Loving Legacy: The Vocation of Motherhood

Loving Legacy

What does a mother do? Well, how much time do you have?!! The vocation of motherhood involves an exceptionally broad scope. It ranges from making and following up on children’s chore lists to changing diapers to helping with homework, to washing a baseball uniform after a late night tournament game and everything in between. But most importantly, our calling as mothers is to teach our children about and nurture their faith in Jesus as their Savior. There’s no higher calling – NONE!

Any vocation involves God working through people to minister to the particular neighbors of that vocation, in this case, her children. It’s how God works – allowing us to live out our faith to our neighbors as He works through us. Martin Luther explains it this way:

The services that a mother performs for her children are for the most part small and coarse and hardly noble. However, Christian faith “open its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.” For they are the means whereby God “graciously cares for us just like a kind and loving mother.” Faith recognizes that what seems to natural man to be nothing but trouble and a burdensome limitation is instead a unique calling to serve God’s gracious will and to express our faith and love. If we recognize that, we “will find delight, love, and joy without end” in the midst of the “bitterness, drudgery and anguish.” (1)

As your faith family, we’re here to help you live out your vocation as mother. Here are some suggestions. Take advantage of the Faith Legacy classes that are offered to guide you in nurturing your child’s faith. Make family worship a weekly habit, to be built up in faith together with your fellow Christians. And just as importantly, allow God to give you His direct guidance and instruction as you meet with Him each day in His Word and through prayer. It can give a fresh perspective for cleaning up one more glass of spilled milk!

Joy in Jesus!

Jeannie Newton


(1) Want to know more? Check out Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood by Gene Edward Veith Jr. & Mary J. Moerbe (2012)!

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Loving Legacy: The Vocation of Motherhood

Loving Legacy: What is Vocation All About?

Loving Legacy

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. – I Corinthians 7:17

I recently read a book that helped to illuminate many of the fine points of the idea of vocation, as well as some fairly major ones! The concept is nothing new. God gives it to us in Scripture, especially clearly in I Corinthians 7:17. Martin Luther expounded on it in great detail nearly 500 years ago. In today’s society, we mostly associate the term “vocation” with one’s job or career, but God presents us with something much broader and much more helpful in living out our life of faith (Veith & Moerbe, 2012).

Understood in its fuller meaning, and from its root in the Latin, vocatio, it is really a calling. Veith and Moerbe sum up the meaning of vocation nicely:

“Its Christian meaning is that God calls us to the different roles that he asks us to play and in which he is active….It is in our various vocations that we live out our faith in love and service to the various neighbors that God brings into our lives. Not only that, God works in and through all of these vocations and the unique individuals he calls to fill them, including us” (2012, p. 210).

Here the authors lay out all of the elements of vocation.

  1. God calls us.
  2. We have different roles.
  3. God is active in them.
  4. Through vocation we live out our faith.
  5. Vocation is to specific neighbors.
  6. God brings those particular neighbors to us.

Could God choose to do His work without us? Absolutely! But His preferred method to provide for His children is through other human beings. Each day we are blessed by the results of many people living out their vocation: Family members having lived out their vocation as parent, sibling, extended family; friends; others in more tangible vocations as farmers, butchers, automaker, architect, computer programmer, etc. You get the idea.

Luther considered the family vocations (husband, wife, father, mother, child, sibling) as most important. And of course they are! This is where faith is modeled and developed. There is nothing more important to our Lord than our salvation!

In the months to come, we’ll take a look at the individual family vocations, and share resources that encourage and equip us in the various roles to which God has called us!

Joy in Jesus!

Jeannie Newton


Want to know more? Check out Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood by Gene Edward Veith Jr. & Mary J. Moerbe (2012)!

Loving Legacy: What is Vocation All About?

Family Resources for Lent

Loving Legacy

With Christmas still a not-so-faint reflection in our rear view mirror, we already look to the reason for His coming. We set aside a particular time for repentance and reflection on our Lord’s suffering, and the importance it holds for us as believers. Remembering His 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, and price that Jesus paid for us on the cross, we set aside the 40 days preceding Easter. Those 40 days, the season of Lent, will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 10th, and we’ll mark it here at Mt. Olive, as is fitting and proper, with coming together as family to worship. Doing so helps to set our hearts in the right direction. And, as always, when we come together to worship as a whole family, we are all built up in the faith (Hebrews 10: 24, 25)! Plan to worship with our Mt. Olive family every Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. during Lent.

