A Little Bit About Me...

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I have many hats that I wear. I am a husband and father. I am pastor/teacher at my church. I am part of a team working on a large project at work. I am a friend. I am a budding visionary. I am a writer, an actor, and a director. I am an artist. I am a student of the Bible. I have a brain that comes up with some pretty crazy and interesting ideas, and I have a personality to match. I try to treat all people how I would like to be treated. I strive to be steadfast, immovable in my faith. I seek after the TRUTH, and I believe that it can be found, not just 'from my perspective', but for all people.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapter 3 for day three! Leap Day!

Ok, so here we are on Leap Day, February 29th. If we take a look at chapter three of Acts, I think this is a big leap. Chapter two says that Peter did many signs and wonders during the day of Pentecost, but we really don’t know what they were. But here in chapter three, we see Peter and John going to the temple, and seeing a crippled beggar. Like most leaders in the church, they really don’t have a lot of money, so they give the man something SO MUCH BETTER. With this new Holy Spirit empowerment, they tell the man to get up and walk…. AND HE IS HEALED!

So next they continue to go to the temple, and they begin to teach the Jews there about their Saviour, Jesus, and they go through some of the Torah and the prophets to show them this from their Holy Scriptures. They also have this really great sermon illustration. There is this beggar nearby that was just healed. They can point to him and say, “Look!” The people would have known him. The people would have seen him in his ‘Spot’.

The key in this chapter is in verse 26. “When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.” Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the Jews could be saved from their sins!

I hope it’s not just for the Jews…. Day 4 tomorrow. Keep going!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 2… and Acts chapter 2.

What a powerful chapter! This is a turning point in the church. The Holy Spirit arrives and in a strong way. There is the sound of mighty winds, and flames dwell on the heads of each person, and they begin to speak in different languages. There were a lot of people in Jerusalem at the time, and from a LOT of different places! Those people all heard the Good News of Jesus in their own language. It was a miracle. The apostles were Jews, and probably only spoke Hebrew or Aramaic… But yet people could hear the Gospel in their own language. Very cool!

We know that something powerful happened. If we go back to the point where Jesus was arrested, we see Peter as a man that was afraid to even admit that he knew Jesus, let alone was one of his closest friends. And now after the Holy Spirit arrives, there is a boldness and an authority on him that motivates him to preach the truth about Jesus to crowds of thousands of people! He is compelling them to turn from their sin and follow Jesus. Right there, (ok, maybe not RIGHT THERE) people are baptized by the thousands.

People began to change their ways as well. People sold off items and property and gave to the poor, and the needy. They realized that others had needs, and they started to meet the needs of others. This is an issue that we often have in North America. We have so much, and there are people (both among our community, and in other countries) that have so little.

They met together each day. The met in homes to share in the Lord’s Supper (Communion), and they enjoyed the company of their fellow Christians! It even says that there were signs and wonders done by Peter.

I hope they don’t just get focused on the people of the church. I hope they take that Power and go out and impact the world. Keep reading. We’ll see…

Monday, February 27, 2012

28 Days!!! Time to make a change....

Some "Experts" say that it takes 28 days to develop a new set of habits, or to change a behaviour. If you are having problems making sure to take some time for God each day, then maybe now is the time to make that change. We’re here in the midst of Lent, and time for traditional fasting before Easter. Maybe the kind of thing to give up this year is something that wastes your time. Video games? Movies? Internet time? Maybe you don’t have to give them up completely, but just limit and track the amount of time you do use. Then, in some of that time that you now have free, spend it with God.

Remember that thing about 28 days? Well, it just so happens that the Book of Acts has 28 chapters in it. Start today, and do ONE CHAPTER A DAY for the next 28 days. It will take about 5 minutes to read the chapter, and then is you spend a few more minutes praying for some things that are on your mind, you will be well on your way to building your relationship with God!

I did mine for today, and Acts 1 is really interesting. First of all, you have to remember that the book of Acts, or the Acts of the Apostles, if it were written today would be called something like Luke 2: This Time It’s Personal. The Book of Luke and the Book of Acts were written by the same person. So Acts is like the sequel to Luke.

