Show and Tell Worship

show and tell 2The other day I was out running some errands with Hadley, my 4-year-old daughter. As we were walking through the store Hadley noticed someone wearing a University of Louisville sweatshirt and shouted out, “Dad, look! The dirty birds! We don’t like them.” In that moment I was both embarrassed and extremely proud.

It is amazing how quickly our kids pick up on what we are passionate about. I haven’t had to sit down and teach Hadley about my love for the Wildcats. I haven’t had to set aside times each week for lessons on the Wildcats. As she has witnessed me cheering on the Cats, she has quickly picked up on my love and passion for UK basketball. For four years, I have been modeling–just like the children’s game Show & Tell–what it looks like to be a part of the Big Blue Nation.

Our kids are quick to pick up on our passions. Do they witness us getting passionate about our relationship with Jesus? Do our children witness us worshiping the God we know and love?

King David was the man after God’s own heart. Most of our psalms were written by this king of Israel, this king who, without a doubt, worshiped the Lord. There’s this really cool exchange in 1 Chronicles 28 between David and his son Solomon. We know from this passage that David was nearing the end of his life, so he gathered a great assembly.  He had a charge to give to them; and then, before he is finished, he gives this charge to Solomon in front of the entire congregation:  “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9)

In front of everyone, David says, “Solomon, know my God. As I have known him, know him.” I started thinking about the relationship between David and Solomon. I wonder if Solomon as a child ever witnessed or ever saw his dad, the king, worship? Did Solomon ever witness his father, in the assembly, praise the God he knew, loved, worshiped, and about whom he wrote multiple songs? I guarantee you he did. I guarantee you Solomon witnessed his father, the king, worship God.  Worship by Show & Tell.

In 2 Samuel 6, David is returning the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David. It was a great moment for the nation of Israel. At one particular instance, the caravan stops to praise and worship God. Then it says, “David danced with all of his might” (v. 14). In an act of worship, we see David, the King of Israel, dancing with all of his might. Worship by Show & Tell.

Now my Dad, I’ve never seen him dance, but when I think about him dancing, it’s not really a pretty sight. But when I add the word danced mightily, it gets even worse. David didn’t care. David knew God. He loved God, and he didn’t care who saw. He didn’t care who was around. He worshiped, and worshiped through dancing. He danced mightily before the Lord.

When David gets home, his wife Michal sees him coming into the city. Literally, it says he was dancing and prancing. His wife sees this activity and is embarrassed: “You are the king of Israel. What are you doing making a fool out of yourself dancing like that?” (v. 20). Listen to David’s response. I love it: And David said to Michal, ‘It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord––and I will celebrate before the Lord‘” (v. 20). Basically he’s saying, “I wasn’t dancing for you. I wasn’t dancing for anybody else. I was dancing for the Lord, and I don’t care what you think about it.”

Then he goes on to say, “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes (v. 21). In other words he’s saying, “You think what you saw was embarrassing? You think that was bad? I will become even more undignified than that, because it’s before the Lord. I know him, I will worship him and I don’t care who sees it.”

This act of worship happened before Solomon’s birth. He wasn’t there. He didn’t see it. But I guarantee he heard about this story. I guarantee Solomon saw his dad worship the Lord with passion.

When David charged Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28 to know God, he was telling Solomon to do something that he had been modeling for Solomon’s entire life.

Worship by Show & Tell. We need to model for our kids what it looks like to worship the God we know and love. “Do as I say not as I do” just doesn’t work here. It is not enough to just tell our kids, we need to Worship by Show & Tell. Our kids need to witness us worshiping the Lord with passion. One of the things we love about Grace Heartland Church is that multiple services allow us to serve or to attend an Adult Bible Fellowship Class while our children get a lesson in our Merge Children’s Ministry.  Then, we still have the opportunity to worship together as a family. It is important that our kids see us worship. Our kids will witness us getting passionate about many things. Will they witness us worship the Lord? Let us model for our children what it looks like to worship the Lord and may this move beyond just a Sunday morning experience to a lifestyle of worship.  Worship by Show & Tell.

