INVITATION TO PLAY

INVITATION TO PLAY

Imagine a child who watches every football game with their dad and longs to be just like them when they grow up. Their world revolves around their favorite sports hero. Picture that child playing catch only to realize he can’t hold the ball well. He walks away in utter defeat and concludes football is not for him. He spends a great deal of mental energy and time pushing away his deepest desire and longing to play. This is what so many adults do with playing in the Kingdom. They see others modeling things like healing the sick, prophesying, walking in their destiny, using their voice, and bearing fruit, and they eagerly try it on themselves, only to conclude that they don’t hear God speaking to them. They walk away in utter defeat and conclude they are disqualified from their greatest longing and dreams coming true. No child starts out scoring touchdowns. It takes practice and a determination anchored in faith to play well. If you desire to play in the Kingdom but are aware you lack hearing Him, that is not evidence of being disqualified; it is AN INVITATION to learn. Like any good coach will tell you, you start there and work on the foundational skills first. 

One of my all-time favorite books is by Mark Virkler called 4 Keys to Hearing God – Teen Edition. I love this book because you can read it as a family. Each section is short, easy to read, and provides excellent activation activities to do as a family.

You aren’t disqualified; you are INVITED!

LOVE IN AISLE 8

Ellie (8) walked into the store and immediately grabbed this huge Valentine’s box of candy and declared, “We have to buy this!” to which I replied, “Oh, no, we don’t.” She said it wasn’t for her but for someone else. Her persistence caught me off guard, and she was clearly on assignment. I wasn’t sure what God was up to, but I was excited to see it unfold. She spotted a worker and knew immediately it was for her, but she was busy. We kept walking around, and Ellie had this ‘Christmas morning’ type of excitement about giving this girl a gift. We made our way to the seasonal section, and I tried to get her to pick out a less expensive one, but she said, “No, Mom, it can’t be small, but something that lavishes on her.” Finally, the worker was available, and Ellie explained to her that God told her to buy a gift for someone and that she was highlighted to her. She was so taken off guard and unsure how to respond. Ellie went on to say that God wanted her to know that she was loved and so special to Him and then handed her the (BIG) box of chocolates. 

Children have the ability to access people’s hearts in ways adults can’t reach. They are such sharp arrows in the Kingdom!

LASTING FRUIT

We had ministry students who would come to our home once a week. Our sweet Laura walked in and told us about a friend of a friend who was staying at their house from London. She was telling them about school and that once a week they are with our family. He says, “OH, Lisa Max, doesn’t she have an Airbnb?” and grabs his Bible and pulls out a prophetic card from Ellie from years ago. Teaching and training our children to love those around us bears lasting fruit because it is GOD’S heart we are releasing over them.

TEACHING CHILDREN TO HEAR

I encourage you to teach it as I have done with my children but by adding, subtracting, and editing according to your own creativity and family. Before I start, I have to remind you that you have 18 years with your children to influence them to hear their Father’s voice. Please do not (in your utter excitement) teach it to them and then get frustrated if they do not rattle off a million things they heard the Lord say. If your child’s ears aren’t immediately hearing perfectly, you have two choices – keep going or quit. You have to resolve that equipping them to hear His voice is a core value for your family, and you will keep at it until it is a family lifestyle for all. 

I had the advantage of being a home-school teacher and teaching my kids about our body – the hands, eyes, and nose – and the goodies inside us – brain, tonsils, and spleen. My kids never argued or doubted that we have lungs just because they had never seen one. They simply believed. I would suggest starting by pointing this out to your child. God gave us hands to touch and legs to walk. We have lungs to breathe and a brain to think. But inside our brains, God gave us each a chalkboard (or whiteboard). You can even get a real chalkboard to help give them a visual of what God put inside us. He put this board inside of us for HIS use. Be creative with this. Children love visuals and hands-on learning. The more you make the teaching FUN, the more they will want to be a part of it. Host a family meeting and get everyone involved via role-playing, laughing, and connecting. Tell your kids who are into games that their chalkboard is like God’s PlayStation, or for those who like superheroes, explain that the chalkboard is the command center. For the child who enjoys reading, explain that it is our reading manual. It doesn’t matter how you teach it, but kids need to know that they have a part of their bodies created for God’s voice. 

Come up with a list of all the ways God speaks to us (nature, colors, signs, people, etc.). When children are taught that God speaks to them through nature, they spot it often. The heart-shaped leaf, the wildlife He plants in their path to enjoy, or the fun cloud shapes – God loves communicating with those who have a child-like faith! Have them close their eyes and ask if they can picture their bed. What about what they had for dinner last night? How about Grandma, can they picture her? Have them open their eyes and explain that they weren’t in their room or with Grandma, but they could ‘see’ her on their chalkboard. That is where and how God speaks to us. 

Again, using these spiritual muscles takes practice, so keeping it lighthearted and fun while they are learning is key. Children love drawing, so this is a great non-threatening way to help them practice using their spiritual muscles. Complete the teaching above and have them close their eyes and ask, “Jesus, will You please show me a picture of how You feel about my family?” and then have them draw it out.

