As promised, here are my notes from this weekend’s sermon. We divided the time up into three sections. The first was a question and answer time. The second was a focus on three different Biblical moms. The third and final section was on action steps to take away from the lesson. The theme in In Her Steps focused on the Biblical Moms and how they are ladies we can follow in the footsteps of.
I don’t have the notes for the other ladies, but I am glad to share mine with you. You can hear the entire presentation via podcast (https://sites.google.com/site/bethelchurchpodcast/). I highly recommend you hear the whole sermon with Pastor Vicki and Shereena’s contributions. It’s definitely worth it! Trust me!
First Section – Question & Answer Time
Vicki: What is your favorite thing about children’s ministry? The relationships I get to build with the students. It’s so special to be a part of their spiritual journey and see them building a foundation on Jesus Christ. It’s also really great to see how our friendships remain over time, even after they graduate from children’s ministry. In fact, the first class of students I taught will graduate next year. It’s been an honor to be part of their journey for the long haul.
Vicki: What kinds of questions and concerns are you hearing from the kids you work with?
- Relationships with the opposite sex. Kids are already talking about dating and how far is too far to go in the relationship. They see this behavior with their friends and they are wrestling with that it means for them.
- Probably one of the biggest concerns of kids is their parent’s choices. Depression and anger can be seen in kids who have watched their parent’s struggle with divorce. Not having a Dad around the house is especially hard on boys and we see that come out at church. According to author, Vicki Courtney, 40% of children in the US go to bed each night without a biological father living in their home. Even if the parents aren’t divorced, kids are still highly sensitive to their parent’s stability and it greatly affects them. Kids are watching their parent’s commitment to each other. They derive great strength or great insecurity from their parent’s relationship.
Vicki: What ages are these kids? It can start really at any age, but I would say most of my conversations happen with students ages 9-12.
Vicki: Are kids able to talk with their parents about these issues? Honestly, it depends on the environment that parents create. Kids are very sensitive when it comes to stability with their parents. If there is any uncertainty in a child’s mind about trusting their parents, the child is more likely to start building walls and keeping parents at a distance. Most kids at a young age are willing to talk with their parents and really want that influence in their life. Kids are more willing to share with their parents when they’ve been told from a young age that they came to their parents with anything. It’s important for kids to know that they can trust their parents and that their parents won’t react with overly-emotional responses. When they know they will be listened to and treated fairly, kids will feel comfortable being honest even if they are at fault. Parents have to create this environment early on in their child’s life. It has to be an overstated fact so that kids always know and never forget they can talk to their parent’s about anything.
Second Section – Biblical Mom – Hannah
- Hannah’s back story
- One of two wives – her rival wife could have children, but she couldn’t
- The taunting of this other wife deeply affected Hannah
- Every year the family traveled to make sacrifices and worship the Lord. Even on a trip that should have been a sacred time for the family, we can see this other wife continuing to deepen Hannah’s wound.
- When Hannah has no other options and it seems like there is no hope, she goes to one place and the one person she knows has the answers. She turns to the Lord and pours out her heart to him in the sanctuary.
- 1 Samuel 1:9-11:
- So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow: Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me By giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.
- We can see Hannah gave her all to prayer. She didn’t just send up a 30 second prayer, but she spent time seeking the Lord. Not only time, but she put forth great energy and emotion in her request. Eli’s response when he finds her shows us just how into praying Hannah was. He was taken off guard by her actions and assumed she was drunk when she was really just deep in prayer.
- A wise mother knows what powerful men can forget — that the way to move heaven and earth isn’t with a strong arm but with a bowed head. – Ann Voskamp
- Eli was probably surprised when realized the dedication to prayer that this women had. We can see how his response “May the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him” (vs. 17) really changes Hannah. Before she even sees her prayers answered, she is confident that the Lord has heard her and it shows! The Message says her face was radiant after this experience.
- Just as she had prayed, Hannah had a son within the year. Once the child was weaned, she did exactly what she said would do and dedicated the child to the Lord.
- Hannah honors God from the beginning by realizing that the Lord gave her the son she had requested. She kept her word and gives him back to the Lord. Hannah might wanted to keep Samuel for herself, but I think she knew this truth deeply – She was given Samuel for the Lord’s purposes, not hers. She didn’t hold on to Samuel. She let him go, just as she promised.
- 1 Samuel 1:25-28
- Hannah said, “Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I’m the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to God? I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.”
- I think it’s important to remember that we’re raising children for the Lord, not for ourselves. Anyone influencing the next generation needs to have a strong awareness that we are not shaping them to be like us, but to be like the Lord.
- 1 Samuel 1:9-11:
Third Section – Action Step – Vision
Having an honest evaluation of where your family is at is just the beginning. Now is the time to have a vision for your family. Dream about where you want to be. Just like a road trip – set your eyes on the final destination. There are no quick fixes and the journey will be long, but that shouldn’t diminish the vision God puts in your heart. As a parent, you are setting the direction for your family, so be intentional about where you are leading them. When you grab a vision for your family, you’ll change your family tree. This decision to dream big will not only affect your children, but the generation to follow. Be the catalyst for change in your family. Go after the vision God lays on your heart with tenacity and focus. You won’t regret the decision to follow God’s best for your family.