Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blessed are the Little Dudes (and Dudettes)

Hi, I’m Alpha Dude, but you can just call me ….. uh, well actually, you can call me anything you want. With the people from our church, and there’s a lot of them, I hear the name “Alpha Dude” quite a lot.

“Look Mom, there’s Alpha Dude!”
“Hey, Alpha Dude!”
“…AAAlphaaaaa Duuuuuude!”

Sometimes this is kind of cool, but you see, Alpha Dude isn’t a real person. He’s just a character I play. I “become” Alpha Dude every Monday night at 7:30. There’s a big round area at the end of the corridor of our children’s wing. The kids (Alpha Sprouts) all gather there, and once everyone is settled in, they begin chanting “Alpha Dude! Alpha Dude! Alpha Dude!.......” until Alpha Dude comes bounding in, greets all the Sprouts and launches into today’s lesson.

Well, last night, the lesson for me, just as much as, if not more than, for the kids. Last night’s lesson was “How does God Guide Us?”

I had made the mistake recently of taking my “job” for granted. I show up, read over the script/lesson plan, do the lesson with the kids, a few high fives and I’m outta there. The last couple of lessons hadn’t gone too well. At least that’s how it felt to me. The kids seemed distracted and I was left wondering if they were getting anything out of it. The director thought that maybe we just have a difficult group of kids this time. I wasn’t too sure about that.

In reading through the lesson plan for last night’s bit, I discovered (or did the Holy Spirit reveal to me?) that I had been forgetting the most important part of what I do.

I forgot to pray.


I had been doing this all by myself and was not allowing God to do His thing, through me. I allowed "me" to get in God's way.

I immediately hit my knees, and asked God to forgive me. I thanked Him for allowing me the opportunity and privilege to touch these children’s lives for Him. I asked Him that the kids would not recognize me so much as they would clearly see Him. Because God is what this is all about. Not some goofy guy in a Hawaiian shirt acting weird and making them laugh. I just asked God to use me and to have the Holy Spirit speak to those children through me.

Wanna know what happened? We had the BEST lesson time I think we’ve ever had! Those kids were so into it. I didn’t forget any part of the lesson plan and we all had a blast! And it was quite clear that each of those kids learned something also.

But see, that’s why I do this in the first place. For those kids. Jesus told His disciples “Let these children come to me, and don’t you forbid them. For the Kingdom of God is made up of such as these.” I love being a part of watching them learn about God and who Jesus is and watching them grow into fine young Christian people. These kids are at that age that we adults can really screw them up if we’re not careful. So I try my best to learn from them as much as they try to learn from me.

And sometimes, these kids can really pull at your heart strings. Last night, one little boy, I’ll call him “dude”, asked if we could pray for his mom who is sick with the flu, and for his dog who has cancer and for his dad who is mean to the dog. So, during our closing prayer, I let “dude” pray (out loud – he asked if he could), and he prayed for his mom to get well “in a couple of weeks” (I interceded silently and asked God to make it more like a day or two) and for his dog and his dad. He hugged me afterwards and said “Thanks Alpha Dude.”

Would you like to see miracles and God’s Grace in your life? Teach your children how to pray and then listen to them when they do it. You will be truly amazed by what you hear.

Before I went home, I approached the Throne of Grace one more time.

This time to say thanks.

Dear Lord, Thank you for speaking to me through this lesson and reminding me why I am here. Please forgive me for the times when I get in Your way by thinking of me first instead of You. Father, I pray that as these children grow up and think back on their days with the Alpha Dude, that what they remember most is not of the silly man, but rather those things he tried so hard to teach them and that their focus turns to You and Your Precious Son.
In Jesus’ Most Awesome Name, Amen.


my4kids said...

Good for you Alpha Dude (I love the name by the way)
Anyway you are right kids are at such an age where if we don't do things right or show them the right way (attitude, etc)we can really screw them up. I have to remind myself of that with the kids all the time. Also you are so right about listening to kids pray! It's great to listen in they have such a different outlook on things its really sweet and heartfelt. I have commented on my friend whose daughter (same age as Madison) has leukemia. I listen to the kids prayers for her and they are so different then what I pray for more on a kids level.

Anonymous said...

This goes into the folder of "Lessons Learned", I am sure.

It made me reflect back on a time when I taught Sunday School for kids at our church and the lesson was so well laid out, I really didn't have to study much and toward the end I lost my passion for teaching them and at the end of that term I gave up my teaching position. I still have kids come to me and give me hugs and huge smiles. Maybe one day I will teach again, and remember the lesson you learned if my passion ever sort of goes away. Great post, Alpha Dude.

Gerbil said...

Can you & your wife come be my neighbors along with That Chick & a few others????

Good post. And I am not what people would consider a devout person, but I appreciate a really good post. And that was one.

Anonymous said...

Dropping in to say hi. Hope all is well with you and yours. God bless you and hope you have a peachy day. It is raining here this morning but am hopeful that it will be nice at the end of the day.



The Old Fart said...

What a wonderful story, I felt really blessed to be able to read it. I agree we sometimes get in God's way and don't let him work through us. I truly like coming here and reading your blog, it makes me feel so good afterwards.

A blessed weekend is wished for you and your family.

HeiressChild said...

the same way we take our spouses for granted sometimes, we can fall into that rut with the Lord too. i'm not married, and even though i spend daily time with the Lord, sometimes i pull away from everything and everyone and just shut down with Him to refresh and renew my relationship with Him, especially when i feel that rut.

children are so innocent in their prayers. i went out with my neighbor one day this week. walking across the parking lot to her car, i was praying for my safety and thinking how nice it would be to be around people praying for each other. her 8 yr old son was in the car praying, and when i got in, he prayed for me too. it was such a blessing and made me feel so good to have him praying for me.