Archive for the ‘Children’s Ministries’ Category

Reflections

pr27143.jpgIt’s difficult to believe that I have been blogging here for twenty months now.  Wow!  The old adage “time flies” certainly seems to be true.  Blogging is officially my favorite hobby now, even though I engage the blogosphere less frequently than in previous years.

The year 2007 was a most eventful year for Red Rocks Baptist Church, where I serve as an assistant pastor.  After years and years of waiting, praying, selling, and moving to interim locations, we finally moved in to our new facility in March.  It was so nice to finally be “home” as far as the permanent physical location for the ministry.  The facility is beautiful and spacious and has provided a highly visible and trafficked location for us.  In these first several months, the Lord has brought over 400 first-time visitors to our building.  We have seen nearly an hundred of them added to our fellowship.  It has been difficult to keep up with the the contacts, and we are constantly trying to improve in this area.  The Lord is still sending new families each week to visit the ministry.  Many of the new families have jumped right into ministry opportunities (after a required short period of orientation) and added to the life of the church.  While the acoustical treatment of our auditorium is not quite finished yet (problems with HVAC, etc.), the worship of our church has been vibrant and we are so delighted to see many weekly responses to the preaching of the Word.  We just finished a very busy Christmas season; and once again, the musicians in our church did a really wonderful job presenting the story of Christ’s birth.  The music was excellent in quality and the people “had a mind to work.”  I am privileged to lead such a faithful group of ministers.

Our family continues to grow as well (not numerically!!).  My oldest daughter broke the teenage barrier this past July.  So I now parent a 13, 12, 10, 6, and 4 year old child.  Parenting is truly one of the great joys of my life and great frustrations of my life.  It is a joy because we share such a wonderful bond of love; it is a frustration because they are growing so quickly!  It is difficult to comprehend that my oldest will likely only be under my direct supervision for another 5 years.  There is so much to teach.  There is so much to learn.  Deborah and I celebrated 15 years of marriage this past June.  She remains a wonderful spouse and mother who is constantly growing in her parenting skills.  It is wonderful to watch her age with beauty and wisdom.

I have not done much “deep” pondering in the area of worship in the last few months so I am doing some catch-up reading from the growing pile on my desk.  I just finished an interesting book this morning called Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views.  The six views being represented are the formal-liturgical, the traditional hymn-based, the contemporary music-driven, the charismatic, the blended, and the emerging.  Each of the 6 authors presents the case for their viewpoint and then gets to give response to the other 5 viewpoints as well.  It’s a fascinating read.  I’ll let you know which view I give the most credence to in a future post.  I’m also planning to read Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts by Harold Best.

Of course, the crazy political season is already upon us with the primaries revving their engines louder each day.  I’ve been a supporter of Mike Huckabee and enjoyed the opportunity to interact with him and several of the other campaigns as well.  Politics is probably my third hobby, behind blogging and music, though it is certainly a daily event already.  For the record, I am a firm believer in the local church and do not believe that changes in the government will usher in the Kingdom or anything like that.  My favorite pastime is not interacting with candidates but converts.  It has been a tremendous joy to invest time and teaching into both adults and children this past year as they follow the Lord Jesus.

Finally, a big thanks to those who read and interact with me here on the blog.  It is interesting to see which topics attract which people and how many.  The discussions may seem to get heated at times and the subjects certainly get controversial; however, be assured that I greatly appreciate both the encouragement and challenges of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  I learn much from you and hope that at times I can be an encouragement to you as well as we all run the race set before us.

Happy New Year!  May the Lord come soon!

One Matthew; Many Timothys

matthewmurray.jpgFive years ago, things were very different.

At that time Matthew Murray was enrolled in the Youth With a Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado, preparing to go overseas with a ministry team.

How different was Matthew from the best Christian young people you know? 

  • Came from a “very, very” religious family
  • Home-schooled
  • Had an Uncle who is a pastor.
  • Participated in Youth Missions training.

Fast-forward to Sunday, December 9th, 2007. Continue reading

SharperIron Posting

dvc.jpg“America’s Helping Youth…Is Your Church” was posted this morning over at SharperIron.  It was written after covering a White House event here in Denver for SI.  I hope you get a chance to read it and give me your feedback.

The article can be found here: http://www.sharperiron.org/2006/08/11/america’s-helping-youth-is-your-church

The discussion thread can be found here: http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=2981

No Higher Calling

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His life could not have been going any better.

And then the phone rang.

He was an evangelist who preached the Word with the Holy Spirit's authority and power.  He was the most sought-after evangelist in his denomination. If you wanted him to come and preach in your church, you had to get in line and wait for a minimum of four years.  He was a man who was enjoying the favor of God on his life and ministry.

The numerous invitations were always a pull away from his family.  But he and his wife had settled on a formula that had worked well and enabled him to spend time at home with his bride and son that he dearly loved.  The formula was simple: He would go out and preach for two weeks and then come home for two weeks.  And then he would go out again for two weeks and back home for another two.  Everything was working and God was blessing.  His marriage was strong. His boy, now a teenager, was doing well in school and athletics.  And his ministry was taking off like a rocket.

And then the phone rang. Continue reading

Come into My Heart, Lord Jesus??? A Plea for Biblical Accuracy in Child Evangelism

(This article was originally published at www.sharperiron.org on May 1, 2006.)

Into my heart, into my heart,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
Come in today; come in to stay.
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

Harry Clarke, Welsh song leader for Evangelist Billy Sunday, wrote these words in 1924. Who hasn’t heard these words sung at the end of an evangelistic challenge? I’m still amazed that many Christians still sing the lyrics after they already know the Lord.

The language of “asking Jesus into one’s heart” is part of a soul winner’s basic vocabulary, at least in my experience. It is firmly entrenched, it seems, especially in children’s ministries today. Consider this recommended prayer for children given by one church: Continue reading

SharperIron Posting

I was privileged to post an article on SharperIron today.  It's entitled: "Come into My Heart, Lord Jesus??? A Plea for Biblical Accuracy in Child Evangelism."

You can read the post here: http://www.sharperiron.org/2006/05/01/come-into-my-heart-lord-jesus-a-plea-for-biblical-accuracy-in-child-evangelism/

You can comment on the post here: http://www.sharperiron.org/showthread.php?t=1925

I will re-post the article here after a few days on SI.  Enjoy!

A Basis for Children’s Ministry

children.jpgBeing a kid is tough in today's world.  I have five of my own; and even though my children live in a Christian home and are well connected to spiritual activity, I am acutely aware that they are under more spiritual bombardment than I ever was as a child.  Did you realize that less than 17% of children that grow up in Bible-believing homes today will end up in a Bible-believing church as adults?  Did you know that nearly 25 million children in America today live without a father?  Did you know that parents tend to spend less than 40 minutes a week engaging in meaningful conversation with their children, who typically spend long hours in front of the TV, which is on in the average home some 49 hours a week? Am I burdened about children?  You better believe it!  Everywhere I look, I hear them crying.  I hear refugee children sobbing for their family in their homeland.  I hear inner-city children crying for friends who died in drive-by shootings.  I see latchkey children wiping tears as they go home to empty houses.  I hear depressed children crying for help as they consider killing themselves.  There are rejected children crying because they are shut out of cliques…Brokenhearted children weeping because their parents have divorced…Frightened children quietly weeping after being bullied by classmates…And even juvenile killers sobbing in prison cells because they committed adult crimes. 

Continue reading