Thursday, September 19, 2013

Challenged at Church

I love my church. I also love the fact that Hudson was happy to stay in the nursery last night (read about last week here).

As we learn from the book of I Thessalonians on Wednesday night, I always leave challenged and encouraged. Last night, our mission's pastor spoke from I Thessalonians 2:7-12.

Spiritual Leadership as Seen in Parental Relationships (See the outline here and soon they should add the link for you to listen to the message, as well)

We were challenged to look at parental relationships and allow those to help us be better spiritual leaders. Since parenting is very much a part of my life right now, the correlations mentioned were extremely easy for me to relate to. I was challenged in my parenting as well as in my spiritual leadership. Whether it's mothering Hudson each day or leading preschool music at church or discipling a girl in her walk with the Lord - I seemed to find many principles to apply.

So, I thought I would share the outline with you - and maybe you will be challenged as well. No matter what stage of life you may find yourself. You may be reflecting on those parenting years or right in the middle of those sleepless nights.

I. The Spiritual leader as a Nursing Mother 
This takes time, patience and energy.
            A. A Nursing Mother imparts life to the child (2:7)
            B. A Nursing Mother is imtimately affectionate with the child (2;8a)
                 She is telling the child, "You are safe, secure and significant"
            C. A Nursing Mother makes sacrifices for the child (2:8b)
                 As a nursing mother may need to watch what she eats in order for the baby to not
                 get sick, in spiritual leadership - be careful about what you feast on that may be 
                 harmful to those who look up to you. 
            D. A Nursing mother labors unselfishly for the child (2:9)
                 With a loving attitude, wanting no compensation or repayment

II. The Spiritual Leader as a concerned father
           A. A father's work (2:9)
                Paul was self-supporting. Not doing ministry for a profit (Acts 20:31)
           B. A father's walk (2:10)
                The greatest challenge in life is being a parent and doing it God's way.
                No fault was found in Paul's life. We should also live a holy life, carefully fulfilling
                what God has called us to do. Integrity

"The Little Chap Who Follows Me!"

A careful man I want to be;
A little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he'll go the self same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate'er he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he's going to be;
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I'm so very fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see;
The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go
Through summer's sun and winter's snow,
I'm building for the years to be;
The little chap who follows me.
 Author: Unknown

          C. A father's words (2:11-12)
                Speak into their lives. Speak identity to them - who do you see them to be

                His personal interation (vs. 11) "like a father with his children...each of you."
                His encouraging words (vs. 12) "exhorted" 
                       to call to one's side, to encourage
                His comforting words (vs. 12) "encouraged you"
                       made them want to do better
                His challenging words (vs. 12) "charged you"
                       personal testimony, share what God has done. 
                       Remember it's not all about us when we go through difficulties. It may be 
                       so we can help someone else in the future.   
                       2 Corinthians 1:4
          D. A father's goal for his children (2:12)
                " walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom
                  and glory."

 Babies need a good example in order to learn how to walk. Hudson started more movement on his belly and is now crawling (instead of scooting on his back) after we spent the afternoon with some friends of ours. He played in the floor with their two girls, and maybe learned a thing or two. On his own, he had figured out his unique way to get around the room. It worked - but crawling is much more effective. After watching friends and even other babies in the nursery, I think he is starting to figure out the real way to crawl.

You may think that you aren't in a leadership position, but someone is watching you. A spiritual leader will model a godly lifestyle and encourage others to live that way too.

As I mentioned before, this messaged challenged me in being the right kind of spiritual leader. But it also made me further examine how I am parenting.  I guess you could say that Jeremiah and I are also Hudson's spiritual leaders. I learned so much from my parents about the way that Christ wants us to live. I pray that Hudson will pick up on these important lifestyle choices as well. He's already mimicking sounds, clapping, and even trying to sing. It won't be long before he is mimicking other parts of my life. Parenting this little guy makes me really think about my decisions.

I am reminded of a poem that my mom had on the front of a book. I can remember reading the poem when I was little but not quite grasping the meaning. Now that I am a mom - I totally understand the challenge and message the poem gave.

Walk a little plainer, Mommy
said a little girl so frail,
I'm following in your footstep
and I do not want to fail.

Somtimes your steps are very
plain, sometimes they are hard to see,
So walk a little plainer, Mommy,
for you are leading me.
I know that once you walked those
ways many years ago
And what you did along the way
I'd really like to know.

For sometimes when I'm tempted
I don't know what to do,
So walk a little plainer, Mommy,
for I must follow you.
Some day when I'm grown up, you
are what I want to be,
Then, I will have a little girl
who will want to follow me.
And I would want to lead her
right, and help her to be true;
So walk a little plainer, Mommy,
for I must follow you.
-May Lightfoot-

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