ve seen and some guidelines that have helped me.

1. Avoid simplistic or unrealistic answers.

I know, I know . . . of course you realize simplistic or unrealistic answers are unhelpful. But if that’s true, why do you and I give them so often?

It’s easy to say things like “everything’s going to be okay,” or “don’t worry, God won’t let that happen to us,” or “never mind, that’s not important.”

Wishful thinking isn’t helpful thinking. Kids believe what you say, at least until they learn not to.

I’ve talked to too many adults who still struggle spiritually because when they were little and they lost their mom, someone told them that “God must have needed your mom more than you did.” Talk about how to wreck a kid’s headspace. . . and heartspace.

That’s a simple answer, but it’s not a true answer.

If you don’t know what to say . . . just say you don’t know what to say.

Related: The Face of Grief

2. Empathize with the story and your kid.

The news actually is heartbreaking. It’s actually okay to come alongside your child’s emotion and say something like,“That actually is heartbreaking. I’m very sad about that.” Or “Yes, that’s scary. Sometimes grown ups get scared too.”

If you’re engaging a teenager, you can be appropriately honest. Telling your child you don’t like the political situation either is actually okay.

Validating an emotion is the first step toward dealing with an emotion. Even if you can’t change the emotion, which you can’t. Or shouldn’t. Terror and death should never become normal.

3. Talk about a hope that goes far beyond your circumstance.

Being truthful and expressing empathy is no a reason to leave your kid without hope, though.

Just because you see life for what it really is doesn’t mean you can’t also see God for who He really is.

The truth is, we have a God who is bigger than cruelty, who is bigger than terror, who is more powerful than any politician, and who is writing a bigger story. And—here’s the amazing part—we know how to story turns out. We’ve read to the end: good wins and God wins.

The thrust of scripture (which is frighteningly realistic about human nature and human history) points us again and again to this truth—we have a great big God we can trust no matter what. As in no matter what.

So why do we stop trusting? Why do we get too scared, disoriented or numb to give our kids hope that’s anchored in truth?

Too often what you and I look for in the news and in our personal lives is evidence . . .
that our circumstances are going to improve.
that we’ll be safe.
that none of this will happen to us or the people we love.
that we’ll find a job, or won’t get sick, or have even a little more money.

But the God of scripture isn’t a vending machine. Prayer isn’t a button to be pushed. It’s a relationship to be pursued.

Even more than that, our hope isn’t in our circumstances. It’s in God.

Our hope isn’t in our circumstances. It’s in God.

CLICK TO TWEET

And God is bigger than our circumstances and he’s better than our circumstances.

If somehow we can convey the essence of truths like this to ourselves in times like these and ultimately to our kids, we’ll have reasons to believe when everyone else has stopped believing and reason to hope when everyone else has stopped hoping.

And when you watch the news (and shudder), you’ll be able to point to a hope that no human can ever destroy or threaten.

That’s something worth talking about. And that’s something worth sharing with the next generation.

-Carey Nieuwhof

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What Is Wrong With The World?

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What Is Wrong With The World?

G.K. Chesterton was a well known British author and a friend of C.S. Lewis. One day a large newspaper in London announced that they were asking several well known authors from England and other places to submit essays on the subject, “What is wrong with the world?”

Of all the essays submitted, Chesterton’s was the shortest, and yet he probably spoke the truth more powerfully than all of the others. What was his answer to the question, “What is wrong with the world?” Here it is:

Dear Sirs:

I am.

Sincerely,

G.K. Chesterton

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Peace I Give You

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Peace I Give You

Most Christians have heard of the Hebrew word "shalom", which means 'peace'. Peace is a word we commonly translate as either an absence of war, or serenity and calmness. When you see a scene like this one, you probably think peaceful ... but this is only part of the definition of shalom. It also means 'health', 'safety' and my favorite, 'completeness'. So to have "shalom with God" is to have a complete, unbroken relationship with Him. To be whole.

When Jesus said; "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you", he was referring to the sort of complete relationship with God that he enjoys. He was leaving salvation with us! We often think being "saved" is about being in heaven when we die, but it’s also about having an unbroken, complete relationship with God here on earth. That’s shalom! Don’t miss that … salvation is when our relationship with God is complete, which is the definition of shalom!

Today, I am praying that everyone who reads these words would truly know the peace or ‘shalom' or salvation of God.

On The Journey Together,

Ryan

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