Connecting with the Creator’s Kid’s Kids

November 12, 2017

Have you ever stepped on a piece of Lego, in the dark?

Have you ever wondered how something so small that provides so much enjoyment can cause so much pain?

Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to explain the science behind the pain.  There are basically four reasons that are wrapped up in this.

So first of all, you hear people talking about stepping on Lego more then stepping on say “Hot wheel” cars or “My Little Ponies” or Barbie Shoes.  That’s because there is an incrediable amount of Lego bricks in the world. According to the Lego corporation, there are enough Legos in the world for every person on earth to have 83 bricks.   And while the Pinterest group will tell you all about their Lego tables more times than not it ends up being played with on the floor.

 

Secondly, we step on those little torture devices with the sole of our foot which is loaded with nerves, making it quite sensitive. There are so many nerves in our feet because they are needed to keep us balanced.

Thirdly, Lego have sharp corners and knobs and that helps aggravate all those nerve endings in your foot.

Finally, Legos have no give to them,  they are really well made. While many toys might give and break when you step on them, LEGOs don’t. Those in the know tell us that a Lego has to be subjected to approximately 4,240 Newtons of force before it deforms.  And a single brick can support 953 pounds of pressure before it compresses.

That means when you step on a LEGO, instead of giving way and absorbing some of the force it transfers all that force right back into the nerves in the sole of your foot.  No wonder you say ouch and other fun things.  And if you step on a Lego you want to hope it’s on carpet and not tile so some of the forces is absorbed.

I read a fun article this week, at least fitting.  Drew Dyck an editor at Christianity Today wrote that he recently heard his five year old son preaching to his 3 year old sister and he finished his Gospel presentation by telling his sibling, “When Jesus came back from being dead, he could do anything. He could even walk on Legos!”  That’s almost as impressive as walking on water.

This is week 5 of our connect series and over the past few weeks we’ve looked at how we were created to connect.  How we need to connect with our Creator.  How we need to connect with the Created, that is ourselves and last week we looked at how we need to connect with the creator’s kids, that is other Christ followers.

Today I want to go a little deeper into that as we look at how we connect with the Creator’s Kid’s Kids.  That is the children at Cornerstone.

Now some people are like W.C. Fields in their philosophy of children, you might recall that someone once asked him “How do you like children?” and he replied “Fried.”

But Jesus had a different view of Children, we all know the stories of parents bringing the children to Jesus to be blessed and what happened.  Here is Mark’s account

Mark 10:13-16  One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.  When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

And even those who have never read the King James Version of the Bible know the lineSuffer the little children to come unto me,”  Or maybe they only know it from the Stephen King short story.

But it certainly says something about Jesus’ personality and character that people would bring their children to him.  Most parents don’t take their kids to creepy or grumpy people.  Well, grumpy grandparents are acceptable, as free babysitters.

And they did, they brought their kids to Jesus to be healed and to be blessed.  And he did both.  Once we even read how he raised a little girl from the dead.  And it would appear that Jesus liked kids and that kids like Jesus.

The Bible tells us how Jesus took children in his arms and blessed them and it didn’t say that the kids fussed or screamed at that point, instead, they seemed to want to be held by Jesus.

And throughout his ministry, Jesus spoke about how we had to become like children and used terms like being born again and the new birth.  And it was in relation to how we interact with children that Jesus issues one of his harshest warnings, and that was read for us earlier.

Let’s read those five verses again, and let’s read them together Matthew 18:1-6  About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them.  Then he said, “I tell you the truth unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.  But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Wow, I mean we want to stop after we hear the part about little children being the greatest in God’s kingdom.  That’s kind of cool and very much like Jesus.

But then there is the entire having a millstone tied around your neck and being drown in the depths of the sea.  That doesn’t sound very Christ-like at all.

Same Jesus, and he seemed a little intense on this one.  Now there are those who would say that Jesus shifted gears and direction here and was no longer talking about children but was talking about those who were young in their faith.  But sounds like he was still talking about children to me.

