Saturday, May 31, 2008

Puppet Stories

This past weekend I was retelling some of the stories about my puppet characters that I had created years ago. The kids loved the stories so much that someone suggested I post them in my blog for all to read. SO, for the last couple days I've been cataloging all of the puppet plays I have written and eventually I hope to post the plays in a story format. I currently have over 170 plays and 16 puppets to work with. I'm hoping to repair my puppets and post their pictures along with the stories for all to enjoy

Friday, May 30, 2008

Outline For Sunday 5/25/2008


INTRO - Who do you think of when you here the name Ananias?
■ Do you think of a liar? In Acts 5 we read of a man named Ananias who along with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and gave to the common fund of the church part of the purchase money, pretending it was the whole.
■ Do you think of a priest? Towards the end of Acts in 23-25 we meet with another man named Ananias who had become high priest. Like the liar, he too was a bit of a hypocrite.
■ Do you think of a disciple? In Acts 9 we meet another man named Ananias. He is called a disciple that lived at Damascus and Paul later tells us that he was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there.
If you’re like me, when you think of Ananias, you usually think of a liar, never a priest and rarely a disciple. This morning I would like to think about the disciple for he had to do something for God, something that would have him facing his fears

I. MEETING THE PERSECUTOR - When we first meet up with Ananias we find that he is with no special distinction in the church, yet for the time being he became one of the most important persons in sacred history. Let’s look at his story.
A. The Vision - Ac 9:10 - I sometimes wish Jesus would speak to us today in such a manner as he spoke to Ananias and others in the Bible - In visions and in such a way that like Ananias, we would know it was Him speaking
B. The Command - Ac 9:11-12 - Once he had said “Here am I!” Jesus gave him his orders in detail. He is told exactly where to go, exactly who to see and exactly what to do. Have you ever wished God would so direct us with such exact commands?
C. The Fear - Ac 9:13-14 - We may be afraid to have to speak to any somebody, but Ananias was being asked to go to the most notorious persecutor of the time. I think he had reason to be afraid.
1. Saul’s trip to Damascus - Ac 9:1-2 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, ...
2. Sauls words on his past - Ac 22:4 "I persecuted this Way to the death, ...
3. In more detail - Ac 26:9-11 "So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus...
4. Despite what Saul had done, Jesus told Ananias to go - Ac 9:15-16 And go he did.
D. The Obedience - Ac 9:17 - We do not see any delays in Ananias’ obedience to go. How often do we respond with such speed? His obedience was as exact as Jesus’ command: Ac 22:12-16
E. The Outcome Ac 9:18-20 - The results of Ananias’ obedience was immediate; for Paul received his sight at once, and was comforted at once, and baptized at once, went out preaching Jesus. Furthermore the church had peace. Ac 9:31 The work that Ananias did that day has gone on to impact millions of people.

