We face a new kind of evil. We have never faced a threat like this before. That is why God is creating special kinds of people to be used in special kinds of ways. What do these people look like?
We picture bold, assertive, natural born leaders taking the stage. We assume the Holy Spirit would instill great confidence and audacity in those He has selected for special service.
In fact, the opposite is true. He inflicts those He chooses with deep frustrations. They are restless, they are weakened by confusing emotions. Often, they don’t feel very spiritual at all. The greatest gift He gives them is a desperate hunger.
In fact, your deep frustrations are a sign that God is going to use you mightily…because they create desperate hunger.
Yes, desperate hunger is a great gift. Although, when you first get it, you will be convinced you are being punished not blessed.
Jesus said “blessed are those who hunger and thirst…” It seems a contradictory statement but a closer look reveals eternal wisdom.
God is carving out your soul to create a greater capacity for His power. You are getting desperate for something—your appetite for that one thing is increasing. It seems cruel but it makes perfect sense: God wants you to want something you can’t have. It is in the not having it, that your desire intensifies.
The Bible says, “But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb.” -1 Samuel 1:5,6
Look at that! God is creating unbearable frustration. But, by depriving her of children, it increased two things in her soul: Her willingness to sacrifice and her appreciation for the blessings when they come. In other words, she will be an amazing example of willingness and appreciation.
God didn’t want Hannah to get over wanting Children. He wanted her to yearn for them even more. The end result is one of the most powerful women in history—the mother of Samuel the prophet. In Jewish tradition, Samuel is second only to Moses as a prophet.
Hannah’s total reward often goes unnoticed. True, she surrendered her first born to God but it says in 1 Samuel 2: 21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.”
It was Elisha’s insatiable hunger for the anointing that made him ask for a double portion from Elijah. Many, of today’s leaders ask for just enough to get by. They will never destroy the strongholds of Satan. They fold at the first sign of resistance. Not so, the vessel born of desperate hunger. When they finally get their chance, they will never stop, and they will never corrupt their God-given stewardship. Your frustration and desperate hunger is qualifying you for something astounding.
All of this is well and good but it is not a great comfort when you are in the depths of frustration. Desperate hunger from God can test us to the maximum. We look for signs that our hunger will be fulfilled. We yearn for proof that we will not die from disappointment. Well beloved, the proof is right under our nose. In fact, the hunger itself is the proof of the fulfillment.
Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.”-Matthew 5:5 In other words, if you hunger, you are blessed because that is the proof you shall be filled.
Alexander MacLaren the great Bible Commentator said this, “that hunger is the sure precursor and infallible prophet of the coming satisfaction.”
You Are Fabulous
To all the parents out there: You are fabulous. Yes, you! I guarantee you that you’re better at raising kids than you often think you are. And all you’re investing in those little humans is already at work in them. This is true even on those days (yes, even those days), when there isn’t even a glimmer of confirmation of that fact.
I see you showing up to church with your arms full. In one hand, the snack bag, a tiny hand in the other and the diaper bag slung over one shoulder. And off you jog after your other little one who’s charging across the parking lot, while shouting back to your oldest, still dawdling, “Lock the car when you get out!”
I know you’re already tired from last night’s less-than-luxurious night of sleep. Yesterday, you were probably at a tournament for your oldest before rushing over to that afternoon swim party.
And, yet, you’re here.
And even when you’re not here…we still think you’re fabulous. We all know that church attendance is not what it was back in the day, and we’re not bemoaning that. Really. We get it. This life stuff…it’s hard. And busy. And filled with many wonderful opportunities for children and youth. And with the schedule of so many families today, sometimes what a family needs more than anything is the chance to just be together on a Sunday morning.
But when you are able to make it to worship, we know the question you might be asking as you pull into the church parking lot…
“Is It Worth It?!”
You probably wonder if it’s worth it. Does it really matter that you show up at church on Sunday morning? Is it making a difference to anyone that you scramble to get everyone dressed and out the door to be here?
Parenting is hard. It’s so rich and beautiful, lovely and heart-expanding. It’s more than any of us ever imagined it would be. More joyous, more disappointing, more invigorating and more demanding.
