Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SPLINK for the week of April 22

April 22-28
New Life
Happy Birthday!
Items Needed
birthday cake or cupcakes
Make a birthday cake or cupcakes and add candles. Light the candles and then blow them out together. Talk about birthdays.
What is the best thing about your birthday?
What do you like to do on your birthday?
What is your favorite thing to eat on your birthday?
What is a favorite gift you have received for your birthday?
Your birthday is one of the happiest days of the year, the day YOU were born into this world. Jesus came to the earth to give you NEW LIFE, so you can live forever with Him in a wonderful place called Heaven. Each person must decide to receive God's gift to go to Heaven.
Talk to each child separately to see how much he or she understands about sin and forgiveness.
Some basic truths they need to know and understand:
  • God loves you and wants you to be in His family (John 3:16).
  • We have all sinned and gone our own way (Romans 3:23).
  • Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins (John 3:16).
  • We have to believe that He died for our sins and came alive again (Romans 10:9).
  • Tell God that we want to receive Him into our lives; we need to receive His forgiveness for our sins.
  • Say thank you to Him. Celebrate! Call another believer (and Pastor Beau :) and tell him or her the good news. Write the date in the Bible.
Cut the cake and eat it!

Our Home in Heaven
Items Needed
copy or construction paper
Crayons, pencils, or markers
Optional: glitter or jewels
Read John 14:1-3.
Ask kids to draw a picture of what they would like their home in Heaven to look like.
Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven. He came to earth and died, so He could take away our sins and we could live with Him forever in Heaven.  Our home in Heaven will be better than anything we can even imagine! (You can read more about Heaven in Revelation 21 and 22.)

Eternity or Temporary
Items Needed
five post-it notes for each child
Give each child five post-it notes and a pencil.
Instructions: Put the post-it notes on five different things. Write an E on the note if the item will last for eternity or a T if the item is temporary, something that will only be here on earth.
Talk about the items they chose and ask:

Was it hard to find things that are eternal? 
Yes! Most of the things that we treasure are temporary, not things we will take to Heaven. People are the only "things" we will take to Heaven with us. God wants all people to live in Heaven with Him.
Who can we tell about the new life they can have through Jesus? 
Make a plan to pray for and share the good news with the people on your list.

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fun Pass

This video has everything I could ever want in a short film:
  • Imagination
  • Ingenuity
  • Community
  • Compassion
  • Fun Passes
  • Perseverance
  • Yarn and an S-hook
  • Heartwarming Story
  • Happy Ending
  • Flash Mob
  • Custom Song
  • Cardboard
  • Arcade
  • Lots of Tape
  • Army Guys
  • Pizza
The video is a bit long, but it's way worth it.

What would our world look like if we as Christians lived out our faith as passionately as Caine's devotion and passion for his Arcade?

Even with no customers... his Arcade an inside joke with his family...  nobody at school believing he has an arcade, Caine still had passion because he believed.  He knew that his Arcade was awesome and the best cardboard Arcade in the whole entire world.

What would our world look like if we truly believed that Jesus is awesome and the best thing in the whole entire world?

I have a feeling we would attract onlookers and curious passersby who just might want to buy one of our 'fun passes'... but instead of 500 plays, our fun pass is eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Living out our Christian faith with the passion that Caine ran his Arcade would change the world.

God gave us creativity, ingenuity, passion, and influence... are we using it for His glory... or for something else?

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Many Marbles Do You Have Left?

So, I'm reading a book right now... a 'just for fun book'... from an author that I've never read before.  This particular book has everything I like: action, guns, strong lead, humor, car chases, a hint of romance, believable dialog, etc...

I started the book a few days ago thinking it would be a quick, light read... something to aid me in a temporary fantastical escape into someone else's life... but instead I stumbled onto an idea that has been haunting me.

A little back story to catch you up to speed :)

The lead character in this book is a 40ish year-old homicide detective and he's a very busy man... he's also a father of three children.  But he's gone from home more often than not.  To help raise his kids after his wife dies tragically after his youngest son was born, his grandmother moves in and assumes the role of mom and housekeeper.  This particular book finds the lead character questioning whether or not his job is more important than his family... wrestling with the fact that his kids are growing up, and he's missing it.