II. FEAR - I don’t know about you, but I would probably had been scared to death to carry out God’s orders. It can be hard enough to go to someone who isn’t set on putting you in prison, harming you, or even having you put to death.
A. Fear Is Real
1. The man who doesn't know the meaning of the word fear probably doesn't know many other words either. - Phillips' Treasury of Humorous Quotations
2. It is reported that the newspaper counselor, Ann Landers, receives an avenge of 10,000 letters each month, and nearly all of them from people burdened with problems. She was asked if there was any one of them which predominates throughout the letters she receives, and her reply was the one problem above all others seems to be fear. People are afraid of losing their health, their wealth, their loved ones. People are afraid of life itself. - The Bible Friend, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations
3. One day in July, a farmer sat in front of his shack, smoking his corncob pipe. Along came a stranger who asked, "How's your cotton coming?" "Ain't got none," was the answer. "Didn't plant none. 'Fraid of the boll weevil." "Well, how's your corn?" "Didn't plant none. 'Fraid o' drouth." "How about your potatoes?" "Ain't got none. Scairt o' tater bugs." The stranger finally asked, "Well, what did you plant?" "Nothin'," answered the farmer. "I just played it safe." - Illustrations Unlimited
B. The Affects Of Fear -
1. In the Bible
a. Fear sent Adam and Eve into hiding
b. Fear kept Israel from the Promise Land
c. Fear kept Israel from fighting Goliath
d. Fear almost took Israel back to Egypt
e. Fear had David killing to cover up his sin
f. Fear had Elisha hiding in the wilderness
g. Fear kept the disciples in the upper room
h. Fear .....
2. What fear does
a. Fear can tie up our thoughts focusing them in the wrong direction. Always thinking about what can go wrong can lead to...
b. Fear can keep one from getting out and doing things, from interacting with others, it secludes us and we lose....
c. Fear can affect our motivation and enthusiasm and as a result cripple our ability to influence others for the good and bring boredom to self. Without motivation...
d. Fear can cause us to procrastinate keep us from doing things especially things that take us in to unknown territory.
e. Eventually Fear can than lead to godlessness because it opposes faith. and can eventually turn into ungodly behavior.
f. Left unchecked, fear leads to health problems.
g. Fear at its extreme can bring about ones death. Not only does the stress brought about by fear wear down the body and shorten life it can keep you from getting medical treatments, or worse yet it can kill you outright.
C. Fear Can Be Overcome - One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, "Mommy, will you stay with me all night?" Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, "I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room." A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, "The big sissy!"
1. Admit - One of the first things to overcoming fear is to admit we are afraid. Ananias wasted no time in telling Jesus that Saul was trouble. Denying we are afraid will accomplish nothing. We need to be honest with our selves about our fears, honest with God about our fears and we need to be honest with those around us.
2. Examine - How often do we look back at in hind sight and think “I was afraid of that...” How often have we told some one “there’s nothing to be afraid of.” I remember a time when a black mark on a chair terrified a little girl because she thought it was a bug. Often times, when we see things from a different perspective, when take a closer look at what we are afraid of, we realize there is nothing to fear or there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be that the things we fear and want to avoid are there for our good. Jesus told Ananias He had different plans for Saul and he was already taking care of the problem at hand.
a. 2 Co1:8-9 so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God
b. 2 Co 4:11 so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested
3. Overcome - An important truth to remember when facing fear is that we are not alone, God is with us and He has made some promises to us that we can hold onto. With Jesus assurance, Ananias went to Saul. Here are some promises to us to help us on our way to overcoming fear.
a. Mt 10:24-31 ... "So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
b. 2 Tm 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
c. 1 Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,...
d. 1 Pt 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

CONCL - Ps 118:8-9 - The late President Roosevelt once said in a now famous radio address: "There is nothing to fear except fear itself." Mark Twain, has been noted for saying, "I . . . have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.". The same can be said of our fears. I’m not going to say there will never be a real reason to fear but when we do fear we need to take a look at the fear that besets us and turn them over to the Lord.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Outline For Sunday 5/18/2008


INTRO - Do we need Love?
• 1 Co 13:1-3 If I ... do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I ... do not have love, I am nothing. And if ... I do not have love, it profits me nothing.
• 1 Jn 4:7-11 .... Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
• Two friends were discussing the possibility of love. One said, "I thought I was in love three times.” "How so?" his friend asked. "Five years ago I deeply cared for a woman who wanted nothing to do with me." "Was that not love?" his friend asked."No," he replied. "That was obsession. And then two years ago I deeply cared for an attractive woman who didn’t understand me." "Was that not love?" "No," he replied. "That was lust. And just last year I met a woman aboard a cruise ship to the Caribbean. She was smart, funny, and a great conversationalist. And everywhere I followed her on that boat, I would get this strange sensation in the pit of my stomach." "Was that not love?" his friend asked. "No," he replied. "That was motion sickness."
We all have our ideas about love but what is it, what is love?

