January 2013

28 Jan Make Your List & Check It Twice!

This coming June will mark our 34th anniversary of being in children's ministry. That's a long time isn't it! Along the way, I have accumulated a lot of ministry props and pieces of equipment. I'm sure that you can image what it would be like to purchase a few items at this convention and a few more at the next conference and then even more at the next meeting. Thirty-four years of buying has created quite an inventory of ministry tools. I have a specially made cabinet filled with object lessons with surprise endings (gospel magic), trunks filled with puppets, file cabinets lined with boxes of object lesson props, racks of costumes, a custom made cabinet for storing black light Scene-O-Felt flannel stories, etc. And books? Yep. There's a bunch of books about children's ministry.I recently came to the realization that most of these pieces of equipment aren't of any value to me. While they are in my possession, most of them haven't been touched in years. Why aren't they being used? For the most part, I have so much that I don't even know what I have. And, if I can't remember what I have, I won't ever use it. So, to eliminate this problem, I began to create lists. I now have a list that tells me what flannel stories that I own, another list for gospel magic tricks, another list for props, etc. Now, as I'm writing a lesson, I can go to my lists to see what will enhance the teaching. I'm so excited that those formerly unused pieces of equipment are being incorporated into the ministry and adding a whole new dimension to the teaching.What does this have to do with your ministry? Have you recently taken inventory of the ministry aids provided for you by the Holy Spirit? I'm sure that for many of us, we are so busy just putting together our day-to-day lives that we've pushed to the side the awareness of all that is readily available and accessible to ignite a mighty move of God in you personally and in your ministry. And, like with my children's ministry props and equipment, if we aren't conscious or knowledgeable of what we have available, it isn't be used.Do yourself a gigantic favor. Stop what you are doing. Take some time to list of the God-given "tools" at your disposal. To make it easy, I'll provide a couple of items on the list and ask you to continue the itemizing. First, there is the ability to walk into a ministry opportunity filled with supernatural power (Acts 1:8). Next, God has made available the ability to see things that are unseeable to the natural eye (John 16:13). Next, ...

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21 Jan Words With Friends Anyone?

They say that confession is good for the soul. And so, here's my confession. (I feel like I am at an AA meeting.) I am Billy Burns and I am helplessly addicted to word games on my iPad and iPhone. I absolutely love playing games like Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends, Scramble With Friends, etc. By far, my favorite game is Words With Friends. I have 12 games going right now and I am winning in 9 of the games.Why is this Scrabble-like game my favorite? Because I've learned the strategy of the game. It's not just placing letters on the screen to form a word. It's not about playing a word just to play a word. Many of my opponents haven't discovered this secret. Good players know the importance of strategically forming words that will give maximum points while not setting up their opponent and enabling them to form Double Word or Triple Word possibilities.Many children's leaders are just like my Words With Friends opponents. They just do a service because it's time to do something. There is no foresight and planning on their part. They fail to be strategic in their planning.Have you looked at 2013? Do you have a vision where you want to be 12 months from now? Are there specific goals and dreams for your ministry? I know that I do. That's why we kicked off this year with a series that I wrote called The Blood, The Word, The Name. At the end of this year, I want to see children who are boldly standing for God and using the powerful God-given weapons against our enemy. After this series, we'll spend time teaching On Assignment with the Holy Ghost. I can foresee a powerful year ahead of us.So, will I be doing services just to do services? Are you kidding me? No way! There is a strategy. Each and every service will be pointing towards the end goal. There will also be fun weekends mixed in-between the series. That's a part of the strategy. I know that the children are spirit, soul, and body. They need variety. But, I have the services lined up to make 2013 be a year of destiny. I've heard from God. I'm making strategic moves and being fully aware that He will also be making strategic moves.Bring on 2013. I'm ready!...

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14 Jan Be Bold? Who Me? YEP!!!

