Metal Puzzle

Metal Puzzle  - 2Metal Puzzle  - 1Description: two bent rods of metal that are linked together.

What they do: when they are linked together, it is difficult to figure out how to separate them. They make us wonder, think, and experiment, until the solution is discovered. If they are not linked together, they do not serve their purpose.

Bible Verses: James 1:5-8 and 3:17.

Sample Message: I have a fun trinket here. What do you think it is? It is a metal puzzle. There are two pieces. The object is to separate them. Some are very difficult and others are easier. What would help me separate them? Would a hammer help? Yes, but what would help me do it the intended way?

What about wisdom? Wisdom is to have experience and to know how things work. Or, being able to think; if I do such and such, this or that will likely happen, either good or bad.

What is a good way to acquire wisdom? The Bible tells us in James, “If you lack wisdom, you should ask God.” God loves to give us wisdom. It also says, “Ask without doubting.” Instead, we should believe in God. He will give us a lot of wisdom. It says, “The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is tossed back and forth by the wind.” And, “Anyone who doubts is a double-minded person.” (Hold the two pieces of the puzzle up by your head on each side.) If these metal pieces are not together, they do not serve their purpose. Neither does a double-minded person.

We should ask God for wisdom. Let’s not doubt, but believe God. Then, he will help us discover what we must do to work out our puzzles or challenges of life. Plus, wisdom will help us be all these good things that are listed in James 3:17. (Read the verse.)


Sticky Ball

Sticky Ball  - 1

Description: sticky, bright color

What it does: Sticks to things.

Here is a sample message:

I have a little toy that kids enjoy to play with. When you hold onto the handle and swing it onto the table or something, it sticks. This is made to come off again so you can stick it over and over again. (Do it a few times to show the kids. Then do it on each main point in the message.)

That is what we should do with God. We should keep sticking to Him. In fact, there is a Bible passage that talks about sticking with God. Lamentations 3:22-34 (If you wish, read it to the kids in your favorite version of the Bible). One part says, “I am sticking with God” *(MSG). God is very good to those who stick to Him, while patiently waiting for Him. Those who stick to looking for God will find him. It is good for us to stick to hoping in Him because He will help us. When bad stuff happens, stick to God. When life is difficult, stick to God by talking to Him. Stick to hoping in Him. When trouble comes, stick to God, because He will never walk out and leave us, He will never walk out and abandon us. Always stick to God, because He loves us more than we could ever even imagine. Stick to God, because He is always tenderly working on you. Making you better. And me too.

You see, God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness are created new every morning. So let’s never give up, and let’s stick to Him, every day.

Application: When things happen that are difficult, and even when things are going well, what are you going to do? (Stick to God!) How do we do that? God is our friend. Just like a friend we talk to Him, listen to Him, read His Bible, which is like a letter to us. He tells us how much He loves us. And we should get together with others in church, and other times too. Those who stick to God like we do are our spiritual family.

Some Bible Verses: Psalm 16:8-11; Prov. 28:20; Lamentations 3:22-36

*The Message (MSG) Bible uses “stick” in the sense of sticking to something.

Bouncy Ball

bouncy Ball  - 1Description: Small, round, variety of colors, and rubbery

What it does: sits, rolls, bounces

Okay, here is a Sample Message for you.

Hey, kids. I have a bouncy ball. If I set it down, what does it do? Nothing. It just sits there. How boring is that? But, If I roll it like this, then what is it doing? It rolls. Still not a lot of fun, is it? In order for this ball to be really fun, what must it do? It must bounce. That is what it was made to do. When it just sits there it is not doing what it was made to do. Even if it rolls it still is not doing all of what it was “made to do.” But when it bounces, that is when it does “do” what it was “made” to do.

Hey, that reminds me—I was made, too. Who made me? God made me. And He made you all too. And He made us with a purpose. We are supposed to “do” what He “made” us to “do.” There are many very good Bible verses that answer the question, “why did God make us?” Here is one.

1 Corinthians 1:9 says—”God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Did you figure out why God made us? It says He made or called us to be in fellowship with His Son Jesus. If we accept Jesus as our Lord, Savior, and friend, then we will be fulfilling the purpose of why God made us. You see, the dictionary defines fellowship like this: “to be friends with one another or others who share the same interests or aim.”

Here are some other good Bible verses that help us to understand it even better.

Jeremiah 29:11—”For I know the plans I have for you, Declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Look these up too. Ephesians 2:10 and Micah 6:8.