Second thing that stood out to me is how disgusting it must have been for whoever found Judas with his guts falling out all over the place when he died.

Third thing that stood out… Judas saw all the stuff that Jesus did, and still he chose money over following Jesus. In the end his greed killed him. He betrayed his friend and Saviour. And then they had to replace him as one of the twelve apostles. Matthias is chosen.

Now all they have to do is wait for the Holy Spirit to come. I hope they don’t have to wait very long...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Praying for your church...

Here is an entry that my father would like.  He is always trying to motivate people to pray for their church.  Every month he hands out a calendar of things to pray for each day, and it is a really good way to get things into perspective, and to know how many things there are to pray for. 

In one of my emails I found this article by Daniel Darling called "5 Ways to Pray for Your Church", and he outlines well...  5 ways to pray for your church, regularly!  Here is what he says:

"So, as you consider how to make your church better, here are five ways to help your church:
1) Pray for your pastor. I know this is cliche. I know people pray for me. But I really, really need prayer. And your pastor does too. He may not ask you for it. He may seem strong and courageous and "with it" all the time. But underneath that is a fragile, desperate soul often squeezed by the pressures of serving God's people. So pray for faithfulness, refreshment, wisdom, creativity, humility, people skills. I never fully realized the need to pray for pastors until I actually became one.

2) Pray for the pastor's wife. This is a tough role. There is really no template for the pastor's wife. She's thrust into a role that often asks more of her than she can handle. She's the one keeping the home life somewhat normal and consistent. She's the one holding things together when the pastor is at the bedside or meeting with someone in crisis. And sometimes the pastor's family has their own crises that need prayer. Pray for your pastor's wife.

3) Pray for God's spirit to move in the hearts of people in the community. In our community, something like 85% of people are unchurched, likely unconverted. That's a huge mission field. And it seems that with every passing day the church is becoming less of a factor in people's lives. Pray that your church would be a lighthouse, a place where people discover the eternal truths of the gospel, where the Word would shine and the Spirit would convict hearts to repentance. Sometimes we get so program-oriented that we forget to pray for a mighty moving of the Spirit.

4) Pray for unity among God's people. The devil loves to divide and conquer. He loves to sow seeds of strife in a church. He loves to prey on the natural, human, sinful tendencies of God's good people. Unity has to be intentional. It's not natural. It must be a spirit-connected thing. It's fragile. And here's a secret. If you are praying for church unity, you will be spending less time focusing on the hurts and faults of others that moves to destroy that unity.

5) Pray for the church staff and leadership. Don't just pray for the pastor, as if he's the only one who is on the front lines, as if he's the only important, exalted member serving your local body. He isn't. Pray also and earnestly for the paid and volunteer staff, for the leadership team -- elders, deacons, team leaders. Pray for their families, their spirituality, their faithfulness. Pray for God to enrich and refresh them and give them strength for His work."

I strongly encourage you take a few minutes each day to pray for your church in these few (if not other areas too) areas.  Some people pray better by just praying what comes to mind.  Some people like to work their way through the list.  Whatever way you do it, be open to what the Holy Spirit leads you to.  There have been times where I have been woken up in the middle of the night to pray, and there have been times where I have been praying about one thing and God brings something else to mind.  The important thing is that you take some time every day, to pray.

Here are some quotations about prayer that make me think:
"It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone." ~ Hudson Taylor

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." ~ D.A.T. Pierson

"Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray." ~ Oswald Chambers

"The great people of the earth today are the people who pray, (not) those who talk about prayer…but I mean those who take time and pray." ~ S.D.Gordon

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vault - Just Some Reflections - Part 2

Part 2 begins here (Part 1 is HERE) with another sessions with Karl Bastien. This was a very practical session as well untitled, “Making your discipline problems disappear”. We all sort of chuckled in that knowing way. We all sort of chuckled and thought of those kids that can be trying sometimes. We all sort of chuckled and as Karl said, “Let’s be honest, it’s probably a boy.”

