Every Sunday morning, we have a time in our worship service that is called “Children’s Moments.” The younger boys and girls gather around me at the front of the church, and I tell them a story.
It is a practice that I have followed for much of my ministry and often is the highlight of my week. I love to see the faces of the children as they listen while I share with them something about the Lord.
In recent days, our church has been blessed to have an influx of younger families with children. When we started “Children’s Moments” about four years ago at First Baptist, I usually had 10-15 children sitting on the steps beside me. On Easter Sunday last month, there were 42. We regularly have 30 or more.
One day as I sat on the steps and watched them all came forward, the thought occurred to me, “Am I crazy? Have I lost my mind?” You see, children do not come scripted. There is no telling what they might say or ask, so I have to be prepared for anything. Fortunately, my wife plays the organ, and we gather right beside her, so she often gets off of her bench and helps with crowd control.
Teaching children has helped me in so many ways. I have learned to speak more literally. Abstract words do not work. Many years ago, when I was third-base coach for my son’s T-ball team, I was waving a baserunner to go to home plate and called out, “Go home.” He actually stopped, looked at me and cried, ran to his mom and said, “Coach told me I had to go home.” Seriously. I was heartbroken.
So the next time a runner came by I called out, “Go to home plate!” Unfortunately, before he ever reached third base, he turned left and went home. From that point on, I would call out, “Touch third and run home. Touch third and run home.” The time had come to simplify.
Sometimes, I need to be reminded that the gospel really is quite simple. We can make it more complex than we should. But it really is rather easy to understand. God loves us. He looks down and sees that we have messed up things. Because of his great love, he has made a way for us to be forgiven and to have new life. That is the story of Christmas and Easter combined.
Jesus entered the world and lived a perfect life. And then he offered his life for us — a perfect sacrifice to take away our sin and guilt. That is the good news of the gospel in a nutshell. I hope you see that. I hope that you will let that simple message change your life. It is the best news in the world.