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, August 31, 2009

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - Help #3

This weekend, we had an awesome time of ministering about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was awesome to watch child after child receive this gift from heaven.

In this blog entry, allow me to share a truth that made a difference for the altar ministry. In the second object lesson we did a segment called "Here's What You Can Expect", we used a bowling ball, chair, balloon, and Bible. In this object lesson, we used a child to help illustrate this point. To each of the following three scenarios, we asked the child the question, "what would you expect?" We told the child that we would drop a bowling ball on their toes. Next, we told the child to stand on a chair and drop backwards. We told the child that we would not be there to catch them. Lastly, we told the child that we would want them to inflate a balloon and then stick their head up into the balloon. After giving each of these scenarios, the child was to tell us what they knew would happen to them after doing the event. It was a great, fun object lesson because the child would be confident of the sure consequences of each action. It is literally a no-brainer!

In the object lesson, we showed a video clip showing what happened in Acts 2:1-4 in the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit. After the clip, we then focused upon what happened in Acts 2:4 in the upper room. This is the first of many accounts in the Book of Acts showing that when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, they immediately began to speak in a heavenly prayer language. From seeing these accounts, it is easy to know what to expect. Just like the illustrations in the object lesson with the child, this becomes a no-brainer in us knowing what to expect when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - Help #2

Believe it or not, one of the greatest challenges of children's ministry is in remembering that we are ministering to CHILDREN ... hence the name "children's ministry". While the obvious should be obvious, obviously it isn't! It is amazing to watch people try to minister to children and see that the children really don't have a clue as to what it being taught.

Since our children would echo the words found in Acts 19 "We didn't even know that there is a Holy Spirit", let me briefly share the three keys to making this message of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit come alive for your children.
1. Be Visual. It is amazing how a few props can exponentially multiply the comprehension level. Use barbells to illustrate how the Holy Spirit builds us (Jude 20), batteries and a flashlight to illustrate how the Holy Spirit gives us power (Acts 1:8), a GPS to illustrate how the Holy Spirit can see things ahead of us that we can't see (John 16:13), etc.
2. Be Relevant. Be sure to use humorous or dramatic personal stories to accompany the Bible stories. Personal stories amplify the biblical truth and makes it an up-to-date truth. The stories could include events from your childhood or in your family's life, etc. I love to tell of the time while Vickie and I were on our way to Africa and had a layover in Amsterdam. (Forgive me for giving a brief man's version of the story. I use the Amplifed Version, aka women's version, to tell the story.) We were carrying quite a sizeable sum of money to give to our missionaries. Before leaving the hotel room to go take a late night walk, Vickie felt prompted to tell me to leave this money in the room. While we were walking, a robber jumped out of the darkness and tried to rob us. Had Vickie not heard the Holy Spirit, we would have lost all of the money. (Illustrating John 16:13).
3. Be Memorable. Be creative. Use characters whose elevator doesn’t make it to the top floor (I R Smart, Not Too Bright, Brain Freeze, Tool Time Tim) or characters who are there to rescue you or help you (Ura Crop, a Personal Trainer, Scripture Man, Bible Blaster, Chef Pierre’).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Leading Children into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit - Help #1

One of the most challenging areas of ministry for many children's ministry leaders is in the area of leading children into receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

This week, allow me to share an important key in preparing boys and girls to receive Heaven's gift: Help #1: Utilize the McDonald's Happy Meal Principle.

For those of us with children, we know that food inside of the McDonald's Happy Meal bag is the very same food that we adults are eating, just served in smaller portions. In order to prepare a Happy Meal hamburger, McDonald's didn't find miniature cows so that they could produce smaller meat patties. The meat in the Happy Meal hamburger is the very same beef used for the quarter pounder hamburgers, right? But, for the Happy Meal, McDonald's reduced the portion of beef served. The Happy Meal french fries didn't come from midget potatoes, did they? Of course not. The french fries served in the Happy Meal are the very same french fries served with the adult meals. But, for the Happy Meal, McDonald's has provided a kid-sized portion of fries.

Wouldn't it be insane to try to serve a 7-year-old child a double quarter pounder hamburger with a large order of french fries and an extra large soft drink? Even more insane, wouldn't it be incomprehensible to expect the child to eat that meal all in one setting? And yet, in ministering on the subject of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, we fail to see that we can overwhelm the children if we serve them an adult-sized spiritual meal in one service.

