Saturday, December 18, 2010

Internal Life

Translated into over 1100 languages from Afrikaans to Zulu, John 3:16 must surely be the most memorized verse in the Bible. Martin Luther called it 'the Gospel in miniature'- just 26 words that summarize God's entire purpose for sending Jesus into the world:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Recently, I was teaching a 3rd Grade Bible class and had challenged the students to memorize John 3:16. A cute little girl raised her hand and recited the verse perfectly until she got to the next to the last word:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have internal life.
Her mom and I smiled as we automatically started to correct her, but then we stopped. That little girl was not wrong. In fact, she was absolutely right! We who believe in Jesus, along with eternal life, can claim 'internal' life too. As we celebrate the birth of Christ this season, let's remember that we have Jesus living inside us, with all the peace, joy and hope that He alone can bring. No matter what may rage externally, we can hold on to internal life- life 'in all its fullness.' This Christmas, let's sow the message of internal life deep into the hearts of the children we nurture.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10: 10

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Deep Water

I remember well the day I learned to swim. I was about six years old. I felt relatively safe and comfortable In the shallow end of the pool. With one strong arm under my stomach, my dad supported me as I vainly flapped my arms and kicked my legs. I  looked out fearfully over the surface of the water towards the deep end and vowed that I would never venture there. I was always afraid of the deep water- it looked dark and scary to me. But that day, I realized that my dad had taken his arm away and I was swimming by myself! More than that, I soon discovered that if I dared to enter that deep end, I could do so much more! Not only did that deep water help me swim better, but it enabled me to do all sorts of exciting things that would not be possible in shallower waters....I could jump in, I could dive, I could do cannonballs. Deep water was great!
I sometimes think that we who serve in Children's Ministry like to stay where it is safe and comfortable. We paddle around in the shallow end, afraid to enter deeper waters. But if we dared to stretch ourselves, to commit even more, to try new things, who knows what we could accomplish?
Is God calling us to deeper waters? Let's be brave, let's dive in and discover all the wonderful things we can do! I think we might find that deep water is great!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Undercover Boss

With an audience averaging 17.7 million viewers, 'Undercover Boss' ranks as the biggest new season premiere since 1987 and the most watched premiere episode of any reality series.
Each week, 'Undercover Boss' follows a different executive as they leave the comfort of their office above to work alongside their employees below. This undercover mission allows them to share in the experiences of their employees and to obtain an up-close look at how their company works. At the end of the week, the true identity of the boss is revealed, the employees are rewarded for their hard work, and the company celebrates as everyone benefits from the experience.
Over 2000 years ago, another 'Undercover Boss' left the comfort of His office above and came down to live amongst His people on the earth below. With an audience of millions, the true identity of the boss was revealed and each Christmas, the world celebrates. As we step into our Advent season this year, I pray that we, as educators, would faithfully play our part in bringing children to discover the true identity of that 'Undercover Baby' and the eternal benefits He brings.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1: 14
How Many Kings: Downhere

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Impressions...

Our New Home
My husband and I stood on the doorstep of what would become our new home.

As our realtor turned the key in the lock, I wondered what would greet us when we stepped through the door. Would it be the smell of dogs or cats? Would it be gloomy and dark? Would it be old and in need of some repair? I hoped not! In our search for a new home in Grand Rapids, all of these things had been among our first impressions.

I need not have worried. We opened the door and...WOW! We loved it! 

Our first impressions were of light and space; a home that had obviously been carefully prepared for us; a place of warmth and welcome. More than that, this was a place of possibilities. I turned to my husband and whispered, 'I can imagine us living here.'

Every Sunday, each of us who serve in Children's Ministry may have potential buyers who are ready to step through our doors.

What will their first impressions be?
Will it be a WOW moment for them?

My prayer is that children and parents will be greeted by warmth and welcome; that they will find a home that has been lovingly and carefully prepared for them; a place of light, space, and most of all, possibilities.

My prayer is that as those families step through our doors, they will turn to each other and whisper, 'I can imagine us worshiping here.'


Saturday, November 13, 2010

What I Wanted To Be.....

Always an avid reader, one of my favorite books when I was a little girl was 'The Famous Five' by Enid Blyton. I loved nothing more than curling up with 'Five Go Adventuring Again.' I would disappear right into those pages and imagine myself as one of the five... visiting a farmhouse on our latest adventure and being fed a wonderful picnic of ham, pork pies, hard boiled eggs, and ginger beer...all lovingly prepared & served by the bustling, cheerful farmer's wife. And so naturally- this is what I wanted to be when I grew up- a farmer's wife. Sadly, I never did become a farmer's wife. I can't even cook that well. But I think I did become a farmer of sorts....the sort that carries a big bag of seeds & works in the field of Children's Ministry.
We who teach may never know if our seeds fell on good soil. We who teach may never reap that golden harvest. But we who teach have the amazing privilege of sowing that good seed, which we then entrust to God, who will water, nurture and grow what we began. I do not know what you wanted to be when you grew up...but if you are serving in that fertile field of Children's Ministry, I do know that you are where God intended you to be. So keep sowing, 'for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Galatians 6:9

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why Kids' Ministry Matters...

Orrell Post Methodist Church,
I was 10 years old.
The year was 1969.
It was a cold Sunday evening...

In the little Northern English town of Wigan, my sister and I sat in the back pew of the Methodist church. I remember only one part of that service. The preacher asked is there anyone here who wants to ask Jesus to be their friend forever?

I looked at my sister. She looked at me. 'Shall we do that?' I whispered to her.

If she had not been with me that night, I might never have knelt at that altar rail.

I might never have felt that preacher's hand on my head as she whispered words that have long since faded from my mind.

I might never have felt special as I waited at the little bus stop for the bus to take me home.

I might never have grown up with a passion for children's ministry.

I might never be writing this blog to encourage others as they lead kids to Christ.

I am 51 years old. The year is 2010. And kids' ministry matters...