October 2013

28 Oct Discouraged?

While there is no spoken competition among churches and their children’s ministries, I know that many children’s ministry leaders feel overwhelmed with discouragement when they consider what they have to offer compared with the church up the road. We can all identify with this. From everything that we hear from the parents who have visited the other church, we know that the church up the road is much larger, their children's ministry has a humongous budget, it appears that they have volunteers waiting for a place to serve, their facilities can be compared to something produced by Disney, ...

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21 Oct It Happened Again

I'm so excited. It happened again this weekend. The Holy Spirit showed up in our three weekend services. It's really not a mystery. We prepared. We prayed. He showed up. This week's lesson was "The Great Expectation" from our series "The Holy Spirit in You". In the lesson, we taught about our "expectationer". While you may not be aware of this, your "expectationer" is a huge part of your daily life. For example, if you were to have a bowling ball in your hands and then released it from your hands, you wouldn't expect the ball to float up into the air would you? No, your "expectationer" would kick in and you would know that the ball is going to drop straight down and onto your feet. Your "expectationer" would foretell of great pain coming your way! In this lesson, we taught that when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, our "expectationer" should know that we will speak in a language from heaven. Why? Because time and time again in the Book of Acts we see examples of this happening. We taught that this wasn't just an upper room experience. In fact, we showed the children that a great example can be found some 20 years later in Ephesus. When Paul laid hands upon the believers, it happened again. These believers spoke in other tongues. In our services this weekend, we prepared the way through the teaching and then gave the children the opportunity to ask the Father for this promised gift. Our "expectationers" weren't disappointed. It happened again. God kept His Word ...

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14 Oct A Personal Holy Spirit

Yesterday, Vickie and I ate lunch at a local restaurant that specializes in hamburgers. I believe that they have 50 different types of hamburgers on their menu. Among their list of "gourmet" burgers are Meatloaf (the burger is stuffed with diced green pepper, raw onion and seasoning), Rowdy Reuben ( Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing served on grilled rye bread), and Pizza (grilled onions, green pepper and provolone dripping with marinara). The food was great. The service was horrible. I mentioned to Vickie that the waiter seemed so cold and impersonal. He was far too disinterested in us or our needs. I doubt that we'll go back to that restaurant any time soon. This morning, I noticed something in the Word that was a fresh revelation about the Holy Spirit. I read that He is so different from the waiter at yesterday's meal. The Bible shows us that He is a personal Holy Spirit. "Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain." Romans 8:26 (New Century Version) Did you catch that? The verse shows that the Holy Spirit is so concerned about you that He doesn't relegate you to someone else. You are the total focus of His undivided attention. This Holy Spirit who knows your needs (weaknesses and inadequacies) is waiting for you to connect with the Father through praying in the Spirit and, in doing so, He immediately personally steps into the picture and personally speaks to God and even begs God for you! He is never too busy, disinterested or distracted. As you begin to pray in the Spirit, He immediately begins to personally communicate what would be impossible for you to communicate on your own. After obtaining this revelation, I now have even a greater love for the Holy Spirit than before. My dependence upon Him is even greater. I'll write one more time a phrase that I've written many times before in the seven years of this blog "Thank God for the Holy Spirit". I'll even expand it. Thank God for a personal Holy Spirit!...

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07 Oct Keepin’ On Keepin’ On

For those keeping count, this is blog post #332. That means for the last 332 weeks, I have posted a new thought/observation/teaching/reflection. And, in those 332 weeks, there hasn't been an exception to my posting schedule. Too busy? Too tired? Not inspired? I'll have to admit, those thoughts have crossed my mind many a time. More than once, I've been tempted to skip a week or two. But, a long time ago, I learned the importance of being consistent. Over the years, I've watched a lot of my peers start a blog. They started off with great hopes and lofty ideas. Their postings were going to change the world. But when that fervency met the real world with busy schedules and too many things pulling for their attention, it became all too easy to put off spending time looking at the computer screen. The want-to became a do-I-have-to. Soon, the daily blog became a weekly (weakly) blog that became a sporadic monthly blog that soon became a distant memory. With God as my witness, I'm not posting this blog to speak highly of myself. I just want to place a special emphasis on the importance of being consistent. There are rewards for those who keep on keeping on. In the case of my blog, people know that they can take it to the bank that I'll have something new to share each and every Monday morning. The end result is that people from some 60+ nations are faithful readers  because they know that for the last 6+ years I've proven myself to be a faithful, consistent blogger. Children's Pastor, Sunday school teacher, youth ministry director, what vision or dream has God entrusted to you? I know that I am writing to people who have had a clear dream. And you know that the dream came from God. I know that once you received that dream, you started out blazing the path towards fulfilling the dream. But, life happens doesn't it. It was all too easy to allow schedules and circumstances to create excuses for becoming sporadic in taking steps toward fulfilling your dream. Soon, those excuses brought your dream to a grinding halt. Let me close by paraphrasing a statement from the Apostle Paul. "When you have done all that you can, keep on keeping on." (Ephesians 6). You may have paused on your dream. The pause may have even become a complete stop. But, it is time to pick up your dream again. Though the excuses will continue to come, you have to recognize that someone  is counting on you to step into the place that God has prepared for you. Come on. Now is the time. Begin again and this time keep on keepin' on!...

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