Tag Archives: children

Relationships, strength, encouragement, shared joy, on and on, only come through the smaller, Bible believing Christian church

Another blogger opined that since the millenials (ages from about 18 years old to 30 years old), don’t go to church and use their computers, almost exclusively, for socializing, that we should have “on-line” church.

I’m not opposed to putting worship on-line. We have plans for doing that here at First St Johns. Sure there are people out there who we should be reaching and need to be included in church and, for whatever reason, cannot attend brick and mortar churches. I get it.

The problem is this, how much do you really encourage this growing dependence on using a computer for “fellowship”. A great deal of being in church is to fellowship, is to show support and be a part of something bigger. We already have way too many people who huddle away in some part of their house, all by themselves and genuinely think they have a lot of “friends”, that is the Face Book, Twitter, Snapchat, type friends. Sorry but this is, in no way, shape or form a healthy trend. How do you baptize someone on line? How do they receive the Body and Blood of Jesus? On-line confession and absolution? No, that’s just a phoney way out. How do you really build relationships on line? You don’t!

Being a part of the Body of Christ is being with a group of people who have shared beliefs and shared doctrine in Jesus. Please don’t hand me the lame line that it’s all about “love”, first off, how do you really “love” on-line? Ya, there are those who do. Look me in the face and tell me that’s healthy.

You need that contact with people, we encourage each other, strengthen each other, learn from each other, often help in material ways. Sorry, but I’m not going to jump through hoops for someone who can’t even schlep down to worship on a regular basis, who could otherwise. I’ve had people try it on me. Ya, no! Go to the big-box churches, if you will settle for the illusion of worship and fellowship. Otherwise drag yourself down to First St Johns.

In some ways it’s like saying that it’s the same as being at Fenway Park, being part of the crowd, having it all in front of you, being able to personally booh the Yankees. You can sit at home and listen on the radio, but who you going to fuss at when Papi grounds out in the shift?

But really, being in, sharing with, showing support of worship has always been what is a fundamental part of being a Christian. It’s not just what you benefit from, but often what you do in order to help others. How about the elderly man or woman in the pew in front of you. Quite often, their only genuine human contact is church. To those of you who are children, young man or woman, the 20 something family with the little boy and girl. I really want you to realize that you give real joy and encouragement to others around you who have very little contact with younger people, who often only see people in their own age group. Are you away from your family, but you’d still like your children to have a whole bunch of spiritual grandparents, aunts, uncles? Take ’em to church, your cup will overfloweth.

The person who is going through some kind of crisis and who comes to church to share, maybe he’s led there by the Holy Spirit in order to be in front of you who can readily help. Seriously where is that in the rest of our society?

It’s tough enough being a Christian in today’s world. For the people who are out in the work force and hardly ever encounter a fellow Christian. For the mom at home who often has little adult contact and also, not often with another Christian. Children who need real contact with other kids their age who are Christians. The world is not a friendly place to Christians. Where are you going to get that contact, that encouragement, that strength to carry on? On-line? No! You’re just not and you know it. It’s truly sad to imagine how many people thought they could see the world through their computer and because they had no one else, no other Christian to be there for them that they lost hope in the Holy Spirit which is only truly efficacious when they share with other Christians.They forgot about the promise of Jesus, because the guy who stands with them at the altar to receive the Lord’s Supper, isn’t beside you, because you’re not there.

The writer of Hebrews directs: “ESV Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Bibleworks) Certainly we see “the Day drawing near.” How can you show brotherly love over the computer, really? How can you show Christian hospitality. All the virtues that are being lived out in Christian worship, will simply not be obvious.

I have this posted on First St Johns FB page: “WORSHIP – Rekindles our hope, reenlists us for service, renews our confidence, restores our perspective, restores our joy, releases our anxieties, reconnects us with God.”  I would add that sitting at home, simply reminds us how sad our life has become and not only does not equip us with those benefits, but reminds us how far away we are. That is not going to give us the hope and promise of Jesus, but sink us into further despair and make us feel even more distant from Jesus.

