Sister to Sister: KidSing–Generation Two!

1545761_10154037177275603_2736777612730443261_nKidSing turned 23 this year and it occurs to me that we now have a huge 2nd generation constituency coming up in the Sunday night ranks of kids shouting out where events are found in the Bible and answers to important questions like “What is God’s ideal for marriage?” Scores of preachers, themselves, probably have learned what’s in every chapter of Genesis or Acts or First Corinthians. Hundreds of kids have received multiple trophies in their own church families for being able to recite the “Watermelon Card” or the “Sweet Potato Card” and scores are now exemplifying “true success” in their adult lives. Adults find the KidSing Facts come in handy in evangelism when a quick recall of the location of “The Ethiopian Eunuch” or “Lydia and the Jailer” comes in handy.

The youngest kids about which I’ve heard who’ve gotten the trophies by reciting the lists of Bible  “where is it?” facts to a local elder are three years old and the oldest “kids” are somewhere in their eighties. It started at the Sixth Avenue church of Christ in Jasper, Alabama in the latter part of 1992 or the early part of 1993. Hannah and Caleb were five and nine, respectively, and there are not too many shades of KidSing cards they’ve not committed to memory. In that first KidSing class was Joey Sparks, Patrick and Grant Wilson, Justin Brasfield,  Bailey Brigham Gladden, the Colley kids, Wendi Appling Vick, Cindy Appling Thompson, Timmy Appling, Bridget Evans Swindle, Courtney Evans Barrett, Nolan Williams, Brittany Tubbs Harmon, Bart Myers, Larissa Myers Robinson, Brian Alexander, Jessica Wells Bailey, John Michael Gurganus, Amanda Gurganus, Beth Morris Soechting, Brad Morris, and Mallory Jones Baker. Who else? It was a great crew and I pray that every one of them finds the eternal “trophy” that comes from living the truly successful life.

Last Sunday night, Hannah Colley Giselbach sent me some pictures of my grandson Ezra enjoying his very first Kidsing experience. It brought back Sunday night pre-worship memories from Jasper, from Collierville, Tennessee and from here in Huntsville, Alabama. It made me remember, in that old red auditorium, looking over at Hannah during her very last Kidsing before her high school graduation and watching a tear roll down her cheek as she looked over, caught my eye and mouthed the words “This is my last KidSing.”

Young moms, it will be here before you know it. So be sure she’s learning the cards. Be on track about what “true success” is…and “true failure.” Above all, be sure he knows the Kidsing rule: “Do the right thing!”

If you need info about starting a Kidsing program in your congregation, you can find it here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/sermons/kidsing, or come to the session at this year’s Polishing the Pulpit at 3:30 on Monday, August 24, in Ballroom D (http://polishingthepulpit.com).  The program only costs the paper on which you print the cards and a minimal amount for prizes if you choose to have them. But it may be a little part of a saving something that’s worth more than all the money in all the pockets of all the millionaires of all the world!

Here’s Ezra’s first Kidsing!

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Sister to Sister: Tooth, Truth, Youth…

Arrows-in-our-Hand1400After two failed attempts at a root canal, the problematic tooth was coming out yesterday. Scheduled for 11:30, the doctor’s office called at 8:10 yesterday and said “Hospital emergency for the doctor….Can you come now?” So I hurried. Since I’d stayed up very late the night before cleaning up a after a really fun West Huntsville Ladies-Night-Out party here, I was dragging yesterday. So I really had to rev it up to “come now” for the dreaded extraction. But it would be over soon…just a local anesthetic and a yank, right? Well, that’s what I’d been told…

But when I finally got back there with the doctor, which was around 11:30 after all, he informed me that I really didn’t want to go through what he was about to do while awake. Of course, going to sleep is usually the best part about my day, but this kind of “going to sleep” I absolutely abhor. And it involved all kinds of complications, too, like, calling my husband who had our car in the shop, at the moment, and enlisting help in post-surgery transportation. (If you see the church van over at the hospital, that’s the reason. We need to go get that van.) It also involved removing articles of clothes, for IVs and such, that I had planned to wear all day. Let’s just say…not good. It involved being “drunk” for a few hours that I thought I just could not spare, not to mention the many laughs, at my expense, that Glenn always has whenever I am medically “drunk”. He asks lots of Bible questions and elicits responses about food preparation, etc….

