How to Help in the Philippines
On Nov. 8, typhoon Haiyan ripped across the island of the Phillipines completely destroying towns and leaving as many 10,000 dead (according to CNN). I’ve been praying constantly for our brothers and sisters over there and wanted to offer you some options to help if you would like. All of the following organizations are works that are supported by and serve through churches of Christ.
1. Shepherd’s Hill International: This is a ministry founded by Philippine missionary Salvador Cariaga. They operate Arapel Christian Camp, Bible schools, Give a Goat ministry, and support orphanages. The weather channel actually interviewed Salvador after the storm. He is the lead person for coordinating relief efforts for churches of Christ in the northern area of the island. Their website is: www.shepherdshill.org or you can call 817 480 1287.
2. Healing Hands International: They are partnering with Christian Relief Fund and Mark VanDyke, Director of the Cebu Bible College in Cebu City who is supported by the Southside Church of Christ in Lexington, KY. You can send support on their website hhi.org or call 615 832 2000 for more information.
3. Christian Relief Fund: They are partners with Salvador Cariaga in the Arapel Children’s home. They report that all 100 of their children survived the disaster in a basement on their property. They report that almost all of their buildings were destroyed. Their website is: www.christianrelieffund.org or you can call 1-800-858-4038.
4. Disaster Assistance CoC: Mike Baumgartner and his team are always at the forefront of disasters around the world. They usually set up at the local church and distribute food and necessities from there. He reports on his facebook page that representatives from the above mentioned groups are meeting today (Tuesday) in Ft. Worth, Texas to plan a means of support and assistance. Their website is: www.disasterassistancecoc.com.
Keep praying for our brothers and sisters in the Phillipines. And pray for all those affected. These groups are on the ground serving in the name of Christ. Let’s help in any way we can. –C.Fry
This week’s lesson from our Unique VBS Series is “God’s Unique Creation.” Psalm 19 is the basis for this lesson, which begins: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” It is amazing to me that God paints a beautiful, magnificent sunset every single evening. And not just that, he paints beauty across the sky every single morning as well! The shades of green in the trees, the crash of the ocean’s waves, and the smell of the rain—all declare the glory of God.
One commonality among all human beings is the recognition of the beauty and splendor of the natural world around us. It doesn’t matter what you believe, all of us marvel at the sunsets, mountains, and oceans. However, there is a fundamental difference between the Christian and the non-believer: we realize that all this beauty points to the one true and living God. We don’t worship the creation. We worship the Creator. We admire the sunset, but it is just glimpse of the glow of our Lord. The mountains are enormous, but they are a mere pebble in comparison with our Maker.
So, we teach our kids to enjoy our world around us but with a healthy view that we worship God and Him alone. The ocean’s waves and the bird’s songs are for His glory. We are stewards of this world realizing that we own nothing but are entrusted with much. And, when we have the right perspective, we gain small glimpses of the Heaven that awaits us. –C.Fry
I wish I’d spent more time at work. I wish I’d watched more TV. I wish I’d spent less time playing with my kids/grandkids. I wish I’d checked Facebook more. I wish I‘d spent more money on myself. I wish I’d kept the house cleaner. I wish I’d read my Bible less. I wish I had missed Wednesday night Bible class more. I wish I went on less dates with my wife.
I wish we’d slept in on Sunday more. I wish I’d bought more stuff and wasted more money. I wish I’d visited others less. I wish I had worried more. I wish I’d yelled more. I wish I’d skipped more church events. I wish I’d gotten more sleep. I wish I’d given in to temptations more. I wish I’d prayed less. I wish I’d argued over trivial matters more. I wish I had given less. I wish I had played more computer/video games. I wish I had gossiped more. I wish I had been more critical. I wish I had complained more.
I’m glad I never stopped to help anyone when I was in a hurry. I’m glad I never had people in home for a meal. I’m glad I was annoyed when my kids asked me to play with them. I’m glad I never taught Bible class because it was too much trouble. I’m glad I never stepped out of my comfort zone. I’m glad I never volunteered for anything because I was too busy. I’m glad I held those grudges. I’m glad I was less passionate. I’m glad I never went on a mission trip. I’m glad I never confessed my secret sins. I’m glad I was too proud or too embarrassed to go forward at church. I’m glad I didn’t take care of my health. I’m glad I was so busy. I’m glad I looked for others to encourage me instead of me encouraging them. I’m glad I never led anyone to Christ. –C.Fry
I know a lot of people set resolutions every new year. And a lot of people don’t keep those resolutions. Therefore, some people have a negative view of resolutions. Personally, I don’t necessarily like resolutions, however I LOVE goals. That’s something my dad taught me. He always told me that you’ve got to have personal goals to give you direction. Then develop tangible plans to achieve those goals.
