They are just kids….Right?

I apologize for such the long break, sometimes life gets busy. But during this time I have had a chance to see God really do some great things in a group of kids. During our Kids Church (B.I.G.) on Sunday mornings my staff and I like to encourage the kids to worship. Normally we will start with what we refer to as a warm-up song, something that gets them moving, out of their shell and also to burn off a little extra energy. From there we will lead them in worship, using songs that they hear during our adult services. We use tracks, videos, live music and even a Capella.

They really worship, lifting their voices, hands and hearts to the Lord. We shout, cry, dance, clap our hands and do our best to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. They watch the adult staff, as we worship and they follow suit. Many times during worship the presence of God moves and they are taught to respond. I believe they are beginning to know what it like to feel God and what happens when we respond.

During our Sunday Night Celebration services, there is usually thirty to forty kids sitting up front waiting for service to start. Once worship starts, they begin to worship, singing, praising and dancing before God. I have heard a few times from others that these kids are just playing, or even mocking. Some have said they are just kids, they don’t really know what they are doing. To others, it just strikes a nerve, how could parents let their kids behave like that.

I guess my first question would be if our eyes were on God and we were worshiping as well, would we see them? Maybe the focus is on the wrong thing. Second, are they really playing? For the most part, they are not. They are doing what they have been trained to do, respond to God with praise and worship. Is that really so bad?

It was during these worship services that I saw a kid that said they haven’t seen their dad in years, begin to worship and cry before God. Another that has had thoughts of suicide, another that is tormented by nightmares, and another that has been bullied all week begin to pour theirs hearts out during worship, responding to God and God responding to them.

The Bible says to train up a child, teach them, instruct them, be an example to them. Life can be hard, even for a kid, but there is a God that loves them and cares for them. The same as He loves and cares for me. Why wouldn’t we want our kids to know and feel this same God? Let’s train them up, let’s be an example to them. Keeping our eyes on God, as they follow us.

I feel like a left behind Zoomer.

It has been just over two weeks since Christmas 2014 arrived. Hard to believe it was only fifteen days ago. We just put the last crate of Christmas decorations in the shed, the tree in the bag, stockings tucked away and the pine needles cleaned up. It is like we hit a switch and the season is over as soon as the last gift is open. All the preparation, excitement and build up to that day now seems long gone. Oh, how I miss it.

This past Christmas my sweet Anna really desired to have Zoomer, a robot, teachable, pet dog, for Christmas. After reading reviews, parents suggestions and debating among ourselves, Zoomer won. On Christmas day, one of her gifts was Zoomer. I must admit that after a few minutes of watching her play and the robot dog react, it was quite entertaining. But with in two days Zoomer laid still, unplugged, not being played with, and tucked under the tree, almost lifeless.

As the day the days went by and Zoomer just lay there, I began to think of how many times we as Christians might feel the same as Zoomer, left alone and forgotten. Almost as if our master has forgotten us or found better things to do, we lie in hopes of a soon return or touch of our master. Yet time seems to go on and there we still sit, alone, forgotten, and lifeless. Loneliness and doubt can hamper ones spirit greatly, but I don’t feel as if that is really the way God intended for us to live. There is so much more to life, His plan has never changed for us.

After days of no playtime, new commands or cuddling Zoomer, I started to hear strange sounds coming from the living room. When I got closer, there was my Anna, the master and her robot dog having a blast. As she spoke to it, it was as if Zoomer had been waiting forever to hear the words of his master. He seemed thrilled to be in the presence of her again and just begin to come to life. Isn’t that what we are waiting for, the call or voice of the master?

They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, another scripture reminds us that HE has not left us or forsaken us, that HE is closer than a brother. What a thrill and excitement when we feel the masters touch, hear HIM call our name and assure us that everything is all right. I just want dance, shout and delight myself in HIS presence. HE never left us, nor turned HIS back on us. HE was always there. Giving us life, speaking our names, and directing our paths.

Be encouraged today, no matter where you are, HE is there. The master, our savior, my sweet Jesus will never leave us.

Would love to hear more feedback or thoughts from you guys, feel free to comment.

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At the Year’s End or Your Wit’s End?

In just a few hours from now my family, along with my church will be gathering to praise out the old and praise in the new year. We will worship, have communion, hear an on time Word from our Pastor and pray the New Year in. I am looking forward to what lays ahead for 2015. As I speak and see post of friends and family it seems that others are ready for this year to end. It seems that there have been many that have seen their share of problems and trails.

