Friday, April 13, 2012

Gross to Gorgeous

In our kids ministry this month we've been teaching that God can turn bad things into good. This statement has been so true in my life a million times over. God has an amazing way of taking my metaphorical modeling dough of mistakes, shortcomings and utter failures and making a masterpiece. I often have been amazed by HOW He does this but I think the greater mystery is really .....WHY He does this. Is there a reason why God doesn't let me wallow in despair and misery for a prolonged period of time? I mean, why will He not let His children live in the consequences of their actions and have a life full of regret and guilt? I think the answer is simple. He is a true Artist. He sees the good in us even when we can't. The world looks at me and sees a hopeless mess but My God sees a bundle of potential. The more I understand this the more I will be able to become like Christ. The day that Christ came into my life was the day when the gross became gorgeous and while I remain in Him, goodness wins over bad everyday..and twice on Sunday.

1john 3:3
"Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mixed messages

Did you ever see a horse fly? Yes or No? Your answer will depend upon how you read the question. If your answer is yes, then you most likely interpreted to mean a horse fly like the bug. but if you answered no you may have read it to mean an actual horse (black beauty style) that flie

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just say "NO" to MiSseD OppOrTuNiTieS

Missed Opportunities
Have you ever felt like you were a day late and a dollar short? I have said this about myself many times. Sometimes it was because I missed a huge sale at the local department store and sometimes it was because I was the last to find out about a sold-out show. Either way I have had my share of missed opportunities but none quite as disturbing as the one I had with my daughter Gabi. This opportunity I will never get back.
She was away at a Christian Camp one summer and this was one of the few I was not a staff member at. She was 9 years old and very spunky. I remember that week she had already had a few issues as she forgot to bring her fan (a rugged camp with no air-conditioning and 95degree temps) She also had lost her towels so I had been contacted by the camp twice to see if I could get her the supplies she needed. So when I received the third call from the camp I was sure she had either lost some other item or started a food fight in the mess hall. I answered the call and it was the camp dean. He told me Gabi had something to tell me. Well you can imagine where my mind went. I was thinking this must be really serious. It was!! Gabi picked up the phone and through tear filled words she told me, “Mom, I just accepted Jesus as my Lord”. Pause I was filled with completely mixed emotions. The first emotion was utter JOY that my daughter had made a decision to become a Christ follower. The second emotion was one of sadness because I was not there to share this moment with her. I wanted to be there when she accepted Jesus I even wanted to be the one to lead her to the Lord. I am her parent and it seems only right that I or her father should be her spiritual leader in these matters. But it wasn’t us it was, well……. a stranger.
Now please don’t misunderstand, I am so grateful to that stranger. They were there at the moment they needed to be and they led my sweet precious girl into the most important relationship she will ever have. But yet I am sad because it wasn’t me or her father.
So why wasn’t it us? Is it because we expected the church to be her spiritual leader? Is it because these matters are better left to the professionals? Or maybe it’s because we (if I ‘m being totally honest) were not engaging her in regular Christ-centered discussions at home? I think the answer is obvious. We were simply not being the parents God had called us to be. We did not spend much time in family prayer and we certainty didn’t do anything close to a family devotion and forget about family worship time. We missed this opportunity. BIG!!
Now please understand, I’m not saying that if you are not around when your child accepts Christ then you are a bad parent. Not at all! I’m saying that we simply missed the boat on this one. I wanted to teach her who Jesus is, but didn’t, I wanted to show her what it means to be a Christian, but didn’t. And I wanted to lead her into a relationship with Christ, but didn’t.
Like every experience in life I think there is a huge lesson here. As a children’s director, I believe I should make sure our programming offers intentional and consistent salvation messages as well as opportunities for children to accept Christ. But I don’t want any parent to ever feel like I did with Gabi. So I want to invite parents to join us every time we have an entire children’s service centered on salvation. Then we will give parents the opportunity to “close the deal” so to speak. God has given parents a charge, a mission. And it’s not to sit on the sidelines and watch the “experts” lead their children in matters of the Lord, but it’s rather for them to be the lead players in the game. Let’s work together so that these missed opportunities are a thing of the past.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SMILE

OK, I'm going to be completely honest here. I love a good prank. I'm sorry, but for whatever reason a good, well planned prank can give me hours of enjoyment. Call it a twisted sense of humor if you want but I can't help it, the heart wants what the heart wants.

We used to have a great show on tv called candid camera (yep, I'm that old) This was one of my favorite shows. I think what made me laugh the most was not necessarily the prank itself but rather the reaction of the "mark". If they responded with laughter right away, then the prank was ruined, but if they got angry, then confused, then turned it over to a great big belly laugh of embarrassment...........I was completely amused. You see it was the chain reaction of emotions that made the whole experience worth while.

