How To


Your Parents are Important In your Life

Ephesians 6:1

Central Theme:  You are to learn to be friends with your parents.

Introduction–A choir member years ago told me that his mother was of the devil because she made him clean the bathroom when he dirtied it.  I told him to call her and apologize.  Have a member read Ephesians 6:1.

I.     Jesus was a boy but he was God.

A. His parents didn‘t understand or respect him.

B. He was patient with them and he helped them to understand him.

II.     You are in a bad position–adults but live a home.

A. Seeking independence but need special guidance in many things.

B. Pulled by professionals to GROW UP; but your parents will have to fix any messes.

III.     Talk to your parents.

1.  Always side with them.

2.  You know they don’t know everything but you also need wisdom to help them understand you.

A.     Tell about a time that you talked with your parents and helped them to understand something that you needed and they didn’t understand.

Conclusion     Parents are to be honored and loved.  We can work to help them understand us.

Several months ago, I posted four entries about the importance of not wasting the time of an assembly of people–large or small– when you are given the opportunity to speak to a group.  However, when we find ourselves stuck in a meeting where the speaker is either unprepared or unconcerned about the time she may be wasting, I find that my attitude can make the difference between a lost hour and a creative opportunity.

A good friend carries Scripture verses that he pulls from his pocket to memorize whenever he finds himself bored during a sermon or teaching.  An Air Force Major, who is also a Bible study teacher, regularly prepares his next Bible teaching during the Sunday morning sermons.  These are creative and, depending on the level of boredom, can be beneficial ways to deal with the lack of preparation of another person. 

Yet, there are other techniques that could be even more valuable.  Again, attitude is the key.  First, I try to check my attitude the instant I realize that I’m in trouble.  I find that attitude is often the key to retrieving my time.  There is usually something that I can learn from the experience. 

I learned more about preaching the Scriptures from a retired college professor who was the most awful teacher under which I ever sat.  I learned more from him than from the many gifted men and women that I’ve had the privilege of sitting under.  I took extensive notes.  I reviewed my notes and I tried to evaluate these notes in a realistic way about what I could learn.

In other situations, I’ve found that a change in my attitude can make the presentation more valuable to me.  I try to stay engaged with the speaker and follow the teaching that she is presenting.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn.  It grew from the fact that week after week I’d emerge from the church disgusted that my time had been wasted while others would stroll from the same assembly happily talking about how much they had learned.  This happened more often than I want to admit.  Finally, I realized that my attitude needed to be amended.

There are five things that I find greatly enhance my ability to learn.  These are rudimentary; but I find I need to review them often.

  1. Arrive early and be prepared to learn. 
  2. Sit as close to the front as possible.
  3. Bring a Bible and the equipment needed to take notes. 
  4. Sit up straight in my seat.  Leaning forward in an attitude of expectation helps me.
  5. Take notes.

Of course, after menopause and lots of sleepless nights, my biggest problem with poorly prepared presentations is simply staying awake.

In June of 2006, I listened to Chip Ingram on my car radio.  He spoke about how important it is for us to learn to be connected to the Lord.  We all make “to do lists” as an incentive to accomplish more.   Yet, Ingram taught that our doing should always be an outgrowth of our “being connected to our Savior.”  Therefore, he contended that a “To Be List” is far more appropriate for the Christian than continual “To Do Lists.” 

Agreeing with Ingram, I came home and made my own “To Be List.”  I took every area of my life where I felt God was calling me.  Deliberately, I didn’t specifically include Special Gathering because I believe any ministry within the mentally challenged community should be treated as a ministry–not a specialized ministry.  Additionally, I included areas I enjoy and some places where I feel I should be.  Here is my To Be list:

  1. A woman of God who lives in integrity and love so others will see Jesus in me and desire God’s grace.
  2. An evangelist who is able to lead people to God’s unconditional, agape; love.
  3. A godly, kind, gracious and wise wife who loves unconditionally.
  4. A person of prayer and the Word of God.
  5. A good friend to my children, grandchildren and those people God puts in my life.
  6. A pastor who is able to care for God’s people with tender wisdom and agape’ love.
  7. A person who gives liberally with wisdom and love.
  8. A person who is physically and mentally fit.
  9. A gracious hostess to many people in our home.
  10. A writer whose works are able to bless many people.
  11. A choir director who is able to communicate, teach and bless the choir.
  12. An anointed, wise, gifted preacher/teacher of the Gospel whose words can bless the smartest person and minister grace, knowledge and wisdom to the simple.
  13. A skilled gardener who can learn about God’s grace from His creation.

