| Re: |
[b]Last Two Weeks In Review - After School Program[/b]
Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I am sad to say that the last two weeks have been very difficult for myself spiritually. I personally struggle with a sort of depression or spiritual depression from time to time and all I can say is that these last two weeks have been very difficult. Also I have been sick. On top of it all, my relationships with family around the house have been... suffering, to say the least. I considered not doing the stories or preaching to the children, but I decided it would be best to continue. So I did not stop from ministering to the children... Though, I could have becuase even though I am employed at the After School program, the stories and preaching I do are optional and completely voluntary... I felt that even if I myself am struggling, these kids are like my hungry sheep, and many of them do not get fed from anywhere else except Mon-Fri at the After School program-- so I was compelled to keep doing ministry amidst my recent depression bouts. However, as a side affect of all these things, I have simply not found the will nor the energy to keep the detailed log of what has been happening as I did in the past. By God's grace, the following posts are the stories we have read to the children, and the last two preaching events (based on what I have recollected from memory)... and by God's grace, I will do a better job in keeping you updated in the future.
Adam Schaefers 5/02/09
[b]After School Program Week In Review (4/27 - 5/01)
FRIDAY AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM PREACHING:[/b]
"The Captain of the storm." Stephan and I preached on the story of when Jesus calmed the storm. Stephan did an excellent job on this one. He explained all the key points and climaxed on "who is Jesus?" He kept saying all of the things I was hoping he was going to say... it was great! Lastly, I preached on what it means for us as Christians, that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 was the verse for the day. We had the children write it down on a piece of paper to take home with them.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
[b]DAILY (MON-FRI) SNACK TIME BIBLE LESSONS:
Jesus is the friend of little children.
God sends help. (The Holy Spirit)
A new way to see. (Saul is converted & becomes Paul)
A dream of heaven.
(This completed the entire Jesus Story Book! Many of the kids now have heard all the key stories of the Bible for the first time!)
The Captain of the storm. (Jesus calms the storm.)
[b]After School Program Week In Review (4/20 - 4/24)
FRIDAY AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM PREACHING:[/b]
Stephan and I preached on the prodigal son and also talked about how God is our perfect Dad.
[b]DAILY (MON-FRI) SNACK TIME BIBLE LESSONS:
The Captain of the Storm. (Don't be afraid. God is control. Jesus calms the storm...)
Filled full. (Jesus feeds the 5,000...)
Treasure Hunt! (Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also... God is our treasure...)
The man who didn't have any friends (Zacheus)
Running away. (The prodigal son)
[b]Friday's Story with Stephan (April 17th)[/b]
The Singer. (Don't worry. Look at the lilies and the sparrows... from the sermon on the mount)
| 2009/5/14 0:02||Profile|
| Brother Adam|
I love your heart in the Lord. May God bless you so richly. It's late at night, and I read the first part of your testimony on the ministry the Lord Jesus has entrusted you with, and it truly, truly lifted my soul. God's been telling me, "buy a printer", so I can print up various tesimonies, or exhortations, and I'm going to do that tommorrow, so I can spread such out in front of me, to read, deliberate over and then prayer for and over.
I love you brother. Be encouraged and stay strong in Jesus Name, amen.
In His love, neil
| 2009/5/14 1:01|
| Re: Brother Adam|
Wow, Thanks Neil. I'm very unworthy. Don't get me wrong, I believe God is doing stuff, but it is not because of me-- rather, in spite of me. In fact, I'm sure I could pick apart a few of these logs and show how they probably stink all over with my pride. Pray for me to keep myself humble. God loves these kids!
I love your heart in the Lord. May God bless you so richly. It's late at night, and I read the first part of your testimony on the ministry the Lord Jesus has entrusted you with, and it truly, truly lifted my soul. God's been telling me, "buy a printer", so I can print up various tesimonies, or exhortations, and I'm going to do that tommorrow, so I can spread such out in front of me, to read, deliberate over and then prayer for and over. I love you brother. Be encouraged and stay strong in Jesus Name, amen. In His love, neil
| 2009/5/14 1:39||Profile|
| Re: |
[b]After School Program Week In Review (5/04 - 5/08)
THURSDAY AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM PREACHING:[/b]
On Thursday Stephan and I had a great time of prayer for both ourselves and the children before we began preaching. The leaders then had the kids sit down in front of the pulpit and the drawing board. Stephan wrote the memory verse on the drawing board, [b]"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8[/b]
Meanwhile I opened the Bible up to the story of Zacchaeus, which begins with Jesus passing through the town of Jericho... (Keep in mind this is the second time they had heard the story of Zacchaeus on this day, but this time they heard the actual words recorded in the Bible.) Before we read the scriptures we prayed aloud and asked God to help all of us understand the Bible. Then we read the following and simultaneously defined words where it was necessary:
"1 He entered Jericho and was passing through.2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature.4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." - Luke 19 (ESV)
Afterward I asked who understood what was happening in the story and the majority of the kids raised their hands! Thank God.
