God is mean

Equipped - All Scripture Post

Theme intro: For the month of October, the blog will be exploring the theme ALL Scripture. All throughout scripture, there are passages that you finish and you ask yourself:”what just happened? Why in the world is that passage in scripture?” We at Dawson Kids believe that ALL scripture is God-breathed, so in each post this month, contributors have been asked to share obscure/weird/“boring”/gross passage that God has used to impact their lives.

 

“God is mean!” those were the words adamantly spoken to me by a young boy after i finished sharing the story of achan from joshua 7.

let me refresh your memory because when i taught this lesson five years ago, it was the first time i had ever taught it to children. after the israelites destroyed jericho they were instructed by God, through joshua, to burn everything that belonged to the people of jericho except silver, gold, brass and iron. those objects were to be brought to the house of the Lord.  fast forward to their next battle with the city ai. even though God had promised the israelites the land, they were defeated badly and lost 36 men.  joshua sought the Lord and the next morning found out that achan had taken a garment, silver and gold for his tent. achan’s punishment was that he, along with all that belonged to him, were to be burned. so not only achan, but his family, and belongings were killed.

i know, i know, it isn’t the story of creation, but God included it in his Word and what an honor it was to teach it to a group of children that day. the “God is mean” statement threw me off for a second, but through the help of the Holy Spirit, we were able to turn class time into a transparent discussion about God. we talked about the love of God and how He loved us enough to send Jesus to rescue us from our sins, but we also addressed the holiness of God. a Holy God must punish sin, and achan’ sinned against the direct commands of God.

danielle bell – minister to children

this will definitely not go down as the easiest lesson i have ever taught, but even with its gruesome ending, it may be one of my favorites. you see we had church that day in that classroom. Bible-belt, church kids drop their pretenses and asked the hard questions while seeking to understand the nature of God more. this time was not filled with the easy “Jesus love me” answers, but with the same truths found with the honest seeking of God’s Word.

i love grappling with the tough, weird, boring, and gross passages with kids (at an age-appropriate level) because they require us all to think. there aren’t always easy answers in the tragic and mundane passages, but there is truth there just the same. i believe when we skip passages because they are boring or difficult, we miss an opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to meet us in our weakness and bring real discovery we couldn’t find on our own.

ALL scripture

Matthew 1:1-17

Theme intro: For the month of October, the blog will be exploring the theme ALL Scripture. All throughout scripture, there are passages that you finish and you ask yourself:”what just happened? Why in the world is that passage in scripture?” We at Dawson Kids believe that ALL scripture is God-breathed, so in each post this month, contributors have been asked to share obscure/weird/“boring”/gross passage that God has used to impact their lives.

Each of us has a favorite passage or a favorite verse (If you are like me you have a couple). Often these passages are riveting stories: David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s den, fiery furnace, Moses and the Exodus, Samson, Deborah, Gideon, etc. These are better than any movie or fiction we read- they keep us on the edge of our seats as we see the story of God’s redemption unfold. Other times, our favorite verses have direct practical application: reminding us of who Christ is, our identity in him, and how to follow Christ in our daily lives. For both kinds of verses and passages, we return to these familiar stories, again and again, hearing the word of God fresh with each encounter.

Jon Meads – Associate Minister to Children

But there are other passages, that if we are being honest, have a CSPAN effect on each of us, causing us to doze off or our eyes to glaze over with disinterest. For me, worst of all are the genealogies- take Mathew 1:1-17 for example:  “Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was the father of Jacob…” And on the list goes obscure unpronounceable name after obscure unpronounceable name. Just when you thought we had left all that behind with the Old Testament, Matthew rattles off 42 generations of Israel’s history. Yet if we (if I) can lean into this passage for a moment, we see Matthew is making bold claims about who Jesus is and who he has come to save.

