The Brumleys speak to the Westside
A report from Linda Brumley on her Forgiveness Workshop:
One of the wonderful things about living in the Northwest is the close proximity to sister churches. Even a day trip or a weekend offers opportunities for fellowship with other disciples—to the north, south or east. So many wonderful spiritual bonds have been formed. Our teens have joined teens from Portland, Ashland, Boise, Missoula, Spokane, and Vancouver, BC in retreats and camps. Our singles have dated disciples from these churches and our campus students have taken road trips to fellowship with students on other campuses. We are so blessed to have such accessible friends.
I was in Portland last weekend leading a Forgiveness workshop. At the same time one of our campus women’s Bible Talks was camping out on a Portland elder’s living room floor—making memories and deepening bonds.
The workshop was well attended and enthusiastically received. Most of the workshop deals with forgiving others, but two of the sections address forgiving God and forgiving self. I only addressed these two issues briefly assuming the greater need was focused on other people. But the desire of the women there to delve more deeply into being at peace with God and themselves garnered me an invitation to return.
A return to Portland is surely no burden since it means getting more time with Steve and Lisa Johnson and Buzz and Anita Banadyga. It takes no time at all to feel like you’ve known someone forever when your hearts are united in your love for God and the people you serve. Looks like I’ll be going back in March or April.
By Linda Brumley
We had hors d’oeuvres instead of a dinner the first night of our staff sister’s retreat. (Pictured at right L-R: Danielle Whitaker, Lynne Green and Karla Overstreet sampling Linda’s appetizers!) Since my lesson assignment on hospitality was headlined by the movie title, I felt compelled to be very Julia Child-like. Planning my menu with this in mind, I aimed for tasty, simple, and pretty. I’m no French chef. Indeed, my culinary skills are quite limited, but I deceive many about this deficiency by being a relatively savvy collector of easy, but yummy recipes. Lynne insisted that I share the ones I used for our retreat. I’m reluctant only because it so broadly blows my cover revealing to large audience online that I’m a short-cut cook. But I share them here hoping they help you all with Bible Talk refreshments or any other small gathering you may host.
SHRIMP WITH CILANTRO DIP
1 bunch cilantro
1/2cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
2t. soy sauce
2t. balsamic vinegar
1/3cup canola oil
2t. sesame oil
Blend it all in a food processor and serve with cooked, tail-on, jumbo shrimp (they’re pretty cheap at Trader Joe’s)
I broiled a small flank steak and cut it into thin slices before the retreat
Boison cheese (herbed cream cheese)
1 red bell pepper, cut in strips
On each strip of steak, put a generous tablespoon of the cheese, stick a couple of red pepper strips in it, roll it up and secure it with a toothpick. Stand them upright on a platter (red pepper spears sticking up like horns)
CUKES AND CHICKEN SALAD
Peel and halve lengthwise an English cucumber. Scoop out the seeds. Cut into 2 inch slices and fill with chicken salad (I bought Trader Joe’s little tub of ready-made chicken salad. It’s divine. It has cranberries and pecans in it, but you could make your own chicken salad. I like to put a little curry powder in my chicken salad with some onion and raisins, but whatever….).
VEGGIES AND DIP
Easiest of all because all we did was arrange raw asparagus, green onions, red pepper strips and some great crackers on a platter with a ready-made (Trader Joe’s again) red hummus.
CHILI CHEESE DIP
(I stole this recipe from Dianne Caraway)
2 8oz. slabs of cream cheese (I used light, just to fool myself into thinking it was healthier)
1 can Nalley’s Original chili
1c. (or so)shredded cheddar cheese
Mash the cream cheese and the chili together, put in a heat-proof serving dish, top with cheese and pop it into the microwave until the cheese melts. Serve with a big bowl of corn chips (I like Tostitos Scoops because you can get such a big dollop of the cheesy stuff on one). This one is additive, so beware!
Mozzarella rounds (deli section at Trader Joe’s again)
Fresh basil leaves
On bamboo skewers alternate the first three ingredients, lay out on a platter and sprinkle with the vinegar. Lynne did this one and she wrapped the basil leaf around the cheese so the leaf got skewer twice. It was even prettier that the picture from the magazine where I got the recipe. Lynne really is Julia Child!
APPLES AND CARAMEL DIP
4 or 5 big, crisp red apples
1 pkg. Kraft caramels (the labor-intensive part is unwrapping all those caramels!)
2T. creamy peanut butter
½-2/3cup half and half
Dry-roasted peanuts, chopped and in a little bowl next to the caramel dip
Slice those lovely apples and put caramels, peanut butter and cream in a microwave serving bowl. Melt and stir until it’s smooth and not too runny. Guests dip an apple wedge into the caramel and then into the chopped peanuts and enjoy! It’s like a pauper’s fondue.