Now we want to have fun and be fun like the bouncy ball. The best way for us to do that is to do what God “made” us to “do.” To accept Him as our Lord and Savior. To let Him be our friend. To obey Him. And to do what He wants us to do, such as love Him and love others too.

(English Standard Version)

My Process

I have been spending time with my Coach Barney and a mutual friend, Kathy or ScriptureLady. Barney encouraged us to work on our process. He had found and read a very good book, Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. He encouraged us to buy it and read it. Actually he encouraged Kathy to buy it and read it as I had told him that I am working hard at becoming paperless and am almost paperless. I just sat down and looked up Austin Kleon’s website via Google and found the book is available via eBook and iBook. I am still using Snow Leopard and do not have an iPad as yet. I hope to get one soon. I will share more on that later.

Bottom line was the encouragement to share our process with others. I have been serving as a missionary to Mexico for seven years now. One thing that i have observed as I have been serving is that they could really use some good children’s ministry resources. So I started writing little by little a curriculum that would be useful especially in the smaller churches in Mexico. I have been doing this under the coaching process that I have been undergoing with Kidology’s Coaching Program. Now I am in their Graduate Program in which they encourage us to select ten projects to work on. This children’s curriculum is the biggest project that I picked.

I have been in the process of  thinking, planning and writing it for about two years now. I have followed Barney’s example of going on writing retreats to really focus on writing this curriculum. I have gone on about 17 writing retreats. I need to add them up in order to have a definitive number. Note, another thing I am learning is that I should keep track of information such as this. Now I am toying with the idea of really focusing my efforts in order to try to finish the writing in one year. I have yet to set a few things in order to be able to do this. I will write more about the process that I am going through as it unfolds.

This article starts a series on the process that I am going through to provide teachers in Mexico resources for children’s ministry. I hope the Lord will bless you and that He will use me to help you see the process that He is taking through to accomplish His greater purpose.

God bless you,

Robert Newhall

Genesis Theme List

Have you ever stopped to think how many choices people have made throughout history? Here is a list that I compiled from the book of Genesis during a read through of the book. I’m sure there are more. It sure seems like a very significant theme in the book of Genesis. I have written my personal response to these findings and a bit of my testimony concerning decisions I have made in the past in a separate Blog post. Overall and even today at reflecting on this article I find that I still am solid on my decision to have Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and so choose to follow Him all the days that He sees fit to give me. I have chosen to serve Him in a lifetime of ministry.

  • God to create (1:1)
  • Adam and Eve to sin (3:6-7)
  • Abel and Cain in sacrificial chices and first choice to murder (4:1-16)
  • Enoch chose to live and walk with God daily (5:22)
  • People chose to sin, but Noah chose to follow God (6)
  • God chose to save Noah and his family and the animals (6)
  • God chose to make a covenant with Noah (9:8)
  • Noah’s sons choices made (9:22)
  • Tower of Babel (11)
  • Abram to obey God (12)
  • God chose to make a covenant with Abram (15, 17)
  • Lot vs. people of Sodom and Gomorrah (19)
  • Lot’s wife longed for Gomorrah (19:26)
  • Lot’s daughters have incestuous relationship with him, Moabites and Ammonites result (19:30-38)
  • King Abimelech obeyed God (20)
  • Rebekah chose to go with Abraham’s servant (24:57)
  • Esau sold birthright to Jacob (25:33)
  • Lied about Rebekah being his wife (26:7)
  • Esau married two Canaanite/Hittite women who were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah (26:34-35).
  • Jacob lied to his father and got Esau’s blessing (27:24)
  • Esau planned to murder his brother (27:41)
  • Isaac chose to bless Jacob (28)
  • Esau married a woman from Abraham’s family to try to appease his parents (28:8-9)
  • Jacob chose to follow God (28:20-22)
  • Jacob went and found Rachel of Abraham’s family (29:1-14)
  • Laban tricked Jacob with Leah, then gave him Rachel (29:22-30)
  • Jacob took both his wife’s servants as wives (30)
  • Jacob breed good sheep and animals for himself and left sickly ones for Laban (30)
  • Jacob left Laban without telling him (31:21)
  • Rachel stole her father’s idols and hid them in deceptive manner (31:34)
  • Jacob sent peace offerings to his brother Esau (32:1-21)
  • Jacob wrestled with God for God’s blessing (32)
  • Esau forgave Jacob (33:10)
  • Shechem violated Dinah, Jacob’s daughter (34:2)
  • Jacob’s sons deceived Hamor, Shechem and the people and killed all the men (34)
  • Jacob buried all the idols (35:2)
  • Jacob/Israel favored Joseph over his other sons (37:3)
  • Joseph shared dreams and brothers hated him (37+)
  • Jacob/Israel kept in mind Joseph’s dreams (37:11)
  • Rueben tried to/did save Joseph (37:21)
  • Judah and brothers decided to sell Joseph (37:26)
  • Joseph refused the advances of Potiphar’s wife (39)
  • Joseph forgave his brothers and provided for them all (45)
  • Jacob had Joseph promise to bury him with his forefathers (47:30)
  • Joseph spoke kindly to his brothers and reassured them (50:21)
  • Joseph made his brothers promise to carry his bones out of Egypt (50:25)

