We are so excited about a new phase of ministry to MOMS. As you know I have taught MOMS at Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN. for the last 24 years. We are added a new phase to this ministry called MOMsense! If you live anywhere in the area, we would love to have your join us!
We will be having regular gathering (typically on Thursdays) for MOMSense - some in the daytime - and some in the evening for the purpose of instructing and encouraging MOMS (of children from the cradle to the college years) through the teaching of the Word of God with Biblical truths and practical applications. MOMS-we will keep you posted on the dates of these exciting events as we complete our planning and establish the dates. (FYI-Due to my own personal schedule, we are anticipating the next one to be in August although this is subject to change!! Keep watching for details).
I am SO EXCITED, as you can imagine because I LOVE ME SOME MOMMAS!!
Now then, we had our "soft opening" of MOMSense at Bellevue on March 20th with 110 MOMS! We were so excited. I taught on the topic of "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours."
Several of the MOMS asked for my notes on the study and here they are. After each event, we will make the notes available on my blog and on my facebook page. Even if you cannot join us in person, we hope you can study along with us!
Mothering is a tough gig and we need all the help we can get! Amen? Just sayin'.
Mothering Ain't for Sissies
For eighteen years per child (give or take a year or two) you are pouring your life into your child. Many days you feel as if you are barely holding on.
Some days are nothing short of disastrous. Babies cannot be soothed. Toddlers are defiant. Early elementary-aged children are wiggle worms with the attention span of a knit. Tweens are hormonal wrecks. Teens are belligerent. At the end of the day, you are looking for somewhere to resign. Confident tomorrow will be better, you collapse into bed and fall into an exhausted sleep, only to rise the next morning to more of the same. You muster your courage and say aloud, “I can do this. I can do this! I think I can. I think I can.” Good and godly parenting takes more than positive thinking. Trying to draw on your own courage to accomplish the monumental task of training up a child in the way he should go is futile without Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit. This God-sized job can only be accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Every child is born with a certain bent, hardwired by his/her Creator with certain personality traits, talents, and temperaments. It is the parent’s role to train the child according to the way he should go. The ultimate goal is to see the child come to faith in Christ and then conformed to the image of Christ.
As a godly parent, we are to faithfully labor in co-operation with God the Father to work eternal things into the lives of our children before we release them into the adult world. This is most effective when Christian training begins at an early age and consistently taught through verbal exhortation and visual example. By the time our children are ready to be launched they should be thoroughly grounded in the faith. This style of Christian parenting involves exhortation, correction, and example. It will ensure the profound truths of the Word of God have been both taught and practically modeled before them.
Mothering is not an easy task. It is a career choice that will leave you physically exhausted, emotionally spent, mentally drained and spiritually challenged. Your feelings will be hurt, your toes and your heart will be stepped on, you will feel unappreciated, you will experience unfathomable guilt, you will constantly feel like a failure, you will compare yourself unrelentingly to your highly efficient friends, you will eat most of your meals while standing up over the disposal, your mind will turn to mush and your brain will turn to oatmeal as you slog along through this minefield called mothering. However, as a mom who has done it with two boys I can emphatically tell you it is worth it all when your child rises up and calls you blessed! Mothering is a holy occupation. There is not a higher calling and you and I are privileged to take part in it!
Train up a child in the way he should go.
In 1 Cor. 1:26 Paul wrote, "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise"
Indeed He has. God can use anybody and anything to further His kingdom. This is the story of God and goats.
My ministry, Standing Near the Cross
, has recently raised money to purchase goats for unbelieving families in a village in Uganda. I thought you might be interested in how this came to pass. It is truly a God thing! And I thought you might also want to prayerfully considering be a part of our ministry to families here and in the uttermost parts of the world.
In Feb. 2013 Craig and I traveled to Rwanda and Uganda to teach a program called Pioneer Evangelism
. (For more information on this ministry click here
.) We were trained at our home church Bellevue Baptist
in Cordova, TN. to teach this 4-day program on sharing Christ, making disciples, and planting churches back in 2005 and have been able to present it about 15 times in foreign countries to pastors and church leaders. We primarily travel out into the bush, meeting in villages. The pastors travel to us and spend 4 days studying about 8 hours a day to learn this transferable program. Literally 1000s of new church plants have resulted from this ministry founded by our friends Wade and Barbara Akin
Every trip we return home with a renewed commitment to make Jesus known, "both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth"
(Acts 1:8). This trip our interpretor in Kitgum, Uganda was Odonga James, a pastor in Lira about 3 hours away.
We had the privilege of teaching about 50 pastors and church leaders how to make disciples and plant churches. During our time with James he shared with us how God had led him and his congregation to "show God's love in practical ways" - one of the tenants of the training in Pioneer Evangelism. The idea behind it is that people don't really care how much we know, until they know how much we care. James told his congregation that he believed God was leading them to purchase goats, give them to unbelieving families especially widows (many men were killed during the recent warfare in northern Uganda, leaving many households without a husband or father). He told his congregation he believed they could purchase 100 goats! Now, please remember that in the villages, most families provide for themselves from what they are able to grow or barter. One goat costs $25.00 American dollars. Currently 1 Ugandan dollar is equal to $2060.00 American dollars. Do the math. This challenge represented more than this congregation could ever dream of, and yet as the church began to pray about it, they were convinced this was of God!! What faith!! James told us that when the offering plate was passed, his people began taking off their shirts and shoes and putting them in the offering plate! I must tell you that I was WRECKED in my spirit when I heard him relate this story of such faith!! And I knew I wanted to be a part of what God was doing in a tiny village in northern Uganda built of mud huts with thatched roofs. God and goats. It makes me giggle when I think of it.
