Showing posts with label sunday school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sunday school. Show all posts

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother’s Day tribute

This morning in church, for Mother’s Day, my daughter, Lynn was part of a group of kids and singles who sang a song in a touching tribute to the mothers in the congregation.  I took a video of it using the digital camera I had with me.

Sorry for the low quality of the video below, but anyway, may the song they sung and the prayer for moms that followed warm the hearts of mothers everywhere.  May God bless you on this special day.

To close this piece I also have a quote that I got from a FB friend’s note.  I think it would be much appreciated.

from the book, A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson:

I have founded charitable organizations, run them, and raised hundreds thousands of dollars to support them. I have lectured around the world to many thousands of people, and I have written a number-one bestselling book. Raising a child is harder.

It takes more energy, more focus, more sensitivity, and if done well, at least as much intelligence. And if we raised happy children, we wouldn’t need so many charities, lectures, and books on how to have a happier, more balanced life. The idea that a woman is somehow doing more with her life if she has a job out in the world is insane. There is no such thing as a non-working mother. Having waited so long to have children, the baby boom generation can be blind to the incredible burden—however joyous it is—of bringing up children. This will change now as more and more people begin to realize there is no job in the world that, when done well, requires more work and intelligence than raising our sons and daughters.

Women will continue to be oppressed, socially and politically, until we recognize the roles traditionally associated with women as being among the most important in our society. Someone’s got to take care of the house and raise the kids. The I Ching says that if the family unit is healthy, then society is healthy; and when the family falls apart, society falls apart. How dare we make a woman feel that her life is less important if it is lived in service to family, children, and home? And how dare we make a man feel that his life is more important if it is not? We are all here to serve each other, and the choice to do that is no less valid when the people we serve are the ones in our own family.

Jacqueline Kennedy had said that her greatest service to the nation while she lived in the White House would be to take care of John Kennedy. There was a time when I would have found that an unliberated answer. Today, I find it sublime, sane, and feminist.

It is feminist because it honors the role of the feminine—nurturing, care giving, compassionate, loving—whether it is performed by a man or a woman. How do we quantify, for others to see, the energy it takes—emotionally, intuitively, spiritually, intellectually, physically— to love well? And no one is more important to love than the members of our own families.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going through the motions

This month, my young couples group is scheduled to lead the Children’s Ministry’s Sunday School.  In CCF, the church that I go to, every small group is assigned a month to minister to the kids, and, this year, April is our month.

Usually, I would jump at this opportunity, because Children’s Ministry is quite close to my heart, and in the heart of my group mates (many of us are teachers by profession).  Unfortunately, I have allowed my recent busyness to push my Christian walk to the realm of lukewarmness.

It showed when it came to this ministry.  I was pretty apathetic when the church’s office staff reminded me about our stint as teachers for the month of April.  I got all the materials on Tuesday, but I didn’t even look at them until the day before we took over.  March was a really manic month, and I was just plain exhausted and didn’t want to think about ministry, and my quiet time and prayer life also went down in the dumps.

It took God to use one of my Abba’s Orchard students to remind me that the more loaded I am, all the more I need to be intimate with the Lord. Thank you, you beautiful adolescent, you know who you are.

Another thing God did to jolt me back into the swing of things was through music.  For some strange, and surely God-given reason, almost every time I would tune in to 103.3 FM (the Christian station here in CDO), Matthew West’s hit song, The Motions, would play.  It’s a powerful song that challenges us to passionately give our best and our all for God, not just go through the motions of a “Christian life.”  That’s exactly what I was struggling with, going through the motions.  Ho-hum.

God also, for another very strange reason, kept reminding me of a recruiting clip of a children’s program that CCF did a few years back, called Trading Places.  How weird is that?  He just kept reminding me of the video clip over and over again, even if that program was done three years ago, far into distant memory.    Below is said Trading Places recruiting clip.  It’s quite nice, designed to get churchgoers to volunteer for the said Trading Places program.

The end of the chorus kept ringing in my ears, “Make a difference in me…use me so a child will know.”

Then I was like, “Okay, Lord, okay…I get you.  I’ve strayed a bit, and now lots of little ones will depend on me and my team for one whole month.  I need to shape up, NOW!”  Thank God, He is merciful, because all that’s needed to shape up and become a fruitful believer again is to abide.  And so I have.

Good thing too.  Remember, a team is only as good as its leader, and if I fail to be used by God and instead gave an impression that we can get by on our own skill, we’re sunk.  I think this is the reason why God was so in my face right before we started our stint…because he wanted me, and therefore us, to rely on Him for the great challenges ahead.

I handled ages 9-12 this morning, and I had a whopping 32+ students!  All stuffed in a little room.  Holy cow!  I thought I had it rough, but the 6-8 class also had over 30 students, and so did the youngest class, ages 3-5.  Yikes, over 30 students per class!!  This is the third year my group has been teaching the kids, but there were nowhere near these numbers.  I’m glad God is growing CCF, but whew!

