Saturday, 6 September 2014

An awakening....

Wow I have just come home from a mind blowing week of challenges, inspiration, new understanding and motivation at Carey Baptist College.  Michelle Anthony was our lecturer for 6 intensive hours each day.  Michelle is the author of some of the best eye-opening books in family/children's ministry I have ever read, and also writes curriculum and a FREE magazine for Christian parents (download the "homefront" app).  With books called "dreaming of more for the next generation" and "spiritual parenting" you can see where her heart is just in the titles! I loved sitting at her feet this week listening and gleaning as she challenged leaders from all over NZ to think deeper, expect more, raise the bar and to set an environment in our churches and in our homes for the Holy Spirit to move in our children's lives.  

I now feel like I have added depth behind my heart for our children and families, as I have read and learnt more about the biblical theology of children, the spiritual/child development theorists, and the beliefs behind our biggest curriculum and church models of education and formation of faith.  Whew, that was a lot.  Still processing, but so awesome to be able to really own and know the WHY behind the WHAT that we do. 

One of the tasks we had to do was write a God Centred story lesson. This really challenged me, as I worked hard on keeping a particular message about Gods Character very clear and relevant for a specific age group. We were challenged to focus on the power of declaring the character of God - rather then just "educating" the children on the facts of a story to learn or  a moral way to behave.  To see the transformational power of God speaking to hearts.... So  I tested this out tonight when I got home.  I looked Kate In the eye at bedtime, and said "let me tell you a story about our God, the creator".  I went on to tell her the amazing things God the creator breathed to life, ending with his greatest creation - her.  I didn't mention which number day we were up to - I really wanted to make this about Gods character and the amazing power he had in his plan for Earth. I wanted her to capture the BIG story in this one - the facts can come another day.  Kate held onto my every word, grinning ear to ear and squirming with the love when I came to her own creation.  It was powerful.  She turned to her teddy and retold him the story immediately, it was too amazing to hold in.  
I smiled, and turned to Jaimee.  "Darling, let me tell you about our God, the promise keeper."  After telling Abrahams story (their kings kids focus tomorrow at church)' she sighed happily.  "WOW. That was awesome,even though I already knew that story mum".  
The Holy Spirit is at work here.

Another little Idea I tried out at home tonight was to say a blessing over my children just before their prayers.  I looked each of them in the eye as I tucked them in and said something like "Kate, my precious child, I love you so much.  May you always know that God created you with a perfect plan in mind for your life.  May you be blessed with his peace and love in your life".  You should have seen the way the peace washed over them in that blessing.  Wow. My children went to bed still, secure, smiling and comforted tonight.   

I have been really challenged this week in so many more ways.  All I can say is - be prepared.  Be excited.  God has some great plans for our children, our families, our church, our nation, our world. Jump on board.    

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