Friday, June 24, 2011

Small Stuff

Do you want to change the world? It's not as hard as it seems. It all begins with small stuff.

This past week, I was part of a mission team that served the children living at Tuscany Apartments here in McKinney. Since most of these kids have never been to church, we brought the church to them instead. Each day, we held "Beach Blast" on the apartment grounds. For the most part, it was a typical week of Bible school, including songs, crafts, and lessons. Indeed, it was small stuff that seemed to bring the most joy to the faces of those kids.

Sidewalk chalk.
Water relays.
Lots and lots of hugs.
Even an old inflatable pool toy in the shape of a dolphin. (the kids named it Waterfall)

Many of us likely take these simple pleasures for granted. After's small stuff. Yet, each day, as little blessings poured over the complex, the eyes looking back at me softened and smiles grew bigger. As a result, I saw the world grow a little brighter by the power of small acts of kindness performed with great love.

This morning, I witnessed 6 children take Jesus as their Savior and I rejoice with the angels in Heaven for these new brothers and sisters in Christ. Today was the end of our "Beach Blast" but I have no doubt that God will continue to work in the hearts of all who were touched by His love this week. The seeds that were planted by each servant's small acts of love will one day reap a great harvest in God's kingdom.

Too often, we underestimate God and we fail to see Him in the little things. Hopes. Dreams. Wishes. Desires. No matter how insignificant they may seem to others, God cares about it all. Likewise, He cares about the little children, whom many of us disregard. It's true...they are small and they are easy to dismiss. But we are wise to remember that Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14 NIV)

Today, I challenge you to be mindful of the little ones in your midst. For it doesn't take much to make a big impact in the life of a child...good or bad. Consider the small acts that can either help them or hinder them on their journey to Christ. Then consider the power in the small stuff. After all, we make big changes in the world... one small child at a time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Narrow Gate

Lily and Sofie spent their first week of summer vacation at tennis camp. First Baptist Church of McKinney has several sports camps throughout the summer months, and the girls were excited to learn tennis. Every day, I dropped them off at the court, coated in sunscreen, with a water bottle in one hand and a racket in the other.

Learning important skills for the game, such as how to serve overhanded and to use a mean backhand are important if the girls are to be successful tennis players that have a lifelong love for the game. Even so, they are little girls and they inherited their Mama's sweet tooth. To be sure, Lily and Sofie were most excited to receive free ice cream for memorizing their Bible verse. During camp devotions throughout the week, the girls were challenged to "Rise Above" and...

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road the leads to destruction. And many people enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few will find it."-Matthew 7:13-14

Naturally, we practiced the verse a lot at home to earn that coveted Chik-fil-A ice cream certificate. And as we worked to memorize the words, I was challenged to plant the truth in my daughters' hearts. As we studied the words, we talked extensively about the crossroads before us in the road of life.

At some point, we all make a choice as to which gate we shall pass through. As a woman of faith, I pray my daughters and my son charge through the narrow gate. The world proclaims that it doesn't exist. And yet, God's Word tells us to enter through it. In a lie, straight from the pits of Hell, the world claims there are many ways to God. Still, the truth says there is only one... the narrow gate. It's marked, not by tolerance, but by the blood of Christ. While the world calls it foolishness, only the narrow gate leads to true redemption.

Today, my children walk the road of life with my husband and me. Hand in hand, we spend our days safe in the presence of our LORD. He goes before us and He has our back at the same time. But one day, not long from now, Jack, Lily and Sofie will choose their own path. There is no greater prayer for me as a mother than my desire to see my children "walk in truth."(3 John 1:4 NIV)) And I am aware that each day I am responsible to "train them up in the way they should go so that when they are older they shall not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) It's a responsibility I do not take lightly, as I understand, that for this, I am accountable to my Holy God.

Our journey has already begun and our days together are short. Therefore, as a woman of faith, I am challenged to live out and teach my kids about God's promises. As their mother, I must not fail to "teach them to (my) children, talking about them when (we) sit at home and when (we) walk along the road, when (we) lie down and when (we) get up." (Deuteronomy 11:19) I must not squander the fleeting moments I have with my kids. Instead, I must train their eyes to know the narrow gate for the world will surely hide it from them. The road of destruction will have many disguises. My children must "not forget the things (their) eyes have seen or let them slip from (their) heart(s) as long as (they) live."(Deuteronomy 4:9)

All the days of their lives, I pray my girls and my son continue to seek the narrow gate and walk the road that leads to life in Christ. As mankind continues to strive on the wide road of humanism, another path lies waiting for us all. Only with Christ can we truly "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8 NIV) It's a life of restoration and it is found by walking through the narrow gate.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Life To The Extreme

This morning, I woke up early and took a van load of teenage boys to the departure site for Extreme Camp 2011.

Their excitement was contagious as we drove to our church parking lot and loaded duffel bags, sleeping bags, and pillows onto the bus. Zip lines, swimming, and tons of fun await them at Camp Wow in Oklahoma. The boys could hardly wait to get out of the van and onto the bus.

For the next four days, the youth at FBC McKinney shall live life to the extreme. And while I hope this experience is everything they imagine, I pray that camp will be so much more than fun memories with friends. I pray they are moved by the Holy Spirit to embrace a life with Christ with the same excitement they are feeling this morning.

and self-control.

(Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

These are the building blocks of living life to the extreme. "And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself." (Ephesians 2:20 NLT) So as my son and his posse' take in the great outdoors, I pray they also turn their hearts to their Savior. I pray they dig deep in His Word and come back changed by His grace.

For "our Lord is great and very powerful. There is no limit to what he knows." (Psalm 147:5 NCV) In Christ, we have life to the extreme.

I lifted this pic from Kim Preston's Facebook page...thanks Kim!! Jack is somewhere in that sea of blue. Over 400 FBC youth at Extreme Camp this year. Go God!!

Update: God is moving this generation, one heart at a time. During Extreme Camp, God called out over 100 kids who are feeling called to ministry in some capacity. To my delight, Jack was one of them. In addition, 47 kids chose to accept Christ and were baptized at Camp Wow. Praise God!