Thursday, December 27, 2007
I remember when I was a kid my cousin Jon was coming to visit us in Lynchburg, Va. I was excited about Jon's visit for a few reasons. First, Jon drove a sweet silver convertible sports car; I think it was an Austin Healey (sp?). Second, due to Jon's visit mom had baked an applesauce cake that I loved to consume as a child (and still do). Third, it was just going to be cool to have Jon at the house for a visit. Mom was busy getting the house ready but I just remember being really excited, I got that way whenever someone was coming to our house.
Even more exciting was when we brought Ty home. We had to prepare a nursery, gather all the things together that we would need to give Ty the space he needed. I remember how special it was when we first carried Ty into the house and put him in his bassinet.
As Rick talked about Jesus getting heaven ready for us to come home I turned it more personally. Jesus is in heaven right now building me a home and I will get to spend eternity in worshipping him face to face. Jesus is both the architect, he is designing the place, and the contractor; he's building the place. What will the place look like? I have no clue and my puny little finite mind probably couldn't begin to even grasp what my place will be in heaven will be like.
Does that blow you away? Jesus, if you are a believer in him, is in heaven right now getting a place ready for you! The creator is creating a home for the created. And I can't help but think that he is just as excited, probably more excited, about us coming to our new home as I was a child when someone was coming to our home. Jesus is excited about you spending eternity with him. Why? Because he loves you!!
Mom and Dads, when was the last time you told your son or daughter how much Jesus Christ loves them? Not because they earned it, not because they had to do anything to deserve his love but that he simply loves them because he is love. Here are some verses to read with your son or daughter about God's love for them: Romans 8:39; Ephesians 2:4; I John 3:1; I John 4:8 - 10. Perhaps you could break these verses up over the next week and read one together each day and talk about the verse together. Share what the verse means to you. Use open-ended questions to get your teen to talk. If they stare back at you with a blank look on their face, don't worry that's normal. Start small and be consistent and in time you will see that conversation will become easier for both of you. Think of something you can do special for your teen because you love them, not because they have done anything special or done anything to deserve something special, but just because you love him. Take him and some friends to a movie, take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant, take her to the ice skating rink in Currituck and skate together, play his favorite video game with him.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Currently I'm sitting in my living room by the light of the Christmas tree after attending the Christmas Eve worship gathering at church earlier this evening. Misha is channel surfing between It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. The smell of a pumpkin pie baking in the oven is wafting throughout the house. Sasha (our dog) is laying at my feet. Ty is all snug in his bed with visions of presents to open dancing through his head.
Does it get any better than this? It is the picture perfect Christmas Eve.
As we drove home tonight from the Christmas Eve gathering Misha asked Ty, "Do you know why we celebrate Christmas?" Ty responded happily, "Open presents!" I have failed as dad and a pastor! Just joking, the kid is 3 give em' a break! We then explained again the birth of Jesus. So again we asked him what we were going to do to tomorrow? Ty answered, "Open Jesus' presents!"
My favorite part of the movie, A Christmas Story, was just on. Ralphie told his mom that he learned a dirty word from his friend so Ralphie's mom called the other boy's mom. You can hear the kid getting yelled at and whooped over the phone. Ralphie just threw out a name, it wasn't even true. I love that!
So from all of us here in the pumpkin pie smelling Lawrenson home we wish you a Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
- When the hit counter reaches 1,000 we will have a blog party right here on this very blog site. Who will bring the Chex Mix?
- In the spirit of Hanukkah I had Matzo ball soup for lunch today. Now first of all I love Matzo ball soup. It is great on a cold day or when you are feeling puny. When I was in the store the other day I picked up two cups of instant Matzo ball soup. I thought that would be great to have here at the office for lunch. First of all there were only two Matzo balls in the instant soup cup, so I made both. Second it was probably the nastiest thing I have ever eaten (and I've ate dog before). The Matzo balls were like Styrofoam. So just a word in passing and note to self, "Don't eat instant Matzo ball soup!"
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
How do we fix years of unhealthy feeding? In the 60s and early 70’s some bright person in the government figured out that bears and humans don’t mix so well. Too many people were hopping out of their Plymouth for that perfect photo opportunity with a bear only to become a tasty snack for Mrs. Grizzly. So those that studied the bears and their interaction with human encroachment came up with steps to work towards less human and bear interaction, mainly involving removing human food sources.
