Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31 – “Halloween rewards”

Some good friends from long ago – long, long ago – back when we lived in Arlington long ago – recently decided to buy a house in Galveston.  They wanted to have a place to go when they retired in a few years.  They also wanted a place that they could rent out in the meantime.  Seems that they found just what they were looking for.  They came to church yesterday before they headed back to Arlington.  They said they really liked the worship, and they wished they could just stay on now.  Sound to me like they got some sand between their toes.  That means they'll have the itch to get back down here from now on.  Well, come on down, Mike and Celia.
Preparations are well under way for our Halloween party tonight.  208 New Testaments are here and ready to be given away.  Don't have to order the pizzas until closer to 4:30 or 5.  Actually the only preparations left are house cleaning kinds of things.  Looks fine to me, but I'm sure Chris will find plenty that doesn't quite meet her approval when she wakes up.  I do still have to decide if I'm going to wear my Superman shirt and cape.  Or maybe figure out a way to dress as an otter.  Now that would surprise a few people.  Of course the Seaside people would probably think I was a goat.  Oh, I also have to decide what costume will be the big winner for the evening.  I love rewarding creativity.  Fire fighters still get special consideration no matter what other winners may come up.  Last year I went with the alphabet idea and started at the beginning.  Any costume that began with the letter A would get special treatment – extra candy, high fives, bells, whistles, cheers, touchdown dance - that sort of thing.  Only had one winner – an Avatar movie character.  Do I move on through to letter B, or skip to something more difficult, like Q or Z?  Hmm.  Q.  Queen.  Quaker.  Quarter horse.  Quantum physicist.  Quarterback.  Question mark.  Quintuplets.  That would be a tough one.  Z.  Zebra.  Zealot.  Zero.  Zeus.  Zucchini.  Zombie.  Oops.  Too easy.  I thought I had a winner there for a minute.  Oh, well.  I still have another ten or twelve hours to decide.
Proverbs 30:18-19 says, "There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden."
Father, make safe the paths of the children who will be walking around this evening.  Amen.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30 – “Jedi Warriors”

We expected going to a baseball game when it was 46 degrees outside to be quite an uncomfortable experience.  Zakary's game started at nine o'clock in the morning, so there was no way to get out of whatever weather experience awaited us.  Chris and Christi packed blankets to wrap up in.  Josh and I just layered up like we used to do in Colorado.  This was San Antonio.  How bad could it be?
As it turned out, Josh and I had the right idea.  As the morning progressed and the sun began doing its job, it became a beautiful, cool day.  I never did see the blankets.  I took off one of my layers, and Josh was in a t-shirt and sweat pants before the second inning.  Of course the kids were great fun to watch.  In this YMCA league everyone on the team bats every inning, so games don't last more than two or three innings.  And I think the time limit is an hour. 
Stop two was a Fall Festival that their church was putting on for the kids.  They had two bouncy houses and games set up in some of the different rooms.  One big courtyard area had face painting, pecan painting (not sure what the purpose or the appeal was to that one), picture drawing, and some other options that I couldn't even figure out.  For lunch they had free frito pie (like we used to have at our Little League games: cut open a bag of fritos and pour in some chili and cheese).  An area outside included popcorn and sno-cones and lemonade.
Costumers were the order of the day.  I thought about Brennan's cow outfit when I saw a tiny little elephant.  The one that took the cake, though, was a baby dressed as a banana.  Yep.  A banana.  Enough said. 
Caleb was dressed up in his "Oda" (Yoda) costume, and Zak was famed Jedi warrior, Obi-wan Kenobi.  One of Zak's friends had chosen an identical costume, but had picked a slightly different moniker – Noah-wan Kenobi.  They each had a light saber, though obviously modeled by different Jedi masters.  My favorite part of the morning came when another older and taller boy came in dressed as Darth Vader.  The two young Jedi knights came to attention immediately.  They grabbed their weapons and attacked in tandem.  I thought Vader was handling himself admirably, but some parents saw fit to separate the combatants.  The battle was not over yet, however.  Everywhere the young Vader went, he was tracked by the two Jedis, side by side, always five or ten strides behind him.  They never again engaged him, but he was also never out of their sight.  Ah, for days when Jedis protected the galaxy. 
Proverbs 30:7-9 says, "Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'  Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Father, thank you for the unseen times of protection you have granted us.  Amen.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"I don't know. Something."

