Monday, August 31, 2015

What Will They Become?

     Somewhere a father is lift his hand to beat his child. Somewhere someone is pulling the trigger of gun on another life. Somewhere a murder is being plotted. Somewhere innocence is being tortured. Somewhere a teen committing suicide. There is so much evil in the world.
     When I think about all these horrible things that take place around us I think about the people who do them. Where did they come from? What has their life been like? Then finally I think, these people were all children at one point. These people all came from the womb as innocent little babies, so what happened between then and now? It can sometimes be unbearable to teach children, love children, and be a friend to children, all the while wondering What will they become? What pain will they experience? 
     This is why our work is so important! We share the gospel in hopes that they will come to know Christ. When they know Christ, God now has a hold of their heart and He is never going to let go-they are His. He will work in their lives to change them and mold them into His image and save them from who knows what kind of future. Perhaps reaching that one child has saved the world from the next Hitler, but more importantly, reaching that one child has saved that child from a hopeless eternity.
     Feeding the hungry won't change the world, providing for the poor won't change world, rescuing people from terrible environments won't change the world, and bringing people happiness won't even change the world. None of these things can change the person, there is only one who can: Jesus can change the world and He can do that through you and me. We can show Christ's love in our lives, show them that special something that we have inside and then when they come running to know what it is we can share the love of God.

Adolf Hitler

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Most Searched Verses is one of the biggest online Bible sites on the internet.  They recently released their 2014 results for what verses and topics people search for the most.  Among this write up there is a list of the top 100 verses searched for.  In America, there are three main categories people search for (according to me).  Let’s explore the top 10 them together.

Coming in at number 10, Philippians 4:7 is a fantastic verse talking about the nature of God, a promise for the believer, and security in Christ.  This is always a verse I love to teach to children because of all that is in here.  If they have trusted in Jesus as Saviour, they are able to claim God’s promise of guarding the heart and mind. This verse starts out by going into the personal security category.

Number 9, Proverbs 3:6 is also a good verse (as if there are bad verses).  This verse fits into the direction category.  People are always looking for direction in their life, and having this verse on the top 10 list certainly validates that.  Children also are looking for direction in life.  Even though it has been short, by ages 3-11, children need to develop a sense of competence.  Helping children understand they are directed by Christ gives hope.

With number 8, we have another example of direction.  Romans 12:2 has a great encouragement to not conform to the world, but to conform to God.  Interestingly with this verse, America was the only one (out of USA, Canada, Britain, Australia) to have this verse in their top 10.  God’s will is not for us, or children to match the world, but to stand out.  It is encouraging to see this verse on the list because it gives me hope that the church acknowledges how hard it is to follow this verse in American culture.

For number 7, we have Psalm 23:4 (the rest of the Psalm fills popularity spaces 11-15).  This verse, and the Psalm in general, fit the personal security category.  People and children are encouraged to know that God will be their comfort.

Proverbs 3:5 takes the 6th place slot, encouraging us to let God direct, leaning not on our own understanding.  Again, direction is important to people who are searching.

Another verse about personal security, Philippians 4:6 holds number 5.  There are wonderful truths taught in this verse, but I can’t help but to begin to wonder if the fact that all of these verses so far have fallen into direction or personal security doesn’t indicate a self serving objective when looking them up.  I’ll give us the benefit of the doubt simply because there are so many positive takeaways from this verse.

Getting the consolation prize in the Semi-finals, Romans8:28 comes in at number 4.  This verse is one of the ones that I’ve read numerous articles about and have a hard time believing everyone who searched it had the right heart attitude in approaching this text.  This verse fits both personal security (all things work together for good) and direction (called according to His purpose).  Exegete correctly and this verse truly does have a great promise.  Exegete incorrectly and you have the prosperity ‘gospel’.

Number 3 is Philippians 4:13.  It’s hard to complain about this verse because I learned it growing up and it is a great personal security passage.  Ranked so highly though, again what is the motivation behind the search?  Am I sounding like a broken record?  Let’s be careful to teach children how to correctly claim this verse for themselves making sure they know it is in God’s will we have our strength, not our own.

