Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lessons from the kids in the choir: Sing along even when you don't know the words.

I work with fifth and sixth graders at my church. There are many reasons why I LOVE this age group. They're a lot of fun for me. By fifth grade kids understand that life is hard at times, but they have not been bogged down with just how depressing life REALLY can be yet, and most kids are still very impressionable at this age.

I wrote previously about the kiddos from our church who sang and helped lead worship on Palm Sunday. There are so many things we can learn from kids. Today I want to tackle one more I learned while listening and watching them. Here it is: sometimes we go through a season when the things we are singing don't make complete sense to us, but we sing anyway.

When you go through a SERIOUSLY hard spot in your life the last thing you want to do is belt out a chorus that suggests that God is good and is in control. Sometimes you get to church and you just want to hide your face and cry in a corner. Satan will try to tell you, "Stop going to church! You don't need all that stuff!" Satan always has your worst interests in mind. "Stay at home and RELAX and you'll feel so much better," He lies to you.

If God suggests something it is ALWAYS in your best interest! Anything that contradicts His word is NOT from Him...and if it is NOT from HIM, then it is from....right...Satan...the one who leads your life into a state of utter chaos and destruction. Here's what the Bible says about going to church.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:25
Do not give up going...like many other people are doing. The Day (capital D) is the day of Jesus' second coming. The Day (capital D) is approaching. NOW is your time. Don't wait until next week because you are too tired, too ornery, too ugly in the only shirt you have to wear, having a really bad hair day because God made it rain and rain makes your hair frizzy and He knows that-- so really it's His fault you aren't going to church. No, none of that nonsense. If you don't have clean underwear you just go commando. If you are tired, you go and rest your eyes when you need to. If you are invited to an amazing hoppin shindig on Saturday night that lasts until 3:00 AM, you choose to leave early. Plan it in. Make it priority. Just like when you take out your trash once a week so it doesn't pile up and make weird smells, attracting maggots and what not, you take out your emotional trash and get renewed once a week at least at church. When you choose to go to church, the things you learn there will NOT be learned in vain. You WILL use that wisdom down the road. Don't take my word for it. The Bible says this:

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." -Isaiah 55:10-11

Listen. CHURCH is one of the places you get your spiritual nourishment, (SO VITAL) but you can do that on your own at home. Church is more than that, though. It is also the place you connect with other believers. Satan wants you isolated and alone. He can attack you so much harder when you are alone. You are so much weaker when you are alone.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." -Ecclesiastes 4:12
Bond with believers and see how you are strengthened when you join together and acknowledge how God is at work. Make a connection with someone who is going through something similar to you, or who has already been through what you are going through, and be encouraged. You are not alone, and what you go through is NOT new. No matter what you are facing...whatever trial you are in the middle of....someone can relate to you and help you find God in your situation. Satan wants nothing more than to get you hovering in a corner, scared and ashamed, thinking that you are HORRIBLE and not worthy of love. God wants you to live in freedom.

Okay, so back to the kids at my church. "Hallelujah" they sang. It's a big word. The kids were in kindergarten-fourth grade. I know that some of them had no idea what they were singing...not because our children's pastor did not tell them, but because their sweet little minds cannot understand the true power of the words they were singing. It's okay though. No one expects them to understand every word, or even to get every word right. Sing from your heart sweet little ones, and trust that God is going to reveal what those words mean to you in due time.

If you are feeling like you are in a spiritual rut, it's okay. Keep coming to church. If you feel like you don't understand what everyone is talking about, it's okay. Keep coming. Someday the message will be seasoned by your life experiences and it will hit you differently. You'll be surprised how the words bring new meaning and you'll be blessed. Not feeling blessed? Keep coming. Trust that God is going to speak to you and that He will bless the time you put into seeking Him.

Just like the sweet children who swayed joyfully back and forth while belting out the songs just for the pure joy of making music for the Lord, we can come and enjoy the service unashamed and open to what God wants to say to us. I was blessed because as I watched the children I knew they would remember those words forever and someday it would make sense. SOMEDAY, those kids are going to go through a life experience that is going to rattle their cage a little bit and one of these songs will come to their mind. They memorized the words so they could easily pull them out when they needed them. One day it will all come together and they will stand strong in their faith, holding on to the TRUTH that God wants to speak over them, they will be blessed, and God "will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it".

Every parent knows that they have to keep instilling the same values into their children if they are going to really "get it" later. You don't just say, "brush your teeth" once and hope they brush their teeth the rest of their lives. You tell them EVERY single day, over and over and over again, until FINALLY, one day they choose to do it on their own. God is your Heavenly Father. He knows what you need, and He has your best interests in mind. Take a deep breath feel His love for you as you let that one sink in. Ahhhhhh...

Thank you Lord. That you know EXACTLY what we need and that you have supplied us with a Bible to turn to for answers, and you have designed the idea of a church body to be there for us when we need spiritual nourishment and emotional encouragement. You are a wise God who loves us, and we thank you for that.

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