Sunday, September 27, 2009


Really Read It: Psalm 105: 1-45

A Quick Look: Psalm 105: 1-6

Memorize: Psalm 105:4-5 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.

The Psalms were songs. They were written to be sung, and songs are easier to remember than speeches. If you are trying to memorize Psalm 105:4-5, it would be much easier if you make the words into a song. If you do that you are really putting those words back where they started. Those words were written thousands of years ago in a different language, and they were written as a song. If you went to worship with your family in those days, you would sing all the words of Psalm 105. And if you liked the tune or if it just got stuck in your head, you would sing it on the way home, and during dinner, while you played in the yard, as you walked to school… And singing that song so much would help you in so many ways.

I know that you have songs bumping around in your brain. You hear so many that you can’t keep them out. There are nothing songs like Old McDonald, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and the Woo Woo Dance that get stuck in your head. There are learning songs about letters, colors, and shapes that stick in your head just as much as the nothing songs. Some of you hear way different songs about loving a boy or a girl or the world or a pet dinosaur. All of those songs can take up room inside your head, and they don’t give you very much help. But hopefully you have some songs in your head that teach you about God and some songs that praise God. The psalms were songs like that, and they still are. A lot of the songs you sing at church come from the palms.

Palm 105 has two main parts. The first part is short. Six verses short. And the second part is long. 39 verses long. The first part tells a lot of things to do to have a great life, follow God, and stay close to Him. If you learned this song, it could help you remember how to live just like that other song helps you with your ABC’s. Just the short part of this psalm gives you so much to do that it could take all day. But I want to give you a little shorter time for it so that you can get done in 20 minutes.

  1. Give thanks to the Lord. Tell God thank you for as many things as you can for 1 minute.
  2. Call on His name. Call out to God for help and keep calling for 1 minute.
  3. Praise Him and worship Him with words and singing for 4 minutes.
  4. Seek the Lord. Try to find Him, tell Him that you want Him, you want to know Him, you want to be close to Him, want to see Him, understand Him. Do this for 3 minutes.
  5. Get God’s Strength. Ask God to make you strong in your body and bold for Him for 1 minute.

If you did all that for exactly those minutes, you took 10 minutes. The last one will take 10 minutes, but you can’t do it by yourself. The Psalm says to do some things that need another person. You can talk to your family, but it might be better to call a friend on the phone or maybe even write a letter.

  1. Talk about who God is and how great He is. Tell what He did long ago in the Bible and tell what he did in your life for 10 minutes.

That’s the short part of Psalm 105 except for one thing. And that one thing is the one thing that the long part of Psalm 105 is about. Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.” And verses 7-45 tell a story of the great God and a lot of things to remember. It is important to remember great things that God has done. The easy kind of remembering is pulling something out of your brain. But to remember also means to hear it again or see it again. Remember can even mean learn something you have never heard before. Remember something new can’t be right. And your right, it’s not a new thing you need to remember. Remember means to learn something old, something that happened years ago. But it’s new to you, because you weren’t there. It’s new to you because you have never heard it before.

So here is a list of things to remember. You will do better at remembering if you write down your rememberings. These do not have times on them. They could be long, but I believe they are good enough to spend some time on.

  1. Remember what God has done in your life. He helped you and helped your family, He saved you, He taught you, He met your needs, He gave you friends, family, He healed you, He did great things in your life.
  2. Remember what God did in your family before you were born. Ask your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents to tell you stories of God’s help and God’s activity in your family.
  3. Remember your church. Learn the story of the start of your church and the great things that God has done through the years it has been alive. Some of you have a church that is part of a huge group of churches, and you could learn how the whole group got started.
  4. Remember what God has done on His earth. Keep reading, keep studying the Bible to see what God did in that day. But also learn what God has done since then. Find out about revivals and miracles and missionaries and God activity on the earth. Find out what God is doing on the earth right now.


I find new challenges and new strength from God to meet them every time I walk into World Revival Church. See a little piece.

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

Monday, September 21, 2009

Plant Peace

Memorize: Romans 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Sally was so excited about her tiny seed. She got it from her uncle. He was excited about it too.

