My son’s first sermon

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"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 3:4

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

The first time I heard the name Aaron, I turned to my husband at church and said,

“Our next son will be named Aaron.”

I loved the name Aaron for three reasons.

1. It looked cool. Two of the same letters next to each other in a name basically rocks and you know it.

2013-06-16 10.10.242. Spiritual – Though my Christian spiritual journey was evolving, I loved the idea of having kids with biblical names.

3. Professional – I had made a career throughout the country teaching presentation skills and even had my own consulting business working in the corporate world teaching executives about public speaking. The Aaron written of in the Bible was a great orator among other notable qualities.

In other words, I just had to have an Aaron!

So right there in the pew, next to my toddler Nathan and the Hubs, God delivered this name “Aaron” like a song and a promise to my soul.

Two years later, he was born. Nate called him his “miracle.” I had birthed my Aaron.

The name fits him perfectly. Aaron is a rising sophomore at Moody Bible Institute and an enthusiastic speaker, a wonderful olive shoot and a Jesus follower.

But I could never have imagined what would happen this past Father’s Day.

2013-06-16 11.03.48On Father’s Day, Aaron delivered his first sermon.

In front of our extended family, the gluten-free gf and other members of our con- gregation, the Hubs and I sat and listened to our Aaron preach.

Aaron and the gf/gf just before he got up to share the sermon

Aaron and the gf/gf just before he got up to share the sermon

His sermon was about the importance of fatherhood in the Christian home.

The Lord has blessed my ministry-minded middle with an affable personality and a comfort in front of crowds.

2013-06-16 11.00.56

Ike read the Scripture before his big brother gave the sermon. I don’t even think I owned a Bible when I was his age and if I did, I certainly never opened it. Thank you Lord for these glimpses of grace!

Of course, you know I am biased, but I would have listened to Aaron’s words even if he wasn’t my son. He delivered the message with conviction, thoughtfulness and passion.

At one point in the sermon, I turned to the gluten-free gf and felt very convicted about the message. I whispered to her, “I’m glad God didn’t make me a father. I’ll just be the mom, thank you, Lord, very much!” She smiled and agreed!

God gave the Hubs a gift on Father’s Day and He used our Aaron to deliver it. What a sweet blessing to behold and something I, this former angry agnostic, feminist, existentialist woman never would have imagined!2013-06-16 11.01.21

On Sunday morning, we saw the culmination of all the hard work my boy had poured tirelessly into his message. The hours researching, studying Scripture, praying, consulting with our pastor and seeking the Lord’s voice before he used his own were worth it.

The night before, he stayed up late going over his message with the gf/gf. I think she probably had that thing memorized.

What blessed me as a mom and as a church member was the reverence and time he gave to his message. This is not always the standard today.

I felt safe with the way he handled Scripture, Aaron’s words were measured and forceful yet he spoke humbly.  Aaron has been raised by a godly, Christian dad but he also acknowledged that he has no experience being a father.

As I listened to him speak, I recalled that Sunday morning when I first heard about an Aaron.

Now I was hearing from my own.

Wearing a new polo shirt purchased the day before, looking so handsome and adorable, full of the Spirit, oh, how could my heart contain such pride and joy!

Here is an excerpt of his sermon. I look forward to hearing many more. Don’t you just love it when your kids make you proud and do something you never imagined possible?!

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May the words of my mouth be pleasing to you

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MOPS blessed me so much
when my OS were younger!

On Tuesday, I will be speaking to a local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group. The first time I was scheduled to speak, I had to cancel due to a delay in my oldest OS’s surgery. When the group asked me again, I debated about if it was really the right thing to do, not because of MOPS at all, (I love MOPS)! but because of me.


Have you ever tried to come up with an answer for not doing something? I have, I do, I’m sure I will do it again, unfortunately. Sometimes I’ve got good reasons and other times the reasons are really just excuses. They are petty and selfish, utterly lacking sound judgment. 

“Wow, I’ve got a lot going on
but I’m not going to let it stop me!”
 
David Brainerd, the man

The great and humble missionary to the North American Indians, David Brainerd was the man. Soon I must share the impact David Brainerd’s life and testimony have had on me though he lived in the 1700’s. He struggled with depression and suffered greatly. I highly recommend reading The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. 

“Who cares about a little consumption
and depression? I’ve got work to do!” 

Thanks to the trusty stylus harnessed to my Kindle Fire, I have highlighted many of his spiritual insights. Here’s one fitting of my upcoming message and bespeaks my heart “…when God enables me sensibly to find that I have done something for him, this refreshes and animates me, so that I could break through all hardships, undergo any labors, and nothing seems too much either to do…”. Yeah, I so get this. 

I’m so diggin’ this

Now I’m wondering, what have you been recently asked to you? Did you do it? What has recently refreshed and animated you? The message I prepared this week isn’t the one I originally intended but I sense a prompting to share it. Let me be your instrument O God, feeble as I am. 

My Own Good Friday

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When I was in middle school, back then called junior high, I had a fleeting moment of courage, when I stood up for someone and risked it all. Her name was Carol Plalonski (I have slightly changed her name but it sounded pretty similar) and Carol was the “new girl.”


