Category Archives: New Life in Jesus

Born Again

new babyText: 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:7

Prop: Red and blue play dough

Summary: This demonstrates how God makes us a new person when we accept Jesus as Savior.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians that when a person accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior that God makes them a new creature. It says:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:7) Have you ever wondered how God can make us new all over? God knows our heart. When we believe in Jesus as Lord for the first time, God sends a portion of His Holy Spirit to live in us forever, sealing us as His children. We cannot see it, but we see how that person is changed by the way they live from that moment on.

Let me demonstrate it with this play dough. What color is this? [Red] And what color is this other piece? [Blue] Let’s pretend that this blue piece is us. Each of us has a spirit when we are born. It is what makes us a living person. Now this red piece: we’ll pretend that it is the Spirit of God. God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. He shed His blood on the cross for us and rose from the dead three days later. When a person believes this, and asks Jesus to be his Savior, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to live in that person’s heart.

Now look what happens when I start to mix the red and blue together. At first can you tell much has happened? No, God has to work in each person’s life to start to make changes. As new Christians we still behave with some of our old habits and ways. But little by little God starts to change us from the inside out. Now I’ve mixed them together all the way. Now what color do you see? [Purple] Yes, it’s a whole new color. Purple is the color of royalty: now you are a child of the King! That’s the same way God makes us a new creature. We are not the same person we used to be. We have been born again and are a new creation.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.


Author’s note:  Special thanks to Sister Beatrice Driscoll for sharing a testimony of how she used this sermon to lead 15 children to the Lord.

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I write to tell you first that we are still keeping you in prayer. Also to say to you thanks once more for such a God-Inspired and Blessed Children’ site.

You may not remember but I had wrote to you once before to tell you how your site has helped us many times in teaching to the children. I teach to inner-city children here in Pittsburgh, PA and also have just started a similar program in Brooklyn, NY (Bedford-Stuy section) to the kids there…once a month. When I went to Brooklyn in December I went with a heavy heart. The night before I left I received a call from the lady there that I stay with and who assists me with this Ministry. She told me that a mother of three of our children (brothers and sister) was murdered since I was there the month before. She was coming up out of the subway early one morning after having worked all night as a nurses aide. Someone slit her throat and killed her.

The children came to our Christmas party though. I taught the children on the Nativity. I read to them the story of the Nativity and stood behind a large crèche.  They were each holding a character of the nativity story and one by one as I told the story they came quietly and put their character into place. They were so blessed and when we were done.  They wanted to do it again.

These children live in extreme poverty and horrific circumstances. Not one of them believes in Santa.  Only one of them had a Christmas tree. So, we sang Christmas Hymns, and we taught on the CHRIST of Christmas…no use even mentioning old Santa and Rudolph. The only decorations in our classroom was the Crèche and Nativity scene. We also had received a Cross on a pedestal that was given to us a gift for the classroom. The children loved it.

After the Nativity teaching we used one of your sermons.  We used the one on being Born Again. We used the blue and red play dough to make the purple, etc. We knew the Holy Spirit had fell. We told them that where we know it is hard for them to see things on TV and want them but not be able to get them for Christmas, and not have a tree, etc. that here was ONE gift that was just waiting for them to open, that nobody could ever rob them of and is by far the best gift they could ever want to receive. We told them if they wanted to receive this gift they need only ask…but they must want it…and not for Sr. Bea or anyone else…but because they want to ask Jesus into their hearts. I told them if any of the would like to receive the gift of Jesus and would like myself and Miss Pebbles (the other teacher) to pray with them, then just quietly raise their hand and we would be around to do so.

EVERY hand in the class went up. EVERY little hand. Fifteen children. And one by one, we prayed with each child.  And there was the difference in them immediately. Little shining faces carrying light out into the dark streets of Bed-Stuy. There was joy in that little classroom in the YMCA that day. We celebrated Christ for Christmas…what a blessing…and Blessed are the Poor! I give all the glory and honor to HIM. But He who I give this glory to…says to you…’thank you my good and faithful servant’! We brought that message across that day for HIM…and He used you as an instrument to help me get the job done.

We continue prayers for you and thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.

Sr. Beatrice Elizabeth and the Children’s Outreach Ministries of: Pittsburgh and Brooklyn!

Over the Rainbow

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10

Text: Luke 17:20-21

Prop: book or movie of The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum or poster of a rainbow

Summary: The kingdom of God comes when you let God rule within your heart.

