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Caleb Colley

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Guest Writer on Lads to Leaders–Caleb Colley


Last weekend, about 20,000 people were encouraged, strengthened and blessed by a program that’s dear to the Colley house. The following, penned by Caleb a few years back, is a reflective look at the benefits of participation. 2019 marked our family’s 26th year of participation as a family and our third generation of participants had a great and chaotic time in this blessed little spiritual boot camp. We are tired. We have had enough Stax burgers and Paisano pizza to last us till next year for sure. Our cars did not leave their parking spaces for 72 hours. We walked about 3984357 miles in the hotel. We rode the elevator 238974 times with two strollers. We helped host a dinner for the very first Nashville recipient of the prestigious RED COAT AWARD. (I love that guy. He worked very hard!) We attended a reception for a board member that I live who’s been working in the program for all of its fifty years. (I love that guy, too!) Our faith in the great I AM and His wondrous mercy for the third and fourth generations reached new levels. We are thankful to Him.

Here are Caleb’s thoughts. (I know he’s looking to the future of Lads with even greater anticipation now, since this year was his first “stroller year” at convention. Maggie did a lot of “speech” this year at the Orlando convention, but her mom said the content was mostly  “Bye-bye-bye-bye. Here she is with her great aunt Lois Duncan Lyon at the Orlando convention.)

A congregation that is close to my heart will be initiating its participation in Lads to Leaders in the coming days, and this event calls to mind how much Lads has done for me. As I enter my 21st year of participation, I would like to briefly describe the program and say why more congregations nationwide should consider participating.

Society has built-in mechanisms to assist and motivate young people in athletic, academic, and entrepreneurial achievement, but too often the church has slight and ineffective means to encourage Bible knowledge and spiritual achievement among children. Every congregation of the church should have a mechanism whereby it assists parents in promoting children’s spiritual development. In my opinion, the best such expedient is Lads to Leaders, a program that affords structure, content, and motivation, and can be tailored to the specific needs of each congregation as specified and directed by its eldership.

 

In Lads to Leaders, there are 37 categories of participation, through which children and adults learn what the Bible says and how to apply it in daily life and in the work and worship of the home and church. The events culminate at an annual convention in six cities (Atlanta, Dallas, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, and Orlando) where the participants’ efforts are celebrated and encouraged by thousands of brethren. Most (26) of the events are non-competitive, i.e., participants are evaluated, but not in comparison with others. Some (11) events are competitive. In my experience Lads competition has been friendly, mild, and profitable—always edifying and never discouraging. Consider in turn some of the benefits Lads offers:

Structure. Sometimes, although we want our children to learn God’s word and become spiritual leaders, we’re unsure how to start and to keep going over time. Lads event rules have been carefully designed for maximum long-term benefit, by church leaders who have experience in working with young people and parents. Consider the event called “Debate.” Here, students study an important proposition, such as “The use of mechanical instruments of music to accompany the worship of God by His church is not authorized by His Word,” in preparation for organized, formal (mock) debates. And, in the event called “Good Samaritan,” students habituate service by systematically learning what they can do for others and then scheduling it. Lads systematically connects adults who have expertise in a particular activity with students who are interested in that area. For example, song leaders train the participants in the event called “Song Leading,” and public speakers train the participants in “Speech.”

Content. Lads has a strong focus on quality, biblical curriculum that serves as the foundation for several events. For example, in the event called “Headed to the Office,” students read a book by Glenn Colley on how to prepare to fulfill the biblical qualifications for eldership, and complete projects that help them develop the requisite characteristics. A new event called “Keepers” helps girls to develop the attributes of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, including homemaking skills. Other events (e.g., “Centurion of Scripture,” “Bible Bowl”) challenge participants—including adults—to memorize Scripture.

Motivation. Part of Lads’ structure is a system of competition and recognition that keeps children working. As a young Lads participant, I would not yet be all the way home from the Lads convention before I starting working on my speech for the next year’s convention, because I wanted to win the trophy. Before long, I stopped caring so much about the material reward and cared more about the intrinsic rewards of writing and delivering my best possible speech. Nonetheless, competition was a critical stimulus in the early stages. Just as children are motivated by getting a star sticker on a chart for attendance or good behavior, a trophy in a contest goes a long way toward showing a child that a difficult task is worthwhile.

Individualization. Autonomous congregational leadership is fully in control of how its membership utilizes Lads. The events and all material supplied by Lads are, like Sunday school curriculum, tools at the disposal of congregations and families. Folks can participate in as few or as many events as they like, and can choose whether to attend the convention.

