Thursday, February 24, 2011


This was the first week of our Spring Season of Kids' Club. I am beyond thankful to be back in the swing of things! It was such a great week, and I am so exhausted. God is so good, and so full of love for these kids! I wish each of you could meet them. I have a few stories to share about these precious little treasures.

There is one particular 10-year-old kid that has been around since this summer, and we are pretty close with him. During the skit, he kept on talking really loudly. So I pulled him to the side, and asked him to honor the people doing the skit by listening. He kept talking loudly. So I kept getting onto him.

I finally said, “If you keep being disrespectful, you might not get a snack today. Do you want to lose your snack?” His response: “It depends. What are we having for snack?” He then looked around, saw the box of pretzels, and then agreed to respect me.

I was thinking about his response later that night, and realized that I do the same thing with God. When God asks me to do something, my immediate reaction is usually, “What’s in it for me?” AKA: "It depends, God. What do I get for snack?"

When I was announcing about what we were doing that day, one kid kept on coming up to me, poking me in the side while I was talking, and saying that he had an announcement to make. It seemed rather urgent.

I asked him to whisper his announcement to me, and he said, “I just need to ask everyone who hit my brother. Someone hit my brother, and then ran away, and I need to make an announcement that you don’t hit my brother.”

What a protective little guy!

This season, I have decided to start “interviewing” a couple of kids before and after each lesson. This week, I asked the question, “What does Immanuel mean?”

BEFORE the lesson, I got responses like:

“Um, I think that Immanuel means … um … like, uh … brain.”

“It means baby.”

“Immanuel is like a book … something that people have written … It has words, and it might even have pictures.”

AFTER the lesson, I asked the same kids the same question. And this is how each of them responded:

“Immanuel means GOD WITH US!”

I think they really caught onto what this week’s lesson was all about. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to Earth to be like us and to be WITH us. (Isaiah 7:14)

In addition to what we do with the elementary age kids, we have started doing a Bible Study for teen girls at both locations this season. I have been praying for this to happen for so long, and I am so thankful for the young women who have stepped up to lead these Bible studies.

The girls they are leading are the ones who are most at risk for entering into prostitution. The average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is between the ages of 11-14.

At Tuesday’s Bible study, the leader shared the verse from Matthew 10 about being as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves. While the girls were decorating their individual journals with all kinds of stickers, they asked the leader what the verse meant.

The leader explained that Jesus wants to teach us to not go crazy in a crazy world. Pray for these girls as they learn to be as wise as serpents in the crazy world that they live in.

The next day at Wednesday’s teen girls Bible study, an eleven year old (Ok, so this one isn’t technically a teenager …) told the leader that she sees a demon sometimes, and described in detail what the demon was like. She explained how scared she was of the demon, and cried like a baby with the leader. Then her 13-year-old sister said that she sees dark shadows behind her every time she looks in the mirror.

This is just one example of the terrible darkness in this neighborhood. Who knows what else is haunting our other children in their homes. Pray that the Light of Christ will breakthrough in each child. There is serious warfare going on over each of their souls.

Our guy intern this season has been so wonderful with the teenage boys we see on a weekly basis. On Wednesday, he got to hang out with the guys for a little while, and they started asking him questions about sex. They were all ears to whatever he had to say. They are so hungry for truth.

Our intern started talking about soul ties, and how sex is so much more than what happens physically. They have never listened to anyone as well as they listened to him on Wednesday. Pray that the Lord fills our intern more and more with His Spirit as he leads these guys into more truth.

At the end of our time with the kids on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we gathered the kids together whose birthdays were in February so that we could pray for them. A couple of kids even prayed for their peers. This was such a beautiful time, and it was such a joy to get to bless these kids.

Keep praying for these precious little ones. And pray for me, too. I need so much more of the Lord! I'm sure I will have many, many other stories to share as the season goes on.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do They Know?

As you can imagine, the extended stay hotel where we do one of our Prevention Programs is a transitional place for these families. Some stay for a week, and others stay for a year or two. Each time I hear about kids moving out, my heart has to make some difficult adjustments.

I just love them so dearly, and I feel like they’re being taken away from me.

Such a huge part of me is saying, “Nooo! Stay in this nasty, small hotel room forever, so I can come and love you!”

Of course, I really do want them to experience a normal childhood, where they can play in a front yard, and have family dinners, and soccer practice … I’m just really going to miss them.

When I hear that another family is moving, my immediate thoughts are:

Where are they going to hear about Jesus now?
Who is going to love them?
Will anyone show them who God is … who LOVE is?
Have I taught them well?
Have I done my job?
What will they take away from the way I treated them?
Do they know Jesus?
Do they know the one who created them so uniquely?
Do they know that their identity is Jesus … that they were made in His image … with His characteristics?
Do they know their Savior?
Do they know the freedom they can have in Him?
Do they know that all of LIFE is found in Christ?
Do they know?

And these thoughts have transformed the way I write curriculum. What if there is a child that only comes for one week? What if that is the only week they ever hear about Jesus? What will they think? How will their life be different?

So the theme for this season’s Kids’ Club is JESUS.

That’s it.

I want the kids to know Him. Every single week, I want the kids to ENCOUNTER Him. No one was the same after encountering Jesus while He was here on Earth.

Be praying for our Spring Kids’ Club starting up at the end of February. Pray that we have many many volunteers to make this all happen. Pray that the Lord will give me more and more of Himself to share with the kids. Pray that the kids will know Him. Pray for baptisms! Pray for God encounters. Pray for miracles. And pray that the Kingdom will come on Earth as it is in Heaven.

God's Goodness

I just need to take a minute to brag on God. Here are just a few ways that we have seen the Kingdom come recently ...

We got to speak to a local high school a couple weeks ago. This is the first time we've ever gotten in the schools, and we had a lot of favor when we were there. We spoke to the boys about true manhood, and to the girls about true beauty.

We encountered the owner of a strip club who had a horrible headache one night, so we prayed for her. Her continual blood pressure problems were the cause of her headache. When she went to the doctor the next week, it was the first time her blood pressure was better than normal. And now she is praising God for it all!

Also, a pimp's knee got healed while we were on outreach one night. It’s still healed. And he is completely amazed by God.

An 18 year old guy we met on outreach one Friday night accepted Jesus, and is hungry for more. He has never been to church, never had a Bible, and after talking and praying with our group for a few minutes, he decided that he wants Jesus to be His Lord. We gave him a Bible, and he told us that he's been reading the words in red. Our new guy intern is going to disciple him.

Also, on a personal note, I have a beautiful new nephew. The Lord healed him after his traumatic birth, and he is the cutest baby in the world. He loves me very much.