Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just what the Great Physician Ordered

Well it has been a little while since I posted. To be honest I have been a little discouraged for a variety of reasons. Really the only one I can mention here is just I feel I have personally been under attack by Satan. I also feel other staff and church members have been under Satan's attack too. I feel this has been happening because so many great things are taking place where I serve on staff. I really have been challenged over the past two weeks that I have not spent enough time on my knees praying specifically for a hedge of protection around our church and specifically my co-pastors as well as the other ministers I serve alongside with. You know Satan always knows how to attack us too- he knows our weaknesses and what distracts us. I shared with someone recently the only way I know to thwart of his attacks is on my knees and claiming the Victory Jesus has already won!

For the past two weeks I have used a phrase quite a bit- "Let's call it what it is!" If it is petty, call it petty. If it is squabbling, call it squabbling. If it is gossip, call it gossip. I think you get the picture. I became very aware of this two Sunday's ago when my Sunday started off - well just all wrong. It wasn't anything major, it was little things. I allowed it to make me snippy (which is never good and I have to ask for forgiveness). About half way through my morning - midway through our 2nd service (we have 3), I realized why things were going all wrong. You see at 11 a.m. in Kid's Church I was going to be presenting the Gospel and giving kids an opportunity to respond. It hit me! Satan wanted nothing more than me being all tore up, my focus diverted, and he wanted things to be haywire. I just started praying that God would prevail. That He would settle all things down especially me. You see, we don't often give an invitation- since we started Kid's Church two years ago we have only had one invitation. So................
At the invitation I gave the 116 children a chance to say they knew needed to
Admit they were a Sinner and ask God to forgive them
Believe they Jesus was God's Son and He died on the cross for their sins and
Commit their life to Him.
We had 4 boys do just this.
I then asked children who had already accepted Jesus but never had been baptized to raise their hand. I saw a sea of hands- 33 of them as it ended up. I had them go to the back so we could right their name down. I asked them to talk to their mom and dad and I would be following up.
I am not for high pressure on children- I never want anyone especially a child to have a false sense of security pertaining to salvation. I knew some kids were young that came (Kindergarten) and most likely were just wanting to know more.
As I have followed up that has been the case- some are just curious and we have affirmed it is awesome they want to know more about knowing Jesus.
However, quite a few of them have made decisions. In talking with parents it has been exciting that many of them did go home and talk to mom and dad (I still have several to get in touch with). I have left a lot of messages.
At our church we require children to take the I'm A Christian Now class before they can be baptized. I am offering a class this Sunday and I have 19 signed up - I am so excited! Normally my classes are much smaller and I do them on a monthly basis.
Anyway............... in calling one family newer to our church, they asked if I would meet with them and their son. He keeps insisting he has asked Jesus in his life and due to him being a kindergartner they were not sure if he really understood. Well I met with them today. It reminds me there is no magic age in which a child can understand......... He definitely understood but was a little confused on one part. Bless his heart he was asking Jesus in his life a lot because he keeps sinning. I find this is not unusual - we often are not very clear that this is a one time decision and what you should do when you sin after accepting Jesus. Well we got all that straight and I shared he needed to pray one time and when he sinned after that he needed to ask Jesus to forgive him for that specific sin. In asking him if he was ready to pray that one time- he answered yes. I asked him if he wanted to wait until he got home with mom and dad or if he wanted to pray now. He said now. He then proceeded to pray the most precious prayer asking Jesus into his life. It was hard for me to hold back tears and of course his mom and dad were very teary eyed. After all they just witnessed their son make the most important decision he will every make.
I was reminded by the Great Physician that this is what is all about. This is why I do what I do. This is why I need to claim Victory over Satan everyday. Satan wants to prevent God's kingdom from being built as well as rob me of the joy of my salvation!
Oh that childlike faith......................... It will never grow old getting to hear someone utter the most precious words ever to our Heavenly Father!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Busy Weekend.........

Have you ever wondered where your weekend went? Well, for me that can be because I either a. got nothing accomplished and realized I did nothing but read, watched movies, played games, etc. OR
b. had great fun doing lots of different things but didn't really accomplish all I had on my "invisible" TO DO list.

I made the comment to my husband that I didn't get anything I intended to get accomplished done this weekend. I began to wonder why........... As I recapped my weekend I realized what I accomplished this weekend can't be "checked" off a TO DO list but is vital in my life.
So you may be wondering what is so vital in my life and kept me busy??? Well I spent time with friends and family this weekend.........

