Parent’s Progress 4.30.15

I’ve been working for the last couple of days on some presentations where people have asked me to provides statistical updates on the current state of the family in America. Twenty-four years ago, I was introduced to the amazing work of the National Center for Fathering, a group that became instrumental in my own formation as a dad and as one who speaks to parents.

This morning, I visited the National Center for Fathering’s website. I hadn’t been there in awhile. I was looking for the most recent stats on fatherlessness. I ran across this little video clip. Dads. . . give it a look. You are important in the lives of your kids.


Learning To Embrace All



One night, desperation over her son kept Mary from sleeping. She took a walk in her neighborhood. She walked past the Santa Ana (California) Free Methodist Church and heard singing and praying despite the late hour. Mary stepped inside and discovered women praying in Spanish.

Although they did not speak her language, the women somehow understood her problem and prayed for her. Regardless of the language barrier, a peace filled her whole being. She testifies, “I will never forget that moment in my life. I did not understand, but it was a rejuvenating experience that changed my life forever.”


How Did I Get Here?


One of my earliest memories is of sitting in a room with my first-grade classmates in Lynn, Massachusetts. I felt overwhelmed and realized I had no idea what the other children were saying.

I was a 5-year-old immigrant. My family arrived in the United States from Mexico in 1991. We did not speak English.


Heart and Sole

By Bishop Roller

I was standing on a street corner in Asia when I realized that nearly everyone else was wearing flip-flops. I stood there in my brown Rockports, clearly an oddball, albeit a well-shod oddball.

Cold weather may have something to do with my shoe choices, but there are also cultural and economic forces in play. I stood there reflecting that there is a flip-flop world that is overpopulated and hungry, while there’s a close-toe-shoe world that is depopulating and overfed. The flip-flop world battles for daily survival. The smaller world of shoes frets about retirement plans.

The edges of the collision between those two worlds are called immigration. Most Western nations are in an immigration crisis. Because of low birthrates (Europe) and an elite workforce averse to manual labor (United States, Canada, Europe), economic forces are set in place that attract immigrants from opportunity-poor nations. The flip-flop world pours across the borders of the closed-toe-shoe world.


Parent’s Progress 4.23.15

Each Thursday we offer a parenting help. This week we bring you a couple of links to articles that attempt to help us as we connect with media and our teenagers. 
2015’s Summer Blockbusters
Based on this summer’s movie lineup, it appears as though every major studio in Hollywood is out to destroy Earth. From genetically-altered dinosaurs to artificial intelligence gone rogue to a very crude teddy bear that can talk, we might not make it out alive.

Here’s your guide to surviving the summer box office hits of 2015. Click here to finish this article.

Teens, Social Media & Technology

24% of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones.

Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smartphones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a new study from Pew Research Center. More than half (56%) of teens — defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17 — go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.

Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile devices. Click here to finish this article.

The Nations Are Here

written by

During my early teen years, my family hosted several refugees from Sudan for a period of three months. They had arrived through World Relief — a branch of the National Association for Evangelicals — from Kenyan refugee camps, where they had settled during the “Lost Boys of Sudan” phenomenon of the early 2000s (

During their stay, my family attempted to teach the six Sudanese young men in our care (in their early 20s by this time) everything we could about American culture. However, we could never reciprocate how much they taught us — the beauty of cultural diversity, the development of patience and perseverance, the art of brotherly love and the importance of family ties. This experience planted within me an intense love of racial diversity and cross-cultural relationships.

Years later, as I ventured off to complete an undergraduate degree and became exposed to the nature of the immigration process in the United States, those memories provided a face for the statistics and a very personal connection to the issue. I strongly believe that we as the U.S. church need to intentionally involve ourselves with the immigrant and refugee population to facilitate long-term community.


3 Reasons Why We Should Sing Loudly in Church

by Carrie Dedrick

I have been singing since the fifth grade. I’ve been in audition-only honors choirs, taken voice lessons, sang in musicals, and even toured Ireland and Scotland with my college chorale.

And I have a confession. Sometimes, I don’t sing in church.

There is just something about singing in church that feels different than singing with a school choir. Hymns are different than choir arrangements. The tune is usually simple enough for a congregation to figure it out without hours of rehearsals and the old-English lyrics are sometimes confusing.

What is a bulwark (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God)? What is a buckler (“For We Are Strangers No More”)? Why are we raising our Ebenezer (Come Thy Font of Every Blessing) and are we talking about Ebenezer Scrooge, from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”?

These are questions that I have asked myself while singing hymns After doing some research, I did find out that a bulwark is a wall, a buckler is a shield, and Ebenezer was a rock that Samuel raised in the air saying that God had helped the Israelites defeat the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:12). Still, it is easy to get stuck on the confusing words and whisper to the person next to you, “Hey, what is a bulwark, anyway?”

But if we fail to sing in church, we are missing out on a major component of worship.


Parent’s Progress 4.16.15

Each week we provide a peek into the world of teenagers (and sometimes younger). Our goal is to help equip parents to connect with their teens. 

There is no doubt that technology is changing the culture and the way people living out their faith.  The real question is how is it changing our faith?

The barna group has some some excellent research on this topic.  They came up with this infographic called: Top 4 Ways Millennials Are Integrating Technology And Faith.  It’s definitely worth checking out.

Here are some observations that stand out to me:

WLFMC is Turning 80!

WLFMC 80 Website Banner
Winona Lake Free Methodist Church is celebrating 80 years of ministry on Sunday, April 26. All are welcome to join us. We are planning to look back over 80 years of ministry as well as celebrate what God is doing now at WLFMC. Many former pastors will be joining us and taking part in our morning worship service.
Come and join us. We will have many pictures in our gallery and posted around the church. Find yourself in the pictures. Find yourself walking down memory lane. Find yourself among friends.
You can share the event on Facebook. Make sure to invite your friends, because a party means cake.
Our schedule for the morning:
9:15     Coffee and Fellowship Time
10:45   Morning Worship Service
12 Noon   Carry-in lunch (meat and beverages are being provided) If you are coming from out of town, please don’t feel the need to bring something. All are welcome to join us.

Come celebrate 80 years of ministry with us as we remember what God has done, rejoice in what God is doing and reveal where God is taking us.

Never Give Up From Argentina

by Bishop David Roller

Go to the end of the world and turn left. That’s Ushuaia, Argentina. Down at the very tip of South America. It’s best known as the jumping-off point for Antarctica. On main street I retell a story that Jesus told; a story about a judge who was jerk. But even that jerk of a judge finally paid attention to a little old lady. Could he be listening to you?