Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. Welcome to 2009 and all it holds. Do you ever start the New Year out wondering what’s going to happen? It’s a fresh new year and we make resolutions and have big ideas of what we are going to do. In January of 2006, I was getting ready to move back here and come on staff at the church. I was looking forward to that year. In January of 2007 when my mother was sick I knew her time with us was limited and we had spent our last Christmas with her. I wondered when and how much longer we would have her. Last year I was excited because our son, J was coming home from Iraq in January and after fifteen months away we were all more than ready. I also knew that our daughter, Cassandra, would be getting married in February and we would be adding a son-in-law to our family. Little did I know that our son and another daughter would be getting married as well this past year, all within six months. Life is like that. It catches us by surprise and off guard sometimes with good things and sometimes difficult things. I was reading in Oswald chambers last week and it was about life and our experiences.

The Great Life

Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, we are tempted to blame God. But we are the ones in the wrong, not God. Blaming God is evidence that we are refusing to let go of some disobedience somewhere in our lives. But as soon as we let go, everything becomes clear as daylight to us. As long as we try to serve two masters, ourselves and God, there will be difficulties combined with doubt and confusion. Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. Once we get to that point, there is nothing easier than living the life of a saint. We encounter difficulties when we try to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our purposes. God’s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, “as the world gives,” but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, wait until it does, or seek to find out why it is not coming. If you are acting on your own impulse, or out of a sense of the heroic, to be seen by others, the peace of Jesus will not exhibit itself. This shows no unity with God or confidence in him. The spirit of simplicity, clarity, and unity is born through the Holy Spirit, not through your decisions. God counters our self-willed decisions with an appeal for simplicity and unity. My questions arise whenever I cease to obey. When I do obey God, problems come, not between me and God, but as a means to keep my mind examining with amazement the revealed truth of God. But any problem that comes between God and my self is the result of disobedience. Any problem that comes while I obey God (and there will be many), increases my overjoyed delight, because I know that my Father knows and cares and I can watch and anticipate how He will unravel my problems.

A few years ago when I was in Lubbock I was really struggling with some things. I just thought it was everyone else that was in the wrong. I was doing a Bible study and through it God showed me I was the one who was wrong, I was the one who had been stubborn, and I was the one who was not being very Christian. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe how I had been and that I had let my pride keep me from admitting that I was wrong. I cried and I begged God for forgiveness, and I apologized to some people for my attitude and actions. I just couldn’t believe what an awful person I had been. Looking back I can see all the difficulties that were happening around me and how I blamed God for even taking me to Lubbock. God showed me a lot in those five years. I had gone there for the wrong reasons. When we were praying about coming back here I wanted to be sure that I did not make the same mistake again. I asked God over and over to please show me if we were not supposed to come. Once I said yes there were all kinds of difficulties. But this time there was a peace that only God can give and with each one I kept thinking God has a plan and He is going to work this out and I can’t wait to see how He does it. There were times when I really struggled, but I would repeat to myself that God was in control and knew what He was doing. Then there was that incredible deep peace. I watched with amazement how He worked things out and unraveled my problems. I really prefer being on the obedient side of the difficulties than the disobedient side. I know that there are still going to be those times. But I hope I realize sooner than later the error of my ways. So for 2009, I look forward to all that it holds, the good and the bad, and to watching how God is going to work through me and work out all the difficult times for me.
Peace that God gives to you and yours in 2009.

The Best Gift

Cathy’s Corner - borrowed

On Christmas Eve, the children watched out the window for
visitors, but no one came. "Blow out the lamp and go to
bed", Dad said. "Nobody is going to come. No one
even knows we're out here."

The children turned out the lamp and got in bed, but they
were too excited to sleep. Was this not Christmas? Had they
not asked God to send them the presents He wanted them to
have? Did Mom not say God answers

Late that night, when one of the children spotted
headlights coming down the dirt road, everyone jumped out of
bed and ran to the window. The commotion woke up Mom and
Dad. "Don't get excited, children," Dad said.
"They're probably not coming here. It's just
someone who got lost." The
children kept hoping and the car kept coming. Then, Dad
lit a lamp. They all wanted to rush to the door at the same time, but Mr.
Canaday said, "Stay back. I'll go." Someone
got out of the car and called, "I was wondering if
someone here can help me unload these bags." The
children dashed out the door to lend a hand. Mom said to her
youngest, "Stay here, Judy, and help Mom open the bags
and put up the gifts."

A deacon from the church in town had gone to bed that
Christmas Eve, and lay there tossing and turning, unable to
get the Canaday family off his mind. Later, he said, "I didn't know what
kind of shape you folks were in, but I knew you had all those kids." He had
gotten up and dressed and went around town, rousing people
from their sleep to ask for a contribution for the Canaday family. He filled his car with
bags of groceries, canned goods, toys, and clothing. Little
Judy got a rag doll which remained her favorite for years.

With so much food, Dad wanted to have a Christmas feast,
to spread it all out and eat as they had never eaten before.
Mom, ever the caretaker, said, "No, we need to make
this last." And it did last, for weeks.

The next Sunday, Mrs. Canaday stood in church and told
what the members---and one deacon in particular---had done
for her family. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Years later, the oldest sister Eva wrote up this story
about her family for a school project. Eva said, "We
were so thrilled by all the wonderful things in the bags,
for a while; we lost sight of the most special gift. The
best gift that Christmas was not in brown bags at all. It
was Mom's faith, as she taught her children to bring
their needs to Jesus and trust Him to meet them. And a
Dad's love that wanted only to protect his children from
hurt and disappointment."

When Carrie finished telling her story, she added,
"Little Judy is my wonderful grandmother." Today,
Judy Canaday Dryden lives in Sanger, Texas. As she relived
this event from seventy years ago over the phone,
one could hear the tear in her voice and feel her pride in
being the recipient of such a precious heritage from her
mother and father.

At Christmas, we celebrate praying mothers and caring
fathers and believing children. We give thanks for sensitive
deacons and generous friends and sleepless nights. And we praise God for the
hard times that teach unforgettable lessons, stories of faithfulness that
get told and retold through the years inspiring each new generation to
place their faith in a loving Savior.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Twas the Sunday before Christmas

Twas the Sunday before Christmas and all through the church house
Not a creature was stirring not even a church mouse.
The connection classes were canceled by the Ed staff with care,
except for the Preschool, they are always there.

The teachers were ready, all snug in their classes,
while visions of sweet children in their heads quietly passes.
With Lori in her apron, Anna and Kerri in their smocks,
had turned on the lights and unlocked all the locks.

When out in the foyer there arose such a clatter,
they sprung into action to check out the matter.
Away to the foyer they flew like a flash,
tore open the doors and threw out the trash.
The light from the sanctuary shown in through the doors
and lit up the foyer even the floors.

When what to their wondering eyes did they see,
but hundreds of preschoolers all filled with glee.
With a little old lady, not lively or quick,
they knew in a moment twas Miss Cathy and not ole St Nick.

More rapid than church mice, the children they came.
Cathy whistled and shouted and called them by name.
Now Reagan! Now Caleb! Now Audrey and Kate!
On, Jacob, on Carly! On Hudson and Tate!
To the Preschool, to the Theater, to the Studio run.
Now dash away! Dash away! We’re going for fun!

As dry leaves that before the hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the preschool the children did run,
with giggles and laughter looking for fun.
And then in a moment they stopped and oh how.
The oohs and the ahhs as they all just said WOW!
They turned their heads, and all spun around.
There were colors and wall hangings and stuff to be found.

There was red, blue and purple, some orange and some gold.
And it had fun things on the walls to behold.
A popcorn machine was popping some corn,
a play gym to climb on and toys for newborn.
Their cheeks were like roses, their nose like a cherry.
Mouths were wide open with nothing to howl,
Just one word would leave them, it was WOW!