As he begins his Gospel, Matthew’s opening verse stakes out a bold claim for who Jesus is: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Jesus is the anointed one, the Christ/Messiah, who Jews have been waiting centuries for and whose life will alter history- He is the one who has been sent by God to save (Yeshua= God saves). More than that, He is the son of David, and the son of Abraham- the fulfillment of all God’s promises to them. God’s promises to bless the nations through Abraham, to make him a great nation (Genesis 12), for David that his house and his kingdom might reign forever (2 Samuel 7) are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. If we allow our eyes to glaze over as Matthew begins his genealogy we miss what Matthew (through the Holy Spirit) teaches us about who Christ is and God’s faithfulness- not only in Israel’s history but in our own lives as well.

Yet Matthew doesn’t stop there- as he continues recounting the genealogy of Jesus, he gives us a picture of who Jesus came to save.  We see Judah, who sold his brother into slavery and had two sons with his daughter in law Tamar (Gen. 38). We see women like Ruth and Rahab, a Gentile and a prostitute (Ruth 1; Joshua 2).  We see a man after God’s own heart who stole Uriah’s wife and had him murdered to cover it up (2 Sam. 11). An unwed mother giving birth to the savior.  We see sinners and saints, men and women, Jews and Gentiles, a nation at its zenith led by righteous kings and a nation in exile. Jesus Christ, the son of David, son of Abraham is descended from each of them and came to save men and women, Jews and Gentiles, sinners and saints like us.

The One Who Equips

Chances are if you are reading this blog, you are aware of the many ways God equips us to live for Him and bring glory to His name on a daily basis: time in the Word, prayer, community, worship, and the list goes on. Often I get too focused on all of these “good things” to ensure that I am equipped and forget that my focus needs to be on Who I am walking with. Should I still do all of those things? Yes, absolutely, but God is the One ultimately who equips me for the calling on my life. Anything I try to do on my own will fail.

Victoria Bye – Hearts & Hands Coordinator

There are so many times in the past several weeks when I found myself feeling anything but equipped. 57 days ago I became a [foster] mom to two sweet little boys. Every day has been filled with beauty, brokenness, joy, frustration, laughter, and tears. There have been many, many days when I haven’t felt equipped at all (even though I was doing all of the “good things” listed above). Chances are I am not alone and you have days like this too amidst the callings God has placed on your life. Thankfully, there is an Equipper much greater than all of my brokenness. There is a God who loves me, calls me, and equips me. He also loves you, calls you, and equips you. So when you feel like you aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, patient enough, or worthy enough, rest in the fact that you aren’t any of those things, but there is One who is. He has called you and He is equipping you to fulfill that calling for His glory. How incredible that God uses our utter brokenness for His glory. When you feel like you are failing, rest in Him and trust that He is equipping you. Let’s rest in Him today.

Equipped

Romans 15:4

 

September theme intro: For the month of September, the theme is Equipped, with each person sharing a passage or verse that has equipped them- either as a parent, a minister, or an investor.

The internet has a lot of good and bad things going for it. The information out there can lead down a lot of different paths, both good and bad. As parents in this new generation of technology, we are pioneers of this frontier without a clear path of where all this information will lead us in the end. If there’s anything I’ve learned so far on this journey, it’s that the answers, hopes, and encouragements we look for to fill our hearts and souls aren’t found in Facebook shared articles, Twitter hashtags or Instagram likes.

I think every parent of a rising generation probably gets the privilege of pioneering some revolution of society and we can’t predict how our children will end up. Generations have survived the mass use of fire, the car replacing the horse-drawn carriage, airplanes, and cable TV. Even in the ebb and flow of daily life, there are new things to navigate like different brands of baby formula, whether or not to buy organic, or if a staycation would be more a more beneficial way to spend Spring Break. We are constantly on the move, constantly changing. Seasons and Family Bible Verses change from year to year. How we see God leading our family is fluid.