So he begins his talk by saying, “Most problems don’t lie with the child, but with the teacher.” Ouch! I could hear myself searching for a “But”. But he was right. I have to ask myself, why am I no longer captivating the young person? How can I be a better communicator? What can I do to be better?

He made sure there were no senior pastors in the room, and then told us he was going to quote a verse of the Bible WAY out of context! He said that this was no way to practice Hermeneutics. But he quoted, Job 29:24, “If I mocked at them, they did not believe it, And the light of my countenance they did not cast down.”

What do the faces in the lives of young people look like? Often they will be people that scowl at them, or have angry faces. So then how should I look when they see me? They should see my light and sunny countenance. I took this to heart as a few people that told me that I scowl or frown lots. Usually it is just me focusing, or squinting to see, but I decided to try to make a point of smiling with my young disciples.

As people charged with teaching young people, we must redefine discipline. Problems with discipline are now opportunities to teach and mold, not to control them. Two VERY different ideas.

Another thing that sort of made me think was, why do we expect kids to sit quietly, have perfect attention, follow all the rules perfectly, when as adults we rarely do those things?

If we don’t have our lives together, why do we expect it of kids? More grace needed.

Kids are supposed to disobey. They are new to the earth. They are like little scientists. Thomas Edison worked through 1000 failures before finally creating the light bulb. He didn’t see it that way though. He saw it a learning 1000 ways not to make a light bulb. When a kid screams or yells or does whatever other inappropriate behaviour, if we hold our ground, they have just learn another way NOT to get their own way.

Young people are like explorers. They make mistakes, but that is part of discovery! In those mistakes is where we have the opportunity to guide them and to truly impact them.

There is a difference between disobedience (sin) and wrong or inappropriate behaviour. Sometimes Pastor Karl said that people make so much of a big deal about inappropriate behaviour rather than those things that are sin. Don’t treat errors as rebellion or mistakes as sin.

Kids disobey because they have a sinful nature. It is that part of them that wants to find the easy way out. Karl said that all sin is the result of something in us that we need, and that we perceive that we are not getting from God, so we go out and seek it elsewhere. I’m still thinking about this, but there does seem to be some merit to it. Part of the issue with kids and young people is trying to find that “thing” that they are after. As mentors we may be able to meet the need that they have, but in a way that is appropriate.

To help with behaviour, young people need limits that are spelled out so that they know what is expected. He tells this story about a dog running around the yard, but that stops at the edge of the yard without going past. Turns out that the dog had a collar that shocked it if it went past the boundary—a fact Karl discovers as the dog freaks out in pain as he tries to carry it over boundary. He then stresses the importance of being consistent so that the young person doesn’t get frustrated and think, “Fine, this too hard, I’ll just stay in my dog house.”

The real goal of all ministry is not to teach them appropriate behaviour, but to see heart change. Always be sure to separate the child from the behaviour. God loves the child, and has a plan for the child, it is the behaviour that discipline is to change… and the love of God flowing through each of us that love kids that helps to lead them to Jesus.

Lead clearly and strongly. If you don’t have a plan for the kids they WILL have a plan for you. Create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Look for the kids where the cup is leaking… Maybe they are not getting the love at home.

My second workshop was a bit of an experiment. I went into it not really knowing what to expect. It was about how to market a ministry to young people. Ron Ellis and his wife run Lifeline Resources a supplier of curriculum to churches and stores. One of their major products is Discipleland, which was developed by a pastor that wasn’t seeing what he wanted in the curriculum that was available.

Mr. Ellis compared a Children’s ministry to a small business in the way that it is structured, and he said that one of the things that he has done is worked with start-up companies to look at some of the things that they go through, and he has tried to come up with some practical ways of developing a small ministry.

He spoke for some time about the idea of developing a vision and a mission for the ministry. The vision tells people what the purpose of the ministry is, while the mission sets out some key points as to how you are going to get there over a few years. What is it that you want to accomplish or achieve?