Have you ever watched the movie The Wizard of Oz? In that story the main characters go looking for something they think will be found someplace else, only to find that they already have it. Dorothy dreams of a place over the rainbow where all the problems of life disappear. By the time the story ends, she realizes “there’s no place like home” and that the love and understanding she is searching for is at home. She had it all along.

Jesus told many stories about the kingdom of God. In some stories he spoke of future events and in others he spoke about the present. One day the Pharisees (or teachers) asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was coming.

(Read Luke 17:20-21.)

Jesus was getting closer to Jerusalem. The Pharisees imagined that God would suddenly appear in the sky and come down to the city of Jerusalem to set up his kingdom on earth. They hoped that God would come soon and destroy their enemies. They were looking for an answer over the rainbow, too.

JesusJesus brought their eyes back down to earth. He said that God’s kingdom was not something you could see in the sky. It wasn’t a castle in the air or a rainbow. You couldn’t see it begin in a certain place. It was something that could happen right now. He told them to look within themselves. The kingdom of God is not a fort built with stones. God is waiting to rule in your heart. The kingdom of God comes when you let God live and rule in your heart.

Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior? Is Jesus your Lord and King? He will never force you to enter his Kingdom, but he wants you to come into it. I pray that you will let God rule in your heart today.

©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Spinning Jesus Heart graphic courtesy of Upon This Rock Graphics.

A Puzzle

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, and with all thy might. – Deuteronomy 6:4,5

Text: Colossians 2:10

Prop: A simple puzzle that small children can put together.

Summary: It takes Jesus in your heart to make you a complete person.

A puzzleLook at this puzzle. I want you to help me figure out where all the pieces go and put them in the right place. (Ask the children to put it together but keep one piece from the middle hidden.) Is it finished yet? (No. It is missing a piece.) Will you be able to complete this puzzle if you find the missing piece? (Yes.) Hmm. Maybe I left it in my pocket. Yes, here it is! (Give it to them so they can finish the puzzle.)

In a way you are like this puzzle. You are made of many parts or pieces. God gave you a soul (or spirit) which is what makes you alive. God gave you a mind so you can tell right from wrong. God gave you bones and muscles so you can be strong. He gave you feelings so you can be happy or sad. But something is missing.

God left an empty space inside you that only Jesus can fill. The Bible tells you to love God with all thine heart. (Refer to Deut. 6:4,5) It is not speaking about the organ that pumps blood around your body. It is speaking about every bit of who you are, your entire person. It means you should love God with all that you are. The Bible also tells you where to find the missing piece. The Bible says in Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. That means it takes Jesus to make you a complete person.

Some people never understand this. They have an emptiness inside them and don’t understand that we were made to love God. The Bible says that Jesus is the missing piece, the Answer to the puzzle. If you ask Jesus to come into your heart he sends the Holy Spirit inside you to make you a complete person. That simple faith in Jesus is all it takes to make you a child of God. I want to give each of you a reminder of the missing piece: Jesus in your heart!

Handout: A heart-shape with “Jesus” written on it.

©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Signs of the Times

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. – Hebrews 13:8

Text: Matthew 16:1-3

Summary: Jesus is waiting for you to trust him as your Savior. The Bible is more important than today’s newspaper.

newspaperProps: a newspaper and your Bible

This newspaper is full of current events. I can read who won the game in sports. I can read what the weather is going to be today and tomorrow. I can even read the comic strips. But this is no joke: did you know the Bible is more current and more important than today’s newspaper? Let me explain with a passage where Jesus tells us that it is important for us to realize who he is.

(Read Matthew 16:1-3.)

The Pharisees and Sadducees were teachers (of what God said in the laws given to Moses). They saw Jesus do many miracles, yet they did not believe he was sent from God. They wanted Jesus to give them a demonstration, like a magician doing a wonderful trick, to prove he was more than a great teacher. Jesus replied by pointing out that they were able to tell what the weather was going to be by looking at the sky, but they could not tell that they were living in the time when God’s only Son was among them.

The newspaper is full of stories about what happened yesterday. The Bible is full of stories about events that happened a long time ago. But it is also full of stories that show you how to live your life today. It even has stories about what will happen in the future! Jesus has never changed (see Hebrews 13:8). He is the same God that created everything, that lived among men on earth, and is sitting on his throne in heaven right now, ruling the universe! He is King of kings, and Lord of lords!

The teachers did not believe Jesus and he called them hypocrites. (A hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another.) They were supposed to help others follow God, but they did not follow Jesus. Many people did not believe God would send a flood, but only Noah and seven other members of his family got on the ark (and the animals of course!). A lot of people missed the boat and it cost them their lives. They never had a chance to change their minds once the flood came.

