The long term damage consumerism causes

 

I am not Amish and don’t churn my butter. I actually love technology and new things but I think events like Black Friday and disposable everything does more damage to our society than good. We have this obsession with new. When is the last time you repaired anything? Everything we own is new until it’s not anymore then we discard it and replace it and not repair it. Why fix my TV for 200.00 when I can get a new one for 300? We have a society that no longer sees the value in old things. We even want a new version of our old things and call it retro. We live in a society that used to value “growing old” together, now it seems everywhere you turn people are cashing in relationships to chase new things they think will make them happy but what we don’t know is that this new relationship will eventually break and if  we don’t learn to value old things we will never understand or experience the power of redemption. The long-term damage consumerism causes reaches farther into our lives than just our stuff, it erodes the fabric of our relationship because our desire to have new things slowly makes its way into the most important relationships in our lives.

What Bible Should I Buy My Kid?

A Parents Guide to Bibles By Age

One of the questions I get asked often is “What Bible should I buy my kids?” It’s a great question because when I was a kid, there was the KJV and The Picture Bible that was pretty much it. Now there are more Bible versions and types of Bibles than there are flavors at Baskin Robins. The problem is finding Bibles for your kids that aren’t too far below them or to advance for them.
One of the jobs we have as parents is helping our kids learn the discipline of reading their Bibles. We live in a culture that is growing more skeptical and even hostile towards the Bible and it’s claims. We need to be more intentional about giving our kids a Biblical worldview but even more than that we must do our best to help them find the world of God true and beautiful.
Here are the Bibles I recommend by age.

Ages 1-3

71rribsfhclFlap Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – Think Jesus Story Book Bible for 2 year-olds. “The perfect introduction to timeless stories from the old and new testaments the Lift-the-Flap Bible combines breathtaking illustrations with delightful text. With flaps to open on every page (and surprises to find underneath), children join in the thrill of discovery as they take part in each of the stories from the Old and New Testaments. Through the pages of this stunning Bible, the greatest story ever told is traced and the wonderful news that God loves us is brought home to the heart of every child.”

Ages 4-8

a1inqhxnzulJesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This book still moves me even after I have read the cover off four copies and am now on my fifth. If your kids are 4-8 years old this Bible is a must. “The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.”

Ages 7-11

61avttvl86lThe Action Bible by David C Cook – My kids love this Bible it is great because it tells most of the stories of the bible in a very visually appealing way. It is a great segway Bible for kids bridging them from Story Based Bibles into Text Based Bibles. “Here’s the most complete picture Bible ever! And it features a captivating, up-to-date artwork style—making it the perfect Bible for today’s visually focused culture. The Action Bible presents 215 fast-paced narratives in chronological order, making it easier to follow the Bible’s historical flow—and reinforcing the build-up to its thrilling climax. The stories in The Action Bible communicate clearly and forcefully to contemporary readers. This compelling blend of clear writing plus dramatic images offers an appeal that crosses all age boundaries. Brazilian artist Sergio Cariello has created attention-holding illustrations marked by rich coloring, dramatic shading and lighting, bold and energetic designs, and emotionally charged figures. Let this epic rendition draw you into all the excitement of the world’s most awesome story.”

10+ Girl

51uqa5jifll-_sx322_bo1204203200_NirV Devotional Bible by Zondervan – I like this Bible for older girls because of the readability of the translation and the fact that it has a year worth of devotions built in. “Complete with a year’s worth of devotions, the Kids’ Devotional Bible, NIrV will help children develop a habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand.”

10+ Boy

51fl2rqpgil-_sx331_bo1204203200_The Action Study Bible (ESV) – While the ESV is my favorite translation because of the way it is translated it can be difficult for kids to read. This Bible is still  a great bridge from The Action Bible into a full-text Study Bible.
See God in action in this illustrated study Bible for kids and teens!
What do you get when you combine the trusted English Standard Version with illustrations from Marvel comic artist Sergio Cariello? An amazing study Bible that brings God’s Word to life for kids and teens”

10+ boy or girl

91hbfqr43wlESV Grow Bible by Crossway – Again ESV isn’t my first pick for a kids bible. What I like about this Bible is that even though the translation may be tough the helps sections are really good. “The ESV Grow! Bible is designed specifically to reach children ages 8–12 for the time between when they use a children’s Bible and a more advanced Bible. Coupling the full ESV text with many helpful features, this is a Bible that young students can call their own.The ESV Grow! Bible comes with all-new features to help children learn and understand God’s Word. Nearly every other page features a “W Question”, boxes answering the who, what, where, when, or why of a text—basic questions a child might have while reading. Introductions to each Bible book, charts, and maps help young readers understand the themes, characters, and context of Scripture. 45 “Cross Connections” explain how certain Bible passages point to Christ and 90 “4U” sections explain and apply texts to the child’s life. In addition, articles about Jesus and the teachings of the Christian faith help children understand important theological concepts.”

Teen+

718v3duw3mlZondervan Study Bible Personal Size – This Bible is perfect for the Teen to College age crowd. The editor of this Study Bible is a solid Theologian and the NIV is very readable yet still accurate. “The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, featuring Dr. D. A. Carson as general editor, is built on the truth of Scripture and centered on the gospel message. An ambitious and comprehensive undertaking, Dr. Carson, with committee members Dr. T. Desmond Alexander, Dr. Richard S. Hess, Dr. Douglas J. Moo, and Dr. Andrew David Naselli, along with a team of over 60 contributors from a wide range of evangelical denominations and perspectives, crafted all-new study notes and other study tools to present a biblical theology of God’s special revelation in the Scriptures. To further aid the readers’ understanding of the Bible, also included are full-color maps, charts, photos and diagrams. In addition, a single-column setting of the Bible text provides maximum readability.”
If you have a Bible that you would like to recommend place the link to it in the comments section.

My Advice to Young Pastors

Think Like a Missionary

The world we live in has changed. It has not been an overnight change and it has not been dramatic shift it has been a slow drift from a country that had a baseline understanding of morality, and the Bible as true and Christianity as the framework for society. We now live in a world that is based on a pragmatic, pluralistic view of life. A world that is generally skeptical or indifferent to Christianity. The problem is that we are still trying to reach that world based assumptions that are no longer true.
If I were to give advice to a young person who wants to be in the ministry I would tell them to think like a missionary. I would tell them to avoid Bible College not because Bible College is bad but because our world has changed. I would tell young people to approach ministry from a minority position rather than a majority position. In a majority position, you go to Bible schools because you intend to be a full-time paid religious worker. When in a minority position you think in terms of having a skill that you can use in the marketplace. Get your bachelor’s degree in a skill you can use that can create income for you as a church planter or if churches lose their tax exempt status and are forced to lay pastors off. Then go to seminary to get your religious training.

Free Bible Story: Elijah and Jezebel

Leader Commentary to help you tell your Bible Story

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.

Background

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.

Application –

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.

6 Questions Every Communicator Must Ask Before They Preach

 

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?