Adam Castenir, Children’s Minister, Grace Heartland Church

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From Preaching To Praise

judgesToday we live in what is known as a post-modern culture, which is characterized by relativism.  Everything is relative.  What is true for me may not be true for you.  Everyone defines truth for himself or herself.  Everyone does what is right in his own eyes.  This kind of thinking really isn’t all that modern, though.

The book of Judges is one of my favorite books in the Old Testament.  Throughout the book we see this vicious cycle of the people sinning against God, being given over to their enemies as a result of their sin, crying out to God, being saved by God, and then the whole thing starts over: “again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  The author of Judges sums up the situation at the end of the book saying, “In those days Israel did not have a king.  All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

How did things get so bad?  How did they let things get to this point?  “The people served the Lord during the lifetime of Joshua and during the lifetimes of the elders who lived after Joshua and who had seen what great things the Lord had done for Israel . . . . After those people had died, their children grew up and did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel.  So they did what the Lord said was wrong” (Judges 2:7-11).

An entire generation grew up not knowing God or what He had done for them.  So, they did what the Lord said was wrong, what was right in their own eyes. The church is facing a similar dilemma today.  We may take an honest look at our culture and wonder how things got so bad.  Who or what is to blame when one generation fails to value what a previous generation did? Did the first generation fail to reach out or did the second generation harden their hearts. The truth is, it is probably a little bit of both.

A generation grew up who “did not know the Lord.” What’s happening here is not so much a lack of knowledge but a lack of belief. They knew about God but they did not know God. It is not ignorance but unbelief–a deliberate refusal to acknowledge the authority of God.

Discipling the next generation is about more than just getting right information into their heads; it’s about more than getting correct theology into their mind. Our desire is that they would know the Lord, not just know about him.

In Psalm 145:4 David writes, “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” David could have said one generation teaches your works to another, but he doesn’t. He says commends or praise. There is more to discipleship than just conveying truth. We are to commend or praise the works of the Lord to the next generation.

There is a difference between what we teach our children and what we are passionate about in front of them. What do our kids see us getting passionate about? They see us getting passionate about a lot of different things – our hobbies, our favorite sports teams, our work. Do our kids see us get passionate about the Lord and knowing Him? Do they see us worship Him?  They need to. They need to see this worship happen. And it’s not just parents they need to see this worship from. From oldest to the the youngest generation, these little ones need to see the praise and adoration of the Lord.

So let’s not just preach the truth to our kids, let’s commend it to them. Let’s praise the works of the Lord to the next generation. May the next generation see us worshiping the Lord whom we know and love.  And may they grow up not just knowing about the Lord, but that they might actually know Him.

Adam Castenir, Children’s Minister

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Turn

The time between the last writings of the Old Testament and the appearance of Christ is known as the “intertestamental” (or “between the testaments”) period. Because there was no prophetic word from God during this period, some refer to it as the “400 silent years.” The last thing God said to His people before these 400 years of silence was “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.  He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6).

One of the first things we see coming out of this period of silence is the ministry of John the Baptist of which it is said that “he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). There is something about turning our hearts back to our children that will soften this generation to the gospel and “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” As our hearts are turned back to our children we need to turn:

  1. From burden to blessing

As we rush from around trying to get our children to band practice, soccer practice, gymnastics, dance, and everywhere in between all the while trying to find time to squeeze in dinner and homework to begin to at times see children as a burden. Yet Scripture is clear that children are a gift from God “a reward from Him” (Psalm 127:3). The psalmist goes on to saw that children are “like arrows in the hands of a warrior” (Psalm 127:4). This might seem like an odd comparison to us, but can imagine a warrior ever being without his arrows. Children are not a burden, something to find need to escape from, they are a blessing from God.

