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How To Cultivate Kids Who Show Respect

In our postmodern world, absolutes are conditional at best. The grey areas have expanded so far that it’s hard to even find black or white anymore. So how do we train our children to understand and exercise righteous standards in their daily lives? Standards like respect.

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My parents taught me that respect was an absolute not to be compromised. Did you catch that? My parents taught me—and as parents today, we must continue to be intentional in teaching our children. It’s our responsibility and Scripture holds us accountable to do it.

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Jesus called this the most important commandment and followed that by saying that loving our neighbors was the next greatest! Love flows from respect. If we love the Lord God with all our hearts and souls and strength, then we’ll also love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31).

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You model respect for your children when you hold the door for the person coming behind you, when you call your elderly neighbor to check on them because you haven’t seen them that day, and when you explain that the teacher was right to move their color card for speaking out of turn or drifting away from the line walking from their class to the playground.

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Respect isn’t taught unless you demonstrate it. Children need to see it in action. The old saying that “you’ve got to walk what you talk” is central to instilling respect in this generation. Your children will replicate your actions and behaviors, and even your attitudes. Be mindful that little eyes are watching, little ears are hearing, and little feet are walking the path you lead them on every day.

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Talk about respect with your family. Tie it as a symbol on your hands. Write it on your doorframes (maybe these are digital these days instead of physical?). Model respect so your children remember the time you stopped to thank a soldier or to put the grocery cart where it belongs (not just loose in the parking lot) or to ask your spouse what help they need today. Your children are watching and learning from you. Let’s live out Scriptural principles in our lives that can be a firm foundation for them as they grow into adults!

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Soccer & Scripture #Celebration (Part 7)

One of the best parts of soccer is goal celebrations—the joy and elation, passion, pride, delight (and possibly relief) expressed after scoring a goal and securing the win.

There have been many famous goal celebrations over the years, all with their own unique signature. A few I consider iconic:

  • Alan Shearer, one of the most prolific goal scorers of the modern era with a record 260 Premier League goals, kept his celebrations simple. He would simply run away from the goal with his right arm raised to the sky.
  • 38-year old Roger Milla stole the hearts of every fan by scoring 4 goals during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, leading the first African national team to the quarter finals. He also dazzled us with a samba-styled dance at the corner flag which emanated pure joy.
  • Though they were only playing in front of about 50 fans, Icelandic football team Stjarnan FC produced one of the most well-rehearsed goal celebrations of all time. The now infamous “Going Fishing” routine went viral and encouraged multiple other creative goal celebrations around the globe.

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But no example could be more poignant than what happened this summer at the Junior Soccer World Challenge tournament. The world was shocked and touched by the unexpected win reaction of Barcelona’s Under 12 team. They ended the match 1-0 after scoring late in the game against Japanese team Omiya Ardija Junior. The young Barcelona team started to celebrate their victory—until they noticed how distraught the defeated Japanese players looked. Led by captain Adria Capdevila Puigmal they went to each opposing player and encouraged them with words, hugs and face slaps. In that moment, those 12-year-olds demonstrated more maturity than many professional athletes. They knew how to be humble in victory and taught us all a lesson in how to win well.

The mentality to “win at any cost” that is constantly drilled into our children from a young age can produce major imbalances in their ability to handle victories and defeats and to demonstrate good sportsmanship. From what is portrayed in media to what they witness on the sports field, our children are bombarded with the message that winning is everything and second place is the first loser.

This ethos is dangerous. It creates dissatisfaction with their great efforts if they do not result in victory. How many times have we seen the glum faces of silver and bronze medalists on the Olympic podium? Why is second and third place met with such great displeasure? They shouldn’t be!

In his 1910 poem “IF”, Rudyard Kipling wrote: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same – then you’ll be a man my son!” There is a danger in being overly invested in either victory or defeat. Letting our emotions ride on either one produces unhealthy results.

The Bible has plenty to say on this subject. These are just two examples that come to mind.

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That Barcelona team of 12-year-olds knew how to be humble in victory and value others because they were “lowly in spirit.” They knew they could just as easily have been on the other side of that defeat, and that knowledge gave them empathy for the players who were.