And since I’m riding this hobby horse, I would also like to point out that the opposite is true. You can sit at home and be isolated, and you can also sit in a big crowd and be isolated. Want to talk to the pastor? Yea, good luck with that. These “big box” pastors have more important things to do than make house calls or hospital calls to give you personal attention. Everybody around you, they’re there for the same reason you are, to hide in the open. They’re not interested in you, they’re only interested in what they want. Jesus did the first two plus years of ministry among groups and very much in the public. He didn’t hide away, he was right there in the middle of people. Not some new-age big screen television, talk about “Big Brother”. In a smaller congregation you build those relationships, I’ve only been a pastor for just less than five years. In my first twenty or so years as a Christian I probably have, at least, a half dozen each spiritual mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and pastors that I have had the opportunity to grow in Christian love with. Ya, tell me you’re going to get that at home on the computer or at the “big box”. Find a smaller, vibrant, liturgical, Bible believing, truly Christian church. You want growth, encouragement, strength for the journey, joy, service, confidence, connections, being in God’s presence with serious believers. It’s churches like First St Johns that will provide it. The “millenials” are all hung up on authenticity, being genuine and then hide at home instead of being where it’s at? And that goes for more than just the twenty-somethings. Try really being genuine and authentic. Put the phones and ipads etc away and get with real people. Otherwise, you should just put a cork in it, because you have no clue what genuine authenticity it.

We serve our neighbors in service to God

We’ve been talking about vocation in many ways at our Wednesday Coffee Break Bible study. Certainly our vocation in terms of our job, profession, position. Position can mean many different things in terms of our spouse, children, parents, siblings. Our position in the community. Any responsibility we hold in the church, on and on. Positions God puts us in, in His service, but to serve others. I’m sure we recognize that God doesn’t need our service per se. Jesus has done all that is necessary, and God sustains us in every way. We are in His service for what we do for ourselves and for others.

I serve by working to better myself in every possible way nutrition, exercise, study things that are edifying. We are in His service when we serve our neighbors. Surely God puts us into situations where our service to a neighbor would be pleasing to Him. In fact I would hope that we would do works to glorify Him, that others may know that what I did was a result of what God does to me and through me. So anything I do for another is only a result of the Holy Spirit in me.

Henry and Richard Blackaby “Experiencing God Today”, p 122: “God deserves our love and He demands that we love others in the same way He does.” And yes, I will say it again God’s love is of genuine concern for what is best for another, not this phoney, empty enabling love we think of today. What is in that person’s best interests and not ours. Believe me that is hard to do but that is the goal we need to strive for. Heck, in today’s world, anyone who even approaches that is doing more than anyone expects.

The Blackabys spell this out: “We are to love our spouses, not as they deserve, but as God commands (Eph 5: 22-33). We are to treat our friends, not as they treat us, but as Christ loves us (John 13:14). We are to labor at our jobs, not in proportion to the way our employer treats us, but according to the way God treats us. God is the One we serve (Eph 6:5).”

“Mediocrity and laziness have no place in the Christian’s life. Christians must maintain integrity at home and in the workplace… Our toil then becomes an offering to God. We not only worship God at church on Sunday, but our labor throughout the week is an offering of worship and thanksgiving to the One who has given us everything we have.”

How many times have you seen someone decide that they’re just not treated fairly and they do what amounts to be stupid things to strike back? And we all know how that works out. It bites them, it brings them a bad reputation and if people know they are a Christian, it always puts Christians in a bad light. “Our” work is “our” work. We may be getting what we think is a bad deal, but doing work that doesn’t serve our neighbor and reflects poorly on Christ and Christian brothers and sisters really ends up only hurting the people who you’ve professed to be in fellowship with and the Father. Do we really want people to think we are all about shoddy, half baked service? Sure we aren’t always going to be great, but we should make our best effort to be as good as possible and never be perceived as “tanking the ball”. Someone will call us on it and we’re the one who looks bad in the end. That certainly should be our perspective in our work and no less in our family and our church.

Our efforts should even be thought of as an offering to God, not in the sense of earning anything or buying anything, but certainly in the sense of Thanksgiving.

Even when others fail us, refuse us, treat us poorly, we continue to serve because our service is always given in thanks to God. Take a break during the week, Wednesday mornings, the coffee shop at the corner of W King and Beaver Sts in downtown York, Pa.  10am, park behind the church. I will even buy you your first cup of coffee. No charge, no obligation.

When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring In Young Families” . . .