Whatever service I am able to render in the kingdom is largely the result of the training provided to me by my parents and other mentors in the context of Lads to Leaders. I am honored to continue the tradition by mentoring students in the program. Begin to use Lads to Leaders at your congregation today. Contact me if I can help get you started or check out the website where all information can be found: http://www.lads2leaders.com.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For Maggie

Written a couple of years ago, to Caleb, when we first knew who would be the wise and godly mother of our Colley grandchildren, I run this again today in honor of Maggie, who is healthy and strong (and stubborn!). Come on, Maggie. I love you and can’t wait to put a kiss on your sweet face, fresh from God. He is still writing this story.

The Answer

God is so good to your parents tonight

He’s  answered the details of prayer.

It wasn’t our wisdom, but Providence

Not our work, but His steady care.

 

He gave you the songs you’ve been singing

He gave you the voice that you raise

He gave you the music that’s deep in your soul

And the skill to lead Christians in praise.

.

You’ve excelled in conviction and conscience.

You’re courageous, yet kind and forbearing.

Confident in truth, introspective,

Consistent, hard-working, and caring.

 

He’s answered our prayer for His daughter, too.

More completely than parents could plead.

Immeasurably more than we ask or think.

She’s everything He knows you need.

 

So we thank our Father each night for her;

For the path that brought her to your life.

For her honor, her humor, her love for our Lord

And that she said, “yes”…she’d be your wife.

 

So you both can go ahead and start praying now

For the sons who will fill up your lives.

For their safety in coming, their bruises and scrapes

For the ones who will raise up their wives.

 

And, Son, pray for daughters, for you know how to teach

A little boy to be the best kind of brother.

She’ll be holy and His and so pretty, to boot…

She’ll grow up to be just like her mother.

 

When the years and the tasks loomed so large, Son,

We prayed for this hour in your life.

We prayed that your heart and your hands would be strong

When they first held the heart of your wife.

 

And all through the years, Son, you’ve taught us.

But the greatest thing you helped us see

Was the extreme sacrifice of the Father

To give His one Son on a tree.

 

We know that He brought you together

That the Father is writing your story.

So glad for this moment when you’ll vow to give

Him a lifetime…as one…for His glory.

cc

PS. Your cousins, Ezra, Colleyanna and James are pretty excited, too, Maggie!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Just Sharing A Boost

The sweetest part of my weekend just might have been when a lady approached me as I was eating lunch on Saturday. I had just finished speaking at a ladies seminar near Montgomery, Alabama about the glorious bride of Jesus, the church. She told me her name and how that she had cared for her father until he passed away in his nineties. I could relate to that as I, along with my siblings, have the current privilege of doing that same wonderful thing. But then she said this: “I just want to tell you how very much we love your son, Caleb, over at the University church.”  She went on to tell me some of the things in which he had participated while he was a member at University during the years he attended graduate school at Faulkner. During these years, he also worked at Apologetics Press. All of those things made me smile. But then she said something I’ll always remember: “He used to come over to my house and have a Boost with my daddy.” 

There are at least four things that made me love knowing this:

  1. Caleb does not always like to try new things, especially drinks that are made to help older people ingest a bunch of calories, make up for nutritional losses and gain weight.
  2. Caleb is not a fan of calorie-laden foods or gaining weight, period.
  3. Caleb was extremely busy while he lived in Montgomery.
  4. This elderly, gentle Christian man, at this point in life, could offer very little in goods or services to Caleb, so he offered him a Boost, in more than one way. 

See, there’s really just one reason Caleb would have had a Boost. It was because the frail body and hesitant taste buds of his ninety-plus-year-old brother needed some encouragement to get that drink down. Sometimes, when a young person takes on the responsibility of helping older Christians gain physical strength, the simultaneous  and automatic result is that the young person grows in spiritual strength. That rich drink was meant to strengthen Caleb’s elderly friend. In reality, the biggest boost was probably for the young college student. 

And, because that student was my son, the boost was still being recycled today as this sweet sister told me something good about Caleb that I did not know. Someone could have told me that one of my children had done some great thing and I would not have been more encouraged. But wait, that’s exactly what happened.

“He that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).

