Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Heart of a Child

As some of you may know, I help in the morning exercises at our church. I help keep an eye on the kids before they are split up and taken to their Sunday School classes. We begin by playing a game and singing a few songs. We then conclude the morning exercises with offering and prayer before the Sunday School teachers take the kids to their classes.
This morning I went to the front of the room and started calling on children to pick songs to sing. Almost every hand in the room lifted and kids were yelling out songs they really wanted to sing, ranging from "Jesus Loves Me" to the "Crayon Box" to "The Little Green Frog" and "Captain Jack". I asked myself, "When was the last time I got excited about a song I really wanted to sing for God?" If only we had the heart of a child sometimes.
I then picked one boy for the boy's offering and one girl for the girl's offering. One of the boys, Latrell, raised his hand and said,"Miss Jackie, can I please pray for the offering this week?!" I said that was fine and he came to the front of the room with me and the other two kids to pray. He grew somewhat solemn and began his prayer. His reverance amazed me. I can't tell you word for word what he said but you could tell he meant it. He prayed for the offering, for the Sunday School classes that were about to begin, for the children there and the ones that didn't make it that day. He prayed for the teachers, for the lesson, and for the children who may not be saved. He then thanked God for the church and the money that was going to be taken up. He concluded his prayer with "In the name of Jesus, our Savior, Amen." I had never heard a child be so reverent in his prayer before. Latrell is a 12 year old boy who was not afraid to pray in front of others. He wasn't embarrassed or thought he was too mature for prayer, but rather he asked to pray. If only we had the heart of a child sometimes.
I then went with the other teacher and took our 3-5 year olds to their Sunday School class. As we were beginning the morning lesson it seemed as if each child had a story to tell about something that had happened that week. Mrs. Copeland (the other teacher) then asked," How many of you told at least one friend about Jesus this week?" About half the class raised their hands and began naming the different people they told. One little girl, Madison, told how she was telling her friends on the playground at school. If only we had the heart of a child to not be afraid of what others would think if we began talking about Jesus.
After the lesson ended I was getting ready to hand out the cookies to the kids while Mrs. Copeland was asking review questions about the lesson. After the last question was asked Mrs. Copeland said, "Okay, lets pray real quick before we have the snack." DonDon, a little boy who is about 5, stopped her before she started praying and said, "Can I pray Mrs. Copeland?" She smiled and said, "Sure Donnie, go ahead." Now before I go any further you have to know something about DonDon, he is your everyday little boy who likes running, frogs, monster trucks, and just about any other boy thing you can think of. He also has a speech impediment. He cannot say his 'th's or his 'c' as in the word 'city'. Now that you know that; back to what I was saying about him... he bows his head and folds his hands. All the other children do the same thing and he begins to pray, "Tank you, Lord, for Tunday Tool. Tank you for my teachers and for my friends. Tank you for making me and the other 't'ids too. Tank you for the tookies and tank you for making te world and turch and Tunday Tool. In Jesus name, Amen." After the prayer Mrs. Copeland and I just looked at eachother and then at Donnie. If only we had the soft hearts of a child.
Being a teacher in that Sunday School class, I think I have learned more from the children then they have learned from me. Each week I see the unaltered faith of a child, I see the softness of a child, and I see the yearning in the eyes to learn and be loved. I am able to see the inside the heart of a child week in and week out. To hear some of the stories the kids tell me of their life at home you would think they would have some sort of bitterness or anger because of what is happening in their life. They don't realize yet the problems they will face in the next 5 to 10 years because of their homelife. All you see though is the unabashed faith and love of a child. Everytime I see something like that in one of the kids I think to myself, "If only we as adults would have the heart of a child." How much easier life would be! To come to Jesus in a childlike faith and know, just like a child would, that He will answer the prayer. To only have the heart of a child!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Praise and Worship

