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.
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.
“…to the poor the gospel is preached.” – Luke 7:22
Text: John 14:12-14; Luke 7:22
Prop: Pizza delivery menu
Summary: Great work is possible when it brings glory to the Creator of all things: Jesus. You can do great things with God’s help.
Today I brought a pizza delivery menu. Who likes pizza? What items do you like on your pizza? (Listen to answers.) The neat thing about pizza is you get to decide what you like best and have it made that way. This list has a pizza named “The Works” and it has everything on it. Our Bible story is about the works Jesus did and the works we can do.
Wow! Jesus promised that we would do greater works than he did. The word for “works” was the Greek word “ergon” that meant work that was measured by the amount of heat or effort it took to do it.
Imagine for a moment you had to rake the leaves on a large lawn all by yourself. If you had gloves, a rake, and bags to put them in, it would probably take several hours of hard work and perspiration from the heat of all your activity. But what if you asked your parent for help and you had an electric blower, a vacuum attachment, and a very long electric cord. The reverse-fan would suck up the leaves, chopping them up as you went along, and keeping them in one bag that you could empty in a mulch bin to re-use later in a garden. It would take much less time to complete the task, you might not even perspire, and all because you asked for help.
What may seem impossible to us is possible when we ask Jesus to help us. Our Lord did some wonderful things. When he listed his works to John the Baptist, he said them in an interesting order (see Luke 7:22): “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” Jesus is a mighty healer of sickness and handicaps. More importantly, he sees the greatest work as telling those who are least likely to hear, that God loves them. Wow again!
Do you believe you can do the works of Jesus? Jesus believes you can and will help you if you ask. (Mention some great work done by your church that would have been impossible without God’s help.) If someone had asked me 20 years ago as I began to assist with children’s sermons — why don’t you go into 205 countries around the world and tell 70,000 people a month about Jesus? –I probably would have thought “that seems impossible.” I asked Jesus to help me where I was with what I had. Along came the internet, and what started humbly as a simple sharing of ideas with others doing the same task has turned out to be just that. Jesus gets all the credit! Wow again!
Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, you continue to wow us with your mighty works. Help us to tell others about you where we are. Help us to do mighty things in your name. Amen.
©2010 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Matthew 14:15-21
Prop: A loaf of bread or poster of Jesus feeding the 5000.
Summary: Jesus demonstrates he can multiply our resources when we offer them to him in faith.
Look what I brought with me today. Do you know what this is? [a loaf of bread] Yes, it’s a loaf of bread. It has been sliced and is ready to make sandwiches. When it is made, it is one whole piece. It has to be broken into smaller pieces to be used in most instances. Today I want to tell you a story from the Gospel of Matthew about a time when Jesus fed over five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes.
Jesus had been having a bad day. He was pretty upset when his friends came to tell him that John the Baptist had been killed by King Herod. Jesus needed to have some time alone, so he went to a desert place. The problem Jesus had was that he was very popular because he was known as a great healer. So people followed him wherever he went. It was hard for him to be alone.
It was getting dark, so his disciples came to him and asked him to send the people back home because they didn’t have enough food to feed them if they spent the night. Then Jesus gave the disciples a challenge. He said, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. The disciples were probably laughing to themselves. They told Jesus they only had a little to eat themselves: five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus sometimes tells us to do impossible things so that we will rely on Him to help us. (This happened on the same night that Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus when he came walking to the boat on the sea. Peter could not walk on the water without keeping his eyes on Jesus in faith.)
What happened next? Did Jesus tell them to go to the grocery store and buy 1000 loaves of bread and clean out the seafood department? No, he told them to bring what they had to Him so he could ask God to bless it. Jesus always said the blessing before he ate. Do you have a blessing before you eat? That’s the thing we need to understand about saying the blessing. We are not asking God to wave a magic wand and bless the food we are about to eat. The Jewish people have a custom whenever they break bread to say a prayer that is the same for everyone: Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the ground. It was Jesus, the very Bread of Life, who came forth from the tomb on Easter morning. When we thank God before a meal, we are remembering how he is our provider for life itself.
If the disciples had tried on their own, they would have barely fed themselves. Because they gave what they had to Jesus and asked him to help, Jesus took what they gave in faith and multiplied it many times. It was a miracle on a grand scale. He fed about five thousand men, besides women and children. In fact, they had twelve baskets full of leftovers!
