Friday, April 24, 2009

When my job seems to overtake my life?

I love my job.  I really do.  Now that I am here, I can't imagine doing anything else.  After years of running from what I knew God wanted me to be doing, I can't imagine going back.  Sometimes though, I love my job too much.  There are times when I don't think about my family when I schedule events for our ministry.  I let me wife look at the calendar and help me, but I will override her and do it anyways.  Luckily, that part is getting better.  I am trying to look at the calendar as a whole and seeing how many weekends I am going in a month or how many nights per week I am out.

Often times because I enjoy my job, I allow it to take away from my family.  Sometimes I spend too much time with students or I am in the office too much.  Events can seen to take over the calendar very quickly.  Looking at this summer, every other week I have some event that I am supposed to be a part of.  A few of them take me out of the state.  This takes a ton of time away from my family because I see the need in these events rather than investing in my own family.

A sad tale I will confess to is that we have not allowed our children to do sports because we couldn't find the time in our schedule.  I have known families that move heaven and earth for their child to play a sport  but we never got into it.  We didn't want to get sucked into the culture that say our children need to be actively involved in a sport almost everyday and if they miss a practice or game for any reason, they should be off the team.  We as parents can become obsessed with the success of our own children, so we continually pushing them to do more sports, to be more competitive and more of a winner.  Often times this obsession take over our life and pushes everything else out.  Family vacations become trips to sports camps (insert activity here if not sports).  Church because something we do when we aren't involved somewhere else.

When I was growing up, I used to race BMX.  I wasn't incredibly good at it, but it was something I enjoyed.  We missed church at least one weekend a month (if not more) to go out of town and participate in state races.  As we did this, it became easier for me to skip church, even when we weren't out of town.  On top of that, I also went to a private Christian school, so I thought I didn't need to go to church also.  All of this combined to make it easier for me to find excuses to miss church when I was on my own in college.  

Thankfully, my children have learned to like church and enjoy attending.  When we miss, they let us know it.  We do our best to keep them active in church and involved in programs that they like.  I have also begun to work through my calendar and adjust it so that I am home as much as possible.  My first priority is to my family, then to my ministry and I need to begin living like that.

My Challenge to You:  What does your family calendar look like?  Are you busy 7 days a week?  Do you find yourself missing church often because of sports/concerts/camps?  Talk as a family to decide what you can do to eliminate some of the busyness of your life.  Maybe it is limited your children to just one sport or saying no to another band.

My Prayer: God makes all of us long for you more than anything else.  Let us find our joy in spending time with our family and our church family.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What happened to family dinner around the table?

My parents used to have this giant, big dinning room table that would turn white when you got it wet.  I don't remember the type of wood it was, I just remember that it was dark and heavy.  The chairs were uncomfortable and hard to move.  My mom loved that table.  I remember that last time I heard about that table was after Hurricane Andrew when my dad told me the entire table and chairs were solid white because of the amount of rain that had gotten to them because the roof was ripped off our house. 

I talk about this table because when I was growing up I spent more hours at that table then I can count.  I would do homework there, play games and eat dinner.  We ate almost every dinner at that table.  I used to complain because my father would always eat on the couch and watch TV while the rest of us were made to eat at the dining room table.  I never thought it was fair but I knew it was important to my mom.

When I got married to Beth and we started talking about family, eating dinner at the table was an important piece.  We both knew the value of slowing down the day and sitting together for a meal.  We vowed to always eat there, but like everything else, life happens.  We started out strong and it was nice but as time went by and our lives got busier, it became easier to just eat on the couch than clean off the table.  The times when we did it were great.  We always had good conversations with the kids and loved just sitting there.

There is something about sitting around a table and having talks.  Giving your children the ability to tell you about their day while you eat.  Listening to stories of their playground time, or what they learned in math.  I have seen studies done saying that kids who eat dinner around the table do better in the world, probably because it means their parents have spent time with them, rather than just being relegated to their room.  I think being at the dinner table gives us time to talk to our children/teens about God and his impact on their life.  I think it shows them that we will stop everything else and spend time with them.  I think it says, you are important to me and I love you.

