Model It – It’s Just a Phase

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“Do as I say; not as I do.”

Most of us have heard this admonitory phrase at some point in our lives, but how many of us know its origin? In doing some research, I found that variations of this phrase have been penned for generations.

  • June 24, 1911 the Spectator published this advice: “It has always been considered allowable to say to children, ‘Do as I say rather than as I do.’”
  • The book Table Talk, written by John Selden in 1654 and posthumously published in 1689 says, “Preachers say, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’”
  • In 1546, John Heywood was quoted as saying, “It is as folk do, and not as folk say.”
  • In the 12th century, the Anglo-Saxons were known to say, “Although I do worse than I teach you, do not do as I do, but do as I teach you if I teach you well.”
  • And I saved the best for last—between 80 and 90 AD, Jesus said, “So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach” (Matthew 23:3).

Last weekend, we had the privilege of listening to a panel of parents who are in different phases and stages of parenting bestow pearls of wisdom they have amassed over the years. Ben and Lauren Snyder gave us three clear, repeatable values with which to equip our kids to be capable in life and to win outside of the home environment. These three values are:

  1. To be respectful—treat others as they would like to be treated.
  2. To be responsible—take care of others’ things as they would like their things to be taken care of.
  3. To be safe—make wise choices given the circumstances around them.

Ben and Lauren model these values, keeping in mind the family goal of “relationship.” A foundation on a relationship with Jesus is primary, and they are always striving to maintain relationships with their children. They also navigate the challenges among their kids so they will maintain relationships with each other. Their hope is to build a foundation, so 50 years from now, their families will be drawn to each other and want to spend time together.

Remember that our kids are watching and listening to how we respond to life’s challenges. We need to equip them with positive techniques so they will be prepared for the future when they too face difficulties.

1 Corinthians 11:1
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Christians in Corinth because he knew they needed an example to follow, and he was willing to be that example. It was not “Paul” whom the Corinthians should follow, but rather, “Paul the Christ follower.”

As Christ followers, we need to model Jesus’ teachings to show others what life is really all about. We should forgive everyone and get our satisfaction from helping and serving others, just as Jesus did. He washed the disciples’ feet so they would understand why he was here and what they needed to do. Being a role model was an important part of his ministry; similarly, role modeling should be an important part of our lives.

Questions:
Have you ever told your kids to do as you say and not as you do? If so, how could you have handled this in a way that reflects Jesus?

Are you modeling a life worth imitating, a life as a Christ follower? If not, what could you do to rectify this?

Can you see any benefits of modeling Jesus to others? If so, what are they?

Next Steps:
Make a list of characteristics that Jesus exhibited while he was on earth. Now decide how to incorporate these characteristics into your life. Make a plan of how to overcome the challenges of truly modeling these characteristics.

Our series, It’s Just a Phase, is ending, but the Family Faith Plan remains available. If you haven’t looked at it yet, check it out today.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to this world. Grant me wisdom so I may know the characteristics of Jesus. Give me the courage to be a role model to others, just as Jesus was a role model to the disciples. Open my eyes so I may see the benefits of modeling Jesus to others. In his name I pray, amen.


This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.


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The Wisdom of Listening – It’s Just a Phase

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Last weekend, Findlay Campus Pastor Chris Baney led a discussion with a panel of parents who offered their wisdom specific to various family phases. What a wealth of information! The discussion about the art of listening hit me hard. As often happens, my thoughts turned to my unfulfilled wish that I had known, better understood, and practiced the art of listening. Undoubtedly, it would have served me in meaningful ways in multiple relationships over the years. Possibly you can relate to this same harsh reality.

If a redo in life was possible, I would have made a point of becoming a better listener. As I reflect, decades ago, when one Christian friend reached deep into my heart and soul by engaging in the simple (but challenging) act of listening to comments I shared in an adult Sunday school class, I sincerely regret not intentionally developing that skill.

