Pastoral Articles
Where Does My Strength Come From? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dan King   

 

It happened again just last week. I was out in the community talking with a teenager who seemed to be full of laughs and stories about sports teams and friends. Then, as I have experienced many times before, something changed in this teens demeanor and she suddenly got a very serious look on her face. Slowly, she reached up her fist toward my eyes and opened it to reveal three tiny words written on the palm of her hand. It read, “I am unloved.”

 

One of the things that I love about teenagers is that they are pretty bold in letting you know how they feel if you show them that you are willing to listen. It can make hanging out with them a lot of fun, but it can also cause deep sadness.

 

This morning, while thinking about this student, I read the words of King David in the Bible. In Psalm 31 he writes, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

 

Our personal strength or emotional stability comes from somewhere deep within us. It is so often called upon to help us make it through a hard day or to hold our own in an ongoing relational or family challenge. We also look to it to help us stand with others who are hurting or can’t seem to make it on their own – we let them lean on us.

 

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Name Your Child a Swear Word? PDF Print E-mail

 

More than six hundred years before Jesus was born a prophet wrote about the birth of a Child. Now that in itself is something to think about: which of us could say that our birth was predicted six hundred years before it took place?

 

But, not only does the prophet tell us about the coming birth of a child, he also gives accurate details about his character and his nature. He reveals his character through four names. We know that names have meaning, the more a person is known to us the more meaning we attach to their name. In many instances we have names for people that are not proper names but yet they tell us about a great deal about the person. For instance, when you hear the name “The Great One” who do you think about and what do you associate with him? We are talking about Wayne Gretzky of course. Most people, probably his friends, call him Wayne. But “The Great Wayne” also tells us a great deal about one aspect of his life.

 

So this prophet, Isaiah, gives us four names for Jesus. Names that reveal something of his character, given hundreds of years before his birth. They are not proper names but they do tell us a great deal about his character ...

 

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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Hawkes   

 

Thanksgiving weekend is only days away. Unfortunately there are signs that the most important thing about it is an extra day off from work and maybe a nice dinner with family and friends.

 

Not that there is anything wrong with that! But maybe there is something to gain by giving more thought to the name of the weekend — Thanksgiving — and consider the benefits of gratitude.

 

I stumbled across an article by Dr. Robert A. Emmons, Gratitude: The Science and Spirit of Thankfulness, in a book Measuring the Immeasurable: The Scientific Case for Spirituality.

 

Gratitude is the ability to recognize the contribution of others in our lives and the realization that we are not self-sufficient.

 

I might also say that gratitude diminishes one’s sense of entitlement or that one deserves the blessing he or she enjoys.

 

What about the benefits of gratitude?

 

They measured the benefits by having one group of people keep a regular journal on things they were grateful for.

 

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Article: Kill Your Television? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dan King   

 

Back in the 20th century, my job as a youth pastor often took me onto the local high school campuses to visit with students. Almost every time I went, I chose to wear the exact same T-shirt.

 

Why?” you ask.

 

Simple ... it started conversations like no other T-shirt I have ever owned before or since. And these were not short, 10 second sound bite conversations that resulted from my T-shirt. These were not, “So, how is school going?” kind of conversations. These were the real deal. They were honest, reflective conversations with teens that often had significant emotion and passion wrapped up in the dialogue.

 

Let me tell you what the three words on the T-shirt were (in case you haven’t guessed from the title of this article):

 

kill
your
television

 

These three words got everyone that I came into contact with talking.

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My Words Matter ... PDF Print E-mail

 

Do you ever have flashbacks to those long-ago years in the school yard?

 

Maybe they are specific recollections of recess with friends or perhaps a lunch hour in the spring time when you and your classmates would all head out to the football field and re-enact the last plays of the NFL showdown you saw on television the prior weekend.

 

These are great memories.

 

But there are other memories of those yester-years too, aren’t there?

 

They are the flash-backs that you would rather forget. The ones where that big kid would call you names in front of the same group of friends you played those football games with. The words hurt you. The words haunted you.

 

On more than one occasion, I’ve challenged my own children to re-think what they have just said to someone.

 

Usually it is because they have spoken something that is not kind to a friend, or they have seemed to wish evil on another person with their words.

 

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