Now preaching is hard to recall from memory, but it went something like the following:
I started off the preaching by reading the text which says, "And he was seeking to see who Jesus was," and from this I preached how the most important question we will ever ask is, "Who is Jesus?" So I asked the group, "WHO IS JESUS? ... Who do you say that He is?" ...several times. They were thinking, and a several of them gave really good answers. I proclaimed to the kids, "We all must be like Zacchaeus and LOOK TO SEE WHO JESUS IS! We must SEEK who Jesus is... we must look to find out WHO IS JESUS. We all must do this by asking God to show Himself to us. We can pray and say something like, 'Jesus, please show me who you really are...;' *short pause*"
Now Stephan also preached a little bit. He spoke over the rest of the text and emphasized how Jesus loves sinners and that is why he went to hang out with Zacchaeus... It is hard to remember what exactly he said, but I think Stephan also recapped how Zacchaeus gave away his stuff in repentance, also I think he spoke on how Jesus loves us and has come to "seek and to save the lost."
When Stephan had finished speaking, he passed the podium back to me. "Now we can say we believe and give the right answers, we can say He is the 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Son of the Living God, the Savior, the Rescuer who saves us from our sins... But even the devil knows these things, and he is still going to end up hell. We must have more than to only to know the truth in our heads, but we must actually know God-- our living God... Jesus was perfect and never sinned, died on the cross, came back to life, rose up to heaven, and is coming back to earth. Kids-- we are all in trouble with God and this is very serious. We all are sinners. And the wicked unbelievers are heading for hell. Hell is real place, called the lake of fire, where people will be punished and tortured forever. It will be horrible and people will be screaming..." (At this point, it was dead silent, and every child was staring me in the face with a serious, sad face...)
Next Stephan and I used a bus illustration. We illustrated that I was walking down the street and a bus was coming head to hit me. Instead of me getting hit by the bus, Stephan pushed me out of the way and got hit by the bus instead of me. Stephan died. So I preached, "I should have died, but Stephan died for me. *short pause* In the same way, all of us should die and be punished by God in hell, but for those who believe, JESUS DIED INSTEAD OF US. Because Jesus was punished on the cross, and we who believe will live forever. This is love! This is good news! Jesus is calling you children: to turn away from our sin and to run to God, believe and trust in Jesus to be saved. And in the same way Jesus went inside of Zacchaeus' house to have dinner with him, so Jesus will also come and live inside of each one of us who believe." "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8 (Finally, I read this verse and proclaimed how much God loves the kids more than they can even understand. By now the kids' faces began to light up with relief and with smiles. They really were understanding these things. I wish I could describe it to you, but I believe that many of these kids are beginning to fall in love with the gospel. Thank God!)
Lastly, I led the closing prayer. It was a serious, yet simple prayer to God. We prayed for God give the children faith, to help them believe and trust in Jesus to be saved. Also during part of the prayer I told the children they can also pray the same words with me, that is, for God to help them see who Jesus is, and to forgive their sins, if they wanted to-- but I did not try to force any sort of response. (For I cannot force some mechanical work of God in the children's heart-- as if it is myself who does the saving work... All I can do is call the kids in the name of God to repent toward God and put faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, but God alone will be the one who provides the ability for the kids to actually do this-- by the power of His Holy Spirit-- I cannot force the kids to exercise saving faith-- and I certainly can not attempt to manipulate anyone to jump through some mechanical hoops (ie. "The Sinners Prayer") and thereby declare them children of God-- salvation is FROM GOD. Any person who experiences the miracle of repentance and faith in Jesus to salvation has experienced a sheer miracle-- a resurrection within! ... Now I thank God that I have witnessed this miracle take place in many of our children.)
