Many years ago, I read of a father who relocated his family to ensure that his children grew up under the godly influence of his own dad. Apparently, work commitments had caused his father to move interstate and he decided it was better for the family to pull up roots and move, too.
It was a big decision, but he explained that the benefits of his father's unconditional love and support and the instilling of his wisdom and experience into the lives of his children far outweighed the inconvenience of moving.
As I read that story years ago, I prayed that when I reached that stage of my life I, too, would be able to provide a hard-wrought wisdom, a powerful testimony of faith and a stabilising connection with the past for my future grandchildren.
Today's grandparents are a far cry from the image of the homely grandma knitting gently in her rocking chair while granddad happily potters in the warmth of his backyard veggie garden. Today's gran may be a successful career woman just reaching the peak of her game and granddad has taken up abseiling. Yes, modern families may be more complicated but most grandparents still want to be an integral part of the lives of their grandchildren.
Many grandparents have pushed retirement aside and increasingly taken on regular care-giving roles in families.They are 'grand-parents' in every sense of the word as they take on these parenting roles after families fracture for a host of reasons.
The figures show that while half of all Australian children under 12 received childcare of some form last year, just 24% were in formal care, compared with 26% who were cared for by their grandparents.There are also more than 14,000 grandparent families in which the grandparents are the guardians or main carers of co-resident children aged 0 to 17 years.
While the previous mobile generation living in different states, regions and even countries were separated from grandparents and struggled to maintain family connection, today's families appear to have rediscovered the value and support of close, involved grandparents.
Many have established a multi-generational family approach to raising kids with grandparents as providers, mentors, teachers, nurturers.. providing a spiritual rock during hard times. For grandparents, it's the opportunity to teach important values, establish Biblical foundations and pass on family traditions to their grandchildren.
How appropriate then, this Sunday on Grandparents Day, to be able to celebrate the rich and living heritage of loving grandparents who provide a powerful testimony of God's faithfulness in the lives of their families.
This week, we say farewell to our guests from the United States. It's been a joy to have them as special guests of our church family, our lives and our homes for this short period.
We've appreciated their involvement in our Sunday morning worship services and we've been encouraged and inspired by the testimonies they have shared.
For our part, we hope and pray that they have enjoyed their time with us, seeing and experiencing just a small slice of our life and the people, places, scenery and attractions that are uniquely Australian.
It's been said that Australia and U.S. are a united people separated by a common language and our guests have laughingly attempted some colloquial Australian phrases. And we've struggled a little, too. One of our kids from LifeKIDS admitted, "It's a bit hard for me to hear that French accent." We share an amazing bond, though, through our Lord Jesus Christ and it has been a wonderful privilege to hear and share of His work in each of our lives.
We wish our guests God's blessings and safe travel back home and look forward to continuing our relationship over the coming years.
The devastating tornado in Oklahoma and the magnitude of this disaster has generated world-wide attention. Even here on the Gold Coast, it has received front-page newspaper coverage. Our thoughts and prayers are with this community as they deal with the heart-breaking destruction and loss.
The Skit Guys have responded to this tragedy with the offer of a free clip, 'The Storms of Life', in the hope that you can download and use this to encourage discussion about this and other tragedies. (see below)
"We hope that your church community will remember ours. Remember that there’s a community aching. Remember there’s a lot to rebuild––both homes and hearts. Please keep OK in your prayers today and in the weeks to come.' Skit Guys
In Australia, natural disasters are common: drought, cyclones, fire, floods. The predictability of these disasters has been immortalized in the imagery of our poetry and literature, but are you and your church leadership team prepared for it? Can your small group, or you as an individual, comfort families and children and help them cope with disaster?
There are a number of points to keep in mind for children:
1. Children need physical reassurance. They need to be with their family to feel safe. Keep in mind that displaced children will require even more physical comforting.
2. Children need to talk. Listen to them. They need to know others understand and share their worries and concerns.
3. Talk honestly.... but don't scare them. Share worries in an age-appropriate manner.
4. Remain as calm as possible. Maintain normal routines as much as you are able.
5. Expect regressive behaviour. Generally, such behaviours will fade over time.
More helpful information can be found from the following resources:
With less than a week to go before Christmas and the celebration of our glorious Saviour, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish you a season full of overflowing joy and blessing.