*The additional benefit of all these goodies is that they are relatively cheap. So, bon appetit!
By Linda Brumley
She did it again! Lynne (pictured at right) planned your Seattle staff women’s retreat with stunning insight into meeting our spiritual needs. Obviously, we believe we serve the women of the Seattle church best when we are spiritually healthy ourselves. Yet, we are acutely aware that we face the same struggles and temptations, time pressures and practical challenges as most our sisters. Being on staff makes us immune to nothing, but it does give us a fellowship that each of us treasures.
Respecting the insight of the women she leads, Lynne asked us each to teach a lesson (you’ll get to hear more about these lesson since she also asked us to write an article for this web site about the lessons we presented during our time together—stay tuned!). To make it fun (a trademark of Lynne’s) she titled each lesson after a recent movie.
Annie kicked us off with “Best of Show” subtitle: “best practices for mid-weeks.” Annie has stayed so lovingly in touch with the Eastside women’s talents and challenges, she has delegated leadership wisely and has, herself, taught in-depth Bible studies on different books of the Bible.
You won’t be surprised to know that Danielle spoke to us about the campus ministry. Her assigned topic: “Deep Impact”. She shared a lot about her visions for the UW campus and my favorite quote of the retreat came from Danielle: “Even if none of my dreams come true, I want to die a dreamer.”
AT, who with her husband Darin leads our teens, spoke on “The Matrix”. Sorting through complex issues of teen needs has been the obsession of Darin and AT’s hearts.
I got to address the whole idea of hospitality with the theme of “Julie and Julia.” I had such fun passing out ingredients and recipes and watching my sisters serve one another with their culinary creations. I referenced how conversation over food was such a part if Jesus’ ministry and then had everyone comment on the value of food with fellowship (Acts 2:42ff).
Karla reminded us of the how blessed we are to have so many needs met through our spiritual friendships. Carol assured us that God is truly Almighty to meet the needs we cannot meet for one another. We each tried to put into words what God means to us.
Lynne shared with us her Bible study on dreaming. It was a lesson she repeated for our Sister’s Night Out on Friday evening (hope you were there). Here’s the thing about Lynne’s insights into the Bible: I could study the same passages and never make the same applications Lynne makes (true in some measure about all of our different viewpoints and why it’s so valuable for all of us to share our thoughts from our own study of the Word). After hearing Lynne’s lesson for the second time, I thought: “I wish I could hear this lesson a dozen other times and maybe even then I’d want an encore! What a blessing God has given the women of the Seattle church in Lynne’s leadership.
Plus, Lynne brought in Alison Stirret to sharpen our computer skills. Alison is amazing and this in-service training is a huge boost to us. She is smart, funny, easily communicates her vast knowledge on a level that we can grasp (Ok, I admit I can’t quite grasp it all, but I leave smarter than when I came).
For all the women of the Seattle staff, I want to say to each of you, we love you! We want to serve you better and better and this yearly retreat offers us a boost that our regular staff meetings never could. So, thank you for supporting us as we seek to grow to be an increasing blessing to all of you!
The Benefits of Teen Dating Include Growth
Certainly dating contributes to our teens’ social development and makes them more relatable to their peers. It could be argued that for the teen disciple, it helps them to “become all things to all people (I Corinthians 9:22).” I remember a single sister in San Diego who worked with a lot of other single men and women at a local newspaper. Monday mornings her co-workers made a b-line to her desk to hear about her weekend. She had by far the most consistent, fun-filled, interesting dates of any of them: flying kites at the beach, painting tiny watercolors of a sunset and exchanging their masterpieces as mementos of the evening, group jigsaw puzzle contests, in-line skating and coffee house concerts. She never had stories of melodramatic fights, or hang-overs, or shame. She never had to apologize for limiting her dating to the church fellowship of which she was part because her friends envied the carefree, fun single-hood she enjoyed and many came out to church with her for that very reason.
With proper guidance, dating among disciples can help develop conversational skills, expand their fashion awareness with a modesty quotient, build their confidence in interacting with the opposite sex, and provide a lot of good, clean fun! It also builds memories of happy, normal teen years that they’ll share with their own children one day.
The Dangers of Teen Dating Demand Caution
All the benefits of teen dating can be overshadowed in an instant by a dating experience that produces guilt, secrecy, and shame. We won’t sensationalize this article with details about Jamie Lynn Spears, current pg-13 movie fare, or projections about STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, date rapes, or abortions. Nevertheless, the world is pulling at our teens to accept perversion as “normal”. The world glamorizes impurity and immodesty. If our teens can grasp the contrast in worldliness and godliness, Proverbs 11:22 will make sense to them: Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
Unless our children learn to be confident in setting godly boundaries for their conduct; they can find themselves vulnerable to the ridicule of the “friends” who are encouraging them to try drugs, or alcohol, or sex, or to blow off curfew, or to attend venues their parents have forbidden. Wise parents will establish within their children the value of a good reputation. This is not about people pleasing. It is about being strong enough to face criticism for pleasing God.