We made our quick trip to San Antonio yesterday.  Finally.  After two tries over the last month we were able to get everything to fall into place.  Mom seemed to be doing OK.  April and Nathan assured us they would take care of her.  I got the two teachings together for Sunday.  And an agenda for the discernment meeting.  We're just about ready for the Halloween party Monday night.  The New Testaments have arrived and are awaiting distribution.  The car was gassed up.  Chris wouldn't let me text Josh to let them know we were on the road until we pulled onto Interstate 10, though.  Anything before that would be close enough to turn around and head home. 
Caleb was waiting at the window when we arrived.  It's always good to feel like someone was expecting us.  Happily.  Apparently Caleb had been "happy" all morning.  They went to IHOP for their kids eat free breakfast.  At one point Caleb started literally jumping up and down on his chair, declaring, "I'm happy.  I'm happy."  How can you argue with that?  And how can you discipline it?  "No, kid.  No one is allowed to be happy at IHOP when the pancakes are free.  Wait.  Free?  Move over, Caleb.  I'm gonna jump on my chair, too." 
Christi told us that the other day Caleb was doing his best not to participate in the required afternoon rest time.  Zakary, by the way, was quite helpful when it came to rest time yesterday afternoon.  He offered to read to him.  He got one of the huge pillows off of the couch to make him more comfortable.  He certainly came across as the concerned big brother.  Chris was definitely impressed.  What she didn't know was what he had confided in me earlier with a furtive whisper.  Seems that when Caleb is asleep, Zak is allowed to watch a movie that Caleb is not yet allowed to watch, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."  He even invited me to watch it with him if he could get Caleb to fall asleep.  Sneaky ulterior motive.
But back to Christi's Caleb story.  She said he had been in his room for a while when he reappeared.  The subsequent interchange went something like this:
Christi: "Yes, Caleb?"
Caleb: "I need something." 
Christi: "What do you need, Caleb?" 
Caleb: "I don't know.  Something."
You know what, Caleb?  I know the feeling.
Proverbs 30:5 says, "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him."
Father, help me to remember often that I can trust my "I don't know.  Something's" to your infinite wisdom.  Amen.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28 – “I love baseball ”

Ah.  I discovered once again last night why I love baseball so much.  I haven't been able to watch much of the World Series this year, though as usual, I have been keeping up with it through the newspapers.  As a die-hard Astros fan it us usually difficult to pick a team to actually root for when the World Series comes around.  Not often that the Astros are there.  Especially not lately.  Most of the time I simply choose the National League team, since they are the ones that play actual baseball during the year.  Not a big fan of the designated hitter.  I had another thing to consider this year, though.
Even during the season I found myself occasionally checking in on two other National League teams.  The Phillies and the Cardinals.  It wasn't because of all-time greats like Stan Musial or Steve Carlton or Dizzy Dean, though they were indeed great players.  It was connections of sorts that drew me their way, though.  Past connections with Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence and Lance Berkman.  Yep.  Ex-Astros.
But on the other hand, I had a connection with the Rangers as well.  After all, I lived for several years in the Arlington area, and you can't help but have some kind of regard for the local team.  And that's not to mention that their new owner is Nolan Ryan.  An ex-Astro. 
Hence my dilemma.  Root for Lance Berkman and his Cardinals.  Lance is Mom's second favorite player (next to Hunter Pence).  He's also a Christian and a very funny guy in interviews.  On the negative side, the Cardinals also have famed Astro-killer Luis Pujols in their midst.  Or root for Nolan Ryan, Kel's all-time favorite player, and his Rangers.  They also have Josh Hamilton, a great player who is also a Christian.  Of course they are still American League.  That's a tough hurdle to get over. 
After struggling with it for a while (not very long, actually.  Too much else going on to expend much energy), I finally came to the realization that there is no struggle.  The bottom line was, I don't care which team wins.  If the Rangers win for Nolan, they will have their first ever title.  Good for them.  It's always fun when the underdogs come through.  If the Cardinals win, Lance has already proven himself to be the best hitter in the whole series, so he should get the MVP award.  Good for him.  And the one game I did get to watch – last night – was an eleven inning thriller.  I love baseball.
Proverbs 29:26 says, "Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice."
Father, thank you for the Lance Berkman's and Josh Hamilton's of the world, who have discovered what really matters more than hits and home runs is a relationship with you.  Amen.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 26 – “Backyardigans”

Last week when we babysat for Kel and Christina, we were introduced to what I suppose is one of the hottest new experiences in children's television programming.  Well, I really don't know how hot it is.  We saw it on their Netflix account.  And it was Josiah who insisted we watch it.  He's not even two years old.  They still count his age in months – 15, 16 – something like that.  But he saw the TV come on and immediately wanted to watch "Pablo."  Very clear in his request.  And very insistent.  "Pablo."  Over and over again.  He wasn't crying or even whining.  Just, "Pablo."  We finally asked Jachin what he was talking about.  Appearing somewhat exasperated, yet proud to know something his DadDad didn't, Jachin agreed to translate.  He informed us that Josiah wanted to watch his favorite show. 
OK.  This was like pulling teeth.  "So, what is his favorite show?" we had to ask.  This time we got an audible sigh.  It was quite obvious that Jachin knew what would happen if he spilled the beans.  Invariably he would have to let Josiah watch whatever Pablo was, and his option would be moved down a notch on the list.  Not an attractive situation for a strong-willed first-born.  He finally succumbed to the pressure and agreed to show us.  Deftly maneuvering the Netflix arrow, he raced through the options so quickly there was no way they could be duplicated.  Part of his master plan to maintain absolute control over the device, no doubt. 
And finally we arrived.  To my horror, it was as I had feared … animation.  It was some kind of cartoon show, and from Josiah's ecstatic reaction, it was the correct one.  "Pablo.  Pablo."  I still couldn't figure out the actual name of the show, so I finally ventured a question of Micah, who had yet to chime in with his thoughts.  "What's the name of this show?" I whispered.  Excited to have been recognized, Micah jumped to life.  His eyes lit up.  He leaned toward me with a conspiratorial grin.  I leaned in, prepared for the whispered answer.  And it came, though not in a whisper.  Instead he screamed, "It's Backyardigans." 
After I recovered some of the hearing in my left ear (thankfully, my hearing aid shuts down when such explosive noises accost my senses), I was able to pick up the gist of the episode.  Pablo was a penguin.  He was friends with three or four other animals, one of the females appeared to be a hippopotamus.  I wasn't sure about the others.  They acted out a scene from old California that had something to do with checking out books from the library and not returning them.  Evil stuff.  It all worked out in the end, though.  The bad guy just wasn't aware that he could recheck the book that he hadn't finished.  Best part?  I stayed awake almost the whole way through.
Proverbs 29:25 says "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."
Father, grant that safety to our grandkids.  Help them grow to trust you.  Amen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26 – “Starbucks … what to order?”

Ah.  How sad.  It appears to be the end of an era.  We have decided to seek out a new brand of coffee after twenty years of steadfastly ordering and reordering and mail-ordering that fabulous Colorado Boyer's brand.  Not the Boyer Brothers that you can find at WalMart.  Just Boyer's.  The owner of the company, Bill Boyer, was a member of the church we went to in Denver, and remained a friend until his death a while back. 
It's not that Boyer's has changed in flavor.  European Dark is still the best I have ever tasted.  I was a bit perturbed when they went to 12 ounce bags of beans instead of a full pound, but that wasn't fully a deal breaker.  That didn't come until the cost of postage shot up so much that we would have to pay almost fifteen dollars per twelve ounce bag.  Steep enough to look for an alternative. 
Over the years that Kel worked for Starbucks he has recommended several different flavors.  Some were not bad.  Some were, well, nasty.  None were comparable to Boyer's.  But we decided to give them another chance.  Kel said to get something from Southeast Asia or Africa.  He particularly likes the one called Sumatra.  So that would cover the Southeast Asia realm.  But the Africa thing intrigued me.
We finally made it to Starbucks yesterday.  First thing I noticed was that the beans came in one pound bags.  That's a plus.  They were obviously pushing their "holiday blend," whatever that was.   I saw some of the Sumatra.  But my curiosity got the best of me.  I searched a bit longer and finally uncovered a bag called Kenya.  That would be my first to try.  The price worked out to be cheaper than shipping in Boyer's.  Another plus. 
So this morning was the big test.  I ground up some beans and ran the hot water over them.  And the first cup … was not bad.  Not anything to write home about.  Not a lot of flavor, in fact.  That tells me I need to try it with some more beans.  I forgot that one of the pluses for Boyer's was that we never needed as many beans to get the full flavor.  And Starbucks always recommends way too much.  So I'll just have to find the happy medium somewhere in there.  Any recommendations for our next attempt?
Proverbs 29:23 says, "A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor."
Father, thank you for new adventures.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25 –“A backwards thinking song”

Once again we had a great time of worship Sunday.  The praise team was fabulous.  Thanks again to Jim Stone for sharing his mandolin skills with us.  Anybody out there is Seaside Land know how to play the drums?  We have a great set of electric drums just aching to be part of the Sunday morning experience. 
I particularly enjoyed Jimmy's introduction to the song "I'll Fly Away."  He's what, sixteen, seventeen years old - a new generation exposed to the old hymns of the faith.  After briefly grasping for words, Jimmy said, "This is kind of a backwards thinking song.  It's not what you would normally expect.  It's … a happy song about dying."  Perfect explanation, Jimmy!  And why not?  Christians have a lot to be happy about when it comes to dying!
After worship Chris and I went with a few of the couples in church to lunch at the Sunflower CafĂ©.  Now that was some pretty good food.  I had some fried shrimp and a crabcake.  Great batter.  Then we went over to the Grand Theater for a matinee show.  A lady and her husband were performing with their fiddles.  They were backed up by two pianists.  I sure didn't know what to expect from some violin, er, fiddle concert.  I am not the concert of any type kind of guy.  I never even got much into concerts back when I was in high school (1969-1971).  And that was when rock concerts were the thing to do.   Of course I was quite the wimp back then, and rock concerts were also the place to go for all kinds of "extra-curricular" drug activities.  Hey.  I embrace my wimpdom.  It kept me away from all kinds of potential trouble. 
Back to the fiddlers.  They made a big deal about which part of Canada they were from.  Apparently the style of fiddling they were exposed to growing up made a difference in how they play now.  It took a while, but after two hours of listening (and only two short naps), I think I could tell a difference.  He was more aggressive and deliberate with his movements.  He said he learned to play by ear.  She was constantly dancing.  Even when she was sitting down, her feet never stopped moving.  And her music seemed to be dancing as well.  They did play something that sounded remotely classical at one point.  The difference was glaring.  I heard this thought at the concert: "A violinist plays the music.  A fiddler plays the crowd."  That describes it perfectly.  Our violin guy at church has tried to explain that to me before.  He is learning to fiddle.  I think I see it now, Corey. 
Proverbs 29:22 says, "An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins."
Father, thank you for the many different styles of music you have made available to worship you.  Amen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24 – “Judg(e)ment House”

Saturday night we went with some folks from our church into Texas to a presentation called Judgement House.  That's how they spelled it.  It was printed that way on their shirts and all the advertisements.  I hope they meant for it to be that way for some reason.  It was just hard for me to keep seeing it.  It's one of those words that I finally nailed down the spelling on back when we were homeschooling and had to review the boys' work.  The "judge" part drops the "e" when you add the "ment."  Anyway, they had several scenarios set up – little mini-dramas – throughout the facility.  As groups were led through, actors portrayed snippets from the life and death of several people.  It continued on into their experiences in heaven and hell as well.  One of the interesting parts was that the same characters were played by different people in each scene.  The way you recognized them was that they were wearing the same kind of shirt. 
One of the things I really liked was the way they were able to interact with the audience.  We wondered why they made such a big deal of getting all of our names and pronunciations of names correct before the tour began.  When the characters died and were standing at the entrances to heaven or hell, the character reading from the Book of Life actually read out the names of every person in the crowd.  Very effective.  Then when the characters met Jesus, the guy playing him went to every one of us and gave us a hug.  Also pretty cool.  Kind of made us a bit shaky when we got to Hell and stood before the Satan character.  He didn't touch us, though.  Much appreciated.
There were a few rough patches with the script, but overall they did a pretty good job.  It was their first weekend of performances, so they should be even better next week.  Check it out up at Nassau Bay Baptist Church off of Nasa Road 1.  It's free.
Proverbs 29:20 says, "Do you see a man who speaks in haste?  There is more hope for a fool than for him."
Father, use that drama to touch some people and draw them to yourself.  Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23 – “Lawn mowers and weed eaters”

Well, I discovered another thing I don't particularly like doing.  And I don't have any desire to do it again.  Ever. 
Yesterday we decided it was time to mow the grass.  Ordinarily you would think this would be the last time before winter.  Of course that would be if you lived somewhere besides our tropical island paradise.  Our neighbors on every side had already mowed – even the reprobate bank that owns the vacant house next door sent someone over to mow the weeds there.  It's not that our yard looks that bad.  I suppose it was standing out amidst the freshly done backdrop, however. 
We actually started the day out by trying to buy some of that rolled fencing for one side of our back yard.  It has been on our list since Hurricane Ike knocked it down.  Just not very close to the top of the list.  We looked up the company online to make sure they were still in existence and to see what time they opened.  We double-checked our measurements and hopped in the truck.  The fence company was over on Harborside, so it felt a lot like driving into Texas.  As it turned out, we might as well have made the trek.  Their Galveston branch was not open on Saturdays.  We would have to drive to League City.  Not happening.  So we postponed the fence thing.
That brought us back to the top of the list where suddenly, mowing the grass had emerged.  We stopped at WalMart and got some of that winter fertilizer.  Now we were set.  Chris volunteered to do the weedeater edging in the front (not an easy task, I might add.  The weedeater lost its guard piece sometime this summer, so you take the life of your legs in your own hands when you pick it up), while I mowed the back, and we were off.  Well, Chris was off.  And I guess you could say the lawn mower was off as well.  It started fine, but whenever it rolled over grass it complained and coughed and slowed to a crawl.  I cleaned out the air filter to no avail.  I did everything I could think of to jar it into operation.  You know.  Bounced it up and down a few times.  Slapped the side with my hand.  Even kicked it a time or two.  Leaned it over and looked at the blades.  Even spun them around a few times.  None of those scientific measures did any good.  In fact one or more of them made it worse, because it finally decided to not even start.  This was worse than the way it behaved at the beginning of the mowing season.  Then a good friend put a great bandaid of some kind on it, and it worked fine.  Up until now.  Months of toil and sweat have obviously loosened the adhesive.  Somewhere in the midst of cutting and puttering the fix became unfixed.  It was done. 
So, being the awesome husband I am, I went up front and volunteered to take over weedeater duty.  Chris asked if I wanted her to stop the next yard crew that drove by and hire them on the spot.  Can't have that.  I'll do it as long as I can, right?  She was almost finished with the edging, so that didn't take long.  But then I had an idea.  I would just mow the entire yard with the weedeater.  How hard could it be?  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  Clip, clip, and we're done, right?  Not so much.  Oh, it worked just fine, and I did get the yards mowed.  But there are patches where my arms obviously got tired and the string got a little too close.  And there are patches where I thought I got it, but obviously missed a spot.  And by the time I got through, my arms were killing me.  And my back.  And my neck.  And my knees.  On a more positive note, Chris was for some reason inspired to throw away some of the stuff that has been cluttering up the back yard.  That's always a good thing.  And she said, "I guess it's time to get a new lawn mower and weedeater."  Now there's a great idea.  Wonder what his name will be?
Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law."
Father, draw some people to Seaside today who need you.  And work some miracles.  Amen.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22 – “Mario Brothers something or other”

What a weekend.  First, we were going to go to San Antonio to see Josh and his family.  But we found out that the "hotel" was overbooked.  Some of the college students from Josh's old church in Arlington were coming to see them.  That's twice we have postponed that trip.  Wonder why it's not happening?
This weekend is also one of my high school reunions.  Our class was kind of weird about that.  We already did one back in the spring.  It was a very simple.  Just get together at Mario's and hang out.  This one was put together by a different group.  It is way more involved than the first one.  Last night was to be a meet and greet informal get-together.  Then tonight is a formal dance.  They even planned a memorial church service somewhere tomorrow morning.  I would like to have gone to the thing last night.  I'm not so much into formal anythings, much less dances.  And I am expected at Seaside Sunday morning, so the memorial service was out.  Nut the informal meet and greet sounded pretty good.
But after we found out we weren't going to San Antonio, Chris told Christina we would baby sit the boys last night while they went to a conference.  I'm sure Chris would have been fine on her own, but it's hard to turn down any shot at spending time with the grandkids.  And it's always good to feel needed.  So last night we headed into Texas to hang out with Jachin, Micah, and Josiah for a few hours. 
And of course we were once again schooled in the fine art of Wii gaming.  We watched Jachin and Micah play first.  They were Star Wars characters made out of Legos who were tasked with destroying buildings.  At least that's the only instruction that ever came on the screen.  And sure enough the little characters would smash small structures into a hundred different Lego pieces, which would then reform into futuristic cannons and shotguns and spaceships, which were in turn capable of destroying more structures which reformed into other structures.  It was dizzying.  When it came time for us to join in on the play we switched to Mario Brothers something or other.  That was some better, but when we moved on to driving the little Mario cars I finally felt somewhat in control.  Not that I did any better at the game.  I did come in tenth out of twelve once, but mostly I was eleventh.  Chris was twelfth.  Hey, we were making sure our grandsons maintained their high self-esteem.
Proverbs 29:15 says, "The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother."
Father, empower our kids to direct their kids into happy lives.  Amen.

