Monday, 31 May 2010

Notes from Teaching Junior Church

Alternate title: Why I Teach the Big Kids Now

Yesterday I taught the babies again, my 3-6 year olds. I love my babies, one or two at a time, or even three, but not that many! For the most part they aren't bad, except the one who yells everything (not just answers, either). The rest are just young....and squirmy....and easily distracted....

I tried to review last week. Last week they learned that Jesus went to heaven but that He will come back. Once I got through "Jesus went to heaven" the lesson went something like this:

What did the men say Jesus would do?

Die on the cross!

No, this is after He died on the cross. What will happen later?

Um....Jesus will die on the cross?

No, no, no.....later....after He went to heaven....

Oh! I know! Rise from the dead!

Seriously, I ended up drawing a timeline so they could see that Jesus had already died and rose, and eventually they got to "He will come back." Then we could go on to this week's lesson: the coming of the Holy Spirit. Things got better then (except for the yeller). They liked to fire (but were a bit disappointed when I told them no one was actually on fire) and sort of understood the different languages. The coloring part went well (complete with multi-colored flames, and the yeller scribbling over and over his page in different colors, but quietly so it was all good). Then we got to "Tell me what the story was about and I'll give you a treat."

Most of them did well. Then there was the youngest, who has just turned three. Her answer?

"Jesus died on the cross!"

I think it's the only Sunday School answer she has. The others tried to prompt her but she wasn't getting it. I told her to just say, "The Holy Spirit came," but she looked a bit lost. It ended like this:

Say "The"








Good, have a cookie.

Yeah, so I'm sticking with my big kids. They're a little bit more aware.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Sleepover

I have survived another sleepover with my girls. There were 10 of us sleeping in my living room last night (and for the record, it isn't a big room). We had a great time, watching movies, playing games, talking, and eating. They ate, among other stuff, 16 bags of microwave popcorn (although given the amount of popcorn I vacuumed up this morning, "ate" might not be the right word).

They're good girls and they make me laugh. The youngest is 9 and the oldest is 12 or 13, which doesn't sound like a big gap, but at their age is a really big difference. This is usually seen in their choice of movies. See, normally at the beginning of the sleepover we walk to Blockbuster to rent movies. I pair them up so we usually get 4 movies and there will be something for the little ones and the older ones. We spend a lot of time negotiating since the older girls don't want "baby" movies, but they tend to try choosing movies that I won't approve. This year I told them before the sleepover that if there were any arguments I would call their parents and ask if the movie was appropriate (I can accept the I may be more cautious than their parents although I doubt it). This decision already made them agree not to argue, so I thought it would be easier this year.

It turned out to be a moot point. It was windy and cold and threatening to rain yesterday evening so I didn't want to go out. Instead I went through my movies and pulled out the ones I thought they could watch.

The end result? My very grown up girls (who don't want to watch baby movies) choose, and sang along with, VeggieTales, including "Larry's Wonderful World of Autotainment," "Gideon, Tuba Warrior," and "Jonah." They also choose Shrek 2. They rejected E.T. five minutes in because it was "boring" (read: none of them stopped talking long enough to follow it and it wasn't animated) and only one of them wanted to watch "Narnia." My very big, so grown up girls!

Monday, 24 May 2010

What I'm Reading

Along with piles of school-related stuff, I'm also reading Why We Love the Church by Kevin De Young and Ted Kluck. I've only just started so I don't have a lot to say about the book itself (except that so far I'm enjoying it). They have said something, though, that I've thought about before.

To start, though: I love the church. I know it isn't perfect, but I strongly believe that we are supposed to be a part of a local church, and to belong rather than just attend sporadically or church hop or even attend services regularly without any commitment. I think that it is important for fellowship and accountability, as well as for being taught and for serving.

So, here's the part that most resonated with me so far, and seemed to sum up a lot of people I've spoken with who will not join a church for whatever reasons: "People seem to want fellowship without commitment; they want to learn from each other, without being taught by anyone" (p.21).

I think it's a desire for freedom, first: freedom from commitment that may require work or service on their part, freedom to walk away if they disagree, and freedom from possible accountability from those who may see sin in their lives.

Further, I see an element of pride: they want everyone equal, teaching each other, with no one above anyone because then there is no one above them. No one is allowed to assume that he knows more than the rest or to offer more than an opinion, and thus no one is ever wrong.

Guess what? There are people who know more than others, and not everything is a matter of opinion; in fact, truth cannot be determined by opinion. And I, for one, am very thankful for men who study God's word and who know more than I, and who teach me truths, not just opinions.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

But: The Happiest Conjunction

Usually "but" is a maligned conjunction. It can be unhappy: "I love you, but..." or "You're doing a good job, but...." Plus, all the management books say not to use it. Today, though, I've decided that "but" is the happiest conjunction. Allow me to explain:

First, look at Romans 3. Paul spends verses 9-20 explaining how we are all sinful. Really, really sinful; if you read it, you'll find that we are all condemned as unrighteous and useless, having turned away from God. It's not a happy passage; in fact, much Romans up to then is condemning people. Further, we are all accountable to God and will not be justified through the Law; "for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin."
Then you hit Romans 3:21 and on: "But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe...being justified as a gift by His grace..."
Did you hear that? We're all sinful, not seeking God, not able to become righteous ...but... He made a way, through Christ, as a gift.

Second, there is today's sermon. The elder was preaching on Psalm 5 (the pastor and his wife are on vacation). This his third sermon on Psalm 5 and for the most part he was talking about verses 4-6: "For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit."
The elder called his sermon "The Hatred of God" and talked about how much God abhors sin and all who do iniquity. He pointed out that none of us lives up to God's perfect standard and we don't find all sin to be an abomination as we should. It was a very heavy, convicting sermon (and a very good sermon; go listen to it here). And then he reached verse 7:
"But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You."
Do you see that? God hates sin and all who do iniquity ...but... His love for His people is abundant.

It's all over the Bible: we are sinful, God hates sin, there is no way for us to save ourselves ...but... Romans 6:22-23 and Romans 10:8-10.

And that is why "but" is the happiest conjunction.

Friday, 7 May 2010

A Stolen Story

Sorry, sorry, sorry! I totally mean to post more often! All I have for you today is a story I'm stealing from Baby Sister's facebook update.

It seems my small nephew is having a birthday soon. Timothy will be 4 on the long weekend and Patty is having his party early. Keona, most beloved niece (who is only 7 1/2), made him a card that said, "Happy Birthday, Timothy. I hope you enjoy your new dick."

After getting Keona to read it to her, Patty explained to her how "bike" is spelled and what way a "d" faces!