As you and your family prepare for the coming Lenten season, we want to offer resources to help you make this season one of deep meaning for your entire family. For a background on Lent, and the reasons we observe it, please refer to the following link: http://bit.ly/23tM8yM. In addition, “Family Faith Builders,” a resource for whole family participation in the home, will be sent home with the Sunday School students, and is also available on the bulletin board in the welcome area. Family Faith Builders offer suggestions to help your family focus on different aspects of Jesus’ life, with application for the Christian life. You’ll find a variety of Scriptural-based activities to encourage and empower you as you lead your family.

I strongly encourage you to pick one up for your family and implement those activities that will enhance your family’s worship during this season. Take one to share with a friend as well! There is no more powerful tool for building your child’s faith life than what happens in the home (Proverbs 22:6). Parents, your time is so limited, I know, but this will be time well invested in nurturing your child’s faith life. God bless you as you grow in grace together!

~ Jeannie Newton

Family Resources for Lent

Balanced Well-being

Loving Legacy

The Scripture reading for the first Sunday after Christmas included this verse from Luke 2: 52: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (NIV). As always, Jesus gives us the perfect example – even in the way He grew up as a boy. Jesus lived a life in perfect balance. He grew in wisdom (intellectual), stature (physical), in favor with God (spiritual), and favor with men (social). They are like the four wheels of a car. If one of the wheels is out of balance, so is the whole car. It’s the same with people.

It may be complicated to live a life in balance today. With media at our fingertips, we can be pulled in directions that lead us to be out of balance in our lives. The wellness wheel image helps to put it in perspective. All the spokes of the wheel depend on being wrapped in spiritual well-being. Our church’s emphasis this year on applying the wellness wheel to our lives will begin by addressing our new life in Christ as baptized members of His family, and our spiritual well-being that impacts every other aspect of life. Begin by making a commitment to worship together as a family each week with your faith family at Mt. Olive. Allow God to bless each member of your family as we come together each weekend and praise our God Who calls us to do just that.

WellbeingWheel

Does God need our praise? Hardly. But, as He always does what’s best for His children, He commands us to come together as a faith family (“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” Exodus 20: 8, NIV), knowing that as we do, we are beginning the first steps toward a healthy and balanced life.

Balanced Well-being

Chrismons

Loving Legacy

The chrismons are the ornaments that decorate our tree at the front of the sanctuary. They were originally conceived back in 1940, by Pastor George Pass, of Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, VA, who created decorations for the church from discarded wrappings. Two of his parishioners, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Spencer, were so taken by their handmade beauty, along with the economy of using recycled materials, that they continued and expanded their use at their home, and as gifts.

Upon studying the monograms of Christ, Mrs. Spencer named them chrismons, after the Latin word phrase Christi monogramma. Each of the chrismons has special meaning, and each, like all of our decorations, direct our attention to Jesus. We share the meanings with you here. Perhaps your family can find other meanings and Bible references for these symbols!

BlogCrismons

The crown represents the majesty and royalty of Christ. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, ESV).

The star chrismon reminds us of the star that shone to guide the wise men, and that Jesus is the promised One. “I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Revelation 22: 16, ESV).

The angel is God’s messenger, sharing the Good News of Jesus’ birth with the shepherds. God asks us to be messengers of His good news, too! “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV).

The cross is “the ever present reminder of the price that Jesus paid for our sins. Jesus paid the debt that we owe to the Father. He in turn gives us the free gift of new life” (sundayschoolnetwork.com). “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

Now it might be a fun challenge for the family to see how your decorations at home point us to Jesus!

Merry Christmas!

p.s. Hop on over to Mount Olive’s Facebook or Instagram page and take part in the PHOTO-A-DAY ADVENT CHALLENGE – make it a family thing!

Chrismons

Family Traditions

Loving Legacy

Family traditions can be fun for the whole group, and make for some wonderful memories. But they serve an even larger purpose. In their book, Family Traditions, Ledbetter and Smith suggest, “Traditions affirm worth, give identity, and communicate values.” Worth, identity, values…they can’t be taught. They can only be understood. And family traditions are one avenue to do just that.

