John Piper Invites Rick Warren

John Piper Invites Rick Warren to Desiring God National Conference "to lay his cards on the table." Listen to what Piper says about WHY he invited Warren.


God, The Boss of Ouwies

More and more I feel like God is taking me and undoing me in the area of Early Childhood. It’s like “The UN-education of Heather Burdette.” J It’s been so amazing!  Just last week I was listening to a message titled “Great Truths for Small People: Teaching the Sovereignty of God to Children”. In it the speaker Sally Michael discussed that children need to understand God is the boss of everything. She gave many examples on how to help young children understand that. It was like I was at CSUF all over again- sucking up everything I could get.

So yesterday I don’t know how it happened. All I know is that at lunch-time God gave me grace and I was able to talk about God being the boss of everything. First, I started out by saying how Ms. Amy is the boss of me and how Ms. Amy also has a boss. They named her. We moved on talking about who their boss is at home, etc., etc. It was wonderful.

I took it a little further to explain, “Just as Mommy & Daddy are the boss at home, God is the boss of EVERYTHING! What else do think God is the boss of?” In an attempt to be silly one of the girls said, “God is the boss of trees!” My response was “Yes, He sure is! He makes the trees grow whenever and wherever he likes! Remember in the story of Jonah God made a tree grow to give Jonah shade. God can do what he pleases with trees. What else is God the boss of?” It was perfect. Everything I learned from that message came back to me! Someone said “BUGS!” “Yes, that’s right! Remember in the story of Moses and Pharaoh, God sent grasshoppers and flies to the land of Egypt?! God is the boss of insects too!” It was so fun! They were naming all kinds of things and fully paying attention!

Today I also got to emphasize this while I was asking the preschoolers what they would like to pray for. As I was talking to one of the boys, he said “I want to pray for mommy because she has an ouwie on her toe and it won’t stop bleedin.”  It was a perfect time to talk about how God is the boss of sickness-including ouwies (not just of the natural creation). I told him, “Danny, I’d like to pray for that right now. Did you know that God is the boss of ouwies? He can say to that ouwie on your mom’s toe ‘Go away ouwie!’ and it will go away! God is the boss of ouwies. He has the power to make all things better!” Danny got so excited! I asked, “Danny, do you believe that?” With big eyes and a huge smile he said, “Yea, God is the boss!”

I’m almost crying right now just thinking about this.  His belief was joyful. What grace God gave me to communicate that God is the all-powerful sovereign Creator! Then without me asking he got on his knees, head to the floor and hands folded. We prayed and believed that God-the Boss of ouwies would heal his Mommy’s toe. God is so gracious to me.


Blogger Love

So I’m not much of a blogger on the weekends. Since my husband and I work opposite schedules I spend all the time I can get with him during el fin de semana. However, since he’s not home on the weeknights, blogging has given me a fun way to gather my thoughts. And it’s just been so cool getting into this whole blogging “community”.

Actually, just last week, the photographer of our engagement pictures, Aurora, invited me to be a guest blogger for one of her blogs called GUTS (Girls Using Their Strengths). The purpose of the blog is to “to come together as sisters in Christ” so we can better each other and “ultimately our world for Jesus Christ” via blog.  I wrote on Kindness. Go here to read it and then follow her blog. I heard from a very reliable source that Sarah Potts, the world’s best blogger, will be guest-writing soon! J


To cool the flame

It's been weighing on my heart when I see children that seem to explode with anger. Can you imagine a little body stiff with the overwhelming emotion of anger? It is very sad to seem them so overcome & burdened in this way. As a result, I've thinking about the things I can do as a christian teacher to help them. My top tool so far? Prayer. It's been starting & ending with that. There have been so many things I have been learning, and sometimes I can't help but think okay, did little Timmy really get that? Does he really get that God is strong, that he forgives? Did I give T.M.I.? I have to pray to ask that God would continue to give me boldness, teach me to communicate more clearly, and even repent for anything I may have done wrong.

One thing that I'm going to try to do is talk to them about a verse or tell them a verse during those fist-clenching and feet stomping times (well maybe I'll do it after the steam fades off a bit ). But guess who has to know the verses before I can even explain them? That would be me. I'm getting on that right away.

