Sunday, November 27, 2022

Intentional Advent at Trinity

How and Why are we being Intentional about Advent this year? (3rd of 3 Intro to Advent posts)

How are we being intentional this year?

Starting on December 1st through 24th, there will be daily Advent readings and posts.  You can download an Advent reading calendar HERE.  Coloring page copies and bookmarks are available at the church.

Over the four Sundays in December, there are going to be Christmas-focused sermons that move from Genesis 3 through Luke 2.

On December 4th, the keyword is Problem. Pastor Dave will be preaching about the need for a savior.

On December 11th, the keyword is Promise.  Pastor Jory will be preaching on the promise of a savior.

On December 18th , the keyword is Prophecy.  Pastor Jason will be preaching on the wait for a savior.

On December 25th the keyword is Presence.  Pastor Brett will be preaching on the birth of the Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.

Why we are being intentional this year?

“If we want to give our children the gift of clearer gospel understanding this Christmas, we must put more thought into how we lead them than we put into buying gifts and making Pinterest crafts.”

While an Advent theme, may not become an annual part of the Trinity’s December calendar, focusing our hearts and minds on Jesus needs to be a part of each of our daily lives all the time. 

Truth78, which has helped our children and family ministry, has a podcast episode entitled An Intentional Advent.  The podcast hosts talk about Advent in their families and the opportunity we all have to disciple the next generation this Advent season and beyond.  They refer to The Good News of Great Joy  Advent book.  You may choose to use this or another devotional for your family.  But we want to encourage you to join the Trinity church family for the Bible reading and themes we will be meditating on this Christmas season. 


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Why Advent?

Why Advent?  2nd of 3 Intro to Advent posts

In 2014, The Gospel Coalition posted an article “Three Christmas Pitfalls for Parents” - This article has served as a good reminder for me of lessons we can learn and re-learn during the very busy time leading up to Christmas.

I want to encourage you to read the entire article and at the same time here are the three pitfalls along with some key ideas from each pitfall and a modified version of #2 and #3 in parentheses to make them applicable for everyone, not only parents.

Three Christmas Pitfalls for Parents

Pitfall 1: How can I keep the world from hijacking Christmas?

The world doesn't define our celebration; we do, in obedience to God. 

We explain which elements of our celebration are simply fun, which are culturally significant, and which specifically celebrate Christ.  Instead of fearing the world, teach your children to engage culturally for the spread of the gospel.

Pitfall 2: Why should I give my kids gifts when they don’t need or deserve them?  (Why should I even bother with gifts during this consumeristic Christmas season?)

God gave us the gift of Christ—his birth, his death, and his resurrection—by grace. All gifts we place under the tree should be given in the same manner we’ve received Christ: freely.

Give gifts in an effort to cultivate a worshipful longing for Christ’s return.

Pitfall 3: How do I teach my kids to love Jesus more than Christmas presents?  (How can I help myself and others love Jesus more than Christmas presents?)

Because God gave us the greatest gift of love through Jesus, we can love our children by teaching them though gifts are fun, the joy they provide is temporary.  Salvation is the only gift that will eternally satisfy our longings. Don’t shame your children when you sense their greed; teach them. 

If you are tempted to make wild changes to your Christmas giving (scrapping all presents), pause. Realize you can’t shock children into godliness. 

Tomorrow’s post is about how and why we are being intentional about Advent in 2022.

Friday, November 25, 2022

What is Advent?

What is Advent? (1st of 3 Intro to Advent posts)

There are two different ways Advent can be celebrated.
Churches can have Advent readings and candles on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
Individuals can do Advent readings and activities beginning December 1.
This year, we are going to do a mix of both

This word Advent has several definitions that will help you understand why using an Advent devotional/reading during this time of the year is helpful. These definitions are taken from My thoughts are in italics.
  1. arrival, approach - Advent celebrates the arrival of the Messiah - Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. It also reminds Christ-followers of the hope we have that Jesus is coming again.
  2. invasion, incursion - Advent reminds us of our sin problem. While Jesus did come as a baby in a manger, His purpose was to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He did this through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. He is the light in a dark world. He came for God's glory and so that we could have victory over sin.
  3. ripening - Of the four definitions given this is the one that might seem the strangest at first. However when you consider one of Merriam-Webster's definitions of "ripening" - to bring to completeness or perfection, along with Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 5:6-8, it provides a great visual reminder. The time was ripe for Jesus' birth.
  4. visit, appearance - Advent is about so much more than a baby in a stable. It is about the appearance of God's grace, Jesus, who brings salvation (Titus 2:11). It also reminds us that Jesus will appear again (Titus 2:13).
We are not commanded to celebrate Advent throughout December. However, we are told to consider who Jesus is and what He has done for us (Hebrews 3:1-2; Hebrews 10:19-25; Hebrews 12:3).