He emphasized the point that in a healthy situation, it is the parents that should do the discipling of their kids. Totally agree. The church should emphasize what is already being taught in the home. All I could think is, “Oh fallen world… if only it all fit into the neat perfect will of God.” More and more we see kids where they are the first one in their house to be saved. Or maybe they are living with one saved parent, and they go to live with an unsaved parent from time to time. Sometimes people in the church are the only time those kids get fed spiritually. If I had one meal a week, I would be starving. Spiritually it is the same. That being said, the home SHOULD be their first source of God, but God’s grace sometimes makes that the church until the rest of the family can be drawn to the cross.

He really emphasized the role of prayer in ministry. There should be prayer for the children, prayer for the teaching teams, prayer for the pastors, prayer during Sunday School, prayer for all staff. It is something that is so important, and can be forgotten. But like a pin in a grenade, your whole ministry time can blow up in your face if you forget to pray.

He shared a handout (which I have not read all of) and some books that might be of interest:
  • Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions By George Barna
  • The Complete Book of Discipleship By Bill Hull
  • Revolutionary Parenting By George Barna

The closing session with Karl Bastien was about how to make disciples. One of the key things that he teaches his kids is that whatever he says to them, he has to be able to show how the Bible also says that. He challenges them to make sure what he is saying is in the Bible. He shared two examples:

He was discussing something with one of the boys in a class. The boy asked him if there was fire in hell, and together they found the verses. Yes, there is fire in hell. The boy then asked him if it was dark in hell. Together they found the verses, yes, it was dark in hell. This prompted the question, “Well, if there is fire in hell, and it is dark in hell, how is that possible if fire gives off light?”

Well this prompted a mad search for the answer… which began with the words “I don’t know.” Karl brought it up at one of his pastor’s meetings. All of them were seminary trained. He thought for sure someone would know this answer. Nope. No one knew. He asked it of anyone that he thought might have an idea. Finally, if came down to someone that used to work with race cars. He said, “It must be some kind of alcohol fuel.” The racing tech explained (and I knew this because of my lovely wife) that in race cars they often use alcohol fuel. They can be on fire and the fuel burns invisibly. I (Jason) have seen on TV, a man flailing around as he jumps out of his car because he is on fire. The flames are invisible, and his pit crew have to put him out.

Karl, being the teacher that he is, demonstrates the process with that kid. He sets it up safely, but refuses to tell the young man what the chemical is, for fear that he might repeat the experiment. The start the fire, but see nothing. They take turns moving their hand in close to the source of the invisible heat. The boy wants to know what it is. Karl makes him promise not to do this at home, and reluctantly tells him that it is a kind of alcohol.

A couple of days later Karl gets a call from the boy’s mother. He takes the call, and she says, did you tell my son about how alcohol burns? He first thinks, “Oh, no!”, and then is able to confirm that he has not set something on fire. The mom confirms that the house is safe. She opens up. The boy’s father is not saved. He has been into alcohol, and some things have happened where he has ended up in prison. During a visit, this young boy tells his father that he has to make some changes to his life, and that if he dies and goes to hell that all the alcohol he has been drinking will be the kind of thing that fuels hell.

Theologically, this may not be sound, but this is the conversation that begun the process of that man getting his life right with God, and restoration of that family happening… all because a faithful pastor told the kids to make sure what he taught them came from the Bible. Reminds me of the Bereans that Paul commends.

Another thing he noted was how we tend to teach kids that heaven’s streets are paved with gold. He did a search and could find evidence of streets and gold anywhere. As it turns out, the main street in the New Jerusalem is the street (singular) that is paved with gold.

As a teacher or a pastor, the best compliment you can receive is that you rock! To be that teacher consider how you look to kids. Are you exciting? Do you maybe dress a little crazy? Does your face look like you sucked a lemon?

Are you so wrapped up in what you want to do that you miss the kid that needs a hug? Do you put your best effort into everything that you do? Do you decorate the room to be exciting? Does it have a character all its own? Does your teaching use more than one of their senses? Do you find ways to touch base with them outside of the Sunday meeting? Especially with social media and cell phones and the like, the opportunity is there. Do you go to their school plays? Their sporting events? Just be there for the young people when you can.

