Stephen and Courtney

Stephen and Courtney

Monday, May 30, 2016

Disciples Among Us

I was reading this morning in John about when Jesus called a few of the disciples that had been listening to John the Baptist to follow Him.  One of these young men was named Andrew. I was drawn to him because my son is named Andrew.  It hit me that my Andrew and the disciple had a lot in common… they are both very social and a natural networkers. 

My son was called a “communicator” by his sweet teacher.  As a former teacher I can translate… that means he talks a lot.  It’s true.  We recently moved into a new neighborhood.  When we moved we thought there was only one boy on our street.  Somehow, without leaving the confines of our yard, my child has brought children from the far corners of the earth to our home.  Any given day we will have between 7-10 kids in our yard.  We love it because he brought us a whole mission field that we didn’t know existed. 

Jesus called Andrew to follow Him and he came and saw where Jesus was staying, listened to His preaching, and then immediately went and got his friends to bring them to Jesus.  In John 1:40-42 says, “the first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus.”

My Andrew has yelled out to the yard full of kids sitting eating popsicles  “Who here believes in Jesus?” (we are working on his delivery).   God has created him this way.  He networks and shares his passions with others… whether it be about the Aggies, hunting, or Jesus. 

As I was laughing that morning that Drew is like his namesake.  I realized that often times the thing that we work on to reign in with our children is the very thing God uses for His kingdom.  Andrew’s mom may have been exasperated by the boys he brought over all the time or been frustrated as she tried to get through the marketplace with him as he stopped to talk to everyone. 

God used this trait in Andrew to draw Peter (whom he chose as the Rock to build His church on) and others to Himself.  Andrew was also the disciple that found the boy with the fish and loaves that God multiplied to feed the crowd.  He was passionate about people and Jesus.    

As I looked at the disciples that Jesus chose to spread His Gospel and be martyred for Him I realized that they are like the children we all know.  The disciples were most likely between 18-20 years old. They were not young boys but were still not grown men.  They were normal humans like us.  Andrew would have been the boy at school that is constantly in trouble for talking.  He is the one that goes to school for recess. 

Peter is the impulsive one.  He is the kid you discuss self-control with everyday.  The one that has big reactions and then feels bad. 

Thomas is the kid that always wants to know “why”.  He will question you and keep you on your toes to explain what you are telling him. 

James and John… they had the helicopter mom asking for her boys to sit at Jesus’ right hand.  These boys had a competitive spirit.  John at first bragged about getting to Jesus’ empty tomb first but then allowed Peter to enter first. 

Philip was ever practical.  He may be like the kid that has a hard time letting loose or thinking outside the box.  Philip was in charge of supplies.  He was responsible and predictable. 

The Lord uses these normal young men to do great things.  He even used the character traits that as mom or teachers can drive us crazy.  My husband and I have told our son to eat and that it was time to stop talking at dinner repeatedly.  We have had to train him that he can’t ask if the stranger at the store can come over for dinner.  The traits in our children that want to make us face palm can be used for His glory.  As parents we have to train and disciple them in how to use these traits in a productive way.  How they can be who God created them to be but honor Him with their personality.  We still have to put in the time training them how to use their gifts and personalities to His glory.  But, we can laugh to ourselves and pray that God will use this child to do big things for the kingdom in the unique way they were created. 

My point is… Parents/ Teachers when you want to put your head in your hands and you feel frustration that your kid is not getting it… just remember that the disciples all had flaws, were human, and God used them in mighty ways.  He may choose to use the thing that drives us the most crazy to bring others to Himself.    

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fixer Uppers In Progress

Have you ever had a “morning” with your kids?  The kind where you don’t know whether to pull them back in the car at drop off and hug them tight or throw up a peace sign as your tires squeal out of the school parking lot?  We had one of those mornings not long ago.  Everything that my daughter put on “bothered” her.  Nevermind, that 12 hours earlier I had her try it on to avoid this scene and all clothing was fine but, 12 hours later she is tired and so now nothing feels right.  My son was more interested in loving on the dog than putting pants on and unfortunately, pants are a required piece of their uniform. 

We finally got in the car and started the trek to school.  I was feeling sad and wanting to set a new tone for the morning before drop off but one of the kids had forgot their watch so they were still upset.  We passed the local water park that we go to in the summer and my son looked over to see that is had been torn up for renovations.  He was upset and asked why they had done that and would we be able to go again.  I explained that they were making repairs to get it ready for the summer and he said, “But it looks ruined!”.  I tried to explain and related it to renovations we had done on our home.  I said, “Do you remember when our kitchen and bathrooms were all torn up?  It looked ruined.  Everything was removed and all that was left was not pretty and was messy.  But, they had to do that in order to make it beautiful.”  The words were no sooner out of my mouth than God whispered… “That is what I am doing.  It looks messy but I am building beautiful character into them and you”. 

As I thought about the Truth that He is at work in us and removing the old, sinful parts is messy but He is faithful to build us into something beautiful for Him I was brought to tears.  If you have ever lived in a house being renovated it is just plain awful.  It is messy, inconvenient, and hard.  You may get to know new neighbors because the contractor forgot to hook up your only working toilet before he left for the evening.  You will have to get used to sharing your space with others.  You will live in the dust and debris that comes with demolition.  That is how our sanctification is as well.  You may have to step out of your comfort zone, obey the Holy Spirit that lives in you, and be among the mess.  But the great reward of allowing God to come in and do His work in you is beautiful sanctification. 

I need this in myself.  I need His Spirit to tear down the dry wall of my sinful nature and replace it with His character.  It is also so encouraging to me as a mother.  Raising children is wonderful but working to develop Godly character in them can be difficult.  We work really hard and don’t see the fruit immediately.  That morning I felt like God was telling me that it is okay that it is hard, it’s supposed to be.  It’s okay that we are not perfect and sanitized, we will be messy emotionally and even spiritually while He works in us.  It is okay for it not to be comfortable, He has more in store. 

Sometimes things have to be torn up and look messy before they can be made beautiful.  We can trust in His process and yield to His teaching. 

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”