Blog Archives

BEING DOCTORS WHO MAKE HOUSE CALLS

What if Jesus had stayed in the temple courts or the synagogue teaching? What if He never ventured out into the community, never called old Zach down from the tree, never ate with tax collectors and sinners, never touched the sick and hurting? Why don’t doctors make house calls these days? I’m not sure, but wouldn’t it be interesting if suddenly people stopped going to a doctors office or hospital when they were ill?

What if they thought that was the last place to go to be healed? How long would it take for the docs to begin making house calls again? Not long I suspect. Is the church today, the body of Christ the great Physician, staying in the hospital building waiting for the sick to show up? Or, worse yet, staying in the hospital talking about the remedy but secretly hoping that the sick stay away?

I think Jesus was less like a physician as we know it today and more like a field medic or a country doctor of days past. He went out looking for the lost sheep. Let’s help give our children a heart for the lost and pray that the Lord would use them to make Christ known in the world!

(Excerpt from Extreme Makeover: Spiritual Edition, a children’s curriculum by Michael J. Meyers)

Equip Their Ship

sailing shipHave you ever asked yourself the question, “what exactly is my objective in training my children up in the faith?” I know I’ve thought to myself, “Leading them to Christ is my first and greatest objective but then what? Where should my focus be?”   Recently a good friend and mentor of mine pointed something out in Ephesians that I’d like to share with you.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 (emphasis added)

I’ve read this passage in Ephesians many times and the word “equip” has always given me the sense that we were to be preparing the body, through spiritual training, to carry on the work of the kingdom. This I believe is true. But the mental picture that is communicated by the original Greek word is somewhat lost in our English. The word is “Katartizo” and it means to fit out, make sound, or complete. To fit out. Outfit. It is used in the sense of outfitting as one would think of outfitting a ship that has a journey to complete. First the ship must be seaworthy. The sails must be in good repair, the hull must be sound, all of the navigational tools must be present and working properly, charts maps, etc. Additionally the ship will need to be supplied with all of its provisions for the journey. Food, water, etc.

So as parents and the church, our role is that of a loving spiritual outfitter. What a wonderful picture. More important, yes MORE important, eternally more important than our roles as academic outfitter, athletic outfitter, financial outfitter, is our God given mission as our child’s spiritual outfitter.

I will close with a quote from Patrick Henry’s will, “I have disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give to them, and that is the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one cent, they would be rich. If they have not that, and I had given them the world, they would be poor.” I could not have said it any better. Equip their ship.

May you be blessed in your role as outfitter!

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TRAIL GUIDE: Forgive and Pray

QUEST Trail Guide DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Unit 2, Section 2, Lesson 2: Forgive & Pray

The church is made up of people. As people being transformed into the image of Christ, we are by definition not finished products. This leaves us open to mistakes or offenses committed against one another. The question is not whether we offend one another but rather when it happens how do we respond in a way that is not of this world?

Forgiveness and prayer – this is the model we have in Christ. If we behave as the world behaves, we diminish our witness to the lost, inflict pain on the body of Christ, and damage our own walk with the Lord. As we take a look at the topic of forgiving one another and praying for one another, take personal inventory of your relationships in the church. Are you actively praying for those with whom God has brought you into relationship within the body? Are we keeping short accounts with our brothers and sisters in Christ? As you prepare for this week with the children, I encourage you to read the two articles on forgiveness and prayer, keep your kids before the Lord on your knees, and ask the Father to continue your extreme makeover in this critical area of our spiritual lives. (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLES.)

Thank you for giving to the Lord by serving His children. Your offering is making an eternal impact.


”Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”
 ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Here is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:12-14

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Acts 4:33-35 | Phil 2:25
1 Corinthians 16:13-18

TRAIL GUIDE: Serve One Another

QUEST Trail Guide Devo

The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Unit 2, Section 2, Lesson 1: Serve One Another

“You Should Do As I Have Done For You” – Jesus

The dusty and dirty conditions of the region necessitated the need for foot-washing. Although the disciples most likely would have been happy to wash Jesus’ feet, they could not conceive washing each others’ feet. This was because in the society of the time, foot-washing was reserved for the lowliest of menial servants. Peers did not wash one another’s feet, except very rarely and as a mark of great love. Luke points out (22:24) that they were arguing about who was the greatest of them, so that none was willing to stoop to wash feet. When Jesus moved to wash their feet, they were shocked. His actions serve also as a symbol of spiritual cleansing (vs. 6-9) and a model of Christian humility (vs. 12-17). Through this action Jesus taught the lesson of selfless service that was supremely exemplified by His death on the cross.

The foot-washing was an example, a pattern. Many groups throughout church history have practiced literal foot-washing as a church ordinance. However, present culture in many lands does not call for the need to wash dust from the feet of one’s guests. Whereas the Lord’s Supper was practiced by the early church, it apparently did not practice foot-washing as an ordinance in church gatherings. This passage emphasizes inner humility, not a physical rite. A Christian widow’s practice of “washing the feet of the saints” (I Tim. 5:10) speaks not of her involvement in a church ordinance but of her humble slave-like service to other believers. Not to follow the example of Jesus is to exalt oneself above Him and to live in pride. “No servant is greater than his master” (cf. John 12:26).