A couple of days ago I was looking at Justin Taylor's blog (which if you don't subscribe-you totally should) and he posted a helpful tool for memorizing scripture. It's called Memorize Now. I used it to memorize 1 John 1:9 and a verse on anger that I'm hoping to use with all of the kids in reminding them to use soft words. This is what one might call a "preventive measure"- keeping trouble away before it even happens. I want to memorize more- especially from from Proverbs.

Proverbs 15:1 says "A soft answer turns away wrath, a harsh word stirs up anger." May God give me the grace to share His Word.


Body Sock Fun!

From her handy-dandy bag of tricks, Ms. Amy pulled out a Body Sock. If you don't know what that is, you will not only know what that is by the end of the video but you will want one :) The kids got to step inside and dance around. It was fun for the kids but it was even more fun for me to watch Ms. Amy run around the class like this. You can probably hear me cracking up. Enjoy.


Essential Gospel Truth #10

10) Those who trust in Jesus will live to please Him and will receive the promise of eternal life — enjoying God forever in heaven.

Suggested Verse: Luke 9:23;  John 11:25;  1 John 2:25;  Psalm 16:11

Explanation: “If you want play the piano or be on a baseball team, would you expect that it would take a certain amount of time and practice? Would it be a good thing want to think about this before you started piano lessons or joined the baseball team? Why? There is a “cost” involved in the choices we make. If you want to play the piano well it will demand your time because you will have to practice. You will need to give up other things in order to do it. What might you have to give up in order to play the piano well? What will you need to change in order to be a good baseball player?

                  Salvation is a free gift offered to you by God and it is given to everyone who truly repents and is trusting in Jesus. But salvation is a free gift that will cost you something also – the cost is your whole life! What does that mean? It means that you must to do things Jesus’ way instead of your own way. It means that every day you must trust and follow Jesus for the rest of your life – when you’re 10, 20, 50, and even 90 years old. In order to do this, there are things you will have to give up and things and you will need to change.

                  For example, you will need to spend time praying instead of just playing. You will need to spend time reading your Bible instead of just watching television. You will need to spend time thinking about God instead of just thinking about friends. And that is hard work! Have you thought about the “cost” of trusting in Jesus? Are you ready to truly repent and trust Jesus and then do things His way for the rest of your life? Even when you get old?

                  God has a promise for everyone who is trusting in Jesus: He will give you a special Helper, the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit is God and lives inside every person who trusts in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is all-powerful and He is there to help you with the hard work of doing things Jesus’ way. The Holy Spirit will begin to change you so that you love, trust, obey, and enjoy God more and more. 

                  There is a cost in following Jesus, but God has promised a HUGE reward for everyone who trusts in Jesus. A reward that is so great and exciting that it is better than anything that we can even imagine. What is it? Eternal life! Eternal life is living forever in heaven with God. Heaven is a real place where everyone who is trusting in Jesus will someday go to live. God’s people won’t sin anymore. Our bodies will be perfect. No more ouwies. No more being sick. No dying. No more feeling hurt or lonely. There will be no bad things or things that scare us in heaven. Everything will be clean and perfect and beautiful. But those things aren’t even the best part of heaven. The best part of heaven is that God will live there with His people. We will finally get to really SEE Jesus! And there is nothing or no one who is as amazing, great, wonderful, fantastic, beautiful, and exciting as Jesus. And being with Jesus is what will make us happy forever.”

Heather’s Illustration:

·       Practice: When the child is practicing (baseball, piano, Spanish, etc) Explain to them “It sure does take a lot of time and effort to become skilled at doing this doesn’t it? But after your game the other day it sure did pay off when you hit a double because of all your batting-practice. That’s a little bit of what its like to follow Jesus. It will cost us our time and effort to read our bibles and to pray but there will be a special happiness knowing we are doing what Christ has called us to do.”

