The Turn Around

As we are getting ready to start our Easter sermons series here at LifePoint BKK, and I have been reading in Mark, and we are smack dab in the middle of the Lent season, I thought I should write about repentance.

But first, I mentioned Lent, so let’s talk about that for a minute. If your like me, you thought, “I’ve heard that word before, but I don’t really know what it means.” I have never really observed Lent because I didn’t really know what it meant. Lent is returning to God, repenting of our sins and remembering that Christ died for us, so that we will not ever be separated from God again!

And no, I didn’t give up sweets for Lent! Honestly, I didn’t give up anything! But in all reality, I gave up everything! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

I have been following along with the ladies at She Reads Truth, and they began a Lent series. At first, I thought, “I won’t participate in that one.” because, again, I didn’t really know what it was about, but I am so glad I did! If you haven’t done one of their studies, I would highly recommend it, ladies!

As I began to research what Lent was, I realize it is not exactly a holiday that is celebrated in the Bible, which probably explains why I wasn’t so sure of what it was. Nonetheless, I pressed on with the She Reads Truth study. I learned that even though Lent is not a celebrated holiday in the Bible, it is still a good time to refocus my attention on the cross in preparation for the upcoming Easter holiday. Not that we should even use a holiday as an excuse to refocus our attention on the cross!

Anyway, most of their study has been focused on Lamentations. Fun, huh?  How did She Reads Truth even market this? Join us for a study on Expressing Grief! No, not at all! We lament, or express our grief, because we know we are not worthy of Jesus dying on the cross for us! The cross is our intervention for sin, so we must be sorrowful of our sin and repent of it!

In Mark 1, it talks about John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. He goes ahead of Jesus and tells people they must repent of their sins and turn away from them, then turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins! If we repent of our sin, we regret that we have committed the sin and we change our choices and actions, so we try to no longer commit these sins! We no longer live in a way that causes us to make this sin, we think differently, we pray because we are remorseful and we say we will no longer sin this way again!

Sounds good, right! But we all know this is not as easy as it sounds. So now what?

Let’s look at Joel 2:12-13. It says, “‘Yet even now,’ declares The Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to The Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” 

Oh my heart sings to hear this verse! God says return to me with all your heart! The cross is the path to return to Jesus! Our actions do not give us the right to return. Only the cross can! Thinking that my actions will cause God to love me is just my pride seeping out.

So let’s join together and give up everything about ourselves, and run to God to fill us up because He is so gracious to have sent Jesus to die for us to forgive us of our sins.

Here are some things you might need to give up:

  • Dishonesty
  • Destruction
  • Materialism
  • Deception
  • Bitterness
  • Pride
  • Comfort
  • Selfishness

Would you be willing to give up yourself enough to only post about God on your social media networks, instead of yourself?

What are you willing to give up to return back to God?

We are Dedicated

Today we were able to be apart of LifePoint BKK’s first child dedication. It was such an honor to be able to set this example for the Thai believers that make up our church. We hope this is the first of many child dedications that happen at LifePoint BKK.

Honestly, we hadn’t been apart of child dedication in the past because we didn’t really know what it was, and to be even more honest, we thought it was sort of silly! We prayed for our children when they were born for them to always pursue God and for God to pursue them too! Why did we need to stand up in front of the church when they are 7 months old or 2 years old to say the same thing?

When I was told LifePoint BKK was going to do a child dedication, I thought, I guess we should probably be a part of that? But when I started to research what child dedication was all about, I realized We really do need to be a part of it!

I will share some of the things I learned while researching what child dedication is all about…

First of all, child dedication is not about the salvation of our children. It is not some magical moment where something changes in their spirituality. Really child dedication is not about the children at all. It is about the parents. It is about the parents committing their children to God, committing to pray for their children and committing to teaching their children about God. It is a day for parents to realize what is most important in the lives of the children-their relationship with God. We all have so much going on in our lives that this is a time to stop and really think about the importance raising our children to be Godly children. When we may not be getting enough sleep because we worry about if our child is sick or if they meeting the appropriate milestones. Child dedication is a time that we can stop and think about intentionally teaching our children about their Savior. We, as parents, are the most influential people in our children’s lives and what they learn about our Heavenly Father, they will learn from us, their parents.

Children learn so many things between their toddler years and their preschool years~ABCs, 123s, songs, animal sounds, etc. They learn hundreds of new words and hundreds of new facts. During this time, your children learn more in a smaller amount of time than any other time in their lives. That’s why we need to be teaching our children during this time the fundamental truths about God, who He is, and what it looks like to have a relationship with Him.

It is also so much easier to teach children when they are younger-when they are curious about why the sky is blue or why birds chirp. Conversations about God are all around you-when looking at the moon, stars, sun or clouds or even when picking flowers in the yard. You can pray with them to thank God for their friends or pray for friends who are sick.

When reading about child dedication, I realized I don’t have to be a perfect parent. In fact, there is no such thing as perfect parent. I don’t have to be a perfect parent because I know God is full of grace, and His grace covers me and all the mistakes I have made and will make. Thankfully, He already knows I am not perfect.

The second most important thing I learned is I am not alone! I am so thankful to have a church family who will walk beside me and guide me in raising my children. I don’t believe I could raise my children with out my community of fellow believers. Not only do they pour into me spiritually, but they assure me I am not crazy and my children aren’t crazy when I convinced we are! Raising children is not easy, but it becomes easier when you have a community helping you.

I was also reminded God uniquely created each child to the parents He entrusted to them. God does not give parents their children by accident. God chose Josh and me to be Sharles and Brayden’s parents, and I am eternally grateful for that!

There is no greater joy and no greater frustration than raising children, but the God of this universe entrusted us with our children and equipped us with the tools to raise them. Don’t let them miss out on the fullness of life with Christ. Teach them and train them up to run hard after God.

Our prayer for the the 5 children at our child dedication service today was that they would be world changers for God’s glory. That’s especially my prayer for my 2 children. I want for them, wherever they go and whatever they do, to glorify Christ with a love and joy that is contagious.

If you are a parent, I hope you will join in this battle of parenting to raise up children who will glorify God with their whole being as well!