I. DEFINING LOVE - What is Love? Like I said already we all have our ideas about love.
A. The Funny - In a survey of 4-8 year olds, kids share their views on love. But what do little kids know about love? Listen to what they said.
1. "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
2. "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
3. "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
4. "Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redbird."
5. "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
6. "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
When it come to love our English language is limited. We use this one word as a catch-all for many different feelings. "I love my wife. I love Minnesota. I love our dog. I love cherry pie. I love a sunny day. I love my home." Oxford defines love as (1) an intense feeling of deep affection. (2) a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone. (3) a great interest and pleasure in something. (4) a person or thing that one loves. (5) a score of zero.
B. The Bible words - What about the Bible? It was not written in English but in Hebrew and Greek. What do we know about the words used for love in the Bible.
1. Hebrew - First we’ll head to the Hebrew words of which there is namely one with it’s several variations. That main word is “ahab” and like the English word love, it seems to represent several kinds of “love”
a. First, the word refers to the love a man has for a woman and a woman for a man. Such love is rooted in sexual desire, as in Gn 24:67 where Isaac took Rebekah and loved her.
b. It is also used of the love between parents and their children. In its first biblical appearance, the word represents Abraham's special attachment to his son Isaac in Gn 22:2
c. The word sometimes depicts a special strong attachment a servant may have toward a master under whose dominance he wishes to remain as referred to in Ex 21:5
d. Another use of this word relates to an especially close attachment of friends: as in David and Jonathan in 1 Sm 18:1
e. The strong emotional attachment and desire suggested by ahab may also be fixed on objects, circumstances, actions, and relationships
2. Greek - In the Greek there are mainly three words for love, two of which are used in the Bible.
a. The first word, which is not used in the Bible, is “Eros,”but its meaning is referred to many times."Eros" means physical love, sexual love
b. The second word is “Phileo” - It means "brotherliness,” “companionship," & “friendship.” "phileo" love is too often a temporary type of love. It is a love that says, "I will love you as long as....”
c. The third is “Agape” & "agape" is the word that is used in 1 John 4, where it says, "God is agape." It is a love that is different from the other two because it is totally unselfish. It is a love that is more concerned about making the object of love feel loved, than it is in making the lover feel loved.

II. THE ACTIONS OF LOVE - Most people who pass out heart shaped boxes of chocolates, who give roses, who send valentines & expressions of love have no idea what real love, the love of the Bible is all about.
A. Paul’s Famous Definition - 1 Co 13 4-8 contain on of the greatest definitions of love. As we look at it I would like you to notice that much of what Paul tells us about love is not feelings but actions and we all know that “Actions speak louder than words.”
1. Love is patient.
2. love is kind
3. is not jealous;
4. love does not brag
5. is not arrogant,
6. does not act unbecomingly;
7. does not seek its own,
8. is not provoked, -
9. does not take into account a wrong suffered,
10. does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
11. rejoices with the truth;
12. bears all things,
13. believes all things,
14. hopes all things,
15. endures all things.
16. Love never fails;
B. Misc. 1 Co 13 is not the only place in the Bible to learn about love
1. Jn 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. - Love is obedience
2. Jn 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. - Love is sacrifice
3. Ro 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. - Love doesn’t wrong
4. 1 Co 8:1 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. Take Care with Your Liberty - Love builds up
5. Cl 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. - Love unites
6. 1 Pe 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. - Love forgives
7. 1 Jn 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. - Love is action
8. 1 Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. - Love casts out fear

CONCL - Mt 24:12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. While this is to be true, it is by love that we are to be known to be Christians. Jn 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Because we have the Bible we can know what love is all about. Because we have a God of love we can know what love is all about and we need not let it grow cold.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Outline for Sunday 5/11/08 - Mother's Day


INTRO - The young preacher was shocked to hear the well-known evangelist utter the words, "I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life in the arms of another man's wife. Yes, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life in the arms of another man's wife." Then, following a pause, the evangelist added, "That woman was my mother." "I've got to use that!" the young pastor thought to himself. A few weeks later, as he was speaking to a civic group, the phrase leapt into his mind and he exclaimed, "I have spent some of the happiest days of my life in the arms of another man's wife." Then, after another long pause, the young man muttered meekly, "But for the life of me I can't remember who she was."
Throughout the Bible we find all kinds of mothers, some godly and some not. Mother’s you would gladly call your own, and mothers you wouldn’t want to claim even if they were.
Gn 2:18-23
Gn 3:20
Before the first child had been born, Adam named the first woman “Eve” because she would become the mother of all living. The name “Eve” means “life or living” and fits the idea of motherhood for it is through the woman, that God brings new life into this world and it through the woman that many a child is influenced. - for good or for bad.
Pv 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. This works for the good and for the bad.

