Themes of VBS vs Focus of VBS

Every good Southern Baptist Christian girl knows what VBS is…right?  It’s the summer “camp” of baptist churches.  It’s the way to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours during the long days of summer.

Most importantly, it’s the largest evangelical outreach for most churches with a large numbers of kids giving their hearts to Christ and then impacting their families through that decision.

It’s also become a huge themed party of sorts, almost like a theatrical performance for the church to put on.

Since I’ve been in church my entire life, it’s an easy guess for me to say, I’ve been involved in Vacation Bible School for over 45 years, either as a student or a teacher.  And this year, I’ll confess…I’m burned out on the themes!

My memories of the times I was the student at VBS are many and wonderful.  There weren’t decorations, themes, or matching T-shirts.  We played games, ate cookies, did arts & crafts, and studied the bible.  We sang songs, lined up to march into church, following the American & Christian flags, and said our pledges and memory verses.  We came home tired, sweaty, and happy.

As a teacher, I probably started teaching about the time themes were promoted in a huge way.  I spent weeks before the VBS week, painting and cutting out cardboard to resemble…jungles, pyramids, castles, rocket ships, club houses and boats.  I collected empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls to build telescopes, binoculars, or music sticks.  To be honest, I kept a craft supply closet so I was ready for whatever VBS theme was thrown at us. The “WOW” factor was what we were going for and we did everything to make it happen.

Then the publishers made it easier by providing all the decorations, all the crafts…anything we might need….for a “price”.  I watched our budget for VBS go from $500 to over $2000 for a small church.

People stopped spending so much time in preparing for the focus of VBS and more time just decorating for the theme of VBS.

Let’s face it, if you’ve been a teacher in church, in the children’s area, for any amount of time, you probably know all the stories by heart….what’s to prepare?  It’s more of a review of the story for you.

Take for example this week…during our VBS.  I found out last week what the bible stories would be and that I would be teaching them.  Day 1…basically, the story of Creation…got it….done it many times.   Day 2….Adam & Eve sinned……got it…done it, many, many times.

Then I was asked how to do one of the art projects.

That, suddenly, became my focus.  I spent hours working out all the kinks so that I could show the teacher how to do it quickly for the kids.

My focus shifted from the main focus to the theme.  It quickly became more important.  Just like that, I forgot…I’m supposed to be more concerned that the kids understand that Jesus died for their sins and rose again than I am on how to do a craft project.

I’m not saying that the themes are bad, we need the structure, the guidance that the themes provide.  However, as teachers, let’s not make the theme more important than the focus…reaching children for Christ.

Don’t spend all your energy in building the “WOW” factor, that you don’t spend time in your own bible study and prayer time prior to the event.  Spend time learning the material so that it is second nature to you.  Spend time learning how to convey the message to the appropriate age of the kids you are teaching.  Spend time getting to know the kids and their parents.

Yesterday, I kept “rehearsing” how to present the plan of salvation to 9 & 10 year olds.  I had to change how I worded things so that they would understand, I had to speak their language and not use too many “churchy” words.  And I had to be able to do this…present this life changing focus…in less 15 minutes.

The most important part of VBS, and I only got 15 minutes a night.

I think that is what got me burned out on VBS.

No matter what area of VBS you are involved in, don’t let the theme become more important than the focus.

Thankfully, God can take the little seeds we have dropped in the children’s hearts and use them as a stepping stone for them to dig deeper into knowing who God is and seeking Jesus as their Savior.

I was 9 years old when I gave my heart to Christ.  It didn’t mean that everything has gone perfect in my life, it has meant that I have a peace and joy that circumstances can not take away.  And yes, it means that when this body dies, I will live on forever in Heaven with God.  The years here on earth are short.  My days with Him will be eternal.

Oh, and in case you are trying to figure out that craft project….here’s a very bad video I created to show how to make art with Sharpie pens and ceramic tiles.

Your Mom’s Calling

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Some folks make a big deal of that…mainly those that have a business that sale things likes flowers and cards.  But honestly, every day we should take some time and appreciate our moms, not just once a year….the same with our fathers.

