Category Archives: Faith

From Epiphany to Lent

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.

Sermons for the Season of Lent

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!

End of Summer Sermons

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.

Become a Christian

Cross by Matt CooperHave you ever thought about becoming a Christian? God loves you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.– John 3:16

You do not have to be perfect to be a Christian. God will accept you as you are.

Not even one of us is perfect. We have all sinned, or done wrong.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23

Sin separates us from holy God. Separation from God means not experiencing the love God has for us and having no hope for the future. But God has a solution.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. – John 1:12

God wants you to choose eternal life today. Do not delay any longer.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. – Revelation 3:20a For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:13

Will you accept God’s invitation? You can pray this simple prayer right now to be assured that when you die you will have eternal life in heaven:

Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner. I am sorry and want to turn around and come to you. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins on the cross and was raised from the dead. I receive Jesus as my Savior and confess Him as Lord. Amen.

If you just now accepted Jesus as your Savior, please seek a local church of Bible-believing Christians and ask to be baptized. It is important to follow the Lord’s command to be baptized. It is also important to grow spiritually in your faith among other Christians. May God bless you.

Super Bowl

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22,23

Text: 2 Kings 4:1-7

Prop: a jar or bowl

Summary: The story of Elisha and the widow shows how God provides for our needs abundantly.

Today let’s talk about the Super Bowl. Do you know what I mean? I’m not talking about the football game to be played in February. I’m talking about a story in the Bible about a bowl of oil. Oil was used as fuel to burn in lamps. It was very valuable.There was a woman whose husband had served God under the great prophet Elisha. When he died, the poor widow owed someone money, but she did not have the money to pay him. Her two sons were going to be taken as slaves to work until the debt was paid. She was desperate. She went to the prophet Elisha and begged for him to help her.

And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. – 2 Kings 4:2

Elisha told her what to do. This is what happened. She went home and borrowed jars from all her neighbors, as many as she could find. Then she and her sons went inside and closed the doors to the house. She took her bowl of oil, and she began pouring. She poured from that little bowl until the first jar was full. He brought jar after jar, until they filled every jar they had borrowed. She told her son to bring her another jar, but there were not any more left. Then the oil stopped flowing.

She was so excited with all the oil that God had provided that she ran to tell the good news to Elisha. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest. (2 Kings 4:7) She trusted God to help her. God took the little bit that she had with her faith and made more. Now she had enough to sell so she could pay all the money she owed and still have plenty to live on with her sons. She obeyed God and showed her faith when she did what the prophet Elisha told her to do. God blessed her with a mighty miracle for her faith.

This little bowl of oil was truly a “super bowl.” God provided all she needed. The oil is like the Holy Spirit. When a person believes in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to fill us. The Holy Spirit provides all we need in life. It is like a bowl of oil that overflows, giving us all we need to let our light shine for God.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Blind Faith

Text: Isaiah 42:16; 2 Corinthians 5:7

Prop: Picture of blind person with a guide dog

Summary: God wants us to depend on Him by faith just as a blind person depends on his guide dog.

Can anyone tell me what this picture shows? [a blind person and a dog] What is the dog doing with him? [leading him because he can’t see] Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you couldn’t see?

Read Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way they know not, I will lead them in paths they have not known…

The prophet Isaiah foretold of a day when God would lead his people by sending Jesus as a new and living way to follow Him. Jesus is our guide. Many times we are like a blind person: we don’t know what to do to please God. We could try to please Him on our own and think of neat things to do. But God wants us to trust Him to lead us. The Bible speaks of walking by faith, that is, by trusting God’s Holy Spirit to lead us. We can pray to God expecting Him to answer us.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight)

What if we behaved as if we actually were blind spiritually? If we were utterly helpless to know what to do without praying about it first, then we would develop a deep, dependent relationship with Jesus. God wants us to be close to Him. That is why Jesus gives every Christian the power of the Holy Spirit within us. So the next time you see a blind person, remember that God wants us to depend on Him by faith just as the blind person trusts the dog to lead him.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Remote Control

Text: Mark 11:24; James 1:5,6

Prop: A television remote control

Summary: A remote control is used to demonstrate prayers made by faith.

Look at what I brought with me today. Do you know what this is? [a television remote control] I’ve always wondered how these things work. You just click on this button and the TV comes on, and click on this button and it changes channels. It will do a lot of things without even yelling at the TV. When I was your age if you wanted to change the channels you had to get up and turn a knob on the TV. Of course, we only had three channels so there wasn’t a great need to change channels that often. This remote control will do some amazing things, but there are some things it won’t do. It doesn’t work on people. If my wife is tired of what I’m saying, she might playfully point the remote control at me and pretend she is turning me off. But that doesn’t work, does it? Actually, the remote control works with the TV to accomplish the things you want it to do.

remote controlSee this little window on the front? That is what you point at the TV. The TV has a little eye like it also. When you push the button, the remote control sends an invisible light, called infrared light, to the TV. This signal tells the TV what you want to do. Now look on the back of the remote control. See this little panel? Let’s look inside. What’s in there? [special batteries] Yes, these batteries give power to the remote control. If you take them out, it won’t work.

When we pray to God we need a special power also. That power is called faith. Jesus always told his followers that when they prayed, they needed to have faith that what they were asking was going to happen. He said in Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. He was saying to act as if you had received what you asked for already. That is acting in faith.