This teaching is so very, very important that we can't afford to overwhelm them by serving super-sized portions. Instead, serve this spiritual meal in kid-sized portions. Take what most adults could consume in one setting and serve this message in several class settings. The first week, teach the children on Jesus' introduction of the Holy Spirit. (John 14). The next week, teach on why Jesus knew that His return to Heaven was important. (John 16:7). The next week, teach on what happens when we receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2). The final week, teach about the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us daily. (Jude 20).

Use wisdom. Don't super-size the ministry portions. Utilize the McDonald's Happy Meal Principle (King James - line upon line principle). In doing so, you will see child after child receive this awesome gift from Heaven.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Greatest Investment

This morning, I am one tired children's pastor. I have every reason to want to crawl back into bed for a few days. Two weeks ago, I oversaw our district Kid's Camp. And, while it was a great week filled with non-stop activities and life-changing ministry, it was still 5 energy-draining days. After getting home late Friday, we raced through Saturday and Sunday trying to catch up on the work that we'd missed while we were at camp. Then, Monday we drove to Orlando for the General Council of the Assemblies of God. After the Council ended Friday evening, we stayed in Orlando so that Vickie could teach at a conference on Saturday. We made it back home Saturday afternoon, did the service that night, and then the two services on Sunday.

Was adding these two all consuming events to my calendar worth the investment? Yes. Emphatically yes. There were plenty of reasons to not make the investment. Like you, I constantly maintain a schedule that stays too full. It would have been easy to not go to the camp or just send our kids to camp without me going. It would have been easy to allow my calendar to preempt me from going to the General Council. But, early in my ministry, I learned that ministry isn't governed by ease or convenience. In each of these events, I saw a golden opportunity to invest in relationships.

In today's hurried lifestyle, we are prone to ignore these types of investments. We have too much to do and too many places to be. Consequently, investing in relationships gets pushed further down our list of priorities. And yet, relationships can yield some of the greatest rewards of ministry.

Investing in relationships is rarely convenient or inexpensive. There is generally a price to be paid. Attending and overseeing a Kid's Camp is far from being on my Top 10 List of fun activities for the summer. It is hard work. But, the 5 days at camp gave this shepherd the rare opportunity to rub up against my sheep morning, noon, and night. Memories were made in our kid's lives that will last a lifetime. Being a part of a 35,000 attendee Council was overwhelming. And yet, I renewed so many friendships and nurtured other relationships as we stood and visited at a vendor's booth or sat a dinner table for a meal that stretched into a 3 1/2 connecting time.

Do yourself a favor. Pick up your telephone right now and connect with another children's ministry leader in your area. Your relationship doesn't even have to be a part of your particular "flavor" of Christianity. You'll thank me for this blog in the days to come!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Personal Testimony of God's Faithfulness

What a weekend. We came into our three services exhausted from just returning from Kid's Camp late Friday afternoon. Ministering in the services wasn't something that I was looking forward to. To make life easy for me and my staff, I planned our annual Shine Weekend for the services. This is one of our kid’s favorite weekends. After a brief time of praise and worship followed by a brief teaching of Jesus' parable in Matthew 25 about the value of making use of the talents and giftings placed within each of us, the boys and girls get to showcase their talents. It is a great time, and at times, a hilarious time as the talents range from joke telling, gymnastics, playing a song on the piano, performing a magic trick, singing a solo, etc.

Just after the two Sunday services started, I was interrupted by one of our staff and was asked to stand beside Vickie. For the next few minutes, Vickie and I were blown away as our staff honored us on our 20th anniversary of being the Children's Pastors at Trinity Church International. The greetings via video, the surprise appearance of my dearest friend in the world Grant Foster, and the love shown by the staff was at times almost overwhelming. And then, we were presented with an offering with instructions to use it towards a cruise. Again, what a day.

During these past 20 years, God has been so good to us. He has placed us in a great church. While there is no such thing as a perfect church (if there was such a critter, I'd mess it up just by being at the church), God has used this church to change me. A long time ago, God taught me that during difficult times to run to Him instead of the exit door. During those times, the circumstances rarely changed. Instead, God used the circumstances to change me.

We have so much for which to be thankful. God has been so faithful. He continues to outdo Himself for us.

Is it time to leave? Are you kidding? We believe that the best days are ahead. Here’s to the next 20 years!