It’s that time of year

The stores were full this past weekend with families taking advantage of the tax break. Teachers have been busy setting up their rooms, collecting supplies, and praying  … lots of praying. Transitions – new grades, new schools, new routines, new teachers, new students – require adjustments in attitude and behavior. We’ll soon notice the difference in traffic. We will need to be more careful and patient.

We will learn a great deal about each other. One wise teacher sent a note home after the first day of class. “Dear Parent. As we start the new school year lets agree on something: If you won’t believe half of what your child tells you about me, I won’t believe half of what your child tells me about you.”

Here are a few things to consider as we begin the year:

  1. We often stress that we should pray for the teachers and administrators at school, but let’s make certain we pray for the whole faculty and staff – coaches, specialists, resource officers, nurses, secretaries, aides, custodians, and others.
  2. Start the year building good study discipline. Too many of us waited too long to develop good study habits. Learning how to learn is a valuable skill.
  3. Monitor the time spent on electronic devices. We have heard the horror stories of what’s been posted, of accidents that occur while talking or texting on a phone, of internet sites that rot the mind and heart.
  4. Talk about bullying from several angles. Help your children know how to respond, but also be aware that our own kids can be guilty of inappropriate behavior. Bullies come in all sizes, ages, and life circumstances.
  5. We lead busy, over-committed lives. You can’t do it all. Take a look at your family schedule. Can you find balance? Can you say no? Have we sacrificed the best things by doing good things? You have to answer that for yourselves.
  6. Where does God fit into our plans and activities? How do we encourage, teach, and model spiritual formation? What spiritual disciplines are present or absent in our home?

A friend gave me a plaque with some excellent advice written on it:

“Take time to work … it is the price of success; to play … it is the secret of perpetual youth; to think … it is the source of power; to read … it is the fountain of wisdom; to pray … it is conversation with God; to laugh … it is the music of the soul; to listen … it is the pathway to understanding; to dream … it is hitching your wagon to a star; to worship … it is the highway of reverence; to love and be loved … it is the gift of God.”

Right now, stop for a moment. Breathe in … breathe out. Be still. Now read this verse as a prayer: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Be free … to listen and obey.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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