The kids in our Jr. Youth group like to prepare a sketch and a song that go together and present them in a morning service. We've done several parables already.
We're now working on a story from Matthew 21:18. Jesus talks about a father who tells his son to go work in the field. Son one gives a beautiful answer, but never goes to work. Son two doesn't say the right thing (he says no), but then he goes and does the work.
Son one is the person who sings, gives offering, and prays without ever obeying God. Son two is the person who does what God tells him to do.
The Jr. Youth members and I wrote a sketch about a president with two groups of 'cabinet members'. The first group applauds the president and does nothing. The second group speaks against his ideas, but ends up doing what they were asked to do.
Then we sing a song I wrote...a reggae beat with a few simple lines about obedience. That's followed by a rap segment that is in my mind (and hopefully in the kids' minds...and then in the minds of the congregation) all the time. It says: WORSHIP NEVER WALKS ALONE IN OUR LIVES. WORSHIP ALWAYS WALKS TOGETHER WITH OBEDIENCE. IF ULTIMATELY YOU WANT TO WORSHIP GOD, WELL THEN OBEY, OBEY, OBEY HIM!
If YOU want to worship God, well, then obey Him.
One of my new music students asked me to preach the message at his church the other week. It's the Baptist church down the road. I've spoken there from time to time over the years.
I took advantage of the opportunity to talk about Humility. It's a quality God has no need for Himself. He has now weakness of which to be conscious. He has no fault for which He should be humble. He is all powerful and all-knowing, so He can't 'puff Himself up' at all.
BUT, He gave us the ultimate act of humility when He left Heaven, became a man, lived as a servant, and died a criminal death. That is humble.
And then He says, "Follow me!" It's such a powerful message.
I shared with the young people an algebraic equation that I thought of while preparing the message: p + a = p2 (that's p squared...no way to type it, I guess). Code: Problem + arrogance = problems squared. When you address a problem...any problem...with arrogance, it gets worse. When you address it with humility, you are on the road to a solution. How's your algebra?
And, how's your humility?
It's a phrase that makes me smile. "I can't see the music."
No one can really SEE music, can they? Musicians always talk about printed notes as 'music'. But music is sound. You can't see it.
The other day I was working with the kids learning trumpet and trombone. I only had one sheet of music, and there were four trumpeters...and the sun was setting so the room was getting dark. As they leaned in to the page, one of them complained, "I can't see the music." I was happy. Many musicians here never learn to read a note of music. They never SEE a note at all. I'm glad these kids are learning to read.
I also worked with a couple of bass players this week who are reading music. What a delight to play a song with someone without having to help them memorize the changes!
I've been teaching regularly now since early October. I can see progress in the students who have been here regularly. It's a delight to see the growth.
Tuesday night I had a group of accomplished local players meet at the Teaching Center to plan rehearsals. They asked me to help them. The list of people studying here at the ASAPH Teaching Center continues to grow.
Glory To God!
The kids in the Jr. Youth group (of which I'm responsible) are reading Pilgrim's Progress. It's such a great story. The things Christian encounters are soooooo useful in helping kids think about the Christian life.
We watched an animated version of the film on Wednesday. I followed a young girl (13 or so) as she watched. She was baptized into church membership this summer while I was away. When Christian made it to the cross and the burden of his sins fell away, the girl smiled and lifted her hands. She apparently knows exactly what that is like...finding forgiveness.
The kids sit in silence and watch the movie though it is in a foreign language...English. We've read it in Creole, so they know the characters. And I translate some of the dialogue. I'm so impressed with the way the story captivates and inspires people.
I hope you've read the story yourself. If not, pick up a copy.
At one point Christian arrives in a place called Vanity Fair. They try to sell him all kinds of worldly things. He refuses all of it. For that, the people in the market are afraid of him. He is jailed, tried and convicted of 'trouble making'. It's not hard to see the parallels between Vanity Fair and USA 2013. In the end, Christian's friend Faithful is killed for his/her faith. BUT, among the people who witness her execution there are those who decide to leave Vanity Fair because of the way Faithful lived and died.
Remain faithful to the end...whatever end that may be.
Missionary in Haiti.