“Sally, this is a very good squash seed. If you take good care of it, and you plant it in good soil, and water it, and give it good sun light, it will grow into a big squash plant. You will pick huge bright yellow squash from your plant.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Sally. “I have always wanted a seed. Hello, Seed. You are my special, great seed. But I don’t want you to grow a squash plant, and make huge bright yellow squash. I want you to be a watermelon plant and grow huge juicy watermelons.”

So Sally planted her seed and took great care of it. A little plant came up and Sally said, “Hi little watermelon plant. Grow big and strong and make huge juicy watermelons all for me.”

The plant grew and grew. Sally was thrilled when the little buds opened up into yellow flowers. “Great job plant. Your flowers are so pretty. You will make great watermelons. I just know it.”

And then the flowers wilted and formed little yellow fruit. And the fruit grew and grew, and Sally knew that a watermelon was not bright yellow. A watermelon was not a funny club shape with little bumps all over it. Her seed, her plant, her flowers did not make huge juicy watermelons. It made squash.

Sally put on her big brown boots and picked the squash. She carried it to her driveway and laid it carefully on the cement. She took one step back from the squash, jumped as high as she could, and squashed that squash to bits with her squash squashing boots.

Sally’s squash squashing boots got a lot of work that summer, and her driveway got very messy. That one seed gave Sally 14 big squash, and Sally squashed every one of them. She just couldn’t believe that her seed grew squash when she wanted watermelon.

Skeeter had more choices than Sally. Sally’s uncle only gave her one seed. But Skeeter had a whole bag of seeds to pick from. Skeeter’s seeds weren’t plant seeds, but they were still seeds that he could grow into something bigger. They were still seeds that would give him something back. When Skeeter saw Sally squashing her 14th squash, he picked out a seed and planted it right then. He said, “Stupid Sally squashing squash!” Skeeter planted seeds like that a lot. He planted anger whenever he wanted to. He planted put downs and pushed for his own way. He planted selfishness, pride, and greed. And Skeeter’s seeds grew. He got back exactly what he planted just like Sally. She planted a squash seed. It does not matter one bit that she wanted watermelon. A squash seed can only grow squash. Skeeter planted anger. It does not matter one bit that he wanted peace. An anger seed can only grow anger.

The Bible has a lot of stories about plants and farming. Jesus and the Bible writers put those stories in there because the people they were teaching knew a lot about farming, so it was a good way for them to learn. You may not know so much about farming, but a seed still has an important message for you. A seed can only grow one kind of plant. If you plant squash, you get squash. If you want to get watermelon, you have to throw away the squash seed and get a new one, a watermelon seed.

Paul wrote the Book of Romans. It was a letter to a church to help them with some of their problems. By problems I really mean fights. I don’t think they were punching or kicking each other, but the bad words were flying. They were fighting with each other about food. Some people said, “Never eat lobster!” and some people said, “Lobster is great.”

Paul told them that peace matters more than lobster. I put his words at the top of the page for the memory verses, but I’ll put them right here, so you can read them again if you didn’t memorize them yet. Romans 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Paul said make every effort to do what leads to peace. That is planting peace. Effort is something that you do, something that you work at. Every effort is more than any person has ever done. You have made effort before, maybe even a lot of effort or great effort. But you have always stopped before you got to every effort. What if you wanted to wash the dishes, but your mom said you had to watch TV. Every effort would keep asking, keep begging. Every effort would turn off the TV and dash into the kitchen. Every effort would pull the slimy spoons away from your mom, so that you could smear the soap and scrub them clean.

If you want peace in your life (and you do) you must make every effort to plant peace. Put it into every part of the day that you can. Shove peace into a fight instead of your way. Plant peace instead of anger. Plant peace instead of greed, selfishness. If you plant peace, you’ll get peace and it really does feel good.

Proverbs 12:20 There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.

Proverbs 17:1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Monday, September 14, 2009

God's Box

Memorize: I Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.