A. Jezebel - 1 Kg 16:29-31 - Here a few things we know of Jezebel from what has been recorded in the Bible.
1. A Forceful Character - She used her gifts for furtherance of evil and by so doing she destroyed a king, her offspring and a nation.
2. An Ardent Idolater - Not only did she worship Baal and Ashtaroth, she also housed and fed hundreds of their prophets
3. A Dominating Wife - She became the feared leader in Israel, not her husband
4. A Corrupt Tree - Her offspring, her son’s her daughter followed in her foot steps of evil, both in Israel and in Judea
5. A Treacherous Schemer - She plotted the death of Naboth so as to get his vineyard for her husband
6. A Fateful End - Her end was not pretty for she was thrown out a window and eaten by dogs.
7. Summed up, she could have been called a “she devil” for she was evil to the core. Some mothers are bad but are they as bad a Jezebel? Well, at least one was, one that was influenced by her mother - Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah.
B. Athaliah - 2 Ch 22:10-12 - just like mom. Her story can be found in 2 Ch 22 -24
1. Wicked - While her Mom inflicted Israel, Athaliah married Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat and brought her idolatrous wicked ways to Judah. Like her Mom she was a dominating queen and trained her son Ahaziah in her wickedness.
2. Influential - Eight years after her husband Jehoram took the thrown, God removed him and Ahaziah her son took his place but only for a year. Both were wicked being influenced by Athaliah.
3. Deadly - After Ahaziah died, Athaliah killed her grandsons and all who could take the thrown and ceased it for herself.
4. Idolatrous - During her six year reign she destroyed part of God’s temple to promote and build a temple to Baal
5. Destroyed - When Joash - a legal heir to the thrown who had been in hiding - turned seven, he was crowned king and Athaliah was destroyed much like her mother.
Mothers have a great influence over their children for good or for bad. As a mother one needs to be careful not to be a Jezebel or an Athaliah. Fortunately, not all mothers are so bad, some have positive influences

II. EVEN GRANDMAS - 2 Tm 1:3-5 Mom And Grandma - They are only mentioned by name once in the Bible and as a result we have very little information about them.
1. Of the grandmother Lois, she was more than likely the Eunice’s mother and also a jew and a Christian with a sincere faith.
2. We are told in another passage that the mother was indeed a Jewess and that she was married to a Greek in a mixed marriage which,
3. It appears that this mother - grandmother team had a positive influence on one little boy and very likely trained him up in the scriptures. 2 Tm 3:15
B. A Great Young Man - If you haven’t figured it out yet, the young man that this mother - grandmother team influenced was non other than Timothy. As a result of their influence, Timothy was of great use for God.
1. As A Missionary - Ac 16:1-5.
2. A Messenger
a. 1 Co 4:14-17
b. Pp 2:19-20.
3. An Encourager -1 Th 3:1-3
4. A Teacher - 1 Tm 1:3-5
5. A Martyr - according to old traditions, Timothy continued to act as bishop to the church at Ephesus until he died a martyrs death. Legand says the great festival of Artemis led him to protest against the license and frenzy which accompanied it. The mob were roused to fury, and put him to death with clubs

CONCL. - Mothers continue to have a major influence on their children.
• Theodore Roosevelt said - When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls, who are to be the men and women of the next generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she only would realize it, a more honorable as well as more important position than any man in it. The mother is the one supreme asset of the national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or businessman, or artist, or scientist.
• Winston Churchill - A London editor submitted to Winston Churchill for his approval a list of all those who had been Churchill's teachers. Churchill returned the list with this comment: "You have omitted to mention the greatest of my teachers—my Mother."
• Thomas A. Edison said - I did not have my mother long, but she cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my experience, I should never likely have become an inventor. I was always a careless boy, and with a mother of different mental caliber, I should have turned out badly. But her firmness, her sweetness, her goodness, were potent powers to keep me in the right path. My mother was the making of me. The memory of her will always be a blessing to me.
• What will you say of your Mother?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Are You Ready To Pray Our Father In Heaven

INTRO - Jn 8:31-44 - We live in an age and culture that no longer believes in God’s absolute moral standards. As a result promiscuity runs rampant, pregnancies occur out of wedlock and many a child never knows who his real father is.
Jesus taught us to pray to “Our Father which art in Heaven.” The Phairsees thought they knew who their father was, do we?

