Never Give Up!

That’s just it, isn’t it? We’re bound, trapped, tied and don’t even know it. Thank you, Tamara, for reminding us that in fasting we get a glimpse of freedom.

Good Dirt Families

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When I was talking with Kaiser about what he might consider giving up for Lent (knowing he had no comprehension of a 40 day fast no matter how I worded it), he responded oh so quickly and with such certainty, “Mom, I don’t give up!” And he’s held his ground on that throughout. I have really been enjoying reading the Scriptures with my son each day. This month we stopped our morning reading unintentionally and I really miss it. We are getting back into the swing of good mornings again as spring blooms around us and our health is restored.

Our evenings continue to be full of good conversations, though. I really appreciated Lacy’s “The Opportunity of Night” post – it’s the perfect time for heartfelt talk. It’s so good. Of course, with Kaiser “heartfelt” includes discussions on aliens and poopy diapers. And there are many, many nights where I’m…

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Good Dirt Sunday

An excerpt from Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide
Till: Jesus, you are powerful! You can defeat any evil, and drive away any enemy that would harm us. We are amazed by you!

Plant:Mark 5:1-20

Water:
Draw it: Make a drawing of part of this story that captures your imagination. Share your drawing and tell why you chose this part of the story.

Apply it: Jesus shows that he has power even over a rioting mob of evil spirits. Where do you need to see that Jesus is powerful today?

Weed: Did you see the power of Jesus today? Where? Describe what you saw. Invite Jesus’ power to stay with you and protect you tonight.

Getting past getting on

A beautiful reflection from our friend Brian. “My todos can wait. God is in all those things, too, but how much more is He present in this little community of God-imaged beings around the kitchen table?”

Good Dirt Families

Family devotions. Exercise. Dentist appointments. In the past all those things were in the same category, stuff you know is good for you but that doesn’t sound like a good time. Thankfully our family is getting into some life-giving rhythms that elevate family devos out of that mix.

But sometimes I still slip back into going through the devotion-motions. My wife and kids have a sixth sense for sniffing out when I’m in obligation mode. In those times everyone get restless at the table. Thumbs fidget. Frowns abound. We all know I’m just trying to plough through it so I can “get on with life.”

Any move towards goodness means encountering resistance. Family time is no exception. In the past I’ve overcome this resistance through brute force of willpower. As you can imagine this is no fun for anyone involved. But there are areas where willpower can be used that…

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Good Dirt Sunday

An excerpt from Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide 

Till: Jesus, we are all ears. We are listening to you! Help us to listen with our ears and our hearts. Help us obey, so we can be students who learn to be just like our teacher. Help us to be like you.

Plant:Mark 3:31–4:9

Water:

Draw it: Create a picture of the plants in each of the four soils: the hard road, the gravel, the weeds, and the good earth. Which of these plants is most like you?

Apply it: Jesus tells us that the people who are his students are as close to him as family. How does it make you feel to know you’re in God’s family? What is one way you could act like Jesus’ family today?

Weed: Tell about a happy or sad thing that happened today. When did you have an opportunity to act like Jesus’ family today? Remember that you are a precious child of God and nothing can change that.

What’s a Hypocrite?

This is at the heart of the matter, isn’t it? Serving others in secret is the way to serve others without serving ourselves. Thank you, Brenda Quinn, spot on!

Good Dirt Families

I don’t think we’ve had this particular discussion before with the boys. It was verses from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6) and questions in Good Dirt that got their wheels turning and, before we’d even finished the Scripture reading our 8-year-old was interrupting with, “What’s a hypocrite? … What’s a hypocrite?”

They couldn’t really identify with Jesus’ examples of blowing trumpets when giving money in church, or praying really loud on street corners, or fasting from food with troubled faces. So, the challenge was to bring hypocrisy to a kid’s level.

“It’s doing things so that other people will think you’re a really good Christian, but you don’t mean them in your heart. It’s caring more about what other people think of you than what God thinks of you.”

Well, that description seemed to satisfy. Except that our two younger boys haven’t reached the place in life quite…

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Making Space for Questions

Kids question, too.

Last night when I was putting one of my people to bed she said, “Mom, are you afraid of death?” and then she jumped right into, “How do we know, I mean really know, there is the one, true, God.”

