Friday, August 5, 2011

KidVenture Live!: Not Your Average VBS

Last week, July 25-29, Jordan Presley and I had the privilege of leading out at Summit Heights Fellowship (in Hawkins) during KidVenture Live! week, what they do in lieu of your typical Vacation Bible School.

KVL is just that, anything but your typical VBS. From the time we walked in the door Monday afternoon, I had no doubt in my mind big things were ahead that week. Oh, how that was an understatement!

KVL taught me more than I can ever put into words. But, I'll do my best.

The theme for the week was CSI: Christ Seen Investigations. The concepts daily went into teaching the kids to dig in and investigate who Christ is and who He wants to be in their life. Every lesson was based on scripture to the core. The material wasn't sugar-coated. It was truth. And it was truth the kids could relate to.

Starting off the night, Jake and Ashley Conner would get the kids stoked up, introduce the theme and scripture for that session, and then dive into the Word. Jake brought it every night, without hesitation. The kids got it.....and it wasn't just handed to them. They were tuned in.

Immediately following the message, we'd break up into small groups based on grade and, in some cases, gender depending on the number of kids. Small group time was by far was my favorite part of the night. I had the privilege of leading one of the 4th & 5th grade girls' small groups. I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids. They honestly far exceeded my expectations.

This time began nightly with some sort of game or activity that tied directly into the lesson and allowed for the girls to work together, developing relationships they didn't have prior. We'd lead straight into the session following this activity. These sessions were designed to reiterate what Jake had spoken on prior and to expand, allowing for the girls to dig in and investigate for themselves who Christ really is. Seeing these girls open up, share their struggles, ask tough questions, and long to know more was such a humbling moment. They got it. And what got me more was their desire for others to get it. It's great to be challenged by such young, innocent souls.

Small group time led into snack time. Snack time meant meal time. Summit Heights didn't just provide these kids with a snack to hold them over until they got home. They fed them, relieving their guardians of yet another burden. My favorite part of snack time wasn't the food. Odd, I know. My favorite part was the "man who had an encounter with Jesus". Each night, the kids had the opportunity to interview someone who had encountered Christ, picking his brain as to how he'd been changed and challenging them to meet Christ, too. This was such a powerful time.

We would go from snack time to music, allowing the kid's the freedom to worship as they pleased. The songs, while fun and high energy, weren't your typical "VBS kid's songs." Worship took place. He was praised. The theme was reiterated. The kids heard that they were loved, that He ultimately is the one we are to worship, and then, they saw that praising Him can be fun. Simple, yet volume-speaking.

Lastly, we would come back together and Skittle, the rapper for the week, along with Jake and Ashley would review what we had learned that day, allowing the kids to answer questions and for more reiteration of the message. We'd end the night with Marshmallow gun fights and dance offs, one of the kid's favorite times.

KidVenture Live! wasn't just another week for me. I learned more than I can put into words. I was stretched in ways unimagined. From hearing girls share their struggles with each other to seeing them in tears over friends and family that don't know the Lord to watching their faces light up when complimented by their peers, I was blown away by the faith of the child...and am still being encouraged by them.

These girls will from this time forward be special to me. Relationships were formed and continue to blossom. Big things will come from this week. And not just in Hawkins, TX. He's at work. Jordan and I got to join Him during KVL. (Thank you, Ashley, for making this happen.) I get to join Him now. All or nothing. I'm diving in.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Slow Down.

I love journaling. Why? It’s simple. It somehow is relaxing, peaceful. Yet, I rarely take the time to actually do it.

I also love to be on the go, doing something. Anything. I’m a mover.

Being on the go and having to slow down, even if it’s just long enough to journal, is a task for me. They don’t coincide.

Or at least I don’t let them.

The past 40 days have been one of learning. On April 27th, I was involved in a pretty bad car wreck on my way to church. I was injured in this wreck. And, of course, that injury gave me no option but to slow down. This was more painful than the injury itself.

Time and time again, I had been told to slow down. I went too hard all the time. Now, I had been FORCED to slow down. When talking through this with a friend, he brought up the fact that I had been given a “gift”. I honestly laughed when he said that at first. But, the more I pondered this idea, I realized he was right.

