Purpose Statement: How do we evaluate our own personal sincerity as we try to put our faith into action?
When you were a child did you ever play pretend? Did you ever make-believe you were Wonder Woman or Superman? When you dressed up in a Halloween costume were you pretending to be some other character? If you were ever in the theatre or acted in school plays, in a sense you were pretending to be something other than you really are. The question you probably don't like to ask is, "Do you or I ever pretend to be a Christian?"
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.