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Showing our faith

       We may have read the Bible today, but have we done it in front of the people we are leading?  Often times, we do things in private that could be helpful to do them more in public as well.  This isn't to glorify ourselves and "make us look good," but rather, it can help set an example for others to see what we truly value in life.  Yes, Jesus tells us to do things in private.  In Matthew 6:6, He says, "But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."  But sometimes we forget that just a few chapters later, God calls us to live out our faith publicly as well when Jesus says, "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven."

       Setting an example for our kids, family, coworkers, friends, and spouses by proclaiming the grace of Christ is something we should do daily.  And this can be done through prayer, reading, singing, or simply being silent.  One example of someone living that out is my spouse.  When she wakes up, she immediately opens her Bible to study the word.  And she does this so often that even the cat knows!  The cat will run over to her and put his paws on the Bible as if to turn the pages.  No, obviously the cat isn't reading (I think it just likes the feel of the super thin pages), but it knows from watching every day what's going to happen.  What would our families look like if we saw each other consistently reading God's word each day?  Check out leading researcher Kara Powell's great illustration and incredible article below.

Discussion questions with MS students: What do I spend most of my time doing? What are one or two things I can't go a day without doing? How many times a week do you see me pray? Read? Sit in silence? What are the most important things in my life?

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Going Pro?

       My child is not going to be a professional athlete.  Read that sentence again.  My child is not going to be a professional athlete.  Your child is not going to be a professional athlete.  The kid across the street, that dominates opposing teams, is not going to be a professional athlete.  Let's just face it, that's a fact.  Having a professional athlete is like catching lightning in a bottle...literally.  The chances of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 12,000) are significantly greater than the chances of being a professional athlete (1 in 24,550).  Think about all the people you know that have been struck by lightning and let that comparison sink in...

       So what difference does this make?  It has to change the way we view sports and other recreational activities.  Simply keeping this thought in the forefront of our minds keeps us from losing focus on what's really important.  Things like teamwork, humility, passion, discipline, respect, leadership, and commitment are all more important than the development of a particular level of "talent."  Because no matter how many games one plays, how difficult the competition is, or what kind of equipment one takes an absurd amount of God-given talent to be a professional athlete.  As a new season of sports ends and others begin, let's keep this in mind when cheering on a team, yelling at a referee, encouraging a student's actions, or skipping a practice.  What's really important?

Discussion questions with middle school students: Do you feel like you're too active in something? What's the most important thing in rec activities? What things have you learned from playing? How do you balance reality, hopes, dreams, and what God calls you to be?

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