Not the prettiest girl, Carol was tall, rather clumsy and plain. As I recall, she had a slight curve to her back and her shoulders slouched forward and well, Carol didn’t seem to worry herself about the really important things in life like boys, flavored lip gloss, blue eye shadow and mascara. 

Almost from the moment Carol walked into Jefferson Junior High, she became the target for all pre-pubescent angst and torment. Kids would tape words on her back and she would just lump down the hall while everyone pointed and laughed. Oh, how I hated seeing her with the words “DOG” and “WOOF” affixed to her. I seethed with anger and felt entirely helpless but what could I do? I had my own problems! (See self-explanatory photo)

It was scary because if I did something then everybody might turn on ME and then I would be the source of scorn. But one day, I mustered up the courage and said “enough is enough” and as Carol walked down the hall with one of those words on her back, in a moment of brazen anger, I ripped that nasty message of her back. Whenever I think of myself as being a wimp, I summon up that memory of taking a stand, fighting for the honor of another person and taking a risk.

My middle OS has been doing something similar and today I was deeply blessed to receive a message from a dear mother who wanted to let me know that my son was a fine young man of God. She sent this to me on facebook so now I shall forever use that message as the reason I need to check my facebook 800 times a day, but I digress. 

In typical, yet disappointing 9th grade fashion, some of the guys in my OS’s class are pretty rough on the girls. Countless times my son has come home and told me about the insulting comments his peers say to the ladies in class. One time, a guy ticked Aaron off so badly, Aaron smacked his binder into the guy’s nuts which I believe must have made quite a statement. 


Recently, another freshman girl, Lauren (not her real name) stood up in class and articulated her concern about all the high school drama and tension. She announced that something had to change. Then Aaron, with the teacher’s permission, stood up and addressed his classmates. He challenged the guys in the class to “step it up” and start acting like “real men.” I only learned about this after the fact when Aaron came home and said he had a cool story to tell. He hadn’t planned on doing that but I guess he had his own “Carol Planonski” moment.

Now he and his friend Zack have begun a freshman Bible Study on Wednesdays. Boys that previously sat outside the classroom and chided the kids, actually attended this week. Aaron’s charisma and transparency with his own struggles are making a difference. This week when a classmate began teasing one of the girls about her really curly hair, Aaron turned around to the kid, looked him dead in the eyes and said, “Andrew, shut up!” Normally I do not condone those words but I believe, in this instance, they qualify as “words aptly spoken.” (Proverbs 25:11)

This mom wrote me to say that her daughter is amazed how the Lord is leading through Aaron and Zack. Her daughter can’t wait for the Wednesday Bible Study and it is showing her that God can use just one person to “change the tide.”

As our family prepares for Easter Sunday, I can truly say that it is a Good Friday. To God be all the glory and honor and praise. 

Words Aptly Spoken

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Most people look down on communications majors. They say it’s an easy major and not really that big of a deal. Some even chuckle and minimize the accomplishment amongst their Bachelor of Science kin but I think there’s real merit in a communications major, because, well, I am one. Ok, I know pre-med and accounting majors are crazy tough but I think there’s a lot to be said about well, saying things correctly. I feel so strongly about it that I have devoted a large portion of my life to that cause. And I have instilled this in my three OS, the value in being able to articulate their thoughts in a cogent and engaging manner. It has been a joy in my 18 years of motherhood to see my children flourish in this area of life. To think that I could have passed on a skill to my sons is incredibly humbling and rewarding. I have little to offer them athletically or intellectually. In fact, sometimes I think I don’t have much to give or offer, that the only things they could ever get from me are less than admirable qualities. (just being real here) Maybe that’s why this means so much. 


However, last week I saw the Lord bestow a gift upon me. I saw my oldest OS  address his high school class for one last time. Nathan was selected by his classmates to be one of a few chosen students asked to impart some final thoughts to his fellow seniors, underclassmen and their families. At the senior assembly, Nathan sent a charge to those left behind. He deftly handled the microphone and boldly proclaimed a powerful message. I have included a YouTube link if you want to see it. It’s a little hard to hear but so sweet. Worth 3:47 minutes of your life. 


This week, my middle OS will also speak. He will address his middle school classmates. As the student body president for middle school, Aaron will offer his reflections upon his time in middle school. I have heard snippets of this presentation and I think it is quintessentially Spurny (my nickname for my boy which only his family is allowed to call him so don’t even try).

In a few weeks, I will be speaking at a high school baccalaureate to about 500 people and I pray my words will be as wise and clever as my children’s. This will be a daunting task so please pray that I will only share the words the Lord desires in a cogent and engaging manner. (sound familiar?)

I beamed with pride as I watched my beautiful child wax so eloquently. Here are a few of my favorite quotes,

“Don’t think that you have to be a straight A student to do well because life isn’t about grades and you are much more than your report card. You are the son or the daughter of the King of the Universe and He deserves nothing less than your best.”

“My parting message to you is to always do your best no matter what happens and no matter what life throws at you. In the end, you must do your best because you know that you are working for someone for greater than yourself. You’re not working for your parents or your teachers, you’re working for Jesus.”

If we are able to tape Aaron’s message, I will also post a link. Today I simply pause and puff with pride (in a motherly and most appropriate way, not cocky or boastful, but rather in a humbling and deeply thankful way) and consider this…

Proverbs 25:11
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Trying not to cry, I simply say…

Amen