Summary: Using the Polar Express as our spring board this message deals with how we lose childlike faith and explores 4 ways that we can rebuild our childlike faith
Service opens with a drama with a story about the importance of a childhood Bible and how it reminded her of a faith that over time she had lost...
Introduction: I had a Bible similar to the one Lisa described. It zipped up and had a colorful scene on the cover of something in the Promised Land. Every so many pages there were pictures of Bible stories. There was Daniel in the Lions Den, there was Jonah being swallowed by the big fish, there was a picture of David standing over a dead Goliath and then in the New Testament there were pictures of Jesus with children, or a shepherd with sheep. But I was very little when that was my Bible. It seemed easier to believe and be inspired by those pictures when I was little than it does now.
I wonder why that is? Is it just because when we’re small we are more impressionable? Is your faith more of a cherished childhood memory or something that still inspires you and moves you to action today?
Maybe your faith is more like your childhood memories of Christmas? Quaint, a little naïve? I distinctly remember Christmas Eve growing up. It was the most amazing night of the whole year. I was completely unable to sleep that night. I remember lying awake at night and each second that ticked by seemed to last an hour. I remember crawling out of bed at 2 in the morning to try to sneak downstairs and having the hard wood floors creak beneath my steps and my mom or dad telling me to get back into bed. It was just a magical time. I remember putting out milk and cookies and writing a note to Santa and being amazed in the morning when there were just a few crumbs left on the plate that we had put out the night before.
But as I grew older I became more cynical. I want you to watch a brief clip from the Polar Express, which follows the story of a boy who was losing his faith in the magic of Christmas.
Play Clip fromt he Polar express where boy looks through newspaper clippings and an encyclopedia to see if Santa is true.
You remember those kinds of questions? How can Santa get everywhere in one night? How can he hold all of those presents on his sleigh? Do reindeer really fly?
How did we lose our childhood faith and optimism? Does that come automatically from the passing of time, or said another way, from AGE? That same thing happens with our faith sometimes.
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
Faith like a child. Jesus was teaching his disciples that it was people who have faith like a child that are going to inherit the kingdom of God! What does that mean exactly?
When it comes to childhood fantasies and dreams we can all probably remember times when reality started creeping in. I remember when my kids figured out that the tooth fairy was me, because I completely forgot about the tooth being under the pillow until Sarah came to me with that annoyed look on her face. I tried explaining that there was a rift in the tooth fairy union and that all the fairies were on strike but that didn’t go over too well.
Similar episodes erode our child like faith too. I want you to turn in your Bible to Mark 9:14-29.
Before we start reading let me set the scene for you a little. Peter, James, John and Jesus are coming down the mountain. It was there that they saw Jesus “transfigured” which basically means that he changed in front of the disciples revealing to them some of his deity, his glory and so forth. They were coming back down the mountain when we start this passage.
Read verses 14-18. Okay, we know have seen all the characters that there are in this story. Each of them have lost their childlike faith and we can see how as we read this story.
First there are the religious leaders in verse 14. Jesus regularly came down on these guys, primarily because their faith was just an external system of rules and regulations. They were more interested in their image than they were about becoming the people that God was calling them to be.
On another occasion Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and he said this: "How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs--beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” Matthew 23:27
1. Religion without Relationship.