Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Change Is Coming in 2017

It seems I have just gotten used to writing 2016, and now, I have to change to 2017!  A friend asked me last week, "Do you know how many Baptists it takes to change a lightbulb?" The response was, "Change?"  It's true, some of us seem to be resistant to change of any kind.

Another joke I have heard is, "The seven last words of the (you fill in the blank) church was, "We've never done it that way before!" We may chuckle at such jokes, but the truth of the matter is that if we refuse to make needed changes, we will be left behind.

So, what changes do we at Sermons4Kids anticipate in 2017?  Well, the first change we will make, after changing the date on our Sermon of the Week to 2017, is a redesign of our website.  "Why?", you ask.  Technology is constantly changing. It has been brought to my attention that almost half of our users now access our website from a mobile device.  The problem is that our current site does not render well on mobile devices.  You can access the site on a mobile device, but a different design for tablets and mobile phones is needed for our site to be fully readable and functional.

The process to redesign our website to make it fully compatible with all types of devices has already begun.  I am telling you about this now so that you won't freak out the first time you click on a link to and see an unfamiliar face.  The same material will still be available, but it will have a little different layout.  Click Here for a sample of what you can expect to see when you visit our newly designed website.

Don't panic!  You will find the same content and the menus will work pretty much the same as they have in the past. The difference is, we hope you will find the site more friendly, easier to navigate, and definitely, more useable on your mobile device. If not, click the Contact Us button and let us know what we can do to help.

Finally, I wish you a Happy and successful New Year in Children's ministry.  I hope that our new website design will greatly enhance our role in assisting you in teaching children about Jesus and his love.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Countdown to Christmas

At the beginning of the Advent season, Sermons4Kids provided an Advent Calendar for the children to color a star each day as they counted down to the day which we have set aside to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

This past Sunday, our pastor reminded us that it was only two weeks until Christmas.  It started me to thinking, "What special things could we do to bring more meaning to the final ten days of the Countdown to Christmas?"  Here are some of the ideas I came up with.

10 - Raid the pantry and gather a sack of canned goods and take them to your church food pantry.

9 - Go to a store that has a Salvation Army bell ringer and make a donation—then leave without going into the store.

8 - Take a few small gifts to a shelter for women and children.

7 - Leave a gift at a neighbor's front door.

6 - Visit a home for the elderly and hand out homemade cookies.

5 - Write a letter to a member of the military who is stationed overseas.

4 - Watch a favorite Christmas movie with your family.

3 - Put on Christmas music and listen to it all day long.

2 - Have a family night out with dinner and a movie.

1 - Attend Christmas Eve services.

You may have some better ideas of your own.  Whatever you choose to do, make it a time when you think of others rather than thinking about yourself.  It will bring the true meaning of Christmas into focus.

Friday, November 25, 2016

THE WAITING OF ADVENT by Rebecca Edwards

The season of Advent.
The word “Advent” means an arrival of a notable person or event.  In the Christian tradition, Advent is a season.  An intentional time of waiting, Advent is quiet and dark.  We are getting ready for the Mystery of Christmas.  While the rest of the world seems to celebrate, those observing Advent are waiting for the reason we celebrate.

In our family, we have several Advent traditions.  First, Our church celebrates the first Sunday of Advent with a Hanging of the Green service, where we sing hymns and decorate the church.   The Chrismon (Christ-Monogram) Tree is the focus of our decor, with splashes of blue, purple, and white hanging from tables and walls.

At home, we gradually get our own Advent/ Christmas decor out and around the house.  Our church also helps with this in hosting the annual Advent Dinner Fellowship, which involves a potluck supper and creating a family Advent wreath.   The wreath represents the eternal Love God has for His people.  We light a candle for each of the four Sundays in Advent, one for Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.  Then, on Christmas Day, The Christ Candle (the big candle in the middle is lit, the life of Christ that has come into the world, pure and spotless.

We live near Baylor University, and every year, during the first week of Advent, we attend the Advent service in the beautiful Armstrong-Browning Library.  It is a lovely night that visually and musically sets our hearts ready for the season.

At home, our family begins Advent devotionals with The Jesse Tree, a journey through the people of Scripture that culminate in the birth of Jesus Christ, based on Isaiah 11:1:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

In 2010, I found a wonderful resource online from Ann Voskamp. It was a printable Jesse Tree devotional, complete with ornaments and daily Scripture. (Click here for the devotional.) Other resources are available, too, and it is fun for the children to hang an ornament on the tree each day as we approach Christmas.