I watched my kids do it this past Sunday.  We had the preacher and my dad over for lunch.  Ken grilled and we had a feast.  As the meal ended and we sat around the table chatting, my kids started cleaning up the kitchen…without me saying a word!!!  Now that’s how you show appreciation to your mom on a daily basis.20170416_131236

There are times when I call them or send a text that my call is not answered right away.  It’s not a sign of disrespect, it’s because they can’t drop everything to respond to my needs at that moment.  When they can…they will.

But for that split second, when they don’t respond, my feelings get bruised.

Then I’m reminded of a disagreement I had with my mother-in-law one day.  The situation was heated, we were dealing with my husband’s newly diagnosed cancer, only one month after her husband had lost his battle with cancer.  (I say that as a disclaimer…we were all very stressed out.)  In the midst of a discussion where we were explaining to her about the decisions we had made, as a husband and wife, regarding said cancer and treatments, she became offended that we did not consult her on the matter.  It basically boiled down to this statement….

“I am his mother, the most important person in his life, I should have full say in what he does.”

At which time, the wife and mother of his children, decided to inform her that her place as “top dog” was replaced by me!

Needless to say, we walked on eggshells around each other after that for a while.  If I’m honest…our relationship changed after that, sometimes for the better…sometimes for the worse.  However, I was the one at her side those last days and while she took her last breath.  I was the one that stayed with her, after the family had left, after the nurses had left.  She and I, two women that loved the same people and each other.

So I try not to let the hurt feelings last over a second or two when my kids don’t respond immediately.  I’m not “top dog” anymore.  I understand.  I get it.

Reading from Mark 3 last night (yes…I’m still studying the Book of Mark), I was reminded that even Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to step back from her cherished position as most “blessed among women” (Matthew 1:42).

Jesus had come home and word was spreading about what he had been doing…preaching, teaching, healing, casting out demons.  Suddenly her little boy was a big deal in town and his family couldn’t understand what had happened. (Mark 3)

20 Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.”

Mary knew…she understood.  She had been told by the angel that her boy was the Messiah.  If anyone has a right to brag about her boy, Mary did.  Maybe she had kept that info from his brothers and sisters.  Suddenly, their sweet, kind, dependable brother is causing a stir in the town.  What in the world had gotten into him?

Again…Mary knew.  She, in fact, got the ball rolling. (John 1)

1 On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’s mother was there, and 2 Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding as well. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told him, “They don’t have any wine.” 4 “What does that have to do with you and me, woman? ” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”

5 “Do whatever he tells you,” his mother told the servants.

My mother expected me to always give her my “firsts” (my first cross stitch creation, my first quilted creation, my first painting…you get the picture).  Can you imagine all the “firsts” that Mary had of Jesus’.  His first writings, his first wooden creation….his first miracle!

But then he ignores her call, he doesn’t respond to her while he is in the midst of his ministry.  No longer is she “top dog”.  How that must of hurt! (Mark 3)

31 His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him and told him, “Look, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside asking for you.”

33 He replied to them, “Who are my mother and my brothers? ” 34 Looking at those sitting in a circle around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

As I read that last night, I wondered…how did that make Mary feel?

And then I wondered…

Am I willing to release my children into the hand of God, for them to serve Him in whatever capacity that might be?  Can I step to the background and support them, even if that ministry takes them physically away from me?

Am I willing to let God be “top dog” in their lives?

My mother didn’t cry at my wedding.

We had no event planner, we…she…did it all.  She made my dress and the dresses of my attendants and her dress.  She made the table clothes, she made the flowers and all the arrangements.  She made the cake and worked with my aunts to get the decorations and food.  The only “outside” person that helped us was the photographer, and he was like family.  She kept it all going smoothly, never shedding a tear.

Until I moved to Texas 3 days later.  She and daddy brought my furniture to Dallas as they were traveling west for a vacation.  She started crying as they pulled out of my apartment parking lot and cried from Dallas to Amarillo.  They were going to stop and see family, but she had made herself sick, so they kept driving.

At some point, she gave me fully into God’s hands and the tears stopped and the support from afar began.

