September 2013 ‘MmUuSsTt RrEeAaDd’ books this fall Child of A Lesser God When Tragedies Challenge Who You Serve Male Bonding 5 Back to School Survival Tips Did Your Child Get A Cootie Shot? 2 Point Man Contents 3 Children of Lesser gods I WOULD HAVE NEVER GUESSED THAT I WOULD associate the word Neanderthal with the hymn that we sing at church. Twenty-year-old Joachim and his friends used to scoﬀ and ridicule the worshippers at St. Mar n’s Church in Bremen, Germany. Un l one day, when God used the sermon of Rev. Theodore Under-Eyck to capture Joachim’s heart. Soon Joachim became a preacher like his great-great- grandfather, his great grandfather, his grandfather and his father before him. Joachim liked to take what he called “Worship Walks” in a valley near Dusseldorf. It was on one of these walks that he wrote the words, “Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of crea on. O my soul praise Him for He is thy health and salva on”. The valley was eventually named a er Joachim. Joachim’s last name is Neander. So the place where Joachim Neander wrote this hymn about crea on became known as Neander Valley. In German the word valley is Tal, so in German it is called the Neandertal. Fast-forward two hundred years to 1856. Herr von Beckersdorf owned and mined the Neander Valley. The minors discovered caves that contained bones. Beckersdorf took the bones to a professor of anatomy, William King. King studied the bones and claimed that they were proof of evolu on (the missing link). The Neanderthal fossils cemented Joachim’s family name in history. For years they were used as proof of Darwin’s theory of evolu on. We now know that wasn't true and the bones were human. I can’t imagine that Joachim would have ever guessed that his name would be famous because of a theory about human evolu on. A theory that we know he would have totally rejected. He knew the Creator, the Almighty, the King of Crea on. Now whenever you hear someone men on the Neanderthals you can think of Joachim Neander walking thru a beau ful valley created by God and penning the words to this great hymn. Shine the Light, Morri Discover the false gods in your life and kick them out 6 No Kissing Keep the coo es at bay and help you child with healthy boundaries 7 Passing the Legacy Record your oral and visual history for futures genera-‐ ons 9 Bro Code Why real life friendships are necessary for godly men 11 Get Schooled Helpful ps to get you through the school year Your Church Magazine Is produced by ThompsonMarke ngServices.com to help promote Chris an living in today’s world. All scrip-‐ ture quota ons unless otherwise indicated are taken from the Holy Bible, New Interna onal Version. Content of the magazine and all articles belong to ThompsonMar-‐ ketingServices.com and may not be used, copied, altered or reprinted in any format electronic or otherwise without the written permission of ThompsonMarketingServices.com ©September 2013 For informa on on how your church or organiza on can publish this customized magazine contactLynne Thompson 2930 Geer Road PMB 104 Turlock, CA 95382 209-765-9435 3 Children of lesser gods FOR SOME REASON GRIEF, ESPECIALLY UNEXPECTED grief can o en cause people to ques on core beliefs. We wonder where is God in all of this? Doesn’t he care? I remember asking these same ques ons one sad day, many years ago. The answers I discovered changed my life. It was a typical Sunday in March. Sunshine greeted us in the morning, a er a night of light spring rain. A er church, I was feeding my daughter in her high chair when the phone rang, and my life forever changed. Ma hew, my best friend’s 16-month-old son had just drowned. It is hard to express the gut wrenching pain that ﬁlled my stomach. I couldn’t speak for a while, only moan and sob. My husband held me, pouring strength into me with his ﬁrm resolve to say nothing. The rest of the day and the weeks that followed were surreal from the trip to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, a er drowning in a few inches of water in a toy bucket, in his backyard; the memorial service; the lunch date out with my friend, a er the tragedy; to the family camping trip we went on together a few months later with her husband and two other children. When I ﬁnally tried to summarize my feelings, I was surprised to ﬁnd it was one of betrayal. I believed God was my best friend, and he had stabbed me in the back. How could he allow this to happen to such good people, his people? I asked who was this God that I worshiped each Sunday and prayed and visited with all week long? It was a good ques on. Only then did God whisper ever so so ly, “It’s not me.” all, I would have intervened and stopped whatever evil forces were at work to let this tragedy occur. Since I serve a sovereign God, I believe he could have changed the outcome of Sunday’s events, but for whatever rea-‐ son chose not to. He is the God of freewill and