As you sit in your airplane seat waiting to depart, you see a young family walking toward your row, the 5 year old jumps in the seat next to you and says, "This is my seat right next to you. What is your name?," what is going through your emotions and mind?
When you are in line at the grocery store and the cart in front of you has a 2 year old letting out an ear-piercing scream because their parent said "No" to the candy, how are you feeling?
When you see kids deliberately touching something when they can clearly read the sign, "Do not touch" or running when it says "Do not run," what do you think?
How about when you listen to kids outright lying, making up completely ridiculous stories trying to convince you it is absolute truth?
How do you view and treat children?
When the disciples were arguing about who is the greatest among them, why did Jesus bring a child into their midst?
Can you picture that scene...
On their travels, the disciples had a boisterous conversation about who was the best, Jesus asked them what they were talking about. When they arrived in Caupernaum, Jesus gathered them together and then He put a young child standing in the middle of them. Then Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Taking the child in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not only welcome Me but also welcomes the One who sent Me.” Mark 9:35-37
What a powerful statement, how we treat, respond, deal with, relate to children is how we relate with Jesus and how we relate with God the Father.
Think of all the times Jesus relates with Children or talks with Children, more than we think.
-Jesus healed a child from a foreign woman.
-Jesus cast a demon out of a child.
-Jesus rose a little girl from the dead and a boy from Nan from the dead.
-Jesus picked up children and blessed them.
-Jesus used the few fish and loaves from a child to feed the thousands.
-Jesus taught adults to be more child like in their faith.
-Jesus was a child. He knows exactly what every child needs and wants.
How do you relate with children?
May we fully realize that loving every child means you are loving Jesus, Himself.
May we fully realize that when we ignore children, avoid children and treat children as less important, that is how we are treating Jesus. Yikes... Reread Jesus' words in Mark 9:35-37.
Children's Ministry, Summer Camp, Nursery, Sunday School are all ways for us to specifically love Jesus.
Thanks everyone for serving the little children all week long at Summer Camp.
Americans love to celebrate our freedom, especially on July 4th.
The question becomes in what ways are we using our freedom to celebrate? Are we gathering together to serve, care, and build up others? Or are we gathering together to serve our inner desires that get us into trouble?
Paul reminds us about what it cost Jesus to give us the gift of freedom in his letter to the church in Galatia.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery....
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:1,13-14
What are the freedoms that we need to invest in to love and honor God and others?
What freedoms do we need to stop doing because we do them in order to please God and indirectly use it as a bargaining tool?
What freedoms do we need to stop that are feeding our flesh and old nature desires?
Let's evaluate our free time and see how we are using that time to honor and love Jesus and other people:
Are we loving our neighbor as we love ourselves? Who is it that is bugging you, getting on your nerves and easy to dislike?
I think the best word in the entire world and throughout history is the word... GRACE!
It is such a smooth easy word to say but it is a world-changing concept that when truly understood just a little bit, begins to blow our minds. When we give GRACE to those that don't deserve it -- but need it -- then we experience a new kind of freedom. We are no longer held captive to negative thoughts towards another person. We let go by giving them grace and letting God take over our hearts.
It is truly a blessing to live in the United States of America. And we can directly bless others when we choose to love and live like Jesus did.
Using our freedom to honor and love Jesus and others together,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.