Category Archives: Love

Go the Extra Mile

Text: Matthew 5:38-41; Romans 12:21

backpackingProp: a back pack or heavy book bag.

Summary: We should not seek revenge when we are harmed. Jesus tells us to go beyond what is expected of us.

Author Comment: This sermon is appropriate for older children, maybe third graders or older. This teaching is very difficult and goes against the culture in many countries, especially America. Children are taught to stand and fight and to get even. God has a love and forgiveness for us that is hard for the human mind to comprehend. When he teaches us to be like him, sometimes it is hard to follow. This should not be construed to teach children to put themselves in harm’s way or to remain in abusive relationships.

How many of you have ever gone hiking or for a long walk? In the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, you may have even carried some items such as clothing or camping gear in a back pack like this one. (Show back pack.) What if someone made you walk a mile with a heavy back pack on. Would that be hard? (Listen to answers.) A long time ago when Jesus was teaching on a mount (Sermon on the Mount), he talked about how we should behave if someone mistreated us or hurt us. Here is what he said: (Read Matthew 5:38-40.)

Jesus helped the people understand that God’s love went beyond what they had learned in the laws of Moses. Under those early laws, God allowed people to take revenge that was equal to the harm done to them. If a man had an eye blinded in a fight, the injured man could blind the eye of the man who hurt him. If a man knocked out the tooth of another man, the injured man could knock out a tooth of the one who hurt him. (See Exodus 21:23-25 and Leviticus 24:19-20.) Jesus said do not resist evil. He told us if someone hits us in the face, to let him hit us again. That is how we get the phrase, “to turn the other cheek.” It means not to seek revenge when we are harmed. Jesus said if anyone took us to court to take something from us, to let them have more than they expected.

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. (Matthew 5:41) In that time the law allowed a Roman soldier to make a person carry his back pack for a Roman mile, or a thousand paces. That distance is about 1.48 kilometers (1620 yards). No one liked being forced to carry anything any distance for a Roman soldier. Jesus said if they were required to carry it a mile, then carry it two miles. That is how we get the phrase, “go the extra mile.” It means we should go beyond what is expected of us in helping others.

These sayings by Jesus were very hard to understand. God has a way of turning our way of thinking upside-down. Jesus showed us how much God loves us and helped us understand how we can express God’s love and forgiveness to others. If a bully tries to pick a fight with you and hits you, instead of getting into the fight, walk away from it. Do not try to get even. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) If we have a chance to help someone in need, we can be generous and give more than is expected of us. That is being like Jesus. He gave his life for us on the cross so that we can be forgiven for all of our badness (sin). Even though we do not deserve it, Jesus went the extra mile for us.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, help me to be like you and love other children, even the ones that are mean to me. Amen.

©2003 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Love Letter

Text: 1 Corinthians 13

Prop: a Valentine’s Day card

Summary: Christians should show others a selfless, giving, unconditional love. Our efforts are meaningless if we do not have love for one another.

Do any of you give Valentine’s Day cards? [Show the card.) If you give or send a card, you show that person that you like them or love them. If you know about Valentine’s Day, you probably have seen your father bring your mother some flowers or candy. It is a day when those who love each other show their love by giving presents. Today I want to tell you about a love letter in the Bible.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Christians living in Corinth. They were not getting along together. Paul wanted them to live together in peace with one another. Some of them argued with each other. They were behaving badly. Some of them thought they were more important than others. Some of them envied what others had. That means they wanted things they did not have and they were mean to people. So Paul wrote in his letter about the kind of love God has for us. He gave them a beautiful description of what true love is.

(Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.)

Paul said all of our best efforts will mean nothing if we do not have love. Paul said love is patient and kind, does not envy, nor behave badly. True love thinks about the other person more than oneself. It gives rather than takes. True love does not say, “I will love you only if you love me.” True love is given without any conditions put on it. In other words, we should love one another the way God loves us.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, help me to love others the way you love me. Amen.

©2004 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Blessed Are…

Text: Luke 6: 17-27 ; also Matthew 5:1-12

Prop: a hand-held computer game (or as alternate introduction, use example of learning the alphabet before you can learn to spell a word).

Summary: Jesus teaches us what it means to be blessed. Jesus gives us a better understanding of God’s laws.

Do any of you like to play computer games? (Show the hand-held computer game.) My children like to play these games when we are taking a long trip in the car or on a rainy day when they cannot play outside. I am not very good at playing this game. It is hard for me to make it past the first level. My children are better at playing it. They can make it past the first level and on to the higher, more difficult levels. Today I want to tell you about a time when Jesus wanted his followers to make it to the next level in understanding God’s laws. Jesus may have taught these sayings to his followers in many places. One passage of scripture (Matthew 5:1-12) says he went up to a mountain and taught his disciples. That is how these sayings became known as “the sermon on the mount.”

(Read aloud Luke 6: 17-23, 27.)

