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!”
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.