Jesus’ Resurrection

The Wrong Place to Look

Scripture reference: Luke 24:1-12; 24:5,6

The day of Sabbath rest was over in Jerusalem. It was the start of a new week. The rosy sun was just beginning to push the darkness out of the night sky; the birds were fluffing their feathers and chirping their songs.

Mary Magdalene and the other women were up early, too, but they weren’t singing.

There was something they wanted to do for Jesus. On that terrible day at Golgotha they had watched Jesus die on the cross and they had cried and cried. The women had followed when Rabbi Joseph had taken Jesus’ body gently down from the cross and brought it to his own empty cave in the small garden. Rabbi Joseph had wrapped Jesus’ body in a soft white cloth and put him on a bed of sweet-smelling spices. So the women knew where to find the Master they loved so much. Mary Magdalene and her friends wanted to do something for Jesus, so they prepared more spices and sweet-smelling perfumes. They would bring them to the cave and cry together.

Everything was so sad, and so mixed up!

But what about the promises?

How could Jesus be dead? He’d promised them a kingdom; how could he be king of a kingdom, lying in a cave all wrapped up and covered with spices, with a guard of Roman soldiers standing in front of the big stone?

He’d promised them treasures in heaven; how could he give them anything when those greedy soldiers at the cross had taken away all his clothes?

He’d promised them that he would destroy God’s temple and raise it back up in three days; how could he fix the temple when the curtain had ripped into two pieces and he wasn’t even there to fix it?

He’d promised to set the prisoners free, but how could he? Nobody was even listening to him anymore!

He’d said he was king, but why did the soldiers spit on him and make fun of him, and give him a pretending crown? And why would he let that crook on the cross beside him say those awful things?

And what about that great parade into Jerusalem when the people threw their coats on the ground and made a beautiful carpet for Jesus to ride on, and waved palm branches and shouted: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”?

What happened to all the promises? Jesus was dead. All the promises were lost.


But wait …. The most important promise of all – what was it?  “In three days I shall be raised again…” Had they forgotten?

Mary Magdalene and the women didn’t understand. All they could do was cry and go to the garden with the spices they had ready. “How are we going to roll away that big stone?” they worried. “Maybe we’re not strong enough to push it out of the slot….”

There was the cave: the soldiers were gone, and the big stone had been rolled away!!!

The women had forgotten! Into the cool, quiet rock space they tiptoed, carrying their spices, looking for the body of Jesus. There was the soft white cloth; there were the sweet-smelling spices; but where was Jesus?

Then suddenly, two shining angels! “Have you forgotten?” said one angel. “Have you forgotten Jesus’ promise? You’re looking for him in the wrong place: he is not here; he is not dead – he is alive, just as he said he would be! Come, and look!”

And the women came, and they looked.

And then they remembered Jesus’ promise – bigger than their small hearts and their small imaginations: big enough for YOU and for ME!

Jesus is not dead: HE IS RISEN! Hallelujah.

The Great Commission

Inside the Apple  

Scripture reference: John 17:17-21 


Today I’m going to ask you a very easy question:

Can you tell me what this is? An apple! Just one apple! Simple, isn’t it! A very shiny, a very red apple. It’s looks good and healthy, too, doesn’t it.

Yes, one beautiful red apple…..

Perhaps this one good apple, could be ten good apples, and then 100, and then 1000, even a whole church full, right up to the ceiling!

Now I want you to watch me carefully. [Cut open the apple… ] Look inside – What do you see? Seeds! Little pockets with seeds inside. And seeds can make more apples.

So, if you wanted more good apples like this one,

  • You would take the seeds,
    • Plant them in good earth,
    • and water them,
    • and feed them,
    • and take good care of them
  • Until—one day—there will be apple trees with apples of their own—hundreds and thousands of them! – maybe even a whole church full!

Jesus’ helpers on earth were just like the seeds in this apple.

When it was time for Jesus to go back to his home in heaven, he sent his helpers into the land to do his work. But first he asked his heavenly Father: “Please look after my helpers and take care of them, plant them in good earth, and make them strong while they’re walking through the land teaching about me.”

  • so that more and more people would grow to love Jesus,
  • and someday the whole world can be full of grownups and children who love Jesus and believe in Him.

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.

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   

(Commissioning leadership)

Scripture reference: Acts 4:13

Child holding bean seeds, GENERATED BY AI

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 Shaina. Shaina’s class had a project – a giving project. Shaina’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 Shaina’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 Shaina had to choose which teddy bear to give away.

Shaina 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 Shaina began to tuck him into her schoolbag.

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

“Shaina’s giving leftovers …

 Shaina’s giving leftovers …”

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

Leftovers! Shaina 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 Shaina 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 Shaina 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.