Its the time of year where blogging about homeschool gets tricky. Some days in the heat I’m just trying to get the kids hydrated and cheerful. Other days I organize phonics review with them and the neighbors and we have a ball.
The new books are arriving, I’m finishing my district paperwork, and getting organized for next year.
The big project in the middle of finishing this year’s school and starting next year’s is the Family Fun Fair, I’m the Bible teacher. We picked “building on the Rock,” as our theme, because it’s a concrete image that gets used a lot in the New Testament (and you can have legos, and blocks at your fair!) but it’s challenging to use as a Gospel presentation, because there is such tension between your choices and God chooses you and you must make good decisions but none of your good works are ever enough to save you.
Here is my first whack at it – I need to make the part clearer about “how do I become a Christian anyway?”
Welcome! You’ve been doing some building activities today – what were your favorites? (what ones are you most looking forward to?)
What are some of your favorite buildings?
Which ones last a long time? Which ones fall apart easily? What ones are really cool or beautiful?
When we were planning this fair, we had to count up how many volunteers we had, how many people came last year, and make sure we had enough hot dogs and watermelons. It would be so sad if you all came and there wasn’t enough people to man the fair, or if we all went home without lunch.
Jesus told a story once about people counting a cost of a big project:
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
when you build something expensive, you count the cost. Following Jesus is the same way – it will give you everything, and cost you everything
There were lots of people following Jesus all around the countryside to hear what he would say, or see if he would heal someone, or do a miracle for them, give them lunch, or maybe become their king. No one spoke with such authority as he did.
He was so special, when Jesus was going to be born, an angel appeared to his mother. She was shocked to hear that he was coming because she wasn’t married yet, but the angel told her that he was the son of God, and would grow inside her by a miracle of the Holy Spirit. Another angle let her fiancé know what was going on. When the baby came, more angels sang to local shepherds about it.
When Jesus grew up, a prophet named John was preaching to all the people that they must get ready for this special person the Bible had told them was coming. They had to turn away from their sins, obey God, and not cheat anybody. They showed how serious they were by being baptized (taking a bath in public in a river or stream) Jesus joined the line of people waiting to be baptized, and John said, “oh no, you should baptize me!” immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;4 with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus picked 12 men to travel with him, learn from him, and help him, they were called his disciples. It was an amazing time! Once they went into a town where a funeral was walking on the road, the mother of the dead man was a widow and everyone was crying. Jesus brought the dead man back to life! He did so many miracles, that he sometimes had to tell the person he healed not to mention it, because then people would follow him around so much he couldn’t be heard by the very people he was speaking to.
One of those times when he was speaking to people, he told them another building story
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Jesus was so special, that anyone who knows about him needs to live differently. They need to hear what he says and do it.
But even though Jesus is so special, we people forget him. Sometimes we are scared, sometimes we are selfish, but we don’t always obey his teachings, or love God with our whole selves, or love our neighbors. Jesus said we even had to love our enemies, so listening to him and obeying him is really hard. Not obeying God is called sin. We can sin by doing something wrong, not doing something right, or even by thinking about things we shouldn’t.
But Jesus is so special, he makes a way for us to follow him even when we mess up following him.
Part of God’s plan for Jesus was to live a perfect life (and he did it!) He lived a perfect life on our behalf. Another part of God’s plan for Jesus life was that he would die instead of us because we are sinners: Even though Jesus knew that the leaders of his time were jealous of him and trying to kill him, he went to Jerusalem during a big feast an allowed them to capture him, put him through phony trials, then kill him on a cross the way the Romans killed criminals. Jesus had counted the cost too. His big project was to Obey God the Father and rescue us from our sins, and even though it cost him his life, he kept going. The punishment for sin is death, but Jesus died instead of us.
But there was more to God’s plan for Jesus life, and more building that he planned to do!
After 3 days, God raised Jesus back to life, and he is still alive. He appeared to his friends and disciples, he taught them from the Bible why he had to live and die for them, and then he was raised to heaven in his body to be praised in Heaven for finishing his rescue job. He is still alive, still a human, still in a human body. There really is no one like Jesus, he’s special.
I mentioned that God had more building plans, they might involve you. If you are building your life on Jesus goodness and teachings, then your life is like a really beautiful building that God is making strong and good. Your choices in life are like what you pick to build your building with – good stuff, or cheap tiky tacky stuff.
One more building story – If you are building your life on Jesus’ goodness and teachings, then God is using you as one of his building blocks to make an amazing temple for him to live in. Jesus is the cornerstone that holds the building square and just right, and you are one of the beautiful marble blocks or columns that make up the building along with other people following Jesus.
So, Jesus is really special – what are you going to do about it? Are you going to build you life on him, listen to him, obey him, become one of his building projects? Or will you not listen to him, and build your life as if you didn’t know about him? Count the cost.