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What do you attract or the Brian Cookie Story

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If you haven’t heard this before, I teach a Sunday School class of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.  When I first started with this class, we started late every week because they were out searching for food.  So, knowing the age group and wanting them there on time, I began bringing donuts to class every week.  It is now a few years down the road (4?) and my husband now often makes something for me to take in.  I will have to confess it is seldom healthy, but it’s once a week and it works  (did I mention I have mostly boys?).  One of their favorite things is when  Brian sends anything edible chocolate chip cookies.  He sends a big container and all of them are prepared to die as they know not one will return home.

 

 

 

Missing chocolate chip cookie.

Missing chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What happens when Brian cookies come to church?

 

First, former students now in another class often drop in and grab a bite before heading to class (especially for cookies).  Then my students polish off most of the rest.  I try to rescue a few for others because after class, I often have three little girls (future students for me?) show up in my room.  They stand there quietly and look at me with big eyes, waiting for me to give the command that allows them to get a cookie (or two) after ascertaining they have permission from the parents.  Last week, I had two people stop me on the way to the sanctuary to ‘taste’ the cookies and make sure they were good enough (lol).  Once they cookies make it to the sanctuary, I have a following of those who hope there are a few crumbs left for them.  A cookie has even given it’s life in service to a person who was having a low blood sugar episode.

 

Did I mention these cookies are GOOD?   Brian has perfected them, and they (and he) have a major fan base.

 

The point of this narrative?

 

The point of telling this story is not to brag on Brian’s cookies or to tell stories about the cookie monsters lovers among us.  If you’ve been with me a while, you probably feel an analogy coming on….

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies 009

Chocolate Chip Cookies 009 (Photo credit: MGF/Lady Disdain)

The analogy arrives:

 

Brian cookies ATTRACT.  They smell good; they taste good; they look good; they go great with milk.  In fact, the crowd they are accumulating of volunteer taste testers is getting quite large and grows every time they show up.

 

Christians should ATTRACT.  If we have Christ in us and seek to live a life guided by the Holy Spirit, we will be a different, peculiar, unique people.  We will have something others want.  They will seek us out and drink deeply of it, even if they don’t understand what it is.  They will want what we have:  a real relationship with the Creator that makes a difference in our lives and our interactions with others.

 

For example, I was having a conversation with someone who was very angry at another person.  I understood the anger, but I told them that I love her deeply in spite of it.  The person said, “Well, I sure don’t know how you do it!”  What a great opportunity to explain that the love I have, even for the unlovely, is not about me.  It is Christ’s love in me.  {Disclaimer:  I am an imperfect sinner just like everyone else, but sometimes God uses me anyway.}

 

If you maintain that relationship, continue to grow, and make yourself available, these times will come.  Others will see how you respond so differently from what is expected.  They will want to know how you do it.  You will have an opportunity to share.

 

Conversation in my SS class (when the cookies show up) often contains comments like this:  “these are soooooo good!”; “how does he do that?”;  “when is he going to make them again?”; and so on.  The students recognize that these cookies are special.  Why?  Because they know the baker, and they have tasted the goodness before.  Others will recognize God’s goodness in you and wonder how, why, what, and more as your light shines in the darkness, beckoning others to come and see.

 

What kind of cookie are you?                      Is anyone else getting hungry?????????????????????????????

Day 13/365 Today, I discovered the greatness o...

Strobist info: snooted 430EX @1/2 power directed at top of glass triggered by a 580EXII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

{Disclaimer:  This blog post is not responsible for diet mishaps–wanna cookie?}

 

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Just do something!

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“Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.”– Franklin D. Roosevelt

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When I posted this quote as a draft for a future  post, I didn’t think I’d be writing about this.  Some of you will identify and others may not, but this quote works very well as a philosophy of teaching for middle schoolers.  I teach 7th, 8th, and 9th grade in my Sunday School Class on Sunday morning.  I often leave the room after class wondering why in the world I keep doing this.  This age group is difficult at best in so many ways.  They are very conscious of themselves and how they fit or don’t fit into the world around them.  They are quick to point out when someone else doesn’t fit in.  They like to talk and prank each other and put their feet on the table and poke holes in milk cartons and anything else that pops into their mind.  —->(“Ah, that’s a good idea!  Oh, well maybe not.  Where are the paper towels?)

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I used to think these behaviors indicated boredom.  Nope, it just means they’re middle schoolers!  I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered if my presence in that room makes a difference or not, especially after a difficult hour of Jr. High hijinks.  Then one of them will say something that warms my heart and gives me the fuel I need to keep going.

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You see, while they act as if they do not hear a thing I say, they really listen (mostly).  Every once in a while, something will click with them and they’ll get an ‘aha’ moment that makes them think differently about something.  They love my SS class!  They love me.  I love these kids and my ministry with them.

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Back to my quote.  This is how it works:  I see a problem or a need and I try something with the class.  If it works, we keep doing it.  If it doesn’t work, I spend more time in prayer and contemplation and try something different.  Occasionally, something that has worked for a while stops working.  (This frequently happens in the new year when the group remixes as older ones leave and younger ones come in.)  Then the process begins again and I try new things, gauge how well they do or do not work, and readjust.

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This works in life too.  The only real failure is not trying at all.  If we see a problem or have a dream or whatever, and we try something.  If it doesn’t work, we abandon it (or put it on the back burner to try at another time) and try something else.  I personally expend a lot of prayer in the things I try in my class, and that helps.  I have pictures of my rugrats students up on my prayer wall in my bathroom to remind me to lift them up daily.   They face trials too and often don’t have the maturity to deal on their own.  When they come to me and ask me to pray for them or remind me to have our class prayer time,  I know something has worked.  When I see evidence of spiritual growth, I know something worked.

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However, this ‘try and try again’ attitude works on all things.  This has always been my philosophy of education and one reason I work well with non-traditional or special needs students (and middle schoolers).  If they can’t learn like others, you try something.  If it works, you keep doing it.  If it doesn’t work, you  try something else.  Sooner or later you will hit the ‘aha’ moment with each child that lets a little of the light of education into their lives.

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How does this quote work in your life?  Do you keep trying different things?  Do you give up if the first thing doesn’t work?  Do you allow discouragement to drag you down when you’re still in the ‘try something else’ stage?  Is there a time in your life when you can see that trying something new actually worked?  

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If only we would remember this when we get into a reactionary rut with the spouse, kids, friends, others.  If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. 🙂  (definition of insanity)   If something isn’t working, don’t look to place blame on others.  You can’t change them, but you can change you and how you respond.  Often changing our response to others in certain situations makes all the difference in the outcome.  It at least makes a difference in us and how we think about the situation.

So get out there and try something new!        {and here’s a peek at some of my class 🙂 }

Christian Soldiers Sunday School Class

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