So, it would appear that we have a responsibility for the spiritual welfare of children but more than that we have an obligation to not do anything that would cause them to stumble in their faith.  And that can be a little daunting.

So you can just picture Jesus with a child on his knee saying:  Matthew 18:5  “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

But what does that mean?  How do we welcome children at Cornerstone?

When You Welcome Kids You’re Investing in Kids  When you invest in something you are preparing for the future.  You don’t necessarily invest in stocks so that you will have a return for tomorrow.

Warren Buffet who knows a thing or two about investing said “If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

Jesus’ brother James reminds us in the letter he wrote,  James 4:14  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.   

 Here is your positive thought for the day:  You’re all going to die and if we don’t invest in children at Cornerstone this local church will die when the last hearse drives away.

And that goes for every local church and because of that it applies to every denomination and because of that it applies of all of Christianity.

And our church is here because of investments people made years ago.

Going back to Buffet, he also said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”  Many of the adults who are sitting here today are Christians because a church invested in them when they were children.

When I was at Dad’s 80th birthday last month a man came over and introduced himself, I hadn’t seen Dale for over 40 years, but when I was a kid he went out of his way to take me to Christian Service Brigade at Rothesay Baptist Church. And while I didn’t make a commitment to Christ during that time it was laying the foundation for when I did.  Dale Carson didn’t know it at the time, but he was investing in the future of Cornerstone Wesleyan church.

Investing in Kids Comes With A Cost  Here is a truth of life, anything worth anything will cost you something.

If you are a parent then you know how expensive kids can be.

In 2015 According to Money Sense magazine the average cost of raising a child to age 18 in Canada was a $253,954. That is over $13,000.00 a year.  That represents what you will spend on food,  clothing, the increase in the cost of transportation and housing.  As well as school supplies, healthcare and sports equipment.

That’s over a quarter of a million dollars, per kid.

When a church commits to being a kid-friendly church that comes with a cost as well.  If you look at our budget you will discover just how much we invest in children.

There is the cost of Curriculum and equipment.

The cost of staff, Pastor Marilyn’s primary focus is our Children, one of Pastor Deborah’s focuses is the nursery.  One of Pastor Stefan’s responsibilities is the Youth group.  One of Mike’s duties is handling all the of the back checks for the volunteers who work with our children.  There are additional costs for the building

There is a cost to the building, kids are a lot harder on carpet and gyprock then adults are.  Mike has become super proficient at fixing holes in the wall.

And I have been in churches that look like museum pieces, the paint is pristine, the carpet is spotless, the glass is fingerprint free and that is because there isn’t a kid to be seen.  And the building is in perfect condition, just before it closes for good.

There’s even a cost as far as our preferences and our comfort.

There are churches that are very deliberate about saying that children aren’t welcome in the adult service.  What we say is they we work hard at having age-appropriate programming for your kids, and that’s where they are going to learn the most.  And sometimes the message isn’t always kid friendly, that’s because it was prepared for adults.

But if you bring your children in just be considerate if they begin to fuss.

I was talking to a fellow pastor a while back about children in the service and he said, “I wish fussing children bothered people without kids less. . . And I wish they bothered people with kids more. “

If a child is fussing in the service, glaring won’t fix the problem, and if it means that a parent doesn’t bring their children back to church, then we are into the millstone around the neck scenario.

On the other hand, parents you’re used to hearing your children fuss and whine but other’s aren’t.  Just be courteous.

And there is also a cost involved with our volunteer staff.    We aren’t just looking for warm bodies we are looking for people who will impact the eternities of these children.

We are asking you because we think you can make that impact, we are asking you because we think you are willing to invest in the eternity of these children.  And we know it’s going to cost you a service a month, and thank you for being willing to make that sacrifice. And we can’t do it without you.