To this day, it moves me when I recall that encounter. The genuine care and concern exhibited by his words were undeniable. He listened to my words with his heart. Consequently, he took what I shared and made them a matter of weekly prayer alongside his wife! Now, there is a gift you cannot buy at the store or purchase online! To receive such a gift is beyond description. In retrospect, it is now clear that  offering such a gift is similarly beyond description!

How different would our immediate families be if we decided to give the gift of listening to one another—even to the ones with the innate ability to push our buttons? Engaging in healthy dialog truly takes effort, but it is so worth it! In an emotionally healthy family, kids (young and old alike) know it is safe to come to us about anything—no matter the topic! Requesting feedback is never without merit, nor is asking: “What do you think?” “Where are you at with it?” “What is your goal?”

Be encouraged—having difficulty listening is not a new problem! And having listening difficulties is not going away anytime soon. But the good news remains: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31b). As we lean into him, he welcomes us and offers his strength to us. So, give the gift quickly, as James suggests: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).

Questions:
Do you consider yourself a good listener? Would your closest associates consider you a good listener? Do you step into intentionally listening when others speak? Do you find yourself frustrated by not being heard when you speak? Have you experienced really being heard?

Next Steps:
Reflect on recent verbal interactions. Identify both strengths and weaknesses exhibited by others when conversing with you. Identify both strengths and weaknesses exhibited by you when conversing with others. Identify steps you can take to become a better listener. Ask God to reveal areas of brokenness that may possibly be making it difficult for you to really listen to others.

Check out more family hacks from the weekend panel.
How to Parent Through Conflict and Lead Your Family Spiritually?

How to Parent Through Teen Years and Prepare For An Empty Nest?

How to Parent In A Blended Family?

How to Navigate Cultural Questions You Are Not Prepared For?

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your great patience with me as I uncover yet another area of weakness in my character. Thank you for not condemning me in these areas. Thank you for the opportunity to improve my interactions with others—particularly becoming a better listener. Please empower me with your strength in applying the powerful healing salve of your word to the broken areas buried in my soul. May your power in me push aside my own thoughts and my own agendas when others communicate. Help me to always communicate to others that they matter to you and that they matter to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Karen Peck. Karen retired in March 2018 from Lucas County Information Services. She has been married over forty years. Karen rejoices over God’s faithfulness and God’s patience in her life and in her marriage. Nothing matters more to Karen than her relationship with God and her entire family. Her immeasurable faith in Christ and His ability to restore the broken runs deep within.


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Did I Blow It? – It’s Just a Phase

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I was not a Christian for the first 23 years of my daughter’s life. Despite being brought up in an intact home and attending church several times a week, I left that faith to pursue my own definition of happiness. That decision, while an unconscious one, took me places I never imagined in my worst nightmares. It also meant I did not create the loving, safe, and secure environment my kids deserved.

Thankfully, God waited patiently for me to come to the end of myself, but much damage had been done in the process. My daughter had fled to Florida to pursue her idea of happiness, far from her now (overly) enthusiastic, Jesus-loving mother. Just because God had forgiven my sins didn’t mean she would. I had been attending a 12-step program for a couple of years when I decided to apply those same steps to my relationship with her.

For those who have previously listened to me talk about my story, you may recall how passionate I am about it. It’s my belief that many could take advantage of the perspective working through the 12 Steps can bring. For those unfamiliar with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, you can easily Google them. Steps 1-3 are about acknowledging our need for God to help us change our behavior. Step 4 requires that we take a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. I needed to take a look at my past and write down the ways I had participated in hurting and alienating my daughter. Step 5 instructs us to share that list with God and someone else—how humiliating but necessary!

James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Step 6 says we are entirely ready to ask God to remove these defects of character, while in Step 7, we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. Now to the nitty gritty! Step 8 required me to make a list of all the persons I had harmed and be willing to make amends. In Step 9, we make those amends, unless doing so could injure someone.

Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift at the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then offer your gift.

Over a period of years, my daughter and I began to establish trust again. We talked about the harm and injury that were done. I took responsibility for my neglect and my selfishness. I apologized for the hurt I caused her. I communicated my love for her and my desire to restore our relationship—with Jesus at the center.

After 14 years of praying, talking, not talking, and the misunderstandings and clarifications that go with restoring a relationship, my daughter came to know the Lord. She experienced the forgiveness and love Jesus offers us all. Through that mutual love and focus on Jesus—and his forgiveness of us—we restored our relationship. The sweetest words she has said to me are, “Mom, I love you. You did the best you could at the time.”

Ephesians 4:32
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Steps 10-12 are maintenance and opportunities for on-going repentance, restoration, and telling others about God’s goodness! My daughter and I are committed to working these steps and proclaiming God’s goodness in our lives!

This weekend, Dr. Jason Brauer shared a few key steps to repairing broken relationships. He encouraged us to put things in perspective, acknowledge the  fault, and apologize. By using the 12 Steps, I was able to put things in perspective and not only acknowledge my responsibility but also what hadn’t been my responsibility. I apologized for my part in our dysfunctional relationship and received the forgiveness my daughter offered! I didn’t blow it after all—all thanks be to God!

Questions:
Have you ever thought about making a list of people you have harmed through your words or actions? Who in your life needs to hear you say, “I’m sorry”? Can you say it without a “but” where you try to justify your actions based on something they did?

Next Steps:
Look up the 12 Steps of AA or the steps of Celebrate Recovery. Take a personal and searching moral inventory of yourself. Share your inventory with a trusted friend, and prayerfully consider what God might want you to do with it.

For more information on Celebrate Recovery click here.

Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;  trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen (Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr).


This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.


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Who is Ahead of You?- It’s Just a Phase

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At 27 years old, I was a bachelor who said, “Oh, I’m never getting married and having kids.” Now, as I inch closer to my 42nd chapter in life, I couldn’t imagine not being married for almost 14-years and having four uniquely different kids.

During my first year of marriage, I became a father to my 7-year-old son and my firstborn daughter. Doubling the challenges of parenthood brought a lot of questions. Add to that, as a military family, we moved a lot! Our oldest child started elementary school in Germany and later journeyed to D.C., San Diego, and suburban Virginia, where he graduated high school.

I had no doubts about whom I wanted to be to my children, but navigating toward the answers wasn’t easy. A pastor in Washington, D.C., told me, “You don’t have room to grow if you’re always the smartest person in your core group of friends.” There’s value to gain from those who are one or more steps ahead.

Unfortunately, my father wasn’t an option as a source of wisdom, my mother’s time in this world had long ended, and too many of my friends with kids weren’t ready to grow up. My grandparents raised my siblings and me to the best of their abilities, but they relied on the knowledge of their adult children to help them parent us in the 1990s. My wife’s (Erica) parents did a splendid job raising her and her brothers. However, they didn’t have experience parenting in so many different environments or raising a family in the digital age. Fortunately, Erica did have experience as a single mother. Still, parenting as a team was uncharted territory for her as well.

Proverbs 13:20
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Luckily, we leaned on other military families over the years who had similar experiences and challenges with their children. It has been a blessing to be able to rely on the knowledge and experience of our friends and family who had  traveled the road before.

When it came time to equip two of our children with cell phones, we asked other parents how they handled things. Their advice on safety and mentorship of our kids was invaluable. Some parents recommended great apps they had safely and successfully used for their kids.

As Proverbs 13:20 says and we chose to abide by, “Walk with the wise and become wise …” It’s essential to have quality mentorship. If you only surround yourself with others at the same level of experience as yourself,you will learn how to fail more than  how to succeed.

Questions:
Do you see yourself more as a frustrated parent than a successful parent? Do you seek advice from experienced parents?

