Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Storybook, Prayer & Storms

As a family, we are on our third time reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible.  It's a fantastic children's Bible put out by Zondervan.  It's a very poetic paraphrase of stories throughout the Scriptures.  The part I enjoy the most is that every story told points to Jesus.  It is a wonderful tool for reading the Bible with Natalie.

I was quite surprised the other night (because Natalie is a stickler for routine) when after we got done reading, she asked, "Can pray the prayer they did?"  She was referring to Jesus' prayer in Matthew chapter 6.  "Of course", I replied, and went on to explain that lots of people for a very long time have been praying that same prayer.  In fact, many people pray it several times a day, everyday.  So, for the past few nights we have been praying that very same prayer.  It has been a great blessing to have a mini-praying the hours with Natalie.  Here it is from the Jesus Storybook Bible:

“Hello Daddy!

We want to know you.

And be close to you.

Please show us how.

Make everything in the world right again.

And in our hearts, too.

Do what is best – just like you do in heaven,

And please do it down here, too.

Please give us everything we need today.

Forgive us for doing wrong, for hurting you.

Forgive us just as we forgive other people

When they hurt us.

Rescue us! We need you.

We don’t want to keep running away

And hiding from you.

Keep us safe from our enemies.

You’re strong, God.

You can do whatever you ant.

You are in charge.

Now and forever and for always!

We think you’re great!


Yes we do!

Tonight we read about Jesus and his disciples when they were sailing across the lake and they got caught in a terrible storm.  Jesus' disciples were experienced fisherman, but they had never seen a storm like this one.  No matter what they did the "storm was too big for them.  But the storm wasn't too big for Jesus."  The disciples yelled for help, "'Rescue us!  Save us!' they shrieked. 'Don't you care?' (Of course Jesus cared, and this was the very reason he had come -- to rescue them and to save them.)  Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm.  'Hush!' he said.  That's all.  And the strangest thing happened... The wind and the waves recognized Jesus' voice... Immediately the wind stopped.  The water calmed down.  It glittered innocently in the moonlight and lapped quietly against the side of the boat, as if nothing had happened." It seems impossible, but the disciples were so focused on the storm that they forgot he (JESUS!) was in the boat with them.  "They had forgotten that, if Jesus was with them, then they had nothing to be afraid of.  No matter how small their boat -- or how big the storm.

After reading this story and praying Jesus' prayer from Matthew 6 we took some time to talk about how our family might feel like we are in a storm when things get difficult and scary.  I tried to make the connection between the disciples needing to trust Jesus because He was with them and we need to trust Him because He is with us.  We also talked about how God is so powerful that He can do anything... even talk to a storm.  Natalie understood the parts of the story we read and our family's story... but she admitted having some difficulty piecing the two together.  This will definitely be a conversation piece at meals and bedtime.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sacred Pathways

I just started reading Gary Thomas' book Sacred Pathways.  So far, it is an insight look at the different pathways or "temperaments" people have which most easily allow them to worship God (note: I do not mean singing).  The book is easy to read, includes good illustrations, has practical advice and seeks to help the reader become a more balanced worshipper who is aware of their temperament and the temperaments of others.

I tend to find books like this one to be very timely.  They are most beneficial because I have an immediate need for correction, repentance, encouragement, renewal, reminding or empowerment.  There are only a few books that have impacted me in such ways that I can still recall chapter titles, illustrations, concepts and specific charts, graphs or statistics.  It seems that most of the time the books I read have a more immediate effect, which of course has the potential to change me today and subsequently... every day after (even if I do not remember everything that was said).  I think Sacred Pathways is one of those books.  I do see some similarities/correlation with things like the DISC test or spiritual gifts testing which may cause some of the material to stick for a good while.

Books like this also challenge me to more accurately view myself and others through principles and parameters drawn from scripture.  Check out the next few posts on the sacred pathways, quotes, concepts and big ideas.