Friday night I helped celebrate my sister's birthday- She is four years younger than me! She wanted to go to Olive Garden so we had some great Italian food. My mom, dad, two sisters and my husband celebrated. I also got to say Hey to my cousin who works at Olive Garden. A great dinner. On the way home my hubby and I decided to go see what all the fuss was about the movie- Henry Horton Hears a Who! It was a great movie. I will write about it another time- several great lessons or as my mom would ask- "What was the moral of that story?" (you do realize every story has one - tee hee).

Saturday I slept in and it felt great. I haven't been able to sleep in for a while (that is another story for another day). However, I went to my 2nd cousin's wedding- it was gorgeous. They are a neat couple that God really has His hand upon. The pastor told a neat story about them- My cousin was a senior in the youth group and her new hubby was a youth teacher (he is about 4 years older- maybe a few more but not much). Anyway, he went to the pastor and shared he wanted to ask her out- the pastor told him no because he felt that would be inappropriate with her still being in the youth group. The pastor shared what maturity he saw in him as he did as the pastor asked and waited. Well now about 2 1/2 years later the pastor stood with them as they became husband and wife. WOW! Not many men would even ask the pastor for that matter. They are a godly couple and it will be exciting to see what all God does in their lives. Their reception was really beautiful too- the food was yummy. Matter of fact I had a dip with cream cheese, pineapples, pecans, etc. in it--- I got to find that recipe. I really liked it!

I ran some errands and then headed for dinner. Some family friends had asked for whoever could from our two families to get together for dinner. We had a great time catching up (we missed our annual Christmas get together this year). We ate, laughed, talked about the old times, and talked about all that was going on now. It was great fun.

It is great to be with family and friends. I encourage you to remember the importance of these relationships in your life and put away the TO DO list and enjoy life. Yes, the laundry is still piled up, the dishwasher still needs to be emptied, the stack of papers are still beside my bed, the toilets didn't get cleaned and the garage is still a mess BUT I decided at the end of this life- no one is going to concentrate on how much I don't like to clean house but more on the PEOPLE in my life and how I lived life with them! SO have fun - remember it is about PEOPLE. After all I did get the number of a housekeeper to hire this week........... I know that would be splurging but I believe I would feel less guilty about being "busy" on the weekends, it would make my husband happier and it would ALLOW me to surround myself with people at my HOUSE because it would be clean. (ok cleaner)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Post Game is my Favorite

Well, today in our Monday staff meeting we were talking about THE GAME. You know the Lady Vols vs. LSU Tigers. It was a great game to watch. My nice, quiet hubby was animated as usual. You see he is passionate about UT anything but especially THE LADY VOLS. Well okay back to staff meeting - let me add that I am the only female on the ministerial staff. Well we were all talking about how tired we were- and one guy said yes, I feel asleep. Well I made the comment that I took a little nap and then woke up for the ending and the post game. I said, "Matter of fact, Post game is my favorite part." Well it was very obvious they thought that was the craziest thing they had ever heard. They laughed and said uh? Well I began to ponder on why I like the post game ......
- I love the emotions of BOTH teams- I best like watching the team who won. I do feel like the team that lost emotions tell how passionate they are about "THE GAME". BUT the winning team gets to realize that passion!
- I love seeing the coaches celebrate and love it when their family is close by. I mean don't we all know behind every good coach their is a GREAT spouse - they are a team! And even though only one "WINS" they both really do though unspoken- normally that coach hugs, celebrates, includes, etc. a family member or spouse.
- The post game interviews tell a story- normally what hurdles were overcome, triumphs are acknowledged, goals are met, I could go on but you get the picture.
- I love the Pros because they not only won a national championship but get to proclaim 'I'm going to DISNEY WORLD (which is my ultimate favorite part).

I could go on but for a million reasons The Post game is my favorite part...... there is also a spiritual application to this but more on this later.
I also can't wait (another time when I am not so sleepy) to write on some thoughts on what our passion really is!

Hope you had a great Monday! I am still reeling from the excitement of last night but can I tell you spiritual warfare is all around- I feel that is because Satan didn't like what happened on Sunday! I remind you Jesus has ALREADY won the VICTORY! Stand a victor not a victim!
God Bless and I pray you have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday Is Coming !

Well Sunday is a LONG day. However, they are also very EXCITING days. It is a great day of seeing all you work for each week come together because God's PEOPLE come to worship. Ministry is so about people not programs, ministries or events. Sometimes I know I forget this getting caught up in all the details and wanting things to go just right. However, I am energized by people and getting to love on the families in our church. I also love meeting the families each Sunday that God brings to our church to check out our church and come to worship with God's people at our church. It is neat to see where and how God brings people in through the Childhood Ministries area each week.
On Sunday evenings we have AWANA. I love seeing all our boys and girls get excited about AWANA. Tonight was "Twinkie Night" meaning we ate TWINKIES and celebrated the fact they are 78 years old today. It is energizing to see kids memorize God's word.