So how does the church undo years of poor feeding habits? Steps need to be taken to help parents disciple their children. How do we instill confidence in parents in this aspect of godly parenting? Any ideas? I can think of a few:
- Create discipleship groups to disciple parents that were never discipled, teaching parents how to be self-feeders.
- Give parents tools to disciple their children and teach their kids how to self-feed.
- Point parents in the direction of excellent resources, books, web sites, newsletters, magazines.
- Form affinity/accountability groups for parents by grouping them according to their children’s ages.
- Create systematic discipleship plans parents can use.
- Youth and Children pastors could let parents know what is being covered in youth group/kids’ church and then parents could use that as a springboard to discussions and Bible study at home during the week.
- Pair up younger parents with older parents that have done a good job at discipling their kids.
- The church needs to re-think what we have been doing all these years.
If you have any good ideas or know of resources I would love to hear them.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
When bears are fed, they quickly learn unbear-like behaviors. Sadly, this often leads to the death of the bear. Once a bear comes in contact with human food they return again and again.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
- no allowance - kids shouldn't make their bed for money they should make their bed because they are part of a family and we work together in our home.
- stop projecting money fears onto kids - kids don't need to hear their parents money woes
- don't gripe about your job in front of your kid - they don't need to be taught to fear that adulthood is going to be boring and no fun
Friday, December 7, 2007
Today was a day off. We got up and headed to the McArthur Center in Norfolk this AM. Now going to the mall is high on my least favorite things to do list. Today, we went with a mission. When I know what my mission is it makes the pain of the mall much easier to handle.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Just so you know he did get on the phone with me for a minute. He squeezed me into his schedule then he had to run. He had to play.
Christmas time makes me think of another crisis. Imagine what it must have been like for Joseph to receive word that Mary was pregnant and he knew he wasn't the father. I would call that a crisis. What would the family think? How would they be looked on by the community? Lots of questions would have rolled through my mind if I was Joseph. Joseph's crisis was a God given crisis.
Whether a God given crisis or a crisis that is the result of choices the crisis can move us closer to God. We can also make the choice to allow crisis to move us away from God. I believe God often uses crisis to get our attention and turn us in the right direction, towards him.
We probably all know someone that seems to be in constant crisis. Are they continually making poor choices? Possibly. Are they ignoring God's movement in their life? Possibly. I've seen Christians hit rock bottom. They have turned from their faith and turned their back on God and then find themselves in a horrible situation but still don't surrender.
The prodigal son, he had to hit rock bottom. He was looking at pig slop (Nasty!) and considering eating some of it. It was only when he encountered crisis that he turned and ran home to daddy.
We, as parents, have to teach our kids how to handle crisis. What do we do when crisis hits? They are watching and more is caught than taught. Our children need to learn that crisis can be the result of choices made, usually poor ones, but that they can also come from God. Ultimately we need to teach them that crisis gives us an opportunity to strengthen our faith in a God who is control, sovereign.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
What is discipleship? Discipleship is an intimate, personal relationship designed for growth and learning through imitation, dialogue and observation.
"We have to be there. We have to show up on the job. If a parent is not available or is emotionally tuned out, or burnt out, that parent is actually contributing to the emergence of an immoral child. A parent may feed and clothe his child, buy her expensive toys, enroll her in lessons and sports, but if he fails to pass on a sense of right and wrong, he is guilty of moral neglect.
It’s our job to provide a role model, not a perfect one, but a real one. It’s our job to disciple our kids."
Here is a great article about what I'm rolling through my mind. If you are a parent you need to read this.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The more I think about our youth ministry and where it is at in 2007, the more I realize it is time for an adjustment, changes. Not changing simply for the sake of change but changing to make an impact in the lives of students. Why? If 80% of Christian teens are walking away from their faith and church upon graduating from high school something has gone severely wrong.
For years the church has said, "Bring us your children and let us teach them the Bible". The result of this mindset, I believe, is the statistic mentioned above that is alarming us today. Students should be discipled and taught the Bible by their parents. That's what God instructs us to do in Deut. 11:19,20.