After the preaching, the group memorized the verse, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
One girl in particular actually thanked me for the preaching today. This girl has been paying so much more attention lately! She is very stubborn and has been mostly ignorant about God and distractive to other kids in the past. This really meant a lot! Also the other day when we started over on the Jesus Story Book for the second time, she really started getting into the stories and has been enjoying them a lot! I told her the other day, that we are going through the stories for a second time, and so this is her second chance from God to learn about Him through the Bible. She told me excitedly, "Cool, and maybe we read even through the whole book 3 times!?"
Afterward we all went outside and sat in the sun and ate ICE CREAM! The kids loved it and were very thankful for it. We gave thanks to God for the ice cream and sat down to eat. It was very sweet-- and I'm not talking about the ice cream... At this time myself and all of the volunteers were sitting with the kids eating too. We had a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed sitting and talking and enjoying the moment. Kids really love our attention and we (for the most part!) love to give it to them. By God's grace we at the Salvation Army After School Program are demonstrating the love of Jesus not only in word, but also in deed.
[b]DAILY (MON-FRI) SNACK TIME BIBLE LESSONS:
After we gave thanks for the snack we started back at the beginning of the Jesus storybook. This is round two for many of the kids who have been at the After School Program daily. And this is chance two for many of the kids who have not attended or been inattentive to the stories in the past. I began and read from the introduction of the storybook about how the Bible is not first and foremost a book of rules, nor is it a book of heroes, but the Bible is a story-- the story of God coming into the world in Jesus Christ to rescue us. Every story in the Bible whispers His name. Then Stephan read the story of creation to the kids and we talked about how "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The kids who showed up today were very young. All of the kids shared around the table their favorite stories about the beach and other places in creation. Meanwhile, Stephan and I kept trying to emphasize how God made it all. We ended with prayer.
Note: One girl who has been coming every day regularly this year asked me a lot of questions about the Bible today. She also asked me if I had another Bible (like mine) that I could give to her. The funny thing is that I do! I actually two of the Bible that use-- the second one I have been planning to give away for a long time. It has been my goal to give the Bible to my first genuine convert. Now, I am unsure if this girl was actually converted through my ministry here or perhaps the other neighborhood bus-to-church ministry, but regardless I am going to give it to her! She has a very genuine love for the Lord. I am so excited and I just know she is going to love it. I also ended up giving her a mini introduction to the new testament. I showed her how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are where we read about Jesus; Acts about Peter and Paul and how they went everywhere telling people about Jesus; Romans, Galatians, etc... are the letters to the Christians of Rome and Galatia telling us even more about Jesus. I also showed her Psalms and how they are songs and prayers that we can pray, sing, and trust. We read Psalm 23 together.
On Tuesday we told the story of Adam and Eve with an emphasis on them 1. Being our first parents, & 2. Being the first sinners by whom we have all inherited a sin nature and now humanity as a whole stands guilty before God as "sinners." We talked about how the first thing Adam and Eve did when they sinned was (trying to) hide from God by running away-- and not only running away, but also they tried to cover-up their shame and guiltiness by making clothes made of fig leaves. We talked about how this is what we all do when we realize that we have run from God. We try to hide from Him and avoid the subject of God, and we try to do lots of "good" works and nice things for people to make ourselves feel better. But this still does not fix the problem in that we have sinned and rebelled against God! Finally I tried to explain how the clothes of animal skins in the garden represents the righteousness of Christ, but it was very hard to do... I explained it by saying that God killed an animal to put the animal skins on Adam and Eve for clothing, just like how Jesus died to forgive us our sins. We need Jesus just like Adam and Eve needed the clothes from God.
Note: Also during this time we had a powerful discussion about creation and evolution. We talked about how in school they teach we are related to monkeys. Several kids told stories of this and how they thought it was silly because they (the children) believe God made us. One little girl said that her teacher asked the entire class, "Do you all believe that you are related to monkeys?" Of course the whole class was supposed to say, "Yes..." We talked about how this is not true, but GOD MADE US. We emphasized that people who do not believe in God, but believe we have all evolved from animals, have a big problem-- they cannot explain how the universe got here.
After all of this, about 20 minutes had gone by, (which is a little bit lengthy for a snack time story and teaching / preaching...) And so toward the end during the closing prayer it was very difficult. A few children would not stop talking and making jokes to each other, which then led the entire group of children astray during this time. I ended up stopping in the middle of the prayer and strongly rebuking the children. Now I did not merely "yell" at them in anger, which would be a mistake... but I was so moved and full of sorrow in this moment that it seemed my face was bursting red in agony. I did raise my voice and I pleaded with the kids that prayer is the most important time of the day. I told them I do not care if they laugh at me, or if they laugh about how silly Adam and Eve can be, but DO NOT laugh while we talk to God! When we pray we are talking to God Himself and He should have our full attention. The kids became silent and so then we ended in prayer. Times like this are not easy, but are also extremely crucial. It is during these times that we are not merely doing "rituals", but are implanting values in to the hearts of children. Perhaps the value which was demonstrated in this instance was that our God is a serious God and so we must take Him seriously!
