Are you preventing children from coming to Jesus? Part 1

Our Lord Christ said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.” We sneer at those villainous religious leaders–or even disciples–who prevent children from approaching Jesus.

But we have to ask the question, “Do we hinder children from coming to Jesus?”

And when we ask that question in the negative, why not put it in the positive sense also: “Do we do much intentionally to help our young children come to Jesus in our families and churches?

I want to do some sweeping through Christian history, Scripture, a couple of studies of practices related to conversion or faith-shaping of children in the last century, and make some conclusions or applications and issue a challenge to us all. Continue reading

Throw a pie

Left over ice cream pie from Ashley’s birthday party. Melted but still ice cold. Who wants a pie in the face? Anna sprints to her room and returns with a shower cap. Watch.

Jacob runs camera and commentary, laughs with his mom. My family laughing is music to my ears. For 23 years one of my favorite things in the world is my wife’s laugh.

Amazed at Family & Children’s Services

Met yesterday with 40 case workers and therapists at the East Tulsa Family & Children’s Services office. I was amazed and overwhelmed that this “army” of workers rolling back in after a long day of case work and counseling at schools.

I told them how much I respect what they are doing, how ministry is done not at churches but in our lives, our jobs, our neighborhoods . . .

That’s why Jeff Krisman and I had come to meet with this group, hosted by the director, Whitney Downie. We were sharing with them about Neighborhood Kitchens, a place where people can come and share a meal and their heart. We’re a group of educators, government worker/volunteers, business people, representing a variety of faith communities who want to change the world . . . starting in East Tulsa.

Each week we host a meal and invite our neighbors and so far each week we have 70-100 adults and children who are coming to eat and talk about how to make our community a better place to live–less crime, teen pregnancies, gangs, drugs and more life, healthy families, joy, and shalom.

Jeff Krisman has a vision and he asked me and the Garnett Church of Christ to join him. We did. You can read more about it at www.neighborhoodkitchens.pbwiki.com. You’ll see at this link that we’re working with several community groups, including the East Tulsa Prevention Coalition and OU-Tulsa to develop the project.

We asked the group at Family & Children’s to participate in the Neighborhood Kitchens project, help us assess where people are in need. Then I told them each day when I see my kids off to school I kiss their heads and whisper the priestly blessing of Numbers 6 over them. I said I wouldn’t be kissing any of them on the heads but would say the blessing over them and the tremendous and challenging work they do. I told them our church comes to the community with the humble realization that we can’t educate, fund, counsel, do all this group does and schools do and businesses do, but we can open ourselves up, be the church we are and share God’s love and partner with our community.

So I said, “May God bless you and keep you . . . the Lord make his face to shine upon you . . . and give you peace.”

Hey Dad!

Two words, an exclamation–my kids say, “Hey Dad!”

That’s the moment of truth in every dad’s life
Will you make time? Will you “block out your schedule”?
Will you say, “Hey what?” and listen and go where they want to go?

Recently, in one beautiful day, I noticed all three of my children say “Hey Dad!”

“Hey Dad! Will you play catch with me?” Jacob is eight.

“Hey Dad! Would you read me a book?” Anna is eleven.

“Hey Dad! Want to play basketball?” Ashley is almost fourteen.

They are getting older and I so am I. Turned 40 this year. But I no longer dread when they will never say those words again. Instead I simply take them up on the offers and enjoy the moment.

For some day we will say, “Hey Child!” and they will either answer or they will not
It depends on how we answered them as children.

For “Hey Dad!” is really not an exclamation. It is a question.