Children's sermon

You never know what you might see in church! This last Sunday I was preparing to preach a children’s sermon, and on the communion table was a football! As we worshiped, the Spirit of God began to move. The excitement, I must admit, got the better of me. Grabbing the ball and tucking under my arm I ran the whole length of the sanctuary and then back to the altar where I spiked it! I know! I just couldn’t help myself… “If we can holler and scream when someone does this on the TV, then we ought to be able to raise some worship in the house of God when the Lord is moving like this,” I said! Some may call that foolish, or crass theatrics, but that is not what I intended… if revival will bring back anything to the church, may it be an unashamed enthusiasm and passion for God! Although I would stop short of claiming direct divine inspiration for spiking the football, I will say it felt good to be unashamed to give God glory and invite others to revel in the glory of his presence on a Sunday morning.

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Well, it went down hill from there. I poured water over one of young people holding up an umbrella, stomped vigorously all over the toes of another one wearing army boots, and even had him try to put foot-powder and socks on his feet without removing them. Another girl had to try to brush her teeth while wearing a mouth guard. One poor guy was made to wear two ball gloves and asked to open a bottle of water. Several had to try to smell one of the altar flowers with dust masks on. I whispered instructions to one little girl while she wore ear protection. The sermon finally ended with bubble-wrapping one poor kid with his hands pinned to his side and then asking him to catch a football, passed from way back in the sanctuary… he protested loudly! No, of course no; I didn’t throw it! But when we released him, I did, and he caught it!

Children's sermon 3

In Psalm 5:11-12 David celebrates that God is our protector, a refuge, a place for us to retreat to and be safe. He talks about how the righteous rejoice in his protection. They are safe, even when they are surrounded by their enemies! They are not exempted from the enemies gathering, or from attempts to assault them or to attack them, but they need not fear being overcome or thrown down. The problem is that in our attempts to protect ourselves in this life, from being hurt, from things going wrong, or by trying to control every aspect of our lives to get what we want, we often miss the best that God has for us in the design of his purpose and will. The girl with the ear protection couldn’t her my voice or instruction, just as we often cannot hear the voice of God because we have our ears blocked or don’t have time to listen because of everything else we are tying to make our lives run smoothly. The guy with the army boots on may never have his toes stomped on, but he also could not enjoy the the soothing benefits of the foot powder and clean socks after a hard long march! What if God wants to repair and revitalize us? What barriers have we put in his way, because we are busy trying to protect ourselves and run our own lives, without him? And how are you going to drink the refreshing living water that falls from heaven whenever you go to church for worship, the precious revival rain of the Spirit, if you have up the umbrella of fear of what people might think of you raise a shout or a hand in service. You can’t catch the ball, of vision, ministry, the promises of God, his plans, his designs and purposes for your life if your arms are pinned down by all of the busy-ness of your life, and the cares of this world that you haven’t committed to God in prayer and faith, believing he’ll protect and provide for you (cf. Matt. 6:19-34). If you have wrapped yourself around with the things Jesus calls the treasures and cares of this world, desperately trying to find meaning, purpose and satisfaction in life… for crying out loud, get loose and can catch the ball!

Children's sermon1

The psalmist actually gives us a clue how we can get loose and trust in God. “Take refuge in God…” he says (Ps. 5:11a). By that he means take stock of your life, evaluate it, and then surrender it and the outcomes to God, believing that God will protect you, and ultimately do a better job with it than you could ever do without him! Surrendering to God is not complicated. It is an act of commitment in prayer whereby we tell God that from now on we are going to put our trust in him, and that as long as he gives us clear guidance we are going to obey him in all things. The hard part comes when we have to actually act on that prayer of surrender in the real business of everyday life. That is where the commitment of our will in prayer becomes a resolve of the will to obey him in the particulars. Now, if I read Paul correctly in the New Testament, we are actually not alone. He has given us the Spirit to dwell in us and with us to enable us to overcome any resistance or fear of doing God’s will (cf. John 4:17; Rom. 8:1-4, 14-17; Gal. 5:16-17). In fact, Paul says that over time, by obeying God and surrendering to the leading of the Spirit, he will develop godliness in us, that is Christian character that reflects, the fruit of the Spirit, the life and character of Christ (cf. Rom. 8:14-17; 29-30; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:13, 22-24; Col. 3:9).

Children's sermon2

About the Author

Paul and Loala pastor the Wilmington First Pentecostal Holiness Church, where they have served for almost 20 year. They have two children who work and serve in the church worship department, along with their son-in-law. Paul is a graduate of Holmes Bible College (Greenville, SC), with a BA in English Bible and New Testament Greek, and of Global University (Springfield, MO) with an MA in Biblical Studies (New Testament Concentration).

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