Category Archives: Temptation

Running God’s Race

Text: Hebrews 12:1,2

Prop: running shoes or poster of a runner

Summary: A marathon runner is used to demonstrate living for God.

(Enter wearing running shoes and a runner’s outfit if possible. Run and slow down as you approach the children.)Hello. I was just out running. I have not run very far but I’m a little out of breath. I think I’ll stop and take a break.

Running is a fun sport. It is good exercise and helps me stay in shape. There are some important things to know if you are going to run a marathon. A marathon is a very long race of 42.2 kilometers [26.2 miles]. You have to pace yourself. You just can’t run at full speed or you will give out before you can finish the race. Another thing is that you can’t take along much or it will slow you down.

The Bible speaks of running a race in the Book of Hebrews.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God. – Hebrews 12:1,2

That is what it means to run God’s race. We have to look to the example our Lord Jesus gave us. We can’t just do it on our own. If we hold on to our old ways and habits of being a bad person (sin), then we will not be able to finish the race. It will slow us down. If we rely on the Lord Jesus, he will forgive us and we can put aside our sin. Then we can run at a steady pace, living a godly life. Just as a runner keeps his mind on the finish line, we can keep our eyes on Jesus as we go through our life here on earth.

Well, I have to be going now. Next time you put on a pair of running shoes, stop and ask yourself: Am I running my own race, or am I running God’s race?

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Temptation Island

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. – Luke 11:4

Text: 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15

Props: whole potato and bag of potato chips; children’s toothpaste (bubble gum flavor)

Summary: We will face many temptations in life. God allows us the freedom to choose how we respond. We can overcome temptation with God’s help.

Today I want to talk with you about temptation. Do you remember the story of Eve being tempted by the serpent in the garden of Eden? What does the word temptation mean? (Listen to responses.) Let me show you one of my temptations.

Consider this potato. (Show whole potato.) God made the potato and it is a healthy food to eat. You can bake it and eat it, skin and all. The skin is full of vitamins that are good for you. If you peel away the vitamin-rich skin, slice it into thin pieces, fry it in oil, and sprinkle salt on it, you will get potato chips. (Show bag of chips.) Eating lots of potato chips will make you fat and clog your arteries. That is not healthy. When given the choice between potato chips and a baked potato, the baked potato is the healthier choice. Because potato chips taste so good they are very tempting to eat.

We know it is better to avoid things that will harm us. Sin will harm us but sometimes it is not easy to see sin for what it is. Like the forbidden fruit that Eve was tempted to eat, sin may look “pleasant to the eyes” and may satisfy our desires, but it is not good for us. The Bible says that when we are tempted God will give us a way to escape. We can choose not to give in to the temptation. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 below.)

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Look at this tube of toothpaste. (Show tube.) Most toothpastes taste yucky. We may put off brushing our teeth even though we know it is the right thing to do. If Mom gives us this bubble gum flavored toothpaste, we will like the taste and be more likely to brush. She gives us a way to escape that yucky tasting stuff and do the right thing (brush our teeth). In the same way, if we ask God to help us, he will help us escape temptation and do the right thing.

Jesus is our example of how to overcome temptation. (Read Hebrews 4:15.) Jesus was tempted as we are but he never sinned. During our lifetime on earth it is as if we are on an island surrounded by temptation. When we are faced with temptation we must make our choice. God gives us the freedom to choose how we will respond. We can give in to temptation and sin, or we can ask God to help us overcome the temptation. May God help us to make the right choice!

©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Jesus by the Well

Church sign: Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium. (Courtesy of Christian Humour)

Text: John 4:3-30; Galatians 3:28

Prop: A water pot or bucket

Summary: Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus meets us where we are and offers us eternal life.

(Begin by humming or singing “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”) Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme about Jack and Jill? [Listen to responses.) I could use this bucket to draw water from a well. (Show bucket or water pot.) Today I want to share a story from the Gospel of John about a woman that met Jesus at a well.

Jesus was on his way to the land of Galilee. His disciples were probably a little nervous. Jesus had decided to go directly through the region of Samaria — and the Samaritans did not get along with the Jews (see Samaritan Neighbor). Jesus was tired and thirsty and sat down to rest beside Jacob’s well. He sent his disciples to buy meat in the nearby city of Sychar (pronounced SIGH-car).

About noon a Samaritan woman came by herself to draw some water from the well. Most women went early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it was cooler. They went in groups for safety and to talk with their friends. This woman probably came at noon to avoid them. She had a bad reputation and not many of them would talk to her. Then Jesus surprised her by asking her to give him something to drink.

(Read John 4:9-15.) Jesus has a way of meeting us where we are and offering us what we need. Surely she needed water to live but Jesus offered her a way to live forever! It didn’t matter to Jesus that she was a Samaritan, or that she was a woman, or that she was a sinner. When he looked at her he saw her as a person created in the image of God. Jesus cares about everyone! There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28.

Then Jesus dealt with her sin. Jesus told her things about her personal life that she didn’t think a stranger would know. She was shocked that he knew her so well. She tried to change the subject to a religious argument about where to worship. He let her know that what matters is not about being religious, it is about knowing who he is. Instead of changing the subject he changed her life by what he told her.

(Read John 4:23,24.) Jesus said it didn’t matter where you worship as long as you worship the true God sincerely, in spirit and in truth. Then he came to the point. He told her something he had not told anyone else until then: that he was the Messiah she was expecting. That changed her life completely. Suddenly she realized he was not a psychic in Sychar but the Savior of Samaritans. She was so excited that she left her water pot and went to the city to tell others about meeting Jesus by the well. Many people came to believe on Jesus as their Messiah because she cared about them enough to tell them the good news.

Meanwhile, the disciples came back from the city. As usual they didn’t understand why Jesus was breaking all their traditions. Men did not talk to strange women in public. Jews did not talk to Samaritans. Men only taught men about religion in public. Once again he was turning their way of thinking upside-down. They wondered what he was doing. While they were busy buying lunch, the first woman evangelist was heading to Samaria!

Jesus is waiting by the well of your life too. He is ready to accept you as you are, where you are, for who you are today. We are all sinners. We all need Jesus in our lives. He is ready to offer eternal life to all who will worship him in spirit and in truth.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.