But it is OVER. Today is mushy food, salt water swishes, and compresses. But, better yet, today is a bit of unanticipated rest…and I have no car, so I cannot go anywhere. The house is quiet, for a change, and I just listened to one of my favorite podcasts called “Arrows in Our Hands”. I love this podcast because there’s nothing superficial here in the instruction about  service to Christ in the family. It’s from a young family, the Wesley Skeltons, who are just like you….They want every family member to be in heaven one day. So along, the way, they are searching out and sharing their best methods and tools to accomplish that—the ultimate goal of all truly Christian parents. Simply put, they are constantly finding ways to put the truths of God’s Word into the hearts of their children, Hannah Kate, Micaiah, and Sarah Grace.

This episode was special to me because they discussed a program that’s dear to my heart: the Lads to Leaders program. I love this program because it enabled our family, as Caleb and Hannah were growing up, to purposefully develop skills for serving Christ and His people. It was invaluable as we brought them up. This episode also features Ben and Hannah Giselbach, so that was another fun aspect of listening. (My favorite folks, Ezra and his friend Sarah Grace, were in the background making noise. They were not being interviewed, but they did participate.)

If you are serious about helping your children grow up to be faithful, but in need of a great resource to help you stay on track, I hope you will give this a listen. Then I hope you will take the time to check out the resources that are posted on this page. I can’t do for you what every parent who wants to one day sit around the throne with God should be doing. But I can share some resources with you that can greatly enhance your chances. Here you go:

http://arrowsinourhand.blogspot.com/2015/06/aioh-s1e14-leadership-training.html

Sister to Sister: Girls Who Have the Spirit (The Meek and Quiet Spirit!)

Pic1This week, it’s been a real source of gladness for me to work with girls at POINT, one of the best camps I’ve ever attended. It’s small. It’s fun. And it’s jam-packed with the spiritual! I’m looking at a round table of girls right now who are planning a class for young children about the prominent woman of Shunem in II Kings 4. They have baked bread, put together costumes, and, just now, they all sneezed loudly in unison. (You’ll have to read the chapter!) They’re auditioning for the best sneezer!

These are girls who have the right spirit. They’re working in his service. They are meek. They will tell you that their cause is bigger than themselves. They may not sound so quiet in this video, but they do remind me of this poem. They are working to be virtuous women!

 

The Virtuous Woman

A MEEK AND QUIET SPIRIT

LET ME WEAR WITH JOY I PRAY.

LET THOSE JEWELS OF THE HEART

GRACE MY SPIRIT, LORD,TODAY

TAKE FROM ME THE PEARLS OF RICHES

THAT WOULD KEEP ME, LORD, FROM THEE.

DRAPE ME WITH THE PEARLS OF WISDOM;

THAT THY SPIRIT I MAY SEE.

LET ME NOT, LIKE JAMES AND JOHN,

SEEK THE PLACE OF GRANDEST FAME.

REMIND ME THAT THE SAVIOR

AS A SERVANT HUMBLY CAME.

LET ME BE THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN;

SEEKING GOOD THROUGH ALL MY DAYS.

GIVE ME WEALTH FAR MORE THAN RUBIES;

IN THE GATES, REWARDS OF PRAISE.

CINDY COLLEY

Sister to Sister: Figuring Out Godliness–Part 2

Do You Have Your Act Together?

1010949_10151997487112802_498003468_nThe second indicator of what’s on the inside is what I’m doing on the outside. The passage says Christian women are not to be distinguished by flashy or immodest clothing and/or jewelry. But Paul doesn’t just leave us hanging. He gives us the flip side of the coin; the positive side: do be distinguished by the good works you do.  He says if you’re making the assertion that you are a Christian, do what women who profess godliness do: get busy doing good things!

I am amazed at the potential of the young women I meet as I go about and speak for ladies days and teen girls’ days. Often I find you, teen girls, more responsive to the teachings of Scripture than your older sisters in Christ. You have tender hearts. Almost always you are more creative in the use of resources. You blow me away with your talents and willingness to use them. You are tech savvy and artistic. You have much to offer the church and you are unwilling to bury your talents. Most of these areas of service are great opportunities for both men and women. Take the time to examine each of them and see if there are ideas that can be used by both guys and girls.

