Monday, March 20, 2017

LIFTing Our Prayers to a New Level!

LIFTing Our Prayers to a New Level!
By: Elisha Jane Wells


In Kidz Klub we are LIFTing our prayers to a whole new level!

I have to say I have the privilege to interact with some of the praying-est kidz you will ever meet. They never hesitate to share their needs. They're not ashamed to kneel at the altar or to shed tears. They are learning to pray out loud with sincerity, conviction, and boldness. 

Recently, I heard an apostolic minister (I can't recall who but it was on YouTube of course!) speaking about children's ministry. He shared four steps for lifting prayer to higher level when praying with children at the altar. After dwelling on it for a while, I took those four steps, adapted them for my kidz and made them my own. I then introduced them to the kidz as Prayer Tips.

They go like this:

1.) Close Your Eyes
This shuts out distractions.
It helps you focus on God and not the others around you.
 It keeps the devil from being able to use the things in your line of sight to get your attention off of God.

2.) Lift Your Head
It's okay to bow our heads when we pray. It shows humility and respect.
But we don't always have to.
**More often than not a child's head is lowered out of shame and guilt or the idea that that is the appropriate prayer pose.**
We should never be ashamed to come before God. 
His word says we can come "boldly before the throne of grace".
**This also makes it easier to pray with a child for the Holy Ghost because you can see their lips and hear their voices more clearly.**

3.) Lift Your Hands
Think of it like giving God a hug!
**The kidz love giving hugs! They understand the emotional significance of what the physical action of a hug means. So, I tell them to think of it this way because as much as they love giving hugs (and as much as I love getting their hugs), God loves getting their hugs more!**
When you lift your hands think of it like using them to lift your heart up to God to show Him how much you love Him!
            "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."     Lamentations 3:41
4.) Lift Your Voice
Pray out loud.
God made your voice, he loves to hear your voice!
Prayers don't have to be perfect. You don't have to say just the perfect words or the perfect phrases. You just need to mean what you are saying!
Talking to God is like having a conversation with your best friend. Just be yourself.
Praise is just giving God compliments & worship is when those compliments come from the bottom of your heart!
Plus, if you are seeking the Holy Ghost, you can only expect to speak in tongues if you are first making the effort to speak!


It is amazing the difference these four tips make in the way the kidz pray!
 Not just in Kidz Klub but I am noticing it spilling over into their prayer and their worship during regular services too. No more patty cake prayers for us! We are lifting our prayers (and our praise!) to a new level and developing relationships with God that will last an eternity!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I CAN Offer the Sacrifice of Praise

I CAN Offer the Sacrifice of Praise
By Elisha Jane Wells


 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

 "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Hebrews 13:15


"I can't." "I'm tired." "My feet hurt." "My arms are tired." "Can I sit down?"

It never failed that the same kids who always have boundless energy before and after service were the very ones whining these phrases during service. At first I let it get to me. In my flesh I wanted to retort, "Well, if you're too tired to praise, you're too tired for that game you asked to play." For the most part I held my tongue, though I didn't really have a better answer to give. I started asking God to give me a response to those complaints and to help me to draw out that same energy for praise time that they had for play time. 

Before long I found myself responding differently. 

When the kids would say "I can't," I would ask "Really? What does the Bible say about that?" It didn't take long for the kids to catch on that I was referring to Philippians 4:13, " I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Now when someone in Kidz Klub says "I can't" you'll likely hear another voice or two pipe up and say "Yes, you can."  or "We're not supposed to say I can't." 

When someone would say "I'm tired." or this hurts or that hurts, I 'd ask if God was too tired to climb Calvary carrying a cross for them? If his hands were to too tired or hurt too bad to raise and stretch across the cross? If his back hurt too bad to let himself be beaten so we could have healing?
If he was too tired or hurt too badly to become the sacrifice for our sins? Of course not. Now when someone doesn't stand to praise or asks to sit down or says they're tired or something hurts, often more than one of the kids beats me to the punch and lets them know God is worth an hour of our time to praise together.

