My daughters and I signed up to do the iCan race. The fifth and sixth graders at our church put the race on to raise money for a service project to help foster kids. If you know me well at all you shouldn't be surprised that I was drawn in by kids helping kids. We signed up for the easy walk 5K.
I just loved it. When I stood at the race starting line I was so impressed with the teens who sprinted off the take off line. I loved watching the church cheer on the fastest runners and encourage those of us who were slower. Along the race line were signs which had cheerful sayings to keep us motivated. iCan pray. iCan encourage others. iCan persevere. iCan try harder. iCan share Jesus. As we approached each sign my kindergartener sounded out the words.
Somewhere in the middle the little one started to lag. Her legs hurt. I grabbed her hand and we soldiered on. We rounded a corner and up ahead was a refreshment station manned by the kiddos from church. One of our friends saw us. She came running forward, cheering on my little one, bringing us water. I almost started to cry. Not at all because the race was difficult. But because in her action I saw the church. This is what we are supposed to do for each other. Encourage. Cheer. Aid. Run toward. Smile.
We turned back and hustled our way to the finish line. My youngest one needed cheered on. Her big sister prayed for her. I held her hand. We kept walking on the path in the right direction. You see the sermons hiding in there right?
At the end of the race our children's pastors were standing at the finish line. They saw the little one. She decided to run and finish strong. I'm telling you I almost cried again. Not because her action was so amazing. Because its was a symbol again of what the church does. Her pastors cheered and yelled and encouraged her to finish the race. When she crossed the finish line they both gave her a high five and welcomed her home. Seriously more sermons. Great way to start a Saturday.
I had the opportunity to speak at our church's women's retreat this last weekend. So. Much. Fun. If I'd been thinking about it I should have filmed it for Quirky Faith....ah well. Maybe someday. At any rate I am loving having the opportunities to speak more often . If you have a retreat, conference, event or would like a sermon fill in let me know and we'll see if we can work out a topic and time. I'd love to share Jesus with your crew too.
I promised the women at retreat I would share the links to a few of the studies I mentioned in the speech. major point of the presentation was my attempt to prove words have power. These studies show the amazing impact words have on our actions, thoughts, emotions and relationships. If you know of other studies which prove the power of our words and language feel free to share them in the comments. I'm collecting research. Enjoy!
The Color Study
Jules Davidoff from Goldsmith University in London conducted a study of how the perception of color is affected by language. The Himba tribe in Namibia does not have a word for the color blue and consequently struggled to identify it in the study. Sounds unlikely until YOU try to pick out the different color green without having the word to differentiate. Crazy interesting. You can read the full study HERE. A good summary is below.
This matters because what we think about, name and process mentally is what we see in the world. Name lots of things to be angry about? You'll see more anger. Process and learn more about God? You'll see His actions all around you.
The Movement Study
The University of Brussels conducted a study of how artificial intelligence can create language by placing robots in front of mirrors and showing them their own movement. I'm telling you - I can nerd out on this type of thing all day long. Here is the study.
Saving for a Rainy Day
blog.ted.com/saving-for-a-rainy-day-keith-chen-on-language-that-forecasts-weather-and-behavior/comment-page-2/Economist Keith Chen delivered a TED talk looking at how the use of tensed verbs can affect the responsibility decisions in culture. Apparently when our thoughts about our actions separate the consequences to a future date we're less likely to behave. Watch the whole talk below or read a shorter summary HERE.
If you talk to me anytime in October I'll probably mention Pastor Appreciation Month. I love the idea of saying thank you to people who invest and love and could likely use the encouragement. This year I'm going to make it a point to say thank you to the husbands and wives of our pastors as well. Think about it - when pastors are pulling long nights at hospital visits or praying with people in the midst of difficult circumstances their spouses are picking up the difference at home. Many good ministers depend on their other halves for support and care and comfort. Whew. Heavy load. Thanks are appropriate.
Kay Warren is the wife and ministry parter of Pastor Rick Warren. The Warren's serve at Saddleback Church in California, helped start Celebrate Recovery, are involved with The Purpose Drive Life and some incredible AIDS support and outreach programs. They are crazy busy. Kay's first book Dangerous Surrender is on my must read list. She's faced recovery from sexual abuse, depression, marriage problems, and suicide of their son. She loves Jesus. This new book Sacred Trust is about the blessings and difficulties of ministry and how to serve without drowning. Its gorgeous.
I've got a copy of Kay Warren's book Sacred Trust to give away! I'll be making a list of all the pastor's spouses I know and drawing a winner from the list this coming Friday. If you have a person who is married to a pastor you'd like to add to the list send me an email. You might consider buying this beautiful book and passing it on as well.
My youngest daughter had a rough happening at school yesterday. It was the first really rainy day of the year. Puddles abounded. The little one went running across the playground, tripped and fell full flat into a large muddy puddle. She started crying. Friends helped her up. They took her to the office where the nice nurse lady helped her wash off her face and hands. She changed into a slightly too small but clean and dry outfit.
When she got back to her classroom her friend was making her a little book so she'd feel better.
This book quite simply made my day. Its a perfect how to help a friend who is hurting plan. May it encourage you today.
How to help a friend
Help your friend stand up.
Friends give life.
I am thanking Jesus for this little girl who my daughter has at her side.
That's the Book: 1st Thessalonians
Ahhh it's October. The rush of back to school is over. The pumpkin spice is sneaking into every single thing sold anywhere. Christmas is still far enough off I can ignore my to do list a while longer. And October is Pastor Appreciation Month.
Seems like our society likes to mock, harass, ignore and abuse pastors. About the only time a pastor makes the news is when its bad news. And those pastors should be removed from the line of work. Its a holy and important calling. And frequently thankless.
The book of 1st Thessalonians is a letter from Paul to a church reminding them to take their relationships inside their church seriously. Much of the letter could be used as a sermon about pastor appreciation month.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
See what I mean?
Just as a nursing mother. cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:7b-8
Every year I get to participate as a member of the Pastor Appreciation committee at our local church. This year one of the things we did was invite people to share things they were grateful for about our pastoral team. I was amazed about how almost every single one was about a time a pastor shared in their lives. At hospitals and funerals and court rooms. The flashy ministries are fun. But the real work is the love.
For you now that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
Want to know what pastors want for Pastor Appreciation month? They want to see their people love Jesus. Really. A thank you is good. A card is nice. Everyone likes a gift. But what makes the ministry worth it is when they see people learn to love Jesus.
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
I'm a mom. I have two kids. When they are kind to each other I feel like I won the lottery. My guess is pastors feel the same way. When they see people in their communities working together, forgiving, helping or growing I'm guessing its the very best.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 These 5: 8-11
Practice gratitude this month. Send your pastor a note. Take your church staff a plate of cookies. Drop something in the offering with a grateful heart just to bless your team. I really don't want to do life without my church or the leaders who God has in place. Let's make the most of this October.
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always drive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 These 5:12-16
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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