Next Steps:
Look for adults who have more parenting experience than you and ask them for mentorship. Go to cedarcreek.tv/groups and find a parenting group to join.

Our series, It’s Just a Phase, is ending, but the Family Faith Plan remains available. If you haven’t checked it out yet, check it out today.

Prayer:
God, thank you for charging me with the responsibility of parenthood. Let me remember that my kids are a gift from you to raise and equip to go out into the world. Forgive me when I fall short of expectations. Humble me to ask my children for forgiveness as you have forgiven me. Let me discern between the parenting advice I receive to help make the best decisions for raising my family. Amen.


This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


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Are You Searching for Wisdom?- It’s Just a Phase

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Findlay Campus Pastor Chris Baney helped wrap up our current series, It’s Just a Phase, by introducing an important part of the conversation—wisdom. At this weekend’s service, a panel of parents discussed a variety of parenting topics and offered us wisdom on navigating them in  our own families. The panel included a variety of insightful voices, representing different stages of life and different family dynamics.

Although I am single, I’m figuring out what I want my family dynamic to look like in the future. No matter the phase we are in, we can all gain wisdom from those who have already experienced what we have yet to go through. The bottom line is: “Wisdom applied today produces God’s greater story for your family in the phases of tomorrow.”

The Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament of the Bible is an excellent source of wisdom. In it, King Solomon writes letters to his son about searching for wisdom. This guidance is so precious because it challenges us to think about our relationship with wisdom.

Proverbs 2:2-4
2 Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3 Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. 4 Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.

These verses challenge us to search for wisdom. We should all seek it  as if it is a hidden treasure. When I was a little girl, I once found an oyster shell on the beach that I hoped might contain a pearl. But instead of opening it,  I kept it in my room and never even attempted to break it open to see what was inside. When I was older, I threw it away, and consequently, I’ll never know what treasure it might have had.

Wisdom is a lot like that seashell. When you find something of potential worth, you are not meant to store it away. Instead, you should seek it out, pray for God’s guidance, and then take a step of trust and follow through. Apply the wisdom you are pursuing today to produce God’s greater story for you and your family in this phase and the next .

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Questions:
What would you do if you knew gold was buried somewhere in your backyard? Do you search for wisdom with the same energy?

How do you pursue wisdom in your life?

Next Steps:
Join a group and listen for wise voices to speak into your life. Challenge yourself to pursue wisdom.

Check out more family hacks from the weekend panel.
How to Parent Through Conflict and Lead Your Family Spiritually

How to Parent Through Teen Years and Prepare for an Empty Nest

How to Parent in a Blended Family

How to Navigate Cultural Questions You Are Not Prepared For


Prayer:
God, I pray for wisdom. I am dealing with tension in my family, but I don’t have all the answers on how to navigate it. I trust you. I want to search for wisdom like hidden treasure. When I find it, I pray I won’t hide it but embrace and utilize its  worth. Show me what path to take. I pray for your will, even though I don’t have all the answers. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Rebecca Roberts, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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Do the Awkward Thing – It’s Just a Phase

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Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder explained our undeniable need for God, spouses, parents, children, and siblings and offered several ways to draw us closer to all of them.

How do we restart a stalled relationship with our families? We choose to put down our pride and do that awkward thing.

Let go of the need to be perceived as the boss or wiser than everyone else. Repent of that pride, and reintroduce yourself to your family by bringing back an old cherished family tradition—or start a new one. Should we start a squirt gun fight with our siblings or dance while standing on our dads’ feet? Probably not, but you get the picture.

When my boys were young, I’d hide plastic Easter eggs filled with quarters, dimes, and nickels in the yard. They loved that game … then they grew up and left home. Sure they came by for Easter, but it transitioned into eating and then leaving, instead of celebrating our salvation and love for one another. So one year when they were in their 20s, I made up plastic sandwich bags tied with ribbon and hid them around the front yard. When I said they had to find their Easter treats before they could go home, they moaned and looked irritated. That is until they picked up the first bag and found ammo in it … the hunt was on! Yes, it was a little awkward, but it was a silly reminder of who we are to each other. A reminder that they are as loved and as valuable now as the day they were born.

