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, February 22, 2010

A Reason for Having Shifty Eyes!

Let's face it. It is all too easy to get discouraged as you wait to see with your physical eyes what you can easy see in your spirit. For many, the obstacle of blocked vision has caused children's ministry leaders and workers to throw up their hands in frustration and settle for the status quo.

It donned upon me a couple weeks ago while thinking about Zacchaeus that he too had a sight problem. Too many things (people) were blocking his view. He couldn't see what he so desperately longed to see. Thankfully, he didn't give up. He was intelligent enough to recognize that while he couldn't change his obstacles (the people weren't going to shrink in size and there wasn't going to be some magical parting of the crowd so that he could have a clear view of the approaching Jesus), he could shift his position so that he could once again have a clear vision.

To see this move of God in your ministry, it will be important to do some shifting. What you see in front of you (seemingly unwavering children and staff) is discouraging you. What you see week after week causes you to want to give up and just provide a good, safe, learning environment for the children (aka spiritual child care). It's time for some movement. No, I'm not talking about leaving the ministry or going to another church. I'm talking about doing some realignment; move around so that you can see once again what the Spirit has spoken to your heart. Find someone either in your church or in another locale who will help you once again look through the eyes of faith. Determine that you are going to move your eyes from what you see as obstacles to the place where the psalmist David found his strength and encouragement ... "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord ..." (Psalm 121:1-2).

Right now, do some shifting. Take your eyes off of the obstacles. For David, it meant shifting his eyes to the hills. For Zacchaeus, the shift meant changing his alignment with people around him. To you, that might mean shifting your time so that have time to look once again to the source of your passion and ministry and/or disconnecting with those around you that are blocking your vision and finding others who will lift you up so that you can once again see the coming Jesus.

God is faithful. What He has promised He is able to bring to pass. Don't be discouraged. If needed, do some shifting. In doing so, you will be able to wait until the promised One is right in front of your physical eyes!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Seal the Deal

It is important to remind ourselves that we have an unfair disadvantage when it comes to ministering to children. Throughout the week, the children are under the influence of the school, the media (television, movies, DVDs, radio, etc.), the internet (email, social networks, chatrooms, etc.), and friends (both local like neighbors, school mates, etc. and global friends through text messaging, Twitter, etc.). Then, there are those few fortunate children who have parents that are influencers. We on the other hand have only an hour to an hour and a half each week to provide a spiritual influence and help establish a solid foundation for our boys and girls.

Sadly, most lessons are easily and readily forgotten. The information that we have provided vaporizes within minutes after leaving our classrooms and auditoriums. With us having a minimal amount of time and an enormous responsibility, we need to insure that the eternal truths that we are teaching need to provide an eternal impact!

How can we make our ministry produce lasting results? Paint a picture. It's true ... a picture does paint a thousand words. Back up the skits, object lessons and Bible verse with a picture that will seal the deal. This picture that I’m talking about is painted stroke by stroke as you create a word picture (otherwise known as a story). Through storytelling, the black letters of the Bible become red (and read) letters!

I saw this happen this weekend. In our Valentine’s Day message "Have a Heart for Jesus" this weekend, our team was doing a great job of teaching. The object lessons were right on target. Then, I sealed the deal as I told the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus. Like you, I've heard and told this story a million, billion times. But, this weekend, I took the time to research so that I could paint an accurate picture of the leper's dilemma and the problems that Jesus faced in reaching out to them. The severity of leprosy is really unknown to most people today. Now, in telling of Jesus' great love to these lepers, the graphic details learned in my study coupled with each emotion expressed in my countenance and each strategically placed pause caused the story to leap off of the pages of the New Testament and become real and alive. The children sat spellbound as the “artist” used the brush of storytelling to paint stroke by stroke a picture on the canvas of the children’s minds. Our boys and girls will never forget this lesson.

