One of the things I have learned from blogging for quite a while now is that most people that read my blog are from smaller churches, and many are volunteers. The information I found through the helped to change my perspective on how I blog, what I blog and reinforced why I blog. I’m starting new on my blog where I make available the leader commentary that I am starting to give my team to provide them with the historical/theological framework for the Bible story they are telling as well as key ideas and application points. I hope that you find them useful. The first one is Elijah and Jezebel.
Elijah and Jezebel.
Elijah has just experienced one the greatest moments of his ministry. One of the most dramatic signs of God’s blessing on a leader. In this chapter, we see the humanness of Elijah he is not painted as a superhuman conquer of Baal. He is scared, he was hungry, he felt all alone, and he felt sorry for himself.
After such a dramatic victory at Mount Carmel Jezebel sends Elijah a letter warning him and threatening him. Why not send soldiers to kill him? Why use psychological tactics? Warren Wiersbe says this:
“Elijah was now a very popular man. Like Moses, he had brought fire from heaven, and like Moses, he had slain the idolaters (Lev. 9:24; Num. 25). If Jezebel transformed the prophet into a martyr, he might influence people more by his death than by his life. No, the people were waiting for Elijah to tell them what to do, so why not remove him from the scene of his victory? If Elijah disappeared, the people would wonder what had happened, and they would be prone to drift back into worshiping Baal and letting Ahab and Jezebel have their way. Furthermore, whether from Baal or Jehovah, the rains had returned, and there was work to do!”
Wiersbe, W. W. (2002). Be responsible (p. 143). Colorado Springs, CO: Victor.
The letter had its intended effect. Elijah started running for his life. He didn’t ask God what’s next. He failed to see the protection and provision of an all-powerful God who had just demonstrated to Elijah and all of Israel how powerful he was and how weak Baal was. Elijah retreated to the desert tired, hungry and alone. He finally cried out to God that God would take his life. God sent an angel to him there under the broom tree. Elijah slept and ate food the angle of the Lord prepared for him.
God drew him to Mt Horeb (Mt.Sinai) it was on Mount Sinai that God asked Elijah a question. Elijah responded in a very self-focused way. He said they (Israel) had done very bad things I have done many good things. Jezebel wants to kill me, and I am the only person left who loves God. In response to Elijah’s answer, God sent an earthquake, a windstorm and a fire followed by a still small voice. God gave Elijah directions, encouragement, and grace. He gave him his
next assignment then told him he wasn’t alone there were more 7,000 people in Israel who still called on the name of the True God.
Ideas to convey –
God takes care of us. – God is gracious. He takes care of us. He watches over us. God didn’t just protect Elijah from the evil queen who wanted to kill him. God provided food for Elijah, so he could rest and be strengthened. We serve a God who wants us to love and serve him but who also cares deeply about the things most gods wouldn’t he cares about the small things that matter to us. In caring about the small things and taking care of the small things in our lives, it gives us the confidence to trust him with the big things in our lives.
Our God is powerful and personal. – In this story we see a God who both powerful and personal. We saw last week how he sent fire to consume Elijah’s offering and prove to all of Israel He is the one true God. He then sent an angel to provide food for Elijah. We see God as powerful and personal. We see through the wind, fire, and earthquake that God has power over nature. We then see how in the still small voice how our God is at the same time intensely personal.
When we deserve judgment, he gives us grace. – We see throughout this story how even when Elijah was upset and felt like giving up God never gave up on Elijah. Despite everything, God couldn’t stop loving Elijah.
Elijah saw a big God. He saw God do powerful things, but he still had enemies. He still got afraid, and he ran. What is amazing is that when he ran God was always with him. God showed him how he was powerful and personal. How he does big amazing things like burning up all of Elijah’s offering with fire and then very personal by sending an Angel to provide food to bring strength to Elijah. We serve a God who can do anything he used prophets in the Old Testament to show people what he was like they were not perfect, Elijah got upset and felt scared. But God perfectly reveled to us what God is like by sending us Jesus. Jesus showed us God’s power and lived as a person. We are comforted knowing that even when we feel scared or lonely Jesus not only understands but gave his life so we can have confidence that same confidence that Elijah needed. We aren’t alone there are many others that trust in the name of Jesus, and we have God who came and lived and died for us so we have hope. Jesus shows us even in the small things that we think don’t matter to him that he is our protector, provider and savior. He loves you because He loves you.
We live in an age where there is more information available to us than ever before. When I was a kid I did my research papers using encyclopedias, studied using a concordance. If you are under the age of 30 and are reading this you have no idea what I am talking about. Here is where our world has change for the better and for the worse, we no longer need those study methods because we have the internet. The problem with the internet is that even though you can get lots of good information you can also allow your thoughts and ideas to be diluted and even confused by the diversity of thoughts and ideas available online. One of the ways I try to overcome this is by passing thoughts and information through a series of questions. If you are a bible story-teller for kids church, a youth pastor or on an adult preaching team these questions will apply.
5 Questions every communicator must ask before they preach
1. Could I preach this message in a synagogue or in a Mormon Tabernacle? If so it’s not the gospel. –
2. Am I being faithful to the text? Am I allowing the text to speak or am I trying to get the text to say what I want it to say?
3. Do I have any practical application?
4. Does my application leave people with a sense that “if I do this then….” or does my application leave people with a sense “That if I do this and trust Jesus then….”
5. What’s my motivation? Will at the end of the message will I have been thought of as a brilliant communicator or will I point those in attendance (myself included) to their daily need for a brilliant savior.
6. Will the end result of this message be the worship and glorification of Christ?
I am honored to be doing two breakout sessions at Lifeway’s Etch Conference for family ministry leaders this October. I have been so impressed with Jana Magruder and Jeffrey Reed . They and their team have an amazing passion for Family ministry leaders and have put together a conference with an amazing set of speakers that I can’t wait to hear from myself. If you are coming give me a shout out I would love to meet if you aren’t going yet it’s not too late to sign up!
Finding fun games for any age is never easy. Most of the time you get in a game rut and play the same ones over and over. We have a few favorites that we have either come up with ourselves or tweaked or straight up stolen from others. In looking to expand our game options for our Middle School ministry and for Children’s Ministry I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that is a goldmine.
One note for kidmin leaders out there the best ideas for games are not on kids ministry sites they are on youth ministry sites. The problem is they are often complex or physically demanding. This is an easy fix. You just change the rules. If the game says crab walk with a spoon in your mouth with a raw egg on the spoon for youth kids. To make it kid friendly do hard boiled eggs and have them walk with the spoon. Take the idea just change the rules.
One of the games on the above mentioned YouTube channel that is solid gold is called Puck of Destiny. It is amazing. Cudos to whoever thought it up, simple fun and cheap.