Monday, August 30, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To An End

All good things must come to an end. The end of the movie. The bottom of an ice cream sundae. The season finale of your favorite television drama. The last page of a really good book. And the number one thing I hate to see come to an end…summer vacation.

Kids these days have approximately 93 days off from school. (79 if they don’t pass the State mandated achievement test) Not even close to the 104 days Phineas and Ferb so aptly proclaim in their cartoon theme song. Let’s break it down:

May 22 – June 25 These are your prime summer vacation days. This is when you take the kids to Disneyworld the beach or a classic family favorite, the cross-country road trip. The weather isn’t too hot yet. The kids are so glad to be out of school that you can get away with practically any kitschy venue you desire.

June 26 – July 31 These are the days used mostly for taking care of business, i.e. appointment time. Since you scheduled these six months ago, you had no idea your best friends were going to invite you and the kids on their trip to the water park. But you can’t go because all three kids are having their teeth cleaned and you don’t dare cancel the appointments. The only excitement to be had is watching Lois the Corpse Flower bloom (woo-hoo) and then die (boo). This is also when vacation Bible school is scheduled, and youth camp and pre-teen camp. And if the summer isn’t slipping through your fingers fast enough, the stores are advertising back-to-school sales.

August 1 – August 22 These are the dog days of summer. It’s much too hot to step outside the air-conditioned house unless you’re headed straight to the pool. The kids are so bored and antsy there’s no pleasing them. The fights are endless and escalating! And then—school starts. There was, however, one unexpected high point during those long dog days that will forever stand out in my mind…

Toward the end of the summer of 2010, God laid a plan on the hearts of a group of boys, Taylor, David and Jesse. This plan culminated in the 2010 Back To School Worship Rally. Taylor was the worship leader and played guitar. Jesse played lead guitar and David played drums. There were also three back-up singers, Hannah, Kagan, and Kyle, a pianist, Terri, a bassist, D.J. and on the organ, Casey.

Two youth preachers spoke to the crowd of well over 100 kids and adults. One of them talked about how whatever we are truly passionate about is what defines us. Weather we are passionate about the football team, our friends, education, or whatever…that passion comes out and tells everyone around us who we are. And if we are as passionate about Christ as we are about other things, we could start a revival at our school campuses. Both ministers encouraged the youth to take their faith with them to school instead of leaving it at home.

I have to admit, going to Disneyworld, watching the Corpse Flower bloom, and teaching vacation Bible school were all a lot of fun, but nothing compares to the feeling you get when students turn their hearts and lives to Christ. I can’t wait until next year to see what Taylor and his group have in store for…Back To School Worship Rally 2011!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There’s No Place For That In God’s House

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
Matthew 23:13

Something happened at church Sunday evening that took me back twenty-five years to when my husband and I were first married…

We joined a church close to our apartment in the Aldine area of Houston. We soon learned the congregation wasn’t “local” at all. The church had re-located from a very classy part of the Houston Heights.

We never felt welcomed into the church. The new member’s class we were put in consisted of an eighty plus year old teacher, several mature singles, and a few couples who could have been our parent’s age. Needless to say, there was no class unity.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back happened when a visiting missionary was asked to take the stage and speak. He stepping up to the pulpit, scanned the audience, tugged at the collar of his plaid shirt and proclaimed, “Man, I’ve been away so long I forgot you can’t wear jeans on a Sunday morning.” I looked down at my precious husband’s Levi jeans…the nicest thing he owned. His eyes told me how he felt. We didn’t return and subsequently didn’t bother finding another church home.

Skip ahead twenty-five years. We’ve attended the perfect church for fourteen years. It’s the middle of summer and my darling husband decides to wears a pair of cargo shorts to Sunday evening service. This decision earns him the ridicule of not one, but two of the more “mature” male members of the church.

Hubby let it roll off his back…but I can’t. You see my husband wasn’t going to evening church in the first place because he had work he needed to get done before Monday morning. But he did it for me; and his reward…abuse from a couple modern day Pharisees!

What about you? Is there a Pharisee in your church? Or perhaps it’s you. Are your closed minded, old fashioned ideas causing someone to stay home from service, skip a week because their finest clothes are at the cleaners, or just stay away from church all together? There’s just no place for that stuff in God’s house.

Thankfully my husband is grounded enough in his faith that codgerly comments don’t affect him. I can’t help but think that it might have been a different story had the comments been made to a brand new baby Christian. I think there’s something in the Bible about causing new Christian’s to stumble. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be that guy.