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Five Ways to Help You and Your Family Keep Easter “Alive” All Year Long!
Posted by Clare
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I love Easter because it’s the most important day in the Christian calendar. And I’m wrapping Good Friday, the day Christ died, under the label of Easter as well.

The reason it is the most important day for Christians, is that the power and trustworthiness of the gospel hinges on what happened at Easter! Paul put its importance this way:

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In fact, Paul goes on to say this about the importance of the resurrection;

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.” 1 Corinthians 15:13-15

Remembering to remember
So, as fathers, mothers, mentors and leaders, how can we remind ourselves and others of the importance of Easter in our lives, year round? I’d recommend you put a date on your calendar right now, to reflect deeply on the meaning of Easter, at least once every three months. On each of those dates, I’d suggest doing the following:

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The Dangers of Claiming Promises, God Never Made to You
Posted by Clare
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A few years back, I met with a man considering a new job in California, moving there with his family. While the job and move sounded exciting, something he said set off alarm bells in my spirit.

When I asked him questions about the affordability of housing, schools for his children and his wife’s thoughts on the move, he dismissed most of them with this statement.

“I’m just going by faith, like Abraham and his family. God brought him to a new country and prospered. We’re going to just trust God to do the same for us.”

My reply startled him. “But did God specifically tell you to go to California? Did he promise you, that if you went, he’d cause you to prosper with the kind of clarity he gave Abraham?” Obviously, he admitted God had not. Then made this observation; “There are some things you should never trust God for.” “Like what?” he asked with real skepticism.

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Dealing With Difficult People in the Church
Posted by Clare
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Do you have a friend or parent, who’s always suspicious of everyone’s motives, especially leaders of the church?

A few years ago, the elders at our church were wrestling with the issue of how much of a role should patriotism play in our church (4th of July, Veterans Day, etc.). There was a small group who opposed us at every turn, which of course is their right, up until we made a final decision. (After all, we elders could be wrong!)

After a tough congregational meeting on the issue, one couple came up to me, (an elder at the time) and made this accusation, “We don’t trust what we’re being told. We think you elders have all kinds of information you’re keeping back from us on this, and many other issues!”

I was very hurt. I know the prayer and hours of discussion that went into our decision and there’s not an elder I don’t respect deeply as men of integrity. So, I made an appointment with our Senior Pastor to discuss why this couple would ever think we’re capable of intentionally hiding facts to support our position. (In all fairness, we elders have made some stupid decisions, but not dishonest or deceitful ones).

“Clare, I’ve counseled with that couple and their adult children for years. The reason they’re suspicious of the leaders of the church, is because they have so many family secrets themselves, and lie to each other all the time. People with secrets and people who lie, tend to be suspicious that everyone else is just like them. They’re simply projecting their own experiences and personalities, on the church leadership.”

I thought his observations was very wise. Since then, I’ve been aware, even in my own life, how true that is. We all are products of our past and the sins of others taint our worldviews.

  • A woman who remarries after her husband has been unfaithful, will tend to be more suspicious of her new husband’s potential for unfaithfulness.
  • A man who grew up with a controlling father or mother, will be far more wary of others “trying to control them,” than the child of loving, affirming parents.

So, what do we do about it?

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Are Your Conversations a “Snorkel or Scuba Dive?”
Posted by Clare
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Last month, I attended the memorial service of a man everyone who knew him, admired. Scott was a faithful husband, father, successful businessman, but more importantly, a serious follower of Jesus. A year ago, I had an opportunity to spend an hour or so with his son, a high school student. “Tell me about your father,” I asked. Without any hesitation, he replied, “my dad is the real thing!”

A Christian man, or woman, can’t hardly get a higher compliment than that, especially from his children. I agreed with him. Scott was the real thing.

At the memorial service, a young pastor told a story of meeting Scott at a summer family camp in Michigan and halfway through the week, they took a long walk on the beach. A half hour into the walk, Scott turned to his new friend and asked this courageous question, “Is this conversation going to be a snorkel or a scuba dive?” Here’s what Scott was really asking.

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