Feeding Hungry Kids

It was a snowy day in West Michigan. So snowy, in fact, that schools had been canceled for the day. While many people were bundled up at home, the local police department was responding to a call of an alarm that had been tripped at an elementary building. When the police arrived they found a young body going to each door attempting to get inside his school. When the police officer asked him what he was doing, the young lad looked at him innocently and said, “This is where I get breakfast.” 

Sometimes we forget how many of our students get at least one or two meals at their school each day. In my community, 49 percent of Cedar Springs students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and in the neighboring Kent City schools, it’s 65 percent.

So when I heard about an organization called Hand2Hand that helped organize nutritious food for hungry students to eat on the weekends, I was immediately ready to sign up! 

Someone once asked me, “Before agreeing to get Hand2Hand started in our city, did you pray about it?” 

“No,” I quickly responded. “I didn’t need to pray about it because I knew Jesus had already said, ‘If you see someone hungry, feed them.’” 

Our Hand2Hand program is currently serving 250 students each week!

Think about that—without the generous and faithful support of so many volunteers and donors, 250 students in Cedar Springs and Kent City would be going without adequate food each weekend. 

Would you consider helping us? 

We have set up a separate website to keep people updated on the current food and volunteering opportunities. We also have a link for online financial gifts. If you would like to make a recurring donation, just $20 per month will provide healthy food for a student for the whole month. Whatever you can do with your time or financial support will be a blessing to so many!

Some of the volunteers that help us week after week

Students help feed their peers

7 Quotes + 1 Infographic From “Marching Off The Map”

Once again, Tim Elmore has given us invaluable insight into the emerging youth culture. If you have kids or work with kids, you must read Marching Off The Map. You can check out my full book review by clicking here. Below is the first set of quotes I want to share with you, but there will be plenty more coming in the future, so stay tuned!

“Thanks to technology, information streams into their lives 24/7 and often has no filter on it, even for young children. When we determined not to censor content in the media, we had no idea (understandably) how it would affect our kids. We’re removing the opportunity for them to experience innocence and wonder. However, because they’re still maturing emotionally, socially, cognitively and biologically in their first 25 years, we have now begun to witness a strange paradox in our young: the extinction of childlikeness and the extension of childishness. …

“Since they are exposed to so much adult information, so early in their lives, they can prematurely lose (1) their sense of innocence, (2) their sense of wonder and (3) their sense of trust …

“Biologically, the graduate is an adult. Emotionally, the graduate may be unprepared for the adult world.” 

“If you think our kids are pitifully impulsive on social media—just look at the adult population. … If you think teens are addicted to Facebook, just study the hours their mothers spend on it. If you think young athletes on the Little League baseball field act childish, just look at their dads. The behavior of adults and children has become more and more similar. Society has baptized ‘youthfulness.’ We want to look young, feel young, dress young, talk young and act young. We argue with our children’s teachers. We push our kid’s coaches to get them special treatment. We are not good at delaying gratification, and we frequently don’t keep commitments we make … very much like children. The result? Adulthood has lost much of its aura and authority.”

“As you stand in front of your classroom or your own children—you are, in a sense, Galileo. You are Magellan. You are Christopher Columbus. You are Lewis and Clark. You are Neil Armstrong. Ready or not, they need you to play this role.

“Our world is both expanding and shrinking. Our past maps and methods are antiquated. Like it or not, we’re moving into unfamiliar territory and many think it’s too difficult to explore. We have fallen in love with our old maps. … 

“For educators, our role must change as we teach a generation of students who don’t need adults to get information.

“For parents, our role must change as we raise kids in a time of terrorism, economic recession, racial unrest, underemployment and ubiquitous technology.

“For coaches, our role must change as we train young athletes who have eight-second attention spans, and may arrive at practice with little resilience or grit.

“For youth workers, our role must change as we mentor students who have few life skills or values because adults either over-functioned or were absent.

“For employers, our role must change as we onboard young employees who may have never had a real job before, and may ask when ‘spring break’ will be.”

“Adults must enable the students to leverage what is new, yet at the same time, hold on to what is ancient, yet valuable. We must be both timeless and timely. So, our job as we serve the next generation is two-fold:

  • To adopt or adapt. We must seize what is new and help kids leverage it well.
  • To explain and equip. We must relate to them the timeless ideals every generation needs.”

“I believe we must cultivate one significant skill set in ourselves: we must be able to either adapt to the new world that’s emerging, or we must explain why a timeless virtue or value is still relevant in our 21st century world.”

“A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion. I’ve found, however, they’ve traded in one God for many gods. They want to ‘feel’ spiritual, so they’ve created a buffet—seeking something to satisfy their soul. I often hear students say, ‘I don’t believe in religion, but I want to be a spiritual person.’ Today—pluralism is expanding across the landscape. It’s easier to say ‘no’ to one and enjoy a mixture of many.”

“A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion. I’ve found, however, they’ve traded in one God for many gods. They want to ‘feel’ spiritual, so they’ve created a buffet—seeking something to satisfy their soul. I often hear students say, ‘I don’t believe in religion, but I want to be a spiritual person.’ Today—pluralism is expanding across the landscape. It’s easier to say ‘no’ to one and enjoy a mixture of many.”

