April 2014

28 Apr Exploring the Heavenlies

This past week, Vickie and I took a couple days and went out of town for some much needed rest and relaxation. In doing so, we did something radical. We put aside being veteran Florida residents and joined the millions who come to Florida as tourists. You'd think that after living in Florida for almost 25 years that we would have seen all of the Florida's sights. Nope! And so, we invested the time to become tourists and made the 4 1/2 hour drive from Lake Worth down to the southernmost point in the continental United States, Key West.   If you've never been to Key West, let me tell you a few facts about this city. Key West is located on a 2 mile wide and 4 mile long strip of land and is steeped in history. It's also the home of three Civil War forts, a US Navy base, the Ernest Hemingway estate, and the Harry S. Truman Little White House.   Here's the tale of Billy and Vickie, the vacationing tourists. After walking around the city for a while, we made one of the smartest decisions of our lives. We decided to purchase a tour bus package that gave us access to a bus driven by a knowledgeable, funny tour guide and the entrance tickets and guided tours of  the Hemingway estate and the Truman Little White House. Having a tour guide made a world of difference. In walking around the city, Vickie and I had no idea about what we were seeing. But, as we were on the tour bus, the driver would point out sites and give information that we would have never obtained on our own. And, I can't imagine what it would have been like to go through the Hemingway and Truman homes without a tour guide. It was worth our money to be able to go along with someone who had been to these places and knew what to point out to make history come alive.   What does this have to do with children's/youth ministry? The children/youth in your ministry are desperately needing a Holy Ghost tour guide, someone who has been and continues to go into the heavenlies and will lead them into the realm of the supernatural. On their own, they might venture into these areas, but just like our unguided, walking expedition in Key West, the children/youth won't have a revelation of what is surrounding them. There are places that they have never been, areas of worship that few have experienced, sights that have yet to be seen, and realms of intercession that few have explored.   How do you become a Holy Ghost tour guide? I'll draw this information from what is expected of a natural tour guide. First, you must personally explore these places. You have to go there yourself over and over again so that you can accurately and clearly point out the wonders. Second, gather the "tour group" together, encourage that all cell phones and other distractions be silenced. Next, begin the journey. Did you catch that? It is a journey. It takes action. It takes movement. There must be action taken by both the tour guide and the tourists. Finally, keep the group together. You can't lead a fragmented, divided bunch of people. There's something about being assembled in one place and in one accord that causes the "And suddenly ...

Read More

21 Apr Can Children Be Used of God?

Several years ago, I had the privilege of being invited to speak to the children's ministry leaders at Abba's House in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After teaching the Saturday afternoon sessions, the nursery director approached me and told me the following story.   One of the nursery director's staff told an amazing story about her three-year-old daughter. The mother told about her little girl noticing that she was sick and asking about what was wrong.  After explaining that she wasn't feeling good, her daughter asked if she could pray for her mother. The little girl then prayed a simple, three-word prayer, "Jesus heal Mama." The mother shared that God heard and answered her prayer. The mother was healed!   A couple of years ago, I had a mother ask me, "Pastor Billy, can a seven-year-old be baptized in the Holy Spirit?" She asked that question because a few days earlier she came home after a hard day at work and was questioned by her concerned son. After hearing his mother tell that she was experiencing a lot of pressures, the little boy asked to pray for her. As the little boy began to pray, the mother heard strange words and syllables in his prayer. When asked what was happening, the little boy told his mother that he was praying in his heavenly prayer language. After hearing my whole-hearted "Yes" response to her question about children being baptized in the Holy Spirit, she came back to me a couple of weeks later to tell me that her son later asked for permission to pray for her again. He then laid hands upon his mother and began to pray in his prayer language. Within a couple of minutes, he began to give the interpretation of his tongue and said, "Mom, the Holy Spirit wants me to tell you ...

Read More