And I’m here to tell you that in the midst of all the more-ness of parenting, I’m in awe of you. I don’t need to know you. If you’re the parent who’s reading a blog about having kids in church, I can definitively say I am in awe of you.
And when you invest in having your kids in church – it matters.
Kids in Church Matters
Kids in church matters to the congregation.
Your family brings with it the gift of your children’s voices. From the sweet sound of their singing to their unassuming (sometimes loud) questions, children invite joy.
When kids are in church, we are all reminded that it’s simply about showing up as we are to worship together. Children’s unfiltered curiosity and authenticity consistently help us let go of our pretense. For this reason, children force us to let go of the notion that worship is an hour-long performance.
Life is messy and unpredictable, and a life of faith isn’t any different. Thank goodness your kids are in church, so we don’t forget that piece of wisdom.
Also, God’s family in it’s most vibrant expression is diverse. So, when we’re all together, we are at our best. We remain the most supple of heart and mind, learning Spirit’s teachings through one another.
Being in church matters to your kids.
A faith community’s life together is the absolute best teaching tool a church has. Children learn most effectively through observing others. And what better way for them to understand a relationship with God than by watching their spiritual grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles walk the road?
Having your kids in church teaches them that their presence and their worship matters. When children are a part of worship, we show them that they are enough just the way they are.
Your investment in them, pushing to make it here on Sunday morning is nurturing their faith, showing them what it looks like to love God and how valuable they are, merely by being.
And you’re doing it. Great job! And thank you. I share with you my sincere gratitude on behalf of all churches everywhere, because what you’re doing is hard and because it matters to us all.
The post To the Outrageously Fabulous Parents with Your Kids in Church: I Salute You appeared first on Illustrated Children’s Ministry.
“Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.”
Jesus is the living bread from heaven and He gives eternal life to all who eat of Him. To have eternal life, we must eat His flesh and drink His blood.
Anyone who eats His flesh and drinks His blood remains in Christ and Christ remains in them.
The language in this passage can be hard for us to decode because it is so foreign to us.
Jesus is saying that He is the bread from heaven which gives eternal life. This is a reference to the manna which came to the children of Israel in the wilderness and fed them for forty years.
This manna was a shadow of the real thing- Jesus who gives us eternal life.
Jesus says we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to receive eternal life.
One application of this is that we must enter into an intimate relationship with Him so that we remain or abide in Him and He abides or remains in us.
This is a process of discipleship that leads to our lives being totally identified with the life of Christ. We must live in daily prayer, that is open sharing with Him with no hiding or pretending. We must meditate on the Word so that the Scriptures change us. Our focus must become God’s will not our own will.
Bread and wine also remind us of Holy Communion. We need to live in a worshipping community of faith. The sacrament is a physical sign of our desire to experience Christ more closely. As a body we can encourage and exhort each other to be more faithful in our walk together.
Lord Jesus, you are the true bread of heaven. Teach me how to feast on you and to let your life fill me in every way. Amen.
Don’t be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
We are to be careful how we live, asking what God wants from us rather than pleasing ourselves.
Instead of over-indulging in drink, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing songs of worship and praise to the Lord.
The people of the world think that getting drunk on the weekend is a great way to unwind from the stresses of life. Depending on alcohol or other drugs will ultimately wreck a life.
As christians we have a far better way of dealing with problems, and that is seeking the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t be filled with drink; be filled with the Holy Spirit instead.
Unlike alcohol and drugs, which merely desensitise us to life, the Holy Spirit is life in its fullest. We were made for fellowship with God, so fullness of Holy Spirit is fullness of life.
As we seek the deeper life with God, worship and praise will be the path we take. Whether we sing the Scriptures or hymns and worship songs, or even “spiritual songs”- that is allowing the Holy Spirit to create a new song in us- singing has many benefits in the Spirit-filled life.
Music bypasses our logical thinking and opens our soul to the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The words keep our minds focused on God’s glory.
Songs can keep ministering in us long after we stop singing, as the words and music amplify each other in our thoughts.
Songs can provide us with new words and phrases to express our love for Jesus
Holy Spirit, fill me and re-fill me. May me whole life become a symphony of worship to you. Amen.