It's hard to believe it's been one month since I last taught children's church, but the first weekend in May has arrived. This means this morning, I once again sat in front of the church and tried to teach the children a lesson about being a Christian.
Ironically, this lesson came to me in my sleep. Those of you who've experienced pregnancy first-hand know how strange your dreams can be. Well, this lesson came to be in my dreams last night. I was really dreaming about the verse in the Bible "...I knew before I formed you in the womb." And there were butterflies in this dream.
When I woke, the first thing I did this morning - as I do every morning - was head to the recliner downstairs with my daily Bible reading. The New Testament reading was John, chapter 3, which finished off the inspiration for my lesson today.
I couldn't help but share this lesson here. I hope it touches you as I believe it touched many during church today. Here it is:
"Metamorphosis of a Christian"
#1 - It's spring. What are some of the things you notice about spring?
*Green leaves and grass again
*New insects and animals
#2 - We as Christians go through our own kind of springtime. Did you know that? Let me read you a verse from the gospel of John.
"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You must be born again." John 3:5-7
#3 - I bet that doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? Let's look at another way we see life "born again." We're going to use metamorphosis to explain how a butterfly is born again. Can you say that big word?
Here is a butterfly. Does anyone know how a butterfly gets to be so beautiful? Let me show you.
#4 - (Use caterpillar picture) Here is how a butterfly begins. It doesn't look like a butterfly, does it? What is it? (caterpillar) Is it very pretty? It's okay because it's a creation of God, but it's not as beautiful as it's going to be.
Well, this caterpillar is like us as children. At this stage of it's life, the caterpillar goes around eating and eating and eating. As children, we come to church and Sunday school and VBS and read our Bibles to learn and learn and learn and store up, just like the caterpillar eats to store up.
#5 - (Use picture of chrysalis) Then the caterpillar spins a chrysalis, sometimes called a cocoon. While the caterpillar is inside of the cocoon, it uses all that food it stored up to make an amazing transformation.
Now, as children we don't spin a cocoon. But that doesn't mean that all those lessons you learned aren't working an amazing transformation in you. Instead of a cocoon, the holy Spirit is working an amazing transformation on you.
#6 - (Use butterfly picture again) Once that amazing transformation occurs, the caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly - it has, in a sense, been "born again."
In people, we can be "born again" as well. But when the holy Spirit has worked it's transformation, we emerge as Christians to share eternal life in Christ. It means we have been saved from the not so pretty life and now have access to a beautiful life with Christ. It is the gift of salvation.
In Romans 10:9 it says,
"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
#7 - So while our transformation into Christians isn't always as simple as the metamorphosis of a butterfly, we still emerge in a new life.
Let's pray: Heavenly Father, your work in nature is amazing. You take a lowly caterpillar, not so beautiful to behold and transform it into a graceful butterfly. Fortunately for us, you do the same when we are born again in you. Help us to learn so we may transform into a beautiful Christian. In your name, Amen.