The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Jesus Priorities: 3/5: Children Are Precious

March 15, 2009
Third Sunday in Lent

The Jesus Priorities: 3/5: Children Are Precious
Matthew 19:13-15, Romans 8:12-17

Unless you become like a little child,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Jesus, in Matthew 18:3-4

My sermon outline:

• Christopher Maricle, educator and author, desirous of deepening his own faith, went through the gospels, charted the actions, motivations, sayings of Jesus.
“Why did Jesus do what Jesus did?
What did Jesus consistently say and do during his public ministry that would be instructive?”

• Measure of a man is how he acts when no one is looking...

Measure of society is in how it treats its most vulnerable... its children, its infirm, its aged... It’s one of the things that separates humans from animals... where predators will seek out and attack the youth, the weak, the elderly, they are the ones we seek to protect.

• Jesus in the gospels makes no fewer than six different statements about children, their importance and how they are to be treated; six statements recounted in fourteen places in the gospels.

• Mt 18:3-4: whoever will not become like a child will not enter the kingdom...

Children are natural believers, uninhibited (& therefore must be protected, handled with care) pure in heart and love.

We would do well to learn from how children praise, how they trust, how they show affection (do you remember calling mommy daddy? I don’t. I do remember calling my mom by her first name... feels wrong how my neph and niece do so). No surprise that Jesus chose a term of endearment / intimacy to teach disciples to pray to Father God.

(childlike ≠ childish) Jesus says we must be like children

Simple, Jesus loves me, This I know. Karl Barth summed up his own volumes of theology. Also what you learn as a child stays with you (Ruthie Huzz)

• Communion, because we’re poor. SO true, debt we cannot pay except by the bailout of Jesus Christ.

• Let the children come to me. Barna 1999 First time a person makes a commitment to Christ is typically before age 15. After 14 less than 10% likelihood of a person making 1st time commitment.

Welcome the children: We could do better. Personal responsibility.
Take a cue from children: children know no strangers, that’s why they have to be taught it.

• Children must be protected. World values
1. Happiness comes from stuff.
2. Sexual attraction is the best way to start a relationship.
3. Desire is adequate justification (I want, therefore I am entitled, therefore I will acquire)
4. Coolness requires distance from family.
5. Violence is acceptable for #3.

The antidote:
1. Make God central in the family.
2. Monitor media experience.
3. Talk WITH daily.

• Spirit adopts us, helps us to relate to others and to God with that childlike trust faith and love, and to accept each other.

• Hymn 560 Help Us Accept Each Other

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 64 in worship.


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