When we keep a tradition, even a simple one, it tells each family member he has worth. My schedule is not too busy for you and for this time together. This tradition belongs to our family, and our identity is wrapped up in you, and you in us. The activity conveys a family value – this is what we esteem. No wonder God directed the children of Israel to keep traditions – He wanted them to understand their worth, identity, and value in Him!

We all know that the holidays are wonderful times for family traditions. Use this time before the mad rush of activities to decide on the traditions for your family, so that they will indeed convey the values of your family and the Christian faith you hold so dear.

Your faith family at Mt. Olive is here to support you as you help your children to understand their identity in Christ as His son/daughter. We will be sending home some Advent devotions with the Sunday School children, and additional copies will be available outside the Children’s Ministry office.

Check out other options in our church library as well, or let us know if you’d like other suggestions.

The best family traditions are that of worship together with the whole family of God. Of course you’ll want to worship together each weekend, and you will no doubt also find the special Wednesday Advent worship times helpful in keeping the focus on Christ throughout this season. There were times as our children were growing up that it was a mad rush to get everyone out the door to attend Advent worship. But when we got there,and were forced to slow down and refocus – it was all worth it! How good it is to have these traditions with our faith family!

Quiet time around a simple Advent wreath with the Advent devotions in the evening after supper or just before bed adds importance to this season, and may set the stage for simple family devotions you’ve been wanting to start, but just haven’t.

God bless you as you plan your family traditions!

– Jeannie Newton, Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Family Traditions

Listen! God Is Calling! Exploring Our Vocations

Loving Legacy

Greetings, and welcome to the first Mt. Olive Family Ministry blog!

We’re here as a faith family to support one another in every facet of life, and especially in that all-important, exciting, daunting, exhausting, and fantastically rewarding task of parenting…of raising our children up in the Lord. It’s never been easy, and it’s certainly not getting any easier! But we’re all in this together, and this will be a place where we can share encouragement and joys for the process!

As parents, we wear many different hats, and if we started to list them all, it would probably wear us out! But here’s some inspiration for your day: each of those roles – mom/dad, son/daughter, friend, sister/brother, church member, teacher (we’re teaching them something!), etc., is a calling from God! He created these roles for us, and He has a purpose for us to fulfill in them.

That’s our emphasis in children’s ministry this school year…to help each of our children understand that God has called them to serve Him in various capacities. On Kick-Off Sunday a few weeks ago, Pastor Federwitz talked to them about that, and introduced them to the big word, “vocation.”

They learned about his calling (vocation) among the Komba people of Ghana, West Africa, and their calling right here in Rockford, IL! In connection with that we’re working on memorizing Matthew 28: 19,20 – the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples – and the hymn, “Listen, God is Calling.” Later on this fall we’ll be sharing that in the worship services.

We’re really excited about assisting you as you teach this concept to your children! Each of the children coming to Sunday School will receive his own “passport” (complete with his own picture!) to use as he “travels” around the world. If your child has been in Sunday School, he brought home a Mission Friends packet for Mexico. (If he didn’t receive one yet, or it was misplaced, help yourself to another from the outside the children’s ministry office.) It contains various activities for your family to do to learn about the culture. Try one or more out and have your child either bring the finished product, or a note from you saying he participated, and we’ll put a stamp in his passport for that country! Each month we’ll send home a packet for another country.

As you work through the activities, take time with your family to pray for the people there who don’t yet know Jesus, and for the missionaries who are helping them to do that. You might also want to encourage your child to write a note (or color a picture) for one or more of the missionaries from the country. It doesn’t have to be complicated…just a note saying that your family is praying for them, or maybe telling a little about themselves. They can put the letter in the “Missionary Mailbox” found on the lower level next to the giant map. We’ll make sure they get to the destination!

Fasten your seat belts – this will be the ride of a lifetime!

~ Jeannie Newton

September Missionaries (to Mexico):

  • Rev. and Mrs. Andrew Schlund and Charlotte (Rev. Schlund is originally from Janesville, WI!)
  • Rev. and Mrs. Daniel Conrad
  • Mr. Tyler McMiller (Mr. McMiller is originally from Waukesha, WI!)

Calendar Items:

  • October 4 – New Mission Friends packet
  • October 25 – Children’s Christmas practice begins (2-4 p.m.)
Listen! God Is Calling! Exploring Our Vocations