---Emphasizing the Holy Spirit’s Role in following Jesus---
*It is important that “cost” doesn’t get associated with living a life of works. Driving home the role of the Holy Spirit will prevent a mindset of works*
·       Planting a flower: Plant a flower seed with the child. Talk about “ We are planting the seed. We will also water the seed. Do we make it grow? Who makes it grow? Can we say ‘Listen here flower seed you grow right now!” No. It does not listen to us. We follow the process by planting and watering but it is not us that makes it grow. God does. He makes what it is supposed to be- a flower. That is a little bit of what it’s like to follow and obey Jesus. We do what he calls us to do and the God-the Holy Spirit- will work in us to help us be what we are supposed to be-a follower of Christ.

Implication: If you are trusting in Jesus for your salvation, you must follow Him. Jesus has promised that when you die He will bring you to heaven to live with God and enjoy Him forever.

Heather’s thoughts:  When I was listening to the message on-line Jill Nelson ran out of time and wasn’t able to give illustrations. So sorry you weren’t able to get her experienced illustrations. You only have mine. I hope they make sense. If you have any illustrations for this one, I’d love to hear them!

Well that’s the last one. I hope they have been a blessing to you in working with the children in your life-or even simply understanding the elements of the gospel.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope ~Romans 15:13



Essential Gospel Truth #9

9) God offers the free gift of salvation to those who repent and believe

Suggested Verses: Mark 1:15;  John 3:16-17;  Acts 4:12;  Ephesians 2:8-9

Explanation: “Jesus came into the world in order to save sinners from death and hell so that we could go to heaven and live with God forever. The word salvation means “to save” someone. And because of what Jesus did, God now wants to give sinners the free gift of salvation. Salvation is like a wonderful gift – in fact, it’s the best present that you could ever receive! Salvation is a free gift because it’s something you don’t deserve and could never earn or work for. Jesus did all the work for you! 

                  Does that mean that everyone – all people – are saved from death and hell because of what Jesus has done? Does it
mean that as long as you know the story about what Jesus did on the cross, you will be saved? How can you and I get this free gift from God? God has decided that He will give salvation to everyone who repents of their sins and believes in Jesus. When God decides to save a sinner, He brings about a change in his or her heart. What is this change? Repentance and belief. To repent means that you understand that you are a helpless sinner who deserves the punishment of death and hell. And knowing that, you feel terrible about your sin and your disobedience to God. You hate your own sin, your sin nature, and sin of all kinds, and want to turn away from your sin and look to Jesus for forgiveness.

                  Believing in Jesus means that you believe true things about Him: You believe that He is God’s Son. You believe that He
never sinned. You believe that when He died on the cross, He was punished in your place. You believe that He rose from the dead and is living today. You believe that He alone can save you and bring you to heaven to live with God forever. But believing in Jesus is not just about knowing and agreeing with true things about Jesus. I can believe that someone is a good pilot, but if I’m afraid to get on his plane and fly with him, I’m showing that I don’t really believe in his ability as a pilot. 

                  That is a little like what it means to “believe in Jesus”. It means that you are trusting Him to save your life. You are 
depending on Him. You are placing all of your confidence in Him. You believe that He died on the cross for YOU not just for other people. You believe that He will bring YOU to heaven to live forever with God. And, if you are really trusting in Jesus, you will also repent of your sins. Repentance and belief always go together.”

·       Egg Activity: Show your children an uncooked egg. Give them a small prize. Then give them a whistle. Tell them “I promise you, if you blow this whistle three times that egg will break. And you will receive that big prize. If you decide to blow this whistle three times and that egg doesn’t break, then I’m going to take away the prize in your hands. What are you going to do? Do you want to keep this prize, or do you trust me that that egg will break when you blow that whistle three times?” (There will be children in the class that will not blow the whistle because they do not take the teachers/parent’s word-not sure that the parent/teacher will follow through with the promise. They are not confident in that promise. But if that child is believing in you and confident & trusting in you, they will blow that whistle three times.) Once the whistle is blown three times the egg WILL break (not by itself-but by the teacher/parent) J
o    The Catch: They were thinking that somehow it was the whistle that would break the egg. It’s not the whistle that breaks the egg.
o    Points to drive home:
§   It wasn’t you: “Was it you that broke the egg? No. Was it the whistle that broke the egg? No, it was me responding to you blowing the whistle, that the egg broke. That’s a little bit of what it’s like to have faith and to trust in Jesus for your salvation. You are depending on him & confident that he will do what he says he will do.”
§  It’s not just faith: It’s not our faith that saves us. It is the object of our faith-namely, Jesus. Just as that child did not break the egg by the whistle, it was my response to their faith.  God says he will save everyone who trusts in Jesus. He responds by giving them the free gift of salvation.

