Young Diggers!

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I was excited to meet a few teen homeschoolers at Polishing the Pulpit who are going to do the “Shadows” study as part of their curriculum for the 2016-17 school year. But last night I was blessed to worship with the Lightwood church near Montgomery, Alabama and I had a photo-op with the youngest Digger I’ve met to date. She is Sara Beth Tucker and she’s 10 years old. I’d already noticed how she was popping out those answers to the Bible knoDwledge questions during the Lightwood version of Kidsing (http://thecolleyhouse.org/sermons/kidsing). But I was really encouraged when one of the elders’ wives told me she is always extremely faithful and participatory in their Sunday afternoon ladies class.  Way to go, Sara  Beth! I just know that one day, I’ll get to go and hear you teaching women about the Word of God. Most of all, I can’t wait to see the kind of mother you will be. Children who have godly mothers are the richest children in the world!

Of course, it’s you, the Titus 2 older  in a congregation that mold the next generation of faithful woman. Here’s Sara Beth’s mentor group at Lightwood. So proud of this Digging Deep group! (I’d love photos of your group…or even of individuals who are studying along.)

 

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I know it’s not about me, but this old digger is off to a slow start. I’m in that wonderful grandmother vortex that keeps my mind young but reminds me that my body is 57. The hours are long and the naps are short. As I type, I have a two-year-old beside me watching a little video about an owl cuckoo clock. Those are his favorite at the moment, and “cuckoo” is an appropriate soundtrack for our lives right now! Colleyanna has her days and nights a bit mixed up. She’s five days out of the womb now, so we’re hoping she’ll coordinate with daylight and dark soon. She’s precious even when she’s wide awake and very vocal at 2 am! 

If you have an outstanding order with the Colley House, it’s because we’re waiting on your t-shirt. I’m turning those orders around as fast as I can, with the help of one more patient husband, and you should have your order in a few days. The holiday weekend was one more small delay, but I’m hoping to get the final order processed today. Hopefully, in a few days, I’ll be keeping up a little better with the study and we can use this blog frequently to comment about the “shadows”. I’m thankful for your patience and especially for those of you who are in the Word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Looking Backward at Upward

13040922_10153452694836384_6312331184777460742_oDuring the last week, I’ve left my purse in a cart (or as my northern friends make fun of me for saying, I left it in a “buggy”) at Walmart, my father’s walker on his patio as I got him in the car during a near-monsoon, a traffic stop having been unable to produce evidence of insurance, the men’s room quickly when I realized I was in the wrong restroom and, quite obviously, my mind in some undisclosed location. It hasn’t been a pretty week, especially in view of the fact that I’ve been spending it trying to give my nonagenarian father short term memory tips, like coconut oil and making lists. It’s been the blind leading the blind. 

Maybe I could blame it on the fact that I can get pretty distracted from what I am doing by angry mothers and/or grandmothers…I mean when they become pretty irate (in their writing) with me because they think I should not try and discourage our sweet young girls from…say, going to dances, as I did in last Monday’s blog post. 

But also during the past week, I’ve been in deep conversation with a lovely young lady who is facing persecution in a university class because she calmly stands, but still stands with Romans one and other passages from the Word about homosexuality.  I’ve hosted in our home another university student who has, unlike her non-Christian parents, made the decision that she is serious about spiritual things and is planning to pursue a degree in Bible and devote her life to the spread of the gospel in whatever venue she can find. I’ve spoken with two sweet teens who, through the tears that the pain of an unfaithful loved one causes, have recommitted to doing whatever it takes to try and lovingly lead a sibling back to the Way. I spoke with some teen girls who traveled fourteen hours this weekend to be at a spiritually-building youth event. They did this while it was prom-weekend in their hometown. Here is a statement from one of those precious hearts: “They (the lessons heard at the youth event) have really impacted my life and I really needed to hear what (was said). I was ashamed of who I am (a Christian) at school, but now, tomorrow I will boldly go to school and not be ashamed to stand out.” I spoke with a millennial who is in a deep study of worship with a young man who is defending the use of instruments in our music in worship. I discussed with excited teens in Ohio the possibility of their hosting a purity event for teens in their area of the state. I’m working with a young millennial who, because she wants to be the best wife she can be, has humbly made tough decisions to be submissive in areas that have previously been very challenging for her. 

