3 Part Summer Challenge for 1st-5th Graders


This is a challenge for our 1st-5th grade children’s church kids.

Prizes:
IMG_0090Complete one part: Choose “big” prize from children’s church
Complete two parts: Kiwi Loco gift card
Complete all three: Trip to Roaring Springs in August (day TBD)

Scripture Challenge:
Memorize Philippians 2:1-18. You may choose the version of the Bible you would like to use. It does not have to be word perfect, but it needs to be very close. You must recite it all at one time.

IMG_0001Creed Challenge:
Memorize the Apostle’s Creed. This creed helps state what we believe as followers of Jesus.

Mission Challenge:
Read 2 of our missions books and turn in a short report on the books. The report should answer questions like, Where did the story take place? Who are the missionaries involved? What was your favorite part? What did you learn from the story?

You have until August 4th to complete the full challenge. You can use the whole summer to work on each part of the challenge at a time. You do not have to do all three things at once. For example, you do not have to recite the scripture and creed at the same time. Whatever you complete by August 4th will determine your prize.

Your parents can help you along the way! Examples of how they can help are by listening to DSC_0081you practice your memorization, helping you come up with memorizing tools, reading the books with you, thinking of a good question to answer in your report, or reading your report before you turn it in.

If you have any questions, ask!


What did you say?


I was at the check out of a bookstore today and found myself in the middle of a rather amusing conversation. The customer behind me was looking for a particular product and, while the clerk was finishing my transaction, she asked the clerk where she could locate it. The clerk gave directions where to look, and when the customer found the location she began giving more details of what exactly she was hoping to find.

“Don’t you have any in a six pack? I was hoping to find them in a six pack- because who doesn’t want a ‘six pack,’ right!” *snicker*

The clerk looked at her, completely unamused, and replied in all seriousness, “A lot of people don’t really want a six pack.”

This is where I had to refrain from snickering. I realized the confusion (I’m not convinced the customer put it together). I had gotten her little joke, but apparently, the clerk did not.
The customer was referring to the type of “six pack” one develops when the abdominal muscles are toned and built up. I’m pretty sure the clerk thought she was referring to a six pack of beer- that just has to explain the look on her face.
So here where the three of us, all standing in a silent moment of awkward. I wanted to laugh, the customer was confused, and the clerk was rather unamused. So I left. Well, not quite that abruptly, but almost.

As I drove away, I began thinking through that little conversation. It made me think about how often we try to communicate something but end up misunderstanding one another. This seems to especially happen when it comes to faith. There are times when we are in conversation with one another but we have completely different definitions and meanings to the words we are using. This is what makes it so important for me to know how to explain what I believe- and why. When I am talking about my faith, it is not enough for me to assume the other person in the conversation understands all my words. I don’t want to end up in an awkward conversation when it comes to that which is so important to me…
Just a little thought.


The Yo-Yo Lesson


Recently, as an introduction to a lesson about knot tying, we were discussing Proverbs 5:22 in one of the children’s classes I teach. It says,

The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.

My question (what is this saying?) after reading the verse was immediately followed by that “deer in the headlights” looks from about 95% of the group.

Awesome. Let’s try this again, I thought.

We read it again, and again I asked, “What is this communicating?” I got a couple of answers this time and then the thoughts started coming…

“I think it’s saying the more you get in sin, the harder it is to get out….” Good.

“Oh, it’s kind of like evil will tie you up.” Yes- now you guys are on track…

Then a couple thoughts (and a lot of distractions) later, I noticed the demeanor of one of the girls change… her eyes lit up, she sat a little taller in her chair, and as soon as she made eye contact with me, she raised her hand up in the air. “I’ve got it!” she exclaimed.

“So my brother used to do yo-yo- like A LOT. He would do yo-yo tricks all the time. Well, if he got a knot in the string, the trick just would not work. It just doesn’t work to have a knot in the string. That’s what it’s like for us. If we get sin in our life, it just makes life not work. We can’t do things like we are supposed to. That’s what it’s about. Sin messes us up.”

“That’s brilliant,” I said. There really was not much more I could add to that. I think they figured out the proverb….


