Always Be Prepared or The Stormtroopers Are Here

I learned a valuable lesson the day I showed a SuperBook video. Fantastic friends have been giving me the SuperBook DVDs to use in my ministry here in Mexico. One of the most recent ones is on Peter’s Denial. I had all the equipment ready to go, or so I thought…

…Near the end of Sunday School I went to set up the equipment in order to be ready for the children to come in and watch the video without delay. The problem, I did not allow enough time to hook it all up and make sure it worked before the kids started storming in like stormtroopers ready to take over the building. It was as if I had my Lightsaber all spread out in pieces on the table and could not figure out fast enough how to get it put back together. I thought all was lost. That’s it, the young stormtroopers were going to haul me off to the Death Star.

I finally got the wires hooked up and the video up with music sound, but no speaking sound. Great!! Death star here we come. But then Han Solo aka Adrian, our pastor’s son helped by wiggling around some wires. Voices! The voices came on. Then off. Then on again. Wire connections! Rather like good connections with God. Jesus said that if you have good wire connection in me and I mine in you, you will produce very good sound. With bad wire connections you cannot do anything. (Okay, that isn’t exactly what he said, so if you want to see the actual text try Googling John 15:5 or Jesus vine branches as I just did.)

Finally! As I stood in a metaphorical pool of sweat, metaphorical because while it is getting hotter here it was not too bad that day, the video was on and the little stormtroopers (also metaphorical just in case you were wondering) were all in formation on the benches and chairs they lined up. I emphasize “they” because little by little I think the kids should do more and more of the “stuff” of meeting together. They really enjoyed the video. They actually sat through it and listened attentively. It was quite the miracle. Jesus is good at performing miracles. Actually the new SuperBook videos are really that good. And Jesus is good with miracles.

Tomorrow I plan on following up with some creative teaching elements and crafts with the kids concerning the video. I am curious to hear their responses about the video. I think they enjoyed it as one boy kept asking me if there was another one to watch.

If you have not seen the new SuperBook videos please check them out. Google Superbook Bible Stories, that should get you to their really cool website.

And now for the moral of the story. Always set up way early to make sure all functions as it should and always have a really good plan “B”. Maybe even a “C” and “D”… A really cool Lightsaber wouldn’t hurt either ;-P

Coming soon…the rest of the story on how it goes with the followup lesson and craft. The story of Peter’s denial and restoration has always been a longtime favorite of mine. Definitely pierces my heart every time and motivates me to serve the Lord faithfully but in humility knowing who I am in Him. A sinner saved by grace through faith only by what Jesus has done for me. Seeking to serve Him with all I’ve got.

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Object lesson from a $1 “Grow” Starfish

I bought a growing starfish from one of the dollar stores a while back. I thought it might be a good little gift. I thought of the Starfish Story that has been online for years. I shared the story with our children during church. I taught the golden rule, to treat others as you would have them treat you. I had a bucket of water to put the starfish into. Boy were the kids excited to see it touch the water and go “POOF”, grow instantly into a great big starfish. I had to be the bearer of bad news that it would not go “Poof” nor grow instantly. It would take some days to slowly absorb the water and grow. The only thing that went “poof” was their excitement. Their shoulders fell with disappointment about a half foot. Patience, one of the fruits of the Spirit, is a frustrating one to learn.

This experience led me to think how sometimes I want to see kids and people grow instantly mature and wise. I myself wouldn’t mind an instant spurt of growth in the wisdom department. But alas, it does take time. Jesus told us that we must make our choices daily. Spiritual growth and wisdom is a step by step marathon, or even walkathon, not a sprint. Sometimes I find it like trying to walk on a slip-n-slide, take a step and slip and slide a few backwards. But don’t stop moving forward, with the Lord all things are possible.

The good news is, the next Saturday when the kids saw that the Starfish had grown some, they were all squeals of jumping up and down excitement. I was so thrilled to see them happy. It made me think though, when have I responded in kind to the spiritual growth of one of the kids or fellow church attenders. Jesus told us that, in the good aspects, we should be as the children. Next time I see spiritual growth I will remember how excited the kids were over the growth of a little sponge starfish.

Spears, Arrows and Masks, “Oh my!” or Why I am a missionary

I am a Christian missionary. God placed this desire in my heart. I remember as a boy loving it when missionaries came to share their stories and show their interesting stuff like spears, arrows and masks. They were not using these things to fight. But only to show and share what the people were like with whom they were trying to share the good news. My first short term mission trip was to Tijuana, Mexico. I loved it. Years later I had the opportunity to go on more STM trips. God used these trips to continue building the desire in my heart to go serve as missionary.

In preparation for a long awaited trip to Israel, I watched a series of on location Holy Land teachings by historian and teacher Ray Vander Laan. I learned that God had called me to “follow”. But now He wanted me to “Go!” After a trip to Israel it was very clear to me that it was time to get ready to “go”. I came back and met with a pastor friend. I told him what I thought God was telling me. He and the Sr. Pastor helped me to prepare to go serve as a missionary. It was not a thing that happened to me all alone. But rather God used many people to prepare me. I am so thankful for them all. 

Even though I am now serving as a full time missionary, God still continues to use others to change me for the better. I know that He has a plan for my life. I eagerly want to continue on His journey that he has planned for me. It is amazing what I have learned and experienced so far. I am looking forward to so much more.