Enjoy the game of soccer and all it has to offer. If you have the chance, coach your children in the sport and help them grow – but never lose sight of the fact that our aim as parents is to create men and women of God.

May our greatest celebration be that our children grow up into biblically grounded adults, strong in both word and deed in Jesus’ name.

The Season of Supermoms

If ever there was a season that required being a supermom, it would be the Christmas season. There are Christmas cookies to be baked, gingerbread houses to be decorated, stockings to be stuffed, presents to be wrapped, and a whole house to be decorated – inside and out! Our usual to-do lists triple in size and the thought of having a moment to ourselves becomes more and more laughable as our laundry piles gets higher and our kitchens become messier. There’s so much to do, and December only has so many days!

Before we get carried away with what the world’s “supermom” looks like, let’s take a look at the Bible’s version of a “supermom.” Her name is Mary, and God chose her to be the earthly mother of His only Son. Read Luke 2:26-35, and let Mary’s example shape and encourage us as moms.

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“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”

Mary was delivered the most inconceivable news she could ever imagine. She felt disturbed and confused (vs. 29). She felt doubtful (vs. 34). But she had a choice. She could choose to strive and struggle, plan and prepare, or she could choose to rest and believe in God’s promises. Her choice was clear: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 2:38

This Christmas season, let Mary’s example remind us that the world’s standard of a supermom isn’t God’s standard of a supermom. Let us simply choose to believe what God says about us, trust that God will do what He says, and know God, deeply. And when the kitchen won’t clean itself and the Christmas tree topples over, remember that God chose you for motherhood, and he will give you everything you need for accomplishing His will (Hebrews 13:21).

Mary’s Song of Praise:

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A Night in Bethlehem

Looking for a new, meaningful family Christmas tradition? Wondering how you can make this Christmas Eve more than just a night for putting Santa’s cookies and milk by the fireplace? Start a tradition they’ll never forget, and throw an authentic Bethlehem dinner party! Below is a step-by-step outline for turning this festive night into a tradition that lasts year after year, and what better way to immerse your family in the true meaning of Christmas than with “a night in Bethlehem!?”

a-night-in-bethlehem_internal-copyStep 1: Invite your Family!

What’s a party without an official invitation from Caesar Augustus himself? Present your family with a handwritten “royal decree” summoning them to the little town of Bethlehem. Complete with “Where, When, and What to Bring” section, be as creative as you like.

 Step 2: Create Bethlehem!

Making this dinner party as authentic as possible means no electricity! Light some candles and drape some sheets or blankets high above or around the table and replace chairs with pillows to give the room a tent-like feel. You may even want to have some instrumental music playing softly in the background. Nothing says “a night in Bethlehem” more than the sound of quiet harp music set to the sound of classic Christmas songs.

Step 3: Make the Menu!a-night-in-bethlehem_internal

            Now that you have created an atmosphere of Bethlehem, make your dinner party taste like
Bethlehem. Skip the Christmas cookies and eggnog, and only feast on what Mary and Joseph would have eaten during this time. Some ideas include chicken or fish, pita bread, honey, olives, grape juice, dates, and cheese to name a few!

 

Step 4: Let the Party Begin!

Once the invitations have been delivered, Bethlehem has been created, and the menu has been made, the party can begin! Start the night by reading Luke 2:1-7.

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(You might want to take a moment to reflect on the details of this passage. For example, explain how Mary and Joseph were summoned by Caesar Augustus, just like their invitations said! Consider how far they would have had to travel and what they might have been thinking or feeling during their long journey.) Gathered round your beautiful, Bethlehem feast, say a prayer, thanking God for the gift of His Son and the gift of the joyful, Christmas season. While the true meaning of Christmas might get more and more distorted, let this new family tradition bring your family back to the Bible – back to a little town called Bethlehem!

 

Helping Children See Their Invisible God

“Mom, why can’t I see God the way I see you and other real people?”

Gazing out the car window always seems to prompt deep or funny questions for kids. My 6-year-old wants an answer to everything that is happening in the world. Where does rain come from? Why do humans salivate? Can she have blue hair? (The answer to the third question was no.)

