Category Archives: Encouragement For Children's Ministers

Salvation is a Free Gift that will Cost You Everything

Today I am reposting a blog post from a fiend of mine, with his permission, because children’s evangelist Jerry Moyer nailed this.

Salvation is a Free Gift that will Cost You Everything

by Jerry Moyer

Opening the magic chestI have noticed that when Christians describe their relationship with Jesus, they usually say “Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” Many times, it’s said so fast that it’s all slurred together like “Lordandsavior.” Like it’s all one word. Over the last several decades the church has focused a lot on the savior part and with much teaching on grace as of late most people understand that salvation is a free gift that is paid for with the blood of Jesus that washes away our sin, so we can be born again.

What I have not heard a lot about is that even though Salvation is a free gift it will cost you everything.

I can hear people saying now. “Well how’s that? If it’s free how does it cost anything?”

Well, it cost God his only son.

It cost Jesus his Life.

It will cost us our life.

Crossing the Jesus bridgeSalvation is FREE! There is nothing we can do to deserve it. It was paid for with the blood of Jesus. That’s why it’s called grace. We cannot earn it. Grace is an unearned favor. If you ask someone for a $5 favor you’re are asking them for $5 that you did not earn. It is not owed to you. We needed a huge favor from God and there is no way we could possibly earn it, pay for it, or be good enough to deserve it. Ephesians 2:8 says that “we are saved by grace through faith not of ourselves. It is the gift of God not by works.” Salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned by good works. Most people have a pretty good grip on this part of the gospel.

What I feel we don’t have a good grip on is the Lord part. Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

Sure, Jesus wants to be our savior or he would not have died on the cross, so we can be born again. But he also wants to be our Lord. The following Scriptures are things that Jesus said that we have not heard a lot about over the last several decades.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

christian-funky-retro-easter004Deny yourself means that we quit doing things our way and start doing things God’s way. When people in the bible times took up a cross only one thing happened. They died. We must die to ourselves and live unto God. Many times, dying hurts! When we die to our plans and take up God’s plans many times it will hurt. It will hurt because we really wanted to do certain things and now God might want us to do something different.

Jesus wants to be our Lord. Here in America we really don’t understand what Lord means like people in some other countries do. Lord means boss, master, we love what he loves and hate what he hates. When Jesus is our lord that means, we have turned our back on our way of doing things and we only do things His way. It will cost you everything to make Jesus your Lord. It will cost you your life. It will cost you your dreams and ambitions for your life for his dreams and ambitions for your life. Your plans and purposes for your life for his plans and purposes for your life. It’s not just saying “Jesus is my “Lordandsavior.” It actually means doing something. Doing his will for our life no matter what it cost us. Giving up our will for his will.

Jesus said in Luke 6:46 Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say”?

He said in Matthew 7:21Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

I believe that too many times we have presented the gospel to people emphasizing the Free gift of salvation and say to people “come say this simple prayer and you will be saved” and have not told them that Jesus wants to be their Lord. When we have said make him your Lord and savior we have not explained what Lord means.

Salvation is a free Gift! But following Jesus will cost you everything!

I think we have done people a big disservice by presenting a one-sided message. Everyone wants a “FREE GIFT” especially one that will get you out of hell and into heaven. People have not really understood what they were getting into. Then after they find out that Jesus wants their whole life, their will, their everything they say to themselves “I did not sign up for all this” and many times fall away.

I have often wondered why so many Christians ride the fence with one foot in the church and one foot in the world. They want just enough of God to escape their problem, but not enough of God to fulfill His purpose. When evaluating how we have presented the message of salvation it’s no wonder we have so many halfhearted Christians that have said a prayer and might be born again but are not living for God. There is no difference in them and the world. They never really understood that this “FREE GIFT” was going to cost them anything. So, we have our American version of Christianity where we love our American lifestyle and culture so much, that we are not willing to conform it to God’s will for our life. We are not willing to give up anything to follow Jesus; and Jesus wants it all.

I realize that some may say aren’t you preaching a works salvation by talking like this?

To that I would say NO!

We are not saved by our good works. We are saved unto good works. Paul said in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. The change in our heart when we are born again will produce the good works. Sure, we have a will we can choose not to listen to our heart and not do the will of our father, but if Jesus is really Lord of your life then you will want to do the will of your heavenly father.

When we are born again there is a change in our spirit man. According to Romans 5:5 God puts his love in our heart. That love will cause us to want to do good. As we listen to that love in our heart and obey it, we will follow God’s plan for our life.

Jerry Moyer
Jubilee Gang Ministries
WWW.JUBILEEGANG.COM

The Highest Calling of a Children’s Pastor

head_christianHeart Knowledge or Head Knowledge: Teaching the Bible systematically to children is important. I go so far to say it’s essential to have children grow up knowing the Word of God. But if all you’re giving your students is knowledge, it’s not enough. Heart knowledge of God is vital.

John 5:39  You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!