Working with children can recreate this source of joy for me. Only in this scenario I'm the target and the kids are Peter Funt. You see, on any given Sunday I go through similar moments of feeling like any minute someone will point out the hidden camera to me and say "SMILE". It is all worth it, in the skeem of things, because at the end of the day I let out that great big belly laugh, not of embarrassment but of complete and utter joy realizing I have the greatest job in the world and wouldn't trade one moment of this experience for anything.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Do not be afraid

NO FEAR
video


As I have written before I have three amazing daughters. Each one could not be more different than the next. I have talked most recently about Anabelle, the baby of the family, but today I want to focus on Gabi, the middle child. She is without a doubt a very lovable and unique individual with too many amazing qualities to mention. (I know, I sound like a gushing mother so sue me) She is now 13 and becoming a young woman with loads of potential, but what is most amazing about this child is her fearless attitude. She lives her life unafraid of danger and unafraid of what someone might think of her. Because of Gabi’s outlook on life we have had to deal more harshly with things like consequences of careless actions and she has spent her fair share of time in the “think about it” chair but underneath all the seemingly careless acts is, I believe, pure motives. She asks herself “what’s the worst that could happen?” then she acts on the impulse. On the surface this sounds like a very ungodly approach to life, but I have to disagree.
It is my belief that this is how we as Christians should be living out our walk with the Lord.
“What’s the worst that could happen if I share my faith with my neighbor”,
“what’s the worst that could happen if I jam out to worship music at the beach”,
“what is the worst that could happen if I went on the mission trip with the church group”
“what’s the worst that could happen if I lay my life down for my savior”


I have the answer, the worst that could happen is that someone might never come to know Jesus as Lord. That is the worst. Wow, seems so simple right? I know it's not though. Fear has kept me from sharing my faith and fear has kept me silent when my faith was being made fun of. And fear has kept me from being the kind of Christian who proclaims the name of God from the rooftops. That emotion (fear) is ridiculous if you call Jesus Lord.

The best lessons I’m taught come from children. Gabi has no fear in life, and she will have no fear in death. That is a promise that God has given to all of his children. My prayer is that everyone would have that security and hope and live their life a little more like Gabi.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's standing in the WAY?

A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Jim, started his series on the Open Arms Project. Of course as the children's director I have been looking forward to the messages with great anticipation. Anything that has to do with children...I'm in!! So as he started two weeks ago I was thinking about the verse he is centering the messages on. I was studying this verse and decided to look in another translation and I loved the way that the message put it.

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

"Don't ever get between them and me" Jesus was warning the disciples and us that we should never prevent a child from coming to Him, truly coming to Him. You might say "of course not, we would never do that!" I believe that sometimes, however well intended, we do that exact thing. We (or religion) stand in the way. We tell children all the rules and regulations, all the do's and don'ts all the laws and all the consequences of breaking those laws but sometimes we forget the most important lesson. If we fail to teach children the very thing that Jesus was trying to teach the disciples then we are STANDING in the WAY. Kids need to know that above all the rules and all the knowledge it is simply the relationship that they have with Jesus that is the most important.

As a child, I was taught rule after rule after rule in the faith that I was raised in. I learned the basics and I certainly learned the consequences of sin.
Someone, or maybe it was a lot of "someones" and their rules stood in the WAY of my relationship with Jesus. You might say I was "hindered" from coming to Jesus. Then at the moment I needed that relationship the most (I'll get to that in a later blog) all I had to fall back on was the rules. The rules told me that if you break them, you are destined for Hell. The rules told me that if you break them their is condemnation. The rules told me that if you break them their is no redemption. You see I had the rules down, I just didn't have the relationship. Because the relationship with an amazing loving forgiving God would have told me that nothing I could do could keep Him from loving me. NOTHING!

Something was standing in the Way. RULES!! Thank you God, for breaking me free of the rules.

I guess I should say that rules are not bad, in fact they are good. They are there for our own good. But let's be honest, they will be broken at some point by all of us. So the bottom line is.....Rules without Relationship are nothing but a waste of paper.
I wish I would have understood this verse as a child, I didn't and it almost cost me eternity.........Because of this I will now make very sure that every child that I have a opportunity to teach will know, really know that Jesus wants a relationship with them. Whether they are 1 or 100. Don't get in the WAY of that.

Jesus answered, I am the WAY and the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.
video

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wonderfully Made


The human body is an amazing thing. I have always been fascinated with how it works. (you would never know this if you looked at my high-school science grade) I questioned everything. why do we hiccup? Why do they call that spot on your elbow a funny bone? What would happen if you didn't close your eyes when you sneezed? (I heard your eyeball might pop out) All of these questions and so many more would keep my mind spinning when I was a kid. But not this generation, you see they have this wonderful tool, the internet, and all of mans questions about this universe can be answered in moments.


The other day I was wasting time asking "Wikipedia" some of the above questions (there is an answer for everyone) and I stumbled onto this one amazing fact that I never knew. The human body regenerates itself every seven years. The cells in your body and mine are not the same cells they were when we were 7 years younger. They are new. This got me asking the question why did God design us this way? Guess what? Wikipedia didn't have an answer. I don't think it's an accident that it happens every 7 years. That number is significant to God. So why are we made new every 7 years and what is God trying to teach us? I don't know the answer to this one yet, maybe I never will but this intersting fact reminds me of the following verse. I will now look at it in a new way.


2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!