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Turning Around

Children's sermon
Cows In Church
80 Biblically Based Children's Sermons
As the children gather on the chancel steps, they sit down as usual. "Is everyone comfortable?" I ask when they have gotten settled. Several children nod affirmatively. "Well, that's great," I continue, "but I need you to do something different today. I need all of you to stand up please, and turn around."

Dutifully, the children do as they are told (with the exclusion of one free-spirited five-year-old who challenges my directive by standing but not turning around; she confronts me with a broad grin). "Yes, young lady," I respond to her unspoken question, "I want you to turn around too." Having received the individual attention she sought, she joins the other children.

I say nothing more. Seconds tick past in silence. The children begin to fidget.
Finally one child looks back over her shoulder, perhaps to see what I'm doing, perhaps to encourage me to get on with things and not just leave her and the others standing there.

I put a finger to my lips to indicate silence, then motion to her with my hands to go ahead and sit down. The other children continue to stand, their fidgets becoming more intense; but they do not turn around. After what seems an eternity (all of 45 seconds have passed) I tell them they can turn around and be seated. Immediately they notice the youngster on the front row who is already sitting.

Responding to their observation, I tell them, "Julia's curiosity overcame her. She turned around while the rest of you stood there. So, without speaking, I motioned to her to sit down. Julia was paying attention to me with her eyes. The rest of you were paying attention with your ears. But because I asked you to do something unusual this morning, you were all paying closer attention than you might have otherwise.

"Our litany this morning opened with these words: 'Come with undivided attention to meet God who calls us from old routines.' That's what happened to the disciples; Jesus called them from their old routines (the things they usually did) to something new.

"Jesus was walking along the seashore where Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all fishing. Jesus said to them, 'Come, follow me, and I will make you fish for people.' Fishing was their routine; fishing was how they earned their living. Now, here was this man whom they had never met saying, 'Come, follow me, and I will turn you into a different sort of fishermen; come, follow me, and I will change your life completely.' And the most amazing thing happened. They did follow him!

"Jesus literally turned their lives around. That's why I had you stand up and turn around this morning, to have you experience something completely different than what you are used to; because Jesus calls us to do something different with our lives.
He calls us to follow him.

"When I left you standing there this morning, you began to listen more closely for the sound of my voice. The longer I left you in silence, the more you expected me to speak, to tell you what to do next; the longer I left you, the more closely you listened.

"Sometimes it's very important to stop completely, stand very still, and just listen. It's easy to get involved in the routines of our lives, the things we always do the same way, and not really pay attention either to what we are doing or to what God would have us do. Just as Jesus called to the disciples, 'Come, follow me ...' he calls us as well. But unless we pay attention, we may not hear him saying, 'Come, follow me ... Come, follow the example I have set for you to love one another ... and when you do, I will turn your life around; it will never, ever be the same.' "

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