The most important thing about all of this is to make disciples! Without that there is nothing. If we are too busy worrying about the “stuff” but for get their souls, what good are we?

This was a great time of refreshing for people that love kids, and are called to minister to them. I am glad that this is part of my calling, and can’t wait to keep pouring into young people.

Part 1 is HERE.

Vault - Just Some Reflections - Part 1

On Saturday, February 11, 2012 a few of us from Living Waters Christian Assembly that minister to young people attended a conference here in the city where 57 churches from all over the area met together as those that love young people and want to see them changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have taken a few days to reflect on some of the things that I heard, and I wanted to share them with those that read this. If I learn something, I want to share it with other people. Here is part 1.

We were introduced to our keynote speaker, Karl Bastien of www.kidology.org and right away he captivated the group. As he prayed he asked God to help each person there to become a change agent in the lives of the kids that we shepherd, and he closed his prayer saying, “and all God’s children who love children say…” where he waited for the “Amen!” from the group.
He gave us a bit of background as to where he came from, and how he came to choose to follow Jesus. He began by talking about a man named Edward Kimball that was a faithful worker in the Inner City of Chicago. During his ministry a young man Dwight caught Edward’s eye, and he was able to lead this young man to Christ. The young man was Dwight L. Moody.

D.L. got into ministry during a time when people had to rent their pew in church. He would rent an entire pew, go out into the streets and find the kids that people would classify as street urchins. People didn’t take too kindly to this practice, and some in leadership began to ask him not to bring the kids into the church. He argued that he had paid for the seats, but this wasn’t good enough for them. D.L. Moody begun his own kid’s church where he was faithful. Kids came from all over the city because they knew that D.L.’s church knew how to love kids. Eventually, out of this ministry, grew a full church, and even a Bible school (Moody Bible Institute). The church was of such great success in the time that the President of the United States (Abraham Lincoln) took note and visited during a trip to Chicago.

As a result of D.L.’s ministry, a man named Jerry came to know Christ. Jerry wasn’t a big name person, but just a man faithful to his Sunday School class. After one session, the church administrator came to him and asked him if, since there was just one child in his class, if he would like them to just put that girl into another class and allow him to do something else. The little girl named Patti overheard what they were saying and hoped and prayed that this was not going to happen. She loved the way Jerry was teaching her. Jerry, true to his calling told the administrator that he would continue to work with Patti, and because of what he was able to teach her, Patti became a Christian. Year later Patti married and gave birth to a boy named Karl.

As a young boy Karl loved to go to Sunday School because of Candy. Most kids go because they like to get Candy too. But this turned out to be the name of Karl’s Sunday School teacher. She was not a woman of large following each week, but she loved kids and wanted each of them to learn of Jesus’ love for them, and that they needed to follow him. She was known for her butterscotch candy. Karl was staying at Candy’s house because his younger sibling was going to be born, and some older boys were picking on him. He asked Candy why they were so mean. She replied by telling him that she didn’t know why. She saw an opportunity, and she told Karl that if he didn’t want to behave that way that he needed to know Jesus, and at a young age Candy brought Karl Bastien to a point of deciding to follow Jesus.

I was just amazed hearing this, how you never know how far your influence will carry. Following the spiritual lineage, I’m sure that Edward Kimball never thought about his impact on a group of people sitting and learning about how to disciple kids in 2012. His faithfulness continues to reach on well after he has gone to be with Jesus.

The story served to teach us a few things:

What does growing up have to do with anything? If God has called you to something, get to doing it NOW!

I can be the missing piece in your child’s spiritual journey.

