LOCAL MISSION TRIP

LOCAL MISSION TRIP

A few years back, we took a mini trip down to Sacramento to recharge as a family and do some shopping. I got the idea to stop at the $1 store and have the kids pick out a pack of sticky notes. They didn’t know why but when we got in the car, I told them to think of people they love (family, friends, teachers) and to think of things they might want to hear. Things like: “You are loved,” “You are powerful,” “You are seen,” “There is hope,” “It is going to be okay,” etc. For part of the drive down, they wrote those words on a sticky note. When we parked in the first parking lot, I told them to run around and put the sticky notes on the driver’s side window of the parked cars. They had a blast and giggled the entire time. When they were done, I assumed we would go shopping, but they asked to sit in the car and spy on the people coming out and seeing their notes. We saw smiles, sighs, and even tears as people read these TRUTH BOMBS!

Go on a mission to teach your children what it looks like to love others.

PORN

One reason why children look at porn is that their parents are not teaching them about their own God-given body and are too afraid (or ashamed) to talk about it with them, so they go to the internet out of pure innocence only to be exposed to the vulgar side of sexuality. Children need to learn about sex, sexuality, private parts, and body functions from PARENTS in the HOME!

HOT POTATO

John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan, and it is just that, a bait. Someone does something that causes us to be offended, and we nurse it until it becomes a wildfire spreading to our mind, spirit, and body. We open the door to the enemy through his bait of offense. I gathered the kids, and we played a round of ‘Hot Potato’, where you catch the ball and throw it as fast as you can, pretending it is a hot potato so that it doesn’t burn your hands. Laughter broke out, and then I switched gears and explained to them about offense and how we can feel offended, but God wants us to be super quick to let it go and toss it back to Him, just like the ‘Hot Potato’ game. I have been able to cash in on this teaching over the years and remind them, “Hey, remember the ‘Hot Potato’ game? If you choose to hold onto this offense, it will cause greater hurt. Do you want to let it go?”

BLACK & WHITE – PART TWO

Please read PART ONE first.

You Have Work To Do!

If you have a white lineage, I encourage you to go before the Lord today and ask for forgiveness on behalf of your family line, heritage, and ancestors for any way they participated in the dehumanizing, abuse, and control of black people in the name of slavery (through purchase or attitude). I encourage you to ask for forgiveness for any way your family line has partnered with the attitude and belief of supremacy and hierarchy based on race. 

Gather your children and talk about the issue of race. Talk about how it would feel to be excluded your whole life simply because of your hair color. We owe them their history, even if it isn’t always pretty. We owe them the truth so that they can be empowered to change their world. Have them write out an “I am sorry” card and offer it to Jesus. Have them write out declarations and speak into the atmosphere that we are all equally made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28). 

If you have a black lineage, I encourage you to get before the Lord today and ask for forgiveness on behalf of your family line, heritage, and ancestors for any way they have come under the spirit of control and partnered with rebellion or rejection (victim spirit) in defense. I encourage you to spend some intentional time today forgiving those who have caused you and your family line harm, hardship, and cruelty. This will not be won naturally because we are reaping the fruit of the strongholds created generations ago. Each person must do their own part to clean up the mess we were handed, put their stake in the ground, and declare we will not tolerate this any longer. 

CALLED BY NAME

I encourage you to get a box of name tags and write on them, “Hello, my name is… kindness, a gentleman, compassion, helpful…” and all day, call them by their identity name. “Hey, Compassionate One, can you come and help me with this?”, “GENTLEMAN, please pick up your shoes.” 

I got this message from a mom: “Yesterday we did the name tag activity. My 6-year-old loved it so much that he wore it all day and stuck it on his PJs at bedtime so he could wear it to bed last night.”

YOU + CHILDLIKE FAITH

You do not need to master the things of the Kingdom in order to teach your children. Doing it together is Kingdom. I would never be where I am today if I had waited for me to master (reading the Word, worshiping, hearing His voice, praying for the sick, etc.) first. It was my ‘wisdom’ that married with my children’s childlike faith that exploded something in our family. Learn, grow and practice TOGETHER as a family.

HEART PLAY

People have asked me over and over to show them HOW I taught my children different things. Years ago, the kids and I sat down and recalled some of the key lessons I taught them over the years, and we put together a kit for parents to use in their own homes. 

This is a sample lesson: Heart Play (Playdough) – Teaching children to care for the hearts of others. Intentionally play with playdough with your children for a bit, and then ask them to make you a huge heart. Ooh and aah over their heart creation while you hold it in your hand. Talk about our physical hearts and why God gave each of us one, and how important they are to our survival. Every human has a heart – it is what makes them alive. Take the heart creation in your hand and talk about how gentle we need to be with people’s hearts. Now take one finger and smash it deep into the heart, then smash another finger in another place. Show them that the shape of the heart changed when you were not gentle and caring about it. Words aren’t just words; harsh words are hurtful to people’s hearts. Also, explain that many people have wounded hearts (not from us), but when we say loving things to them, it is like their hearts go back to the way they were originally. Act this out a few times and role-play how we can both squish and help people’s hearts.