free choice in a fallen world. And like the domino eﬀect, man-‐ kind’s bad decisions reach farther than we can even begin to fathom. It took me a while to let go of the god who does things I learned in me that I had been worshiping the wrong god; actually gods, there were ﬁve of them. Each my way. By doing so, I was in essence le ng go of my own self appointed deity. I was proclaiming that, “I don’t embodied a ributes that I a empted to place on the one know what is best in the long term.” I was admi ng that true God. Scripture reading led me to eventually refute a greater, more informed, though less contained God, those false gods and today, though I some mes struggle, existed and would usurp all my goals. It would mean I have embraced the Great I am. Here are the 5 gods that more of Him and less of me. I was being dethroned! I le behind. Scriptures reveal a God whose ways li le resemble #1 The god who does things my way our own methodologies. When Isaiah 55: 8-9 says, “For When Ma hew died I had to realize that for reasons my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your way beyond my understanding, God had chosen to ways my ways, declares the Lord.” conduct his business diﬀerently than I would have. A er 4 Lesser gods Con nued I have to admit that there is a ‘God way’ of thinking that my human ﬂesh will never comprehend. A er all, would I have loaded a boat with animals? Would I have limited Gideon’s army? Would I have wagered a bet in favor of David bea ng the mighty Goliath? Would I have removed the sins of man and his tragedies by sending the Son of God? inﬂic ng pain, but binding up our sorrows with his compassion, and in fact using it to bless others. I eventually traded in my toxic god for the one who “loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Hardly the work of a sociopath. God gave sacriﬁcially so that I can live. Who can compete with such depth of love? One Sunday our pastor asked a really good ques on that addresses the “why do bad things happen scenario.” He asked, “Knowing how depraved man is in the eyes of a Holy God, why do good things ever happen?” I ﬁnally realized I was safe in the hands of the God The realiza on that I needed a God who knew more than me, and in fact wasn’t in need of my perceive who wanted to bless me in spite of myself, and even die for me so that I might live in a place where there brilliance…was humbling. On the other hand, leaving this god behind meant I was gaining a much more will be no more tears or death. He was my rescuer, the God who went in and pulled me from my ﬁery fate. powerful one. This God has the independence to do Who couldn’t love such a hero? things based on his superior and insigh ul knowledge. He would be able to see the train coming…a thousand #3 The god who is ambivalent years away. He would free me from carrying the world As I sat at Ma hew’s funeral staring at my best friend on my shoulders, and I could be a part of his big and her husband I had to ask myself whether God really picture. I embraced the God who does things ‘his way’ cared about what they were gong through. We all know and have rested in his blessings and glorious insight. how caring he is on Sunday morning when we sing #2 The god who is out to harm me praises, but does he care on Monday morning when we whimper in pain? Now that I decided to acknowledge this higher God, the next struggle came in actually trus ng him. A er all, he let Ma hew die. It is one thing to “know” that God does what is best; it’s another to “live” that he will do what is best. The age-old ques on of “how can a loving God allow such evil and tragic things to happen” ﬂew into my face and made me ques on God’s inten-‐ ons. Was I next? Was he out to punish me for my sins? Did the fact that I didn’t agree with his decision to take Ma hew make him less kind, less caring? First I had to realize that God is not the big guy in the sky standing ready to zap me when I mess up. Actually, it’s just the opposite. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we con-‐ fess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This verse rules out a god set on handing down retribu on for past sins from a repentant heart. There is actually one passage I found in scripture where God appeared to me to be ambivalent. In Joshua 5:13b-14, Joshua is about to embark on his greatest ba le-to besiege Jericho, when he encounters a theophany of our Lord and asks him if he is for the Israelites or for their enemy. The Lord replies, “Neither…but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Maybe this God who allows such sorrow in man’s life I always believed this was the same answer God is just plain mean? But 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says that’s gives my husband when he prays for his football team just not true. “Praise be to the God and Father of our to win. You know, “Are you for the Raiders or