Seeing God…What a wonderful question! Believing in a God we don’t see is not only a dilemma for children, but something even adults can struggle with every day.

Jesus said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are
those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

How do we help children wrestle through the fact that they can’t see God? What does the Bible teach us about this? Here are some suggestions for navigating this conversation:

  • God always makes a way for us to know Him. The Bible tells us that Moses asked for the same thing. He wanted to see God.


 “Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”’

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.  But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

God told Moses that no one could look directly at Him and live.[1] Use this opportunity to explain to your child that God did not leave Moses wondering. God made a way for Moses to feel His glorious presence. He even protected Moses by covering him as He passed by.


 

 

Moses couldn’t look directly at God because of the sin in his life. When God created humans, they were perfect. But the first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. Sin and death came into the world. Every human born after them was no longer perfect. However, God had a plan to save people from their sins. And one day, God would be able to walk and talk with them face-to-face just as he did with Adam and Eve.

God made a way for Moses to see and feel Him. And He was preparing a way for all other humans to see him, too.

1) How did God make a way for Moses to see God? (God hid Moses in the crevice of a rock and covered him with His hand. He allowed Moses to see Him from behind.)

2) Why couldn’t Moses look directly at God? (Moses’ sinful nature prevented him from looking directly at the perfect, magnificent God.)

3) How did God protect Moses in this story? (He made a way for Moses to see Him without Moses dying.)


Have your child close their eyes and keep them closed. Hold a flashlight pointing toward the ceiling as you walk past them. Ask if they could sense your presence and if they saw the light emanating from the flashlight. Remind them that God’s brilliance is overwhelmingly more powerful.

This activity will work better in a darker room. But remember not to point the flashlight directly at your children’s eyes when you do this!

  • God took on human form. He came into the world as baby Jesus. It is through Jesus Christ that humans could see God again because Jesus is God.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Colossians 2:9)

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave[2]
and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

God’s desire is that we see Him. It is so important to God that we know Him that He came to earth in human form as the person of Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus are one.[3] The people walking on the earth about 2,000 years ago had the chance to see Jesus, and therefore also saw God. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.[4]

Jesus’ full divine glory was hidden by human flesh. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Even though people were seeing Jesus face-to-face, many did not believe in Him. However, many did. And this is how the Church started.

Jesus willingly died on the cross for all the sins of the world. He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for those who love and follow Him to be in God’s presence in the future.

Again, God made a way for people to see and feel Him.

1) Who is Jesus Christ? (Jesus Christ is God)

2) How long ago did Jesus Christ live on the earth? (Jesus lived on the earth about 2,000 years ago)

3) What did Jesus come to earth to do? (He came to die on the cross to save us from sin)

Ask your child to hold an ice pack or cubes with their bare hands. Acknowledge how the ice is cold and can feel like it’s burning. Then, take the cubes back and wrap them in a towel. Now, have your child hold it again. Explain to your child that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. He chose to wrap himself in human form so we could know him.

Ice is the best for this activity—hot materials may burn yourself or your child!

  • In what ways can you help your child see God now?
  • We can see God in creation.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)

 

 

God created everything! All the things we can see around us—and even the things we can’t see. This is one of the ways God shows himself to us.

1) What have people seen since the creation of the world? (People have seen the earth and sky)

2) What did God create? (God created everything)

3) How can we see God in creation now? (We can see His power and divine nature through His beautiful creation)

Take a field trip into nature (the mountains, beach, or a local park). Or simply have your child look out a window up at the sky and clouds. Contemplate the Creator together and talk about how intricate creation is. No human hand could design the oceans, skies and mountains.

  • We can have God’s Spirit in us. Introduce your child to the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never talked with your child about who the third person of the Trinity is—this is the time.

“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[5]who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

1) How can we show God we love him? (We obey His commandments)

2) How does the Holy Spirit help us? (He leads us in all truth)

3) Why can’t the world recognize the Holy Spirit? (The world is not looking for Him so they can’t recognize Him)

God has made a way for us to experience Him in a very deep and personal way. When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit. And when we believe and receive Jesus Christ, God comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit.[6]

Explain to your child that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us to guide, empower, teach and help us to follow the Word of God, and He shows us our unique purpose here on this earth.

