Faith, First-Hand

by Jen Galley Discipleship, Jesus the Discipler, Questions

jesusdiscboat.jpegJesus spent a lot of time with the disciples- just doing life together. They walked together, ate together, and visited together. Throughout the book of Matthew, we read phrases such as “When the disciples saw this, they…” or “When the disciples heard this, they…” They were reacting to real life moments that Jesus used to show the disciples who He was.

In Matthew 17, Jesus took Peter, James and John on a hike up a mountain and He was transfigured before them- His face shining like the sun. A voice from Heaven said “This is my beloved Son…” and “when they heard this” -out of fear and awe, Jesus’ friends nearly passed out!

In Matthew 21:18-22, hungry, Jesus tried to get something to eat from a fig tree with no fruit on it. He cursed it and it withered on the spot. “When they saw this”, the disciples’ mouths dropped wide open.

While Jesus was visiting at the house of Simon the leper, Mary poured very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. When the disciples “saw this”, they became angry. This woman taught them about true devotion to Christ first-hand. Matthew 26:6-13

In Matthew 19, Jesus and the disciples bumped into the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler went away sad because he loved his possessions too much. The disciples were astounded, wondering, “Then who can be saved?”

Astonished. Afraid. Angry. Confused. The Disciples experienced life with Jesus. Just walking along, interacting with others and experiencing amazing things first-hand.

Here are my questions:

1.What do our kids get to see first- hand?

2. How can we help kids to experience their faith first-hand?

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So Easy A Kid Can’t Do It!

by Karl Bastian Discipleship

On a recent trip out of town, I was missing my little boy so I did what many parents do, I dropped into a toy store to find a treat to bring home. I saw something rather fun (and affordable) and picked it up to bring home. It was called a Puffimal.

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The idea is simple, a rubber ball/balloon that is in the shape of an animal. I picked the elephant and looked forward to giving to Luke. The instructions seemed simple enough:

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Please note: so easy, right? All you have to do is “place mouth over the nozzle end and blow” – in fact, they even show a picture of a little boy inflating his Puffimal. This is blatant fraud and false advertising!

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Not only could NO CHILD blow up this little toy, but not even a grown man who when he was twelve was told by his doctor that he had the lungs of a thirty year old due to his asthma. In fact, people often marvel that I easily inflate the long thin balloons used for balloon animals without a pump, since most adults can’t inflate them. But this Puffimal I could not do!

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I about ruptured some veins in my brain and got a migrane trying. Finally, I went to the garage for some help…

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And found a cheap foot pump that had come with some other inflatable toy. It worked, much to my relief and my little boy’s delight!

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So now we have this fat round (trunkless) elephant bouncing around the house. In the end, still a good investment of a measly three dollars, but the instructions ought to read, “To inflate, avoid damage to your lungs and find a bicycle pump or mattress inflater and insert the pump into the nozzle end and inflate.”

THE POINT?

The manufactures of this product had a GREAT IDEA, a fun concept, good materials, attractive packaging, and a clear picture of the end result in mind… a child playing with a fun animal that would bounce around in unpredictable ways and last for a long time, and be reusable too! What they FORGOT TO DO was see if a child could actually do it! I wish there was a video of when they shot the promo picture above. I can see the boy trying to blow it up and when he couldn’t the photographer said, “Don’t worry about, just pretend.” (I wonder if it was actually tied off where you can’t see!)

DO WE EVER DO THE SAME IN MINISTRY?

Do we ever have this GREAT IDEA of what a good Christian kid should be like? Do we prepare good materials, create attractive ministry environments, and have a clear idea of what we are trying to accomplish, but we never check to see if kids can actually DO what we are expecting? We deliver these broad messages over a sea of children and get some great pictures – but do we know if they are able to actually LIVE IT on their own? Without our help? Can WE even do what we are expecting the children to? Or do we need help as well??

LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU to work one on one with a few kids so you can see what they are capable of. If you only minister to masses you may be offering a good, but faulty product. Working with a small group of children indivually will give you gret insight into what they can do, can’t do, or struggle with. The reason my wife and I wrote Awesome Adventure was to create a tool for discipling kids one on one, and to equip parents to disciple their own kids. If you are in a small church, seriously consider discipling a few individual children. If you are in a large church, you especially should consider discipling a child one on one, but also consider teaching a small group of kids. Take a class for the summer, develop a kids krew of a dozen kids you pour into, or offer a pastors class once a year. Don’t get so high above the kids that you are mass producing ministry and losing sight of the individual kids and what they can do, can’t do, struggle with, and the questions they are asking.

LOOK AT JESUS! He ministered to the masses, but he poured His life into a few individuals, and THEY are the ones who turned the world upside down when he left. It is the kids I have discipled one on one who are now in Bible college or in the ministry – the masses of kids I’ve taught are OK, but its the individual ones I invested in where I see the greatest fruit.

Don’t make the same mistake the creators of the Puffimals did!

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Kids Need Family (#2 of 48)

by Mark Steiner Discipleship, Family, What Kids Need

Continuing the series on What Kids Need that a intentional discipler will address. When you consider the many aspects of a child’s development, it can become overwhelming. Let me suggest you focus on one at a time. Perhaps even this week you can find a way to focus on the fact that Kids Need Family.

The Situation: Children wonder, “What is a ‘family?’” Tragic testimonials and sobering statistics document the traditional family’s fragmentation. Kids are bewildered by today’s widely divergent family configurations and lifestyles.

The Solution: Remember that the family is God’s idea, a vital part of His kingdom plan. God establishes and endorses the family as a fortress to withstand the world’s hostile influences. God calls Himself “Father”—the One who leads His children. The Bible describes how to maintain healthy, dynamic relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren.

The Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 5:33—6:4

The Suggestions: Work on generating family loyalty. Building this allegiance will promote family teamwork to withstand the world’s hurricane-force winds. Make home a priority; express sincere appreciation for each other; spend time together. What can you do THIS WEEK to show your family how important they are to you?

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