The sign of our time is the cross of Christ. The news in this newspaper is not nearly as important as the good news in this Bible. It is important to accept Jesus as your Savior. What will you do with your chance to go to heaven? Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. Jesus is waiting for you to trust him as your Savior.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

The Prize

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14

Text: Philippians 3:8-15, 20-21

Prop: a prize bag for each child labeled “PRIZE” (with contents noted below)

Summary: The goal is not heaven, but to become more like Jesus every day.

Do you like to participate in contests? Most contests have only one winner or maybe a second-place and third-place winner. Today I want to tell you about a contest where everyone who plays can be a winner. Look at these prize bags. I want everyone to have one, but you must agree to play. Who will play? (Look for agreement to play.)

Okay. This is how we will play. The goal of the contest is to become more like Jesus each day. To be allowed to play, you must be willing to follow Jesus as your Savior. I know what you are thinking. You want to know what is in the prize bag! Let us look inside. [Select a bag and review the contents. The contents are five labels with a phrase and related Bible verse and some sweet candy treats. You may read the related scriptures if time permits or leave it for study time.)

1. Citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20)
2. Born-Again Date ________ (John 3:7)
3. Certificate of Eternal Life (John 5:24)
4. Ticket to Resurrection of Life (John 5:29)
5. GRAND PRIZE: Becoming like Jesus (Philippians 3:10)

Wow! This bag even has some candy inside too! (Cheer.) Simply knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior is sweeter than all the candy in the world! The game we have been playing is called Life. Everyone can play. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The goal is not getting to a place called heaven. God has already promised that to those who have faith in Jesus (John 14:2).

The goal is to take the time God gives us on earth to become more and more like Jesus. We do that by letting God change us from the inside out. First, inwardly in our hearts, and then outwardly in the way we live and behave. Eternal life begins the moment we are born again (that is, born spiritually by our faith in Jesus). We look forward to that day of resurrection when we will be given our new heavenly bodies. Meanwhile, we spend our lives following Jesus. It is all about Jesus: learning to love Him and serve Him, day by day, and becoming more and more like Jesus every day.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, Help me to become more like you every day. Amen.

©2003 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

New Clothes

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. – Luke 12:15

Text: Colossians 3:1-3,8-10; Luke 12:15

Prop: a new piece of clothing

Summary: To be a Christian is like a person who puts on new clothes. We take off our former way of life and put on new godly habits.

sandalsLook at this new pair of flip flops (sandals). I decided to buy new sandals to wear this summer. Do you like to wear new clothes? (Yes.) Some of you may get new clothes on holidays, birthdays, or when it is time to go back to school. I like to wear new clothes. Today I want to read from the Bible about how our lives change when we become Christians. We are like people who put on new clothes. We take off the former way of life and put on new godly habits.

(Read Colossians 3:1-3,8-10.)

The Apostle Paul said we should set our minds on heavenly matters and not on earthly things. When we become Christians, God makes us into new people. Before we can put on new clothes, we must take off our old clothes. To become new people in Christ, we must take off our old ways and put on God’s ways. Paul said we should get rid of our anger, our rage, and our desire to do bad things. He said we should not say bad things about other people, should not say bad words, and should not tell lies. Those were the old ways of the people we used to be.

Another old way of life is greed. The Lord Jesus said we must not be greedy. He said a man’s life does not depend on the many things he owns. (reference Luke 12:15)

After we have taken off our old ways, God can clothe us with His ways. We can love one another and be kind, courteous, obedient, and helpful. We can become more like the Lord Jesus every day.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, help me to change and become more like you every day. Amen.

©2004 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Seek Ye First

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. – Isaiah 55:6

Text: Matthew 6:33

Props: binoculars, magnifying glass, and Bible

Summary: First, we should seek God’s rule and righteousness in our lives.

When I was a young boy, I had a pet collie dog named King. King was a kind dog and loved to play with children but he would bark if a stranger ever came near the house. One day King got out of the fence in the yard. I may have left the gate open by mistake. I needed to find King and get him back home. So I started to call out his name. “Here, King!” I called. I walked around the neighborhood looking for my dog. After looking for a while, I found King and he followed me home again. Today I want to talk to you about looking for God.

Look at these items I brought with me. They can help me find things. I have a pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass, and a Bible. (Show each object.) If I am looking for something far away, which of these items would help me? [Binoculars] Yes, the binoculars make objects far away appear closer. If I am looking for something very small, which of these would help me? [Magnifying glass] Yes, the magnifying glass makes tiny objects appear larger. If I am looking for God, which of these items would help me the most? (Bible) Yes, the Bible tells all about God and would help me find God.

