Is Jesus getting bigger?

In Prince Caspian (the second book published in the Chronicles of Narnia series), C. S. Lewis reminds us that there is a most important exception to this rule.  When the Pevensie children are lost in Narnia seeking to find the way into Prince Caspian’s camp, the young Lucy experiences a personal visit from the great Aslan, who up to this point has been invisible to her older siblings.  As Lucy encounters her old friend, she perceives him to be somehow “bigger” than she remembers from past experience:

Lucy: “Aslan, you’re bigger!”
Aslan: “That is because you are older, little one.”
Lucy: “Not because you are?”
Aslan: “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

Is Jesus getting bigger or smaller to your student. If they are growing in the faith, Jesus will be getting bigger. Not that he is bigger, but their capability to appreciate the bigness of Jesus increases as they mature.

What does this mean practically?

It means that as big as Jesus is to an 11 year old who becomes a Christian, He will only get bigger as they grow in the faith.

Maturing in the faith means that from 11 to 16, Jesus looks more trustworthy than before. It means that Jesus looks more awe inspiring than before. It means that Jesus looks more worthy of our sacrifice and devotion.

The converse is also true, that if Jesus is getting smaller, something has gone wrong and we have cause for concern. If Jesus is getting smaller, other things are getting bigger.

This begs the question. How do grow in such a way that Jesus looks bigger? Quite simply by looking at Jesus! For far too many people their first look at Jesus was their last. As we look at Jesus, as we study his words, his works, and his wonders, he will get bigger!

Political Media is a Business and Other Thoughts

Nobody asked, but here are some thoughts for my Christian friends about political media consumption and engagement online.

1. Political news is a BUSINESS. Again, political news is a BUSINESS. If you only get that, you will be blessed. We like to believe that our source is telling us the unvarnished truth, but often our source is telling us the truth we want to hear the way we want to hear it. Why? So we keep going back to that source, we keep tuning in, we keep clicking, which leads to good ratings and more advertising money, and a higher pay check for the person giving you the “news”. They have no financial incentive to tell you stuff you don’t want to hear.

2. Since political media’s business isn’t trying to persuade anybody, but providing a specific audience (consumers) what they want to hear, they will say things differently than if they were trying to persuade people. Most lay political commentary on social media are people repeating WHAT they heard on tv, the WAY they heard it on tv or online.
Why doesn’t that work out so well? Because, UNLIKE the person paid to tell the audience what they want to hear, your (and my) social media audience is NOT made up of people who already agree, nor is it made up of people who friended us to get our political hot takes. They want to see pictures of your kids. Actually, they want you to see pictures of their kids.

3. Political media can be toxic for Christian empathy. Since political media knows it’s human nature to want to feel smart and righteous, and it wants us to keep watching, the media will package and present our news in way that (yep) makes us feel smart and righteous. Rarely in political media will the paid tv pundit say, “good people disagree on what’s best” or “I understand why they think this would work”. No, our flesh likes to feel indignant, and people producing political media know that.
So what happens is we, the consumers, take WHAT we have heard and the WAY we have heard it, and try to reproduce it in our dialogue with others on social media. Again, why doesn’t that work? Because your neighbors who believe differently have likely been told their news from their perspective so that they believe that you are dumb and evil. Just like yours, their news source wants them to keep coming back.
It takes humility and intentionality and patience to seek out news from diverse sources. Maybe you are right on everything politically. But hearing other people make their arguments from their perspective can help you better have conversations in good faith, not assuming the worst about people you disagree with. I try to do this and it is a frustrating and sometimes infuriating discipline, but also a humbling discipline. Try to find the most reasonable, ethical, person you can, who disagrees with you politically, and hear them out.

4. Christian friends, political media is often Christless. Even when its telling you things that are factually correct. Secular liberal or secular conservative media is detached from what God has and is doing in the world. So we have to consume media though the lens of our experience with Christ and Christ’s plans for us.
So when we battle online for ideas, we tend do it in a secular way, as though Christ is a non-factor. We know we have done this when “owning” someone with mic drop arguments is the goal instead of “winning” people.
I have had to remind myself many times that it is much more important to win people to Christ than to win arguments in the 24 hour news cycle. We need eternal perspective. There is no shortage of ‘hot takes’ on social media, but there is a shortage of people captivated by Christ who want others to be captivated by Christ.
That’s all I wanted to say.

Rising 6th Grade Parents: Get Connected! Essential Links and Forms!

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Nothing is normal due to Covid! I HATE that so many of the activities and mission projects this summer your students could have participated in have been cancelled. And if you don’t know, your rising 6th grader would and is welcome to participate in anything in the student ministry (except Sunday School).

