Thursday, May 31, 2012

And all God's children said, Ohhh Yeah!!!

About the title of my post: a very special person once told me that another way to say amen was, "ohhh yeah!", because both meant that you were wholeheartedly agreeing with what had just been said. Even though I learned this as a child, I still use and love that phrase!

This past Sunday we had a very special guest at my church. Well, he was very special to me. His name is Tom Michaels Zahradnik, and that is the name the world at large knows him by.

I call him Mr. Z. Always have, probably always will. It is a name, a term of endearment rather, that means so much more than a sign of respect, although I do hold this man in high esteem.

You see, Mr. Z, he was my Sunday school teacher.

We called it Kids Church, and he and his wonderful wife Cathleen, or Mrs. Z, taught it for most of my childhood years. They were such a wonderful team, and I continue to look back on those Sunday mornings with much joy and thankfulness. But there is one thing I remember more than anything else, something I hold onto and count as precious in my heart. I don't think I can rightly describe what it is without this verse from the book of Matthew:
             Jesus said,"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."          Matthew 19:14

Mr. and Mrs. Z took this verse to heart, and lived it as my Kids Church teachers. Throughout our worship, singing, and teaching time together, their purpose was always to bring us kids closer to Jesus. It was their joy to do so. I can remember Mr. Z encouraging us to memorize God's word, praise Him with enthusiasm, and most importantly, listen quietly and patiently for His voice. Mr. Z told us that we, even as children, could hear God, could obey God, could do mighty things for God! So many times I came to Mr. Z with an idea, a prayer, a word from God; never was I laughed at or turned away. Instead, I was encouraged to do or say what God had put on my heart! I was a child, and Mr. Z never kept me from Jesus, or from sharing the love He had given to me to share!

What a powerful and beautiful gift to give to a child. I can tell you it made a sweet imprint on my young heart, one that has stayed with me through the years. But bad experiences, disappointed dreams, and a few judgmental people later, and that imprint of child-like faith got covered up with negativity, pride, doubt and despair.
That's why it was so special to see Mr. Z on Sunday. As soon as I saw him, all those sweet memories, all that encouragement, all the truth of who I am in Jesus Christ came flooding back to me in an instant. I wanted to cry, and at that moment I didn't understand why. But I have been thinking of Mr. Z all week, all the times he encouraged me, spoke blessing into my life, delighted in me and my desire to love Jesus with everything I am. He was not the only one; I have been blessed beyond measure by loving people who I cannot thank God enough for.

Mr. Z is one of those people. He rejoiced in "letting the children" come to Jesus. And without knowing it, this man has once again helped me go to the loving arms of Jesus. Once again I know I am His beloved child, and I don't want anything to rob me of that. 

Mr. Z will forever be precious in my, and I know many other, "children's" hearts.
Thank you Mr. Z!

And everybody said, "Ohhhhh Yeahhhh!!!"