Over the last two years I’ve been going through my hundreds of VHS tapes from over fifteen years of children’s ministry as a children’s pastor and came across a video recently that I made TEN YEARS AGO around this time as a children’s ministry appreciation video. This was in my pre-Mac days and so I had a lot of help from the youth pastor at my previous church, Jim Crouter, in making this. It’s been nearly two years since I resigned from the Village Church of Barrington and they have recently hired a new children’s pastor. I’m very happy for the church, but it has made me sentimental about all the many happy memories I have from eight wonderful years on staff there. (Josh, you snagged up the best CP job in the country!) VCB was a wonderful church to work at with a great staff and awesome volunteers and, of course, super kids! I know some of my friends there follow my blog so I thought they’d enjoy seeing what their teenagers looked like ten years ago! I still know the names of most of the kids in this video. Wow, does time go by fast! I miss them all, but I am so blessed to have been able to be a part of their lives.
ENJOY:Celebrate Kids! featuring the children of VCB in 1998!
The Kidology Univeristy is coming THIS FALL! (And it will be bigger and better than ever!) In this ToyBox Tales inspired video, meet some of the speakers as Karl does some “man on the street” interviews with just a few of the presenters coming to Chicago this fall!
There are a ton of great conferences for children’s ministry but we truly believe you will be missing out if you skip this one! We have put together a Mega-Conference line up for a non-mega price! For our 10th Anniversary Celebration we have pulled out all the stops, and may never do a conference this size again.
Kid U 2008 is the year not to miss!
Great trainers like Jim Wideman, Greg Baird and more!
Extended leadership workshops where the presenter gets time to provide personalized coaching and interaction.
Over thirty volunteer workshops on Saturday, bring your team!
God Rocks in Concert!
Participate in a Children’s Pastor Kidz Blitz Live!
How many times have we prayed and asked God to bless our efforts… well, no more! Read on to discover why you should never ask God to bless your work!
We want God to look down from heaven, see what wonderful things we are doing for Him, and to bless what we are doing.
I was challenged to reconsider this common practice by my written mentor, Oswald Chambers, when he wrote: “Many a Christian worker has left Jesus Christ alone and gone into work from a sense of duty or from a sense of need arising out of his own particular discernment.”
This does not necessarily mean we are “sinning,” but that WE are generating the spiritual activity ourselves. Though as we get busy and drift from God, sin certainly can result! Oswald referring to our Christian activity, “There is no sin in it, and no punishment attached to it; but when the soul realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and produced for himself perplexities and sorrows and difficulties, it is with shame and contrition he has to come back.”
It sounded so spiritual, the old saying I latched onto as a kid: “God can’t move a parked car.” But in the end, this attitude of fast-paced service, disguised as a sense of urgency for the lost, is a deadly and unbiblical and has led many a sincere Christian worker to get going so fast and furious in their flurry of Christian work that they end up crashing due to a blind spot around a corner on the super service highway of spiritual achievement. What good is all your “work” if it takes you away from the very one you are supposedly serving so passionately?!? I know that I have been driven since a very young age to be “Busy for God” – and yet I am discovering that God is not in as big a hurry as I am. When I get stressed out I am learned to breath deep and release it all remembering, what God wants done will get done (with or without me) and what I never get to, He probably isn’t concerned about – as long as He has ME.
God has been at work throughout the ages, and is quite capable of accomplishing His goals and purposes without me being all stressed out. I get so worked up over all that “needs to get done” when God says, “It’s all done already, just walk with Me.”
Mark chapter eleven, in the Message, records Jesus saying, “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you.” When we are stressed, we are ahead of God. And He doesn’t hurry to catch up to us, I believe He often stops, and waits for us to notice we are alone, and to come back to Him, and then He will continue on with us at His pace. Jesus continued, (in the Message) “That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everyting, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.”
Oswald writes, “…get into the habit of steadily referring everything back to Him; instead of this we make our common-sense decisions and ask God to bless them.”
My challenge to myself first and foremost is this: Do not ask God to bless anything. If it is of God, it is already blessed! To ask God to bless it, is to hint that it may not be of Him to start with, even if it is a good thing.
Think about it, if God has asked you to do a thing, how silly to ask Him to also bless it! It may border on an insult to Him. And if He hasn’t asked you to do it, why would you want His blessing on it?
Instead, ask God what He would have you do, and then pray for the courage and strength and persistance to see it through despite any obstacles or resistance you may encounter as you obey. Now there is a prayer God can answer!
Why are Christians afraid of politics? Getting Christians to discuss politics is harder than getting non-Christians to discuss Religion. I know the old saying, “Don’t discuss politics and religion,” but that saying comes out of the fear that we shouldn’t talk about things of which we might disagree.
But Christians, of all people, are the very ones who OUGHT to MODEL talking about what we disagree about. I mean, don’t we celebrate how well different denominations can get along and often work together even though they have very sharp differences when it comes to theology?
So why can’t we discuss politics nicely? Every time I do a post about politics I get e-mails about them – and very few comments on the post. No one ever e-mails me in response to my blog posts (except a few relatives that don’t know how to do the comments – I love you guys, and its ok!) But when it comes to politics, I get e-mails. And I don’t mean all the e-mails are negative, most aren’t – but I find it interesting that they are sent privately via e-mail instead of posted live on the blog. If Christians stay silent, we surrender our voice!
I wish more Christians would be willing to talk about politics. And disagreeing is ok. If you didn’t like my last post, and want to vote for Obama – it’s really OK with me – that what makes America AMERICA. But the best thing FOR America is to talk about why we like or dislike the policies of those who make the decisions that effect our nation. Notice, it is the policies that concern me, not the people. I’d have lunch with Bill Clinton or Obama and probably enjoy it! But I’d also enjoy talking with them about their ideas for what is best for America. I’d hope to change their minds, but I’d also learn a few things too I’m sure.
Then there is the old attitude that the Hope of America isn’t Politics, it’s Jesus. Absolutely. Amen! But we do have to live here. And while I’m all for giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s – it’s not bad to want Caesar to ask for less and regulate less and take over less of what the people can do better than bureaucracy.
Anyway – just wanted to ask a favor of my readers. You don’t have to agree with me. But don’t email me your comments, post them with your name and stand up for what you believe.
I’m not excited about John McCain. But as an American, I take seriously my role of learning about the candidates and making my vote count, as little good as a Republican vote does in Illinois, especially being Obama’s home town! But that is what America is – and it is the SUM of every American doing their small part that makes the grand experiment of Democracy work. Everyone must do their part responsibly, or they really can’t complain. I’m very very concerned with what the voting record of Obama reflects that he would do as President despite what all the wonderful speeches say and with his lack of understanding on how the economy truly works. I’m sure he is a nice guy and I’m proud that America has finally nominated an African American as a Presidencial candidtate – that we can be proud of.
But we vote for ideas and policies and philosophy – none of which seem to make the news or even campaign ads. Do your homework and VOTE.
And don’t be afraid to be part of the arena of ideas… that is what made our nation great! This is a critical election that will have a LONG LASTING IMPACT ON OUR NATION… I ought to have lots of comments on this post….
if you dare. (but be nice, I’ll approve disagreeing comments, but I don’t have to put mean ones live, its still my blog after all.)