Springboards: The Orphan, Michael

In the land of Sorie Ayah was a village with no name.
They were a very simple folk who did not aspire to fame.
Men like Farmers, Bakers, Bankers, Barbers and the like,
With names like Joe and Josh and Sarah. Perhaps, even a Mike.

On the outskirts of this town there lived a farmer, name of Smith.
He had so many children that he had to hire Tiff.
Tiff was a young lady who would help Smith and his wife,
With chores like looking after children who were prone to flight.

One day, as the farmer Smith had gone off into town,
He stopped in at the feed store just to take a look around.
No one else was in the store, but a little ragged boy.
But he seemed like he’d cause no fuss, all taken with a toy.

“Hello there!” came a greeting from the clerk. His name was Bob.
“A perfect day for getting out.” The farmer gave a nod.
“So, what’s your pleasure this fine day? Come in to get some feed?
I have some worms for fishin’ and whatever else you need.”

“No thanks,” the farmer said, politely, wondering ‘bout the boy.
“I haven’t any needs, myself, but how much is that toy?”
With this, the boy looked up and then he gave a curious smile.
“Oh, that boy don’t belong here,” said Bob, charging down the aisle.

Stopping Bob right in his tracks, Smith said, “I don’t mind him.
Just tell me, how’d he get here?” asked the farmer with a grin.

“His mother left him on the step, about two hours ago.
I didn’t bother kicking him out, ‘cause business has been slow.
She said she didn’t care just what I did with him, today.
She said she won’t be coming back. He’s gotten in her way.”

“How terrible,” the farmer said. “He hasn’t got a home?”
“As far as I know,” now, Bob replied, “He’s left here all alone.”
So then they stood and talked about what should be done with him.
They spoke so softly that the boy could hardly listen in.

“Dear farmer, don’t you think you’ve taken enough upon yourself?
You have two dozen kids already. Leave him for someone else.”

“No one can raise him good as me. Of this you can attest.
So, if I raise him as my own, you know that will be best.”

Finally, the farmer said, “Son, grab your stuff. Let’s go.”
The little boy then dropped his toy and hopped up on his toes.
Walking to the door, the boy was haulted by old Smith.
“Come get this toy. I paid for it. Consider it a gift.”

The boy got in the pick-up truck, and so the farmer did.
Turning to the little tike, he asked, “What’s your name, kid?”
“Mike,” replied the little boy, still fumbling with the belt.
“Is it okay if I call you Michael. Do you think that would be swell?”

Michael shrugged his shoulders as he kicked his little feet.
The truck was nicer than his mom’s, and it certainly was clean.
The farmer drove a little ways and came upon a house.
He turned to Michael, said, “We’re here,” and then they both got out.

This was Sheriff Johnson’s house, and he was just ‘round back.
They heard him clanging tools around and saying this and that.
Following the noises, they found he was fast at work.
He was under his patrol car and all covered up with dirt.

“Need some help, there, Sheriff,” called the farmer from the hood.
Rolling out from under the car, the Sheriff slowly stood.
“Smith! What brings you ‘round these parts? It has been quite a while.”
“I was just down at the feed store, and I came upon this child.”

The sheriff took his glasses from the pocket on his shirt.
He wiped them with an old white cloth to remove all the dirt.
Pushing them snug to his nose, he gave the boy a look.
“Why, I’ve never seen this boy before, but I’ll look through my books.”

“Well, Sheriff Johnson, I’m impressed to keep him at my house.
And Tiff can look upon him till you figure all this out.
You know there’s always room at my house for these little ones.
And if you cannot find the mother, I’ll make him my own son.”

“Dear farmer, don’t you think you’ve taken enough upon yourself?
You have two dozen kids already. Leave him for someone else.”

“No one can raise him good as me. Of this you can attest.
So, if I raise him as my own, you know that will be best.”

Once again they hopped up in the farmer’s pick-up truck.
They drove out to his farm and gathered everybody up.
“Dear wife, and Tiff, and kids, this here is Michael. Please say, ‘Hi.’”
The group all greeted Michael, who so quickly became shy.