Take this time for some introspection. Have you ever, consciously or unconsciously, considered yourself “better” than someone else? Would you gladly clean the toilets in the church building or are your gifts or your “position” above that sort of thing? What was Jesus’ perspective on this subject? If we are His body then this is critical information.

Recommended Resource: Manners and Customs of the Bible by J.I. Packer & M.C. Tenney.

“Here is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:12-14

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Galatians 5:13; 6:2
Romans 12:2-3 | James 2:1-12
Philippians 2:1-7

TRAIL GUIDE: Strength Training

QUEST-Trail-Guide-DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 4, Lesson 1: Strength Training

What is strength? How is the word used in scripture? It can mean our physical strength or energy, strength of character, strength of the will, perseverance, capacity or ability to perform work, or emotional strength. These are all different aspects of strength, but they all have two things in common: their source and their purpose.

“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides” (1 Peter 4:11)

So what is it that God teaches us about strength? First, He is the fountainhead of our strength. Second, He stands ready to renew our strength if we will seek Him, trust Him, and wait on Him. Third, God gives us strength not for our own selfish interests or nonsense but to glorify Him and do the good works of the Kingdom that He has prepared in advance for us to walk in. In the coming weeks, let us help the children to understand that God, and only God, deserves all of our strength.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My
heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.””   
-Psalm 28:7a

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Deut 8:17 |1 Chron. 29:12
Phil 4:13 | Is. 41:10
2 Thess 3:3 | Is.40:27-31

TRAIL GUIDE: Remember When?

QUEST-Trail-Guide-Devo“Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 3, Lesson 3: Remember When?

Why is it that God spends so much time in the Bible telling His children to “remember” Him? I’d like to venture four reasons I believe are grounded in scripture. When we fail to remember God we risk…
1. …Falling into idolatry/trusting ourselves or our possessions (Deut. 8:13-14)
2. …Never growing in trust of/faith in God (Isa. 40:20-21)
3. …Stumbling into sin and suffering the Father’s discipline (Deut. 8:19)
4. …Forfeiting a generation to the enemy (Judges 2:10-11)

So how can we use our minds to remember God? Here are five ways, listed below, that God has ordained for us to remember Him, who He is, and all that He has done. Help your kids use their memory to love God this week.

1. In His Word – God’s Word is our primary means of remembering who He is and all that He has done throughout history. As adults our most important duty in the kingdom is to take the words of God and, “Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
2. In song – Remembering God in song is a theme we see in scripture over and over again. How wonderful it is that our Creator gave us music, knowing the power it has to help us remember as well as to connect our heads to our hearts and emotions.
3. In prayer – Prayer should not only be about asking for help but about remembering to God all that He has done. When we thank God in our prayers we are “remembering” that God alone is responsible for providing our every need. (Nehemiah 9)
4. In true Christian fellowship – Fellowship is much more than potluck dinners or bowling night. It is about gathering together to remember God to one another. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
5. In traditions and memorials – Traditions and memorials are things that we, in the bible church movement have largely banished from the life of the church. While a healthy dose of caution about tradition becoming idolatry is warranted, the Bible is also clear that God has given us tradition and memorial to help us “remember” who He is and all that He has done. (Joshua 4:4-7, Luke 22:19)
I hope that these will serve you well in helping the children in your group apply their minds to remembering God for who He is and what He’s done.

“Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely  changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.”    -Romans 12:2

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Josh 4:21-24 | Prov 22:6
Psalm 103:1-5 | Jn 14:26
Deut 11:19 | Prov 3:1-6
Deut 8:1-5 | Deut 24:9

TRAIL GUIDE: My Gift of Love

QUEST Trail Guide Devo

The “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 1, Lesson 3: My Gift of Love

“So what’s on your heart this week?” Hopefully you have taken some time during our study to reflect on how to use your interests and passions for God. But what about when you see things in yourself that fall short of God’s standard? Do we assume we’re a lost cause and of no use to God? We cannot hide our good qualities or our failures from Him. He “alone knows every human heart.” (1 Kings 8:39). But be of good cheer, the ungodly things I find in my heart bring me to Him in a special way, a humble way. I wish I could bring to Him a Great Commandment Christian, fully assembled and ready to serve. But I came broken, and though I’m not a slave to sin, my flesh still fights against my makeover. When I recognize this and grieve my sin, then I am in a position for God to transform my heart. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the Lord promises that He is near to the brokenhearted.

In Psalm 147 we are reminded that it is fitting to praise God. The best way to praise God is to think about His actions and his attributes. The Psalm tells us:

God heals the brokenhearted. He names the stars.
He sends rain to the earth.
He delights in those who fear him.
He has unfailing love.
He sends us his protection.
He shares his commands with us.
He controls all nature.
He communicates his word to Israel and eventually to us!
Praise the Lord.

