Tuesday, June 21, 2011
That is some dilemma.
It's something to see God at work in your kid, recognizing this is not some inherited trait, like her height (paternal) or her stubbornness (also paternal) or her tears over sad songs (maternal) or her love of ice cream (both ma and pa gene pools generously contributed).
Nor is it the result of some whiz bang parenting trick that I read, applied and presto! Results!
It's her responding faithfully and actively to the grace given her by God.
I don't count myself as naive, I think there will be moments, perhaps seasons, which lead to different blog entries.
For now, today, it's a glorious thing to see from the front row of life.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Next challenge, we as a group had to convince Peter, who looked so much like my teaching partner Jenn but with tremendous fuzzy beard, to go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness for denying him--even though that is hard, The group's compassion and passion for all three classes just touched me.
Typical experience, I learned much, I came away with more than I walked in with. I blessed by 60 medium sized people who love to question and challenge but without any cynicism or sarcasm. I was blessed by a teaching partner who brought wisdom, humor and insight into presenting each lesson. I was blessed by "walkers" who "travel" with each group--they were helpful in practical ways but also participated with joy.
We talked a lot about the 2 jobs we all have (purpose) to love/worship God and Jesus and to love others. We asked ourselves what do we learn about God, about people and what are we supposed to do this this lesson after VBS? We laughed ourselves silly over skits, costumes and props and celebrated with chocolate.
Faith & Fun--it works well together.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
What amused us was the passionate response to the sacrifice. My middle schooler would describe the class reaction as a "freak out" and she would be right. The candy, and in such large and unique quantity was valuable to them and hard to give up. They were really bothered by it. It was a great lesson for me, as I thought: what's my candy bar? What do I have trouble giving up? Do I only sacrifice what I calculate as not that costly? Do I get upset at giving up things I really like but are not all that valuable?
As I considered this I was asked to help with some youth events (that greatly minister to my daughters) and my first response was, uhhhh--errrr, well don't ya know I am doing VBS and really behind in some other ministry work as a result? My second upon reflecting from the profound Hershey lesson: yeah sure, I will give up some time and order in my schedule to help.
What if I take that milk chocolate wisdom into every arena, avoiding "freak outs" and present the blasted treat with joy?
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
We read Genesis 1, the creation story and the emphasis was on how wonderfully complex God made us. I added the idea of purpose and blessing--the reality of one's wonderfulness is leverage to motivate and encourage us to use that to honor God and serve others--in the context of being 8,9, 10. I am also pushing the kids to think about how these truths can live on in their hearts after VBS.
My teaching partner Jen wondered if they would question the story of creation in Genesis. I thought nah. She was right, I was wrong (happens a lot).
"God did not really create in a day because a day is like 1000 years to God right?"
"What about evolution" "What about the dinosaurs?" Then there was Jen's question: "Why create plant life before the sun." (read the order of creation, think about it).
So, VBS is not just for faithful cartoons, cool treats and spray bottles. It digs up some real theological issues. At what point do you move from just teaching kids through stories and into theology and acknowledging the questions Scripture does not answer (it's not a science or history book, it's God's word to us and there is a difference).
My answer to the kids yesterday was a quick change of direction...God is a spirit and not bound by time. He created time and we can't imagine what that reality of being outside time is like, so we can't fully understand how this all looked. Nice dodge, I know.
My answer to Jenn, "I dunno." (She is used to that).
However, creation still points to God's power and purpose and it still begs the question: how to respond in faith, and of course fun.
Today: Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Baby pools, stone altars and Jenn as a firefighter. Gonna be good.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
I am a huge fan, even easing into the annual chore, I mean opportunity, to decorate, I mean, transform my room to an Asian jungle.
I love VBS for many reasons: it engages the whole church; it balances serious ministry with serious silliness; most of all it has a lasting impression on the hearts of kids (all ages and stages) who share in this unique ministry. There is a lot of staying power in the messages, music and mayhem of VBS. Studies show that the repetition of themes and a variety of approaches (music, drama, rec, craft and Bible study) combine to leave a permanent mark on the children and adults who share in this week.
I am going to blog throughout the week, my observations, my oh wow and oh no and oh my and okay moments.
Right now I am prepping. I need to run to one more store for some paper and plastic jungle supplies, but I wanted to start with what I have learned in getting ready for day one of Pandamania from Genesis 1.
First I discovered that when God created man in "his image" the work tselem means a replica, a likeness and resemblance. He then blessed them--barak it means both to bless them like giving the a salute or praise them but it also means he equipped them the the capacity to be fruitful--the ability to live out his plan and purpose for them. He sat back and said it was "very good" (m 'od) exceeding good--to a very great degree, it like God with much excitement said to the angels, , "well my my, would you look at that?"
It was new, it was exciting, it not only had God's fingerprints but it had God's likeness all over it.
That is the beginning of the story for the kids next week. What a cool way to start a week and to start a life: --created, with purpose, looking a bit like God and blessed with a purpose and direction.
My partner Jenn and I have plans that involve dry ice and aluminum foil and several water spray bottles and, of course, a flashlight. Tucked into the middle of that giggle inducing chaos will be a message that I hope will be planted in some fertile ground for growing in faith.
Time to go find a paper lantern and plastic bamboo. It's time for a summer time blessing.