  1. Teen girls are putting together some of the most amazing Saturday programs for girls in their communities. These days typically include singing praises, a speaker on themes of purity, evangelism and/or service, games, a question and answer session and a meal.  I’ve seen themes like “It’s a Jungle Out There” (I Peter 5:8), and “Whatever!”(Phil.4:8). Talented decorators, cooks, and song-leaders, all under 21, put these programs together and bring their non-Christian friends. They are making a difference.
  2. Many of you are in group studies using a book called GIFTS, available from the Lads to Leaders office. I’ve known girls in several areas who’ve carried this book to school with them. Someone on the bus or in study hall is interested in the book. So a Christian girl invites a non-Christian girl over to study GIFTS on Thursday nights. Girls are learning the gospel through these private studies and some are becoming Christians.  The GUARD study for you guys can be used in the same way.
  3. Some of you are using your computers to spread the gospel. I heard of one Lads to Leaders debate group that used Instant Messenger to prepare as they studied their defense of the gospel. I know of one girl who had a lengthy study with a non-Christian friend on the subject of baptism via Instant Messenger. I know many of you use your Facebook pages to let each other know you are praying during the difficult times and to send each other encouraging passages of scripture. You use your word processors to make banners for hospital rooms and cards for sick people.  You correspond with missionaries and prospective converts you’ve met while on mission trips. You avoid the destructive chat rooms and readily available internet temptations and, instead, use your computer for good works.
  4. I have a friend who is a freshman on a state university campus. He started a weekly devotional in his dorm room on Wednesday nights after worship. To date, he has taught and baptized ten friends. This kind of devotional evangelism can happen with girls, too.
  5. Some of the most creative kids’ bible classes I’ve seen are taught by teens. Some of the most eye-catching bulletin boards are constructed by teens. This week I’m preparing an adventure center for our local Family Bible Week. Everyone on my team, except me, is college age and below. We are making a Treasure Island where children learn that real treasures are the ones we lay up in heaven and the treasure map is the Word of God. The lesson was written by a college student.
  6. Some of the most effective teachers on the mission fields are teens. I’m thinking right now of one teen girl who insisted on climbing a mountain in Jamaica to get to one lone house on the top of the steep incline. Other team members were older and lacked the energy to make the tough climb in the heat. Greeted by a sixteen year old native, this young teen girl set up a Bible study. At the end of the week, the girl was baptized.  She, in turn, brought a close friend to the Lord and that friend has now brought five people to the Lord. It wasn’t the seasoned preachers who made that little Jamaican church grow. It was the sixteen year old novice.
  7. I see local groups of young people tirelessly conducting worship services at nursing homes, raking leaves and painting houses for the elderly, doing laundry for new mothers, washing baptismal robes, cleaning up after fellowship meals, providing transportation to services and a myriad of other tasks that might seem menial to their peers. Some people may ask, “What’s so special about these teens? Why are they okay with doing the dirty work?”  Something tells me it’s that they understand what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” They understand good works.
  8. I see young people who are just naturally hospitable. I would be hard pressed to even estimate how many families have moved into our area and chosen to become a part of our congregation because our teens just enveloped their children, making them feel welcome and very much a part of the family that meets together here. Oh there may have been other factors, but parents very often tell me the deciding factor was the friendliness of our teens. Can you find someone who is new; someone who may be sitting alone and invite them to come and sit with you and the other teens.
  9. I receive lots of cards of encouragement from women of various ages. Sometimes I receive a card that is such a blessing to me that I want to keep it forever. Many of the cards that have encouraged me immeasurably are those I have received from teen girls who tell me that I have made some difference in their lives. These cards make me want to be better, try harder and seek the kingdom first. Is there someone who is making a difference in your life? Take a few minutes to pen a note of thanks. Some of you are masters of expression. Use those writing talents to build up the body. Some of you are good in the kitchen. Make those muffins to carry to Sister Smith who is convalescing or to Jenny, who broke her arm in yesterday’s soccer game. Some of you are talented sketchers. Make your own cards and gifts for widows or college students or deployed soldiers. Some of you are great readers. Share thirty minutes each week with an older woman whose sight is failing her, reading the Scriptures or something she wants to hear. Some of you are great actors. Plan a widows’ luncheon, serve your guests and then treat them to a skit produced and directed by teens. They will never forget this. It will be more fun than they’ve had all year! Our teens make up songs about our elderly people. They love to travel from house to house and carol; especially during the holidays, but any time of year. You don’t have to wait for programs and youth leaders to take the initiative. You can initiate good works.
  10. Most importantly, just get excited about spiritual things. The devil loves to make us believe that the real fun is in the temporal activities of this world. While it’s okay to enjoy fellowship in pure forms of entertainment, sports and fun activities, most teens are missing out on the lasting joy that comes from service. Be enthusiastic about Bible class. Get excited about building the kingdom. Try your hand at evangelism (maybe starting out by going with your youth minister or an older Christian to a study). Make it your habit to always say “yes” whenever asked to do anything for the Lord’s church. My children both testify that this “yes” rule was a big key to the development of their talents for the Master.

