Can anyone stop the plague?

Is there hope in Psalm 130?

When you read this Psalm it’s about Israel’s unfaithfulness to God and all seems hopeless until you get to verse 30, “but Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped.” (Psalm 106:30, NLT) and again the chapter turns to Israel’s unfaithfulness.

When I read this verse it didn’t appear to be a very uplifting portion of scripture. It wasn’t until I shared a lesson with the kids about pointing others to Jesus that this passage spoke to me. Verse 29 is speaking about a physical plague that came upon the Israelites because they continually turned away from God. In comparison, I see the plague today as a spiritual plague affecting millions of people who are being deceived by false gods. Both physical and spiritual plagues have the same affect on people; death! There are so many false religions and being introduced into our society today that are luring people to follow false gods.

Phineas had the courage to step in on behalf of a people who had turned from God and, because he did, the Israelites were spared physical death. We must be willing to step in on behalf of those who have been deceived and are worshiping other gods so that their lives can be spared from spiritual death.

This scripture may not be warm and fuzzy, but it’s certainly a passage that should resound in our spirit. It should challenge us in our Christian walk and encourage us to share our faith so that this plague of false gods will stop. There are millions of people who have no hope or future, but God has a plan for their lives. We were created to glorify God and to tell others about His love and forgiveness. We must have the same courage as Phinehas and step in and stop the spiritual plague that is sweeping across the world.

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (Romans 10:14, NLT)

In all reality we are plagued with many things in our lives, but perhaps the greatest plague affecting our culture is the onset of false religions and our ineffectiveness in reaching the people that are deceived. Do we have the courage to step in and stop this plague?

POINTS TO PONDER

1. Phinehas was so upset about the immorality of the Israelites that he felt he needed to step in. Do you have that same zeal for the Lord?

2. Although God was upset with the Israelites, Phinehas had the courage to step in on their behalf, perhaps risking his own safety. Do you have the courage to go before God on behalf of those that don’t follow Him?

3. Is your christian walk strong enough to point others to Jesus, or are you expecting someone else to witness to them?

4. To point others to Jesus, it helps to have a basic understanding of those religions that are luring people to believe in false gods so that you know how to talk with them. How much do you know about other religions so that you can steer unbelievers to the one and only true God?

We’ve Doubled in Size!!

“We’ve doubled in attendance since this past summer when we set this date for your visit. I don’t know how long we’re going to be able to remain in our current room.” What a wonderful thing to hear upon arrival at a young church in Spotsylvania. I had been invited to observe the current structure of their children’s ministry and offer some suggestions to help them grow.

With the ministry team sitting in the room along with 12 children it was easy to see that they had grown beyond their current walls.

As I shared a service with the kids I was encouraged by the eagerness of the team as they observed; hopefully gleaning some teaching ideas and methods. The kids, eager to learn, were quick to volunteer as we acted out the story of Jacob and Esau, twin brothers, and then as we talked about the importance of looking beyond ourself to see the needs of others.

How often do we become so wrapped up in ourselves that we can’t see beyond the small confines of our little world? There are so many hurting people with needs ranging from the physical to the spiritual. We need to be more like Jesus who continually looked toward others and their needs and was never self absorbed in His own life. We rounded out the day with an informal Q&A following the service. I met with the team of people committed to reaching the children in their church and their community.

They have a great team in place and I’m believing they will have a profound impact on their community. I look forward to visiting this church again and seeing what God has done through this group of committed people and to hear the stories of how God has touched children and their families.

Blessing in a Bag!

I came across this simple idea on KWAV’s blog post  and felt like I needed to pass it along as you also train up your kids to have an outward view of the needs around them. Several years ago, while in full time ministry, we did something similar with the kids in our ministry by partnering with Convoy of Hope to make Haiti Hygiene Kits following the earthquake. Although that project targeted a specific need following the disaster this project is a way to meet a tragic need that has become all too common in our own backyard.

This is what Ali B. shares on her blog:

Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable?
You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.

How can you help? - Blessing bags. 

This was such an easy project. We are now going to keep a few “Blessing Bags” in our car so that when we do happen to see someone on the streets who is homeless, we can hand them a Blessing Bag. I first learned of these bags from my friend, Julie. I am using the picture of her bags (see above) because the ones we took were taken in horrible lighting and turned out really grainy and hard to see what is inside of them.
If you’d like to make your own Blessing Bags, this is what you would need:

Gallon size Ziplock bags and items to go in the bags, such as:
chap stick
packages of tissues
toothbrush and toothpaste
comb
soap
trail mix
granola bars
crackers
pack of gum
band aids
mouthwash
coins (could be used to make a phone call, or purchase a food item)
hand wipes
you could also put in a warm pair of socks, and maybe a Starbucks gift card

Assemble all the items in the bags, and maybe throw in a note of encouragement. Seal the bags and stow in your car for a moment of providence.

This would be a great activity to do with some other families. Each family could bring one of the items going into the bags (ex: toothbrushes). Set up all the items around a table and walk around it with the ziplocks and fill the bags.

by Ali B.

I so appreciate Ali’s heart and her vision for teaching the children. I know that there are many others with that same heart of compassion. Let’s now take that heart and add hands and feet to it as we remember the scripture that I like to teach children, “Whenever we have opportunity we should do good to everyone”, Galatians 6:10

Make sure you are ready to seize that opportunity the next time your path crosses with that of someone homeless.

Developing a Missions Heart in Children

Ever question when you should begin teaching children to evangelize and reach the world with the gospel? At what age should kids enter the mission field? How can we prepare kids to be missionaries in their own backyard?

God has given us each a people group that He wants us to reach with the gospel. Who has God given our kids to reach and how can we equip them to share the gospel with those people?

If we can instill of heart of compassion in our kids we CAN reach the world.

This year at the Equipping Conference in Manassas Virginia I had the opportunity to have an informal discussion about this very topic. The session was recorded so that you too could gain a little insight into developing a missions heart in children.

“God our Savior, who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim 2:3

Listen to the session

Other Related resources
Growing Mission minded kids by David and Mary Boyd
Developing a Heart for Missions in Kids by John Miller
Involving Children in Missions by Linda Mei Lin Koh
Planting Seeds of Compassion in Children by Mark Entzminger, David Boyd and Ray Risner.

 Video Description: Mark Entzminger guides answers questions about the importance of planting seeds of compassion in the hearts of children. Special guests David Boyd and Jay Risner share valuable insights that will help children’s workers and parents help their kids see the needs around them and find ways to respond. (Be patient as the video loads)

Protected: Calvary AG Training on Feb. 12, 2011

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