As the season goes by, with Christmas events around town, we hold the waiting still.  While school “holiday” parties happen, we remember the “Holy Day” for which we are preparing.

However your family chooses to celebrate this Advent season, what is important to remember is this waiting prepares us for the journey of this Christian life. This waiting in the “not yet” is the daily practice of a Christian.

A note from Charles Kirkpatrick: Rebecca Edwards is a Native-born West Texan transplanted in Waco.  A wife, mother, volunteer, and substitute teacher, her passions include her Christian Faith, her family, her children, and her community.

Thursday, November 03, 2016


Thanksgiving 2016
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

It's just around the corner—the day we celebrate as Thanksgiving.  Isn't it interesting that we designate ONE DAY out of the year to give thanks to our God who so richly blesses us 365 days a year?  We should say, "Thank you" every day of the year!

It would be impossible to list everything I have to be thankful for, so I will just list what I will call My Thanksgiving Top Ten List.

10. My house – there are many people in this world today who have no place to live.  Many of them sleep on park benches and under bridges.

9. Food - we always have plenty to eat at our house.  Many people don’t.  Every day as I drive home from work, I see people standing beside the road holding a sign that says, “Will work for food.”

8. Clothes – I never have to worry about whether there will be clothes in my closet for me to put on each day.  Many people only have the clothes that they are wearing.

7. Health – I am thankful that I am blessed with good health.  Many people have a serious illness which keeps them from enjoying a full and happy life.

6. My country – I am thankful that I live in a country where I enjoy great freedom.  In many countries you don’t have much freedom.  In some countries you can be put in prison, or even put to death, for telling others about Jesus.

5. Teachers – I am thankful for the teachers that I have had in school and in church who have taught me the things I needed to know to live a happy and successful life.

4. Friends – I am thankful for my many friends.  In times of trouble, I have always had friends who were there to help me.

3. Family – I am thankful for my family.  God has given me a wonderful wife and son and many other family members whom I love very much.

2. Parents – I am thankful that God blessed me with wonderful parents who loved me, cared for me, and taught me about Jesus and his love.

1. Jesus – Jesus is number one on my list of things for which I am thankful.  No one ever loved me like Jesus.  He loved me so much that he was willing to die on a cross so that I can have everlasting life.  Thank you, Jesus.

Well, that is my Thanksgiving Top Ten list. I have been so richly blessed! The Bible says,  “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same." It is my prayer that I will begin to share generously of the bounty with which I have been blessed.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Freedom Isn't Free

On holidays, I fly an American flag on the lawn in front of my house.  I do this is a reminder to all who pass by of the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. July 4th is, no doubt, the most important holiday to us as Americans. It marks the birth of our nation which was founded on the principal of "Liberty and justice for all." In our country we enjoy a lot of freedom. Our constitution guarantees us the right of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." We are blessed to live in a nation where we enjoy that freedom.

This might come as a surprise to some, but freedom isn't free!  Someone had to pay a price for us to have the freedom that we enjoy. That price was paid by men and women who have served in the armed forces—the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. Many of you who are reading this have helped to pay the price for our freedoms. Many of you have had loved ones who paid the ultimate price—they gave their life fighting for our freedom.

You and I have a lot of freedom, but the greatest freedom that we have is the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. The Bible teaches that the penalty for sin is death, but you and I have been set free from this penalty. We have been set free because Jesus paid the penalty. The Bible tells us that Jesus died to set us free from the penalty of sin. Instead of death, we have been given eternal life. This freedom wasn't free, Jesus paid the price.

This week as we celebrate Independence Day,  I hope we will all remember to stop and thank God for those who have paid the price for our freedom. But even more important, let us remember to thank God for Jesus, who has set us free from the penalty for sin, because he was willing to pay the price.

Dear Father, we  thank you for the freedom that we enjoy in our country. 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. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


They may be the most important words in any language—do you know what I am talking about?  I'm talking about the words "please" and "thank you."  Barney, the big, purple dinosaur that I see on TV sings a song called "Please and Thank You."  He calls them "the magic words."

 He's talking 'bout please and thank you,
 They're called the magic words,
 If you want nice things to happen,
 They're the words that should be heard, [1]
When I was a child and asked my mother for something, she would often remind me to say "please" by saying, "What's the magic word?" Then, after she gave me what I asked for, she would remind me to say "thank you" by saying, "Now what do you say?" I knew what to say, but sometimes I would forget.  We all know what to say, but unfortunately, we sometimes forget to say it.