What I’m trying to say is this: My paragraph about young people who want to do the right thing is much longer than my paragraph about old people who want to discourage sweet millennials and the kids of Generation Z from staying out of the path of worldliness and relativism. While I realize that the world doesn’t turn around the lengths of my paragraphs and my own personal experiences, I find great comfort in seeing that the teens and twenty-somethings of many churches today are out-seeking, out-praying and out-teaching those who should be their mentors. It portends a stronger church in the next twenty years and it gives me a peace to know that these young people will be mentoring my grandchildren, who are babies now. I’m humbled and challenged by the faith I routinely see in God’s younger generation!

I needed the event that I attended this weekend. It was Upward and it was produced by and for teens in the church. The kids who hosted it are found online here: http://www.tomorrowschurchtoday.com. The site about the event itself is here: http://www.upwardteens.com. The take-homes of encouragement and zeal were not just for teens. This girls’ speaker was maybe the most blessed person there (and that’s saying a lot, because there were some pretty happy people there). The singing alone was phenomenal. If you want to really embolden and inspire some teens to serve out of conviction and not convenience, you should look into this program, for them, for next year. 

I’m really glad for great young people. After all, there are two millennials who will be choosing a nursing home soon for this distracted (…a kind way to put it) old woman. Kids, If you can’t find my insurance cards when that day comes, check the service desk at Walmart. They’ve been there more than once.

Guest Writer: Amelia Rogers–One Last L2L Post

BLESSED: A L2L TRIBUTE

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” -Hebrews 10:23-24

IMG_0978I feel like myself again.

We just got back from what is maybe my favorite weekend of the entire year—Lads to Leaders. All of the emotional and physical exhaustion that follows has set in hard, but I am so happy. This weekend was the last time I will ever be a participant in Lads, and I want to share everything that this program has meant to me.

For the last ten years, I have spent each Easter weekend at L2L convention, participating in Bible Bowl, speech, songs of praise, puppets, and celebrating the year-round work of my youth group and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I have made friends with the girls in my grade level as we have grown up competing together, not seeing each other as opponents but as sisters. I have made memories of nights with my favorite people, doing each other’s hair and makeup and cheering each other on. I have experienced God’s love through the smiling faces of moms who have encouraged and supported me just as much as they do their own daughters, and through the judges who have not been harsh, but rather kind.

The first time I went to Lads was in 3rd grade. I had no idea what I was in for, but it turned out to be one of the best times I’d ever had. All I knew then was that I loved to be with my friends and win trophies. What I didn’t know was how much God was working through Lads to make me grow.

DSCN0992My parents made shy little third grade me give a speech. I was mostly terrified, but I did it. A few years later, I led a song in girls songs of praise for the first time—something I thought I would never do. I kept doing speeches, and I kept leading songs, and though the nervousness was still there, I became more and more comfortable with getting up in front of people. And all of sudden, I realized that I enjoyed public speaking. Not only that, but I loved to speak about God. The last few years, I have been blessed with opportunities to speak at ladies classes and lead girls devotionals, and I love L2L because I never would have been able to speak in front of people without the practice and the encouragement that I received there. 

Bible Bowl with its endless multiple choice seemed a little too much like school when I first started. But looking back, I am so grateful for how much this event has gotten me into God’s Word, with incredible teachers and persistent reason to dig into and learn from books of the Bible that were chosen each year.

IMG_0375At L2l, you will often hear the phrase, “Everyone is a winner.” This year, I was up on stage with people that I’ve grown close to just because of participating in Lads together, and we were all happy for and cheering for each other no matter what we placed. In my speech room, all eight of us girls took a group trip to the bathroom halfway through, all nerves and excitement, but together, connected in sisterhood rather than divided as competitors. My friends Rachel and Melanie are from Missouri and we see each other only once a year at Lads, but our friendship will last a lifetime. That is why Lads to Leaders matters. That is how everyone is a winner.

I wore a bracelet all last weekend that simply reads, “Blessed.” Each time I looked down at my wrist, I couldn’t think of a better way to sum up how much my heart was overflowing with the goodness and joy that God has given me through Lads to Leaders.

I will always treasure my years as a participant in the Lads to Leaders program. But now, being on the other side for the first time, I have started to see the ways Lads will continue to be a part of my life. I will come back to support the younger girls in my youth group who are still participating. I will be a judge and have the opportunity to share God’s love by encouraging young participants with kindness. And maybe someday, I will bring my own children to Lads to Leaders, and watch God work in them as they grow and experience the same joy from Lads as I did.