I think it is time for youth ministry to shift and become youth ministry through the parents. How is that going to happen? I guess that might take some time to figure out.
When was the last time you read the Bible with your teen? Just wondering.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Misha is now hanging our "first Christmas together" ornament, I'm tearing up a little, not because it was our first ornament but because the buck on the ornament is an eight pointer.
Other big news! Our house is officially listed. Yes, you could be the proud owner of a lovely pimped beachbox with a bonus room, open floor plan, laundry room, storage room, two car garage, large lot with fenced in backyard, freshly painted interior, light and airy. Swingset is negotiable. For more info contact Cathy at Village Realty :).
We are also looking at putting in an offer on a home, a big "fixer upper".
Merry Kwismas! Last night's Lord's supper and Christmas dinner was kickin'.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Jesus talks about spreading seed in the parable of the sower. (Matthew 13) Some fell on rocky soil, some fell and the birds ate it up, some fell on thorny ground, some fell on good soil. For more on what the parable means check it out for yourself in Matthew 13:18.
I have a new one to add. Please don't freak out, I'm not adding to the Bible. I noticed this morning as I used my broadcast spreader that some fell in my socks. Now of course you won't find that in Matthew 13 because they didn't wear socks back in the day. The parable of the seed in the socks. Those seeds never made it to the ground, to the soil, as a matter of fact I think there are a few seeds still in my socks right now. There was a man that was sewing winter rye...
This is the meaning of the parable of the seed in the socks: The seed is the good news of how a relationship with Jesus Christ can radically change lives. The problem is often we as Christians, Christ followers, don't allow the seed to be planted. We don't share our faith, we keep it to ourselves. So that seed never has the opportunity to take root in the heart of our friends, neighbors and co-workers.
When I think of evangelistic efforts and events, such as Billy Graham crusades, etc., I wonder would those even be necessary if we as believers got the seeds out of our socks? Then the money we sink into big evangelistic budgets could be used to provide for someone in need or help bring water to a village in Africa. (which is also a way to spread the seed) I guess the point I'm thinking about today is that it doesn't take big budgets to reach the lost. We, the church, just need to be obedient, and that starts with me. What about you are you keeping your seeds in your socks?
Monday, November 26, 2007
A few thoughts roll though my mind:
1. The Uncle Ricco Syndrome. We know of Uncle Ricco from Napoleon Dynamite. Uncle Ricco was stuck in his teen years, "I could have taken state". He was fixated on his high school football career and could not let his past go, "If only the coach would have put me in...".
Parents often bring baggage from their own childhood into their parenting style. We probably have all witnessed parents living their lives vicariously through the lives of their child. The dad that forces his son to play a sport that the boy really isn't interested in, not for the health benefits but because dad was an athlete when he was a kid (most of the time not really a successful athlete so he pushes his son to be a successful athlete). The mom that pushes her daughter to have a boyfriend, mom struggled with boyfriend issues as a child and that's where she found her "self worth" as a girl. The parent that pushes their child that is an average students to make straight A's no matter the emotional or physical toll it takes on the child because the parent was a "genius" as a child. The parent who lets their kid live "do their own thing" because the parent's parents were super strict (beyond reason) or they are super strict because their parents were not (no balance).
2. Parents need to know what their child is doing online. While the internet is a great tool and helpful to society it also comes with great dangers. Watch the news this week and more than likely you will see a story about a cyber stalker, twisted minds using the internet to stalk, rape and even kill. Know what your child is doing online, take advantage of some of the software available for keeping tabs on what your child is doing online. Put the computer in the family room never in the child's room. Most of the time when you hear news stories about an internet crime against a child the parent was clueless as to what their child was doing online.
Not to mention children can view something online that will be stuck in their minds and possibly lead into a dangerous addiction that could destroy their life.
3. Use relationship conflicts as an opportunity to teach your child how to deal with others in life. Apparently this mother never learned how to properly resolve conflict with others. In life we are going to have conflict with others. As parents we need to teach our children how to get along with others which includes resolving conflict. What do our kids see when we as parents have a conflict with another adult? More is caught than taught.
4. Know the warning signs of teen suicide:
Threatening to hurt or kill oneself, or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
Looking for ways to kill themselves by seeking firearms, available pills, or other means.
Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide.
Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking.
Feeling trapped -- like there's no way out.
