I have made cookies with my two boys since they were really little. Our favorite recipe to make together is oatmeal chocolate chip with extra chocolate chips thrown in … basically a big chocolate chip with a few bits of oatmeal! Recently, we were making these cookies, and a great opportunity to lay groundwork in their hearts about people was unexpectedly presented. I needed two eggs, and I happened to have one white egg and one brown.
“Look, boys. These eggs are different colors. But when I crack them in the bowl, they are the same inside. The yolk is yellow, and the clear runny part is the same for both eggs, but the shell is a different color for both. People are like that. God made people with different shades of skin — some are darker and some lighter. But on the inside we are all the same — a brain, a heart, and the ability to think and make choices.”
I am teaching my boys what Martin Luther King, Jr. said when he hoped his children would, “Not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
It’s what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Moreover, Paul states in the Book of Acts, “From one man, He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth.”
Here Paul was speaking to the Athenians, a Greek people who prided themselves on being racially superior to all other people. Paul told them here that they, like all other people, had descended from one source: Adam. Therefore, this fact excluded the possibility of the essential superiority of any race.*
My boys will one day face the temptation to have an “us versus them” mentality. I don’t know in what form it will come. Perhaps a person at school will repeat a hate-filled comment about an entire people group based on skin color (or eye shape, or accent, etc.). My boys consequently have the choice to go along and agree or disagree and speak the truth.
The truth is that, similar to an egg, our outsides may look different, but on the inside we are the same. Made from the same Creator with the ability to choose right from wrong, to love and care, to speak or be silent.
As I strive to raise my sons in a Christian home, I teach them not treat someone any different simply based on the color of their skin. Skin color is obviously different and is acknowledged as such. But I teach them to treat people the way Christ would no matter the differences — to love and care for people as brothers and sisters in Him.
While this, of course, is not the whole of my teaching to them on this subject, as young children, this is one of my first layers. My hope, my prayer, is that the groundwork of eggs helps them to know the truth and further speak the truth when needed.
What ideas do you have? I would love to hear how you teach your children about love and acceptance of all people. I await your answers! Until then, I will have some of those oatmeal (extra) chocolate chip cookies!
*Dr. Constable’s Notes, authored by Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Acts 17:26
Finding a Disciple
Wanting to disciple a woman but not knowing who to disciple can be a quandary for many women. They have the knowledge, the heart and the time. But where is the woman for them to pour into?
This does not have to be elusive. Below are some real examples from my ministry this past year of how I started a discipleship relationship with a few ladies.
1) Gym friend: I got to know a gal at my gym as we had worked out in the same classes for years, and we had several side conversations. After she told me about a particularly hard time in her life I said, “I was wondering if you would like to meet more regularly this spring to study the Bible together. I use the book Start Here; it has 6 foundational lessons, and I think you would be encouraged and learn more about a personal relationship with God.” We met that spring, studied each lesson together and prayed. She not only learned about God, but placed her faith in Jesus Christ as well.
2) Mom on swim team: My boys were on a year-round swim team, and I got to know another mom as we would chat during practice times. As we began to talk about where we went to church and a bit about our spiritual journeys, she confided that she had placed her faith in Christ years before but had not been discipled. I knew in my heart she would greatly benefit from having a woman in her life helping to grow her faith in Christ. I said, “This fall I will be discipling two other ladies in my home each week for about an hour, and I would love for you to be a part.” She agreed to come a few weeks later. Since starting she has said, “This group is exactly what I needed.”
3) Mom from school: On the playground one day, my son invited his friend from school to church. So I contacted his mom and asked if he could come. That Sunday not only did the boy attend our church, but his mom came as well. She decided to join our church and be baptized shortly thereafter. I said, “I would love to meet with you weekly to help you grow and deepen in your relationship with God. This summer I am gathering a few ladies in my home each week. The kids can play upstairs while me meet and study the Bible. Would you like to come?” Not only did she plug in, but she is now able to teach her children about the Lord from what she is learning.
4) Parking lot friend: A friend saw me dressed up the other day in the parking lot. I had come from a ministry luncheon, and she commented on my looking so fancy! I mentioned where I had been and that I regularly meet with women to help them spiritually. She said, “I need to meet with you; I need help.” I said, “I would love that! I have a small discipleship group starting in January I would love to invite you to be a part of. In the meantime we can get together to talk more—just you and me.”
Finding a woman to disciple is a matter of prayer and keeping your antenna up. I pray each day, “Lord, please use my life to help others. Please cross my path with those who need Your love and guidance today. I want to be a tool in Your hand to love on others.” Then I keep my eyes and ears open to His leading and step out in faith to invite women to learn and grow.
P.S. Once you do connect with a woman to disciple-download my free e-book The Discipleship Starter Kit on my home page! Let me know how it goes-I would LOVE to help!
Time For Discipleship
It’s the number one hindrance facing women when it comes to discipling other women. I don’t have time. They don’t have time. Who has the time?
I surveyed 100 women formally—and countless others in casual conversations—over my 20 years in women’s ministry to discover their biggest roadblock to pouring their life into another woman spiritually. Time was the #1 answer. I get it. As a mom of two elementary boys with a full schedule of speaking engagements, writing deadlines, and running a ministry, the sheer thought of trying to line my schedule up with somebody else’s is almost impossible…Almost.
I want to help you! I love discipling women, and I know first-hand the challenges to make it work in numerous phases of life. Here are some of the ways I have found time over the years:
College years: Late afternoons I discipled women in my residence hall, typically in my dorm room. I kept a small fridge of cold soft drinks. When we added a sweet treat and our Bibles, we were good to go!
