Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015 KICK-off!

We had our first KICK of the season yesterday. It is amazing how much things change in a year. Last year, I knew none of the kids or their families. I had my shy little 1st grader just a few weeks into a new school system as my only window into the child’s psyche of KICK…and that little one had no idea what to expect much like myself.

This year, parents of KICK kids are my Facebook friends, and I got to see them post the announcements about upcoming KICK. I got to hear my daughter’s excitement, and questions every week, “When do we have KICK again? Is Kick THIS week?” I got to hear her describe KICK to her little kindergarten brother. I got to see his excitement. The day of KICK, I received a text… “I had lunch at the elementary today with my daughter…she and her friends are super excited about this afternoon.” I got to here our nervous crew wonder if we had enough room in the church van for everyone. Best of all, I got the bear-hugs of our returning crew. And when my own little ornery kindergartner got home, he told me it had lived up to his expectation of awesome-ness. That experience as a pastor is one you hold on to when things look bleak.

I have to admit, I am just as excited about KICK as the kids. I think our focus this semester is going to be one that God really uses in their lives. This semester we are going to be talking about The Patriarchs and mapping the great-great-great-etc grandfathers of Jesus. As I have been getting ready, I have noticed that Jesus’ ancestors had anything but a “traditional” family. I think many of our kids will identify with the challenges having a mixed family brings. In fact, as we finished the day, one little one shared with me that his dad was in the process of moving out. It was one of those moments when you know God was picking the lessons intentionally.

It makes me wonder how God will use our lessons through the semester...

1. This last week we started with Abraham and Sarah and the 3 strangers who turned out to be angels. I wonder if any of our kids have had to share their house or even their bedroom with an unexpected house guest?

2. Next week, we will be focusing on Isaac’s half-brother Ishmael and Ishmael’s mom, Hagar and how God provided for them when Abraham kicked them out of the house. I wonder if any of our little ones have had to move out abruptly?

3. Then we will be talking about Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed. Do you think any of these kids might have been asked to do hard things and been unsure that God would provide?

4. Next we will talk about Isaac lying about Rebekah to the Egyptian king. I bet each of these kids can think of a time they lied because they were scared to tell the truth.

5. Then we will talk about Jacob tricking his father into giving him the blessing of the first born. How many of these little ones have experienced a family member taking advantage of another family member?

6. Then we will talk about Jacob being named Israel. Even though these families messed up, and did the wrong thing, God still kept his promise to Abraham. I think all of us can think of a time that we messed up, and we all need to know, that God can forgive ANYTHING.

The thought makes me thankful that God is there for us when our family life is not ideal. God is used to working with families like that!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Mom, What is Cancer?"

“Mom, what is cancer?” Lydia asked innocently as we made our way to walk in the Relay for Life event. It is hard to answer that question. There are so many things that cancer is.

“It is a disease, a sickness,” I answered.

“Can I catch it?” I hear the fear in her little voice, a fear that reflects how most of us feel about cancer.

“No…” How do you explain the complexity of cancer to a seven-year-old? I am not a doctor, or a scientist. I do my best. “The smallest pieces of your body, they are called cells. Your whole body is made up of different cells. There are skin cells, heart cells, blood cells, brain cells. Every once in a while, the body makes a mistake cell. It’s called a mutated cell. In cancer, that cell starts making lots of cells just like itself, cells that can’t do a job like the healthy ones do and they get in the way of the good cells doing their job. Those are cancer cells.”

“Can I get cancer?”


“Will I die if I get cancer?”

“Maybe…but not everyone who gets cancer dies. That’s why we are walking, so doctors and scientists can find better ways to get rid of cancer and the people with cancer can live a long happy life.”

“Do we know people with cancer?”

“Your Aunt Christine had thyroid cancer…and she beat it.”

“Aunt Christine had cancer?!?”

Relay for Life is many things for many people. For our church it is a way to add our feet to our prayers, and to bring transformation to the world we live in. It is a way to say we walk with those who suffer and struggle. For me this year, Relay for Life was a chance to talk about something scary with my child. Because I am a pastor, Lydia sees and hears about death a lot more than most kids her age. Often times, she asked why they died, and some of her favorite church-people have died from cancer. Relay this year allowed me to say, “Not everyone dies from this…and part of that is because of what we are doing today.”

Thank You, Relay for Life, for giving me that opportunity.