How often are we given the chance to do nothing but sit at the Father’s feet, go outside and enjoy His creation, rest in Him, dig in His Word, journal praise and adoration, bask in His glory? This time was (and is) a gift.

Sitting here thinking back on just this brought these lyrics to mind:
“I wanna sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat. This love is so deep; it's more than I can stand. I melt in your peace; it's overwhelming.”

Normally, or before April 27th, I’d be too busy to do this. But during these moments, resting in Him, the one that knows everything about me and still loves me, has been beyond comprehension. It actually eased the pain of not being on the go.

This time is a gift. A beautifully peaceful one. I choose to accept it. I choose to sit at His feet.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Take your medicine. All of it.

Focal Passage: 2 Kings 5:1-14

Think about this: You go to the doctor when you are sick and he determines what is wrong with you. What happens next? He tells you what needs to be done to fix it. But, does him TELLING you how to fix the problem make it better? No. Does him JUST HANDING you the medicine to take home fix it? No. What must be done? You actually have to take the medicine. You have to internalize it, or it doesn’t work.

Many of us have heard this story from 2 Kings before. Here we have a commander of the army of the king of Syria who is a leper. The king was given a letter with a request to heal Naaman of his leprosy. The King in anguish tore his clothes saying, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?” Elisha, a prophet of God, hears this and sends a messenger to Naaman telling him to go wash in the Jordan seven times and he will be clean. But, this only made Naaman angry. Not only did Elisha himself not come to him, but he sent him to the Jordan to wash, instead one of the “better waters of Israel.” He turned and went away. But, his servants didn’t give up on him. They talked him into taking Elisha’s advice and dipping himself in the waters. Naaman went to the Jordan and dipped seven times and he was made clean.

What do you think would have happened if Naaman only dipped five or six times? What do you think would be the outcome if Naaman decided that he wasn’t going to listen to Elisha’s advice because it was coming from a messenger instead of Elisha himself? What do you think would have come about if Naaman decided he was above dunking in the Jordan? He would have missed the beauty of being clean. He would have missed what God had for him.

It’s the same way with us. Just like Naaman, we have to “take our medicine.” And all of it. If we are sick and only take our medicine until we fill better instead of the entire prescription, we often get sick again. Why is this? Because we aren’t truly healed yet. If we would have just listened to the doctor and taken our medicine as prescribed, we wouldn’t be in this situation. We would be clean. With Christ, we’ve got to do the same thing. We have to make it personal. It’s not enough to KNOW and admit there is a cure. We have to accept it, giving ourselves up to it. We have to GIVE HIM control of our life. ALL we have must belong to Christ. We often think, or I know I do at least, that I know what’s best for myself. This is not the case. Just as the doctor knew what would best heal you, Christ does as well. He has your best interest in mind when He commands us to give it ALL to Him. He knows that when we give it all up, it’s then that we will we truly receive the greater blessing, Himself.

In order to do this, to give all to Christ, we must first come to the truth of who we are. We must realize that just talking about meeting needs and our desires does nothing. We can’t just hold our medicine, even if it’s the cure we are holding. We must take it. In order for it to be effective, we must first know who we are personally. We must embrace that person, those talents and gifts we’ve been given. We must search our lives and see where our pursuit is. We must be willing to look deep and see what we are willing to trade in. We then must be willing to do just that. Just as in the video we watched, action is a must. What good is a cure if it’s not administered? A light bulb without power? Food not given to the hungry? They are worthless unless they are put into their proper places. There must be action. I know this is not easy. It’s not easy for me. Yet, this is my heart. My prayer is that you, along with me, will be willing to take all of your medicine. Regardless of what we must endure to do that. Regardless of what that might cause us to trade in. My prayer is that neither of us misses the beauty of being clean. My prayer is that we all take action.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A friend of mine and I were recently talking about the upcoming holidays and got on the subject of gifts at Christmas. We both were discussing how we honestly have nothing we need. I was telling her of one of the best gifts I ever received. Last year some good friends made a donation in my honor to Samaritan's Purse. They had no idea the impact this gift would have had on my life and the realities I would face because of it. We began to see how our preferances would be to use the money spent on us for those who could use it, who need it many times to survive. This may not look normal to most. But, after all, aren't we called to live revolutionary lives?

