Monthly Archives: January 2013

God’s Masterpiece…you and me!

Did you ever go home in tears after kids at school made fun of you?  My memories of those years flooded back recently.  I was in a school office when a young student ran into her mother’s waiting arms and cried.  Her mom whispered that it would be okay.  When they left the receptionist turned to me, “It’s so hard being a teenager.  All those emotions to deal with…”

I remember those emotions.  Most of the cruel things others said have faded, but a few occasionally rear their head and threaten to cast a shadow on my self-image once again.  How do we help our kids develop a healthy and yet humble self-image?

I think the answer is found in a story my husband experienced when he was in high school.

Brad sat with his parents at the kitchen table talking about the genuine humility of Billy Graham.  Brad’s dad said, “I think God has blinded Billy Graham to his greatness.”  His mom leaned over and whispered to her son, “I think God has blinded someone else too.”

For years Brad agreed with both assessments.  His dad started the largest Para-church organization in history, produced the Jesus Film (several billion people have seen it and over 200 million people have trusted in Christ as a result) wrote the 4 Spiritual Laws (more than 2.5 billion published)…and yet Bill Bright was the most humble man Brad has ever known. Did God blind his dad to his greatness?

Brad discovered that his dad’s humility wasn’t due to blindness, but rather his vision was so filled with the greatness of God that there was no room left for pride or self focus.

Our view of God is the foundation of our self-image.  If our view of God is accurate there’s no room for pride or low self-esteem.  How do we raise our kids to have a healthy self-image?  One that believes they can do anything but that apart from God they can do nothing of value?  How do we teach them to love who they are without pride or conceit? We begin by teaching them who God really is and what that means for them as His child. I know it sounds too simple, but it’s the critical foundation upon which our children will build their self-esteem.

Open your children’s eyes to the wonderful reality that each one is God’s masterpiece, created in love and perfectly designed for His purpose. Cultivate a confidence in His complete control over all things and His promise that nothing can stop His plan for their life- not a teacher nor a coach, not the betrayal of a friend nor the rejection of a love, not the limitations of our body or our mind. NOTHING can stop His plan! I don’t know about you, but now and then I need that reminder myself!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

P.S.  Nick Vujicic is a true inspiration.  Born with no arms and no legs he struggled to see the value of his life.  His story is encouraging for kids of all ages.  Take time to watch a YouTube clip of his story and talk about it with your kids.

Table Talk: What do you do when you’re scared?

The Table Talk Question for the week is:

Is God in control of the scary things in the world? What is scary to you?

No matter what age we are, we all face scary things from time to time. The Table Talk question for this week can help kids verbalize what they’re afraid of and provide an opportunity for you to show them how our relationship with God helps us with our fears.  Be prepared to share some stories about when you were scared as a kid.  What did you do?  What do you do when you’re scared now?  Here are some thoughts you can share:

**When you are scared, do you get more scared or less scared when you think about what you’re scared of?  Next time you’re scared, try to make yourself think about God and the fact that He is in control of all things, even when you don’t feel or think He is. Our feelings or thoughts change with our circumstances, but the truth about God never changes.

The truth is God is more powerful than anything we’re afraid of.

The truth is God is with us every minute of the day and night.

The truth is God love us and watches over us.

The truth is He is faithful to keep His promises and He will never, ever let evil win.  Again, sometimes it may seem like good is losing, but in the end, God always wins.

The truth is there was never, ever a time—past, present, or future—when God said, “Oops, I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

When we are scared, we must remind ourselves—and each other—that God is in control of the scary things too, even when we can’t understand them.

Action Point:  Is there something you can do to remind you that God is King and you don’t have to be afraid?  (Memorize a Bible verse, keep your Bible by your bed, find something small you can carry with you to remind you of God when you see it or feel it…)

He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.

-Colossians 1:15, 17, Discover God Bible, NLT

What the kids say…

“God is in control of everything because He is so big and cool and

awesome. No scary guys can stop Him from His powers.”

~8-year-old girl

“God is in control of the dark, spiders, snakes, and Satan (of course,

everyone’s scared of Satan, but God’s in control of him).”

~6-year-old boy

“Another scary thing is dying. Not scary for you if you are going to Heaven, but scary for your friends because they might not know you are in Heaven. Some of your friends might be scared of dying if they don’t know if they are going to Heaven. Dying is a good reminder for us to tell our friends how to go to Heaven, and not be scared.”

~6-year-old boy

MacGyver and Armstrong

My son and I watched an old episode of MacGyver the other night.  The series wasn’t perfect by any means, but I’d take it over Glee, The Big Band Theory or The Vampire Diaries any day!  In light of recent events surrounding Lance Armstrong the following flashback scene from the show cries out with even more power and resonance.

It’s sudden death overtime in the hockey championship and eleven-year old MacGyver is ready for the face off.  When the whistle blows MacGyver wins the puck and turns toward the goal.  The camera closes in on MacGyver’s hockey stick.  The young boy uses it to trip his opponent before skating furiously down the ice and making the winning shot.  Almost everyone in the home crowd goes crazy.  One gray haired man, however, silently stares in disappointment.  He saw what his grandson had done.