It may sound a little harsh to hold the kids to such a standard. After all they are just kids and by the time they've spent all day at school and in sports practices and such they likely are tired. 

I believe that there is no better time to teach our kids what a sacrifice of praise is and that they CAN offer one themselves. After all, Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

When they are older and a sacrifice means more than just praising when they are tired or really want to play a game, they will know from experience that they CAN. When the devil tries to whisper in their ear that they don't have a right to praise, they will know that they CAN. When the world tries to distract them and drag them down they will be able to say with confidence, "I CAN offer the sacrifice of praise!"




Monday, March 6, 2017

Breaking Down 2 Timothy 3:16

Breaking Down 2 Timothy 3:16

By: Elisha Jane Wells

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"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" - 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

So, how do I explain just how important the Bible is to a room full of kids? Well, I break down those big words something like this:

all = every word
scripture = Bible = a book full of books
given by inspiration of God = a great idea God gives someone
profitable =  what something is good for
doctrine = our beliefs
reproof = scolding = getting onto us when we do something wrong
correction = how to fix it & make it right
instruction = teaching
righteousness = fairness/behavior that God approves of

So then, how would 2 Timothy 3:16 read in kid speak (or Kidz-ese as I like to call it)?

God gave a bunch of different guys the great idea to write down every word in this book full of books and every word is good for helping us to learn our beliefs, for scolding us & getting onto us when we do something wrong, for telling us how to fix it and do the right thing, & for teaching us how to be fair and have behavior that God approves of. 
2 Timothy 3:16 (Kidz-ese 😃)

It is important that the kids truly understand the authority of the Bible. There are so many out there that would discredit their beliefs and the things that they are taught in church. They need to really understand for themselves that the Bible is the word of God. It is not just another book. It is the book.

The kids need to really know what this book is good for and why God would bother to make sure it was written down for them to read and learn. No matter how many other things change in their lives, the Bible will always be true and relevant. It can clarify to them their beliefs when the world would try to twist them up inside. It can scold them when they mess up (because we all do sometimes). It can help them to fix their mistakes and show them the right way. It can teach them to have behaviors, actions, and attitudes that God approves of, that make Him happy. 

Every answer they will ever need is right there within those pages. It is my job to help them understand that and to come to love and rely on the word. That starts with helping them understand it's authority and purpose.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Lesson on The Lord's Prayer

Learning to Pray the Way Jesus Taught Us
Putting The Lord’s Prayer in Our Own Words


By: Elisha Jane Wells, AGC Kidz Klub Director (March 1, 2017)


Scripture Reference: Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4


The Lord’s Prayer.
Most any kid can quote it. But do they understand what all those phrases really mean? When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he did not give them some magical mantra to incant in times of need. He wasn’t saying memorize this or jot it down and pull it out when you want to get god’s attention. They asked and He gave them an example. He basically looked at them and said, “Hey! Good question. If you want to make the most of the time you spend in prayer,  here’s what you should do…” And he went on to show them a pattern that, if they followed it, could lead to a truly meaningful conversation with God every time they talked to him.
Just a couple of weeks ago in Kidz Klub, I asked one of the kids to read the Lord’s Prayer aloud from Matthew. I watched, without comment, as most of the 4 to 11 year olds in the room quietly quoted at least some portion of the passage along with him. When he was finished, I turned to the group and commended them on how much of the word they had hidden in their hearts. Then I asked a question. “How many of you know what all those words mean?” They looked at me silently, a few finally sheepishly admitting that those big words were confusing. So, that Wednesday night we started breaking down the Lord’s Prayer to learn how to pray the way Jesus taught us and put it into our own words.


