Author Archives: Brenda Stilley

Who Are You?

What makes you… you? Is it your DNA? Everyone has a different fingerprint, maybe your fingerprint is what makes you – you? Of course, if I were to describe you I would talk about your height, weight and appearance. Do those things define you?

What is your identity? Is it your experiences? Your mistakes? Your successes? Does where you live define you? Who you spend time with? How much money you have? Does that define you?

All of these things are temporary. These things do not define who you are. And if you get a sense of identity from them, it will not last. When everything else fails, at your core who are you? What is your identity? And why is it important?

Many believe that their identity comes from what they have done. This is a lie from Satan. Your identity comes from what God has done for you! God has given his most valuable person (Jesus) for you…. His precious son. This makes you Valuable, Acceptable, Significant and SECURE in Christ! Your true identity also comes from what God has said about you. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God ~ John 1:12. There is no reason to live in defeat and depression when you know whose you are and what HE gives you as his child.

You ARE GOD’S CHILD!

As God’s child, you have an inheritance from Him through the Holy Spirit, that affords you all that you need for life and godliness ~ 2 Peter 1:3

You are an acceptable child of God ~ Romans 5:1

You are a saint ~ Ephesians 1:1

You are a forgiven child who is free from condemnation ~ Romans 8:1-2

You are complete in Christ ~ Colossians 2:10

You cannot be separated from God’s love for you ~ Romans 8:35-39

You are never alone ~ Hebrews 13:5

God is your helper, you have no reason to fear ~ Hebrews 13:6

You are anointed and sealed by God ~ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

You have been given a spirit of love, power and a sound mind…NOT FEAR ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

You can find grace and mercy any time you need ~ Hebrews 4:16

You have been chosen and appointed to produce spiritual fruit in this world ~ John15:16

You are a light in this dark world. God has work for you to do and people to bless ~ Matthew 5:13-14

You do not need to be ashamed because you are God’s workmanship ~ Ephesians 2:10

You may approach God with freedom and confidence anytime ~ Ephesians 3:12

You can do all things through Jesus who gives you strength ~ Philippians 4:13

No defeat!

Live and behave according to these truths because this is YOUR IDENTITY!

 

This is TRULY Who you ARE!

Expanding Your Vision and Influence

The news is getting difficult for me to wrap my mind around lately.  Last week I read of a woman who tried to shoot her hairdresser because she did not like her haircut!  What?!  (California).  The gun jammed when she tried to shoot it THREE TIMES!  No one was killed, praise God. This is discouraging to me because I do not know how anyone could possibly think that this is an acceptable response to such a small frustration.  I turned off the news and turned to my bookshelf  to my well-worn favorite Christian books that I knew would encourage me. The small yet power-filled book, The Prayer of Jabez found my gaze. I haven’t read this one since 2003 when I was the dean of women at a bible college in Minnesota.  An anonymous donation came to the college with 100 of these little books for the students! We took the donation as a –not so subtle- hint from God to read them!

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your curtains wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54:2   Making Christ Known… Partner with God in His redemptive mission in the world.

So after reading it I have a few thoughts for the church today.  Every ministry a mission, every member a missionary!  The Apostle Peter wrote “… you are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light”. I Peter 2:9 WOW! This verse hit me right between the eyes. It’s SO POWERFUL!   I believe the church and myself needs to re-connect with its roots.

Peter was at Pentecost when the church was born. Peter realizes the church is God’s plan to bring the Kingdom of God into the community. If the church does not “Make Christ Known”, who will?

God’s plan began with Abraham. To Abraham was promised a people that would bless the nations. From Israel came Christ. Through Christ salvation comes to the world. The church, the Body of Christ; is the continuing presence and work of Christ in the world.

We are a part of a local church. We are a partner with God in His amazing mission and plan to save the world from darkness and death. WE are His missionary. You bear the name of Christ. We have the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is in our head and heart. The blood of Christ covers us, setting us apart. The love of God is in us.  We must do the work of building God’s Kingdom in our home, on our street, at our workplace, with neighbors and friends. The world is waiting. Be Jesus on your street!

