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  • ivanildotrindade 9:53 pm on June 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adults, children who lead, , , ,   

    Learning From Children — Part 1 

    Dear readers:

    I have been so busy I barely have had time to eat! I returned from Asia only last week and had to quickly adjust to time and work back in Wooster. Now I am getting ready to lead a team to the Amazon in Brazil. We leave in nine days. Yesterday, I was the guest speaker at another church and I wanted to share the message I shared with that congregation. they gave me the topic — parenting and family. I chose to speak on the lessons God teaches us through children. I share it with you so you can feel a little bit of my heart. It will be a three-part series. Hope you enjoy it. 

    I once read a story about Dwight Moody coming back from one of his evangelistic campaigns and telling his wife that he had two and a half converts that evening. She asked him, “How old was the child?” He said, “Oh no, it was two children and one adult.”

    This story reminds me that so often we get things reversed when it comes to children. While we recognize that children need guidance and direction and are prone to get into mischief, it is also true that there are times when God wants us to follow the children’s way and not the other way around. Jesus was a master at using children to teach adults valuable insights and today I want to look at

    three lessons He taught us through God’s precious children and they are all found in the Gospel of Matthew.

    The first lesson we want to look at is

    A. The Lesson of Friendship

    We find that in Matthew 19:13-14. If you have a copy of Scriptures, I ask you to open it there, if not, I have the words for you on the screen:

    “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:13-14).

    Let’s face it; children can be a handful sometimes.

    My youngest daughter, Carissa, when she was a baby, she was always into everything. Her hands were like little weapons of mass destruction. She could be smiling at you while her hands were doing havoc behind her back. When she was a toddler, she was a handful at church, never sitting still, never listening to anyone. More than once I had to take her outside and read the Miranda rights to her.

    One time I was speaking and she was being particularly difficult. I apologized to my people and said, “I gotta take my daughter outside and have a little talk with her.” I grabbed her; put her on my arms, and started marching out of the building. She was facing the opposite way, toward the people, and just before we left the building, she yelled: “Pray for me!” The whole place erupted in laughter. I mean, after that, what can you possibly do?

    I realize that keeping kids under control can be an impossible task at times. I just returned from SE Asia and while there I interviewed a couple for a job. They have an eighteen month old baby who was crying the whole time we talked. Needless to say, the interview didn’t go very well.

    Sometimes kids can be more than a distraction. They can be absolutely taxing and overwhelming.

    This week my heart skipped a beat as I read the words of a young woman who posted online how much she hates being a mom. Here are some of her words:

    “I hate being a mother… My kids are of toddler and preschool age. They fight, scream and demand all the time… I am so unhappy… I never have a moment to just relax… Yes I love my kids but I hate mothering them… I fantasize about running away from it all. It’s too much!!! If I had to do it all over, I wouldn’t have any children. I hate being a mother.”

    If kids are perceived this way today, imagine back in Jesus’ day when children were considered to be more baggage and weight than an asset. The disciples were just displaying their cultural bias when they tried to stop people from bringing their children to Jesus. I can almost hear their words, “Look, the Lord is busy. Don’t you see all the people around him? He has more important things to do than to hold your sweaty little brats.”

    Jesus, the master contrarian, would have none of that. When he saw what the disciples were doing, he rebuked them. In fact, Mark adds an insightful comment that makes it unmistakably clear how Jesus felt about this issue. He says that the Lord became “indignant.” The word used there is very strong and it is the only time in the New Testament where it is used in reference to Jesus. Mark was not afraid to reveal Jesus’ true feelings on the matter. Today we would say that Jesus was “incensed” or “angry.”

    I can picture Jesus catching the commotion from the corner of his eyes as the disciples were trying to stop moms and dads from bringing their children to be blessed by Him. I can hear Him saying, “Guys, what are you doing? Stop that nonsense. Don’t mess with my precious children. It’s people like them that will keep me company in heaven.” And then he proceeded to take children on His lap and bless them… and all the other business was tabled! Don’t you love that?

    Jesus’ example shows us that He is a friend of children par excellence. And He wants us to go out of our way to love children, make them feel welcome, and never do anything that would block the path that leads children to Him.