As a mom, it would seem that I could easily take the role of the master, the teacher, the all-powerful ruler of my

Jessica Orso – dawson kids ministry assistant

house, but now more than ever I need to show my children that our lives are that of the perpetual student. I need to show them that their studies in God’s Word continue on lifelong. In Romans 15:4 it says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

I try to show them through my own example that God’s Word has something new for me every time I open it. I try to show them that I teach Life Groups because in studying the lesson, through His word and through the children in the class, God teaches me. I try to show them that through all this trying I am never going to be good enough. I’m never going to be the perfect example. I’m going to mess up and make mistakes. And that’s okay, because of God’s mercy and grace, that’s okay. Because the only perfect example is Jesus and He is accessible to us day and night when people, society as a whole, social media and the next revolution on the horizon let us down. The only place for us to find real hope and encouragement is in Him.

equipped

hebrews 11

September theme intro: For the month of September, the theme is Equipped, with each person sharing a passage or verse that has equipped them- either as a parent, a minister, or an investor.

years ago i completed beth moore’s “believing God” Bible study and it has shaped me forever. we dove into hebrews 11 and i even challenged myself to memorize this passage. because i hid these words so closely in my heart they have been ever present in the highs and lows of my spiritual journey.

you may know hebrews 11 as the “by faith” or the “hall of faith” chapter.  i simply see it as the standard for followers

danielle bell – minister to children

as we walk in believing what we cannot see. there are two things that really grip my soul in this wisdom-packed passage.

1 – hebrews 11:11 “and by faith even sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” as i recite these words i am filled with a mix of emotions and encouragement. i see faith boldly described as considering “Him faithful who had made the promise. ” what a release it is to be reminded that He remains faithful. what a challenge it is to be reminded that it is our job to remember that. i guess because i am a fixer and fighter that i often fall guilty of assuming a faithful God somehow needs my help. i love that sarah, who was way past childbearing age, could do nothing to make this promise complete. her goal wasn’t coming alongside a faithful God and offering advice, correction, and works, but looking to a faithful God and believing Him to be who He says He is.

2 – hebrews 11:13 “all these people were still living by faith when they died. they did not receive the things  promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

i think this is an important lesson for adults and kids. we are called to put our trust in Christ no matter the situation and know He is faithful, not only believe when His answers align with ours.

i don’t claim to have God figured out nor would i imagine any of these hebrews 11 heroes would either. i just hope and pray that as i grow closer to God i have faith to stand firm no matter the type or timing of His answer. HE IS FAITHFUL.

as i study God’s Word i see Him as faithful time and time again. this is why i am passionate about helping kids and families study God’s Word together. may these same truths can be seared to their hearts and change their journey forever.

 

.

Equipped

A post about a passage or verse that has equipped the author.

This year, as part of our Equipped theme, Dawson Kids will be doing a weekly blog post which looks at different passages of scripture, that parents like you might be Equipped to be faithful servants of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives. With each post, our hope is that parents (like you) might encounter God through his word and be encouraged, challenged, and convicted.
September theme intro: For the month of September, the theme is Equipped, with each person sharing a passage or verse that has equipped them- either as a parent, a minister, or an investor.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Jon Meads Associate Minister to Children

In Luke’s Gospel, the lawyer asks Jesus a simple question: “and who is my neighbor?” Those words ring in my heart and in my mind- too many times I have asked the  same question. If as the lawyer says, that we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves”, how do we answer that question? More and more, I am convicted that the verses above serve as a response. That our neighbor is every person we encounter who bears the image of the eternal God. As C.S. Lewis says, “There are no ordinary people.You have never talked to a mere mortal.”  Each person I meet is worthy of honor and respect, because they, like me, are created for a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. This is true of each child I meet- ages 1 to 99. It transforms (or at least it should transform) the way I talk about, think about, and love people. 

 

Advent Season Family Challenge

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-12-39-52-pm

In this Season of Advent, the dawson kids ministry would like to challenge their families to take a moment to dwell on Jesus with the help of a devotional and coloring book.