Through the Holy Spirit we know God is with us, always. Once again, God made a way for us to be with him – until we see Him face-to-face, once and for all.

Sit with your child. Ask if he/she would like to pray with you. Ask God to show Himself in a powerful to you and your child today, and for them to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

  • We can see God through His Word. Jesus is the Word of God (the Bible). He is God. 

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Jesus has many names – one of them is the Word. Jesus is the Word of God. God speaks to us through His Word. The more we know and understand the Bible, the more we know and see God. This is why it’s important for us to learn the Bible and memorize what it says.

1) Why should should we read the Bible? (To know and see God)

2) Who is the Word of God? (Jesus is the Word of God)

3) How can we hear God speak to us? (Through His Word)


Set aside time each day for devotionals with your child. Read a Bible story together, ask questions and let God speak to you.

You can also find great resources at: http://onehope.net/feature/parentresources/

 

Related:

5 ways to help kids understand the Bible
Catechism
Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids

 


[1] Exodus 33:20
[2] Servant
[3] John 10:30
[4] Colossians 1:15
[5] Comforter, Encourager or Counselor.
[6] 1 Corinthians 3:16

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Soccer and Scripture (Part 6) #CloseControl

I have coached my son on multiple soccer teams since he was 3 years old. As someone who loves the sport, the next greatest thing to playing yourself is teaching others how to play the beautiful game. Seeing faces light up as they discover and master a new skill is a thrill for any coach. One of the most important technical skills you can help a young player develop is how to have close control of the ball using both feet. Many players today rely on their dominant leg. When they are forced to use their weaker leg, their control falters exposing their vulnerability and often forfeiting the ball to the other team.

To build up control and endurance, I start every practice with the same two drills: “Walk the Dog” and “The Snake.” In “Walk the Dog” we set 4 cones in a 20×20 foot square and have each player run with the ball around the square—first in a clock-wise direction, and then the other way. Players are to turn each corner as close to the cone as possible without losing control of the ball. I call it “Walk the Dog” because running with close ball control while turning corners is much like walking a real dog. You keep your dog on a leash so he doesn’t run away. We do the same when running at speed with the soccer ball. The goal is to keep the ball as close to you as possible, like it is on an invisible leash, so that you don’t lose that which is the most precious to you.

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These foundational skills are necessary to master “The Snake” as well. In this drill, several cones are placed in a straight line with a 3 foot gap between each one. Players then have to “slither” their way through the cones using the close ball control they have learned from “Walk the Dog.” They are forced to use both feet as they slalom from right to left. With every successful completion, we make the gap between the cones smaller and smaller to increase the challenge.

Some of the greatest dribblers in the modern game have all played for Barcelona: Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Neymar Jr, and Messi. All of these great players were able to run at speed and twist an opponent into something that resembled a human pretzel, all while maintaining the closest possible control over the ball. Neymar Jr.—in a game against the Argentine team River Plate—slalomed his way past 5 players before being cynically wiped out before he had a chance to shoot. In a game against Getafe, Lionel Messi went past several players at breakneck speed to score one of the greatest individual goals of all time. And it doesn’t take much YouTube research to find countless mesmerizing videos of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho manipulating the ball in close control mode while traveling the pitch at full speed.

Watching these phenomenal players guard the ball with exceptional skill drives home the point of “keeping that which is most precious close to me.” I am reminded of what is the most precious thing to me—Jesus. In his epistle, James states that if you “draw near to God then He will draw near to you and cleanse your hands and purify your hearts” (James 4:8). There is a great reward for keeping God close to us.

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As we raise our children to be strong in the Word of God, we would do well to take the soccer drill of “Walk the Dog,” pivot it to spiritual terms, and teach our young that they must also keep Jesus close to themselves as they grow.

