As we begin 2016 we can share the story of Nehemiah teaching the scriptures to the people at the Water Gate of Jerusalem. When we celebrate the beginning of the Season of Epiphany, we start with Wise Men Worship Jesus, the story of the wise men from the east. Then the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated with the story of John the Baptist witnessing to Jesus as Messiah, in Soul-ed Out for Jesus. In the USA, we can commemorate the advancement of civil rights on the day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Samaritan Neighbor. Continuing in Epiphany, we celebrate the first public miracle recorded that Jesus performed in turning water into wine with the Miracle in Cana. The next week is Transfiguration Sunday, with the story of Jesus transforming in the presence of three disciples with Power Ranger. Alternately, in the USA we can get an interesting twist on Super Bowl Sunday with The Super Bowl. As we enter the Season of Lent, the protection of God’s children is explained in Angels Watching Over Me. Then we learn of how God transformed Abram into Abraham, the father of multitudes, in Journey to Faith.
The children’s sermons from mid-November to the end of the year will take us from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Seek Ye First is all about helping us keep our priorities. Tabernacles is a look at what could be considered the first Thanksgiving for the children of Israel. The season of Advent begins with the prophecy of how Jesus will return to earth and will be Coming in Clouds. The story of John the Baptist tells how he would Prepare the Way for the coming of Jesus. As we enter closer to God we are taught to Pray About Everything. Though a little out of place chronologically, the next sermon is the story of the magi in Wise Men Worship Jesus. Then we celebrate the birth of Christ with A Child is Born. The story of Jesus being accidentally left after a feast in Jerusalem is given in Home Alone. Have a grateful Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!
Many Christians miss the rich heritage of most of our holidays. For example, Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of September 13, 2015. The children’s sermon Water Gate tells the story of the Hebrew slaves being released from Babylon to return to Jerusalem. The blowing of the shophar (pronounced SHOW-far) or ram’s horn, was part of a celebration from which we came to blow horns on New Year’s Day. This year Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is on September 23, 2015. As I wrote in a blog Day of Atonement three years ago, this was a day of repentance and forgiveness for the whole congregation.
Yom Kippur is explained…The children’s sermon Scapegoat tells the story. Have you ever known a time when you could forgive others but had a hard time forgiving yourself? This story is about allowance: allowance for others and making allowance for our own shortcomings. It was a makeover. Once a year the congregation asked God to wipe the slate clean and got a new start. Two goats were used — one killed for an offering (a Christ pre-figure) and Azazel (pronounced az-aw-ZALE) meaning goat of departure. That goat had a crimson ribbon tied to its head (representing the sin) and was led outside the camp, never to be allowed back in. It was the scapegoat that carried the sins away. Are you still carrying any baggage that you should let go? If you want to receive the forgiveness of God, then make allowance for yourself and forgive yourself the same as you forgive others – perfectly. Then the “at-one-ment” of experiencing the oneness with Christ will flow into your life.
Then fourteen days after the new year, a sense of community is fostered in the feast of booths (Sukkot), or Tabernacles on September 28, 2015. This was really the closest holiday to what we now celebrate in America as Thanksgiving. It was a meet and greet in the street, a welcoming of strangers, and a community-wide celebration of gratefulness for God’s providence throughout their journey in the wilderness and a reminder that we are only dwelling here temporarily. So the coming weeks will give us a moment to pause to be grateful for our redemption, our forgiveness, and to share our hearts full of thanks with those around us.
I wrote this blog in April 2012…
We are all connected. The matrix or illusion we find ourselves in is thinking that we are separated from each other and God. That makes living on Earth sort of a blind experiment. You have freewill and choose to love or hate. It’s up to you to figure out that you were meant to love one another. The controllers want you to live in fear and hate each other. You can get caught up in arguing over things that keep you separated: things like conservative v liberal, Republican v Democrat. Or you can choose to find the many ways we are alike: humans created in the image of God with infinite potential, personas that radiate the light and love of the Creator, powerful co-creators of reality by energetic intentional thoughts. The law of attraction is always working — with the measure you give, it will be given to you. The law of allowance is always working — if we forgive others and make allowance for those that trespass, so we are forgiven and allowance is made for us. So you must decide if you will cooperate to live in harmony and love, with each other and our cosmic family openly… or not.
