Teenage rebellion is a myth. Some teens rebel. Some teens don't. Teens that do rebel don't rebel because they are teenagers.
In primitive societies, boys hang out with dad learning to be a man and girls hang out with mom learning to be a woman. They go from child to adult without any drama or angst.
In our nation, until the 1920's, children reached puberty later (usually around 16-18) and got married soon afterward. Again the transition was pretty smooth between childhood and adulthood.
The 1920's was a paradoxical time for America. One of the most frugal Presidents ever sat in the White House vetoing spending bills and bringing down the national debt, while Americans themselves were offered and accepted with glee the brand new "Buy Now, Pay Later" philosophy. The bubble burst, of course, at the end of the decade. However, in the meantime, money was flowing and families were moving to the cities and suburbs from the farms.
Teens had more time on their hands, less hard work to do, and more money to spend. Suddenly, a new thing happened. Young people were living to have fun and play, instead of working hard to help their families and preparing to have their own families.
One thing we can't ignore during the teenage years is the impact hormones have on our teens.
Our sons struggle with anger, sometimes excessive.
Our daughters struggle with a wide range of emotions ranging from tears to giggles.
The excessive mood swings in our beloveds are caused by fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Whew! Say those words ten times fast!
Adolescent boys produce ten times more testosterone! Have you ever seen the rage of an addict on steroids? Maybe your teenage son is more self-controlled than you give him credit for.
At the beginning of puberty, the pituitary gland swings into action releasing Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In boys, these hormones tell the testes to produce Testosterone and sperm. In girls, FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce estrogen and eggs.
Other changes happen.
Homeschooling has been a breeze and you love it: reading aloud, field trips, doing projects together, and learning new things. You are close to your child and enjoy life together.
One day you wake up and there is a new person inside your son's or daughter's body. They look the same--well, a little bit more manly or womanly. But, whoa, he or she is a completely different person. And yet, sometimes, they seem just like they did before.
What is happening?
Welcome to the Middle School years. Bodies are changing, hormones are raging, intellect is sharpening, and emotions are all over the place.
To experience joy and success in Middle School, you must determine to redefine normal for your young man or woman. Middle schoolers are transforming into men and women. That transformation isn't always easy.
Lavish your middle schooler with love and respect, whether they deserve it or not. Make yourself available as a listening ear and be a safe person they can pour their hearts out to.
On the positive side, middle schoolers are entering new phases of thinking, reasoning, analyzing, and other ways of thinking and learning. You can have intellectual and deep conversations with a middle schooler. They have interesting and exciting perspectives--it's so much fun to hear them!
This is the transition time between childhood and adulthood, both emotionally and intellectually.
Her dear "Lotus Buds of Dohnavur" called her "Amma" which means mother in India. Amy Carmichael rescued children from miserable lives as slaves in Hindu temples, living each day to serve her beloved Savior and to spread His love around India.
Amy Carmichael was born into a godly Christian home in Ireland. But she wasn't completely happy. You see, she wanted blue eyes, but no matter how hard she prayed, those brown eyes would not go away. Years later, as she moved throughout the nation of India rescuing children, she would be grateful for her brown eyes. Blue eyes would have made it hard to hide herself in the crowd.
Amy had a life-changing event with Jesus when she was fifteen and from that time on, a passion burned within her soul to reach the lost and stir believers to greater passion for Christ. She started Bible studies for mill worker girls.
Everybody loves a hero! As Christians, we are blessed with a long line of men and women who followed Jesus with all their hearts, making a difference in the world around them!
What a heritage we have!
Apostle Paul, Athanasius, St. Augustine, Pope Gregory, Caedmon, St. Frances, St. Patrick, John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Lady Jane Grey, John Knox, William Wilberforce, John Newton, Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael, George Mueller, David Livingstone, Billy Graham, Edith Schaeffer, Jim Eliot, and Brother Andrew come to my mind. They were mighty men and women who changed the world!
From the early Christians who risked their lives to serve Christ to missionaries in the 21st Century who are reaching unreached people groups in the 10/40 Window, there are so many Christian heroes I want my children to learn about. I came up with a really fun idea to teach my children about church history in celebratory way!
We started having Heroes for Jesus Parties. My children loved them! As they got older, they started playing the Christian heroes themselves at the Heroes for Jesus Party.
Would you like to have your own Heroes for Jesus Party?
Adam and Seth had died. The earth was filling up. Wicked deeds and sinister plots abounded. The Lord was sad He had made mankind. He would need to start over. Only one man and his family on the entire planet was seeking to live for Him. He would destroy the earth, but save Noah and his family. God gave instructions to Noah and this righteous family built a huge ship. While the men worked on the ark, Noah preached to anyone who would listen. He begged people to turn away from their sin and follow God.