Building Biblically Strong Families

When I was a kid my family loved to go camping. One trip, dad took us kids fishing in a canoe. My dad said, “Ok, this looks like a great spot, Bren, throw the anchor in,” and I did. Unfortunately shortly after that, we were drifting far from the “Great Spot” dad had found for us. I looked down and there at my feet was a long rope with a hook on the end. An anchor cannot keep you from drifting if it does not have a good rope attached to it!

Jesus can be compared to an anchor in our kids’ lives. It is our job to attach a good sturdy rope to it so that when kids face the storms of adolescence, teen years, and college, they will never drift farther than the rope that connects them to Jesus.

In order for the Children’s Ministry at St. Michael to be an effective ‘rope’, it needed a mission statement. After prayer, I used Deuteronomy 6:4-9 verses as my starting point.

4Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.   5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and   with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. (How do parents impress them on their children? He tells us in next verses). Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

‘Impress them on your children’ is the FOCUS verse for Faith Formation at home. I want to equip parents to feel they can comfortably talk to their children at home about their faith (daily). Daily is important because we send our kids into the world every day where they are exposed to non-Christian (and sometimes an ANTI-Christian philosophy/living) via movies, school, music & video games. If we are not actively teaching them to recognize the difference between the world’s and Jesus’ teaching, they will be vulnerable to fall prey to the world and the enemy.

Two Primary Goals gleaned for the Children’s Ministry mission statement are:

  1. Bring the Love of Christ and the Message of Christ to children through purposeful, structured experiences/programs.
  2. Assist parents in defining and implementing Faith Formation at Home through resources, tools, and events.

 

Children’s Ministry Mission Statement is:

Building Biblically Strong Families.

This statement will guide me as I lead the ministry, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in 2015.

We already had one such event that was purposeful and fun at the same time. The Mug-N-Muffin. The purpose was to create opportunities for emotional and spiritual connections from parent to child. I guided the moms, grandmas, and daughters through fun, intentional discussions. Instead of the usual instruction-type of communication that happens between parent and child (i.e. clean your room, do your homework, stop teasing your brother), they experienced emotionally deep and spiritually motivated conversation. The Lord truly blessed our time together!

To God be the Glory for His work at St. Michael.

May God Bless each one of you with an intimate relationship with Jesus today and always.

 

 

Blessing Your Child

Confession from a church employee – I have never read the book of Numbers. Just the title itself sounds sooooo boring! Since I am in children’s ministry, it is a crime to bore a child with the Bible. My goal is to prevent those eye-rolling, “this is boring” comments from the little ones.

Despite my apprehension, I have discovered a wonderful section of verses in the book of Numbers. These verses are familiar (especially if you attended the recent Mug-n-Muffin event) because they are the same ones the Pastor speaks over the congregation at the end of a church service. In these verses, God is sending a message to Aaron through Moses that he wants to bless the people. God wants the people to use specific words to bless each other.

We all want God to bless us with lots of different things – health, safety, wisdom, love, wealth, protection from evil. We especially pray for our kids when they leave the house every morning. And we can rest assured that God hears our prayers and takes care of our physical needs. However, here we see that not only does God want to take care of our physical needs but he desires to give us His favor, His grace, His mercy, His peace!  Wow, what a concept! It is difficult to wrap my mind around.

The God of the Universe, God who causes the sun to rise and set, who cuts a path for the lightening, who tells the waves of the ocean how far they may go(see Job 38) this same God wants to use his power to bless you and your children!

Here are the words of the blessing from Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV)

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 “The Lord bless you
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.

 

I love the promise at the end of the verse! God promises when we do this that He will bless us.

At a time in my life when I had trouble sleeping, a friend gave me a verse from Psalms that says that God ministers to us while we sleep (Psalm 16:7). Why not use these verses from Numbers? Wouldn’t this be a wonderful way to tuck your child in at night? Think of yourself as the go-between for your child and God. You are their advocate! You are not only tucking the covers around them but also tucking the Holy Spirit all around them. Place your hand on their head, shoulder, or hand and say the words from the verses and know that God keeps his promises.

May God fill your home with His peace and love!

Do you pray with or bless your children before bed? If you try the blessing in this post, please tell us about it in the comments!