When They Didn’t Come

Cheese PartyLeaning forward in her chair as tears welled up in her eyes she shared the hurt of the previous day. We had prayed with her and shared her hopes, so it was our hurt as well. Except for her church friends, only one other person came.

The birthday party for her preschool son was to be more than just a party. She had hoped that it would bring two relational groups together – her church friends and her friends who don’t follow Christ. She longed to see the two groups mingle. To see new friendships established. To let her fellow Christ followers join her in the harvest.

Her pain was not for her son. He had a great time doing life with his simple church family. The presents were plenteous and the cake delicious. The laughter and fellowship flowed like birthday punch. We had a great time – but they didn’t come.

What did we do?

Sitting with her, we identified with her hurt. She shared her pain and we encouraged her. We committed to keep on working.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9 NIV

We like to share our victories and shy away from our disappointments. But we can learn a lot from those difficult times.

Grace and Peace,

12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter

RejoiceOn Tuesday of what is commonly called “Holy Week” or “Passion Week” we find Jesus in the temple area. Mark 11:11 tells us that on Monday Jesus observed the activity at the temple, returned to Bethany to spend the night and came back to the temple the next day. The stories of Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:12-19; Luke 19:45-48 record Jesus driving money changers out of the temple, healing the lame at the temple, and responding to critics of children who were praising him.

The children were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The scribes and chief priests were upset about this and challenged Jesus about it. He responded by quoting Psalm 8:2.

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

” ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” – Matthew 21:14-16 NIV

Learn from the children.

Here are 12 things we can learn as we watch children this Easter. They are some of the natural qualities of young children that Wynn McGregor mentions in The Way of the Child.

  1. openness
  2. trust
  3. energy
  4. wonder
  5. enthusiasm
  6. awe
  7. laughter
  8. creativity
  9. receptivity
  10. curiosity
  11. joy
  12. truthfulness

Listen to the children this Easter. We might get a little better at being Christ followers if we follow their example.

Grace and Peace,

Join the Conversation: Of the 12 qualities of young children listed by Wynn McGregor, which one challenges you the most? What keeps you from displaying these qualities?

Related Posts from 7 Days Leading Up To Easter

    1. Sunday – What Kind Of Entry Was It?
    2. Monday – 12 Things Children Can Teach Us This Easter
    3. Tuesday – Seeing The Unnoticed
    4. Wednesday – The Calm Before The Storm
    5. Thursday – How Washing The Disciple’s Feet Pictures The Incarnation
    6. Friday – It’s Friday But . . .
    7. Saturday – Between The Cross And The Empty Tomb

      The Family that Retreats Together

      Our prayer retreat was a family retreat. Sometimes the children romped and played children’s games with one another but we also did a lot of things intergenerationally. We ate together, sang together, told stories together, played board games together, studied the Bible together and prayed together.

      Doing things together.

      I got to spend some time in conversion with Joelle and P.J. during dinner on Saturday evening. Joelle and I talked about her favorite subjects and her 2nd grade friends.  She told me about a close friend who was going to move because her dad was looking for a new job. Her mom and dad also joined in the conversation.

      Around the campfire we shared some great stories. We did not limit our singing to fun songs with motions and actions. The children sang along with us in praise and worship.

      David was bold and slept in his tent with four boys, preschool to age 12.

      Several adults and the children played board games together. Their laughter was contagious and heart warming.

      Studying God’s Word Together

      One of the most rewarding things for me was the intergenerational nature of our Bible study on Saturday afternoon. We examined the prayer life of Jesus form the gospels. We were divided into two groups and the children were grouped with their parents. They read scripture and asked and answered questions. We did not “dumb” down the study time but simply included them in the conversation about the times and manner of the Jesus’ prayer life.

      We need to remember that Jesus’ parents found him, at age 12, in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. (Luke 2:46-52)

      Don’t take your children for granted and don’t send them off to a back room to watch a video. Sit down and talk with them. Play a game with them. Study God’s Word with them. Pray with them.

      Father, help us understand that corporate prayer means intergenerational prayer.

      Grace and Peace,

      Join the conversation: What are some ways we can be more intergenerational in our church gatherings?