Over the last few weeks I have considered the word 'Worship'. We all hear the word and most consider something to do with God. Whether it be devotions in the morning when we have our quiet time. Some think of being in church when a message is being preached. Some think of singing songs of praise to God, whether it be with a group or congregation, or all alone in the shower.
We had a Karate tournament yesterday...I never realized that could be a type of worship. Ballroom Dance class was on Thursday, that is a type of worship too. Then I realized something bigger. ANYTHING we do is a type of praise and worship to God. If we are doing it to the best of our ability to honor and glorify our Father we are worshipping Him. Thinking about it is kind of strange. I have to clean my room today and I could worship and praise God by just cleaning my room to the best of my ability, honoring Him in the process.
A few weeks ago my family and I went to a Red Hawks Baseball game. After the game a Contemporary Christian artist, Jeremy Camp, was having a concert. I really didn't want to go because there was a lot of things I knew I had to do to get ready for the rest of the week. Grudgingly, I went anyway. Though none of my family knew what was going on in my head, the Lord had really brought me under conviction during this concert.
As the songs were being sang I was still a little upset I was there because all I could think of was the things I had to do at home. Looking around, I saw people with upraised hands with their heads lifted towards the heavens in worship to God. Although, I am not one to really do all that in public I was surprised to see how many people were doing this. Watching I began to wonder, " How many people are doing this because they really mean it and how many people are doing it because the person next to them is too and they don't want to be left out?"
Scanning the crowd I found something most intriguing. One man that was standing at the end one of the rows was just standing there swaying, left, right, forward, and back. Watching him more closely, I realized he was mentally slow. Wanting to hear him better, I stood up facing more his direction and just listened. It was then I was brought to one of those times where God pulls a little at the heartstrings and expects you to take a minute and listen. This man who seemed to be near 50 stood there with a crooked ballcap on. A frayed fannypack, his pants crooked, and his shirt half-tucked and buttons not buttoned right. He was grunting. He was trying to sing the song but couldn't get the words out right. He just grunted off- key to the tune. Watching him I saw something amazing. He was praising and worshiping God the way he knew how... Swaying to the time of the music, grunting, and clapping his hands off-beat to the rhythm of the song.
Looking at the hundreds of people there I saw people who seemed to raise their hands on a regular basis. Almost as if they were going through the motions of what is 'to be done' at a concert of that kind. Of course, I am not saying that was the case for everybody but I am just noting on what I saw and took from the many people there. I don't know anyone's heart though...
This man though, the one who could hardly speak and would grunt instead with an off-key tune, was praising God. And ya know what? God was honored!
It was the final song of the concert. Jeremy Camp began singing, "Give Me Jesus". That man got really quiet. He quit grunting, quit swaying, quit everything. He stood there watching Jeremy Camp sing and tears began pouring from his eyes.
I had already felt horrible for not having a better attitude about going to the concert towards my mom...(I was really giving her a hard time about it) I also felt bad for not worshiping God more sincerely, Not just at the concert but also in my daily life. Then God told me something. Of course not out loud in some great voice, but in that still, quiet voice we don't always hear. He said, "You see that man? He is my child just like you are. You see those tears he is crying? Even in his tears he is crying in praise to Me."
Praise and worship can be anything! If we are doing it in honor to God he will be pleased. Sometimes it is the meager things that pleases God the most. The things we find to be unplausible God may see as the greatest praise and worship.
So whether it be by lifting our hands in praise, beating someone up in a sparing match, dancing the waltz, or grunting off-key to a melody if we are doing it for God it is a form of praise and worship to the Lord and King.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


