Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Mess ~ age

Pumpkin Carving
1.  Cut the pumpkin open and reveal the mess inside:
No matter how our life looks on the outside,
our life is really a mess and hopeless without God because of our sin.
Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

2.  Turn the pumpkin upside down and try to shake out the mess:
We can't get rid of our own mess of sin. 
Just as a pumpkin will rot and be left useless as it is,
left with our sin, we also will face ruin--now and forever.
Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3.  The pumpkin is helpless to take its own mess away and needs our help:
We are helpless to take our sin away and we need help too.
Romans 5:6,8
For when we were still without strength,
in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.

4.  Remove the seeds and slime from the inside of the pumpkin:
God sent Jesus to do for us what we couldn't do for ourselves:
take away our sins, be holy, be blameless, be perfect.
Romans 10:9,11-13 says,
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and
believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved.
Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.
...the same Lord is rich to all who call upon Him. 
For whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.

5.  Show the clean and empty pumpkin
Once the mess has been taken away, a new space has been created for something better.
Ephesians 4:22-23, 31-32
Put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of  your mind,
and that you put on the new man which was created according to God,
in true righteousness and holiness.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, will all malice.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you.

6.  Cut a joyful face in the pumpkin
Joy is one of the first things that God uses to fill that empty space.
Romans 15:13 says, Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
in believing that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.

7.  Place a candle or light inside the pumpkin and light it.
Now our lives are a place where God lives,
and when we obey Him,
the light of His goodness shines through us.
John 8:12 says, I am the light of the world. 
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life.


8.  Set the newly carved pumpkin next to an uncarved one.
When we trust Jesus to take away our sins,
He makes us into a whole new creature, full of joy and light.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new."


9.  Set your pumpkin out for all to see, but as you do,
share that the pumpkin will eventually rot and perish.
But those with the real and lasting light and hope of Christ
will not perish . . . even after the body dies.
John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved.

What do I do with it? 
 Lots of things tell me it is quite far from
All Hallows Eve.
Hallow means holy, consecrated, sanctified, revered, honored.
A holy, sanctified, revered evening?
I love to use holidays to teach my kids
history, depth of meaning, and about God.
Halloween provides many opportunities for conversations
about light and darkness,
being fake and being real,
holiness and evil,
faith and fear.
It is an opportunity for creating traditions with meaning.
I do not know who to give credit for this pumpkin carving lesson.
I received it via email several years ago.
But it was quite awesome to see the kids "get it".
I watched my son go around church yesterday morning
carrying a beautiful pumpkin.
When asked what he was doing with it,
he lifted the lid to reveal the mess inside and told the story.
Pretty cool conversation starter about Christ and what He does in us and for us.
We had a great time visiting neighbors last night
as our family went trick-or-treating
with a motorcross rider, the Queen of Hearts, and a clown.
We live in a great community here in the heartland of South Dakota!