You’re Way Too Busy to Read this Parenting Post

Photo by skodonnell/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by skodonnell/iStock / Getty Images

Isn’t that the truth! You are so swamped with soccer practice, trombone lessons, and ballet rehearsal (and that’s just your 3rd grader) that you do not have time to read another post in the vast sea of parenting blogs. Well, I’m going to keep it brief as you read this standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for your food, or hiding in the bathroom from your kids (it’s okay, we all do it).

These are resources for you to help you be the excellent parent you’re striving to be. This isn’t one more thing to add to your already massive to-do list, but is something you can integrate into the things you’re ALREADY doing in order to make them better.

  • Parent Cue App: An app designed to help every parent do something each week to help move your child toward a deeper faith and a better future.
  • The Phase Guides: Each year is just a phase in your child’s life; here is a resource to help you make the most of it.
  • GO KIDS: A free weekly children’s program designed to partner with you to help guide your kiddo in a healthy direction toward smarter decisions, stronger relationships, and deeper faith.
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Alright, now get back out there, and continue being your child’s incredible parent!

6 Keys to Improving Relationships

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Our relational health is very important for our well being. In fact, lots of research has been done on this, some going back over 100 years. All the research shows that a person’s happiness and well being doesn’t depend primarily on money, success, popularity or power. Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas science director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley says that “We find that people who have strong social connections are happier. That’s number one.”

So is it really any wonder that the early followers of Jesus devoted themselves to gathering together in homes, studying God’s Word together, praying together and eating together.

I think we all recognize that relationships are important, but how do we make our relationships better?

6 Keys to Improving Relationships

These keys to improving relationships come from the NT book of Colossians. Paul was teaching the early church about how to have healthy relationships. He mentions some characteristics or qualities that each of us need to cultivate. If we do, the likelihood of our having healthy, satisfying relationships goes way up.

" Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each otherand forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."   Colossians 3:12-14

1. Compassion

Paul says “clothe yourselves with compassion.” Compassion has to do with how you view other people. It’s your predisposition toward others. Paul says we should have compassion toward them as opposed to judgmental attitudes, suspicion, condemnation and feelings of superiority. Paul says if you want to relate to people in healthy ways, you have to start from a place of compassion. 

2. Kindness

Kindness is not the same thing as just trying to be nice. Churches are often filled with people who think God's basic request for their life is to just be nice. Paul's use of this word kindness is something a little different. Kindness has more to do with the capacity to encourage or build up another person. So the real question here is, in your relationships are you an encourager? Are you authentically able to speak into someone's life and build them up? Kindness is something that God shows to everybody, whether people know Him or not. He is kind all the time, kindness is something the Spirit of God wants to work into our relationships.

3. Humility

Many people misunderstand this word. They think of “humility” as a need to think poorly about themselves. That is not humility. Actually humility in the Bible has nothing to do with self-deprecation. Humility is actually more about how you see others than about how you see yourself. The heart of humility is making sure your world is about more than just you. There is this direct relationship between  how much we focus on ourselves and whether or not we can be close to someone else. This is why when we describe ourselves as a church community…we say,”We are a community of people who aren’t perfect and don’t pretend to be.” We say that because we want to live in humility. That is at the core of our theology as a church. We all fall short, all of us have messy relationships. All of us have struggles and problems. All of us have stuff going on in our home that wouldn't want anyone to know about. None of us are perfect

4. Gentleness

Gentleness is being tender, even when you have to be tough. That’s what we need to be in each other’s lives. Our families, our work associates, our friends and our small groups all need truth with gentleness. Relationships can’t go deeper without truth. But truth served up harshly, truth spoken in anger and bitterness can damage a relationship beyond repair. 

5. Patience

Patience is what we expect from others, but what we think others don’t deserve. To be patient you have to be committed to a relationship. You have to be in it for the long haul? Even when it's not easy. Relationships are a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow, ups and downs. Ultimately we are called to be patient, because God is patient with us.

6. Forgiveness

The reason relationships are hard is because forgiveness is hard. We hurt each other. In fact, everyone in your life at some point is going to hurt you. When they do, you have a choice to make. Will you forgive or will you withhold that forgiveness? Will you forgive or will you cling to anger, resentment and bitterness?  The apostle Paul says “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against oneanother. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.“ In other words, forgive not because it's easy, not because they ask for it, not even because they deserve it. Forgive one another, simply because that's what God has done for you. This is not easy stuff. Having healthy relationships is not easy. It just so happens to be the key to human thriving and flourishing.

 

In all of this, it is important to remember that we don't go out and build relationships, because we have the capacity or capability. We go out and do it because of what God has done for us. The real key to healthy relationships, is knowing that we are God’s chosen people, we are holy and dearly loved, because of Jesus. This is not just a self-improvement list. This is about being loved by God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, and then turning that love around and showing it to other people in our families, work, church and small groups. 

