Praise Your Way Through the Pain

Recently I had coffee with a gentleman interested in joining our worship team. I wanted to hear his story and hear what God had been doing in his life. As he began to share, I was stunned by the amount of pain he had endured in recent years. After twenty-five years of marriage, he lost his wife to a sudden and unexpected illness. For three months, he struggled to pull himself out of a deep valley of despair brought on by the tragic death of his life partner and best friend. For three months, he put down his instrument, having no desire to play.

One day, in desperation he grabbed his guitar, mustered up what little bit of energy and faith he had, turned on some worship music and began to play along. After a little while, the Holy Spirit began ministering to his heart while he worshiped and played before the Lord. The tears began to flow and the healing began to take place.

The discipline of praising in the valley is not popular teaching. Few of us want to face the reality that storms will come. But even fewer of us want to acknowledge that God wants us not simply to endure trial, but actually to worship through the midst of it.

David penned Psalm 57 in order to serve as a corporate worship song that would remind God's people to trust His sovereignty in the midst of trial and hardship. Set to the tune of "do not destroy," (an unknown melody) the psalm recounts David's personal suffering while fleeing for his life. “In the shadow of your wings,” David writes, “I will take refuge till the storms of destruction pass by” (v.1).

But what if they don’t? Or what if relief is so far out of our line of sight we can’t seem to comprehend it? That’s when we, in faith, ask God that our desire to see Him glorified would be greater than our desire for relief. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth” (v.5).

Tim Keller writes, “Deeper than disaster, danger, and distress is the desire for God to be glorified. If that can be accomplished by saving us from our circumstances, then praise God! If it is better accomplished by our circumstances remaining unchanged while we continue to show our confidence in God before the watching world, praise God as well. Either way, God fulfills his purpose for you as you delight to honor Him.”

I don’t know your circumstance. I don’t know the pain you feel. But I know there is a long line of Christian heroes who have gone before you who not only endured enormous pain, but also praised their way through the pain and finished their race seeing God glorified in their suffering––men and women of whom the writer of Hebrews says, “the world was not worthy.”

Whatever you are enduring at this moment or will endure in future moments, refuse to let the enemy steal your confidence in Christ and his sovereignty. In your most difficult of moments, trust the facts rather than your feelings, and praise your way into a deeper level of confidence in Jesus.

Three Things every Pastor should consider about Children’s Ministry

Evangelist D.L. Moody towards the end of his life, said, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God!”  Dr. Moody saw the weightiness of ministry to children.

How many adults have you met who would reflect on their lives and wish that they were saved later in life?  Moody argues that the earlier the conversion, the more likely it is for one’s life story to be totally committed to the Gospel and more likely to go into full-time ministry. When considering the local church, there are three main points for pastors and church leaders to think carefully about when ministering to kids and their families. Children’s Ministry is your church’s largest mission field, Children’s Ministry is the present and future of your church and Children’s Ministry is important to God.

Children’s Ministry is your Church’s Largest Mission Field

Barna Research Group tells us that 83% of those who profess Christ do so between the ages of four years old and fourteen years old. What grander mission field has God granted your church than the kids who enter your doors each Sunday! Consider these words of 1800’s Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, “And far away across yonder broad ocean, in the Islets of the South, in lands where those dwell who bow before blocks of wood and stone, there are missionaries who were saved in Sabbath Schools, and the thousands, blessed by their labour, contribute to swell the mighty stream of the incalculable, I had almost said infinite, success of Sabbath school instruction.” (Come Ye Children, C.H. Spurgeon, P.105).

Children’s Ministry is the Present and Future of your Church

Children’s Ministry is typically the after-thought at best when revitalizing a church or planting a new one.  Often Children’s Ministry comes as a response to a plea from well-meaning parents and church members. “What are we going to do with all these energetic kids?” A growing Children’s Ministry is one of the major signs of a healthy church. When we are welcoming little ones and their families, and nourishing their souls with the truths of the Gospel, we get to pour into the least of these in a way that reminds them that they have a place in the body of Christ, today, tomorrow, and for eternity.

Children’s Ministry is Important to God

God has entrusted the church to tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, the wonders that He has done (Psalm 78:4). What a joyful privilege we have to be a part of something that is so close to the heart of God. If you have never considered Children’s Ministry as an impactful part of your church, consider Mark 10:14 which reads, “But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” This verse serves as a reminder to us of the mission field of God, Jesus saw children as an important part of the kingdom of God.

May God use our children’s ministries to draw the coming generations to Him and then send out a mighty army into the nations to win souls for the kingdom.

Comment

Stephanie Jackson, 2006

Stephanie Jackson has served as Director of Children’s Ministries at North Wake Church located in Wake Forest, North Carolina since 2003. She is passionate about sharing the Gospel with children and equipping families to follow Jesus together. She is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Undergraduate program and in partnership with North Wake Church, the founder of PracticalKidsMinistry.com which seeks to Equip, Encourage, and Engage Children’s Ministry Leaders via Online Mentorship. In her free time she enjoys gardening, collecting penguins and eating tacos.

Alumni Blog v2.0

Welcome to the Southeastern alumni blog v2.0!

These are exciting days for Southeastern! We want you to be in the loop with all things happening on campus and among the alumni family. Be sure to bookmark AlumniSE.com and check back each week for new posts. We desire for this to be a space that encourages and equips you as you GO!

We’re also thrilled to launch the newly improved and upgraded Southeastern Network. If you are currently not a registered user, join today for free to network with your fellow alumni, search for and post jobs, and learn about mentoring opportunities.

It is a joy to serve you! Please connect with our office anytime and let us know how we can continue helping you to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission.

Like free things? Shoot us an email with your mailing address to alumni@sebts.edu and we will send you a newly designed alumni decal! Keep checking the blog, the network, and our twitter (@sebtsalumni) for more giveaways over the next few weeks.

Look around and enjoy!

Michelle Ard
Events & Alumni Relations Coordinator
M.A., Intercultural Studies, c/o 2017