Available by download or to pick up at the dawson kids desk, this coloring book is filled with a pages of Biblical reflection discussion questions and a corresponding coloring page that you can do as a family.

So we invite you, in-between the parties, recitals, presents, etc, to take a moment to maybe put on some Christmas music, brew up some hot chocolate or coffee, grab your markers or colored pencils and spend a few minutes drawing closer together.

We’d love to see you in action!! Snap a picture of your family coloring and be sure to tag @dawsonkids.

Choosing Jesus – Guest Post

 this is guest post one of three from my dear friend, nancy duggin.  she has such a heart for parents, children, and families as a whole to experience the reality of Jesus in every day life.    – danielle

Choosing Jesus

nancyGod gives us the gift of choice. Without choice, love is not love. Choice gives us the chance to show God if we love Him above everything and everyone else. Adam and Eve’s choice showed who they loved more.  Abraham showed that his love for God was greater than any other love in his life, as exhibited in his obedience to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. When you choose to put Jesus first, you show that you love your Creator, your Savior, and your LORD above all others. This is when you begin to experience the joy of your salvation.

Your greatest calling, as a parent is to teach, guide, and model Jesus in all you do and at all times with the children He has given. Prayer and knowledge of scripture is where it all begins:

  • Pray specifically and daily for your children
  • Pray specifically and daily with your children, with a focus on teaching them about the power of prayer
  • Learn to weave thoughts about God and His presence into everyday conversations
  • Turn off and/or put away all electronic devices for a period of time each day and focus on what it means to have a relationship (an exciting, challenging, and rewarding relationship) with Jesus, guiding your children in building their identities around the fact that they are God’s beloved children, created in His image, with purpose and worth
  • Focus on character development — Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Focus on one trait at a time discussing “what if” scenarios or deciding what fruit of the Spirit they exhibited or saw exhibited in a particular situation
  • Acknowledge God in all things, making Him your focus with each new day John 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.                                                                  1 Timothy 6:12-16 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal   life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.                                   James 4:6-10 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Instead of asking your children how their day was, ask them “How they saw God at work in their life and in the lives of those around them? Time around the dinner table provides the perfect opportunity for sharing. Your children may have nothing to share at first; however, don’t give up. Being aware of God’s presence and His work in our midst, takes practice in being attentive to the things of God. Parents, you must be prepared to share, as well.                                                                                                       

Talk openly and honestly with your children about your faith, as you nurture their faith, pointing them to scripture. Be the first person to suggest praying about an issue, for a friend, a bully, a teacher, etc., and then actually pray.

Never, for one moment, think that your church, regardless of how wonderful it is, was ever intended to replace your role in modeling who Jesus is and desires to be in the lives of your children. Your children need you to teach and disciple them.

Parents, pray to God in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus—asking for growing ability to exhibit the “joy” of Jesus before your children day in and day out!

–nancy youree Duggin, 2016

no screen september

our goal in dawson kids this year is to help your family do the one things that is necessary – spend time with Jesus. each month we will give you a family challenge in hopes of pointing your family to more time with Jesus.

modern-family-screentime

september’s challenge – no screen time
we are challenging families to pick a day, an afternoon, and/or an evening and put away all screens. (that’s right – tvs, phones, gaming system, ipads, kindles, fires, computers, etc.) take that time to sit as a family and study the word of God. read a passage and talk about it. share prayer requests and spend time praying together. sing your favorite worship songs. sit in silence and be still before the Lord. take a walk and praise God for things you see. this doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring (because i don’t believe spending time with Jesus is boring). make it fit for you family. (we have provided some links below.)

share with your kids that even as adults you have to be intentional about shutting off the screens and putting down distractions. time with Jesus just doesn’t happen. we have to make it a priority.  after you spend this time, comment on this post and let us know how it went. what were your God sightings? what did you learn? what was easy? what was hard?

may we seek the One thing that is necessary – Jesus!

josh mcdowell’s – today’s family devotional

focus on the family – family mealtime devotions and faith activities