The teachers were ready and greeted with smiles,
took off their jackets and laid them in piles.
They were dressed in their finest from head and to toe.
Their clothes were all pressed even the bows.

The Associates knew it had been worth it, the blood, sweat, and tears,
To renovate preschool they’d been waiting for years.
They listened as the teachers told about Jesus in a story,
And how He came in all of His glory.

Snacks for the kiddoes, noses and bottoms were clean,
for parents to pick up and praises to sing.
For the teachers who faithfully come each week,
for them we are grateful and more we do seek.

The lights were turned out
The Associates gave a shout
And away they all went
They were quite worn out.
But I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight
Merry Christmas to WOW! and to WOW! A good night!

Have a great day in the Lord!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Road Trip

The Thursday before Thanksgiving I hopped in a 15 foot U Haul truck pulling a car and drove with my daughter to Virginia Beach, Virginia. This was a trip with lots of firsts for me and some things that I’ve already done in my life. I’ve made lots of trips driving 15 passenger vans on mission trips to Brownsville, Glorietta and Carlsbad Caverns but never a U Haul and never pulling a car. It’s the first time I had in my possession every item that two people owned and that I was responsible for getting from point A to point B. I’ve moved Cassandra from Arlington to Texas Tech and from Arlington to South Arlington and Grapevine to Hurst. But she was only 300 miles or five hours away. I’ve helped J pack up all of his belongings except his Army gear and watch him get on a bus and drive away to catch a plane to Iraq. I’ve moved to Euless and left Gary, Kiersten and Caitlin back in Lubbock temporarily. I’ve moved Amy and Cody four times. But it’s the first time I’ve loaded one up one of my children and moved them 1400 miles away to live with their spouse.

Parenthood is the only job we ever have that we are working ourselves out of. It’s like a contract job; you know it has an ending date. Our job is to love them, raise them and teach them everything we can and let them go to live the lives that God has designed for them. And just like some jobs that have come to an end, we wonder how it went by so fast and did we accomplish everything we were supposed to. Did we give it our all? Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy for Kiersten and Jay to finally, after almost five months of marriage, be able to set up housekeeping and live together as husband and wife. We only want the best for them. They will have their ups and downs and it will require give and take on both their parts to make their marriage work. We’ve taught Kiersten that as long as they keep Christ in the center of their hearts and their marriage then they will be able to get through all the good things and the bad. They will grow closer to each other as they spend this time together. They will be stationed in Virginia Beach for three years, so it is temporary. Nevertheless, when we finally pulled up to the airport and got out to say good-bye, there were more than a few tears shed. When I went in to get my ticket I had tears running down my face, and since I was flying one way I got the extra screening at the gate. I was still crying. I’m sure they thought I was some kind of nut case because they were very thorough. Even though we can be satisfied with the job we’ve done, it still isn’t easy to say goodbye.

I wonder how God looks at us sometimes. He has a plan and a design for our lives but our time here is temporary. There is a certain amount of time set aside for each one of us. God loves us so much and He wants only the best for us, just like we want for our children. He wants us to keep Him at the center of our hearts so we can get through the ups and the downs of life. But it takes give and take on our part. We have to give ourselves to Him willingly and submit to His plan for our lives. We have to take everything God has to offer. Billy Graham once said, “Interpersonal relationships are the most valued and cherished gifts of all. The Bible teaches that God gave a Person as a gift to every one of us, and that Person is Jesus Christ.” We are to live for Him and fulfill His purpose for our lives.

Just like Kiersten and Jay, there will be ups and downs. But as long as we keep Jesus Christ in the center of our hearts we will be able to get through them. The more time we spend with Him the closer our relationship with Him.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter the temple gates with praise, its courts with thanksgiving. Give thanks to God, bless his name; good indeed is the LORD whose love endures forever, whose faithfulness lasts through every age.
Thanksgiving is when we gather with family and friends and give thanks for all God has given us. I am so thankful to have my son home from Iraq. I am thankful for two new sons-in-law and a new daughter-in-law this year. I am thankful for Gary's job and my job. I am thankful for a home and for provision and protection of my daily needs. It is easy to be thankful when everything seems to be going your way. At other times and in other less joyful situations it may not be as easy to remember to be thankful, even though we are asked to give thanks to God for everything in all circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Two years ago our lives were a much different story. Our son had just left for Iraq for a second tour of duty and we had Thanksgiving in October before he left. My mother had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Gary was working the night shift driving a fork lift because a teaching job had not come his way. Our house had not sold in Lubbock. Our daughter was living in Lubbock and wanted to move up here with us. All circumstances – that means both the good times and the bad. You may ask, “Why all circumstances? Why be thankful for the bad happenings of life?” As I understand it, God doesn’t cause the bad things but He will use our experiences for our good. In Romans 8:28, Paul tells us: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

This doesn’t mean that everything in our life is going to be rosy. It does mean that when things do happen that are caused by sin and sin’s presence in our world, God will work and good things can be accomplished because of how He works through those circumstances in our lives. He accomplishes his purposes through our circumstances.

God worked out the circumstances of our lives. As it happened my mother was with us when we celebrated Thanksgiving that year before J left for Iraq. It would be the last time he would see his Mema. My mother passed away the following January. I had moved back to Lubbock in 2001 which gave me five years with her that enabled us to restore a broken relationship and grow closer to each other. Gary found a teaching job the following year and is happily teaching second grade in Arlington. Our house sold the next summer after fifteen months. Kiersten moved here with us, met a young man and they married this summer. All circumstances work together for the good of those who love the Lord. We may not understand them at the time and there is a good possibility we will not like them, but God sees our whole lives, not just one day or one year. He uses circumstances in our lives to make us stronger, to build our character, and to draw us closer to Him. May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year and may you have joy and peace no matter what your circumstances.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Counterfeit Guidance

Counterfeit Guidance – Freedom in Christ Bible

The lure of the occult is almost always based on the desire for knowledge and power. Actually, knowledge is power. For example, imagine the power we would have if we knew what events would happen before they occurred. We could become millionaires just by betting at the race track. We could manipulate world events and have incredible political power. If someone knows something will occur before it happens, it means that person has access to some kind of power that can arrange future events. Satan sometimes appears to have this kind of power because he manipulates people who listen to his deceiving spirits and then act on the suggestions given to them.
Everything Satan does is a counterfeit of Christianity. Clairvoyance, the power to perceive what our normal five senses cannot perceive, is a counterfeit of divine revelation. Precognition, the ability to know something will happen before it occurs, is a counterfeit of prophecy. Telepathy, the ability to communicate from one mind to another by extrasensory means, is a counterfeit of prayer. Psycho kinesis, the manipulation of physical matter without the use of physical means, is a counterfeit of God’s miracles. Spirit guides or deceiving spirits are counterfeits of divine guidance. Why would people want a spirit guide if they could have the Holy Spirit as their guide instead?
Our finite longings for the infinite were intended to be met by the knowledge and power that comes from an intimate relationship with God. However, Satan tries to pass off his counterfeits as the real thing, and he will gain a foothold in our lives if he can lure us into the deceptive world of physic knowledge and power. Moses’ words of warning in Deuteronomy 18:9-13 were as applicable for us today as they were for the Israelites under his leadership. We live in a contemporary Canaan, for in our culture it is socially acceptable to consult spiritists, mediums, palm readers, psychic counselors and horoscopes for guidance and esoteric knowledge.
Since Satan has the capacity to deceive the whole world (see I John 5:19), it is possible for him to manipulate future events, but he never does so perfectly. Only God can prophesy something and guarantee that it will come to pass. This is one way that we can know whether a prophet is true or false. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously” (Deuteronomy 18”22). False prophets, psychic counselors and spiritual mediums may have superhuman knowledge, but if they do, they are getting their information from Satan, and it is never completely accurate. Since they seem to know more than what is humanly possible, gullible people may listen to them and be deceived by them.
I thought this was very interesting in light of our recent elections. Satan has the capacity to deceive the whole world, millions and millions of people. The best way to keep Satan’s thoughts out of our minds is to keep Christ’s thoughts in them. Although Satan can fill our hearts if we allow him to do so, how much more can the Lord fill our minds with his thoughts? Satan’s thoughts may be able to penetrate a leaky helmet, but we have the very mind of Christ within us.
Have a great day in the Lord!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cathy’s Corner
I was studying the Armor of God recently. The devotion on the day after the election really hit home with me. I thought I would share it with you.

