Tony had a turn of sharing a teaching with the Avian Park kids at My Father's House Worcester recently, before we shared a fun Mr. Bean movie. We like to include fun as well as worship, teaching and food. This day we had a full house of leaders - Tony, Soraya, Laurie-Ann and Tanya. Here's Tony's talk:
Some have you have been here for a few weeks, and you’ve seen some movies, and last week we drew some art. You coloured in some worship pictures. You are good artists. Very good artists. (Note: you will see pictures of the kids colouring in some of Laurie-Ann's drawings in a future post).
Some of you have been here for a few weeks, and there are some movies that we showed. We saw “Who is Jesus?” You saw “Why did Jesus die?” and we saw “How can I have faith?” In some of those, you were invited, and you could say, yes, I would like Jesus to come into my life. That’s the way that people can become a Christian. Laurie-Ann became a Christian a long time ago. Tanya became a Christian quite a long time ago. When did you become a Christian, Soraya? She answers, “When I became 18.” I became a Christian in 1984.
So some of you know who Jesus is, and you would like to follow Jesus. That’s what we call becoming a Christian. But that is not the ‘end’, that is just the beginning. It’s at that point when you start feeling that God is talking to you. God doesn’t normally talk in a voice like mine. Sometimes he talks to you in a dream. Sometimes you just get a feeling in your heart that he’s talking to you.
Have you ever had one of those feelings, Soraya? (yes) Have you had some of those feelings, Laurie-Ann? (yes) I know that God talks to Tanya all the time. She’s always telling me, “he told me, he spoke to me this morning.” So we would like to gradually get to know Jesus’ voice, as he talks to us. And the reason he likes to talk to us, is two reasons, is he loves us to talk to him, when we’re praying, because he loves us so much. When you love someone, you like to talk to them. And the other reason, is that he wants to help us in our lives. We like to think that he has a plan for our lives.
And in fact, when you were first born, and before you were born, God had a plan for YOUR life.
So he’s been waiting since then to be able to talk to you and tell you about the plan. God has a plan for EVERYBODY’S life. But many people never hear the plan – because they don’t know Jesus, they don’t become a Christian. So it’s a wonderful thing to be a Christian and to follow God’s plan. Sometimes when you’re following the plan, you feel that he wants you to do something, that you don’t think you can do. You don’t think you have the skill. Jesus was talking to me about ten years ago. He said, I want you to go to Africa. And I didn’t think that I could do it. I didn’t think that I had the skill. And I really didn’t trust him that much.
But then, in the Bible, we read about people that God gave plans to. One of the first ones was Abraham. Hands up if you’ve heard of Abraham. Abraham was very, very important. But he didn’t think that he was capable of carrying out God’s plan. But God told him, I will give you all the help that you need. Another person who didn’t think he could carry out God’s plan was Moses. Hands up if you’ve heard of Moses. Moses said to God, “I can’t even speak properly. I get tongue-tied.” But God said, I will help you. And Moses became a great leader.
And then there was Joshua. And Joshua was the one that brought the Israelites back into the promised land. And he didn’t think that he was a good enough leader to do that. So in the Bible, there are many, many people who were not clever, they were not rich, they were a little shy, they really didn’t want to talk to people. Is anybody here like that; a little shy? You really don’t want to talk to people? A few of you, maybe. But always, God said to them, I will help you. And then they went on to do wonderful work for God. If they hadn’t done that work, we would not be here today. We wouldn’t know about God. So we’re very, very grateful that they worked and had God’s help.
In the Bible, one of the most important people is the apostle Paul. He wrote one third of the New Testament. And he said, it is when we are weak, that we are strong. If we are weak, and we don’t think that we’re very clever, and very rich, and to be able to speak, we are weak. They don’t think they are important, but these are just the people that God is looking for. And why do you think that he’s looking for those kinds of people? He’s looking for them, because he can teach them. We call these people teachable. There are many people in the world who are not teachable. They think they know everything. Do you know anyone who thinks they know everything? Well, there are people out there who think they know EVERYTHING. And God finds it difficult to work with them, because they always want to do it THEIR way. And God wants them to do it HIS way.
So what we’re learning, after all this history, is that even if you are a little bit shy, and you don’t think you’re very clever, and you’re not a leader, and you really know that people don’t think highly of you, you may be just the person who God will speak to, and say I need your help. Maybe, right here in Avian Park, he may say, somebody is sick. I want you to go and comfort them. And you may say, “I don’t know what to say to them.” And God will say to you, “I will give you the words.” So when you go to see them, and they are sick, you will find that God will tell you how you can speak to them. That’s why some of us like to visit hospitals. And it’s amazing, that when you’re talking to someone who is very sick, and the words you should say to that person just come into your mind. That is how God works with people who are weak, and he makes them strong. So is it better to be weak, or strong? It’s better to be weak, but have God make you strong. When you read your Bible, in many places you will hear the story that I’ve been telling you.
the gospel in colours
Today I shared the gospel with the Riverview children using coloured paper. There is a version of this teaching called "The Wordless Book." I modified it a bit to add a few more colours. I had a simple translator, and Mella backed up my teaching with a review. They had a simpler version of this teaching before, but they again needed more foundations. Here's a taste of the lesson:
I love colours. I’m an artist, so I love drawing, and then colouring in my drawings.
