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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: The Gospel According to a Six-year-old
By Joanney Uthe


Wooden toy blocks were stacked four high in front of the young pastor as he started his sermon to his congregation of one – his mother making dinner in the kitchen.

“When you become a Christian, this will happen to you.” A shoestring swung at the blocks caused them to shake as an earthquake shaking a building made to withstand its blows. “But if you are a baby Christian, when Satan attacks, this will happen.” Again, the shoestring whipped through the air at the blocks, this time causing them to tumble onto the table. As my son restacked his blocks, he continued his sermon. “But I want you to be a grown-up Christian because this will happen.” He again stung the shoestring through the air, hitting the blocks without knocking them down. “And when it does, I want you to be grown-up enough to stand.”

I wondered, as he closed his short sermon, what my son had seen in his young life that represented the blocks that fell and those that withstood the whipping of life’s trials. I was amazed at how a six-year-old could have such a clear grasp of a concept with which many adults struggle. I once had a non-Christian co-worker tell me that he did not see what good being a Christian did because Christians suffered just like everyone else. Christ never promised that our lives would be easy as a result of following Him. On the contrary, He warned that we would be persecuted because of Him. John 15:18-19 says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you.” (NIV)

Somehow, my six-year-old son recognized what my sixty-year-old friend did not. A relationship with Christ is not a guarantee against pain and suffering, but a guarantee that we will not suffer life’s trials alone or without help. In 1 Peter 4:12-13 we are told, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (NIV)

This rejoicing is best shown in a story I once heard a missionary tell about a change of focus within the Release International organization which ministers to the persecuted church. A group from the organization was on location in a country where Christians were being persecuted. They prayed for protection of the people. Afterwards, some of the locals came up to them and asked that they pray not for the persecution to stop, but for strength to withstand the persecution. They took to heart the promise of 1 Peter 4:14 and 16, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you .... if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (NIV) Their prayer request was for the church to be mature enough to withstand the whipping of the life’s hardest shoestring.

Even though we live in a country where overt persecution does not exist, it is still important for us to be ‘grown-up” enough in our faith to withstand whatever trials and sufferings whip their shoestrings in our lives. Whether it is a frustrating day at the office or with the kids, or a life-threatening disease, Satan will use whatever whip he can to knock down the bricks of our relationship with God if we are not firmly rooted in His Word.

My son’s first sermon was as short as it was powerful, but not as short as the week between sermons. As soon as he dismissed the congregation, he started again with, “Last week, we talked about....”

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 1414 times
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Laury Hubrich 11/24/07
I especially liked the account of the 6-year-old preaching as his mom cooks. Very nice. Thank you for sharing!
Jan Ackerson 11/27/07
This is an excellent non-fiction entry--you used a great hook to get us interested, used real-life examples, and communicated an important message without making us feel preached at. Three for three!
Sharlyn Guthrie11/27/07
It sounds like you have an aspiring pastor under your roof. Amazing insight for a child of six! I love your last paragraph.
Beth LaBuff 11/27/07
Great devotional -- wonderfully written. Your title is perfect!!
william price11/27/07
Joanney, you are such a blessing. Your heart resonates thru whatever you write. I really liked this. God bless.
Dee Yoder 11/27/07
Very fine writing. I love the illustrations, too. I like the son's swift week, too!
Betty Castleberry11/27/07
This reads like a devotional. I liked the message, and the last paragraph was precious. Nicely done.
Sara Harricharan 11/28/07
This was pretty good! I liked the bit with the blocks and every thing, my only note, is in the first paragraph you missed one change to the first person POV, it is in Third person intead of first.
Deborah Engle 11/28/07
God can use even children to open our eyes to his truths. Maybe He will do that yet, with your friend.
LaNaye Perkins11/28/07
Out of the mouths of babes! You did a great job of showing us how a child can grasp the deep things of God. Bravo!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/28/07
This is a wonderful message presented in a very interesting way.
Loren T. Lowery11/28/07
A beautiful, instrospective and reflective epistle that ministered to me today. Great job, thank-you!
LauraLee Shaw11/28/07
Kids always seem to "get it" deep down in the heart before adults do. I suspect that's why the Bible tells us to have the faith of a child. What a clever approach to the topic. Well done.
Joanne Sher 11/28/07
Excellent hook and description - you kept me completely engaged from beginning to end.
Catrina Bradley 11/28/07
Your title dew me in. A great message here, with a precious story intertwined to keep our interest. My only critique would be the switch from 1st to 3rd person, but that may have been intentional on your part. Great job with this topic! (and the ending was TOO cute!) :) Cat
Edy T Johnson 02/09/08
Thank you for the link, Joanney. What a wonderful little preacher man! I'm reminded how important it is to train our children to be strong in the Lord in order to be able to face whatever persecutions lie ahead. Bravo, friend!
Jan Ackerson 04/26/08
Joanney, I plan to highlight this excellent story in the Front Page Showcase for the week of May 5. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!
Angela M. Baker-Bridge05/05/08
Congratulations Joanney! So glad to see this in the Showcase - excellent story.
Lynn Jacky 05/05/08
Congratulations on the featuring of your story.. Excellent writing and looking at life through a six year old. Thank you for sharing
Debbie Wistrom05/05/08
I missed this the first time around, so glad it was showcased. Such insight in this. Wonderful how your message came across without being preachy. Congratulations!
Julie Sewcharan05/06/08
Wow, it is amazing how clearly children see things. Wish we could all be like that - seeing clearly. Thank you for the reminder that there will be persecution in our lives in whatever form.
Beth LaBuff 05/09/08
I love the six-year-old's sermon. How cute ...and convicting! Congrats on being the FW Frontpage showcase author.
Laurie Glass 05/11/08
Congrats on being in the showcase this week! :)
Jean Thornberry08/11/08
Well done! What an excellent illustration of the importance of standing on Christ when trials come. He keeps us strong in the storm! Let the little ones speak! Our "grown-up" minds often get in the way of grasping God's lessons. It seems to me that the more we lean on our own understanding, the less we understand. We must have simple faith like that little boy. Great reminder! God bless you and your writing.