My Take-aways from Breakforth 2013

This past weekend my husband and I had the incredible privilege of attending Break Forth 2013 in Edmonton. The first bonus was having a weekend away with my husband. The second bonus was being surrounded by 15,000 other people who love Jesus Christ and want to serve Him.

On Friday I attended the Social Media intensive course taught by Marie Page of Musicademy. If you want details of the session, check out the slideshare. I appreciated the opportunity to learn how to use a Facebook Page more effectively and plan to try out some of the ideas on the InScribe page.

Break Forth poster
Break Forth 2013

One of the main session speakers was Francis Chan. I really appreciated his honesty. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the session:

“In Scripture, the times God came through are the times when the people were living by faith, out in their world. We are to be HIS witnesses. If we are not out being witnesses, we won’t experience His power. When was the last time you share your faith? Are you out making disciples?”

“Am I more concerned about my friendship with someone than I am about his eternal destiny?”

“Are you spending too much time in church and not enough time out in the world making disciples?”

For the workshop sessions I chose the Children’s Ministry “track”. Roger Theimer from King of Kings in Omaha, Nebraska taught all the sessions:

1. Training Volunteers – ideas on ways to train Sunday School teachers and other staff using an online system.

2. Preteen Retreats about Sex – Father/Son and Mother/daughter retreat ideas to prepare grade 5/6 kids for adolescence.

3. Teaching Kids to Serve – Mentoring kids and teaching them to serve Jesus by serving their community.

4. Develop a “Faith-at-Home” Culture – providing training, support, and encouragement for parents to share their faith in practical ways at home so that faith becomes a way of life, not something you just “do” on Sundays.

5. Transform Sunday School – ideas for making Sunday School something kids look forward to every week.

If you want more information, check out the Kids Kount Publishing website. I appreciated the practical nature of these sessions and am looking forward to trying out some of the ideas.

Choosing to Rejoice

I was rinsing dishes my youngest son was washing for the third time because he didn’t get them clean the first two times. In my mind I was reluctantly going over my “to do” list for the day—washing clothes, folding clothes, baking, cleaning, cooking …. The phone rang.

It was Marie. She wanted to talk to my husband, who wasn’t home. As we continued talking she said, “I’m really looking forward to vacuuming today. It’s been almost a year since I moved into my place after living in a car for months. I’m glad I have rugs to vacuum!”

”It’s amazing what we take for granted sometimes, isn’t it?” I looked around my home with a new perspective.  Items on my list suddenly switched from things to sigh about to things to rejoice about:

  • Active, happy children who wear the clothes I wash
  • The ability to smell and taste warm-from-the oven chocolate chip cookies
  • A house to live in and a vacuum cleaner to use when it needs to be cleaned
  • Good health and energy to do the work before me
  • Opportunities to teach my children not only skills like washing dishes, but also character qualities like perseverance.

Christmas is just around the corner. My conversation with Marie not only reminded me of my need to be thankful, but also of the fact many people are living in difficult circumstances. Yes, I need to be thankful for the many blessings in my life. However, I should also help those around me so they can enjoy Christmas too. I can:

  • Make or find that special gift for my child who often frustrates me.
  • Invite lonely people to join us for Christmas dinner
  • Spend an evening caroling around my neighborhood
  • Volunteer to look after children so a single parent can go shopping alone
  • Donate food or time to a local food bank or shelter

Advent Candles

Will you join me in rejoicing and reaching out this Christmas? What will you choose to be thankful for? How will you reach out to those around you?


What Kind of Legacy am I Leaving Behind?

gifts backgroundSometimes my mind makes strange connections. Today was one of those days. I was invited to attend a party and asked to bring two items wrapped in newspaper for a gift exchange. One of the items I picked to give away was a book about legacy. As I wrapped the book, I thought about the kind of legacy I want to leave my children.

Nothing strange about that thought. Fast forward to later in the day when I was working with a group of volunteers cleaning up garbage along a local road. As I picked up scrunched up beer cans, cigarette butts, and disintegrating plastic bags, I began to think about the people who left the items behind. Did they even think about who might happen upon the garbage they were tossing? Would they still throw it on the ground if they knew others would find out about it?

Somehow as I walked along the ditch the two ideas merged: garbage and legacy. They are both things people leave behind. One has a distinctly negative connotation while the other could be either negative or positive, depending on what kind of legacy is left.

As I’ve pondered what kind of legacy I want to leave for my children, here is my list:

  • A sense of wonder and curiosity
  • Discernment and wisdom
  • Healthy self-esteem
  • A solid spiritual foundation
  • Genuine love and concern for others
  • A basic understanding of their strengths and interests
  • The knowledge they are loved and accepted for who they are