It’s hard to believe that summer is almost here! As our Family Ministries are getting ready for an amazing summer I wanted to encourage your family to plan an intentional summer. I have a saying that I have been using for years in ministry, “Plan NOW for where you want to end”. As this relates to our families we should be intentional in our planning for how we want our children to finish. Take a few moments to think about these questions, then start planning now for how you want them to end. Plan now for the person that you want them to be when they leave home.
- what do you want them to value when they leave home?
- what do you want them to be equipped to do when they leave home?
- what do you want them to believe when they leave home?
- what do you want them to value when they leave home?
- what kind of person do you want them to be when they leave home?
I believe that the summer season is the best time for families to pour into the lives of their children to shape them into the person that they want them to become. This means that we have to be intentional in our planning and parenting. Here are a couple of questions for you as you plan your summer…
- What is your goal for your family this summer? Set an obtainable goal that allows you to get one step closer to “raising up your children in they way that they should go” (Prov.22:6). Maybe this summer you want to focus on the importance of missional serving, family discipleship, or just creating Gospel centered memories.
- How does your summer plans help reach your goal’s? This question could cause you to make some tough decisions. Let’s say this year your family has decided to focus on the importance of missional serving. Serving those who are in need (Matthew 25:35-40). This may mean that instead of simply going to the beach for the annual family vacation to hang out at the resort that you find mission opportunities in the city that you are going or change plans and do a family mission trip instead. Few things will drawl your family closer than a family mission trip.
- How does your work schedule help accomplish your win? This one hurts a little even for myself. I am a guy who would work every day of the week if allowed to. But the same way that I establish a healthy schedule at work to help reach my goals, I should be even more driven to do the same with my family. This may mean that during the summer I take more time off to be with the family, go in early so I can be home sooner or that I take on less large projects so I can be home more. Plan now for the end.
My final encouragement would be to make weekly memories: Our family has not taken many “family vacations” instead we have chosen to make weekly memories. There is nothing wrong with family vacations just make sure not to substitute one week for a pattern of pouring into your families life. Go to the beach, have movie on the lawn nights, pizza nights, date nights with the kids and spouse, serving day, park day…
As I prepare for a super busy summer I am committed to making time for my family and it all begins with planning an intentional summer.
FBCJAX is prepared to throw an incredible Easter celebration this weekend on both of our campuses. We have seven services on two campuses (link) for you, your family, and friends to worship the risen Lord. This year our FirstKids ministry is throwing an Easter Party for children (birth – 5th grade) at our Sat. night services, Sunday 9:45 and 11:15 service and both Northside service’s. Here are just a few reasons for why you should leave your kids with our FirstKids environments while your worship this Easter.
- Fun: Church should be fun and worship should be fun! We are throwing a party to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus that will leave your kids ready to come back next week.
- Relevant: Your kids will get to experience the incredible resurrection story in their language – in a way that they can relate with and become excited about. We have designed an 1.5 hour service just for them. Filled with games, dancing, worship, small groups and the Gospel.
- Awesome Leaders: We have the best leaders who are ready to love your children and to point them to Jesus. Over 1,000 kids every week flood our FirstKids ministry eagerly awaiting to see their leader’s. Our leaders help provide a safe environment where children can experience the love of Jesus.
- Fun: Did I mention that your kids will love church and will look forward to coming back?
Please make sure that you arrive to service 15 min before the service begins to help check your family in. For more details on our service times and campus locations follow this link
Last weekend I had the honor of preaching the message at my uncles funeral. While I expected the service to be difficult I was not prepared for the battle that awaited me. To give you some context, my uncle was 59 years young when he died from his five year battle with cancer. His brother (my father) and daughter have also passed from their battle with cancer within the last three years. My grandparents are still living and have now had the horrific experience of burying their two and only sons and granddaughter. My aunt has now had to bury her daughter and husband. Words struggle to describe the hurt this family has faced in the last few years.
As I was preparing for the service, I sat with my laptop open, Evernote ready and an utter loss for words. What do you say to a family – my family – that has suffered so much hurt and pain in such a short amount of time? What can I say that will encourage them of God’s love and to give them hope in the future grace of God. The standard “we have come to celebrate” sermon did not seem adequate nor appropriate for such an occasion. The family needed to hear to bold declaration of God’s love for them in the midst of this tragedy. So for what it is worth, I have put down a few reflections from this past weekend for anyone that may have to deliver such a message in such a dark time.
1. Be honest // One of the worst decisions that I could have made for the family would have been to perform the cookie cut funeral service and not address the pink elephant in the room. “Why was their so much suffering and where was God” was on the minds and hearts of many. While I did not seek to deliver a theological dissertation of the problem of evil I did seek to provide hope – hope that is only found in the empty tomb – Jesus. Be honest with the family and friends – address the issues at hand from the scriptures. Know that your biblical honesty, in love brings glory to God and the family will thank you.
2. Honor what is honorable // I was fortunate that I was able to speak freely about a man worthy of honor.
3. Leave them thirsty // My goal at the end of the sermon was to leave everyone in attendance wanting more of God’s love. Paint such a grand picture of Gods love for all people that in the midst of their suffering that they will willingly run to the fountain and drink. Leave them wanting to live a life for the glory of God because their is no greater legacy to leave.
4. Love the hurting // Do whatever you can to come along side those who are suffering to show them the love of God. Most people are not looking for answers in a time of suffering they are looking for a journeyman. Someone to walk with them through the shadows till the day breaks.
20/twenty was created by E3 student ministry because they wanted to make a difference in their city, where they live, where they worship, where they play and where they serve. The mission of 20/twenty is simple – sell sunglasses and leverage the proceeds to to help the homeless in Jacksonville, NC. 20/twenty exists to provide opportunities for local people to offset local poverty.
Starting in 2014, 20/twenty will be looking for partners to form a long term relationship with in order to offset poverty. Currently the monies that are raised will go to providing new beds and linens for the Onslow Community Outreach. Our goal is to help local organizations be a blessing to those in need.
So why sunglasses? Over 60% of the nations population wears sun-glasses so why not leverage a product that we all use for a greater good. 20/twenty will be offering multiple styles of glasses at different price ranges for all generations.
E3 Student Ministry introduced 20/twenty at Disciple Now weekend and raised $2,256.00!!!!!!!!!!!! The monies raised from glasses sold should allow E3 to replace all the old beds with new ones at the local shelter! Those students last weekend wanted to make a difference and they did. We will keep you posted as we get closer to giving the new beds to the shelter. We will continue to sell the glasses each week in E3 and inform you guys when the new styles arrive.