Head knowledge will teach students facts, but it will not impart the divine light of God’s living Word, Jesus Christ. When children internalize this divine light, they learn the truth of God’s Word, and it takes root in their hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Children don’t just need to know about God. This need to know God and have their own relationship with Him. Too many people have been raised in the church thinking they were right with God because of head knowledge, only to find that wasn’t enough. These are the children who often grow up in the church only to turn their back on God as teens or adults.

Crossing the Jesus bridgeSalvation: Too many ministries focus on helping children know how to be good. It’s important for children to know what God expects from them, but they can never be good enough to please God. Children need to know that they are sinners and that Christ died for them so they could be set free from the curse of sin. He took their punishment. Until they surrender their lives to God, they will never be saved no matter how good they are or how often they attend church. They also need to understand this is more than having head knowledge about God’s gift of salvation or saying a magic prayer. Salvation begins with God’s grace, and ends with a sinner surrendering and yielding to God’s divine light.

Ephesians 2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

Little boy hugging an old bookChanged Lives: Children need to know that when they are saved, their lives should change and transform. While everyone sins sometimes, a person who has really accepted Christ and become His child should want to please God and stay away from sin. When He does sin, he should be taught to confess that sin, turn to God, and repent. He should be taught that repentance is more than saying your sorry. It’s changing your mind and turning away from sin. If they still are happy living in sin, they are not really saved.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Romans 12:1-2  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Jesus Christ crown of thorns and nailA Living Sacrifice: Children also need to understand that when they are saved, they’re giving their lives to God. They are surrendering and yielding control of their lives to God. The lives they live are no longer their own.

Romans 12:1-2  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Revival Celebration 1.2bFullness of Joy: Children who have a heart knowledge of God should be taught how they can expect fullness of joy in their lives. They can live in God’s abundant life of peace, love, hope, faith, and joy. They can expect the favor and direction of God in their lives. They can expect the baptism, gifts, and fullness of the Holy Spirit as children. They should be taught the John Piper quote” God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” When a child gets hold of God in this way, he will never turn from Him. He will want to spend time with God because it is fun.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

John 15:11  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Psalm 16:11  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Romans 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Crusade Girl WorshippingRelationship: When a child is saved, he has a right relationship with the God who created the universe. That child can abide or live in His presence. The more we yield to God, the closer our relationship with Him. We can talk to Him through prayer. We can get guidance from Him through the Bible. We can ask Him anything, and He will answer. We can fellowship with Him and come into His presence through praise and worship. When your students have a relationship like this with God, they won’t fall away as teenagers or adults. They will stand firm through trials and temptations, and if they do fall away, they won’t be able to resist God for long before they return to the fold. They will serve and enjoy God all the days of their lives and throughout eternity.

Ephesians 3:16-19  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

crusade-boy-at-altarHighest Calling: This is the highest calling of a children’s pastor, not to teach children about God, but to introduce children to God and help them develop their relationship with Him.

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Make Your Children’s Ministry Like Disney

Boy with KleenexThere is a lot of pressure for children’s pastors to make there children’s ministries bigger, better, glitzier, funner, more like Disney World. While we should look for ways to engage our students with innovative, exciting new methods, I’m not a fan of turning Kidmin in to Disney Land. I’m not saying we should go back to the days of flannelgraphs, but we need to keep our focus on what’s eternally important. Here are three reasons why you should resist the temptation to become like Disney.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of God1. We have a better brand. Disney is a well known brand for children, but there is no way we can compete with them. We cannot spend enough or recruit enough worker to create a Disney like atmosphere in our children’s services. Here’s the good news. We don’t have to because we have something better. We are presenting the Kingdom of God to children every time we meet. When we start becoming convinced what the world has to offer is better than what we have to offer, we need to spend time getting to know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords all over again.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Joy Key Meaning Enjoy Fun Or Happy2. We have the source of joy. Disney is known for making children happy, but that happiness is fleeting. We can introduce our students to the Holy Spirit, the source of joy. He’s not only our source of joy, but of peace and of righteousness. How could Disney ever compete with that?

Romans 14:17  For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

jesus-with-children3. We foster eternal relationships, not momentary pleasures. Disney is exciting, but fleeting. The relationships we are fostering with our students are eternal. Those relationships aren’t only with children’s workers and the church members, but the most important relationship we can foster with our students is to introduce them to Jesus Christ. That relationship is eternal. Disney won’t help them during the hard times of life. Jesus will. Disney won’t be there throughout their lifetimes. Jesus will. A relationship with Jesus Christ doesn’t only benefit our students throughout their lives. Their relationship with Jesus Christ is eternal.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Word for 2017

There are some years God gives me a word for Revival Fire for Kids. In 2017, He’s given me several words. It has become like an explosion in my spirit. I believe 2017 will be a year like none other. Here are some of the things God is showing me.

