Introduction

Heroes Edition, Volume 1

June 5 through July 16, 2016

 

Just a few weeks ago, theaters coaxed moviegoers into an early summer season with an ever-popular superhero movie. “Captain America: Civil War” hit the streets attracting returning and new fans of all ages. There’s something about fictional heroes that keeps us coming back for more. I remember my Dad telling me about the “Batman Serials” of the 1940s. I followed the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. And my daughters are devout followers of the Avengers.

 

What makes a superhero? A superhero is more complex than the media may suggest. Many are strangers and aliens among their peers. Most have superpowers, but along with the power, they each have a weakness to bear. They are largely lonely in their personal lives. Despite their successes and popularity, many deal with self-doubt. Often a mask protects more than their identity. From behind the mask many escape their insecurities. I asked my daughter what makes a superhero, and her answer was, “A superhero makes personal sacrifices to save others.”

 

This issue of Grow Deep is the first volume of stories of Heroes from the Biblical drama. Unlike the characters on the big screen or in the comic books, these are real people. But like the fictional heroes that entertain our thoughts, many Biblical heroes are lonely; they are strangers and aliens. We look behind their masks and discover weakness, failure and doubt. Their “super powers” come not from themselves, but from God. Living by faith--failures and all--is what makes them heroes by the grace of God.

 

You may recognize some of their stories; others may be new. All of their stories are incomplete, however, because their stories heroically lead us to look beyond them. The heroes of the Bible ultimately all point us to Jesus, their secret source of strength and ultimately, the Savior of the World. The New Testament says of them:

 

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” --Hebrews 11:39-40

 

Read their stories. Let them intersect with your life. Unmask their insecurities and your own weaknesses. Follow them and God’s plan to the place where heroes meet Jesus. He is our strength in weakness and the fulfillment of true heroism.

 

And remember, because of Jesus, God has chosen you, like these characters of old, to be someone’s hero too!

 

Pastor Bill Geis

The Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens

June 2016

 

 

Note to Parents

 

The summer recess of school gives parents and children more time together. It’s an opportunity to travel, swim, picnic and play together. It’s also an opportunity to start or restart family devotional habits. We encourage you to spend time with your children and these heroes of faith. Whether home or traveling, don’t vacation from God’s Word. Take it with you and become a hero for your children. Our children’s ministry is preparing materials to help supplement these Grow Deep passages. The materials for children will be available in mid-June.

 

A word of caution is necessary, though. The Genesis stories used for this “Volume One” of Heroes are among the basic Bible curriculum for children. Yet, reading them from the Bible is a rated “PG” experience for sure. Genesis is filled with violence, broken families, and sexual perversion.

 

Every effort was made to choose family-appropriate reading selections, but it’s impossible to teach some of these stories without some troubling content. How do you deal with the polygamy so prevalent among the Patriarchs? How do you address the lies and deceptions that frame so many of these stories? I suggest that as a parent you review these stories before you read them with your children. If you feel you need to skip a portion, skip it. You know your children best. At the same time, these sections may provide a teaching moment. Teach your children that lies and trickery are not God’s way. Teach them God’s will for their sexuality and His plan for marriage and family life. The Patriarchs’ weaknesses are most evident in these areas: they adopted the ways of their culture rather than following God’s ways. As a result, their families suffered greatly. God was not pleased by their behavior, but He did not abandon His promise. It is because of their sins (and ours) that we all need grace. We all need Jesus! We are called to imitate the faith of the Patriarchs, not their immoral behavior. We live in a world today that barely blushes at such immoral behavior. Our children need to be alarmed and know the difference between God’s plan and the world’s! They need to learn from their parents and God’s Word, not the streets. We can teach them to live godly, courageous and heroic lives. It’s not by their power alone, but by the super-powered grace of God with them. Sometimes they’ll feel alone like strangers and aliens among their peers, but remind them of how loved they are … by you … and loved by Jesus!

 

I’m writing this with a prayer and a commitment to be praying for you. Remember the work of parents’ passing on their faith to their children is the great stuff of heroes!


Pastor Bill