the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the 49ers?” I’m almost posi ve the Lord would answer, God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, “Get a life.” But what I ﬁnally realized is happening in so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the Joshua’s story is not ambivalence at all. God has comfort we ourselves have received from God.” This appeared to the Jewish leader at a me when he verse speaks truthfully about our God, who isn’t 5 Lesser gods Con nued needed answers. No ce that God didn’t show up as a Shep-‐ ard, or a sacriﬁcial lamb at this me, but as a commander of the army. BINGO! Just what the soldier ordered, seeing how Joshua was in the middle of a strategic military crisis. But the thing that Joshua had to learn that day was that God is not in the business of taking poli cal or social sides, he’s in the prac ce of taking his own side. And his side always wins, just read ahead. world in His hands.” #5 The god who is changing The only reason the Israelites won was because they were on God’s side. Joshua asked, “Whose side are you on? The one god I struggled to let go of, and I confess s ll And God responded by asking, “Joshua, whose side are you struggle with le ng go of some mes, is the god who is for-‐ on? Do it my way and win.” The true God is not ambivalent; ever changing. This god is here today and gone tomorrow. He always knows where he stands. It is us who have a This god calls me to live my life in fear that he will someday take away all my blessings and joys. I think this god can do decision to make. the most damage because his credibility is veriﬁed by disas-‐ #4 The god who is impotent ters, both natural and man-made, in the physical world. When situa ons rage out of control we ask why God Accidents, diseases, and death enter our lives unexpect-‐ doesn’t do something about it. Do we serve a wimpy God edly, a emp ng to sha er all hope. Wars will come; trials who can’t control the o en horrendous situa ons around and tribula ons are guaranteed, rendering us powerless. us? I o en asked God why he didn’t intervene and save This is a world of change. Oh, there are good changes too. Ma hew. Was it just too much for him? Those in the We ﬁnd someone to love and marry, children are born, we medical ﬁeld can tell you that it’s not. My friends have get a job, we start a ministry, and we point someone to shared stories about a person who shouldn’t have survived Christ. Regardless, life on earth is vola le and constantly and did. Equally, there are stories where some pa ents changing. Is it any wonder I expected the same from God? I were expected to survive but didn’t, which is some mes waited for him to bail at any minute, leaving me high and even harder to explain. dry. When I went to God with my cries about his perceived lack of ability he con nuously led me back to the book of Job. I iden ﬁed with Job who was close enough to God to ask him the hard ques ons. Eventually, when God was ready, he turned the tables on Job and basically told Job that He was the one who would do the asking: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s founda on?” “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place.” “Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up do-‐ minion over the earth?” I had to eventually admit as Job did in chapter 42 verse 2, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” This means even when I can’t understand why certain tragedies are allowed to enter my human exist-‐ ence God is not shaken, and His power is not destroyed. It’s like the Bible song I sing to my children, We are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. I put away my weak god and embraced the omnipotent one. I was pleasantly surprised that embracing this allpowerful God brought in a new peace. I felt the weight li as I applied his light yoke instead of my heavy, burdensome one. I realized that only He knew all the “whys” in life, I did not, and that was okay. He literally does have “the whole The irony is that the real God actually embodies what my soul cries out for: “constancy.” In Hebrews 13:8 we read: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. For me, this means his very nature is unchanging. He remains stable regardless of what happens in my past, present, and future. I am therefore able to move about conﬁdently in changing mes knowing that the Lord my God goes with me; he will never leave me or forsake me, according to Deu-‐ teronomy 31:6. That’s the kind of God I need during mes of crisis. When all around me shouts, “Chaos!” when the waves loom high, when the crisis appears to chip away at the founda on of my faith, my God stands unmoved, unshaken, and unchanged. Child of the Greater God These are the false gods I had enthroned over the years. They gave me nothing but grief, so I sent them pack-‐ ing. Occasionally, they come by for a visit. And it is only through the truth of