The Ebenezer Box

Remembering the Story of God's Faithfulness

 

You may recall this line from the hymn, Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,

"Here I raise mine Ebenezer, Hither by thy help I've come..."

What is an Ebenezer? Before we dive in to the purpose of the Ebenezer Box, let's first visit the story of Samuel.

Samuel was a wise and godly man with a good idea. (1 Samuel 7:12) He recognized a recurring characteristic about human nature - we are forgetful. After a long period of sadness and trouble, Israel repented under his leadership. Samuel then placed a large stone at the place where this restoration began. The Ebenezer stone. And as the people got on with their lives, the stone stood there, visible to all who passed that way and reminding them that by God's help they found a new day of hope and revival.

One way we can calibrate our lives to the great story of God and people is to keep an altar of God's help close by. 

The Ebenezer Box is a box made in the shape and size of our church Bible. This book/box is a place for you to write stories, collect symbols, make artifacts, and keep anything that involves the story of God's faithfulness to your family. 

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In these verses an opportunity for families is addressed: 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I have given you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Further on, in verse 20-24, parents are told that their children will one day ask about the meaning of their beliefs. This is an opportunity for parents to respond. 

Remembering is way to train the mind to include our history and our hope for the future. Keeping our storied walk before "our very eyes" is a nobel task that families might undertake today. 

Steeping

An object lesson for Sabbath school teachers and youth leaders.

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How do we relate to a book that is 2 to 5 thousand years old? 

It may be that people struggle with reading the Bible is because its not really a book to "read." It calls for something deeper than reading.

It's a little like making a cup of tea. 

Set a bag of tea into the water for several seconds and you see only a little difference. The drink has very little flavor. Leave the bag in the water for a few minutes and the tea has time to diffuse itself into the cup. Here the cup of tea gains strength. 

Time is not the key. The important thing is to steep. To allow every fiber become saturated. 

Try it with these verses. 

Galatians 2:19-21, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 2:8,9

In your devotional life, do you dip? Or do you steep? 

Salt and Sugar

An object lesson for Sabbath school teachers and youth leaders.

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Salt and sugar look very similar. In fact, in the picture above, one shaker has salt, and the other sugar. Can you tell the difference? 

How do we identify salt by sight? You know people in your life who are salty. When we ask youth to identify which shaker has the salt, about 50 percent of the time they can't tell the difference until they... taste. 

We can't go off of first impressions. We have to get closer. Are the first impressions you have of someone reliable? Have you ever been wrong about someone? 

Young people have routinely said, We can all "look" like the right thing, but you can look like salt and still be something else. We have to get close to really understand. 

1 Samuel 16:7
"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

What are your thoughts about this object lesson? Do you see other applications to this illustration? Respond to what the young people have said. 

RoundAbout Faith

The book "RoundAbout Faith" explores 28 Christian teachings that are anchored in the Person of Christ. Each fundamental belief is organized into four parts that relate to the process of negotiating through a roundabout. 

We Enter. We Yield. We Merge. We Continue.

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Sneak Peek

Enough Said, The Holy Scriptures

He glued the leather cover of a Bible over a cheap romance novel. The original Bible had been ruined by water damage in a flood and only the cover was still intact. While speaking to a gathering of young adults, the pastor opened what appeared to be the Bible and began to tear pages irreverently as he read, tossing the pages casually on the ground. The crowd gasped. Some stood up, looking around nervously for someone to do something about "the heretic." 

Just as the crowd became agitated enough to leave, the pastor cleared his throat, help up his hand for order and said, "Please know that I would never mistreat a Bible. This book is a fake and not a real Bible at all..."

The curious assembly listened carefully as he continued. "But let me ask you; what is worse, tearing the Bible out of disrespect or completely ignoring it, knowing full well it is God's message to you?"

Think about it.

 

Seeing Red

Why are the words of Christ in the Bible in red?

This small group resource explores the words of Christ through ten sessions. Learn what Jesus said about the heart, what he said about himself, and about the people who amazed Him. Discover how the words of Christ are as significant as the things He did.

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Sneak Peek

Good Questions, Session One

Asking good questions might be one of the most penetrating features of Christ's teaching. The goal of this session is to examine the questions Jesus asked and respond. The equation is not complete until you hear and act. . . Consider some of the questions Jesus asked: 

  • If the salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again?
  • Which is easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven,' or 'get up and walk'?"
  • Do you believe that I am able to do this?
  • What is written in the Law - how does it read to you?
  • Who do you think that I am?

 

Change the Day

How important are acts of kindness?

Almost fifteen years ago Leadout Ministries implemented a service project in the Walla Walla valley. The project, titled “Change the Day,” is funded by a few coin jars that are placed in offices around the community of Walla Walla and College Place.

Once a month, Leadout Ministries takes both high school and college students on a trip around town to find opportunities to pay it forward.

What difference does it make? It makes a world of difference to people who receive it. A day can tip one way or the other based on one surprise.

Participating in acts of kindness not only encourage others, but it changes the way people who witness this see people of faith. Acts of kindness change the people who participate—significantly, because when you give to help and don’t seek credit or a reward, it is one of the richest experiences of all.

Jesus said, “If you give a cup of cool water to one of the least of these, you will not lose your reward.” He also said, “Let your light shine that the world may see your good works and glorify God in heaven.”

Paul says, “When you have the opportunity, do good to all, especially those of the household of faith.” 

Rich or poor, it makes no difference. Everyone can use the encouragement.

It only takes a simple gesture to make someone’s day better.

Let's put beautiful surprises in the lives of people!

What are simple ways that we can make a difference with pocket change? Comment below!

Resilience

11 university student partnered with 11 eighth graders to learn what it means to be resilient. As you listen to what they discovered think about the people in the Bible, in history and in your world today who bounce back from adversity. From where you stand, what is the one skill we should be teaching children to enable them to be resilient in a world that will challenge them?

Masterful Design

I have always been fascinated by the strength of ants. It's not just a single-minded strength to do a job—that seems to be evident. The sheer physical strength of an ant proportionally to what it is carrying is amazing. How is this so? On humans our muscles cover our bones—we have an endoskeleton. Ants have an exoskeleton and their muscles function so efficiently with angles and leverage it is clearly the worker of Masterful design. 

Ants work hard and ants work smart. In Romans 1:20 the Bible says that, "the invisible qualities of God are clearly seen in the world that has been created—so we are all without an excuse." So, pay attention to the created world! Where do you see God alive, powerful, and good in the created world? Share pictures, clips, object lessons or stories.