- Enough small cardboard boxes for everyone (Approx: 2in x2in in size, you can find these online or at a craft shop)
- Felt tip pens, scissors, craft resources.
This talk originally came the week after the talk “Adoption” but it can be easily used on its own by omitting the text in yellow. Read: Romans 8:29-30 Last week we spoke about God adopting us, choosing us and bringing us into his family and today we’ll be looking at what that means in practice. In today’s passage Paul, the author of Romans, explores what it means in chosen to be children of God. I don’t know about you but for me the idea that God chose me is an incredible one! Having chosen each of us God invites us to come to him. He doesn’t summon us like someone who broke the rules might be summoned to the head teacher’s office or demand our presence like a master might do to a slave but he calls us – like a parent calling a child, into his presence. Once we are in his presence he makes everything right between us, he forgives us for the things that we have done wrong, restores the relationship that had been broken and makes us brand new to live as examples of his glory to the world around us. So each of us, as adopted children of God, are now part of his family, chosen, loved, forgiven and given a new purpose. Which all sounds great… until things go wrong. What happens if we lose a job that we were depending on? Or if a relationship with someone we love breaks down, or they pass away? How about if we find ourselves suffering for our faith through the words or attitudes of others or even through physical violence? What difference does being a child of God make then? Being a child of God does not make us immune from suffering. It doesn’t guarantee us an easy ride in life or even that everything will work out OK in the end. Activity Part One: On your tables you’ll find a pile of cardboard boxes (in flattened form). Build a box. Then on two sides (It is important that you only write on two sides) of the box write or draw some of the things that make us feel like we’re far away from God. The things that make us feel disconnected or distant. It might be doubt, fear, persecution, relationships that break down, difficult situations that we find ourselves in or mistakes that we make. Once people have had chance to build and draw on their boxes invite them to come up and to stack them up on a table at the front like a wall. What difference does it make then, to be God’s adopted child when we are faced with situations like these, when it feels like there is a wall between us and God? This is what Paul has to say: Read: Romans 8:31-39 If I’d have written that passage, not Paul, it would be easy enough to dismiss out of hand. After all what do I know about what it means to really suffer for my faith. I’ve never been persecuted for believing in Jesus, I’ve never been beaten for it, thrown into jail or threatened with death simply for being a Christian. But for Paul it is a different matter entirely. Paul had numerous attempts on his life, was jailed, beaten, shipwrecked and suffered from physical illness. But despite all of that he was able to say with confidence: “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. “ It isn’t that the problems we face are insignificant, or that God will simply remove them but that in whatever situation we find ourselves we are still able to know God’s love for us. So what does it mean for each one of us this morning? I’ll close by putting what Paul wrote into my own words I am convinced that nothing, no sickness or depression, no job stresses or job losses, no relationship breakdown or financial difficulty, no school bully or exam pressures, no conceivable problem in the present or the future can get between you, a child of God, and the love of the Father that is shown through Jesus. Activity Part Two: So here is what we’re going to do next. In a moment I’ll invite you to come forward and take away your box and take it back to your table. Once you’ve done that I’d like you to do two things – firstly take a pen and cross out all of the things that have been written on it because none of those things can separate us from God’s love! Next I’d like you to decorate the other two sides of your box with the following words “Nothing can separate me from the love of God!” You can make it is a colourful as you want, adding pictures or sticking bits on to it. Then take that home with you and keep it somewhere where it will remind you this week that nothing can separate you from God’s love.