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.
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.
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!
In America the Labor Day holiday marks the end of summer and typically all students have returned to school for the new school year calendar. The Labor Day children’s sermon explains why it is important to take a day of rest and explains what the holiday means. Here are the back to school children’s sermons for autumn 2014:
The Passover story of the Hebrew people being freed by the Egyptian pharaoh is explained and how that memorial was transformed at the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples. After their release, the Egyptian pharaoh changed his mind and pursued the Israelites into the desert and his army was drowned as they made their Red Sea Escape. This sermon can be done as a skit using balloons and can be great fun for the children. Next, Jesus tells the parable of the laborers in The Last Shall Be First. Salvation is available to all and our response should be one of humility not resentment to those who choose to follow God late in life. That thought is continued with Make Allowance for Others in the many examples we have that teach us to show compassion instead of judging others.
As the Israelites began their journey in the wilderness God gave Moses the Ten Commandments to teach to them. Next, in the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, the story of the marriage supper of the Lamb is explained. It will be a wonderful Wedding in Heaven that many will be called to attend. As church school years begin anew, the sermon Sunday School explains the importance of Sunday School teachers and regular attendance to learn the truth of God’s Word. As October ends, the sermon No Ghost is a testimony to the risen Christ as he appeared before his disciples after his resurrection.
This is a summary of the children’s sermons for the coming weeks at the end of summer.
As we near the end of summer the children’s sermons are about wisdom, faith, perseverance, and providence.
Jesus teaches with parables on the kingdom. He tells that people must act on the truth they understand in Seeds that Grow. He prophesies that evil will be removed from the world upon his return in Wheat and Weeds. Solomon makes a humble request to know right from wrong in Solomon’s Wisdom. Jesus demonstrates that he can multiply our resources when we offer to him in faith in Feeding the 5000. Peter shows we can do impossible things by faith if we keep our eyes on Jesus in Peter Walks on Water. Joseph perseveres through many years of hardships and learns to trust God no matter what his circumstances were in Joseph & the Colorful Coat. God seeks to find the lost and makes his will known through Moses: Lost and Found. Moses is called to serve God at the Burning Bush.
Text: Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11; Acts 1:9
Prop: a poster of Moses or picture of a man of God
Summary: We have several role models for men of God, and Jesus is the greatest example.
The Bible has many stories of great men. Can you name some of them? Adam, Moses, David, and Solomon. Most of them lived a long life and then died. Did you know the Bible tells of two men who walked with God and went directly to heaven? Do you know who they are?
And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. – Genesis 5:24
Enoch was a man of God because we are told he “walked with God.” That means he spent time with God every day. One day God must have decided it was time for Enoch to be with him. Enoch did not die. God took him directly from earth to heaven.
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. – 2 Kings 2:11
Another man of God was the prophet Elijah. He had a steady relationship with God and when it was time for him to leave the earth, God did a wonderful thing. He sent the heavenly taxi to pick him up! There was a rush and roar of a mighty whirlwind as God sent a chariot of fire to give him a ride to heaven.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. – Acts 1:9
Jesus was taken to heaven, but he was not just a man of God, he was the Son of God. Unlike the others, Jesus suffered a terrible death on the cross for our sins, was buried, and then he rose from the dead three days later! After forty days of showing that he had risen, he rose on the clouds of heaven to be with God the Father.
Will you be a man or woman of God? The way you choose to live each day of your life is up to you. If you choose to spend time with God each day, by praying and reading the Bible, then you will have a closer relationship with God.
©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Genesis 28:11-16
Prop: A poster of I Am The Way by Danny Hahlbohm.
Summary: The story of Jacob’s ladder gives us an example of how Jesus became the mediator between God and man.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. Genesis 28:12
(Read text.) Jacob must have been really tired. I don’t think I could fall asleep on stones for a pillow. What an unusual dream he had! He saw a ladder so tall that it reached to heaven. The angels of heaven went up and down on the ladder. God was at the top of the ladder and He promised Jacob he would give him the land he slept on.
Many people try to find their own way to God. Remember the Tower of Babel? The people thought they could build a way to heaven. These attempts that start on earth all end in failure. Only God can provide a way to heaven.
God sent Jesus, His only Son, to be our way to Him. Jesus became Jacob’s ladder, the pathway to God. Jesus said in John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. The only way to heaven is by faith in Jesus. He is the ladder that comes down from heaven to mankind and gives us a path to God.
©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: 1 Samuel 17:4-54
Prop: small flat stones and a sling
Summary: David trusted God to fight the battle for him. We must trust God to defend us.
The story of David and Goliath is one of my favorites. Have you ever been made fun of by a big bully? I have. It doesn’t feel good to be taunted. Goliath was a huge man. He was a giant that stood about 9 feet 9 inches. That’s taller than Shaquil Oneal. He cursed at the Israelites and said bad things about their God. He was a Philistine and wanted to settle the battle in a one-on-one contest so that many soldiers did not have to die. He was asking for one man among the Israelites to come out to fight for them. Everyone was afraid because he was such a terrifying giant.
David was just a teenage mutant ninja shepherd. No, not really. He was young, but he was brave. He knew that God protected him from the bears and lions that tried to steal the sheep he was guarding. One time he killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. Although Goliath had a suit of armor, all David had was a slingshot and five smooth stones and his shepherd staff. King Saul tried to get David to wear armor to protect him, but it was very heavy and David had never tried to fight with it on before. So he left it behind and trusted God: he will deliver me out of the hand of the Philistine.