Luke 18:1-8 – Freedom in Christ Bible - NIV
Paul’s teaching on the armor of God concludes with the following admonition: “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). We cannot engage in spiritual warfare without praying. Praying “on all occasions” means that we are to pray when we feel like it as well as when we don’t feel like it. People who are devoted to prayer acknowledge their dependence upon God, and they are ready to pray at any time and for any length of time. Their prayers are effective because the Holy Spirit helps them pray. (see Romans 8:26-27).
Prayer has preceded every great movement of God. Pentecost was preceded by prayer (Acts 1:14), as were the great awakenings in America. There has never been an outpouring of the divine Spirit from God without a previous outpouring of the human spirit toward God. The preeminence of prayer needs to be settled in our minds. Prayer not only precedes a great work of God; prayer is a great work of God.
The Holy Spirit will lead us to pray for all the saints all the time. That means that we will be prompted to ask for divine protection for others. Such prompting can come at any time of the day or night. We may never know the trouble another believer is in, but the Holy Spirit knows. When the Lord puts someone on your mind, we are to stop, lift up that person in prayer and ask God to place a hedge of protection around him or her. We are to keep praying until we sense the peace of God.
The Holy Spirit may also prompt us to pray for those who are in trouble. We have the Spiritual authority in Christ to stand against Satan and his attacks. When the disciples were unsuccessful in driving a demon out of a boy, the Lord said, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29). The disciples may have tried to drive the demon out by copying what they had seen Jesus do, but they probably didn’t have the same degree of dependence on, and faith in, their heavenly Father that Jesus had.
Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow so that the disciple’s would learn to “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). The widow wanted justice against her adversary, and she wasn’t going to stop petitioning the judge until she got it. Her persistence finally won over the judge, who gave her justice. If an uncaring judge can be compelled by persistence to deal justly with a helpless individual, certainly we can expect God to answer our prayers. He will not put us off but will quickly answer our cries for justice concerning our adversaries (see vs. 7-8).
There will be great apostasy in the last days (see Mathew 24:23-24); I Timothy 4:1). In light of that fact, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) Based on the context of this question in Luke 18, Jesus is probably referring to the kind of faith that never wavers under fire. Let us strive to be persevering in prayer so Jesus will find us faithful.
We need to be in prayer for our nation. We need to lift up those in power to turn their hearts to God and that our nation will turn back to God.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Great weekend!

Trunk Fest was a huge success thanks to everyone. It was definitely a team effort this year with the rest of the staff taking on some of the responsibilities. With the added aspect of Team Impact, we were able to have the evangelistic emphasis. 212 people made professions of faith and there were many decisions for baptism as well. If you were here on Saturday night, you saw an entire family be baptized together. That’s what it is all about, changing people’s lives. God was honored in all we did.

We gave out 1000 bags with visors and information about our preschool as well as a few hundred more brochures. Teen Mops gave out almost 1000 brochures. We were inviting people to come back as we gave out the information. I met a family Sunday morning in the guest reception that were visiting. The first time they were here was Friday night for Trunk Fest.

The police estimated 10,000 were in attendance. I am so proud of your part as you invited so many people this past week. We had over 300 Miracle Moments just in preschool. Great job everyone. We are all getting in the habit of inviting people as we go about our busy schedules. Those people are coming and their lives are being changed.

Miracle Moments:
Last week our Preschool staff tried a new Italian food restaurant in the Mid-Cities area. The food was good and the service was great. We invited those people to come to Trunk Fest. I ran into a young woman and her daughter and invited the two of them to Trunk Fest.

Trunk Fest and Team Impact gave Brian Nelson a great opportunity to share his faith and invite guests. He invited 53 people, gave out 50 tracts and shared his faith and testimony 22 times.

Martha and James Llewellyn invited his soccer team to Trunk Fest as well as friends looking for a church home.

Steve and Tracey Hall invited 90 people to Trunk Fest and Team Impact.

Debbie McDaniels invited 21 people to Team Impact and shared her faith 40 times.

Kimberly and Chuck Blume invited 30 people to Trunk Fest and Team Impact.

We will have lots of opportunities to invite people these next few weeks as we gear up for the holidays. Be thinking about who you can bring with you to church and who needs to hear about Jesus Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I thought I’d share some quotes from a couple of books I have: The Price of Freedom and God Bless America. Hopefully you are registered to vote and you will exercise that right by November 4th. Men and women have given their lives in order for us to have the freedoms that we have in this country. Unfortunately many Christians have become very apathetic to our country’s condition and state. The first quote explains what happens with apathy.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke

Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral characters of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.
-- Elias Boudinot

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
-- 2 Chronicles 7:14

Personal freedom, political freedom—they pale in comparison to freedom in Christ. I could be imprisoned in chains, but still I’m a free man because of my faith. That’s true freedom. No battle can change it, no government can revoke it. I’ve been set free.
Michael W. Smith

In no other way can this republic become a world power in the noblest sense of the word than by putting into her life and the lives of her citizens the spirit and principles of the great founder of Christianity.
-- David J. Brewer, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme court, 1889-1910.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord His trust.
-- Psalm 40:4

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.
-- Patrick Henry

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-- Matthew 11:38-30

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.
George Washington

He guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
-- Proverbs 2:8

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
John Adams

Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees.
Deuteronomy 8:11.

The Church can have light only as it is full of the Spirit, and it can be full only as the members that compose it are filled individually.
-- A.W. Tozer

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.
-- 2 Peter 1

Have a great day in the Lord!

Friday, October 17, 2008

M&M Update

I hope you know how well we are doing with our M&Ms. Miracle moments are catching on which is exactly what we want. We want to make it a habit in our lives to be about inviting people to our church, about sharing our testimony of what God has done in our life and about sharing the Gospel. We have over 600 Miracle Moments that as a preschool we have shared since September 1st. Isn’t that amazing? I thought I would share with you some of the M&Ms we have had this past month.

Cathy – I recently visited with a young woman who was ten weeks pregnant, scared, out of work and all alone. I shared Christ with her. She was a Christian but admitted she had gotten far away from God. We got her to go to the Pregnancy Center. They were able to spend a great deal of time with her and help her out. Please pray for her.

I was riding my bike through a neighborhood garage sale last weekend and stopped at a house. I helped the couple move a piece of furniture out into the driveway where it could be seen well. I then invited them to church. They said they weren’t really church goers. This past Tuesday I went back by their house during our Outreach night and took them some information about Connection classes.

Stacie Edmiston – I shared my testimony with the checker at CVS. The conversation was sparked by my wearing my Ladies Ministry “Hope” shirt. I also shared my faith with the lady who cuts my daughter’s hair.

Sarah Tyson – I invited a lady at JoAnn’s to church. I also visited with the Mom of one of my preschoolers about joining our church. Her husband is not ready. Please pray for him.

Debra McDaniels – I shared my faith with 7 Beach Club students.

There are lost people out there who would come if we will ask them and there are lots of people out there that need to know Jesus. Who are you inviting to Trunk Fest and Team Impact? Make it a point to invite someone this week.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

3900 Saturdays

I received this in an email this week. It is priceless.