One day Jesus was teaching about what was important. What he said may surprise you. (Read Matthew 6:33.) Jesus knew that the people following him had some basic needs. They needed clothes to wear, food to eat, and water to drink. Yet, Jesus told them not to worry about those things because something else was more important. He told them to let God have control of their lives and to seek the goodness of God first. Then he assured them that God knew they needed the other things and would take care of them.

Have you found the king of your life? Seek Jesus first, and let him be the King that rules in your heart, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, help us to seek you first and trust you with our lives every day. Amen.

©2004 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Formed for His Glory

When I was about one year old my family lived in a house with floor furnaces. I can remember Daddy having to lift the heavy floor grates to light the pilots as winter approached. One morning I walked over the floor furnace. I cried because my feet were seared on the furnace grate. I stood still in fear. Momma grabbed me off the furnace grate and put butter over the burns on my feet. The blisters grew and I cried. My parents called Granny and she came over to our house. She was a godly woman and raised her children with a strong belief in God. Granny sat me on her lap and began praying scriptures quietly as she rubbed my feet. I’m not certain but I think one of them was Isaiah 43:2 “…when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned.” I stopped crying. Jesus heard her prayer and sent healing to my little feet. – excerpt paraphrased from Healed by Jesus by Jim Kerlin.

Text: Isaiah 43:1-7

Prop: a baby walker from the nursery

Summary: We are created to bring glory to God.

Every baby must learn to walk. At about 10 months of age, a baby stops crawling and begins to stand up. Look at this baby walker I brought from the nursery. You may have been placed in a walker when you were young. It keeps a baby from falling until the legs strengthen. Your parents probably cheered as you took your first steps. Today’s lesson is about a nation (a land full of people) that was created by God. It is called Israel.

The prophet Isaiah wrote that God formed the people of Israel for His glory. (Read Isaiah 43:1,7]

Isaiah spoke of how God called his people by name. He got up close and personal with his people. He protected them as a young nation when they crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River. He sheltered them in the desert. He told them not to fear because He was with them. God was with them when they were learning to walk as a nation. He promised to bring them back into Palestine after being scattered among the nations. On May 14, 1948 the State of Israel was declared a sovereign nation.* God kept his promise.

Though this scripture is about a nation, the Bible says we are formed with a purpose. We are created to bring glory to God. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (1 Chronicles 16:29) We find meaning in loving the God who created us. The Lord Jesus is “the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” It is through our Lord Jesus that we are part of the family of God.

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, help me as I learn to walk with You. May everything that I do bring praise and glory to You. Amen.

©2006 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

*See Declaration of Israel at

A Perfect World

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. — Genesis 1:31

Text: Genesis 1:31

Objects: a beach ball and sandals

Summary: God created a perfect world. His creation was very good.

Are you glad to be finished with another school year? (Yes!) Now that you are on break for a few weeks, you will likely play around home and perhaps even take a trip to someplace nice on vacation. I love the summertime. I like to play outdoors. As a young boy, my family used to go on vacation during the summer. Sometimes we would go to the oceanfront and play on the beach. [Show beach ball and sandals.) It was always fun to build castles in the sand and watch the waves beat against them. We would look for pretty sea shells and collect them to decorate the walls of the sand castle. Then we would stop and admire the castle we had built and say, “That looks good.” That reminds me of a story about how God created a perfect world.

The story today is from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. (Read text.) God took six days to create a perfect world. At the end of the sixth day he looked around at all that he had made and it was very good. God put man in charge of the world he made and gave man power over all the creatures in the sea, air, and land. God created all the food we would need too. God made rivers with fresh water to drink. He gave us clean air and water, plenty to eat, and a family. God thought of every thing that was needed in a perfect world.

A lot has happened to the world since then. Man didn’t do a good job in taking care of things. It got so bad after a while that God decided the world needed an extreme makeover: the world-wide flood. And God gave us the rainbow as His promise that he would not destroy the earth by water again. It was not the perfect world that needed the makeover; it was our imperfect heart.

We needed to learn how to love God and each other. So God sent His perfect Son into our messed up world to help us. All who believe on the Lord Jesus will get an extreme makeover too. It is a makeover of the heart. It changes you from the inside so that you can love God and people. It is really only until Jesus returns that we will get things back to the way they were in a perfect world. But for now, let’s take care of every thing that God has given us in the world, including each other.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the beauty of a perfect world. Create in me a clean heart that I may care for it and the people who share it. Amen.

©2008 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.