“Our Father Which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”
Start by acknowledging that you know who your god is. It’s just like a child running up to their father and with love in their face crying out “Daddy” as they throw their arms out toward him. That father has no doubt of where he stands with that child. In that one word and single action, that father knows that his child knows him, loves him, and respects his place in their life.
Then follow up that acknowledgement with a compliment. The word hallowed means to “make holy” or “demonstrate the holiness of” and holy means “sacred”. By giving God a compliment we are demonstrating how and why he is sacred to us. Just like that Father who loves to hear whatever statement follows that exclamation of “Daddy”, be it “I Love You”, “I missed you”, or any other precious thing that a child's lips can utter, our heavenly father loves a compliment too. It makes him happy to know why we think he is special. It boils down to letting him know all the good things that you think of when you think of him.


God, you are the God of heaven and earth, the God of all creation, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Almighty God. You are the one and only true God. You are my God.
God, you are amazing and incredible, holy and righteous. You are perfect, God. Your name is greater than any other name. Your name is the only name that can save me. You are more powerful than anything or anyone. God, give me a true revelation and help me truly understand who you are and just how perfect and powerful you are. Help me learn to worship you with worship that is worthy of you. I love you, God.


“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
Give God permission to do it his way. God is in control of everything. But he is a gentleman and he has given us free will, the right to make our own decisions and do things our way if that's what we want, even if it's not his desire or plan. When we pray for him to have his “will” what we are saying is that we want things to go the way he wants them to. That we want things to go according to his plan. Let him know that we know he is in authority, and that his way is best and we are submitting to it. When we submit to God’s plans for how things should go we allow him to gain glory and recognition from our lives and the outcomes of our situations. When his hand can be seen in our lives we become true witnesses of him and can be used to build his kingdom, his church.
God you are in control of everything. There is not one thing that you can not handle. You have the perfect solution to every situation. God work out my needs in your perfect way, the way only you know how. God, use me and my problems and circumstances to establish your kingdom, to bring you glory, and to build your church.


“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Ask for God’s provision. Let God know your needs. Wonder where dinner is coming from? Or how a bill is getting paid. Talk to God about it. God is our provider. He meets our needs. No, we don’t always get everything we desire, but he meets our needs. Just like God providing manna for the Israelites in the wilderness on a daily basis, we can trust him to provide for our daily needs. God cares that much for us. By praying for his provision we let him know we appreciate what he does for us and we trust him to be able to always meet our needs.


God, you are my provider. You give me everything that I need. You take care of me. Thank you for that, God. God I know that you know my needs and none of them are too big for you to provide. I trust you take care of me . God, help me trust you more.


“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Confess your sins, repent of your sins, and ask for God’s help to become like him. God is the only one capable of forgiving sins. He is the only one who died for us to pay the debt for our sins that we could not pay. This phrase is us admitting that we know we did not deserve to have the most holy God pay our debt. It is us admitting that on our own we cannot be like him but that we need his help to be more like him. It is us admitting that we know it is so important to learn to be in his image and take on his traits that we hinge our own forgiveness on it. We want complete and completely underserved forgiveness from God, so we must then be willing to forgive those who owe us, offend us, anger us, hurt us, with that same complete and completely undeserved forgiveness.


God, you are the only one who can forgive sins. You are the only one whose blood is perfect and can cover my sins. I am a sinner. On my own I can’t be perfect like you. I mess up every day. God, I am sorry. I want to be more like you. I need to be more like you. It is so important that I become more like you that I want you to forgive me the way I forgive others. I need your forgiveness. I don’t deserve it but I need to have your mercy and grace. God give me the strength to follow your example and forgive whether or not it's deserved. Help me be like you.


“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
Ask God for strength and help to make it. Once we have confessed our sins and repented for them we still need to turn around and walk away from them. That can be an incredible challenge. Even though we are sorry, those things can still be tempting. This part of the Lord’s Prayer is us asking God for help to be what he wants us to be. It’s asking him for strength to make right decisions, guidance to take the right path. It’s asking him to clear the way before us and provide deliverance from our own desires and rescue from the devil’s tricks and traps.


God, I want to bring you honor. I want you to get glory from my life. God, when I am tempted by things that hurt, dishonour, offend, and anger you, remind me of your desires for my life. Help me to turn away from those things and to make right decisions and choices. God strengthen my self control. Lead me and guide me and help me to follow you. God, give me eyes that can see temptation for what it is and feet able to escape.