I know these answers like the back of my hand. I have spent the better part of four decades asking them myself. Seeking the answers my heart longs for in Scripture and nature, through prayer, in the lives and writings of many who have gone before me.

My knee jerk, mothering reaction is to step in- fill the space as quickly as possible. But this is her relationship with God, these are her questions. I am reminded of Jesus’ parables, “they’re like truth burritos,” one child told me. The truth of God and the Kingdom wrapped in a story that opens when we seek it out; we have to want it. Questions can be the doorway.

Questions, even from children, come from longing and can lead to seeking and finding. Jiffy quick answers shut down longing. I don’t want that. I want her to hunger and thirst for the truth. The Spirit who loves her so much, prompts me, “Listen to her. Show her how to look for me. I will give her the answers.”

So I make a space for her to think about her questions…

1. Tell me about a time when you have felt God near. (She tells about being afraid and the comfort she felt after asking God for help.)

2. Tell me about a time when you saw something so beautiful you had to stop and look at it. (She tells about watching horses run through a field playing together.)

3. Tell me about a time when someone was so kind you couldn’t believe it. (She tells about her Grandfather teaching her to drive the tractor. Which was news to me! Grandparents!)

Then I gave her a few pointers… ways to connect.

We talk about reading the stories of Jesus and listening for God to speak. I encourage her to ask God about death. We agree to both ask and see what he has to say about it.

After an hour of laying in bed with her and listening, I realize this will be an ongoing conversation we have. The Blessed Trinity, her and myself listening, questioning and learning together.

 

Good Dirt Sunday

Excerpt taken from Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide 

Till: Jesus, you are with us and it’s a time to celebrate. Help us learn that you are better than anything we give up.

Plant:Mark 2:18-22

Water:
Enter it: In this passage, Jesus talks about fasting—giving up food or something else in order to focus on God. While he was here, his disciples didn’t fast because it was a celebration! What would it be like if you went to a birthday party, but refused to eat cake and acted really sad? How would the birthday person feel about that?

Apply it: Talk about what you have chosen to give up during this season of Lent. How can your fast (or your cravings or habits) remind you to look for Jesus today? (Or, if you are taking Sundays off of the fast,how can enjoying this thing today remind you to rejoice in Jesus?)

Weed: How did your fast help you look for Jesus today? Or, if you are taking Sundays off of the fast, how did today remind you to rejoice in Jesus?

“What if?”

Thank you Meleah for the reminder of what our children can teach us. Worry is not in their wheelhouse. Let it be so in me!

Good Dirt Families

First off let me start with a confession. The busyness of life has gotten the better of this family this past month and we have only managed to squeeze in a few days of family devotion time yet as I look at those few times, I always see such beauty.

One of the days we managed to do Good Dirt, was a day on which Jesus taught us not to worry. Matthew 6:26 has always been one of my favorite verses; however, it was not in the context of worry for me, rather a reminder of my value as a person—that I am valuable enough to be cared for by God. I realized as I went through these verses with my children that it is easy for children growing up in a healthy household to trust God to provide for them because their parents do. It is as we grow…

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Ash Wednesday: Excerpt from Good Dirt

Devotional excerpt taken from Good Dirt: Lent, Holy Week and Eastertide 

Ash Wednesday

Till:
God, you made us, and you know: we’re made from dust, we return to dust. Thank you for being compassionate to us in our weakness, and accepting us in Jesus.

Plant:Luke 18:9-14

Water:
Play it: Encourage children to act out the parable Jesus tells in today’s reading. This will help them visualize what Jesus is teaching.

Enter it: In this story, there are two men: one whose prayer focuses on his own goodness, and one who just asks God for forgiveness. Jesus says that the second man, who asked for mercy, was made right with God, and not the other. Why do you think that is?

Apply it: God forgives us when we confess our sins. (Read 1 John 1:9). What would it look like today if you trusted God and admitted when you are wrong, instead of hiding mistakes?

 

Weed: Lead your family in a time of confession at the end of the day. Where did you fall short of loving God and loving others? Be sure to thank God for his forgiveness. Then reflect: What was it like today, admitting mistakes instead of hiding them? How was it hard? How did it change your attitude?