What Impressed Me About Ballet Praise


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Yesterday I went to the gym; I prefer to walk and run outdoors, but it is too cold for me here in Fairbanks, Alaska. While I do cardio on the treadmill, I enjoy watching TV with my headphones on. It is better than just looking at the walls or at others that are really going faster than me.

         As I started flipping channels, I stopped on ESPN for an NBA Basketball game. I saw tattoos all over the place. I also noticed that apparently scoring points was not enough for the players, they have to talk trash, beat their chests and humiliate their opponent.

         Today I went to the gym again. This time, I saw a few MMA fights and interviews. Again, the arrogance, the disrespect, and the trash talking were evident. In the last two days, I watched some of the best athletes in the world acting like fools; that seems to be the norm now. No wonder that is exactly what I see in some of the local games at the high school level; they are trying to emulate their professional idols. What I see is an epidemic of arrogance, ignorance and plenty foolishness that is indeed sickening in this generation.

         I take issue with coaches that seem to only care about the game and show very little interest in helping these young men and women develop character. These coaches are not teaching any life skills, such as integrity, self-respect, modesty, or how to prioritize, nor do they seem to care or know how. Many times, I feel like they are not re-enforcing our values, but actually contradicting them.

         Oh, but I am so glad my weekend ended on a positive note. One of my daughters has been taking Ballet classes at Ballet Praise here in Fairbanks, with long time Ballet teacher Rebecca Smith.

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Miss Rebecca is a pioneer, as she founded the first faith-based dance studio in Interior Alaska. The Biblical foundation for their validation as a ministry is Psalm 149:3, “Let us praise Him with dancing…”

         To start with, Miss Rebecca did not charge at the door for this recital. I would have gladly paid and I am sure other parents felt the same way; but Miss Rebecca had a greater idea in mind. Miss Rebecca requested that we all bring can foods to be donated to a local ministry to feed the needy. So the students were actually dancing, not for fame, not for recognition, but to help others in need. Over 600 cans of food were collected that night and a great lesson to our children.

         However, the thing that impressed me the most was what was happening behind the scenes. The students were not only dancing, but also acting as the stage crew. With dozens of children, including very young children, it was refreshing to see teenagers and even pre-teens students so active in keeping the show rolling. They were serving, they were moving, and they were awesome.

         See, I hope that every single student’s dream at Ballet Praise becomes a reality; if that is to become a professional ballet dancer, let it be so. However, teaching kids humility, hard work, servant-hood, and respect was a glass of fresh water for me.

         Ballet Praise is taking a well-deserved break for the Christmas season, but you can bet that in January my daughter will be back. Not only that, my wife and I will add another one of our teenage daughters to the class.

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         Miss Rebecca started her academy with two students six years ago, but today she has 92 students going strong. Congratulations Miss Rebecca, thank you for all you do; for teaching our children how to dance, but more importantly, for being an extension and enforcer of the values we teach our children at home. I can’t wait for next semester!

         For more information please visit www.balletpraise.com

Is it Ok to Cry?


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Is God greater than our pain? Yes! Can God do all things? Absolutely! However, none of these Biblical facts are able to minimize or dismiss painful circumstances, the lost of a spouse, a child, mom, dad, a best friend or so on.

         Come on brothers, it is not a violation of your faith to accept that you are hurting! Also, stop mocking pain and tears. In John 11:35 the Bible gives us the shortest Bible verse of all, “Jesus wept”. Even as Jesus knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus, He still wept. Why? He identified himself with the pain of the people. Don’t tell me Jesus wept because of the lack of faith of the people. If that were the case, Jesus would have cried for his own disciples all the way to the cross. He would have cried when they doubted Him, when Peter denied Him, when Judah betrayed Him and so on. Those were more dramatic examples!

         We live in a time when our churches don’t know what to do with pain. One large group focuses on all you can get (The prosperity Gospel) and the other focuses on doing. They place your call as the absolute most important thing in the world. So they fix everything with, “I must pursue the call of God in my life, no time to cry, no time to feel pain, no time to identify with nobodies pain either.”

           The reality is that Jesus connected with and continues to connect with people’s pain, and He tells us to do the same. The Bible put it this way,

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (NKJV)

 

Beloved, it is ok to cry!

Church Styles of Sunday Services


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“Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
 The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
 does not become weary or tired. 
 His understanding is inscrutable.” Isaiah 40:28 (NASB)

 

The Prophet starts this verse with two questions, “Do you not know? Have you not heard?” It seems like these two questions are as challenging today as it was when the prophet uttered these words. I would like for you to keep these questions in mind as we talk about church styles.

         As a young Christian I remember an older Christian lady telling me that congas were of the devil. Another lady told me that there were certain styles of music that were no allowed in her church. I asked her, what kind of style of music they allowed? She answered, Southern Gospel.

         It is obvious that people has gotten very comfortable with particular styles, not only music, but also preaching styles. People actually look for churches based on styles. Come on, we all know how traditional Baptist Churches do worship, we know how the Pentecostals do it, Presbyterians, Catholics, what about the Hispanics? What about the Blacks?

         We have grown so accustomed to styles that we have become totally insensitive to what we really need…the anointing. How can we serve a God who is called, among other things, Everlasting, Lord and Creator and manipulate our gatherings to the point where nothing is unpredictable? We pass out the little bulletins at the door with the order of service, how can that be? Do we not know the God we serve? Have we not heard of His mighty works? Have we not seen through the Bible how powerful He is? Have we not seen through the history of revivals how amazing He is?

         I believe the time is coming and, perhaps is now here, where people will be so hungry for God that they will throw away styles, buildings and prestigious congregations to go after the manifested presence of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 tells us,

13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. (NASB)

 

         Beloved, this is Old Testament, how much more is available for us New Testament folks?