Wednesday, March 19, 2014

IT'S MINE - a talk about giving


About 10 labels with MINE printed in large letters on it
About 10 labels with GOD printed in large letters
Pad of fake $50 bills
·         Exodus 9:29, Psalm 50:10, Mt. 6:21

A while ago, there was a boy about 15 years old who had some model cars on his dresser that he had made a long time ago, but hadn’t used for years.  His younger brother – who was 9 – wanted the cars, and so the boys’ dad told the older boy to give them to his younger brother.  That made the older boy angry – they were his cars, and so he wouldn’t have to give them to his brother, he deliberately broke every one so his brother could see, and put them in the trash.

Let me tell you another story – this one about me.  When I was about 5, my mom was very sick.  My dad told me he would give me 25 cents and I could get my mom something or I could spend it on myself.  I decided to spend it on myself.

That story about me is kind of funny because I was only 5.  The first story isn’t funny at all because the boy was 15.  But both stories show something important.  When it comes to money, or things, or our time – deep down we think they are ours to keep as we want.

One of the first words little kids learn is “MINE”, right?  How many fights begin with two people wanting the same thing?  Has that ever happened with you and a brother or sister?
(have kids answer)

We may not know it, but this is what we believe – (Use stickers and put them on things – explain as you go – use $50 fake bills to show all my money is “MINE”, put a sticker on a person and talk about how you can think a friend is just for you and no one else and put a “MINE” sticker on him/her.  Talk about being too busy to help a little brother, or in gametime, how you want to win more than anything else, and don’t have time to help someone else – put a MINE sticker on the game scores sheet).

That’s what we believe deep down a lot of the time.  And not only does it cause problems like fights, but it’s believing a big, fat lie.  I HATE being lied to, don’t you?  But what’s the lie?

I need 3 helpers to look up some verses in the Bible that are going to show us what the BIG FAT LIE is:

Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the LORD’S and all that fills it

Psalm 50:10 – For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills

Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Look at all these things that I say are “MINE”.  Well, aren’t they?  They aren’t yours!  But what does Psalm 24:1 say – they belong to God.

(Take a sticker that says “God’s” and put it one by one on the things you had the MINE stickers on and say as you do it – my friend isn’t mine, she really belongs to God.
That money I have really isn’t mine, it really belongs to God.)

Let’s get back to my story at the beginning  of the boy who broke the cars rather than let his brother have them.  What do you think about what he did?  How do you think his younger brother felt? 

The way I see that true story, the older boy may have thought he won – he kept his brother from getting the cars – but I think he really lost.

I think he lost his brother’s trust – imagine how his younger brother felt towards him after he did that!  But I also think that older boy put all his “treasure” in stuff that was stupid, worthless.  And in a way, that stuff was pushing him around.  It was as if the stuff was saying – I’m so worth it that you need to do anything to keep anybody from getting your stuff.

I think that’s like being a prisoner.  It sure isn’t being free.

It’s hard to live as if everything is God’s.  But the truth is, it really is His.  We can fight it, we can act like everything is “MINE”, but when we do, we are believing the BIG FAT LIE, and I HATE believing lies, don’t you?

(Repeat 3 verses from above and pray)

Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the LORD’S and all that fills it
Psalm 50:10 – For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills
Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Ways to talk With God (Prayer)

Signs that say:

            I want you to think way, way back to the time you were a little baby.  Can you do that?  And I want to have you see if you remember what your very first word was.  Or maybe your mom or dad has told you what your first word was.

(Have kids answer – write on board??)

Sometimes a baby will be so happy to say “Da-da” or “Ma-Ma” or xx, that they say it over and over and over again.  Or maybe they sing a song over and over and over again.  Do any of you have younger brothers or sisters, and they keep saying the same thing?

How does it feel to hear the same thing over and over and over again?  Are you really mad at them, or do you just wish they could grow up a bit more so they could say more things?

Sometimes I think that the way we pray sounds a little bit to God like a little baby’s words.  We keep saying the same thing to God – things like – God please make David feel better.  Or God, please bless mommy and daddy.  Right?

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with talking to God that way.  He invites us to ask him for what we need.  But there are more things God would love to hear from us, so tonight I want to suggest 4 words that will help us grow up a bit as we pray to God.

Prayers like please make David feel better are what I call “Help” prayers (use sign).  Those are prayers where we ask God for things we need.  Can you think of other types of “help prayers”?

The second type of prayer I think of goes along with the “help” prayers, and that’s when God answers our prayers for Help, we can say “Thanks” prayers.  Thanks for Mr. Mika being back tonight after his concussion.  We said a HELP prayer to God for him last week, didn’t we?  But we’ve maybe forgotten to say a THANKS prayer to God for helping Mr. Mika, right?  HELP prayers and THANKS prayers go together.

What could be some other THANKS prayers?

Here’s a third type of prayer – one that you know about, but it’s a little harder to pray.  It’s called a SORRY prayer.  This is something you talk to God about when you’ve done something to hurt someone else, or against God.  A SORRY prayer is hard – can you think why?

(we are embarrassed, we don’t agree we did something wrong, we think God won’t forgive us).

Another reason SORRY prayers are hard is that sometimes we don’t know how to say we’re sorry.  So let’s imagine what a fake sorry prayer might look like:
(Have kids brainstorm)

Let me suggest what a real, whole-hearted SORRY prayer might look like.
God, you’re right.  I lied.  It doesn’t really matter why I lied, I did lie.  I said I went to x when I actually went x.  I will talk with Mom and Dad.  And if they punish me, that will be okay.  Help me not to lie any more.  Please forgive me, God.

Now THAT’s a Sorry prayer, isn’t it?

So let’s quickly go over it again-

What’s a HELP prayer?
What’s a THANKS prayer?
How about a SORRY prayer?

The fourth type is I think the hardest to understand, and it’s what I call a WOW prayer.
It’s telling God how great He is.  It’s different from a Thanks prayer, because we’re telling God how great HE IS, not thanking him for what he’s done.

So lots of the Psalms are WOW prayers – they use the word Praise the Lord. 

Here are some ways you might think of WOW prayers –

When I look at all the amazing types of birds you’ve made that are at my birdfeeder in the winter, I see that you’re amazing too!  Wow!

When I think that you are so powerful to make the planets, the stars, the black holes, and stuff we don’t even know exists yet, WOW God!

How about some other WOW prayers?

So let’s go back to how we started this thinking – little babies learn to speak slowly, and sometimes they only know one or two words.  But as they grow, they learn lots of ways of talking.  When we talk with God, sometimes we are like little babies – we only ask for what we need or want – only HELP prayers.  But God loves to hear prayers that thank him, prayers that tell him we’re really sorry for what we’ve done wrong, and prayers that talk about how amazing He is – WOW prayers.

Let’s do just that, okay?