Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nimrod the Nimrod

A Quick Look: Genesis 11: 4

Really Read It: Genesis 10: 8 – 12, Genesis 11: 1 – 9, 2 Corinthians 12

Memorize: 2 Corinthians 12: 9 He (God) said to me (Paul), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

A nimrod is a person who is silly, foolish, or stupid, so if you are not allowed to call your brother stupid, you are not allowed to call him a nimrod either. As far as I know there has never been a person named Stupid, but there was a guy named Nimrod. He was one of Noah’s great-grandsons. Noah lived for so long that Nimrod was 200 before Noah died. They might have known each other. If they did, Nimrod did not learn from the great example of Noah. Nimrod did not learn to trust in God. He learned to trust himself.

Nimrod was “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” (Genesis 10:9) That doesn’t sound bad, but most really smart guys who study the Bible see Nimrod as a bad guy. “Mighty hunter” means that he hunted goats and lions, but it also means that he hunted people, and God did not like that. Nimrod did not care about God. The words, “before the Lord” mean in the face of the Lord. “In Your Face!” is NOT a smart thing to say to God. Nimrod knew about God. He knew the ways of God, and he ignored them. Nimrod worshipped other gods, but he also worshipped himself. He wanted power. He wanted to be great. And he did a lot of big things. So many people followed him that he started at least five cities. The most famous city that he started is called both Babel and Babylon. Since Nimrod started it, most people think he was running things when the people of the city built the Tower of Babel to make a name FOR THEMSELVES.

Our world is changing quickly. The 32gb iPhone 3 GS is the best new thing on the market. In Nimrod’s day the best new thing was bitumen. It didn’t use bits to send movies through the air. It was sticky stuff like tar that sent bricks higher into the air than ever before. The people of Babel built a huge tower, but God didn’t like it. It was not that God was against tar or towers. God was against pride. God was against the man, Nimrod who wanted to make himself great. God was against a city that wanted to make a name for itself, so He stepped down from heaven. He made the people speak a lot of different languages and He scattered them all over the earth.

God knows that when His children are proud they cannot worship Him. Proud kids can’t act the right way to other people or to God. Here are just a few of the things God said about the proud:

  • Psalm 138:6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
  • Proverbs 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
  • Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Nimrod was a repulsive man because of his great pride. Paul was a great man because he was repulsed by pride. Bragging and boasting always come with pride. It’s an easy guess that Nimrod was a big time bragger. “Look at all my nice cities. I am so smart. I am so strong. I am so brave. The people love me, love me, love me.”

Paul stamped out pride with a different kind of boasting. Paul did so many great things and God did great things to him and in him. But Paul didn’t brag that God took him up to heaven or that he started so many churches or did so many miracles. Paul said, “I will boast about my weaknesses.” When Paul talked about himself, he talked about his weaknesses, and he even said he was happy about doing it. Paul showed us a great way to push back pride, but he had another reason for his weird kind of bragging. Paul talked about his weakness, became weak, and stayed weak, because God sends His power to weakness. Nimrod never got to see the power of God. The greatest thing Nimrod ever got to see was Nimrod. That would be really boring. Think about the power that came into Nimrod. None. And then think of the great power that came into Paul again and again and again. So you can pick a path of pride like Nimrod or a path to the power of God like Paul. Only a nimrod is stupid enough to pick Nimrod’s way.


Nathan is amazed to see God move in power every week at his church. You can see what is happening:

You can find more of Nathan’s writing on lulu and helium.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


A Quick Look: Matthew 6: 19 – 21, 33

Really Read It: Matthew 6: 19 - 34

Memorize: Matthew 6: 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. NLT

Not many kids have money trouble. Few children worry about the house payment or taxes. but they do have treasure trouble that pulls them away from God. Matthew 6:19-34 is the part of the Bible to focus on when you are a grownup and you don’t have enough money to pay all of your bills. But this page is for kids who want to follow God and not many kids have jobs at all, and the kids who do have jobs don’t have to use the money to buy tacos or gas for the car. Still the kids that I know need to learn a lot about money and about stuff.

Matthew 6:21 calls it “your treasure.” Where is your treasure? What is your treasure? A treasure is something of great worth or value to you. You could think of a huge treasure chest buried by a greedy pirate and that would be treasure. You could think of the treasure of so many grownups today: a Hummer, a Porsche, a bigger flat screen, or a better house. Kids may like some of those same things, but they have other treasures too.

The following paragraph is 100% fiction. It never happened.

Scientists at MIT developed a treasure test for kids. They implanted sensors the size of cells into the brains of 2,000 children. The scientists were then able to count each thought of each child in the study. For example, they listed the thoughts of test child number 1,432 this way. He had 480 thoughts about food divided into 400 thoughts about sweets, 76 about fried food, and 4 about healthy food. He had 5 thoughts about school, 186 about TV, 247 about movies, 176 about video games, 104 about sports, 208 questioning “does Lisa like me?” and 2 thoughts about God. This brain activity comes from the 52-minute time period when the child sat in church. This kid FAILED the treasure test. He was hungry and Lisa was sitting right in front of him, but he failed. His thoughts showed that God was not his treasure.

