Archive for the ‘Children’s Ministry’ Category

Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 2 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 2A:

Part 2B:

Full Message:

Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


Because Jesus Himself is our Ethic (our humanity living properly among his neighbors and glorifying the Father), ethics is the free gift of God given to us in Jesus Christ. Christian ethics are not a way to earn God’s love or a way to earn salvation through human works and achievements. It is the gift of participating with Jesus in his human life by Grace! Jesus is God’s Grace to us! Ethics is what it means to participate with Jesus in living his life in this world by the Spirit!

Theological Theme:

You begin life as a child but only so you can grow up into an adult. Similarly, through your union and participation with Jesus, by the Spirit, you are in the state of growing up and becoming a little Christ who glorifies the Father.

Christ Connection:

Jesus is the One Who stands in our human place and lives life in this world with our human nature and on our behalf in a renewing way that brings and gives us revitalized human life, destroying sin completely. He Himself, then, is our Ethic. He is the way we are called to live! Jesus is our proper human response to God and our neighbor! He is the only true Learner of God, and the only human fully obedient to the Father, AND he was and is this so that we might participate with him, glorifying the Father!

Missional Application:

As members of Christ and as people in this world, Christians have a dual citizenship. We have a complex responsibility – the response-ability of Christ, by the Spirit, to be equipped for the works of Christ’s service in the spheres of the Church, the Kingdom, and the State. The goal and mandate is to prioritize our relationship with God, and then, at his direction and under his authority over all, to love everyone, pointing them, through his mission, to him that they too may be in union and participation with him.

Photo Compliments: www.

Jesus Christ Transforms Our Fallen Expectations!

Jesus being praised by children

Audio – Part 1a: 34 min”

Audio – Part 1b: 34 min”

Audio – Full Message:”

Bible Verses: Matthew 21:1-21

Matthew 21 contains three scenes that occurred on the day Jesus entered Jerusalem during the week prior to His crucifixion. Jesus’ entry into the city was welcomed with great fanfare, even though He approached in humility while sitting on a donkey. He cleansed the temple of those there to take advantage of the worshipers. And as the true Son of David, He permitted and welcomed the praise of children. In these events, Jesus fulfilled Old Testament expectations and longings for the Messiah, who would redeem His people, restore true worship, and receive all praise.

Theological Theme:

Jesus is the Messiah who cleanses the temple and welcomes the unworthy into God’s presence.

Christ Connection:

By entering Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah. Through His actions in the temple, Jesus conveyed His judgment toward those who would misuse God’s house for exclusionary and greedy purposes. For the sins of His people, Jesus offered His own body as a temple to be destroyed and then raised again.

“Only the redeeming, all-powerful, transforming grace of God can raise our sin-besotted heart from the dead, give us eternal life, and set our gaze on Jesus, our blessed hope.” –Gloria Furman

Missional Application:

God calls us to put away hypocritical and hollow worship and to exalt Jesus as Savior of the world.

“Let his coming in the name of the Lord be mentioned with strong affections, to our comfort, and joyful acclamations, to his glory. Well may we say, Blessed is he; for it is in him that we are blessed. Well may we follow him with our blessings, who meets us with his.” – Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Photo Compliments:

Contending For The Faith Delivered To The Saints! – Part 10

contending 5


Audio: Part 10a: 31min


Audio: Part 10b:  26min


Audio: Full Message:


Main Passages: Jude 1  John 4   Gen 1-2

This Specific Message in the Series Points to the Truth in Christ that: To be made in the image of God in Christ is to be male and female, to be in union, distinction, and with equality. This message points to the clarity we can have regarding love gender, marriage and sex because of being made in the image of Jesus (The true Image of God).

This message of God’s Good News urges believers to contend FOR the faith once delivered to the Church, in participation with Jesus Christ!, and AGAINST the ungodly cultural pressures and influences of our current times!

This is a Gospel message to a specific congregation of our times facing issues similar to congregations in other times as seen in the scriptures, particularly the Books of Jude and John. In this series, we make Christ-centered comparisons with the congregation in Jude and the Samaritan woman of Jesus’ time in John 4 to our particular congregation. You may see that the Church in general (especially if in the United States!), faces these same issues and also be helped by WHO and HOW He is proclaimed!

In the light of Jesus and the God revealed in Him (and over the course of 12 messages), we address today’s big questions regarding relationships, race, marriage, love, gender/sexual identity, politics, and worship and witness as it relates to the Christian God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Photo Compliments:


Christmas: God’s Plan and Response For Man!

