Archive for the ‘Children’s Ministry’ Tag

Encouraging Words You Could (and Should) Share With Others!

You may come from the school of thought that it is better to feed the hungry than to say “Be well fed!” and then leave the scene without feeding them.

Though I don’t completely disagree with this principle from scripture, I don’t believe it is really an either/or situation. I believe you should not only feed them but relate with them in the feeding by speaking words of encouragement, too! Maybe something really encouraging like “Be well fed!” Ha-Ha!

Do you see my point?! God the Father, Son and Spirit do not just do for each other and never speak to each other!

“Proof” of this is that Jesus is the WORD of God made flesh! Within the Triune Godhead there is a Word and communication going on! Is that communication different than the Being and Doing of the Trinity, or is it Congruent with it?

The main point I want to make in this post is that it is not enough simply to do good to others, we must speak good things too! Most wives do not simply want a home, money and a few flowers. They also want to HEAR that you love them! Your kids do not just want to be fed, sheltered and clothed. They want to hear you say that you love them, and even that you like them, while looking them in the eye!!!

I have lived long enough and had enough experiences to know that if you take this seriously and begin to try it with your family, friends and neighbors, you should be ready for a few tears along with the awkwardness, even if you are a man!

We are so meant to HEAR the love, and it is neglected in so many of our relationships, people literally cannot help but cry for the joy of a deep desire finally being met when hearing the love! It will also choke your throat and threaten to nail your eyes to the floor in shame and embarrassment, so hang in there, choke the words out and force your eyes to look into theirs when you say it! I promise, it will get easier and you’ll all start to appreciate it! We’re made for it!

Ever wonder what you could, or should, say to others? Here are some things I have said to others along with participating with Jesus in His doing for them:

“God the Father loves you so much, and has embraced you so tightly and in such a unique way in Jesus Christ, that he will NEVER let you go!”

“You are good with the Goodness of the Father, Son and Spirit, and I sure appreciate it!”

“Did you know you are the son (or daughter) God the Father always wanted? He has always wanted a son/daughter just like you!” (Thanks for that one Dr. Kruger!)

Every morning my youngest daughter and I are in a contest to be the first one to blurt out “God the Father, Son and Spirit Love and Like You Very, Very MUCH!” This is one of the positive family contests I recommend! Ha-Ha!

This evening after family prayer I grabbed the faces of each of my family members and told them distinctly, “God the Father, Son and Spirit does not know how not to love you, and neither do I in His grace!”

What creative things could you (should you) SAY to others in the magnificent truth of all of humanity’s inclusion into the life of the Trinity in Jesus, as you also participate in His doing?

Remember my post “Fake it till you make it”? You don’t have to feel it or even mean it at first, in order for you to practice being who you really are in Jesus, or to baptize others in the assurance they were meant to hear! Just saying it will facilitate your “doing it” and “being it” in the grace of Jesus! After all, speaking is doing something too!

Because you belong to God the Trinity, you are not going to be able to get away forever without also SAYING Gospel to others!!!

~ by Timothy Brassell

P.S. I almost forgot! Not only will the tears start flowing, but the pearly whites will start beaming so brightly and WIDELY that the entire bunch of you who are speaking and hearing such things will be able to start eating bananas sideways! Ha-Ha!

Camp Ministry – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I just got back from a week of Christian summer camp. Here are some thoughts in the light of who Jesus is as the union of humanity and the Trinity:

The Good: Camp Higher Ground, where I took eight kids from my church and served on staff, is definitely a camp that is focused on telling kids the good news of who they are in Jesus: children of the Father baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Camp is also a lot of fun – especially for those who love camp ministry. I often find when I talk to people who love camp ministry – the ones who come back to serve year after year – that they talk about the impact it has on kids’ lives. But when I watch them doing camp ministry I can see that they are having a blast. Camp ministry folks enjoy chapel, swimming, and crafts as much (or more!) than the campers do.