The human propensity is to keep that which you deem the most valuable as close as possible. The question is, will that be Jesus or something from the evil influences of the world? Just before Jesus ascended into heaven He gave us the Great Commission and capped it off by saying these words, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

Let’s encourage and train up our kids to keep Jesus close…

 

Here are a few easy memory verses to get started:

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Soccer and Scripture (Part 5) #GiantKillers

Over the last century, many terms have become a part of soccer’s unofficial lexicon; phrases that perfectly describe situations that any avid fan of the game would understand. For example:

  • “It’s a game of two halves” –if your team has played terribly in the first half, there is a chance of redemption in the second.
  • “He’s got chalk on his boots” – this particular player is an old-style winger who loves nothing better than to run the length of the field and cross the ball from the wide positions.
  • “Punching the Old Onion Bag” – this has nothing to do with vegetables! Soccer fans know this as a reference to scoring a goal.

The game is littered with colloquialisms, and one of the most recognizable is the term, “Giant Killers.”

This phrase has a special place in the vocabulary of soccer. When a “small” team beats a “big” team in a knockout style competition, news sources report the team as, “Giant Killers.” The papers and TV love nothing better than a good “giant killing.” Over the last century there have been many of these slayings for reporters to publish:

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Everyone gets excited when the underdog pulls out a win.

Ask any “Giant Killing” team and they will tell you that, yes, they may have ridden their luck a bit, but what took them to victory was having a game plan. Most underdogs know that they can’t match their opponent’s strengths, so they devise a game plan that identifies their opponent’s weaknesses and plays up their own strengths. Knowing their identity as a team and being confident in their strengths allow them to stick to the plan and slay the giant.

Long before the game of soccer was invented, Jesus talked about the importance of having a game plan to succeed against unfavorable odds.

“What king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:31)

A game plan and belief in your own strengths are paramount in “giant killing.” The young shepherd boy David knew this. Goliath, the giant from the city of Gath, was a huge intimidating foe as he came out day after day for 40 consecutive hate-fueled monologues against the people of Israel. Dwarfed in size, the young David used what strengths God had given him to beat the giant. Confident in his slingshot skills, David exploited the giant’s weakness by drawing the giant into close proximity where he could more easily be defeated.

Just like any giant killing team and the shepherd David, we will all experience facing a giant. Only by knowing who we are in Christ will we truly be victorious. Even Jesus needed to know His identity to be prepared to do what lay before him.

The best way to help our children become “giant killers” is to bolster confidence in their identity by immersing them in Scripture’s truth. Surround them with verses declaring that they are loved by God, unique in His eyes and that they have been given specials skills and strengths that can overcome any giants they will face—with the help of the Lord.

Soccer + Scripture #Assisting (Part 4)

Growing up in the northeast part of England my friends and I would often find ourselves playing soccer on any surface possible. Grass or concrete, flat or uneven—it never mattered. We simply played for the love of the game.

As a child, all I wanted was the glory of scoring the goals that won the game. Back then I would imagine myself having the finishing qualities of one of the greatest English goal scorers of all time, Gary Lineker. I would try my best to replicate his finishing ability combined with his “sixth sense” of positioning. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

As I grew, I tried to couple these attacking qualities with what I saw introduced by a new legend of the game, Thierry Henry. In August 1999 Arsenal paid Juventus an estimated fee of £11 million for this mercurial French winger. It wasn’t long before he was converted into Arsenal’s main striker and netted 175 goals for the club. It’s hard to suggest that there has there been a greater forward in the Premier League era than this brilliant architect of the modern game. Henry had the ability to glide across the pitch like a gazelle and calmly slot the ball past the goalkeeper. He was coolness personified.

SOCCER + SCRIPTURE | ASSISTING | UNDETERRED.NET

Alas, I never did make it anywhere close to their finishing standards. I came to realize that my own personal strengths on the field lay in the position behind or to the sides of the strikers. Practicing daily to use both feet to supply a pass that would split a defense or create a goal scoring opportunity from a crossing position became “my game.” I started to study different kinds of players—like Glenn Hoddle, who could pass a ball around the corner of a brick wall and still find the intended recipient. I analyzed the terrific David Beckham’s ability to cross the ball from wide areas and land it on a dime. Recently, the great Mesut Özil has captured my attention with his 180 assists in 449 games, and a passing accuracy rate of 86%. This is, simply put, incredible. Midfielders may not get the obvious glory that the striker gets for scoring goals, but without assists there are no goals.