 

To hear the sermon that this blog is based on, visit deercreekchurch.com/sermons

Visit an upcoming Sunday at 9:00 or 10:45 AM. More info at deercreekchurch.com/visit/

4 Indicators of Financial Health

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Part of what's so weird about where we live is that people look so successful. We live in nice houses, drive nice cars, wear nice clothes and we have good jobs. So we begin to think everybody around has their financial life together. That is…everybody except me. Everybody else understands how the economy works. Everybody has their house paid off. Everybody else can afford their lifestyle. Everybody else knows what their number is for retirement. Everybody but me! Truth is, most of us live with a sense of financial pressure. 

The price of rental properties is increasing about 3.4x faster in Denver than the national average. The median home price in metro Denver is $353,500. This is up 12.3% from the same quarter a year ago. Cost of living isn’t going down. Cost of education isn’t shrinking. Levels of indebtedness aren’t declining. Despite appearances….we still worry.

Believe it or not, God does not intend for you to live under financial anxiety or pressure. He actually wants us to be good managers of our finances.

Here are Four Key Indicators Of Financial Health:

1. A Realistic Budget

There is more in the Bible about this than you might think. Prov. 24:27 say “Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” Here we see two categories and two consequences. Outdoor work and fields ready first. Indoor work and build your house second. Here's the idea behind this passage: there are two directions money can flow relative to you. Money can flow toward you (income) or money can flow away from you (expenses). If more is flowing toward you than is flowing away from you, you might be in pretty good shape. If more is flowing away from you, there’s a good chance you're in real trouble. To understand how you are doing, you must establish a budget and stick to it. A realistic budget helps you know when and where to spend your money. A realistic budget will help keep you from making bad decisions. There is no substitute for actually living by a budget. The writer of Proverbs says: Get your fields ready first; then build your house.

How are you doing on the budgeting? Can you say “I have a realistic budget.” “I know what my income is.” “I track my expenses.”  “I keep my expenses below my income.”?

2. Freedom from Debt

The Bible has a fair amount to say about debt, and none of it is good.

Proverbs 22:7 says “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant (slave) to the lender.” That picture of slavery or bondage to debt is powerful. There is a law practice in Castle Rock that does a lot of collections work. You can find them by googling Squeezebloodfromaturnip.com That’s what if feels like if you’re living under a cloud of debt. We live in a culture that encourages you to go there. The two big words when it comes to money in our day are “more” and “now”. We are bombarded by messages all the time that tell us the secret to happiness is just getting more. But more never leads to contentment. Between more and contentment is a chasm so vast, nobody has ever been able to cross it. 

So, how do you get out of debt? Pick one and pay it off. Some say, pick the one with the highest rate of interest. Others say, pick the smallest one and pay it off. Dave Ramsey wrote a book called The Total Money Makeover. He talks about what he calls the "Debt Snowball" He says, make a list of your debts starting with the smallest one and pay that off first.  There's something about when you take that first one out. It’s like a snowball rolling down hill, gathering speed. Once you pay off one debt, you get excited. You realize you can do that again. You can even do it faster. Suddenly there is hope.

How are you doing with debt? Can you say, “I’m free from debt! “I have a plan!”,  “I’m working my plan”?

3. Wise Saving

Proverbs 21:20 says: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” They lived in an agricultural economy, so food, crops, olive oil were the resources of the day. The point is, wise people save…fools don't. According to the Wall Street Journal, 70 % of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That is unsustainable. If you want to be wise, be sure you know how much you have set aside for an emergency, for the unexpected. Because if there's one thing you can expect, it's the unexpected! Be sure you know how much is in the 401(k). Be sure you know how much you are setting aside for your children's education.

How are you doing with saving? Can you say, “Yes, I’m saving what I should!”?           

4. Generous Giving

This is all about a life that's generous and openhanded and full of wise stewardship. The most important reason for you to manage your money well is that it is not your money. You didn't bring it into this world, and you're not taking it out with you. Psalm 24:1 says: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” We are the stewards, not the owners.

In the Bible, there are many key words. It's kind of interesting to look at how often they're used. Words like “Belief” or “Faith” are really important: 272 times. “Prayer” is really important: 371 times. “Love” is obviously huge: 741 times. The word “Give” is used 2,162 times. The most famous Bible verse is  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Generosity is at the heart of who God is. He is a giver. Our culture screams that it should be all about us, we should have more and now! But that is not how Jesus lived. 2 Cor. 8:9 says that “Jesus, who though he was rich yet for your sakes' he became poor.”

Money is just part of living in the kingdom and part of what God gives to us. It comes and it goes. When we use it for eternal purposes it makes eternal differences.

How are you doing with generosity? Are you living generously or hoarding for yourself?

 

To hear the sermon that this blog is based on, visit deercreekchurch.com/sermons

Visit an upcoming Sunday at 9:00 or 10:45 AM. More info at deercreekchurch.com/visit/

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4 Indicators of Spiritual Health

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I recently read an article about how people avoid going to the doctor. They do that because they afraid they’ll get bad news. Hello! Is it somehow better that you don’t know your health is bad or at risk? Do you think if you don’t know…it doesn’t count, it’ll go away? Your arteries will unclog themselves? The cancer will just disappear? The heart irregularities will just stop? 

