Tag Archives: Matthew 18

6 Ways We Should Never Grow Up

What is it about Christmas that brings out the kid in most of us? I say most, because there are those who wouldn’t giggle in a joke factory, it’s just beneath them. I love to laugh! And I love to hear people laugh, especially children, because they laugh without reserve whether it’s appropriate or not. They also have sense enough not to laugh sometimes like when someone falls down. A child will run to the aid of the person who fell rather than fall down laughing like many adults. No, I’m not an America’s Funniest Home Video fan, mainly because God created me with too much empathy for that. I feel every busted mouth and tailbone! But I confess… sometimes I laugh, I just kept help myself.

Did you know that there are biblical principles for immaturity? It’s true, so long as kept in the context for which the Lord intended.

Go when God says Go

Matthew 18:2

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.

Most children know that when someone calls them, they need to go. It may be dinner, it may be late, they may be in trouble, but for whatever reason, someone called and they must go. Adults, not so much. God calls me to do things all the time and I either rebelliously don’t listen, or more than likely put it off until it’s off the list of things to do.

As children of God, when He calls, we should run as fast as we can to see what it is He’d have us do, knowing that it is for certain for our good!

Change when God says Change

Matthew 18:3

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Another great characteristic of a child is that they’re free thinkers. They can change direction in the blink of an eye! A new idea is a new adventure waiting to happen. Shouldn’t the child of God be that way? Now, there are some things that we cannot change, such as the foundational truths of the scripture. However, those “foundational truths” have changed in their appearance multiple times since they’ve been written. How we conduct a church service, what we wear, how we speak… much has changed. But for some reason when adults get saved, some things don’t change. Your speech should change, your temperament should change, your willingness to change, should change.

Cry when God says Cry

Matthew 18:4

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Children will cry at the drop of a hat. They don’t feel embarrassed or care who’s in the room. Why do we? But we do. We’ll stifle a cry, or keep our emotions concealed when the Spirit is clearly moving us. How many times do we wreck a service by not allowing the Spirit to move us? Someone may need to see God moving in our lives, so He can move in theirs.

Accept Who God Accepts

Matthew 18:5

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Unless an adult has already jaded their world, children don’t see color, age, apparel or anything else as a reason not to play with others. Why do we? God desires that every person on this earth come to Him, and He desires to use us to bring them; but all too often we don’t play well enough with others to make them want to play with us.

Touch who God says Touch

Matthew 19:13

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

Are we not a “touch me not” society? Oh, I get it. The world has warped us to believe that a touch can be misconstrued and considered inappropriate to the point we’re afraid to touch anyone. How sad is that? Not for children though; they’ll hug a complete stranger just because they were kind. But if we do that it quakes their soul because we’ve entered their air space.

My church is a hugging church, I love that about it. Christians need to hug more freely. There’s a line not to cross, but overall people need to feel how much you care, and a hug is a great way to let them know!

Bless who God says Bless

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

One of the greatest attributes of a child is their desire for everyone to get what’s best.

At a recent Christian School Dinner, one of the children was called upon to pray. The little boy’s prayer moved me! Not because of its eloquence but because of its sincerity. He blessed the food, but before he did he said, “Lord, I can run really fast, and I pray that all my friends can run as fast as I can.” I was in awe. He wanted the world he lived in to have all the goodness he had. Isn’t that the greatest prayer a blessed child of God can pray? Ask God to give them the goodness that’s been given to you and then move out of the way so they can get there. Don’t prevent anyone from getting to Christ. Pray for them, ask the Holy Spirit to move on them, and then watch God work. Don’t assume that you already know their mind, or don’t hinder someone because you don’t feel they’re worthy.

That’s just a few ways, I pray I’ll never grow up.

 

Growing Up God’s Way

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11

At what point does one officially grow up? And are there areas in your life where’s it okay to never grow up? I have questions this morning. Lots of them! My cousin and friend Erin, is speaking tonight on whether or not smart phones have destroyed a generation, and that put my mind on a path to yesterday and what it was that brought me to where I am. Although I was born in the era of hippies and free love, that era didn’t really have too much of an effect on me because of the rurality of where I lived. Yes, the movement was in West Virginia, but not so much in my world. And I certainly didn’t have the exposure to media as the youth today. So what we seen of it was what actually came into our home, via other family members living the life of that era or television; which was limited to 3 channels and only two could be viewed clearly unless someone turned the antenna. Something youth of today cannot even fathom; they have the world at their fingertips, literally!

I had the world of imagination, (the dreamer) which even today gets me into some trouble. It takes my mind on journeys and often puts me in the place of want rather than the place of need. Want being flesh lead, need being Spirit lead. I think that is the difference between where we should grow up, and where we should stay as a child. My spiritual life has always been quite the journey and as much as I try to stay on task… I struggle.

I want to glorify God… but not always in submission to Him. Sometimes I think I have some pretty cool ideas. And God says… “Nope. Not gonna happen.”

