Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A question for our World...

This blog is a bit more serious that others I've written, but I wanted to write it because today I've been thinking about God.  Now, I realize that probably doesn't come as a shock since I am in the ministry, but go with me here.

Tonight I'm taking our teens on location someplace (location left out in case one of them reads this before tonight) where we are going to look at God's creation and discuss just who He is.  I am reminded of that Scripture passage where Jesus asks Peter, "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15)  Peter, of course responds with, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." (Matthew 16:16)  Peter had to decide for himself who Jesus was, and it had become crystal clear.

Is it just me, or does it seem like people have forgotten who He is?  It reminds me of the Children of Israel when they were wandering in the desert.  God would continually send them help and when He did, they would be thankful and worship Him...for a minute.  Then the complaining would begin again.  Anyone else see our world doing this same thing? Only now, we are perverting who God is as well.  I'm hearing people talk as if you can pick and choose what you will believe about God...and whatever you choose to believe, that is what is correct.  WHAT?

God is unchanging.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Just because you choose to believe that He won't punish you for your sins doesn't make it true.  You can choose to believe there is more than one way to heaven, but that doesn't make it true.  God is the almighty and all powerful creator of the universe and He has told us the way to be saved.  He sent His Son to die for us.  We can choose to accept His amazing gift of salvation or we can choose not to.  The choice is ours to decide, but it is between those two choices.  You can't make up other choices to choose from.  The Bible isn't a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

So the question is coming at us again.  Who will we say that He is?  I say that He is my Savior, my Comfort, my Confidant, my Friend and so much more. He is the One True God.

Who do you say that He is?

Monday, September 17, 2012

You Might Be A Children's Pastor If...

So, I'm feeling a bit silly, so I put together this little list.  I'm sure my Children's Pastor friends could add to it, so feel free.   Enjoy!

You Might be a Children’s Pastor if:
           * You can improvise a lesson when all the “props” you planned to use decide to mutiny

           * You realize that props do indeed mutiny, but only at the most inopportune times, so always have a back up plan...and perhaps a back up back up plan.  :-)

* You have ever stapled a costume for a program so it would stay together long enough for the performance.

            * Empty toilet paper rolls are not something that you think should be thrown away.

            * You have no idea what music is popular unless there is a version out for kids.

            * You can name at least 5 children’s television shows on Disney or Nickelodeon

            * You can indeed pull a "MacGyver" on a Sunday Morning if needed
            * You understood the previous statement.

            * You find object lessons during any shopping trip

            * You realize that having an overhead projector is an incredibly important decorating tool
            * You know what station is Radio Disney

            * You could wallpaper your children's department in Oriental Trading magazines that NEVER STOP COMING!

            * Your office is often filled with random objects that seem to others to have no purpose but to you are just object lessons in waiting.

            * You have difficulty not coming up with motions for the songs in “big church”.

            * You can not stand still to give a lesson…even if it is for adults.

            * There is a wig in your office that is used most often when it is NOT Halloween.

            * You have a stockpile of masking tape and/or duck tape and you take some with you to any/all events “Just in case”.

            * You love Jesus and love teaching children all about Him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It was a day much like any other day.  I had gone in a bit early to work at Ball State University.  I had turned on the television in the lobby of our office building and was listening to it as I started the computer and began the day in my office.

Then I got a phone call:
Co-worker: "Toni, do you have the TV on in your office?"
Me: "Yes, why?"
Co-worker: "Turn on the news!  A plane just hit the World Trade Center.  I'll be right there."

I got up and changed the station on the television to the Today Show and suddenly our "normal" day just stopped.  No one was working.  Everyone was glued to the screen.  Folks were coming in from nearby offices to see what was happening. Students started filing in.  Soon the lobby was full of people.  All of us in shock about what we were seeing.  First one plane hit.  Then another hit.  Then another hit the Pentagon.  It was all so surreal.

Our Graduate Assistant had recently been to New York and I will never forget him saying. "You don't understand all the people UNDER those Towers."  Until then I had never known that there was a mall underground beneath the Twin Towers.  We watched in horror as people were jumping out of the building to their deaths below.  And not just one or two.  People from both Towers jumping out of windows willing to take their chances that they might survive the fall...but they didn't.

Then the unthinkable happened.  One Tower fell.  We were all watching it, but still couldn't believe what we had just seen.  All those people...just gone.  The smoke on the television screen was so thick it looked like a wall coming toward the camera people.  Then when the shock of the first building falling began to subside we immediately thought about the second one.  Would it fall too?  Surely not.  It didn't get hit in the same place as the first.  Surely it would remain standing...and then it fell too.

We looked on...not able to tear ourselves away from the screen, but praying for God to be with those in New York.  We were trying to call our families to see if everyone was aware of what was happening.  To reassure ourselves that we were ok...that our families were ok, but even though we were in Muncie, IN and not New York City, the shock was just as real for us.

I remember when I went to lunch that day with a friend, we were still watching the television in a local restaurant and it was there that I heard about the fourth plane that had crashed in the field before it could reach the White House.  And I remember thinking, "When is this going to stop?  How many more are there?"

That day, the world changed.  Everything that we had taken for granted was up for grabs and our security in our every day lives was taken away.  People who went to church all the time and those who generally were not church going people were praying and crying out to God for help.  There was a tragedy that for those my age and younger was unequaled to anything we had ever seen in our country.  We, as a country, turned to God.  And rightly so.  He was there.  He was giving comfort and peace in horrible situations.  He was giving strength to those who needed it so desperately.  And then when the initial shock wore off, and the terror that had gripped so many subsided...sadly then so did their need for God.  But thankfully, God didn't leave.  He continued to give comfort and peace and strength and wisdom to all those who asked.  He was there in the midst of the rubble as people looked for survivors.  He was with the families waiting to hear if their loved one had escaped the building in time.  He was rejoicing with those who found their loved ones safe and comforting those who did not.

He continues to do so even today.  He stands there loving us...even when we don't deserve it.  Just waiting on us to turn to Him again...individually and as a Country.  He has so much to give us.  So much to share.  Let us not wait until tragedy strikes to reach out to Him.

When something like September 11th happens, it should remind those of us who know Jesus just how many do not.  We often think we have more time.  The people that died that day thought they had more days ahead of them.  They didn't know they were out of time.  We also don't know how much time we have ahead of us.  I could live to be 100 or I could die this afternoon.  My amount of time on this Earth is not known.  But I want to reach as many as I can for the Kingdom in the time I have.  When tragedy strikes, we should not have to reach out to God...we should be able to allow Him to hold us up because He's already holding us in His arms...if we will just let Him.