God Talk: Awakening Curiosity

19 04 2016

Dive into any topic far enough and you’ll get overwhelming feelings. Dive into technical discussions about God and your head will spin! Let’s keep this simple. GOD IS GOD and we are not. When talking about God in your family or with the family of God, don’t turn it into a competition of who knows more. Don’t feel inferior for knowing less. Just keep the conversation going. This week, when you’re around a child, ask them what they think God is like. Then, without correcting them or agreeing with them, simply say, “Hmmm.”

Theology is talk about God.

-Rolf A. Jacobson

“If…they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”

-Exodus 3:13-14

When we come to conversations about God, we do well to maintain a humble posture. Especially with children. When talking about God with children, if we try to act knowledgeable, our words will sail over their heads and they’ll move on to something else. So speak simply. Remain in awe. Admit that you don’t fully understand. Tell them that you’re okay with it.

Competition

When talking about God becomes a competition, everyone loses. You lose when you dominate another person’s point of view. You lose when you back away because you think you don’t know enough. I’d rather view this as a quest over a competition.

Conversation

Just talk. Enjoy the ride. Make statements, but also ask questions. Be an exceptional listener. The simple lead, “Tell me more about that,” invites further dialogue and opens up diverse perspectives. Now I’m not saying that you simply accept whatever opinion is shared. We can disagree, but let’s do it respectfully and with the desire to honour the relationship.

Curiosity

Be continuously curious. I think that’s how God created us to be and so we should be. Get out there and explore. Challenge ideas. Invite wonder. Say, “Hmmmm,” and just linger for a moment. With young children these conversations will be fleeting and quick, but the more you stoke a child’s innate sense of curiosity the better you propel them toward a lifetime of seeking God. Conversely, the more you shut down ideas with your own domineering convictions, the less likely children will grow up with a desire to express their own opinions.

Lord, I want to bask in the wonder of YOU.

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The Forest of Traps: A Parable

27 12 2013

In the Forest of Traps, a boy named Struggle was wandering. The deeper into the forest he went, the darker it became. The vines were thick. The tree trunks were black. The leaves on the trees were dark, broad and menacing. Wet, oozing moss grew up around just about everything. Sunlight was difficult to find.

From Wikipedia

From Wikipedia

Struggle was following the Path he was told by the Forerunners would lead him to a great light, which also brought freedom from all traps. However, he was beginning to think he believed a lie. Many others were also in the Forest of Traps. Some were stuck in deep moss. Others were wrapped in tough, sticky leaves. Still others were tied up in the vines. Struggle became fearful and wondered how he would ever get out.

The Forerunners who told him about the Path gave him a box named Faithful. As his fear peaked to the highest he had ever felt, he also recalled this box. He wondered why a box would be named Faithful. He pulled it out and admired its simple elegance. The fine wood was encased with ornate gold trim. He opened the box and quickly examined the inside. This box looks nice, but it doesn’t seem very helpful, he thought.

But then, his fear nearly overcoming him, he recalled the words of the Forerunners. They told him that the Forest of Traps can only ensnare those who are careless and ignore the glow of the box.

So he let his gaze linger on the glow. As he did so, the glow grew. The Path he was walking on became more vivid. The vines, moss, trees and leaves near him suddenly looked much less foreboding. Then from the box, golden gleams began to float before him leading him down the Path and away from the clutches of the traps.

He gladly followed the glow until not much longer he found his way out of the Forest of Traps. His joy was great although looking ahead he discovered that the Path only led to another forest. This forest and others after it would desire to trap him, but the more he would recall the deliverance he found from the Forest of Traps and the more he trusted the glow from Faithful, the more his confidence grew stronger for the journey ahead.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

Your propensity for true freedom is directly proportional to your reliance on Faithful.

How has Faithful delivered you?

My guide to the parable:

  • Forest of Traps: temptation
  • Struggle: each of us when we endure
  • Path: our journey of faith
  • Faithful: God, his Spirit filling and guiding us
  • Glow and gleams: intently gazing on the Word of God brings light that leads to freedom
  • Way out: the wisdom that guides us to freedom
  • Forerunners: the church

I would love to know what you think of this parable! Please read it to children and let me know how they respond to it.





Make Memories

19 11 2013

Memories are powerful tools for developing children. Positive emotional experiences where children feel loved and accepted goes along way for them knowing a personal God who loves and accepts them. Conversely, negative emotional experiences where children feel rejected or invaluable may lead to their view of God as being a rejecting or uncaring god. As people who have powerful influence on the lives of children by the emotional experiences we provide, consider how your example shapes their view of God.





Thought Beasts: A Parable

30 04 2013

God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Genesis 4:7

Our children have many thoughts and feelings that lead to many words and actions. Some beneficial and others…well not so much. They don’t know how to master them. Will you help them learn to control their thoughts so they can use them for good in this world? Will you help them avoid destructive choices? Here’s a story you can tell them!