Tonight we also baptized 22 people in a special baptism service. Tonight was great to see 7 children follow Christ in obedience by "being buried with Christ in baptism but raised to walk in newness of life". We also saw a husband and wife baptized (she will give birth in the next week and a half. We saw a grandmother get her baptism in order. We saw a teen who doesn't swim and is afraid of water bravely enter the baptismal waters. We saw twins baptized. We saw 2 sisters and a brother follow Christ in the step of baptism. My point is many different types of people from different walks of life all became members of our church by following Christ in baptism more importantly they took an important step of obedience in their walk with Christ. Exciting. Our God is incredible for paying the debt (that we can not pay) on the cross of Calvary for us. He offers the free gift of salvation to anyone who will receive Him. If you haven't accepted Christ, I pray you will seriously consider becoming a follower of Christ.

Back to Sunday's being long- yes they are tiring and they are long- BUT man are they worth it! I can't remember the whole saying but it has something to do with Jesus dying on Friday and the darkness that surrounded that day. We are encouraged to remember THAT SUNDAY IS COMING! That is what I try to remember when I may get down, discouraged or have a bad day during the week- SUNDAY Is Coming and that is what it is all about!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I am a Survivor..........

of an overnighter with 22 Kindergarten - 2nd graders! Wow what an awesome night. We had a lot of fun. Our hosts Alyson and Jasmin were great. They had a fun night prepared for us- fun stuff. If you have not been to the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, TN I encourage you to check it out- www.cdmfun.org . If you are ever looking for an overnight trip this is a good one. Everyone was sound asleep by 12:45 which is pretty good since bedtime was midnight. Not to much giggling - well the boys may have been awake but they were pretty quiet if they were. Actually, everyone was ready for bed and didn't have a hard time falling asleep since they were worn out from being "detectives" and from the fact they were up way past their bed time (and if I already didn't know this many of them felt the need to tell me - and boy were they excited about it).
I also purchased my first Webkin. The kids were excited about that and in the gift shop told me ALL about them. I have tried to try my new lil webkinz out (a cocker spaniel) but I can not get the website to work. Even after downloading the "flash" program. Oh well- another time.
Kids are very funny- I learned way TOO much about some of them last night and their little thought processes. One interesting observation the majority of boys stayed in the "inventors" section or the dinosaur digging. The majority of the girls time was in the performing arts and art sections. Don't get me wrong they all visited each area- just noticed where they seemed to spend the majority of the time (although not true for every child). They all loved "moneyville" upstairs. It was a lot of fun- they got to print out money with their picture on it, play "bank", learn about counterfeit money, make money rubbings, play a pretend stock market (which all the adult chaperones loved more than the kids, even me)! They like the market, the lemonade stand- well just the WHOLE upstairs.
I SURVIVED and now need to find my bed!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Late Nite with Luna

Well tonight I am taking a group of Kindergarten - 2nd graders to the Creative Discovery Museum for a overnight trip called Late Nite with Luna. This morning I am thinking these things are getting way harder than when I first started. Most of all I am thinking sleeping on the floor- ugh. I am praying all kiddie boos make it all night. We go to bed at midnight- so hopefully all will be well and maybe I will get some sleep. We will see!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

God's People helping each other

After starting a blog this past week to help keep people updated on the adoption process my husband and I are going through to make two special little girls a part of our forever family- I decided man that feels pretty good, I should do this about my experiences as a Minister of Childhood Education. So here goes.......

This week has been a rough one emotionally. This past Saturday night a couple in our church's eight day old baby boy died. In ministry this is the hardest thing I have ever walked through with a family. I have experienced children being diagnosed with diseases, disabilities, tragedies, death of a parent, various crisis, etc. but never the death of a child who has breathed life. Maybe I will talk more about that later but rather than focus on the sadness I want to tell you the beautiful thing I saw happen this week.
I saw dads and moms cry with this couple.
I saw meals prepared.
I heard many precious prayers offered up.
I observed moms and dads hug their kids a little tighter.
I know moms and dad examined the amount of family time they spend together.
I sat with a couple who poured out their heart to this couple to share they are not alone (they had lost a 7 day old daughter before moving to our community).
I saw a mom and dad say goodbye to a son.
I saw a gracious and compassionate God minister to all involved (including me).
I saw God's people be the hands and feet of Christ.
I am thankful that because of Jesus Christ and those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can have the assurance of an eternity in heaven.
I am left challenged to work harder to introduce others to my Saviour.