3900 Saturdays
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whom-ever he was talking with something about 'a thousand marbles.' I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.
'Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital,' he continued, 'Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.' And that's when he began to explain his theory of a thousand marbles.
'You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.
'Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part. It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail', he went on, 'and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.
'Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.
'Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.'
'It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!'
You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. 'C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast.' 'What brought this on?' she asked with a smile. 'Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles.'
Okay, so it really makes you think. I just happen to have a container of marbles in my office I used for a kid’s object lesson one time. So I took it out and I counted all of the marbles in it - 2170 marbles - which divided by 52 weeks comes out to 41.7 years of Saturdays. By the way, if I lived that long I’d be over ninety, but since my Grandmother is 99 right now, who knows? So, that got me thinking. What if we used that same object lesson to remind us to tell one more person about Jesus - and in my case 2170 people? That’s one a week and it could be more. What if you had a container that you put a marble in each time you told someone about Jesus? Or you could take a marble out of your “Saturdays left” container and put in the “Saved by Jesus” container. As your “Saturdays left” container decreases the “Saved” container increases. All those Saturdays will be gone and just a memory from the past. But all those people who were saved, you will see again in heaven. So I’m taking my marbles (usually losing my marbles) home. I’m going to take one out every Saturday to remind myself what’s important, to prioritize, and this world is not my home. Then I’m going to put one in the “Saved” container every time I help someone come to know Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Miracle Moment

Last week I had the opportunity to hand out about forty fliers to the Manchester Apartments beside our church. We were inviting the residents to the concert with David Gentiles. I hope you plan on being here and you can help love on the people who attend. We have a great opportunity to reach out to them and tell them about Jesus and his love for them.

Have you seen the movie Fireproof? If you haven’t I highly recommend you go see it. It will tell the movie makers that we want more movies like that and you will be touched by it as well. Every married couple needs to see it. If anything it makes you appreciate your spouse more and is a good reminder to let them know it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sleep problems in Kids

I found this on the internet and thought it was very interesting. Just thought I'd share.

What’s there to know about sleeping?Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their kids. You may wonder about how to get your child to sleep through the night. Maybe you have a new baby and want to learn how to help them develop good sleep habits that will last a lifetime. Some children may have chronic sleep difficulties, and many children (like most adults!) are actually going through their days sleep-deprived. Read on for information on all these issues and more, and for lots of links to even more resources to help your kids (and you) get a better night’s sleep.
What do I need to know about sleep cycles? When people sleep, they cycle between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. In REM, your eyes move around fast, you don’t move your body much, and you dream. REM is light sleep and the stage when your infant or child is most likely to wake up. NREM sleep is deep sleep.
In normal sleep, a child cycles between light sleep and deep sleep. Each light sleep stage is a time when the child is more likely to wake up.
What do I need to know about how babies sleep?Infants go through a complete sleep cycle about every 50-60 minutes, so they are in light sleep and could wake up many times each night!
Newborns just sleep any old time, on and off, all through the day and night. By age four months, your baby will probably be sleeping a 6-8 hour chunk at night, and by age 6 months, about 10-12 hours. But that’s not to say that they won’t wake up during that time! Most babies still wake up at least once a night even at age nine months. Some can get back to sleep by themselves, and some need you to help them fall back asleep. If all this night waking is not working for your family, then you may find some helpful resources on this page, so read on!
A special note about babies and sleep safety: Healthy babies should be put down to sleep on their backs to lower the risk of SIDS. Be sure all your baby’s caregivers are aware of the safe sleep guidelines. Find out more about Safe Sleep.
What do I need to know about school-age children and sleep?School-aged children still need somewhere between 9 and 12 hours of sleep at night. At this age, kids usually start a trend toward becoming more and more sleep deprived. As the parents, you will need to help figure out how much sleep your child needs. Your child is getting the right amount of sleep if they:
Can fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes.
Can wake up easily at the time they need to get up and don't need you to keep bugging them to get up.
Are awake and alert all day, and don't need a nap during the day. Check with your child’s teacher and make sure your child is able to stay awake and alert during school.
In other words, if your child can go to bed, fall asleep easily, wake up easily, and not be tired during the day, then they're getting enough sleep.
Is your child complaining about a bedtime that’s earlier than their friends’ bedtimes, and saying that everyone else gets to stay up later? Let them know that every child is different and that this is their bedtime. Tell your kid that you’re keeping their bedtime at the right time for them because it’s healthy. They’ll feel better during the day if they sleep well at night.
A recent study [1] surveyed kindergarten through fourth grade kids and their parents and teachers about the children’s sleep. Teachers reported that about 10% of the kids were falling asleep in school. Like us adults, many of our school-age kids are sleep deprived. Remember, letting kids stay up later isn’t doing them a favor.
What if my teenager seems tired all the time?
Take a look at these pointers for parents on teens and sleep from the National Sleep Foundation.
If you have a tired teen, have them read about teens and sleep on a page just for teens.
Print out Awake at the Wheel-it's an interactive brochure for teens-and discuss it with them.
Also for teens: Tips for Teens.
The National Sleep Foundation Teens and Sleep homepage has many more great resources.
How do I teach my child good sleep habits?Here are some "Do’s and Don’ts":
Make bedtime a special time. It should be a time for you to interact with your child in a way that is secure and loving, yet firm. At bedtime, spend some special time with your child. Be firm and go through a certain bedtime routine that your child is used to. At the end of that routine the lights go off and it is time to fall asleep.
Put some thought into finding your child’s ideal bedtime. In the evening, look for the time when your child really is starting to slow down and getting physically tired. That's the time that they should be going to sleep, so get their bedtime routine done and get them into bed before that time. If you wait beyond that time, then your child tends to get a second wind. At that point they will become more difficult to handle, and will have a harder time falling asleep.
Keep to a regular daily routine—the same waking time, meal times, nap time and play times will help your baby to feel secure and comfortable, and help with a smooth bedtime. Babies and children like to know what to expect.
Use a simple, regular bedtime routine. It should not last too long and should take place primarily in the room where the child will sleep. It may include a few simple, quiet activities, such as a light snack, bath, cuddling, saying goodnight, and a story or lullaby. The kinds of activities in the routine will depend on the child’s age.
Make sure the sleep routines you use can be used anywhere, so you can help your baby get to sleep wherever you may be.
Some babies are soothed by the sound of a vaporizer or fan running. This "white noise" not only blocks out the distraction of other sounds, it also simulates the sounds babies hear in the womb. Small, portable white noise machines with a variety of different sounds are now available.
Make sure your kids have interesting and varied activities during the day, including physical activity and fresh air.
Use light to your advantage. Keep lights dim in the evening as bedtime approaches. In the morning, get your child into bright light, and, if possible, take them outside. Light helps signal the brain into the right sleep-wake cycle.
Never soothe your child to sleep by putting them to bed with a bottle of juice, milk or formula. Water is okay. Anything other than water in the bottle can cause baby bottle tooth decay. Feed or nurse your baby, and then put them down to sleep.
Don’t start giving solids before about 6 months of age. Starting solid food sooner will not help your baby sleep though the night. In fact, if you give your baby solids before their system can digest them, they may sleep worse because they have a tummy ache! The American Academy of Pediatrics says that breast milk or formula is all a baby needs to eat until six months of age. (See Feeding Your Baby and Toddler on YourChild for more on starting solids.) Contrary to popular belief, a heavier baby or a baby with a stuffed-full tummy is not more likely to sleep through the night.
Don’t fill up your child’s bed with toys. It’s probably best to keep your child’s bed a place to sleep, rather than a place to play. Too many toys in the bed can be distracting. One or two transitional objects--like a favorite doll, a security blanket, or a special book--are okay, and can help with separation issues. Babies under 4-6 months should have an empty crib to prevent suffocation. (See YourChild: Safe Sleep for more on bedtime safety guidelines.)
Never use sending your child to bed as a threat. Bedtime needs to be a secure, loving time, not a punishment. Your goal is to teach your kids that bedtime is enjoyable, just as it is for us adults. If the feeling around bedtime is a good feeling, your child will fall asleep easier.
Don’t give your child foods and drinks with caffeine in them, like hot chocolate, tea, cola, chocolate, etc. Even caffeine earlier in the day could disrupt your child’s sleep cycle.
Don't let your child watch more than one to two hours of TV during the day, and don't let them watch TV at bedtime at all. TV viewing at bedtime has been linked to poor sleep.
If your child has a TV set in their bedroom, remove it. Research shows watching TV is linked to sleep problems [2] [3] , especially if the TV set is in the child’s bedroom. The presence of other media, such as a computer, video games or Internet in a kid’s bedroom is also associated with worse sleep [4].
What are the problems that can come up with kids' sleep?Sleep deprivation: Not getting enough sleep can lead to serious problems for your child and is all too common in our society.Night waking: All children have times at night when they sleep more lightly or wake up. Night waking can become a problem when it is very frequent or when your child has trouble getting back to sleep.Sleep onset associations: This is the most common cause of children not being able to settle back to sleep. Whatever they associate with falling asleep, like being rocked or a sucking a pacifier needs to be present for them to fall back to sleep.Separation issues: Separation problems can affect either you or your child. Your child may feel anxious if you are not there, and so is unable to relax and sleep. Likewise, you may feel anxious about your child, and go in to them every time they make a peep at night, even if they don’t need you.Resistance to sleep/settling problems: This is when your child does not want to go to bed at night. They throw a tantrum, or stall, and just refuse to go to sleep.Parasomnias: These are disruptive sleep-related problems. They are usually not anything serious. They include things like teeth grinding and night terrors.
How can I tell if my child is sleep deprived? How much sleep do kids need? This chart shows you some averages. It will give you an idea of the ballpark you should be aiming for, depending on your child’s age. Some kids will need more or less sleep, and differ in how they nap.
Age Nighttime Sleep(hours) Daytime Sleep(hours) Total Sleep(hours)
1 month 8.5 (many naps) 7.5 (many naps) 16
3 months 6-10 5-9 15
6 months 10-12 3-4.5 14.5
9 months 11 3 (2 naps) 14
12 months 11 2.5 (2 naps) 13.5
18 months 11 2.5 (1-2 naps) 13.5
2 years 11 2 (1 nap) 13
3 years 10.5 1.5 (1 nap) 12
4 years 11.5 0 11.5
5 years 11 0 11
6 years 11 0 11
7 years 11 0 11
8 years 10-11 0 10-11
9 years 10-11 0 10-11
10 years 10 0 10
11 years 10 0 10
12-13 years 9.5-10 0 9.5-10
14 years 9.5 0 9.5
15 years 9.5 0 9.5
16 years 9.25 0 9.25