    I am always amazed when I go to Latin America or Asia to see people lowering themselves when they speak to a child. From the child’s perspective, it makes perfect sense because all they can see, when adults talk to them, is some hairy legs or stockings, if they are lucky. I don’t know about you but I find it a little hard to have a conversation with a leg…

    Jesus, in a way, was teaching us to come down to the level of the children, to have the worm’s eye view, so to speak, and not the bird’s eye view. By strongly contradicting the disciples and interrupting everything to bless the children, Jesus was showing us the supreme value of children in God’s eye, and if we want to honor God we have to see children the same way.

    At the church where I serve every year we have a Sunday when we celebrate children in a special way. I remember a couple of years ago when our senior pastor preached a passionate sermon about letting the children come to Jesus. One of the things he said was that we needed to make our church a lot more kid-friendly. At some point he got excited and he said we shouldn’t give kids a hard time when they giggle and run through the hallways. He said, “Let the children run!” A few minutes after the service was over I saw a friend of mine, who is also an usher, telling a group of kids to stop running around. I said, only half-jokingly, “Didn’t you hear what the man said? ‘Let the children run!’”

    The point is that many grown-ups have this default mode to always keep children on a short leash. But there are times when we just need to let children be children. We need to give them room, within reason, to mess things up for that’s what children do best.

    We also need to make sure that we create an environment, whether at home or in church, that is positive, fun and encouraging for children. Make no mistake about it: children are surrounded by negativity every day. When my kids were small, I used to pray this prayer for them: “God, please surround my kids today with positive people; people who will build them up and not tear them down; people who will point them to God and not to the world; people who will bring the best and not the worst in them.”

    Speaking of prayer, ever since my children were born, I have prayed what I call the 3 P’s for them. 1. The first “P” is for protection (from the world, from the enemy of their souls and from themselves); 2. The second “P” is for purpose (I want my children to totally immerse themselves in the purpose of God for their lives. I don’t want them to rest until they find that purpose. And though I don’t want them to be miserable, until they find that purpose, I want them to be restless); 3. The third “P” is for a partner (think about this: there is a good chance that your children’s future partners are already living somewhere, people are shaping their lives, and decisions that will change them forever are being made). If you are not in the habit of praying the 3 P’s for your children, you should start that today.

    So, to recap, the first lesson God wants us to learn through His precious children is that we need to treat children as Jesus’ friends, not a burden.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

  • ivanildotrindade 10:45 pm on September 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: children who lead, doing the right thing, integrity, youngest sibling   

    Children who lead 

    If your family is like mine, every year we take our obligatory family Christmas picture. We usually stand by the Christmas tree and goof off. Being who I am, I try to get that done as quickly as I can so I can get back to eating Christmas food again… I don’t know exactly why we do that. We don’t really share the picture with others, we don’t even share it with each other sometimes. I guess just the thought that the picture is archived somewhere gives us a good feeling that we Christmas was complete…

    Well, as the years have gone by, we’ve added others to our family picture. First we added Wandy, my son’s formerly cute and small yorkiepoo (he is rather round and scary now), then we added Izzy, Carolina’s always beautiful cockapoo. And last year we finally added another human, Paul, our beloved son-in-law.

    Trying to get humans and animals in pictures is a ticket to bizarre land sometimes. So it happened this past year that in one of our pictures, the one we thought we all looked good in, Wandy decided to pose, but not for a Christmas-rated picture… I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that the flash of the camera may have gotten Wandy a little too excited as he stood next to Izzy. (I mean in the picture he is no longer standing). It happened so fast we didn’t see it… until we all checked the picture on the digital camera!

    We all started laughing pretty hard and one sibling, who shall remain unnamed here, requested the picture so she could post it to her Facebook page. My son, 17, (he will be 18 in November), rebuked his sister and told her that this is the sort of thing you should never post anywhere publicly.

    I can’t tell you how proud I was of his resolve. That day my son taught me that integrity is not related to age, order of birth or experience. He showed me that what the Bible says is true — sometimes God uses the lips of the “little ones” to talk sense into the heads of the older ones who should know better.

    From the time he was little, my son has always been very focused on doing the right thing no matter what. Sometimes I want him just to relax, but deep down in my heart I pray that he will remain this way throughout his entire life and will continue to lead many by his young but wise hands.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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