Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jesus Goes Back To School

Growing up, Jesus received the basics: Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmatic. And we know He developed into the greatest teacher ever. So how did he get from a 12-year-old boy leaning to read and write to THE authoritative teacher?

Old Testament teachers used object lessons. Did Jesus learned object lessons from Jeremiah, and create his own pattern?

Jeremiah used object lessons common to living. Did Jesus read Jeremiah's preaching God's message of Judeans building "broken cisterns" (2:13). Did His teachers use Jeremiah's speech of God's people being as faithful as a "treacherous wife", (3:20) or the "lion coming from the thicket" illustration? (4:7) I am certain He heard of Jeremiah's yoke. (ch 27-28).

While young, He recognized the value of object lessons.

See the sixth-grade Jesus, fresh from his scholar-astounding trip to Jerusalem with His parents? He has:
  • all his school supplies
  • a determination to teach like Jeremiah.
He removes a single page from his 150-count, 75-cent, lose leaf pack Joseph had bought Him. He selects and sharpens a pencil and writes the teacher a note thanking Him for his work. He drew a cross, gave it to a good friend and said "Someday I will die for you." 
Jesus retrieved His big trapizoid-shaped erasers, showed it to His neighbor, and said, "My real father uses something like his on sins (Heb 9:22). But sometimes He uses this stuff too, showing off His bottle of White Out. "David and Isaiah talked it, but didn't know what it was called (Ps 51:7; Isa 1:18)

In art class, He drew some bees on His paper and cut them out. Next, He wrote "BEE a brother's keeper" on posterboard. He got out his brand new 2-pack of Elmer's Glue Sticks. He glued the bees on the poster. A classmate heard "You use glue to hold two papers together, just like "Bee"-ing a brother's keeper bonds Jews together." (Rom 12:18; Col 3:14)

Jesus used his new pens and pencils to write messages to everyone. He told a boy "Things like these helped Moses write the Law. Today,you can write a note to your mom saying, "Thank you for being good to me."

Jesus took out his new 24-count box of Crayons. He drew a pretty rainbow, wrote "God Keeps His Promises" underneath, and put it on the teacher's desk. "I can use crayons to tell of God's faithfulness," He told His teacher. (Gen 9:16)

The final bell rang. Kids ran out the door. But not Jesus. He was not finished using his school supplies. He opened His hot-pink colored Post-it Pad, wrote "God loves you so much!!" on 12 notes. He stuck one on each classmates desk as a reminder.
Jesus used common, everyday things to teach His message. ANYTHING could be used. He used various soils to teach about people's determination. He used mustard seeds, coins, feeding pigs, leaven, hidden treasure and a pearl of great price, a lost sheep, 10 girls, large sums of money, blind people , a lamp, and many more.

THE POINT: ANYTHING can be used to start a conversation about God, Christ, or spiritual matters.

If you have started a religious discussion using a thing, would you share it in the comment section?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rich Men Can't Go To Heaven

"That's NOT what I said!!"

"But dad, that's what I thought you said."

"Son, I was describing the chances of rich people if they want to go to heaven. Do you remember Uncle Jimmy describing how difficult it is for them to make it?"

"I'm not sure. Was there something about a needle and a camel?"

"You almost remember. Uncle Jimmy told us what Jesus said. 'It is easier for a camel to get through the opening in a sewing needle than for a rich man to get to heaven.' Do you remember how Uncle Jimmy and the other apostles were surprised? They thought if a man was rich meant he was extra-special to God, and certainly was heaven-bound. Jesus told Uncle Jimmy that men can't get it done, but with God's help everything is possible."
Exchanges like this remind this struggling soul of how strenuous staying right is.

A verse not seen in the conversation was Jesus saying, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:24)

I've always envisioned myself as poor, but counting of my blessings indicates I am very rich. My abundance is magnified as I balance my home with those in third-world countries.

It is easy to let things  control us. Your riding mower has a flat, so you spend two hours going to Walmart or Sears for a repair, but buy a tire instead. There is a lengthy traffic delay on your way home. Once back home you discover you left your Android Smartphone back at the store. Another trip to the town, find your phone, check the time, rush to the cleaners, and back home. Once inside, you must recharge the phone. Soon you open the freezer, dig for the tv dinner, and toss it in the microwave. POP! SNAP! Smoke is boiling from the microwave. Put the TV dinner back in the freezer, back to Walmart, buy another microwave, and return home again. Oh, no. This one has the wrong kind of electrical plug. "Wally World", here we come.....

Is the owner in control? No. His things dictate his deeds.

What godly objective was achieved? Does it count that you tamed your temper and resisted uttering ugliness? 

When things control
  • Jesus is not in control. 
  • He is no longer Lord. 
  • My chances of heaven dwindle.
  • I do not be complete His work. Sound like a "good and faithful servant"? (Luke 19:17)