scripture that I am able to withstand their lies about who my God really is. He is, as the apostle Thomas so succinctly proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” To worship any other is fu le. 6 No Kissing! I SENT MY SON OFF TO SCHOOL FOR THE FIRST TIME with a backpack loaded with a fresh set of crayons, sharp-‐ ened pencils, and his very own Piglet lunch bag. The only thing I forgot was the Koo e spray—and it didn’t take long for the love bug to bite. When my son came home from kin-‐ dergarten, he reported that a girl planted numerous kisses on his cheek and…he liked it! aﬀec on crystallized within their character before we start to guide it. Then, teach them normal socializa on skills. You might say, ‘Hugging and kissing is something we do with people we are close to, not with strangers or casually, because it’s a very special gi .” “In character building we want to have a skill before we focus a skill. It’s kind of like the parent who, when a child Before parents run out and buy the latest abs nence ﬁrst learns to talk, wants him to pronounce every word video, Dr. Henry Cloud, author of Boundaries With Kids right. Then they become a stu erer. We don’t want children (Zondervan), encourages them to evaluate exactly what’s stu ering in their aﬀec onate life.” happening. “Children develop by learning things at home, and then they take those things to the world,” Cloud says. They’re just broadening the realm of aﬀec on that they’re probably receiving at home. Mommy and Daddy, and sisters and brothers come up and kiss and hug me and now I’m learning how to be aﬀec onate. In that way, it’s a sweet innocent thing at ﬁve.” Hands Oﬀ Approach What if your child receives too much unwanted a en on? Modeling goes a long way. Empower your child by ac ng out a scene together; giving her the words needed to politely reject undesired physical a en on. In our home, we borrowed a line from a movie. My son politely says, “No touchy, No touchy.” Rather than discouraging friendliness, parents may want In dangerous cases, children have to learn that there to redirect their child if the behavior becomes obsessive or are absolute physical boundaries. No one at any me compulsive. “It’s a me to aﬃrm their loving and kind is allowed to touch their private parts-- and if that nature,” Cloud says. “The danger is when we overreact. You happens they need to tell. don’t want to communicate that Mommy disapproves with my being loving or aﬀec onate. We want to get love and 7 Lights! Camera! Ac on! Recording Your Family's Oral History (How to pass on your heritage to future genera ons) THERE WAS A TIME WHEN OLD LETTERS AND documents were an invaluable tool for family historians trying to ﬁll in details about long-deceased ancestors and the mes they inhabited. Nowadays, with the advent of e-mail and electronic communica ons, those treasured le ers and other ‘hard copy’ documents are a fastdisappearing species. But all is not gloom and doom. Technology oﬀers new, sophis cated ways to help families gather important historical informa on and put it together in an organized, entertaining package. Online resources make it easier than ever to research your family tree. Compact video cameras and iPhones instantly capture special events — or simple scenes of everyday life. Some companies specialize in transferring your family photos to videotape — a whole lot easier than shuﬄing through photos in an old shoebox. Right Before Our Noses A simple video of grandmother sharing her faith can be a treasured gi for genera ons to come. Valuable resources are living among us: parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who have valuable informa on to share — if we'll only ask the ques ons. If we don't, these memories will pass unno ced through the Why Preserve? hourglass of me. Before you or someone you cherish Throughout the Old Testament we read the historical forgets the stories that make up the rich treasure of your account how a loving God reached out to his people and family's history, you might consider recording these gems performed many miraculous events. The patriarchs under-‐ for genera ons that follow. Compiling a personal history stood the short memory of God’s people, and how o en (or oral history, as its some mes called) is one way to do they need to be reminded of his glorious interven on. (see this. Nehemiah chapter 9). A personal history is the systema c gathering, through Today is no diﬀerent. Every family member has a story interviews, of living people's tes monies. Personal about how a loving God reached them personally, histories diﬀer from folklore, gossip, or rumors, in that performing miracles, teaching them lessons through His those who gather the informa on place them in an Word, and guiding them through the trials of this life. This historical context, edit, and then preserve them for later valuable informa on is especially important to record as a use. witness for our children, and grandchildren as they try to This informa on can be stored on audio or video tapes, make sense of a culture that is quickly losing its soul. posted on a website, or compiled in a book or e-book. Le ng the Experts Do It While it may be an ambi ous undertaking to record someone's personal history, those who inherit these You may want to record your family's history yourself or collec ons will appreciate the interviewing and edi ng hire a personal historian. There are individuals and businesses in the U.S. who specialize eﬀort that went into crea ng a priceless family record. 