August 2013

26 Aug The DNA of a Holy Ghost Ministry – Pt. 4

It's a mystery to me why people would want to deny and hide the very distinctive that makes them who they are. If you are of a particular ethnicity, be proud of your ancestry and heritage. It's you!  In a spiritual context, if you are a born-gain, New Testament believer, be that type of believer. Don't hide it. Don't deny it. In fact, it should be difficult to disguise the fact of who you are because it's in your genes. Let's look at the final two elements found in the DNA of a Holy Ghost ministry. 6.    We are a ministry that is unashamedly Pentecostal. (“All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.” Acts 2:4, God’s Word for Today). It’s a sad commentary on today’s Pentecostal/Charismatic children’s ministry when children aren’t given the opportunity to follow the Book of Acts model and be baptized in the Holy Spirit or allowed to corporately pray aloud in their heavenly prayer language. Honestly, most children in our churches can identify with the Ephesian believers found in Acts 19 who stated that they didn’t even know there is a Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts shows us that a New Testament Church is a Holy Spirit filled, tongue-talking Church. How do we change from our present situation? First, by teaching about this precious gift of the Father and allowing children to be baptized in the Holy Spirit IN YOUR SERVICES. Second, make praying ALOUD in their prayer language a normal part of your services. Why? Because praying in the Spirit was and is a normal, vital part of the New Testament believer’s life. 7.    We are a ministry that allows for the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. (“Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:17, New Living Translation) Throughout the Book of Acts we find a bold Church that preached the Word and then allowed the Holy Spirit to validate the Word. The apostles would preach, lay hands upon people, and see supernatural manifestations of His presence. This is the modus operandi of the New Testament children’s ministry. It is in our DNA. Preach, provide the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to give an amen (“so be it”) to the Word as you lay hands upon children, and then expect Him to make the Word come alive. You will find that the same Holy Spirit that flowed through Peter and John is anxiously waiting for an opportunity to flow through you. New Testament children’s ministry, be who you are! Unashamedly showcase your distinct uniqueness that has been passed down from generation to generation since the birth of the Church in the Upper Room. It should be the NORM for a New Testament children’s ministry to ACT like a New Testament children’s ministry. Why? It’s in our genes!...

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25 Aug Celebrating a Rare Accomplishment

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I rarely post blog entries about our local ministry. I do mention things in my writings about our children's ministry at Trinity Church International in Lake Worth, Florida  to provide an illustration in a particular portion of the teaching. But, to talk about Trinity just for the sake of mentioning our local ministry, that just doesn't happen. But, this is too big of a milestone to go unmentioned.  This month, Vickie and I are celebrating an accomplishment that few children's pastors have achieved, our 24th anniversary of being the children's pastors at the same great church working with the same great pastor. You just don't hear of children's pastors being at the same church for that length of time. In fact, I can probably list on one hand those reaching this milestone. Most children's pastors are in the same church for two or three years and then they feel "led" to move on to the next church of two or three years and then they feel "led" to ...

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19 Aug The DNA of a Holy Ghost Ministry – Pt. 3

This uniqueness, this Holy Ghost DNA that makes us who we are, should be readily evident. It can’t be a secret. And, lest you think that I’m just talking about a weekend Children’s Church ministry setting, let me go on record and declare that this DNA should be seen in any and every ministry setting and opportunity, be it Sunday school, mid-week Bible clubs, pre-school classes, retreats, camps, …. need I go on? Let's pick up with the third part of this teaching about our DNA. 4.    We are a ministry of passionate, hilarious givers. (“The group of believers were united in their hearts and spirit. All those in the group acted as though their private property belonged to everyone in the group. In fact, they shared everything. There were no needy people among them. From time to time those who owned fields or houses sold them, brought the money, and gave it to the apostles. Then the money was given to anyone who needed it.” Acts 4:32,34,35, New Century Version) It’s a natural, New Testament action to be radical givers. It moves our mentality beyond “me” to “Thee”. This passionate, sacrificial giving enables our children to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Give the children an opportunity to give. Stir the passion to be extravagant, hilarious givers! One side-note. It’s not just the children giving. It’s not just you standing in front of children and telling that it is time to give and just checking it off of the to-do list. It must be visibly DEMONSTRATED by the ENTIRE staff. Why? Because it is in our DNA! 5.    We are a ministry that knows and makes room for the Holy Spirit. (“While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came to everyone who heard his message.” Acts 10:44, God’s Word for Today) While we have prayed, studied, gathered the cool props, prepared awesome skits, when we step into a ministry opportunity, our New Testament DNA knows the prompting of the Holy Spirit and will acquiesce and yield to His leadership. When we yield and make room for the Holy Spirit, He will make room for us and manifest His “suddenlies” (Acts 2:2; 16:26)....