Remember how I told you about moving from the beginner level to a harder, more advanced level in this game? In a similar manner, the Lord Jesus wants us to have a better understanding of God’s laws. When God gave these laws to Moses, he gave the people some basic rules to live by. It was a beginner level. For example, Moses taught them to stop killing their enemies and only take revenge equal to the harm done (“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”). Jesus taught them to “Love your enemies.” (verse 27) That took them to a higher level. We are still learning that very radical truth. Jesus moves us from harming to helping, from hating to loving. It is not enough to simply put up with each other (tolerate). Jesus teaches us to get along with each other peacefully.

Jesus says things that are the opposite of what the world teaches. He turns the ways of the world upside-down. He makes statements that begin “Blessed are…” and then surprises us. Blessed are you who are poor, who hunger now, who weep now, who are hated because you follow Jesus. You are blessed! Jesus teaches that God will lift up the humble, the last shall be first, the merciful will receive mercy. He moves us beyond strict rules and teaches us that the heart of the law is to have mercy. He teaches us to love one another.

I hope as you come to church and grow in age, that you will grow in grace and understand more about the Lord Jesus and his words. Blessed are you when you hear and understand the words of God.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, bless these children and help them understand how much you love them. Amen.

©2004 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.


Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. – Colossians 1:13

Text: Colossians 1:10-14

Sign language "I Love You"
Sign language “I Love You” (wave sideways)

Prop: translations of the word “Love” into other languages and “I love you” in sign language (see below)

Summary: God changes us in a manner that we are able to love others. Jesus loves you.

This is what the word “love” looks like in other languages. It has been translated from English into other languages. The word “translate” means to change into another language. (Show the attachment and read some of the translations aloud.) Even if you could not speak, this is sign language for “I love you.” (Demonstrate the sign language by waving your hand sideways as you make the sign. Invite the children to try it.) Did you know that Jesus loves you? Yes, God loves you. He loves you so much that he is willing to translate you — to change you — so you may love others.

(Read Colossians 1:10-14.)

Did you hear the part about being ‘translated’? God loves us so much he translates us into the kingdom of his dear Son. He delivers us from evil. He forgives our sins and takes away our badness. Jesus loves you in every way there is to say “I love you.” He does that so we may follow his example and love others. God wants us to love others. Let’s say “I love you” in sign language to everyone here today. (Lead the children in signing.)

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your love. Help me to love others. Amen.

©2005 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Translations of Love

Language Word

English  love

Spanish  amor

French  amour

Italian  amore

German  Liebe

Norwegian kjærlighet

Russian  любовь

Chinese  爱

Sign language for “I love you” (wave sideways)



…In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. – Ephesians 1:13

Text: Ephesians 1:3-14

a happy dogProp: picture of puppies

Summary: God adopts us as his children. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Jesus.

Have you ever been to the dog pound? If you want a puppy, you may find one at the dog pound. These beautiful young animals need a place to grow up. They need a person who will adopt them and care for them. Do you have any pets that you tend? (Listen to the children’s answers.) Wow! That sounds like you really love your pet!

Today’s story is about how much God loves us.

(Read Ephesians 1:3-5,13-14)

God has given us every spiritual blessing. Some of those blessings are love, joy, and peace. God has blessed us by adopting us as his children. Adopted means that you are taken to a new home to be cared for and loved by parents. He even makes a promise to us that he will always love us. He makes a down payment on us by giving us his Holy Spirit. That guarantees that we are his children. We belong to Jesus. He cares for us and loves us.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for adopting me as your child. I love you, too. Amen.

©2006 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Apples of Gold

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Text: Proverbs 25:11, John 15:12

Prop: a poster of Bambi and Thumper

Summary: Be nice to each other and say kind words.

Alternate video introduction: Show the scene where Bambi stumbles while learning to walk, and Thumper must recite his father’s words.

How many of you have seen the movie Bambi? (show of hands) In one scene Bambi’s friend Thumper, a pink-nosed bunny rabbit, was making fun of Bambi. Bambi stumbles while learning to walk. Thumper says to Bambi’s mother, “He doesn’t walk very good, does he?” Then Thumper’s mother calls him out, “Thumper!” “Yes mother,” Thumper replies shyly, after realizing he is in trouble. His mother continues sternly, “What did your father tell you this morning?” Thumper comes to attention and struggles to recall, then recites slowly, “If you don’t have something nice to say, (pauses) don’t say nothing at all.”

(Correct grammar: don’t say anything at all.) Those are words worth remembering. Listen to this proverb from the Bible:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” – Proverbs 25:11

That means a kind word said at the right moment is a beautiful sight to see, like golden apples in a silver basket. Our Lord Jesus wants us to be nice to each other and say kind words. Jesus said “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) If we try to put those words into practice, we will be quick to say kind words to each other and slow to find faults. Or, quick to compliment, slow to criticize.

Will you help me think of some kind words? I can think of words such as “please” and “thank you.” (Give some examples and listen to responses.) Our words are worthless if we say them but don’t mean them. Others can tell when we genuinely care or not. Let’s follow the example our Lord Jesus gave us to love one another.
Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Help me to be nice and to say kind words. Amen.

