Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Version 2 - Who's In, Who's Out

I've made some changes to this earlier talk.  Maybe you'll find it helpful. - Mary

WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT? Version 2

Wear a cross (the bigger the better) and hold a Bible (the bigger the better)
Blue masking tape

I think that most of us would say “yes” if someone asked us – are you a Christian.  What are some ways people think other people are Christians?

·         Wear a cross and hold a Bible
·         Go to church/AWANA
·         Talk to people about Jesus

Please get out your Bibles and turn to the Gospel of John ch. 13:35

Jesus says people will know you are a follower of Jesus by what?
(Loving one another)

Did Jesus say – all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for some people?  Or if you love kids your own age?  (ask children to read John 13:35 together out loud)
Sometimes Jesus calls us to do things that seem impossible!  But everything Jesus calls us to do, he helps us to do.  (*can you repeat that with me?)

I think that all of us sometimes are good at loving others, and sometimes not so good.  Let me give you an example.

(Take blue tape and mark out a line about 6 feet long on the carpet between you and the kids).

Let’s imagine that this line represents who I let in – people I “love”.  First, you have to notice that I’m the only one on this side right now!  I guess I have a way to go to love.

The easiest thing is to let people into my part of the line who are nice to me.  So let’s think of someone who has been really nice to me – I’m going to add (leader) inside the people I love.   (name), can you join me on this side of the line?

Then maybe you feel it’s a lot easier to like kids who are the same gender – so if you’re a boy, it’s easier to like other boys than to like girls.  Since I’m a girl, I’m going to invite a girl up here – (T&T girl) up here.  Oh, looks like I already have something going on here – what do you see?   (all girls) – thank them and ask them to return to their seats.

Okay, so maybe another type of person I let in to the people I love.  A few years ago, before I led gametime, I helped with the blue team.  So of course I want the Blue team win in gametime.  And that’s okay.  But imagine if someone joined my blue team and I when I saw him or her, I made a face or rolled my eyes when they came on my line?  What if I told them to go to another team because they would slow the team down!  But if I want to win really badly, I might be tempted to want only fast people on my side!

What if I only wanted smart people on my side, or funny people? Or people who are cool or popular?  Or if I only wanted to be with my BEST friend and I ignored everybody else.  Hmm, this problem of loving is harder than I thought.

We know from the verse we looked at – John 13:35 – that  Jesus says the world will know we are his because we love one another.  Now let’s look at John 15:17 just a little further on.  (have kids read it together).  Jesus says this is a commandment – an order to us!

If we are followers of Jesus, He’s the Boss, right?  And we want to do what he says, so let’s start loving others right here at T&T!  So I want you not to say anything, but look at the person on your left.  Is there room on your side for this person to be your friend?  Now look at the person on your right – how about room for THAT person to be your friend?  Now in front of you, now in back of you.  Now look across the aisle to the other side – what about them?  Or do you have a blue line to keep those people out?  It’s clear from what Jesus says that God is commanding you to love all of these people!  Kids who are funny and kids who aren’t so funny.  Kids who are fast at gametime and kids who aren’t so fast.  Boys to have friends who are girls, and girls to have friends who are boys.  And that is how people will know you are a Christian.

One way you can see if we need to do a little better at loving is to look at who you sit with each week at T&T.  Is it always the same friends?  If it is, what does that say about who we welcome and love?

Jesus said – John 13:35 – let’s let the world know that at T&T, we are Christians not only because we may wear a cross, or learn verses, but also because of the love we had for one another!  And if it’s hard, remember – everything Jesus calls us to do, he helps us to do!  Let’s stop now and pray about this together (have prayer begin with confession that we haven’t loved one another, and asking God’s help to do it here at T&T)

Jesus said people will know we belong to Jesus not because we wear a big cross, or carry a Bible or even if we know lots and lots of Bible verses.  He says it’s the love we have for one another that will show we belong to Jesus, so let’s be people who love!  And let’s get rid of any “lines” that separate us from one another (tear up line dramatically!).

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