God had a box. He lived in a box. He didn’t live only there. God was still on His throne in heaven, and He was still everywhere. But he put His special presence with people in a box. It was a nice box. Really nice. It was so nice that it’s not called a box. It’s called an ark, or the Ark. A great artist named Bezalel made it. He made it out of a special kind of wood and covered it inside and outside with gold. It was about four feet long, two feet wide, and two feet tall. Bezalel made solid gold angels for the top of the box. It was a nice box. A box like that needed a special home. For 500 years the Ark was kept in a tent, but it was a really great tent called the Tabernacle. After that, God’s box went to stay in the fanciest building you could think of.

But the amazing thing about it was that God came down and filled the box with His presence, and His presence went out from the box. People close to it could feel it and the box did powerful things. God did the powerful things, but He did them from the box. At first God sent a pillar of cloud from the sky into the box. And at night the pillar looked like fire.

God’s box did a lot. It was leading the charge at Jericho when the walls came down. God’s box made a statue god bow down, twice. And the second time the fake god’s head and hands were broken off. The Bible tells about more adventures for the Ark. It made some people sick and killed some people who didn’t treat it right. One guy kept it at his house and everything at his house was blessed. King David wanted to take great care of God’s box, and his son King Solomon built a huge, golden temple for the Ark.

But then. But then it got lost or stolen or broken to bits. No one really knows. For hundreds, even thousands of years, God’s box has been missing, and for hundreds even thousands of years people have been trying to find it. A lot of people who study the Ark say that it was destroyed and they argue about when it was smashed to bits and who did it. But there is a chance that an enemy took it instead of crushing it, and then it might still be somewhere on the earth. Some guess that the good guys buried it to keep it safe, but they died without telling where they buried it. That would mean it is still safely buried to this day. But where? Where is it buried? No one knows, so they just keep digging holes. There are many more guesses. One more is that God’s people from Africa took the Ark home to keep it safe. It could be buried there. Do you want to dig some holes in Africa?

The digging, the studying, the searching can go on for another thousand years, but I don’t need to play that hide-and-seek game. I already know where God’s box is, and not because I am so smart. The answer is in the Bible. There are a few places that tell this story, but my favorite is when Stephen told it.

Stephen was a great servant of Jesus after Jesus flew up to heaven. Stephen was a great preacher and did miracles, but the priests didn’t like it. They put Stephen on trial. They lied about him in court and said that Stephen, “never stops speaking against this holy place.” The holy place was the closest thing they had to God’s Ark. They wanted God to live in that building. They wanted a box that God would stay in. Stephen told a long story about God reaching out to people and people pushing God away. At the end of his speech, Stephen talked about the Ark, and the Tabernacle (a tent for the Ark), and the Temple (a building for the Ark.) Stephen said, “the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?' You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:48-51 NIV)

Why did Stephen talk for so long? Why did he tell the truth when they would kill him for it? He knew that God didn’t need, didn’t want a box to live it. God didn’t want to use a box to show His power.

When Bezalel built the box he was careful with it. He did everything right. He worked hard to prepare the best place he could for God to come into. Stephen did the same thing, but he didn’t build a fancy golden box. Stephen knew that God didn’t want to live in a box (even a gold box with angels on top) and God didn’t want to live in a room (even a gold room.) God wanted to live in a person. How did Stephen build a good house for God? He told his killers how he did it with an opposite clue. They built a house that God would never come to. Stephen called them stiff-necked, stubborn. He said their hearts and ears were pushing back God. He said they were resisting the Holy Spirit.

You are God’s box. And you are not buried far beneath the city of Jerusalem. You are right out in the open where a lot of people can see you. God is looking for a home, a place where He can rest. It has to be a place where He can stay ALL of the time. It doesn’t work for you to call out to God on Sunday and tell Him to come fill you if you don’t want Him to still be there on Monday.

God lived in a box. He did things that were so powerful while he was in that box. But now you are the box. A box is supposed to hold something, keep it safe, never let it go.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Signs, Signs, and More Signs

Memorize: Acts 1:8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The signs were all over town. There were little signs on every corner to let people know about the new pizza place. Each one said, “Free Pizza from Pop Go Pizza! Call 555-3456 for delivery.” When Chet saw the sign, he noticed that the phone number was really close to his friend’s phone number. He tried one sign with his black marker. He was surprised how easy it was to change the three to an eight. Just like that the sign said, “Free Pizza from Pop Go Pizza! Call 555-8456 for delivery.” Chuck’s number looked so good on the sign that he couldn’t stop at just one. In just 20 minutes, 42 signs had the wrong number. Some of the signs were a little bit sloppy but the calls started rolling in. And Chet’s friend Chuck had to tell 123 people that he was not going to bring them a pizza.

