AWANA Teaching on John 5:24 and conversation with clubber

Once a month I get the awesome privilege of teaching our 5th and 6th graders.  I go in-depth on 1 or 2 of the verses that they are covering in their handbooks.  This past Wednesday was one of those mountain top experiences, which reminded me why I’m there every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30. I had chosen John 5:24, from the T&T Ultimate Challenge Book 1.  As usual, I made a power point presentation (link to PDF ‘handouts’ below):

Teaching on John 5:24

And here is the link to the actual PowerPoint presentation:

PowerPoint Teaching on John 5:24

The clubbers seemed to receive the teaching pretty well.  The message was about the urgent need to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.  After explaining what the verse meant, I started to challenge them a little bit. Why is it so necessary to believe in Jesus, which may seem strange to non-believers?  We talked through why Jesus is the only answer for our sin problem.  I made use of arguments presented in Greg Koukl’s excellent book Tactics.  After the message was complete, one of the clubbers, Crystal (not her real name) a 6th grader, came up to me and said, “Mr. Steve, what if we believe in Jesus and it’s not true?”  In response, I asked her, “If that’s the case, what have you really lost if you believe in Christianity and it’s not true?” My answer: nothing!  Nevertheless, I do believe that Christianity is true, and there’s a lot of evidence for it being true.  She brought up the “Big Bang” and told me that she thought that was evidence against the creation story in the Bible.  I assured her that the Big Bang was not evidence against Christianity, but rather, it provides strong evidence that a Creator God does exist.  Since counsel time was over and it was now handbook time, I told her that we could talk later at the end of the night.

So, after the night was over, I sat down with Crystal while her dad waited outside the door of the classroom. I asked her what specifically are her questions regarding Christianity and why she is having doubts about it. She told me that sometimes she doesn’t know if God is real. She said that when she reads the Bible, she likes the stories, but she doesn’t know if they are true. I asked her to clarify more. She talked about the miracles, like turning water into wine, or walking on water. I asked her, “If God created the universe, don’t you think that he could modify whatever He wants inside the universe?” She agreed that yes that was true. I also tried to make her see that the Universe came into existence, and someone outside of the universe must have started it.  I said, “Think about it – someone had to start the Big Bang. Universes don’t just pop out of nowhere, like a rabbit out of a hat.”  She liked that analogy and it made her laugh. We also talked about how the Bible, in addition to being the Word of God, is also another written report of history. I said, “I haven’t seen or met Jesus personally (physically). But I haven’t seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln either. I believe what I believe about them because I read what someone else wrote about them.” That point really seemed to hit home with her.  She felt a lot better after our talk.

So, when we were finished with our short talk, we went out to see her dad.  I heaped praise on Crystal about how we really enjoy having her in the AWANA club and her participation and behavior.  I mentioned to her dad that sometimes we have some pretty deep talks and this was one of those nights.  Then Crystal piped in and told him about how she was having some doubts about Christianity, and our conversation really helped her.  In her own words, she summarized what I talked about regarding God being the cause of the universe – that universes don’t just pop out of nowhere.  She also told her dad how it made a lot of sense that even though we don’t see Jesus ourselves, we are reading the writings of those who have seen Him – just like we haven’t seen George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but we can know they existed and what they did because of people who wrote about them.

I congratulated Crystal for bringing up her doubts to me.  I told her she should not be ashamed or feel bad about having doubts – everyone has doubts at some time or another and I would much rather have her asking questions rather than being apathetic about her faith.

I think next week I will have a little gift for Crystal.  I’ve been saving these “Student Editions” that I found (at very cheap prices) at the Goodwill books section:

  1. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Christ-Student-Journalists-Investigation/dp/0310745640/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483706800&sr=8-1
    caseforchrist
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Case-Creator-Student/dp/B0064FMWSI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483706877&sr=8-2
    caseforcreator
  3. https://www.amazon.com/Children-Demand-Verdict-Answering-Questions/dp/1600980120/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483706916&sr=1-1
    childrendemandvertict

I think she will benefit greatly to have those children / student versions of great books by world class apologists.

I pray for Crystal that she will seek and find answers to her questions and that in getting the answers she needs, she will be satisfied, and will grow in her faith.  I think a possible result of this could be that she could be the one in the future giving the answers to someone else who’s struggling with the same doubts.  I’ll end with the famous apologetics verse:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.  1 Peter 3:15

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