It’s also important to include family in the more difficult, awkward things. For example, when their dad was sick with Alzheimer’s disease, one of my sons would take his dad out for ice cream and a car ride so I could go to the store, etc. My other son was willing and able to come to the nursing home with me to visit his dad when he became too sick to stay at home. Why did they do it? I’d say loyalty, love, and godly commitment to emulate what their dad taught them.

Please don’t let pride or fear stop you from engaging in life with your parents, siblings, and children. They are precious gifts from God that he created and gave specifically to you. Cherish, love, and definitely, dance with them.

Question:
Are you suffering from any strained family relationships? What did you do to contribute to the breakdown? Or, what haven’t you done to restore it?

Next Steps:
If you think that everything that is wrong with your family is someone else’s fault, or that it’s all your fault, check out Celebrate Recovery at 7 p.m. on Fridays at all the CedarCreek campuses. It’s OK to not be OK, but maybe it’s time to find freedom from your hurts, habits, and hang ups (including fractured relationships). Check out the CedarCreek.tv/celebraterecovery.

Prayer:
Lord, we praise your name. Life can be so hard, so painful, and so sad. Thank you for walking through every relationship with us. As we draw near you through prayer and reading your Word, help us know you more. Use our relationship with family and friends to bring us to a deeper relationship with you and others. Please never let us waiver from our desire to draw our loved ones into the light of your love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.


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Be a Foundation of Faith – It’s Just a Phase

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I am so grateful that my dad taught me to make Jesus a priority in my life. Every weekend, he took my brothers and me to church. My mom was not of the same faith, so she did not attend. If we stayed the night at someone’s house on a church day, Dad would pick us up and take us to church and return us back to our friend’s house afterward. Children do what they see, not what they hear. My dad’s faithfulness in going to church influenced my life. I grew to know and love Jesus because of him.

This weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder shared that one way we build trust in our families is by helping each other discover the God who made us. My grandparents laid a foundation for my dad that taught him who God is, and he laid the same foundation for me. They were amazing Christian people. If you were at their home on a Saturday afternoon, you went to church with them, and they always took you to dinner afterward. My grandpa was an usher at his church. I remember him “retiring” from ushering a few times, but if he was needed, he always stepped in to serve.

My grandma rarely scolded me. I remember as a teenager a time when my friend and I were staying at their home for a weekend. As usual, we went to church with them. Prior to that day, I had never realized how bad of a singer my grandma was. As my friend and I were trying not to laugh, Grandma gave me “the look.” She handed me a song book, and I knew I had better start singing. I treasure that memory. My grandma was stressing the importance of worshiping God in song.

My grandparents were a strong Christian influence on me growing up. They were always there for me, especially during my teenage years, which were extremely difficult. My mom died tragically when I was 16, and they became my rock. I felt their love and prayers so strongly. In my early 20s, when I was doing something they did not approve of, they firmly and lovingly spoke to me about it. They made their opinion known and never brought it up again. That experience helped get me back on track.

My dad and grandparents’ love and actions built the foundation of my faith. I am so grateful to them, and to all the many people who have loved and mentored me along my faith journey. My hope and prayer is that God will use me to mentor others on their faith journeys.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Questions:
Who has mentored you on your faith journey? How did they do this? Who are you mentoring?

Next Steps:
Print out the Family Faith Plan for each of your children at
cedarcreek.tv/familyfaithplan to see what you can learn and implement.  Share this resource with another parent.

Find a way to help others on their faith journey. Bring a friend to church, read the Bible to a child, teach a child how to pray. Be creative.

Prayer:
Jesus, I praise you and thank you for all the people who have made a  difference in my life and helped draw me closer to you. I am so grateful that they allowed your amazing love to shine through them. I beg you to let your light and love shine through me. You are such an amazing God! Amen.