We got through the first Sunday.  One down, three more to go.  But what will be most memorable out of this experience, for me, would be how He went after me right before this started.  I was good and ready to go through this lackadaisically, relying on my experience and skill as a teacher, instead of relying on His power.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zech. 4:6)

Lesson learned.  And as the Matthew West song goes:
I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Permit the children to come to Me

I’ll never forget what the head of the Children’s Ministry program of the church I go to told me and several volunteers in a training session many years ago.  (The church is Christ’s Commission Fellowship or CCF for short.)

She told of the very familiar scene, mentioned at least three times in the Bible, where Jesus was speaking to a crowd, and there were parents in the audience who wanted to bring their kids to meet Jesus so that He could bless them.  But the disciples, who I guess were concerned that doing so would waste their Master’s valuable time, stopped them in their tracks.  Here’s the story, as told in Mark 10: 13-16.

13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.

14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

The trainer’s challenge was this: if we don’t pay attention to our Children’s Ministry; if we don’t give our absolute best effort for these kids week in and week out; then aren’t we doing the exact same thing that the disciples were doing?  We’re hindering the children from being blessed by Christ!

Wow.  I never thought of it that way.  I’ll have to admit, I didn’t look forward to my stint as a Sunday school teacher, and I’m sure there were others who feel the same way.  But man, if my rotten attitude made me a hindrance that kept these young souls from being blessed by Christ, then shame on me.

What made this even bigger was that when the disciples got in the way of the children, Jesus was indignant.  Do you know what that means?  Encarta’s definition is: “angry at the apparent unfairness of something.”  So if your church doesn’t pay much attention to its children’s ministry, or worse, doesn’t have a children’s ministry at all…we are making Him indignant.  I love Christ too much to knowingly disappoint him so greatly.

If bringing children to our Lord was so important for Him then; then we, as His hands and feet, should consider it equally as important now.

Well, I now, even if I have to miss our powerful Sunday messages for a month, look forward to my turn with the kids.  CCF’s bench of volunteers has grown so huge that my group and I only have to do this once a year (Yay!  Oh, I mean, awwww!), but we still get involved during special times of the year…and this is one of those times.

I was placed to be in charge of the 6-8 y.o. class’ Christmas presentation.  This is the youngest class I’ve ever held, and boy did I get a culture shock.  I usually handle the 10-12 class, and they’re very behaved and mature.  But these guys…wow, I was putting more effort in quieting them down than instructing.  But I’m very excited for our presentation.  I’ve been staying up late getting it ready…and I think, Lord be praised, it’s going to be grrrreat!

I can’t give details on what I’m cooking up (people will kill me if I give spoilers), but I’m so excited that I can’t help but give you one song I’m using for one half of the presentation.  It’s Strange Way to Save the World, a beautiful song by Jump5.  I heard it first from my eldest daughter because she has their CD, but I’m sure you hear it on the Christian radio at this time of the year (103.3FM).  Below is a vid from youtube featuring the song with its beautiful lyrics.

For the rest of the presentation, I am hoping to use my goofy sense of humor and the cuteness of these kids to make something really special.  I can’t give more details than that…you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

Actually, this month is gonna be awesome, because during each Sunday service, there would be at least two groups who would give special numbers.  We want to show how fun it is in our church and how great it is to be part of such a vibrant Christian community.  Here is the sched of presentations:

December 12: singles (always a hit); kids 9-12 (Lynn and Mesoo, my 2 eldest kids, will perform)

December 19: adult d-groups (yes, my mom will perform); kids 6-8 (this is the one I’m working on)

December 26: young couples (including my group); kids 3-5 (Happy, my youngest, is in this one, with my wife teaching the song/dance).

If you’d like to come watch the performances and to get to know our culture a little bit, we’d be happy to welcome you to CCF.  The church is located at Papa Juanito’s Square, just across the street from Robinson’s car park entrance.  The performances would be on the 10AM services.

I’d now like to show you some of the presentations done in the past.  Enjoy.

A mime presentation of “We Are The Reason,” Christmas Party 2008.  Lynn was in this one…somewhere.

Sunday School 3-5 class song, “Be Brave, Be Strong,” Mother’s Day (?) 2009.  Happy is the little guy in Maroon.

Sunday School 8-9 and 10-12 classes singing “He Knows My Name.” Father’s Day 2010 or 2009.  Lynn and Mesoo are both here.

Practice of the kids who volunteered to play the flute for Mother’s Day 2010.  Lessons were free.  All three of my kids were participants.

I’m looking forward to adding Christmas 2010 to this list of memories and ministry.  If you’d like to visit, see you then.  🙂

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