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Almost every church I’ve ever known has wanted to Attract Young Families.  The reasoning behind this includes the following:

  • If we don’t regenerate, everyone will eventually get old and die.
  • It’s energizing to have young people around.
  • Younger members can do the work that older members can’t/won’t do anymore.
  • Older members tend to be on fixed incomes and younger working members are needed for their pledges.
  • Young families (i.e. mom, dad, and kids) remind us of church when we were (or wish we were) part of young families.

There are a few things wrong with this reasoning, including the fact that “attracting” people in general feels manipulative – as if people are “targets” to be used for our own purposes.  Yuck.

Let’s be honest about the “why.  Are we saying that we want these rare and valuable Young Families for what they can give to us?

What if  – instead – the “why” of this demographic quest was about feeding souls and sharing authentic community?  I always hoped – as a young mom – that church would provide adults that could help me nurture my children.  I always wanted to know that – if my kids couldn’t come to me or HH with a problem – they would have other trustworthy adults to whom they could go (and they did.)

Young families are great.  Old families are great.  Families made up of child-free couples are great.  Families of single people are great.  Imagine if every church simply wanted A Pastor Who Could Bring In Broken People.  Now that’sa church.

Also, the days are gone when Young Families were present in worship every Sunday.  The statistics are in about how the definition of “regular worship” has changed since the 1950s.  (“Regular” used to mean weekly.  Now it means once or twice a month.)

Instead of seeking a Pastor who can bring in those vaunted Young Families, we need to call a Pastor who knows how to shift congregational culture.  The culture in which we live and move and have our being has changed, but we are killing ourselves trying to maintain a dated congregational culture.

News flash:  Most pastors will fail at “Bringing in Young Families.” Families of every kind are drawn to communities that are in touch with real life.  For example, check out Carey Nieuwhof’s recent post about why even committed Christians do not worship as regularly as they did in previous decades.  At least two of his “10 Reasons” specifically impact cultural changes connected to Young Families.

So how can we be the kind of congregation that welcomes Young Families for more than their energy and wallets?  We can:

  1. Be real.  Deal with real issues in sermons, classes, retreats, conversations, prayers.
  2. Listen to parents’ concerns.  Listen to children’s concerns.
  3. Ask how we can pray for them.  And then pray for them.
  4. Allow/encourage messiness.  Noses will run and squirming will ensue.  There might be running.  There will definitely be noise.
  5. Check our personal Stink Eye Quotient.  Do we grimace when a baby cries?  Do we frown when the kids are wearing soccer uniforms?
  6. Refrain from expecting everyone to be the church like we have always been the church.
  7. Help parents, grandparents, and all adults become equipped to minister to children and youth.  How can we learn to offer such loving hospitality to the younger people in our midst that they will always experience church as home?
  8. Do not use children as cute props.  Yes they say the darndest things during children’s stories, but they are not there to entertain us.
  9. Give parents a break.  Really.  Help struggling parents get coats and hats on their kids.  Hold an umbrella.  Assist in wiping spills.
  10. Give parents a break administratively.  Make it easy to participate. Minimize the unnecessary.

It’s also okay not to have Young Families in our congregations depending on the context.  Some neighborhoods have very few young ones living nearby.  But there are still people who crave some Good News.

I want a Pastor who can minister to whomever lives in the neighborhood in the thick of these cruel and beautiful times.

Image is a popular one that shows up in lots of random blog posts.

Holy Communion continued I

My Christian background is a little odd, although more and more it’s becoming common among younger generations and is not out of the question with in my “baby boomer” generation. I was dedicated as an American Baptist (“Baptists” don’t baptize infants. Parents “dedicate” their children, promising that they will raise their child as a Christian in the Baptist Church.) I was married by a “Congregational” minister (it’s now called United Church of Christ). I was baptized by a United Methodist Minister and ordained by a Lutheran minister. I cannot say I was “raised’ as a Christian, no less in any particular tradition. I’m not saying that based on my checkered past that I’m an expert on various traditions of the Lord’s Supper, but my experience might give me a little bit of a unique perspective.