10 practical things that Karl Bastien shared with us that we can learn to do are:
  1. Notice each child. Make eye contact. Learn their names. Find the things that make them unique.
  2. Surprise them with fun, and notes and encouragement. Be the teacher that they remember years from now. We all have some… which reminds me that I have just located some that I wanted to send a thank you note to.
  3. Believe in them and what they can do. Who they are now is fantastic!
  4. Invest in them. Sometimes there are needs that I can meet. I have noticed a young person’s interest in something and bought them something to encourage them in it. A young person told me that they didn’t have a Bible at their other parent’s house. I bought them a simple bible that they could store there.
  5. Play with them, and Create memories. Note what things you can learn about them.
  6. Value them. Give them nicknames. Stick up for them. See things from the perspective of the young person so you can really understand where they are coming from.
  7. Dream with them, and help them reach their dreams.
  8. Disciple them. Teach them. Lead them to Jesus as you follow him yourself.
  9. Pray with them.
  10. Remember them forever.
Here was the stunning thought that summed it all up:
You never know who is in your class. Make an impact now.

My first workshop was about having a Generational Approach to Children’s Ministry. It was being given by an old friend of mine, Jason Courteau.

The main point of what he was speaking to was how when you have kids of your own, you don’t stop parenting them as they go through the different stages of life. In Sunday School, the same kind of thing should apply. He had everyone pretend to take off glasses, and to put on this idea of transcending the generations.

Traditionally churches have done Nursery, 2-3’s, 4-5’s, 6-… and on the list goes. Sometimes the attitude is that as kids went through each area they would be taught be certain people, but then when their time there was done they would have no real contact with them. It was the Silo effect… Think several tall barns that contain lots, but never mix.

He compared it to the Junior youth pastor only painting with red paint, or the Senior youth only painting with yellow. But if you think back to your time in Sunday School, if you mix your red and your yellow paint and you discover orange and you love orange!

That is more how God sees it. There is no Holy Spirit that ministers just to the Junior youth, and then another Holy Spirit that is for the adult service. It is all one Spirit. (I think I have heard that somewhere before)

He shared a Barna study of a group of young people over a 5 year period in the 18-29 year old range. 60% of young people disconnect from the church after the age of 15 year of age. Some may come back. Many will not. Basically 4 in 10 stay in the church during those years. Is that all? Really? As someone that ministers to young people, those numbers are not good! What could be done to provide some longevity in the church?

Jason first surveyed the crowd to see how many of them had left the church in that timeframe of their lives, and most of the people in the room had been faithful in church. SO the next question was, “What is it that kept you in church?” Someone said that they were involved with the music drama (I thought to myself drama). Someone says it was because they had developed relationships with people in the church. Some pointed to strong mentors that took them under their wing and guided them along. Some pointed to a parent that was a strong motivator to get out and be disciplined with going to church. One man said that his family was broken, and his pastor became like a second father to him.

People that had a reason to be there, were in church. People that were involved, and people that connected with others, were in church. (I have to say it all sounded very familiar.)

People are the reason that someone stays for the most part. All of those that go to church, need to be THAT person to someone… the one that loves them and guides them and builds the relationship. As you develop relationships in various point along their spiritual journey, don’t give them up when they move on to another class or section. Love them. Be there for them. Maintain the relationship.

People that get into children’s ministry, are really getting into it for the long haul. It is time that people begin to see that, and to think about the lives they impact, and less on their own inconveniences. Will it be easy? No. But just as a parent is in it for 20 years and beyond, so should the leaders in the church.

The heart of God comes through the family. Why else would the family be under such attack? People are coming to the church from all kinds of situations, and we have the opportunity to be there for them. We can ministry to all the generations.

He shared Psalm 78:1-7.

And he gave us some practical ways to make the generational model work:
1 – See young people as part of the whole not as a piece of the puzzle to be solved and then moved on from.
2 – See it as being with them until they are well-planted as a young adult in the church family.
3 – Join forces and become one ministry with the other leaders.
4 – Invest in the family: Newsletters, groups, family events, FB, Twitter
5 – Intentionally help with the transition: Follow-up, Interaction at special events.
6 – Make graduation from the children’s program a BIG deal. Pray for them. Release them. Speak into each child their God-given call.

He reminisced about his years in LCA where he told the kids every day that they were “Destined for Greatness”.

Part 2 is HERE.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Most Important Thing to God...