But understand you aren’t just filling a spot on the teaching roster, you are having an impact on a child’s eternity.  Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to offer the programs that we do.

Please remember that it’s not just your kids it’s other children as well.  And please don’t ever use the line, “Well I’ve done my time”.  We’re not talking about your serving a sentence we are talking about you introducing Children to Jesus and teaching them about him.

And if you don’t, then it might not get done.  We have a really good curriculum and if you teach then you realize that it doesn’t take hours of preparation to get ready for Sunday.

Thank you to each of our children and youth ministries volunteers, we seriously couldn’t do what we do without your help.

I know that we ask a lot, but there’s a lot at stake.

And if you are feeling a tugging at your heart to impact those lives then talk to Pastor Marilyn, or Pastor Deborah or Pastor Stefan.

And parents, sometimes there is a cost of simply being the parent and bringing your kids to church.  You say but they don’t want to come to church.

For most of 12 years, I didn’t want to go to school but my parents made me.  I wasn’t overly keen on going to the dentist, but my parents made me.  And because of that, I have an education and teeth.

I was talking to a lady at the Berkeley a couple of weeks ago and she told me that when she was a kid her parents had her in piano lessons and she got to the place that she didn’t want to take any more lessons and her mother said she could quit piano lessons but it came with a warning.

Her mother said, “Someday you will be in a room with a piano and someone will ask, ‘Can anyone play the piano?’ and you are going to have to say no and you’ll regret this decision.”  And this lady, her name is Margaret said, “Every once in a while, that happens and I think, ‘mom was right.’”

And not being able to play the piano will be very insignificant in the big scheme of things.  Knowing about Jesus won’t be.

And you can’t make the decision for your children to follow Jesus. But you can do everything in your power to make sure they do, and you can do everything in your power to make sure that you don’t put anything in their path that will hinder their decision.

And that even includes good things, that aren’t the best things.

And that leads us to the fact that Investing in Kids Comes with a Return   

The first practical return is that if we invest in kids the church will continue to survive.

But more than that, when we invest in children we are investing in their eternities.

There will be adults in heaven because of the money we spend and the hours we spend investing in them when they are children. 

Today in the two services we are baptizing a total of seven children between the ages of 7 and 11.  They are putting a stake in the ground about their faith.

And next week we have some more teenagers who are being baptized and some more children.

And some people wonder about baptizing children, but if they know they’ve made a decision to follow Christ than they need to take the step.

This will give them something to look back at when the temptations come in their teen years and adult years.  Where they can look back at a pivotal event in their lives and say, “On that day I publically declared my commitment to Christ.”

There is a great story in the book of Acts chapter 16, about Paul and Silas being put in prison for preaching the Gospel and an earthquake caused the doors of their cell to be opened.

The guard thought they had escaped and was about to kill himself because he knew what the punishment for allowing his prisoners to escape would be.  Paul assures him that they are still there and the guard asks the all-important question: What must I do to be saved?  And we pick up the story in Acts 16:31-34  They (Paul and Silas) replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”  And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.  Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.  He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

So no, I don’t have a problem with baptizing children who have made a decision to follow Christ.  I love the quote from Max Lucado who said “Baptism separates the tire kickers from the car buyers.”   And that applies to children as well as adults, they know that this was a decision that they made.

And the great thing is that the majority of the kids we are baptizing today, were led into their relationship with Christ by their parents.  And that’s how it’s supposed to be, if you are wondering how to do that you need to talk to Pastor Marilyn.

So Why Should we connect with the Creator’s Kid’s Kids?  Well because it’s an investment in the future of our church and the church.   More important it is an investment in their eternity.  And more important still is that we were commanded to.

But We Can’t Forget the Warning  Listen again to the words of Jesus, Matthew 18:5-6  “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.  But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Let’s make sure we do everything in our power to make sure that kids are welcomed in Jesus’ name and everything in our power to make sure we don’t put anything in their path that will hinder their journey.


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