Leadership Blog

24 Mar Batteries Not Included

Let me describe what possibly could be every parent’s worst nightmare. For months, your child has been hinting, begging, earnestly interceding for the latest electronic “necessity” of life. Although its price tag will take a large portion of your retirement savings, the anticipation of the look on your angel’s face will make it worth the extreme sacrifice. On Christmas morning, the moment arrives. Excitement fills the air as your darling pushes aside package after package looking for the gift of all gifts. Upon finding what should be the package, wrapping paper flies through the air, then a shrill of excitement as the gift is ripped out of its package … and then … the moment of horror. You discover those words that are printed in microscopic print “Batteries Not Included.” To your dismay, you can’t find 16 AAA batteries and it’s a 45-minute trip into town to look for a store that would be open on Christmas. Without the batteries, the gift can’t do what it is designed to do. And now, you’ll have to deal with the “ho,ho,ho” of Christmas turning into a big “no,no,no” … no peace, no happiness, no quiet until the batteries can be found.

batteriesHere’s the reason for this blog. Admittedly, there are millions of Christians who love Jesus and yet are not filled with the Spirit. Little do they realize that we entered into this world with the words “Batteries Not Included” stamped upon our spirits. Just like the gift on Christmas morning, we too can’t do what we are designed to do without spiritual batteries. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our God-given assignment. (Acts 1:8).

One more thought … we need to daily charge our spiritual batteries. Whether you know it or not, we leak or drain. The pressures of this life, the size of our mission can drain us. We must constantly recharge our batteries by daily praying in our heavenly prayer language. (Jude 20, 1 Corinthians 14:4). The apostle Paul instructed the Ephesian church to renew itself by being filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18). The literal Greek translation tells us to continually be filled with the Spirit. The promise and gift from the Father (Acts 1:5) isn’t a one time experience, it was only the beginning, the insertion of the spiritual battery. Now, we must daily recharge our batteries by our time of intimacy and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit!

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18 Mar God Wants to Invade the Nursery/Toddler/Preschool Ministries

One battle that most children’s ministry leaders and workers face is the constant feeling of being overlooked and misunderstood. We hate that there are those who look at our ministries as being childcare. We long for people to recognize that God is moving in our classrooms and auditoriums.

Here’s a problem that is rarely addressed … do we have this same childcare concept for our nurseries and preschool ministries? Our first reaction might be that we aren’t guilty. We love our babies, toddlers, and 3- and 4-year-olds. We have great teachers with them each week.

After listening to a CD of Vickie’s teaching from our national Ignite conference, I was challenged to ask you to reexamine these ministries and ask some pertinent questions. Are you making room for the Holy Spirit to move in these ministries? If John recognized the presence of God in Mary while he was still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41), can’t our babies be impacted by God’s Spirit today? If praise and worship is truly in a child’s DNA (Psalm 8:2), can’t our toddlers and preschoolers dance before the Lord and lift their voices and hands as they worship God? If God told the young Jeremiah that He would put words into his mouth (Jeremiah 1:6-7), can’t our young boys and girls speak God’s Word?

Consider these ideas: (Remember, don’t be lengthy. You are dealing with short attention spans.)
PRAY. Lay hands on and pray over every child in your nursery/classroom each week. You have no idea what is going on in that child’s home. You have no idea about “baggage” that has been passed down from generation to generation. Pray blessings with your understanding. Pray blessings in the Spirit.
WORSHIP. Praise and worship must be included in each service. Sing the same songs each week. At this age, repetition is important. Make it fun with the dancing unto the Lord and clapping. Make it worshipful with hands raised, eyes closed.
SPEAK. Have the children say God’s Word. Often the verse is the same week after week. Don’t just say the verse. Allow the children to speak God’s Word. You are creating what hopefully will become a lifelong discipline!

Let’s create radical, Jesus-loving, Holy Ghost-moving children’s ministries and allow it to begin in your nurseries!

(Do yourself a favor and pass this blog entry on to your nursery/toddler/preschooler leaders. You’ll be glad you did!!!)

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11 Mar The "Realness" of the Holy Spirit

Each week, I wrestle with trying to contain the blog to approximately 350 words. I know that people will only read so many words and then want to move on to the next site. Admittedly, I fail 90% of the time. There is just so much that I want to share and too little space to convey my heart and passion.

