God is like …

The Mother Eagle

Scripture reference: Isaiah 63:7-9 

baby bald eaglesThis nest of branches high on a rocky cliff is home for two small baby eagles. At first, they’re very small and helpless, just like Baby ______ who was baptized this morning. Mother Eagle is very busy finding food for them, pushing it down inside their tiny beaks and they‘re always hungry! And, at first, the wings of the baby eagles are hardly wings at all, just fuzzy little flaps, so of course they can’t fly anywhere yet, not at all like Mother Eagle who has very large strong wings with grownup feathers and can soar through  the air high and low!

Sometimes the baby eagles, as they’re growing bigger and more adventurous, make the mistake of hopping too close to the edge of the next high on the cliff. Out they tumble—and down they fall!

… And whenever that happens …

The watchful Mother Eagle spreads out her big wings and swoops down  under the falling frightened baby, catches it on her wing feathers, and carries it back to its safe place in the nest. There it stays until the baby is older and stronger and grows wing feathers, too!

God is like the Mother Eagle. He protects his children and keeps them safe, right from the time when Adam and Eve learned to live outside the beautiful garden, when Noah’s family stepped out onto Mount Ararat, when Ruth gathered the wheat, when manna from heaven fed the grumbling people, when Mary and Joseph looked for a place to stay in Bethlehem!

God watches over you and loves you every minute, and today God is here, watching over and protecting this new baby, too.

How must we live?

Unzip the Bible!

Scripture reference: I Thessalonians 1:1-10

[You’ll need a can of DEET or some other safe-for-kids mosquito repellent, and a Bible with a big zipper]

Last week I went for a long walk through a tall, dark forest and everything was just right—except for mosquitoes!—big, hungry mosquitoes who wanted me for lunch!

Do you know what this is? [show the can of DEET, and elicit a number of responses]

That sounds like it would be really helpful for going on a hike through the bush, or for going fishing, or for sitting around a campfire at night, doesn’t it?

So, what do you have to do to make this work?

  • you could carry the can in your pocket all day with the lid on tight;
  • you could use it like a baseball bat to squash the mosquitoes when they come buzzing near;
  • you could stand in the middle of the bush and shout to all the bugs that are bothering you, “I have this can of DEET, so you can’t catch me!”

Hmmm….. would that work? Of course NOT! So, what then? …

OPEN IT; and follow the instructions:

Be sure to do just what it says: Cover yourself with it (spray it on yourself – on your arm)  – and then you will be protected from the mosquitoes and black flies. And then you can go hiking!

But… the instructions say this stuff doesn’t last forever. You have to put it on again after a few hours, or the mosquitoes will come back! So keep it handy, and use it faithfully…

So here is the Bible, closed, zipped up tight. And all around us are sinful things that buzz around us and want to catch us:

  • that make us pick fights with brothers or sisters;
  • that make us too lazy to help with chores;
  • that make us whine and complain when Mom says no gum at the store.

So what can we do to make the Bible work? Unzip it, open it up, and use it; read it not just once, but lots. There’s a little song that goes [sing with the children, “Sing: Read the Bible, pray every day  If you follow me”].

And we can learn how to live for God, if we open his book every day.

Listen to the kids at Faith Baptist Church sing “Read the Bible, pray every day“.

Jesus the vine, we the branches

I am the vine

Scripture reference: John 15:5

David is fifteen years old. He lives with his grandpa in a small house with a big garden. David’s Grandpa Joe is a short little man with very thick glasses and very, very wrinkled hands. Grandpa Joe is a gardener, and what he likes best in his whole garden are his grapevines.

David thinks his grandpa is the best vinekeeper on the block. All during the growing season, Grandpa Joe gets up early, tugs on his big black rubber boots and, rain or shine, hot or cold, pushes open the old wire gate that leads into the garden.

Grandpa Joe shuffles slowly between the growing vines, and now and then reaches up to the branches twisting around the wooden trellis. He turns over a leaf or two with his big, gentle hands. He peers at them closely through his thick glasses. Are the leaves green and shiny and healthy? Or are insects chewing holes in the leaves? And are there enough blossoms? He looks for branches that have diseases – maybe bugs or fuzzy fungus – and if they are sick or rotting, he snips the sick and rotting branches off the big stem and tosses them into the fire pit at the far corner of the garden.

