Welcome to our regular blog from our pastors.
You'll find wisdom, encouragement and suggestions to help parents raise children of faith.
Welcome to our regular blog from our pastors.
You'll find wisdom, encouragement and suggestions to help parents raise children of faith.
Last weekend I attended QB Leadership training, it was an inspiration to be among young leaders full of passion for the Lord
and sold out to reach teens with the message of Jesus. It is the individual that carries the teaching/seed that is planted in their hearts from these gatherings back to their church community. This might seem a giant task for one small person. But small things matters to God.
Jesus teaches us the value of little things, He called the 12 disciples out of a few small villages, not from a worldwide search for the most qualified candidates. He stopped for the little children who came to be blessed by Him. He taught us that a
simple act done to the least of the people we encounter is a service to God Himself. Our seemingly small efforts can have a great impact beyond our imagination because God is at work in them. "Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches." Luke 13:18-19
Keep doing the small things in life. Keep praying for that one person. Keep serving in the area that God
called you to serve in. Keep doing the one small thing for the Lord. God delights in the little things. God works in the little things.
If we want our children to have a faith that influences the way they live their lives and the critical life decisions they make then in our homes we need to be modeling faith through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We may wish for our children to have a stronger faith, but the truth is that what we see in our child or teenagers' faith may be a mirror image of our own faith.
The makeover in our family therefore begins with a makeover in our own heart. If we want children to have a vibrant personal relationship with Christ, do we have one and is it visible? Can they see it? What example will you set for your child?
I used to see my Mum reading from the Bible regularly and Dad was often in the choir on Sunday. I know they served in others ways, so I couldn't deny the reality of their faith and in the end I came to my own. What is the Spirit of Jesus encouraging you to do next in your Home?
This Easter has been a special time for me. I had the opportunity to go to Ecamp to help as a day worker. I got to see God working in the young people in a special way. A dream from one of our young girls opened the kids minds and hearts to God and lead to a few really good and interesting questions.
This was followed by a time of blessing and anointing with oil for almost all the kids by Pastor Jacqueline and myself. The children were very open to the Holy Spirit and one girl even received healing from her pain, but the best was yet to come. The Sunday night service started with fun, games, and awards and was followed by a time of worship and the sharing of God's love, purpose and plan for each of us. A call to commitment /recommitment /prayer was answered by most of our young people -even by an 8 year old girl who came with her parents. Simon and I had the privilege of ministering to the young boys. They were so honest and open in their recommitment to God that I was greatly encouraged as they prayed for one another.
God is working in different generations. Oh, how great is His faithfulness.... And the baptism of Hannah and more to come from the youth... And the growth and faithful service of the young adults and the loving support of the church, fundraising and helpers bringing all of us to a big loving family in God. All praise and thanksgiving to the Lord our God.
PARENTING NEVER STOPS…
I suppose many families are part of a group on WhatsApp these days. My dad, who is 70 years old, initiated a Bible reading plan for the families on our group. Read a Psalm and one chapter of Proverbs every day. Then discuss as a family.
Every so often he posts a verse or two. The most recent one was from Proverbs 15:1-2 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” Parents never stop being parents. And that parental wisdom should not be shunned or taken for granted. Parents also say funny things! My sister is 45 and I am 49. A few days ago dad still told her to go to bed because she had work the following day! And while I was on the phone with him, he told me to get off the phone otherwise I’ll be late for work! PRECIOUS!!!
The older you get, the more precious your parents become… My best advice to you is to make the most of the time you have. Do it with love and gentleness.
Blessings Pastor Brigitte
Have you ever noticed how our conversations can become one dimensional? We might only speak with family about family events and chores. We might only speak with friends about hobbies and sports. We might only talk with our supervisor about work.
Discipling our family sometimes requires us to step out of the old familiar patterns and explore new areas. For example, have you asked your family how they reacted to the events in Christchurch? By this I mean ask them real questions, rather than make pronouncements. Having a wide ranging conversation is important for helping them form a Christian worldview.
Here's an approach I find helpful: What do your friends think of XYZ? What do you think of XYZ? What do you think God in the Bible says about XYZ? Offer your thoughts if appropriate. Why not try it this week? You might just have some interesting conversations. Pastor Andrew
Pastor Andrew is starting a series this week on Spiritual Growth. I think the most important part of our spiritual growth is how we develop our character. That is after all the most important thing to God: how much our character aligns with the character of Jesus Christ. The best place to start our character development is in God’s Word, with God’s armour. The Bible trains us, just as soldiers are trained for battle (Ephesians 6;13-17):
Belt = Truth. Training to become people of Truth
Breastplate = Righteousness. Training to be people right before God.
Boots = Peace. Training to be people who inhabit God’s Peace
Shield = Faith. Training to be people who live by Faith
Helmet = Salvation. Training us to walk in the light of our salvation
Sword = Bible. Training us to us God’s word effectively to advance the Kingdom of God.
So I wonder, if we were to take a spiritual barometer on these Bible truths, how are we doing in putting on our armour? What do we need protection from? What would we like to grow more? Which piece of armour do you use more than the others? Keep the faith! Pastor Brigitte
As followers of Christ, we are commanded to pass along our faith. Home is the place that holds our most intimate relationships and, as such, it is the most crucial and effective place to pass on our faith. Pakuranga Baptist is committed to help and inspire you to do that is though Faith at Home events, including Marriage Night.
Faith at Home events offer you an opportunity to invest in the spiritual life and development of your growing family. They are a small investment of your time that will pay off big with a stronger, faith-inspired family! Each event is centred on a biblical
theme and then offers a unique and creative way for you to connect around the theme with your child, both at the event and at home. Faith at Home events are offered once a year for each of the age levels advertised. On a Faith at Home Sunday, the event will be the only programming offered for this age. Parents and children are highly encouraged to attend the event
together. (Grandparents are also welcome!) These will be advertised in your weekly newsletter. The first event is Marriage Night on Friday, 8 March.