Bambi is a 1942 animated film produced by Walt Disney and is based on the 1923 book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. (Source: Wikipedia)

©2007 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

The Eye

Text: Matthew 6:22-23

all seeing eyeProp: none

Summary: How we see the world affects how we act to others.

We see with our eyes. How we act depends on how we see things. If we see the world as a friendly place that provides all we need, we are generous and share. If we see the world as unfriendly and there isn’t enough to meet our needs, we are greedy and unwilling to share. Each one of us decides how we see things. Is it possible for two people to see the same thing, yet act differently? Yes. Here is an example:

At snack time, Joe and Bill see a plate with one banana on it. Joe knows the banana can be peeled and broken in half. He thinks that half a banana is plenty, so he is willing to share. Bill doesn’t think there is enough for both of them. He is greedy and wants the whole banana for himself.

(Read text.)

Jesus says how we look at things determines whether we will be a healthy person, who has a generous heart that is willing to share, or whether we will be an unhealthy person, who is stingy, fearful, and unwilling to share. He says our eye is like a window into our body. If we open our eyelids wide in wonder and in belief, we will see things clearly. We will see the beauty in each moment and allow the light of God’s love inside. If we close our eyes, or squint them in distrust and unbelief, we will live a life that is dark and dreary, missing out on the love he wants us to have.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, open our eyes that we may be filled with your light and love, and act to share that love with others. Amen.

©2011 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Love One Another

Text: 1 John 4:7-21; John 13:34-35

JesusProp: cut-out heart shapes

Summary: Jesus told us to love one another.

Today I brought some heart shapes for each of you. You may want to color them and put your name on them later. They remind me of what our Lord Jesus said on the night he had the last supper with his followers. He told them to love one another. A Christian song called “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” is based on these verses. (Read John 13:34-35]

One of his followers, or disciples, was named John. Later in his life he told the new Christians to follow what Jesus said to do and that includes us. In his first letter, he explained that it was the nature of God to love, and when we loved one another that showed we were obeying Jesus.

(Read 1 John 4:7-8)

Then John said something about love that is very important. He said there is no fear in love (verse 18). That means we are not afraid and we do not hate each other when we love one another. Hate comes from being afraid. He said if we hated other people and said we loved God that we would be lying. When we truly love God, we are able to love one another.

Can you think of some ways we can show that we love one another? What might that look like? (Listen to answers. Some examples might be: no bullying, help with chores, share toys, forgive, encourage one another, say nice words to each other, say “I love you.”) Yes, those are ways we can show we love one another.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to love one another in the same way you love us. Amen.

©2012 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Spinning Jesus Heart graphic courtesy of Upon This Rock Graphics.

Let Your Light Shine

Text: Matthew 5:14-16

Prop: a large candle

Summary: You are told to share God’s love and forgiveness with everyone, including your enemies.

candleMost of us do not use large candles unless the power goes off in our homes during thunderstorms. Many years ago, before the common use of electrical lighting in homes, people used candles at night. (Show the candle.) Candles give light to dark places. Today let’s listen to what Jesus said about that.

Jesus was speaking on a mountainside one day, helping people understand how to behave and treat one another. He spoke about love and forgiveness mostly. To forgive means you let go of any feelings of being hurt. Jesus even said we should love our enemies, the people that hate us.

After you experience God’s love and forgiveness, you understand something that many people do not know. Jesus told us to share that with everyone, including our enemies.

Here is what Jesus said: (Read Matthew 5:14-16.)

Jesus used a couple of examples. One was that a city on a hill could be seen for miles (Jerusalem was a city on a hill.). Another was lighting a candle so it could give light in a room, and not hiding the light under a basket. Jesus explained that your understanding was a “light” in your heart — it took away the “darkness” of not feeling how wonderful God’s love is. Now that you know, let it glow. Or as Jesus said, “let your light so shine” to others that they would see how well you treated others and give thanks and praise to God for being blessed with that understanding.

Some of you may know the Christian song called “This Little Light of Mine” and some of the words say “I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” Today and every day, let your understanding of God’s love and forgiveness shine into the world for everyone to see.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your love. Let the light of your love shine from my heart today. Amen.

©2013 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Cooperation Day

The age of independence is over. The next big celebration around the world will be called Cooperation Day. We will no longer be glad about what separates us, but rather by what connects us. We will delight in finding ways to cooperate more than compete to get things done. This is a paradigm shift in our global worldview. It comes from understanding our dependence on each other to solve our common issues. The negative and evil forces that are pushing division and polarization will fail. The rising consciousness — a collective consciousness — will not just be one of harmony but one of heartfelt love toward one another. Selfishness will give way to generosity. Competition will give way to cooperation. When will this happen? For some it already has. It happens EVERY moment we choose it. It is not a date to put on a calendar, but a feeling to hold in our hearts.