I think Mary did the same.  She may have had hurt feelings at first, but I think she understood that what God had asked of her Son was greater than being her son.  She continued to be a presence in his life, in the background, seeing to his needs and the needs of his followers.  Then, at the last, as she watched him being tortured, he answered her call.  (John 19)

25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

I’ve heard it said that some mothers hold their child with a closed fist, never letting go.

 We need to be mothers who hold our children with our palms open, letting them fly in the will of God, and fly home when they can.

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Scripture is taken from the CSB translation.

CSB Study Bible

I guess I should put a disclaimer before I start showing pictures of the newest bible that made it’s way into my home.  I do work for a bible publisher, however, I normally purchase my own copies of the bible we publish and I don’t limit my purchases to just our bibles (I love bibles!)….all that to say….B&H Publishing is putting out some awesome bibles and they don’t even have to pay me to say that!  The disclaimer would be that they didn’t ask me to review their bible, I just love sharing my love of bibles with my friends.

I’ve worn out an HCSB and several KJV study bibles and put those away about a year ago.  I pull them out for references every now and then.   I’ve been using more of the journaling or notetaking bibles that are on the market for nearly 2 years now (various publishers).  But I’ll be honest….I’ve missed my study bibles and really missed the words of Christ in red!

Last night I brought home another new release from my employer, the CSB Study Bible (Christian Standard Bible, an updated version of the HCSB).  The purple cover caught my attention first (check out this post to see what “purple” means to me) but it was the colors of red on the inside that pulled at my heart.

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The bibles I’ve been using lately don’t have the words of Christ in red.  I understand the reasoning behind that decision and I’m okay with it.  When I read the words, I know who is speaking them.  But there is something about just seeing all those words in red that I gravitate to. I want to read everything Jesus said.

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And look at all those study notes!  I expected them to be similar to the previous HCSB study bible notes, but a side by side comparison of just a few Scriptures showed me that the CSB study bible gives more in-depth notes.

There are also colored maps and pictures within the notes.  I love the visuals!

The extra study notes are the book outlines, timelines, word studies, and articles.

I have a feeling this may be my go-to bible for the time being.  After starting the reading and study of the book of Mark at the first of April, I’ve decided to stick with it for a while longer.  I’ve already gotten quite a bit more insight than I had from just reading a few pages of the notes from this CSB Study Bible.

 

Self-Examination

That was the hot topic in bible study this week….self-examination before partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

This discussion came at the right time for me…after I had finished reading the rest of Mark, which included Jesus’ time with his disciples at the Passover, also known as his Last Supper and today, symbolized by what we call the Lord’s Supper.  After reading the quick-paced Mark, I’ve decided to go back and re-read it, spotlighting several sections/topics also covered in the other Gospels.   This was one of them.

First….what is the Passover, the day of Unleavened Bread and why did Jews observe it? And who can partake of the Passover? (Mark 14:12)

Listed among the top movies to binge watch during the Easter weekend, Moses, by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Charlton Heston & Yul Brenner, was at the top of the list.  I watched it…did you?  Following that up, if you have kids, is the animated version of the story, The Prince of Egypt.  I’d have to say, an excellent job was done in both movies of telling the story of the Israelite people’s release from slavery, as told in Exodus 1-15.

From that story, we have the first observance of the Passover, when God went through the land of Egypt and killed the firstborn males of all the people and the livestock….except for the homes found with the blood of an unblemished animal on the door frame.  God “passed over” those homes and they were saved.  Because of this plague from God, the Egyptians finally agreed to release the Israelite people from slavery.

God’s instruction to the people were for them to remember how they were saved and to celebrate for generations to come as a festival.  They were not to eat anything with leaven or yeast in it because on that first observance, the people had to eat quickly and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.  They had no time for the bread to rise. (Exodus 12)

So the answer to one of those questions….who can partake of the Passover….is :   every Jewish person.  But what about today?  Who can partake today?

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, then you have been adopted into God’s family (see Romans 8:15-17) and the blood that now covers you is from the unblemished Lamb of God (Jesus) that He shed willingly to save us from the slavery of sin.  So….you can partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Second….how do you observe it?