Increasing alcohol or drug use.
Withdrawing from friends, family, and society.
Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time.
Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
5. Pray for wisdom as a parent.
It is sad when we hear news of something that could have been avoided.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
We went down to SC to spend some time with Misha's grandma, she is still kickin at age 95. We had a great time. Misha doesn't get to see her family often so I was glad we got to take this trip. Grandma's parents and oldest brother came to America through Ellis Isle on a ship from Hungary in the very early 1900's. Pretty cool! They were legal aliens. She had a cabin with a dirt floor! Why sweep?
We chilled at Misha's uncle and aunt's home during the day and stayed at a fantastic Embassy Suites at night. Ty was diggin the sofabed and the elevator. The hotel was very "swank" complete with glass roofed 9 story atrium, fish ponds and waterfalls in the atrium, cooked to order breakfast (hence the weight gain. can you say omelette), USA Today at my door each morning, two room suite, glass elevators. Nice, very nice, the total opposite of the Microtel I stayed at last weekend where I was afraid to walk on the carpet without my shoes on.
On the way home we stopped at our best man's home in SC and spent a few hours with him and his family. Ty had a blast playing with his 4 year old son. It occured to me Friday night, as I was getting ready to fall asleep, that Andrew and I became friends when we were twelve years old. It then dawned on me that our parents at that time were the age that Andrew and I are now. But they couldn't have been as cool as we are now. I'm getting old.
Andrew has a great dane named Bruce. Bruce is huge, he can rest his head on the door of a pick up truck or on the top of the kitchen counter. Bruce is a gentle giant, he, Ty and Andrew's youngest were curled up together on a bed (pictures to come). Bruce took a jog with Andrew and I, we were in a truck and clocked Bruce running a steady 34 miles an hour, good thing Bruce is a friendly beast.
We had a great visit with friends and family and I didn't check my e-mail for 5 days!
I came home to find out I had been elfed!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Illusionist, Drew Worsham was there as well. Drew wasn't your usual Christian magician doing the typical and predictable magic tricks. Drew did stuff that freaked my mind out! I got a headache trying to figure out how he did his tricks. He also used his tricks as illustrations for a spiritual application.
Here is what impressed me about Drew, he was doing illusions that were every bit as good as some of the magicians I've seen on television that do those mind boggling tricks. So often I've seen the church's illusionists do their performances and they are more like the magician at the 6 year old's birthday party. I was pleasantly surprised. It's also super cool that Drew has taken this talent that God has given him and is using it to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and His love.
I'm still freakin out!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Something I've noticed about these huge families is that the older kids usually continue living with the family long after they graduate from high school and they work in some sort of "family business" and are home schooled. Not that any of these are bad they just seems to be common threads in each family featured on these shows.
On the show the other night the family had a 24 year old son. They never knew where he was or what he was doing yet he lived in the same house. They discovered he was break dancing. He was on a break dance team that competed. He wasn't good at all at break dancing yet break dancing was his life. He sat around the house and was a grump because he hurt his toe and couldn't break dance. That's when I said, "Get a Life!".
I then realized that would be a great idea for a reality show. The host would travel to observe people like a 24 year old break dancer that couldn't dance. Half way through the show the host would say, "Get a Life!". Then there would be a team of 3 or 4 professional coaches that would help the individual change their life, clothes, hair, find a job, clean their house, mow their yard, etc. and turn their life around. Help them get a life.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I saw some light bulbs come on the other day. Our church just wrapped up a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce. Sandwiches and cannoli were great! Members of the Chamber came for the ceremony and to check out our new facility.
The other day I was explaining to someone why we had a bunch of our members running around doing a thorough cleaning on the building. We are getting ready for a ribbon cutting ceremony. I could see the look of puzzlement and bewilderment (I like the word I think I created "bewilderness) on their faces. I then let them know we joined the Chamber. Still puzzled. I then explained that it was a way to get into the community as a church (outreach). It was at that very moment that I saw the light bulbs come one.
Thanks to all the fantastic members of NHC that showed up to spruce the place up. It is incredible to be part of a church with so many members willing and ready to serve whenever and however needed. You guys ROCK!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Now you can look at the history of eggnog if you are so inclined, but you will see that this is a drink that has been around for centuries. It's possible eggnog started in Europe and headed across the big pond to America. We do know that this was a popular drink among the colonist in Colonial America. They would often mix rum in with the eggnog to warm things up a bit on a cold winters day. Can you blame them? They didn't have heat pumps!
