Everything Can Change in a Second

What can happen in a second?

  • A baby can take their first breath of life
  • A bullet can leave a gun, zoom through the air, and destroy a life
  • A smile can brighten someone’s day and lift their spirits
  • Expressing gratitude can make someone feel special
  • A harsh word, spoken in anger, can break a person’s spirit
  • A hug can bring heeling and peace to a troubled soul

A lot can happen in a second.  We can bring heeling, peace, and love to others.  We can also create destruction, agony, and death.  Every second matters, so use them wisely.

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The Cars Trilogy

The whole family went to see Cars 3 at the movie theater last week.  We all enjoyed the film and had a great time.  The Cars movies are fun to watch, but they also teach valuable lessons.

Cars 1

Lightening McQueen starts out rude and arrogant.  As a result, he had no friends, his pit crew abandoned him, and he lost the most important race of his life.

During the movie, he learned humility.  He learned to treat others with respect.  He also learned actions have consequences.

Cars 2

Mater is a rusty tow-truck.  He loves being silly and he is a loyal friend.  Unfortunately, other cars tend to make fun of Mater.  They call him an idiot and a fool.

However, Mater knows more about car engines than anybody else.  That knowledge allowed him to solve the case and find the mastermind criminal that was trying to destroy the race cars.

Lighting McQueen and Mater learned everyone is different, with different personalities, and different skills.  It’s important to accept our differences and be kind to everyone.

They also learned fights happen among friends.  However, friendship is valuable and we should make amends after a fight.

Cars 3

Lighting McQueen is getting older and struggling to keep up with the rookies.  He learns a lot about motivation and asking for help when it is needed.

At the end of the movie, Lighting McQueen learns another valuable lesson.  Helping someone else achieve their dreams is extremely rewarding.  Teaching others the skills you have learned throughout your life is a great way for your legacy continue, even when you are no longer able to compete.

 

Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas

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This is an excellent book.  It’s practical and easy to understand.  Several times while I was reading it, I thought to myself this is great information.  I wonder why these principles are not being put into practice everywhere.

The authors wanted to solve a common problem.  Youth are leaving the church and rejecting their faith, once they hit early adulthood.

What are the root causes?

  • Having a pseudo-faith
  • Being immature in their faith
  • Being green in their faith
  • Using a borrowed faith
  • Being fragile in their faith

The goal is to raise children with a strong faith, an authentic faith.  Incorporating small groups and “leading small” cultivates that faith.  The book teaches, “When we lead small we simply make a choice to invest strategically in the lives of a few over time, so we can help them build an authentic faith.”

The small group leader (SGL) plays a huge role in achieving this goal.  The SGL needs to be present to connect faith to a community.  They should show up physically and predictably.  They should be mentally prepared for the lesson they are teaching.  They also need to show up randomly, maybe at a ball game or other event.  This shows the children you care about them and you are trustworthy.

The SGL is responsible for creating a safe place.  The children need a leader that can lovingly and effectively handle conflict, hard questions, discipline, fear, and other issues that cause tension in the group.  The SGL leads the group, respects the process, and guards the hearts of the children.

The SGL should also partner with the parents to foster an everyday faith and an authentic faith.  Let the parents know what their children are learning in small group.  Honor the parents.  Reinforce the role of the family in teaching biblical principles.

The SGL also needs to make it personal.  Inspire the children’s faith by example.  Show them how to live out their faith in the community.  Teach them how to set priorities.  Also, be real with the children.  They will learn by watching you live out an authentic faith.

Lastly, the SGL needs to move the children out of the group.  Engage the children in a bigger story.  Teach them how to be the church.  When the time comes, help them move onto the next phase of their life.

Leading small is powerful.  When you lead small you:

  • Connect authentic faith
  • Clarify authentic faith
  • Engage authentic faith
  • Nurture authentic faith
  • Inspire authentic faith

The principles in this book can easily be used for any age group and in any setting.  It is a great resource and I recommend it.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

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I just finished reading, “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells.  The story is about a group of Martians that are tired of living underground, because their planet is currently inhospitable.  The Martians travel to Earth and attempt to take control of our planet.  They destroy buildings, transportation hubs, and even the military is decimated.

While I was reading the book, there were two sections that really got me thinking and stuck with me.

At one point, the main character was describing a man.  He was a man of means, wearing a tailored suit, and he had a gold watch chain.  He was also a man of power and used to being respected by other people.

Unfortunately, the man was caught by the Martians and used for food.  That made me think about how people tend to strive for money and power.  They will spend their entire lives trying to achieve more wealth; however, there are times when money and power will not save you.  Nobody is immune to tragedy.

Toward the end of the book, the Martians were dying and the main character was thinking about the animals on Earth.  He said, “Surely, if we have learnt nothing else, this war has taught us pity – pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion.”

I think this is a lesson that would benefit humanity, to have pity or empathy for the animals that we dominate.  They may not have the same abilities as humans in reagards to higher thinking skills, but they do have emotions, they do feel grief, pain, and sorrow.  They should be treated with respect and dignity.

All in all, I enjoyed reading the book and was surprised by how humans eventually won the war.  If you want to know what saved humanity from the Martians, read the book.  It will be worth your time.

Kids are Watching

Dawson Elementary was having a Pre-K graduation celebration, when several adults started fighting.  Security escorted the adults out of the building; however, they just kept on fighting in the parking lot.  The police were called to deal with the situation and the school was placed on a lock-down status.

The full story can be found at http://www.whnt.com.

When I read stories like this, my first thoughts go to the children that had to witness the event.

I constantly hear adults complaining about how spoiled children are these days.  I also hear comments about children being disrespectful.  These comments are often followed by advance on how adults need to discipline children to teach them respect and manners.

It is true, children do need discipline to learn how to behave.  However, maybe discipline is not the only thing they need.  Maybe children need better role models in their life.  It’s easy to point fingers at the adults fighting at an elementary school, but that is only a symptom of a bigger problem.

We all need to take a look at ourselves.  How do we treat the cashiers or the wait staff?  How do we treat people that are different from us?  How do we behave when we are cut off by a bad driver?  How do we handle frustration?  Do we use language that is full of hate or disrespect in front of our children?

If we want our children to be respectful, then maybe we should act in a way that is worthy of respect.

 

 

 

Benefits of Horseback Riding

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Gwen said she wanted to learn how to ride a horse.  I thought it over for a while and decided it would be a great idea.  Sure she would have fun, but there are other benefits as well.

  • Horseback riding is great physical exercise and increases body strength.
  • Horseback riding helps improve coordination, which will benefit the person in every aspect of their life.
  • Horseback riding lessons teaches respect for animals.
  • Horseback riding is a lot of work.  There is work to be done preparing the horse for riding and then grooming the horse afterward.  This will allow the rider to learn the value of hard work and receive positive reinforcements for that work.
  • When riding a horse, following the instructor’s directions is essential.  Horses are docile creatures, but they are extremely large.  Failure to do what the instructor says can lead to painful injuries.
  • Horseback riding lessons will also teach perseverance.  Everyone makes mistakes when learning a new skill.  The key to being successful is to learn from the mistakes.  Success comes with perseverance.
  • Improving your skills and knowledge through horseback riding lessons, will also have a positive effect on the student’s self-esteem.

I know Gwen will have fun learning how to ride a horse, but that is not the only benefits she will receive.