Saturday, February 25, 2012

When Kids Do House Church...

My middle son has a friend down the street who doesn't live in a Godly home but infrequently comes to church meetings and plays a lot over here. We were chatting the other night about this pal when he confided that while in his home he hears foul language, explosive temper tantrums, and he was shown a violent video by his friend. "My mom doesn't let me watch that stuff," he said after he told me it startled him.

"Well, just don't tell your mom," his friend offered. "Keep it a secret."
This kid couldn't keep a secret if it meant winning a trip to disney world! This led to a very interesting discussion about why our home is different than his friend's house.
"Nate you have to remember, when you walk into a dark place you're like a walking light bulb because Christ is the Light inside you."
"I am?" he said with wonder in his shinning eyes.
"Yeah. You know you can talk to him about Jesus."
He thought about that for a moment and said, "Well...he's not ready yet."
Keeping in mind he prays for his friend from time to time and the conversation also showed that he felt a responsibility toward his neighbor, I was looking at pieces of a puzzle.

I can't help but wonder if it's not because of the boldness they're allowed to have in our meetings and the way the Spirit of God is teaching them that even at their young age they ARE a part of the body of Christ...just as much as adults. They see everyone else participating in the meetings and it gives them confidence to speak up.

Kids have assigned gifts and a calling from the day they're born. Why is it they don't realize it until they're in the throws of adolescence or when they're in their 20's or 30's? Because they don't have a VOICE in their church or parents who know how to look for those gifts in their kids.

All too often we can end up silencing our kids just because they're kids. It's really important, no matter what setting your services are in, to give them a chance to be used by God. Over the years I've seen Nate go up to total strangers and strike up a conversation, not bat an eye while telling some one they're wrong (not kidding!) and find his way into just about every home on the block.

He's an evangelist and a prophet. NOW, right now, that gift is affecting another child down the street and he's learning he has a ministry NOW!

I don't know about you, but I'm kind of excited about that and what kids can do in a church meeting when they're allowed to be used by God.

Sunday, February 5, 2012 a ministry

I'm not kidding. Before you think we sit around and play uno during our services, let me assure you we're too busy worshiping or discussing God's word to have time for games.

But home church will make you rethink ministry entirely, in the context of when you're at church VS being the church seven days a week. I got schooled in that today while I was trying to squeeze in some scripture reading for tonight's service.

I was also babysitting two children in our church family whose single parent was working today. These two precious babies have been through a lot. Restless, needing attention, and unconditional love from caring authority figures (their parent loves them, don't get me wrong) but I was too busy reading my Bible to give them attention.

Suddenly I realized they needed something from me. I put down my bible and asked the household who wanted to play Uno. They resounded yes and Nicole, my step daughter agreed to join us. Nicole is a very intuitive young lady and I knew she sensed that need in them and the opportunity to fulfill it.

So we played. They smiled, laughed, needed help, enjoyed the attention and fellowship. In fact they lit up. The time passed quickly at the table as we played and lost to each other in mutual humor. I almost cried sitting there as I realized that THIS is ministry. That attention to a child who needs it. That comfort that comes from a smile, a gentle nudge, or a simple word of affirmation is like water to a dry desert in the soul of one who's starved for that their whole lives.

And there I was trying to read my Bible and ignore their need. God forgive me. Isn't that what the Pharisees did? They exploited the poor, took advantage of the widows and ignored the pleas of the orphans but all the while poured over God's law...something that because of their wicked hearts they couldn't even fully understand.

I challenge you to rethink what ministry is and isn't. One thing it's not: selfishness. One thing it is: sacrificial love.

And I do love these kids. God bless them, keep them, heal them, and protect them.
Thanks for reading saints,