In the days ahead, when your kids are having issues with unloving words, remind them of the playdough heart. Ask them, “Hey guys, do you think you just put love in that person’s heart or poked it?” “How could you do that differently without hurting his/her heart?” Also, when they get their own heart poked, show them how we can ask Jesus to put His hand on our hearts and heal them. “Jesus, my heart got hurt. Will You please touch it and make it all better?”

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Once you know a child’s love language, you learn how to fill their hearts easily. I could spend my last dollar on a child, but if their love language is quality time, it won’t hit their heart as much as the child with the love language of gifts. I could spend every waking moment with a child, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they will still feel empty/low after spending all that time together. I could smear my child with endless praises, kisses, and words, but if their love language is acts of service, they will wonder why I don’t love them enough to help them. If you want to hit a bullseye into their heart, LEARN your child’s love language and go after it daily.

MENTORS

Going up to someone and saying, “Will you mentor me?” is a little like telling the guy on the first date you are going to marry him. Mentoring someone requires connection and the freedom to speak honestly into someone’s life. Often, this means hard conversations and truth shared in love. They are mentoring you to empower and help you grow, which means growing pains. Not everyone is in a place where they can receive this type of conversation without being offended, wounded, or defensive. The best mentors, I have found, are those that happen organically by the move of God vs. someone searching for one. If you long for this type of relationship, tell God and have faith in His ability to orchestrate it on your behalf. When God gives you this connection with someone, don’t view it as a relationship to take, but as one to serve and give out of the gratefulness in which you have received from their wisdom, time, and investment in you. One of my mentors is a single lady, so we would always be on the lookout for ways we could stand in the gap and help her with things like changing the oil in her car, bringing her meals, or sending her flowers on Mother’s Day. We both are blessed by the connection for different reasons. I positioned my heart to look for opportunities to bless and serve her. Oftentimes people don’t really want a ‘mentor’ but a person who will give them the gifts that a mother or father give, such as a sense of belonging, to be seen, community, wisdom, etc. Identifying what needs you are specifically seeking to meet helps to go after that person who carries that gift. Our greatest connections with those who are older (and wiser) than ourselves have simply evolved from intentionally getting to church at least 30 minutes earlier and extending a warm greeting to those around us, whether it be sitting in church, standing in line for childcare check-in, or greeting those we haven’t met before. This isn’t scary, but it requires a heart that is open to seeing and loving people. We have a strong connection to every regular attender who sits in the same section as us every Sunday morning simply because we have made it a point to see and welcome them. We have gotten together for Sunday brunch, dinners, playing games, going to each other’s homes, and texting often. It was organic simply by being open and friendly to those God has put in front of us. My kids have profited profoundly from having multiple adopted grandmas and grandpas. Who will you sit by today? Reach out, introduce yourself, be excited to see them again next week, and see what God does with it!

MAY I BE EXCUSED?

I vividly recall the day I put great effort and energy into making a special dinner for my family. I eagerly called them to the table to reveal my effort. I got less-than-sweet comments from each of the children, and they just got up and went off to play. I sat there with a huge mess to clean up and felt somewhat offended. I wanted to go on a cooking strike, vowing never to feed them again, but I realized that wasn’t a good option. I pictured them doing that in someone else’s home, and I didn’t like the thought. I knew I had to figure out a way to TEACH them what honor and gratefulness looked like in that situation. The following morning, they came to the table and I had them draw me a picture. Before they finished, I picked up and said, “Ick. I don’t like purple.” To another one, I said, “Gross. This is nasty”, and another I said, “I hate this.” They were mortified and in complete shock. I asked them how it made them feel. Awful! I explained that when someone makes a meal, it is like their artwork made with love for them. I never forced my kids to eat anything, but I set the bar for them to be grateful, gracious, and kind. After every meal, they are required to thank the person who made the meal and ask to be excused. I am not their maid, slave, or chef; I am their mother worthy of honor and respect.

PLAYING IN HIS KINGDOM

I grew up with a legalistic pressure to witness to others. There was little emphasis on loving the person, just on getting them ‘saved.’ Needless to say, this approach made for some painfully awkward moments. Jesus was all about the person, loving them where they were and offering them hope for the future. He doesn’t tell us to do this out of our own strength, but rather with the power He has given us (see Matthew 10:7-8 and Mark 16:17-18). We are commanded to usher the things in heaven to earth everywhere we go so that people will see the Kingdom of God is real, alive, and active today. I call this playing in the Kingdom because there is an element of childlike joy, ease, and fun that goes hand in hand with partnering with God on earth. God gives us incredible gifts like speaking to us, hearing what He has to say to others through us, healing the sick, and revealing hidden things. (See John 16:13, John 14:12, Deuteronomy 29:29, Matthew 10:8, and 2 Peter 1:21). It is a privilege and honor to be able to play in His Kingdom.