Today I still feel the same way, and will add these thoughts…
It is more important than ever to have a heart and mindset of service to others. The alternative is service to self. The service to others person will be more and more loving, forgiving, and open… open to search within for the answers that arise. The service to self person will be more selfish, fearful and confused, and closed… closed to any ideas that cause them to change their programming. The enemy feeds on fear. Perfect love casts out fear. It is time to let go of who you are not and take hold of who you are. “…that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:22) Choose love.
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday in the season after Pentecost. Jesus shares with Nicodemus about spiritual rebirth in Born Again. As Christians we will experience mountain top moments when our circumstances are blessed, as well as moments of testing and trials. The apostle Paul explains how to maintain a positive attitude no matter what circumstances we face in Lord of the Valley. Next, we learn to Look Inside at the character of a person rather than judge based on outward appearances. A children’s favorite is the story of the underdog defeating the physically superior challenger in David & Goliath. The next children’s sermon is the miracle when Jesus raises a 12-year-old girl from the dead in Raising of Jairus’ Daughter. Then we learn that our physical strength is not nearly as important as our spiritual well-being in Strength in Weakness. We find out how wonderful it is to be Adopted by God as his children. Another miracle is shown by Jesus in Feeding the 5000 when he takes what they have and multiply it to meet their needs.
This is a summary of the children’s sermons for the season of Easter. What was it that made Peter and John believe when they went to the empty tomb? Yes, the burial cloths, the shroud, and the face napkin left behind, but Jesus was not among the dead. He is Risen! Later than day, as two disciples walked on the Road to Emmaus they had an encounter with the risen Lord. After a week, when the disciples were assembled behind closed doors, Jesus came among them and even doubting Thomas was left Without a Doubt, He had already proven to the other disciples that he was No Ghost. Later we hear the parable of The Good Shepherd. Then Jesus commands us to Love One Another. When he tells that he must return to his Father, but will not leave us without a comforter, we learn about the work of the Holy Spirit in A Hug from God. As an alternate, Mother’s Day Sunday has a children’s sermon about Mary, Mother of Jesus. Then Jesus takes his disciples to a mount where they hear him give the great commission, and then Jesus Ascends. The ten days later, on the festival of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descends to fill the hearts of the disciples and prepare them to carry on the work of Christ in the world.
After Palm Sunday, where we heard the story of Pokey, the Little Burro as Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the humble Messiah, we begin a holy week leading up to Easter Sunday. On Monday, share the story of the Spice Girls, when we learn how Jesus is anointed for his burial in advance. Then on Tuesday, as people come to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, we learn how the Greeks, who did not understand the Law, are attracted to Jesus and his message in Sir, We Would See Jesus. On Wednesday, share Running God’s Race to explain how Jesus endured the cross as the author of our faith. On Thursday, as the disciples share the Passover meal with Jesus, he gives them a new understanding and a new covenant in Last Supper. Then after they sang a hymn, they go into the garden of Gethsemane while Jesus prays and later is arrested. On Friday, explain how the Veil of the Temple was torn in two during the crucifixion of Jesus, and how he bore the sins of the world on The Cross. All of this leads us to the story of the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday morning in He is Risen!
The season of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and the sermon Treasure in Heaven. This sermon explains the difference between treasures that will last and treasures that are temporary. The first Sunday in Lent is Noah’s Ark: Rainbows and Promises. God promised to never destroy the earth with water again. He gave us the rainbow as a reminder of his promise. We should keep our promises just as God keeps His promises. In Journey to Faith the story of Abraham’s journey to faith and his blessing to us was realized in Jesus Christ. Next, in the Ten Commandments we learn to obey God’s commands out of love for Him and our fellowman. Then we learn God punishes sin in Oh No! Snakes! God provides a healing from poisonous snakebites in the wilderness for the Israelites that turn to Him in faith and look upon the bronze serpent. Jesus is the only remedy for our sin. Then in Sir, We Would See Jesus we learn to live in a manner so that others can see Jesus in us. For Palm Sunday, we read the story Pokey, the little Burro. Jesus was humble on Palm Sunday when he was presented as Israel’s Messiah. We should be humble and not make fun of others less fortunate than ourselves. This sermon helps young children learn to accept the mentally disabled. The season of Easter begins with the story of the resurrection of Jesus in He is Risen!
It has been a blessing to have all the children’s sermons translated into Portuguese as we enter 2015. Thank you, Naira, for all your hard work on this project! Another milestone that is approaching in mid-February is the 18th anniversary of this website. It is a great privilege to serve you, and to provide the children’s sermons free of charge so you can minister to the children. May the Lord continue to richly bless you in your ministry.
Jim Kerlin, author