This all leads up to an important question... How much should we expect of children regarding the things of God? After teaching and preaching to the kids every Mon-Fri over the last few months, I believe kids are much more capable than we give them credit for. Not only do that have gigantic hearts that are full of trust, (and the trust should must be given to God), but also they are more intellectually capable than we think-- however, the kids need somebody to be with them not only to exemplify a godly life, but also to patiently and simply instruct and reprove them in the way they should go.
On Wednesday we told the story of Noah's Ark. We emphasized how God saved Noah from the flood because Noah believed God. At the end of the story, I asked the kids a lot of questions about the story... I asked questions like, "Why did God save Noah?" (he believed God...) and "What happened to everybody else?" (they died...) and "Why did God destroy the people?" (they were wicked and did not believe God...) As we talked our way through these questions with the children, it really got them all thinking... And so I explained how God is holy and God hates sin, but God is also love and so I preached that we must believe in God and trust Jesus that He will save us, just like Noah trusted God to save him. Lastly we talked about how people would have been making fun of Noah back then for building a big boat, when nobody else believed! But when the flood came and Noah was safe, the people were not laughing any more. Who was laughing? God. But, but, but...?
(Psalm 2, ESV)
1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."
[b]4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.[/b]
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 "As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."
7 I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
[i]Derision, that is, according to dictionary.com:
ridicule; mockery: The inept performance elicited derision from the audience.
So let us "kiss the Son"-- that is, our King Jesus.
"lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him."-- Like Noah.
It's sad, that this God of the Bible sounds so foreign to many of our (naturally) God-hating ears. May God give us the grace to (supernaturally) see Him as He really is. So be it.
On Thursday we told the story of "The man who didn't have any friends (none)"-- that is, Zacchaeus. The kids enjoyed this story so much! Zacchaeus had no friends because he was a tax collector and especially because he was a thief. He didn't only charge the people for taxes, but he also charged them a "fee" on top of it which he kept for himself. The kids understood this. I stopped in the middle of the story and asked the children, "Doesn't Jesus know about Zacchaeus?" Now since we have well established among the kids that Jesus is the "God-Man", (that is, that He is completely 100% God AND that he had come in to the world as completely 100% a real, human Person in a real body...), all of the kids agreed that Jesus did know about how bad of a sinner Zacchaeus really was. So then I asked them, "Why did Jesus go to Zacchaeus' house?" We all agreed because Jesus loved him. Then I asked the group, "Does Jesus love sinners?" One girl, who comes from a sort of sportsy-do-gooder family replied, "No." and the whole group was listening. I quickly corrected her and said, "Yes He does!" I explained to the group how the Bible says that we all have sinned and we are all bad sinners, and that is why it is so amazing that God loves us. "This is good news!" We continued telling the story about how Zacchaeus humbled himself and gave away half of his stuff to the poor and paid back the people that he stole from 4 times as much. The book ends the story like this, [b]"Jesus loved Zacchaeus when nobody else did. He was Zacchaeus' friend, even when no one else was. Because Jesus was showing people what God's love was like-- his wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."[/b]
| 2009/5/14 3:07||Profile|
| Re: |
Awesome man keep it up Isaiah 61:1-
| 2009/5/15 1:49||Profile|
| Dont Worry Adam.|
I understand what you mean, about getting wrapped up in fleshly pride, and into the headspace of "what [b]I've [/b] done for the Lord"...amen, thats a trap of the devil, to get us thinking that "we're all that".
as long as you stay humble, meek, dead to self, and totally dependent on God, you'll be fine.
I just believe that we must and should encourage others while it's still Today, a sort of "Barnabas" ministry, you get me? and that encouragement can take three forms, by voicing or in this case, writing it, by praying for you, and by love offerings that provide the resource you need to keep on, keeping on.
again, God bless you beloved brother, neil
| 2009/5/15 3:59|
| Re: Adam's Witnessing Encounters|
[b]May-June After School Program Ministry in Review[/b]
I turned 21 on June 7th. Yay.