Implication: God tells you to believe in Jesus & repent of your sins and you will receive his free gift of salvation.

Heather’s thoughts: I love this egg activity! Though I think it will mostly work for the upper elementary, I’d like to try it with younger. I’m thinking even 4-5 year olds would follow along and learn too. The points to drive home were real good. What an amazing truth to learn at a young age that “It’s not just faith.” People put their faith in many things sports teams, what people think of them and money. We could even put our faith in good things like  husbands, wives and friendships. The only thing is those things will never save us or leave us eternally satisfied. Jesus-the object of our faith-is the only thing worth putting all of our faith into. Once we do that, he responds with the gift of salvation. What a big thing to learn for a little child!

Tomorrow will be the final Essential Gospel truth! So stay tuned for “Those who trust in Jesus will live to please Him and will receive the promise of eternal life — enjoying God forever in heaven.”


Essential Gospel Truth #8

8) God put the punishment of sinners on Jesus

Suggested Verses: Isaiah 53:5;  Romans 5:8;  2 Corinthians 5:21;  1 Peter 2:24

Explanation: “Our biggest problem is that we are sinners who deserve to be punished by God with death and hell.
But because God is merciful, He made a way for sin to be punished and sinners to be saved. How? God sent Jesus into the world to save helpless sinners. How could Jesus do this? Because Jesus is fully God, He did something that
you or I or anyone else could ever do. Jesus obeyed all of God’s commands, all of the time. Jesus never sinned, He is perfectly holy and righteous. How does this help sinners? 

      Since Jesus is holy and righteous and had no sin of His own, He was able to be the perfect substitute for sinners. What is a substitute? Someone who takes the place of someone else. For example, a substitute teacher takes the place of your teacher when she is absent. A baby-sitter takes the place of mom and dad when they are gone. 

      Jesus acted as a substitute for sinners by taking the place of sinners. How? Jesus was willing to take the punishment for all the sins of His people. Jesus received from God the punishment that His people deserved. Jesus did this on the cross. This is what God sent Jesus into the world to do. That is why Jesus was hung on a cross – so that God, His Father, would punish Jesus instead of having to punish His people. When Jesus died on the cross in place of His sinful people, He experienced all of the terrible anger and hatred that God has toward their sin. 

      Not only did Jesus take away the sin and punishment of His people so that our sins would be forgiven, Jesus also gives something to His people – something that you and I need in order to go to heaven and live forever with God. What did Jesus give to His people? His perfect righteousness!  Remember, God says that we must be holy and righteous and obey Him all of the time. Jesus always obeyed God. Jesus is righteous and holy. When Jesus died on the cross He took away the sin and punishment of His people and then gives to them His perfect righteousness!” 

      But Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end of the story. After Jesus died, He was buried. But guess what? Jesus didn’t stay buried. He was resurrected from the dead. That means that He rose from the death and came alive again! Jesus’ resurrection is proof that He has won the battle over sin and death and hell. And because of this, God’s people are now saved so that they can someday go to heaven and live with and enjoy God forever! Jesus is a living Savior. There is no one else like Jesus!

·       Times of discipline (for younger children): “What if daddy said that he would receive your spanking in your place instead of you? Would that be good news? That’s a little bit of what it’s like when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus took all the spankings that his people deserved and he got spanked in their place. God punished Jesus for our sin, so that we would not have to be punished by God and could go to heaven and live forever with God.”

