Looking for a video bumper to lead into the story of Gabriel telling Zachariah his wife would have a baby? Look no further. Check out this video that our team made for this weeks Bible story. So appreciate Lori (who shot and edited it) Tim who was Gabriel and Matt who was Zachariah stuck in traffic. As a parent and a Pastor of families it is so moving to see people who take what they are given make it their own and make it better. Love the team we have and their passion to distil gospel truth to the kids of our church. Awesome job guys this video is just to fun.
Today marks the 600 year anniversary of Jan Hus. Most Christians today have never heard of Hus. He along with John Wycliffe were the original reformers of the church, and for that we have much to be grateful for. A full 100 years before the protestant reformation of salvation by grace through faith in Christ took place the stage for that was set by Wycliffe and Hus. Hus was a catholic who was committed to the scriptures. He was committed to do what it said at the cost of his own life. He had tremendous courage and conviction as he stood against the only church that existed at the time the Roman Catholic church. He saw many practices of the church that were contrary to the teaching of scripture.
What was amazing about Hus was that his life was submitted to God and completely committed to scripture. Hus was not a revolutionary by nature but was unable to stand by because of his deep love for the church and for God’s word.
When asked to recant he would not and it cost him his life. He gave his life and was ultimately burned at the stake because he wanted the bible to be in hands of the laity.
The historical account of his death is amazing.
Then Hus sang in verse, with an elated voice, like the psalmist in the thirty-first psalm, reading from a paper in his hands: “In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, bow down thine ear to me.” With such Christian prayers, Hus arrived at the stake, looking at it without fear. He climbed upon it, after two assistants of the hangman had torn his clothes from him and had clad him into a shirt drenched with pitch. At that moment, one of the electors, Prince Ludwig of the Palatinate, rode up and pleaded with Hus to recant, so that he might be spared a death in the flames. But Hus replied: “Today you will roast a lean goose, but hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing, whom you will leave unroasted and no trap or net will catch him for you.” Full of pity and filled with much admiration, the Prince turned away.
Amazing how he foretold of the protestant reformation. When Hus spoke of a Goose he was referring to himself because “Hus” is actually Czech for Goose. The swan was in reference to Luther whose families coat of arms contained a swan and who began the reformation nearly 100 years from the death of Hus.
What our kids need to know and what we need to remember is that our bible came to us at great cost to the lives of many. That the truth inside God’s word compelled and strengthen many to stand in the midst of extreme adversity. From Hus’ life we learn that we can have a revolution without being revolutionaries.
The power of God’s word is what compels us to stand for truth in love. Our kids need to know about lives like Hus that were willing given so we could have the scriptures in our own language. So that we could hear God speak to us through them and compel us to live a life of love founded in ultimate truth.
Below is an interview our pastor did for our church this past Sunday with Dr. Gordan Issacs professor of church history at Gordan Cromwell Seminary. It this video they discuss the impact of the life of Jan Hus on us as protestants and in History. It’s 29 minutes but well worth the watch.
The ruling that came down this week was not unexpected. It was a slow build that started in the 1960’s with the sexual revolution. What the ruling did was place the final nail in the coffin of Orthodox Christianity as the majority viewpoint in our country. As a country we have been drifting for years and we have finally hit the sand bar of post modernism with full force.
Here is what we don’t need to do. Freak out and bunker down. We must love and engage. The beautiful thing about Orthodox Christianity is that it is about true love, costly love. We as a culture have fallen in love with love. Not real love but the idea of love. Real love is not loving those who love you but loving those who hate you. Love is not a constitutional right, love is a gift. A gift that cost God what was most dear to him to ransom back to himself what was most far from him. We must convey this kind of love in everything we do and say. We must fight tolerance by actually loving our neighbors.
I recently read Jack’s book “Show Them Jesus” I so enjoyed it I asked Jack to guest post on my blog about how to teach the parts of the bible that are difficult. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.
Teaching the Bible’s Disturbing Stories
I’ve spent much of the past Sunday school year teaching through the book of Genesis for a class of elementary kids at my church. Just a few weeks into this class, I had a decision to make. The published curriculum I’m using as a rough guide had given me the expected lessons about creation and the sin of Adam and Eve, but it skipped the story that comes next in the Bible—where Cain murders his brother Abel.
I suspect the violent content had something to do with the publisher’s decision to skip that story. A bloody family killing does not feel kid-friendly.
But should I teach it anyway? On occasion, I too will decide it’s best to spare the youngest children from particularly rough stories or from certain details. I don’t enjoy shocking kids or telling them horrific tales. But usually I’ll go ahead and teach most Bible stories—including the gory or sinful parts. And in the case of Cain and Abel I hardly had to think about it. I knew I wanted to teach that story, and so I did.
During lesson time, I even drew a stick-figure picture of Cain standing over Abel’s body. Then I added some red smears for blood pooling on the ground. I was as gentle as I could be about it, soberly warning the kids that it was ugly and sad, but still I drew that picture. It was important for them to see it.
So why, of all things, would I want kids to see that? I have three main reasons, each of which applies not only to Cain and Abel but also to many other Bible stories.
- It’s good to teach the Bible the way God has given it. If we poke around the Bible looking to use just the cheery parts, we end up skewing its message. We give kids the idea that the Bible is something like Aesop’s fables or after-school cartoons instead of the gritty, soaring, beautifully diverse message from God that it is. We also might miss key themes.
With the Cain and Abel story, I recognized it as part of the Bible’s foundational opening pages and the introduction of a critical theme: the contrast between a bad heart mastered by sin and a good heart devoted to God. I didn’t want to skip over that. I also noticed that the Bible specifically mentions Abel’s blood five times (in four different books). That made the blood a necessary part of my lesson if I was going to be true to the Bible’s own emphasis.
C. S. Lewis in “The World’s Last Night” said:
“For my own part I hate and distrust reactions not only in religion but in everything. Luther surely spoke very good sense when he compared humanity to a drunkard who, after falling off his horse on the right, falls off it next time on the left.”
Life if full of tensions. In every aspect of church and life we see one way of doing things and we overreact. We do exactly what Lewis is describing we see something we don’t like in the bible, in church, or in life. Rather than holding onto both reigns and moving forward. Like a drunk rider we fall off one side only to get back up and fall off the other.