Growing up is Good

I think of Apostle Paul, much like my husband David. David is a man of action. He is a “get’r done” kind of guy about the things he is passionate about. Mostly work and rescue. He’s passionate about those two things. He’s very adult about them. There’s no time to horse around. Apostle Paul was very passionate about his work as well. It’s what lead him to persecute the Christians and what drove him when he discovered Jesus as LORD.  It obviously worked for him, look at the impact he has had on eternity.

Growing up is good and necessary in the work of the Lord.

Childishness Has Its Place Too!

Jesus said, in Matthew 18:4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Which leads me to believe there are areas in our lives where it’s okay to not grow up.

Being spiritually lead is getting back into the mode of childhood. It’s there that we learn to listen, be okay with being awkward, dream the dreams that God calls vision and above all let Him take us by the hand and lead.

Like a child I often run ahead of God’s plan and timing and He stops, waits patiently for me to return, and we start the journey again. I’m grateful for grace… I have needed so much lately…

Questions to ponder:

What areas in your life do you feel you’re growing up nicely?

Where have you grown up too much?

Where do you feel God leading that you have either ran ahead, or are lagging behind?

In Regards to Tadpoles and Quarters

There have been times in an introductory conversation with people in and outside of faith, that I’ve been embarrassed to say that I am an “Independent Fundamental Baptist.”  Before the Independent Fundamental Baptist get offended, I need to explain a little further. I’m not ashamed of the doctrinal foundation for which I’m a member, I’m ashamed of what is acceptable and expected behavior of certain sects of the denomination, as well as any other denomination who in the name of Jesus Christ, behave in a manner that Christ Himself would have no part of.

I attended a revival meeting at Brooksville Baptist Church in the greater Big Bend, WV area, and what a wonderful revival it was. Dwight Goff, Pastor of Camden Flats Baptist Church in Glenville, WV preached and hit the nail on the head on the subject of Christians selecting from a menu of what they want at “their” church. I guess you could call it “Burger King Christianity”, they want it their way, not God’s way.

Every denomination believes they have it right. And many of them do… on paper. It’s when the practice of faith goes from doctrinal statement to practical participation that there’s a problem. Pastor Francis Chan, who no longer Pastors, left his church of thousands because he realized, they in no way shape or form looked like the New Testament church described in the Bible. I don’t think that’s the answer either by the way, but I understand his theory.

Take a hard look at your church: Does it line up with scripture? Are your people taking care of one  another in the spiritual and physical sense? Do they even know who needs taken care of? Are your people sitting in the pews at every opportunity to hear the Word of God and then practicing the Word of God outside of the church in a manner that draws people to them with the question, “Why do you care?” Is there even any evidence that they do care? Do they categorize who should be saved? Do they make fun of those who they deem un-savable? Oh yes… I went there. How on earth do ever think that a person in sin will be saved if you’ve just belittled and made fun of them in the name of Jesus. Yes, the lifestyle of homosexuality, transvestite, transgender, etc. etc.  is sin. So is turning people away from Christ. Christ said He would draw men unto Himself, and He still does. But I have to wonder if the reason we don’t see more people saved isn’t because once Christ draws them in, we paint another picture of Christianity. Our version.

My Pastor closed his sermon on Sunday with the story of a young boy who was sent to the store to buy eggs for his momma. On the way out he tripped on the curb and broke all the eggs. He was so upset. The crowd gathered to console him and one elderly gentlemen took a quarter from his pocket and gave to the young boy (today it would be a couple bucks) but he ask the crowd, “I care 25 cents worth, how much do you care?”

Dwight Goff closed his sermon last night with the story of a wading pool full of tadpoles that he didn’t want to see perish by pouring them out in the yard, at which point God ask him, “Do you care as much about men as you do those tadpoles who don’t even have a soul?” Quarters and Tadpoles; how much do you care.

We are categorizing saints. Our Denomination. Our church. Our style. Our people. Our way. Our money. Our stuff… we want it neat and tidy without confrontation or concern. Yes! We want people saved. But only the pretty people. Not the ones that make us feel icky.

I had a come to Jesus moment the other day when I happened to be around an odiferous person and wished that I wasn’t. God quickly reminded me that that is how I smell to Him in all my worldly, sinful ways, but He hangs out with me. Suck it up butter cup and love on them.

So the questions of the day for you and I both are this.

  • In regards to tadpoles and quarters, how much do you care?
  • Are you more concerned with things that will burn up in eternity than you are the souls you are coming into contact with today?
  • Do you know who needs a quarter in your congregation?
  • Why are you in that congregation, to serve… or to sit?
  • Are you drawing people to Christ, or standing between them and Him with your “opinions?”

Jesus said this in Matthew 18:1-7

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

One of the sweetest things about a child is there are no categories (unless adults train them that way). But naturally speaking they just want to enjoy the people they’re with. They love learning something new. They may think you’re weird, but that’s okay too. They want to please those in authority, and they think those in authority rank superhero status. They love to serve. And if a superhero takes the time to come down on their level and understand their weirdness, then that superhero is someone to follow.

Those should be added to the doctrinal statements in every house of Jesus.