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
It’s a jungle out there. As parents we must keep a clear view of the standards of God in spite of our cultural indoctrination to the contrary. Our children need to see our convictions fully formed and yet feel that we’re on their side. They need to know we want their teen years to be fun and exciting and that we are willing to make sacrifices, but never compromises, to make it so!
The Standard of Dating Is Purity
An early morning talk show recently sponsored a contest for engaged couples to win an all-expense-paid, televised wedding and dream honeymoon. All the finalists were on the show and they were announcing the winner the day I happened to tune in. The emcee enthusiastically explained that all the couples had been told to come with their bags packed because the consolation prizes were trips to a romantic resort for each couple. They were to be whisked away immediately right from the TV studio to the airport. This prize did not involve separate accommodations, but presupposed the couple’s comfort in co-habiting. I was (naively) shocked that a major, mainstream show so comfortably affirmed pre-marital sex. It wasn’t a sleazy, bachelor/bachelorette show, but a mainstream sun-up show. This is the world we live in now and these are the mores our children are encouraged to espouse. In order to live out the standards of God, they will have to be aliens and strangers here (I Peter 2:11, 12). How can we prepare our teens to be happy and confident walking this narrow path (Matthew 7:13, 14)?
For parents, this must not be about enforcing rules to control their purity, but about helping them develop convictions of their own to inspire their purity. When, from their earliest years, our children learn to trust that God’s way is best for them, that God’s commands spring from His love, that we will reap what we sow and the risk is not worth it….when these godly ideals inhabit the hearts of our teens, safeguarding their purity makes sense to them. It takes focused spiritual parenting from as early in our children’s lives as possible to help them love and trust the will of God rather than resent it or feel restricted by it. Consider the following verses:
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.
David definitely didn’t see the Word of God as burdensome or boring or embarrassing. Our children’s perception of God and His will is the foundation of their attitudes toward our direction regarding their life choices. If our children respect and trust God they’ll be more inclined to accept His standards of purity. So, from God’s perspective, how pure is pure? I Timothy 5:1, 2 answers this question as Paul instructs the young, single evangelist, Timothy:
…Treat younger…women as sisters, with absolute purity.
This is a high calling that flies in the face of our current culture. It will take a lot of preparation in our children’s hearts before they reach the teen years to help them rise above the standards of their peers and the media. If this preparation has not occurred, Plan B must be developed prayerfully and with much individual counsel for every family to help their teens embrace godly behaviors.
Customs and morals have changed so much since the Bible was penned that it takes true spiritual discernment to determine what godly dating should look like. We need to keep in mind that dating is pretty much a creation of Western culture in the 20th century. The question we have to constantly address is what Biblical principles should we apply when creating the guidelines in our own homes regarding dating? Here are some suggestions:
The Goal of Dating Is Friendship
This may not occur to your child unless you tell them. In the world they live in, dating is for attention, adventure, popularity, fun, affirmation of desirability, securing a place in the social strata of their peers and, yes, sex.
If we have been conscientious in helping our children develop and value friendships, they are more likely to understand this new arena of learning to be a friend. Most of our teens are five to ten years away from dating for the purpose of finding a mate. While there are some touching stories of childhood sweethearts enjoying long-term marriages, it is not the norm. When our children entertain these goals prematurely it pushes the relationship toward an intimacy inappropriate for their age. We need to be clear with our teens that attractions are normal and there is much to be learned from their preferences to help them one day find the someone they’d like to spend their lives with, but for the time being, dating is about friendship, not about romance. Even when they are old enough for dating to be about romance and seeking a mate, friendship is still a primary goal. In the beautifully sensual Song of Songs, the bride describes her husband: “His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend….(Song of Songs5:16).” God obviously values friendship as a component of married romance.
When our oldest son, Greg, was in junior high school, there were after-school dances in the multipurpose room every Friday afternoon. He asked to attend and we said no. His persistence made us inquire why he wanted to go. It was because “all his friends” did. He said they didn’t dance, they just hung out and talked. We finally let him go after this conversation:
“You can go, but observe carefully. These kids aren’t mature enough to have meaningful conversations, but you will most likely see them with their arms around each other, slow dancing, and acting like lovers. They don’t know how to be friends yet. They’ve got the cart before the horse.”
Greg got in the car after his first and only experience with these dances and said, “That was gross! They were all mushy and feely and then they’d chase each other around swatting and giggling. I don’t want to marry anyone who isn’t my friend first.” Today the strength of his and Lisa’s 21 year marriage is their friendship.
