Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thankful Tuesday

Cindy at Dominion Family has been posting advice from older mothers to younger mothers. The series is very good and the comments are well worth reading.

I was thinking about it this morning and realized that I am thankful for the good parenting resources that are available. Our #1 choice is Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp. One of our Sunday School classes is going through the video series and I am reminded again of how valuable the information is.

Pastor Tripp doesn't just focus on external behaviours (do this or that and your child will behave perfectly). Instead, he takes us to the Bible and shows how the hearts of our children should be our focus, rather than their behaviour. When their hearts are right with God, their behaviour will follow.

Over the years, we personally have found that this type of discipline and training leads not only to obedient children but children who want to follow God. Our parenting journey isn't over, by any stretch, but at this point, we are trusting that our children will continue on the path they have started with God.

I have also appreciated various messages and workshops put out by Sovereign Grace Ministries. Covenant Life church has a "Family Room" section and the messages linked through that have been excellent as well.

As parents, we do need to be careful to sift through all the resources available and make sure that what we are reading and studying lines up with Scripture. More specifically, the resources need to always point parents and children to the gospel of Christ. It is only through the grace of God that any of us are able to stand; this applies to parenting just as much to any other aspect of our lives.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thankful for friends

I woke up this morning thinking about friends. Specifically, the ones God has blessed me with. I realized that I have about 5 or 6 close friends that I see regularly (and always wish I could spend more time with them). Then there are others that I really enjoy being with but our schedules don't allow visiting that often, except at church or in passing. But when we do spend time together, it's great.

Conventional wisdom used to say that pastors' wives (or pastors, for that matter) shouldn't have friends in the church. I've always thought that was silly and I am thankful that these days, it doesn't seem to apply. I am also thankful for where God has placed us so that we can have these friendships.

I imagine that part of the problem for some pastoral families is that it takes a long time to develop close friendships and pastoral families are often not in a church for that long. I just googled it and this page says that the average length of time for a senior pastor is 7.2 years and slightly longer for bigger churches at 8.7 years. That's actually longer than I expected. This site quotes Barna research and says it's 5 years on average. That's the figure I'm familiar with.

At any rate, if after 5 years, the pastor typically moves on to another location, how can he and his wife develop close friendships in the church? I think it would be very difficult, especially after the 3rd or 4th move. We've been at this church for 10 years. I know that if anyone had asked 5 years ago or 8 years ago how I felt about friends I would have said that we had a few close friends. Now after 10 years, the Lord has blessed us with many more and part of that is from having 10 years together. Some of my friends are new to the area but overall, it's the women that I have worked with and raised my kids with and gone to different activities with that have developed into the lasting friendships.

I must admit to being somewhat cynical about the "forwards" and posters about friendship that I get occasionally. And no, just because I don't send them on to 10 people and back to the person I got it from, doesn't mean that I don't value that friendship. I just don't value the forwards. But in thinking about friends this morning, I have to say that sometimes the fancy posters do say it well.

Actually the Bible says it even better:

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy."

Phil. 1:3-4

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thankful November

Rebecca at Rebecca Writes is once more asking for posts of thankfulness during the month of November. This has spurred me on to actually post something on this blog. Hopefully, it will happen more than once in November, although if I judge by the way October flew by - well, we'll see what happens.

I'm thankful for technology. I'm thankful especially for my ipod and how many great things I can store on that one small item. I'm especially thankful for it at the gym. It's going to be my new best friend for the next 4-6 months as my gym partner is having a baby this month and is taking a few months off. I expect to work hard and learn lots in the next 6 months!

I'm thankful too for the computer and for the internet. It's amazing how much is out there - and there's lots of really great stuff. Through facebook, I've connected with some old friends and some cousins that I haven't been in touch with for years. I'm able to download messages to listen to on my ipod and I do lots of school planning too.

Of course, technology is like cars - it's wonderful when it works and horrid when it doesn't. But overall, I think that technology has enhanced my life and enabled me to both grow spiritually and to be in contact with other people who help me to grow and learn. And that's a good thing.