How do I send my kids to school on monday?

sandy-hook-elementary-shooting-10

After the unspeakable events of last friday there are not words that make sense of what took place. There are no words that can be said that would help bring comfort. Our nation is overcome with a collective sense of grief. Any time a child dies it is hard to understand, digest or explain. When multiple children die it’s horrific.

The question I hear most parents saying and I find myself thinking. “How do I send my kids to school on monday?” My wife asked me this very question here is how I responded perhaps it will help another parent out there. Here is why I am sending my kids to school tomorrow.

1. We as parents must create an environment where our kids can thrive and can become all that God has designed them to be. We can not however protect and shield our kids from everything. We have to demonstrate to our kids through any way that we can that ultimately we trust God more than anything. Christ is our cornerstone he is the reference point of our life. When life is good He is that reference point when life is painful He is our source He is our life. Our hope as a parent can never lie wholly in our ability to keep our kids from harm, our hope has to be ultimately in Jesus alone.

2. See Christ as more valuable than anything else. – Paul says in Philippians “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He understood something we so often forget. If Jesus is truly most valuable to us if we lose everything in life we are ok because we have Jesus. If we die we win in death because we get Jesus.

3. Sin produces death. I believe more than any political stance that the events of last friday are more about us seeing the results of us trying to live our lives apart from Christ. What gives me hope is that Jesus came to bring us hope and He is coming again to make all the sad things untrue.

The last thing I believe we should do as parents is boil this horrible event down to a republican/democrat thing. Our roll as a Christ follower is to point people to Jesus, to pray for those effected and to not pull away from the world or shield our children from the world  as it grows darker but to do as exiled Jews were commanded in Jeremiah “seek the welfare of the city, build houses, plant gardens….take wives and have sons and daughters.” In times like these we need to demonstrate to our kids what it means to draw near to God.

 Jeremiah 29:4-14
4“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,a9for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.

10“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfareb and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Here are two great posts from John Piper who is exactly one million times more eloquent than I.

How does Jesus come to Newton?
A Lesson for all from Newton.

5 Years ago today

Five years ago today the son of a family who means the world to me past away. The thing that never ceases to amaze me is that you learn more of who God is in pain than you do in joy. In the past years dealing with my own disappointments I have grown in my faith but all of that pails in comparison to seeing how the Weible family has responded. Every time I think of what they have gone through and how they have responded I feel ashamed for the way I so often respond to the trivial things life hands my way. It’s humbling. Every time I think of Robert my heart is filled with a hope filled sorrow. I know that one day we will see him which gives me hope but I still feel sorrow when I think of the day he passed. We miss you Robert.

Psalm 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Have fun.

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
Dale Carnegie

I love my job but sometimes I take it and myself to seriously. I forget that everything doesn’t depend on my. I have to do my part sure but I can’t control outcomes. So often I find myself trying to do God’s job because I love my church and I love the families that form it. Then things happen that remind me that He is God and I am not. It comes down to a constant battle of trust who and what do I trust. I am sorry to say that despite the fact I know that I can trust God no matter what I so often do not.

Psalm 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

I started Physical Therapy today for a bad back that has kept me up at night and bothering me all day. The cause of this bad back? Stress. It’s me trying to do what God does best and not being who and what he has called me to be. I need to work hard and have fun. I’m good with the work but need to work on the fun. The Dr. asked me what I do to relax, I had no answer. I said “Work”. She smiled and said “You can’t draw water out of empty wells.” (I thought she was going to tell me to “Don’t go chasing waterfalls”  but she didn’t) We as pastors, leaders, volunteers need to work hard because what we do matters more than anything else. But we need to enjoy the process, enjoy our teams, enjoy our families. We need to trust more and just have fun!

 

Free Bible Lessons: Psalms "The book of Worship"

PSALMS

– Book of Worship

Key Point – Worship comes from a relationship with God.
Memory Verse – Psalm 8:21  From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise

Skit – What you spend your time doing is what you worship. – We worship what we spend our time doing. Where do you spend most of your time? Have someone mime the entire skit with someone speaking as his thoughts. The person miming the skit wakes up looks around as the person speaking his thoughts says “I am so excited to worship God today.” He gets up walks around thinks “I should read my Bible and pray.” As he is going over to his desk to read his Bible and sees a sports magazine he thinks, “what should I do read my Bible or read this sports magazine?” He decides to read the magazine. He then decides to pray as he is praying he sees his xbox he thinks, “should I play my video games or should I pray?” He decides to play videogames. He then feels bad and decides that he is going to pray. As he sits in his chair to pray he starts to think about one of his friends from school that he hasn’t talked to in a while. He gets up and gives his friend a phone call they talk for a short while he hangs up sits down in a chair facing the kids and looks up to heaven frustrated and says out loud “God how come it seems so hard to worship you today Lord?” “Why don’t I hear your voice any more or feel your presents.”  He looks down and freezes.

Object Lesson
– Rocks can cry out – Have a rock explain how this rock can praise God but worship comes from knowing him. How many of you think that this rock can sing? What for a response; no, I don’t think that it can sing either but the Bible does say that if we do not praise God that could cause even the rocks to cry out.

Object Lesson – Don’t need fancy instruments to worship. You can worship God anywhere anytime. People in the Bible didn’t always have fancy instruments to praise God with sometimes they had very crude simple instruments. God is not looking for perfection from us but just for people who love him and are willing to make a joyful noise.

