Language Translation

Books I'm Reading

  • "Surviving the Anointing" by David Ravenhill

Books I've Read

  • "Revival God's Way" by Leonard Ravenhill
  • "Tongues: Beyond the Upper Room" by Kenneth E. Hagin
  • "The Dynamic Duo: The Holy Spirit & You" by Rick Renner

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dependency Upon the Holy Spirit

Life has so changed since when I was a little boy. As a child, I remember that most of my classmates in my small South Texas town went to church every weekend. In our children's ministry today, I have so many children that come every other weekend often due to divorced parents rotating their weekend custodial rights, other children who come once a month, and then there are those who I call CEO's (Christmas and Easter Only). Consequently, with some 1,000 children in our church under the age of 12 and a portion of them with sporadic, inconsistent attendance, knowing every child by name is an impossible task. I find myself walking through Wal-Mart smiling at every child because I don't know whether or not they are one of our kids.

How do I know the children's names? For some of the occasional attenders, I rely heavily on secretly looking at the child's nametag as I'm talking to them. How do I know the names of their siblings or parents? Often in going into the hospital to pray for a child, I first look at the constantly updated Excel spread sheet that I have on my cell phone listing every child's name and age, parent’s names, and the names of their brothers and/or sisters. Without the nametags and the file on my cell phone, I am clueless.

Believe it or not, even after 30 years of being involved in children's ministry, there are so many areas in the ministry in which I am clueless. I have more questions than answers. I only see the surface of the children (their faces, the type of clothes that they wear, the parent who drops them off or picks them up after service, etc.) I don't have a solid knowledge of what is needed in that child's life. I don't know what battles that they are facing.

Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit to come to my rescue. Romans 8 tells me that when I am in a deficit position and am coming up lacking, the Holy Spirit is there to fill in the blanks as He makes intercession (King James English for stepping up to the plate in my behalf) and cover my inadequacies.

Thank God for the Holy Ghost. Again, thank God for the Holy Ghost. One more time, thank God for the Holy Ghost. I'm not trying to be repetitious or redundant to add to the length of this blog. I am just so dependent upon Him. And, I am learning to unashamedly become more and more dependent upon Him. Thankfully I am learning that I am so inadequate. But with Him, I can fulfill my God-given assignment and see a mighty move of God in this generation.

Stop what you are doing right now. Join me in thanking God for His precious Spirit and then articulate your dependence on Him!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Intimacy of the Holy Spirit

One of the greatest truths that I share in our Ignite the Supernatural Conferences is that the Holy Spirit will never be real through you until He is real to you. It's not enough to just know about Him. We can actually know the Holy Spirit. There is a place of relationship that will allow us to know Him in such an intimate way that will cause Him to become so very real in each and every aspect of our lives.

Evidently, the great evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman who was used mightily by the Holy Spirit in the Gifts of Healings had tapped into this type of intimacy. She often said, "He is more real to me than you are." The pastor who was very instrumental in stirring up my passion for the Holy Spirit, B.B. Hankins, would often say, "I wouldn't cross the street without the Holy Spirit." Consequently, this intimacy would allow the Holy Spirit to permeate our services in my home church in West Columbia, Texas.

My longing is to know the Holy Spirit in a greater, more intimate way. My longing isn't based upon a desire to be used by Him. The through me is just a byproduct of the to me. The through me will always FOLLOW the to me.

Holy Spirit, I do long to know you in a greater way today!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Weekend, Another Investment

It's early Monday morning and, to be quite honest, there's not much energy in me. I know that I'll go back to bed in a few minutes and then hopefully wake up later and find a good Western or WW II movie to watch as I lay on the couch.

It was a typical weekend in many respects ... dealing with tardy staff, helping the nervous mom feel comfortable about leaving her angel in a new setting, dealing with a child that causes me to believe that demons can be children possessed, etc. The logistics of the ministry is enough to tire a person.

It was a weekend that God showed up. I told my son Aaron as we left the church parking lot yesterday that I felt as though we had really delivered a timely message to our kids as we taught on the subject "What's in Your Mouth?" I could sense in each of our three services that the message really hit home in so many lives.

I left our third and final service all "hugged out". Long ago, I learned the power in touching people. I believe that there is a healing and strengthening and connection that come through touch. For some, it might be just a touch on the top of the head. For others, it might be just looking them in the eyes and telling them how blessed that I am to get to be their children's pastor. For others, it might be kissing a baby on the cheek or a young child a kiss on the top of the head and then telling them how much that I love them. By the end of the day, there wasn't too much "hug" left in me. But, both the connection with the child and the genuine appreciation seen in the faces of the parents made it worth it all.

After the last child left, I began to have one-on-one time with my staff. I've purposed to never be in a hurry to leave after church. This is my time to love on my staff. So, yesterday, I met with one of my new staff members and connected with them, then spent time with a group of my staff before Vickie and I headed out to a restaurant with them.

Was the weekend worth it? You betcha. It's weekends like this past one that has caused parents to tell me that their child told them, "Momma, when I grow up, I want to be a policeman, a fireman, or a Pastor Billy" or "Momma, you know that I love Daddy but can Pastor Billy come and live with us?" It's the "hugged out" weekends that produces the children coming up to me like a little boy did a few weeks ago and told me, "Pastor Billy, when I grow up, I want to be just like you."

It is because of weekends like this past weekend that has produced such a tight relationship with my staff that when one of my teenaged staff's parents were going out of the country and they needed someone to stay with the teenager and their younger sibling, my staff asked their parents if I could come and live with them while the parents were gone. It is because of weekends like this past weekend that has taken several of my staff and enabled them to become great children's pastors in their own right across the nation.

Was the weekend worth it? You betcha. I can't wait to see what God will do next next weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Extreme Revival

Here's a fact that you are hopefully well aware of ... revival is never silent or goes unnoticed. As the Spirit of God begins to move among our children, the services will become radically different because both the staff and children are radically different. Real revival will always cause an extreme turnaround from the pre-revival days!

Let me give bullet point thoughts for beginning an extreme Holy Spirit revival in your children's ministry:
* It begins with EXTREME HEARING: While many voices call for you to become discouraged about your ministry, EXTREME HEARING will cause you to ONLY hear what God has to say in your spirit and through His Word about your children’s ministry.
* EXTREME SEEING: Upon tuning out the surrounding voices, EXTREME SEEING will cause you to see and remain focused ONLY upon what God sees in your children's ministry.
* EXTREME BELIEVING: Having heard from God and seeing what God sees in your ministry, EXTREME BELIEVING will cause you to unwaveringly (to quote my friend Mark Hankins) “know in your knower” that each and every service provides an opportunity for a supernatural manifestation of God's presence.
* EXTREME SAYING: It's not enough to just hear and see and believe. Those who are fully persuaded (a.k.a. knowing in their knower) will begin to have EXTREME SAYING ability. You will speak to the mountain (religious tradition, apathy, the "we've never done it that way before mentality, confusion) expecting it to be cast into the sea! EXTREME revival always has a voice!!!
* EXTREME ACTION: In each service, EXTREME ACTION on your part and then eventually your staff's part will reflect what you have read from the Word, seen through the eyes of faith, believed in your heart and said with your mouth. Get radical. Act as though God actually meant what He said and said what He meant!

Come on, let's get radical. Let's get extreme in our pursuit for a move of God in our children's ministry. We are passionate and unrelenting. We won't be denied!