Days of sunshine and days of rain … In Grandpa Joe’s garden, the blossoms fall off and small grapes appear. There they hang on the branches, just growing, while the vine brings them food and water up from the soil. Slowly, slowly, they grow — round and plump and ripe.

Days of sunshine and days of rain … Sometimes during a big storm, a blast of wind tears a branch away from the vine. The food can no longer travel to the leaves and grapes on the broken branch. The green, shiny leaves become dry and crunchy; the growing grapes dry up and fall off, and even the birds don’t want to taste them. These too, Grandpa Joe tosses into the fire pit. At the end of the summer, Grandpa Joe makes a big fire and burns all the dead and useless vines and branches.

But on the big vine, on the healthy branches, the clusters of grapes keep on growing: juicy and sweet, tasty and good. Finally, it is time: Grandpa Joe picks the grapes and fills the baskets – one, two, three… At the end of the day, he sits in the garden with his grandson David and smiles. Grandpa Joe is happy with the harvest.

Jesus knows all about vines and grapes like Grandpa Joe’s. His garden is the whole world, and Jesus is the vine. “Stay by me,” he says, “and you will grow strong and healthy just like the green shiny leaves that stayed on Grandpa Joe’s vine. Stay by me and I will give you all the food you need to be a child of God.” And before you know it, in sunshine or rain, good times or bad, your friends will know you love Jesus, and every little thing you do for Jesus will make Him happy..

Hope for the family

Keeping families whole and beautiful

Scripture reference: Genesis 2:24

[You will need hollowed eggs, one for each child. I prepared them the night before, by blowing out the contents of the eggs, using the pinhole approach.]

Is everyone sitting down?

Today I’m going to give you something very fragile to hold. First, here’s how I want you to hold it. Make your two hands into a little cup,  like this, and wait quietly. It’s very important that you sit still as a mouse.

Are you ready?  [distribute the hollow eggshells, one to each child. You will need a helper…]

Can you tell me what you’re holding in your hands? An eggshell? … A beautiful eggshell in your hands. But BE careful, be VERY careful! Hold it very gently – it’s FRAGILE; that means it could break very easily. If you’re careful with your eggshell you could have it for a very long time!

What do you think would happen if you forget that your eggshell was fragile, and didn’t take care of it, and were rough with it and threw it around?

–          it wouldn’t be precious anymore;

–          It would break into all kinds of little pieces;

–          you wouldn’t have anything beautiful to hold any more, would you?

FRAGILE, that’s what the eggshell is!

A family is fragile, too.

God made every family in his world with love and care, just the way you’re holding your eggshell. He wants to keep every family whole and beautiful forever.

Now you may carry your eggshells with you to church school and your teacher will help you keep it whole and beautiful.

~ This children’s story was told as part of a sermon series on sexuality, and on the power of relationships forged with Jesus as the third partner in the  relationship.

Choosing God’s workers in his church

Choosing God’s workers in his church   

(Installation of Elders and Deacons)

Scripture reference: Acts 4:13

In this hand I have some bean seeds. And here is a bean plant. Between the seeds and this plant quite a few things had to happen. The seeds were ready, waiting for sun and rain and good warm earth. But, first, they needed a gardener, someone to plant the seed in the warm earth, someone to see that the seed had enough of everything it needed to grow and become a healthy plant—and produce good food.

When Jesus lived on earth, he chose disciples to help him look after the beginning church—small and new, like these bean seeds. These disciples became gardeners in God’s garden of new Christians. Jesus chose them from the everyday people in the neighbourhood: ordinary fishermen like Peter and Andrew, James and John; Matthew the tax collector, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James, Thaddeus, Simon and Judas. These ordinary men followed Jesus, and he taught them how to take care of the church and help it grow. They went with him everywhere, learning from Him and loving Him.

And those ordinary men who loved Jesus went from village to village, telling the people about Jesus. And with Jesus’ power, they made many sick people well again. And so God’s garden grew.

After Jesus went to heaven, the disciples, God’s gardeners, went on with the wonderful work. The Holy Spirit made them brave and helped them, even when the Roman high priest put Peter and John in jail for talking about Jesus’ resurrection and for making a crippled man walk again in Jesus’ name.

More and more people heard about Jesus and joined God’s garden of believers. After a while there were so many new Christians that seven more men were chosen to help look after the church—men who loved Jesus and were filled with His Spirit.

Our church still does that. We have God’s gardeners in our church, who look after it and work to keep our church healthy and growing. We call them elders and deacons. And today the elders and deacons we chose last week were added to God’s other gardeners who are already busy at work in our church.