Mark 14 says that Jesus gave instructions to find a room where he and his disciples could prepare and share this special meal.  It was a meal, not the small pieces of “bread” and juice we know of today.

As they were eating, Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it.  As he passed it around the table, he told his followers that it was his body…a representation of his broken body that was about to come.  He took the cup, gave thanks, and then passed it to his followers, telling them it was his blood, again another representation of what was about to happen.

But who did he pass the bread and cup to?  Who was worthy to receive them?

He passed the bread and the cup to a table of sinners.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 that we are not to take the bread and the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner; that we should examine ourselves.  He also says in verse 25 to take this Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus and what he did on the cross.  No longer using this ordinance as a remembrance of God’s deliverance from the Egyptians, but from death & sin itself; as a reminder that Jesus is coming again.

So what is the self-examination that Paul talks about?  Is it confessing sin before taking the bread and the cup?

I think it’s more than that.  Let’s face it, none of us are sinless.  As soon as I confess one, I sin again.  It’s the constant battle we must fight between the flesh and the spirit and the battle won’t be won here on earth.

I think the self-examination is more about focusing on Jesus completely, coming to the point where you realize how totally unworthy you are to accept the sacrifice that Jesus gave in our place.  It’s understanding that I am the nails that kept him on the cross.  I am the sword that pierced his side.  If I come to the table with any other thought, in any other manner…than I come in an unworthy manner.

Jesus passed the bread and the cup to Judas.  He passes it to me, knowing that there is sin in my heart, knowing how I struggle with certain issues, knowing I’ve not become the victor over them and he still passed the bread and cup to me.  Even though I deny him and run from him, he passes the bread and the cup to me.  All he asks is to look upon him, to see what he has done for me, to remember what my sin cost.  Only then, can I partake in a worthy manner.

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(photo credit V. Jenkins, vintage communion cups on the beach, 2014)

 

 

 

Doctrinal vs Theological

Doctrinal vs Theological

Faith vs Religion

What does it all mean?  Who’s right, who’s wrong…is anybody?

Yesterday the Sunday School teacher made a comment that I immediately questioned.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing (I hope she didn’t mind).  She said something that I had never heard taught before and I asked for Scripture to back up what she said.

I think when that happens in class, some great discussions can come from it; if not then, at some point later.  It challenged my way of thinking and had me digging deeper into the Word to find out if I had learned something wrong (which could easily happen) or if I had just missed something.  I went to the pastor and asked his thoughts and he shared Scripture with me that lead me in the right direction for my exploration.  I was up at 2am this morning contemplating what I had read that night and how it changed what I thought on the topic.

What I came to understand was that there was no right answer.  We both could be right or wrong, for that matter.

That’s the difference in doctrine and theology.

Doctrine – like “Jesus was crucified on the cross and rose from the dead 3 days later” – is fact, it’s the strong foundation that we build our faith on.  There’s no other meaning to what happened than what the Bible states.  Doctrine is “based on the very word of God”.

However, theology opens up different interpretations to what a verse means based on man’s interpretations of the words used or context the verse is used in.

For instance, “God created the heavens and the earth.”  Pretty straight forward doctrine.  However, “God created the heavens and the earth in 7 days” is open to theology.  Was it 7 – 24 hour days?  Scripture says that “1 day is like 1000 years to God”.  So could it be 7000 years?  See the difference?

For me, when I get to a point where the discussion starts getting bogged down in theology, I ask myself, “what difference does it make?”  If the doctrine that I believe, without a doubt, is that God created the heavens and the earth; does it really matter if it was 7 literal days or 7000 years?  No…it doesn’t make any difference at all.

Yet, that’s when people (Christians) start to have “spirited discussions” on topics….when our theology doesn’t line up with what others believe.

Let’s face it, that’s why we have so many religions.

Faith is our belief in the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Religion is how we practice our faith.

Some religions teach that baptism is a must to be saved, others believe that it is an act of obedience after someone is saved.  Some religions teach baptism as a baby for salvation (a sprinkling), others believe in full submersion baptism to be the correct method of baptism.

See how easily it is to get confused on who is right or wrong, based on theology?