I didn’t put these in any order of importance but what came to mind.  I’ve been open to changing the list or adding to it.  However, in the past four years, I’ve not added to it or changed it.  For about a year, I meditated on the list and prayed that God would work these into my life.  I still go back and refer the list often. 

Of course, your list will be different.  It is an easy exercise but eye-opening and helps to establish within your spirit what God is doing or desiring to do in your life.

Os Hillman sends out a daily newsletter that I enjoy reading.  It is geared to people who are involved in business and are attempting to involve Christ into everything they endeavor.   However, I find that his words often speak to those of us who are entrepreneurial by nature and are involved in full-time ministry. 

I intended to paraphrase his work, but I really can’t say it better than he did.  Hope you can transfer what he is saying to your ministry as easily as I could.  Perhaps those of us in ministry face greater danger than people in the work place in regard to doing “a work” to which God has not called us.

“When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark…” 1 Chronicles 13:9-10

There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do. Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God’s eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good; it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a “good work.”

The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see opportunity. What appears to be a “slam dunk” may come back to haunt us if God never ordains us to enter that arena. There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in David’s sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he immediately died. David became very upset with God about this situation; he questioned whether he could serve God.

God’s ways are not our ways. The most important quality God desires to develop in us is our dependence on Him and Him alone. When we begin to make decisions based on reason and analysis instead of the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, we get into trouble with God. David later learned the importance of this principle in his own life. This encounter was one of the stepping-stones in his pilgrimage. David was an extraordinary entrepreneur. He ran the nation very successfully, but he, like each of us, had to learn the difference between “good things” and “God-things.”

Are you involved in anything in which God has not directed you to be involved? Do you seek God about every decision, every action before you take it? This is where God wants you and me to be. Ask Him to show you how to walk with Him in this way.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

More and more of our parents are faced with the possibility of having to terminate the life of their loved one who was born mentally challenged.  Medical professionals have found that putting a person into a medicinal coma helps to make the patient easier to handle and treat.  It also facilitates healing and the risk of infection.  However, with these heart and breathing devices in place, you can keep the body of a person alive for an indefinate amount of time, long after the brain has died. 

Helping the family of a person who is developmentally disabled make life terminating decisions may become part of what is expected from you as the pastor or spiritual leader of the person who is critically ill.  There are several precautions of which you should be aware.

  1. The decision to terminate the life of a member is not and should not be yours to make
  2. You should be prepared mentally and professionally to help the guide the family to make a decision that will be best for them and the person who may be facing death.
  3. The professional guidance you will need is readily available to you. This type of information is available through the hospital and from a doctor.  You can also search the Internet to find information.  Avoid any site that may encourage you to make that decision for the family.
  4. Prayer and study of the Scriptures will help prepare yourself mentally for any guidance that you are asked to give.
  5. Steer away from anything other than asking pointed and helpful questions.  “What will be her quality of life, if she is allowed to continue to breathe?”  is an example.
  6. Questions of this nature will allow the family to walk down paths that they may feel are inappropriate for them to explore.
  7. Give the parents/family permission to speak the unspeakable.  Again, a pointed question coming from you will help them to talk openly about the consequences of the decision they are asked to make.
  8. Each time you walk into a hospital room where a person is attached to lifegiving equipment, come armed with questions that should be asked. 
  9. Understand that you may not be asked to become a part of this conversation; but if you are, you should be prepared to guide the discussion into fruitful areas.
  10. Do not enter this area of discussion unless you are given permission from the family.  If you begin to ask probing questions and the family has not invited you into this extremely private area, you are opening doors that are not yours to open.
  11. If the family desires for you to walk along side of them, they will let you know.  “What should we do?”  will probably the the first question you are asked.
  12. Avoid this question like the plague by answering it with pointed questions.  “What do you believe will be best for him?”  “Does he have a living will?”  “What do you believe would be the best thing to do?”  These are questions that will open the conversation and allow them to explore freely the possibilities.