·       Back Pack Activity (Older children): Get the biggest backpack/pack. Label it “my sin” put it on your child & start loading, loading, loading with books or heavy objects till they are weighted down. Then tell your child “that’s a little bit of what it’s like to be weighted down with sin. God said there’s a right punishment for all that sin you are carrying. What is it? God’s punishment.” Give the adult playing Jesus “Holy & Righteous” and give your child a sign sign that says “SIN.” Now say, “ We are going to pretend that Dad is Jesus for a minute. We are going to give dad a bag to carry but guess what? There’s nothing in it because Jesus had no sin. He was Holy & Righteous. Have the adult playing Jesus lift the sack off of the child and carry it himself. Then give his own sack to the child. Then ask “Now Jesus took the sin of his people and bore it on his body and the tree, what then should Jesus get? Who gets this sign that says “SIN”. Jesus does. That’s a little bit of what it’s like of what Jesus did on the cross for sinners. He traded.”

·       Give a test: Make a test for your child (math/spelling). Make it so that it is impossible for child to get it correct. You take the same test, knowing that you could get them all correct. Put your name on it. Grade the papers. Say, “This one is all wrong. Jacob got every single problem wrong. He gets a ‘F’. Mom got them all correct. She deserves and “A.” She gets a prize because she got them all right. So mom’s got the prize now.” Now mom will take Jacob’s test and cross out his name and put her own name on it. Then take her own test and cross out her name and put Jacob’s name. Say, “Now who will get the prize? Jacob will. Was it because he did anything to get it? No. Mom traded tests. She gave him her perfect test, her perfect score, and the prize and gave it to Jacob. She took Jacob’s test and made it her own. That’s a little bit of what it’s like of what Jesus did on the cross for sinners. He traded with sinners.

Implication: Jesus died on the cross to be punished in your place

Heather’s thoughts: I remember the first time I heard of a parent doing something like this. It was so beautiful. My friend Wes told me that his professor was going to discipline his daughter. She was supposed to stay in time out for a certain amount of time. However, this time the father decided he was going to take her burden on himself. He let her go about her business while he took on her time-out. Later he explained the gospel through what he did for her. Wow! It almost made me cry when I heard it. What a beautiful thing that Jesus would take on every sinful, wrong, horrible thing we’ve ever done and carry out that punishment.

Tomorrow will be Essential Gospel Truth #9 which is “God offers the free gift of Salvation to those who repent and believe in Jesus” Almost to number ten! Hope you guys stick around!


Essential Gospel Truth #7

7) Jesus is God’s holy and righteous Son.

Suggested Verses: John 1:1, 14;  1 Timothy 1:15

Explanation: “How did God make a way for sin to be punished and sinners to be saved? By sending His one and only Son, Jesus, into the world. Because Jesus is the Son of God, He is fully God. That means that everything that is true of God the Father, is true of Jesus. For example, Jesus is all-powerful – just like God. That is why Jesus could things like healing sick people, making crippled people walk, making blind men see, and bringing dead people back to life. 

                  But when God sent Jesus to live on this earth, God also had Jesus become fully human. That is why Jesus was born as a real baby and grew up like real boys do and became a grown man. Because Jesus became a real person like you and me, He knows what its like to be sleepy and hungry. He understands what it is like to learn to walk and run and read and write. He knows how hard it can be to trust and obey God all of the time. And even though Jesus became just like us in all of these ways, He was able to do something that we could never, ever do. Jesus never once sinned! Because He is
God’s Son, He was born without a sin nature. Jesus was born without the desire to sin. And even when the devil tempted Him to sin, Jesus never sinned. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s holy, righteous, and good commands ALL of the time!  Jesus is holy and righteous. This is great news for sinners!


---Showing how Jesus never sinned---
·       Jesus temptation vs. Adam’s temptation
o   Adam was in the Garden & had everything to eat-Adam sinned
o   Jesus was in the wilderness & had nothing to eat –Jesus didn’t sin
o   Both tempted by Satan- Adam failed, Jesus succeeded

·       Make a list (of all possible sins): Write them on a white board with a marker. (Fill as much up as you can). Take an eraser and one by one ask “Did Jesus ever do _______?” No, he never stole, fought, envied, cheated, etc. Until the white board is all clear. Jesus never, ever sinned.