To be clear, yea, I have a firm conviction about the Lord’s Supper, I’m very serious about the Lord’s Supper. Lutherans would agree with Roman Catholics that the Bread and Wine in the Lord’s Supper is the true Body and Blood of Jesus. There’s disagreement as how that’s arrived at and dealt with, but just to give you a place to start to understand what the church’s position is. Having been a Methodist, I’ve seen the Lord’s Supper treated more like a cookie and coco break during worship, I’ve seen it treated pretty cavalierly in other traditions too, it’s offensive, it’s really offensive, it’s the Holy Body of our Lord and Savior.

I know I’m kind of stacking the discussion, but Jesus told us: “Take, eat; this is my body.”, Not this is a symbol, this is something I’m doing to be chummy, this is some weird mystical thing. No this is My Body, this is My Blood. This is what has been sacrificed for you, this is what has been given to be a part of you, this is what was given in order to assure you I paid the price for you sin and you are now forgiven, there should be no doubt in your mind about this.

OK? Don’t think there’s a lot of room to maneuver. When we treat the Body and Blood less than that, then it’s hard to take seriously those who treat His Body so lightly. For those of you who are so easily offended, this is real offense, mistreating the true Body and Blood of your Savior, the One who died to pay for your sins.

Rev Dr Peter Kurowski has written a really great book “Close Communion Conversations”, discussing issues associated with the Lord’s Supper. Since different denominations have different perspectives on the Lord’s Supper, most denominations try to specifiy with whom it is appropriate to allow to share communion with outside the denomination. For most of Protestant Christianity all you have to do is profess some acceptance of Christ and be able to fog up a mirror. Lutheran Church Missouri Synod takes our most solemn sacrament very seriously and, I feel at least, that it should be treated seriously by everyone, regardless of church or lack of church.

Therefore I refer to Dr Kurowski’s book to discuss the concepts of “Open Communion”, “Closed Communion” which are the two contrasts, and “Close Communion” which Dr Kurowski labels the middle ground.

Open Communion in the extreme is the notion that the Lord’s Supper is administered to all people who come to the altar without any due diligence on the part of the administering pastor. This is not how Jesus wants His supper distributed. (1 Corinthians 4:1; Matthew 28: 18-20) Such a position is reckless and loveless. It creates Corinthian confusion. Church bodies that run this direction invariably will lose a true gospel centeredness lapsing into lawlessness. The person of Christ is diminished and “It is finished!” is rarely heard by the famished (John 19:30).”

Closed Communion” in the extreme is the notion that the Lord’s Supper is administered only to people who are communicant members of a denomination that has publicly declared altar fellowship. Though well meaning, this brittle approach is a reproach to many a saint who comes to the Lord’s Table hungering for righteousness but is met with a stone wall rather than a cup of compassion. The damage done when one’s position is too narrow is chilling, devastating and at times causes irreparable harm turning the Church – a hospital for sinners – into a kind of “Club Christ”, or a “Christ who clubs!”

Close Communion Conversations” seeks to pursue the good golden gospel middle of genuine evangelical theology on altar fellowship issues…The guideline in service of the gospel runs this way: Although we have as a general rule closed communion we have exceptions to the rule. Both the general rule and the exceptions to the rule are for the sake of the gospel. At the same time the exceptions ought not t become the rule.”

“Because of this evangelical guideline, I prefer the term close communion. It captures the theological tensions in which evangelical Christianity must live. It brings with it a paradoxical Lutheran edge.” (pp 9-10)

This sets the discussion and I want to emphasize that when in doubt, my preference is to have “closed’ communion. I’ve written about this before, but it is not to set some sort of “more worthy Christian”, but to assure that the recipient truly understands and accepts a correct understanding of what the Lord’s Supper truly is. I often tell those who are new to the Lutheran Church that we don’t want them to feel excluded, we want them to understand how seriously we take the Lord’s Supper, that it is for their spiritual health. As a member eligible to receive the Lord’s Supper a person stands before the church that, as a part of membership, they vow to accept the true understanding of what the Lord’s Supper truly is. I want to give people the Lord’s Supper, believe me it is one of the great parts of being a pastor. But I want to do it to the recipients spiritual health and nourishment and knowing that we both understand what we are doing.

Please feel free to discuss and I plan to have more discussion.

Please let’s start taking marriage and child raising seriously

The following is from a post from a brother pastor, Eric Ekong.