MacGyver raises his hands in victory and skates to find his grandfather.  When their eyes meet the boy’s countenance falls.

“You intentionally tripped that boy.” His grandpa stated sadly.

“We did it Grandpa!  We won!”  MacGyver tries to make light of the offense.

“You’re no winner bud.”  His grandpa replied in somber disappointment.

The young boy stares into his hero’s sad eyes and knows what he must to do.  Without a word he skates to the official and confesses.  The referee looks up and signals the point is no good.  In the midst of the pandemonium that ensues, the young boy and his grandfather smile at each other.  MacGyver is a winner after all.

If a young Lance Armstrong had had a man in his life who loved him enough to teach him the value of honor and integrity, I wonder if his story today would be different.  Maybe he did have such a mentor and he chose to ignore it.  What we do know is that winning became more important to Lance than anything…anything.

Competition can bring out the best and the worst in us; it provides the opening to build character and integrity in our children.  We all love to win, but we usually grow and learn more from our losses. The question is, will we capitalize on those opportunities in our children’s lives?  Competition, seen through the eyes of the Creator, leaves no room for pride—or low self-esteem.

If Lance Armstrong had been caught cheating when he was young by a firm but caring mentor, and accepted the painful consequences of his actions, his life might have been very different.  Would he have won seven Tour de France titles?  Probably not, but he might have been able to look his son in the eye today and smile…knowing he was a true winner after all.

Table Talk

What would you like to be when you grow up?

I love this question!  Do you remember all the things you dreamed of doing when you were a child?  The Attribute of God we’re focusing on in January is “Creator/King”.  The Table Talk Question for this week at is designed to jumpstart a conversation about the unique gifts and dreams God created in each person around the table.  If your kids are like mine, their answers to the question tend to change daily, but they still give insight into the budding interests and heart passions of your child so listen carefully and look for patterns!

I love the answers one of our teammate’s children gave:

“I have no idea what I’m going to be when I grow up. But I would

like to be a singer, and a missionary.”

~10-year-old girl

“I want to be a vet, a doctor, a dentist, a person who adopts kids, and

a worker who helps parents get ready to adopt kids.”

~8-year-old girl

“An airplane mechanic, a pilot, and a guy that makes airplanes… And a

cheetah farmer who takes care of cheetahs.”

~6-year-old boy

Cheetah farmer… Matt and Em are going to have fun with that one!

We’ve provided some suggestions for guiding a conversation about how God has created each of us for a purpose.  Go to the E-Calendar/Table Talk and scroll down to January 15th to find the question for the week.  We would love to hear about the dreams your kids have!

Lance Armstrong and Character

“The real test character is not whether or not you make mistakes, it’s what you do after you blow it.” –Brad Bright

Lance Armstrong had it all.  Tomorrow he will admit to the world what most of us knew but hoped would not be true: he cheated and then boldly lied about it for years.  Why is it so disappointing?  Why is it so surprising?  Could it be that although good character is endangered in our species, we still treasure the idea of it and long for those who embody such an outdated ideal?

Don’t we all want our children to grow up to be men and women of character?  I doubt that when Lance Armstrong was a young boy his mom asked herself, “How do I parent Lance so he will grow up and decide doping is the best way to become a world class athlete?” or “How do I teach him to lie so convincingly that he will fool the world?”

No, I suspect Mrs. Armstrong taught her son that it’s wrong to lie and cheat.  But like so many who have grown up in a culture that has ripped away the foundation for character and replaced it with a narcissistic view of the world, honesty and integrity hold up only as long as it is perceived to be beneficial to the individual.  When Lance perceived that he couldn’t win without cheating, cheating became acceptable.  Character that’s built on a self-serving foundation will inevitably cave.

Atheists and secularists try to convince us that mankind will pursue moral character because it’s in our best interest to do so—.  Really?  Talk about sticking your head in the sand!  As my husband says, “If the God of the Bible doesn’t exist then morality is a fairy tale just like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.”  There is nothing that obligates us to pursue a moral character apart from the existence and character of God and the reality that we are created in His image.  It is His image, woven into the fabric of our souls that causes us to long for men and women of outstanding character.

Apart from God, morality is an illusion conjured up out of thin air by each individual and must be imposed on those who disagree.  In other words, those with “the biggest sticks” force their idea of moral behavior on the rest.  Recent events have brought this reality front and center in America.  David Greene, President and CEO of Hobby Lobby, will pay hundreds of millions of dollars more than Lance Armstrong ever will as punishment for daring to refuse to participate in a government mandate he finds morally reprehensible: killing a baby in the womb.

Our culture’s narcissist moral foundation (that’s been under construction since Lance Armstrong was a baby) is void of God and wields a costly stick. If you want your children to make good choices and pursue Godly moral behavior, you will have to be intentional about building their character on the unshakable foundation of God and His character.  The pressure to conform to the counterfeit character of our culture is too great apart from His help and power.  Apart from Him, we set them up for failure.

It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound…while our idea of God is erroneous and inadequate.  —A.W. Tozer

P.S.  The Attribute of God we’re focusing on this month at is Creator and King (Sovereign).  Check out the weekly Table Talk Questions and Activities on the e-Calendar.  The family devotions in the Adventures with God section are a great help as well!!!