The farmer had two dozen kids, from babes to older teens.
They stood ‘round looking cheerful. Michael thought he might turn green.
They came and introduced themselves, one by one by one.
From oldest to the youngest. Twelve were daughters. Twelve were sons.

Last were Mrs. Smith and Tiff, both carrying young babes.
They welcomed him with kisses, and his worries did then fade.
In no time he felt right at home and fell in with the kids.
They played their games, told stories and spent time with Mrs. Smith.

While talking with the others, he found out they were just like him.
They all had been abandoned and the Smiths took them all in.
They all had special stories, though their stories were alike.
And though there were so many, the farmer gave each one his time.

The farm whipped up in conversations. Michael was all the buzz.
The farmer had another son, and the story’s moral was…

Though we had been forsaken from the fall of Adam and Eve,
We have a loving Father who steps down and intercedes.
He takes us off the streets of life where we would die alone.
He makes us all His children and prepares for us a home.

Springboards: The Pig, Rhubarb

Springboards for Christian Parents is a two-part series I began back in 2008 for the purpose of providing stories for parents to help them illustrate biblical truths. The Pig, Rhubarb is a story written for the purpose of illustrating the doctrine of regeneration.

________________________

 

In the land of Sorie Ayah was a village with no name.

They were a very simple folk who did not aspire to fame.

Men like Farmers, Bakers, Bankers, Barbers and the like,

With names like Joe and Josh and Sarah. Perhaps, even a Mike.

 

On the outskirts of this town there lived a farmer, name of Jones.

He had a sty of piglets with a couple that were grown.

The most stubborn one was Rhubarb. He was never looking up.

With much determination, his nose was always in the mud.

 

He’d root and root for hours, hoping that he’d find a gem.

A corn cob or a brussel sprout. It didn’t concern him.

He didn’t even care that all the children standing by

Had scowls on their faces when he ate a moldy pie.

He snorted with delight. With joy, he’d wag his little tail.

He ate and ate for hours, and his stomach never failed.

 

Now, one day, as the farmer was out tending to the pigs,

A thought happened upon him, and it happened on his lips,

“I wonder if this pig could be a money-making prize.

I bet I’d get more bounty for his stomach than his hide.”

 

He threw some cobs and celery in the back of his old truck,

And with a pulley system that he’d built, Rhubarb went up.

He darted down the highway to the fair outside of town.

While in the back, old Rhubarb was still steadily chowing down.

 

Arriving at the fair, that day, the farmer bought a booth.

He stood out front and shouted to the people walking through,

“O Baker, Banker, Barber, all you business men alike.

Please listen to my wager, for your treasure lies inside.”

 

“A dollar wager gets you in, and you can be approved,

To feed this pig whatever you please. He’s certainly no prude.

He’ll eat just what you feed to him, and it doesn’t matter what,

But if you find what he won’t eat, we’ll split the pot twixt us.”

 

The baker was the first to pay his dollar at the door.

He had an old and moldy loaf with gravy all abhorred.

He’d whipped it up a week before, and tossed it in the bin,

His shop was just a block away, so his son fetched it in.

 

“We’ll see if Rhubarb eats this bread. It’s stale and from the trash.

It’s been in there for four days all mixed up with corned beef hash.

All the people can attest that it’s rotten from its smell.

I doubt your pig can stomach it, as time will surely tell.”

 

The farmer took the bin of trash and heaped it in the booth.

It only took a moment for the pig to start to root.

He sifted through the garbage like it were a birthday cake.

Within ‘bout seven minutes it was like he’d licked his plate

 

Now nothing lay before the pig, as the baker walked away.

The farmer lifted up his chin and carried on this way,

“O Banker, Barber, gents, and all you business men alike.

Please listen to my wager, for your treasure lies inside.”

 

“A dollar wager gets you in, and you can be approved,

To feed this pig whatever you please. He’s certainly no prude.

He’ll eat just what you feed to him, it doesn’t matter what,

But if you find what he won’t eat, we’ll split the pot twixt us.”