SOCCER + SCRIPTURE | ASSISTING | UNDETERRED.NET

It is much the same in our own personal walk with Jesus. The longer I walk with Him the more I realize that the moments of “glory” don’t belong to me, but to God. The desire to be the leader or the hero is strong in all of us but that desire does not serve us well. Jesus Himself modeled what true leadership should look like. Luke penned these words about Jesus in the opening verse of Acts,

“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”

I love this about Jesus’ style of leadership. He was never the overlord who dictated to people what to do, but He first set the example by doing, and then He taught us. Jesus could never be accused of seeking His own glory in leadership. He taught us that servant leadership is the best form of leadership. The kind of leadership that requires us to be humble and not self-seeking of personal advancement. The aim has always been to assist others.

Furthermore, servant leadership doesn’t demand recognition. In Matthew 6 Jesus told us not to practice our righteousness in front of others so that you will be noticed. He went on to warn that to do so forfeits our reward from the Father. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, believed that Christians should do all things wholeheartedly, not just those actions that can be seen. He reasoned, “As our Father makes many a flower to bloom unseen in the lonely desert, let us do all that we can do, as under His eye, though no other eye ever take note of it.”[1] Assisting others may never be noticed by others, but God is watching and keeping an account.

In the Gospel of John, we see one of the greatest examples of being a servant leader when we read that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. As He arose from supper and laid aside His garments, washed their feet and wiped them dry, Jesus taught us how not to seek our own glory but rather how to serve one another in love. In a time and age that tells children and youth that they have to be number one, the Word of God teaches us to assist others. Only then can we become great leaders for the Kingdom of God.

What are some ways you can assist others? Download this great worksheet to help your kids keep track of how they are assisting others!

DOWNLOAD

 

Related:

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[1] https://bible.org/illustration/do-all-things-wholeheartedly

4 Ways to Get YOU Ready for Back to School

4 Ways to Get YOU Ready for Back to School | Undeterred.netBack to school! A phrase that instantly strikes fear and a simultaneous “AMEN” from all parents—especially moms. I know because we have two boys: one entering first grade and the other starting middle school. This is the first time when classroom preview day means I’ll participate in orientations, visit with teachers, drop off supplies, and hold my emotions together for an ENTIRE day.

The great thing is that I’m also an educator, so I’ve been on both sides of this scenario. Here are a few tips to guide you in preparing for the school year ahead. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race!

Guard your heart. Pray with your child every morning. It aligns their spirit with the Father’s and models for your young one how to seek first (Matthew 6:33). Also, pray over your child’s teacher(s) and classmates. Share with the teacher that you want to support the class by praying throughout the year. This will make a genuine connection and help guard your heart when your child tells you that her teacher corrected her. The mama bear in you might want to tell that teacher a thing or two, but the sibling in Christ you are to that teacher should prompt you to learn more about the situation. Then you can guide your child in growing through the experience of being disciplined in love.

  1. Pace yourself! Waiting until the week before school will leave you scrambling to find the exact 10-pack washable Crayola markers listed on the supply list. Online shopping is always a great option if you start early. If your child likes being involved in selecting the items, do this together. Or if you prefer to shop without your student, consider packing all the supplies into their backpack and presenting it to them all ready to go! He’ll likely be SO excited about the goodies inside that he won’t even care he didn’t help pick it out.
  1. Look straight ahead. Don’t get distracted. Your child grows and learns in a unique way like no other child. Glean wisdom from how others prepare, but rest assured that you know your child best. If wearing a uniform is a new challenge, practice the routine before the first day of school. Label everything because that new lunch box and water bottle is new to your child, too, and she might not remember which one is hers in the lunchroom rush with all the other firsts of this new world!
  1. Be prepared. There will be things that are outside your control—like the bus being 20 minutes late the first few days. But by having as much organized as possible ahead of time, you will grant yourself the grace and space to deal with the unexpected.

4 Ways to Get YOU Ready for Back to School | Undeterred.net

Back to school prep is a given part of parenthood and requires exercising the fruits of the Spirit, but the reward is great. Children who see you investing in the simplest of things—like which pencils have the cool colored erasers—can begin to understand the care and concern of our Father who is so involved in all the details of life and learning!

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