The following day I re-discovered a site a good friend showed me while I was at ETBU. So, if you can't think of anything you really want or need at Christmas, why not donate that money to someone whose life could be forever changed? Need suggestions of where to donate? I have a few. But, check this site out as well. I love the difference they are making.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Make Him Famous...Regardless

This past summer I had the privilege of interning with iGoGlobal Ministries. I must say I had no idea what impact they would make on my life. I was taught and challenged by the staff in ways I never dreamed. Yet, this is what I desired. Looking back now on everything that took place, I am once again in awe of my God.

I recently have been looking back over notes from some of our base camps and am still trying to wrap my head around the idea of "Make Him Famous" and the fact that I had a part in doing just that. What a humbling thought. This reminds me of this scripture:

" If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine." -- Psalm 50: 12

God doesn't NEED me. Yet, He ALLOWS me to have the privilege of serving Him, to be an instrument for His glory. If, then, we have this privilege, why so often do we not take advantage of it? Fear? Pride? Selfishness? I think so. For me at least. If what defines me is not my abilities but my choices, why then do I fear what lies ahead? It's not even my life to begin with. It's not about me or my salvation. It's not even about others' salvation. It's about MAKING HIM FAMOUS. I am ready to accept the challenges and opportunities that God has for me. I am ready to once again be stretched and be put into situations where I must rely on God, and God alone.

One of my favorite books here lately has been Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This book has hit me to the core. In his book, Chan states:

" The place of trust isn't a comfortable place to be; in fact, it flies in the face of everything we've been taught about proper planning. We like finding refuge in what we already have rather than in what we hope God will provide. But when Christ says to count the cost of following Him, it means we must surrender everything. It means being willing to go without an extra tunic or a place to sleep at night, and sometimes without knowing where we are going....Yet, God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through."

I think Chan hits the nail head on. We aren't called to be comfortable. We are called to make Him famous and bring glory to Him regardless of the safety or comfortableness. This is what I desire.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Everything

As many of you know, I have the privilege this summer of serving with iGo Global, a missions agency out of Rockwall. As I sit her dwelling over all that has taken place the past month or so, I can't help but realize what a privilege it is for me to be in this position. Realizing the heart of iGo and the role it plays in making His name famous has me in such a servant's position. I would want it no other way. I have seen over the past few weeks what being missional instead of mission-minded truly looks like. I am reminded time and time again that I am joining God in what He is already doing. I am living for something bigger than myself. And if I am honest, living for myself shouldn't ever take place, since I am dead. My life is hidden with Christ. He is my life. Why then do I live as if it is MY life? My prayer is that I will realize daily that this is His life and be obedient. It is then that I will realize that while, yes, I am dead but I am also fully ALIVE!! I desire to continue to be stretched. I desire to continue to be challenged. I desire to become the child He wants me to be. This summer will allow just that. I pray I embrace that.

My prayer tonight is this: ("Everything" by Tim Hughes)

God in my living. There in my breathing.
God in my waking. God in my sleeping.
God in my resting. There in my working.
God in my thinking. God in my speaking.

Be my everything. Be my everything.
Be my everything. Be my everything.

God in my hoping. There in my dreaming.
God in my watching. God in my waiting.
God in my laughing. There in my weeping.
God in my hurting. God in my healing.

Christ in me. Christ in me.
Christ in me, the hope of glory.
You are everything.
Christ in me. Christ in me.
Christ in me, the hope of glory.
Be my everything.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Just One

One of the few shows on television that I follow is The Biggest Loser. This past week the challenge between the two teams was making and loading food crates to be shipped to local food pantries. This challenge was allowing them to not only receive a year's supply of free groceries and letters from home but was allowing them to give back to those helping them out. After the contest, they were interviewing players from both teams to see how they felt afterwards. A player on the losing team stated, "We can't help everyone everywhere, but we can help someone somewhere." This statement sent a challenge through me. While so many times, especially in missions, we feel we need to go overseas to make a difference. We feel we must donate large sums of money to make a difference. We feel since we can't help everyone, there is no use even trying. I state we can. Here lately my eyes have been opened to those around me. Why am I so eager to go overseas and help those when I don't even help those around me? This should not be. I pray that God changes my view. I pray that I will see those needs around me and realize I can make a difference...even if it's just to one. I pray that while I am here I will be light to those around me. I pray for a continous new view.