My challenge to you: Spend time at the dinner table.  Maybe not every night but at least 3.  If one is the max you have right now, start there.  If you do eat dinner at the table, make sure to have discussion with you kids.  Don't let them sit there with ipods or cell phones and you, the parent, don't sit there with a newspaper or cell phone.  Shut off the TV and the house phone.  Make the only sound in your house be the sound of talking at the table.

My Prayer: God, bless our tables and the food that we eat.  Make this a time of nourishment for our body and our souls.  Give each family open hearts and open minds, so that parents can be the spiritual leaders of their household and children are able to hear and understand the words of wisdom.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why I don't pray with my kids?

Of all the things I am guilty of this is the worst and most obvious.  When my children were born, I vowed to be a better spiritual leader than my parents were (hardly any).  I had visions of me reading the Bible to them, and eventually have family devotions with them.  In some small way I started out right.  I prayed with my kids when I put them to bed.  Not every night but most nights.  They were eager to do it, like clockwork they would ask us to pray when we told them to go to bed.  As they got older, the prayer seemed to become an excuse to not go to bed or at least that is what I told myself.  Over time the asking faded away, till now it is almost non-existent.

I know that prayer is important and everyday I spend time in prayer.  Not always by sitting down and bowing my head but always trying to talk to God in the midst of my life.  Unfortunately that hasn't spread to my children.  We pray at meals when we think about it.  Sad to say, prayer isn't at the forefront of the Probus household, at least not from anything that can be seen.  This is horrible to admit and my stomach is churning because I know how wrong it is.  I have been convicted over and over about it.  When my great kids ask me to pray with them, I should be overjoyed and in awe of their innocence but instead I feel like it is a bother.  This is wrong on many levels, but especially wrong when you are a pastor.

As a youth minister, I would pray with any of my students who asked me, but when it comes to my own children, I am an epic failure.  Praying with my kids should be the first priority in my life and I should (and will) stop doing everything and pray with them.  I shouldn't make excuses or worry about if they are making them.  

God has given me three great, beautiful and smart kids.  Each of them unique and each have their own personality.  I love them all more than anything else and I need to treat them better.

My Challenge to you, don't be like me.  Pray with your students & children.  Pray with them at least once a day and not always just because of dinner.  If they look at you weird, take that as a compliment and keep going.  Ask them how you can pray for them.  Take prayer requests and joys.  Let them pray also.  We need to be in prayer for our families and we need to teach our children how to pray.  No matter how old your child or student is, praying will help them.  Join me in this endeavor.

Prayer: God, help me to raise Godly parents that know that talking to you is like talking to their best friend.  Let me lead my children by example, not just rules.  Keep the enthusiasm for you in the hearts of my children despite my own faults.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Problems with Parenting Series...

In the past I have posted blogs that dishonor parents by telling them what I think they should be doing with their students.  I posted blogs about sporting events versus church and how parents usually tend to lean toward sports first, church second.  Over the past few weeks I have really begun to think about the role of parents in the lives of our students and how I can help them and not just tell them what a bad job they are doing.
This summer I will enter a new stage in my ministry, my daughter will be a 'teenager' and be a part of my group.  This is weird on many levels but also puts me in the midst of the parents that I have criticized.  I have decided to turn the tables on my and blog about my short comings as a parent.  Over the next week I will talk about different areas of my life as a parent and how I need to improve it.  I am not perfect, nor do I expect other parents to be.  Hopefully we can all move together to be better Godlier parents to our students.

In our 5th grade parents meeting, I told them that my job was not to spiritually discipline their students but that it was their job to lead their students.  My job was just to help them be more Godly parents.  Not sure how many of them liked to hear that but I believe that is true, but that means I have more work to do.

Here is the schedule I will try to follow for the week:
Monday - Why I don't pray with my kids?
Tuesday - What happened to family dinner around the table?
Wednesday - When my job seems to overtake my life?
Thursday - Is Church first or just the only option?
Friday - Do as I say, not as I do?
Saturday - What happens when you aren't consistent with discipline?

Some of these topics might change during the week as I might delve in deeper on one area or another.  If you have something you wish for me to rite about, let me know and I will see what I can do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Loving the hard-to-love Teenager

Here is a video that was recording during the NYMC in Columbus, OH.  Tim has an incredible blog and you want to check out some of his other videos.