Sister to Sister: Mama’s K.I.S.S. #37–Communion Cups

DSC_2270As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been presenting installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” This is number 37 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to have servant hearts. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

All kinds of lessons come to those blessed children who are assigned the task of collecting the used communion cups after the worship service is completed. The first is that they see their name in the bulletin under “PICK UP COMMUNION CUPS”. There’s something that says “You’re an important part of this family,” when our kids see their artwork and chore list on the refrigerator at home. There’s something that says the same thing when they hear their question discussed from the pulpit on Question-and-Answer night or when they see their name beside a “chore” in the church bulletin or on the church website. It’s an important feeling of belonging.

The next big lesson, of course, is service. It’s not necessarily the cleanest job. When it’s your child’s turn, you will want to be sure she is not wearing the heirloom dress that Aunt Betsy smocked. (Grape juice is very hard to remove.) You will want to get out the hand sanitizer when she is done. But even those precautions say to your child “We want to get to do the jobs that are not as glorious and beautiful as some other jobs might be. You know Jesus probably didn’t feel so glorious when they stripped off his clothes and nailed Him to that Roman cross. That’s what we (the adults) were thinking about when we drank from these cups, you know.”

Then there’s the benefit of learning to smile and greet all the people all over the building who are “in their way” when they are making the pick-up rounds (rather than running over them). There’s a lot of good training in that little lesson. Kids learn to wait patiently for elderly people who are leaving their pews and to be kind to them as they exit. And, hopefully, elderly people show kindness and gratitude to the children for the job they are doing. It’s a kindness builder.

When you put two children on the job each week, they learn cooperation skills and division of tasks and they build camaraderie. When it’s time to empty, wash, dry and store the pails, they learn to follow through to the very end of a job. (Help them, but don’t do this part for them.) They are making memories in the Lord’s service. I’m glad we went to congregations in which my kids got to fill up the pail after the worship services were concluded. They looked forward to seeing if their names were in the bulletin!

So, go ahead, save a couple of ice cream buckets and get going on this one.

Happy end-of-summer and back-to-school! Look for the back-to school special from The Colley House next week!

Sister to Sister: Just Daddy

The father about whom this poem was originally written is a grandfather now. Being involved in a grandson’s life is a wonderful reward for the time you put in as a parent. I ran across this poem tonight and, since it is almost PTP time (http://www.polishingthepulpit.com), and since I have to speak a bunch of times on that great program,  it’s an excellent time to run something written long ago. Here’s to a new and wonderful generation…starting with little Ezra…who is already watching the patriarch live for God!

Just Daddy

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He’s always there for the big times…

Recitals, big games, spelling bees;

He’s so busy down at the office,

But still he can make time for these.

But I think it’s the quiet “at home” times

That mean most to the children and me;

Times when the preacher’s just “Daddy”…

The daddy no one else will see.

Dad, who shoots ball, pets kittens and laughs

At jokes he’s heard over again;

Who pops corn for movies, builds toys in his shop,

Plays monopoly, but lets Mama win.

He stands up and cheers for them, kneels down and prays for them,

Listens, laughs, loves and forgives;

While  listening to lessons he tells them of life

They’re learning the way that he lives.

Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Peace and Silence… NOT the Same Thing

brigitteIf you haven’t seen the following video, you should watch. Brigitte Gabriel’s  point is well articulated and her logic is irrefutable. Radicals are the movers in society. The peaceful majority within any movement which contains a violent element quickly becomes very irrelevant.

As I think about her statements about Russia, Nazi Germany, Japan and China, I strongly agree with her logic  If the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and opposed to terrorism, why are they (the peaceful majority) not rising up against their own people, in the name of peace, to save innocent lives?  At the very least, they should be publicly descrying the frequent ongoing attacks by Muslim terrorists around the world. But such a public outcry by peaceful Muslims is rarely occurring. In its silence, the majority has become irrelevant. The radicals…the killers…are the ones who are making a tragic difference in the world today.

Have you ever thought about the fact that the “peaceful majority” of God’s people can, with its silence, become irrelevant? I am not suggesting that we should be a violent people as we oppose sin in the world around us. I am suggesting that we must be doing spiritual battle all the time. Paul said as much in Ephesians 6:10-12.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We must never be satisfied to be silent as the devil seeks to destroy our families and congregations. We become irrelevant to the lost people around us if we fail to stand up and be counted for truth and righteousness. It is not enough to just “think” that the world around us is becoming more vile; to be sad in our hearts that our culture is given over to immorality. We must continue to speak the world-changing message of the gospel even when it is vehemently opposed by a segment of our society. We have to continue to say that homosexuality is vile affection (Romans 1), that those who are have left their spouses for reasons other than fornication and have remarried are living in adultery (Matthew 19), that abortion is murder, that Jesus Christ is the exclusive way to the Father (John 14), that faithfulness to God involves faithfulness to His church, and that there are indeed New Testament laws (absolute requirements) regulating worship and daily living for those in that church.