Let’s use this Advent season to do what we should be doing all the time, glorying God by making much of Jesus Christ.

November 27

Community Kids
Toddler  SS
Jesus fed a multitude -
Jesus provides for our needs.
John 6:1-14
Ps 92:1

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for Isaac -
God sent Jesus to die in our place
Gen 22:1-19
Gen 22:8

1st  SS
God saved his people alive
God wants us to recognize his plan for our good
Gen 41 – 45; 50
Ps 37:5

2nd-3rd SS
God preserved life
God’s plan is always for the good of his people
Gen 42-50
Gen 50:20

4th–5th SS
Biology Lessons
God’s creation of all living things is evident in biology.
Gen. 1:11, 12, 20, 21, 24, 25; Ps. 139:14-16
2 Cor 4:4

1st–5th  CC
God raises up judges
God cares how we treat him
Judges 1 – 3
Judges 2:18

Friday, November 18, 2022

November 20

This Sunday mornings class and AM service were canceled.
Part of this post is designed to provide some things for parents to do with their children.
These resources are based on the 1st - 5th grade Children's Church lesson on Joshua 23 and 24.  

HERE is the note sheet for the 1st through 5th graders.
HERE are several graphics for Joshua 24:15.
HERE is a pdf script to use when doing the lesson.

The lesson is a good reminder all of the time and especially leading up to Thanksgiving.
Choose to worship God.  The passage is filled with Joshua's thanks for what God had done.

Lesson Script:

Game - Choose between two.
    1. Have family members gather in the middle of the room.  If you are doing this on your own, take the following survey  The survey is also at the end of this post.  Even if you do the activity, you can go back and do the survey.
    2. Put one item in one kind of fruit in one hand and the other kind in the other.
    3. Move to one side of the room for one item and the other side for the other item.
    4. Ask, why they choose the fruit they choose.
    5. Ask, would you change your mind if your chosen fruit started tasting like an old tennis shoe?
    6. Do steps 2 - 5 with candy bars and substitute another gross item in step 5.
    7. Do steps 2 - 4 with a snack item they can eat at the end.  
    8. Suppose God was on the right side of the room.  What might be one the other side?  (What are opposites of God?  The devil, sin, or idols)
    9. Why would you choose God? 
    10. Would there ever be a time when choosing to worship and serve God would be a bad choice?  Why not?  (God never changes.  He is faithful.  He never stops being good, kind, and loving)
In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua calls on the nation of Israel to commit to serving and worshiping the one true God instead of idols and false gods.

Work on the memory verse for the last couple of weeks:  Joshua 23:14b
you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that
not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke
concerning you has failed; they all have been fulfilled for you,
not one of them has failed.

The final two chapters of Joshua are filled with reasons to worship and praise God.

Read Joshua 23:1 - 3

How were the Israelites able to conquer the nations that lived in the Promised Land?  (They trusted God.  He fought with them and for them.)

Think back over this quarter's lesson and answer this questions.  What had God done to show His power to the Israelites?  (He delivered them from Egypt when they were slaves; He parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River; He gave them manna and quail when they were hungry; He knocked down the walls of Jericho so they could defeat their enemy)

When we look back at what God has done in our lives, we should be filled with love for Him and desire to worship Him.  This is what Joshua wanted the Israelites to do.

Read Joshua 23:6, 7 

What did Joshua remind the people to do?  (Obey)

What did Joshua remind the people not to do?  (Worship false gods)

Read Joshua 23:9, 10, 14

How many of God's promises has He failed to keep? (None of them)

What does that tell us about God?  (He is faithful)  
God requires committment

Look through Joshua 24:1 - 13, which is on the pdf sheet at the beginning of this post.

Find the 18 "I" pronouns in this passage and what God ("I") did in each of those situations.

Because God had done so much for the Israelites how should they have responded to Him?

