God never ceases to amaze me. I love the way he reveals himself. And the unexpected times are my favorite times, like Sunday during the sermon. As I began to listen, the subject of the new series, A Spirit-Filled Life, was recently familiar. And then it dawned on me: it was the exact material we have been preparing and recording in the kids and preschool ministries for the month of July. We had no way of knowing it was lining up with the sermon series that way, but God did! (Side note: If you are a parent/grandparent/etc. of an elementary or preschool-aged child at c|Life, July will be a fun month for conversation. Be sure that you tune in on both sides, and then talk about the Holy Spirit together!) All of this is to say that I write this from a well-studied point of view… if you are a preschooler! And that is exactly where I want to jump in today, because sometimes, seeing things through the eyes of a child is the best place to start.
When we teach subjects like the Trinity — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — to little ones, it can get really interesting. Their little literal minds just cannot quite comprehend how one can be three. We sing songs and use visuals to lay the foundation for them to build their faith on. We have a song we sing and the words (condensed a little) go like this:
God the Father, God the Son,
God the Spirit, three-in-one.
God the Father loved me so,
gave his word so I would know.
God the Son, he died for me.
For my sins his blood he gave,
then he rose up from the grave.
God the Spirit lives in me.
Day by day and hour by hour,
helps me witness by his power.
After singing this with the children, we will use a visual of some sort, such as an apple, for example. When you cut an apple in half, you see a visual of an object that is three-in-one. The skin represents God. He is our creator and protector, surrounding us with his Word. The flesh represents Jesus, who took on the form of human flesh and came to earth to save us from sin. And the seeds represent the Holy Spirit, planted in us to grow (faith), become stronger, and then sow to others. Each part is different, with a special purpose, but all part of one apple.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized ever yone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
— Acts 2:38
During this series, we are focused on the Spirit. The Spirit that is always there, because it is part of the Trinity but, as Peter describes it, it is a gift from God, awakened by the act of salvation. Repentance leads to the awakening of the gift that has been inside us all along. The Spirit is our Helper, as we tell the kiddos. He helps us make good choices in our lives. From the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are dead to our old selves and raised to walk in new life, with a new name: Child of God. The Spirit then awakens to act as our compass, guiding us through our lives with fresh, new eyes. We are now part of the church, the Body of Christ. As we will teach our little ones in July, as part of the church we have an important job to do. We are to be leaders in our circle of influence. The world will look at us differently, as they should. We are to talk about Jesus to everyone we meet, telling them about how he loves them, and we are to do so without fear. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the wisdom and words to say, the courage to step out in faith, and the calm to make good decisions as they apply to our lives.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.”
— Acts 1:8
Because the Spirit lives in us, we do not have to be afraid. There is no reason to live in fear when times are uncertain. We do not have to hide in our “Upper Room”. Instead, we can put our trust in the Lord, casting our fears and doubts on his shoulders, receiving the gift of the Spirit through acceptance of Jesus as our Savior, and walk with confidence that the Holy Spirit will lead us, even when we cannot see too far down the road. We no longer have to crawl, but we walk tall. Today, let’s all take the time to rejoice in the gift we have been given through the Holy Spirit. Let’s live out the Lord’s teaching, and sow our seeds in the world so others can receive the gift of Salvation and new life in Christ!