Reflection presented at Spring Central Association Meeting 2011.

GOSPEL READING: Matthew 5: 14a,-16-17 (NIV) “You are the light of the world…  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Introduction: Most of you don’t know me and don’t know my ministry…I am actively involved in children’s ministry.  I haven’t birthed any children yet, so I thought it didn’t make sense for me to work with kids.  But, now, in my heart I finally understand that I can because I speak their language.

They are me and I am them.  These kids are primarily from the “inner city”.  I’m from the inner city.  The kids are bilingual and bicultural and are trying to determine where they fit.  I suffered that same identity crisis.  She comes from a broken home.  I came from a broken home.  He hungers for spiritual fulfillment.  We hunger for the same.  Our kids thirst for GOD and we tell them what WE expect of a Good Christian Kid!

They wanna be stylish, in fashion and we tell them their bling, their t’s and their jeans are not church appropriate.  They tell us about their new iPhones and we tell them, not in church!  They tell us they heard an awesome song that spoke to their spirit and we tell them it’s too loud or we don’t get it!!

These kids listen to hip hop and reggeaton and rock and punk and have been told that if they’re Christian they have to stop!  I heard that same message.  DON’T!  DO!  STOP!  STAND!  SIT!  NOT NOW!!

But my kids, my kids are awesome.  I get it now.

So, imagine that you are thirsty and that your friend has a glass of water.  What do you do?

Do you ask for some…?

Okay, let’s look at that scenario again from another perspective.  Have you ever had a glass of water in your hand and you noticed your friend was thirsty?  Did you share?

Body: Maybe the little bit of water that you share is the ONLY thing that can quench that kids thirst.  Maybe that person has never experienced a selfless act before and because of you today they SEE GOD’S LOVE.

That’s what we need to remember when these kids come in to church with what they know.  That this (whatever this is) is their current knowledge base and we need to meet them there.  In their current life.  On their current path!

Take music for instance.  Do you know a rapper named Mos Def?  He is an actor now, so you may have seen him in “The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy”, where he played Ford Prefect.  Well back in 1999 he put out a song called “Umi Says”.  I want you to hear the song.  What was the message that you got out of it?  Did you hear anything worth learning?  Well let me break it down for you (for those that didn’t understand I mean, let me translate)!!

SONG: “I don’t wanna write this down, I wanna tell you how I feel right now.  I don’t wanna take no time to write this down, I wanna tell you how I feel right now.  Tomorrow may never come, for you or me.  Life is not promised.   I ain’t no perfect man.  I’m trying to do, the best that I can, with what I have.  Put my heart and soul into this song.  I hope you feel me.  From where I am, to wherever you are.  I mean that sincerely.  Tomorrow may never come, for and me.  Life is not promised.  Tomorrow may never appear, you better hold this very moment very close to you.  So close to you, So- close to you (your moment in history is right now!)  Don’t be afraid, to let it shine.  My Umi said shine your light on the world.  Shine your light for the world to see.  My Abi said shine your light on the world.  Shine your light for the world to see I want my people to be free, to be free, to be free.  Sometimes I get discouraged.  I look around and, things are so weak. Sometimes I feel like crying.  Sometimes my heart gets heavy. Sometimes I just want to leave and fly away.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. Passion takes over me. I feel like a man going insane.  Losing my brain.  Trying to maintain.  Doing my thang.  Put my heart and soul into this y’all.  I hope you feel me.  Where I am, to wherever you are.  Sometimes I don’t want to be bothered.  Sometimes I just want a quiet life, with me and my babies, me and my lady.  Sometimes I don’t want to get into no war.  Sometimes I don’t wanna be a soldier.  Sometimes I just wanna be a man.  My Umi (Arabic for Mother) said shine your light on the world.  Shine your light for the world to see.  My Abi (Arabic for Father) said shine your light on the world.  Shine your light for the world to see.  My elders said shine your light on the world.  Shine your light for the world to see.  My God said shine your light on the world.  Shine your light for the world to see.   I want my people to be free, to be free, to be free.  All my people to be free, to be free, to be free. That’s all that matters to me.”

Conclusion: That’s what Matthew 5: 14a,-16-17 (NIV) talks about.  Matthew gives us clear direction into what to do with the light that we each have.  SHARE IT…rather than looking at all the negatives that have happened in our lives, let God shine through you.

When our kids listen to music, dress a certain way, we need to acknowledge the person they are becoming.  We need to do our research and feel their pain,

Sometimes I get discouraged.  I look around and, things are so weak.
Sometimes I feel like crying.  Sometimes my heart gets heavy.
Sometimes I just want to leave and fly away.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself.

I feel like a man going insane.  Losing my brain.  Trying to maintain.

So let’s make a change, let’s look at these children as what they are.  Thirsty.  Just like us.  Thirsty for light.  For energy.  For renewal.  For vitality.  For strength.  For all those things that we need in life in order to continue.

When I see another person is thirsty, instead of concentrating on my own thirst I will remember that “[I am] the light of the world…, [I will] let [my] light shine before others, that they may see [my] good deeds that [my] Father in heaven [may be glorified].”

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