In the Spring of 2013, I spent months compiling verse recommendations from friends and family for Sing the Bible. One of the very last suggestions I received came in the actual mail… from my mother. I opened the envelope, and found inside, penned onto a small purple leaf of paper, John 13:34-35.
It was the same handwriting that I’ve seen inside a birthday card every year I can remember. It was the handwriting from childhood permission slips and love notes slipped inside brown bag lunches. It was Santa’s handwriting. And now it said,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
The verse was so perfect for a song that it practically wrote itself. But how should we talk with our kids about this one? For busy parents looking for Scripture nuggets to feed our kids, this verse is so straightforward it is easy to skim. “Sure, sure. Jesus loves me, so I should love others. Got it. What else you got?”
But if we only look for a moment more… “As I have loved you…” How many of us walk through our lives ready to wash the feet of our friends? How many of us truly think of the good of others before our own comfort? This verse is a bucket of cold water to my face every time I read it or sing it because of how often I think of myself first.
Unless you are ready to receive buckets of grace for your utter lack of obedience to this verse, don’t bring this one up to your kids. They will totally bust you. You’ll either have to pretend like you think this way all the time, or you’ll have to come clean. I recommend coming clean, by the way. It’s a great way to enter the conversation about living with the Holy Spirit, and looking to Jesus and depending on him every day. Clearly, we can’t do this “love one another” stuff on our own.
More about that conversation in our next post. Check back in a day or so… and thanks for stopping by. You can click on the CD cover below to check out our Slugs & Bugs store.
This post is the tenth in a series on our new CD Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs. All the lyrics to Sing the Bible are word-for-word Scripture. I hope this series helps parents talk with their kids about each passage on the CD.
A few years ago, I sat and ate with a preacher and his family after a Slugs & Bugs concert, utterly stunned by their working relationships. The 3 year old son repeatedly hit the mom, spilled his drink on her on purpose, threw his food and spit right in his mom’s face. Meanwhile, the preacher did absolutely nothing to deter or address the insane behavior. I was so incensed and flabbergasted by the whole thing that I ended up excusing myself early before I said something I would regret.
I stewed and prayed the whole drive back to the hotel, and I had a difficult time getting to sleep that night. For days, then weeks, then months, I intended to call or write this guy and have a talk. At first, I wanted to shame him for his utter neglect of his spouse. Later, I wanted to help him – warn him about the kind of kids he was raising, and appeal to his sense of gospel sanity as a father and a leader. Eventually, I let myself forget about it – either unconvinced it was my place to intervene, or too scared of the confrontation.
Then, this morning, I had a conversation with a friend about their 5 year old daughter. She was adopted at 2 years old, like my son Benjamin, and they share unusual attention-seeking behaviors. They both ask constantly ask questions they already know the answers to, and they both pretend to be dumb sometimes. But my friend’s daughter also hit, stomped on, and spit on her in bizarre circumstances. She may simply be working through the pain that she carries from having been orphaned, but still, as they say with a hashtag, #notgonnafly.
For years, they’ve been struggling (with admirable communication, maturity and self-discipline) with how to stop this unacceptable behavior, and nothing has worked, until a few months ago. Out of desperation, they applied a new strategy. They would totally ignore their daughter’s terrible behavior, unless it really injured somebody.
What!?! I can’t imagine the incredible restraint required for this parenting tack, but they did it. And it worked. After two months (two months!) of prayerful endurance in private and in public, the spitting, hitting and stomping all but dried up. Amazing. There’s a whole ‘nother blog post in there somewhere.
But that got me thinking about that preacher and his family so many moons ago. I really don’t know what they were going through. If I had loved them instead of judging them, a follow-up phone call might have been much easier to make. We might have become great friends.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19-20
Our animated videos have always been a huge part of the Slugs & Bugs Live concert experience. At every concert, someone always asks me where they can get them, and now I finally have a good answer! You can purchase all the animated videos from the first three CDs right here at the Rabbit Room.
There are 17 videos on this first DVD, including old favorites and some that have never appeared in concert. Here’s the track listing…
2. The Postman
3. Who’s Got The Ball
4. God Made Me
6. Chicken Wiggle
7. Tractor, Tractor
9. Jesus Loves Me
10. Shepherd Dad
11. God Makes Messy Things Beautiful
12. I’m Adopted
13. Mexican Rhapsody
14. Where You Gonna Go
15. I Wanna Help
These videos have consistently captured the simple joyfulness of Slugs & Bugs music. I’m so thankful for Scott Brignac and Nora Ashkar for the delightful productions that have brought Slugs & Bugs to the screen for thousands of families, and I’m thrilled to finally have a video for Ninja – by Matt Cosby.
There are 3 animated videos available on Youtube (Bears, God Made Me, Tractor-Tractor), and amazingly, Tractor-Tractor has over two million views. Here it is now for your green and orange enjoyment…
To purchase the Slugs & Bugs DVD, click here.