For the last five to six years, I’ve set personal goals for myself. I pray about them, write them out, then keep them in a place where I won’t forget about them. Currently, I keep a list of them in a file on my phone. For example, I had a goal to read 24 books last year (outside of study and sermon/class prep). After each book I read, I would make a note of it in my phone. Unfortunately, I only read 20, but to me that’s not failure. If I hadn’t had that goal, I’m sure I would have read much less. This year my goal is 22.
I set goals in 7 specific areas: Spiritual, Physical, Personal Development, Family, Social, Career, and Financial. Now, I don’t have huge lists of goals under each area. Some areas may have just one or two main goals while others may have five or six. The point is to examine yourself and God’s direction for your life. Some goals I set are easier, while some are purposefully harder. I hope to reach just over half of my goals each year. That way, I know I’m setting some goals high while others are more achievable.
Prov. 16:3 says, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” The new year is a good time to take stock of your life and direction. Just because it’s January 9th doesn’t mean you can’t make goals for your life. And if you don’t stick to them in the future, make new ones that are simpler with plans for attaining them. Dan Miller’s website 48days.net has a worksheet that will help you set goals in each of the areas I mentioned. Remember: indecision is the greatest thief of opportunity. –C.Fry
I can’t put into words how encouraging and uplifting this past Sunday was. I am really, really excited to see how God will work through the 28 people who accepted Sunday’s challenge. As I was watching people come forward to give more or to receive, I kept hearing Hebrews 10:24 in my head, “Let us consider how we may SPUR one another on toward love and good deeds.”
The Greek word for spur is paroxysmos which literally means to provoke or to incite. The word is generally used in a negative sense like in Acts 13:50 where the Jews incited or stirred up persecution for Paul and Barnabas. But the Hebrew writer uses it in a positive sense to provoke fellow believers to love more and do good. This word carries with it strong emotion. It is not some boring guideline or half-hearted warning. It is GET UP AND DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR SOMEONE ELSE!
You see, we need to be pushed to do good. We, like sheep, get easily distracted. We get in routines. We easily become selfish. We forget about those around us who may be hurting. We need to be constantly reminding each other: to keep serving, to keep loving, to keep sharing the Good News. This is why Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembly. You need to be incited to do good work by fellow Christians.
I’m so glad to be a part of a community of faith that doesn’t just do church on Sundays, but rather we ARE the church—taking the love of Christ outside our walls. You have a chance every day to do good to others. Don’t let it pass you by. Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed 100, then just feed one.” That’s the kind of attitude we must have. Let’s get our spurs out and DO GREAT THINGS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. –C.Fry
Choose to serve or choose to be a servant?
I was inspired by the heart and passion of our church family this past Sunday night. Over 140 boxes were prepared for families in Dyer County. That’s 140 families that will be impacted for the name of Christ. I pledge to you that every time I give a box to someone, I will share how members of this church gave with the love and heart of Christ. I will take the opportunity to let them know that we are just paying forward the blessings of our Lord.
Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline has an amazing chapter on Christian service. He has some really great thoughts that I would like to share. Foster defines the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant.
When you choose to serve, you are still in charge. You serve on your terms. You can serve once a week, once a month, or just whenever you feel like it. You can choose to give sacrificially or out of abundance, but it is still a decision to give when you want to. While good, this is not truly being a servant. Most Christians choose to serve this way.
But when you choose to be a servant you give up every right to be in charge. You decide to be a servant—every day, all the time. You may have to serve when you don’t want to or feel like it. Someone may approach you for money or help and you don’t have time to deal with it. When we choose to be a servant, we surrender the right to decide who and when we will serve. We are servants, and no matter when, what, or where, we serve. Wow, that is tough!
Actually, there is great freedom in this. If we voluntarily choose to be a servant, we are choosing to be taken advantage of. We cannot be manipulated. Someone may take advantage of what we do or give, but we have already made the decision to be a servant so we literally CANNOT be taken advantage of. We become available and vulnerable as servants of the King.