If a scientist could really count your thoughts, what would your thought count look like? How would you do in the treasure test? You say that God is your treasure, but does He really get any of your focus?

Jesus spoke a lot about money and treasure. This time when he spoke of money, He called it a master. Money is a master. Stuff is a master. Even if you don’t have it, it can master you. Master means the boss of a slave. If a thing is your master that means that it can make you do stuff. That’s not good.

I remember when a kid named Gabby made a bike into her master, and the funny thing is that she didn’t even have this bike. The bike was her master and her boss, because she wanted it so bad. She thought about that bike and talked about that bike. She prayed about that bike and even dreamed about that bike. The bike was ruling Gabby. It was taking all of her time, her energy, her thoughts. Gabby was seeking a thing. Sadly the end of Gabby’s bike story is not good. She did not learn her lesson. Her parents got her the bike of her dreams, and she tried hard to smile as she rode around her neighborhood, but it didn’t work. The bike didn’t make her happy. She gave so much to that bike. She made the bike her very own master. She gave hours of her life to seeking that bike, and the bike didn’t give her anything except a little exercise.

Gabby messed up, so don’t act like her. Kid number 1,432 in the fake MIT study messed up, so don’t act like him. But what is the right way to act? I could put it into ten words of Jesus from Matthew 6. “Store your treasures in heaven,” and “Seek the Kingdom of God.”

How do you store treasures in heaven? The first answer is to give money to God, give to the church. If it is hard for you to give money to your church, then you have a treasure problem. The way to start fixing it is to give to God. But you have to give it when you could not. If you put in your parents’ money, that won’t help you. If your parents’ make you put in money, that will only help a little. Get a dollar that you are allowed to spend on whatever you want. Hold that dollar and think of the thing you most want to spend it on. How about a Hotwheels Viper? Then choose to give it to God. That is storing treasure in heaven. Money is the easiest way to store treasure in heaven, but it is not the only way. Another way to think of it is seeking.

Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else.” Seeking is searching, trying to find it. And the Kingdom of God is so amazing that you don’t get to find it just one time. You can seek and look and keep seeking for your whole life. You will keep on finding and you will keep on with the adventure of finding more. When that is your life you are storing treasure in the right place, you will pass the treasure test.

Nathan is amazed to see God move in power every week at his church. You can see what is happening:

You can find more of Nathan’s writing on lulu and helium.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


A Quick Look: Judges 15: 9 – 15

Really Read It: Judges 13 – 16

Memorize: Luke 4: 18 – 19 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Samson is famous for being tough, for being strong, for being bold. He is also on a lot of lists for Don’t Be Like This Guy. Samson did make some mistakes in his life, but this page is about things from the life of Samson that are right, that are powerful, that we should copy.

The story of Samson is in the Book of Judges. It is not surprising that the Book of Judges has a lot of stories about a lot of different Judges. And all of the other Judge stories went the same way. First Israel walked away from God, worshiped a bad god, and did bad stuff. Next, God went away and enemies ruled Israel. Then, it got bad so Israel cried out to God to save them. Finally God sent a Judge to lead the people, rescue them from the bad guys, and be a big hero. That same story happened over and over for 300 years, and there were some great heroes like Othniel, Ehud, Gideon, and Deborah.

Samson came after those other Judges. The amazing stuff in Samson’s life started before he was even born. An angel told a lady who had no kids that she was going to have a baby, and that the baby would “begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” The Philistines were ruling over Israel then, and God picked Samson before he was born to be the rescuer.

Samson grew up and found a Philistine girl to marry. (This was not Delilah. She is in the story later on.) His mom and dad didn’t want him to marry a Philistine girl. They thought Samson should be fighting the bad guys, and he wanted to marry one of them. But the Bible says that this marriage was from God. They did get married, but they were only married for about a week. There were some amazing things in the story of the wedding planning and partying. A little while before the wedding, Samson killed a lion with his bare hands. Later he found some bees making honey inside of the dead lion. That gave Samson an idea for a riddle, and he used it to make his wedding more fun. He thought a riddle and a bet would make the seven-day wedding party more of an adventure, but it didn’t really work. The bet was between Samson and thirty of his wife’s friends. Samson lost the bet because the other guys cheated, but the bet also ruined Samson’s marriage and started a fight between Samson and the Philistines. That fight continued for the rest of Samson’s life. But Samson fought by himself. God helped him a lot, but no other people joined the fight. All of the other Judges led an army and rescued Israel, but Israel would not join Samson.