If you are looking for Christmas Scripture reading plans at this time, you will find a link to YouVersion Bible on our homepage or click here to access this information.
YouVersion also provides a Christmas story tracker so that you can locate the number and location of others currently reading the Christmas story. (see here)
Please remember that our summer series on the Parables of Jesus will resume in the new year and I would encourage you to join us for this special series.( see below)
The world's attention, this week, has been firmly focussed on London and the inspirational stories of Olympic victories; the triumph, and sometimes the despair, of athletes as they strive to overcome personal hurdles and challenges. This international event opens up wonderful opportunities for discussion with your children and I've included some suggestions below. Remember that other helpful articles and ideas are regularly added to our TweedKids website (and Facebook page).
Faithfulness: Watch the Olympic events together, and talk about athletes that are faithful to God. Share the stories of some of the Christian athletes. Look for more stories at: http://beyondtheultimate.org
Sanya Richards-Ross, a Christian athlete who may be the fastest female runner in the world, is representing the United States for a second time in the 2012 Olympics. Sanya became a Christian when she was 12 years old. She desires to be faithful to God and she recently committed to reading through the entire Bible. One verse she says frequently to herself is, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
She says that her faith encourages her to give her best. She says, "I know that my talent is God's gift to me, and how I use it is my gift to Him."
Ask: What do you think athletes need to do to compete in the Olympics? (Talent, work hard, and to stick with it even when they don't feel like it)
Many Olympic athletes practice all day every day so they will be ready to compete. They give their best to win a medal. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Why do athletes run or compete? (To get a prize that will eventually fade away)
What qualities do athletes need to win? (Self-control, determination, willingness to practice and work hard, etc.)
What do we need as we live for Jesus? (Self-control, determination to do what is right, faithfulness to follow Him, etc.)
Paul says we should run the Christian life with the same determination and self-control an athlete has when he or she competes for a medal that fades away. We will receive a reward from God some day if we are faithful to do what He has asked us to do.
from SPLINK resources - HOME CONNECTION
Last Sunday, we held a special family service and took the opportunity to highlight the important role of our community emergency services and show them our heart-felt appreciation for their work and dedication.
The service concluded with a BBQ and special activities for the kids. The highlight for them all seemed to be a trip in the ambulance, siren blaring. (We have posted photos of this special event on our Facebook page so take a few moments to check them out.)
The kids have been enjoying the activities and fun of PandaMania and this will be its last week. We'll also be sharing the fun of PandaMania and some of the lessons and music during a special family focused service on Sunday, December 11 at 9:30am.
Click through some of our PandaMania scrapbook below to see just some of the excitement!
Our Quick Build was a big task.. a lot of work.. and it certainly wasn't easy. But your enthusiastic involvement made the task lighter. Thank you so much for encouraging and supporting us with our Extreme Church Makeover.
It has been a wonderful blessing seeing so many folk working together to refresh this wonderful facility God has provided for us. It is anticipated that the roof for the patio/coffee stop will be constructed this week pending the release of the stamped plans from council. We are also waiting for the donation of a playground to be constructed in the designated children's area.
More photos of the Quick Build will be uploaded soon to the website.
There has been so much activity here over the past few days: oversized trucks have delivered construction materials, landscaping supplies, large tubs of paint, pallets of pavers, fencing panels and more; rooms have been cleaned out; air-conditioning units have been installed; the high ceilings of the auditorium and multipurpose area, the hallway and other rooms have been painted; doors and walls have been sanded; post holes have been dug; furniture has been cleaned; and landscaping work has been commenced. And there has been plenty of activity in the kitchen, too, preparing meals for the workers and creating welcoming times of fun and interaction with others. But there's more work still to be done. If you haven't made your way to our Extreme Makeover yet, join us tomorrow or Saturday, and plan to be a part of our worship celebration on Sunday morning with the special morning tea following.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the