8 (Recording Your Family's Oral History Con nued) in helping others recollect and record their memories in a meaningful way. Many are members of The Associa-‐ on of Personal Historians, a non-proﬁt professional associa on whose mission is to help people preserve life stories. The APH Web site oﬀers a directory of personal historians across the country, as well as interna onal conferences on the topic. Perhaps the biggest challenge comes in deciding how to tackle the project. You may want to begin by contac ng your local adult educa on, or college history department. Many oﬀer workshops on how to research and produce a medium of your own personal history. There are also tutorials on the web to get you started. Visit your local computer so ware store and ask about so ware programs designed to create videos. The cost of recording your history can vary, but Some Helpful Web Sites always ask for references when hiring a personal historian. There are many ways to preserve family The Oral History Association at Oralhistory.org history from so , spiral-bound books to hardbound coﬀee table book. A professionally taped video can s ll Videomaker at videomaker.com/article/15426-history-ofbe produced for under $1000, but the cost increases if me-family-history-videos you want them to schedule and ﬁlm taping sessions. Tips to Help Jog Memories Here are some interviewing techniques from the experts on how they ﬁnd rich stories! Photos are great memory joggers. Tell the stories behind the photo. Who are the people in the photos? What's their connec on to your family? Music also evokes memories. What were the top hits of that era? Ask open-ended ques ons: What was it like growing up during the war? Who were your friends? How did you wear your hair? What were the clothing styles? What kind of cars did people drive? What did your house look like? Touch on world events: What do you remember about the Vietnam, the assassina on of President Kennedy, The Challenger Disaster, 911? Allow for silence and natural pauses. Take breaks if necessary. Try to keep the interview conversa onal in style. It keeps everyone relaxed. Bring in the family pet. Animals can be a natural way to ease tension. Keep a layout of the family tree nearby to help clarify who is being discussed. Ask about favorite Bible verses and why they are signiﬁcant. Ask them to share a me when they saw God move in his/her life? Ask, “What was the most spiritually challenging event in your life so far and how did God get you through that?” You don't have to be Stephen Spielberg — even if you don't have the ﬁnancial resources to create an elaborate family documentary, there are s ll things you can do. A simple video of grandmother sharing her faith can be a treasured gi for genera ons to come. 9 Men IRL (In Real Life) C.S. LEWIS ONCE SAID, “FRIENDSHIP IS BORN AT that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Recent studies have shown that friendships are important. For instance, elderly people who are lonely because they do not see friends or family regularly are almost 50 per cent more likely to die before their time, than those who do. Another study by Berkowitz revealed that those who had the most friends over a nine year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. Over the years women have benefited from their friend- ships, with studies showing considerable health benefits, including stress reduction. But what about the men? they interact with machines more than people,” says Holton. He’s right. Statistics from ERSB, an entertainment software rating board, profiled the average gamer to be a male, aged 34, clocking in an average of 8 hours of game time per week, in a 10.5 billion dollar industry. This virtual tradeoff costs men a lot more than dollars says Holton. “Virtual friendship are damaging in that they lack accountability. When men lack accountability they get into things that damage the relationships around them, and even- tually society as a whole. Men need someone who has their best interest in mind, someone who will say, ‘You better not be cheating on your wife.’ “Healthy male friendships are one man sharpening another. According to author Chuck Holton, author of True friendship doesn’t necessary help you feel better but to Making Men-Five Steps to Growing Up this generation’s be better. That’s what a true (and real) friend does.” men suffer from too many ‘virtual friendships’ and not enough real ones. *h p://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/elderhealth/9953019/Toll-of“Today men have fewer friends than ever before because loneliness-isola on-increases-risk-of-death-study-ﬁnds.html * Berkowitz 2002) h p://www.ieha-families.org/ 10 People Spotlight Gavin Allison GAVIN, A 2013 TURLOCK CHRISTIAN GRADUATE currently a ends MJC in pursuit of a degree as a radiologist technician, and works at Turlock Scavenger, but you might more readily recognize him as a member of the LightHouse worship team. His singing ministry started in ﬁ h grade choir, leading to honors choir, and several performances in school, and in weddings. He a ributes his talent to his mother who also sang in church and his grandpa Has-Ellison. In addi on to singing he enjoys his hand at playing the ukulele and guitar, o en penning his own songs. Besides music Gavin is an avid hunter. He recalls one winter in 2011 when he hiked Anderson Flats in four feet of snow only to get skunked. “The next weekend we traveled back up to try again,” explained Gavin. “I was si ng on the back of a pickup bed ea ng snacks when we saw the buck. I grabbed my gun went 100 yards up the hill and shot it. I guess good things come to those who wait and eat granolas.” But its music that has Gavin’s heart. And although he’s shown an amazing range of talents like when he performed, The Prayer, with Marcelle Winkler, in Spanish, it’s the simple songs he enjoys the most. “I like simple lyrics like Chris Tomlin’s, Lord I Need You, and other songs that acknowledge our need for God. Worship will always be in my life, it’s my passion.” 11 Survival Tips for School I. Place all items needed for the next day in a bin or cubby by the front door to grab and go, elimina ng the “I can’t ﬁnd it” chaos. II. Give your teens opportuni es for safe fun by hos ng ‘movie nights’ or a weekly TV show night at your home. Serve popcorn and snacks. III. Be sure and have healthy snack alterna ves a er school, for example granola bars, fruit, and grab and go smoothies in the frig. IV. If the carpool gang gets too loud and crazy on the way home pull over and tell them the vehicle doesn’t move un l everyone calms down. If they have too many wiggles tell them to all pile out for jumping jacks. V. Need your child to read more? Have them log in supervised reading me to trade in for me on the computer, Xbox, or TV. Be sure and require a short summary of what was read. Must Read Books The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman Marriage should be based on love, right? But does it seem as though you and your spouse are speaking two diﬀerent languages? New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman guides couples in iden fying, under-‐ standing, and speaking their spouse’s primary love language What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by D. James Kennedy This brilliant book asks What's right with our world? And how did it get that way? The answers may surprise you, intrigue you and inspire you. Hopefully they will change you as they have changed the world. In a day when may professing Chris ans appear blissfully unaware of their cultural mandate, the authors remind us that the Church is to bear the glory of God in every sphere of life. Making Men: Five Steps to Growing Up by Chuck Holton In a culture steeped in passivity and addic on, many women make horriﬁc mistakes in the men they choose and pay dearly for it. But how does a guy learn how to be a good man? How does a woman learn to recognize him? What does manhood really look like? The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker "Dekker's new thriller is skillfully wri en, surprising, and impossible to put down. It might, in fact, be his best novel to date...This is an extremely well-thought-out novel, precisely plo ed, and, like a good magic trick, decep ve and startling. Although the story's right-angle plot twist is jol ng, it doesn't feel forced or unbe-‐ lievable, and the book's atmosphere is appropriately dark and unse ling, kind of like the feeling you get from the Saw movies (although this book isn't nearly as graphic or twisted as those). A daring and completely rive ng thriller." 12 The Day I Said Good-bye Standing at the gate by your kindergarten door I waived good-bye Good-bye chubby li le baby smelling of powder and looking like an angel. Good-bye gooey kisses you le sweetly on my cheek. Good-bye ﬁrst steps when you fell into my arms. Good-bye pile of diapers you tossed onto the ﬂoor with a giggle. Good-bye ﬁrst words like: cookie, baby, and mommy. Good-bye nursery, good-bye po y chair, good-bye blankets and nooks. Just don’t forget, you are s ll my li le girl. So I’ll stand at the gate, by your kindergarten door And wait.
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