Over the last couple weeks I have been thinking alot how many times people are underestimated. Almosted like people are judged to be too good or too bad just by looking at them. I don't know if that makes sense so let me try to explain myself.
I think overall people always underestimate someone else in some way. For instance, those who go to church on Sunday can, many times, look at someone and think to themselves, "That is a really good person." One may never think that person could do something extremely wrong. Or if they did something somewhat questionable it was out of character for that person. Is that considered underestimation? Think of someone who you find to be a good person. Now think of something completely out of the ordinary for that person, whether it be good or bad, and ask yourself if you could find that person ever doing the very thing you thought of? What was your answer?
My sister and I were discussing this ordeal of underestimation and this was her thought on it. "It's not that we underestimate people. It's that we don't expect certain things of certain people. If it's something out of character for that person why should we expect that person to do something out of character?" I agree with her on this to an extent, although I am not sure what to think about it all. I agree that we would not usually expect something of someone, especially if it is not normal for them to do certain things. We are all creatures of habit and when our habit is broken somehow we are out of our element and comfort zone trying to find ways back in.
Now though my thought is, is this unexpectation the same as underestimation? I don't know.
To not expect something of someone, whether good or bad, is in some way underestimation. If a person can look at another friend or neighbor and think,"That person would never do this(whatever 'this' may be)." Is that underestimation or just unexpectation?
What do you think? Perhaps you have been in a situation and you think, "No one would expect me to do this." Maybe it is something you are afraid to do...let's be extreme. Bungie jumping, getting a tattoo, etc. I realize those ideas may be a little out there but work with me a minute...let's say you went and did something like that one weekend, came back and told people about your weekend activities. Upon seeing the shocked looks on their faces you think to yourself, "Do they underestimate I really have the ability to do that or were they just not expecting it?"
Like I said before, I think everone to some degree is underestimated. The human being is truly a mysterious creation of God. Though we may not expect certain things from eachother or underestimate eachother, individually we know many times if we set our mind to doing something we usually do it. It may take time and we may not do it right away but we do it. Something inside clicks and it is as if no matter what people expect or think our minds are set.
So what do you think....underestimation, unexpectation, or both?


Friday, April 11, 2008


Well, I am really new at this Blogging thing but I have a feeling I am really going to like it. I always wanted to do something like this but didn't know how to go about it. Now I hear of Blogspot and the lightbulb in my head comes on. "This would be just the thing for me!" I like writing but do not get much time to because my life right now is extremely busy. I think this though is going to be much easier than keeping a journal. You may or may not be interested in my blogs but read at will.
I am the oldest sibling in my family. I have one sister and one brother. Victoria is 14 and Christian is 13. I am the the oldest grandchild on my mom's side of the family which also makes me the oldest cousin as well.
Here is a list of random stuff about me and I will be on here probably in a few more days to give a real-everyday life- kind of blog. I really am a deep thinker sometimes but today is just not one of those days.
I am 18 years old and a Senior in high school. I am concurrent enrolled at Rose State College and am almost finished with my second semester. I am a piano teacher and never thought teaching kids to play the piano would be so much fun...not really that it is fun but it is rewarding to see the kids progress and get better with the passing time. I know Jesus Christ as my Savior. I don't like stupid people. Family is everything to me. I love food and Italian is my favorite. I have been homeschooled all my life. I have never smoked a cigarette and never will. I've never been on a date and from the looks of it probably never will. I view Italy as my home. I am 5ft. 9in. I like driving and I like going fast. I have yet to get any kind of ticket. I am afraid of clowns. I don't like uncertainty. I am part of a really awesome homeschool group. The freckles on my legs shape into constelations. Autumn is my favorite time of the year. Friends are the best things to have. I would rather have 1 or 2 best friends than 10 buddies. I know there are things about me you will never know.
Life has been throwing me a lot lately but all I can do is take it and deal. Although I screw up in life sometimes and don't always make the right decisions, I know God has my back and wants me to always look to Him for what He has for me. It may not seem like He is there all the time but I know if I am still, wait and listen I can hear that still, small voice guiding me. All I have to do is stand still. I have a sweet 1968 Mustang that will never seem to get done but is now sitting in my garage just waiting. I don't know what else you want to know about me but if you have questions just ask.
Until next time!!