Implication: Jesus, God’s Holy and Righteous son, came into the world to save you

Heather’s thoughts:  I love the order of these presented. Because  #7 will have already been explained (which is “God is Holy & Righteous”) children will be able to see how they (Jesus & God) have the same character. Not only that, but it lays the foundation for also explaining the Trinity-because they share the same characteristics.

Sorry this post was so late tonight. Hope it blesses you anyways!

Tomorrow I will be posting Essential Truth #8 which is “God put the punishment of sinners on Jesus.”


Essential Gospel Truth #6

6) God is merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners.

Suggested Verses: Psalm 145:8;  Ephesians 2:8-9

Explanation: God is holy and righteous. God is right to demand that people be holy and righteous like
Him. God’s commands show us what it means to be holy and righteous. God’s commands also show us that we are all sinners. Because God is just, He is right to punish sinners – you and me – with death and hell. This is our biggest problem! And we are helpless to solve this problem. Is there anyone who COULD help us? Yes, GOD! God is all-powerful and nothing is too hard for Him to do. How could He help us? And why would He want to help

                  God is a merciful God. That means that God is kind to sinners who don’t deserve His kindness. God’s mercy (or grace) is like a free gift or present. Presents are wonderful things that someone gives to you. God gives helpless sinners the free gift of His kindness. It’s a free gift from God because it is not something that you deserve. God gives it to sinners because He wants to, not because He owes it to anyone. You can’t work for God’s mercy or earn God’s mercy by any- thing you do. How does God show that He is merciful to sinners? 

                  One way is by being patient with us. Even though God is right to be very angry with sin, God is slow to get angry and slow to punish us. God doesn’t have a temper tantrum when people sin. God’s anger isn’t “out of control”. He doesn’t throw us eagerly into hell when we sin. The fact that you and I are still alive, even after we have sinned against God, proves that God is patient with us. It is a free gift of His kindness – even though we don’t deserve His kindness.

                  But even though God is patient, He still must punish sin. So God in His mercy made a way for sin to be punished and sinners be saved. God, in His great kindness, made a way for sinners to be saved from death and hell so that we could go to heaven and live forever with God instead. That is the most merciful thing that God could do! That is the best free gift that God could ever give to sinners Did God have to do this? No. God did this because He is merciful and good.”

For starters discuss the Prodigal son (Luke 15): Read this story with children. Point to how the father gave undeserved kindness to his son. Then use examples in your child’s own life where they have received mercy show them and explain to them: That’s a little bit what it’s like when God is merciful to us.

·       Assign child a task: “If you dust the house today, I will give you one dollar.”  They dust. You say, “You have earned one dollar, I’m going to give you one dollar.” Later in the day, surprise your child and say “You know what? I want to give you a gift.” Give them a gift and ask them, “Now did you do anything to earn this gift?” They could say “Well I dusted the house earlier” and you respond with “No. I gave you a dollar for the dusting the house earlier-you earned that. I wanted to give you a gift just because I wanted to do it-because I love you. It wasn’t for anything special you did.” Then you can use an illustration to show them: “That’s a little bit of what its like that God show’s kindness to undeserving sinners. He gives us a free gift not because of anything we have done or earned but because he wanted to-because he loves us.”

·       Task & with payment: (This time give them something impossible to do). “Move the sofa from this side of the house to the other side of the living room.” (Don’t come up with a solution right away. Let them struggle through it). Later on in the day, you can say something like “You know what? I’ve decided that Dad will move the sofa for you. And Dad doing it, then I’ll give you the dollar. That’s mercy. Something impossible you couldn’t do. You couldn’t get the prize but somebody stepped in and did it for you. Out of kindness, you didn’t earn this dollar, you didn’t deserve it but I accepted that somebody came in and helped you-that’s mercy.”

Implication: You must depend on God’s Mercy in order to be saved.

Heather’s thoughts: Yesterday (explaining about sin & hell) was something very hard to hear & explain to children. However, without that it will be hard for us & others to see the magnificent beauty of God’s mercy on us.  Keeping in mind the things we’ve talked about so far, once we have the complete story or gospel, we will be able better see the wholeness of God’s beauty-the Holy God that came down to save and redeem a sinful chosen people through his son Jesus Christ all for the sake of His glory. May God grant us the grace to understand these things for ourselves so that we may joyfully share the good news to others-and especially children.

