Category Archives: Children’s Ministry

Speaking this weekend at Friendship Baptist Church

“Reviving our Fire for Kids and Families Weekend”

Join me this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Friendship Baptist Church in Chesterfield, VA for a weekend of Family-focused, Christ-centered equipping, encouragement, and exhortation.  Topics to include parenting, marriage, missions, and children’s ministry.  More information available at www.friendshipva.org 

BEING DOCTORS WHO MAKE HOUSE CALLS

What if Jesus had stayed in the temple courts or the synagogue teaching? What if He never ventured out into the community, never called old Zach down from the tree, never ate with tax collectors and sinners, never touched the sick and hurting? Why don’t doctors make house calls these days? I’m not sure, but wouldn’t it be interesting if suddenly people stopped going to a doctors office or hospital when they were ill?

What if they thought that was the last place to go to be healed? How long would it take for the docs to begin making house calls again? Not long I suspect. Is the church today, the body of Christ the great Physician, staying in the hospital building waiting for the sick to show up? Or, worse yet, staying in the hospital talking about the remedy but secretly hoping that the sick stay away?

I think Jesus was less like a physician as we know it today and more like a field medic or a country doctor of days past. He went out looking for the lost sheep. Let’s help give our children a heart for the lost and pray that the Lord would use them to make Christ known in the world!

(Excerpt from Extreme Makeover: Spiritual Edition, a children’s curriculum by Michael J. Meyers)

Equip Their Ship

sailing shipHave you ever asked yourself the question, “what exactly is my objective in training my children up in the faith?” I know I’ve thought to myself, “Leading them to Christ is my first and greatest objective but then what? Where should my focus be?”   Recently a good friend and mentor of mine pointed something out in Ephesians that I’d like to share with you.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 (emphasis added)

I’ve read this passage in Ephesians many times and the word “equip” has always given me the sense that we were to be preparing the body, through spiritual training, to carry on the work of the kingdom. This I believe is true. But the mental picture that is communicated by the original Greek word is somewhat lost in our English. The word is “Katartizo” and it means to fit out, make sound, or complete. To fit out. Outfit. It is used in the sense of outfitting as one would think of outfitting a ship that has a journey to complete. First the ship must be seaworthy. The sails must be in good repair, the hull must be sound, all of the navigational tools must be present and working properly, charts maps, etc. Additionally the ship will need to be supplied with all of its provisions for the journey. Food, water, etc.

So as parents and the church, our role is that of a loving spiritual outfitter. What a wonderful picture. More important, yes MORE important, eternally more important than our roles as academic outfitter, athletic outfitter, financial outfitter, is our God given mission as our child’s spiritual outfitter.

I will close with a quote from Patrick Henry’s will, “I have disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give to them, and that is the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one cent, they would be rich. If they have not that, and I had given them the world, they would be poor.” I could not have said it any better. Equip their ship.

May you be blessed in your role as outfitter!

Last Man Standing – the eBook is now discounted at Amazon.com!

Available now on Amazon.com – http://amzn.com/B00K2NSZIE

Order via Amazon Smile and select Open Arms Worldwide as the beneficiary organization.

cover last man std

 

 

 

TRAIL GUIDE: The Purpose of Strengths

QUEST Trail Guide Devo

The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Loving God with all our strength: part 3: The Purpose of Strengths

Remembering back to our first lesson on strength we said that, “First, He is the fountainhead of our strength. Second, He stands ready to renew our strength if we will seek Him, trust Him, and wait on Him. Third, God gives us strength not for our own selfish interests or nonsense but to glorify Him and do the good works of the Kingdom that He has prepared in advance for us to walk in.”

Let’s talk this week about that last point. The Bible teaches that as followers of Christ we have been given the right to be called “children” of God. It goes on to teach us to imitate God, “as dearly loved children.” In what ways can we imitate God? The Living God is in His essence a savior and defender. Psalm 68 says He is a “Father to the fatherless and defender of widows.”

Psalm 34 tells us that He is “close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 82 extends these duties to us. “Stand up for those who are weak and for those whose fathers have died. See to it that those who are poor and those who are beaten down are treated fairly. Save the weak and those who are in need.”

