Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Great Pumpkin Devotion!

Ready for the pumpkin patch and corn maze!

With my trusty sidekick, Sarah!

This week, some families from Northwest Bible Church visited a local favorite…Thomasson Family Farm.  We had a great time picking pumpkins, finding our way through the corn maze, petting the farm animals, playing in the corn box, and so much more!  On my way out the door for our trip, I came across this cute devotion about pumpkins, and knew it would be a great way to close our night together.  This devotion would be as great for a family as it would a group of kids in Sunday School.  The wording can be changed to make it age appropriate for toddlers through teens.  My wonderful friend, Sarah, demonstrated with an actual pumpkin as I read, which was a great visual for the kids!  And I love the prayer that follows! J

Pumpkin Devotion

Did you know that we are like pumpkins? 

First, God picks us from the pumpkin patch and brings us in from the field.  Then, He washes all the dirt off the outside.  Next, He carefully removes all the yucky stuff from the inside.  We call that sin.  He then changes us from the inside out.  He removes all the bad seeds…seeds like doubt, hate, greed, and fear.  He replaces them with seeds of faith, hope, and love.  When Jesus is in our heart, we begin to experience the changing power of God’s love in our life.

God then carves a new smiling face in us.  We are forever changed by the power of His presence in our life!  We give him thanks, and that will show by the smile on our face!  Next, a candle is lit inside.  When Jesus lives in us, He shines through our life for all to see.  And when we let His light reflect through us, it reveals His presence to others.

Jesus told his disciples this: “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

So you see, we really are like pumpkins!  With Jesus in our lives, we will never be the same!

Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.
Remove the things in my life that don’t please you.
Thank you for forgiving the wrong things I do, and help me to forgive others.
Open my eyes to see the beauty you’ve made in the world around me.
Let everything I say please you.
Lord, help me show your light to others through my life.
Amen.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

KidMin 2011: I Saw God Today!

Some of the gals in the Early Childhood Ministry Connect Group

Okay, I’m one of those people who sees God every day.  In fact, all day, every day.  He is everywhere in my life.  But today, at the KidMin 2011 conference, I saw Him in a BIG way! 

I’ve been part of the Inside Track team for KidMin for the past 15 months. As part of this team, I’ve seen the conference shaping up to become an event that I just could not wait to be a part of! The goal for KidMin was that it would be an “unconventional” conference; totally one of a kind.  Check out these values that drove the KidMin vision…

Let JESUS be the center of everything. Be AUTHENTIC. Good CONVERSATION makes the world go 'round. You can't be too FRIENDLY and you can't have too many friends. Make TRAINING seep deep into your roots. If you innovate, you'll stay fresh. If you're not RELEVANT, you'll be ignored. Have tons of FUN!
Connect Groups are one element that sets KidMin apart.  They are small group style conversations for people with similar ministry needs.  I’m leading the Early Childhood Ministry Connect Group, and about an hour and a half ago, our 3rd gathering of the weekend wrapped up.  I’ve been sitting here in my giant, comfy Xorbee pod chair ever since, just processing all that has happened.  Seeing relationships built, ideas shared, encouragement offered, moments of laughter, words of encouragement…those have all been awesome to watch.  And today, something stood out!

One girl in our group came to our first Connect Group time 2 days ago, and I could just feel her pain and frustration.  She is overwhelmed in ministry, as so many are.  She is frustrated that her church leadership does not value children’s programs.  She is overwhelmed with many children and not enough volunteers.  She wants families to take part in the faith formation of their kids.  The list goes on.  I immediately committed myself to praying for her this weekend.  Today, she came to our group, and I sensed something different.  Her adorable smile was a little bit bigger, she was more relaxed, but there was more…she was filled up with Jesus! As our talking continued, I noticed that she was encouraging others.  The same girl I met 2 days ago had really been transformed by this weekend!  She was my God Sighting today!  Maybe my God Sighting for the whole weekend! 

I know that many lives and ministries will be touched and forever changed because God is HERE this weekend, and HE is working on us all!  In my mind, watching the transformation of that one girl alone made the KidMin conference all worth it!  All the prayer, efforts, time, and energy poured into making this weekend what it is have paid off.  I’m completely filled with JOY and THANKS!