This week, it will be easy to work within these self-imposed restraints. Though the words this week are few, the message is enormous. Here’s the message:

If the Holy Spirit isn’t real to you, how is He going to be real through you?

Those who move mightily with the Holy Spirit have this “realness” revelation. This revelation changes an “it” or a mystical force into Someone who longs to be real in your life and then your ministry. It was because of this revelation that Kathryn Kuhlman could say, “The Holy Spirit is more real to me than you are.” His realness produces His manifest presence.

How real is He to you? Do you talk to Him? Do you allow time for Him to talk back to you? Do you know His personality, likes, and dislikes?

Turn off the teaching CD or the Christian television program. Close that book for a while. Get to know the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to walk off the pages of the Bible and become real to you. Then and only then will He become real through you.

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04 Mar Flowing with the Spirit

Here’s a no-brainer … the person who chooses to drive while constantly looking in the automobile’s rear view mirror is destined to become a casualty! Focusing entirely upon what is behind you will prevent you from seeing what lies ahead of you. Continuing this practice will cause you to become a listing in your newspaper’s obituary column.

Many Spirit-filled children’s ministry leaders make this horrible mistake in their services. When the Holy Spirit moves in a service during a particular song or event, they make a note of the methodology and begin to do the same thing in each and every service expecting to have the same results. All of a sudden, they have discovered “the” formula for a move of God.

A biblical example of this is found in John 5 where the sick man is laying beside the pool of Bethesda. In this story, Jesus comes and asks if he wants to be healed. The man almost missed his miracle because he was totally focusing upon a set formula. His attention focused upon how God had moved in the past. The sick man knew what was needed to replicate that miracle. And yet, God wanted to demonstrate His presence and power in a new way at that exact moment.

Here’s my reason for this week’s blog. Do we in children’s ministry have our set of formulas of how God has to move? After all, the Spirit of God walked into our room three months ago when we sang a particular song, right? Didn’t He move mightily when we brought the kids forward after the second worship song?

Remember, constantly looking in the rear view mirror might not produce what we want! Let’s be thankful for the past moves of God and looking forward to what He wants to do today. Let’s go with His flow and see Isaiah 43:19 happen in our services. “For I’m going to do a brand new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it?” (The Living Bible).

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25 Feb Move Jesus from the Past to the Present

Here’s a powerful verse from a book of the Bible that is rarely preached from. Grab your highlighters and mark this verse. “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5, New Living Translation).

Let’s face the facts. Many of our children are experts on Biblical knowledge. They could possibly outdo us in Bible trivia games. After all, they have been a part of our Sunday schools, children’s churches, and mid-week Bible clubs for years. Yet sadly, many of these children are like the first portion of Job’s statement. They have only heard about Him, they have never seen Him. To most of our children, Jesus is a great historical figure that they hear about week after week.

So, how do we transform Jesus from a character that our children hear about week after week into Someone who walks off the pages of the Bible or Sunday school quarterly? How does Jesus differentiate Himself from other historical religious leaders?

Here’s the answer. As children’s ministry leaders and workers, the answer is already an obvious answer. We all know that value of seeing and hearing, right? Each week, you don’t just tell a lesson. You and I are always looking for some visual to reinforce what we are teaching. In Acts 1:3 we see that Jesus knew the value of seeing and hearing. “He appeared to the apostles from time to time and proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive.” (New Living Translation). He showed Himself and demonstrated His power. Through DEMONSTRATION, Jesus walked from the past tense (Someone who is heard or read about) to the present tense (Someone who is seen).

Here is where you and I come into this equation. Jesus continues to show Himself and demonstrate His power today by the working of the Holy Spirit through YOU! As we allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate through us, you and I turn what would possibly have been just a historical figure or religious myth into an “I have seen and now believe” (John 6:30).

Many years ago, I heard the great T.L. Osborn state, “If you can’t demonstrate the Gospel, you aren’t fit to preach it.” I double dawg dare you to show and demonstrate the Gospel. Demonstrate that Jesus is alive and well and still full of power. Make room for the Holy Spirit to manifest His presence and touch lives. Lay hands upon the sick and know that they will be healed. Preach with the anointing and expect yokes to be broken.

The Holy Spirit is waiting on you. Now go and do it!

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