Single years: After college and before I married at the age of 34, I was able to use evenings to disciple women. One dear friend and I met for two years at a local restaurant on Tuesday nights for discipleship. We had a corner booth and were on a first-name basis with the wait staff!
Baby years: Newborn baby haze, when you don’t even know what day it is—let alone where your Bible is—can be challenging for discipleship. However, once your baby is on some sort of schedule it becomes much easier to find windows of opportunity. I used one nap time per week to disciple a gal from a local high school. It turned out that when my son was going down for his afternoon nap, she was getting out of school.
School years: This is the phase I am currently in. I start a small discipleship group this Friday afternoon with some women I know from the gym. I am so excited to disciple them and challenge them to share what they learn with other women this year! I’ll be done with this discipleship group in time to get the boys off the bus! Perfection!!!
Empty nesters: I know a dear woman who is the grandmother of 14. She is busy with church obligations and is a phenomenal help to her large family. However, she still leads a small group of women spiritually—encouraging them with God’s Word as they face life’s twists and turns.
I hope these ideas help spark hope that you can find time in your day to get in the boat with another woman and help her spiritually. I would LOVE to hear where YOU find time to disciple women. Where do you meet? When? What stage of life are you in? I’ll compile a list of answers and share!
P.S. I took all the guess work out of what to do in your first eight weeks discipling another woman. Download my free e-book, The Discipleship Starter Kit, from my website (www.LoriJoinerMinistries.org) and see my eight-week daily calendar of what to do to get started!
Making the Connection
Walking to the bus stop to greet my first grader, my four year old and I chatted about his day. I recalled to him how friendly he was at the gym that day and what a good memory he had when recalling names of people he knew there. He has a real knack for making friends and has an extremely outgoing personality. As we walked hand in hand I helped him make the connection to how God made him. “You have a special gift. God has given you a gift in remembering names and being an outgoing friendly person. I believe God will use that gift of yours as you grow-perhaps you will be able to make another person feel welcome when they are new, you will be able to invite them to play or to church and one day I believe God will use your special gifts to lead people to a relationship with Him.”
Ok, so to keep it real I am not sure how much of that he could grasp-he was after all wearing a super hero cape, hand-me-down Buzz Lightyear boots and wanting me to let go so he could go soaring down the sidewalk. But I am starting now, to help make the simple connection from the gifts and talents my children have to how God can and will use those for His glory and His kingdom.
How about you? Do you have a really creative one-a child that just blows you away with their ideas, inventions, creations? Do you have a child that is a kind-hearted soul that nurtures animals, friends, with hugs and care? Do you have a child that can work wonders with tricky math problems and has an incredible numbers sense? Or how about a dreamer-a wild imagination is what the world needs-God has placed that imagination there-perhaps your child with her imagination will picture the world without poverty and that plan, that dream will become a reality. Make the connection. We are born with gifts and abilities and a destiny. Who we are from our hair color to our eyes to our personality is not by chance-it is by design. I want to help my children see that their personal make-up is not a chance but an opportunity to live and shine for Him.
Parents-how do you do this with your children? Do you have teenagers, grown kids? Please teach me what this looks like and how to make the connection as my children (4ys and 6ys) get older.
“I remember the first day I threw up,” Allison told me. “I was on a Girl Scout camping trip and felt I had eaten too much. Just that week I had watched a Baywatch episode where the star of the show, played by Pamela Anderson, was being confronted with her eating disorder. There was a detailed scene showing her character throwing up her food by sticking her fingers down her throat. So I excused myself to the bathroom and tried to do what I had just seen on television — throw up by putting my fingers down my throat. It worked, and so began my six-year battle with bulimia. “In high school, I began to date Justin. ‘Awful’ is the only way to describe him accurately. He wanted me to be super-skinny and encouraged me to do anything to stay thin, even if it meant throwing up my food. He would say things like, ‘You are so beautiful and skinny.’ Struggling with low self- esteem, I did my best to please him and stay thin by continually throwing up my food. It became more than just something I did every once in a while; I was now bingeing and purging three or four times a day.”
Upon returning from a date, Allison would grab an entire box of Raisin Bran and milk. “Any food taken with milk or Coke would always make the throwing-up part a lot easier,” Allison continued. “I would binge on Raisin Bran, milk, and Coke, and then purge it after every date I went on. I just couldn’t cope with how he treated me. I felt used and worthless, and bingeing was my solace.
Allison had become accustomed to her dry mouth, aching throat, and what she calls “chipmunk cheeks.” “My face and cheeks were so swollen from the trauma of throwing up all day that it literally looked like I had something stuck in my cheeks,” she said. “Even now, I cannot look at pictures from those years. It’s just too painful.” When Allison’s hair began falling out in chunks, she realized the extent of her addiction. She approached her mom with the news of her problem, and her mom responded simply, “Just don’t do that.” Allison was reaching out for help, but still felt stuck. No longer trying to hide her secret, she would walk into a bathroom, even with three other girls in the next room, and purge her entire dinner.There are many reasons women struggle with eating disorders, including a need for control, a distorted body image, media propaganda and fear. Eating disorders are complex. The roots of these issues often have nothing to do with food at all. If someone you disciple has an eating disorder, Discipling Women will help you understand the warning signs, the different types of disorders, and how to walk through the healing process.
Whether speaking, training, or discipling, Lori brings a passion to see women raised up to be all they can be in the Lord, teaching to women of all ages on a wide variety of topics. She currently makes her home in Katy, TX, with her husband Alan and two young children Josh and Jake.