©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Luke 5:4-6; John 21:3-7a
Prop: A poster of disciples casting a net while fishing.
Summary: Jesus teaches us how to become fishers of men.
When Jesus first began to call his disciples, he found poor men who were hard workers and several of them were fishermen. Since Jesus knows the hearts of everyone, he knew fishermen would have some qualities that would work well when it came to telling others the good news about Jesus. For one thing, fishermen are patient. Sometimes they can go for a long time without catching anything at all. They are also hard workers. They know how to use the right bait or a strong net.
(Read Luke 5:4-6) When Jesus first met Simon (Peter), he had been out all night fishing, but had caught nothing. Jesus asked permission to step in Simon’s boat and cast out a little ways from the shore, where he could teach the people who were following him. After he finished teaching, he told Peter to go out fishing again. I can hear Peter’s exasperation in his voice as he told Jesus they had no luck last night. Jesus had a surprise for Peter. He was testing his faith. He wanted to show Peter that all things are possible with God.
Simon agreed to let Jesus give the word to cast the net. When Jesus told them, they caught so many fish the net could not hold them all and it broke. Simon immediately realized this miracle was the work of God, and confessed Jesus as Lord. He didn’t feel worthy to even be in his presence. He fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. All the men were astonished. Jesus told them, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. He was going to make them disciples. He would teach them how to win others to the Lord God.
As God’s children, we are called to become fishers of men. God wants us to tell others about Jesus. God wants everyone to come to a personal relationship with Him, through a confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. God uses men and women, boys and girls, to spread the good news. Let’s look at a similar story that happened to Peter after Jesus rose from the grave. (Read John 21:3-6]
Again, Peter had fished all night without catching anything. Jesus told them Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. When we try to do anything without God’s help, we are usually a failure. But with God’s help, we can do great things. The disciples did as the stranger on the shore told them, and made a huge catch of fish. They recognized that it was Jesus, just as he had done before. Peter caught 153 fish when he obeyed Jesus. He learned how to cast his net on the right side. Sometimes we are fishing in the wrong place. We need to be able to hear God tell us when to cast the net. He may tell us to talk to a neighbor over a fence. He may prompt us to tell a friend what God is doing for us in the school cafeteria. He may tell us just to be a friend to someone who feels lonely. Whatever it may be when God wants to use us, let’s be willing to be a fisher of men.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Mark 4:35-41; Psalm 89:9 (also Luke 8:22-25)
Prop: A poster of ship tossed in a storm or tempest.
Summary: The story of Jesus calming the storm.
Look what I brought with me today. Do you see this picture? What is it? [a storm] I want to tell you a story about Jesus when he was caught in a storm. Jesus had been teaching all day and was tired. He told his disciples to get in a boat and cross Lake Gennesaret, or as it was commonly called, the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was tired and knew it would take an hour or so to cross the lake, so he took a pillow and laid down for a nap. Do you take an afternoon nap when you are tired? Jesus had worked hard that day and he fell fast asleep.
Then the wind began to blow hard. The waves were crashing over the side of the boat and it began to fill up with water. The disciples knew if they didn’t do something fast, the boat would sink. They were afraid because of the storm. Sometimes bad things happen to us in life and we don’t know where to turn. The disciples knew they could count on Jesus, so they turned to him for help. Do you get scared when the lightning flashes and the thunder roars on a stormy day? [yes] The disciples shook Jesus to wake him up and said Master, Master, we perish! [Luke 8:24] So what did Jesus do? Did he rub his eyes and tell them “leave me alone, can’t you see I’m sleeping?” No, of course not. Jesus is always concerned when we are in trouble or danger. He loves us and wants to take care of us.
Jesus arose and told the wind to stop blowing and for the waves to be calm. It was as if he said to the sky “Hush, be quiet!” and said to the waves “Lie down, be calm.” Have you ever had a pet dog that wouldn’t stop barking at night? If you have, then you may know what a muzzle is. A muzzle is something you put over a dog’s mouth to keep him from opening his mouth to bark. That is what Jesus said to those waves.* And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. All at once the wind stopped blowing and the waves calmed down until the lake was as smooth as glass. Then Jesus turned to his disciples and surprised them. He asked them why were they afraid?