Loving God has many facets, praising Him for all He has done is one of them. Aligning our lifestyles with His word is another. What kind of heart does God want me to have? A pure heart, a clean heart, a kind heart and of course a heart that loves Him above all else. The kind of heart that Jesus displayed for us.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for
everything you do flows from it.”   
-Proverbs 4:23

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

1 Kings 8:61 | Joshua 22:5
Psalm 37:4 | Psalm 57:7!
Luke 6:45 | Psalm 51:10

TRAIL GUIDE: God’s Gift of Wisdom

QUEST Trail Guide DevoThe “Trail Guide” devotional is used by our adult leaders of grade school groups in Quest as a way to prepare their hearts and minds for the topics we will be covering with the children on the weekend.  We have made them available here to help our parents of grade-schoolers engage with their children around the topics we are discussing and also for anyone else that might be blessed by following along.

EXTREME MAKEOVER, Section 2, Lesson 1: God’s Gift of Wisdom

About two years ago, I started using a Mac laptop instead of my old PC. One thing that prompted that switch was the problems I was having with viruses on my PC. As it turns out, the Mac operating system is much less prone to virus problems. It does a better job on its own, without the expense of extra virus protection services, of keeping out unwanted and damaging material that could slow down or freeze up my machine.

Last week we talked about the good passions and desires that God has put in our hearts – let’s call them the pre-loaded software. We also talked about guarding our hearts from storing up ungodly things – let’s call them malware or viruses. The human heart was made for loving and glorifying God. Sin has corrupted that heart, but by faith in Jesus we can have our hard-drive (heart) wiped clean of sin and reinstalled with God’s programs, so that it is free to function as it was intended. The problem is that we still live in a sinful world where there are new viruses around every corner. That’s where God’s heart operating system comes into play: WISDOM. Wisdom comes from God and is the atmosphere in which all of your pre-loaded heart software works best. It is also highly resistant to viruses and will prevent unwanted items from piling up in your heart and slowing down or freezing up your system. If our kids want to love God with ALL their heart, then they need the right operating system… wisdom. “Whatever else you get, get wisdom.” (Prov. 4:7)

 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for
everything you do flows from it.”   
-Proverbs 4:23

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:

Prov 2:1-11 | Jer 33:3!
James 1:5 | Psalm 19:7
Prov 10:8 | Prov 16:23
Prov 2:10

As You Walk Along The Way – God’s Call to Generational Discipleship (Audio)

marriage-booster-0514

The greatest battle that the church family currently faces is the knock-down drag-out fight with Satan over the hearts of the next generation. Raising a generation that knows Christ and makes him known will be the greatest gift & legacy we leave for the world.

Key Verse:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:5-7

Considering our passage in its immediate context,

  1. Verse 5 – Preceded by the “greatest command”
  2. Verse 6 – It is a matter of the heart

Notice in Verse 7,

  1. Not a request – The imperative form is used. This is a command.
  2. “Impress them on your children” – Teach them diligently.
  3. Life on life discipleship

7 Principles for Walking Along the Way

Principle #1 – Don’t Freak Out – “Concern is healthy; panic kills.”

  • Take the long view because God is writing a story in the life of your child. It’s a movie not a snapshot.

Principle #2 – Be Real

  • Walking along the way means not being a pretender. You may fool a very young child for a little while, but they will find you out it will shake their faith to its core.

Principle #3 – More lens, less shield

  • Spend more time giving our children the proper lens through which to see this world, and less time sheltering them from it. If we don’t someone else will.

Principle #4 – Enter their world – Jesus entered ours (Phil. 2:5-7)

  • Make it a point to know the young person you are walking with.

Principle #5 – The target is the Savior, not behavior – Adjust your aim

  • Lead them to the gospel (Romans 3:23, 6:23)

Principle #6 – Be joyful

  • “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4

Principle #7 – No excuses

  • Excuses may be valid, but they will be overcome when generational discipleship becomes a priority.

I hope that you found something here to challenge you and to encourage you to take seriously God’s call to generational discipleship and ask yourself the question, “What legacy are we leaving?” “Will we be mentioned in anyone’s story of faith?”

Questions for further discussion:

  1. If I could be remembered by my children or grandchildren for only one thing it would be…
  1. If you looked back at your life using Mike’s metaphor of the “snapshot” what period of your life might have given the adults around you reason to despair? How has God used that time period in the broader narrative of your life?
  2. Have you ever thought about your relationship with the children in your life as one of teacher-disciple? Why/why not? How might this perspective change the way you parent or engage with young people close to you?
  3. Did you ever view your relationship with your parents as one of disciple to teacher?  Why or why not?
  4. In what ways does the teacher-disciple relationship change as children grow up and in what ways does it stay the same?
  5. How are you, or could you be, living out God’s command to “walk along the way” with the next generation?