Do not make the mistake of thinking that this only applies to physical oppression either. Jesus says of himself (and by extension his followers), “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

The Spirit of the Lord is upon all of His children now and in His strength we are to be imitators of our Heavenly Father. The fact that Jesus immediately moved from loving God to loving our neighbor isn’t coincidence. This makeover isn’t to be kept to ourselves. God saved us, but left us in the world for a reason. We are being made over for a purpose! Let’s get to it!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.” -Psalm 28:7a

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Heb 13:16 | Phil 2:4 | Lk 6:38 | 1 Jn 3:17
Gal 6:2 | Rom 15:1 | Eph. 2:10

Actions & Words

Whether it be the crisis of fatherlessness or failing marriages or violence or drug abuse or any of the other social ills on the front page today, Jesus’ church is the only institution with the complete answer.  Jesus is the “last man standing.”  As His people, the children of the King of kings, we are called to imitate His character in a world gone wrong, to share His good news and grace with a world in need. That is the ultimate message of this blog.  One of the ways in which my family and I have chosen to put our actions where our words are is through the ministry of an organization we founded in 2006 called, “Open Arms Worldwide.”

OAW partners with Christian churches to implement and maintain gospel-based programs to reach at-risk children in the church’s local community.  Their vision for the future is a world where all children grow up understanding that they are beautiful and precious in God’s eyes and are enabled to discover the Hope and future that He has for them.

We have been blessed to be a part of this organization as full-time missionaries as well as Board members over the years.  If you haven’t heard of OAW then I invite you this Christmas season to check out their 2014 Year in Review which just came out.  It is an encouraging read and I pray it will be a motivating one as well.  Enjoy!  http://www.openarmsworldwide.org/2014-year-review/

Merry Christmas and a blessed 2015 to you and yours,

Mike

TRAIL GUIDE: Strength Training

QUEST-Trail-Guide-DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 4, Lesson 1: Strength Training

What is strength? How is the word used in scripture? It can mean our physical strength or energy, strength of character, strength of the will, perseverance, capacity or ability to perform work, or emotional strength. These are all different aspects of strength, but they all have two things in common: their source and their purpose.

“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides” (1 Peter 4:11)

So what is it that God teaches us about strength? First, He is the fountainhead of our strength. Second, He stands ready to renew our strength if we will seek Him, trust Him, and wait on Him. Third, God gives us strength not for our own selfish interests or nonsense but to glorify Him and do the good works of the Kingdom that He has prepared in advance for us to walk in. In the coming weeks, let us help the children to understand that God, and only God, deserves all of our strength.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My
heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.””   
-Psalm 28:7a

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Deut 8:17 |1 Chron. 29:12
Phil 4:13 | Is. 41:10
2 Thess 3:3 | Is.40:27-31

TRAIL GUIDE: Remember When?

QUEST-Trail-Guide-Devo“Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 3, Lesson 3: Remember When?

Why is it that God spends so much time in the Bible telling His children to “remember” Him? I’d like to venture four reasons I believe are grounded in scripture. When we fail to remember God we risk…
1. …Falling into idolatry/trusting ourselves or our possessions (Deut. 8:13-14)
2. …Never growing in trust of/faith in God (Isa. 40:20-21)
3. …Stumbling into sin and suffering the Father’s discipline (Deut. 8:19)
4. …Forfeiting a generation to the enemy (Judges 2:10-11)

So how can we use our minds to remember God? Here are five ways, listed below, that God has ordained for us to remember Him, who He is, and all that He has done. Help your kids use their memory to love God this week.

