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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Reward (09/27/04)

TITLE: You're Going to the Big House
By L.M. Lee


“Come and go with me to my Fathers house…It's a big, big house with lots and lots a room …”

“Hey, Ms. Lissa, they’re playing your song!” Allyson piped up from the back of the church van.

“My song?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she continued, “you’re always telling us God is building us a big house!”

“Hey, that’s right!” piped in Melanie. “It could be our class song.”

“Cool,” said Chad, “We’ll be the only class with a song.”

“Cuz we’re so rad,” John ragged.

Then the van load of wired thirteen year-olds belted out the chorus of Audio Adrenaline’s “Big House.”

And me being me…I did a radio sound check.

You’ve never performed a sound check? Well let me tell you how it works…

Take an 18-passenger van filled with teenagers. Tune the radio to their favorite station to the latest hit. Then when they reach that soulful moment of oneness with the audio waves…turn off the radio!

Yep, you guessed it. Instantaneous silence! They know the lyrics backwards, forwards, upside down and probably in Chinese…but turn off the radio and they go mute.

Hey, the youth can’t have all the fun on road trips!

For the rest of the year, whenever “Big House” blasted through a speaker, someone yelled, “It’s Ms. Lissa’s song!”

For three years I had worked as the 13 year olds’ Sunday school teacher. It was one of my greatest joys.

One Sunday we had gotten into a discussion about salvation by grace versus works. Two of my more skeptical students challenged everything we discussed. It was fine with me. I figured confronting the issues in the safety of church was a great way to prepare my class for the brutality of the real world. I believe in playing offense and scoring…not just defense. If all you do is try to prevent the other team from scoring, at some point they will and you lose!

That morning I got on offense.

“Ms. Lissa, if we’re saved by grace and we can’t earn our salvation, what’s the point of being good?” quizzed Thomas.

(I know, the kid couldn’t help it…his parents really did name him Thomas).

“Great question…any answers?”

The class chatted up the typical Sunday school answers along with a few moronic ones for purposes of disruption. None of it satisfied Thomas’ curiosity. He is not the guy that looks for justification of deviant behavior. He is the passionate Christian who struggles with his faith. I wanted him to leave confident.

Using the football analogy as most of them were on the local teams, as players, cheerleaders or band members – I explained the difference between just being on the team and actually being “on” the team. The ones who just showed up and did the minimal were bench-warmers. The ones who gave it their all usually played. This seemed to clarify it for them that day.

About six weeks later the junior high team won their division. We celebrated the event in class. It was an interesting day. The way our school district is divided put half of the class on the winning campus and the other half on the losing campus.

What a golden teaching opportunity!

As they settled down to do some serious munching, I approached the subject of works. I explained that Pitcher was the winning school. All of the students would be considered winners because they all attended the winning school, but only the players actually got trophies.

“It’s just like with Jesus.” I began. “When you accept Him as Lord and Savior, your eternal destination is guaranteed, you’re on the team, but the quality of your rewards will be determined on your participation now.”

“Whatcha mean?” asked Allyson.

“Well, if every time you submit to Jesus’ will for your life, honor His word and obey Him,” I continued, “He will put another golden brick on your mansion. Some of you will have really nice big houses, others cabins, some lean-tos and some of you might be homeless.”

If you could have seen their faces!

“But,” I reminded them, “living on golden streets is definitely better than the alternative!”

“I get it!” announced Thomas.

My reward that year for revealing Christ more clearly to some of His kids …

“Come and go with me to my Fathers house…”

© 9/28/04 Lissa M. Lee

Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Lee Rainey10/04/04
Lissa, what a precious reward to have all those 13-year-olds singing in your ear. And what a great lesson to be able to share with them!
Marcell Billinghurst10/04/04
A great story for teaching young children and people about the rewards of following Jesus. Very well written.
Corinne Smelker 10/04/04
You are awesome and I can see why the kids love you! Great lesson, not just for them, but for us.
Melanie Kerr 10/04/04
Solid teaching point. I liked the bit about golden bricks in the wall!
Kristin Slavik10/04/04
I loved this article. My Fathers House is one of my favorite songs and I could actually hear them singing it to you in my head! You are obviously a well loved teacher (which for that age group is a HIGH compliment.)
Glenda Lagerstedt10/04/04
Loved the humorous way you picked up on Thomas' name. Good humor and wisdom wrapped up in one neat article.
Lucian Thompson10/04/04
I like the Big…Big…Table, with lots and lots of food best! Okayyyy…Glad to see you using the great contemporary (Christian Rock) music to attract the kids. I’m 61 and it attracted me. K-Love 107.9 FM is where we get most of our songs we sing in Worship. Yep, our people are from 1 to 72 years old and all belt it out with gusto! Great article, by the way!
Lisa Beaman10/05/04
Great story!
One complaint.... I will now have that song in my head the rest of the day :) I love the song, but my kids had me singing on Sunday after church & I just now got it out of my head & now it's back!

Really, it was a great article & teaching anyone about the amazing grace of Jesus is such a wonderful blessing!
Annette Bury10/06/04
I'm sure the kids are blessed to have you as their teacher - Great article!
John Hunt10/06/04
Loved this article. I tried a soundcheck on my 14-month-old during a Baby Einstein video - big mistake. LOL
Keep the wonderful articles coming!
Joanne Malley10/07/04
Thanks for your "way" with words. Great story.
Kenny Paul Clarkson10/08/04
Well done.
darlene hight10/08/04
Great illustration! I loved teaching Junior High! That is when they are forming their own answers.
Rose Gingerich10/10/04
Good story! Very rewarding! :)
Blessings, Rose