WHO or WHAT inspires you, and WHY? – Children’s Talk

This Children’s Talk was written for the 5th Sunday After Trinity – Year A; 2017 – Note this talk does not correspond to the Lectionary readings for this Sunday.

I will link to additional resources in due course.

Readings utilized:
Deuteronomy 31:8
Proverbs 1:2-6
Mark 4: 30-34

Part 1

May I speak in the name of the Living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

I would like you all to have a quick think about this question and tell the person next to you: WHO or WHAT inspires you and WHY?

Does anyone want to share with everyone?

Here are a couple of examples of who inspired me to be who I am today and why.

• The Vicar
 They is always there for you, whenever you may need them.
 They helps when I have questions
 They are a FRIEND

• A Youth Worker
 A friend
 A guide
 Someone who helps us to realize, and achieve your aspirations

I love the first few verses in the Book of Proverbs which explain exactly what an inspiring person could be. Let’s take a look at the verses.

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.
Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance,
by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.

Proverbs 1:2-6

But there is someone else too who inspires me and I hope many of you.

• God!
 The one person that knows me! He knows me even better than I know myself.
 He never leaves you alone, even in times of weakness and when you are struggling.

There is a verse from Deuteronomy which really sums this up.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

The next part takes a look at the words of two songs, so let’s stand and worship by singing these two very meaningful songs; Amazing Grace and The Ink is Black, The Page is White.

Part 2

So we have looked and talked about who might inspire you, and have sung two songs. But let’s now take a quick look at the meanings of those songs.

Amazing Grace – Origins

  • Written by John Newton, based on his personal experiences.
  • This was in the Atlantic Slave trade.
  • 1748 a HUGE storm hit and everyone was fearing for their lives. He prayed and felt God’s presence and that marked his spiritual conversion.
  • Left slave trade in 1754 and started writing hymns.
  • Most well known is ‘Amazing Grace’ and was written to illustrate a talk on New Year’s day in 1773. `
  • Amazing Grace is essentially John Newton’s autobiography of his life story. How he was involved with the slave trade, met God and became a freer of slaves and campaigned for their freedom.

The Ink is Black, the Page is White – Origins

  • The song was inspired by the United States Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, in the US State of Kansas in 1954 which that outlawed racial segregation of public schools.
  • The original lyrics of the song opened with this verse, in reference to the court: “Their robes were black, Their heads were white, The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight, Nine judges all set down their names, To end the years and years of shame.”

So how do these songs feed into our story and question for today?

The Parable of the Mustard Seed that we read earlier told us how the mustard seed grew into a big tree when it started out as the tiniest of seeds.

It is a big change to go from something so tiny to something as large as a big tree that you can shelter under and see from a long way off.

When Jesus used the mustard seed to explain to his disciples what the Kingdom would be like, he knew that they would be inspired by the changes that could happen in the world.

That is exactly like what happened with John Newton and the slave trade, and with the US Supreme Court decision in 1954.

Both were the starts of processes that changed generations of people to come. They were the INSPIRATION for their generations in starting to get equality for everyone.

Jesus was the inspiration for his generation. He inspired his disciples to grow like mustard seeds in their faith to go and tell the good news that He brought.

Those people that inspire us, whether that be God, your Parents, our Priest, Youth Worker, or our favourite athletes, they are our inspiration to grow like a mustard seed does.

So let’s all go out today, and leave here with the ambition to grow, inspired by whoever and whatever you have thought about today. And remember that God is with us all the time. Jesus could be our ultimate inspiration as to how we would like to grow.

Amen.

Winning the Prize – Children’s Talk

Over the last few years I have had the privilege of leading services within my Benefice of 3 churches. On this blog, I hope over time to be able to share these talks/order of services with you, so that my teachings can be a help to you too, should you be struggling for inspiration in your services.

This first talk is from a children’s service called Lighten Up! which I led on Sunday 21st October 2012. It is called ‘Winning the Prize’ Additionally I have an opening and closing prayer that I wrote which can be used too.

Winning the Prize

When there is a contest the winners get a trophy or at the Olympics a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal.

I am sure you all enjoy the praise and congratulations you receive when getting your trophy or awards and afterwards when you are being cheered.

But also it is a sign for others to see that you have done something very special.

James and John asked Jesus for something very, very special because they thought they were special themselves, but they also knew that Jesus didn’t hand out awards to people.

What they wanted was to sit on his left and right in his Kingdom.

But Jesus said that it wasn’t for him to decide who could sit next to him in heaven. For the ones who will get that honour are the ones that are servants and helpers to everyone else. For those people, getting up in the morning they are full of life, and a bundle of energy, ready to do God’s will.

The Hebrew word for this is Nephesh, which literally means the breath of life, ambition or living creature.

Two weeks ago at Harvest we looked at the story of creation in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, but a couple of verses later in, it says:

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:7

God had planned all along for those that are full of life, or with ambition to be his servants and it is those of us that will get to sit at his side in his Kingdom. Remember he created us:

in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

He created us all to be like him, servants to others, just like he sent Jesus to be a servant and not to be served.

God’s kingdom is not about winning prizes or honour. It is about service to others. Look at the life of Jesus! What better example of a servant is there? He came not to be served but to serve, dying on the cross so that we might have eternal life!

That is the greatest prize anyone could ever have!

Opening Prayer

Lord God, we thank you for bringing us here together today. Make us all humble and unite us through your word and prayer. We pray, Lord Jesus that you open our hearts and our ears and make us quiet and attentive to your Holy Word. May your Holy Spirit and your Word guide us and light our way.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father as we come to the end of our time together we thank you for what has been accomplished here in your church today. May the matters raised help us to move forward and cause us to advance and see growth in all areas of our lives. May we leave here recognizing that you are the God of all wisdom and you are willing to lead us forward.