Sometimes I wish we could be more honest with ourselves about the fun of ministry. Yes, we serve others in the gospel because it helps them but we also do it because that it is what we want to do. Our Daddy in heaven is okay with that. He has given us the freedom in Jesus to choose the ministries we like and to do them because we enjoy them. Take this blog for instance. I hope what I write here helps others, but even if it doesn’t I would still do it because I enjoy it! I think camp ministry people would have camp even if no kids showed up – and that’s good.

The Bad: Camp is only a few days in the lives of the kids who participate.

As much as we focus on telling them the truth of who they are in Jesus, and as much fun as it is, it still takes incarnational ministry to really change lives and help people grow up in Jesus. By incarnational ministry I mean living in relationship with people day in and day out, week in and week out, for years – the way the Son of God lives forever with humanity through his incarnation as the human being Jesus Christ.

This is why the Church is infinitely more valuable and important than camp ministry – or any other event ministry. Camp ministry is the icing on the cake, but if there’s no cake then all you have is icing – which isn’t very substantive. If I really care about helping kids grow up to trust Jesus then I have to live in relationship with them, in the name and power of the Trinity, day in and day out for years.

The Church is also far more efficient than camp ministry. My congregation of 50 people spent $3,000 in tuition and transportation costs to get me and eight kids to camp. I personally drove 1100 miles and spent a week away from family, church, and my community. In contrast, the Monday night kids’ group that we do with these same eight kids costs us about $700 a year. I drive 1 mile from my house to the church building every Monday night.

And which of these two has the greater impact on the kids’ lives? It’s the time they spend together every Monday night, praying, reading the Bible, and playing with each other and the adults who are committed to them for the long term.

Sometimes I wish that more of the creativity, money, time, and energy of Christians was spent trying to strengthen Churches and not so much on trying to create intense spiritual experiences at once-a-year events like camp.

The Ugly: Anyway you slice it, camp ministry is never a neat, simple experience (but then again, no ministry is ever neat and simple.)

Maybe “ugly” is too strong a word, but I don’t think “messy” is too strong a word. People are complicated and life is not lived in black and white, it’s lived in color, with all the shades and colors of human experience overlapping, clashing, and (sometimes) harmonizing.

That’s another thing I like about Higher Ground. Most of the people who minister there aren’t trying to force people into boxes and categories and they’re not trying to wrap the week up in a package at the end with a nice little bow on top. Camp ministry helps us see that Jesus has included humanity in the life he shares with the Father and the Spirit and that is never going to change. As messy and difficult as life can get we know that we have all eternity – not just a week, a year, or a lifespan – to keep being baptized in the assurance of who we are in Jesus and to keep healing from the broken results of our fallenness.

~ Jonathan Stepp

First Things

My 5 year-old said “Maybe I’ll draw a picture of the Trinity” and I was reminded again how important it is that we get First Things first when teaching others about the gospel.

Just a few years ago I would have considered the Trinity to be a difficult and remote doctrine, the subject of study for “mature” Christians and theology students – not something to teach children about.

How wrong I was!

How can my kids ever understand their existence, the purpose for their lives, or the nature of reality itself unless they have a healthy image in their hearts and minds of the God who made them?

God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The essence of God’s nature is loving, inclusive relationship. If this isn’t the First Thing you know about God then you don’t know God as he really is! If this isn’t the First Thing we teach others about the gospel then we haven’t really taught them the gospel fully enough!

Only when we know God as the Father who has adopted us in the incarnation of his Son Jesus Christ and poured out the Holy Spirit on our humanity (Eph. 1:5, Acts 2:17) can we begin to know who we are and whose we are.

But aren’t kids too immature to understand the Trinity?

I guess it depends on what you mean by “understand”. If you mean “explain why and how God is Triune” then I would say that no one understands the Trinity! How can I, a mere mortal, explain the how and why of my creator? The best that any of us can do is to know and believe the testimony of Jesus. He tells us that he is God, that his Father is God, and that their Holy Spirit is God, and that together the three of them are the one God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

As it turns out, kids can actually understand that quite well.

My son Lewis is only 5 years old but when he thinks of God he thinks of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. And when he sits down to create a picture of something he knows the Trinity is on his list of things that he can draw.

Looking at the picture he drew I thanked Jesus for helping me begin to learn to get First Things first.

~ by Jonathan Stepp

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