In the pole position, *cringe* we have *cringe* Jeremiah… do I need to go on?  Jeremiah 29:11.  Put it on a card, encourage someone with an e-mail, print it on a poster, and just don’t think about the historical context and we’ll be good.  This is likely the most misquoted verses in the Bible.  Seeing it as number 2, which is not terribly surprising (disheartening but not surprising) since it fits in the personal security category, makes me cringe inside.  That exciting hope I had in number 8 has all but evaporated.  Need I say any more about this one?

Finally, in the number 1 slot.  The most looked up verse in the Bible  Likely the most known verse among Christians and non-Christians alike.  You guessed it.  John 3:16.  That wasn’t intended to sound snarky.  I am glad to see this as the number one looked up verse.  This evangelistic verse (only one in the top 10 not in personal security [although you could argue that it does fir that too] or direction) is our opportunity of connection with so many people.  If non-Christians only know John 3:16 we have a much easier time sharing the Gospel.  The attributes of God in this verse are abundantly shown.  The plan of salvation is overviewed.  The culmination of God’s plan since Genesis is described.  John 3:16 as the number 1 verse relifts my spirit and encourages me to continue to share the Gospel.  People are searching for direction in life and for personal security.  Humanity is self centered.  Let us continue to strive and share the Gospel with others and pursuing a God centered mentality.  If that is your goal, feel free to claim Philippians 4:13 because He will be your strength to help you accomplish that. Guaranteed.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name; 
proclaim His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;
tell about all His wonderful works!
honor His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
Search for the Lord and for His strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonderful works He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced, 
you offspring of Abraham His servant,
Jacob's descendants-His chosen ones.

This is a Psalm that we can claim for the year 2014. God has done so many wonderful works this year. Our last local board meeting was a time of praise for all that God has blessed us with and here are a few things that were on that list so that you can praise Him too!

Praise God for...
-Four Salvations (this fall)
-New volunteers
-Faithful volunteers
-The children who are attending GNC
-The churches that are partnered with us for GNC
-Schools that allow us to be there
-Great turn out for the banquet
-Provision of a speaker and musician for the banquet
-All the donations that were given for the auction at our banquet
-Good Finances
-Committee members
-Local church allowing us to use their room for storage
-Freedom to share the gospel
-His word

If you played a part this year either by praying, volunteering, or supporting financially-thank you!!!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Saving Fish from the Fire

                This month has been a busy, but rewarding month as we traveled across Butler County teaching 5-Day Clubs. We have reached many children, counseled several for assurance, and had the privilege of seeing one young girl come to Christ. Alex, one of our summer missionaries, describes it like this: “The experience is thrilling, knowing that another soul has been won for the Kingdom.” We are also thrilled and we hope you are too. Thank you again for your support-you are a part of a life changing ministry!
                Along with our 5-Day Clubs we have also been preparing for our venture to the CEF Christian Ministries Institute this fall. We will be taking required classes in Missouri from September all the way through the end of October. We would really appreciate your prayers as we prepare both mentally and physically for yet another big task while we are still in the midst of ministry.

 While having devotions this morning I was reminded once again of the importance of our task and its impact on eternity. Matthew 13:47-50 says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angles will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing teeth.” How many fish will be thrown into the furnace? What can I do today to increase the number who will be ushered into the kingdom? We pray that you would ask yourself this same question.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

That Still Small Voice

There are some days where I feel as though I have a bit of an Elijah experience. In 1 Kings 19 God simply
passing by caused fire, an earthquake and wind, but God wasn't actually in those things. In the ministry there are often great things happening and though I rejoice because of them God is not always speaking to me through those situations as I expect. I always think that those things will be what drives me to push forward in my service for Christ because they are so big and fantastic. However, as Elijah experienced, there are times where I am simply going about my day watching God do great things when I hear that still small voice saying "Kayla, remember your task. Remember your focus. I am the one you are serving. I am the one receiving your worship. I love you. Keep pressing on." It is in those moments that I feel the biggest "wow" in my day and feel encouraged to stay the course and keep pressing on! 

Though I am no spiritual giant, I do try to be sensitive to the Spirits voice because look at what I could be missing out on if I didn't! As fellow brothers and sisters in Christ I encourage you to live lives that are pleasing to Christ so as not to squelch the Spirit. If you are discouraged perhaps you are missing out on that still small voice. Take some time to make your heart right with God and receive the blessings of his encouragement to your heart. 