James and his congregation began to identify the most needy families in their villages and began to pray God would provide a goat for each one. James' goat ministry has already provided some goats to families. After giving a goat, the church family begins to start loving on the family. Slowly a relationship is built. Instructions for raising a strong herd are given. Desperate physical needs are met. And in the way only God can - He is using GOATS to meet spiritual needs and bring people into the kingdom of God in northern Uganda! Praise God.
I teach a Bible study at my church called MOMS. For my birthday the sweet mommies had given me a cast gift to help offset the expenses of our trip to Uganda. I told Craig I wanted to use the money for something significant - not just roll it up into the expense account of the trip. I wanted something I could identify as my love gift from the MOMS. Instantly I knew God wanted me to give the money to buy goats in northern Uganda!! My moms would love knowing their gift had gone to help moms in Uganda!
(Sidebar-When we first starting doing mission trips we were instructed not to give out money. So typically we are very careful about "giving money" to anyone on missions trips. There is a danger that someone might possibly connect the American mission project with American money - possibly confusing the TRUE gospel message with a "social gospel" message. And obviously that could be very dangerous. So we leave all financial matters in the hands of those administrating our trips and are careful not to in any way do anything that might hinder God's work. Just so you know that giving money is not the purpose of what we do. We go to teach the nationals how to reach their people with a transferable problem that helps them share Christ, make disciples, and plant churches. Making any group dependent on American funds can be very dangerous. Instead we teach them to depend on God to provide-a lesson they are well aware of!)
With the money James and his congregation were able to buy 15 goats which were names in my honor. Love it!
Several months later we bought 8 more by love gifts given to our ministry, Standing Near the Cross
These are named Renae and Mary. And every Wed. night the Women's Ministry of James' church prays for each "goat giver" by name. What a love gift to be prayed over by women in Uganda!
Recently a friend in the ministry was planning to travel to Uganda. We took up a love offering of $785.00 and sent with him to be hand delivered to Odonga James. It took several months for the money to arrive in northern Uganda but on Sunday I got this note from James:
"Hi my dear friend Jean. I really thank God for the great birthday you have just had, God is so good. i would love to appreciate your great support toward our goat ministry in Northern Uganda. your ministry of standing near the cross is really blessing our communities in Northern part of Uganda that has been hard hit by the 20 years destructive insurgency, through this project families are restoring hope and they are now seeing God giving them grace.i really want to thank God because right now we have received some money from Floid Paris who came from USA and we are now purchasing some goats for some families and will make you posted. please may i know the names of those who donated the funds so that we can name the goats by their names for great recognition. Thanks and we promise to pray for you and Standing near the Cross ministry. love you, convey out great thanks to those friends."
This gift will allow James and his church to buy at least 31 goats and they will be named for the giver and each giver will be prayed over by name by the women of the church! Thank you for all who gave to Standing Near the Cross
and allowed us to partner with Odonga James and his church in northern Uganda because only GOD could use GOATS to bring people into the kingdom of God!!
If you would like to financially support our ministry, Standing Near the Cross
, you can give on-line
or mail a check to Standing Near the Cross, P.O. Box 477, Oakland, TN. 38060. All gifts are tax-exempt and will help us strengthen families through the teaching of the Word, here and around the world! Thank you in advance.
If you want your gift to go to the goat ministry in Uganda, please specify that and give us the name for your goat.
I am happy to share my list with you, but again I remind you that you will want to develop your own list. Just use mine as a guide - a way to get started if you think this technique will help you. Having your own key words that are meaningful to you and your faith-walk will add value to your study time with the Lord.
the fear of the Lord
These are the words I am currently tracking throughout my Bible. Feel free to use them or find your own.
This is what my pages looks like:
Hope this will help you as you strive to study and obey God's Word!
I use color pencils to color code key words as I study the Word. I have been studying for over 30 years and I am always looking for ways to keep myself engaged in what I am reading. The danger is to become so familiar with a passage that I start "skimming" the passage without taking in the truth. This technique has made me slow and feast on the banquetings table of God's Word.
This is my own system but I am glad to share it with you. It is not, however, the "be all end all" way to study. This just works for me and may be something that will help you study better.
As I read, I track about 65 words (and I continue to add to my list). I have the list on my desk with each word colored so I can use it as my "key." Because I have a limited number of colored pencils (cheap variety) I had to be creative. For some words, I use smybols (heaven, love, heart, blood, water etc). For some words I color a dot in the middle of the word (if you color the whole word it becomes hard to read). For some words I color a circle of color without filling in the center (looks like a doughnut). For some words and/or phrases I use a colored in box.
This is what my Bible looks like.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not
need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15