This year has not been easy for me, or my family. There are times when things just don’t seem fair. Why should I have to explain to my child why we can’t purchase this or that? Or why we can’t go here or there? Is it fair that when I leave my home I feel overwhelmed, and that I just want to run? I find myself driving, crying and end up in the church parking lot, sobbing, and the only words I can say are Jesus, help me.

Yes! I want this year to end! I want the yoke to break! The pain to stop! I want my faith back! I want a miracle! I need Jesus! Am I the only one? I feel as if I am at my wit’s end. And just what is a wit’s end?

In Psalms 107, in verses 24-26, it talks about sailors going out to sea, and the sea starting to get rough, the storms and waves beating the ship. They were fearful, troubled, in verse 27 it says they reeled and rowed, trying to fight the storm. Stumbling like drunken men, at their wit’s end (their wisdom failed them). The Bible allows us to know it will rain on the just and the unjust; the storms are going to come, no matter what. We will reach our Wit’s End. Just like the disciples, while Jesus slept in the bottom of the boat, the storms came, they fought the storm, they lost, and they reached their wit’s end. They thought they would not make it, but finally, someone said, let’s wake up Jesus.

We all know what happen after that, HE spoke Peace. My friend, Jesus is in the boat, in the storm, with you at your wit’s end.

So you may be at the Years End or at Your Wit’s End, but stop fighting the storm, wake Jesus and let Him speak Peace into your New Year. Happy New Year!

Would love to hear more feedback or thoughts, feel free to comment.

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Do You Hear What I Hear? Then Respond!

One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs has to be “Do you hear What I Hear?” right up there with Holly Leaves & Christmas Trees by Elvis. Sitting and listening while our Kids choir sang their rendition, I felt as if I wanted shout it to the mountaintops! Not that I was feeling overwhelmed with Christmas joy, but it was the mere fact that I know someone, more than a few someone’s, I had sent a text to and had failed to get a response in over twenty-four hours.

I must admit, in times past I have not been the best at returning calls, e-mails, or text in a timely fashion. But I have tried to improve, and I believe I have. With today’s technology, is it really possible not to respond to a message in a timely manner unless otherwise just being rude? Be honest, there is voice text, for driving, reminders to hit, you can scan thru them while in your study (bathroom), if nothing else respond with “K” or “np” to let the other person know you received it. Respond, is it really that hard?

Like any leader, sometimes this seems like this can be the most difficult thing to ask of your followers. Why is that?

I can’t help to wonder if the Lord feels the same at times. Is He looking down just ready to scream, Respond! Do you hear me? Can you see what I am doing? Just respond! Jesus tells us more than once, that if we have ears, then use them. If we can hear or see what the Lord is doing, all He wants is for us is to respond. If there is going to be a good relationship, there has to be good communication. There has to be sending forth, receiving, and responding.

Rather you’re a leader, a follower, or maybe somewhere between, work on your response. Let your ears be open to hear, eyes open to see, and respond like never before. You might be shocked at what takes place. It’s called conversation.

Would love to hear more feedback or thoughts, feel free to comment.

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If You’re going to Do It, Do It Right the First Time. A Life Lesson from My Dad.

My oldest son Nate has recently just turned ten. Being the wise and knowledgeable father that I am, I felt it was time to give him a job at the church. I want him to learn at a young age that there is more to ministry then just speaking behind a pulpit. We must first serve. His job is to clean the pulpit that our pastor preaches from each week.

I had the woman who normally cleaned it train him, I made another staff pastor aware of his job and duties to make him accountable. I want him to be consistent, faithful, trustworthy, and build memories from what he is doing and be told to do. While watching him on week, I found myself telling him something I have told him many times before, “Nate, Do it right the first time.” I must have told him time this in the last 3 years a hundred times. I have explained that it saves time to do it right the first, that you only have one chance to do it right. If you’re going to do it, do it right son.

I was really not for sure where I got that principle until tonight while in a text chat with brother and sister. As we begin to share our favorite Christmas stories, family traditions, songs and gifts given and received, I heard the words or maybe I saw the actions of my Dad, If your going to do it, do it right. We did Christmas right. At times we had a lot, at others we didn’t. But we did it right. We kid’s never knew. Why, because he never let us know.

We live life once, for the most part we get one chance to do it right. If we have messed up there is a God that loves us and forgives us and I am thankful for that. I am also thankful for a lesson learned long ago, so however you do it, do it right. So why no do it right the first time.

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