On another occasion, one of our children asked to start dating and we refused because he was not doing well in his friendships. We explained that we couldn’t count on him to be a great friend to a date if he hadn’t learned the principles of friendship with the guys. He needed to become initiative, unselfish, patient, fun and forgiving. Miraculous changes occurred almost immediately in his friendships and we happily lifted the dating ban. A wise parent will foster friendships for their children with the children of other parents espousing the same values as they do. This increases the chances that our children will date others with the same convictions about purity that God has. As Proverbs 13:20 says: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of foolssuffers harm.”
This insistence on “friendship dating” worked for our family for a variety of reasons: parental unity, early conversations about dating, and an easier cultural climate. It might breed resentment in a family without the same foundation we were able to lay. When conversations about dating, romance, love and marriage begin early enough, a child has a chance to shape their dreams and expectations with parental guidance before hormones, Hollywood and peer pressure push them headlong into near-erotic visions of romance.
Along with the gift of speech that youngsters acquire during the first several months of life, they also come with the gift of great curiosity. They ask endless questions, wanting explanations for all sorts of things that come to their attention. You usually don’t have to wonder what a young child is thinking – they most usually are talking about it.
Then comes the pre-teen, teen years, where we parents often feel like we need classes from the FBI on eliciting information from a “subject” (ie, our kid). One or few word answers become more the norm. We have to get skillful at finding out what they’re feeling, their hurts, likes, dislikes, opinions, and their joys.
From time to time it is a good idea to spend a family time together just asking questions of one another. Conversation with our kids, that is not instructive, directional, corrective should be the most common kind of conversation in our homes, but often isn’t. So, tonight, have some great conversation starters, that are open-ended – no right or wrong answers.
Be sure to have some for all ages of your kids. A steady habit of this kind of conversation hopefully will become your habit.
A few fun discussion starters might be helpful:
- “Tell about the favorite gift you ever received.”
- “Finish the sentence: I wish all people would___”
- “Tell about your favorite sport and why you like it.”
- “Tell about a time you needed courage.”
- “What is your dream car and why?”
- “Tell about your all time favorite teacher and why?”
- “What adventure would you like to experience?”
- “Which of your senses do you value the most and why?”
Be sure the adults participate fully in the evening’s discussion. Finish the evening by praying together, using things from the discussion tonight in your family prayer.
As always, be sure you end with a great treat of some sort, and perhaps an age appropriate board game.
TOPIC: FOLLOW THE LEADER
To teach everyone in the family the important principle of discipleship and to remind parents that your children are watching and imitating you, for the good, or otherwise.
Do it. Have fun. Get a tape of songs if you need help.
Have a family prayer. Praise God for His greatness and thank Him together for all his blessings on your family.
Teach/discuss and memorize Mark 1:17
Talk about how Jesus wants everyone to follow him by doing the same things He did when He was on the earth.
Play the game, “Follow the Leader”, as a fun way to help illustrate what it means to be a disciple, focusing on and imitating a leader. The head of the household should be the leader. He/she should think of both serious and crazy things to do as he leads the family around the house.
Some suggestions: (the point is, that everyone follows your lead and repeats what you do)
- walk around in a line, stop and read the Bible
- walk around and stop and give someone a hug
- walk around and stop and say, “I love you” to someone in line
- walk around and stop and then thank mom for dinner just enjoyed
- walk around, stop, stand on your head (there’s no biblical evidence Jesus ever did this)
- walk around, stop, lead a short prayer that can be followed in short phrases by the kids
- walk around, stop, role play sharing your faith
- walk around, stop, simulate helping someone do something ….. have others guess what the role player is doing
Don’t be limited by these suggestions. Expand on them. Add your own ideas and thoughts to make the devo a fun time for everyone. Discuss some key elements of being a disciple….of Jesus.
ALWAYS END WITH A PRAYER AND DELICIOUS YUMMIES!!!!!!!!!!!
To teach the family how important and fun it is to work together as a team and how much can be accomplished when we cooperate with each other.
Have the kids suggest the songs. Have them teach you the songs they sing in Kids Kingdom.
Have a family prayer, thanking God for each member.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
- Help each family member learn the memory verse, Gal.6:2.
- Have each family member write on a slip of paper a small task that they would like to have done. Put the papers in a container and shake them up. Example: Dad may request that his shoes be polished, or one of the kids may request that a broken toy be fixed, or one might ask for help to clean his/her room…..be sure each person writes out or says (if they can’t write) a task they’d like completed.
- One by one draw out the slips and as a family, proceed to complete as many of he tasks as possible, one at a time. Each family member should be encouraged to participate in each task in some way.
- Be very upbeat and excited as you accomplish each task. Make it fun!
- After completing all the tasks possible, reward each worker by having hot chocolate with marshmallows together. The family head should pray, thanking God for teaching the family how important and fun it is to cooperate with each other.