What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kids Say the Coolest Things

I get a kick out of taking a turn teaching the elementary kids on Wednesday nights.

The last two times I've taught them I decided to give them a little Bible survey. Nothing complicated, but an idea of what every book in the Bible is about with some spiritual applications.

To add some fun I played Bible Bingo with them, had some prizes for the winners.

Last month we surveyed the 29 books of the New Testament; last night, the 39 books of the Old Testament.

When the name of a book of the Bible was pulled out of the hat, they looked on their card to see if they had that book. I would give a quick spiritual lesson on what the book was about, then ask them a question. They had to answer the question to get a chip on that spot. The questions weren't difficult, just things to get them to think about application of the Word of God, or share something about themselves.

Here are just some of the books of the Bible we talked about, the questions I gave and their responses, which tickled me and sometimes impressed me with their depth of understanding:

  • Luke: Jesus, the Son of Man. After I briefly talked about Jesus being a human being just like us I asked "How would you spend one hour with Jesus if you could?" Answers: One boy said, "Playing." Another said, "Praying," and a third child said, "Video Games!"
  • Romans: How to know God. I reminded them that the most important thing in life is to know God. Question: Why do you think some people don't know God? Answers: "Some people don't have the guts or they think it's boring to know God." "Some people have never heard."
  • Colossians: Jesus is boss (Lord). When do you like to receive instructions? "When I'm learning something new, like how to swim." "When I'm trying to put something together."
  • 2 Timothy: The pastor. What do you think is the most enjoyable part of the pastor's job? "Telling people about God." "Seeing people change."
  • 3 John: Being humble instead of being proud. How can we show our humility? "Admit when we've done wrong." "Serve others."

Some of the Old Testament questions and answers:

  • Genesis: Beginnings. Tell when and where you were born. "It was at the hospital and I think it was on my birthday."
  • Joshua: A general leading God's people in battle. If you were in the military, would you rather be in the army, navy, air force, or marines. "I'd rather be a marine because I like the beach."
  • 1 Kings: King Solomon. If you were rich, name one thing you would do. "Buy a big house with a pool." "I would change the prices on everything."
  • 2 Chronicles: History review. Name one historical fact that you know. "We watched a video on Tiger Woods in Social Studies."
  • Esther: The Queen saves her people. Name one thing we can do to help others. "I watched a Veggie Tales movie about Esther." "Help the elderly cross the street." "Give food to the hungry."
  • Ezekiel: The exciting future of God's people. What do you most look forward to as an adult? "I got nothin'."
  • Habakkuk: God's patience. Do you like to go fast or slow and why? "Fast, so I can get things done." "Fast, 'cause I like it!"

Kids say the coolest things.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Four Decades Following Christ

40 years ago this month I began following Christ as a 12-year-old.

Here are some miscellaneous thoughts about the trip so far...
  • Jesus is a much better leader than I am a follower. Overall I've trusted Christ without dissent these past 40 years, but at times my impatience and insubordination have gotten the best of me. He's totally trustworthy, I can testify to that. I've been consistent but far from perfect.
  • Unfortunately, at times I've tried to make following Him more complicated that it actually is. Most of the stuff Jesus taught and how He lived while on earth is really pretty easy to emulate. I blame some of my misunderstandings of the Christian life on the organized church and part of it on me. I'm all for the organized church - I've just learned to be careful about equating man's methods and ideas with those of God. Sometimes I'll be reading a Christian book and have to say to myself, "That author has his religious underwear on too tight!" The longer I follow Christ the more I just want it to be out of simple love and obedience to His teachings.
  • It's getting easier...and harder. There are a lot of things I don't wrestle with any more. I don't mean I'm not tempted any more. Stuff like the temptation to envy, or be intemperate, or fear, etc. will always be there. But one of the good things about being a mid-life believer is that you know how to lick these things without a big struggle; most of the time anyway. But some things have gotten harder. Putting up with people who should be further along in their spiritual progress than they are, for instance. I have become less and less tolerant with high maintenance/low impact Christ followers. People like me, who have been following Christ for decades, yet still behave like spiritual infants, turn me off big time. I don't devote as much effort on them as I once did. I want to invest what God has taught me into the lives of believers who want to grow and learn to do God's will!
  • God wants me to follow Him because He loves me and wants the friendship, not because of what I can "do" for Him. Results-oriented people must be closely guarded. We tend to get so caught up in the outcome of what we're working on that we can be easily distracted from the relationships. The longer I follow Christ the more emphasis I place on relationships and the less I worry about results. I will always struggle with it but I've grown a lot. I love God, my family, my church family, my friends, but I have to make an effort sometimes to not put the cart before the horse.
  • The Scriptures are a gold mine! Almost every day for the last 40 years I've read the Bible. I am more amazed now at the wisdom of the Word of God than I was at age 12, and I was mesmerized then! I own a couple of dozen different translations and paraphrases of the Bible, from a facimilie of the 1611 King James Version to The Message. I love books but I love THE BOOK most of all! When I read and study the Bible I sometimes laugh, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I even stand up and shout in my study over the amazing insights in God's Word!