Yesterday, I got caught up reading an article that had stories submitted by regular people who had met celebrities that happened to be kind to them. It was pretty intriguing reading how these famous people would bother taking time out of their busy schedules in order to show interest in the life of a stranger. In each instance, it seemed too good to be true. Underneath the prestige and lights and glamor, these stories show us a glimpse of them as they really are - just regular people like you and me.
But what would happen if God the Creator stopped everything in His busy schedule to show an interest in the lives of regular ole’ people here on earth? That is precisely what He does time and time again throughout history. Not only does He make time, but we people are His highest priority. Why? It just seems too good to be true.
When we last heard from God’s people in the nation of Egypt, things were going well. But life changed and they had become slaves crying out for rescuing. God was not blind-sided by this turn of events because He had been guiding their new leader as he grew into the man he needed to be. God chose to use a stuttering, adopted man who was hiding in the wilderness to escape getting booked for murder. And He called him by name, Moses.
God’s vision from the beginning of time was to be in fellowship with His favorite creation, the apple of His eye – us. And God likes to use the things and people that are looked down upon or not lovely because when we witness the power and the glory, we know beyond any doubt that it isn’t the servant’s, but His. And it’s all so that we can see that He is relentlessly pursuing us. He is not like a celebrity you meet on a sidewalk or at a restaurant or anything like that, because He doesn’t show up; He has always been there. In fact, His name is “I AM.”
Happy Monday Parents!
I am praying that you like the way The Story is working for your family. I hope you are able to spend some time talking as a family about the week's lesson. There is a lot packed into this week. We will learn about Moses from his birth through the beginning of the exodus from Egypt.
If you ever have a question that you aren't sure where to find an answer, please let Ivan or I know. We will be happy to help you find the answer or point you in the right direction. And remember, if you have a question, someone else may also benefit from the answer. One question that popped into my head was who was Reuel. The Story said he was Moses' father-in-law. Then it talked about Jethro and I remember that name but now I'm looking for a second wife. Later I found out they are the same person. Those Hebrews like to do that to us...Abram-Abraham, Sarai-Sarah, Jacob-Israel, Saul-Paul...
God bless you!!
I don’t know about you, but I have heard the stories of the men and women of the Bible more times than I can count. Names like Paul and Samuel, Ruth and Anna, John the Baptist and Abraham. I’ve read the stories and now have passed them on to my kids. I’ve used them many times in messages at church. In fact, just over a year ago I spent a tremendous amount of time looking at the life of Joseph and God’s work through him. Is it really possible to learn anything new?
God says that His Word is active and living. What that means is that even if I’ve read the same thing over and over again, His Spirit is constantly speaking new life into it. And, sure enough, as I was seeking God’s wisdom in preparation for this Sunday, He again showed me something new that I hadn’t thought about before. In the midst of all the lower story drama that Joseph had to deal with, God gave a glimpse into His Upper Story plan: “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered.”
That hit me hard. Joseph was going through terrible things, being accused falsely, hated, feeling alone and yet the Lord was with him so that he prospered. When I think back on my lower story, I’ve felt like Joseph many times. Sometimes, I could only just hang on because of the promise that He was with me. I would remind myself of Hebrews 13:5 so many times that I “knew” it so completely. But in all of my repeating of it, I missed another verse that went hand and hand with it, one that gave me an even greater glimpse into His Upper Story plan. I wouldn’t “just” make it because that was never His plan. His plan was that I would make it AND that He would redeem all of the lower story problems, issues, and sadness for my good. What Satan tried to use to bring me down and to hurt me, God uses those very same things for me to prosper!
Sometimes it seems that we know everything about the stories in the Bible. Yet, repetition has value because each time you hear the story, it lays a foundation of faith in your life. And that foundation is continually built on creating an opportunity to learn something fresh from God. For me, it took probably the thousandth time of hearing Joseph’s story to see God’s two-fold promise, but God is faithful to show Himself even in the “redundant.”
God is good! We picked up 4 for kids this week, 3 'children' and 1 teen. Please pray for our teachers. Two of our groups can have as many as 10 kids, that is a lot for one teacher. Please consider offering to help. I especially need replacement teachers so the current teachers can have a break. I have the hardest time finding a teacher for the 4-6th graders.
This week we are learning about Joseph, Jacob's oldest son with Rachel. What a story this man has and it is so wonderful to see how God uses him to save more than one nation. Please read the story with your children this week and discuss the things Joseph goes through.
Please remember that each week your child comes they will receive one of The Story trading cards. It would be wonderful if all the children were able to collect a complete set. Our card for Sunday had an error printed on the back. It said that Abraham was the father of all nations. This is not entirely true. He is the father of many nations. There were other nations such as the Canaanites and I'm sure others when he entered Canaan. I explained this to the 4-6th graders but didn't think the younger children would understand. I think Mr. Kent explained it to the teens.
Have a super week!
If you were asked to make a new nation of people that would bless everyone, who would you choose? Would you want someone that was brave? Or maybe someone intelligent? Would you want someone who was good looking and would be pass that on to their kids? No doubt it would end up being the best of the best, the ones chosen for everything and who seem to have a promising future.
Or would you choose someone like Susan Boyle? When she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, she was an assuming, 47-year old single woman living in England. People looked at her and felt that she wouldn’t be talented at all. They had decided she should be passed over for someone more qualified and maybe better looking. But when she opened her mouth to sing, the crowd was left speechless. Susan wowed the audience with her melodious voice and was chosen to go to the final round of the competition. (To see her awesome audition go here: http://bit.ly/1iTEw0I.)
When Adam and Eve chose their own vision for their lives, the story of humanity tore itself from God’s story, starting a chain reaction of problems and evil that would reverberate throughout the world. But God chose to bless the whole world by building a nation. He didn’t choose the best of the best, though. He chose a 75-year old man from an idol-worshiping family and his wife who was 65. We would object, “They are so old and can’t possibly have kids! How can they populate an entire nation?!”
God picks people you and I wouldn’t necessarily select to take part in His story. He chooses people not based on their ability, but on their availability. God searches for people who are open to be used by Him. Since He uses only those who are willing to be used for His purposes, there is no doubt that it is He who is doing the wonder working.
As you read through chapter 2 in your books, ask yourself the question, am I available to be used by God to be a blessing?
You all get an A for helping your children last week!!!! Everyone raised their hand when I asked who read The Story for the week. Way to go parents! The kids did great in both the large group and small group. After I told the kids about God walking with Adam and Eve in the evenings, I told them that was the way God wanted things, that is why He created such a beautiful place for them and why He created them. God wanted it to be like this forever. But He knew it would all change.
This week they will learn about Abraham and the seemingly impossible things God kept asking of him and the promises God made. Please help your young ones read this story. Your reading will be more difficult. My head was spinning after reading about Abram, Sarai, Lot, Haggar, Ishmael, Rebekah, Jacob, Esau, Leah and Rachel. I couldn't keep track of who was who and what they did. The important thing to remember is all of this, ALL OF OF IT, is part of God's plan to get us back in the garden so He can walk with us. What seems impossible to us, what seems crazy and so unimaginable is God working to help us be the people He wants us to be. One day we WILL walk in the garden with God.
God bless you with a fantastic week!
We take turns writing when God gives us an idea. The author will be noted.