For centuries eggnog has been the same. No change. Sure there are different recipes but in the end the eggnog is just that eggnog. This year my life has been radically changed. My recent trip to Food Lion I discovered something amazing. Gingerbread Eggnog!! This stuff is incredbily, unbelievably fantastic.
Another fine example of change. While it is still egg nog it has been changed to reach a broader spectrum of consumers. It's still egg nog only more contemporary and culturally relevant.
Some churches are still using methods that are centuries old in an attempt to reach a new culture. Some churches are using new methods without changing the message to reach the new culture. If Nags Head Church were eggnog it would be gingerbread eggnog! Fantastic!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Methods changing. Methods changing. Methods changing. That phrase has been ringing through my mind tonight in the middle of reading text book material for school, playing with Ty, and eating leftovers.
I think we can relate this to the business world to help us better understand why it is important to change. Of course I'm talking the fast food business world.
Remember when McDonald's only sold burgers and the occasional fillet-o-fish? (I personally know no one who eats those fish sandwiches) Remember when Arby's only sold roast beef sandwiches? Remember when Wendy's only sold burgers and chili and baked potatoes? Remember when Hardees was Hardees and not two different chain names at one time? (how does that work anyways?) Remember when Burger King along with all the others didn't open until lunch time?
Now you go to these burger joints and you can get sandwiches on regular bread, in wraps, and chicken. Now they serve salads, yogurt, fat free junk. You can go to Hardees and get a South beach burger, no buns, the thing is wrapped in lettuce. Breakfast biscuits are the bomb diggity!
This didn't all happen at once. One of the chains, possibly McDonald's, started adding some different food options to the menu. Why? Times were changing and people wanted more options, some even wanted healthier options. Then once this started catching on other chains jumped on the bandwagon because they didn't want to get left behind. Time changed so their menus changed. Change was necessary to meet the growing and diverse desires of the public.
Still wondering if I'm on the right track with this correlation?
Remember Burger Chef? Didn't think so. Burger Chef was a chain that existed in the 70's and early 80's. Their burgers were delivered to you on your tray in a clear plastic bag wrapper. They were one of the first ones to have the ketchup station out in the dining area. But what happened to Burger Chef? They didn't change! The world changed and they stayed stuck in the 70's along with orange shag carpet (I hear it is making a comeback) and velvet paintings.
Great message Rick! I hope NHC always strive to be relevant. Don't want to be a Burger Chef!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I have felt like Tom Hanks, the castaway, for the past 5 days. Our internet server went down affecting hundreds of sites and it appears that the internet engineers are clueless how to remedy the problem. Some how these geeks need to pull their collective minds together into one giant mass of brain power and fix the problem.
It's amazing how in the past several years I've become internet dependent. 8 years ago this really would not have affected me all that much. I feel sort of like I'm on a road trip without my cell phone. Ever feel that way? Open, bare, almost technologically naked? Ok, maybe I'm not Tom Hanks. Perhaps I'm more like Gilligan (I said what you were thinking).
Today I figured out how to connect my temporary e-mail account to Outlook so now I feel like I just hopped on the bamboo raft and am heading out to see.
Ever wonder why the tourist on the Minnow packed suitcases and trunks of clothes for a "three hour tour"? I'm trying to figure out why some of the island residents wore the same clothes every episode and others had like entire wardrobes. It's puzzling to me and yes this is something I think about. Have you considered it?
Other things bother me like how small boats with small motors, which means small gas tanks, and small planes made it to the island yet they couldn't be rescued. If they were close enough for small boats and small planes to get to them that means they couldn't have been too far from civilization. How far can you go on a 5 gallon tank of gas on the open sea?
Why were the Russians interested in the island? There are soooo many questions left unanswered by that show.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Oh, sorry about that. Hope you can follow along.
Blogs are all about sharing thoughts but most of the time I find my self thinking, "Uhhhhhh....."
My new web site which now hosts my blog posts is up and fully functional. You can check it out at andylawrenson.com . There is also a mon...