Read Joshua 24:14
The Israelites needed to serve, respect and obey God alone! 
His faithfulness to them meant that they should worship God with their whole hearts.

Read Joshua 24:15
Joshua made Israel's choice clear.  They could not have their false gods and worship the one true God too.
Now they must choose.  Who would they serve:  False idols or God?

Read Joshua 24:16 -18, 24
Joshua chose to worship and serve God alone.  The people followed and promised to serve God alone.  Joshua told them they wouldn't.  His point was that God is always faithful but people are not.  We all let God down at some point in our lives.
But God never, ever, lets us down.  His faithfulness is everlasting.

We are not Israelites but God calls us to worship and serve Him just the same.  
Read Romans 12:1

Notice what it says.

Next week in class we are going to quickly review this lesson by making rock reminders.   Throughout the book of Joshua, the Israelites use rocks and piles of rocks as markers for something God did.  

This week's missionaries are the Pool's

Toddler  SS
Jesus thanked God for food
Jesus thanked God for food.
John 6:1-14
Ps 92:1

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for Abraham
God’s plan to provide salvation cannot be stopped
Gen 18:1-15; 21:1-7
Gen 18:14

1st  SS
God remembered Joseph
God wants to trust him through disappointments
Gen 39, 40
Ps 40:1, 3b

2nd-3rd SS
God helped Joseph in Egypt
God’s plan includes his enabling presence
Gen 39-41
Heb 13:5, 6

4th–5th SS
The Earth Speaks
God’s judgment on the world is evident in geology.
Gen. 7:11, 12, 17-24; 8:1-5; Isa. 45:18; Rom. 8:19-23
Gen 7:20, 22

1st–5th  CC
Joshua Challenges Israel
God is worthy of our sincere worship and devotion
Josh 23; 24
Josh 23:21b

Friday, November 11, 2022

November 13

Toddler  SS
Jesus showed love for children
Jesus wants little children to believe in Him.
Matt 19:13-15;  Mk 10:13-16
Mark 10:14

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for sinners -
God promised to provide salvation
Gen 12:1-9, 15
Gen 12:3

1st  SS
God went with Joseph
God wants us to trust him even when troubles come
Gen 37
Gen 39:2a

2nd-3rd SS
God used Joseph’s brothers
God’s plans will always come to pass
Gen 37
Prov 16:9

4th–5th SS
God’s Grace in a Wicked World
God spared the world by His grace.
Gen. 6:1–9:17
Heb 11:7

1st–5th  CC
God provides victory in the land
God blesses those who diligently obey him.
Josh 10, 11
Josh 23:14b

Friday, November 4, 2022

November 6

This week's prayer focus is our Retirees

Age-specific Sunday School and Children's Church info follows the Kids in Church info.  This includes some more info about the lesson the 1st - 5th graders would have had in class.

For General Info about Kids in Church Sundays, go to

Click for pdf of notes

Kid's Sermon Notes will be at the communication center by the upstairs elevator door.

To help the 1st - 5th graders listen to Sunday's sermon on Acts 20:25-38 I want to provide a couple of specific helps.
  1. Before the sermon, read through Acts 20:25 - 38 with your child before the sermon.
  2. During the sermon, make sure your child has the Bible opened up to the passage.
  3. During the sermon, challenge to child to be an active listener.  Pick up a note sheet for him or her.  
    • Note sheets will be at the Community Center/bulletin board - upstairs by the elevator.
    • Three ways to use the sheet
      • the Nose, Tongue, Eyes, and Heart outline
      • Alphabet Listening.  On back listen for keywords that begin with each letter of the alphabet
      • Drawing What Your Hear.  Draw a picture of words or ideas you hear in the sermon or a song
  4. After the sermon, talk about the sermon.  A post with some talking points for families will be made available at 12:15 pm.
Specific helpful links,


Toddler  SS
Jesus shared love for children -
Jesus loves meeting children’s needs.
Matthew 18:1-14
Mark 10:14

PreK/ K SS
God’s grace for the nations -
God wants us to obey his commands
Gen 11:1 – 26
Ps 145:9

1st  SS
God revealed his presence
God is with us and working out his plan
Gen 28:1 – 5, 10 – 22
Heb 13:5b

2nd-3rd SS
God taught Jacob to trust
God wants us to trust his plans
Gen 28:1-5; 10-22; 29:1-30:24; 32; 33; 35
Prov 3:5, 6

4th–5th SS
Solution for Sin
God provided His grace as the solution to sin.
Gen. 3:16–4:26
Rom 5:18

1st–5th  CC

Gibeonites use Joshua 9.
Last week was Halloween, a day when children dress up to walk around and get treats from neighbors.
Gibeonites, who lived in the Promised Land, tricked (acted craftily) the Israelites by dressing in worn out clothes and telling them they came from a land far away.
Rather than turn to God like Rahab had done, these idol-worshiping nations decided to ban together to trick Israel.  They pretended to be something they were not in order to deceive the Israelites.