Bottom line: Being peaceful and being silent are two very different things. I can believe all the right things, but become irrelevant in the battle for holiness in my community and in my congregation if I am not willing to speak truth at every opportunity to my sisters and friends. If I know truth, but I am afraid to post, speak, write, tweet, and/or text truth, then I, by default, contribute to the victories of evil. Granted, there are varying degrees of opportunity for God’s women. But all of us have some venues in which we can and should be, peacefully but vocally, standing for truth, whether in a blog or simply in a conversation with a friend who is straddling a politically correct fence.

The relative silence of 2.3 million Muslim people living in the United States when 19 radical Muslim hijackers destroyed the World Trade Center, attacked the Pentagon and took the lives of 2,996 people is still deafening.

Let us be peaceful, but let us NOT be silent.

Lady Gamblers

womens-gamblingAccording to the Internet Advertising Bureau, 52% of internet gamblers are now women. This represents a cultural shift. Women are, for various reasons, attracted by and becoming tragically ensnared in the risks of gaming. It doesn’t take very much research to see that gambling is highly addictive and that it brings ruin to families. My husband I have personally seen it destroy families and bring indescribable grief to innocent people who love the addicted gambler. But, as I think about this, I have to stop and think about the women I know who are gambling today on the largest possible scale.

Have you ever known someone who has been exposed to enough teaching and preaching that she has identified the church of the Bible, yet does not see the urgency of becoming a part of it?  She knows that she is lost outside of that body. She understands the terms of entrance to the church and has lots of encouragement from people whom she loves to become a member of it. But she fears that becoming a Christian will “cramp” her lifestyle. Procrastination will give her time to live the “good” life, participating in behaviors that are pleasurable to her, but prohibited by principles of scripture. She’s decided to wait till she has most of her years behind her to think about getting ready to die.

As I grieve over some that I know who are procrastinating about the most important decision of this life, I can think of a half-dozen reasons why such delay brings sorrow. and involves incalculable risks. I want to make the decision FOR those I love who are postponing. I want them to enjoy now the blessings that are so abundant in Christ. But, more than that, I want them to enjoy the personal security that comes from taking the eternally “safe” route.

If you’re holding the eternal “cards” in your own hand, you are not thinking about the high stakes. You should fold and walk away from the spiritual gambling table while there is time. Here are the reasons:

  1. Death is not always preceded by a warning which allows time for preparations for the judgment. If you want to be sure you are ready, today is the day.
  2. Death is not exclusively reserved for the elderly.
  3. Jesus is going to return and that, too, will occur at an unpredictable hour.
  4. Your influence over loved ones is incrementally lost as you delay. Perhaps you might be able to truly obey and receive forgiveness at a late hour, but your children will, in all likelihood, be lost if you are not devoted to God during their childhood.
  5. When the time comes for your planned obedience, you may no longer be interested in obeying. In fact, you may be closer right now to obeying than you will ever again be. The passage of time, combined with the hardening of hearts makes procrastination a huge gamble.
  6. If you truly obey at a late hour, you will most certainly be filled with deep regret for the time you wasted living for the devil, when you could have been bringing glory to the One who died for you.

Sister to Sister: Don’t Tell My Husband =)

Night-Scavenger-Hunt-Flashlight-Search-OutsideI definitely had my hands too full when I left the church building that Wednesday night. Every time I go, I’m loaded coming and going. That’s the way it is when you’re going to see your family, I guess. So this time I set my books on top of the SUV, specifically thinking, “It would be just like me to forget these books, but I am not going to do that. I am going to keep thinking about these books. I am going to remember that my Bible is on the roof.”

Ten minutes later I was walking up and down Oakwood trying to find my Dickson Bible and one of my husband’s antique books from which I had read in my ladies Bible class earlier that night. I am not going to tell you which antique book because the preachers’ wives might tell their husbands and there would be uncontrollable grief among the soldiers of the cross.

I was a sight. Trying to find a place to park my SUV…trying to dodge the traffic as I walked along a road that really doesn’t have a shoulder, and thinking of just how I was going to break this news to my husband, who was, of course, yet again, preaching out of town that night.

If I could find these books, I knew by now they would have been run over, torn apart and generally mutilated. I wasn’t sure which road to even search because, true to form, I had gone down one road and realized I had forgotten a stop I had planned to make, so I had turned around in an apartment complex drive and gone the opposite direction. At which point had I lost the books? “Since I thought I saw one of them flying away in the rearview mirror on Oakwood, I’ll start there,”  I thought. “But what are the chances?” It was dark. It was kind of dangerous, and, as time passed, so did lots and lots of cars. My chances of assimilating that Bible again were diminishing quickly.