Tomorrow will be Essential Gospel Truth #7 which is “Jesus is God’s Holy & Righteous Son.”


Essential Gospel Truth #5

5) God is just and; right to punish sin

Suggested Verses: Romans 1:18; 6:23a

Explanation: “Because God is holy and righteous, He is right not to permit or allow any sin. Sin – even one
sin – is not okay with God. God hates sin and is very angry with sin. God is right to punish sin. That’s what it means that God is “just”. And God has decided that the right punishment for sin is death and hell. Death means experiencing God’s great anger forever in a place called hell. 

                  Because everyone is a sinner – including you and me – we all deserve to be punished by God. God would be right to send us all to hell. And there is nothing that we can do to help ourselves: We can’t become sinless by trying to do more good things than bad things – its too late for that isn’t it. We’ve already sinned too many times.  We can’t obey God perfectly – no matter how hard we work at it. We have a sin nature that makes us like the wrong things and makes us want to do the wrong things. We can’t clean away our sin.  Mommy and daddy can’t help you – mommy and daddy are helpless too. 

                  There is nothing more terrible than hell – it is worse than spankings, or bad ouwies, or being afraid, or being apart from mommy and daddy forever. We can never be happy in hell but we are helpless to save ourselves. We can only be happy forever if we go to heaven and live with God forever. But sinners can’t go to heaven. We deserve to be sent to hell. This is a huge problem – it is our biggest problem!”

H. B’s Interjection: As hard as this could have been to read, it would be even harder to get the words out of your mouth to a little child. Yet even harder still will be to stop yourself from jumping to the end of the story and telling what Jesus did on the cross & what he accomplished there. Why would you stop yourself? Well Jill Nelson said this:
Now let this sink in!  Don’t jump to the solution. We want our kids to wrestle with this. Don’t worry about having them feel bad! In fact, none of us can feel as bad about our sin and the offense it is to God as we should. And you need to feel something of the depth of condemnation before a Holy God, before you can begin to truly be amazed by free gift of salvation, justification from this same God. Let your children think about it, ponder, and feel it.
Illustration: (Looking at the world & the earthly effects of sin)

·       Crimes & Jail: “People are punished for their crimes & sent to jail, disobedience to parents results in various kinds of punishment”

---Why is it right that guilty people be punished?---
·       Angry Child: “He/she kid throws rock & cuts your eye: Why would it be a good thing for him to be punished? What does punishment show?”

---Why we can’t save ourselves & why it is good & right for God to punish sinners---
·       Bake cookies- (Instead of baking cookies for 10 minutes bake them for a half of an hour. What you will come out with is a very burnt cookie.) “Is this the way cookies are supposed to be? No. Would it be right for me to now say ‘These cookies are good anyways’? No, because then I would be a liar. It would not be right for me to say ‘These cookies are okay. They are good. No problem lets serve them to company’ That wouldn’t be right.

Where do these cookies belong? What would be right for us to do with these cookies? Throw them away. Can those cookies unburn themselves? No. They can’t. That’s a little bit-just a tiny bit of what it’s like that God is right to punish sinners. When we disobey God, even one of his commands, it’s a little bit like baking cookies at the wrong temperature. Just as the cookies have become darkened and bad, our hearts have become darkened with sin. It wouldn’t be right for God to say ‘that’s okay, they’re good anyway’ Then God would be a liar. God will not say ‘I was just kidding when I said you have to obey me perfectly all the time & be righteous & Holy. I won’t really punish you with death & hell. It’s okay. You are okay just the way you are.’ Just as those cookies are helpless to unburn themselves, we are helpless to change our own hearts. And you know what, you might be sad that we threw away a whole batch of cookies, but there’s something a whole lot more sad. That is, that you and I deserve to be thrown into hell and be punished forever by God. That’s a lot sadder.

Implication: You deserve God’s punishment of death and hell and you are helpless to save yourself.