So you don’t miss out on anything, and so that we can serve you better, here are  seven things I suggest you do ASAP!

1.  If you haven’t already, please give CLICK HERE to here to help us serve you by giving us some basic info about your student.

2. Let us know if you want to participate in our Act, Love, Walk Theme this summer. Basically, your student would be assigned a small group and they will try to squeeze in four gathering around the theme of Micah 6:8. Buying a shirt is optional, everything else is free. CLICK HERE TO SIGN–UP!

3. Sign-up for the youth enewsletter here it is run from MailChimp.  Click here –>  http://eepurl.com/Kcx8P    Watch your promotions or spam folder if you aren’t receiving them.   

4..  Sign-up for text reminders.  You need to text @vbc4christ  to #81010    

 5.  If you are on Facebook join the group  here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/versaillesbaptiststudentministry/

FYI, the group is updated much more frequently with inside info and discussion. I recommend turning on notifications if you want to stay in the know!

6.  If you are on Facebook join the page here  https://www.facebook.com/versaillesbaptiststudentministry/

7.  If you are on Instagram find me https://www.instagram.com/kevinhash/

I tend to post mostly ministry related stuff there, quotes, or funny stuff, and pictures of my kids being awesome. I’m excited about this time of transition!  Praying for you all!Blessings!Kevin B. Hash

Busyness or Appetite?

If only I had the time.   I’d exercise more.  I’d read more.  I’d get work around the house done.  Well, we are several weeks into the shutdown, and what have you found time to do?  My guess is that the void has been filled with what you want to do, what you value, what you have an appetite for.

If we are honest, busyness is useful sometimes.  I get a lot done when I’m busy trying not to do something.  I might be writing this because I’m procrastinating on something else. Hmmm….

Busyness can be a great ally in self-deception. Sometimes I tell myself I really want to do it, that I am the kind of person who would be doing something, if I only had the time.

Well, many (not all) have more time than they used to have. Calendars that would normally be cram-packed with practices, games, meets, end of the school year concerts and awards programs have been wiped clean.

That void in our calendars is revealing, clarifying, and maybe humbling. For Christians who expressed aspirations to read the Bible more and pray more when they have more time, how has that worked out? Did you find more time to read the Bible, or did you find a new series to binge watch on Netflix? Did you find time to pray, or did you discover a newfound love for viral video or political engagement?

At the end of the day, the issue of pursuing Christ, employing the Word or God and prayer as a means to grow closer to God are not about time, but appetite.

The truth is, on our busiest day, we have time to crack open the Bible, and we have time to pray. But do we have the appetite? And if we don’t, can we do anything about it?

Hopefully this will help you think it through. Many people know they should exercise; they believe that exercising will make them healthier. They really believe it. But they don’t have an appetite for it. And they won’t, until they do it. They won’t until they do it enough to benefit from it and enjoy it. I’ve replayed that cycle a dozen times.

  • I need to exercise.
  • Exercising is a hassle. Exercise clothes, time, energy to do it, but here we go.
  • You, know, I don’t think exercising is too bad.
  • I really feel better on days when I exercise.
  • I actually miss when I don’t get to exercise.
  • I get so frustrated when I can’t exercise. I really have an appetite for it!

Of course, then I’ll get out of the habit, gain 15 pounds and restart the cycle. But appetite can be cultivated for exercise and spiritual health.

So the progression toward spiritual appetite might look/sound like this.

  • I know I need hear God (in His Word) and talk to God (prayer), but at the end of the day I don’t do it.
  • I’m going to make time to do it. Yes, tomorrow!
  • I’ve done it. I’m not sure I’m getting anything out of this.
  • I needed to hear that! I’m glad I’m reading the Word more.
  • It amazing, the more regular I pray the more at peace I am. I’m remembering that God is in control.
  • I’m becoming a different person. My words & actions are being shaped!
  • I can’t wait to meet with God tomorrow.

Big Picture! God wants to have a relationship with you! He gave His Son Jesus so that He could have that relationship with you. God wants you to succeed because He wants you!

Maybe before we do anything, we should pray for God to give us the desire to desire Him. That is a prayer He will answer!

Photo by Alexandre St-Louis on Unsplash

Our Youversion Bible App Plan… Plan

VBC Student Ministry has been campaigning to introduce people to Youversion: The Bible App.   Since we cannot meet at church for worship, small groups, and discipleship we have focused on something that should be a priority anyway, pandemic or no pandemic, which is reading our Bible daily.

