Interview on the "A Special Hope" Podcast

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I recently had the opportunity to talk with my friend, Sarah Broady, on her podcast, A Special Hope. We talked about creating inclusive classroom environments for children’s ministry. Specifically, we discussed tools and strategies leaders and teachers can use with individuals with unique needs in their classes, as well as boundaries if a teacher suspects a diagnosis, but the parent has not provided any diagnosis, or there hasn’t been any testing yet.

In addition to practical ideas and steps for ministry leaders and teachers to use with families, we also talked through how spouses grieve the diagnosis process differently and the encouragement of hope we have in Christ as our high priest who empathizes with us in our suffering. Follow the link above to listen to our conversation, and check out Sarah’s ministry at hopeinautism.com.

Family Friday Links 10.11.19

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A few weeks have been missed, sorry about that. Here’s what we’ve been reading online lately:

Adriel Sanchez had a post on Core Christianity had a post about spiritual immaturity. It starts this way, “Faithfully going to church doesn’t automatically make you a mature Christian.” The author goes on to list 3 signs of spiritual immaturity and ends each section with practical solutions. This is good for parents and pastors to help their students grow.

Dan Istvanik had a post about appropriate relationships with students. In a day and age where headlines are filled with pastors having inappropriate relationships with people in their care, this is timely. He lists 4 things pastors need to be aware of in their own behavior that can have dangerous consequences.

Nichole Lino had a post on helping kids transition into “big” church. She says, “My sacrifice of training and modeling is actually what God expects of me in my role as a parent of the children he has entrusted to me.” She goes on to list 14 practical suggestions of how to do this well.

What have you been reading and benefitting from online? Leave us a link in the comment section to check out.

He Reads Truth (Hebrews): Warning Against Unbelief

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I have the privilege of contributing to He Reads Truth, a website of whose purpose is “To help men become who we were made to be, by doing what we were made to do, by the power and provision that God has given us to do it, for the glory of Jesus Christ.” They do this by providing scripture reading plans accompanied by reflections that can be accessed for free online or purchased as print books. For those of you looking to engage scripture in a fresh way, these studies/plans will refresh your soul and engage your mind.

What follows is one of the pieces I wrote for the Hebrews reading plan. You can find the full plan HERE.

Hebrews 3:7-19John 3:16-21Romans 11:1-6

It wasn’t a good mail day. I’d gotten a letter from the IRS saying that I owed money—a lot of money. And to make matters worse, the letter came with a warning: if I didn’t pay up within a couple of weeks, I’d get a stiff penalty. Honestly, the letter left me confused. I’d used a reputable accountant. I’d filed my return weeks before. What could have caused me to owe so much? I double-checked my records, and the mistake was obvious; I had filed the return, but I’d forgotten to mail the check.

I can laugh about it now, but that letter produced a lot of anxiety at the time. I don’t look forward to warning letters. If I’m honest, I don’t really like warnings. They’re not always positive and encouraging, but they’re necessary. I’d rather be warned than incur a steep penalty.

The author of Hebrews invites us to hear a needed warning today. He reminds us how the human heart is bent toward evil. Like the Israelites who longed to go back to Egypt (Exodus 16:3,17:3), our sinful hearts can delude us into thinking we’re more secure apart from God than we are walking with Him. We’ve got to watch out and guard ourselves against an “evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

This passage in Hebrews 3 also tells us that we need our friends, wives, and church leaders to step in daily to tell us when we’re headed in the wrong direction. We are human, which means we’re also sinners. We forget to mail checks on time; we lose our keys; and we sometimes lose our cool. Maybe it’s easy to speak up when it’s something small. But when I see a brother who’s slandering his pastor or putting down his wife behind her back, am I tempted to think, Well, that’s his business, and just walk away?

Hebrews doesn’t let me off the hook so easily. It instructs us to encourage one another daily, so we’re not hardened by sin’s deception (v.13). And as we caution one another, we also inspire confidence, believing that all who keep holding on to the reality Christ gives us at the start will share in His eternal rest at the end (v.14).

The time for giving and receiving these warnings and encouragements is now. We must speak up and warn one another before it’s too late. If you see me headed in the wrong direction on a one-way street, please honk your horn! I need a course correction because I’m headed for destruction. The direction of our souls requires this same level of urgency. As Paul writes elsewhere, “Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Join the 2020 Kids Ministry Leadership Cohort

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From January to June of 2020, I'll be leading a group of children's ministers in a unique leadership development experience.

You'll learn to assimilate and train volunteers, build a child protection policy for your church, and partner with parents. You'll be developed as a theologically driven, gospel-centered, mission-focused children’s ministry leader. Cost for this coaching cohort includes one in-person ministry retreat,  five conference calls, and five books.

Download more information here, or apply below.

“Jared has served as an incredible ministry coach in my life. He has helped me lay out a specific and detailed action plan for the church I serve in, held me accountable to it, and provided biblically-informed wisdom as I strive to accomplish this plan. However, as important as the church ministry is, Jared has a deep passion and concern for my personal and family life—leading me to set a similar plan for those areas as well.” Brent Cisson, Family Ministries Pastor, Heritage Fellowship, Medford, OR

Jared does an incredible job of helping you keep the gospel primary while helping you evaluate your ministry and develop and implement an action plan that will help it grow. Throughout and following the cohort, Jared is personable, accessible and ready to help. As a result of my time with him, our ministry has benefited and I have grown as a leader. Finally, Jared is a baller in arcade basketball (but I did beat him once)! Cody Timmerman, Prince Avenue Baptist Church, Athens, GA