In 2007, I wrote to Standard Publishing Company and asked permission to use coloring pages from their Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages.  To my surprise, I received a letter from the Rights and Permissions Consultant, Joann Van Meter, and she said, "Yes." So, for the past nine years, we have been using their coloring pages.

On March 7, 2016, I received an email from Ms. Van Meter and she informed me that Standard Publishing had been sold to David C. Cook and the coloring pages would need to be removed from our website.  Even as I began to think about how I would accomplish this task, I began to pray, "Please, Lord, help me to resolve this problem.  Open doors and make it possible for us to continue using these coloring pages."

I wrote back to Ms. Van Meter and asked if she knew of someone I could contact to see if it would be possible to continue using the coloring pages with the permission of the new owner.  She gave me the name of Sondra Rymer in the Rights and Permissions division of David C. Cook and suggested that I start by contacting her.

I wrote to Ms. Rymer and shared information about Sermons 4 Kids, sent her a copy of the agreement we had with Standard Publishing regarding  the use of the Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages, and asked if we might be able to continue to use the coloring pages.

On March 10, 2016, I received a reply from Ms. Rymer granting permission to continue using the coloring pages.

Thank you, Lord, for the answer to our prayers.

Thank you, David C. Cook and Ms. Rymer, for allowing us to continue using the Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages.

Would you like to help me say, "Thank you!" to David C. Cook?  Here's how.  Go to their online store and buy one of their coloring books, craft books, puzzle books, or any of their many fine products. CLICK HERE!

[1]  (Words & Music by Phil Parker © 1992 Shimbaree Music)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

He Loves Me!

Have you ever wondered whether or not God loves you?  Maybe you have done something bad, like telling a lie, taking something that didn't belong to you, or maybe you have disobeyed another of his commandments.  Does God still love you?  To get the answer, you might play the "He loves me — He loves me not" game? You know how to play that game, don't you?  You take a flower, usually a daisy, and you pluck out the petals one at a time and with each one you take turns saying, "He loves me. . . He loves me not." The very last petal you pull out is supposed to tell you whether he loves you or not.  Do you think that is a good way to know if God loves you?  I don't think so.

To show how much God loves us, Jesus told a story about a man who had two sons.  One day, the younger of the two sons went to his father and asked him to give him all the money that would be his when his father died.  The father agreed and gave the boy his inheritance.  A few days later, the son packed all of his belongings and left home.  He went to a far away country and there he wasted all of his money in wild living.  When all of his money ran out, he went to a local farmer and asked him for a job.  The farmer hired him and sent him out to feed his pigs.  The young man was so hungry that even the food that he was feeding to the pigs looked good to him.

When the young man finally came to his senses, he realized that even his father's servants had a better life than he did. He said to himself, "I will return to my father and say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against you and against heaven. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  Please let me come back home and be one of your servants.'"

The boy began his journey home to his father.  While he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.  The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against both you and heaven, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

But his father called his servants and said to them, "Quick!  Bring the finest robe and put it on my son. Place a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Kill the calf we have been fattening and prepare a feast.  Let the celebration begin! My son was lost, but now he is found!"

You see, the father's love was not dependent on the behavior of the son.  The father loved his children regardless of their behavior.  That's the way it is with God's love for his children.  There is nothing we can do to be deserving of his love.  His love is undeserved, unending, and unconditional.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Be My Valentine

It is almost time for one of my favorite holidays — Valentine Day. It is a very special day because it is a time when we tell our friends, family members, and sweethearts how much we love them. There are many ways to tell that special someone how much we love them.  It is always sweet to say it with chocolate. One of the most popular ways is to give your sweetheart a Valentine card.

Valentine cards may be sweet or they may be funny. They may be warm and friendly, or they may be very romantic. I always spend a lot of time choosing a card for my wife because I want  her just how much I love her. I know that my wife likes to hear me say I love her, but do you know what she likes even more? She likes for me to show her how much I love her. One day I asked my wife to make a list of things that I could do to show her that I love her. This is what she wrote:
  • hold me
  • kiss me
  • hold my hand
  • spend time with me
  • take me out to eat
  • take me out to a movie
  • help me with the housework
  • wash the dishes
  • send me flowers.
Sure, my wife likes for me to tell her I love her -- but she likes it even more when I show her.

Do you think Jesus likes to hear us tell him how much we love him? I am sure that he does, but I think he likes it even more when we show him how much we love him. How do we do that? Well, you know that list my wife made? Jesus made a list too! The list that he made can be found right here in the Bible. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)  If we want to show Jesus how much we love him, we will read his Word and do what he told us to do. When you tell Jesus you love him, remember that he likes it even more when you show him — by keeping his commandments.