Person Holding Sign Spreading Word of GodGod-centered:

John 15:4-5  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

God has been speaking this to me for a while now, and it has revolutionized my understanding of how to “do” ministry. For too long, we have operated our ministries in a man-centered way. Yes, we’ve admitted God is sovereign and in the center of everything, but do we act like this is true?

Do we seek God’s guidance on what to do next and what plans to make and events to have, or do we do what we’ve always done in the past? Do we get our marching instructions by spending time in the presence of God, or do we follow the advice of a “successful” children minister who wrote a new book?

What do we consider successful? To God, success is not measured by the results. It is measured by faithfulness and obedience. Do we strive to accomplish what God has promised, or do we yield and allow God to do it through us. When upsets happen, and they will, do we trust that God has things under control, or do we wring our hands, worry, and try to fix things?

This year, I am determined to abide and yield to God and trust Him every step of the way.

Joy Key Meaning Enjoy Fun Or HappyJoy:

John 15:11   I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” — John Piper

Another word that God has exploded in my spirit is the word Joy.  God is showing me He wants me to be joyful and happy in Him. I’ve heard the catch phrase at times in Christian circles, “God doesn’t care if we’re happy as much as He wants us to be holy.” I didn’t realize how false this statement is.

The truth is He want us to find our happiness and holiness in Him. Isaiah 35:8-10 calls it the Highway of Holiness and says gladness and joy will overtake those on this highway. Only those in the narrow way will be found there. Not only that, there is safety on this highway. No ravenous beasts can be found there.

Isaiah 35:8-10 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

The more time I spend enjoying God, the easier it is to handle the stress within my life. I am learning that finding joy in Him really does give me strength. John Piper calls this Christian Hedonism. You can read more about Christian Hedonism at this link.

Little boy hugging an old bookChrist Revealed:

Matthew 16:16-17  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

1 Peter 1:7-9  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The final word I want to share with you is Christ revealed. Many times, we children’s pastors lament because more children aren’t being saved or baptized in the Holy Spirit. Many live in secular homes. How can we possibly make a difference in their lives in one hour a week? The truth is we can’t, but Christ can. None of us have any chance of knowing Christ, no matter what our background was, unless the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us. The same is true with our students. Don’t strive to be your students’ Holy Spirit. Instead teach the truth of God’s Word and pray for Christ to be revealed in their hearts.

I know this to be true. I grew up in a home that was far away from God. I went to church when I was 13 on a church bus because I heard there were cute guys. One night in a youth service, the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to me, I yielded, and my life was never the same.

Don’t only pray for Christ to be revealed in the hearts of your students; pray for Christ to be revealed in a greater way in your own heart, and watch what happens. That’s my prayer for 2017.

Happy New Year from Revival Fire for Kids!

Are You Trying Too Hard?

We’ve all been there. We want to provide a great children’s program where students learn to love God and operate in the Holy Spirit. We want to make sure every class is manned with competent teachers. We work hard to plan effective outreaches to reach the community.  And we do this all while trying to keep up with all the work involved with keeping up with running one of the largest ministries in the church. But are you trying too hard to juggle all the balls in a way God never expected?

None of these things are wrong. Scripture instructs us to not be weary in well doing. If you do all these things to build the Kingdom of God in the lives of children, you are doing a good work and will be rewarded for it. So what do I mean by trying too hard?

The problem comes when we don’t abide in Christ. If we abide in Christ with all we do, we will be effective and reap a harvest, but if we try to do all these things without abiding in Christ, all we’ll get is tired.

John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

The problem comes when we don’t understand how to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ isn’t a checklist we do to get God to move in our lives. Abiding in Christ is yielding to His will and allowing Him to move through us. But how do we do this?

138Recognize that without Christ, you can do nothing. It doesn’t matter how great you are as a children’s pastor, how long you’ve been at it, or how skilled you are. Without Christ, you can do nothing of value. Your effectiveness comes from Him.

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Do what God wants, not what sounds good. Many times, children’s pastors go to conferences, talk to their peers, and read books on children’s ministry to get good ideas on what they should do. None of these things are wrong. But if the latest fad or book is what is driving your ministry, you will be spinning your wheels. Your main job is to find out what God wants you to do in ministry and do it.  We show our love for God through our obedience. Sometimes God will use a book or conference to speak, but make sure it is God speaking.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Kids studying bibleLove your students. If you are abiding in Christ, your students will know the love of God through you. If you have problems with certain children, ask God to give you His love for them.

1 Corinthians 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

A blue person stands out in a crowd holding a sign with the word God on it, spreading the holy teachings of the church and trying to convert others to a belief or faith

Remember that it is God’s ministry, not yours. You did not choose to be a children’s pastor because there was a need in the church or as a stepping stone to “real” ministry. If you are a children’s pastor, it is because God chose you to work through to pastor His children.

John 15:15 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

kid-worship-620x335Be filled with joy. If you are abiding in Christ and doing the ministry He chose you for, then you joy will be complete and you will eventually bear fruit. If you are lacking in joy or in fruit bearing, ask God to show you where you need to abide in Him.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.