Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going through the motions

This month, my young couples group is scheduled to lead the Children’s Ministry’s Sunday School.  In CCF, the church that I go to, every small group is assigned a month to minister to the kids, and, this year, April is our month.

Usually, I would jump at this opportunity, because Children’s Ministry is quite close to my heart, and in the heart of my group mates (many of us are teachers by profession).  Unfortunately, I have allowed my recent busyness to push my Christian walk to the realm of lukewarmness.

It showed when it came to this ministry.  I was pretty apathetic when the church’s office staff reminded me about our stint as teachers for the month of April.  I got all the materials on Tuesday, but I didn’t even look at them until the day before we took over.  March was a really manic month, and I was just plain exhausted and didn’t want to think about ministry, and my quiet time and prayer life also went down in the dumps.

It took God to use one of my Abba’s Orchard students to remind me that the more loaded I am, all the more I need to be intimate with the Lord. Thank you, you beautiful adolescent, you know who you are.

Another thing God did to jolt me back into the swing of things was through music.  For some strange, and surely God-given reason, almost every time I would tune in to 103.3 FM (the Christian station here in CDO), Matthew West’s hit song, The Motions, would play.  It’s a powerful song that challenges us to passionately give our best and our all for God, not just go through the motions of a “Christian life.”  That’s exactly what I was struggling with, going through the motions.  Ho-hum.

God also, for another very strange reason, kept reminding me of a recruiting clip of a children’s program that CCF did a few years back, called Trading Places.  How weird is that?  He just kept reminding me of the video clip over and over again, even if that program was done three years ago, far into distant memory.    Below is said Trading Places recruiting clip.  It’s quite nice, designed to get churchgoers to volunteer for the said Trading Places program.

The end of the chorus kept ringing in my ears, “Make a difference in me…use me so a child will know.”

Then I was like, “Okay, Lord, okay…I get you.  I’ve strayed a bit, and now lots of little ones will depend on me and my team for one whole month.  I need to shape up, NOW!”  Thank God, He is merciful, because all that’s needed to shape up and become a fruitful believer again is to abide.  And so I have.

Good thing too.  Remember, a team is only as good as its leader, and if I fail to be used by God and instead gave an impression that we can get by on our own skill, we’re sunk.  I think this is the reason why God was so in my face right before we started our stint…because he wanted me, and therefore us, to rely on Him for the great challenges ahead.

I handled ages 9-12 this morning, and I had a whopping 32+ students!  All stuffed in a little room.  Holy cow!  I thought I had it rough, but the 6-8 class also had over 30 students, and so did the youngest class, ages 3-5.  Yikes, over 30 students per class!!  This is the third year my group has been teaching the kids, but there were nowhere near these numbers.  I’m glad God is growing CCF, but whew!

We got through the first Sunday.  One down, three more to go.  But what will be most memorable out of this experience, for me, would be how He went after me right before this started.  I was good and ready to go through this lackadaisically, relying on my experience and skill as a teacher, instead of relying on His power.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.” (Zech. 4:6)

Lesson learned.  And as the Matthew West song goes:
I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

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