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!

CHILD-SIZED ASSIGNMENTS

I have often said my kids have access to the smallest, darkest, and most remote places in people’s hearts. Places I am so keenly aware I have no access to. Teaching, training, and equipping them to use the gift of being a child for the Kingdom is one of my greatest honors.

NO JUNIOR HOLY SPIRIT!

I love what my friend is doing to impact families!

“Here’s a very special and proud moment for me. I was invited to give a parenting talk about creating a prophetic culture at home, and I had two very special guests. These two have been part of my Prophetic School since the start of it. After training them for almost a year, I invited them to join me in ministry. I really admire their courage for stepping up, standing in front of a crowd, and holding the mic for the very first time in their life. Though nervous, they did their best. They shared about their prophetic journey and prophesied over some people. Their words were so impactful and accurate. Here is an example. One of them asked if anyone had drawn a picture of a cross recently. A lady raised her hand and shared that she just drew one during the talk. The other kid continued and asked if she liked nature as she saw a vision of a tree. The lady said yes and that God always speaks to her when she’s out in nature. There is really no junior Holy Spirit! These two kids can prophesy better than many adults that I know. What the next generation needs is someone to believe in them, teach them, empower them and give them a platform to learn and shine. I was so proud of them, and I look forward to many more moments like this in the future.”

PURE INTIMACY

God has lots of things to say about forced intimacy, and it is not how He interacts with His creation. We lead our children to the Father’s heart through love, not control and fear. Forced intimacy is not Kingdom!

LET’S ASK JESUS

“God, will You highlight someone to me?”

Just listen to whatever pops up immediately. Ask God what they need prayer for right now and pray for them.

Gather as a family in the living room, in the car, at the dinner table, or bedtime, and ask Jesus together. This is so empowering for children because they get to witness how God communicates with you, which increases their faith, and together you get to encounter Him. Spiritual hearing is a muscle that is strengthened by worshiping and praying. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it.

TELL THEM!!

I am a firm believer in planting seeds. I have great confidence in God’s ability to water the seeds and grow them in His timing, but my job is to plant as many seeds as I can. I heard a powerful testimony from a pastor years ago about having a personal possession stolen, and he prayed, “I want my knife back,” and had a wild story of how he got it back. I told the kids about it to plant a seed of how to respond when you lose something that is rightfully yours. Months ago, Emma lost her two rings, including her purity ring. She took them off in Colorado to wash the dishes and never found them after that. We had seven pairs of eyes searching high and low and could not find them. When we moved to North Carolina, and they were not found, she realized she had lost them for good until she was reminded to pray, “I want my rings back!” Lauren was organizing her room and looked down by her bed and found two rings that she didn’t recognize as hers. She picked them up and yelled, “EMMA! You got your rings back!” Not even sure how that happened, but I have a daughter who is rejoicing over her prayers being answered.

PLAYING IN THE KINGDOM

When my kids were little, I would drive 45 minutes south to attend a church in Denver that believed children could play in the Kingdom. I was so undone by the power they carried. They needed some coaching in the ‘how,’ but when it mixed with their childlike faith, INCREDIBLE things began to happen. I never wanted my children to feel like God was a religious burden or that walking out our faith meant putting them in uncomfortable situations. I wanted to teach them that it was a JOY to love those around us and that the Kingdom truly is FUN. I called it ‘Playing in the Kingdom,’ and they came to life. They are older now, and we all still look for ways to play in the Kingdom and love those around us in everyday situations.

WHY DOES GOD SPEAK?

How many people would like to have coffee with Jesus in the flesh for just for one hour? Could you imagine how that encounter would change your life? I am not sure I would do much talking but would be ALL ears to whatever He had to say. But listen to what Jesus Himself says in John 16:4-7 – “I didn’t tell you this earlier because I was with you every day. But now I am on my way to the One who sent me. Not one of you has asked, ‘Where are you going?’ Instead, the longer I’ve talked, the sadder you’ve become. So let me say it again, this truth: It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.” Jesus is saying someone is coming that is BETTER than being able to sit with Him 1:1. The Friend, the Holy Spirit of God, comes to and for us.

Look what is stated in Matthew 13:16-17 – “But you have God-blessed eyes – eyes that see! And God-blessed ears – ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.” They never had the chance because the Friend, the Helper, the Holy Spirit had not yet come.

I just assumed that all believers heard God speaking the way I did; after all, that IS what the Word says – “His sheep will know His voice.” I vividly recall talking to a friend one day about hearing God, and while she loved the Lord, she said she had never heard Him speak. That blew me away. It opened my eyes to the fact that so few children hear their Father’s voice. I started teaching classes, and it has been a life mission of mine to help connect young and old to hearing their Father’s voice. Jesus says He loves us, and we are to bank our entire being around that; but how can we really know that love unless we experience and hear it?

John 15:5 (MSG) says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relationship is intimate and organic, and the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing that will last. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is – when you produce grapes when you mature as my disciples.”

