As the big, white, paragraphs of text slowly filled the immense theater screen, and the mesmerizing music played its familiar tune, I raised my fists in the air and let out a loud cheer. I couldn't help myself! It was the final Star Wars movie in a forever long saga, a three-part trilogy of the greatest "space opera" ever.

These movies always take me back to my childhood. I remember playing with my Luke, Leah, Han Solo, Darth Vadar, R2-D2 and C-3PO action figures. Before I knew Luke and Leah were brother and sister, I'm pretty sure they kissed a few times. (Not gonna lie.)

I liked all the people. The droids though, well, they were just accessories. C-3PO was a know-it-all. He never stopped talking. I didn't care too much for his personality (or lack thereof).

Then, in the final movie, C-3PO showed a human side to his logical programming. I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it, but I was genuinely moved by the important role he played in helping his friends.

So now I'm thinking there could be no "Star Wars" without the droids. They kept saving the day and making a way. Even when the storm-troopers were searching the city in "A New Hope," Obi-Wan used a Jedi-mind trick and, with a wave of his hand, turned their attention elsewhere. "These aren't the droids you're looking for." From the very beginning, they were integral characters in the plot line. They were my friends, too, even though I didn't realize it at first.

As I think about 2020 and all the life and ministry we will encounter as a family and as an organization, I am struck by one obvious truth: We are living in the reality of God's faithfulness right now. In Genesis 39:21 we see that "the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love." Over and over again in his narrative we see the same words - "The LORD was with Joseph."

God's presence is, has been, and will continue to be the one constant in our human experience. No matter where we are, or what our circumstances may be, we live in the reality of the Kingdom of God. At any time we can choose to recognize "the sacredness of the present moment" and lean into the faithful love of God who is both with us and for us.

I'm looking forward to heading to Costa Rica in a week with the amazing team from Christ's Church (Illinois). We are continuing our "Transforming KidZ Ministry" training in two locations. We will present Modules 3 and 4 (out of 8 total). We will encourage teachers, parents, and church leaders to create space in their classrooms and in their homes for children to encounter the transforming love of Jesus. We will talk a lot about moving beyond acquiring information about God to relational encounters with God that last forever. We will work in partnership with the Holy Spirit who goes with us and is already there.

Do you ever wonder what it is that makes KidZ at Heart so unique? That's it!

We want to help others nurture the spiritual formation of the children for whom they have a responsibility. While there is no shortage of methods or best practices for teaching children, there is only one Lord of all creation who longs to see every man, woman, boy and girl come into a saving relationship with Jesus that will truly transform our lives from the inside out. We try to help people sift through all the noise and learn to depend on the work that only the Holy Spirit can do in a child's heart.

Please pray for our team of seven as we travel - for Debbie, Karis, Kathy, Shelby, Debbie, and myself, as well as Carolina, our Regional Director for Latin America who will be traveling from El Salvador. Pray that our focus will be clear. Pray that our souls will be soaked in the love of God. Pray that we will be responsive to the Holy Spirit. Pray that we will recognize the presence of Christ in those we serve. Pray that this training will be well received and immediately incorporated.

Pray that we will not miss the people or the opportunities that God puts right in front of our eyes.

No Jedi-mind tricks...

Just the ongoing faithful heart of God, the most important character in our story, who continues to express his love in tangible ways for all the world to behold.