Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A Rule to Live By

Everywhere we go there are rules.  We have rules at home, we have rules at school, even adults have to follow the rules where they work.  You must learn to follow the rules if you want to get along in this world.   I found a list of rules called "Golden Rules for Living."  I don't know who wrote these, but they make a lot of sense.

• If you open it—close it
• If you turn it on—turn it off.
• If you unlock it—lock it.
• If you move it—put it back.
• If it belongs to someone else—get permission to use it
• If you borrow it— return it.
• If you don't know how to operate it—leave it alone.
• If you use it—take care of it.
• If you break it—fix it.
• If you can't fix it—call someone who can.
• If you make a mess—clean it up.
• If it's none of your business—don't ask questions.

Those are pretty good rules, aren't they?  If all of us would follow those rules, the world would be a better place.  Living by a set of rules isn't anything new.  Even Jesus knew the importance of rules.  

One day Jesus was talking to his disciples.  He knew that the day was coming when he would return to heaven, and he was trying to prepare his disciples for the day when he would no longer be with them. He wanted to leave them with something that would help them to live in such a way that other people would see them and know that they were his disciples.

"I will be with you only a little while longer," Jesus said.  "Then you will look for me, but you won't find me because you cannot go where I am going.  I give you a new commandment.  You must love each other just as I have loved you.  If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples."

Would you like for people to look at the way you live and know that you are a follower of Jesus?  Well, then obey his command, "Love one another as I have loved you."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Remembrances of Christmases Past

All of us have a Christmas memory that holds a very special place in our heart. One of those for me took place in the small West Texas town of Pecos when I was in the sixth grade.

On that particular Christmas, my mom and dad had decided that it would be a waste of money to buy a Christmas tree since we were going to my grandmother's house for Christmas.

I wasn't too happy about it, but it wasn't too bad.  After all, in those days, every classroom at school had a full-sized Christmas tree which the children had the joy of decorating.  You probably remember the chains made of red and green links made from construction paper. Ornaments were cut-outs of bells, balls, stars, snowmen and other holiday items made by the students.  The best part was that the tree was covered with silver icicles.  Lots and lots of icicles. We thought it was a thing of real beauty!

When the time came for class to dismiss on the final day before our Christmas holiday, our teacher, Mrs. Stewart, stood up in front of the class and said, "Is there anyone who doesn't have a Christmas tree?" Faster than a speeding bullet, my hand shot up!  Since no one else raised their hand, Mrs. Stewart announced that I could have the tree if I wanted it.  If I wanted it? Of course I wanted it!

When school dismissed, I claimed my prize tree.  We only lived about three blocks from the school, so I walked home dragging my tree behind me.  When I reached home, my mom opened the front door and, with a surprised look on her face asked, "Where did you get that tree?"

"Mrs. Stewart asked our class if there was anyone who didn't have a tree and, since I was the only one who raised his hand, she said I could have  it!"

"Oh my!  I can't imagine what Mrs. Stewart must think of us!" my mother exclaimed.

I didn't understand why my mother wasn't as happy as I was about the tree, but one thing is for certain, we ALWAYS had a Christmas tree in the years to come...whether we were going to grandmother's house or not.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Searching for Sermons

Sermons4Kids.com has been live on the Internet for eleven years.  We had a presence on the web under another name for four years prior to that.  You would think everything would be running smoothly after fifteen years.  One thing I have learned about the Internet is that just when you think you have everything just the way you want it, something changes.  Eight years ago, we added a site search tool to our web site to help people find a sermon on a specific subject or Scripture reference. We used a company called PicoSearch to provide the search engine.  For the past eight years, it has worked without a problem.

Several weeks ago, I was looking for a sermon on a specific Scripture reference and when I hit the search button, a page opened with the dreaded "page not found" message.  After several attempts with the same results, I went to the PicoSearch home page and was greeted with the message, "PicoSearch web service ended on July 1, 2014."

Oh how I wish I had an in-house web master to turn to in situations such as this.  Unfortunately, our web master is me and everything I know is what I have learned through reading books, tutorials, and by trial and error.  I began to scour the Internet to see what was out there.  It appeared to me that most web sites were using Google Custom Search as their site search tool.  That makes sense—Google pretty well owns the market on web searches.  So, I went to Google and began setting up my site search.  I must say, that I felt like a first year seminary student in Greek class!

Well, after struggling with this project for almost a month, it all seems to have come together.  We now have a site search tool that seems to be working the way I want it to work.  Below you will see two images.  The first image will show you where to find the search tool.  It is at the very top of the page.  The second will show a partial page of the search results for "love one another."  Please notice that I have placed my search query in quotation marks.  The reason for that is that without the quotation marks, the search engine will find all pages which contain the words love, one, and another.  Within quotes, it only finds pages with the exact phrase "love one another."

One thing that I have noticed that is a distinct improvement over our previous site search tool is that the results do not take you away from our site.  You remain on our site and all of the links and menus are functional.  This was not the case in our previous site search tool.

I hope you will make use of this tool in your search for children's sermons on our web site.  Visit our web site and leave your  comments and suggestions on our "Contact Us" page.