Ephesians 3:17-21, NIRV (New International Reader's Version)
Paul Prays for the Ephesians
17Then Christ will live in your hearts because you believe in him. And I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. 18May you have power together with all the Lord’s holy people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. 19And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you.
20God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. 21Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.
Prop: Small bicycle that resembles a first bike a child would learn to ride. Make sure to remove training wheels from last week.
Theme: Rooted in love
Bike theme: Learn together as a family with love.
*The preaching notes share the concept of “Gotcha Day,” where families who adopt celebrate the day when they became a family with the new adoptee. Perhaps there are families within your congregation who have adopted children and have the tradition of celebrating “gotcha day.” If so, you could invite them to tell their story and how that has become a day of honoring the family that they have become. It is often not just a celebration of the one who was adopted, but of the whole family that was made or transformed by the claiming of this new member. It becomes a tangible way of experiencing what it means be to be brought into the family of God. You could simply have the family share their story and add how they perhaps taught riding a bike to the adopted child(ren) as a family rooted in love.
What is different about the bike today? (Allow children to respond.) That’s right: the training wheels are gone! We have found our balance and have practiced riding without falling over, while gaining confidence all the time. Remember, our goal is to ride this bike without help by the end of the summer; and by learning this, we’ll also learn to be better followers of Jesus. What should we do next, now that the training wheels are removed? (Allow children to respond.) I am still a little worried about falling off. It would certainly hurt.
I know. I could have a grown-up; someone I trust and who loves me hold the bike from behind while I pedal and learn how to balance. Have you ever had an adult hold the bike while you learned how to pedal? (Have someone hold on the back of the bike to demonstrate.) (If you have family to share their story of adoption, add to the story during this time. Mention that those who adopt want to extend their love to those they adopt.)
We trust someone that we truly love. It takes that kind of love and trust to have someone hold the back of our bike, doesn’t it?
Paul, in the letter this week, reminds us that followers of Jesus trust in God by how they live in the world. People feel the love of God through their behavior. All of us can show the world around us, no matter how old or young we are, that when we live like Jesus and give God thanks, we will experience the wonderful life God has planned for us. Can’t we?
As we continue to learn how to keep our balance and can ride our bike without help, we must rely on those in our lives who love us no matter what. While we might not think our actions have a big impact, this Scripture reminds us God is able to accomplish more than we can imagine. With God’s help, we will reach our goal of riding this bike by the end of this summer.
Today, I want to use the words in Paul’s letter, Ephesians, chapter 3, verse 20, as our closing prayer.
Let’s pray: God, You are able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. You can do everything by your power that is working in us. We give you the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. We give you glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.