Joshua 9:14b is such an important verse to remember with an action we must not repeat.
The Israelites "did not ask counsel from the Lord."
God wants us to seek his will for important decisions

The reason we must remember to do this is found in this week's memory verse.

Josh 23:14b

"you know in all your hearts and 
in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; they all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed"

God is faithful and never fails, which is one of the reasons we must always seek him.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Achan - A Scary BUT Necessary Story

In teaching children, there are many difficult narratives in the Bible.

There are many difficult narratives for adults in the Bible.

The story of Achan, this past Sunday's 1st - 5th grade Bible lesson (, is one of those stories.
It is one of the upcoming Bible Club lessons I will be teaching at a public school and would very much appreciate your prayers.
As a ministry leader, teacher, and a parent, I wanted to share a part of a good book entitled Show Them Jesus.
The author writes specifically about this story.
A few years ago I was teaching a large group of elementary kids from the book of Joshua. I taught how God brought his people through the Jordan River and toppled the walls of Jericho. From there, the curriculum I was using skipped a chapter—the story of Achan.  
Achan was an Israelite soldier. He spurned a direct command from God by taking some of the plunder of Jericho for himself. His sin was uncovered when God caused the Israelites to be routed in a subsequent battle. To reveal whose sin was responsible, God used a dread-filled process of picking first the tribe, then the clan, then the family at fault. The members of the guilty family came forward one by one, and God picked Achan. So the people stoned Achan, along with his wife, children, and livestock. Then they set them on fire and heaped stones on their charred bodies. Only after that did God turn from his anger.  
Well now, it’s easy to see why that story gets skipped. 
What should I do? I don’t like picking through the Bible for just the cheery parts, but my group of kids was fairly young. I was worried that the lesson might be too scary. I finally decided I could teach about Achan—if I made sure that the good news of Jesus was my theme.  
One of my helpers that day was also the mom of a student. Just before class, she asked what the lesson was, and when I told her she became worried. Her daughter got nightmares, she explained. Tense stories often brought them on. I got a sick feeling. Surely I’d been stupid to think I could teach such a lesson to little kids. But there was no time to change it, so I taught about Achan. Dead soldiers. Selection process. Stoning. Fire. The whole ugly scene.  
As I taught this, the concerned mom looked even more worried. So did some of the kids, who were particularly bothered that the other soldiers, family members, and animals got killed too. What had they done to deserve that? It was a good question, so I had the whole group gather around me as I sat on the floor with them.  
“Yes, many were killed,” I told them, “but that’s what we should learn from this.” I read to them the Bible’s own commentary on the incident: “Didn’t the LORD’s anger come on the whole community of Israel? And Achan wasn’t the only one who died because of his sin” (Joshua 22:20, NIrV).  
“You see,” I said, “just one man sinned, but many died. That’s the lesson.”
The kids gave me confused looks. It wasn’t the sort of lesson anyone was expecting. I had their attention and pressed on.  
“What if you sin? Or I sin? Does God punish us like he did Achan? Does anyone else get punished too? Or has God made a way to punish sin that has a better ending than this story has?”  
The kids weren’t sure. Several knew that God wouldn’t be holy if he didn’t punish sin. They also knew that God forgives. They weren’t certain how it all fit together.  
“The idea that a person might die for someone else’s sin is very important,” I said. “In our story, one man sinned but many died. But what if later in the Bible we found one man—just one man—who never sinned in his whole life, but still got punished? If that man never sinned but still died, then many could live.”  
They knew I was talking about Jesus.  
I went on to tell how Jesus lived the sin-free life each of us don’t. I told how out of all the tribes and clans and families of the world, only Jesus is not guilty—so God picked him. To die. To take our place. God selected Jesus to take the punishment we deserve so we don’t have to stand sinful and quaking, waiting for judgment like Achan did.  
“Your sin is very bad,” I told the kids. “It can hurt many people. But God loves you so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to become a man and die for your sin. Jesus was hurt most of all.  
“I wasn’t sure I should tell you this story because I thought it might be too scary. It’s about the scariest thing ever—getting punished by God. But when you know the whole story, it isn’t scary. If you belong to Jesus, he took your punishment and God becomes your Father. So I hope you won’t be scared. You don’t have to be scared of anything. Jesus makes the scariest thing of all go away.” 
I knew I’d done okay once it was over because the worried mom thanked me. She loved the story. The real surprise, though, came a few weeks later. The mom came up to me with a huge grin and told me her daughter’s nightmares had stopped. The girl insisted it was because she knew that, due to Jesus, she didn’t have to be scared anymore.  
Well, that’s the kind of result a teacher very rarely hears of, and my first reaction was skepticism. Could a little lesson about Jesus really cure such a problem? The nightmares would probably come back in time. But months went by and the mom remained delighted.  
I finally came to see that I was the one who lacked faith in the power of the good news. In spite of teaching it, I never expected it to work so wonderfully. It was all due to Jesus, of course, who lived the story I had the privilege of repeating. There’s no story like it. I should have expected such results. 
When the account of Achan is taught at all, it’s usually with the moral point that stealing is wrong. Okay, but that girl needed to hear the larger biblical point: that sin destroys life with God. Then she needed the biggest point of all—the theme of the whole Bible: that wherever sin destroys, Jesus heals.  
That girl learned about Jesus and believed. She also discovered that belief in Jesus is life-changing, that he truly is better than anything else.
Klumpenhower, Jack. Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids (Kindle Locations 181-232). New Growth Press. Kindle Edition

