Archives For Spiritual Disciplines

growthWelcome back to the Non-Negotiables series.  In this series, we are examining a variety of things which you must make time for in your life regardless of how busy you think you are.  Whether you are a full-time children’s pastor, a bi-vocational children’s pastor or a volunteer, these are the things that must remain top priorities in your life.  So far in this series, we have looked at:

  • An Introduction to the Series
  • Prayer
  • Time in God’s Word
  • Church
  • Your Spouse
  • Your Children

There is one thing noticeably missing from our list thus far.  It’s you! It’s you!  How much time do you spend on yourself?

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familyFor those of us who are parents, it is critical that we remember that our primary God-given responsibility is to our families – our spouse and our children if God has blessed us with them.

I like what the Kidologist, Karl Bastian, has to say about his son.  He explains that he now has a ministry of one, and God is teaching him through that ministry.  It is easy to let our ministry become the main thing in our lives.  After all, we are doing the work of God, right?  God is supposed to be the most important thing in our lives, so shouldn’t we exert our most energy in our ministry?

Well, the short answer is No!  God’s order of creation reveals much about his plan for our lives.  In the beginning, God!  God is of utmost importance, and our lives should reflect that.  We must jealously guard our time with him.  The first relationship he created for humans, after their relationship with Him was marriage. Our marriages should be the most important thing following our relationship with God.

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Non-Negotiable #4: Your Spouse

Wayne —  December 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

weddingIn this series, we are reviewing a variety of things in our lives which we cannot afford to give up on in order to “make time.”  Today (and in the next installment), we move on to a struggle that many of us in ministry have faced or do face – making sure that we do not sacrifice family in order to accomplish what we want to in ministry.  Last week, I published an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s Evening by Evening Devotional in which he wrote:

“This is our first duty, we are to begin at the family hearth: he is a bad preacher who does not commence his ministry at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched, but home has a prior claim, and woe unto those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements.”

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Non-Negotiable #3: Church

Wayne —  December 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

churchWelcome back to the series where we are examining those activities and pursuits in our day-to-day lives which we can not afford to sacrifice in order to make time for other pursuits.   Thus far, we have introduced the series and talked about both prayer and time in the Word as activities which we cannot afford to forsake.  That brings us to our third Non-Negotiable – church.

In My Testimony, I talk about the general distrust I has of the church prior to accepting Christ as Lord and Savior.  The history of atrocities and abuses committed in the name of the church is undeniable.  Furthermore, there is no doubt that such abuses and atrocities continue today in so called churches around the world.  All of that to illustrate that I did not come from a place where the church was prominent in my life.  Indeed, my relationship with the church has been an area where God has worked mightily in my own life.  I have gone from a true skeptic of organized religion to such an extent that God worked through a very atypical church to draw me to himself in the first place to someone who has become a member of a local church and a proponent of regular church attendance.  My love for Jesus has manifested itself in a love for his church.  That said, it is still easy to miss church, or not get involved enough, or make excuses not to participate – something which we can really not afford to do.

God did not create us to live the lives of hermits.  He created us to be in relationships with one another.  As Christians, this is accomplished primarily through families and the local church.  We will deal with family later in this series, but today let’s look at the need to the local church.

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bible2Welcome to our continuing discussion of the The Non-Negotiables – those things in our lives which must be given the place of first priority and be closely guarded.  These are the things which we must plan for, make time to do, and guard against interruption and skipping.  In previous installments, we have Introduced the idea of Non-Negotiables and examined the importance of Prayer.  Today, we will be discussing the next Non-Negotiable which is near and dear to my heart, and that is the Bible.  I love my Bible.  Ever since I became a Christian and read it for the very first time, I’ve been hooked.  I’ve written about 100 phrases which describe God’s Word…. I’ve written about Psalm 119 – The Word of God, and I started a series featuring 25 Reasons I Believe the Bible. I’ve written about 10 Way to Get Kids Excited About the Bible and cited hundreds, if not thousands, of Bible verses in my articles. And, I’ve done it all because I love my Bible.  I do not worship my Bible, but I worship the one my Bible tells me about.

All that to say – I love my Bible.  Even so, there are times when I struggle to make sure that I read it every day.  There are times when several days slip away, and I realize that I haven’t read my Bible at all.  It’s like Paul writes in Romans 8:

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Non-Negotiable #1: Prayer

Wayne —  November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

prayerIn this series, we are looking at certain activities and undertakings that can not be sacrificed in our attempt to “find” more hours in the day.  During any given day, our time is consumed with so many things including ministry, family, work, chores, relationships, and more.  None of these things are bad, but they all take time.  When we are prioritizing all the things that must get done each day, these items must be placed at (or near) the top of the list.  Bold them.  Highlight them.  Write them in red ink.  Whatever it takes, you have to make sure that these items get done, or the remainder of your list will be rendered completely meaningless.

The first Non-Negotiable we’re going to discuss is prayer.  Every day should be bathed in prayer.  Frankly, every day should start with prayer, end with prayer, and be punctuated by times of prayer as often as possible.  Before we jump write in to talking about prayer though, I feel like I should be a little bit transparent with those of you reading this.  I chose prayer as the first non-negotiable, not because I feel like I have mastered it, but because I realize how far short I fall in this area.  All too often, I find myself praying something to the effect of:

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non-negotiables1As volunteers and/or bi-vocational children’s ministers who are passionate about reaching kids for God, there is one constant battle that we all face.  It is something that we all battle with every day.  That thing is TIME.  More specifically, it finding time to accomplish all of the things we have to accomplish and those things we want to accomplish.  I think that is because it is a universal problem.  God only gives us a certain number of hours in each week, and between our commitment to our ministries and our other responsibilities outside the church, there never seems to be enough time.  This issue is certainly not unique to volunteers and bi-vocational ministers, but it is certainly prevalent and perhaps compounded by other fulltime jobs and responsibilities.

So, what are we to do about it?  Well, today marks the beginning of a new series titled “The Non-Negotiables.”  This is not a series general about time management.  I am sure we will see plenty of that here on this site in the days and weeks to come, but that is not the purpose of this series.  If you’re looking for good resources on time management (especially from a children’s ministry perspective, I suggest you check out Brother Jim Wideman’s book Beat the Clock.  It is chocked full of great advice and ideas from a trusted leader in the field of children’s ministry.  A review and give away of the book will be coming up soon here on Kidmin1124 as soon as I can find the time to write it (and, yes I appreciate the irony of that comment).

This series will address one critical component of time management though, and that is prioritizing.  In order to own your time, you must learn to prioritize the tasks that you need to get done.  In that process, you must determine what is important and what is not so important, what needs to get done first, and what might not need to get done at all.  All too often when we do not prioritize, we end up ignoring the things which should be most important in our lives.  By not managing our time, we end up not doing those things which we simply can not afford to eliminate from our lives.  We will call those things the “Non-Negotiables.”  For those of you already planning out your comment in your head, please see the grammar disclaimer at the bottom of this article. :)

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