Questions: Stimulating Wonder

17 11 2015

Wisdom begins in wonder.


What do you think about this?

-Jesus (Matthew 21:28)


A good, well-timed, thoughtful question can turn drab into fab! Here are some qualities of a great, relationship-building question. Open-ended not closed allows for more than one word answers. After asking, allow silence to process. Follow it up with, “Tell me more about…” Listen for understanding without interrupting. What compelling question will you ask a child this week?

Starter examples:

  • What if…
  • Rate from 1-10 (why?)…
  • Tell me…
  • Why do you think…
  • How would you feel when…
  • Can you help me understand…
  • What did you learn from…

Lord, you asked questions that moved people to wonder about God. Help me to be like you.

Start: Sometimes You Just Need to Move

10 11 2015

I tend to over-plan. Planning is important because running around recklessly is madness. But over-planning or over-thinking can lead to stagnation; it questions, but doesn’t move. It can lead to waiting for perfect conditions and parameters and problem-solutions that will never fully form. So today’s post is for those of you who feel stuck. I give you permission to go…now!

The next quote may seem counter-intuitive to the title of this post, but hang in there, it should make sense in the end. If not, you may be over-thinking things.

Don’t think about the start of the race. Think about the ending.

-Usain Bolt

Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

-Apostle Paul (Galatians 6:9)

How you start a race matters. Are you trying something new? Volunteering in children’s ministry for the first time? Starting a new habit with your family? Then imagine the end. Dream about the results. Visualize the goal. But take the first step. Don’t overthink the potential problems. Jump in with faith. Just start. Keep at it holding on to the hope of good things coming!

Don’t THINK about the start. JUST START!

Lord, when fear cripples me, teach me to push through it for the joy on the other side.

VIDEO: Nicaragua Family Rhythm Conferences 2015

3 11 2015

The teaching of Family Rhythm goes beyond good parenting practices, which it does well. Family Rhythm acknowledges the pain and disconnection, or you could say the absence of rhythm, in our relationships and holds out the hope that we can continuously move closer to better and better relationships by getting caught up in the simple Family Rhythm story (see here). Simple pattern changes over a long period of time can take us either down a path of asynchronous relationships or increasing connection.

Family Rhythm seeks to show families simple ways, ideas, patterns or habits that daily increase the peace and wonder they experience.

Close to 50 people came from around Nicaragua to hear this teaching. The encouragement we all shared as we worked together will, I believe, linger for a long time in our minds and hearts. Young moms and dads, grandparents, pastors, ministry leaders and others came with great enthusiasm and energy as we shared stories, experiences and ideas for daily improving the direction our families are heading.

Here’s a short video I put together that inspires me, as one mom put it, “to grow in the love of Christ.”

Family Rhythm Conferences, Nicaragua, 2015

29 10 2015
If you weren’t able to get to Nicaragua for the Family Rhythm conference (not sure what could possibly hold you back!), here’s what you missed and what some participants had to say:
Session 1
The small choices you make in your family every day leads you on a path. Making better small choices, repeated over time, can direct you in a better way. Participants gained inspiration and a bedrock plan for daily increasing peace and wonder in their family relationships.
“I like what Steve said. A simple change makes a new way.”
Session 2
Values left undetermined leaves families aimless. Participants devoted time to proactively focusing on what’s most important for their family.
“I have so many ideas now, more values that I will teach my daughters.”
Session 3
Pain in our relationships is often ignored or denied. Participants recognized that God is present in our pain and loves to give it purpose when we are courageous to face it head-on.
“I grew up without my dad, but I met Jesus Christ. And he is the best Father ever.”
Session 4
Discipline is more than correction, but a whole system of training that builds great character. Participants considered their parenting style and were challenged to move towards God’s perfect parenting style.
“I have a three year old boy and now that I have been getting this teaching, I’m going back home with other thoughts…to understand my child [and] listen to him.”
Session 5
Working through family conflict is an ongoing and complex challenge. Participants learned a simplified pattern that is easy to recall and effective to implement.
“I realized that this conference has been really simple, practical, but really, really effective for us. I found that in the styles of parenting and the pattern of discipline, I [can] go ahead and do these things with my family and share all of this with the families that go to my church.”
Session 6
This collaborative session generated many ideas for developing peace- and wonder-making rhythms and practices. Participants gained a meaningful and highly practical approach to increasing conversations about God building better bonds.
“I’m really happy. I’m going home like a new guy because what I got from this conference is going to help me a lot in order to be able to have a good family, to have a united family, an understanding family and with better communication.”
Other quotes:
“I didn’t want to come to this conference in the beginning, but actually with time, it was something that really impacted my life.”
“The games connected with the teachings. They were simple, practical but really effective with a very good result and a happy ending.”
(Thanks to Wayne and Hellen Hancock and all the people from Skylark, Threefold Ministries and the churches at home who made this trip possible!)

Story: Connection Trumps Polish

19 10 2015

There is nothing like a good story. In children’s ministry, stories are king not only for capturing attention, but also for capturing the heart. In parenting, stories will do more to shape character than any lecture you can give. Stories can be personal, made up, read, told, acted out, shared in conversation or rehearsed for greater impact. Jesus used stories to grip his audience and point them to the Kingdom of God. Our culture of entertainment understands the power of story. Pixar with Disney is a powerful storytelling machine.

If there’s one thing to remember as a parent or leader when working to shape the character of the next generation of children, it’s simple: tell stories.

Visual polish frequently doesn’t matter if you are getting the story right.

-Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.

-Matthew 13:34

When telling stories, I like to make sure I have the words exactly memorized. This can cause me trouble when I lose the allure and purpose of the story. Master storyteller, Steven James, reminds me to help the listeners connect with the story rather than to obsess about getting the words right. There is freedom to make ‘mistakes’ when the priority is getting absorbed in the transformational narrative.

Lord, help my stories become magnetic.

What Do I Do if I Don’t Like My Child? | Connected Families

13 10 2015

In Scripture, children are described as a heritage, a reward, a blessing from God, and lots of kids in the family means lots of blessing! (Psalm 127:3-5, Prov. 23:24) This is the ideal, but what’s real is that children are not always perceived as a blessing. For numerous reasons, parents often struggle to connect with […]

Source: What Do I Do if I Don’t Like My Child? | Connected Families

Credit: Forever Welcomed…and Thankful

13 10 2015

You keep on making me see 

it’s way beyond me.

-Toby Mac

Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?

-Luke 17:18

Outsiders gain great appreciation when they are accepted to become insiders. In reality, we are all outsiders until God shows grace and we gratefully receive it. Therefore, we have much to be thankful for as God has shown us much grace. Welcome children and other outsiders in as a symbolic gesture of God’s open arms. Model gratefulness by giving God credit and confessing your need.

Lord, remind me that apart from you, I am a far-off outsider. Thank you for welcoming me.


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