Thursday, October 28, 2010

Culture of Honor

There are a couple of twelve year olds that come to our Kids Club on Wednesdays that have quickly become two of my favorites. Let’s call them Tim and Tom. I think I like them so much because it can be a little bit of a challenge to love them.

These guys are at the age where they’re waaaay “too cool” for the things we do at Kids Club, and they get in trouble quite frequently. I’ve had several talks with these boys about honoring others and treating me with respect.

So today, they decided to get clever with the whole “being respectful” thing. They called me away from playing a game with the rest of the kids to have a little meeting with me.

Giggling, they handed me a paper and said that I needed to sign it. The paper read something like this: “I will be respectful of Tim and Tom at all times.” And then it had a place for me to sign my name.

I told them that they were very smart for coming up with something like this, but I wanted to change a couple of things.

So I got a new piece of paper, and with Tim and Tom watching, I wrote: “We will honor and respect each other at all times because God loves us and because we are His awesome kids.” And then I put three blanks at the bottom for us to sign.

I explained to the boys about our covenant. That we were agreeing with each other and making a promise to each other that would last forever.

After the boys signed their names, I signed mine, and then taped the paper on the wall (way up high so that they couldn’t reach it). I told them that the paper will be a reminder of the covenant that we made with each other so that we won’t forget how important it is to honor one another.

Here's the thing - I really want to see A CULTURE OF HONOR spread among our kids.

And because these two boys have so much influence in this community, I know that the covenant that we made today is more than just words on a piece of paper.

I'm declaring that there will be transformation in these two. That they will soak up the extravagant love of our Father, and respond by loving others.

There's not a doubt in my mind that this whole community will be changed when Tim and Tom choose to honor others. So pray!!! Pray that they will simply receive the Father's love. Everything else will happen out of that love.

Prayer Time with the Kiddos

For the past couple of weeks, we have gathered the kids together before we left the ministry site to pray with them. After getting into a circle (well, I guess it depends on your definition of a circle), the kids just randomly call out their prayers to the Lord.

Their prayers are simple and beautiful. And really funny.

“Thank you, God, for (starts going around the circle and naming volunteers, but stops after about 4 people) and … all these people, I can’t name everybody.”

“Thank You for shelter.”

“Thank You for Jesus!”

“And thank You for my happy face!” – coming from the kid who I mentioned in a previous blog with a few anger issues.

“And thank You for my butt … LORD, have mercy!!” – Yes, she really did thank the Lord for her butt. And yes, we did laugh.

“Thank You for giving us food.”

One of the girls turns to me and asked, “Do you think there’s gonna be food in Heaven? I want some ham!”

I responded by saying, “Well, why don’t you ask the Lord about that.”

So she did and then said, “He said yes. There’s gonna be ham!”

One of the little 3 year old girls would pop up every now and then throughout the prayer time and simply say, “And God loves me!”

She said the same thing several times, but it never got old. For some reason, I never get tired of that truth. GOD LOVES ME!!! It’s so simple and soooo freakin awesome.

So here’s my prayer: “Thank You Lord, for these babies that You love so much. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You for loving them! Open their arms wide to your extravagant love for them, and let them simply receive it, and walk with it, and clothe themselves with it, and give it out freely. Pour out Your love on them, Lord. Pour it out. You are such a good Papa!”

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"I want to be respected!"

Last week, one of our awesome team members knelt down and talked with one of the 10-year-old boys who had been in a few fights that day.

Our team member simply told him that he had a choice to make between being respected and being feared by others. They talked about the difference between the two, and our team member told him to think about what he wanted to choose throughout the next week.

As soon as we pulled up to the ministry location this week, and got out of our cars, the 10-year-old boy ran up to the same team member and said, “I want to be respected! I want to be respected!”

He had made his decision.

He went on to tell our team member that he had had the opportunity to be in 6 fights this past week, and he chose not to be in any of them because he wanted to be respected.

They talked and talked about being a leader, and something in the little boy clicked. He started talking about light and darkness, and how we have a choice to make between the two, and how our choices affect others.

This kid is going to change his community. I’m declaring it right now. The Spirit of the Lord is moving in Him, and he is responding with a “YES!”

Here’s the thing: I could have told this child the same thing. But he was so much more receptive to hearing what a really cool, strong man of God had to say about fighting.

We have been praying so much for men of God who have the heart of the Father to come and be a part of our team. People with Papa’s heart, that’s who we want.

Because when men with Papa’s heart come and pour out the love (which sometimes looks like discipline) of Papa’s heart into these boys, they will soon become men of God, too.

Praise the Lord for how He is using our team members, and for the ways He is pouring His goodness out so freely into the lives of these little ones.

My Treasure

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure (Matt. 13). So when craft time came, the kids got to color a treasure box and then glued sequins of all different colors and shapes to represent the beautiful and extravagant treasures that God has in His Kingdom to give away.

Our wonderful NightLight intern was sitting with one of the 8-year-old boys as he was making his craft. She listened to him as he told her all about his treasure box.

He said, “This is my treasure that Jesus gave me,” and then he picked up one of the sequins that looked somewhat like a key and added, “And this is the key that opens the treasure box.”

Pretending to open the treasure box with his “key,” he said, “Jesus gave me this key so that I can open the treasure box He gave me and give the treasure to the homeless people.”

He then started naming all the treasures that he was going to give to the homeless people, including clothes, razors to shave their faces, showers, etc.

Isn’t that awesome? A kid that is almost homeless himself wants to give Heavenly treasures to people that don’t have a home.

You see, when we receive the goodness of the Lord, it makes us want to share it with others. When we receive Kingdom treasures, we want others to have them, too.

I like to call it “living out of the overflow.” When God fills us with His perfect love, we can’t help but overflow with it.