God With Us”

In this Message on the 4th week of Advent, and heading toward Christmas, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to those gathered in worship at New Life Fellowship of Baltimore. The special emphasis of this message is that just as the Head, Jesus, was born into this world 2000 years ago as God’s Plan and Response for humanity, His Body, the Church, follows Him today, participating with Him in his ongoing work of redemption in this present world!

Check it out and be assured and unafraid as you GO with Jesus into our world, proclaiming Him in word and deed!


picture courtesy of

Train Up A Child…

From a youth I have had a keen appreciation for antiques… sort of. Let me explain. While I do appreciate fine antique furniture and ornate wrought iron gates it is the tools used to create them that have always intrigued me. I have a growing collection of antique tools that I love to use. I am not one to buy an old tool and put away only to look at it or show it off to visitors- I put them to use. From my anvil that was made in England in the 1830’s to old chisels and hand planes (some of which were made before the Revolutionary War) I use them to do the tasksTrain Up A Child for which they were intended.

One of the first rules of hand tools or any tool for that matter is to use it for its intended purpose. I once saw someone take a finely honed 19th century Lakeside chisel and scrape a sticker off a metal lunch pail. YIKES!

In Proverbs 22:6 we are told to “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Wow, those words can either be an encouragement to parents or worrisome. It mostly depends on how you read it.

Well without boring the reader with the grammars and morphologies of ancient languages let me just tell you that the original text would read more like… “Train up a child the way he/she is bent and they will not depart from it even in old age.”

So the writer of the wisdom in Proverbs 22:6 is basically admonishing parents to look for where the child is naturally gifted and then to encourage and assist them in exploring that gift.

Think of another type of tool, a bow, if one wishes to launch an arrow with a bow one must draw the bow the way it is “bent”. If one were to draw the bow a different way from how it is bent the bow will perform poorly and may even break.

Our children are certainly not tools that we use but they, like a finely set Isaac Field smoothing plane, must be carefully observed and encouraged to do what they were created to do.

Some children love mathematics, some love animals, some love to act and entertain, some are gifted musically. Whatever gifts the Father, Son, and Spirit have given your kids encourage them, in any way possible, to chase their passions and even when they are old they will not depart from it.

Now where did I put that Stanley no. 48 tongue and groove plane Davina got me…

Group Hug

Higher Ground LodgeRecently I had the privilege of serving as Chaplain at Higher Ground Summer Camp in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Throughout the camp each dorm is given multiple opportunities to sit and chat about whatever is on their minds. I have attended many of these chats over the past decade and I have to say they are never boring and to my perpetual amazement young people seem to be far more tuned in to the world around them than we might think. Teens and preteens are concerned about many of the same things that matter to adults. What is so different is that teens and preteens often feel powerless to control their circumstances. They often feel unequipped and unprepared to handle the myriad of challenges that they face.

So there I was with boys’ dorm 3B fielding questions and facilitating discussion about everything from whether we should stomp on little beetles just for fun to why bad things happen to good people. Well, during the course of our time together a young man named Jared asked me a very serious question.  His demeanor in asking the question told me how important this was for him. He leaned forward placing his elbows on his knees and clasping his hands in nervous anticipation of how his question would be received. Clearing his throat he managed, “How do I get closer to God?”

Now the me in me tends to answer right away and the answers tend to be less than stellar when that happens but on this occasion I waited to hear from Holy Spirit. What she gave me was worth sharing with the readers of Trinity and Humanity.

As I waited for Holy Spirit she gave me two words and a picture. I looked at Jared and said the two words , “You can’t.” Fear overcame his expression so I asked him to stand up. Now we were going to build the picture. I then asked permission to give him a hug. He agreed and right in front of the whole dorm I embraced him. As I held him tight in my arms I said to him, “Jared, Jesus has embraced you. But this is not a clear enough picture.” I motioned to a staff member named Linn. Linn came over and he wrapped Jared and I in his arms. I then repeated to Jared, “Jared, Jesus has embraced you in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit but this is not a clear enough picture.” I motioned for one of the counselors to come over and Jonathan embraced the three of us. I repeated again, “Jared, Jesus has embraced you in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with the Father’s embrace.” Then I whispered to him, “Now you tell me how you get closer to this?” Jared was over-joyed to the near point of tears.

You see, Jesus has embraced us in the Holy Spirit with the Father’s embrace. We are in Jesus and He is in us. (Jn 14:20) We may sense a separation we may sense an estrangement but we can never be any closer to Triune God and we can never escape this all-inclusive embrace.

