Monday, January 31, 2011

We Are the Church

We all know that we're in for some snow tomorrow. And with the snow, school's will close, places won't stay open as late as normal, activities are postponed, and churches cancel their services. You can always guarantee that whether there is rain, snow, ice, or sun, our church will be meeting together. Even if there is a blizzard, with snow drifting across the roads making it impossible to see, there will be someone meeting at our church.

A couple weeks ago, when we had our last snow storm, the kids and I stayed home from church. Ariel was home sick from school that day, and Gabe had stayed home sick the day before, Zechariah was losing his voice, and I felt like they needed to be at home for the evening and not out in a big winter storm. It's a huge disappointment in our home when we're not able to attend church. My kids live for these moments when they get to meet together with their friends, learning about God.

I couldn't bear their disappointment, so I told them, even though it's a blizzard outside, and we're stuck at home sick, we are the church. We can have church right here in our home. The kids were so excited! They couldn't wait for dinner to end so we could be the church.

We all made sure our hair was brushed, our clothes looked nice, and Ariel applied her lipstick. We were ready! At 6:30pm we promptly began our service. In preparation, Ariel had made a list of all our favorite songs, and found videos on YouTube that we could worship along to.

As our hearts were ready, and the songs were on our lips, God showed up and met us in right there in the computer room of our home. I've never felt so peaceful in worship, yet so alive, and so free. It was simply amazing! It brings tears to my eyes, just remembering the awesomeness of the evening.
Get Up by Planetshakers

Awesome God

The worship was fantastic! Ariel is part of the worship team in KidZone at our church, so she is very experienced at showing and teaching the motions to the songs. Being my first time seeing most of these moves, it was at times hard to keep up. But both Gabe and Ariel knew how to dance to all of it.

As we were all laughing and dancing together, Gabe said to me, "see how fun it is to sing to these songs. The grown-ups at church don't know how to do these motions. They just stand there and clap. It's so boring!"

There is a time to have fun, and a time to be serious. Gabriel has not quite figured out how to enjoy the more serious songs. I know that the day is coming though. I have seen so much growth in my daughter the last few years during our worship time. I love to stand beside her, see her raising her hands, and hear the words coming out of her at full volume, and full of heart.

As our worship time came to a close, I had found a short object lesson for my kids. Before we began, I took several pictures of us hanging out. I wanted to teach them about how we are created in God's image, and therefore we should be reflecting that image as good as we possibly can.

We started out by reading a couple of scripture verses. The kids remembered to grab their Bibles and each of them took turns reading a different verse.

"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27
"And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more." 2 Corinthians 3:18

I asked each of my kids if they knew what an "image" was, and then I read them the definition.

"a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, sculptured, or otherwise made visible. "After we discussed it for awhile, I brought out the digital pictures we had taken a little bit earlier. I showed each of them their photo on the camera and asked "is this picture actually you, or is it just a copy?" It's doesn't move, or think, or breathe, but it sure does look exactly like them.

In the same way that these pictures are just an "image" or copy of my children, we are created in the "image" of God. We are not meant to be Him, but we are created to be like Him and to reflect what He is like.

God created us to be like Him, but just like a picture can be edited and changed, sin comes into our lives and changes us, making us very different from God. But the great news is that Jesus came, and died on the cross for our sins, restoring us back to Him.

created in God's image We spent a great deal of time discussing how we can reflect God. The kids both came up with several examples of how they could do this, and we prayed that they would be able to do it. We all made the decision together that we want to be that light on a hill, a person where people see a difference and want what we have. Every day I pray a prayer over my children before they leave for school, "God, show us how we can serve you. Show us who we can be your arms for, showing them your love."

The rest of our time we spent together, we read another devotion book, and then we closed our service with a few more songs. The kids found a YouTube video of a song I remember singing during children's church. "I am a C. I am a C - H. I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. And I have C-H-R-I-S-T in my H-E-A-R-T and I will L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y." It brought back some happy times from when I was younger.

Whenever we are learning something new from God, I believe He always gives us an opportunity to test and use it. As our service ended, and after my daughter told me, "this is the best church service I've ever been to," the kids got their time of testing.

We were about to watch "Letter's to God" and they were in the kitchen preparing their wonderful cups of Chai Tea. An argument started where there was lots of name calling, and no WWJD happening. I gently spoke some words of reminder and asked if we really all took to heart our discussion from earlier. They were very repentant and said a loud, "yes!! We did." So we tried again. This time Gabriel let his sister finish heating the water for her tea, and then tried to make her feel better (stomach flu symptoms). He kindly sang a song he wrote just for her about birds flying. She very sweetly told him, "Thank you, Gabe. I really like the motions you even made for it."
It was then that it seemed to sink in for Gabe. He came back to where I was standing in the kitchen and said, "You know what? When I was trying to be nice to Ariel, I kinda got this warm feeling inside me. And I felt really good for being nice."

YES! He gets it! I was so proud to hear him say that.

God had our entire evening planned out. What we thought was going to be a big misfortune, turned into one of the most beautiful memories I have with my children. We spent the entire night focusing on God, and trying to hear what He would have us hear. It was our second time watching "Letter's to God," and it perfectly fit in with our night. Gabe couldn't believe that the movie was talking about the same thing we just had talked about. God orchestrated a perfect evening. I will always think of that snow storm fondly because I got those few precious moments alone with my children praising God.

I would encourage you if you haven't already, worship together as a family! It will change you, and I'm sure if will change your children. There is something unifying to sing and dance together, giving glory to God. I'm sure that Wednesday night He was up in heaven just smiling down on us, saying "They get it! They really do!"

"It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men." -C.S. Lewis

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