Try this experiment. Turn your radio on. Now dial it to your favorite station. Next, turn the dial just a wee bit more, so that you're still getting the signal, but a lot of static is coming through also.
What's the point? Just as a radio dial must be committed 100 percent to the station to do its job, so must we commit ourselves to Jesus Christ. Yet many of us try to have it both ways. We want to tune into God, yet we also want the world. We want to walk in truth, yet we do not want to discourage temptation entirely. So we get both the music and static.
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.