Did you catch that? When you make room to hear what HE has to say, the harvest is abundant. It doesn’t say when you labor hard or do umpteen good things. It says when you listen to what HE has to say! Do you want your works to fall away someday or last forever in eternity? The key is doing what you hear the Father telling you to do, not what religion, the Jones’, or fear of your mother-in-law tells you to do.

Romans 8:14 shares, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” The goal isn’t to be FILLED with the Spirit; the goal is to be LED by His Spirit.

Mind vs. Spirit – All the wisdom in the world doesn’t change a person’s heart. When I speak wisdom, it goes from my mind to your mind. But when Holy Spirit speaks, it goes into your spirit, and that is where the real transformation occurs. One word from Jesus can change more than a 12-week course. This is why it is so crucial that we are often bringing our children to the Lord’s presence to ask Him what HE thinks. This is creating an encounter for our children. Instead of ‘wisdom’ alone guiding them, they are learning they have a relationship with the living God who wants to help them in all situations.

Jeremiah 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Why does the Creator of the universe speak to us? Because He sent His Son to die so that we could have connection with His heart because He wants to fulfill His assignments on earth through us because we are no longer orphans, but Sons and Daughters. He speaks to comfort, lead, reveal, heal, redeem, lavish, provide and love us.

Think about what life would be like if you went mute and had to try to teach, train, and love on your children without words. Seriously, think about how many times a day you use your words to guide your children to teach and train them, encourage them, cheer them on and help them. How often do you use your words to lavish love all over them and tell them how precious and beautiful they are to you? Now, how many times a day do you let your Father speak to you?

YOUR VOICE MATTERS

As believers, we have a mandate (an official order or commission to do something) on our lives to carry things to the throne. Pick an area that you want to lift up today and release your prayer. While personal prayers are so dear to the Lord, I encourage you to widen your eyes, and together, let’s cover issues and topics that affect our culture and generation (ex., abortion, drugs, leaders, homelessness, salvation, etc.). Your voice matters!

THIS IS INAPPROPRIATE

 Ellie stayed with some friends, and the moment Ellie walked in the door, I could tell something was really wrong. She told me that she needed to tell me something, and the story unfolded through an abundance of tears. She said that earlier that day, they went to another family’s house, and the adults were inside while all the children played outside. Someone completely exposed their privates to her and was assertive with what they wanted her to do. My spirit knew my reaction was vital in getting her to get it all out, but my flesh was screaming inside. I told her that I needed her to be full of courage and tell me everything that happened so that I could help her. Through her gasps of air, she began to tell me about it. “Mom, my heart was really scared, and I didn’t know what to do. You weren’t there for me, and Mrs. so-and-so wasn’t there. Mom, I was all alone….” I want to stop my story to tell you how outraged I was at that moment. Nothing had happened yet, and the enemy told her she was powerless and alone. Such a stupid, bold-faced LIE. All she had to do was yell, and all the parents inside would have come running. The enemy is such a liar! Back to the story. I asked her what she did, and she continued, “Well, since no one was there for me, I asked Jesus what I should do, and I saw Him really serious, almost mad, and He was pointing his (index) finger, shaking it saying, ‘This is inappropriate.'” I asked her what she did, and she said she put her finger in the air like Jesus did and told the person it was inappropriate. She went from a powerless victim to rising up like a lioness as she imitated what she saw her Father saying, and the person ran away. She had no mental capacity to find scriptures in that situation at her age. She needed a relationship, an encounter, and quick instructions at a crucial moment from a protective Father. Religion didn’t protect my child that day – JESUS did!

When I share this story in person, I often go into some ministry time as the majority of the people in the room had a similar situation with a different outcome. The key was that Ellie went to Him and had an encounter with Him in the midst of it, which led her out of it. But God is a big boy and can answer for Himself. It is okay to ask Him hard questions. I would spend some time asking Him questions like: 

“God, where were You when that happened to me?” 

“Jesus, will You please show me a picture of Your face when You saw what I endured?” 

“Holy Spirit, why did the person do what they did?” 

He wants to minister to you through these hard questions. I have seen some of the biggest breakthroughs in people’s walk with Jesus as they are willing to process the hard questions with Him.

TEACHING CHILDREN TO HEAR

Such a precious testimony of how this mom is training her son to hear God in a time of peace.

“My son wanted to take a toy to the kids’ club at the gym. Instead of saying yes or no, I had him ask Jesus. Right away, he heard no. We talked about how we always listen to Jesus and what He says about things. A few days later, he wanted to bring the same toy and told me that Jesus said it was ok. I was suspicious but decided not to be the middleman in the situation with God. He brought the toy and almost left it at the gym (my daughter remembered and got it for him). Later, I asked him if it was Jesus that said he could bring the toy to the gym or himself. Right away, he admitted it was his voice. It opened up a great conversation about why we need to listen to Jesus. Thanks for the encouragement that he really does hear at 3.5 years of age. I continue to ask the Lord for creative and fun ideas for teaching my kids to hear. I’m excited about what He has for us this year!”