Worship in Spirit and Truth with Reverence and Awe

Hi Summer Teachers,

Thank you all so much for stepping up and stepping in to serve the precious kids at ACC. While some of you will move on to other areas of Children’s Ministry, others will take on other responsibilities outside of kids ministry. Regardless of where you serve, may God richly bless you, your family and the ministries where you serve. I hope you will return to serve in Children’s Ministry next year.

I want to share this message as I pray that you enjoy your walk with the Lord for all the days of your life.:

John 4: 23 – 24 (ESV)

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Hebrews 12: 28 – 29 (ESV)

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

In Spirit – Jesus is speaking with the Samaritan woman who says that “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus tells her that we do not worship God in a specific physical place, but by His Holy Spirit because God is spirit.

In Truth – We can only worship the One True God who is found in scripture. We cannot worship Him if we do not know Him.

With Reverence – Showing honor and respect toward God. Do you stand or bow humbly before Him?

With Awe – Are you still in awe of God and His majesty and holiness?

After a while, especially during the difficulties in life, we feel like we are just barely getting by spiritually. You may feel like you are simply maintaining, or even surviving, each day. The thought of God during the day is fleeting and He only pops in your mind when you see the Jesus fish on the back of a car.

But, God is right there wooing us back to Him. He’s ready to remind us how important we are to Him and that He wants us to live a life full of purpose for His Glory, not just survive it. He wants us to be in wonder and awe of Him like we were when we first met Him. He wants us to worship Him as He intended for us… in spirit and truth… with reverence and awe.

He wants us to worship Him in these ways because He is worthy, because He rescued us from our sins, and so that the children we teach and the people we see on a daily basis can see that our God is worthy of praise and honor and glory.

Enjoy your last Summer Sunday with your class. May God use you to magnify Him this week.

Thanks!!

Teacher Francisco

“Let the little children come to me…”

This month, I want to focus on the statement that Jesus made to his disciples when they rebuked the people and the children that were brought to Jesus to be touched and prayed over.

Matthew 19:14 (ESV)

but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

When we spend time with God in studying His Word, praying, singing praises, etc., we become more like Christ and bear the fruits of His Spirit. When the disciples rebuked the children, Jesus reminded them that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the little ones.

I’ve met a lot of people in my life who didn’t know what to do with little children… how to communicate, play, or interact with them. They didn’t even try. Some are even professed Christians who have no ability to connect with kids. I understand that not all have the gift to work with children, but like the disciples, they really didn’t want anything to do with them. 

To be fair, there’s no explanation as to why the disciples rebuked the children. Jesus had been teaching and the disciples may have wanted to learn more from their Rabbi. Maybe they needed to move on to another place and it was getting late. After all, they had to walk everywhere they went.

However, Jesus took the time to show how important children are to Him. He even went on to say in the book of Mark that children are the key to showing us how to enter God’s Kingdom.

Mark 10:15 (ESV)

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. 

I honestly believe that someone who has no experience with kids can still learn to love children and interact with them. They need to allow themselves to be transformed by God through spending time with Him. Jesus never rejected a child and neither should we if we are Christ-like.

To everyone of you, I am thankful that you have not rejected the kids, but have embraced them by teaching them God’s Word each Sunday and praying for them. You are precious in God’s eyes because you let the children come to you.

Love you all. Have a blessed weekend with the kids!!

Teacher Francisco

Encourage Your Children With a View for Eternity

If you attended ACC’s church retreat last October, 2018, you heard many encouraging messages related to our church theme “Living with a View for Eternity”. The theme includes five main points:

1. Living with a focus on God (Col. 1: 18)
2. Living as faithful stewards (Matt. 25: 14-30)
3. Living in good relationships (Col. 3: 11 – 4: 6)
4. Living as a member of God’s family (Eph. 4: 1-6)
5. Expanding God’s kingdom (Acts 1: 8)

As a Children’s Minister, I want to focus on the third point of the theme which is “living in good relationships”. The accompanying scripture verses are Col. 3:11 – 4:6. The specific verse about parenting is Col. 3:21 (NIV) which says “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” A similar scripture verse is Eph. 6:4 (NIV) which says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

The word “embitter” is defined as causing a person to feel bitter, angry, discouraged, or resentful. To exasperate someone is to severely frustrate him or her. How can parents embitter or exasperate their children?

Children can feel resentful when the things they say or do are not valued by their parents. If parents constantly compare their child with other children and their own child does not meet high or unrealistic expectations, it can lead to discouragement and frustration. Over time, neglecting to build up a child’s self-worth can lead to depression, anger, and other emotional issues. It can also affect their social skills and suppresses the unique gifts that God has given them for His glory.