In the midst of an evil world, God had a hero.
Centuries later, in the evil city of Ur where men worshiped demons and lived for pleasure, God called a man out, to follow Him. He wanted to start a nation and through that nation bring a Messiah. Abraham walked with God. He left his family home with his wife and nephew to live in the land his descendants would inhabit.
In a wicked world, one man stood alone to serve his God.
Edith Schaeffer, a twentieth century heroine for Christ, wrote two of my favorite books: L'Abri and The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I love her style, her love for Jesus, and her wisdom. She was one smart lady. And she devoted her life to husband, children, home, and fulfilling the Great Commission. She is a personal heroine and example to me.
Edith Seville Schaeffer (1914-2013) was born in Wenzhou, China to missionary parents who worked with China Inland Mission. Her Chinese name, given to her by her parents, was Mei Fuh, or “Beautiful Happiness.”
Years later, while Edith was in college, she was attending her Presbyterian Church when a visiting Unitarian pastor gave a sermon against Jesus, the deity of Christ, and the Bible. She was outraged and prepared to set him straight publicly. Before she could speak, another young man stood up and said, “My name is Frances Schaeffer and I Know Jesus is the Son of God.” The young man shared his testimony and gave clear evidence for why the Bible is trustworthy. Edith added more to his statement, defending the faith. The couple got married three years later.
While Frances was in seminary, Edith sewed wedding gowns and men’s suits to bring in extra money. After graduation, Edith pastored alongside her husband for three years. A growing concern for the invading liberalism invading mainline denominations rose in their hearts. The years after World War II were fraught with turmoil, confusion, liberal theology, and doubt. Francis and Edith went to Switzerland as missionaries and founded L’Abri Fellowship, a place to learn about the grace and truth found in Christ.
One of our favorite events each year is our Heroes for Jesus Party.
We gather together to celebrate Christian heroes from the past who have been world changers. We move from station to station to meet this year's heroes, listen to their monologues, and play a game or do an activity. Everyone has a blast!
Would you like to visit Lottie Moon's station. Here we go!
"Come on in, ya'll and sit down," "Lottie" greets us. A young single woman in the church is dressed up as a southern belle from the 1800's. She tells her story. It was hard enough to get on the mission field in those days as a single woman. Once she managed to get to China, people didn't want to hear what she had to say.
What could she do?
She started baking cookies!
Cookies? Yes, you read that right.
Spider Man: Homecoming is in theaters as I write this. In the movie, young Peter Parker returns home to Aunt May in Queens. Peter must balance his "normal" life as a student with learning to use his "Spidy Powers" with Tony Stark, Iron Man, helping him adjust. Music and special effects are said to be top-notch. Everyone's excited to see this movie. (Not me, I confess. I'm not an adventure-movie gal.)
Yes, another Super-Hero movie based on Marvel Comics.
Spider Man was introduced to the world in 1962 through a comic book, the first teenager non-sidekick Super-Hero. Peter Parker, an orphaned teenager who lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in NYC is bitten by a genetically-modified spider. Along with super strength, Peter receives the ability to cling to walls and ceilings. His response: to defend innocent citizens and catch bad guys. Spider Man of the 1960's upholds the law. He has a strong moral compass. The same could be said of Batman, Superman, and the other Super-Heroes that children read about in comics or watched on television.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and we see similarities. Super-Heroes still have amazing powers and they rescue people. Good always triumphed over evil.
There are some differences, though.
Wow! Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson will blow you away!
"This book reveals startling evidence of belief in the One True God in cultures around the world!" says the cover. And it does! It's amazing!
I get so excited when I read this book! I stand amazed at the Holy God who is so filled with love and compassion that He would prepare so many different cultures to recognize and receive the Gospel. God truly wants all men everywhere to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Isn't Our Heavenly Father wonderful?!
Don Richardson, the author of Peace Child, another amazing book, shares true stories from different places around the the world. In each case, you see God preparing a people to respond to Jesus when the Gospel arrives.
This book is a history of pagan cultures who still have the seed of faith in the One True God. Why is this? Because at the beginning of time, Adam and Eve walked with God in an intimate relationship while they lived in the Garden of Eden. Though they sinned, rejecting life with God, there was still a knowledge that was passed down of the One True God who created the earth and everyone who lives in it. That true knowledge, though marred in time, still exists. And we serve a God who searches for the lost, longing to bring them home to love and know Jesus Christ.
"This book will change your life!" my pastor promised me. I was far from home and struggling with sadness and disappointment. It was a hard season.
I read this little book and my pastor was right! It changed my life! That was not the only time I read Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers. This is one of those books that I try to reread every year or so. Yes, it's that good!