What to eat when you’re hurting

what to eatHave you ever wondered which hurts worst: Saying something you wish you’d never said or saying nothing and wishing you had? It’s tough. And it’s one of the millions of problems God understands. Now if only I could understand.

When you’re a talker, and I am, silence isn’t necessarily golden. I can feel the Spirit of God welling up in my soul trying to overpower the words that are working their way up from my gut. I need to say it! And God says “That’ll leave a mark Shari.” And I reply… “Just a small one God.” And He responds… “You can only see the surface, I see down deep… that little mark you thought your words would leave will go clear to the bone.

And so I shush. But the words pool and pool and pool until they flood out my mouth like tsunami that just hit the beach of a small island! I hate it! I regret it. But it’s too late… and so God begins putting the shores back of the relationship that I cut myself off from because I’d had enough. I’d been hurt one too many times.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter asked the Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? To which Jesus replied, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

I taught this lesson on Wednesday night to my youth. It was timely in my life… but that’s how God works. If you’re a teacher of the gospel you understand. God never allows you to point a finger at anyone and say “You should do this!” without three pointing back at you saying, “So should you!”

I spoke a while back on the subject of hurt in the ministry.  I was shocked at the widespread sentiment of almost everyone there. Many thanked me and said the message was for them, then asked prayer for their issue. I think some wanted me to pray that God would cast coals of fire on their enemies head, but that’s not how God works. I know, I’ve prayed that prayer a time or two. If you’re honest you likely have too.

So what does one do when they’ve been hurt? At least for a while… shush; followed by calming the waters.  No tsunamis! You need to sit in the recliner with a cup of coffee and banana and talk to Jesus. Well, that’s how I did it.

It’s said to be an old Cherokee tale, but whosoever it is, it is wise and it is biblical:

***

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one that you feed.

***

 Our words have great power. The spoken and the unspoken. Although we may never say aloud many of the things we think, the thought process still feeds our spirit. And like the tsunami that got its start down deep on the ocean floor, the things in the pit of our stomach that causes us anger and resentment are what we feed upon. If we continually think negative thoughts about issues and people it will eventually erupt and likely cause a broad path of damage.

The coffee and banana were good… the Words of God, were great! Feed on those.

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Why I have no desire to grow up

chick grownup

As a youth leader there has to be at least a level of immaturity about you, or so I believe. You’re entitled to your own opinion if you disagree, but just so you know, I just rolled my eyes at you. I   highly doubt that anyone in my teen class is any more excited to get to Wednesday night class than I am, unless it’s one of the three other teen leaders who would also roll their eyes at you if you told them to grow up. It’s a fun time. We love the youth of Victory Baptist Church and try our very best to teach relative, culturally aware lessons to the teens that will help them in their growth as a Christian and leave them with bible knowledge, not just a feel good lesson.

Whenever possible I treat them as equals. Let’s face reality… if you have a room full of teens there is at some point the necessity of saying “If you two don’t knock it off I’m sending you up stairs.” I could probably count on one hand the times I have to say that, for the most part they’re a respectful group of people. They’re also a hoot to hang around. That’s why I have no desire to grow up. Teens keep me in touch with reality. While I’m trying to stay culturally tuned in to what they’re tuning into, I’m also staying culturally aware of what’s dragging them away from the gospel.

Here’s a few misnomers of youth ministry…

Youth don’t want to learn about Jesus

Wrong. Adults don’t want to tell them about Jesus, because most adults are not prepared to answer the questions that might derive from talking about Jesus. Teens are eager to learn about Jesus and are concerned about their future. They’ve heard just enough about end times to make it a very scary issue and one that’s easier to ignore than face the reality of an unsaved existence during those times. What peace they’re afforded when they’re brought up in a church that teaches end time events and the reality of how God takes care of His people.

Youth are too involved in other activities to take the time for church:

Wrong. Parents are too apt to encourage youth to place other activities over church. It also allows them to lay out of church to “support” their children. Yes… I’m a tad bitter.

But I watch as parents will pump thousands of dollars into extracurricular activities in hopes of giving their kids an edge and yet will scoff at a request for a few extra dollars for a youth event at church. Please tell me the percentage of kids who actually use their extracurricular skills post-graduation and I’ll counter that statistic with my own which is – 100% of them will face God in eternity. I win.

I could argue this till the cows come home, but those who need the message are not likely to tune in to www.theJesusChick.com. So why bother right? Because I know there are other youth workers out there who understand when they hear the scripture in Matthew 19:14 ~ But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

The disciples were viewing children as a distraction to the ministry… they are the ministry! Sometimes as a youth worker when you’re begging for teachers and ministry help, it almost feels like they look at you as a distraction. Heaven forbid we should disrupt the regularly scheduled service for a good time, and in so doing lead a child to Christ.

This message is for my comrades in the ministry, to help you understand the importance of immature people like me who enjoy telling young people about Jesus. Jesus is still the “funnest” Guy I know. And the opportunity to work with youth who are not jaded by life is one of the greatest experiences and learning opportunities a grown up can have; b

ecause for those few hours we spend in the presence of young people we remember what it was like to love Jesus as He intended.

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