Jesus {said}, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

Hey…if that is our doctrine….how we practice our faith doesn’t really matter.

Still confused?  Consider these clouds.  There’s no denying they are clouds, we can all agree on that…right?  We can even all agree they are beautiful.  However, depending on where I was when I took the picture, one view might be more pleasing to you than the other.  But the truth is…they are still the same cloud formation.  The view was just different and so we react differently to each one based on our own preferences.  That’s the way theologies and religions are.

I guess all this is to say, don’t get bogged down in theology or let theology be taught as doctrine.  Know your doctrine and then teach/learn from that.  It’s okay to ask questions.  That’s how we learn.  If you don’t understand something being taught, ask your pastor for more insight or for guidance on where to go to find more information.  You can’t go wrong seeking God more and digging in His Word more.

In the Beginning

In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth….and when He was doing that..

He had me in mind.

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However, I’m pretty sure the me He had in mind was completely different than what the me has turned out to be….but I’m getting there.  So this is my “beginning”.

Okay…it’s my “beginning again…and again…again”.

My beginning over.

There are a couple of things I hate to hear from a doctor; that I’m morbidly obese and that I have chronic illnesses.

Morbid obesity is diagnosed by determining Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is defined by the ratio of an individual’s height to his or her weight. Normal BMI ranges from 20-25.  An individual is considered morbidly obese if he or she is 100 pounds over his/her ideal body weight, has a BMI of 40 or more, or 35 or more and experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. (link)

Those who are morbidly obese are at greater risk for illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

Out of the 8 risk factors listed above, I have 4, possibly 5 or 6.

That’s scary.

That doesn’t look good for me.

The thing is….all of these risks can be avoided, reversed even, if I simply lose weight and eat healthier.  I’ve known this for years, so what makes this time different?

I’m almost out of my medicines and when I called my new doctor to make an appointment, the nurse said “she likes to see people with chronic diseases every 3 months”.

And I guess that was when it really hit…I have chronic diseases that could kill me and it could all be avoided!

So, this time….I want to make it happen.  I want to go back to the doctor and have her say that all my chronic illnesses are gone.  I started with changing what I was eating and when I was eating.  This what some of my meals are looking like now.  Still needs improvement, but I’m working on it. (that’s almond milk, by the way!)

And, I’m attending the YMCA for classes, working on getting more flexible and toning, so that I can start doing more intense workout.  My dad is encouraging me, taking me on hikes and walks.  Helping me to know what foods to eat as a diabetic and what they do to my sugar levels.

I’ve lost a few pounds, my blood pressure is staying good, and I’m sleeping better.

Yesterday, Daddy, my brother, Ray, and I hiked a trail.  I lagged behind the “old man”, breathing hard, but I made it.  (I was also taking lots of pictures.)

20170408_153103When I got home, I just wanted to take a shower and lay down, but after a small rest, I found I had more energy and ended the day doing even more exercises….but in a different way.  I’ll let the pictures and video tell the rest of the story.

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So…I need all the encouragement I can get.  Ask me to walk with you…I “might” say yes.

A Week with Mark

Day 7 today.

I decided to go with an additional resource, other than just my She Reads Truth Bible.  I’m slowly adding to my library of commentaries, Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Mark; so, since I already had the book in my collection…why not use it.  It’s been very helpful in my study.  20170404_092119

I think one of the strangest accounts of Jesus’ arrest is the two little verses, Mark 14:51-52.

And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body.  And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked. (ESV)

Who was he?  Did he hear about Jesus going to the Garden and followed with the 12 disciples to see what was going on, quickly getting out of bed and just throwing a “robe” on?  Was he hiding in the bushes to overhear a private conversation between the men?  Was his mother one of the women who served Jesus and his followers, possibly one of the women that helped to prepare their Last Supper?

Why is this naked boy mentioned?

Maybe…speculation only on anyone’s part…is that this young boy was Mark, the author of the book of Mark.  There is another “Mark” mentioned in Acts 12 that traveled with Paul (Saul) and Barnabas, but left the pair, later to return to Paul.  Again, speculation is that this was the same “Mark”.