Abram’s choices:

  • Took Lot (12:4)
  • Lied about wife Sarai (12:10-20)
  • Allowed Lot to choose where to go (13:9)
  • Interaction with King of Sodom, took no goods for himself from the king (14:21-24)
  • Believed God, righteous (15:6)
  • Hagar and Ishmael (16)
  • No leadership between Sarai and Hagar (16:6)
  • Did not believe God about son with Sarah (17:17-18)
  • Obedience to circumcision (17:26-27)
  • Interceded for righteous people of Sodom and Gamorrah (18:16-33
  • Lied about wife Sarah again (20)
  • Obeyed God by offering his son Isaac, stopped by God before killed (22:9-11)
  • Paid full price for field to bury Sarah (23:16)
  • Chose woman from his own people for his son’s wife (24)

A Response to the Choices Theme in Genesis

I was really surprised as I read Genesis and noticed all the choices that were made throughout the entire book. I certainly did not expect all the different choices that all the people made. People made many good choices and many bad choices. God gave people the ability to make choices about what they wanted to do in a vast array of situations. God set it into all of nature in his creation that if people make good decisions then things will generally go well for them and then when people make a decision for bad moral choices then the general result was bad. Sometimes with a rather immediate result to them directly and sometimes a long and drawn out result that affected people far and wide. Adam and Eve are of course the first and primary example of making an extremely bad choice that was to affect the entire universe and all people for the duration of human history here.

I reflected on all the list of people that I made up as I read; Noah, Abraham, Lot, Esau, Jacob, and Joseph to name a few. I saw that some made all good choices throughout their lives and were shining examples of how I should make decisions. But then there were others that made both good and bad choices and suffered the consequences of those bad choices. I find that I can more readily relate with these folks, Abraham, Lot, Esau, Jacob. I have made some bad choices along the way. I had a few years in which I got in trouble with alcohol and hurt the feelings of many good friends. A choice I wish I could go back and change. I have passed up opportunities to share the gospel that I wish I could go back and redo. Things that I have done and said that affected people and my life in a negative manner. One day I was in a hospital waiting room waiting to go in for a scan of my gall bladder that was going bad and causing some major pain. While there a few young people came in and sat down. There was a children’s bible on the coffee table and the teenage boy said to one of the girls in a teasing manner, “Hey, that’s your kind of book.” She blushed a bit as I watched and said nothing. On the one hand I know God has forgiven me for passing up these opportunities, but I have not forgotten. Over time I have decided that to the best of my ability I never want to pass up an opportunity to share and encourage people to consider Jesus and what He has done.

I relate that part of my life testimony because I know that I have to be real and honest about who I am. As I read through Genesis I saw God using people in the most fantastic ways, even though they made many bad choices. Many of the things I could not even imagine doing, yet others I have in some part or way done. Then I ask myself, “What kind of choices am I making presently?” I am doing the best I can to follow all the good examples. I think highly of Noah and Joseph choosing to obey God patiently in the worst of circumstances over the long haul. I think of the vast number of people who were positively affected because of their good choices.  If I make some good choices in my life, how many people will be affected in a positive way? Myself? Do I only affect a few people that I have encountered? When I stop and think about how many people have known me and I have in some small or large way affected their lives I cannot fully fathom the impact.

There were other themes and important events that I could have focused on, but this one of choices had been mulling over in my mind for some time now. I think choices that I make on moral issues, relationships, and most importantly dying to myself daily and living for Jesus Christ is of utmost importance for me. I do not ever want to miss another opportunity to be a blessing to other people. Noah and Joseph both went through difficult and long term hassles to bless and preserve their families. Not only did it preserve their families, but it also had a profound affect on all of humanity. Would we be here if Noah did not remain faithful to God? Would the nation of Israel still be here if Joseph would not have been faithful? How will my choices and decisions affect those around me and history? Will I encourage the next great evangelist that may go out to point thousands or millions to Jesus? I passionately want to make myself that available to my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

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.