Friday, June 30, 2017

Be a little strange...

"Outsiders" get their label because they lead lives that are strange; Strange in the way they think, spend time, and look for approval. Outsiders lead a strange lives because they belong to a different kingdom. This kingdom has strange values, strange ethics, and a strange King. Paul knew this well and had to remind the Philippians "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Phil 3:20 ESV)

There is an enemy though who wants nothing more than to assimilate us. He wants us to live as citizens of the world's kingdom and submit to the ruler of this world, Satan. (John 14:30) Not only does Satan want us to live as part of his kingdom, his citizens want us to live as part of his kingdom as well. They want us to live, believe, and have fun in all the same ways. If they can't change our minds, they will settle for insisting that we keep our heavenly citizenship a private matter. "You can believe in Jesus, but don't burden me by talking to me about him or the kind of life he wants people to live." The tension is that our king has asked us to do exactly those things. As followers of Jesus, we often can't make both Jesus and the world smile because they are asking opposite things.

To live as outsiders, we need to stay connected with our King because the voices all around and even in our own hearts are calling out for us to live as insiders, citizens of this world. Peter wrote "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 ESV) When you get back from camp, you return to a battlefront. Satan isn't going to take the summer off to go somewhere with better weather (he is used to the heat.) He is prowling and is ready to attack. He will seek, kill, and destroy ASAP. It won't always be obvious. Sometimes it starts with a small desire to get approval from friends for a wrong thing that seems so inconsequential.

Would you join me this summer by living as an outsider? We are staying connected to our king, trusting him to give us strength and insight on how to live as an outsider. We are doing this by meeting for Bible study starting (next) Sunday July 8th at 4pm and we are also doing daily prayer and Bible study (with the book you received after camp). We will live as citizens of one of these kingdoms this summer, evidenced by our belief and behavior. It is not too late to start living like an outsider this summer. Be strange for the glory of God! 

A couple more of these encouragements will follow!

Monday, May 15, 2017

7 ways to help your student take finals

No student likes taking finals, but there is still an excitement and anticipation because of the sweet freedom that comes afterwards! I would know. I just took 2 finals last week. How can you help your student this week? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Encourage them to get enough sleep. (If they are young enough, insist on it!)
  2. Plan tasty, healthy meals to help them operate at 100%. 
    1. Both 2 and 3 are often under-valued. Encourage them to give attention to these things. It can be the difference between a sharp or dull memory in a stressful moment.                     
  3. Pray for them and with them. Pray that God gives them sharp thinking, good recall, and sustains their energy throughout the testing day. Also encourage them to pray themselves throughout the day, asking for help from the Father! I can't count how many times prayer has made a difference in my life while testing!
  4. Try to minimize surprises that will distract and drain their energy. Have some big news that will drain them emotionally? Waiting is probably better. A good surprise can motivate them though, hence # 6! 
  5. Give them a carrot to look forward to after finals. Maybe take them to a movie, make their favorite food, or throw a little celebration.
  6. Encourage them to use good study habits. Students can study too little or too much, both negatively affecting their scores. I outlined these here in an a blog post for students. (maybe you should send them the article!)
    1. study creatively, study without distractions, study hard, de-stress at night, review right before bed, review in the morning, eat healthy
  7. Give them time and space to recover. Even at the time I am writing this I am fatigued and intentionally trying to take it easy. I need it badly. God made a day of rest for a good reason: we are people who need rest!
What do you do to help your student? what would you add? let us know by comment below!