Saturday, June 29, 2013

Six Legs and a Leash

One of the greatest joys I experience in my ministry through Sermons4Kids is the people I get to know.  I have formed friendships literally all over the world. Although I  never get to meet most of them "face to face," we form a friendship and our ministry to children is our bond.

One of the most interesting people I have come to know is Judy Brown. Judy began a very special ministry about seven years ago at the age of 72!  She has recently published a book about her ministry entitled "Six Legs and a Leash: Stories of a Therapy Dog." It is a delightfully told story about how God has used Judy and Reggie, her 120-pound Schnoodle, to minister to others.  Judy takes Reggie to churches, hospitals, nursing homes, and anywhere else where there are people in need of a message of hope and a touch of God's love.

I highly recommend Judy's book.  It is inspiring, entertaining, and even includes a good collection of sermons for children.  Hopefully, it will cause you to step out of your comfort zone and look for ways that God can use you to spread the Good News.  The book is available for purchase on Judy's website and also from and

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Freedom Isn't Free

This week we celebrate Memorial Day.  The holiday was originally called Decoration Day and dates back to the days following the Civil War. It was established three years after the end of the Civil War on May 5, 1868 when Union General John A. Logan designated a day when the graves of war dead would be  decorated with flowers.  It was not until the end of World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.  In 1971, Memorial Day was named a national holiday and people were urged to pause for a moment of silence at 3:00 p.m. to pay tribute to the men and women who died during military service fighting to protect and defend our freedom.

We enjoy a lot of freedom in our country. We are free to attend church and worship, we are free to choose where we want to live, we are free to choose most of the things that affect our daily lives. We enjoy our freedom, but we also know that our freedom wasn't free. Many courageous men and women gave their lives to pay the price for the freedom that you and I enjoy.  These are the ones that we honor this week as we celebrate Memorial Day.

The greatest freedom that we have is the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul writes, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)  We have been set free because Jesus was willing to pay the penalty. Jesus died on the cross to set us free from the penalty of our sin. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36) Instead of death, we have been given eternal life. This freedom wasn't free, Jesus paid the price.

This week as we celebrate Memorial Day, let us remember to stop and give thanks for those who have paid the price for our freedom. Let us also remember to thank God for Jesus, who has set us free from the penalty for sin, because he was willing to pay the price.

Father, we give thanks for the freedom that we enjoy. We are thankful for those who paid the price for that freedom, but even more important, we thank you for the freedom we have because Jesus was willing to pay the penalty for our sin.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Why? Because She Loved Me!

This coming Sunday is Mothers Day.  My mother passed from this life on August 30, 1996, but Mother's day will still be filled with thoughts of my mother and the impact she had upon my life.  I keep a copy of her obituary in my Bible marking Lamentations 3:22 — that great passage about God's great love and faithfulness.  Like our Heavenly Father, my mother's love and faithfulness was unfailing.  She reared her three children faithful to the teachings of God's Word and with a heart filled with love and compassion.

There are things that I see around our house each day that bring back childhood memories of my mother and her parenting techniques.  Perhaps they will bring back memories of your own mother.

Oatmeal! My mother always insisted that I eat a well-rounded breakfast. Now, my idea of a well-rounded breakfast was a chocolate covered doughnut, but my mother did not agree! I always had to eat something like oatmeal, toast, and orange juice.  Why?  Because my mother loved me and wanted me to grow up to be strong and healthy.

Books! Some of my friends went home after school and watched cartoons on TV, but not me! My mom always insisted that I do my homework before I watched any TV. Why ? Because my mother loved me and she knew that a good education was one of the best things she could give me.

Clocks! I am reminded of my mother by a clock because she always insisted on knowing where I was every minute of the day. If I wanted to go to a friend's house after school, I always had to call my mom and ask for her permission and tell her where I was going to be and what I was going to be doing. Why? Because she loved me and wanted me to be safe.

Dish washing detergent! I guess my mom never heard about child labor laws. She had this idea that every member of the family should chip in and help with the chores around the house. I had special jobs to do and I was expected to do them without being told. Why? Because my mother loved me and wanted me to learn that a happy family is one where everyone works together.

As previously mentioned, mother isn't here anymore. She's in heaven and I imagine that she probably has the angels dusting the pearly gates and sweeping the golden streets! My mother was like that! Sometimes I thought I was being mistreated, but I wasn't. Why did my mother do all these things? Everything she did was done because she loved me and wanted what was best for me.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?  It is a service offered by Google that collects data about visitors to a web site.  Now, don't worry!  It doesn't collect any personal information about you.  It merely tells a web site owner things like how many people visit the web site, how they found the site, what country and city they are in, how many pages they view, how long they stay on the web site, and what operating system and  browser they use.  It is a tool that can be very helpful to a web site owner in tailoring the content of the site to better suit the needs of those who use it.  In the case of Sermons4Kids, it is also a good indicator of how well we are doing in spreading the Gospel.  In this post, I will share some interesting facts about traffic on the Sermons4Kids web site for the first quarter of this year.