The signs in Grantville were perfect, but Girty’s eye’s weren’t as good as they used to be. She was supposed to pick up her grandson at the base of the Hiking Trail, but Lance Hilton got caught selling foam fish for school lunches. The sign that said, “Hilton Trial” looked just like Hiking Trail to Gerty. So her grandson had to walk home after his 20 mile hike, and Gerty drove the get away car for Lance’s escape.

Signs matter. They have to say the right thing and people have to be able to read them.

Our world is full of signs. We have so many that we stop reading them. But people didn’t invent signs. God did. God put signs on the earth and in the Word of God.

The biggest Bible signs are in the Book of Revelation. That book has a bunch of weird, amazing signs including a red dragon with seven heads and a woman standing on the moon wearing a sun dress. It’s not a sun dress to wear in the sun, but a sun dress made out of the sun. Those signs will be hard to ignore, but they are not the signs you should focus on now. A bunch of other signs in the Bible matter more than a dragon and a huge woman.

God put the rainbow on the earth to show that He wouldn’t flood the whole world ever again. Nice sign. God’s people put blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over their homes. Nice to have that sign. Exodus 13:16 says that killing the lamb was a sign that God “brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.” Good sign for the people, bad sign for the lamb. Moses wrote that sickness and lack will be a sign that the people are not serving God and that the Sabbath is a sign from God that says, “I am the Lord who makes you holy.” All of those signs are important, but I went through them too fast because I am looking for the most important sign.

The sign that matters most could be you. I have written before about the example you should be to everyone who sees you. You are a sign to show Christ to the world. You are a sign of the Kingdom of God getting bigger because that Kingdom is ruling in you. That is important, and Jesus said some things like that to His followers, but He also talked about the sign of Jonah.

The guys who were against Jesus asked Him for a sign. That happened a bunch of times even though there were signs all over Jesus. Jesus told those guys that they were wicked even for asking and the only sign they get is the sign of Jonah. Jonah was in the fish for three days, but he came out. Just like Jesus was dead for three days, but he came back to life. That makes Jonah a pretty good sign, and Jesus said more about it. After Jonah cleaned off the vomit, he preached in Nineveh, and Jesus said, “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

Those people from Nineveh get to stick it to the people that heard Jesus. They heard good words, they heard a message about God from Jonah and they listen. They heard the words and they did it. They obeyed. Jonah was a prophet, but he was a wimp next to Jesus. Jesus was right in front of those guys, and they did nothing. They did worse than nothing. They fought against Jesus and finally killed Him.

Jesus showed he was greater than Jonah with a myriad of signs and soft hearts could see them. Honest hearts could read His signs. John the Baptist was in prison, but he wanted to know more about Jesus. John heard that Jesus healed the blind, lame, and deaf. He raised the dead and preached the good news. Those were sings to John the Baptist and they should be signs to us.

The people of Nineveh are looking at us too. They are watching us because One greater than Jonah is here with us. They are waiting. They are ready to judge our response, your response. You have Jesus. You have more of Jesus than John the Baptist had. He heard a little bit of what Jesus did, but you can see the whole life of Jesus. You can see the end of His life, you can see Him rise from the dead, and you can see Him go up to heaven. You know all of that. You have all of that. But you also have Jesus now. Jesus in the Holy Spirit is ready to give you His life, His power every day. You have the best sign, the biggest sign, the most powerful, most amazing, most clear, easiest to read. You have Jesus. What will the people of Nineveh say about you? Did you do better than them? Did you do more than them? They heard about God from Jonah and changed everything to live for God. You have Jesus. What did you change? What did you do? What did you give?


What would it look like if the people at church wanted to be there and wanted God? What if God’s people had nothing better to do? It might look like this.

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