Summary: June 7, 2009 Communion Meditation and Kid’s/Teens Day Message
As we prepare for Communion this morning, I first want to share some things with our kids and teens and especially our graduates.
Here it is in one sentence. (Ready? It’s profound! Are you sure that you can handle it?)
Slide 1 – ‘Work on your insides first.’
Now, what do I mean by this? Do I mean your literal insides? No. But good health is important.
Do I mean that you are to ignore your family, work, or community? No. Those are important commitments.
Slide 1a - What I mean by your “insides” is your character.
Now what is character?
Slide 2 – Character is more than your personality. It has to do with your reputation, your spirit, your ‘moral fiber.’
Now I know that if you attend an East Noble school you have been studying important character traits this past school year in addition to your regular studies.
What are the six character traits that you have studied this past school year? (Let’s check to see if we got them all!)
Slide 3 – Here are the ‘Six Pillars of Character’ as defined by the Josephson Institute of Ethics.
What does the Bible have to say about our character? It has a lot to say and there is one Bible passage about character to look at this morning.
It is Galatians 5:22-23 and here it is
Slide 4 - But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Fruit, as used in these two verses, refers to character traits. So, we could read them like this:
Slide 5 - But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of character traits in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Last week, I talked with the adults (and some of you) about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God and God is the Holy Spirit.
This might be hard to understand and believe but let me put it to you this way.
Slide 6 – To understand what we call The Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – think about water.
• Water as a solid – God the Father. Good dads are solid in that they are there to back us up when we need it. God is our Heavenly Father who is there to back us up and loves us with a deep and powerful love.
• Water as a liquid – God the Son. Jesus talked about water when He walked around Israel. It was a symbol of God’s ability to change us. Baptism (and maybe some here today want to affirm or re-affirm their relationship with and faith in God through baptism this summer.) includes being immersed in water.
• Water as a gas – God the Holy Spirit. When water is heated, it is used for heating our homes, making hot chocolate (and, that all-important beverage, coffee!), and washing our clothes. It also provides power just like the Holy Spirit provides us the power and ability to change and become people that God is pleased with.
Slide 7 – These traits are therefore very important for us to let God develop within us. It takes a lifetime to make happen. It requires our cooperation with God.
Now, there are many good people out there and you will meet many of them as you go through life. Yet, there are also some people who are not nice and you will meet some of them as well.
The difference has to do with character. What kind of character do they have?
When you apply for a job, you will be asked for references. References are people, other than your parents, who know you and know your character.
And your character will be asked about by a prospective employer because they want to know some important things:
1. Can I trust this person with money and confidential information?
2. Will this person show up for work on time?
3. Will this person work an honest day?
These are character issues.
This is different from having a nice personality. Teens, I know (and I remember, honestly, I still remember) that I was judged and I judged others as nice or not nice as based on their personality. In fact, your popularity was tied into your personality.
But personality is a fickle thing. Yes having a good and solid personality is important but having a solid and God honoring character is more important.
As we prepare for Communion, I remind all of us this morning that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and our sins (small ‘s’) and Sin (big ‘S’) affects our character. Sin has warped our character and we need the forgiveness of God through Christ to help us develop these characteristics.
Let us now take time to pray and seek the Lord before we take Communion together this morning…
Six Pillars of Character is found at charactercounts.org