These are challenging thoughts, but I want to be a servant for Christ—every day, all the time. The result of that choice is time-consuming, costly, and difficult. But how can we not serve like Christ? –C.Fry
Tests or Testimony?
I love what Paul says in Philipians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” When Paul wrote this, he was under house arrest in Rome. He literally had a Roman guard chained to him 24 hours a day (cf. Acts 28:16, Phil. 1:7, 13, 14). This is not how Paul probably envisioned his path to preach the gospel in the great capital of Rome.
The Greek word for advance here is prokope. It is a military term and originally meant to cut away the underbrush or clear the way so the troops could come through. In other words, it was the removal of barriers or obstacles so the army could advance to battle.
The Holy Spirit reveals to us and revealed to Paul, that what seemed like a huge obstacle (being chained to a guard inside a house for over two years) was actually an advancement of the gospel. Verses 13 and 14 tell us that the entire palace guard (some 9000 specialized Roman guards) knew of Jesus and the Roman church preached with more courage as a result of Paul’s imprisonment.
You see, God is a specialist in taking obstacles and turning them into opportunities. For Christians, God is working good out of all that seems bad (Rom. 8:28). If we empty ourselves and surrender our will to His, He takes our tests and turns them into testimony. For Christ followers, God never wastes a hurt. He always has a purpose behind our struggles. Many times we can’t see why. We have to trust Him and lean not on own understanding (Prov. 3:5). Christian, take heart in your troubles and remember, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)!! –C.Fry
Your Child/Teen Needs Time with You
School has started and our busy lives are cranking up! I know this from experience and from witnessing our families. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics confirms it by concluding that kids' lives are overscheduled way before they enter their teenage years. Research proves that when kids have little unstructured playtime, they fail to develop creativity, problem-solving skills, or discover their true talents and interests. They literally don’t have time! Here’s a few suggestions for managing a new school year.
- Begin everything with Prayer. I probably don’t have to tell you to pray for your kids. But what about praying for the time you spend with your kids? Praying for your schedule? Psalm 31:15 says, “My times are in your hands…” Place your times and lives in the hands of God. He will carry you, sustain you, and bless you.
- Commit yourself to your goals and don’t give in when you’re tired. Yesterday evening, we took the kids to the park after dinner. It was fun and relaxing. However, when we got back home, we were running past bedtime. So getting the kids bathed and ready for bed was a blur. I was tired and my temptation was to put them in bed as soon as possible--skipping devo time. I had to overcome fatigue to continue to teach an important truth to my kids--we finish our day with prayers, songs, and talking about God. Busy lives cause fatigue. Fatigue makes cowards of us (Vince Lombardi). Don’t let weariness get in the way of spending important, quality time with your kids and teens.
- Say “No.” We, as parents, say “No” a lot to our kids. But what about saying to “No” to commitments? It’s hard! Good things are many times the enemy of the best things. You can’t be at every birthday party, sports event, school activity, or whatever else gets planned. So don’t try. Vickie and I battle to keep our life as simple as possible. Our kids just need time with us—not great vacations, restaurants, or entertainment. Just us.
Your kids and teens just need you! That is a liberating and freeing thought.
Don’t worry that your kids will miss out if they don’t participate or experience a certain activity or event. Just worry if they aren’t spending time with you. –C.Fry
Stay-At-Home Moms Work?
Democratic strategist Hillary Rosen set off a political firestorm last week for her comments about Ann Romney, Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom and raising five boys. Rosen said of Romney, “Guess what – she has actually never worked a day in her life.” Uh-oh! Let’s talk about this for a minute.
I am proud to say that my wife is a stay-at-home WORKER! She is part housekeeper, cook, teacher, laundry machine operator, CEO, van driver, psychologist, computer operator, janitor, and facilities manager! According to Salary.com, the annual compensation of a stay-at-home is worth $134,121. Let me repeat that: A stay-at-home mom’s salary should be over $130,000. I’d call that work!!
In 2010, there were roughly 5 million stay-at-home moms accounting for 23% of married couple families. That means the majority of mothers are working moms. However, when looking at the data more closely we see that 55% of mothers of kids age 6 and under are working mothers. That means that 45% of mothers with small children are staying home. A common trend is for mothers to begin working outside the home as the kids go off to school.
So when someone says a stay-at-home mom doesn’t work, they are gravely mistaken! Working mothers (both outside the home and inside the home) are underappreciated in our society! Like Prov. 31:10 says: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (emp. added) –C.Fry