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The Big Mission - Bible Society
A place to discuss theological ideas about ministry with children.
Latest Activity: Mar 22
Started by Glenis Ruston. Last reply by Glenis Ruston Sep 19, 2013.
Started by Robert Hubbard. Last reply by Helena Kittle Oct 20, 2010.
Started by Reuben. Last reply by Dave and Sheri Gidney Sep 21, 2009.
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Hi folksI've just written my first book, published by Evangelista Media, on discipleship of and mission to and with children, young people and families, and wondering if you might be interested in finding out more about it (endorsements are available on the website). The first four chapters contain a theological and biblical examination of children and family in the Old and New Testament before I move on to look at some practical issues and in particular to look at missional communities that place children and family at the heart instead of at the edge.Introduction and rationale behind the book are all on www.lynnalexander.org.ukThanks so much for reading!Lynn
I think the Book of Job has some help for us here ... those who seek simplistic answers a one size fits all answer are clearly marked as wrong in the book, and the one person who is marked as righteous ends up not having a clue ... but accepting simply that God will do right !
Does this add to our debate?
Hi Kay, (Remember me? Think I was a member of CWW "Once upon a time")
Thank you for your post, this is something that really resonates with me too on a number of levels. Personally, as for the past decade or so, my wife has suffered with an chronic pain condition that causes her severe pain 24/7 and she is registered disabled. Often and fervently we have pleaded with God for healing yet to date his reply is "my grace is sufficient for you" and we would testify that that is true! If sometimes disappointing...
Theologically in my work with children one of my biggest concerns is the shallow theology that is often shared with children and young people. As you rightly question if God intended sexual abuse, disability and premature death then how will children understand a loving and faithful God who wants the best for us? Often I find this bad or shallow theology in children's worship songs especially the ones I hear used as prayer songs, where the lyrics include God helping me to sleep and keeping me safe. What does this say to a child who is not safe in their bed?
I guess I broadly agree with Wanda and her reply that we don't know many of the answers to these sorts of questions and if we did then God would not be God (i.e. if we could understand God then he would be smaller than us) and I think therefore we need to explain this to children. To be brave enough to say we don't know and not pretend that we have all the answers.
I also absolutely agree that God does use bad and painful experiences for his purposes! Just ask all the people that my wife intercedes for, to get testimony to that!
May God richly bless you in 2012 and beyond too!
Kay, I tried to leave this comment at your Blog site but it wouldn't let me.
This is something I've prayed about for a long time - and continue to pray how to articulate it. I have a deep understanding but have a kind-of aphasia that keeps me from fully articulating it. So please bear with me.
It begins with, "Do I accept the Bible as the final Word on who God is?" I do - so my thoughts are based on that premise.
I accept that God is God and I am a mere human.
I can't understand everything because I am not God. Much of Christianity demands that we accept God on faith, that we accept what He does and does not do on faith. It demands that we accept that because we are mere humans we do not have the capability of understanding everything.
Kids understand and accept mysteries better than adults. Can we explain the Trinity? No and when we try we mess it up. I tell the children that the Trinity is a mystery, God is one in three persons because that is what the Bible teaches us. I wrote on that http://www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org/2011/06/21/child-discipleship-the... and http://www.kidtrek-sundayplus.org/2011/06/23/child-discipleship-tea...
I give you those two links just in case there is something that would be helpful to use in talking to children about pain in our lives.
We know that God is all knowing, all powerful and all loving. God is also Holy.
We know that humans are inclined to faulty reasoning. We aren't all knowing, all powerful nor are we all loving. And we definitely not Holy except through the blood of Christ.
The Bible shows us, tells us that God takes us into difficult, painful situations. Consider Job for one and Joseph for another.
We have two choices.
1. Accept who God is and that we don't have all the answers.
2. Create a God of our own making (as the Israelites did) so we will feel comfortable today.
If we choose number 2 I believe one day we will stand before God and He will tell us He doesn't know us.
Romans 8:28 tells us that God works all things together for good to those who follow Him, not to those who follow a made-up god.
Key is that we don't waste our pain. I have gone through horrible pain where I have begged Jesus to take me home. One day as I pleaded with Him I heard, "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain." I responded with, "Okay Lord I will go on living for You, not for myself, not for my husband, not for my children only for You."
We must take the focus off of ourselves and place it on Jesus. I am writing a Children's curriculum through the Bible - last year going through the Old Testament again there was a deep challenge of God's sovereignty. Now in the New Testament over and over being pointed to the need to focus, focus, focus on Jesus and not self.
That is hard when we are in the mist of horrible times. Something happened two months ago that shook my world. No one could be held accountable for what happened except that God made it happen. I screamed at Him for a day then I remembered everything He has done in my life, I remembered what He has done for me taking all my sin on Himself, I was drawn again to Romans 8:28 and the promise. I again felt my whole being submitting to Him and recognizing that He knows what is best.
You mentioned the word intend in your post. Did God intend? Perhaps that word has different meaning to humans than to God. We can only see the present, we can't see the whole picture.
What happened two months ago God could have stopped - He had the power, He knew it was going to happen.
Why didn't He? I don't know, I may never know in this life. This is a mystery.
However, I do know that God is all loving so whatever His reason it is because He loves me.
When we create a false god in our need for an explanation we lead children to waste their pain. Not only do they waste their pain they don't grow to know the Almighty God.
I believe that our life today is to heaven what childhood is to adulthood. How we live our life here, how we respond to pain in our life, the choices we make will affect our eternity. Getting into heaven is a gift, however our place in heaven is dependent on our life lived here. (I know this is a whole different topic :) ) Jesus spoke often about the rewards in heaven.
We also must be careful not to compare suffering - that person hasn't suffered as much as I have. God has hard-wired each one of us differently. What is minor to one person may be major to another because of how they are created.
I hope these thoughts aren't too jumbled and that they will add to the discussion.
A question I've posed on my personal blog - God's Will...? http://bit.ly/AfX2Yp Would be good to have thoughts from my fellow theologians!!
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