Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wednesday Night Children's Ministry

This ministry is geared directly toward our kids, in order to raise them biblically.  It happens every Wednesday night from 6:30-7:30pm.  The first half hour is sharing a meal.  Bring one dish you want to share, and bring something small.  With all families bringing something small, we should have something substantial when combined.

At 7pm, we stay at the table (this is informal) and we work on memory verses with our kids.  We are using "Sing the Word from A to Z" which gives us 26 verses in alphabetical order for the kids (and us, too) to learn.  Here is a link to the page to hear the tunes:

We play the chords on the guitar, and we sing the songs together.  The adults can memorize larger passages for themselves, and we can test each other on them.  Having scripture in the head, to call upon when we need it, is such a blessing in life.

Next we go through a question in the Westminster Shorter catechism.  This is a Q&A systemization of scripture developed by the Puritans in the 17th century.  It's a great understanding of the whole of scripture.  We go through question one first and will go through it a question at a time each week.  In colonial times, children were able to answer these questions when an adult asked them on the street.  Now, even the adults don't know them.  Here is a link to the Westminster Shorter Catechism online:

Finally, we pray together.  The kids form their own short prayers for others, thanking God for something, asking for forgiveness for other things.  Anyone who wants to pray may, and no one is forced to.  We sing the Lord's prayer together and a close-of-day prayer, and then finish the time together with a blessing and the singing of a Psalm.  We think this is an ideal package of fellowship, instruction, and prayer for our families to incorporate into their lives, and we hope these disciplines last us our lives and our children's lives.  We're trying to give them the best start possible, in this world and the next.

If you cannot make the Wednesday Night group, or you don't live on the Outer Banks, all of the elements are above so that you can do this at home.  Then the next step is adding the fellowship with other families who are in the same place and encouraging each other in the training up of our children.

The Good Person Test

Are you a good person?

Well, I'm not like that Hitler, so, yeah!

Let's take the test.

Have you ever told a lie? Yes? What does that make you? A liar.

Have you ever stolen anything? No? Have you stolen anyone's time? Wasted their time with something petty? Have you ever cut in line, stealing someone's time? Have you ever taken a longer break than allowed at work, stealing money and efficiency from your employer? Yes? What does that make you? A thief.

Have you ever taken the Lord's name in vain? Yes? That's blasphemy, and it is very serious in the eyes of God.

Have you ever committed adultery? No? Have you ever looked at anyone with lust? That's committing adultery in your heart. Have you ever had any kind of sex outside of marriage? Yes? What does that make you? An adulterer.

Have you ever murdered someone? Of course not!  Have you ever hated someone?  Gotten angry at someone?  Gotten irritated at someone in traffic?  Yelled at someone?  This is committing murder in your heart.

Have you ever desired anything that is not yours?  Have you ever gambled or played the lottery? Have you wanted a better life than the one you were given? That's called coveting.

Have you always put the God who created you first in your life?  No?  That's called idolatry.

Have you ever claimed that God is something other than the God of the Bible?  That is also idolatry, but in a different way.  Instead of putting other things before God, you are instead making God into something he is not.  This is like making a carved image of God.

Do you honor your mother and father? Yes?  So you did everything they told you immediately, when they told you?  Did they approve of you breaking the other commandments above?  No?  That's dishonoring them, too.
Do you keep Sundays holy? No?

All ten of God's commandments BROKEN. And it's clear that we break them every day, because they are impossible to keep.  What's worse, the Bible says that we break them when we APPROVE of other people breaking them!  Have you ever goaded on a friend to break a commandment?  Or laughed at a friend who broke a commandment, which basically encouraged them?

If God, the creator, judged you on your breaking the ten commandments every day, would he find you innocent or guilty?  Guilty.  If you don't believe this, just read all the words above again.  Your conscience will tell you it is true.

So, you are found guilty before the creator of the universe, an infinite God, who is infinitely offended by even the SLIGHTEST transgression against his holy law.  What should he do to you?  What is the punishment for offending the infinite God?  Heaven or Hell?  Hell.  It's not a fun place.  Think of the worst day of your life, the worst pain you have ever experienced, and magnify it a thousand times.  This is what it is like every day of your life in Hell, and your days will number eternity. 

Does this concern you that if you died today you would be going to Hell?  Listen to your conscience.

That's the BAD news.  Now here's the GOOD news.  What is the thing that God did for you so that you wouldn't have to go to Hell?

God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, who lived a sinless life on earth.  He kept all of those commandments above PERFECTLY.  Why is that important? Because then Jesus can transfer his righteousness to you.  Jesus also took the punishment you deserve!  He paid the debt that you have daily accumulated!  He did this by dying on the cross and satisfying the wrath of God.  Since Jesus was a man, he could pay the debt for you. Since he was also God, he could pay an INFINITE debt with his blood.  He took your punishment on himself, and he gives you his righteousness.

THIS IS HOW MUCH GOD LOVES YOU!  He HAS to punish sinners.  He can't just throw the law out because he IS the law. The law is not God's master, because he IS the law.  He HAS to punish you, because he is perfectly just.  But he is also merciful, so he came up with a way—the only way—to satisfy his justice and also SAVE YOU from Hell.

The result: Heaven.  Think of the best day of your life, the greatest pleasure you have ever experienced, and magnify it a thousand times.  This is what it is like every day of your life in Heaven, and your days will number eternity.

So, are you a good person?  No, you are a very bad person who has been saved by a very good God.

What do you do now that you know this?

Well, all you need to do is BELIEVE that what is written above is true.  And you can't just say you believe and then continue on the way you have been living, breaking the commandments every day.  You will KNOW that you believe in the Lord Jesus when you:

Repent and turn from your sins.  You do not WANT to do them anymore, and suddenly you will find yourself fighting against them.  You will continue to break them, but now you will be aware that you are breaking them and you will FIGHT against breaking them.  God will help you keep them.

You will desire to read your Bible to learn all about Jesus Christ.  The whole book is about him.  Jesus will become precious to you.

The things you used to love, you now hate.  The things you used to hate, you now love.

You will desire to talk to the Father often, and so you will find yourself praying throughout the day.

You will find yourself bearing fruit in your daily life.  Read the Bible to find out what these fruits are.  God gives you tasks to do daily and you will do them out of gratitude.  You won't be doing them because you want to work your way to Heaven, or because you fear Hell.  You have already been saved, and believing that fact will literally CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014