For my daily devotions this year, I've chosen to just read through the New Testament. I'm doing this for several reasons. First, it's not an overwhelming amount of reading each day. Like you, my life is full and extra time just isn't in my schedule. Secondly, I am using a program (Laridian PocketBible) on my iPad that allows me to have a screen showing three panels. I have it set up so that the Scripture is in the full left panel and then the two right panels (one on top of the other) are two commentaries. Thus, I'm not spending too much time each day because my reading is usually just one chapter PLUS I get to dig a little into each reading. Pretty cool!Here's something that I've discovered in reading in my readings in Matthew's gospel. In the first 16 chapters, I've noticed twice that the people marveled at Jesus' authority. (Matthew 7 and 9). What's significant about this? Many of these people knew Jesus personally. After all, in His childhood, Jesus had played with their kids. He perhaps lived in a nearby town and they had bumped into each other from time-to-time. They knew that He was Joseph and Mary's son. For some 30 years, there wasn't anything significant about Him. He was just Jesus of Nazareth. Now, for some strange reason, this Jesus guy is different. There is a boldness and power about Him.They same could be said about Peter and John in the Book of Acts. After the miracle found in Acts 3, we read that the Jewish leaders marveled at the power and authority demonstrated at the healing of the lame man. In Acts 4, the astonished leaders begin to discuss what they knew about Peter and John. They had known these men for years. As kids, they had dealings with each other. Peter's mom knew their mothers. They used to skip school together. They knew for a fact that Peter and John weren't the most brilliant guys around. But now, for some strange reason, Peter and John are different.Here is the common denominator. The "change in life" occurred after the infilling of the Holy Ghost. It's the truth! Read through the Gospels and you'll notice that nothing of significance was recorded in Jesus' first 30 years. But, after the infilling of the Holy Ghost, people began to take note of what He said and what He did. The same could be said about Peter and John. Up to the Day of Pentecost, their bio sheet wasn't anything to brag about. Right? Failures and disappointments abounded. But, after being filled with the Holy Ghost, things were different. A new-found boldness and authority permeated from these men.I'm writing this blog today to remind you that the same Holy Ghost who turned insignificant, unnoticeable individuals into men who changed the world now lives on the inside of you. That same boldness is abiding inside of you. That same authority resides in you. So, don't sit back. Stand up. Speak up. Dare to believe God. History is waiting to tell your story!!!...

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07 Jan Dead Form? Here’s the Cure!

Last week, I shared some thoughts from John Wesley's Advice to a People Called Methodist. As we begin this new year, I want to share another quote from Wesley taken from his message The More Excellent Way. Consider his observation concerning the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit:It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause thereby heaped riches, and power, and honour, upon the Christians in general; but in particular upon the Christian clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased; very few instances of the kind were found. The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed,) "because there was no more occasion for them," because all the world was become Christian. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause was, "the love of many," almost of all Christians, so called, was "waxed cold." The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other Heathens. The Son of Man, when he came to examine his Church, could hardly "find faith upon earth." This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church -- because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left.What does this have to do with children's ministry? It is easy in children's ministry to take the easy way and buy into fads and Spirit-less trends. After all, we are busy, right? And, we all know that children's ministry is demanding. It takes a lot of work to make this ministry function, right? Plus, much is pulling for our attention, etc. Often, the "easy" way to survive is to hurriedly throw together a service with some kind of/sort of "Bibley feel" or purchase a trendy curriculum eliminates the need for connecting with the Holy Spirit. Without exception, the Spirit-less, prayer-less, powerless services become what Wesley called "a dead form". Children's leader, as we begin this new year, take some time to determine where your ministry is in relationship to the gifts and workings of the Holy Spirit. According to Wesley's message, if there is no movement or working of the Holy Spirit, it is due to our state of being. Here's a suggestion. As many of us are beginning this new year with extended times of prayer and fasting, it might wise to repent of becoming a "dead form" and then cry out for a fresh wind of the Spirit to blow upon us. Selah....

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