Archive for July, 2009

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Using Chicken Little to Teach Kids about Mistakes

July 28, 2009

Unfortunately, I am not one of those “perfect Christians” who has never made a major mistake in their lives.  Although I do take great relief in the grace Christ has shown me through his sacrifice for my mistakes, sins, bad decisions, etc, I still find myself struggling with the reminders of my mistakes.  I struggle with how they not only affect me, but how they affect my relationships and my witness.  When I look at my children, I see the same anxiety and pain in their eyes which scares me.

So how do you talk to your children about redemptive grace?  How do you help a child understand that Christ chooses to forgive your sins and not hold them against you?  Who could you give as an example of victory for a child to understand?  Enter in: Chicken Little.

If you have followed any of the posts in the series, “How to teach your kids about Christ, using movies“, you most likely know I really enjoy watching children movies.  Last night, I was watching Chicken Little with my little girl.  (It was Daddy Date Night!)  Though its exact origins are unknown, chances are you have heard the story of Chicken Little, a diminutive fowl who is struck by an acorn and misinterprets the event as indicating that the sky is falling. That fable provides a starting point of sorts for this vastly expanded and reconfigured take. Chicken Little here is an undersized middle school boy (voiced by Zach Braff) who has a large, unflattering reputation to live down following his (widely-believed) misguided panic.

chickenlittledadIn one of the scenes, the father is driving Chicken Little home and the discussion evolves to what the dad calls Chicken Little’s “Big Mistake.”  It seems as if poor Chicken Little just cannot shake this awful event in his life.  Even if he could forget it, those in his life would not allow him.  Does this sound familiar?

As I mentioned before, I have made numerous mistakes in life and unfortunately, the casualties have not all been mine.  I am often reminded of them while I am in prayer, leading a small group, or doing anything for the Kingdom.  Although this sort of attack should not surprise me, it does still shake me and cause doubt. I was once told by an older lady in the church that when the devil started to remind you of your past, remind him of his future and he’ll quickly shut up.  That does work sometimes, but what about the times it doesn’t?

“But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 1:9

I cling to this verse in times of trial over my past.  I have to remind myself of it constantly and repeat it so that I do not do what the enemy wants me to do and simply lay down.  Chicken Little is a great example of how this could work.  Although he too struggled with the mistake he made, he did not let it dictate his current situations.  His mission was to do something great and essentially redeem that event in the minds of others.  There was no doubt in his mind he could do it.  It was simply a matter of when.

So what are the lessons we could use from Chicken Little’s Big Mistake to teach our children?

1.  2 Corinthians 1:9 ~ Another way to teach this verse to children is convey to them that we all need Jesus because of our weaknesses. The old “Yes Jesus Loves Me” song talks of how we are weak be He is strong.  Help your child to understand that Christ does not expect perfection, but obedience and repentance.

2.  Our Past DOES NOT Define Us~ So many times we fall into the trap of who we were and not who we are in Christ.  I wish someone would have taught me that lesson early in my childhood.  Just like Chicken Little, we should not let our “Big Mistake” define our current situations.  If we have sinned, we need to confess and repent, but we should not dwell.  It is Christ’s mercy that defines who we are, not our weaknesses.

3. You should talk about your worries. There is a double lesson here: one for the child and one for the parent.  After watching the movie, I asked myself “How many times do I actually stop to listen to my children’s fears or their thoughts?”  I think all parents are guilty of merely discounting our children’s worries as trivial and moving on with our day.  I am not one who advocates dwelling upon the subject, but I do need to at least address it and discuss it with my children.  If they do not learn about Christ’s mercy from me through my example, where will they learn it?

All in all, we all have mistakes we would like to simply go away.  I am sure Paul would have liked that whole “terrorist” section of his life to go away, but it did not.  I wonder how many times he felt ashamed to be called by the one he persecuted to serve those he once persecuted?  After pondering this thought, it’s no wonder he wrote so much about the redemptive power of Christ’s mercy and grace.  We often write what we have the most experience with.

In our service on Sunday, we had the cardboard testimonies of those who have had major issues in their lives redeemed by Christ.  I thought I would share the message with you.  Watch it by clicking here.

If you would like more in this series, please be sure to check out the other articles in Using Movies to Witness.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II

July 18, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  We are continuing our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness.

Let’s pick up with Romans 2: 4:

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness and forbearance and patience.  These are key to understanding Paul’s point.

God’s Kindness or Goodness is often referred to as loving kindness, and in other translations, the word used here is Goodness.

Goodness may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our past sin. He has been good to us because He has not judged us yet though we deserve it.  James 1:17, “Every good and perfect thing comes from you…”  Goodness is a natural manifestation of God, the perfect one

The Greek word used here is the word used for Easy or loosely translated as “fit for use or able to use again.”  It is through the Goodness/Kindness of Christ that we are able to move past our forgiven sin and be “used again” by Christ in his mission.  When we see or experience God’s goodness, we should understand:

  • God has been better to them than they deserve
  • God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him
  • God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him
  • God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him
  • God is perfectly willing to forgive them
  • God should be served out of simple gratitude

God’s Forbearance may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our present sin. This very day – indeed, this very hour – we have fallen short of His glory, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  Once we move past the past sin, many Christians struggle with the fact that they are still sinning daily.  Forbearance means “a holding back” & denotes “forbearance,” a delay of punishment.  Forbearance is  not of His forgiveness, but His withholding due punishment.

