Jesus Party

Jesus Party
As a dad, I know that one of the best gifts I can give my kids is to show them how to love others. But that’s not always easy.  That’s why I’m sharing a free resource with you today called Jesus Party.

Jesus Party is a devotional for kids and families based on the book Jesus Prom by Jon Weece.  In Jesus Prom, Jon writes, “Life gets fun when you love people like God does.” But those of us with kids know that it’s even more fun when we include our whole family.

There’s nothing like serving with our kids to remind us of what really matters in life. Not only does it touch our hearts as parents to see our kids loving others, but it sets them up for a life of purpose and joy.

That’s why I wrote Jesus Party. Jesus Party takes the ideas of Jesus Prom and explains them in a way that children can understand and put into action.

Though Jesus Party works as a stand alone resource, it’s even more powerful when parents are reading Jesus Prom along with it.

Jesus Party would make a great family devotional or could be read by older elementary kids all by themselves.  Either way you use it, Jesus Party will inspire families to have great conversations about loving God and loving people.

So, what are you waiting for? Download a free copy of Jesus Party and let the celebration begin!

Silent Night, Opening Night

nativity

For several years our church put on a big Christmas show for kids and families.   Between the drama, choreography, costumes and sets these musicals were always a big deal and always a blast.  But one thing I learned quickly about productions, the bigger the show, the earlier you have to get the ball rolling.

This meant that back in June I’d start listening to Christmas music.   By July I’d have to start the script.  In September we would cast the show.  In October we’d start rehearsals.  In the midst of all of this we’d have to get people working on costumes, sets and props.

When opening night arrived, though, it was all worth it.   All of the months of hard work finally paid off the minute the lights came up on the stage and the show began.   Live theater at Christmas was absolute magic.

Of course when it comes to the Christmas story, the principles of preparation and payoff are nothing new.  The story of Jesus’ birth began a whole lot earlier than Bethlehem.  “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4 NLT).

Like I said, the bigger the production, the earlier you have to get the ball rolling.  What God was going to do through Jesus was beyond the scope of anything we could imagine.   All the power and awesomeness of deity would one day be wrapped in an infant’s fragile flesh.  Kind of a big deal.

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Dumpster Diving Don Juan

Image: 'I Love Trash' http://www.flickr.com/photos/55539311@N00/4689167545Found on flickrcc.net

Image: ‘I Love Trash’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/55539311@N00/4689167545
Found on flickrcc.net

I dumpster dive for love.  That’s not a metaphor.  I actually drag rancid Hefty bags out of a trash can and sift through leftovers, discarded toiletries and things too disgusting to mention simply because I love my wife.

Trust me.  It’s romantic.  Maybe I should explain.

My wife has a bad habit of throwing valuable stuff away, things like bills, medication, our children, etc.  Of course she never realizes it at the time, but later, when the item turns up missing, it always ends the same way.

“I’ve looked everywhere for it,” she says. “I guess I must have accidentally thrown it in the trash.”

She doesn’t have to say anything else.  I know what she’s asking.  Will you my big, strong, handsome man please humiliate yourself by diving head-first into the dumpster, stick your hands into things that have been rotting in plastic bags for days, all for the slim chance that the thing I’m missing just might possibly be in one of the twenty bags stuffed into the trash container?

For a moment I try to resist.  Then she gives me that same doe-eyed look that Puss n’ Boots uses in the Shrek films to get me to bend to her will and the next thing I know I’m ankle deep in garbage.  Works every time.

At this point I’m convinced there’s nothing accidental about it.  I’m positive she just throws stuff away to see how far I’ll go to prove my love.  It’s like in medieval days when they would send knights on an impossible quest to win the hand of lady fair.  Although in my case the impossible quest leaves me smelling like road kill.

Yes I dumpster dive for love, but when I do, I’m in good company.   2,000 years ago God dove into the mess of humanity to retrieve a treasure of great value.  Us.

It’s hard to imagine what it was like for a holy God, a being of absolute perfection, to be born as a baby into a world of depravity, violence and greed.  It’s one thing to see the garbage of the human race from a distance.  It’s another thing to live in it.

Yet, that’s what God did, took on flesh and blood and jumped neck-deep into the trash pile.  Why?  Same reason as me.

God dumpster dives for love.  He rescues us from the junk heap of our past and calls us sons and daughters.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done.  It doesn’t matter if everyone has given up on you.   Even if others consider you worthless remember that often what’s trashed by man is treasured by God.

Whatever you see in the mirror this week, no matter how deep the garbage you’re dealing with, remember there is a God who meets you in your mess simply because He loves you.