Norskfolkemuseum_1

Once there were two lads preparing to set off on their own and build their first home. The first lad was named Gumble. The second was named Victor. They had their tools and materials to begin setting up to build. They each entered the same vast forest filled with stunning flowers, towering trees, cute animals and…something else. Not long after, there appeared two tiny creatures. They were ugly little beasts. One was drawn toward Gumble and the other was drawn toward Victor.

One rainy day, as Gumble was working on his home, he began to think about the difficulty and dreariness of his work. His beast crept up and latched onto him without him even realizing it. Gumble began to…grumble. He was unhappy about being wet and about having to work in the cold. He was annoyed because of the flies and also because…three little neighbouring pigs and a wolf were being so noisy!

That same day, as Victor was working on his home, he was on the lookout for anything that might slow him down. Victor’s beast drew near, but he was ready. He had listened to the lore and legends about these beasts. One thing he learned about them was that they were the kind of beasts that feed on worthless thoughts. So he equipped himself with thoughts about how happy he’d be to complete his home deep in these beautiful woods.

The beast crept slowly up through the grass toward Victor. He snarled. His brow was furrowed. His teeth and claws were bared. He silently made his way close to Victor. Then…he pounced! …and bounced. You see, though the beast tried to latch on to Victor, it was unable. These beasts cannot cling to worthy thoughts only worthless thoughts. Now Victor had to work in the rain and the mud, with flies, spiders and pigs just like Gumble. But Victor knew how to be…victorious over the beasts. He thought about having a family in his new home and about the ways it could be decorated and the home theatre he would enjoy with ultra bass, crystal clear sound, HD vivid images and even a remote control, where he could watch the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings.

As the days went by, Victor completed his home and lived happily ever after. However, Gumble’s worthless thoughts began to multiply. He thought about his blisters, the searing heat, splinters and even how his sister broke his favourite toy jack-in-the-box back in kindergarten. Now Gumble didn’t pay attention to beast lore and what he didn’t know was that these beasts grow and cannot be seen while latched to a host filled with worthless thoughts. And as beasts grow, worthless thoughts turn to quibbles, quibbles become grumpiness, grumpiness morphs into angst and angst breeds a full-blown case of the heebie-jeebies! To this very day, Gumble’s house lays in an unfinished heap.





Inside Out Families-A Brief Impression of the Book

22 05 2012

This book by Diana Garland is a good read that has a good focus on families who give more than receive. In this impression I look at the purpose of the book, stories that move us to action and a simple plan for empowering churches to empower their people to serve.

PURPOSE
The purpose of the book was clear: “the heart of family ministry is equipping families together for a life of Christian service to others beyond themselves, to turn themselves inside out in a calling larger than their own daily life together” (11). This helps families stay stuck to the church. The goal is “to focus your attention on ministry through families more than ministry to families” (11). While it is true that we do need to minister to families, there is a profound difference here I think. As families determine to put aside a victim mentality where the church and community must serve them, they can put on a mentality of service that ushers them into God’s grand narrative of restoring all people to himself. This gives me tingles!

STORIES Read the rest of this entry »





Being Humbled by Reading Scripture

14 05 2012

For my Genesis to Ruth class in seminary, we were asked to write some words on how God has been speaking to us. My one word would be “humbled.” One of the ways God continually speaks to me, and this course is making me rethink, is about the complexity of his character and my limited understanding. Particularly having just read through Joshua, how is God just when he commands the death of children (ie. Achan and his children stoned to death)??? I understand that the people God is dealing with such as Egyptians and the Canaanites have stored up God’s wrath and he is dealing justly. I wonder if God let the children live then they’d be worse off because they’d be orphaned and perhaps he just would rather take them to heaven. I also see that God is a covenant keeping God who shows steadfast love to those who love him and keep his commands. There are great consequences for disobedience and great blessings for faithfulness. Whenever I come to places of misunderstanding like this, I can either choose to get depressed or angry or I can resign myself to humility and let God be God even when I do not understand all of the complexities of his character. Along these lines, God has been using the course to deepen my appreciation for looking deeply into Scripture. There is much complexity in how each individual passage is written, which is made more intricate as these passages are woven together. On top of that, seeing how each book builds on the others and reveals more of God’s glory and power amazes even more. And this is just the first few books of the Bible! Read the rest of this entry »





Kids Feel What Parents Expressively Feel – Desiring God

17 02 2012

Kids Feel What Parents Expressively Feel – Desiring God.

Watch this little video from John Piper and help your children get caught up in the wonder of God.

I LOVE reading stories to my children. The most moving ones for me are Bible stories. There are times when I step into the story so strongly that waves of emotion wash over me. Sometimes tears even begin to well up as I consider the greatness of God’s love. I read the story of Elijah from Manga Messengers (Tyndale) the other night and I felt fear, anger, Elijah’s mocking ridicule and such a sense of awe that can’t really be explained. Your children will see that and feel it too. (This is a powerful principle for telling stories in children’s ministry settings as well).








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