Enough


There is a small poem from St. Teresa of Avila that has been ringing in my mind over this last week.  Read and think.

Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.


Amazed (or Mark 2, part 2)


Yesterday I posted some thoughts from Mark 2:1-12, but I really only made it through part of the story. So here are a couple of thoughts on the rest of the story. Let me know what you think about the passage.

Mark 2:1-12

New Living Translation (NLT)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

I’ve been thinking about this story in two parts. First, the friends and what they did to get the paralyzed man in front of Jesus. Second, I’m not sure Jesus’ response was what the guys were expecting.

It is pretty awesome to me that it is the faith of the friends that moves Jesus to respond. But I have been wondering if his first response was what the guys expected. At this point in the story, people have heard about Jesus healing people with incurable illnesses. So that makes me think the four guys were taking their friend to Jesus so he would heal him. But that was not Jesus’ first response. Did you read what Jesus said?

“My child, your sins are forgiven.”

It surprised people! I think it may have even surprised the four guys on the roof looking down. But here is what I think is significant about that.

Jesus knew what the guy really needed.

Even if his friends did not know the depth of the man’s need, Jesus knew and Jesus went straight to it. He went above and beyond their expectations. He takes care of the real issue (forgiveness of sin), and then Jesus turns back around and heals him physically too. People can’t believe it. They were amazed. I think the four friends had to be amazed as well!

So here is what this part of the story says to me:

Sometimes I don’t know what is needed, but Jesus does. And Jesus will do what only he can- if I will just go to him.

What about you- what does it say to you?


Inconvenience (or Mark 2, part 1)


Inconvenience.

I am not a fan.

But something stood out to me the last time I read Mark 2:1-12.

The story is basically this:

Jesus is becoming very popular and loads of people are coming to listen to him, see him, and watch what he might do next. So he is in a very crowded house talking with people. Four guys hear that he is close to where they are and they decide their friend needs to be brought to Jesus. They have to bring him because he is paralyzed and cannot walk on his own. So they carry him to the house- but the house is too full to get near Jesus. So plan B.

This is where it gets interesting. The guys decide to get on the roof of the house and remove the tiles that are the ceiling. Then they lower their friend down in front of Jesus.

Two things I can’t get past at this point in the story- First, they really had to go out of their way to make this happen. I know it’s great to do good things for a friend, but really, this was not convenient for them. Second, what was everyone thinking as tiles started moving overhead? This couldn’t have happened in just a split second. It must have taken a little bit of time. So what was everyone thinking? What was the house owner thinking? Why didn’t anyone speak up and say, “Hey, you guys want in here? You don’t have to pull the roof apart…” So what were they thinking?

On both sides I see an issue of inconvenience. It took a lot of work for the guys to get their friend to Jesus. Rather inconvenient. Their actions also interpreted everyone’s day. I am inclined to guess that no one offered to help them get into the house because it would be inconvenient for them.

So what do I learn from this? This is what:

Helping people get to Jesus is often “inconvenient.”

I don’t really think the guys anticipated that much trouble getting their friend to Jesus. It was not an easy task to get their friend to Jesus. But they were determined. They were sure if they got to Jesus, he would do something. But it took some work for them to get there.

But the value of placing their friend in front of Jesus outweighed any inconvenience.

The response of Jesus amazes me. Verse 5 says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man…” The faith and the determination of the friends to get the paralyze guy in front of Jesus moved Jesus to act. This challenges me.

There are times that I find myself thinking I’m too busy or tired to spend time praying for someone (placing them in front of Jesus)- it feels “inconvenient.” But how can taking someone before Jesus be inconvenient? At least that is what I hear this story saying to me. The four guys did not allow a little inconvenience stand in the way of getting their friend to Jesus. So, seriously, what’s my excuse?

I don’t want to be part of the everyone in the house. It was not their faith that Jesus responded to. It looks like they allowed inconvenience to stop them from helping the guys get into the house. I don’t want to be part of them. So while somethings may be able to fall under “inconvenient,” I am learning to never think of it as inconvenient to help take my friends before Jesus.


Easter


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