Puppet – I’m ok because I don’t worship idols like people in the bible – The MC points out that even if you don’t worship carved pieces of stone you still can have idols anything you put before God. That is an idol.

Bible story – 2 Samuel – David worshiping before the ark.

12 Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

Worship Comes from Relationship – We worship as a response to who He is and what he’s done -
Exodus 15:1-3
The Song of Moses and Miriam
1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD, 
   for he is highly exalted. 
Both horse and driver 
   he has hurled into the sea.
2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense[a]; 
   he has become my salvation. 
He is my God, and I will praise him, 
   my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 
3 The LORD is a warrior; 
   the LORD is his name.

Worship is part of the reason we were created
– Everyone worships something. It doesn’t take long to see what consumes some people. Some people love Justin others love iCarley the curious thing about worship is you become like what you worship and at the same time the thing that consumes you causes you to worship.
Psalm 95:6-7
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

How should we worship? David modeled it for us in the story.

With Passion – Because of what he’s done
With Focus – Because of who he is.
With Joy – Because of what He will do.

SMALL GROUP

Activity

Have a cup ask the cup if they know why this cup was created (allow time to respond). Explain to the kids that this cup was made for one reason to be used as a cup, just like us we were created to worship God. That is the only reason we were made to worship Him.

Questions
When should we worship God?
Where should we worship God?
What can we use to worship God?
Who was a famous worshiper?
Why was David so happy worshiping God?
What do you do when you are happy?
We raise our hands jump around because we are happy.
What were we made to do? (praise Jesus)

Free Bible Lesson – Joshua "Boldness"

Joshua

– Book of Boldness

Key Point – With God I am a winner
Memory Verse – Joshua 1:9 “I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged!”

Skit – Loud person vs. Quiet person – Boldness isn’t being loud it is the stand you take have a bully be loud take things from other kids a quite kid stands up to the bully. Tell the bully that it isn’t right to do what he is doing the bully starts crying and asks for forgiveness the quiet kid prays with the bully, and explains that being bold is not being loud or mean but it is standing up for what is right.

Skit – What makes you bold – things or Jesus – Some people think that boldness comes from what they have not who they know. Have two rich kids come out very proud of all their toys explain that they are bold because they have so many things. Then a boy comes out and has no toys but is even more happy than they are this confuses them so they ask how he can be so bold and so happy without any toys, the boy explains because he has Jesus. With God we are winners.

Object Lesson – With God I’m a wiener – comes out thinking that with God we are all hot dogs. Have a not-so-bright person come out eating a few hot dogs. The MC will ask why he is eating hot dogs for? The not-so-bright person will say he doesn’t know. The MC will ask if he likes hot dogs the not-so-bright person will say no. The MC will ask why he is eating so many if he doesn’t like them? The not-so-bright person will explain that he heard the MC say that with Jesus we are wieners. The MC will explain to the not-so-bright person that he didn’t say wieners but WINNERS meaning bold and victorious.

Puppet – Puppet is sad because Jesus wants him bald. MC explains that he needs to be bold to stand up for Jesus. The MC explains that Jesus wants us to be BOLD which means we know that with Jesus we are a winner. The bible never tells us that Jesus wants us bald. The puppet is relieved.

Bible Story

Joshua 6:1 Joshua takes Jericho -
Joshua 6
1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the people, “Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.”
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!”11 So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there.
12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted [a] to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute [b] and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.”
20 When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city.

How was Joshua Bold?

He asked God what to do? If we want to live bold lives we need to start by asking God what he wants us to do? Lots of times we forget this infact the next city Joshua tried to take after Jericho was Ai and Joshua for got to ask God what to do and you know what happened. He made a big mistake. If we want to make wise choices we need to start by asking God what he wants us to do.
He Did What God told him. When God tells us to do something we need to be obedient. We need to do what he tells us to do. Boldness comes in knowing that we are doing the right thing even before we do it. Because if God has told us to do it and it matches up with the Bible we can be 100% sure we are doing the right thing.
How can you be bold? - You can be bold by asking God to speak to you and tell you what to do? How does God speak to you? Through your parents, through pastors and leaders, and through the bible. Let’s practice right now. Everyone close your eyes. We are going to ask God to help us be bold. I want us to all be quite and listen for what God says. (give the kids about a minute) Alright everyone who felt they heard God speak to them? If you had a thought that you should tell your parents that you love them, that is God speaking to you because the bible says we are to honor our mom’s and dad’s. How about punch your brother in the face? Absolutely not the bible says we are to love our neighbors and that includes our family. So today ask your Mom and Dad, pray and ask God what God wants you to do to be bold. Then Do it!

Joshua – Small Group

Activity – Stain remover pen (relabel it bold stain remover) – When we get sin stains in our life the only thing that will take it out is Jesus Christ. Put a stain on a piece of clothing and explain how when we sin it takes away our boldness. Use the bold pen on the cloth and explain that because Jesus died on the cross for our sins we can come boldly before God throne and find grace in our time of need. Because of Jesus was Bold and listened to His Father We can be bold and live a life that pleases him.

Questions
What does it mean to be Bold?
Should Christians be bold?
What is the difference between being bold and being mean?
Who helps us be bold?
What can you do to be more  bold?
Was Jesus bold?
What makes us bold?
How can we tell others about Jesus if we aren’t bold?