Different people need different amounts of sleep. Remember that charts that list the average amount of sleep for each age group are just that—averages. These are not magic numbers. The best way to tell if your child is getting enough sleep is to look at how they act while they are awake. Here are some things to consider about how much sleep is enough.
If your child’s poor sleep is causing daytime problems, then they are sleep deprived.
Ask yourself these questions:
Does your child fall asleep in the car almost every time you drive with them?
Do you have to wake your child up almost every morning?
Does your child seem overtired, cranky, irritable, aggressive, over-emotional, hyperactive, or have trouble thinking during the day?
On some nights, does your child “crash” much earlier than their usual bedtime?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your child may be sleep deprived (not getting enough sleep). We live in a very sleep deprived society. Sleep deprived children (and adults) have more trouble controlling their emotions. The part of the brain that helps us to control our actions and our response to feelings is affected greatly by lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to all kinds of problems, such as behavior problems, attention problems, and not doing well in school [5]. Kids who don't get enough sleep are also more apt to hurt themselves {6] [7] .
Go more in depth on sleep deprivation:
For helpful information on “Sleep Stealers”—what may be robbing your child of a good night’s sleep—see these book excerpts on the National Sleep Foundation’s website.
The National Academies Press has available online its book: Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivaiton An Unmet Public Health Problem.
What do I need to know about night waking? What if my child wakes up a lot at night?Infants and night wakingDoes everyone always ask you: ”So, is your baby sleeping through the night yet?” Sleep is often a major topic of conversation when there’s a baby in the family. Remember: it is normal for babies to wake up at night. Breastfed babies may wake more often than formula fed babies because breast milk is so quickly and easily digested. Your new baby is likely hungry every two or three hours, and needs to nurse to get back to sleep. Some time after about 6 months of age, your breastfed baby will probably be able to go 6-8 hours without nursing.
To help you cope with night waking, try taking turns with your partner to get up and comfort your baby. Remember, this is a time to comfort and re-settle your child, not a time for play or anything else exciting. Be comforting but boring. Don’t respond to any games your child may try to start.
What causes night wakingBabies and young children are less likely to sleep through the night if they:
Were premature or had complications during their birth.
Have a difficult temperament.
Are breastfed.
Are feeding at night. Before about 4-6 months, babies need to eat at night—they wake up and are hungry. Six-month-old babies can go longer at night without being fed. Older babies may develop the habit of feeding to get back to sleep.
Sleep in their parent’s bed (co-sleep). It may be that parents bring night waking children into their bed, rather than bed-sharing causing night waking. Parents who are accepting of co-sleeping report less sleep problems compared to those who are not.
Live in a family that is under stress.
Have a mom who is depressed. Research does not show that mom’s depression causes sleep problems, only that children with moms who are depressed have more night waking. In any case, we do know that kids with parents who are blue or depressed have more sleep problems and more problems overall. If you are feeling down, don’t hesitate to get help.
When you are tired at night you are at your lowest point. If you start feeling desperate, get help--get your partner, call a friend, or (in Michigan) call the free Parent Helpline at 1-800-942-4357. They will not ask your name, and can offer helpful support and guidance. If you feel that you might hurt your child, make sure they are safe and then leave until you can cope.
If your child is waking often, here are some possible causes to consider—and to talk to your child’s doctor about:
Separation anxiety
Uncomfortable pajamas or scratchy tags
A formula or food sensitivity or allergy
Gastro-esophageal reflux (GER)
Airborne allergens
Pain, such as from an earache, abdominal gas, or teething. If the waking is due to pain, your child may not settle even if you are there to comfort them. (See also YourChild: Pain and Your Infant.)
Itching from pinworms
A urinary tract infection (bladder infection)
Discomfort, such as too hot, too cold, thirsty, hungry or a wet bed
Being in a pattern of waking
Being in a light phase of sleep so that something like a noise rouses the child into being fully awake
If your child wakes, how quickly and easily they fall back asleep will depend in part on what their sleep onset association is, so read on….
What are sleep-onset associations?Whatever your baby connects with falling asleep (like being rocked, fed, or sucking their thumb, for example) is called a sleep-onset association. When they wake up, they will need that thing to be able to fall back to sleep. If you want your child to go back to sleep on their own when they wake up at night, then you should encourage sleep-onset associations that do not involve you, the parents. How do you do this? When you put your child to bed, you can rock or feed your child to make them sleepy, but stop before they actually go to sleep. Put your child to bed when they are still awake, so they learn to go to sleep without you there. Children who have a more difficult temperament may have more trouble with sleep-onset associations.
What do separation problems have to do with sleep? Separation anxiety is a very common reason for children under three years to cry at night. By eight or nine months, children have learned that their parents exist even if they can't see them. However the inner confidence to be able to feel secure when their parents are not there is still developing until three or four years of age. Night waking usually drops off quickly after this. You can tell if your child is waking due to separation anxiety because if you are nearby to reassure them, they will settle back to sleep. For older children, you can put a foam mattress and sleeping bag on the floor near your bed, so they can come in and sleep near you if they need nighttime reassurance.
To help prevent separation problems at night, when your child is between four months and a year old, give them a transitional object (like a blanket, doll or other favorite thing). Then when they wake up, having that object there will comfort them and help them go back to sleep.
Your baby may groan and move around, or even cry out during REM sleep. Wait a little before you go to them. If you want your baby to be able to sleep without your help, give them a chance to fall back into deep sleep on their own.
Sometimes parents are overly anxious about their baby or child. Have you ever been away from your baby? Do you worry about your baby all the time when you are away? Do you have trouble not going to your baby at night every time they stir or make a peep? You might have separation issues of your own. Some parents have lots of trouble separating from their baby. This is something you need to work on if you want your baby to be able to sleep through the night. Your difficulty with separation can cause problems for your child down the road in many areas.
What if my child has problems settling in at night or resists going to sleep?There are different reasons your child may not want to go to bed at night. Find out why your child is a night owl, and read about some strategies to try.
Your child may have issues with autonomy. In other words, they may want to have more control over their body and their environment. This usually starts to happen after about nine months of age, and is what two-year-olds are famous for! Give your child some limited choice and “control” over the type of bedtime activities and the order of the bedtime routine. If your child has more control over these activities, they may feel less need to exercise control over when they fall asleep.
If your older child resists going to sleep at night, remember this: It is your responsibility to put your child to bed, but it is your child’s responsibility to go to sleep. Put your child to bed at a reasonable time after a reasonable bedtime routine. Have clear rules (stay in bed, no eating, etc.). Then, if your child doesn’t fall asleep, it may be that they don’t need so much sleep. If they stay awake late, and then want to sleep late in the morning, wake them up 10 minutes to a half hour earlier every morning until they are falling asleep at the time you want at night.
Basically, you should discuss the bedtime routine during the day so that the child knows what to expect at night. Then stick with it each night. If kids know what to expect, then they'll usually do okay.
What are parasomnias?Parasomnias are disruptive sleep-related events, and usually not too serious. They include:
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) or Nocturnal Myoclonus
Restless Legs Syndrome
Bruxism (Teeth grinding)
Night Terrors and Nightmares
What are nightmares and night terrors (also called sleep terrors) and how are they different?

