I hate flossing. It’s annoying. Every time I would go to the dentist my hygienist would always tell me that I should be flossing. I never did. Then I went to my most recent dental appointment. I had a brand new hygienist this time. As she was flossing my teeth, she said the usual company line, “you really should be flossing.” Only this time she added more to it. Words I hadn’t heard a dental hygienist utter before. “There is some gum recession around one of your molars. Do you know what that means?” Sure, I thought. Recession is never a good thing. She then told me that if I start flossing, I may be able to build up more healthy gums around the tooth. So, naturally, I started flossing. I haven’t missed a day since that appointment. Why? Because I am terrified that I will lose my tooth.
Proverbs 3:7-8 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
We often state that fear of God is a reverent fear and respect for God. While I agree, I also believe we need to teach our kids to have a terrified fear of sin. Would it make you live differently if you were terrified of your sin? Terrified that God was there with you all the time – watching what you watch, reading what you read, listening to what you listen to? Put Psalm 101:3 over your TV set. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” That will change what you watch!
I find it interesting, particularly for me, that the promise attached to fearing God is health! Who doesn’t want to live a healthy life? We need to teach our kids to fear what sin can do to them, and when needed, to develop healthy habits to erase any negative impact of their sin.
Trust – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Every time I hear the word trust, my mind goes to a chair. No one, before sitting down, makes sure their chair is stable or hasn’t been tampered with. We just place our “blind” trust in the chair.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We need to train our kids to trust the Lord completely. When I lean on something, I am resting for support on it. This passage is pleading us to rest on God in all our ways. When we lean on ourselves, what we are really saying is that we don’t need God. This is a dangerous place to be. Our kids need to acknowledge God in all their ways. God speaks in a still small voice and too often, we are so busy, we fail to acknowledge Him. I’m afraid our kids are so busy with school work, sports programs, video games, that they are pulled from spending time with God. Our kids will never understand God’s still, small voice if their lives are full of loud activities.
I love that the promise attached to this exercise is God’s guidance. Verse 6 says, He shall direct thy paths. Do you want your kids to know God’s direction for their life? Train them to trust Him.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” When I read this I thought, what is that way? What do we need to train in our children that will show them the way they should go? I was drawn to Proverbs 3:5-12. In those verses, we are given 4 exercises we need to train up in our children: trust in God, fear of God, honor of God, and growth through God.
Have you ever had a season of ministry where that statement was true in your life? Certainly you don’t believe it to be true in your heart, but your actions sure are stating your belief. There are seasons in ministry when our service can take the place of the relationship. We need to recognize that our service to God cannot and should not take the place of our relationship with God. It is very easy to do this in children’s ministry, especially in the summer. May-July is always my busiest time of the year. During these months I don’t want to take on anything extra outside of Children’s ministry, but God has a funny way of making that impossible. Getting alone time with God is absolutely vital to my spiritual condition, and during these times it takes even more work to keep the time to grow our relationship.
It is very easy to believe that our busyness in serving is our godliness. The Bible says it best, “Martha was cumbered about much serving” (Luke 10:40). Sound familiar? Have you ever been in that situation? Have you ever been overburdened in your service to God? There is so much serving to be done, but look at what Christ says to Martha. “Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part.” Notice what He said, needful. It is needful for us to be with Him, at His feet.
The next time you feel like you have no time, make time for Him. You need Him.
Our first VBS workers meeting was this past Sunday night, and our church continues to amaze me as we had over 200 workers sign up to serve God in this amazing ministry. VBS has always been Christmas in July for me. So, imagine my excitement last summer when I first saw the sneak peak of the Arrow Island logo & theme from Regular Baptist Press. I couldn’t have been happier. Why? My first thought went immediately to decor. How easy this will be! My mind was racing with ideas for the platform decorations, the skit/movie possibilities, the lobby layout. Boy, will this be fun!
Then it hit me. Why are we running VBS? Surely it isn’t so we can decorate the platform and the classrooms as cool looking as possible, right? How foolish I felt. I read the tagline of Arrow Island, which really is the heart of this year’s VBS – “Choosing God’s Way.” The kids are going to learn how to make choices–the RIGHT choices in their thinking, watching, and friends. We get to help these children learn not just about the right choice, but about how to make those right choice in spite of a world bombarding them to make so many wrong ones. That is why I love Arrow Island. I love that our volunteers get to help mold kid’s hearts to Choose God’s Way in all aspects of their lives.
So, I have been a dad for a whole year now and I have learned so much about myself and my ministry. Here are a few observations I have made.
1. What kind of Children’s ministry am I overseeing for my son? Would I want my son a part of my children’s ministry?
2. Am I making serving God something to love, not loathe?
3. Would my son be proud of me?
How are you doing in the ministry God gave you?
Why do I feel so down? Why does my ministry seem flat? Why am I not satisfied to be serving? Why are the visitors not returning? Why do we have the issues we have with the children? What if the answer to the questions is – me? Ecclesiastes 9:18 & 10:1 hit me like a brick.
“Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good. Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.”
Am I the sinner that is destroying the good in my ministry? Am I the dead fly that makes it seem all vain service? We need to remember to look inward before we speak outwardly to others. As someone who preaches occasionally, this is a stinging rebuke if we are not clean ourselves before we get up to share God’s Word. May we never be the problem! May we ask God to reveal to us daily any sin that we have in our life!