The reason we go to a doctor is for a Check Up.  It’s so we can know how we are doing. We go to the doctor and he/she checks our temperature, weight, heart beat, breathing, blood pressure. All these are essential indicators of how we are doing physically

But, as important as it is to monitor our physical well-being, it is infinitely more important to monitor our spiritual well-being. Yet so many people never give their spiritual well-being a second thought. So by far the most important question about you is...What is your spiritual well-being? What is the state of your soul?

Let’s do a little personal Check UP on 4 Spiritual Indicators that are based on the early Christian church.

Acts 2:42 says "They [the early church] devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

1.     The Apostles' Teaching (Reading Scripture)

When somebody is alive to God, they love the wisdom of the Bible. They love the comfort of it. They want the words of it to get so embedded in their minds, that when they're in trouble…they learn to think: “The Lord is my shepherd “(Psalm 23). When they wake up they think: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in this day” (Psalm 118:24)

Something is always going to be running through your mind. It happens automatically; we are constituted that way if it's not the thoughts and teaching of the Bible. What will it be? Where are you on this key indicator? Do you actually have a plan for regularly reading the Bible? And are you carrying that plan out? Do you meditate regularly on it?

2.     Fellowship (Relationships)

The question for us here is, is God transforming my relationships? Am I seeking reconciliation where I should? Am I growing in showing grace toward others? Am I practicing the art of “speaking the truth in love”? Or am I doing conflict avoidance, superficial relationships? When the Holy Spirit came He ushered the human race into a whole different way of doing relationship, a whole different way of doing Community.  One of Jesus' most famous teachings about relationships is so brief and so brilliant it became known as the Golden Rule . Jesus said “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Matt. 7:12. How are you doing in this area?

3.     The Breaking of Bread (Hospitality/Sharing Life)

Here the question is: am I sharing my life with others? In the Acts 2 church, this was a radically different way of doing life from other people around them. Breaking of bread refers to the sharing of meals, sharing of hospitality. In the ancient world, generally people took care of themselves and their families.  But in the Acts 2 Church something radical happened; the Holy Spirit got ahold of people and began to prompt them to treat strangers like their family. People who had homes would open them up, share their food. They wanted to know their spiritual gifts and how to you them for the benefit of others.  People in the Acts 2 church lived like God was everywhere. God's love and care and power had become the foundation for their lives. So they lived and loved differently. Are you sharing your life with others? 

4.     Prayer  (Communicating with God)

The question here is: am I continually communicating with God? Even on a human level, the healthier a relationship, the more intimate a relationship, the more you communicate. In the Acts 2 church, people were devoted to prayer, which means they were devoted to having a continual, interactive, participative engagement with God. That's how we receive grace. That's how we live by grace.  In the Acts 2 Church, people prayed when they were together.  They prayed when they were on their own. They prayed to start the day. They prayed to end the day.

Why did they devote themselves to prayer? They were convinced that they were not in of control the Universe, but they knew who was! They were convinced…unlike people in our day, that self-sufficiency and self-reliance are not a good life strategy. They were convinced that God exists,  God responds, God listens, God is able, God cares.  People who are alive spiritually have a conviction that the greatest intimacy with God, comes uniquely through communicating with Him. It comes through Prayer. Are you continually communicating with God?

Hopefully this is a helpful checkup, but remember we don't have the power to change on our own. This is not a self-improvement deal. We can’t do this on our own. Jesus will help us. He is the one who started that church way back in Acts 2 and he is the one who sustains the church today. He’s the one who is at work in you and me. Ask him to help you take actions that will lead to spiritual health.

To hear the sermon that this blog is based on, visit deercreekchurch.com/sermons and click on Your Spiritual Health. 

Visit an upcoming Sunday at 9:00 or 10:45 AM. More info at deercreekchurch.com/visit/

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2017 Local Free Family Days

Check up these upcoming free days that are great for the whole family!

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Denver Zoo

2300 Steele Street, Denver, CO

720-337-1400

November 3, 6, 16

 

 

 

Denver Art Museum

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100 W. 14th Ave Parkway, Denver, CO

720-865-5000

Oct 7, Nov 4, Dec 2

**general museum admission free for kids 18 and younger every day**

 

Denver Botanic Gardens

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1007 York St, Denver, CO

720-865-3501

Days for York Street: Nov 10, 11

Days for Chatfield Farms: Nov 7

 

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

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2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO

303-370-6000

Sept 17, Oct 16, Nov 13, Dec 10

 

Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys

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1880 N. Gaylord St, Denver, CO

303-322-1053

Oct 1, Nov 5, Dec 3

 

 

Deer Creek Church Kids Ministry

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8131 S Pierce St, Littleton, CO 80128

Free every Sunday at 9:00 and 10:45!

Our children's ministry exists to provide a safe, fun and formative environment for kids and to partner with parents to guide their children in a healthy direction. Learn more here.