“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.”
Praise him. Thank him. When we’ve gotten through all the rest, we circle right back around and end our prayers by lifting God up with praise and compliments. We can never praise God enough. We’re letting him, again, know what he means to us and that we realize that he is never going to change. He has all authority and all power and he deserves all glory “forever”. We let him know that we trust him and we believe him. That we know that he cares about the things we have said and that he is more than capable of handling them.


God, you are God. You are holy and wonderful. I lift you up and magnify you. God, I trust you. I believe you. I believe your word. God, you’ve got this. You can handle it and I put it all in your hands. I love you and I trust you to take care of everything.


It is immensely important that we teach our kids to pray for themselves with words that mean something to them. It is incredible to hear a child quote the Lord’s Prayer. Any scripture that they have hidden in their heart is amazing. But quoting the Lord’s Prayer, reciting a rhyme over their food, or parroting our big, grown-up words is not going to gain them a relationship with God or salvation for their souls. Prayer is a conversation, not an incantation. It needs to be heartfelt, to mean something. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he gave them a pattern to follow. That is what we must do with our kids. Teach them a pattern to follow, so that every time they pray they don’t just recite words they don’t really understand but, instead, have a whole new conversation of their own with God.

The first night we started breaking down this prayer in Kidz Klub, we only covered the first verse. After all, they’re little. But even that made an incredible impact on our prayer time that evening. When we went before God in prayer and I could hear their voices lifting compliments to God about the things that they loved about him, it thrilled my soul. I look forward to seeing how their prayers grow and change as we work our way through this passage. I also plan to present this as a single lesson to our 12+ group in Klub 356, because learning to truly talk to God for ourselves, in our own words, and with meaning is essential to our salvation.

AGC Kid Klub/Klub 356 Director

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Praise the Lord!
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Elisha Jane Wells.
I am the Kidz Klub/Klub 356 Director at Apostolic Gospel Church in Portsmouth, OH. 
I am 34 years old and have been working for the Lord in various forms of children's ministry since I was 17. 
I am third generation Apostolic Pentecostal. I repented and was baptized in Jesus name at the age of 12. I received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues when I was 14. 
At 17, I started teaching Sunday School. Between then and now I have taught kindergarten, primary, and teen Sunday School classes, lead Children's Church, done clowning, puppets and sign songs, participated in praise teams, served on ladies committees and now direct Kid's Klub/Klub 356. 
I am currently on the AGC Praise Team, on the AGC Ladies Committee, and, of course, serve as the AGC Kidz Klub/ Klub 356 Director. 
The kids are my purpose. They are more than a burden. More even than a calling. They are my ministry.
It is my prayer that everything I do with and for the kids somehow brings God glory. I pray that through my love and dedication to them the kids will feel the love of God in their lives. I pray that I can be an example of  true worship and praise. I desire to lead them to their own relationship with God and to a revelation of apostolic truth.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Welcome to the Klub!

Where the King's kidz come to worship!

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6KJV

Kidz Klub is where the 4 to 11 year olds come to worship and praise. It is church kid style. Through music, puppets, activities, object lessons, and taking part in leading the service the kids learn how to give God their all in worship and praise.

 

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6KJV

Klub  356 is where the kids 12+ meet to experience the fun in serving God and to worship God like He's worth it! Lessons and activities are geared toward guiding the kids in this group to find God's direction in their lives and establish their own unique relationships with him. 


Kidz Klub & Klub 356 meet @ AGC on Wed nights at 7:00 p.m.
(While the kids are downstairs the adults are in service upstairs in the sanctuary.)
(And on the last Wednesday of each month all of the kids invade the sanctuary for Youth Spotlight Night led by our Youth Leader!)
Everyone is welcome!
We look forward to seeing you!


Apostolic Gospel Church 
2037 Jackson Ave.
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662