Night terrors
Time of night
Early, usually within 4 hours of bedtime
Later in the night
How child acts
Confused and disoriented
Scared and upset
Response to parents
Doesn’t know parents are there, can’t comfort
Can be comforted
Memory of event
Usually none
Can remember dream
Return to sleep
Usually quick, unless fully awakened
Often delayed by fear
Sleep stage
Deep non-REM sleep
Light, REM sleep
If your child wakes up with a nightmare, gently lay them down and say “go back to sleep, now”. It is very important not to try to talk much about it, because talking doesn’t work. Just soothe them however you usually do (for example, by gently stroking their hair or back) until they can relax and go back to sleep.
If your child has night terrors, you will not be able to comfort them. Your child is actually still asleep, like with sleepwalking or talking in their sleep. Try not to disturb your child, but stay near them and make sure they don’t hurt themselves. Being overtired and staying up too late can cause night terrors, so make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Read more about coping with night terrors.
What is sleep apnea? Apnea means having short pauses in the breathing pattern. The pauses in breathing are usually normal, but sometimes can be a problem. The usual cause of obstructive sleep apnea is enlarged tonsils or adenoids that block the upper airway when the child is sleeping. If your suspect your child has obstructive sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about having your child evaluated.
How can I help my child (and myself) sleep better? What are some strategies I can try?There are different reasons kids have trouble sleeping, and some different expert opinions on how to help them. Your family should learn about the various approaches, and decide what feels most comfortable for you and for your child. Remember, with any of these approaches, to be consistent, keep bedtime calm, and let your child know you love them. You should not to follow any program to the letter if your intuition tells you it’s not right for your child. Different approaches may work better or worse for different children in different families. If you feel you or your child is just too distressed by a given method, try something else more comfortable for you.
Here are some approaches you could try, along with some links for more detail on how to follow the program:
Cutting back on nighttime nursing: If your breastfed baby is under six months, they probably still need to nurse at night. Even at six months, your baby may well be hungry after only about six hours of sleep. Growth spurts will also cause your baby to be hungrier at night. But if your older baby or toddler is nursing a lot at night, and you want them to cut back so you can get more sleep, here are some helpful hints:
Tank your baby up with more feedings during the day.
Get your baby used to falling asleep other ways, such as being rocked by your partner, or carried around the house in a baby sling or carrier.
If your baby is sleeping with you, increase the physical distance between you at night. Try a “sidecar” arrangement, with baby’s crib next to your bed, or even have the nursing mom sleep in a different room a few nights, and let the other parent soothe your baby back to sleep. The conventional wisdom says that it usually takes about 3 nights to wean a baby (who is ready) from nighttime nursing.
For more information and support related to nursing your baby, explore the La Leche League website, which has a wealth of information. You can also find your local leaders and local groups from the LLL website.
Here are some more strategies to try with the "all-night nurser."
“Ferber method”: You can try a modified “cry it out” approach, like the “Ferber method.” In this approach, you wait a little longer each time your child wakes up and cries before you go in to comfort them. We do not recommend teaching your baby to put themselves to sleep in this way until after about 12-18 months of age. In the opinion of our panel of experienced developmental and behavioral pediatricians, it is important to form strong baby-parent and parent-baby attachments in the first year of life, and letting a baby cry uncomforted may interfere with that process.
Modified Ferber method: You may want to try a "modified Ferber method," where one parent goes in to the crying child every five to ten minutes (rather than waiting longer and longer each time) until the child eventually falls asleep. The idea is that the child will need less and less time each night to get back to sleep, until they finally sleep through the night.
After going through your child's bedtime ritual, put them down and rub or pat their back. Play a lullaby tape or CD, wind up a musical toy, or turn on some kind of "white noise." Expect your baby to have some trouble letting you go-this is typical separation anxiety.If your baby cries, wait five to ten minutes before you go back in to comfort them. It should take about that long to fall asleep. When you go in, say almost nothing---just briefly reassure your baby that you are there. Don't give a bottle or pick the baby up. Definitely, do not play with your baby. That would give them an incentive to wake up! Keep checking on your child every five to ten minutes as long as they cry. You can follow the same pattern if the baby wakes in the night. You can expect it to take about a week of this before your baby is falling asleep alone without too much fuss. If your baby has been sleeping well every night, and then suddenly cries out one night---go see what's wrong right away. If your baby is having trouble like not feeling well, colic, or earache, pick them up and comfort them.The bad news is, that with approaches like this and the Ferber method, after family trips or after an illness, you may have to start over from scratch and re-train the baby.
Sharing sleep (Co-sleeping or family bed): You could try sharing sleep with your child, either in the same bed or in the same room to make it easy to offer nighttime comfort and breastfeeding without anyone having to fully wake up. Make sure your sleep sharing arrangement is safe for your baby.
Getting your child out of your bed: If your child will only sleep in your bed with you, and that is not working out well for your family, then read about how to help your child learn to sleep in their own bed. Most children are accepting of leaving the parent’s bed between ages 2-3. The key is to wean them gradually into their own bed. Start with a futon or pad on the floor in your room, and after a while move them into a bed in their own room.
Getting your child to stay in bed in the morning: Learn some tips on how to handle an early riser.
What is a sleep diary? How might it help with my child’s sleep?Try keeping a sleep diary for a period of time. Looking at this information over a period of days or weeks may help you find some patterns. Once you see patterns, you may be able to find a solution. Also, if you go to see your child’s pediatrician about your child’s sleep problems, bring along the sleep diary. Here’s what you should keep track of:
What time they woke up in the morning
Times and lengths of naps during the day
What time they went to bed in the evening
What time they settled in bed in the evening
Issues in settling, what you did, and how it worked
Times and lengths of waking at night
What you did about night waking and how it worked
How can I decide whether a crib or sharing sleep (co-sleeping) is better for my family?
Surveys show that many American parents sleep with their children for all or part of the night. A study by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development called the National Infant Sleep Position (NISP) study estimated that nearly 50 percent of the infants in the study spent at least some time in the last two weeks sleeping on an adult bed at night, with 20 percent doing so half the time or more, and 13 percent usually sleeping on an adult bed at night [8].
Doctors do not all agree on whether co-sleeping is safe. Their concern is based on statistics that show that half of all child suffocation deaths occur in adult beds due to overlaying or suffocation in bedding. Therefore, many experts recommend not sleeping with your baby at all. Other doctors, however, believe co-sleeping can be safe if the necessary safety precautions are taken. For more information on safe sleeping arrangements, visit YourChild: Safe Sleep.
Here are some of the pros and cons of each arrangement:

