October 18 – Moses and the Burning Bush

October 6 – Spoiled Brats

Spoiled Brats

From the Desk of Dawn Parr, Children’s Ministry Director

I love the history of words. Etymology helps us to understand word meanings and the phrase “spoiled brat” has an interesting definition. The word spoiled is from the Latin word ‘spolia’. It describes taking stone from an older building or structure and re-purposing. Over time the word developed new meaning, as a victor stripping possession from another, hence the phrase, “To the victor goes the spoils.” The word brat is early English describing a ragged cloth that a beggar child would wear as an apron, a ‘bratt’. Child beggars were feared in the streets of England in the 1500’s because of their vicious demeanor. Placing these two words together, you can envision a person who thanklessly takes from others and behaves in an unruly manner.

Joseph in the Old Testament could have been considered a spoiled brat during his youth.

He was a favorite of his father Jacob, and he flaunted this to his 11 older brothers. Everyone knows the story of Joseph’s colorful coat. He even had elaborate dreams that portrayed him as more powerful than his siblings. Young Joseph soon realized his bratty-ness had gone too far when he found himself in a pit and later sold as a slave. Genesis 37 accounts for these events as they unfold.

Due to unruly behavior and a feeling of superiority, much emotional pain was felt by Jacob, the brothers, and Joseph. It took many years for Joseph to realize God’s will for his life. Eventually all was forgiven in the family of Israel and the brothers reunited. But it could have been avoided if the family had remembered God’s purpose and plan for their lives.

How many times do you act like a spoiled brat?

Do you take your blessings for granted in a thankless manner? Do you easily become frustrated if your prayers are not answered as you requested? We all fall into the pit of bratty-ness. And when we do, we become spoiled.

But here is the good news.

God chooses us, knowing our imperfections, and spends the rest of our lives changing us. If our hearts are open, He will change us continuously into the image of Christ.

Joseph could have easily treated his brothers poorly when they arrived asking for grain (Genesis 45). Instead, he graciously reassures them. God was there, and through the past events, Joseph learned God’s will and purpose for his life. That is sanctification; ‘to make holy’.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

 

September 29 – Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

From the Desk of Dawn Parr, Children’s Ministry Director

My sister and I, like many siblings, were the best of friends one day and bitter enemies the next. Usually, the discord was a result of something petty. One memory in particular was about privacy. My sister was insistent that I stay out of her room. Whenever my sister would make requests, I would instantly balk. On this particular occasion, my sister was being extremely bossy, so I decided to ‘let her have it’. That evening she went to shower before bed. I decided to hide in her closet. When she returned to her room, shutting, and locking her door from her little sister barging in, I jumped out of the closet and roared! Oh, she was so angry with me. She and I look back now and laugh, but at the time, this harmless prank did little to promote sisterly affection.

Sunday school will focus on the brothers, Jacob and Esau.

Twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, they were rivals from before birth. Genesis 25 describes God’s proclamation of the babies with the older serving the younger. At birth, Esau is born first and Jacob is grabbing Esau’s heel. Throughout the growing up years, both boys vied for the attention of their parents. Isaac and Rebekah did not help matters by playing favorites. The rivalry had a sad ending, because Jacob stole Esau’s blessing upon the deathbed of his father. If you have not read this before, open your Bible to Genesis 25 and 27. The events that unfold are fascinating and a bit shocking.

History tells us that Esau’s descendants are of the nation of Islam and Jacob became the Father of Israel. To this day, the two ‘nations’ are still rivals.

What can we learn from sibling rivalry?

God tells us plainly. In the book of James we are told not to grumble against one another (James 5:9). John writes we cannot say we love God and hate our brother for if we do we are a liar (1 John 4:20). Sibling rivalry is sinful. Turn away from every form of envy, spite, jealously and greed. Instead turn toward love. Jesus is love and when we lean on Him first, we will lead with love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-6).

September 22 – Abraham

September 15 – Miscommunication

September 8 – Noah

September 1 – Unusual Labor Day

August 25 – Hallelujah

Hallelujah

From the Desk of Dawn Parr, Children’s Ministry Director

Many years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Handel’s Messiah at Grosse Pointe Woods Presbyterian Church. My cousin is a trained vocalist and performs in the Grosse Pointe Community Chorus and the Detroit Concert Choir. I was a ‘baby Christian’ at the time and had never experienced this masterpiece sung live. It was the Christmas season. The church sanctuary was beautifully decorated, fresh snow blanketed the area, and silence fell over the crowd as the choir took to the risers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s music but when the Hallelujah Chorus began, I was overcome with emotion. Click the button below to listen to the words and music

“King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He shall reign forever and ever!” How can you not rejoice at these words, knowing the one and only, omnipotent God is our King and Lord?

This Sunday, Liberty’s children will continue learning the many names of God. The name Yahweh will be introduced. This name represents our God as always existing. There has never been a time in the past, the present, nor the future that God was not. He is the eternal King and the eternal Lord. What a comfort! What reassurance! We have the gift of The King of Kings and The Lord of Lords with us!

Hallelujah and Amen!

 

August 18 – Beginnings and Endings

From the Desk of Dawn Parr, Children’s Ministry Director

Beginnings and Endings

Life is full of beginnings and endings, and this year has provided an abundance of both.  With the onslaught of the Coronavirus, we have seen the beginning of a new virus, new testing, new safety protocols, and a new normal. Unfortunately, we have seen many endings as well; school, church services, dining out, vacations, social gathering, and OSU football.

Children’s Ministry is beginning a new series for Sunday school entitled ‘The Names of God’.  In a quick count, I was able to find more than 200 names to identify Him. A few that stand out to me are:

  • Abba
  • Adonai
  • Elohim
  • High Priest
  • Holy One
  • I AM
  • Mighty One
  • Potter
  • Redeemer
  • Strength
  • Way

This Sunday, we will begin to understand how God identifies Himself in the Book of Revelation as the Alpha and Omega.

The words alpha and omega are Greek. Alpha is the first letter in the alphabet, and Omega is the last letter.  In Revelation 1:8, God exclaims, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”  Again, in Revelation 1:17, God says, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”  Revelation 21:6 states once again that He is the Alpha and Omega.

God isn’t speaking about alphabets. He is speaking of reality. God is absolutely the beginning and absolutely the end. Everything originates in Him. And everything will end with Him.

God is the first of everything and before Him there was nothing. God is the ending of all and will complete all He has orchestrated. In Revelation, He assures that the ending is the beginning of eternity for His children.

What comfort and assurance to know that God is in control, in all times and in all circumstances. He knows our beginnings and endings—and He is the author of history. Whether it is a new beginning of hybrid school, or the ending of our beloved Buckeye football season, let’s not worry. Instead, lean on Abba, our Father and know that the I AM is eternally present—for now and all eternity.

August 11 – Used by God, Part 3

August 4 – Used by God, Part 2

July 28 – Used by God, Part 1

July 21 – Camp Liberty Update

July 14 – Be a Missionary in Your Neighborhood

July 7 – Ananias and Saul

June 30 – Let’s Encourage One Another

June 23 – How to Heal a Hurting World

June 16 – Father’s Day

June 9 – Prayer

June 2 — Summertime