This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

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Honoring Each Other – It’s Just a Phase

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Have you ever received a “surprise” from one of your kids or siblings? The sort of surprise that ends up being a mud pie or a sparkly art project that you know has leaked glitter all over the house? The giver really just wants to bring a smile to your face or to hear you say, “Wow!” or “That is really special.” But it is so tempting to get frustrated or act impatient over the mess they’ve made. It is so easy to see the sin in others’ actions instead of God’s image—to point out what is wrong instead of what is right.

Lead Pastor Ben Snyder spoke last weekend about how to fight for relationships. He told us to “focus on FIGHTING FOR your family instead of FIGHTING WITH them.” There are many ways to fight with your family, and they all break trust. Whereas, fighting for your family is a means to build trust.

Romans 12:10
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Emphasis added.)

Building trust is a way of honoring your family. That doesn’t mean agreeing with them all the time or thinking they are perfect. An honor is “a rare opportunity, one that causes pride or pleasure.” When you are honoring your family, you are drawing attention to something that, when it happens, brings you delight and satisfaction.

One way of building trust is to point out the image of God in your family more than sin. When I see my parents or siblings serving each other, being generous, or working hard, it is an opportunity for me to step in and tell them how I see God working in them. It is such a small action, but it builds trust.

Another way to build trust is to catch them doing something right. If I notice my little sister waiting patiently, I can tell her how much I appreciate it. When I see my brothers doing a chore without being asked, I can tell them how much I admire their responsibility, rather than saying they should do that more often. I can and should seize those opportunities to fight for my family.

Take delight in honoring each other. Choose to build trust by seeing how God is at work in your family, paying attention to even the smallest acts of goodness. When you do, you are not only honoring your family but also the way God is working through them.

Questions:
Who are the people in your life who you want to build trust with? What sort of difference would it make if you began to “take delight in honoring” your family?

Next Steps:
Pay attention this week to all of the times you see God at work in your family. Make sure to tell them some of the ways you see them doing the right thing.

Check out is this Family Faith Plan offered by CedarCreek. The Family Faith Plan gives you developmental and spiritual tools to engage with your child and help them take steps on their own spiritual journeys.

Prayer:
Father, you have created a longing for relationships inside of me. Help me to be someone who grows relationships and builds trust. Thank you for making me a part of your family. I want to become more like you, taking the time to honor the people you have placed in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Lydia Snyder. Lydia has been a story-lover for as long as she can remember, often found reading books or writing. She is thrilled to be making a difference by inspiring others to take part in the best story ever – God’s story. Lydia lives with her three wonderful siblings and two amazing parents.


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Lite Brite – It’s Just a Phase

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When my son was a preschooler, we gave him a Lite-Brite. You know, the toy with the little plastic pegs that light up? One day he decided to stick one of those little pegs up his nose, and it got stuck! Panic set in almost instantly when he realized that mommy couldn’t get it out. The more his dad and I struggled, the more upset he became. We decided to take him to the E.R.!

Luckily, Grandma Ruth got there just as we were leaving. With her kind sweet gentle demeanor, she put my little boy on her lap and comforted him. Once he was calm, she gained his trust, and he let her have a look at the situation. She pulled it right out!

Can you see the difference in approach here? Grandma may have been freaking out on the inside—but on the outside, she exuded calm, trust, and goodwill. BUILD TRUST: communicate in a way that builds value.  Grandma’s actions spoke “I am FOR YOU … for US.”

My children are all grown now.  They are all adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. They’re individuals with differing values and opinions on a lot of things. They don’t always agree!

Ephesians 4:29  
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

I think God is asking us to communicate according to others’ needs. During our interactions with others, we should listen empathetically and mirror their words to gain a better understanding. This process builds trust during the interaction. When we speak encouraging words it shows that we value the other person in the relationships.