Parents’ Bed
A restless baby is less likely to disturb parents, and vice versa.
It’s easier for parents to be intimate at night.
Sleeping independently is valued in American culture.
Parents get a break from time with baby to “recharge their batteries.”
Parents don’t have to get up at night to soothe or nurse baby, and can soothe baby back to sleep without anyone fully waking.
Working parents can spend more time with child.
Sharing sleep can help foster a strong attachment to your child.
The time your child will spend sharing sleep with you is very short in the big picture.
Around the world, the norm is for babies to sleep with their parents, and, some would say, it is the “natural” way to sleep.
Parents have to get up at night to soothe baby.
Your baby may be very upset and difficult to soothe back to sleep by the time you wake and go in to them.
It may become difficult to transition child to their own bed until age 2-4, if they still sleep in parent’s bed after about age 6 months.
Sleep-sharing creates a sleep-onset association that involves the parents (but parents who enjoy sharing sleep do not view this as a negative).
Both parents must be committed to the arrangement, or it will cause conflict between them.
It is important that parents be comfortable with the sleeping arrangements, and choose an arrangement that will help everyone get the best possible sleep. Whatever you choose, make sure your family bed or your baby's crib is safe, by reading about safe sleep. In spite of some cultural fears we may have in this country, bed-sharing does not have any negative psychological effects for children or parents in the long-term[9].
What about medications to help my child sleep better?Research has shown that behavioral treatments (in other words, parents using good sleep time strategies) work better, and have longer lasting effects than medicines. If your child needs more than a behavioral program to help them fall asleep, you may want to talk to your child’s doctor about trying Melatonin. When used under the direction of your child’s doctor, Melatonin can be a safe and effective treatment for kids [10], and is especially useful for kids with special needs who have more troublesome sleep problems [11,12,13].
Melatonin is an over-the-counter medication in the U.S. But even though you do not need a prescription to get it, be sure to talk with your child's doctor to find out whether it is appropriate for your child, and how to use it safely.
How can I find out more about sleep and kids?Visit these pages on YourChild:
Safe sleep
More tips and information:
More parenting tips for better sleep.
Bedtime routines for preschool and older kids.
Pediatrician Q&A on kids’ sleep (from Dr. Greene).
Tips for parents, young children, school kids and teens from a University of Michigan pediatric sleep specialist.
The National Sleep Foundation is dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting sleep-related education, research, and advocacy.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine works to teach the public and professionals about sleep disorders.
National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health seeks to improve the health of Americans by serving four key functions: research, training, technology transfer, and coordination. Phone 301-435-0199.
The NCSDR hosts the Garfield Star Sleeper website for kids. You can download a fun pad with activities for kids 7-10 years old, or play on-line games.
American Sleep Apnea Association works to reduce injury, disability, and death from sleep apnea and to help those affected by it. Phone 202-293-3650.
Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation provides information, support, and supports research about RLS. Phone 507-287-6465.
Narcolepsy Network works to promote support groups, education, research, and advocacy relating to narcolepsy. Phone 513-891-3522.
Check out these books:
Take Charge of Your Child’s Sleep: The All-In-One Resource for Solving Sleep Problems in Kids and Teens, by Judy Owens and Jodi Mindell.An comprehensive guide to kids’ and teens’ sleep issues. Read excerpts here.
Solve your Child’s Sleep Problems, by Richard Ferber. A practical, easy-to-understand guide to common sleeping problems for children ages one to six. Detailed case histories on night waking, difficulty sleeping, and more serious disorders such as sleep apnea and sleepwalking help illustrate a wide variety of problems and their solutions. New parents may benefit from the proactive advice on developing good sleeping patterns and daily schedules to help keep sleeping problems from occurring in the first place.
The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer, by Harvey Karp.This book covers strategies for calming fussy or colicky babies. The soothing strategies are simple and help babies settle down, which is a prerequisite for falling, and staying, asleep.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, by Elizabeth Pantley. Here is a middle ground between the "cry-it-out" and the "live-with-it" approaches. This guide helps parents find solutions that will work best for them and for their child by using sleep logs and setting realistic goals.
Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep, by William Sears. A nice reminder that parenting does not stop at bedtime, and we don’t have to view children’s nighttime needs as problems. This book offers advice on issues such as deciding where babies should sleep, what foods may help children sleep, tips for single parents, and getting children to bed without a struggle.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weisbluth. This book teaches parents the basics of sleep science and helps them find their baby's optimal window for falling asleep both for naps and at nighttime.. Many parents are startled to discover that their baby is sleep deprived, which is actually making it harder for the baby to fall asleep! This approach falls within the "cry-it-out" school of thought. The book also covers teen sleep issues. Addresses mainly infants through age 3, but also discusses older children's and teens' sleep.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Purposeful Leadership

Oswald Chambers - Purposeful leadership
Why are we here? Why are we doing what we are doing? These are the most basic questions in life. Every Christian should have a sense of purpose in life and a reason for doing what he or she is doing. Our purpose is twofold: to glorify God by manifesting His presence in this world and to do everything to the glory of God. We are to know Him, and we are to make Him known by fulfilling the Great commission (Matt. 28:19-20). This is to be done by loving God and others, as required by the Great Commandments (22:37-39).

The descendants of Noah decided to build a tower to reach the heavens. The Lord said, “if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan will be impossible for them: (Genesis 11:6). What did God observe about these people that led Him to make such a statement? These people had three of the four ingredients essential for the success of any Christian ministry. First, they had a common objective. A well-defined purpose or mission statement keeps people moving in the same direction.

Second, they were “as one people” (v6); that is, they were unified. A good leader has the ability to gain consensus and commitment to common objectives that are accomplished through the contribution of, and to the satisfaction of, the whole church.

Third, they had an effective communication system. They were “one people speaking the same language”(v6). Very little will be accomplished if people don’t walk in the light or speak the truth in love to one another. Fulfilling our purpose in our homes and churches requires that we keep the communication lines open. Building consensus requires good communication skills. People need to be heard, not just spoken to. It is hard to get people to commit to doing another person’s will, but it is easy to get people to commit to doing their own will. People are already committed to doing what they think is right in the best way possible. All God had to do to disrupt the plans of the people building the tower of Babel was destroy their communication system. When they couldn’t speak to each other, they scattered.

The fourth ingredient for a successful Christian ministry- the ingredient the people building the tower of Babel were missing- is the desire to do God’s will. The tower of Babel was never completed because the people never consulted God. Building a tower and making a name for themselves was their own idea, not God’s. If we collectively discern the will of God, have a common objective based on his will, develop an effective communication system and foster unity among the people, nothing we purpose to do will be impossible for us.