And then a mini-van slowed and stopped, its lights almost blinding me. “Oh dear…friend or foe?” was my first thought….

And then the voice…”Cindy Colley, is that you?” It was the familiar voice of my brother, Tommy Barkley. “I thought that was you,” he said.  “I told Paula…we have to go back and see if that was Cindy. Something is wrong.”

And so Tommy and his wife, Paula, diligently and slowly retraced my path until at last we saw the scattered pages and Mrs. Paula got out of that van and picked up pages and pieces of pages for at least five minutes. She also picked up other things that really should not have been in my Bible as my good husband has told me over and over:  a photograph, a bulletin, a five- dollar bill, several attendance cards with notes on the back, a candy wrapper, an outline of a lesson I had taught, etc…. Tommy would not even let me get out of the van because I was on the traffic side; so there was my sister Paula out there chasing my paper trail all over Oakwood Road. I’ve been thankful for Tommy and Paula before—for helping me locate the right guitars for gifts, for encouraging me in teaching one of the baby classes, for making the sound system at the building so great, but I have never appreciated them quite so much as when I got home and realized that, with a few pieces of Scotch tape, I could actually piece together every single passage of both of those books!

Sometimes, people are spiritually looking for assimilation. We know about the Bible. Most of us own a copy. But, in our lives, we place the Bible in positions of irrelevance as we navigate the highway. We make turns, back up and turn around, stop and go, while we, like I was doing that night, drive further and further away from the Word; sometimes, like me, without even knowing it. Finally, we are not even sure exactly where we left it behind, but we know we need it back.

But by that time, we have often put ourselves in some dangerous and compromising situations. We find ourselves hurrying down a roadside that we would have never traveled had we not lost the Word. We desperately wish for light, for direction back to the Word…for someone to help. Spiritually, we need Tommy and Paula Barkley.

I want to BE Tommy and Paula Barkley for people around me who have reached this point of retracing, searching and putting-back-together. When I see someone who is looking for the light, may I always take the time to stop and say, “What’s wrong? Can I help you?” Then may I always take whatever time it takes from a busy schedule to lead her back to the Word and help her put it back together again so that it can, once again, be useful to her life; both now and for all eternity.

“All eternity”…perhaps that’s an oxymoron. We can never do anything for ALL of eternity, because there is no “all” of it. No matter how much has been expended there’s always that amount again…times infinity. It’s more than the human mind can unravel. That’s why looking for those people on the roadside who are trying to retrace is so important. Retracing is impossible without the blood of Jesus. And people have to find, assimilate and study the Word to know about the great power in the blood. I’m determined to stop and help someone back to the Word every time I get the chance.

 

Sister to Sister: Q and A…Should a Single Christian Adopt?

Unknown-1Is it always wrong for a single person to adopt children?

Recently, I made the statement, in the context of gay marriages, that the choice to raise children in homes without parents of both genders is detrimental to children. I certainly believe that two homosexual people do a great disservice to children they might bring into that home. Such an atmosphere is extremely spiritually damaging to children.

But the question arises: “Did you mean to say that it is always wrong for a single Christian to adopt children?”

I did not intend to convey that. It is true that, given the choice between a Christian home with a single parent or a Christian home with two parents, I believe the godly home with two parents is far superior for many Biblical and logical reasons. I do not believe it would be a good thing for a single Christian  mom to adopt a baby if there was a Christian home with a mom and a dad available to be the adoptive parents of that baby.

But that option is, unfortunately, not always available. Thus,  I believe a truly Christian single mom may be the best available choice. It  is the better choice if the other options all involve parents who are not Christians.

Let me be clear. Our desire for all children, as Christians, is that they are raised for heaven. If you are single and your home is the best scenario available to facilitate heaven for a child, then It would be a right thing for you to adopt that child. If there is a better opportunity for facilitating that, then you should want to yield to that opportunity. If a single parent is the only available Christian parent, then, by all means, let’s connect the child to the Lord whenever possible.

Deep and foundational principles of Christianity should rule huge decisions like adoption. Agape instructs us to make every choice along the way with much prayer and the will to do what is in the eternal interests of the soul of the child. I understand that we do not know the future and we cannot always accurately predict just what is best for a child, but, to the best of our human abilities, we should unselfishly seek heaven for those children who need parents.

…And let us not forget that those of us who already have children should be operating daily on the same principle. Every parenting decision should be rooted deeply in our indomitable will that every soul in our homes will ultimately live in heaven.