And we do hope that your hearts are right with God because jealous for your prayers for us, CEF and the children that we are reaching. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pray and Surrender

This past week Steven and I attended the CEF International Conference in North Carolina. It was a wonderful week of encouragement and spiritual enrichment. I have come home a truly changed person as I have just spent a week listening to God speak through several great men, spent time in fellowship with others who share my passion for children, and prayed out loud with people from over 80 nations.I get chills down my back as I think back to how strongly God's spirit was moving among us.

During one of the messages we were told to give all we have to God just as the boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish did. I know as Christians we have heard this over and over again: "Surrender all to God yada yada yada" and so often we follow that up with giving God an extra hour of our time or a little extra sum of money and think that will suffice. However, God does not need our money or our time for he can do whatever He wants by simply speaking a word, but He wants it. It is not for His benefit or anyone else's, but for yours. It is hard to remember on a daily basis that this life is so short. It is hard to remember that eternity is at stake. It is hard to remember that everything we do matters to God. If you are rich, give until you have nothing because God will bless you and make sure that you have all you need and your faith in Him will grow exponentially. If your time is all divided up cancel appointments and ask God what He wants you to do with the time He has given you, because if you are alive and reading this right now, then it is only because He still has a plan for your life here on earth -don't miss out! If you are living your life in selfishness by keeping to yourself, please stop! Most of the people you see everyday are going to hell and you could make a difference!

This week I have been challenged to work harder than ever because when I get to heaven I don't want to find out that many children have gone to hell because I chose to watch a movie instead of call a church. I have also been challenged to pray. Many of the people at the conference were from sensitive countries and they have so much that they could complain about, but instead they pray. They pray loud and long and I know that God hears their prayers. God answers prayers that are prayed with sincere hearts and prayers that are prayed often. I have access to the most powerful weapon on earth and often times I choose not to use it and who knows how many have died without Christ because of it. Prayer is powerful and I am excited to use it because I know that with it, many will live and become part of God's family. Can you think of a better way to use this life?

Surrender all you have and become poor for Christ. "Do you not know that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom to which he has promised to those who love him?" James 2:5

Pray with me for the children who are lost. Pray long and pray hard! "Pray without ceasing" 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pass me-I'm driving for Jesus

Kayla is not the biggest fan of driving, so I am often behind the wheel (I probably drive 300 miles for every 1 mile Kayla drives) the vast majority of the time.  One of the biggest annoyances I have while driving is speed limits.  They almost always seem set too low for the road.  “I could easily do 50 down this road.”
In one of the classes Kayla and I took recently online for CEF’s Children’s Ministry Institute, Reese Kauffman the current president of CEF said something that got me thinking.  He said that he would rather have an employee who was submissive to authority but had a poor work effort than one with a go-getter attitude and no respect for authority.  He gave an example from Scripture how Jesus upheld the Roman authority even though the government was corrupt and oppressive.  While it may feel like speed limits are oppressive, it is still of Christian importance to yield to the government.

I find it interesting that this is something that is not only ignored, but joked about in Christian culture.  I think back to when a wonderful old saint in our church got a speeding ticket on Ruskin Dr. while traveling to the church (and I do have to admit that 25 is much too slow for that road).  The overwhelming response I heard was joking about his lead foot etc.  This is not an isolated incident though.  I often hear people joking about how fast they got from one location to another compared to what it should have taken (if they were obeying the speed limit).

Having done over 20,000 miles since May, I can certainly attest to how tempting it is to want to speed. Even speeding by just 1mph would save me a quarter of a day just spend sitting in a car.  Unfortunately speeding even 1mph is disobeying the government/ the authority God has put in place for us, and ultimately sin-sin that Christ died on the cross and gave His perfect blood for.  It may seem a bit drastic, but it certainly should make you think twice about speeding.  The next time you go to set your cruise control above the speed limit, just remember that it isn’t the speed trap you should be worried about, it’s your submission to the authority God has set, it’s your testimony to other drivers around you/passengers in your vehicle, and it’s your relationship with God you put on the line just to arrive a few minutes earlier.