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? This made them all the more afraid. They had never seen anyone command the wind and sea like that and then see them obey immediately. Jesus is the Son of God who created everything. He has power to control everything he made. In Psalm 89:9 we read Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Whenever the storms of life threaten to overtake us, Jesus stands up for us and takes them out of the way. We only need to have faith and trust Jesus. He is in control and will protect us.
* Greek word for Peace is siopai (see-o-pah’-o) and means a hush, involuntary muteness. Greek word for still is phimoo (fee-mo’-oh) and means to muzzle.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Exodus 14
Prop: a straw and small plate with water
Summary: God is with us when we face danger. God parted the Red Sea to provide an escape for Israel from the Egyptian army.
Alternate Skit: Use long thin balloons: 10 blue, 2 red, 2 green. Shape 2 Egyptian helmets from the green balloons. Recruit children to play parts. Use some to be the sea (holding the blue balloons), one child to be the Angel of the Lord (holding 2 red balloons as if it is a pillar of fire), two children to be horsemen. Cut out two chariot wheels from construction paper. Have a narrator read the story. Recruit an adult to play Moses. When the wind blows and the sea parts, have the children raise the blue balloons and wave them, creating a wall on the left and right. Have Moses lead the children through the parted sea. When the two horsemen chase them, have them drop the chariot wheels and then when Moses stretches out his hand, the sea covers the Egyptians.
God still does miracles. Have you ever been in danger? One day my neighbor Len was trying to jump-start a riding lawnmower using the battery in his Jeep. He thought the emergency brake was on but somehow the Jeep started rolling backwards down his driveway. He ran after it and opened the door. When he tried to get in the moving vehicle, he slipped and his head fell under the Jeep. He saw the front tire coming straight for his head and thought he was about to die. Suddenly he felt someone yank him out from under the Jeep. The Jeep continued to roll into the next yard until it hit a tree and stopped. When he sat up no one was around. He thanked God for having an angel pull him to safety. Today I want to tell you about another miracle when God provided an escape for the children of Israel when they were facing danger.
When God lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, God told Moses to camp near the Red Sea. God knew that Pharaoh would chase after them if he thought they were trapped between the wilderness and the sea. When the children of Israel saw the army with chariots and horsemen approaching, they panicked and cried to God for help.
(Read Exodus 14:13-14) Jesus calls us to do impossible things by faith. God told Moses to go forward (verse 15) but that meant going into the sea! But remember, Jesus said with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). God provided the children of Israel with an Israelite Nite Lite. He gave them a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Then the angel of God moved from leading them and went behind them. The pillar was a cloud of darkness on the side facing the Egyptian army, hiding the Israelites from their enemy, but it shone brightly to give light to the children of Israel.
(Read Exodus 14:21-22) Wow! Can you picture what God did? Watch this. [Blow through the straw on the plate filled with water to demonstrate the wind blowing on the sea to divide the waters.) The wind blew so hard on the sea that the waters were divided. There was a wall of water on each side as the children of Israel hurried through on dry ground. When Pharaoh’s army chased after them God caused the wheels on the chariots to fall off and they couldn’t drive them! When the children of Israel were safely on the other side, Moses again stretched out his hand and the waters let loose and drowned the army in the sea. With this miraculous parting of the Red Sea, God provided an escape for the children of Israel from Pharaoh’s army.
It only took God one day to get Israel out of Egypt, but He would spend 40 years getting the Egypt out of Israel. They continued to complain and failed to trust God to lead them, so they wandered in the wilderness. Sometimes we may face great danger. It is hard to stand still and not panic, but Jesus wants us to trust and depend on Him. God is always with us to protect us. He can provide a way of escape even if our problem seems hopeless. We don’t need to be afraid because Jesus gives us victory in life if we just trust in Him.
©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Chinese proverb
Text: John 2:1-11
Prop: A wedding invitation.
Summary: Jesus performed his first miracle in Cana (pronounced KAY-nah) of Galilee at a wedding. We must be willing to take the first step in following Christ for our life to change.
Have you ever been to a wedding? This is a wedding invitation. (Show invitation.) It is used to invite people to a wedding. Weddings are happy times. Many friends and relatives gather to share in the beginning of a couple’s new life together as husband and wife. After the wedding a reception is held with lots of cake and goodies to eat. I bet you like that part the best! (grin) Today I want to tell you about a wedding that Jesus was invited to attend and what happened there.