Since The Bible App has group plans we decided to use it to get students in the Word AND connecting them with ministry leaders.  So we have ministry leaders hosting plans or participating in plans.   The students read the Bible/Devotion on their own on their phones or chromebooks and leave comments that others see and can interact it.  See youtube commercial below and keep reading.

Here are some basic tips for our students and parents.  In a separate post, i’m going to share some hyperlinks to recommended plans.

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Brushing Your Teeth

Parents, how many of you have children that developed the healthy habit of brushing their teeth without you ever asking about it, encouraging it, or reminding them to do it?

My guess is that most did not. Many were reminded every day, for years. Many were asked, “have you brushed your teeth yet?” 1000 times before it became a habit. (at least)

As kids mature, they see the benefits of brushing their teeth, and at some point it kicks in that consistently brushing your teeth is normal and a non-negotiable habit if you are going to be healthy. Until then, you remind them and you model the importance of doing it.

The same is true of the healthy daily habit of reading the Word. It is not unspiritual to have your tween or teen block off 5-10 minutes each day for it. Even if they don’t feel like it. My guess is that you didn’t tell your kids to brush their teeth every day they felt like it.

No, maybe they don’t see the value in it right away. But they will if you give it time. They certainly won’t see the value in it if they never do it.

As they mature our hope is that they will build an appetite for the Word and see the value of hearing from God daily. Till then, we remind them and we model it. We don’t need to apologize for anything we expect that is good for our kids.

==>>> Sign up for the YouVersion Bible App on a phone or go http://www.bible.com

==>> Friend Kevin Bryan Hash  

The Corona Curriculum. A Youtube Playlist of Christian videos.

The Corona Curriculum: 20 minutes a day!CORONOACURRICULUM
Most families, or maybe all families, are going to have very different schedules due to the impact of safeguards against the spread of the Corona virus.  School closings, sports dead periods, and the cancelling of March Madness are just a few of the cancellations that will create a major void in your otherwise busy schedules.
That void is going to be filled with many things during your waking hours.  I have put together over 75 videos, most of them under 5 minutes.  Some videos are animations of the Gospel of Luke/Acts, some are testimonies of love for Jesus or how He saved the, some are very short clips explaining basic Christian doctrine, and some are clips defending the faith.

The Corona Curriculum

My hope is that every student will block out 20 minutes a day.  Maybe 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night, or 20 minutes in one setting, to watch something from this playlist.
Parents, plan to use these videos as a break in day.  Maybe a break from gaming or maybe something to watch first thing in the morning, or after lunch.  Try to create your own rhythm for using them!
These videos are so short and interesting.  Many students will already bouncing around youtube or watching video in other social media platforms for many hours each day.   Perhaps your student will build an appetite and want more!
Accountability:  Students need not give a report on the videos they watch.  But consider having a single sheet of paper or a notebook nearby so that they can jot down the titles that they have watched.  Some days, they might watch a 20 minute testimony.  Some days they might watch 10 – two minute videos.  But have the write down what they have watched so that you can look back when this is over and appreciate what they have learned.
You can do MORE than that, but don’t do less than writing down what has been watched.  You’ll thank me later for being intentional in your stewardship of the extra time you have.

Blessings!  Kevin

God and Gender: An evening with Andrew Walker

godgender_andrewwalker_march1I spoke on culture at a KBC event this weekend. I shared how students are shaped by culture’s view of reality even when they are unaware that they are being shaped.
I gave the illustration of kids playing out in the ocean, they are 15 yards from the beach, right in front of their hotel. They splish and splash and play, and without even being aware of it, the undercurrent has bobbed them down the beach a pretty far way. They were moving, even though they were unaware of it. That does, and is, happening on various cultural issues, you think you are standing still, but the whole culture shifts around you and you find yourself in a different place than you thought you were.
Gender is an issue that I think this is playing out. Once upon a time if a student was asked questions like, “how many genders are there?” or “can you change your gender?” “can you not have a gender?” They would have answer quickly and confidently like you had asked them if 2+2=4. But my guess is that today and moving forward there will be more and more hesitation before answering because of the cultural undercurrent shaping perception of reality. From teachers in positions of authority, to youtube influencers, to governments seeming affirmation of new gender ideology, to netflix dramas, to friends who identify in categories that didn’t even exist a generation ago, students may wonder if 2 + 2 still equals 4.
 That’s one reason why we are having Andrew Walker come Sunday night to speak on the subject of God and Gender.
And yes, we want students there. It is no longer prudent to assume students will stay orthodox on this basic human reality. I hope your family will plan to come Sunday night at 6 pm. There will be childcare.
Thanks! Kevin