Sometimes with all of the stuff going on in our lives with our families, our friends, our acquaintances, and even those people we would call our enemies, honestly we can feel quite alone. I know of several people who feel very alone in their family. They just don’t seem to agree with their parents, or maybe their parents are trying to work through their own issues about separation.

Maybe they are alone at school. I hear more and more stories of young people being bullied, and going through kinds of depression all fuelled by popularity, relationships and all that stuff.

This past week at Infuzion we talked about how the most important thing to God is you… yes, YOU! If you look at the bible you can see that as the story unfolds. It starts with God creating people, loving those people, setting up rules for the safety of those people, talking to those people, and having to limit those relationships because of sin. The rest of the bible is the story of how God provides a way of restoring the plan to get the relationship back with people. And the story ends when those that choose to follow God’s ways get to go to be with Him.

God gave us several things to help us to have a relationship with Him now… here… in our present life. He provides the 5-fold ministry: Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles, Pastors and Teachers. He provided several spiritual gifts for us to use a tools to help others in the church and outside the church. He provided spiritual armour to protect us in our fight against principalities and powers.

God gave us SO much, even offering His own Son so that we can know Him, and approach our Maker. He wants a relationship with us. I intend to keep embracing it, and getting as close to God as I can. It’s tough at times, but you can always count on the fact that no matter what, God loves you. He wants to know you, and He wants you to know Him.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Discipline.... such a large word, not in spelling, but in how it makes us feel. I asked about this at one of our Infuzion events, and the first thing that they came up with was that discipline is a punishment from your parents.  Some other definitions are: To discipline someone means to instruct them in something.  A discipline can be a field of study, like biology or something.  The one that we focused on at that Infuzion was like the way a drill sergeant trains his troops or like a coach pulls the best out of his team.  They use training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character of their people.

We have all seen tv shows or movies where a drill sergeant yells and screams in peoples’ faces and makes them do really tough exercises to make their body stronger.  He is not doing it to be mean to the unit, he is doing it to train them for difficult situations.  He (or she) is stressing the bodies of the team to make it stronger, and to train them how to behave in a certain situation.  When they have completed the training, not only are they stronger... not only are they a team, but they know how to maintain their own body, and their duties.
Same thing if you think of all those sport movies where the team is against an insurmountable opposition, but somehow when the coach works with them, and trains them they are able to overcome the other team.  One of my favourites is Facing the Giants... a good football movie.  There always seems to be a point where the team learns to trust their coach and then they rally.  In the end though, they are able to move forward together because of the time that was put into training.

I compared this to Infuzion.  We have something called Fire Academy where each young person should be learning to spend time with God each day through Bible reading and prayer.  We have puppet projects  that we work together to perform for others that also ministers to them.  We have events where we minister to the poor, times where we reach out to our friends... and the list is still to be added to, and is still continuing.
The big key though, is that through the training, if young people plug in, and follow the training, they will be learning to become self-disciplined.  They will be responsible for their own walk with God, and eventually they can be used to help train others.

Hebrew 13:17 says “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”
Part of learning to be disciplined is learning to obey those in authority.  They have gone through it.  They know how to pull the best out of you.  While they are training you they are responsible to make sure that you do what you need to do.  But what happens when they have trained you?  You have to go out and use the skills and do it yourself.

1 Corinthians 9:24 -27 says, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
This is also tough to do.  I know that I find being disciplined with my body to be tough, but God still says we should do that.  But as Paul (the writer of 1 Corinthians) says, that we must be careful in our walk with God.  We can do all the stuff...  going to church, singing the songs and all that, but we have to make the decision to follow Jesus.

Here is another great passage in 1 Timothy 4:7-13, “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. ‘Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.’ This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.”

This passage is an excellent passage to have young people memorize, especially verse 12!

We have to learn to take responsibility for living the life of a Christian.  It is ours to do.  No one can do it for us.  We will be successful at some points and not at others, but we will learn and get closer to God the more we spend time with him.  As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” We must live the life, walk the walk, and step out in faith for ourselves.

This is what Infuzion is about.... Training up in Christ, so that when the time comes you can use your gifts, both physical and spiritual to serve God and others.