Posted in Moments of grace

I think I connected

I had a couple of moments this morning when I knew I had connected with the congregation. The first was during the children’s sermon. As the three little ones watched and listened, I explained to them that I had been painting my son-in-law’s house the previous afternoon. It was really hot, and I thought I might still be thirsty today, so I brought a drink along with me. I then produced a can of Pepsi.

My son-in-law, our praise service music leader works for Coca-Cola, so we avoid Pepsi products like the plague. We rarely even say the P-word out loud. When my daughter, his wife, saw the can she audibly gasped with a huge “OH NO” look on her face. It was priceless!

But I had it all planned. I then produced the outside of a Coke can to cover it up. Then, because I really shouldn’t be drinking soda, I used the outside of a can of Lacroix seltzer to cover that up. You can watch my whole message here.

What was the point? We often try to cover up what we’ve done wrong. But God does a better job of covering up our sin with His forgiveness (Psalm 32). That’s why we confess, or admit what we’ve done. We’ve got the promise of His mercy.

The second connection came about two-thirds of the way through my sermon when I asked, “Did you ever eat something at home and hide the wrapper so no one would know?” I got an immediate chuckle from more than a few of the congregation. Obviously I’m not the only one who does that. We just need to remember that God does a much better job of covering up our guilt.

I can’t always tell if I’ve connected with people on a Sunday morning. It’s a blessing when I know I have.

Posted in children, heaven

Are there pointy hats in heaven?

party hatsEven though All Saints is technically November 1 on the church calendar, we celebrated it in worship today. And since we call it a “celebration,” the children’s sermon wasn’t too hard to put together. After all, if there’s joy in heaven when one person repents, we can celebrate here on earth too. So I gave out pointy party hats and party blowers, those things that unroll when you blow into them.

I knew those things would be fun, I just didn’t know how much fun. I got a big kick for the rest of the morning when I saw all these pointy hats sticking up from the pews as I preached. I also had fun working around them to bless the children who came up for a blessing at communion. Something so simple provided so much entertainment!

So as I reflect on the day, here’s my question: are there pointy party hats in heaven? On the one hand, one might immediately answer, “Of course not. That would be silly.” On the other hand, if the kingdom of heaven indeed belongs to little children, they may just bring their hats and noisemakers with them! I can so picture Jesus wearing a pointy party hat with the kids.

While we have little hints here and there throughout the bible of what heaven will be like, we’re not really going to know what it’s like till we get there. But I’m absolutely certain that when I breathe my last in this life and take my first breath in the next, if I see pointy party hats, I’ll know I’m in the right place!

Posted in Christmas, church, Ministry, sermon


My children’s sermon this morning came from the gospel, the account of Joseph and Mary coming to the temple with Jesus for their purification, where they met Simeon and Anna. Hmm. What would the kids connect with? I know – pigeons! The ancient law of Moses prescribed bringing two turtledoves or pigeons as an offering. I’ll just get a couple of pigeons. OK, not real ones, but a couple of cool stuffed ones.

SOTC - 2247 Childrens Sermon 12 31 17_preview
I was blessed to have my granddaughter Eden present in worship today to see the pigeons!

It was a hit. I know, because they wanted to take them home. Thank goodness we don’t have to bring pigeons anymore. Joseph and Mary brought a better sacrifice, the sacrifice, the Savior to the temple that day.

I had the pigeons out on the pulpit for the service. They’ll nest in my office until the next time I need them, a powerful reminder of God’s grace!