One of Samson’s solo fights came when 3,000 of his own people arrested him. In Judges 15:9, the Philistine army came for Samson. It was a great chance for Israel to join with Samson and fight the enemy. Remember how it worked with all the other Judges. But instead the Israelites cried like little babies to the enemy. They said, “Why are you coming to fight us? We are your nice little slaves.” And instead of fighting with Samson, instead of fighting with God’s rescuer, they gave Samson to the Philistines. Samson fought them by himself and killed 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey, but Israel was not free. Samson kept fighting and even died fighting as God’s rescuer of Israel, but he didn’t get to see Israel become free because Israel did not fight with him.

Samson’s people were never free to worship the one true God. The Philistines with their god Dagon ruled and Israel was happy with that. These people had awful lives of slavery, but they wouldn’t fight to be free. These people had awful lives under a pagan god, but they wouldn’t fight to be free. They told each other everything was okay. They told each other not to bother the Philistines. Don’t cause trouble.

No one in our country worships a god as gross as Dagon, and workers in our country don’t have to give their money to another country. Our country is better than Israel was in Samson’s day, but there are some awful things that a bold rescuer should fight against. The best way to push back the awful is to fight for God. The most important part of my week is fighting for God’s honor, fighting for God to move in power in the lives of His people, and fighting for the Kingdom of God to get bigger in our country. I fight with my family. I fight with the kids at my church. The easiest place to be a bold fighter like Samson is in your church. A lot of kids walk into church every week and act like they don’t care about God. Can you be the kid who shows strength for God? Are you a fighter in your worship? In your words? In your prayers? In your response to the Word of God? Don’t take a donkey’s jawbone to church with you. And don’t fight a lion with your bare hands. But do everything else to copy Samson, the bold fighter for God.


Nathan is amazed to see God move in power every week at his church. You can see what is happening:

You can find more of Nathan’s writing on lulu and helium.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Salvation For a Wee Little Man

A Quick Look: Luke 19: 8 - 10

Really Read It: Luke 19: 1 – 26

Memorize: Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. NIV

Zacchaeus was a wee little man. Everybody knows that, but Luke didn’t put his story in the Bible because he was short. Zacchaeus is a great salvation story. His story gets only ten verses in the Bible, but we can learn a lot about this guy in those ten verses. Before he met Jesus, Zacchaeus worked as a chief tax collector and he was rich. The tax collectors were hated by the Jews. You probably know about that already, so I’ll go by it quickly. But a tax collector was like a spy in a war. Who could ever be worse than the enemy in a war? The answer is the spy who acts like he is on your side only to take your secrets to the enemy to make money. A tax collector was a betrayer like that.

But when Jesus showed up in Jericho this little tax collector heard about Him and made a great effort to see Him. The Bible tells us that short Zacchaeus could not see because of the crowd, so he climbed a tree. It’s a guess, but there could be another reason for Zacchaeus to climb a tree. It may be that he was so hated that he was in danger in a crowd. Was he hated so much that he needed body guards? The Bible doesn’t tell us that, but it does say that Jesus called Zacchaeus by name and told him to come down. How did Jesus know his name? We have to guess, and I haven’t picked my favorite. Maybe Jesus had heard stories of a short tax collector in Jericho. Maybe God whispered it into the ear of Jesus. Maybe someone else in the crowd spotted Zacchaeus before Jesus did and called out something like, “Look up in that tree. It’s the enemy’s tiny, little thief, Zacchaeus!” Again Zacchaeus could be in danger. Some in the crowd might think that hurting Zacchaeus would please Jesus. Maybe the crowd called out the name Zacchaeus in anger before Jesus called his name for salvation.

How did Zacchaeus find salvation? It was not just because Jesus came to his house. That is a great picture. You can pray that Jesus will come to your house, and that is a great salvation prayer. But Zacchaeus didn’t find salvation just because Jesus came over for dinner. The mind of Zacchaeus, the heart of Zacchaeus, the will, the soul, the spirit of Zacchaeus changed that day. The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened inside of his heart, but we know because he did something. Money ruled the tax collector Zacchaeus. There is no other reason to be a betraying tax collector. But on the day that Zacchaeus met Jesus, money lost its grip on him. He gave away over half of his money and Jesus saw a changed life.

Jesus declared, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Then He called him a son of Abraham, a son that was lost. Those three words, “son of Abraham” are a big deal. Too big to tell about in the fourth paragraph. But it means that Zacchaeus had a deal with God, he was supposed to be God’s kid, but he was lost. I would say he was like a church kid. A kid who goes to church every week, a kid who said the prayer, who made a deal with God, a baptized kid, a communion kid, but he’s lost. Jesus is still seeking in churches. He’s seeking the lost. He is calling out your name. He is offering to come to your house. He wants to come so close. He wants you to know His presence, to feel Him close to you, in you, to hear Him speaking, to see Him working. He wants to bring salvation to your house.


Nathan is amazed to see God move in power every week at his church. You can see what is happening:

You can find more of Nathan’s writing on lulu and helium.