Tell the Story

Christian Living, Evangelism, Leaving a Mark, Uncategorized

When I have exciting news to tell, I cannot keep it in. I have to tell somebody or it feels like my inside will explode. I am sure that most of you are like me. When something fantastic happens to you, you cannot wait to tell it. When you have good news you have to tell someone. Our instatwittersnapface culture has pushed people into a new realm of pressure that says we must find new and creative ways to share news. Our news feeds and pages are cluttered with newly engaged couples, newly expectant couples, and others who just have to tell their stories. We have a motivation to share our good news because we want our friends and family to experience the joy and live in the moment with us.

You will likely never receive a text from someone that says, “Hey, the most amazing thing happened to me, but I’m not going to tell you about it.” There are two reasons you probably will never receive a text like that. One, the grammar is correct, and it is written in a complete sentence. Two, no one has a life changing event and keeps it to themselves.

In Daniel chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar has a life-changing event. This man of great power makes a proclamation about the God of the Universe to the entire world. He declares this message “to all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all earth (Daniel 4:1).” As we continue to read in chapter 4, we see a man who has been personally affected by the almighty God of the Universe. He is humbled, and God reveals to Nebuchadnezzar who he really is – a powerful, mighty, great God whose kingdom is everlasting and whose dominion endures from generation to generation.

As a followers of Christ, we have been changed by a personal God. Jesus Christ came to this earth as a man, went to the cross, and stood in our place. He carried the weight of our sin and in exchange he gave us his righteousness. In Christ we have the guarantee of a new life and a hope of a resurrection. This is the best news ever. This is life changing. This is a story that has to be told.

The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a story that must be told “to all peoples, nations, and languages.” This is the greatest story ever told.  The almighty God of the universe, the greatest author of all time, has written us into His grand story. And he has privileged us to be his storytellers.

Vacation Bible School

Evangelism, Leaving a Mark

For as long as I can remember, one of my summer rituals has been going to Vacation Bible School (VBS). For many years, I attended as a student. I looked forward to the recreation time and the red Kool-aid and butter cookies for snack. I would have never bought those cookie for myself if I had the choice, but something about eating them during VBS week made them so good.

For the past several years, we have had opening skits for VBS. I love these things. I get to play characters, make jokes, and try to teach children about Jesus through story telling. I have figured out that these skits are a way for adults (and I guess I have to throw myself into this category now) to act like kids again.  I think that I have had as much fun if not more fun writing, acting, and planning these skits than the kids probably had watching them.

Last week, at our Vacation Bible School we had several hundred kids in attendance each day. They listened to Bible stories, learned songs, made crafts, played games, and had snacks. Being on this side of VBS I have a great appreciation to the amount of work that goes into the week. As a kid, I never realized how many hours the teachers put into planning, decorating, and praying for the week.

I am so thankful for every Sunday School Teacher, VBS Teacher, etc., who took the time to make Christ known to me.  I want to thank them for the legacy that they have left in my life.  I can only seek to do the same.  I hope that children who participated in VBS this year will one day realize the amount of effort that their teachers put forward to make Christ known.

The Gospel is for Children, Too!

Evangelism, Leaving a Mark, Spurgeon Quotes

Everyone loves to hear a good story about a changed life – sinner to saint, drug dealer to preacher, or a terrorist to evangelist. These stories capture our attention and make us think about the powerful message of Christ. The Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus in Acts is one of the most famous depictions of a radical turnaround. Paul went from persecuting Christians to being persecuted as a Christian. Chuck Colson, special counsel to President Nixon and convicted criminal, gave his life to Christ and was dramatically transformed. He went from prisoner to prison minister and national speaker.

Testimonies like his are inspiring. There are countless stories of people who have been rescued from darkness and brought into the kingdom of light – the kingdom of God.  Many pews in churches today are filled with sinners who have been transformed.  Some of them have a “Damascus Road” event, while others have a much different story.

Their story goes a little bit like this: “I was raised in a Christian home with parents who took me to church – sometimes dragging and screaming. But, I am thankful that they took me because I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Sunday school, and I was saved at an early age.” Perhaps, some Christians with this type of testimony see it as boring and uninspiring.  The truth is that any sinner who is saved is amazing. It does not matter if the sinner is a child or an adult or someone with a sketchy past, anytime someone is brought from death to life, there is great rejoicing.

The benefits of becoming a Christian young are tremendous. There is great value in teaching the gospel to children.  Christians should work hard to teach the gospel to their own children as well as other children.

Becoming a Christian at a young age not only saves from sins, but it can prevent committing a multitude of sins that will later be regretted.  Charles Spurgeon said, “To reclaim the prodigal is well, but to save him from ever being a prodigal is better. To bring back the thief and the drunkard is a praiseworthy action, but so to act that the boy shall never become a thief or a drunkard is far better; hence, Sabbath-school instruction stands very high in the list of philanthropic enterprises, and Christians ought to be most earnest in it. He who converts a child from the error of his way, prevents as well as covers a multitude of sins” (from The Soul Winner).

Because of this, we should devote time and energy to the salvation of children and teenagers as well as adults. It is not a lesser task to win children to Christ.  We should not look to child evangelism as the minor leagues. Spurgeon also said, “The conversion of a child involves the same work of divine grace, and results in the same blessed consequences as the conversion of the adult. There is the saving of the soul from death in the child’s case, and the hiding of a multitude of sins, but there is this additional matter of joy, that a great preventive work is done when the young are converted. Conversion saves a child from a multitude of sins” (from The Soul Winner).

In a couple of weeks, our church will have a week-long Vacation Bible School.  There will be hundreds of kids singing songs, listening to Bibles stories, making crafts, playing games, eating snacks, and hearing the gospel.  Our goal is to proclaim the gospel accurately and clearly to the kids who attend in hopes that the Lord will call many of them to himself and they will be saved.  Vacation Bible School is not about the goofy skits, the silly songs, the amazing snacks, or the decorations.  It is first and foremost about proclaiming the Gospel. Let us unashamedly proclaim the gospel to our children. Let them come to Jesus.