Either way, there is only speculation on who the author is of the book of Mark.  It’s unknown.  What is known is that the book of Mark was written for a particular audience.   Each of the 4 Gospels were written to a particular audience.

  • Matthew – the Jews
  • Mark – the Romans
  • Luke – the Greek
  • John – the World

Mark jumps right into the ministry of Jesus, at the very beginning, at his baptism.  I guess that’s where we all start our ministry.  After we accept Jesus as our Savior, then the first step of obedience is to be baptized, not because it has anything to do with our salvation, but it publicly identifies us as followers of Christ.

Then…just like what happened to Jesus…we are attacked by the Devil.  We are hit with all kinds of obstacles that keep us from doing the will of God, from praying, from studying the bible, from doing any type of ministry, and especially, attending church.  But Jesus shows us that we can overcome anything the Devil throws at us, just like he did, and get busy doing His Work.

The Devil knows who we are, Followers of Christ, and he doesn’t want us to have any impact for Jesus; just like the demons knew who Jesus was and tried to get ahead of Jesus, causing trouble before he even began teaching.

So what does Mark teach of about how to follow Jesus?

Jesus, himself, sets the example.

  • Baptism
  • Know the Scriptures (based on the other Gospels’ details of the temptation of Jesus & how he fought Satan back with Scripture).
  • Proclaim the Good News where ever we go.
  • Surround yourself with other followers.
  • Go to church.
  • Teach.
  • Reach out to those in need.
  • Have an alone time with God, early in the morning.
  • Don’t be afraid.
  • Tell family and friends what Jesus has done for you.
  • Put following Jesus before family.
  • Follow God’s commands instead of tradition.

All that from 7 verses!!!

Which of those are the hardest for you to do?  

I know which ones are mine, those that I have to work on, struggle with, on a regular basis.  Putting God before family and tradition ranks at the top of the list for me.

“We’ve always done it that way.”

So what…God doesn’t work from our plan, he’s all about changing some things up to make the largest impact for His glory.  Do something new and different!!!  Get people’s attention and make them wonder what is going on with those Crazy Christians.

From the Cross, Jesus looked down and addressed his mother, seeing to her future needs, asking John to care for her.  But during his ministry, right in the midst of it, he did not step aside from his calling to address his family and their concerns.

Family can easily keep us from Christ and his ministry.

“We don’t go to Sunday school because it’s the only day we get to sleep in late, I hate to wake the kids.”

“We don’t go to Sunday school because it’s such a struggle to get everyone up and ready for church.”

“I don’t go to church because no one in my family goes and I hate sitting there by myself.”

“I can’t serve as a volunteer at the homeless shelter because my kids have all these after school activities that keep me busy.”

“I can’t find time to have a quiet time because my kids…my husband…my family….all expect so much from me……I’m so tired….I don’t have time…..”

On and on the excuses flow.  Sometimes they are real and need to be addressed; and sometimes we use our family as the excuse.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he (Jesus) got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.” Mark 1:35 CSB

And it was there they found him.

Does your family find you praying?

Does your family find you serving God at a homeless shelter, in the church, at the hospital, at the neighbor’s house, on the phone encouraging someone?

It’s time we were about our Father’s business and let people find us doing exactly that!  It’s time for us to put God first.

Last night, I was privileged to here Dr. Fred Luter, former SBC president, speak on John 10:7-11.  “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”  He made the comment that maybe, we aren’t seeing that abundant life that Jesus promised because we aren’t “doing it” right.  The Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy us and the Shepherd comes to give us abundant life.  The Thief takes, the Shepherd gives.

What are you allowing the Thief to take simply because you are not putting God first?

As we approach the reading this next week of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, willingly walking toward the cross, going to his torture and death….what will you focus on?

A bunny rabbit?

A new dress?

A basket?

Chocolate?

Gong to church for tradition’s sake?

We’ve allowed the Thief to steal and distort this most sacred sacrifice that Jesus gave to each of us and make it into a money-making, greeting card holiday.

Don’t let him have it!

Don’t look for candy-filled eggs.

Seek Jesus, Follow him!

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