Lord show us and help us feel the group hug that surrounds us all! In Jesus name! Amen.

~ Bill Winn

The Gift From Jesus – The Holy Spirit!


Rehearse, Remember and Receive with New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Maryland that “When God Sends forth the Spirit amazing things happen!”

Of merit badges and fruit

In my ongoing process of learning to raise my kids in the light of the Triune God of grace, I am starting to rethink the Boy-Scouts model of character formation.  You know what I’m talking about:

  1. I want my child to embrace values like Service, Honesty, Citizenship.
  2. He won’t embrace these values on his own, so I provide an external motivator (like a merit badge).
  3. He performs the necessary tasks in order to earn the merit badge, but in the process also (presumably) builds the character traits I wish to see.
  4. As he matures, he will (presumably) grow to value character more than merit badges.

I’m not bad-mouthing Scouts here.  There are probably several contexts where that model of training works great.  But I am beginning to doubt its usefulness in the area of spiritual formation, and for parenting in general.  Then again, my doubts could be wrong; Christian lists have been around a long time:

  • Saint Paul (love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc.)
  • The medieval church (prudence, temperance, fortitude, etc.)
  • The monastic tradition (poverty, chastity, obedience)
  • The Puritans (submission, fidelity, industry)
  • Purpose-Driven Church (worship, fellowship, discipleship, service, evangelism)

Because of this long history of Christian list-o-philia, I have toyed with ideas of defining a list of Stonecypher Family Virtues, and then being intentional about promoting and pursuing these virtues as a family.  I even looked into non-Scout merit badges that you can buy, for anything from Bible-Reading to Dishwashing.

Here’s the rub:  These are all ways to manipulate people’s insides so that they will match an external standard.  But what if it’s true that Christ is already inside them?  What if it’s true that the Incarnation has already put the Triune Life into the basic human equipment my children were born with?

I’m still figuring all this out, but here’s how I try to parent these days:  I live among my children and I keep my eyes and ears open.  I look for what’s going on in their lives.  I listen for whispers of the Divine Triune passions getting expressed in their feelings and thoughts and actions.  I try to fan the flames when and where they arise.

Yes, we still read the Bible together and pray together and all that.  We still talk about why patience and honesty and self-sacrifice are good. But I would say these activities are secondary rather than primary.

Trees don’t produce fruit because it gets them merit badges.  Tree produce fruit by simply being trees.

Sermon: Don’t Say “I am Just a Child”

Don’t Say “I Am Just A Child” by Tim Brassell

What does the Good News of the Father, Son and Spirit say to, and about, Youth and Children? Here are four things all Youth (and parents!) should (and will!) know!

Drowning in pictures

My 7-year-old, Ian, gets theologically frustrated with me.  He asks me why Jesus died and how it saves us, and I reply with the various metaphors for how atonement works.  My 5-year-old, Brendan, enjoys the metaphors, because he thinks in pictures like I do.  Because of our conversations, he paints some odd pictures, which we sometimes discover strewn about the house.  There is one I especially like, a finger-painted picture of “Death Jail” next to a picture of the key that unlocks our jail cell.  There is also a helicopter in that picture, but Brendan says it has nothing to do with the atonement; it just seemed a good space to put a helicopter.

Anyway, these talks are not entirely satisfying to Ian, who is very left-brained and can spot illogic 10 miles away.  When I float off into word-pictures about the atonement, he says “DAD, I don’t want to know what it’s LIKE; I want to know what it IS.”

Can I give him what he wants here?  I honestly don’t know. 

Back in the day, Anselm had a similar issue.  He dealt with it by taking one of the metaphors (the legal courtroom drama) and saying “This is not a metaphor.  This is what’s actually going on in the atonement.”  The thing is, I don’t think that turned out very well, because that metaphor breaks down in several important places.  Just like how my “Death-Jail” (Christus Victor) metaphor breaks down.  Just like any metaphor would.

In my reading of Torrance and others, I sense they are trying to talk about the atonement beyond mere pictures.  Torrance is a scientist, after all.  Whatever metaphors and images he uses, he uses them so that we will stop looking at the picture and come face-to-face with the Reality.

When we talk about Jesus adopting us by assuming our humanity and healing it from the inside-out, is THIS the Reality that the various word-pictures are trying to describe?  Or is this just another metaphor?

I’m trying to stretch my my mind today, but I may be getting a cramp.  Help!

%d bloggers like this: