Posted 28 Jan 2013
Last Friday (25/Jan/2013) I visited a local Primary school, to deliver an RE (Religious Education) lesson. The subject was ‘Why is Jesus an inspirational leader?’ I’d been in to the school the week before to discuss approach, content, etc. A few days before the event I put together a Powerpoint slide show of various Bible Cartoons I’ve drawn from the 4 books of the Gospels… so far so good.
Two days before I went to the school I was feeling a bit apprehensive, which is natural, I suppose. I’m not renowned for my public speaking! The thought of 30+ intent little faces looking up at me could unnerve anyone!
The day before I delivered the lesson I was listening to a Katherine Ruonala sermon. She is a wonderful Australian preacher (Glory City Church, Brisbane) who often talks about the love of God. In the particular message she gave, she said talked about needing to focus on Jesus in worship in such a way that we focus on His love, rather than on the fears we have. Her phrase, “We’ve got to receive because otherwise we can’t give it away.” really struck me. Since I wanted to focus the children’s attention on the love of Christ, it seemed to me a VERY apt sermon to hear at that time!
Here’s part of my transcription of Katherine Ruonala’s sermon at Basingstoke Community Churches, UK 19-20 January 2013:
“He (Jesus/God) ‘makes His face to shine on us’ , & that is the picture of God looking at us as a parent looks at a little baby & tries to get them to smile… & the whole purpose of doing that is to evoke a response. And God, always, is making His face shine on us. Because He wants us to smile! Because He loves us. I encourage our teams to really get filled up to overflowing, to look up & see His face smiling at them, loving them, so that they get filled up with joy & love. ‘We love BECAUSE He first loved us’ . We’ve got to receive because otherwise we can’t give it away. So they’ll often spend an hour before they go out on the streets worshipping & getting fired up, until they’re overflowing, then they go out on the streets & they’re just bubbling & every person they meet sees Jesus in them, overflowing with joy. They get inebriated in the glory, so the fear of man goes, & the love of God, ‘the perfect love of God that cast out fear’  (comes upon them).”
So… before I left home that morning, I took a leaf out of Katherine Ruonala’s ‘book’ & simply chose to worship the Lord, & to focus my attention on Him, rather than my nervousness. I became filled up to overflowing, as she described. And guess what? My nervousness evaporated, & I looked forward to sharing my faith with the children. Instead of getting all ‘hung up’ on what I’d say, even before the event, I simply enjoyed my deepening relationship with Jesus the Christ. When the time came to drive to school, I was actually looking forward to it, amazing!
And Wow, did I have a great time talking to the children! They knew quite a lot about Jesus, but my Bible Cartoons helped them to learn even more. They had questions, which I was very pleased to answer. I questioned them too, to get them to think about what Jesus said to us.
We looked at the seven “I AM” statements in John’s gospel  & discussed them too. Pretty deep stuff, but the children seemed to understand what I was saying!
I broke up the lesson with a stint of cartooning. I got the children to draw simple round faces & to see how many different expressions they could create. They were so inventive, it was great! I showed them how to construct a human figure too, which went very well. I got a spontaneous round of applause for that, how kind!
I rounded off the RE lesson with a look at Jesus parable of the Wise & Foolish Builders. Which was well received too. The children really seemed to get the point that Jesus wasn’t talking about actual house building, but was referring to what, or more precisely, WHO we build our lives on. Of course, Jesus is the Rock on which the best house/life can be built.
So, the RE lesson went very well, & I was happy with the results.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to Katherine Ruonala, who really explained the concept of shifting our focus (our eyes) off of our problems (or in my case my projected difficulties!) & focussing instead on Jesus. Thank you Katherine!
Perfect love does indeed drive out fear! (1 John 4:18)
Numbers 6:24-27 (NKJV)
24 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ‘
27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
19 We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:18 (NKJV)
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
The Seven ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus from the Gospel of John
Jesus said ‘I am’ on seven occasions. Each ‘I am’ is a description Jesus gave of Himself and is recorded in John’s Gospel. The Seven ‘I am’ sayings help us better understand the divinity of Jesus Christ.
“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.” John 6:35
“I am the light of the world; he who fallows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
“I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
4. Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” John 10:11
5. Resurrection and Life
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies.” John 11:25
6. Way, Truth, Life
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6
7. True vine
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
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