HERE is a review of the book.

Here is the BIG IDEA of the story that children and adults need to know.  

Sin has consequences - BIG CONSEQUENCES.  
From an eternal perspective - - 
If you have not repented of your sin and put your trust in Jesus Christ, you will suffer eternal judgment for your sin - Hell.
If you have repented of your sin and put your trust in Jesus, he has taken that punishment for your sin upon himself and you are saved.

From a temporary perspective - -
The consequences of your sin have an impact on you and others.

From both perspectives, sin - coveting, stealing, deceiving, or any other -  is a serious problem.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Praying with Dependence on God's Sovereign Grace

This is the sixth of seven posts from the book Zealous: 7 Commitments for the Discipleship of the Next Generation.  Podcasts and other links are at the bottom of this boast.

For more about this series of posts go to the Introduction post

These posts will contain a summary of the commitment along with some ways we are trying to implement that commitment at Trinity Baptist Church.  

The sixth commitment is "Praying with Dependence on God's Sovereign Grace."

Throughout this sixth chapter, the connection to prayer and dependence on God is repeated.  Parents, pastors, and teachers cannot escape their responsibility for nurturing the faith of the next generation.  At the same time, there is no way to escape God's sovereignty - people are "saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ" (80).  Ephesians 2:8-9 shows us that salvation is the gift of God so that no one - no child, no parent, no pastor, no grandparent, no Sunday School teacher - may boast.

  • We need to pray.
  • We need to pray for leaders and learners.
  • We need to prayerfully plan.
  • We need to prayerfully teach.
  • We need to prayerfully and patiently trust in the LORD to do the work.
I want to share a couple of quotes from this chapter and some explanations

"Even when we are zealous for the discipleship of the next generation, we are woefully unequal to the task before us."

We can develop the best vision statement, foster partnership between the church and home, teach God's word well, proclaim the glorious gospel, and develop an awesome discipleship plan.  We should do all of these things.  BUT we need to remember that, ultimately, salvation belongs and comes from our God.  Pray shows this commitment.

"Our best efforts have no power to raise our children from spiritual death to everlasting life."

We can faithfully and truthfully proclaim how we are raised from death to life but we cannot make it happen.

We can faithfully and truthfully proclaim the one who raises sinners from death to life, and we are not the one who does this.

Some specific prayer tips from this chapter are

Pray at home for the next generation.
Pray at church for the next generation.
    Teachers praying for students
    Volunteer intercessors praying for teachers and students
    Corporate prayer for the children's ministry
    Parent-led prayers.

Praying with Dependence of God's grace podcast link.