One more thing about good works for girls: No discussion of this subject would be complete without at least a brief look at Titus 2:4, 5. This passage is compelling as it relates to the place of women in the body. It encapsulates the most important role you as God’s woman will ever have on this earth. It actually says that women who fail to comply with this passage will cause the Word of God to be blasphemed. Guys, whatever you hope to find in the woman you will one day marry, find someone who is working on the list below. Girls, whatever else you do in this life, may I encourage you to be sure you are developing your talents and skills to be:

  1. A lover of your husband. Decide now to find a faithful Christian with whom you can share the goal of eternal life with God and plan to be his helper toward heaven.
  2. A lover of your children. If and when God blesses you with children, realize that he has placed in your charge little souls that will exist forever. They will look to you for guidance. You will influence their destinies.
  3. Discreet. The word here means self-controlled. It means deciding that you will put your will under His Will in all of life.
  4. Chaste. This word means modest and innocent. Make early choices to guard your thoughts and life from the sins of the devil.  Live every day so that you can bow before God’s throne and pray, knowing your relationship with Him is secure.
  5. A homemaker. Whatever vocation you may choose, remember God’s plan for your life, at least while your children are at home (these verses are addressed to the younger women), is for you to be a homemaker.
  6. Good.
  7. Obedient to your husband. While politically incorrect in our world, be sure you never lose your resolve to do marriage God’s way.

Sister to Sister: Figuring Out Godliness–Part One

The following was originally written for PEARLS, a program in Lads to Leaders. Participation in the PEARLS event is just one of many ways young people may grow spiritually through Lads (www.lads2leaders.com). Here is Part One of “Figuring Out Godliness.”

images-5Cassie was in middle school. Walking home from the bus stop one day, she was talking with Aimee, a girl who had recently moved into the neighborhood.  They talked about their classes and their ball teams and then the conversation turned to religion. Aimee said, “Do you go to church somewhere?”  Cassie told Aimee about the congregation she attended and invited her to the youth devo. “Does anyone else at school go there?” Aimee asked.

“You might know Bailey Robelsky. She’s in my youth group” Cassie replied.

“Oh yeah, I have math with Bailey, but I would have never in a million years thought she was a religious person–I mean the way she acts and dresses.”

Sadly, this scenario is not too uncommon. Lots of chances to evangelize; chances to make the kingdom of God appealing to our friends are stolen before they are even presented to us. People like Bailey don’t always mean to hurt the work of the  church. But people like Aimee sometimes get their very first impressions about the Lord’s church from people like Bailey. Sometimes it’s very difficult to overcome those first impressions. Sometimes people like Bailey may even keep people like Aimee from ever learning the truth that saves. See, Bailey is professing to be a Christian, but her appearance and behavior don’t match her profession.

Now let’s take a look at a couple of key verses about the profession of Christian women:

In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,

but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works (I Tim.2:9,10).

This passage tells us that there are some outward indicators—things people will notice right off the bat—when girls are godly on the inside. Girls should try to be characterized by these things. Guys should look for these identifying traits as they date and eventually choose their marriage partners.

Do Your Clothes Match?

The first indicator is the way women dress. Our clothes should match! Matching clothes, in this passage, doesn’t mean no plaids with checks. It means what we wear should match or reflect the godliness that we are professing. Then the Holy Spirit goes on to become the wardrobe consultant for all Christian women. He says, first, that our clothing should be modest. Modest apparel is clothing that doesn’t draw undue attention to the wearer. There are at least a couple of ways that we can draw attention to ourselves by the clothes we are wearing. One is when we dress in outlandishly wild or weird kinds of clothing.  I once knew a lady who wore giant hats with various wild colors of wigs to services each Sunday. She was not modest. Gothic clothing is immodest in most circumstances because it shouts “Look at me!”

I think the more common way girls dress immodestly today is by wearing clothing that is sexually provocative. The verse tells us that we are to dress “modestly with propriety.” The original Greek word for propriety according to Strong’s Greek Lexicon means with bashfulness. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says it means having a sense of shame. Our wardrobe Consultant is telling us that there are some types of clothing we should be embarrassed to wear. Then He tells us that we should dress with moderation. The original word there means with soundness of mind. It means sensibly or with discretion. The Consultant is giving us some guidelines, but he wants us to use the good sense He has given us to be certain our clothes match our profession of godliness.

Jesus made an amazing statement in Matthew 5:28. He said that when a man looks at a woman to lust for her, he has already committed adultery in his heart. Understanding that adultery is a work of the flesh and those who practice this sin cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven (Gal.5:19-21), the seriousness of this statement cannot be overemphasized.  But Jesus was talking about sin that happens in the heart of a guy. What does that have to do with the way a girl dresses? Let’s examine that question.