What does story telling have to do with a blog dedicated to ushering in a move of the Holy Spirit? It's quite simple. To many people (adults and children alike), the Holy Spirit is a great mystery. Many within our ministry haven't a clue as to who He is and what He does. To rectify the situation, paint a picture, or even better, a bunch of pictures. Let’s stop just talking about Him. Let’s paint pictures of who He is and what He does. Make it a common practice in your services to honor Him and introduce Him to your children by telling stories about your relationship with Him. Tell accounts of the benefits of walking alongside Him. For example, just yesterday, Vickie and I were working on producing CDs for our upcoming conferences. For some strange reason, the teaching masters were no where to be found. We searched EVERY WHERE multiple times and couldn't locate them. (I'm embarrassed because I know that you've never lost anything, right?) After an hour of searching EVERY WHERE, I turned to my son Aaron and said, "I'm going to ask the Holy Spirit for help" and then called upon Him to fulfill His assignment (John 14:26, 16:13). With God as my witness, within 30 seconds of talking to the Holy Spirit, I walked straight to the CDs. This is just one of many, many stories that I can tell about the benefit of walking with the Holy Spirit. Telling the story won’t take much time. In adding some humor by reenacting the drama of looking for the CDs and the frustration of time after time coming up empty handed, the story could seal the deal and be one that the children tell their parents.

Come on, let's seal the deal. Let’s eliminate our children forgetting what we are teaching. Let’s paint some pictures. After reading this blog, start making this possible by taking a few minutes to list some attributes of the Holy Spirit and then another list of things in His job portfolio (empower us, make us stronger, teach us, guide us, show us things to come, bring things to our memory, enable our praying, etc.). Then, make a list of things that have happened in your life in which the Holy Spirit stepped in to do what only He could do. Then, start telling these stories. Each story will allow the Holy Spirit to be transformed from being a mystical force into a Person who longs to become a part of our daily lives.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2 AM Wake Up Calls!

What is it about 2 AM? For the past week, I have been awakened at this unthinkable time of the night with a stirring and prompting to just be still (what else am I to do at 2 AM) and quiet (as though I'd have a desire to awaken Vickie and ask her to play a game of Uno). It is during these times that I've sensed God's prompting to spend time with Him. It is during these times that I have heard His voice and sensed His direction in things that are needed so that I can fulfill my assignment. These promptings are somewhat unnerving. They are beyond my ability. I guess that it has to be this way so that I won't attempt to do these alone and, true to human nature, mess up things.

What is it about 2 AM? I guess that God knows that if we won't give Him sufficient time in the day, He will creatively find a time where there are no appointments, no phone calls to make, no distractions to pull us away from Him.

What is it about 2 AM? I know that the voice is His for there are no other voices speaking to me. I know that the urgency is His for at that time of the night I have no other causes longing for my attention. I know that the desire for intimacy is His for He is seeking me when He knows that He alone will have my focus.

What is it about 2 AM? It is God's gentle reminder that I am His and He is mine and that He longs to share His heart and focus with me and in turn see my heart and focus long for Him. Thank you Lord for this "wake up call" for me to be with You.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Are Your Kids "Already Gone"?

I'm in the process of reading Ken Ham and Britt Beemer's book Already Gone. For years, I've shared the statistics showing some 70% to 80% percent of our youth abanding the church after high school graduation. But, Already Gone gives some fresh insight to this mass exodus.

These authors and pollsters surveyed some 1,000 20-somethings that had abandoned the church seeking to discover the when and why of their departure. Without going into a lengthy overview of their study, the one fact that absolutely startled me was that some 40% of those leaving the church left after moving up from the children's and middle school ministries. Did you get that? Four hundred of the thousand who left the church did so after leaving the ministries that are under our supervision and oversight.

I know that there are numerous factors involved ... peer pressure, home life, media influence, etc. along with perhaps the "disability" that our ministries face with our inability to "compete" with the decor and high tech of Disney. With all of these factors not in our favor, should we just resign to the fact that we are powerless to reverse the trend? Should we continue to allow the back door to remain open and watch the kids flee?

NO!!! If anything, these factors should cause us to walk into the service with the same resolve written by the apostle Paul. With our present methods not producing the desired results, we need to walk into our classes and services with IRREFUTABLE evidence that what we preach and teach is UNDENIABLY true.

What was Paul's resolve? "My teaching and preaching were not with words of human wisdom that persuade people but with proof of the power that the Spirit gives. This was so that your faith would be in God's power and not in human wisdom." 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (New Century Version).

Let's make it hard for our kids to leave our ministry and go into the world. Let's allow our children to know that they know that they know that God is real. Let's allow the boys and girls to be able to voice Simeon's words found in Luke 2:30 "With my own eyes I have seen your salvation." (New Century Version)