Encouraging parents and ministers who are discipling 10-14 year olds

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20 Worst Nativity Sets

Marko did a great job laying out the 20 worst nativity sets…which one is your favorite?

Here is mine:

My new favorite Bible…

My new favorite Bible can be found here

As a parent…My boys absolutely love it. The images, the wording, the artistry, the creativity, and mostly the way it makes Jesus come alive through His story are the reasons they ask to listen to it and read it daily. I love this resource as a parent.

As an adult…To be quite honest, listening to this with my boys has changed me personally. Every Old Testament story ties Jesus in at the end. It really has shaped anew in me the holistic affect the story of Jesus had on humanity.

As a MINISTER…I suggest that all ministers who are preachers and communicators invest in this resource. The wording, poetry, description, and creativity of this resource has TRULY helped me to shape my sermons. They say so much in so few words. They also say it in a way that is clear and understandable.

…in fact I am using a lot of the descriptions and wording from their version of the wise man story to help shape my sermon for this Sunday. I know it is a kids resource, but I have always learned from the beginning that if you can teach something to a child, you can teach it to anyone. As someone who has preached to every age for a while now, I know that to be true. So I am very thankful to have invested in a resource that helps me keep my communication clear to anyone who might be listening.

My Dad’s letter of blessing…one of the best gifts he ever gave me

Whether it is Black Friday or Cyber Monday or Thoroughly broke Thursday, the Christmas shopping season is upon us…

I thought I would suggest a present you can give your 10-14 year olds that would last…

* Write a letter of blessing to them that includes specific encouragement, a Scripture that you want to give to them, and that includes the words “I love you and I am proud of you!”
* Seal it in an envelope and send it to them by snail mail. (this will be very rare for your student to receive snail mail)
* Include in the note a “coupon” for a night out with you at THEIR favorite restaurant

As an example, I thought I would share a letter of blessing that my father, who lives in Baltimore, wrote to my brother and me many years ago the morning after Cal Ripken Jr. set his famous record…

Dear Jonathan and Jeremy,

What a game last night! It was amazing to see Cal Ripken Jr. break such an amazing record. I watched him run around the stadium giving the fans high fives and soaking up the moment. Then the camera switched to Cal Ripken Sr., (his father who was a coach for the team) in the dugout and he was crying watching his son. I lost it. I cried not because of Cal Ripken Jr. but because I have two hall of fame sons that will make more of an impact in this world for God’s Kingdom than Cal’s record ever could. I am so proud of you. I love you.

Dad

***I can testify that the words of blessing from a parent are powerful. I need to end this blog post so I can go cry like a girl for a little while.***

Why Rites of Passage are worth your time!

Do me a favor…

Take a look at this 4 minute video of an Apache girl going through the Womanhood Ceremony in her culture…

Now….skim through this New York Times article on the MTV show “My Super Sweet 16” which chronicles the only real Rite of Passage our American culture has which is the sweet 16 birthday party and the issuing of the driver’s license.

Here are 5 of my thoughts and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments…

1. The purpose of the Apache ceremony is to make faith, legacy, and family the center of this young woman’s life. The purpose of the Sweet 16 is to make the young woman the center of everything.

2. I am not saying that we shouldn’t throw Sweet 16 parties. I love parties! I am just suggesting that we should make them mean MORE. And they should communicate to the student that they are a part of a family, faith, and legacy that is greater than them.

3. The typical Rite of Passage has 3 stages: Separation, Transition, and Re-Incorporation. You can see all 3 of these in the Apache ceremony. Separation (reflection time in tent), Transition (dancing by the fire), and Re-Incorporation (given Apache name at the end)

4. We do no favors to our students by passing down to them that they are the “prince” or the “princess” of their own universe. I would rather communicate that they are a Child of the King and HE is the center of the universe, not them.

5. In no way am I saying that we shouldn’t tell our students they are valuable. But we should communicate that their value comes from faith, family, legacy, and for the Christian their value comes from their creator and savior.

This is the fuel behind my passion for creating the Rites of Passage Project. Check it out today, begin using it in your home, and then email me the story so I can encourage others!