Two things happened yesterday, almost back to back.
First, I read the following email from Chelsea, a friend in Idaho:
If you remember my 7-year-old son was very much struggling with going to church, and it’s become clear these past few weeks that I will be staying home with him and having intentional one-on-one time on Sunday mornings. I am using The Jesus Story videos, but a bit differently. I’m not having him watch them, but am watching them myself and then using it as a guide to teach each lesson to my son.
Today was the first one, and we went on a “treasure hunt” in the house to find treasure and drew treasure maps and connected it to the bible being a treasure map to Jesus. It went so well, and I used your examples and visuals but just made it in real life. I got a book set out and explained the books of the Bible as you did with the most important books being the four about Jesus. My son just really understood and was engaged more than ever, and I’m looking forward to doing this each week for the next little bit. Thought you might enjoy hearing how your series is being used with a younger child.
That’s the best use of The Jesus Story I’ve ever heard. I’d much rather have a child go on a treasure hunt with mom than watching a video of me and my grandkids. I love that she’s using those videos and tools to find a way to incarnate the life of that series in her own home. Well done, Chelsea! I hope your example will inspire others.
For those who don’t remember, I recorded The Jesus Story during the early days of the pandemic to give my grandkids a survey of the Bible and hopefully a love for it when they didn’t have much else going on. Through the wonders of Zoom, I gave them a kid-sized package of The Jesus Lens, which I recorded to help adults explore how the Scriptures can be the most important resource they have for sorting out the life of the Spirit in their own lives.
The second thing that happened yesterday is I was on a Zoom call with a mother in her young 40s when she shared how Scripture had been so weaponized against her that she rarely reads it. As sad as that makes me, I get it. Many think it’s a dull, antiquated book that’s no longer relevant today. Others cringe at the thought of reading it since they have felt obligated to do so and found very little life in it. Religious leaders have weaponized it to bash people with guilt and obligation or misinterpreted it as a rule book for conforming people to their religious systems even if they have to disfigure the Gospel to do it.
It’s such a tragedy too! The Scripture is still the most fantastic resource in my spiritual journey. I want it to become one in yours too. Everything I believe about God unfolds in its pages. But you’ve got to read it as the story it is—of God unfolding himself in human history, not as if he dictated each word. That’s not what inspired means. Not everything it says about him is true, especially in the earlier stories. It tells the story of a people coming to recognize who God is, and sometimes their view of him was wrong or incomplete. However, when Jesus appeared, he showed us exactly what his Father is like and how to make sense of those Old Testament stories.
Also, every day when I read it, no matter where I’m reading, I know I’ll find some clue that helps me realize something Jesus has been speaking to me, checks the motives in my heart that might steer me after my own desires instead of his, or it will confirm a path he already has me on. I’m always excited to see what the Scriptures might unveil to my heart on a given day. No, it cannot replace his Spirit as the one who guides me into all truth but it certainly helps me recognize when I’m being led by his Spirit and when I’m being seduced by my own brokenness.
That’s why a major theme in my life and on this website is to help people reclaim the wonder and power of Scripture. If you haven’t checked out The Jesus Story or The Jesus Lens, you might want to spend some time with them. It may take a bit of effort to move Scripture out of the guilt and obligation side of your life so that it can become the treasure map God intended to help reveal his wisdom and character to aid you on your journey.