Not For Me

Proverbs 31:1-9:

31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
    What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
    and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

When someone mentions Proverbs 31, the first 9 verses aren’t usually the first to come to mind. In a book full of catchy sayings, this motherly advice is easy to pass over.

King Lemuel’s mother took the time to teach her son some important lessons about leadership that are easy to forget. She begins her oracle by demanding attention, asking, “What are you doing, my son?” It is a call to stop and reflect. She asks her son to reevaluate his actions.

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Celebrating Valour

My grandma is one of the most amazing people I know. If anyone has displayed Christ accurately to me, it is her. During some of the most difficult years of my life, she would stay up with me for as long as I wanted to talk to her, and she listened, never judging or condemning, even when I talked about some of my frustrations with my parents.

She always checks with me before she cooks a meal to make sure that it will be something that I enjoy, and she buys my favourite instant oatmeal (Dino-Eggs, just for the record) when I am coming for a visit. She never criticizes my eating.

She encouraged me when I became frustrated with my inability to cook. She has been the one who reminds me that I am still competent and talented, and that I don’t need to be great at cooking after all.

She is honest, yet kind. Christ shines through her, but she doesn’t flaunt it. She is generous, yet wise. She is perceptive, but she does not worry about what she doesn’t know. She is steady in crises, and strong in more ways than one. She is a woman of valour, and her works deserve to be celebrated. Continue reading

Making Your Youth Ministry a Safe Place for Girls

Odds are that if you went to a youth group as a teen, the youth pastor was male.  Odds also are that the youth pastor at your church is male.  If the youth pastor is you, good.  I’m writing this for you.

I firmly believe that youth groups should be safe and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of race, economic status, popularity, religious background, body type, and gender.  Whatever you believe about the genetic differences between males and females, girls and women have different interactions and experiences with culture, including Christian culture, than guys do.

The Church, as representatives of God, needs to treat girls in a way that reflects God’s love and acceptance of them.  If they can find safety, acceptance, empowerment, and inclusion in God, they should be able to see that reflected in the culture of our youth groups.

What are some practical ways to do that? Continue reading