Little Eden Nix, age 4, coincidentally asked her mother today “How can God take such good care of us when He doesn’t even have a wife?” Once again, there’s a big spiritual reality for little Eden. God has a wife; the glorious bride of God, the Son (Ephesians 5). She’s the church of Jesus Christ. It is through that “wife” that He does take such good care of us, providing water that permanently quenches (John 4), the Bread that gives life  (John 6:33), milk and meat (Hebrews 12), and, most importantly salvation from sins. And, in Montgomery, Alabama, on those visits to the home of a nonagenarian, it was the fellowship in that bride that provided a Boost from those wrinkled hands to young and agile ones that were learning the joy of “bride” service. I am glad God has a wife and I am so thankful to be married to Jesus. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Sister to Sister: Free Download for Debt-free Living in 2017

Debt text on paper

Sin’s put us all in deep debt–the kind that brings death (Romans 6:23). But His gift is eternal life in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8). It’s likely that every reader of BYH knows this basic fact of redemption. It’s the theme of the Bible. But it’s very unlikely that every reader is enjoying debt-free living in Jesus. The devil is crafty and he makes sin alluring. For the woman who has lived in his clutches for a significant part of her life, he makes getting out of debt seem like a very lofty and labor intensive effort. Are you someone who’s been intending to “do better” about sin for a long time now? Perhaps it’s disrespect of your husband. Maybe it is pornography.  Perhaps it is laziness when it comes to Bible study. Maybe your prayer life is almost non-existent. Maybe you have a temper problem. Perhaps you are living in an extramarital adulterous relationship. Maybe you are having sex with a boyfriend. Maybe your pet sin is immodest dress or unclean language. Maybe you’ve become a lot less serious about being present for worship every time the saints assemble. Is it that you’re there, in worship, but never mentally engaged? Are you abusive, physically or verbally, to your spouse? Are you failing to restrain your children? Are you lazy about parenting, allowing your children to participate in activities that compromise their spirituality? Are you too connected to sin via television, music and the internet? Are you entertained by worldliness? Maybe it is that alcohol is ultimately destroying something that is precious to you.

Whatever it is that’s intentional, continual sin is keeping you in debt. It’s what killed your 2016. It’s what kept you from real and sustainable happiness in 2016. My husband is on the phone right this moment with a couple whose marriage is in very real jeopardy. 2016 has been a very bad year for this couple. There has been little happiness. There has been a lot of betrayal and distrust. The marriage has come very close to self-destructing. I have already counseled this morning with a woman whose marriage is going to continue, barring any changes, in perpetual unhappiness because of selfishness on the parts of both partners. I’ve also spoken with a woman this morning whose life is forever altered because of a man who made a conscious decision to walk away from God and join forces with the devil….And it’s only 8:30 a.m!  The devil wants your unhappiness to just re-emerge over and over again. He want to take next year, too…and the next, and the next…until you find yourself bound to him for eternity. He is keeping you in debt.

Somewhere nestled in the middle of the incomplete list of sins above is a foundational sin that’s making happiness elusive for many of us. It’s a failure to fill our lives with His Word. It’s laziness with regard to Bible study. Over and over, in counseling and life-repair situations, I am painfully reminded that when people get out of the Word, problems quickly and powerfully pursue. Contentment is sucked into the vacuum of ignorance to the Will of God. You cannot be happy if you are not in the Word. Failing to study is the sin that keeps on sinning.

Here’s the download. You don’t have to have this download to be happy. (There are lots of methods, teachers, workbooks, commentaries, websites and study guides to help you get into THE book. Digging Deep is certainly a personal favorite.) But you DO have to be in the Word to be happy. I wish I could convince all of the women who come to me with broken lives that this is the basic bedrock upon which all other healing steps are taken. I can, without reservation, recommend this beginning to you:

http://www.maclandroadchurchofchrist.org/bible-basics-bull…/.

Do you really want to continue along with the status-quo of your life? Do you want 2017 to be just like 2016? If you have lived this year as a faithful Christian, of course you do! But if you are not happy, stop self destructing. Make a firm choice to get into the Word in your schedule and in your decision-making in 2017. Help yourself to happiness.

 

Recipe for the day:

I tried this pot roast with my family this week and it could have been a winner in the contest! It was a winner at my house. And easy. I love easy. It was from Lynne, but she did not give her last name. Who are you, Lynne? My family loves you!

3 pound chuck or other flat roast (no need to brown)
McCormick Savory Pot Roast packet
Au Jus packet …also McCormick brand
12 oz Coke ( I used Coke Zero)
Place roast in crock Pot. Mix packets with 1 cup warm water. Pour over roast. Pour Coke over this. Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Before serving stir gravy from bottom edges of Crock Pot.