September 2009

28 Sep There’s a Whole Lot of Shaking Going On!

I love reading the Book of Acts. It is in the Book of Acts that we see the Holy Spirit bursting onto the scene in the upper room and then beginning His heavenly assignment by being large and in charge, transforming a weak, anemic group of people into the Church, a people who powerfully and radically turned their world upside down! (Acts 17:6)It is also in the Book of Acts that we see the Holy Spirit's MO (modus operandi). Time after time, we see that when He was given liberty, to use a Jerry Lee Lewis' song title, there was a whole lot of shaking going on. At times, places were literally shaken (Acts 4:31 and Acts 16:26). At other times, services were shaken or interrupted (Acts 2 and Acts 10) by His visitation. Then, at other times, the Holy Spirit grabbed ahold of individuals and shook them causing even their very identity and names to be changed (transforming the Christ-hating Saul of Tarsus into the great Paul the apostle). Have you ever studied to see what preceded the shaking? The key to Acts 2 is found in Acts 1. The key to the shaking in Cornelius’ house is found at the beginning of Acts 10. With the exception of the conversion of Saul (while we won't find a direct reference to the saints praying for Saul, it wouldn't be difficult to assume that this was happening), each and every shaking story begins with a God-connection, prayer. You see, the Holy Spirit comes by invitation. My cry is for the Holy Spirit to come and interrupt business as usual. First of all, I'm crying for the Holy Spirit to come and shake me, move me out of my comfort zone. I so want the Holy Spirit to shake me to the place that people will have trouble identifying this new person. I am crying out that the Holy Spirit will shake our children's ministry, interrupt our services and in doing so, transform each and every child.Are you with me? Will you in your desperation cry out for a shaking? Will you grant Him liberty to come and shake you, your ministry, and your children? It is only in doing so that we will turn the world upside down!...

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14 Sep Training Children to Pray in the Spirit

We all know that including a time of prayer is an important element in our children's church service, Sunday school class, or mid-week Bible club, right? It is in this time that we are touching heaven for our children's needs. It is also a time of training our children how to personally touch heaven.Have you considered that this time of prayer is also an important time for training our children to know the importance of praying in their heavenly prayer language?Consider this idea. If possible, journal the requests as the children share their personal needs. Write down the name of child giving the request, a brief overview of the request, and finally the date of the request. Before praying for the needs given that week, look back at previous requests and asks for updates for each need. Allow the children to testify about what God has done. Then, before we pray over the new requests, I always love to share a scripture the illuminates and brings clarity to what will happen as we pray. It might be 1 John 5:14-15 or Matthew 18:19 or John 16:23. Then, after praying for the needs, I remind the children that as they gave their requests, they only gave us part of the information. There are often details about this need that we don't know. So, according to Romans 8:26, we can allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us in our heavenly prayer language about these needs. It is as we pray in other tongues that the Holy Spirit helps to pray as we should about things that we have no earthly knowledge.Here are the benefits of doing this each and every week:1. We are raising up intercessors.2. Through our journaling, we are giving the children an opportunity to pray for needs and then come back in future weeks to see how God has met those needs. The old-timers (this includes me) called this Testimony Service.3. We are instilling in our children the value of praying in other tongues by weekly demonstrating its importance as a vital part of our prayer time.4. We are providing an opportunity for the children to become comfortable in praying in their heavenly prayer language. This is not something weird or spooky. Praying in other tongues must become a part of our daily lives....

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07 Sep The Importance of Praying in Other Tongues

Recently, I did a brief recap of the previous four lessons about the Gift of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I believe that this teaching is so, so critical and important. As I concluded the teaching, I mentioned that our battle against the enemy is an unfair battle. In this battle, we aren't fighting against things that we can see. To help make this point clear, I brought two boys onto the platform and informed them that we would do something that we have never done in my 20 years of being a children's pastor. In our service, we would have an all out, knock-down, put the smack on fight between the two boys. To make the fight even more memorable, I then gave each boy a baseball bat to use. Needless to say, our audience went wild about this idea. I then announced that to make this fight even more unforgettable, I would place a blindfold upon one of the boys. Both boys would be fighting with a baseball bat, one with full vision and the other blindfolded. You should have seen the eyes of the child that would be fighting blindfolded. It was a moment that I'll never forget. Of course, there was no fight. It was just a great illustration.In ourselves, we are no match against Satan. The apostle Paul stated that our enemy isn't flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and rulers of darkness. There is no way that we can compete against an unseen enemy. But, the Helper from heaven has given us tools that gives us an advantage over our unseen enemy. One of these tools is the ability to communicate with God in a language that our enemy cannot understand. This language from heaven, other tongues, enables us to talk the secrets of Heaven and Satan is totally clueless.I then gave the illustration about how our United States military utilized the Najavo Indian language to bypass the constant surveillance of the Japanese army during World War II. Rather than retell the story, you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_talker#Use_of_Navajo. This is an illustration that will make this point come alive.Thank God for the Holy Spirit. Thank God for the language that He enables us to speak (Acts 2:4) that gives us the ability to "put the smack down" on our blinded enemy!...

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