  1. From distracted to engaged

There are so many things that can distract us and take away quality time we spend with our children – work, chores, responsibilities at our kids’ schools or in the community, etc. For me, it can be as simple as wasting time on email or Facebook. A lot of evenings while I am home spending time with my kids the moment my phone vibrates with an incoming email I feel like I have to pull out my phone immediately to check my email. What if it’s something important? The truth is most of the time it is some Zulily email that my wife signed me up for, and even if it’s not chances are it can wait an hour until my kids are in bed. I have since downloaded a free app called the Legacy App. I entered the birthdays for both of my children and it set up a countdown clock until the day they turn 18 and likely leave home after high school. I know that I only have 709 weeks left with Hadley who is just 4 years old. In fact if I wanted I could literally watch the seconds tick away. Now every time I am with my kids and am tempted to jump on Facebook to see what everyone is eating for dinner I am reminded of how little time I have left with my kids. I know this may seem depressing but the psalmist writes “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). When we understand how limited our time is with our children maybe we will use that time more wisely. This is just one thing that has helped me avoid distraction and stay engaged in the lives of my kids.

  1. From punishment to discipline

Punishment is easy. Punishment is usually based on fear (1 John 4:18) and is simply reacting to the situation. Discipline on the other hand takes time. Discipline is based on love and is about going after the heart of our children. Proverbs 3:12 reminds us that “The Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Punishment is about responding to what our child has done. Discipline is about shaping who they will become.

  1. From our dreams to His design

Chances are from the moment you first found out you were having a baby you probably started imaging what life would be like with that child. Maybe as a mom of a little girl you imagined having tea parties together or shopping together. Or as a father of a son you imagined taking him on hunting trips or throwing around the football together in the backyard.   Maybe you imagine your child growing up to be a successful business man or woman or even taking over a family business. We all have dreams for our children but we need to be willing to give up our dreams for His design. Scripture tells us over and over again that God has formed us and shaped us for a purpose, that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Don’t parent your children based on your dreams and desires for them, but based on God’s design for them. Help them grow into the men and women God created them to be.

You’re Hired!

The other day I was driving down the interstate when I passed a bright green truck with the words “Doody Calls” written on the side.  I had to slow down and let the truck pass me again to get a second look to see if I read it right.  If you are anything like me you are probably wondering what it’s all about; it is exactly like it sounds.  Doody Calls is a pet waste removal service.  If you have enough money you can hire someone to do just about anything, and given enough money we can all make a list of a million things we would pay someone else to do for us. But there are just some things you can’t afford to pay someone else to do:

  1. Cooking/Shopping

I always say I would eat so much healthier if I had someone else to plan and cook the meals for me. And how great would it be to never have to make another trip to Wal-Mart again because you had your very own personal shopper. Chances are, though, this is something we can never afford to pay someone else to do. According to simplyhired.com the average personal chef makes about $350/day. A personal shopper can make as much as $300/hour (and we all know how long it can take to make it out of Wal-Mart).

  1. Weight Loss

I am not talking about paying for a gym membership, a personal trainer or a dietician. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually pay someone to lose the weight for you, to pay someone else to eat healthy and do the hard work of exercising regularly while you reap the benefits? Unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way.

  1. Discipling Your Children

In Judges 17 there is a strange story about a man named Micah who wanted to provide a religious influence for his home.  He went out and found a young priest whom he hired to come live with him as his personal priest.  Given enough money people will hire someone to do everything for them.  Micah was quick to abdicate his responsibilities to someone else. This didn’t work out so well for Micah

The sad reality is many Christians do this today.  They are quick to abdicate their responsibility for the spiritual formation of their children to the church, to the children’s ministry and youth ministry.  After all isn’t that what we pay the children’s pastor and youth pastor for?  I may be talking myself out of a job here, but no matter how much money we have I don’t think we can afford to abdicate this responsibility to someone else.

In the simplest sense, a priest is someone who tries to bring God to His people, and then, in turn, represents His people before God.  In the Old Testament a priest was sort of a mediator between God and man.  Christ became our mediator with God, and in the New Testament we are taught that now all who follow Him have a role as priests to an unbelieving world.  1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

As Christians we have the responsibility to serve as priests in our day.  That means simply representing God to others and representing others to God in prayer.  We have the responsibility of bringing God to others by showing them what God is like through word and deed.  Similarly we have the responsibility of bringing others to God by showing them how to become followers of Christ, listening for God’s direction, caring for them throughout their lives, and taking them to God through prayer. And for most of us our ministry begins in the home. This is one thing we simply can’t afford to pay someone else to do.