If you’ve never heard of Lads to Leaders, please learn about it. If you’ve never been, please go. It will change your life. Or rather, God will change your life through the opportunities and the people and the growth that make L2L so special.

Thank you, God, for blessing me with Lads to Leaders.

“O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.” -Psalm 71:17

 

Amelia

Sister to Sister: Lads to Leaders–Not the Convention, but the Conviction

 

12524410_10153354725341384_2141875503953047451_nWe’re on our way to the Lads to Leaders convention in Nashville today, where we will witness boys and girls from pre-K through twelfth grade participating in Bible bowl, displaying artwork and scrapbooks, reading scripture, leading songs and speaking (girls to girls’ audiences only), debating, being awarded for memorizing a hundred of verses from God’s Word—and so much more. Boys will be awarded for learning how to be protectors and providers for their future homes and girls will be awarded for several categories in which they are learning to be keepers at home. One young man I know who participates has been raised in a home where his mom lives with her lesbian partner, but he plans to be a gospel preacher, thanks to faithful people who have taken an interest in him. He is faithful and will attend a Christian university this fall to get the training needed. But he is already preaching on many Sundays. Two young siblings I know lost their father this year. He was a missionary and now that they have moved almost around the world, they are carrying on his tradition of being in the Word and working to promote the church for a whole new generation. I heard them Sunday as they practiced and prepared. At least six that I know have lost grandparents this year and another young man I know has been working to be a good example to his father who is not a Christian. I know one young man from a single-parent home who’s been working pretty hard this year to help his mom regroup after a big life transition. They are all just kids, but they are adapting and making the most of some pretty challenging times as they grow in the Lord.

I recall one incident in which a young person was practicing his Lads speech, in which he boldly explained what the Lord would have us do to be saved. At the end of that particular practice round, a “mentor” from his small audience said “I need to be baptized for the remission of sins. I  have become aware and convicted by what this child has taught me today.”

I praise God for these young people. We are taking 115 people to this amazing and encouraging event. But I remind myself constantly that it is not the convention that makes the difference for the Lord’s church. It is is the conviction. The preparation, practice and the whole process puts conviction in their young hearts.

There are three children, now adults, who grew up in the program who are very important to me. They all spoke convicting messages to groups of adults this last weekend. Two of them do this  every weekend, and lots of times in between.They are all mentors in the Lads program now and two  of them are raising my grandson to use his talents for the greatest cause on earth. Let me tell you: I would not trade our time spent using the valuable Lads to Leaders tool for anything in the world. I’m praying for every child who participates this weekend—for safety, for boldness as he/she participates. Most of all, I’m praying for their futures and the seeds planted this year for the harvest in eternity.

Sister to Sister: About that Spanking (A Sneak Peek from “Women of Scandal”)

12642739_10154934105087588_4663197017850762678_nToday I am in prayer for more than one friend who is doing battle in some arena in our permissive society for the children. There are many children who are literally suffering due to a lack of  parental discipline. This problem is exacerbated by “professionals” in fields of social work and psychology who are touting “new” methods of dealing with behavioral issues that involve taking the authority from the adults and “talking out” the offenses and any consequences with the offenders…basically letting the rule-breakers and their peers set the standards of behavior.

Respect for God’s authority is not nurtured in an environment in which there is no respect for parental  authority. This snippet is taken from a lesson about Mrs. Phinehas from I Samuel three and four from the new book Women of Scandal. The target date for the book’s release is late March. Many thanks to Publishing Designs (www.publishingdesigns.com) for the excellent and tireless work they are doing at the moment to publish this and so many other books for the family of God.

Now, about that Spanking…

He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly (Proverbs 13:24).

Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction (Proverbs 19:18).

(Under the law of Moses, consistently rebellious children were to be put to death, so in this proverb we see that parents were not to give up hope for rebellious children too soon; they were to hope and trust in the effectiveness of corporal punishment; i.e.. spanking.)

I suggest that spanking is one appropriate and very Biblical method of discipline. While I am sure it is not the only good method and that positive reinforcement for good behavior rather than punishment for wrong doing is smart and effective under certain conditions, I still believe that spanking, administered lovingly and in measured doses, is, hands-down, the simplest and most effective form of punishment. May I offer, from the realm of judgment, some do’s and don’ts of effective punishment?