Who else but God?


Scripture reference: Acts 2:14-41

I’m going to ask you a riddle. There’s only one right answer.

It’s quite a long riddle; you will need to listen very carefully….

Here it is!

(Using your Bible, read aloud from Proverbs 30:4) Who has gone up into heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his coat? Who has made all the corners of the earth? What is his name and the name of his son? Now … tell me if you know.  (the children will want to answer: guide them and don’t discourage any answers they might attempt)

GOD – the Father of Jesus. That’s the answer – one thousand years before Jesus was born, wise men asked the same riddle and gave the same answer.


After the flood, when Noah and all the creatures with him were perched on the side of the mountain in the ark, God sent a strong wind. It blew and blew over the earth and pushed the waters away from the mountain and dried up the land.

When God wanted the children of Israel to leave the land of Egypt the stubborn king kept saying NO, NO, I will not let the people go! God sent the blustery east wind. It flew across the land all day and all night and brought grasshoppers that gobbled up every single green plant in the land of the stubborn king.

When the people of Israel came to the Red Sea, they looked in front of them and saw nothing but water. They looked behind them and saw King Pharaoh’s soldiers marching closer and closer. God said to Moses: Stretch your hand out over the sea, and he sent a mighty wind that pushed the water away so the people could walk safely to the other side.

When Elijah, tired prophet Elijah, hid away from God, God found him in the cave on the mountain. He sent a fierce, powerful wind that tore the mountain apart, and scattered the rocks. Then he comforted Elijah in a quiet, gentle whisper.

God holds the wind in the hollow of his hand.

After the disciples saw Jesus taken up into heaven, they walked back from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, praising God. And they prayed and waited for the gift Jesus had promised them.

It was Pentecost. Once again God had sent a wind from heaven, mighty and wonderful, and the sound of it filled the whole house where they were. And with the wind came fire that separated into flames and came to rest on each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and rejoiced at God’s wonders.

And Peter stood up and said: “This is the gift Jesus promised us before he was taken up into heaven – Holy Spirit is for you and your children, and for all who believe in Him. They will be saved.”

Wind and fire – this is the Spirit Wind, held in the hollow of God’s hand.

No Leftovers for God

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Scripture reference: 2 Corinthians 9:7b

Today I’m going to tell you a story about Shawna. Shawna’s class had a project – a giving project. Shawna’s teacher at school had made a big toy box and put it in the classroom. But the toy box was empty; so the children were going to give one of their toys to put into the toy box, and when the box was full, the teacher would bring it to some children who had no toys to play with.

It was Shawna’s turn to bring something for the toy box. What could she give? She took out her basket full of teddy bears and put them on the floor, one by one:

  • A white one with a pink tie
  • A brown one with a blue tie
  • A blue one
  • A little bear with a red and white striped shirt
  • A little bear with a blue and white shirt
  • A tiny brown one

Now Shawna had to choose which teddy bear to give away.

Shawna looked for a long time.

She took the white bear and put it back into her basket.

NOT THAT ONE – he was soooo soft and beautiful!

She took the brown bear and put it back into her basket

                             NOT THAT ONE – he had such a nice blue tie!

She put the blue bear back into her basket.

NOT THAT ONE – he had such a nice fluffy nose!

She put the bear with the red and white shirt back into the basket.

                             NOT THAT ONE – tooooo special!

She put the bear with the blue and white shirt back into the basket.

NOT THAT ONE – he smelled so nice…..

Finally, there was one bear left over, a tiny brown bear with just one button eye.  “O.K.” thought Shawna, “this bear could be a present …”

And Shawna began to tuck him into her schoolbag.

Then Shawna’s brother began to sing a little song:

“Shawna’s giving leftovers …

 Shawna’s giving leftovers …”

 Over and over he sang, “Shawna’s giving leftovers …!”

Leftovers! Shawna really didn’t want to give leftovers!

She pulled the little bear out of her schoolbag and …


And this time she picked the very first bear – and tucked him into her schoolbag and went skipping off to school.

And that night, when Shawna went to bed, she said her prayers, and then she told her mother about the “leftover song.” And her mother gave her a big hug and tucked her in, with the basket of bears beside her. And Shawna fell asleep with a big smile on her face.


Dear God:

Help us to give you the first portion of what we have;

Help us to give it cheerfully.

Thank you that you gave us your first and only son Jesus.