Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Journal,

What a joy it is to teach youthful minds about the Sanctuary!

Today we approached the brazen altar. For days I have agonized over this class. How do you bring the invincible and infallible teenager to recognize his need of a Higher Power? How do you awaken a sense of the awfulness of sin in minds that are enamored with its pleasures?

I don't know.

But I love how God did it with the children of Israel. He brought that careless, complaining, faithless multitude out into the wilderness (away from internet, movies, and music!) and led them to a smoking, thundering mountain, and there with the earth rolling beneath their feet showed them how serious sin is.   Yet, even as they drew back in terror as guilt smote them to the depths of their souls, He revealed to His servant the Way to remove sin from the sinner so that he might stand clean in the presence of His loving Lord.
(A student noted today, "So it's like if your clothes are covered in gasoline and you stand too close to the fire-- you burn up. But if you clean your clothes you can stand by the fire all you want, and you get warm." Wow. Thanks for sharing, kid! I never even thought of that illustration!)

So I merely lead my dear, overconfident young people along the same process the Lord led His people through.

We squeezed our eyes tight shut today and imagined what it would be like to have been born blind. We lived the life-changing moment of seeing for the first time-- of finally knowing what we have been missing out on all our lives.

We saw that the children of Israel were blinded by sin, they couldn't see what was wrong with what they were doing. They didn't know it was keeping them from knowing love. They didn't know what being able to see was like, so they thought they didn't need it.

We talked about a Saviour who loved them enough to "scare them" and tell them the truth about how wretched they were so that they could repent and get the sin out of their lives. We thought about how He is nauseated by the stench of the sin in our hearts, and yet suppresses His wretching and vomiting so that He can come in close, put His arm around us and pull us in close to hear the beat of His heart. (Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them)

We went to the altar with the sinner, we put our hands on the head of the lamb and then imagined what it would have been like to kill our own pet..

We searched out the verses, wrestling through why the shedding of blood is necessary for the remission of sin. We discovered that all we must do to be cleansed of our sin is believe in the sacrifice that has already been made. The sin transfers to Jesus' record and we go free. Heaven sees only Jesus' spotless record.

Near the end of the class, each of them pulled out a sheet of paper, solemnly wrote down the sins they wanted to confess and then, one by one, they lit them on fire over an old #10 can outside in the snow.

Jesus was there. We could feel it.

Were there one or two who didn't catch the significance and asked, "Do we have to?"


But when they were told that, no, they didn't have to, it was to be a personal decision, I was thrilled to note that every single one of them chose to.

Overall, the eager receptiveness with which most of these little hearts embrace Jesus is precious to see.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, 3/4/13

Dear Journal,

Scripture Typer has not been wildly popular among the students. I think this is largely attributable to the fact that half the class has an average typing speed between 11-22 wpm. It's tough to enjoy scripture typer when you just can't type. So I've split the class so that persons who type over 35 wpm continued with Scripture Typer as normal, and those who do not, are working through a typing course to learn something other than hunt-and-peck.

I was somewhat saddened that the students didn't enjoy Scripture Typer. I had it integrated with their Bible class so that they are learning their memory verses and keeping them current, and I felt like it would really benefit them.

Sunday night in the dorm, I found myself snuggled between two little freshmen working through the review sheet for the Bible midterm.

Somewhere between discussing what the Bible means when it says God "hardened Pharaoh's heart" and finding parallels between manna and daily devotions, sweet Miss Study-bug said, "I feel like I know my memory verses so well! You know what really helps? Scripture Typer. Before, I always learned my verses right before the quiz and I would forget all of them by the time we had the quarter test, but now I review them all the time and I actually know them."

I'm tickled.

Thanks, Jesus.