Saturday, December 18, 2010

Internal Life

Translated into over 1100 languages from Afrikaans to Zulu, John 3:16 must surely be the most memorized verse in the Bible. Martin Luther called it 'the Gospel in miniature'- just 26 words that summarize God's entire purpose for sending Jesus into the world:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Recently, I was teaching a 3rd Grade Bible class and had challenged the students to memorize John 3:16. A cute little girl raised her hand and recited the verse perfectly until she got to the next to the last word:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have internal life.
Her mom and I smiled as we automatically started to correct her, but then we stopped. That little girl was not wrong. In fact, she was absolutely right! We who believe in Jesus, along with eternal life, can claim 'internal' life too. As we celebrate the birth of Christ this season, let's remember that we have Jesus living inside us, with all the peace, joy and hope that He alone can bring. No matter what may rage externally, we can hold on to internal life- life 'in all its fullness.' This Christmas, let's sow the message of internal life deep into the hearts of the children we nurture.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10: 10

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Deep Water

I remember well the day I learned to swim. I was about six years old. I felt relatively safe and comfortable In the shallow end of the pool. With one strong arm under my stomach, my dad supported me as I vainly flapped my arms and kicked my legs. I  looked out fearfully over the surface of the water towards the deep end and vowed that I would never venture there. I was always afraid of the deep water- it looked dark and scary to me. But that day, I realized that my dad had taken his arm away and I was swimming by myself! More than that, I soon discovered that if I dared to enter that deep end, I could do so much more! Not only did that deep water help me swim better, but it enabled me to do all sorts of exciting things that would not be possible in shallower waters....I could jump in, I could dive, I could do cannonballs. Deep water was great!
I sometimes think that we who serve in Children's Ministry like to stay where it is safe and comfortable. We paddle around in the shallow end, afraid to enter deeper waters. But if we dared to stretch ourselves, to commit even more, to try new things, who knows what we could accomplish?
Is God calling us to deeper waters? Let's be brave, let's dive in and discover all the wonderful things we can do! I think we might find that deep water is great!