Summary: First of a series based on the six pillars of 'Character Counts!'

Today, we are part of six or seven congregations in the East Noble School district that are addressing the six pillars of 'Character Counts!' program that East Noble has been running for the past couple of years. It is not often these days that the church and the school get together on the same page but that is what we are doing for the next six weeks. When the head of 'Character Counts!' for East Noble came to the East Noble Ministerial Association last fall to discuss the program, the pastors very strongly felt that this is something that we could get behind and support.

It is also nice to have the kids with us for the next six weeks. And kids, I am asking you to share with me ideas for an activity, a trivia question, or a thought that you have for the remaining five sermons.

(Slide 1) Here are the six pillars of “Character Counts!”: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship which is remembered as TRRFCC or Terrific!

Now before we look at trustworthiness, let's step back and look at why we are studying these six important qualities. In the Bible there a book called Proverbs (located next to Psalms) that contains a lot of interesting and helpful sayings. One of the big ideas in Proverbs is wisdom.

Now, what is wisdom? (Ask for congregational response.)

According to the first verses in Proverbs it is the purpose of wisdom that is as important to have as a definition of what wisdom means. (Though having a good definition though is important!)

(Slide 2) Here is what it says in Proverbs 1:2-4, “The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings. 3Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair. 4These proverbs will make the simpleminded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people.” (NLT)

These six pillars of character are related to wisdom because they are six ways of learning to be wise people. And wise people also learn, with God's help, to be people of good character.

When we make the commitment to follow Jesus, it is important to know that our character will need to change. For example, if we have a problem with our temper, we need to have Jesus helps us learn how to control our temper.

Being trustworthy is a very Christian thing to be and the Bible tells us to be trustworthy and gives us examples of trustworthiness. But before we look at what the Bible has to say, I want us to practice being trustworthy.

So I need four kids to volunteer for a trust walk. Okay, thank you!

Now what is a trust walk? Here are the directions.

(Slide 3) A trust walk has one person leading another person on a walk while their eyes are closed. The “blind person” has to trust the guide.

Now pair up and the person on the left is the blind person and the person on the right is the guide. Guides, take your partner around the sanctuary and back to where you started without purposely running them into something or someone. Those being led are to use their hands to cover their eyes. Ready? Go!

(Switch roles and do it again.)

Now, hard or easy to do? (Ask for feedback.)

I remember back during Sibs Camp last summer that Jonathon had enough trust in the camp pastor to fall backward into his arms from several steps up on a ladder. Pastor Tom was impressed by Jonathon's level of trust.

Who in the Bible might show us how to be trustworthy? (Ask for responses) (Slide 4) Well, I want to take us back to the Christmas story for a few moments and suggest that the Wise men demonstrated trustworthiness.

Let's look at Matthew 2:1-12

“Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him.”

3Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem. 4He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. “Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?” he asked them.

5“In Bethlehem,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

6‘O Bethlehem of Judah,

you are not just a lowly village in Judah,

for a ruler will come from you

who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

7Then Herod sent a private message to the wise men, asking them to come see him. At this meeting he learned the exact time when they first saw the star. 8Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

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