A few years ago my husband was teaching a class of high school boys at a large summer camp. He asked the guys this question: “What is your most difficult temptation as you try to be like Christ this week?” The unanimous answer was “It’s the way the girls dress.”  When asked to elaborate the young men explained that “it’s really hard to concentrate on the devotional talk when  a girl comes in and sits down in front of you on the bleachers and you can see her exposed lower back and maybe even her  underwear.” They explained that tight clothing, low-cut tops, clothing that sometimes exposes a girl’s middle, and short skirts were all great distractions as they tried to keep their minds focused on God’s Will and avoid the sin of lust.

Sometimes girls who profess godliness may be unaware of the effect of immodest dress on the thinking of guys around them. But that’s why God’s Word instructs older women to teach younger women to be chaste and discreet (Titus 2:3-5). That’s what I’m hoping to do in this chapter. It is simply a proven biological fact that normal men are far more visually oriented than women. To put it bluntly, normal men are naturally excited, both physically and psychologically by a scantily dressed woman. That’s why Jesus’ statement about looking and lusting was addressed to men. Christ was, by implication, commanding guys to guard their eyes in order to maintain purity of thought.

But does that mean women bear no responsibility in helping our brothers (as well as men, in general) abstain from fleshly lusts?  Of course not! If you were walking through a room full of nitroglycerin with someone you love, would you light a candle?  Christian guys in America today are navigating a treacherous path. There are visual temptations all around…at the beach, the mall, at school and at the movies. Guys who are guarding their thoughts have to learn to look the other way a lot. But fellow disciples should be part of the solution, not part of the problem. If I am really about helping my brothers go to heaven, I will be less concerned about what is fashionable, what makes me look good, or what is comfortable (those things are all selfish wardrobe factors), and more concerned about helping my brother avoid temptation. In this way, my clothing will match!  What I am wearing will coordinate perfectly with what I am saying:  “I am a Christian and I want to do all I can to avoid anything that wars against my soul or the souls of others” (I Peter 2:11). Friends don’t tempt friends to sin.

And a word of wisdom to the guys: As you make your dating decisions, make it easy on yourself. Choose girls who look the part. If you want to end up marrying a faithful Christian,—someone who will help you go to heaven—then date girls who dress to reflect godliness. In our society, a young woman who consistently dresses modestly is making quite a statement. She is saying “I want to be Christ-like even if it means making unpopular choices.”

One More Day!

home+page+collage+2Deadline for registration extended!

It’s not often that I advertise for any organization other than the church of our Lord, but Lads to Leaders, an organized tool to help our young people grow into leaders for that church is where I make an exception for the exceptional.

I do not know whether or not my own kids would be teaching and preaching and working in the kingdom had it not been for Lads to Leaders. I believe they would. I would like to hope that the years of home training and of just doing the Lord’s work in our family as they were growing up would have impacted their decisions to work as adults in a positive way, even without the tool that LADS is. But I do know this: There are some things that they are NOT nervous today about doing that would be very difficult without the regimented training we did in preparation for LADS conventions. There are some areas of leadership that come naturally for them today as a result of “learning the ropes” in LADS that did not come as naturally for their parents who grew up without the LADS benefit. There are about 5000 Bible verses that we collectively learned that we would likely have not been organized enough to master without the program that kept us on track. I know we would have done whatever we knew to keep our kids faithful, but we are glad that Lads was a part of “what we knew” at the time Caleb and Hannah were growing up. The program just helped us set goals and achieve them.

Let me clearly say that I know we were not perfect parents. I also know that, even now, to our deepest sorrow, our children could leave the faith. But, if they do, I believe it will be in spite of the “edge” that our family’s participation in Lads gave them. We “tripped” upon Lads when Caleb was eight years old and we moved to Jasper, Alabama where they were beginning a Lads program at the Sixth Avenue church. From that point on, no matter where we were living, we were very intentional about being sure we started a program or joined in an already existing one. It was always worth the effort.

If you think your congregation might be able to send a delegation this year to check out the benefits, call the Lads office today. If you want to go as an individual family, there’s still time if you call today. In fact, your children can still participate in events this year, if you call today. The best part about going this year, even if you just observe, is this: Your kids will leave the convention THIS year ALL excited about the events they plan to do throughout the NEXT year for His glory in the kingdom. That’s worth the effort of a last minute plan! Go here for the information you need: www.lads2leaders.com. You could be glad about this last minute decision for a very long time.