When I was in youth group (back in the day), some of the guys held up a sign to our youth pastor that said K.I.S.S. Translated, Keep It Simple, Stupid.
I've come to a conclusion. Making the truths of the Gospel simple enough for those who wouldn't classify themselves as 'intellectuals' or even, children, and teenagers for that matter, is NOT an easy undertaking.
My hubby is SUPER intelligent... and well, me? Ummmm.... What can I say? Opposites attract?
Did you know that there are levels of of genius-ness (Yeah, I totally made that word up.) I didn't know that until I met Todd. And the only reason I know it is because he is 'sub' genius. Right under the 'genius' category. The only thing I have going for me is that I sleep next to him and maybe some of his intelligent brain waves come my way. Kidding, of course. :)
Have you ever learned about something rather HUGE and intricate and then someone asked you to explain, but you just didn't know where to start and how to simplify it? Well, that is smack dab where I am finding myself.
If you read my previous post, you know that I'm looking for some format to discuss the Gospel with Keano primarily, and I think I've found it.
We will be commencing Battle Training. (insert crazy, wild, manly, slightly tribal, battle cry)
Think WOW or paint ball or UFC training, ooooh, or better yet, that thing military people do to prepare themselves for the real battle. Yep, bring it on, baby! 'Cuz here we go!
And did I mention that this Mama knows how to have fun? LOTS of fun.
If you don't think I'm completely crazy and want to read on to the how I'm going to attempt this and why, then read on. If not, better to probably just forget this blog even exists because it's really only the beginning :)
Most Important: Why
The only way the Christian is going to be able to combat the struggle that comes his/her way (either through means of their own flesh, the enemy, or God Himself) is if they know how to apply the Gospel. If the Gospel is simply a list of 'be goods and do goods' as a means to earn God's approval or a means by which we come up to good with him, then we will end up in one of two categories.
1. Complete despair. Feeling and believing as though God is disappointed with us. In this persons mind they have failed God time and time again and simply can just not be good enough to have his approval or favor. Though they typically don't struggle with God's personal love for others, they immensely struggle with God's personal, lavishing, love for them. (This was me.) One can continue on in this for quite some time, but burn out is inevitable. It's like pouring water in your gas tank. ....eventually you're gonna stop.
2. Arrogance. Feeling and believing that God is grateful to have you on His side. In this persons mind, they are the prime example of doing all the 'be goods and do goods' of Scripture and what would God do if He didn't have them? The Kingdom just might be at stake. They struggle understanding how other Christians continue to fall into the same 'sin' over and over again and compassion is not an attribute they usually have much of.
While teaching at a womens' conference in Namibia, my Mom gave us this definition of the Gospel:
"God has rescued us and is rescuing us. He has renewed us and is renewing us.... All through the person and work of Jesus Christ on our behalf."
On my best day, I could not rescue myself positionally or practically. I could not renew myself positionally nor practically. I need it to be done for me!
I love it! I love it, I love it, I love it! When I hear it preached or taught, I literally have to contain myself. (I suppose I also have to contain myself when the opposite is preached or taught as well. Once you've been freed you don't even like the sound of chains anymore.)
Back to my point.
The reason our Battle Training is important is so that when the battle comes, and it will (we'd be foolish to think not), I want Keano to know his arsenal. It's easy to think that just because he may know Scriptural facts and Biblical history that it will some how keep him from struggling. It wont. It wont, it wont, it wont. (not undermining the importance of those teachings, but if they are not in the context of the Gospel, then they are of little to no avail.)
The only way to keep him from a cycle of sin is if he knows how to apply the Gospel. Hands down.
'If I knew then, what I know now, I would....."
"Hind site is 20/20."
It's true. It's true for all of us. Christian or not, if we knew what trouble was coming our way, we would prepare for it. But, the truth is, trouble is coming. It will come for our kids. It will come for us. ....So we must teach them what to do when it comes. ...And it can't be a list of 'be goods and do goods.' There must be more. Those lists MUST be in the context of the Gospel or we are simply preparing them for failure.
Am I wrong? Tell me if I'm wrong.
The FUN part: How
This dear friends is important. ...Maybe equally as important to the 'why.'
The Gospel isn't boring. The Gospel isn't drudgery. The Gospel isn't a separate part of our lives. The Gospel is ALIVE. The Gospel is full of ENJOYMENT. And the Gospel, dear friends, includes EVERY part of our lives.
So, when teaching the Gospel to our little ones (or not so little ones) it must be THESE things. They mustn't hear one thing and see something else. Don't you remember how perceptive you were as a child/teenager? Don't you remember making those secret vows to yourself, saying "When I'm older, I'll never do....." or "I'll always....." Yeah, those would be the things I'm talking about.
I'm certainly not advocating 'law' at this moment, but before we engage in teaching our children the Gospel, we would be wise to seriously take a time out (sorry, we use that phrase a lot these days :) and ask ourselves is the Gospel alive to us? Does it bring us great joy? Has it permeated every part of our lives, or better yet, do we want it too?
Before we could ever even attempt to put a 'how' together we need to examine why we would even want to. (not that there is only one way. What I'm about to lay out is simply what I'm excited about with Keano. I'm sure it looks ENTIRELY different for each family/child/parent etc.)
Moving on. Here is my game plan for me and Keano.
We are going to study the amazing, miraculous, glorious way in how we went from the state of being enemies of God, to being called his son and daughter. In other words, The Order of Salvation.
If I just lost you and you went 'Ugh. ....What did I just read?' Well, don't check out on me quite yet. Hang in there!
Were going to spend 1 week on each of these topics.
Calling: External and Internal
Conversion: Faith and Repentance
I'm going to be teaching these in FUN ways and SERIOUS ways. We'll be creative as to how to teach them. Think, illustrations, examples, stories, and dramas, music, comparisons, etc.
As for the specifics, check back later ;)