WE WROTE A BOOK

The kids and I never set out to write a book. We just told our story over and over, and here we are nearly a decade later with the chapters of our adventures of playing in the Kingdom in a gorgeous magazine-style 130-page book.

JOURNEY is for anyone in the midst of parenting, grand-parenting, or those who will someday become a mother or father. It is about the journey of becoming Sons & Daughters and parenting the next generation out of that place.

Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly

HE GOES BEFORE US

I hear this testimony often and it is so much fun. People will take the class, but before they get to the lesson, Holy Spirit has already taught it in His own way.

A mom shares: “Lisa, last week without me teaching her, my daughter got up one night and told my husband she needed to draw me a picture Jesus gave her. She went on to draw two more over the next few days for me and they were all so prophetic and encouraging to me. She’s never done this before, so once again, it felt like the Holy Spirit was teaching my daughter the lesson I had just learned.  He is so pleased with your ministry, Lisa! It’s been amazing to experience Him and see what He has done in my family and me as I have been going through this course. Thank you for allowing Him to use you in this way. I am extremely grateful.” 

Our class is not about intellectual parenting information. It is about TRANSFORMATION!

Register now: Journey – ONLINE CLASS – Let the Children Fly

UNLOVING SPIRIT

For years I noticed something in my life that would occur, yet I never had the language for it. Frustrated over its constant intrusion, I sat on the couch and told God I wouldn’t get up until it was exposed. Shortly after, my children walked in from school, and I heard Him say, “Your ministry team just walked in.” Anytime the kids are involved in ministry, I know it will be good. I called them all over and explained that there was ‘something’ going on in our family, and I wasn’t even sure what it was called or where it came from, but Jesus did, and we could ask Him. Their responses blew me away! One heard a stampede of elephants that happened over and over. Another saw a man morph into the Incredible Hulk and felt fear over this raging anger. Another heard the word ‘rejection,’ and my youngest began to cry. She said, “Mom, I don’t understand it, but I see the sweetest baby who is so cute, but no one even likes her.” Instantly my mind recalled one of the stories my grandma shared when I was interviewing her about her life journey. In 1894, my (great, great, great) grandfather came to America from Germany, leaving behind his wife and young sons. He worked for two years before having enough money to send for them to join him. At their long-awaited reunion, he sees his wife, three sons, and a brand-new baby girl (obviously, not his). He told his wife he would feed her, and that was about it. He taught the boys to reject her, and she spent the rest of her life hated and unwanted simply for being the fruit of her mother’s choices. The thing I was feeling was an unloving spirit. There has been a family disconnect between mothers and daughters in our family line ever since. The stories of blatant rejection and cruelty are heart-wrenching. I am the generation that breaks it and restores the mother/daughter connection as God intended. As a family, we sat in a circle and forgave our great, great, great grandma for having an affair. We forgave our great, great, great grandpa for partnering with a spirit of rejection and for not handling his anger well. We forgave him for using the parenting tool of fear and control and for not knowing how to work through this pain in a healthy way. And then we told the unloving spirit it was no longer welcome in our family!

OBEY

I seriously LOVE how God networks between people. He is a perfect economist and never does it just to bless one side. A neighbor had a very serious situation with her son that was made public. I felt it in my heart to reach out to her, even though we had never met, and let her know we were praying for her. She was deeply touched by my message. We became FB friends. She saw the girls doing a bake sale for school to raise money for missions and stopped by unannounced with a bunch of cupcakes. I was deeply touched by her random kindness. We chatted over meals, attended groups together, and she came to my parenting classes. She became my friend. One day, she called me out of the blue and said, “I didn’t want you to worry about dinner tonight, so I bought you Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner.” I cried as I put dinner on the table. Sometimes it is nice to have someone SEE the load you carry and love you in such a tangible and practical way. The moral of the story is this – OBEY when God gives you a nudge to love someone. Oh, the plans He has for us.

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?

How far would you go to empower your child’s faith? A dear brother mentioned they were coming to Redding for a quick trip. I could feel something so strong on this trip but he did not communicate the purpose. The night before they came I asked a friend if he would be willing to get a word for the family. But in the morning as we were getting ready for church, I felt like God said to focus on the eldest daughter. I called my friend and asked if he would seek God’s heart for her specifically. After the service, they remained in their chairs as the Lord was touching the daughter deeply. We connected with my friend who gave her a very powerful word. Hours later, back at my house, I asked him what made him feel led to come out. He shared that during their church planting summer in Spain, God began to speak to him about truly preparing his children for the call of mission. That it wasn’t just about taking them along but truly preparing the next generation. Shortly after their return from Spain his eldest daughter said, “I think God told me that we are supposed to go to Bethel.” This father booked round trip tickets for five, two hotel rooms and a rental car for a less than 24-hour trip JUST to sow into his daughter hearing from God and empower her in that area. He wanted to strengthen her own faith and get behind what God was doing in her life. Jesus, bless this father for having eyes to see that his daughter was learning how to hear you and getting behind it. Give us eyes to see how we can strengthen our children’s spiritual muscles.