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

The Man of God


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The brother came to me to thank me for leading worship. I answered that I was glad that the people received it, because I did not know what to expect. The brother told me, “we are not supposed to know what to expect, the Holy Ghost should lead us.” I responded, “Thank you brother!”

          We should prepare, as pastors and ministers, to preach God’s Word. We need to pray and study hard. Musicians and singers, we need to pray and rehearse the music God has given us to minister to others. However, as we gather together, we must not only submit to the guidance of the Holy Ghost, but we must be humble enough to know that if God is not in it, we are truly wasting our time. For the Bible tells us,

 It shall come to pass in that day

That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder,

And his yoke from your neck,

And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing Isaiah 10:27 (NKJV)

          Without the anointing, we are wasting our time as ministers because there is no life-changing power. Worship in your secret place, pray, ask the Lord, seek His face, press on, study and consume yourself with HIM. After this, learn how to get out of the way and let HIM do whatever HE wants. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 gives us a powerful formula,

 13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying:

“For He is good,

For His mercy endures forever,”[a]

that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. (NKJV)

 These two verses give us a powerful formula indeed; a formula that is designed to bring the glory of God.

  1. A united Worship Team that spoke through songs and instruments.

  2. They sang songs that focused on communicating the following:

    A. The great works of God (Praise)

    B. Thanksgiving

    C. The character of God as a good and merciful God

  3. Ministers who recognize the service is no longer in their hands, but in the Lord’s. Verse 14 tells us, “so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” (NKJV)

In our days, the house or the temple of the Holy Spirit is you and I. We have what these Old Testament folks wanted. Hebrews 11:39-40 tells us,

39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (NKJV)

          But today’s days there is too much focus on, “The Man of God.” The problem with focusing on men is that they can’t deliver; only God can change your life. Man can give you a nice building, professional musicians and a whole lot of hype, but he can’t save you or your family.

          Our routine is sickening; the same man or woman preaches and teaches the Word Sunday after Sunday; the same Worship Leader “leads” the people into worship, the same people pray the same songs (New spontaneous songs are almost nonexistent) and the same order of service. It becomes a true tragedy when folks get used to this system. In the United States we basically have four kinds of churches: traditional white, Traditional black, charismatic black and charismatic white. Each group sounds the same within itself. This must change; this will change before the coming of the Lord!