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.
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.
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.
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.