"I don't read my Bible everyday. I know I should, but I'm not much of a reader and, well, I just don't."
"Well, they're kids, they're gonna get in trouble"
"If you can't tithe, you can give of your time"
"You can worship where ever you are, on the soccer field, at a bass tourney, at the deer camp. You don't have to be in Church."
"I don't pray out loud"
I've rolled these things around in my head for weeks now and I've made some decisions.
First, it's not okay to not read your Bible. Really. It's not okay. When things go bad in life, we cry out to God for help. Many troubled times can be avoided when we follow God's Word, but we can't follow God's Word if we don't read it. We cannot know the character of God without reading His Word and we cannot fully trust Him unless we know His character.
I'm not going to expect my kids (or you or your kids) to get into trouble. I am going to EXPECT people to do the right thing. I am going to EXPECT people to behave properly. I am going to expect people to make good choices, and treat others with respect. If they don't, forgiveness, grace, and mercy will be offered, but I am not going to EXPECT people to do the wrong thing.
If you can't tithe, give what you can and make changes in your spending until you can tithe. It is hard to not spend the money you have to buy the things you want, but God gave you the money in the first place. 10% isn't all that much. Your life will be less stressful if you live so that every dollar isn't spent before you make it. Trust me...I feel your pain on this one. There are few things worst than having more month than money.
You need to be in church. Yes, you CAN worship anywhere....but DO you? Do you have a worship GOD at the game? Are you worshipping GOD on the lake and in the deer stand (or are you worshipping nature)? Scripture says not to forsake the gathering together. The early church spent much time together. We grow, learn, and bond while we are TOGETHER. One of Satan's greatest tactics is to separate a Christian from the body of believers. Separated, we fall victim to Satan's lies and deceit. Go to church. Make it a priority. Get involved. Find a church where you fit in, where you feel comfortable and can be yourself while you grow in Christ.
Finally, praying out loud isn't a big deal. Be like Nike and just do it. I am an introvert, so I get it. Praying out loud is daunting. ESPECIALLY if you are praying in front of seasoned "pray-ers". Really, I get it. Here's what helped me: I started praying. The more I prayed, the more natural it felt. Now, talking to God is just what I do. I can pray silently, out loud, in a text, email, or on Facebook. People will tell you this, and it is true, no one really cares how you fumble through a prayer. I have NEVER heard ANYONE say "good grief, he really botched that one!" Know what I HAVE heard? I have heard all manner of comments about people who pray all high and mighty and pray differently than they talk. My personal favorite was a guy who would start every prayer with "ourrrrrrrr Faaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhtherrrrrrrrr aaaaaaaannnnnnnnd ourrrrrrrrr Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhd." Oh! I wish I could write it how he said it! He was a quiet man...until he prayed in church. Anyway, my point is, no one is going to think anything about your talking to God unless you go all King James on them. Just talk to God. Share what's on your heart. That's all there is to it.
That's all I got. I'd love to know your thoughts.