This post is the ninth in a series on our new CD Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs. All the lyrics to Sing the Bible are word-for-word Scripture. I hope this series helps parents talk with their kids about each passage on the CD.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2
Even beginning a blog post about this verse, I have to stop and breathe, and pray.
If I take these words seriously, it changes everything. This verse changes how I treat people, how I see the world, how I spend my time, and even my body chemistry. It changes my breath, my heart rate, my stress level, my posture and my skin. It moves the wrinkles from my brow to the sides of my mouth. It makes me want to sing.
However, this verse is not a popular Sunday School verse for children. Adults usually don’t expect children to grasp the weight of their sinfulness or the depth of their need for forgiveness. But tell me, who really grasps the weight of their own sinfulness? Do you really understand the depth of your need for forgiveness? Do I? No way.
Here’s where I start with my kids: This verse presents 6 questions.
1. What does “no condemnation” mean?
2. What does “in Christ” mean?
3. What is “the law of the Spirit”?
4. How does the Spirit give life?
5. What is “the law of sin and death”
6. How does the Spirit set me free?
The age of the child will dictate how this goes, but if I really listen, I’m usually astounded at the simple truths in their answers. And just as a reminder, our goal is not helping them achieve total understanding. It is spending time with them in the context of Scripture. Trust that The Lord is teaching you both. And when in doubt, remember the cross.
They will probably say something terribly incorrect, but there’s no hurry. Feel the freedom to let some things go unexplained. Or admit you don’t know. You can say “Hmmm” or “very interesting” or even “I don’t know about that” if they start talking reincarnation or something. Sure, we want them to learn, but we also want this conversation to continue for years to come.
We are making a new Slugs & Bugs video, and we need your help!
The Old Testament Song video will feature a train pulling a multitude of train cars, all bearing Old Testament names. Your job is to help us come up with pictures to draw on or around the different books. We’ve got a few of them covered, but as you can see we are stumped for others.
Check out below and see if you can come up with some drawing ideas for some Old Testament train cars! Leave them in the comments section – and feel free to comment more than once. (And if you’ve got creative friends, share this post – we’re all ears!)
This post is the eighth in a series. All the lyrics to Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs are word-for-word Scripture. I hope this series helps parents talk with their kids about each passage on the CD.
Do not eat anything you find already dead. But you may give it to the alien living in your town.
So, the short answer is, yes. There are aliens in the bible. Of course, as Sally suggests, when the word “alien” appears in the Bible, it means “foreigner” or “stranger in the land” or “someone not in Kansas anymore.” So, we are clearly having fun. But this levity carries with it a small side of profundity.
I certainly don’t expect anyone to build a Sunday School lesson around Alien, but I am excited to highlight how easy it can be to misunderstand Scripture. Hopefully, this song will serve as an audible object lesson with a catchy chorus. Read the Bible, pray for discernment, but also learn from your elders in the faith.
Additionally, for kids with some Bible upbringing, it can be shocking to discover people that take the Bible seriously but have a totally different understanding of what is being communicated. In Alien, I’m obviously getting it all wrong. But the Bible is jam-packed with mysteries like, oh, lets say… creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection for starters… that many sensible people disagree about.
Just like it is good for kids to see their parents argue from time to time, it is good for them to see people disagreeing about scripture – and remaining friends. To be fair, that’s not exactly what is going on here. But hopefully this silliness can be a good jumping off place for that kind of discussion.
Or it can just be your funky Summer jam. Either way is cool with me.
Bye bye, Randall.
The previous post in this series… Be Dressed
To purchase your own copy of Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, click here.
What makes a good parent? Is it possible we could boil it down to one defining characteristic? Maybe so.
I’m a big fan of Tim Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC. This weekend, I listened to a sermon podcast titled Authentic Christianity.
At the end of the sermon, Dr. Keller proposed that a truly authentic Christian is above all things, teachable. That was his number one characteristic of an authentic Christian. I found that fascinating, because it rings true, and I think it may also be the defining characteristic of a good parent.
We planted a small garden today, and I witnessed my 13 yr. old daughter hovering over her 6 yr. old brother. Interestingly, she exhibited classic “young parent” behavior – she shadowed his every move, bristled when he sprayed the tomatoes with too much water pressure, and generally over-controlled his experience.
At first, I was annoyed. Then I thought… I wonder where she learned that.
Over the next few days I’m going to be on the lookout for over-parenting. I know we’ve relaxed a ton since my daughter was little, but there’s probably still some hover-y residue built into our rules and habits.
And part of being teachable is expecting correction. Am I scared of making mistakes, or am I looking for them? Am I ashamed when I make mistakes because I want to be perfect? Or am I glad to have them revealed so I can learn and grow.
Don’t set the bar with the imaginary people on Pintrest. Don’t aim for “Most Perfect Parent,” aim for “Most Improved” and you’ll win your child’s respect along the way.