“Is marriage obsolete? In a recent Pew Research poll, about 40 percent of Americans assert or strongly assert that marriage in America is obsolete. You probably know the dismal stats about the divorce rate in our country. Here are nine reasons people give that might explain the steady collapsing of marriage in America:

I assume that the relationship is probably going to break up at some point, and the breakup will hurt less if we were never married in the first place.
–Marriage is an exploitative, chauvinistic anachronism that heavily favors patriarchal control. Liberated women will more likely get what they want on their own.
–From the male point of view, women are giving it away these days. You don’t have to commit to her to get sex.
–Single parenthood is the new normal. African-Americans are already there with single-parent birthrates in some places above 70 percent. White folks’ single parenthood stats are following.
–My mom was a single parent, and I turned out fine.
–Marriage is something you can think about when your kids are raised and you are secure in your job.
–Cohabiting preserves your freedom of choice.
–Movies and TV shows relentlessly portray young men as either uneducated, clueless, reckless, socially inept, or violent. Why would any woman want to lock in her life to such a high-risk partner?
–I’m not going to get married until I find the perfect soul mate.

Are these the attitudes you want in your children’s minds? In your grandchildren’s? In your own spouse’s? If you don’t, God has a better way. Let’s give the divine designer a chance to explain to us how to be happily married till death us do part and how to build a family life that will give him glory.”

Me – People love to talk about how smart they are today, when it comes to marriage, commitment, living life in a strong and faithful manner, way too many people, have way too little discernment. How do you think this affects society as a whole? When the burden gets to be too much on those who are trying to live responsible, faithful lives, how do you think it will work out for the rest.

Point one – Yes, I guess if you have a fatalistic view of marriage it will fail. Hey how about this, grow up, make a commitment, live a responsible life and decide that you will make it work. In the meantime stay out of bed with anyone who isn’t your spouse. Oh yeah, I get it, all the excitement, none of the responsibility. How do you really think that’s going to end up?

Marriage is a partnership, that too many men and women today think can be manipulated and played with. How about we all decide to be grown ups and truly commit to what is best for each other and children, and quit playing games. Exploitive? I’m not saying there aren’t bad situations, but the reality is this, the highest rate of poverty is on unmarried mothers. Married women, have a much lower rate of poverty, men will step up and provide. The nasty swill of those people that compose the media love to take isolated situations, make them the rule, distribute their extremely poor “work” to people who gullibly swallow it and there you have it. Broken families, no mutual responsibility and this nonsense that too many women believe that the government will give them all they want. Afterwards and I’ve seen plenty of “afterward” pictures, you have women living in substandard housing with children they can’t keep up with and the spiral continues down and down. Hey there are women that do step up and manage, but I would bet you anything that they would tell you it was much harder then it had to be.

Single-parenting is not a “norm”, it may be the situation, but if people were truly honest about their platitudes “it’s all about the kids”, they would try as much as possible to raise them in a family of a man and a woman. That is how children are raised the best, the research shows it over and over again. There are exceptions, but really, why would you want to try to be the exception, when you can step up and do what’s best for children. Be honest, it’s not about the kids, it’s just about you.

OK, fine, marriage and children are only for when you have a secure home. OK, when do you think that will be? Yea, right, come on. If that’s the standard, then a further standard should be this: “Until such time I am ready to raise children like that, I’m not going to put myself in the position where I could have children.” Yea, people like to get all righteous at one end, then the other end, ahhhh, not so much.

“Cohabiting preserves your freedom of choice.” and “I’m not going to get married until I find the perfect mate.” Seriously? I don’t even know how people can say this with a straight face. Yeah, “choice”, while you’re making your “choices”, what do you think the other person is doing? This is just a recipe for disaster for both of you. The person who says this thinks they’re cool and is showing they’re clueless. The “perfect mate”? There isn’t one and even more ironically, you certainly aren’t the perfect mate either. Hmmm, you want perfect, but you aren’t even close to being able to offer it. Yeah, let me know how that works out.