To illustrate how precious time with his family is, his grandmother gives him two jars full of marbles.  She explains to him that each marble in those jars represents either a past or future Saturday in his life.  One jar holds the Saturdays that have already gone by and that can never be taken back... the other holds the Saturdays that are still available to him and full of potential.  She then reaches into the jar of Saturdays with potential, picks one marble, hands it to him, and says, "How are you going to spend this marble?"

This simple illustration is certainly not new... in fact I'm pretty sure I've heard it before somewhere else, but maybe because I've been doing a lot of thinking about parents and our roles, it hit me pretty hard.

As I was reflecting on the implications of how many Saturdays I have left with my children, the illustration took on a whole new dimension.

Consider this sobering thought for a moment... how many more DAYS do you have left to directly influence your children in the ways of Jesus before they leave home?

My daughter is 11 years old.
She will be 18 in 7 years.
If I take the number of years before Madison leaves home and multiply that by 365, I will get the number of days I have left with her to directly influence her while living at home.

It looks like this:

7 * 365 = 2555 directly influential days left

Now that number may not look too small... but think about this:  each and every day that number is getting smaller.  And as each day passes so does that precious time that we can never get back.

So, what are we to do with this number?

I'll tell you what I'm going to do... I'm going to begin to think of how I spend my time more intentionally.

How many hours do I waste sitting at my computer while my children are asking to play a game?  How many times so I choose to watch a baseball game instead of reading to my children?  How many times do I think that a couple of extra hours at work won't hurt when my children haven't seen me all day?  How many times do I shoo my kids away while I'm trying to work on something that has no real meaning?

Too many times.

Instead of missing opportunities of sharing God Moments with my children,  I will begin to intentionally look for those moments and seize them!  I am going to choose to say "yes" when my kids ask me to play with them because they are more important.  I am not going to say, "I'm too busy" when a teachable life lesson presents itself, instead I will make a conscience effort to teach my children in everything that I say and do... because in reality, through my actions and non-actions, my interactions and non-interactions I am teaching them whether I know it or not.

Moms and Dads... let's be honest, the time we have with our children is ticking away.  We often get caught up in the insulating thoughts and feelings of the moment and forget to step back and see the big picture.  We don't have a lot of time to directly influence our children.  And with each passing day another marble moves from one jar to the other, never to be retrieved again.

So here... here's today's marble.  
How are you going to spend it?

How many marbles do you have left to directly influence your children and show them how important they are to you?

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau

PS:  Take a look at my friend, Emmaus Church Pastor Nathan Oates' blog and his wonderfully insightful thoughts on how important time spent with our children can be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SPLINK for the Week of April 15th

SPLINK for the Week of April 15th

Static Electricity

Items needed:
Fluorescent light bulb
Rubber balloon

Do a simple experiment to learn more about lightning and storms.

Turn all of the lights off in the room. (The darker the better!) Rub the balloon on your hair for several seconds. Then hold the statically charged balloon near the end of the light bulb. (This will illuminate the bulb.)

Repeat the demonstration as many times as desired.

When you rub the balloon on your hair, the balloon builds up an electrical charge (static electricity). Touching the charged balloon to the end of the fluorescent light bulb causes the electrical charge to jump from the balloon to the bulb. This is what illuminates the light bulb.
Lightning is an electrical discharge within a thunderstorm. As the storm develops, the clouds become charged with electricity. Scientists are still not sure exactly what causes this, but they do know that when the voltage becomes high enough for the electricity to leap across the air from one place to another, lightning flashes! Lightning can spark within a cloud, from one cloud to another, from a cloud to the ground, or from the ground to a cloud.

Emergency Kit
Pack an emergency kit to have ready in case of a thunderstorm. 

Some suggested items: flashlight and batteries, radio, food/snacks, water, first aid, sanitation, etc.

Turn off the lights and read the story of Jesus' power over a storm in
Mark 4:35-41.  Storms can be scary, but Jesus is with us through every storm!  
Jesus Is More Powerful Than the Storms
Items Needed:
Glow in the dark markers or paint
Card stock or thick paper

Let kids make a sign as a reminder that Jesus is with them. Using the glow- in-the-dark markers, write a message of faith
(Don't be afraid . . . Jesus is with me! or Jesus has power over storms!) on the card stock. 