 

The Banker was a greedy man, and never backing down,

He answered to the challenge with some worms he’d fetched from town.

He laid them down before the pig, and soon they were not there.

He gobbled up the last of them with time enough to spare.

 

Now nothing lay before the pig, as the banker walked away.

The farmer lifted up his chin and carried on this way,

“O Barber, ladies, gents, and all you business men alike.

Please listen to my wager, for your treasure lies inside.”

“A dollar wager gets you in, and you can be approved,

To feed this pig whatever you please. He’s certainly no prude.

He’ll eat just what you feed to him, it doesn’t matter what,

But if you find what he won’t eat, we’ll split the pot twixt us.”

 

The barber, not a betting man, just watched as people came.

They brought their garbage, brought their waste and all that was profane.

The pig was eating it all up, much to the farmer’s glee.

But then the barber had a thought, and so away he sneaked.

 

He went a ways back to his home, and met up with his wife.

“O dearest, sweet, melodious woman. Have you food inside?”

His wife enraptured by his words took out of the stove,

A baked lasagna she had made just for his return home.

 

He kissed her on the forehead, saying, “Tonight, I will explain.”

He rushed off in his carriage, and back to the fair again.

The pot was up to ninety dollars. Hordes were bringing food.

He shot up to the front of the crowd and offered up his, too.

 

The farmer, overcome with joy, welcomed the barber’s pan.

The barber offered up his dollar, then addressed the man,

“O farmer would you eat the rubbish this pig has swallowed down?

Would you sift through garbage with your snout and eat off the ground?”

 

The farmer gave a chuckle, “Well, of course not. I’m a man.”

The barber gave a gentle nod and laid down his wife’s pan.

Rhubarb moved his nose along the ground searching for slop.

He paid no mind to the lasagna still so piping hot.

 

The crowd whipped up in conversations. Rhubarb was all the buzz.

The barber was the victor, and the story’s moral was…

 

A man should not consume the things befitting filthy swine.

A pig does not have appetites that mirror yours or mine.

Just One can change the appetites of sinful girls and boys.

Jesus Christ transforms our appetites and turns our griefs to joys.

Repost: A Philosophy of Children’s Ministry

A few years ago, I would never have thought I would be posting something like this. My sympathies toward the Family Integrated Movement resulted in somewhat of a suspicion toward children’s ministries and youth groups. After taking the reigns of my church’s children’s ministry a couple years ago, I started to research the issue. The following post is a result. This is our church’s new Philosophy of Children’s Ministry with Scripture citations. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

Our Philosophy of Children’s Ministry –

Sovereign Joy Community Church has a high view of the family, and our families have a high view of the local church. The primary place God has ordained for the spiritual teaching and training of children is the family,1 and the primary goal of that spiritual teaching and training is to make of them disciples of Christ equipped for service in His local church.2 Further, the church has an obligation to teach and instruct not only parents but children as well.3 Therefore, the substance4 and methods5 of our Children’s Ministry are designed to support the families of Sovereign Joy as they seek to raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4b; NASB).

1Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 1:8-9; 3:1-12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20

2Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2Timothy 1:5; 3:14

3Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20

4By substance, we mean the doctrines and practices we teach.

5By methods, we mean the way in which we teach our doctrines and practices.

How do we do this?

  • Over the centuries, catechisms have proven to be a useful means of passing biblical truths along from generation to generation. Therefore, we use A Catechism for Boys and Girls (Carey Publications) as our primary means of instruction in our children’s Sunday school.
  • By using the catechism in Sunday school and providing free copies of it to all our covenanted parents, we encourage catechesis in the home.
  • Our teachers are expected to develop and present a rough exposition of the questions and answers provided in the catechism.
  • Once a month, the children will also be taught a church history lesson that is meant to help them to understand the historical context of the biblical truths they are learning in the catechism.
  • The children are also encouraged to memorize large portions of Scripture (the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, the Beatitudes, etc.) and parents to work with their children in this endeavor.