Words are powerful! Proverbs 18:21 states, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” In our fast paced lives, our relationships would benefit from slowing down, taking a breath, and selecting our words wisely, so that they are life giving.

Questions:
Are you an active listener? Do you respond with life-giving words? Have you looked into the Family Faith Plan?

Next Steps:
Text Faithplan to 419-419-0707 and take a step toward building Christ-centered, life-giving relationships. Pray, and ask God whose life he is calling you to invest in.

Prayer:
Father, first I want to thank you for the people at CedarCreek Church who invest in the lives of those who seek to know you. I want to know you more and reflect on you better. Fill my heart with you until it overflows out of my mouth and gives life to the words on my tongue. Help me to build trust in my relationships. Put actions in my hands and my feet that reflect you. Let there always be less of me and more of you. In Jesus’ name, amen.


This post was written by Julie Estep. Julie loves her husband John and their combined five adult children and four grandchildren. Her favorite activities are walking their two dogs and golfing. She loves sharing her faith and is grateful for the chance to be a LIO contributor.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


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One Thing Worth Being Concerned About – It’s Just a Phase

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A couple of years ago, my elementary-aged daughter was outside playing with some new neighborhood friends. I gave her some rules for where she was allowed to go, but shortly after, I watched as she went way farther than I had permitted. Initially, I was upset at what felt like blatant disobedience. It had only been a couple of minutes since I told her the rules, and her behavior felt personal. I didn’t know these new friends or their families, and to see my daughter just walk off with them was shocking. When I got her back home, my instinct was to get upset, but I chose to calmly explain why the rule was made in the first place.

This weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder taught us that we should focus on FIGHTING FOR our family instead of FIGHTING WITH them. Although we may win the fight, he said we could lose the relationship. Relationships live or die when trust is built or broken, so Ben outlined some things we do that can break trust. Two of the things he mentioned were things I was very tempted to do during my situation: take things personally and correct in anger.

Luckily that day, I had time to consider my reaction and chose a better path—I corrected in love and recognized why my rules were so quickly forgotten. (She was caught up in the excitement of being with new friends.) In a moment that could have been handled from only emotions, I was fortunate enough to have the clarity to treat it with delicacy and forgiveness. Because of my calm demeanor, my daughter was able to rest in a trusting relationship and learn from her mistake, instead of feeling shame and distancing herself from me. As a parent, I don’t always get it right, but this choice felt good, and it built trust between the two of us.

We serve a relationship-driven God. He cares about our relationship with him, and our relationships with others. When Jesus stayed at the house of two sisters, Mary and Martha, Mary spent her time sitting with and listening to Jesus. Martha, on the other hand, spent her time preparing dinner while growing resentful of Mary for not doing her share of the work. She complained to Jesus, who replied, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

When we value relationships over being right, our relationships grow closer. No matter where we are or where we have been, today, let’s make a decision to focus on building trust. Over the next four days, we are going to focus on ways to achieve just that.

Questions:
Which relationship of yours comes to mind when considering the weekend message? How can you build trust? What trust-breaking habits can you be more cognizant of?

Next Steps:
Take a moment to read John 8:1-11. Pay attention to how Jesus treated the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Think of the ways he built trust instead of breaking it.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are the perfect example of how to love someone. It is so amazing that you want me to be in relationship with you! As I continue to grow in trusting you, help me to recognize how I can build trust in my relationships. Let me look to you for guidance and model how you built trust with people when they were in difficult situations. Help me to love others more like you do. Fill me with your love so that it may overflow into the lives of those around me. Amen.


This post was written by Ashlee Grosjean. Ashlee is a blogger at GratefulSheep.com and a stay-at-home mom and wife. She loves writing for this team, and she hopes to help convey God’s message through this study.


Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast

The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.


Leave a Comment?

We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.


Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?

We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!


Printable version of this week’s LIO study:

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More Resources

Series Theme Verses
LivingItOut Podcast
RightNow Media
John Reading Plan