For a society that loves to tell people how smart they are, wow, “don’t care about tomorrow”, “don’t care about another person”, “don’t care about my kids”, “don’t care about the society I live in”, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. All the research and much more importantly God, emphasizes the importance of the family, of commitment, of sacrifice, of truly living like a mature human being. When you live like a mature human being, and everyone else does, we have a great society and it helps everyone to grow and be secure. When we have a society where everyone says “it’s all about me and the heck with everyone else”, well how do you think that’s going to end up? Find a way to make it happen, quit making excuses, quit trying to have it your way and then stick someone else with the consequences. You may think you’re smarter, but it will catch up to you and then all of a sudden just a world of hurt. And you’re going to sit there wondering why no one will help. Why? Because they’re busy being self-centered and selfish like you’ve been. Not so smart, huh?

Be the well-rounded person God gave you the opportunity to be

Just finished my Saturday workout, usually consists of about an hour of weights or an hour plus of bike riding. Usually when it comes up in discussion, the other person will say something like, I wouldn’t do that, sounds like too much work, or I couldn’t bike 3 miles, and it’s not with an attitude of, “Gee maybe I should be in better shape and try to do something”. It’s more of an attitude on their part that they’re proud they don’t “waste” their time, what’s the point. As if they’re somehow smarter by not getting some genuine exercise.
A lot of people will also give me an attitude that if they can’t be a great athlete well what’s the point. I am by no means a “great”, good, even mediocre athlete. Any competitions I enter, I’m usually a “back of the packer”, but by the same token, I am keeping in shape, I am doing things that keep me in better physical condition. The big topics today are obesity, diabetes is an epidemic, stress, lethargy, depression, all things that a decent amount of exercise would greatly help. It’s getting to the point where I can’t go a day without meeting someone who is obviously over weight and tells me they have diabetes. They talk as if they have been somehow victimized and they should be able to do whatever they want with whatever they want. Furthermore, the things that people put in their bodies that are illegal and what do we as a society do? We continue to legalize marijuana. Seriously is there a doubt in anyone’s mind that the widespread use of illegal substances, not to mention a lot of the junk we consume isn’t resulting in damage to ourselves that we are passing on to our children? ADD the all encompassing answer to everyone’s inability to do anything (although just watch how rapt their attention is when they’re playing computer games or watching a movie they like). I’m sure that in a lot of circumstances autism that has also become widespread is a result of a lot of illicit drug use. I’m not trying to be cruel, but those same people who are always so concerned with their secular “truth”, sure find ways to distort the truth of the things they do that are just not responsible ways to act.
Cut to the chase, as we progress there will be more and more demand for medical attention for conditions that we could have controlled by taking just a little responsibility in our lives. Some reasonable exercise would do everyone a great deal of good.
And parents let’s cut the baloney, making sure your kid goes to baseball, soccer, games sorry, those are just not conditioning programs. Those programs are just not designed for children’s physical fitness. There is just way too much adult ego, vicarious living and need to maintain control. There’s just not enough ‘let’s get out there as kids, run until we drop, help each other, learn, on our own, to be part of a team and enjoy what should be the beginning of life long good habits.
Let’s help our kids develop good habits by being good examples and being out there with them doing real exercise. Sorry but a kid playing right field is never going to get their heart rate up to any level for any time that’s going to do him or her the least amount of good.
Don’t count on government or the medical institution to save you, and I think that realization is slowly beginning to dawn on people. But realizing it isn’t going to do you any good when you’re 55 years old, obese, diabetic and have messed up your joints by carrying around far too many pounds for your joints to support. I can certainly see a time coming that because the medical establishment is becoming so ill-equipped to deal with all of this, that they will stop even trying to treat those who have spent their lives chain-swilling twinkies. Or they will turn you away because you abused your body with drugs and now your children have serious problems because of it.
I know, I can hear it “I have the right! It’s my body, to…” yada, yada. Ya, not really. You certainly didn’t “make” your body, and for those who would use this line of discussion they haven’t done anything to make their body better, they’ve just abused it, poor diet, booze, drugs, irresponsible sex, lack of exercise. So you can’t say you’re responsible for caring and nurturing your body. you expect to abuse it and have someone else take care of you. That’s just not realistic. God gave you the capacity to have a remarkable body and life with it, if you abuse what God’s done for you. If you don’t work to make your body stronger and more able, you have abused the gift you’ve been given.
So take some responsibility now, come on down to First St Johns and learn good aerobic and strength building exercises. And while your there you might also avail yourself of the opportunity to strengthen your spiritual life. To become that well-rounded person that God gave you the capacity to be.