God’s Patience or Longsuffering may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our future sin. He knows that we will sin tomorrow and the next day, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God.”  Mercifully, God knows that we are going to sin tomorrow, yet through his patience with us, he continues to hold back the wrath of justice, or the penalty for our sin.  Many Christians, including me, cannot comprehend this quality of Christ.  It was Christ’s “longsuffering” on the cross that we were saved.

So how does this relate to our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness?  Many of us revel in the goodness, forbearance, and patience granted to us by accepting Christ as our Savior, however, we often forget that same essence of God’s riches also applies to those are lost.  Christian Self-Righteousness will often blind us to the other side of Christ’ riches-His justified wrath.

In the next post, we will discuss the natural outcome of being exposed to the riches of Christ-a call to repentance.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness

July 16, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.

Take a moment to read Romans 1: 28-32.  In this passage, chance are, you find yourself nodding in agreement.  It is pretty easy find some sense of comfort or a sense of the next Enemy Behind the Linesself-righteousness.

“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents.”  Romans 1: 29-30

You and I both know these “type of people.”  You know the ones.  Those who are perpetually lost and seem to be devoid of God’s hand in their life.  As it states in Romans 1, God, at some point, will leave those to their own desires after denying the Truth for so long.

I found myself nodding in agreement with Paul as he spoke of these people.  I kept nodding until I began Chapter 2!

Someone has once coined the definition of a jury as: “twelve people chosen to decide who has the best lawyer.” The Jews were generally a proud sort of people, that looked with a great deal of scorn and contempt upon the poor Gentiles, as not worthy to be set with the dogs of their flock; while in the mean time they were themselves just as bad.  Paul shifted from talking about the Gentiles to talking about the Jews who had the law and still disobeyed.  The Jews, like those of us who are Christian, know that God will judge according to the Truth, not just interpretation.  We must be careful not to point out the wrongs in everyone else’s life or be so eager to condemn those who are not Christian.  (There is a difference in holding a fellow Christian accountable and condemning someone who is already lost and we will discuss that in one of the next posts.)

Many of the Jews seemed to have felt and acted in a similar manner to many of us who are Christians today.

Romans 2: 3  “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

These two verses fit the saying, “Mercy for me and justice for everyone else.”   Paul takes some time to compare the two presumptions that Christians could make about the judgment of God

i.      First: We will escape the judgment of God

ii.      Second: God is kind to those who love him so we will merely get by

In Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II, we will continue with the remaining part of Romans 2 and delve further into this concept of Self-Righteousness in the Christian mindset.  Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness, forbearance and patience.  All three are to complete a specific mission on Christ’ behalf.  Be sure to join us in this series on enemies behind the line.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click below.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Guilt

July 4, 2009

it-is-finished-closebible.gif

Last words.  These are most likely two of the most chilling words for most of us.  In that one moment, we have the choice of a lifetime to make.  What would you say?  Who would you say it to?  What would you leave behind for those whom you love?

I would like for us to explore one last word in particular: Telos.

So what does Telos mean? “It is finished.” It is a translation of the Greek word tetelestai, the perfect indicative passive tense of the word telos.  The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.

28 After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst.29 There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. John 19: 28-30

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  One such enemy is that of guilt.  It would be fair to say every human being suffers from some aspect of guilt.

Guilt is the emotion of remorse that we use to judge and berate ourselves when we perceive ourselves of doing something wrong.  It takes various forms and can affect everything from our sleep, appetite, work, and relationships.  Guilt is personally something I have struggled with in my faith walk for as long as I can remember.

There is a difference in conviction from Christ and guilt.  Godly grief or conviction generally draws us closer to Christ.  Most of the time, when I feel convicted over a particular event or behavior, the Holy Spirit is convicting me on the need for confession and repentance.  Guilt or regret usually has me wanting to hide myself from Christ, embarrassed and unwilling at times to go before the throne.

Guilt is a great weapon for Satan to use and it remains “hidden” due to its wide acceptance by the world as an acceptable feeling for those sins we have committed in our lives.  In its basic sense, guilt is merely a misappropriation of the origin of grace.

Telos describes the true nature of Christ’s sacrifice. The grace every true Christian enjoys flows from the sacrifice of Christ and not by any actions of our own.  Guilt can be the result of not fully understanding grace and the redemption provided under the blood of the new covenant.

Personally, I have struggled with guilt that has functioned much like an anchor to my daily faith walk.  Rather than approaching the throne of God, I have often allowed guilt to keep me from looking into the eyes of my savior.  I had a misguided understanding of the difference between guilt and conviction, so being unable to distinguish between the two, I would often pray for forgiveness that had already been given, just not received.  In recent months, I have been able to fully understand one key verse:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.  Other translations include definitions referring to a debt being paid. What was brought to completion on the cross?  What debt was paid?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Conviction brings to your conscience those sins you need to confess to Christ and repent of.  Guilt reminds you of sins Christ has already forgiven.  Conviction allows you to reach for the wounded hand of Christ and his redemptive love, whereas guilt prevents you from looking into the eyes of the one who saved you.

If you find yourself fighting a battle with guilt, just know you are not alone.  Most Christians, if they were to be honest, struggle with guilt.  It is one of the enemies we rarely realize we are fighting.  It is one serving more like a double-agent than an all out enemy.  Yet all in all, it is one of the deadliest.  Join us as we continue to discuss possible meanings of Christ’s last words on the cross.  What does Telos mean for you?

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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