I. GOD HAS MANY NAMES - Is 46:9 - A little boy was working hard on a drawing and his daddy asked him what he was doing. The reply came back, "Drawing a picture of God." His daddy said, "You can't do that, honey. Nobody knows what God looks like." But the little boy was undeterred and continued to draw. He looked at his picture with satisfaction and said very matter-of-factly, "They will in a few minutes." Have you ever wondered what God would look like if we were to draw Him? - The opening words of what is called the Lord’s prayer turn our thoughts to the one we are addressing.
A. Praying In The Wrong Direction - Dn 6:7-10 - Jesus taught us to address God, but how often do we find those who would rather address someone or something else. We are never commanded, or asked to pray to another god or person. We are not to pray to Satan, Baal, A statue or someone called a saint. Prayers to such as these are prayers going in the wrong direction.
B. What Will You Call Him - Through out the Bible you will find God being addressed by various names, each of which reveal something about Him, hence painting for us a picture of what He is like.
1. In Gn 17:1 - He is God Almighty
2. In Ex 3:14 He is I Am
3. In Ex 6:4 He is Jehovah
4. In Dt 4:24 He is a consuming fire
5. In Dt 4:31 He is compassionate
6. In Dt 7:21 He is a great and Awesome God
7. In Dt 10:17 He is the Lord of Lords and God of gods
8. In Ps 7:11 He is a righteous judge
9. In Ps 46:1 He is our refuge and strength
10. In Is 12:2 He is our salvation
11. The list could go on and on and on yet with all these wonderful names by which we could address God, Jesus asks us to address Him as Our Heavenly Father

II. THE PERFECT FATHER - Mt5:48 - It has been said that "a child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father." Recently a mother asked the preschool class in her Sunday school to draw a picture of God. They were intended to be used as an illustration for a Sunday sermon. Toward the end of class the children were excited to show off their work. They came up with rainbows and men with big hands. Finally, the mother’s daughter showed her picture: a man with a suit and tie on. "I don't know what God looks like," she said, "so I just drew my daddy instead." I doubt that God looks like our dad’s but do our dad’s look like God?
A. Why Is He Father - Why is your father your father?
1. God is “our Father” by creation;
2. God is “our Father” by re-creation.
B. When He Is Father - When we see God being addressed as Father it denotes a family relationship
1. It shows that “God [who is] heaven” is the believer’s Father.
2. The word “Father” establishes a relationship between a believer and all other believers.
3. The word “Father” pinpoints God as the believer’s source.
C. How Is He Father
1. In His compassion - Ps 103:13
2. In His giving Mt 7:9-11
3. In His disciplining - Pv 3:12
4. As a caretaker - Jn 15:1-2

III. THE UNWILLING CHILD - Mt 23:9 - One day, a first-grade student named Taylor asked his grandmother if he was a child of God. "Why, of course you are, Taylor," she replied. He looked puzzled, then responded, "Well I better get home and tell Mom and Dad--they think I'm theirs!" - Kenneth Woodward, writing in Newsweek magazine one summer, noted that God the Father is being ignored. Evangelicals focus on the Son, Pentecostals on the Spirit, Catholics on Mary and liberals erase maleness everywhere. “Few theologians these days seem to want a God who takes charge, assumes responsibility, fights for his children, makes demands, risks rebuffs, punishes as well as forgives. In a word, a Father. To be a father ones needs to have children. Have you ever thought about what it means to be a child of God? When we pray “Our Father who art in Heaven” are we willing to....?
1. Are we really willing to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of being one of God’s children? - 1 Pt 1:17
2. Will we strive for perfection or will we settle for mediocracy? - Mt 5:48
3. Children often like to imitate their parents. Are we imitating God? - Ep 5:1
4. All too often we want to be our own boss. We want to be the one in charge instead of the one in submission. We want God as Father but we want our lusts as well. - 1 Pt 1:14
5. Do we love those around us, we do if we are to be His child. - 1 Jn 3:10
6. Are we proving that love? - 1 Jn 3:18
7. When others see us at work are they apt to glorify God? Are we willing to let them? - Mt 5:16
8. Are we doing the Father’s Will? - Mt 7:21

CONCL. - Mt 23:9 "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. - I don’t believe that ever prayer we say needs to be started by calling God our Father. There may be times when God is more a stronghold for us or a provider or a comforter or a... Ultimately, I believe, it’s not about wanting God to be our Father, but are we willing to be His child and all that goes with that privilege. Are we ready to pray “Our Father in Heaven”

Sunday, May 4, 2008

There And Back Again

No Sunday sermon post for this weekend 5/4/2008 as we were out of town. On Friday we went to Brainerd to visit my folks and have a graveside service for my grandmother who passed away back in January. Although the state has been getting lots of snow and cold over the past several weeks, the weather for the service was beautiful. We also sort of celebrated Tracy's birthday. Now that we're home we can get back to normal.