Children will not feel valued if they do not hear words of encouragement or praise. Encouraging a child does not build up their pride if done properly. Encouraging a child also does not mean that you don’t discipline them. You must continue to discipline your child (Prov. 13:24, Prov. 29:17), however, use discipline with grace and gentleness, and be instructional (Col. 4:6, Eph. 6:4). Try to balance praise and discipline. Too much praise and not enough discipline may build up their pride. Too much discipline and not enough praise may cause your child to have a very low self-worth.

Sometimes when children mess up, they already know that they’ve done wrong. This is a perfect time to explain the consequences of their sin, but it also reinforces their need for our Savior. It’s also a way to teach them to ask for forgiveness. Then rebuild your child with gracious and encouraging words. Prov. 16:24 (ESV) says “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Too often, parents only tell their children when they’ve done wrong, but never tell them when they’ve done right. This is an imbalance in the discipline of a child. A child needs to hear when he or she has done wrong, but also needs to hear when he or she has done right. Discipline is also a form of training. When we train someone for a task, we show them how to do it the right way. Teaching your child what is right promotes good behavior and helps to build his or her character for a successful life (Prov. 22:6, Joshua 1:8). It also leads a child to have a right view of God.

Here are some ways to avoid exasperating your child:

  1. Do not compare your children to someone else’s child: Let your child’s successes and failures be opportunities for teaching and building up character and humility. Use the Bible as your guide and make Jesus the standard for their lives.
  2. Do not be overly protective: It’s natural for parents to be protective of their children. But over-protection can make your child feel restricted and suppresses your child’s ability to make good decisions as they grow up. Let your child make mistakes. Mistakes are God’s way of teaching us how to make better choices in life.
  3. Do not be too permissive: Without rules and boundaries, children will not learn how to navigate through life. Rules help children to feel safe and guide them as they explore life.
  4. Do not place unrealistic expectations on your child: You cannot expect your preschooler to excel at the same speed as your high schooler. Unrealistic expectations can lead to harsh criticism when those expectations are not met. Let your children learn things at their own pace while nurturing their self-worth.
  5. Admit to your child when you have done wrong: As parents, humility, repentance, apologizing and asking for forgiveness have to be modeled to our children. Your children need to see it lived out in their parents.
  6. Do not live vicariously through your child: If you try to fulfill a lost dream through your children, you are placing the responsibility for your own happiness on your child. Give your child choices in the activities you want them to participate in. Then let your child choose the instrument, sport or activity and support their decision.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Hi ACC Teachers,

This week is national Teacher Appreciation Week. While I personally dislike these types of “holidays” because it gives the sense that you only appreciate teachers one out of 52 weeks in a year, the essence is still about recognizing and appreciating the contributions of all teachers.

I found some information regarding the history of this special day:”Congress declared March 7, 1980, as National Teacher Day. The National Education Association continued to observe Teacher Day on the first Tuesday in March until 1985 when the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week of May.”

I want to encourage all of you with what the Bible says about teachers.

1 Corinthians 12:28 (ESV)

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 

You have all been appointed by God to teach. I’m thankful to each one of you for obeying God’s calling to minister to the little ones. God has not overlooked your service.

Matthew 5: 18-19 (ESV)

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

As followers of Christ, you model and teach the children His Word while also living out the Word. The Bible says that there is a special place for Bible teachers in His Kingdom. Praise God!!

My words of appreciation are small compared to the all-surpassing truth of God’s Word, but I still want to say THANK YOU!!

Have a great rest of the week!

Teacher Francisco

Teachers Are A Blessing

Hi ACC Teachers and Leaders,

I was praying for you this week and wanted to send an email to encourage you.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Schools and colleges teach students to learn about particular subjects and skills. If the teacher is so inclined, he/she might even coach the students up about life and how to be a grown-up.

We as teachers in ACC get the unique opportunity to teach God’s Word and shepherd the children in our flock. Our time with them is a huge investment that impacts them and how they shepherd others for multiple generations. In some cases, we are planting seeds. In other cases, we are watering a growing and healthy plant to see it through to the next phase in life. We cannot assume that the kids have Christian parents or that they have a parent who is involved in their lives. You may be the one, or the first, shining example of love, faith, commitment, and service to the Lord.

But what we do is not just building up the next generation. According to Ephesians 4:11-16, we are building up our future coworkers who will serve alongside with us in building God’s Kingdom. We are ONE BODY in Christ. What a huge blessing!!

“This kid I’m teaching will be my co-worker some day!” 

What a humbling thought. You get to mold your future co-workers. I always found it difficult to work with people I didn’t like in my old company. If the ACC kids of today become our spiritual co-workers of tomorrow, then we must make our time with the kids count each week.

So, my prayers for you this week is that God would ease your burdens, remove major stresses, and give you peace beyond measure so that you can give your best to the kids on Friday nights and Sunday mornings. I know it’s not easy, but you have been gifted with a teaching and ministering heart. God loves teachers.

Blessings upon you as you teach them to obey all that God has commanded you.

Have a great rest of your week!

Teacher Francisco