Friday, June 26

Apostles' Creed Focus

“He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.”


Reflection Verse

“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” - Romans 5:15


Reflection

Did you ever have a coach who punished individuals by making the whole team run or do extra drills? It seemed so unfair. Why should everyone have to run when only one person broke a rule? If, however, that same coach started practice by saying, “Someone on our team has been volunteering weekly at the local community center. Everyone will get root beer floats after practice today.” I can’t imagine anyone complaining that it’s not fair they all get the floats when only one person volunteered. 

Although this is a silly example, it helps illustrate the problem of sin. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. One act changed the course of history and created a chasm between us and God that we can’t cross on our own. Unlike being punished by our coach for the sin of one, we are all to blame. Sin entered the world through Adam, but we also sin daily. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So, is Adam to blame? Yes. And I am. And you are. And everyone in history until a perfect person was born in Bethlehem. 

Jesus did a lot of things in his three years of ministry. He taught countless lessons. He healed the sick and blind. He brought people back to life. He forgave sins and rebuked religious leaders. But he came to earth to perform one act. To die in our place and fix the problem of sin once and for all. We still sin every day, but the chasm has a bridge over it now. One given to us by our Savior. Like the player who volunteered and earned root beer floats for the team, Jesus’ one act provides forgiveness, a connection with God, and eternal life for all who believe. 

And you know what? It’s not fair. We don’t deserve God’s grace. We deserve death. Instead he gives us mercy in the shape of a Savior. I can’t imagine leaving practice that day and not mentioning to someone that coach treated everyone to root beer floats. It would be something to talk about. 

When it comes to Jesus, saying “yes” to that grace is the first step. The next step is living like you’ve been given the gift of grace - extending it to others and sharing what God has done in your life.


Prayer

God, you are so much better than a root beer float. I don’t know why you chose to save me, but you did. I know I couldn’t have earned your grace, but you give it to me freely every day. I want to live a life that reflects that grace so others can know you. I deserve death, but you gave me life. Thank you.


Verses for Further Reflection

1 John 1:8-10, John 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 5:17


Family Focus

Grace is a word that we use a lot. We talk about God’s grace and how thankful we are for it, but do our kids have an understanding of what grace really means? When I was growing up in church sometimes I would feel like I was just supposed to “know” what church words meant. So, let’s make sure that we are teaching our kids that it’s ok to ask questions. Asking questions leads to understanding and understanding helps kids make their faith their own.

So when the question comes up about what grace is, how do you answer it? The best way I know how to explain grace is that grace simply means not getting what you deserve. We offer grace to people in our lives when we choose to respond with a kind word instead of being cruel. When someone is mean to us it is very easy to be mean back. Even when someone deserves a mean word, that is where grace comes in and gives them kindness. Another way to explain it is when kids do something that is deserving of punishment. When they deserve time-out or deserve to have something taken away, grace can be extended.

Grace isn’t a difficult thing to explain, but don’t assume that kids already understand. Hearing a word often does not mean that there is understanding and understanding the concept of grace can have eternal significance!

Watch this video together for a great analogy you can discuss with your kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69x9JvXhcCE