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21 – “Sorry, dude”

The flashlight lesson went pretty well.  I had them turn out the lights so we could do the lesson in the dark.  When the lights went out, after playing it up really big, I clicked on the flashlight and nothing happened.  I had forgotten to put in the batteries.  That led to a discussion about batteries being needed inside the flashlight for it to do what it was designed to do.  Fit well with the idea of people needing Jesus in their lives to have the power to do what we were created to do.  The interesting thing about this particular session was this: the other two times there were absolutely no distractions.  This time, when I was talking about the most important spiritual decision a person can make, one of the mom's showed up to talk to her son just as we started the prayer time.  Felt like somebody didn't want those little guys to hear the gospel.  Sorry, dude.  You already lost that war.
I had a breakfast meeting with a good friend after the Bible class.  He's a pastor too.  We have been getting together about once a month for a few months now. It's good to have someone to open up with and not worry about hidden agendas or too high expectations.  It's certainly a plus that he has similar struggles, so we can relate to each other. 
After breakfast I went over to the local pumpkin patch at the big Methodist church.  Our kids from Seaside Christian Academy were there on a field trip.  I missed the actual pumpkin patch part, but I got to hang out with them over in the playground next door.  They were killing time until their reservations for lunch came up at Salsa's.  I'm wondering how that experience played out.  Sure hope they remembered their lesson on eating out etiquette. 
Heading over to WalMart this morning to get some of the pictures printed that I took at the playground and when the guest speaker came on Tuesday.  They are making a scrapbook of the year and wanted some more entries. 
John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Father, thank you for letting us know you have already won the war.  It makes dealing with setbacks a lot easier.  Amen.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20 – “Raw eggs and black dots”

I did a series of three object lessons at Seaside Christian Academy this week for their Bible class/chapel.  I was filling in for the guy who usually does it so he could go to the Bastrop area and help cut down trees that were burned in the fire a few weeks ago.  Actually the third one is this morning just before the kids go on a big field trip.  The local Methodist church has a pumpkin patch set up, and then they are going out to eat Mexican food at Salsa's. 
For the first lesson I asked them what art was.  They pretty much got that one right on.  They listed things like drawing and painting and sculpture.  Even the kindergarten guy got in the act with a shy, "coloring."  Then I unrolled a strip of butcher paper on which I had markered in one small black dot.  I asked what they saw, and of course they all said, "a black dot," like I was an idiot or at best blind.  I then asked how come they didn't say that they saw a huge piece of white paper.  Stumped them on that one.  The point was that sin sticks out, no matter how many good things you try to do.  I was then going to quote Romans 3:23, but before I could get it out the entire group quoted it for me.  One of the things they have been doing is memorizing scripture verses, and that happened to be their first one. 
Yesterday's object was an egg.  Actually it was two of them.  One was hard-boiled and the other was raw.  I told them my wife had cooked it for me, but I didn't know which was which.  I asked them to choose the one they thought was cooked, so I could crack it and eat it.  The thing was, I intended to crack it on my head, so they needed to be careful in their choice.  As luck would have it, they chose the hard-boiled one.  But then they said both eggs were probably hard-boiled.  A challenge.  They didn't think I would crack the second one on my head.  But I did.  Quite the mess.  To a chorus of screams and laughter, I wiped my face – and my chair - and the floor - with a towel.  The object lesson?  I didn't know what was inside the eggs, but God knows what we are like on the inside.  He knows we sin, but he loves us anyway.  So much that he provided a way to take care of our problem with sin.  He became a man, lived a perfect life, died, and rose from the dead.  So what are we supposed to do about that?  That's today's lesson.  Something to do with a flashlilght.
Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."
Father, keep drawing those little guys toward yourself.  Amen.