When Goliath saw that the Israelites sent a boy to fight, he made fun of them some more. Then he told David he was going to rip him apart and feed him to the birds and beasts. David answered bravely and told him God would get the glory. Wow! David gave a testimony right on the battlefield in front of everybody. In 1 Samuel 17:47 it says
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
Now David didn’t have a slingshot like you may think. It wasn’t a Y-shaped stick with a rubber band between it. It was a rope with a small pouch on the end and you would wave it around in a circle to get the speed you needed to release the stone. When Goliath came at David, he didn’t get scared and run away. He went straight at Goliath. He took out a smooth stone from his shepherd’s bag and placed it in the sling. Then he slung it at the giant and hit him squarely in the forehead. The stone had been a mighty weapon after all. It went into his skull and killed Goliath. Then David went and took Goliath’s sword and cut off his head. That scared the Philistines so badly that they ran away in fear and were chased by the Israelites out of the land.
We all have our fears and enemies. We don’t have to be afraid. Jesus is always with us to protect us and give us courage. We only have to remember that the battle is the Lord’s. When Jesus gives us the victory, let’s be sure to thank him and praise him for what he has done.
©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Judges 6:11-16; 7:5-7,18-22
Prop: a clay jar and a candle, or a trumpet
Summary: The story of Gideon shows how God looks at our potential, not just the person we are right now. We should thank God for the many victories he provides in our life.
The story of Gideon comes from the book of Judges, Chapter 6 in the Bible. Gideon was a real person that God chose to lead his people from a period of disobedience and back into fellowship with God. Let me tell you the story of Gideon.
The children of Israel had done bad things and God caused them to be defeated by the Midianites for seven years. When the Midianites came they destroyed everything, including all the flocks of sheep and animals that the Israelites had. So they went into hiding. They hid in dens in caves and in mountains. They were hiding from the enemy. They were cowards. God sent a prophet to tell them he had delivered them from mighty enemies before and not to be afraid of the gods of the Amorites, but the children of Israel wouldn’t listen.
One day Gideon was beating wheat by the winepress. He was doing it to hide it from the Midianites. He was hiding from the enemy. Then an angel appeared to him and said an amazing thing: The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. Ha! The Lord certainly has a sense of humor. Here was poor Gideon, a coward, hiding out from the enemy and God called him a brave soldier! But do you know what? God wasn’t looking at the cowardly man standing before him. He was looking at Gideon’s potential, what he could be, if he only trusted God. God is like that. He doesn’t just see us as what we are, he sees what we CAN BE for him. Oh, if only we could look at each other that way and not be so judgmental of each other’s shortcomings.
God was very patient with Gideon when Gideon needed proof that it was an angel of God. He then led Gideon on a series of events that helped Gideon gain courage to do as God had told him: Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. The Bible says in Judges 6:34 But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet. When the Spirit of God gets a hold of us we can do mighty things. When the spirit of God got hold of Martin Luther King Jr., he led black people in America to demand their rights as equals. When God gets hold of us, we can stand to blow the trumpet of truth and do great things. Gideon was ready to lead an uprising against the Midianites, but God didn’t want the people to think they had done it in their own strength. So God told Gideon to cut back from an army of 22,000 to only 300 men. He chose the men that weren’t afraid and didn’t lap water from the creek like a dog, but kept a watchful eye and cupped their hands when they drank.
When the appointed time came for battle, God did most of the fighting. It was in the middle of the night. God had instructed Gideon to take pitchers with lamps inside them and trumpets for every man. When Gideon gave the signal, they all blew the trumpet, broke the pitcher and held up the torch or lamp. [show props] Then they shouted The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. This caused so much confusion in the camp that the Midianites turned on each other and killed each other. Some estimate that this little army of 300 men and the Lord defeated over 180,000 Midianites who lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude. God planned it that way so they wouldn’t start to brag that they had defeated them on their own. Clearly, it was God who gave them the victory. We need to remember that Jesus is always with us, but we need to give him the credit whenever we have moments of victory in life.
©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Daniel 6:4-27
Prop: a poster of Daniel in the Lions Den
Summary: Daniel was a great man of faith and prayer. When he had to choose between praying to God or facing death for his beliefs, he was faithful to God. He was protected all night by an angel when he was thrown in a den of lions. We have his example to be faithful and stand up for God.
Have you ever been to the zoo? Did you ever see lions in a den? Did the zoo keepers let you go in with the lions and pet them? [no] Of course, not. The lions are fierce and might hurt you. Today I want to tell you about a story in the Bible about a man named Daniel. One time he had to spend a whole night in the lions den!
Daniel was given a top job in the kingdom of Darius because he was a faithful hard worker. This made the other princes jealous of Daniel. The only way they could find him at fault was to make a law that was against his religious beliefs. The princes tricked the king and got him to pass a law that said no one could ask a petition of God or man, except to the king for thirty days.
Daniel was a man of prayer. He had a habit to pray to God three times a day. Daniel knew of the law, but he continued to pray each day as he always did. King Darius liked Daniel, but when the princes told him that Daniel had broken the law, the king had to punish Daniel. He realized too late that the princes had tricked him into passing such a law.
The king ordered that Daniel be cast into a den of lions. The king hoped that Daniel’s God would deliver him, saying, Thy God who thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. A large stone was placed over the den of lions and was sealed. The king was so worried about Daniel that he couldn’t sleep that night. The first thing the next morning, the king went to see if Daniel had been killed. He cried out to see if Daniel was alive and Daniel answered him, My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.
The king was overjoyed and had Daniel pulled out of the lions den. He then brought the men who had accused Daniel and threw them in the den of lions. The lions tore them to pieces before they could even hit the ground.
Do you ever have moments when you must stand up for what you believe in? Here in America, we are blessed to have great religious freedom. We are free to pray privately to God at any time and any place without breaking a law. Many people in the world still don’t have this basic freedom. We can thank Jesus that we have this privilege. We can look to Daniel as an example to stand up for our religious freedom, and to be faithful to Jesus at all costs.
©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.