This is a horrible time in the life of a family.  Either way the family decides, there will be future second guessing and prolonged self-examination.  However, most people know in their gut what they must do.  They only need someone who will facilitate giving themselves permission to do the right thing.  Your place is not to make the decision but to help the family find out what they already know they must do.

Over the past two years, I’ve done a lousy job of organizing the material that is published on this blog.  After about six months of articles, I knew I had to make a decision.  Would this be a teaching/informational blog or would it be an advocacy blog.  I made the decision to make it both.

I divided the advocacy section to be published on Saturday.  There were two reason for this decision.  First, advocacy is the information that most people will use a search engines to acquire.  Therefore, it doesn’t really matter what day it is published.  Second, Saturday is the day that gets the least amount of traffic.  Therefore, it doesn’t matter what information is contained on the first weekend day. 

While advocacy is a vital part of what we do at Special Gathering, this blog reaches into almost all the states and several countries.  The folks who regularly visit, do so on Monday through Friday.  Readers from other states and countries aren’t interested in Florida budgets, state politics or agency issues.  The traffic that comes to the advocacy articles–and it is significant–comes primarily  through the search engines. 

Sunday is the day I publish a sermon.  I’ve kept years of sermons in my files.  I’m now publishing sermons that were preached nine years ago.  While this is the page that gets the least amount of traffic, I still feel it is beneficial for the person who may want to understand the basic rudiments of preaching to people who are mentally challenged.

Week days are reserved for teachings and reflections.  I don’t sort these articles efficiently.  On occasion, I do a series of teaching articles.  However, I hijack myself continually by interrupting a series of teachings with some reflection that I feel is important.  Perhaps it’s an age thing.  Experts say that the older brain thinks differently from the younger brain, and the older brain is more prone to allow interruptions and distractions which side track their efforts.  Perhaps it’s merely a problem that all daily columnists face. 

Nevertheless, navigating this blog should not be an adventure in the unknown.  I hope this clears up some of your questions about the construction of these entries.  I sincerely thank you  for coming and reading.  You make this blog profitable in the Kingdom.

Blonde and pretty, Marnie is extremely shy.  For about three years, I didn’t think she could speak, only sing.  However, over the years that I’ve come to know and love her, I’ve learned that it isn’t an inability to speak but intense shyness that keeps her from expressing herself.

However, last month when I asked if someone would like to lead in prayer, she raised her hand.  And she prayed out loud.  Later, during a questioning game, she answered the question that was presented to the group.  The home where she lives agrees that Marnie is slowly emerging from her self-inflicted shell. 

It is a thrilling sight to see the words of Paul being reenacted in the life of this young woman.  Paul told Timothy, “For God id not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (II Timothy 1:7).  Working this verse into our lives is hard road to travel.  All of us wear a protective shell of timidity at some time or another.  All of us struggle to break from this shell. 

There are some things which make the shell easier to break.  Perhaps the most important thing we can do for others is to provide an environment free of criticism.  We know that correction does not have to contain criticism.  Psychologists tell us that it takes 10 declaration of encouragement to overcome one critical statement.  Becoming a continual encourager will break shells of fear and concern.

Several months ago, I learned a key that seemed to unlock Marnie in regard to our relationship.  One morning, I picked her up.  She was in one of her sour moods.  In the past when I seen this foul mood, I would quiz her with a barrage of questions and statements.  “Are you all right?” Her response was silence with a side-ways look of disgust.  “What’s wrong?”  Silence.  “Tell me.”  Silence.

One morning, she came out the door with THAT look on her face.  “Hey, Dearie,”  I said.  “You look beautiful this morning.  Is that a new dress?”

“No” was the curt response.

“Well, when you get tired of it, promise to give it to me.”

Marnie giggled and said, “Okay.”  She opened the door of the van and began to smile.

From that morning, we’ve experienced maybe ten to twenty bad mood mornings.  But she has responded to my compliments and encouragements.  There have been no questions or criticism. 

Each of us work through hard days of fear, anger and remorse.  Usually what we need is a small word of encouragement and help.  Marnie has taught me the benefits of allowing God’s spirit to work in Marnie’s life as I cooperate with Him.

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