Brother John sought God and discerned God’s will and has helped us to develop a well-defined purpose; to help people Believe, Belong and Begin. We are all moving in the same direction to reach out to others and to share our faith with them and to help them get into a loving church that wants to help them grow. We are unified in fulfilling this purpose. Hopefully we speak the truth in love to one another and we are communicating with one another. I know it can always be better. So please let us know if we need to communicate with you better or more effectively. I know we all want to do God’s will or we wouldn’t be here. With all of these ingredients in place, then nothing is impossible for us to do for Him and Him through us.

Have a great day in the Lord.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Bible Study Year, and Spiritual Gifts

Welcome to the first Sunday of a new Bible Study year. If it is like most then your morning was crazy and hectic. You met new children and their parents and you are learning a new schedule and how to do things in preschool. We have many returning teachers that will be glad to share any of their “veteran” experience with you and we have around 60 new teachers, coordinators and greeters joining us for this year. Thank you for your commitment to our preschool ministry and families. I can’t tell you how much it means to your Preschool Associates and me to start off a new year with so many permanent teachers for our children. They need the consistency of the same familiar faces each week and to know that there is someone who loves them and cares enough about them to be here every week for them. Currently we have 152 leaders in preschool. If all of our current leaders were permanent weekly leaders we would only need 7 additional teachers to be fully staffed. So if you are a part-time teacher, please pray and consider becoming a permanent fulltime teacher for our children. I assure you the blessings you will receive will be abundant. If you know of anyone to ask please do so and let them know we need 5 teachers at 9:15 and 23 at 10:45.Thank you so much for investing your time and your life into the lives of these children. What a huge difference it will make to them as you teach them about Jesus and His love for them. Thank you for your gift of service.

My daily devotionals last week were about spiritual gifts. This is what it had to say about stewardship.

Paul says,"All things are yours…and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God" (I Corinthians 3:22-23). We have all things because we are united to Christ, and Christ is united with God the Father. But we are not owners; we are stewards, or managers, of what God has given us. We belong to Him. We are stewards of the mysteries of God, that is, the truths that have been revealed in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (4:2). Our lives and all that we posses have been entrusted to us, and someday we will have to give an account of how well we have managed them. There is no time that is ours, no talent that is ours, no portion of money that is ours; it all belongs to him. He made it all and simply entrusted it to us for His service. It doesn’t matter what others think of our stewardship. It doesn’t even matter what we think of ourselves. We can have a clear conscience, but that doesn’t make us innocent. It is the Lord who judges us.

“You may say to yourself,” ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deut. 8:17-18).

We are called to be not only the stewards of the results of our labor, but also stewards of the labor itself. Kingdom stewardship is like the Stradivari society, which entrusts superb violins into the hands of artists who make great music. God has given us time, talents and treasures. They remain His property, but they are to be used by us to bring him glory.

Thank you for choosing to use your time and talents to teach the treasures that Christ has entrusted us with this year. You are being used for His glory. You are making a huge investment in the lives of children and helping lay a spiritual foundation for each of them. Thank you for your gift of service.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Connection Training Camp

What a great turnout we had for our Connection Training Camp. If you were unable to be here please get with your Preschool Associate and find out what you missed. Greg Love and Kim Norris did an outstanding job and we all know we need to have them back for others in our church to hear. Cathy Walkinshaw challenged us to reach our preschoolers and their families this year. We can start by being here Tuesday evening for all church outreach. We will have everything ready for you to go out and visit with the children in your class. Let’s have a huge turnout from our preschool area.

We will be hearing about Miracle Moments all year. Let me tell you about one I had this past week. Ann, Kerri, and Terrell Ann and I went to eat on Monday at Chipotle. Two young girls with their babies sat beside us and I went over and told them about our Teen Mops Ministry and that a lot of our young Moms are in their early twenties, which was what I kind of suspected their ages were. I invited them to join us. One of the girls actually was a member here and we were able to visit with them both for a few minutes. So see, it’s that easy. We can do it and once we get started it will be just as natural as walking to invite someone to church or to share Jesus Christ with them.

Next week is promotion and our pre-kindergarten and kindergarten will be moving back to their area. The painting is being completed and our new chairs and tables should be here this week. Unfortunately our other equipment and all of the finishing touches won’t be completed until mid to late October. But we will be able to get back into our original space. It will all be finished before long and we will be reaping the blessings of a gracious donor.

We are starting our year out better than we have in a long time. We need a total of 159 people to have a successful Sunday morning. At this writing we have 152 leaders signed up, but before you get too excited what that means is 152 people have signed up to be either permanent full time or part time. In order to be completely staffed we need 32 more people. I misquoted last week at our connection training. Some of the people we had are not full time teachers. Please pray that they will commit to being full time. Just think if everyone we had signed up were committed to being here every week we would only need 7 people to completely staff our preschool Ministry. Wouldn’t that be incredible? I’d stand on top of the church and sing the Hallelujah Chorus? But still needing 8 at 9:15 and 24 at 10:45 is a far cry from where we have been. So please be praying for more people to become involved and to join our team. If you have an opening in your class, please pray for a teacher to join you and then ask someone, a parent or someone else you know. Tell them you are alone and need a teacher and the children in your class need them. Also don’t forget to line up your permanent substitute now. Ask your parents and tell them you will be calling on them from time to time when you have to be out.
It’s starting out to be a great year and I believe God is going to be bringing lots of kids and families our way. So let’s be ready by being on time, having smiles on our faces, and cheerful greetings and kind words in our hearts, ready to share the love of Jesus Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Abortion Clinic closes

I wanted to be sure that all of you saw this article. Praise the Lord that yet another abortion clinic has closed! Keep up the great work!

Texas Pro-Life Groups Celebrate Closing of Dallas Late-Term Abortion Business
by Steven Ertelt, Editor of
June 24, 2008

Dallas, TX (
The rash of abortion centers closing down continues and pro-life advocates in Dallas, Texas are excited to learn that they're next on the list. Aaron Women’s Health Center, a late-term abortion facility, will be closing its doors, and that's good news for the people who have prayed for this day to come.

The closing follows on the heels of recent closures of abortion centers in other states, including Kentucky and New York.

Aaron Women’s Health Center was one of three abortion businesses in Texas authorized to do late-term abortions when it upgraded its facility in early 2005 to comply with a new state law regulating abortion centers as "ambulatory surgical centers."

When it complied with the new law, it qualified to do abortions on unborn babies older than 16 weeks’ gestation.

Members of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, the Respect Life Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, maintained a constant presence of peaceful prayer and sidewalk counseling in front of Aaron’s for over a decade.

They were the second group in the nation to undertake the 40 Days for Life campaign in 2004 that saw nearly 1,000 people from dozens of different churches participate.

“We are overjoyed to hear that this notorious place of death is finally closing,” Karen Garnett, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, told

“Not only is this a victory for the pro-life movement, for mothers and for babies, but it is a victory for Dallas as well, as the horrific practice of the killing of unborn children will take place at one less location in our city," she added.

Garnett said Saturday is the last day for abortions at Aaron Women’s Health Center.
Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas chimed in as well, saying "This is the best news I’ve heard all week."

He expressed his personal gratitude to everyone who has offered prayers and sacrifices for an end to the killing.

Although abortion advocates say women will be left without pregnancy help and resources if abortion ever becomes illegal, Garnett said her group and others are prepared to meet women's needs.

Her organization is also prepared to help the women who had abortions at Aaron's or other abortion centers who might be experiencing medical, mental health or spiritual problems following the abortion.

"We stand ready to offer help and healing to those who have made the abortion decision at Aaron’s or any other abortion facilities," she told

In the 1980s, there were 13 abortion centers in Dallas and seven have closed since then. After Aaron’s closes, only five abortion centers will remain in the area.