Heather’s thoughts: With that, I don’t have much else to say. I wrote an entire blog on my feelings about presenting the ENTIRE, COMPLETE, WHOLE gospel to children. (Click here to view it). Yes, that would include telling children there is a place called hell & we deserve it.  Jill gives us an excellent way to share it lovingly & truthfully.

Tomorrow will be Essential Gospel Truth #6 which is “God is Merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners.”


Essential Gospel Truth #4

#4) Man is sinful.

Suggested Verses: Romans 3:20,23

Explanation: “In the Bible God’s law – the Ten Commandments – show us that God is holy and righteous.
God’s people must also be holy and righteous. If we are to live with God in heaven forever,
we must obey all of His commands perfectly, all of the time. We must never do anything wrong. Can we do this? Have you ever disobeyed any of God’s commands? Which ones? Have I?

                  So God’s commands also show us something else – they show us that we do wrong things. God’s commands show us that we don’t obey God all of the time. God’s commands show us that we all break His laws. That means that everyone – all people, even children and babies – are sinners. Being a sinner is the opposite of being holy and righteous. Sin is disobeying God. When did our sin begin? We were born with sin. From the very first moment you started growing inside your mommy’s body, you had a sin nature – the desire to sin. When a little baby gets angry and arches his back because dad is putting him in his car seat, he is acting out his sin nature. When a little toddler stamps her foot and says, “NO!” to mom, she is acting out her sin nature.

                  We received our sin nature from the first people, Adam and Eve, when they sinned in the Garden of Eden. And we show that we are sinners like them by the wrong things we think, desire, say, and do. For example: We don’t’ always love God most of all. We don’t obey His good command to honor mom and dad. Sometimes we lie about someone”

(Teachable moments: sassying back, envying a toy/game, fighting with friend, demonstrating more love for things than God. Use these & point to commandment that was broken and ask your child “What does this prove about you?” Be sure they know that Mommy & Daddy have the same problem by admitting sin & pointing back to the commandment broken)

---Demonstrating Sin Nature to children---
Animal World concerning “instinct”:
·       Lion: “If a lion has the choice between eating a head of lettuce or the meat, what will he always desire? The meat. Because animals are made with an instinct to desire meat.”
·       Rabbit: “If a rabbit has choice between meat or the lettuce, the rabbit will desire the lettuce. Because the rabbit has an inborn desire to eat plants and not meat.”
·       Take kids fishing: (Put a worm on a hook) “You offer a fish a worm and it’s desire is for the worm regardless of the hook. It goes after the worm even though that worm will mean the death of the fish.”
Always end those examples with “That’s a little something like what our sin nature is with the desire to sin.”

---Romans 3:23-all have fallen short---
·       Mirror Activity: (Take mirror & plaster mud all over it. Then show your child a flower and say, “What does the mirror reflect? Is it doing what it’s supposed to do? What changed? Did the flower change & become ugly? Or did the mirror change? That’s a little something of what it means when we fall short of the glory of God. Because we are sinners our hearts no longer show back to God that: He is the best, that he is the greatest. (*Please refer to Essential Gospel Truth #2 for previous Mirror Activity)

Implication: You have disobeyed God’s commands. You are a sinner.

Heather’s thoughts: How easy Jill (ha ha-like I know her!) has made it for us to think about presenting these gospel truths to children. The “Instinct” example of a lion is so great for teaching about Sin Nature. That can definitely be used for preschoolers.  Many seem to know even what carnivores & herbivores are with Dinosaurs. (Hey, we could use a dinosaur example too!)

Jeez, yesterday, today and tomorrow I think are a few of the hardest gospel truths to teach children. I believe that they are most hard for us because they are often overlooked in presentations of the gospel.  Thus when hardely talked about, they are definitely hard truths for us to hear about ourselves-let alone telling them to children. However, as I have mentioned before, their souls are just as important as a co-worker that we want to know Jesus or a neighbor or someone at the grocery store. Therefore, how can we NOT tell our children these truths? We must tell them-in their language/but not leaving out or sugar-coating the truth.

Anyways, as you can probably see, this gospel truth will naturally leads to the very next essential truth which is “God is JUST & is RIGHT to punish sin.” Tomorrow will be tough-just know that.