“The Latin root word for ‘educate’ is ‘ducere’ which means to ‘push out.’ … We should not put students in a passive mode as we teach. We must be inspirers of learning. We must help pull ambition out of them, not push information into them.”

I’ll be posting some more quotes from Marching Off The Map next week.

Poetry Saturday—A Man

Edgar A. GuestA man doesn’t whine at his losses,
A man doesn’t whimper and fret,
Or rail at the weight of his crosses
And ask life to rear him a pet.
A man doesn’t grudgingly labor
Or look upon toil as a blight;
A man doesn’t sneer at his neighbor
Or sneak from a cause that is right.

A man doesn’t sulk when another
Succeeds where his efforts have failed;
Doesn’t keep all his praise for the brother
Whose glory is publicly hailed;
And pass by the weak and the humble
As though they were not of his clay;
A man doesn’t ceaselessly grumble
When things are not going his way.

A man looks on woman as tender
And gentle, and stands at her side
At all times to guard and defend her,
And never to scorn or deride.
A man looks on life as a mission.
To serve, just so far as he can;
A man holds his noblest ambition
On earth is to live as a man. —Edgar A. Guest

Josh McDowell On Appreciating Our Kids

“Unconditionally accepting your kids tells them that being matters. Expressing your appreciation to them says that their doing matters too. …

“Unless your kids are absolutely convinced that you accept them for who they are, your praise and appreciation can become manipulative. Appreciation without acceptance may prompt your child to relate to you on a performance basis, thinking, ‘If I do a good job … if I get A’s … if I score a goal … then my dad will love me.’ Living on a performance basis will tend to produce feelings of false guilt in your kids. That’s why you need to be sure your kids first feel accepted then appreciated. …

“Appreciate your child’s efforts more than your child’s accomplishments, and appreciate your kid’s worth as God’s creation even more than your kid’s efforts.” —Josh McDowell, in 10 Commitments For Dads

If you are interested in more quotes from 10 Commitments For Dads, you can click here.

Kids In Jesus’ Day

the-bad-habits-of-jesus“Kids in Jesus’ day were to be seen and not heard. Small children (under age 5) were associated with death. All children were associated with dirt, noise, and annoying habits. It went without saying that they shouldn’t bother the rabbi.

“Even Jesus’ disciples thought He wouldn’t want to be interrupted by rambunctious children. Sound familiar? Many of our churches today banish children to distant parts of the building during worship, then bemoan their absence from church when the same kids reach adulthood. Instead of Jesus’ ‘Let the children come unto Me,’ the church says, ‘Let us babysit your kids while we dazzle you adults in worship.’

“Jesus’ idea of children and childhood was radically different from what was normal in His day. Jesus taught a faith that you might call adultproof. Today we childproof our medicine and our faith, making them as hard for children to get into as possible. In contrast, Jesus made faith child friendly and adult averse, meaning Jesus did everything He could to protect children’s faith from adults and to help even the most adultish among us become more childlike so as to get into the Kingdom without messing it up.” —Leonard Sweet, in The Bad Habits Of Jesus

Dads: Godly Influencers

Godly Influencer - fathers dayIt’s hard work being a Dad!

  • We have to be tough enough to kill spiders, yet tender enough to attend a princess tea party.
  • We have to bring home the bacon, yet not eat too much bacon so our cholesterol doesn’t get out of control.
  • We have to know the strategy of football, and the scoring for competitive cheerleading.
  • We have to be strong and gentle, smart and compassionate.
  • We have to climb the ladder at work, and build a solid foundation at home.
  • We have to knock down our competitors, and build up our children.

The Bible has a lot to say to encourage Dads to do all of these things, and to become the godly influencer God wants us to be in all aspect of our lives.

Please join me this Sunday as we learn from a man in the Bible who had everything to lose at work by doing things God’s way. Yet he chose God’s way and reaped some amazing results. Hope to see all the Dads this Sunday at 10:30am.

Pornography Is Hunting Your Kids

Talking about pornPornography continues to ravage our society. It has a devastating effect on marriages and families, and even on our physical and mental health. Check out some of these latest alarming statistics:

Here are just a few stats on porn usage:

  • 12 percent of all internet websites are pornographic.
  • 35 percent of all internet downloads are pornographic in content.
  • 25 percent of online search engine requests are related to sex, resulting in about 68 million requests a day.
  • 40 million Americans consider themselves regular visitors to porn sites.

Not only that, but porn is now seeking out younger and younger kids. The average age that someone is exposed to porn for the first time is 11 years old! 

Pornographers are purposely setting up on domains on commonly misspelled words of legitimate websites. Even setting up porn where someone types in .com instead of .edu or .org.

So what do we do? Josh McDowell urges parents to talk their children early and often about pornography:

“When it comes to discussing sex and pornography, how soon is too soon? It’s a question many parents ask. They don’t want to overexpose their children or be guilty of stirring up temptation in their children’s lives. At the same time, they don’t want to risk missing their cue and opening the door for other teachers like classmates, sex ed classes, magazines, and porn. The list of poor teachers is endless. In the face of so many mixed and misinformed messages, perhaps the question we should be asking is how late is too late?”

This video talk about parent-daughter communications about porn, but the same principles would apply to a conversation with your son—

Parents, we can no longer simply hope our kids don’t get hooked on porn, we need to actively communicate with them. Porn is hunting your kids, so you need to help them know how to defend themselves from this evil.

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