Prison to Praise shows how an angry young man was changed by the power of God through the Gospel. It is also the story of how one man of God learned to praise God in everything!
Bored with military training at Fort Benning, Georgia while waiting to be sent overseas in World War II, Merlin and some friends walked out of camp, stole a car, and went joy riding. After being captured by the F.B.I., Merlin found himself in military prison. Sentenced to five years in the federal penitentiary, his sentence was suspended so he could serve in World War II. After serving six months in the stockade at Fort Dix, Merlin, a paratrooper, headed to Europe to serve in the 82nd Airborne. Next, he found himself as one of General Eisenhower's guards living in Frankfurt, Germany. Because of his combat record, Merlin received a complete pardon for his earlier illegal escapades, but that didn't stop him from making massive amounts of money in the black market.
Attending church out of duty with his grandparents, Merlin heard God speak to him to make a decision to follow him or it would be too late. He surrendered his heart to Christ and was hungry for prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship. God called him to the ministry and while he worked his way through college and seminary, he preached in local jails.
I will let you learn the rest for yourself. You see, Merlin was on an adventure with the Lord! He was set to learn lessons that would allow him to live each day in unspeakable joy!
“Go, ahead and make me!”
You homeschool so you can give your children a quality education and avoid the bad influences. But, instead of gentle, loving children, you find yourself living with bickering siblings. Are they really yours?
You go church. You read the Bible every morning. But instead of peace and order, you feel like a referee.
You are not alone. This has been a struggle for Moms since Eve tried to help Cain and Abel get along. Hey, don’t worry, we have the Holy Spirit now.
Take a deep breath and let’s start with the big question: Why do children fight so much with their siblings?
As I was asking myself this question, a passage from James immediately came to my mind.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:1-3 NIV).
Have you ever been falsely accused? Or more specifically, have you ever been falsely accused of being a liar?
No one has ever so vehemently accused me of lying as one woman did last night.
I witnessed a car accident. It wasn’t a huge crash, just a fender bender. But still, I was a witness. The law obligated me to stay, so I turned around.
As I approached the scene, I saw the drivers of the two cars: a perplexed young lady and a furious older woman.
I made sure both ladies were OK and helped the older woman, who spoke in broken English, explain to the police dispatcher where we were. So far so good, right?
Then came the shock.
The older woman accused me of being a friend of the younger lady. She thought I was lying when I said I saw the collision and came back to give my statement to the police.
“No, you’re weren’t there!” the older lady yelled. “You’re lying! This is none of your business! You’re her friend! She called you and that’s why you’re here! Stop lying or the police will lock you up in jail! Just obey the law!”
All the yelling. All the anger. All the accusations—and none of them were true.
I stared at her blankly for a moment. I thought, Are you serious? Instead, I managed to say, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but that’s not true. I was behind the car that stopped—”
“Yes it is! You’re a liar, and the police are going to find out when they check her phone! If you lie to the police, you’re going to jail!”
“OK, well, we don’t have to talk about this anymore.” I took a deep breath. “Let’s wait for the police and let them sort this out. It will be OK. I’ll be over there by my car.”
My mind raced. How could she accuse me of lying? I was right there when it happened! And why is she mad anyway? I’m not even going to tell the police that it’s her fault. I’m telling the police exactly what I saw, which would actually implicate the younger lady!
An important purpose of the local church is fellowship and ministry. We often think of church as a place to go to be fed, but church is a place to be equipped to fulfill the Great Commission in whatever way the Lord has called you to serve.
So many friendships have been built in the midst of ministry and spiritual battle. As we serve and impart life to those around us, relationships are built and cemented. It is a beautiful thing.
In addition, when we build friendships with one another, it is easier to work together to extend the Kingdom of God. We want to foster friendships in our local church because lives are changed in the context of relationships. As we spend time together, we see God's principles in action in each others’ lives. More is "caught" than "taught."
With this principle in mind, it is just as important what happens outside official church meetings as it is what happens during those meetings. Here are some ways to to spend time together outside of church services to build relationships.
This summer our local church family had a brand new adventure. We went on a mission trip!
I had always dreamed of our church going on a mission trip to an exotic land where the inhabitants had never heard of Jesus. Or going to a nation that had just experienced a natural disaster where we could minister to practical needs as we shared the love of Jesus.
"Right here in Sanford/Lake Mary?" I asked the planning team, a little disappointed.
Then I thought about it. Our Jerusalem. Let's start by ministering to our Jerusalem. I was excited! And I sensed the Lord was in this--all the way!
To my surprise 40 adults and young people took time off from work to participate in the four-day mission trip July 2017. Let me share with you what we did!