In another part of the Bible, it says we must firmly believe God is going to honor a prayer made with faith. In James 1:5,6 it says

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Do you sometimes wish you were a wiser person? The Bible says that God is willing to give us wisdom if we ask for it. It won’t make him angry if we ask. But we have to ask with a firm belief that God is going to answer our prayer. That is praying with faith. Just as the remote control sends the invisible light as a signal to the TV, others do not see our prayer, but when it is sent with the power of faith, it is like a special light that God sees, and He responds in love to answer our prayer.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Jesus and the IRS

Text: Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-22

TaxesProp: A penny

Summary: Jesus paid his taxes and gives us an example of obeying laws. We can trust Jesus to provide for our needs.

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. – Matthew 22:21

(Read Matthew 17:24-27)

Peter was approached by the tax collectors and asked whether Jesus was going to pay his taxes or not. This must have really worried Peter. Jesus and the disciples were always helping so many other people I imagine that Peter probably didn’t have much money. Now his taxes were due. He must have wondered how he was going to come up with the money needed to pay the tax.

When he got back to the house where they were staying, Jesus already knew what Peter was going to ask. So Jesus asked Peter whether the kings made their own children pay taxes or if they took the tax from others. Peter Fishknew the answer: from others. Jesus did not tell Peter to cheat on his taxes or to not pay them at all. Instead, he told him that God would provide the tax. He told Peter they would pay the tax so they didn’t offend those who expected that they pay it.

What Jesus told Peter next must have surprised him. Peter was so worried, Jesus told him to take the day off and go fishing! Remember, Peter had given up his love of fishing to follow Jesus. Now Jesus was telling him to go do what he loved to do, to relax and take it easy. Go fishing! It was truly an act of faith when Peter did as Jesus told him and when he caught the first fish, he looked in the mouth, and there was a coin! It was just the right amount to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus. God performed a mighty miracle!

As told by Rev. Lewis Shaffer, Son Shine Ministries International Inc. Used by permission.

Peter Walks On Water

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm. – William Cowper, from Light Shining Out of Darkness

Text: Matthew 14:22-33

Prop: a glass of water and a marble

Summary: God calls us to do impossible things by faith so He can receive glory when they are done. We should keep our eyes on Jesus in every aspect of life.

Look at this marble and a glass of water. What do you think will happen if I place the marble on the surface of the water? [it will sink] The marble is heavier than the water and it will sink. What happens when you go swimming? If you don’t paddle, will you sink? [yes] I want to tell you about a story in the Bible when two people walked on water!

Read Matthew 14:22-33

Walk on WaterThe disciples had a long tiring day and Jesus sent them out in the boat to go over to another town. It was a dark stormy night (couldn’t resist that line ) and the wind was tossing the waves around. In the middle of the night, they thought they were seeing a ghost when Jesus came to them walking on the sea! Jesus saw they were scared and told them not to be afraid. When they were the most afraid, he told them to cheer up, he was with them! God has to take the storm out of us before He can take us out of the storms of life.

Peter must have wondered if it really was Jesus or just their imagination. He asked Jesus to tell him to come out on the water with him if this was really happening. Jesus didn’t say, “I’m sorry, Peter, but water-walking is for Messiahs only.” No, he said one simple word: Come. God calls us to do impossible things by faith. It must have taken a lot of faith by Peter to take that first step out of the boat in the middle of the wind and waves. When he did, Peter walked on water! The Bible says,

And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. – Matthew 14:29,30

Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. As long as he had faith, he did impossible things to do without God’s help. He kept his eyes on Jesus and walked on water. When he looked around at the world, he started believing that the storm was going to defeat him. He lost faith. He took his eyes off Jesus, and he began to sink. If we forget that Jesus is right there to help us, we can let the storms of life cause us to sink. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can do mighty things for God by faith.

Then Peter uttered what is probably the shortest prayer in the Bible: Lord, save me. Everyone needs to say that prayer. We ALL need Jesus to save us. He is our only hope. Jesus told Peter he should not have doubted. When they got back in the ship, everyone on board came and worshipped Jesus, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. Whenever we do something with God’s help we need to remember to give Him the glory for it.

Adapted from “Keep Your Eyes On Jesus” as told by Rev. Lewis Shaffer, Son Shine Ministries International Inc. Used by permission.

Fixing a Hole

Text: Mark 2:2-12

Prop: a sleeping bag

Summary: Jesus demonstrates that he is Messiah and has the power to forgive sins.

Everybody Needs JesusLook what I brought with me today. Do you know what it is? [ a sleeping bag ] Yes, and the story I want to tell you about today is about a man that was paralyzed and couldn’t walk.  He had to beg for money. He heard about Jesus and wanted to see him, hoping to be healed. Jesus had gone to a man’s house and it was standing room only.  The place was packed. The local reporters were there too because it says they could not come nigh unto him for the press. (grin) This man had so much faith that he got his friends to tear off the roof of the house and let him down on his bed (a small sleeping pallet like this sleeping bag). Jesus saw their faith.  He decided that the hole in this man’s heart was more important to fix than the hole in the roof, so he said to him Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

This upset the religious leaders that were gathered there. They considered this blasphemy for a man to pretend to be God, because in their view only God could forgive sins. Jesus was making the point that he was the Son of God.  People believed if a person was handicapped that it was because they had sinned, or that their ancestors had sinned and that God was cursing them. So for Jesus to forgive this man was the same as healing him and making him whole again.  The scribes were upset so Jesus explained But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way unto thine own house.

Then a miracle occurred. The paralyzed man immediately arose. It didn’t take weeks of rehabilitation and therapy. They were so amazed that they gave glory to God for the miracle and said We never saw it on this fashion. They had never seen anything like it!

We all have a hole in our hearts that needs fixing. Jesus is the only one that can fix it. We must ask him to come into our hearts to fix the hole. He alone can forgive our sins and make us his children.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.