Do:

1. Be consistent. Whatever was wrong yesterday needs to still be wrong today (no matter if you are stressed or experiencing PMS today). Whatever exacts a spanking at any particular time needs to always exact a spanking.

2. Spank for outright disobedience or verbal disrespect every time. Be sure you understand completely that there was intentional disobedience or disrespect. Once you determine that, a spanking is in order.

3. Practice discipline. You are probably thinking, “What does she mean? Isn’t that the whole topic of this part of the lesson?” By “practice” I mean practice like a drill or a repetitive exercise. When you give your young child a command—say… to stop playing with the kitty and climb in the high chair for lunch—and the child continues to play with the kitty, you may, in the hurry of events, want to give the toddler a swat on the bottom and pick her up and put her in the chair yourself. That’s not a terrible choice, but a more effective choice is to give that child a swat, and then say, “Now let’s try again. You play with the kitty.” She complies and then you give the command again. Command-swat-repeat…until you get the desired result. This is both laborious and loving. I once did it for forty-five minutes with a strong-willed 13 month-old. Let me just say that it was both excruciating and rewarding.

4. Be sure that you, as parent, always win in any war of the wills. When you begin this very effective battle of the wills on any occasion, you have the potential to make great progress in the long-term molding of your child’s view of authority. If you surrender in the middle of the battle and let the child have his way, you are eroding, rather than building respect for authority.

(Catch the next Bless Your Heart for the “don’ts”.)

 

Sister to Sister: Holiness Is not a “Happening” Thing

unnamedHave you got your 2016 calendar yet? Most of you probably have had it ever since you got your smart phone. I’m old, so I have to still have that pretty one hanging in the kitchen, too.  But however you mark time, mark this! If you have or know a teenage girl and you live anywhere in traveling distance, you need to make plans to get your girls to Pulaski, Tennessee on this day. This is one road trip that will be worth the taking.

It’s January 30, 2016. It’s free and it’s all about protecting purity for the richest lives in Jesus that your daughters can possibly know. It’s about their future marriages…decisions they can make now that will make their “later” a whole lot better. Here are some specifics that you will want to know.

The location is Fairview Church in Pulaski, TN. There is no charge for any part of the program and there is even a free T-shirt for those who register by January 1st. (And, yes!…the shirts are for adults, too). All women who have any influence over any young girls (that’s all of us) are encouraged to come. There will be free housing for out-of-town guests. You can register for this housing, as well as for the event itself,  by emailing purityday@yahoo.com or by calling 931-309-8482. Breakfast and lunch will be served free of charge and childcare for young ones will be available. There will even be an activity for the younger girls during the most sensitive portion of the program about sexual purity.

The speaker for the day is Courtney Ruiz. I have heard her speak and you will not be disappointed.

Lesson titles and topics are as follows:

BeYOUtiful For Him!

1.Mirror, Mirror on the Wall (The Best Kind of Beauty)

2. Daughter of the King (To Whom Do You Belong?)

3. White as Snow (Sexual Purity and Modesty)

4. Is Your Apple Poisonous? (Dealing with Social Media)

I cannot take the time and space to extensively promote lots of programs at various congregations because our sisterhood is so rich with faith-building events. But this is one event in which I have been involved and for which I have a passion. It’s the kind of one-day event that can make a big difference in lots of days, in lots of lives. I’ve seen the fruits of such programs in specific lives, decisions and marriages.

One more thing: At the risk of being negative, I want to make this observation. I have seen far too many moms hoping their daughters will be chosen for homecoming court or MVP on the softball team, while giving little thought or attention to spiritual “extra-curriculars” like this upcoming purity day. It’s great when our daughters can excel in their wholesome pursuits in sports and at school. But if they find the greatest acclaim in multiple pursuits and lose their purity and ultimately their souls, all the trophies, positions, scholarships and friends in the world cannot begin to compare with the value of the lost commodity. It is extremely often that I hear a mother say, “I just don’t know what happened. Our daughter has left the Lord and our grandchildren do not even attend worship anywhere.”

That’s just the thing. What “happens” is that our children leave the Lord. That “happens” without much effort, with little thought, with minuscule planning. But faithfulness is not what “happens”. Purity never just “happens”. Holiness takes determination, work, teaching, traveling, planning and, especially during the teen years, it takes parental grit. Heaven doesn’t just “happen”.

You don’t HAVE to be at this day to put purity in the heart of your daughter. But you HAVE to be doing something. You have to have a plan. This day is a planning tool for those who can come!