(Read John 2:1-11.)
It was common to drink wine at weddings in Galilee. At some point during the wedding reception they ran out of wine. Mary, the mother of Jesus, told him this. She encouraged Jesus to begin to show his power as the Son of God. Jesus knew that it would be much later in his ministry before he would do his greatest work of salvation on the cross, yet he chose to do his first miracle at this wedding. So Jesus turned the ordinary water into a fine wine. It was so good that the governor of the feast complimented the groom for saving the best wine for last.
Jesus is the Son of God and has power to change anything. He can change the worst sinner into a child of God! One day there will be a wedding in heaven and you have been invited to attend! The wedding will be of Jesus (the groom) to his church (the bride). People who ask Jesus to be their personal Savior will be there. Just as God created marriage for a man and woman to enjoy a close relationship, he wants us to be in a close personal relationship with him for all eternity. That starts when we are born again.
Sometimes the hardest step to take in making a commitment to follow Jesus is the first one. When you know that the Holy Spirit is urging you to step forward and profess Christ as Lord, you must be ready to answer God’s call. Jesus may have hesitated to perform his first miracle, but he did it. You may be a little shy too, but you will never regret your decision to trust Jesus as your Savior and Lord. It is the most important decision of your life! When you take that first step, God will perform another miracle. He will change your ordinary life into everlasting life and you will become a child of God!
©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. – Joshua 3:13
Text: Joshua 3:7-17
Props: a poster of SpongeBob SquarePants and/or a yellow sponge
Summary: God held back the water in the Jordan River to make a dry path for the Israelites to pass over into Canaan, the Promised Land. The Lord Jesus is the way through whatever problems may be keeping us from going where God wants us to go or doing what God wants us to do.
Are you ready, kids? Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? (SpongeBob SquarePants ®) Do you like the TV show on Nickelodeon called SpongeBob SquarePants? (Show the poster if you have one.) Who is your favorite character? (Listen to responses.) The characters are SpongeBob (sponge) and his pet snail Gary, Patrick Star (starfish), Squidward Tentacles (squid), the boss Mr. Krabs (crab), and Sandy Cheeks (sea-domed squirrel).) I like Patrick because he is SpongeBob’s loyal friend and sticks up for him no matter what kind of problem they face. SpongeBob always looks on the bright side of things and gets along with everyone, so I can see how he could easily be your favorite character.
Today I want to talk about an invisible sponge. Invisible means you cannot see it. Look at this yellow sponge that you CAN see. (Show yellow sponge.) It is full of holes, yet it holds water because it can soak up water. This small sponge might be handy in the kitchen if I spill a glass of milk because it will help me clean up the mess. But what if I wanted to soak up the water in a large river? It would take a very big sponge to do that! But God did that one day for the children of Israel.
After Moses died, Joshua became the leader of the Israelites as they were about to enter Canaan, the Promised Land. Joshua was ready to follow God but he had a problem. He needed to get the people across the Jordan River but there was no bridge to cross over. God was ready for them to enter Canaan. And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you. (Joshua 3:5) Joshua told them to get ready for a miracle!
God told Joshua to get the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant and stop as soon as their feet were in the water. The people were told to follow about a half mile behind. Joshua told the people that God would stop the water in a heap so they could pass through on dry ground. Let’s read what happened. (Read Joshua 3:14-17.)
Wow! It was as if God’s hand came down with an invisible sponge that started soaking up water! The waters coming down the river must have looked like they were running into a glass wall, heaping up higher and higher, while the water that was cut off continued to empty until the river bed was dry. God made a way for his people to pass over on dry ground to enjoy the blessings of the Promised Land. What an awesome God we serve!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have problems like SpongeBob. God wants us to enjoy the blessings he has prepared for us. If we are facing a problem then we need to stand still and trust the Lord Jesus to help us in that situation. The Lord Jesus is the way through whatever problems may be keeping us from going where God wants us to go or doing what God wants us to do. Let’s close with a prayer. Dear Lord Jesus, help me to trust you with my problems. Amen.
Alternate Introduction: Red carpet is used to create a path for important people at important events. God “rolled out the red carpet” for the Israelites to enter Canaan.
©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
SpongeBob SquarePants ®, Nickelodeon ®, and all related titles, logos, and characters are registered trademarks of Viacom International Inc. Image above is copyrighted by Viacom International Inc.