Tack these up in their rooms so they can be reminded that Jesus is with them and has power over storms. Say a prayer praising God for His great power!

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau

Friday, April 13, 2012

Family Dinner Friday

Here's the first of a new series of easy to make, throw down meals that anybody can make.  Throughout this series Kiera will be talking with different families who will be sharing their favorite throw down meals with us.  The idea here is to learn how other families do 'family dinner' while possibly learning some new favorite recipes.

First Family Dinner Friday Meal:  The Chambers Family :)

We all know it...sitting down at the dinner table eating dinner together as a family is important!
We know there are statistics about how eating diner together is good for our families...we've heard them numerous times

  • gives our children better grades
  • they're less likely to try drugs and alcohol
  • less likely to have an eating disorder
  • their more likely to abstain from sexual behaviors
  • have lower cases of depression and ADD or ADHD
  • higher levels of self esteem
  • kids eat healthier foods
  • families save money on grocery/food bills
  • and countless other positives

If we know these facts then why do an overwhelming percent of American households still not eat dinner together?
And by together I mean TOGETHER...
in the same room,
at the same table,
no TV,
no cell phones,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Your Easter Questions... Answered!

Here are a summary of the questions posed by people from our community this past Sunday.  Hope you enjoy processing them as much as we did!
Why do we participate in Lent, a man-made season, and not Passover, a God-made season?
It’s true that Lent is a man-made season that was first begun around the fourth century as a way for the community of faith to identify with the new believers as they were going through their season of preparation for their baptisms into the faith on Easter Sunday (see this article for good background material on Lent: http://www.cresourcei.org/cylent.html). Passover was established by God as a way for the people of Israel to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt.  The reason we celebrate Lent and not traditional Passover is because we are a part of the Western Church who believed that Christ’s coming to our world was the fulfillment of Passover, and therefore represents our true deliverance not just from a physical Egypt, but from all of the “Egypts” of our lives. 
Why do we celebrate Easter? What is the real meaning of Easter? When did they first start celebrating Easter or start the services we know?
Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  In the life of the early church, they began meeting together and celebrating the resurrection on a weekly basis (see Acts 20:7) as a way of routinely praising God for that great day.  So their gatherings on the first day of the week were regular celebrations of the resurrection (which is why the Sundays are not counted as “official days” in the season of Lent).  However, it was during the year 325 AD that Easter was established as an official day of celebration of the resurrection.  This article (http://www.cresourcei.org/cyeaster.html) has great information about all of this history.
Why the bunny?
The idea of an Easter Bunny was first mentioned in a book by Georg Franck von Frankenau in 1682.  It came from the tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs to children. However, the hare was a popular subject in medieval church art, and may have helped to contribute to the idea of a bunny being a symbol of good will and new life coming in the spring.

Why did God wait to raise Jesus? If He died on a Friday and was raised on a Sunday, that isn’t really 3 days, right?
I heard a comedian say one time that God waited to raise Jesus from the grave because if it had happened right away, no one would have believed that He was really dead, only sick.  That same comedian also said that He waited until Sunday so He could just show up in church because He knew that’s where everyone would be!  Of course, we know that neither one of those ideas hold much merit, but they do make us laugh! 
Jesus declared that he would be raised “on the third day,” not after 3 days (see Matthew 16:21 as one example).  There is wild speculation about why he waited, but most good theories are connected to two primary ideas:
1 - The number 3 in scripture has always been a symbol of completeness.  By waiting until the 3rd day, God is making a declaration about the work being perfectly complete.
2 - One of the unfortunate things that happened pretty regularly during that time was actually burying people alive.  Because they didn’t have very good advances in medicine, it wasn’t uncommon to bury someone before they were actually dead.  But once someone was in the grave three days, there was no chance that they may have actually survived.  Everyone would have known that Jesus really was dead and therefore in order for him to be alive, it had to be an act of God to bring him back to life.
Does the Saturday in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday have a name?
Yes.  It actually has two names: Silent Saturday, or Holy Saturday.  It is the time we believe Jesus was in hell (as it states in the Apostle’s Creed - see next question) and God was silent in His response to the crucifixion.
Why does Jesus say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The early church taught and believed (as does the modern church), that when Christ died he took the sins of the world on himself (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 as an example).   Since God and sin cannot exist together, that leads to an understanding that when Christ descended into hell (see above question) he was separated from God and therefore God’s presence left him.  Now that raises more questions, because we also believe that Jesus was fully God himself, so how could he leave himself?!?  This is a great question and actually highlights that two of the most difficult tenets of the faith for us to understand, are the Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit - one God but three expressions) and the incarnation (Jesus being both fully God & fully Man all at the same time), both of which are at work in the death and resurrection of Christ.  Therefore, this is one of those times when we must actually live in the place of faith without full comprehension or understanding.  Very hard to do at times!
Thanks for asking all of these great questions!  Feel free to email back if more get generated from these answers.

