Alternatives to a Consumer-driven Christmas?

December 21, 2007

What do you do to make Christmas a joyful celebration of Christ’s birth? How can the meaning of Emmanuel—“God with us”—be made real at Christmastime?

This was the question for the Staff at The LOGOS Ministry this year as we prepared to celebrate with each other. In past years, we went out to lunch and exchanged gifts. But in early 2007, we decided to live more fully what we teach about reaching out to others in relationship for the sake of Jesus Christ. In June, we closed the office and went on a Mission Trip to Youngstown, Ohio where we engaged with a financially-struggling church that needed help with painting the interior of their hallways, office and fellowship hall. We came back energized—and changed by the experience!

As we approached Advent, we again challenged ourselves to reach out. We have been blessed by our wonderful friends and family, and God provides necessities for living which we sometimes take for granted. So, this year, instead of going out, and instead of exchanging gifts, we shared our food at a potluck lunch [which turned out to be quite a feast!] And, most importantly, we decided to pool our gift money and sponsor a child through the Compassion Project. Durga is 4 years old and she lives in India; we became her official sponsors last week!

Our decision to reach out to someone in need has helped us to honor the gift God has given to us in Jesus. What kinds of things do you, your family, or your church family, do to make Christmas about the birth of Jesus?


Stop the Madness

December 7, 2007

It is a mad and crazy world that our young people are growing up in today. In light of the recent events at the mall shooting in the Omaha area, we are re-offering our booklet Terror and Tragedy: Responding to our Children and Youth. It will give you tools for helping children and youth deal with the craziness, violence, uncertainty and worry that is all around them.

Download the Terror and Tragedy booklet here

Should teens make all the decisions?

December 4, 2007

I was sitting in the airport reading the Wall Street Journal and this was on the front page, front and center, Freaked Out: Teens’ Dance Moves Split a Texas Town. Essentially, the article was about a principal of a high school who has banned “freak dancing” or “grinding”, as it is sometimes called, from school dances. Many who view this dancing believe that it simulates sex acts on the dance floor. This principal has also banned overly revealing clothing from the school dances. The article was amazing not because of the ban, that is happening in communities all over the USA. The amazing part was the parents who stood against the principle and defended the rights of these teens to do whatever they wanted. The philosophy behind the defense was that “these are ‘good kids’ and should be trusted to dance and dress they way they want.”

Many of the teens I know disagree. They don’t think their peers should be able to dance, dress or do things the way they want without adult help. They want boundaries. They want someone with life experience who genuinely cares for them to give them Adult Guidance and Encouragement (see the previous post on Is your Church X-Rated?). This is one of the greatest battles we fight in ministry to young people today, adults who refuse to take responsibility for guiding young people in appropriate ways with appropriate boundaries. Treating someone as a child of God with love and respect also means loving them too much to let them be self-destructive, disrespectful or inappropriate. Most churches today have to deal with parents who believe that it is a child’s decision whether they go to church or not. However, those same adults make practice, games and school attendance- although maybe not school work- a mandatory part of their family life. The question all of this raises for me is, why can’t we engage young people with a love and respect that allows guidance into appropriate behaviors and decisions?

I hope, for the sake of all of the young people that we are trying to create healthy relationships with as a way to guide them into lifelong discipleship, that we are not going to just leave every decision up to them so that they have to fend for themselves with little or no life experience. What do you think?