It’s Time to Play

I can’t wait to teach tomorrow. In part because this lesson already includes the very things I have been studying in my devotions, but also because I just love to teach and Acts 3-4 has all the elements of a great lesson. There are heroes, miracles, enemies, crowds, jail, confusion–all great stuff for a great Bible story lesson (or a great story of any kind for that matter). I’m excited to have HiSKidZ help me teach as they take on the rolls of Peter, John, the lame man, the Pharisees and yes, the crowd (everyone gets a part this week, WooHoo!) We are going to learn as we play. We are going to put on a play as part of what we learn. We are going to play into our strengths, play up our best assets, and as we do these things we are going to be playing a role in God’s big story.

Play is an important part of learning, and it is also an important part of teaching. Today I was thinking about how an ancronym for play helps me each week as I get ready for teaching times.

P–Pray and Prepare — The first two things I need to do as I get ready to teach. My boss reminds us regularly that “failure to prepare is to prepare to fail.”
L–Learn and Lead — It’s not enough to just teach or lead, I need to be learning. Great teaching is simply passionately passing on what you have learned to those in your classroom. I lead best to the places I have already been.
A–Absorb, Adapt and Accentuate — As I take in what God wants HiSKidZ to learn, He shows me how to adapt it to their level, allowing me to accentuate the truth they need to take home in the pocket of their hearts.
Y–Yield and Yea! — Of course then I need to yield to His leading and finish off with a great Yea! Praisallujah! Thank you, Jesus! Great lesson prep ends in praise and thanksgiving to the One who allows me to serve Him each week.

I have always loved how tucked inside this passage Luke tells us how the rulers and elders acknowledged Peter and John as “unschooled, ordinary men. . . and they (the leaders) were astonished and took note that they had been with Jesus.” And I love how these same words could be said today of Bible teachers across the globe as they take “time to play” before they teach HiSKidZ everywhere each week.

C’mon Bible teachers: It’s Time to Play

Hit Me Again

If yesterday was fill ‘er up, today is most definately “Hit me again.” Reading on in Acts, this girl just loves the “rest of the story.” (Well, there is even more “rest of the story”, but this is the next “rest of the story.”) Anyway, I love THIS story, in part, because I love all the stories that involve Peter. Ask just about any HiSKiD at church and they can tell you that Ms Dawn’s favorite Bible character is Peter. My favorite book of the Bible is Acts, and Genesis, and Judges, and Chronicles, Ruth. . . . .well, the favorite book is a bit harder, but my favorite character is by far MR Peter! And one of the reasons is because of things that happened like the things that happened in Acts chapter 3.

While everyone is looking on in amazement, ooohing and ahhhing, Peter blurts out,

“Hey, really???? Why in the world are you so suprised? I mean, do you think we did this ourselves? God did this. Yup, God. Same God who sent Jesus and glorified Him. Yeah, that God, that Jesus. The one you handed over to be killed. The one you disowned. The one you decided should die instead of a murderer who you asked to be released. You know, you killed the author of life. Well, you tried. God raised him from the dead. We know cuz we’re were there. We saw it all. And this man, he’s definately not lame–figuratively or literally. He’s completely healed, but not because of anything we did, but because of the absolute awesomeness of the very name of Jesus, and his faith in Him.”

At this point, I imagine jaws dropping. (a sight I have recently witnessed on numerous occassions as certain surprising disclosures have come to light in our lives) After the jaws drop, and the fog in their brains begins to clear, and the truth and weight of what Peter is saying begins to sink in, I think their heads probably dropped, eyes unable to make contact. At which point Peter lays the smack down.

WAIT!!! NO HE DOESN’T. . . . Well, he does. But what’s so awesome is how he does it–it’s gently, with grace, and without condemnation that he continues

Now, brothers, I know you were clueless. You had no idea what you were doing. You acted in ignorance, and so did your leaders. But it had to be that way, God had to fulfill the prophecies. But look, now you know. I’m telling you, God is showing you and because God loves you so much we are here warning you that once you know what you’ve done, you need to repent, turn to God and let your sins be wiped out and times of refreshing start coming in. Plus you gotta understand that He doesn’t want anyone to perish. But, and this is a big but, anyone who does not listen will be completely cut off.

Peter went on to explain how prophets from days gone by have been telling this basic message for years. We know that God still has people telling this message. He understands that we can be ignorant of the truth, so He is sending people right and left to help us see and understand what our sin has done and that He has the answer to this problem and that answer is Jesus. He loves us enough to warn us of the consequences of what will happen if we choose to reject Him or fail to believe what He is saying.

I love Peter’s “good news-bad news” approach. The good news is God healed this man. The bad news is you killed God. The good news is all you have to do is repent, believe, follow and you can be saved. The bad news is if you don’t you will be completely cut off.”

But I mostly love Peter’s compassion. “Now, brothers, I know you acted in ingnorance, and so did your leaders.” I love how Peter didn’t condemn them, he didn’t judge them, the didn’t belittle them, or shut them out. Peter just loved them enough to tell them the truth. “Hey I know you didn’t understand what you were doing, but you need to know, because this knowledge will save your soul.”

So Jesus, “Hit me again.” Today I desire to be filled with that kind of compassion, that Peter kind of, Jesus kind of love that says, “Hey, I just love you enough to let you know what’s at risk here.” Maybe that prayer is being answered today when someone reads this, maybe it will be answered through some place I teach, or by some chance happening. But I pray that God continues to fill His people up with the boldness to speak His words as we ought with compassion, love and truth, so that those around us might know the truth and be set free.

fill er up

Fill ‘Er Up

Just a quick morning thought from the book of Acts. The chapter is 3 and the song I learned as a child is already in my head:

“Peter and John went to pray. They met a lame man on the way. He stuck out his palm and asked for an alm, and this is what Peter did say: ‘Silver and gold have I none. But such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ He went walking and leaping and praising God. Walking and leaping and praising God. In the name of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

That’s the story in a nutshell, and as I read through it this morning, I kept seeing “filled up” people, and in seeing them “filled up,” it made me want to live my life “filled up” as well. And I found myself praying to God some “Fill er up” prayers for me and my friends and family. Things like:

The desire to be filled up with the passion to pray like Peter and John who were on their way to temple at 3 in the
afternoon.

The desire to be filled up with serving like the unknown people who brought their lame friend to the temple gates to
beg.

The desire to be filled up with perseverance like the lame man who continued to go there and ask day after day.

The desire to be filled up with the vision to see those who get passed by day after day like Peter and John did.

The desire to be filled up with contentment like Peter and John who knew that having God was better than
having money.

The desire to be filled up with the boldness to look someone in the eye and offer them Jesus like Peter to did the
lame man.

The desire to be filled up with the willingness to take someone by the hand, help them up and bring them into the
church like Peter did.

The desire to be filled up with a humble heart able to accept the gift of healing when God offers it to me like the
lame man did.

The desire to be filled up with overflowing, enthusiastic thanks and praise for all the ways that God has healed and
helped me like that lame man did.

The desire to be filled up with awe and wonder when I see wat God is doing in the people and world around me like
the people in the temple did.

The desire that those I know and love and have yet to know might be filled up with the same things bringing glory to
God with each and every step, hop and leap of faith we take as He takes our hands and walks with us into His
house.

And with that thought, it’s time for me to rise up and walk, praising God (and yeah, maybe I’ll do a little leaping along the way, too!)