Who do you say I am?
It’s so easy to think we know the answer to this question from Jesus. But how will we answer it for ourselves and how will we talk about it with our children, family and friends? Many people were confused about Jesus’ identity. Some people were saying He was Elijah. Others said He was Jeremiah or a prophet. Some believed He was a good teacher or a great magician. Jesus asked this question of His followers in Matthew 16:15, not for His own affirmation, but because who they believed He was would make all the difference in their lives. He wanted them to be able to answer the question accurately. Who do you say that Jesus is? A good man? A great teacher? One of many ways to heaven? Or do you say He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), as Jesus described Himself? I want my answer to be like Peter’s as recorded in Matthew 16:16: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Or, may it be more personal, like Thomas’ declaration in John 20:28 (but without having to “feel” Jesus to know He is real): “My Lord and My God!”
Blessings Pastor Brigitte
In a few days we’ll pause, remember and celebrate the first coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Often we’d like to have meaningful faith conversations with others, but we struggle to know where to start! So hopefully these conversation starters will help you to go deeper than “How’s the weather today?” Personally, my highlights always include my chats with other people, no matter who they are or how old they are! The longer I linger and engage with people, the more I learn about God, others and myself. Philippians 4:6-7 The Message (MSG):
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life. Based on this passage:
Adore – What are you learning about God that you can praise or thank God for?
Admire – What are learning about yourself and your habits that you need to keep doing or that you need to change?
Aspire – What are you learning about life and people? How can this make a difference this Christmas?
May this Christmas and summer find you closer to God than ever before. Keep the faith!
BUILDING CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
Now is a good time to consider what traditions to build at Christmas. My niece is carrying on one of ours... every Boxing Day she and her children buy one new good quality Christmas decoration on sale to add to their collection for the following year. Every year their house looks more festive and the kids are learning about Jesus too.
This year our son, Wesley is studying in Korea so we are reinventing our Christmas and looking at who we can invite to share it with us. Hospitality to non-family members is another strong tradition at Christmas. What patterns will you build in your household with friends, church family and family. The customs that you invent will often be the ones that create the most treasured memories.
IN AWE OF HIM
What do you want for Christmas? What’s on the menu? Will we bring Christmas tree with us on holiday? These questions came up recently in our conversations at home. The excitement of Christmas expressed by children amazes me as they take delight in their anticipation. But their amazement is fitting for Christmas - it's a sample of what Christmas should be for those who understand the Christmas story.
Our gift to our children will be teaching them who Jesus is and what Christmas is all about so they learn to love Him and to serve Him more and more. Our children's gift to us is their example of excitement, their faith and wonder as they celebrate Christmas year after year. May this be an encouragement that leads us to recapture our own sense of amazement at the birth of Christ. As the festival renews the world for another year, let us be in awe of our Saviour.
4 Attention, Israel! GOD, our God! GOD the one and only! 5 Love GOD, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! 6-9 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 The Message
Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” God wants us to talk with Him and talk about Him. One of our spiritual habits here at Pakuranga is to learn to talk openly about our faith. What better training ground than to start at home? So use the opportunities God creates to TALK, TALK, TALK!!! Talking is not limited to our words. We can for example write, draw, or take photos of where we see God at work in our everyday lives.
Blessings, Pastor Brigitte
One important factor in helping your children sleep well is by creating pleasant, memorable experiences at bedtime. One of the values of bedtime rituals is that they create a bond between children and parents. They also facilitate better sleep. Here are a few suggestions for creating a bedtime ritual:
1. Set clear bedtime rules, and be consistent about when it is time for bed. Make sure phones turn off and stay in the kitchen
2. Set aside priority time for your children's ritual, say 20 or more minutes each evening, and be consistent. In these days of stress and work pressures, parents need to give this time the highest priority.
3. Share your highs and lows together. Allow your children to tell you about their day or talk about whatever is on their minds.
4. If your child is young, they may enjoy singing or listening to a worship song together
5. Read a Bible verse or story from an age related book and talk about it.
6. Close with a short prayer. It helps to pray the same way each night so it becomes a regular experience. This might be a set bedtime prayer or follow a formula such as JOY where you pray for what Jesus wants, others need and lastly for yourself.
Blessings, P. Andrew.
TREASUERS IN HEAVEN
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
What we have, comes from God. So how do we use what we have? Time is a precious asset freely given to us. Every day we choose how we use our time. We can either employ our time to work for God’s kingdom and for His glory or for ourselves. We are encouraged throughout the Bible to use our time wisely. We are encouraged to guard our hearts above all else. We are also challenged to be honest about what we treasure.
God, because He is good, gave us all abilities. It is a blessing to God’s Father-Heart when we use our talents to be a blessing to others. Today in our [email protected] session we will explore these aspects further. Please join us during the service in the Activity Centre. Let’s run the faith-race together!
What does a Faith at Home household look like? The main thing is that it creates its own rhythm or pattern of life that enables its members to focus upon their relationship with God. This involves organizing different aspects. It could mean how you prepare so you are on time for Sunday worship. It could involve how you decorate your house so that your mind is focused on God. It could be when and how you pray together, e.g. at mealtime or bed time. It could be how you appropriation your household budget to bless the church and the poor. It could be where you serve together. It might be how you celebrate Christian festivals.
The important thing is to build habits and traditions together that enable your home to be a Spirit-filled space. These methods will need to be reviewed and updated as time and spiritual maturity changes. Are you single? There is a lot of freedom to design this. Are you married? How can you have a successful conversation about this with your spouse? In the New Testament the home and Temple are both places of worship. What might be the next step you can take at your place?