The first thing that catches your eye when you view the Google statistics is that there were 975,045 visits to the web site in the first quarter of 2013.  Of that total, 489,248 were unique visitors and they viewed a total of 2,759,006 pages.  These visitors came from 208 different countries and territories.  Here is a list of the top ten.
  •     United States (698,974)
  •     United Kingdom (87,529)
  •     Canada (40,422)
  •     Australia (26,527)
  •     Mexico (12,739)
  •     Philippines (7,834)
  •     South Africa (5,831)
  •     Colombia (5,483)
  •     New Zealand (5,144)
  •     Puerto Rico (4,437) 
When you look at a graph depicting our daily web site traffic, every week looks almost identical.  The highest traffic day, by far, is Saturday.  The second busiest day of the week is Wednesday.
One thing that surprised me was that we had 131,573 visitors to the web site during the first quarter who were using a mobile device.  As you might expect, the iPad was the leader of the pack followed by the iPhone.  Other devices included the Samsung Galaxy S3, Google Nexus, and the Motorola Droid Razr.  Perhaps we need to investigate the possibility of developing a Sermons4Kids App.

When I launched the Sermons4Kids web site, I never imagined that it would reach "the uttermost parts of the earth."  There is a great temptation to look at all the Google Analytic statistics and say, "Wow, we are doing a great job." But the true measure of our success is not what Google says, the true measure of our success is what God says.  Hopefully, one day we will hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Angels Unaware

This week was a very difficult week for me.  On Monday the Sermons4Kids web site went down.  I contacted our web host and was told that our site was bringing down their server and that they had no choice but to disable our web site.  They provided a suggested solution and we tried it.  They enabled our web site and I thought all was well.  A short time later, the site was down again.  Time after time we tried various fixes, but to no avail.  To say that I was discouraged would be an understatement of epic proportions!  At one point, I actually said to my wife, "I just feel like giving up."

Wednesday evening, my wife and I had just returned from our church's mid-week prayer meeting when the doorbell rang.  My wife answered the door and after a couple of minutes, she called out to me, "It's about Sermons 4 Kids." I went to the door to find a woman who was there with her sister.  She told me that she was from Mexico and that they used our materials in her church.  She was in our city visiting her sister, who also uses Sermons4Kids materials, and they wanted to meet me.  We had a wonderful visit and before they left I gave them some of our Spanish language CDs.  They gave me a big hug and said "¡ Me gusta!"

After the women had gone, my wife said, "You know, I believe God sent those women here to encourage you."  My first reaction was, "Well, it isn't working!"  But you know, it did work.  I was encouraged and the next day I decided that I would move our web site to a new web host.  The move went very smoothly and by Friday the web site was up and running and is still up today.

In looking back over the events of this difficult week, I reflect on the visit of the two women and a passage of Scripture comes to mind.  "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:1-2)  I have no doubt that these two women were angels sent from God to encourage me in this difficult time.

Thank you LORD!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bethany Hamilton ~ Soul Surfer

On September 15, 2012, I posted a blog entitled "Feet of Clay" about a sermon that I had written in which Lance Armstrong was used as an example of a "Miraculous Turn Around." At that time, it had not been proven to my satisfaction, that Lance Armstrong had actually cheated in winning his many cycling titles.  It now seems certain that he was indeed guilty of cheating by using performance enhancing drugs.  This is very disappointing.  Lance Armstrong could have served as a shining example of how through hard work and perseverance one can rise above seemingly insurmountable adversity.

With the Lance Armstrong story being in the headlines all over the world, I had two choices.  I could delete the sermon from the web site, or I could rewrite the sermon.  I chose the second option.  For several days I searched my memory and scoured the web in an attempt to come up with an idea.  I just couldn't seem to find the right story to serve as an example of a miraculous turn around.  Then I stumbled onto the web site of Bethany Hamilton.  I was familiar with her story and had even seen the movie "Soul Surfer." It was the answer for which I had been searching.

If you are not familiar with the Bethany Hamilton story, I encourage you to visit her web site and I also recommend that you watch the movie "Soul Surfer."   It is available on Netflix and probably any other source for video sales and rentals.  While on her web site, don't miss the "Connect with God" page where she expresses her own faith in God and puts forth the plan of salvation.

Later this year, I plan to use the sermon "A Miraculous Turn Around" as our Sermon of the Week.  If you want to check it out now, be my guest.