Here is the bottom line. It's not how much prime worship time we spend with God on Sunday, but how much quality time we allow for him the remainder of the week. We can't get away with Sunday-only worship anymore. Although grace before meals is commendable, he relishes more in-depth encounters. Although personal prayer before bedtime and upon awakening helps us to stay in touch, what he is after in our lives is arm-in-arm fellowship, those two-on-two encounters. Some of our more intimate moments with him come through sharing time with our families. Does that seem far-fetched?
I am so happy to see you this morning. How are you? (children may respond)
Let's play a game I call “Lost and Found.” Okay? (children respond)
(presenter role plays) Uh, oh, I lost something for today's message. Hmm, I wonder where it could be. It's a box like this. (shows approximate dimensions) (instruct the children to look around the immediate area) (then presenter or child finds it)
Since the Fourth Sunday in Lent has been historically identified as Laetare (Rejoicing Sunday), it is most appropriate that the lessons collectively testify to a theme for which we can rejoice — God saves us by his grace!
In this familiar and well-loved story of the Prodigal Son, I often wonder what happened to the mother of the family. She's totally ignored. So are any daughters. It seems like a completely male stronghold. So much so that I wonder whether perhaps the mother had died some years previously, and that was the cause of much of the unhappiness displayed by both the father and the sons. Or whether the father was such a domineering character that his wife played no real part in family life, but simply bowed her head in compliance with all his wishes, no matter how extreme they were.