What’s your favourite colour?
Hands up for those who love red.
How many of you love blue?
How about purple? Who likes purple?
How about the girls – any of you like pink?
Tony, what’s YOUR favourite colour? (turquoise)
And Miss Mella? What’s your favourite colour? (yellow)
My favourite colour is green.
I’m going to show you a few colours and talk about them.
So we have GOLD
GOLD: Gold reminds me of heaven – because gold is shiny like glory. Heaven is a real place! Heaven is a place where no one gets sick and everyone is happy. There are no tears in heaven.The most wonderful thing is Heaven is where God lives. He wants to invite us there to live with him after we live here on earth. But something very important tries to stop us from going to heaven. It’s something that really bothers God.
BLACK: Now we have BLACK! What do you think black represents? It’s something that prevents us from being with God. SIN. What is sin? Sins are the things we do that make God unhappy. Some of this is doing, saying or thinking bad things. Some sins are things we do every day. They include telling lies, disobeying your parents, hurting others and being selfish. Like wanting all the candy for yourself, when it’s for everyone.
But sin isn’t just something that boys and girls do. ALL of us have sinned. I’ve sinned. The Bible says that everyone has sinned and falls short. The Bible says that Everyone has sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory (Romans 3:23)
What does sin do? Because of sin, our hearts aren’t clean. God is perfect. He’s good, he’s clean and has no sin. Because God is clean, He can only allow people with clean hearts into heaven. So how do we get clean from sin? We can’t wash the sin off without help. God makes a way to have clean hearts!
RED: Now we have RED! What’s the red colour mean? Red means the blood of Jesus. It’s the only way our hearts can be made clean. What we mean by that is that Jesus had to shed his blood and die on the cross to make up for our sins. God loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to earth. He was not like you and me. He never sinned. He’s also God like Father is. So Jesus took our place by dying for us. We don’t have to be locked out of heaven. All the wrong things we do can be forgiven. We can spend time loving God. And Jesus became alive again after three days. So after Jesus took our sin, something *amazing* happened.
WHITE: Now we have WHITE! Now our hearts can be clean! Our hearts can be even cleaner than this white page. We just need to say to God: Sorry, I’ve sinned. Thank you for dying for me, and ask him please to come into my life. Keep me away from sin and help me to live for you. If we pray these things and we really mean it, our hearts will be clean. (1 John 1:9)
PURPLE: Now we have PURPLE! Let’s pretend it’s dark purple. Purple is a royal colour. When we accept Jesus in our hearts, we become royalty. We are now princes and princesses. We are "King's Kids." It’s true! We become children of God. We can call God our Pappa. Some of us already do this. But it takes time to learn how to be royal. It means that we obey God and he changes our hearts to be better.
BLUE: Now we have BLUE! This is a form of blue. Blue is like the sky, but it’s also the colour of the water if this pool behind us is full. Blue is for baptism. Baptism shows others that you are ready to follow Jesus. It means that you want to follow him for the rest of your life. If we are baptized in water, we leave our old life behind in the water. When you are baptized, you leave your old life behind you.
GREEN: Now we have GREEN! What does the Green colour mean? Green is the colour of many things that grow – like grass, trees, and plants. Since you have asked Jesus to be in your life, you can grow close to him.
Green also means NEW LIFE. Jesus gives you new life, and he gives you peace. He gives you love. And he gives you joy. You can grow in your friendship with God, like a plant grows in a garden. How can you grow? By Talking to God (prayer) Reading the Bible, obeying him and so many other ways.
And here’s our last colour – YELLOW! Yellow is the colour of faithfulness. It could be gold, but we’ve already started with gold. If we keep faithful to Jesus, we are given crowns in heaven. The crowns are filled with special jewels that God makes from what the things we experience in our lives. When we live well for him, we have many jewels.
But even right now, Jesus gives us a crown. That crown is in knowing who you are. It is in knowing that you are his child. You can’t earn it. But he gives it. I’m going to pray for us now.
We are sorry for all we have done wrong. We are sorry we sometimes forget how good you are. Thank you that you came and died in our place. We give you our lives again. We give you our hearts. Please come and fill us with your love. Help us never be lonely again. Help us to grow in you like the colours of Auntie Laurie-Ann’s story. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
We'll have to see what we do next. I'm also teaching through kids colouring my prophetic worship drawings. More on that another time.
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal
TONY'S POST MISSION JOURNAL