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau

Monday, April 9, 2012

Celebrating New Life on Easter!

This Easter we baptized 17 people and dedicated 3 babies!  What a wonderful time of celebrating new life on the day Christ gave us new life by conquering death!

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau

PS:  In case you don't know, I'm the one baptizing the kids :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter, Keith Green style!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Keith Green is awesome!

I wish I could have seen him live.

From 1982... Bold and inspiring as always!

Happy Easter!

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau

Monday, April 2, 2012

SPLINK for Week of April 1st

SPLINK for April 1st - April 7th

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter, Death, Crucifixion & our Children

From time to time I will ask some of you to guest write on this blog.  For the Easter season I have asked my wife, Kiera, who is the Early Childhood Director at Redding First to shed some light on ways to discuss Christ's death and resurrection with our young children.

Matthew 27:11-66 and Matthew 28:1-10

The story of the Crucifixion is a cruel one.  It’s not just a story about death, but a brutal, hateful death.  As Christians, Easter is just as sacred as Christmas, if not more.  But it’s not filled with all the sweet pictures of a sweet baby, soft lambs and gift giving wise-men, rather one of a violent bloody death and an empty tomb.  We as parents want to convey to our children Jesus' awesome act of love but want to do so in an age appropriate manner.  Christ's atonement is vital to our doctrine, it is a life transforming event and for those who would believe, an event that extends to us forgiveness and hope of a forever future with God.  It is a tragic story with a beautiful ending.  

This is a touchy subject. As Christian parents we are known for shielding our children from violently graphic images.  Yet for a few weeks every spring some Christian parents go as far as to have our children color pictures of a dying Christ hanging on a cross, with the crown of thorns, blood dripping down his face, hands and feet impaled with nails and spear hole in his side.  

I agree 100% that Christ’s death and resurrection is vital to my atonement.  But do my children need the full details of His death at age 3.  I don’t think so.  These are hard graphic images for adults to swallow, let alone children.  I don't purpose we sugar coat Christ's death to our children.  I'm just believe that we give them age appropriate details.  

For children under 5 the concept of death is still something vague and hard to comprehend.  Add to that a violent hateful death for children raised in a loving sheltered environment it is mind boggling.  So talking about death might in and of itself be the first thing a parent brooches when discussing Easter with their preschooler.  Then you can talk about how Christ loved us so much that he chose to die for us.  Stressing His love over His death is important at this age, that this was ultimately an act of love.  

But I also believe that the nature of Christ's death isn't the point that young children need to understand, they need to hear about the love behind the death.  As your child asks you detailed questions about the Crucifixion you should answer them.  Simple straight forward answers are fine.  

  • Did Jesus die on a cross?  Yes, Jesus died on a cross for you and for me!
  • Were the people mean to him?  Yes, there were mean men that wanted to get rid of Him.
  • Did they hurt him?  Yes, they didn't treat him very nice and they hurt Jesus.
  • Why were they mean?  They thought Jesus was going to take away their power
  • Why didn't Jesus just stop them?  He did all of this because He loves you.  He chose death so you could choose to love Him and live forever.

I don't think any of these answers sugar coat the truth of what happened.  But I also think it gives children age appropriate answers without graphic details that young children don't need or understand. And as with many topics with children, don't be scared to answer the questions, but answer the question with simple truthful answers and then stop.  Wait for them to ask the next question.  If they don't ask the question they are probably not ready for the answer.

Some activities that you may want to participate in as a family....

Resurrection Cookies

Thank you very much Kiera for your wonderful insight on this topic!  I look forward to having you guest blog here quite often!

On the journey with you,

Pastor Beau