***///Now back to your regularly scheduled broadcasting///***
[Sorry about the lack of posts lately. The last two months have been difficult for me to keep detailed logs. But here is the concise version of what we have covered with the kids. We read and taught daily from the Jesus Storybook to the kids while they ate their snacks and on Fridays Stephen and I preached...]
After School Program Week In Review (5/11 - 5/15)
A giant staircase to heaven. (Tower of Babel.)
Son of Laughter & The present. (Abraham & Isaac.)
The girl no one wanted. (Leah.)
Daniel, godliness & persecution
Stephen and I preached from Paul's 2nd letter to Timothy on the need to continue in the faith.
After School Program Week In Review (5/18 - 5/22)
Monday: Moses & bush, the great escape... + William Tyndale Cartoon
wednesday: richard wurmbrand & persecution talk & prayer with the boys
thursday: Eric Liddel
This week was basically the 10 commandments week. We memorized the ten commandments and talked about it every day. Emphasizing first our breaking God's law and need for a savior; and second that the law is good and holy and we should love God's rules.
friday: We spoke about how God is our treasure & preaching on continue in what you have learned again. + we taught the children the basic doctrine of the Trinity.
After School Program Week In Review (5/25 - 5/29)
(monday no school)
tuesday: Jesus loves the little children
wednesday: Holy Spirit
thursday: Paul meets Jesus, eyes opened.
friday: Heaven & preaching on Psalm 73:25 "true heaven" and Knowing God via the three ways He has revealed Himself to us: Creation, Jesus, and the Word.
After School Program Week In Review (6/01 - 6/05)
This was the last week of the After School Program.
monday: prodigal son
tuesday: the singer ("look at the birds" from the sermon on the mount...) (We also watched Chron. of Narnia on this day)
wednesday: Let's Go! (Jesus calls his disciples) (difficult time, kids weren't listening well to the story teaching, so I also preached on the call to repent and follow Jesus.)
thursday: how to pray (Watched eric liddel (chariots of fire) cartoon, too)
friday: daniel in the lions den & preaching on Good Samaritan + 1Cor13.
This concludes the after school program ministry for this year. *sad feeling* But the good news is that every Wednesday we will now be open for a few hours during the afternoon to continue and follow up with the ministry to the children whom the Lord has entrusted us with. Everything is in place and ready to go and flyers have been handed out to the children and their families. Continue praying for the kids during the summer-- especially that they will remember to keep coming on Wednesdays in order to be discipled. Remember: a summer seems like an eternity for these young kids.
Things to look forward to on this blog in the future:
I have two upcoming book reviews for you all from Ligonier ministries and reformation trust publishers...
1. Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea For Preaching
This book looks excellent and I can't wait to dive into it. It is authored by several contributors, many of whom you have probably heard of; such as the following:
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
James Montgomery Boice, late pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pa.
Derek W. H. Thomas, professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss.
Joel R. Beeke, seminary president, professor of theology and homiletics, and pastor in Grand Rapids, Mich.
R. C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier Ministries and minister of preaching and teaching at St. Andrews in Sanford, Fla.
R.C. Sproul Jr., director of the Highlands Study Center in Bristol, Va.
Sinclair B. Ferguson, senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C.
Don Kistler, a Bible teacher, author, editor of dozens of Puritan books, and general editor of Feed My Sheep.
Eric J. Alexander, retired pastor of St. Georges-Tron Church in Glasgow, Scotland.
John Piper, pastor for preaching and vision at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn.
John MacArthur, pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif.
2. John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology
I'm very excited to read and review this book, too. Calvin is probably the most misunderstood person in the last 500 years of human history. Speaking of which, this fall he will also be having his 500th birthday! Yay. This book was also a joint project with many contributors including the following:
Jay E. Adams,
Eric J. Alexander,
Thomas K. Ascol,
Joel R. Beeke,
Sinclair B. Ferguson,
W. Robert Godfrey,
Phillip R. Johnson,
Steven J. Lawson,
Keith A. Mathison,
Richard D. Phillips,
Harry L Reeder,
Philip Graham Ryken,
Derek W.H. Thomas,
edited by Burk Parsons,
Foreward by Iain H. Murray.
Lastly, I will try to keep you all updated with the various summer events that happen around here in Coos Bay and a mission trip I take to volunteer for a week at Joy Bible Camp in southern California.
Grace & Peace,
| 2009/6/9 6:23||Profile|