Thursday, July 22, 2010
“Sit down, both of you,” Mum said, pointing at the couch.
Candice sat, with a plop, in the middle of the couch. Abigail sat on the cushion next to her sister.
“Ew!” Candice squealed. “Don’t sit so close to me!” Candice bounced over to the far end of the couch.
Mum had her arms folded across her chest watching her daughters with dismay. They went quiet under her intense gaze. “Ok girls,” Mum said, “tell me what happened.”
Abigail said, “Well I,”
Candice cut her off, “You love Abby more that me!”
“Candy,” Mum said, “That’s crazy! I love you both equally.”
“Yeah right!” Candice argued, “That’s not what it looks like from here!”
Mum turned to Abigail, “Abby, why have you and your sister been fighting all morning?”
“I dunno,” Abigail answered. “She just hates me. I’m just trying to be good and she keeps bothering me: hitting me, chasing me and whatever else she can think of.”
“You asked for it,” Candice said.
“Did not,” Abigail blocked.
“Did so,” Candice flung back.
“Ok. Ok.” Mum took over. “What’s this all about? Candy, why are you tormenting your sister.”
“Because you always like everything she does better than what I do!” Candice said, almost crying.
“Candy,” Mum comforted, “You know that’s not true!”
“Then,” Candice sniffled, “why did you put her veges in the lasagna last night and mine went into the fridge?”
Mum was surprised by Candice’s answer. “Well, honey, I sent the two of you out to the garden. I clearly said I was making a vegetable lasagna and needed some veges.”
“Yeah,” Candice said, “And I got heaps. And Abby got just a few. And you used hers!”
“Candy,” Mum said, “You brought three heads of lettuce, two cauliflowers and a huge bunch of radishes. None of those go in a lasagna. I will use them, but in something else. That’s why I put them in the fridge—to save them for later!”
“You should just listen,” Abigail added. “Or learn how to make a lasagna!”
Candice jumped across the couch and swung her arm to slap Abigail. Mum reached out and caught her hand.
“You two,” Mum said, “be nice to each other.” Mum helped Candice back to her cushion with a little tug. “Now,” Mum continued, “How are we going to change? There’s no reason to react so strongly to a misunderstanding.”
Mum stared at the girls. They had no idea what she was waiting for.
“Well,” Mum repeated, “What can we do next time to avoid getting angry?”
“I guess I could listen more carefully,” Candice answered. Mum nodded and looked at Abigail.
“I guess I could try not to tease,” Abigail said.
Mum smiled. “And I will give clearer instructions,” Mum added. “Now, who wants to help me make lunch? I was thinking we could have a fresh salad and some cauliflower soup.”
The two girls looked at each other and laughed.
“Sounds yummy,” Abigail said. “I love Cauliflower soup!”
“Me too,” Candice agreed. She looked over at her sister and silently mouthed the words, “I’m sorry.”
Abigail hugged her sister and whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry, too.”
“Let’s cook girls,” Mum shouted from the kitchen. “Lunch isn’t going to make itself!”
(There’s a story in the Bible about two brothers who had a similar problem but it didn’t finish so nicely. You can find it in Genesis 4.)
Josh pulled his feet out of the river and dried them off as best he could before putting his socks and shoes on.
“Going somewhere?” Lance asked.
“Yeah,” I think I better go home,” Josh said.
Lance stared at Josh, “I thought you said your brother wants to kill you?”
“He did yesterday,” Josh answered.
“You can stay at my house again,” Lance said. “You can stay as long as you want!”
“Yeah, I know.” Josh said, “but sooner or later I’ll need to face reality.”
The two boys started to walk away from the swimming hole.
“Hey, where are you guys going?” a friend shouted from the water.
Lance answered, “Josh wants to get thrashed by his brother. He’s going home!”
“We’ll come with you,” the friend answered. “Common guys, let’s go protect Josh” All 14 grade 5 boys were at the waterhole. They joined Lance and Josh.
Lance laughed, “You’ll be safe now. You’re brother may be bigger than you. But he isn’t bigger than all of us!”
The crowd of boys started walking to Josh’s house. With each step, Josh got more nervous. Finally he turned to Lance and said, “Maybe we should send someone ahead to see if Eric is still angry.”
“Good idea,” Lance said. “Hey Joel, come here.” A scrawny boy joined them.
“Yeah?” Joel asked.
“You’re the fastest runner in our class,” Lance said. “Run to Josh’s house and see if Eric is still mad. Tell him Josh is coming home and see how he reacts. If he looks threatening, just run—he’ll never catch you!”
Joel laughed, “Yep. I’ll be right back!” And with that he sprinted away.
It what seemed only minutes, Joel was back.
“That’s some seriously low flying, mate!” Lance laughed.
“What did he say?” Josh asked.
“There’s a huge group of high school guys watching football with him,” Joel panted. “Eric said they will all come meet you.”
Josh’s face fell in horror. “I know those guys,” he said, trembling. “I’m dead if I don’t change Eric’s mind.” Josh stood still thinking. His group of friends gathered around. “Does anyone have any money?” Josh asked.
The boys pooled their pocket money. “Here’s $22.45,” Lance said as he handed a hat, filled with money, to Josh. “If it keeps you alive, you can have it!”
Josh turned and gave the hat to Joel, “Here. Run! Take it to Eric. Tell him I’m sorry and I have more in the bank!”
Joel took off sprinting again. The group of boys could see Eric’s mob just across the park. They watched as Joel made it to Eric. The could hear the laughter of Eric and his friends as the hat was handed over.
As Joel ran back, Eric followed, nearly keeping up. Eric’s group jogged behind. Josh started walking forward to face his fate.
Josh walked ahead and met Eric in the clearing between the two groups. As they reached each other Eric held out the hat full of money. “What’s this?”
Josh hung his head, “I didn’t want you to kill me.”
Eric hugged his little brother, “Mate, I’m sorry for getting mad at you yesterday. Mum and Dad are worried sick!” He turned to his group of friends as they approached, “He’s fine!”
The group whooped with joy. “Let’s get back to the football,” one of them laughed.
Eric wrapped his arm around Josh, “I’m so glad you came home.”
(Jacob and Esau is the comparison story. See Genesis 33.)
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
I've been working on a series (of 28) Bible studies called 28 Stories which uses an imaginative Bible story to introduce the topic and then the questions lead the reader/group through a series of personal application questions. These are followed by open ended questions that explore the Biblical topic using Bible verse quotes. It finishes with the Fundamental statement as worded by the Adventist Church and then asks for a response.
I've been using them for a few weeks now and getting positive responses. Since they have been designed in a weekly journal format (7 sections which work nicely as a daily study on the topic) I have been giving one as homework to my students and studying one in our weekly small group as well.
I've also made them available online and advertised them around the online Adventist world and am getting positive feedback from around the globe.
Have a look and let me know what you think!
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