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.
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal