Jesus really loves kids! In fact, he tells us to be like them. What a blessing it is to see the “simple” faith of a child! God’s plan is for us to share our faith with them and then learn from them as we see that faith take hold.
God’s design is for the family to be the primary disciple-making context, with each family raising their children to know that they are loved by God and a part of his eternal family through the gospel. This is God’s strategy, with the broader church body supporting this through corporate worship, Sunday school, and other congregational ministries.
As parents, grandparents, or simply people who love kids, we want our children to encounter the living God. Our God wants us to help each generation know him in all his power, grace, and truth. A wonderful way for children to understand their place in God’s family is for them to be taught this, day in and day out, through life’s experiences with their earthly family.
Dave Ellis is a father, grandfather, teacher, “Creation Celebrator,” and disciple maker. He has done this with his family and now he can help you have “faith talks” with the kids you love, as you consider God’s creation with them. The sun, moon, stars, and all of nature cry out that there is a loving Creator. Check out Dave’s blog or his new book at: www.creatorwords.com.
Nick Mundis, Director
North American Mission
We need one of these daily. What is it, you wonder? Call it a course correction, a life’s path redirect. Why are you and I graciously given life on this big blue planet? Luther said it plainly in the catechism: We are to fear, love, and trust God above all things. But it’s easy to get distracted. We have an enemy who continually creates lies to pull us away from fear and love of God. Our enemy wins when we are diverted from our relationship with the Father.
Retired teachers still give assignments. This is your course correction assignment—and mine. The old teacher will do it with you. There is no due date, discussion, test—just the assignment. Here it is in two parts: 1) to fear and love God; and 2) you must do it outside. We read God’s Word in order to fear and love him. We can also use his creation to learn to fear and love him.
It’s not my idea. Paul the Apostle wrote the words we’ll use to begin this adventure with God’s creation. Romans 1:19 tells us that “what may be known about God is plain.” In verse 20 he writes that we can actually see God’s invisible qualities—his “eternal power and divine nature.” Did you catch that? See what’s invisible? We can see God’s power and divine nature! What is God’s divine nature? It’s love!
God spoke directly to Job when his life was at its lowest. What did God use to pull Job out of despair? He said to Job, “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider (my) wonders” (37:14). This is our first task: consider God’s wonders. How might we do that, you ask? Again, the Bible provides us with instruction. God directs us to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Go outside, on a warm day or cold, and the impact is the same. Be still. Still. With our mouths closed, eyes open, ears attentive to outside sounds… that still. What is God’s promise? We will know he is God.
Jesus directed us to “consider the ravens” (Luke 12:24). This is the second time the word consider has been used in relation to what God has made. To consider requires us to take time. Reflection should bring us to a life full stop. The Bible instructs us to study the wonders of God, to think through to the conclusion: God made all my eyes can see. Then while we are sitting still, you and I can do one of my favorite things. Look at the sky. The psalmist urges us to look up: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).
Take walks… in pleasant weather and when it’s inclement. As you walk, examine the earth God has made. It is “filled with love.” God’s love. Look around, listen, take in the scents of earth, touch the grass. The earth is filled with God’s love. Become a student of the animals God has put on the earth. He saved them from the flood. He has put in them his Creator stamp: made by God.
In Jeremiah 8:7 we read, “Even the stork knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration.” Forty percent of the world’s bird population migrate, and there are two migrations annually. God provides us with multiple opportunities to observe this God-designed miracle. These words from Job 12:7 summarize what God “makes plain” to us: “Ask the animals, and they will teach you…” The best place to “ask” the animals? Outside.
Believe it. Paul writes that creation reveals the invisible qualities of God. Creation makes visible the forever power of God. Creation reveals God’s divine nature. His love. Exploring these truths is a life adventure. It is the clear intention of God that we learn to know and fear him through what he has made. Why do we have five senses? They are never fully used indoors.
An unexpected reward to spending time observing and considering creation is health. Our immune system is strengthened, muscle tone improves, our pulse rate slows, and stress is reduced… simply by spending time outside. The most profitable reward is a more complete understanding of Scripture. God has filled the Bible with creation examples. Remember the life assignment? “The heavens declare the glory of God.” The comforting words of Jesus admonish us to consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:26-30).
Would it be worthwhile to fear and love God?
Examine his creation—outside. He is everywhere present.
David Ellis was an elementary teacher for over forty years and served as an instructional systems specialist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.