1. In His Word – God’s Word is our primary means of remembering who He is and all that He has done throughout history. As adults our most important duty in the kingdom is to take the words of God and, “Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
2. In song – Remembering God in song is a theme we see in scripture over and over again. How wonderful it is that our Creator gave us music, knowing the power it has to help us remember as well as to connect our heads to our hearts and emotions.
3. In prayer – Prayer should not only be about asking for help but about remembering to God all that He has done. When we thank God in our prayers we are “remembering” that God alone is responsible for providing our every need. (Nehemiah 9)
4. In true Christian fellowship – Fellowship is much more than potluck dinners or bowling night. It is about gathering together to remember God to one another. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
5. In traditions and memorials – Traditions and memorials are things that we, in the bible church movement have largely banished from the life of the church. While a healthy dose of caution about tradition becoming idolatry is warranted, the Bible is also clear that God has given us tradition and memorial to help us “remember” who He is and all that He has done. (Joshua 4:4-7, Luke 22:19)
I hope that these will serve you well in helping the children in your group apply their minds to remembering God for who He is and what He’s done.

“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely  changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.”    -Romans 12:2

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Josh 4:21-24 | Prov 22:6
Psalm 103:1-5 | Jn 14:26
Deut 11:19 | Prov 3:1-6
Deut 8:1-5 | Deut 24:9

TRAIL GUIDE: Teach Well

QUEST Trail Guide Devo

The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 3, Lesson 2: Teach the Children Well

When we think of Daniel we think bravery, good looks, government leader, survivor of the lion’s den, prisoner of war, advisor to kings, child… What? Where did childcome in? Let’s think about it for a moment. We know from Scripture that Daniel was a youth, probably about 14 years old (think 8th grader), when he was taken from his home in Israel and into captivity in Babylon. Upon his arrival he was offered the best food and wine in the palace, but thought of a plan to keep himself kosher.

Already as a young teenager, Daniel was knowledgeable about his God and his faith. I’m fairly sure that the King of Babylon didn’t have any Hebrew schools at the palace. So Daniel had to have had a very solid understanding of his faith, the food laws, the teachings regarding the worship of Yahweh alone, and most importantly a deep respect for the Lord BEFORE arriving in Babylon. When he came to Babylon he then was taught about, “all kinds of literature and learning,” but what he knew about his faith was already so ingrained that he held steadfast to the God of his fathers.

There are two important lessons for us here. 1.) The mind of a child is more than capable of taking in and assimilating deep truths about God, and 2.) What we believe about God and the world around us, our “worldview” and morality, are pretty well set in stone by the age of 14 and will not easily be changed. In short, we are working with young people in the most crucial time of life for the mind. Let’s help the children this week understand the aspects and power of the mind in our lives. How can each be renewed by the power of Christ?

“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely  changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.”    -Romans 12:2

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Dan 5:12 & 14 | Col 3:2 ! 1 Sam.3 | Ecc.7:25 ! 2 Corinthians 10:5

TRAIL GUIDE: God’s Gift of Wisdom

QUEST Trail Guide DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 2, Lesson 1: God’s Gift of Wisdom

About two years ago, I started using a Mac laptop instead of my old PC. One thing that prompted that switch was the problems I was having with viruses on my PC. As it turns out, the Mac operating system is much less prone to virus problems. It does a better job on its own, without the expense of extra virus protection services, of keeping out unwanted and damaging material that could slow down or freeze up my machine.

Last week we talked about the good passions and desires that God has put in our hearts – let’s call them the pre-loaded software. We also talked about guarding our hearts from storing up ungodly things – let’s call them malware or viruses. The human heart was made for loving and glorifying God. Sin has corrupted that heart, but by faith in Jesus we can have our hard-drive (heart) wiped clean of sin and reinstalled with God’s programs, so that it is free to function as it was intended. The problem is that we still live in a sinful world where there are new viruses around every corner. That’s where God’s heart operating system comes into play: WISDOM. Wisdom comes from God and is the atmosphere in which all of your pre-loaded heart software works best. It is also highly resistant to viruses and will prevent unwanted items from piling up in your heart and slowing down or freezing up your system. If our kids want to love God with ALL their heart, then they need the right operating system… wisdom. “Whatever else you get, get wisdom.” (Prov. 4:7)

 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for
everything you do flows from it.”   
-Proverbs 4:23

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Prov 2:1-11 | Jer 33:3!
James 1:5 | Psalm 19:7
Prov 10:8 | Prov 16:23
Prov 2:10