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12 Aug The DNA of a Holy Ghost Ministry – Pt. 2

From reading about our Book of Acts ancestors, we can easily see the DNA components found in the New Testament children's ministry. We mentioned last week that this has been passed down through the centuries and is in our genes. Here is what should be inherent and visible in our ministry: 2.    We are a ministry that whole-heartedly worships Jesus. (“The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other's homes and shared their food. At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people.” Acts 2:46-47, God’s Word for Today) We can’t be a three fast-paced, action-packed songs, a slow song, and then check it off of the list because it’s time to move on in the service. The New Testament children’s ministry is one who radically, passionately praises and worships God. Passive, namby-pamby worship? No way. Our fervent worship is heart-felt and visible. We demonstrate our heart’s passion through the clapping and lifting of hands, dancing unto Him, and kneeling before Him. Too radical? Are you kidding? Like David said to Michal in 2 Samuel 6:21-22, our passion is whole-hearted and might be considered undignified by some people. And remember, it is demonstrated and modeled by ALL of the leadership. It’s easy to do because that is who we are! 3.    We are a ministry that LOVES the Word. (“… and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31, King James Version) Over and over again we read that they spoke (preached) the Word of God. It was the Word, the Word, the Word, the Word. I’m not repeating to fill space. It was THE Word that opened the door for the Holy Spirit. Nothing more. Nothing less. Here’s a radical concept … amongst all of your other props and teaching tools, use a literal Bible in your service each and every week. Show it. Read from it. Teach from it. And then expect your children to fall in love with the Word....

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05 Aug The DNA of a Holy Ghost Ministry – Pt. 1

Have you stopped to think about the DNA of a New Testament children’s ministry? As you read through the Book of Acts, you see the distinct characteristics of the newly birthed Church. While religious organizations abounded during this time and synagogues and temples were plentiful, the distinct, inherent “gene” birthed in the Upper Room became undeniable in the Church and its lineage. And, that same unique “difference” is in you! Sadly, today too many of what should be Book of Acts ministries are hiding this “distinctness”. In many Pentecostal/Charismatic children’s ministries, leaders and workers are seemingly embarrassed by who and what they are. They are acting as though they are apologetic for what is inherent in their DNA. The people in their ministry have to play the classic television game show “I've Got a Secret” where everyone has to work hard to determine the true identity of those standing in front of them. This DNA that makes us who we are should be readily evident. It can’t be a secret. And, lest you think that I’m just talking about a weekend Children’s Church ministry setting, let me go on record and declare that this DNA should be seen in any and every ministry setting and opportunity, be it Sunday school, mid-week Bible clubs, pre-school classes, retreats, camps, …. need I go on? For the next few weeks, I want to highlight our distinctives and then ask you to share these with your fellow children's ministry workers/leaders. 1. We are a ministry passionately in love with Jesus. (“The apostles had a single purpose as they devoted themselves to prayer.” Acts 1:14, God’s Word for Today) The 120 Upper Room occupants came together to honor Jesus’ command and in doing so spent time connecting with Him through prayer. Like those in the Upper Room, our sole reason for gathering together must be to connect with Jesus. It’s true that there is a variety of activities that happen in our services, but all of the activities must point to Jesus. Our love for Him is seen in the beginning prayer, throughout the worship, in our teaching, and as we bring children into a relationship with Him (altar ministry). It’s Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Please note, if a child leaves your service without connecting to Jesus, the ministry has failed in its main purpose.  ...

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