Kids Fest Sunday: October 2, 2016
Don Simmonds, Speaker
Thanks very much for including me in Kids fest everyone.
Did you have a good time?
Kids, If I said you could go crazy doing this, would you like to thank your mentors and leaders this morning for giving you a great time at Kidsfest?
Update on Fay–
We live just outside of Uxbridge and have some very interesting trees in our forest. We call our trails “April’s trails”, because when she was just 4 years old we asked April to point to where she thought the trails should go. Then Craig and Brett and I used our chainsaws to cut through the forest. When we are walking on the trails we always stop at two trees that must have grown up together since their trunks are now joined. The interesting thing is they are two different types of trees. One is a beech tree and one is a maple. A bit further along, there is this perfectly straight pine tree, about 18” across, but at the bottom it has grown out of the ground so crooked that it has made a seat. We call it the picture tree since we almost always take a picture of any guests that are walking with us along the trails.
One day we were enjoying a walk when we realized that a very large, very beautiful, and what we thought was a very healthy Oak tree had come crashing down across the trail.
1 We ended up having Mr. Bacon come with his sawmill to cut it into lumber. We were amazed with what we saw. This big beautiful tree that had fallen actually had very shallow roots. It fooled us. Here we thought this was such a sturdy tree, but a lot of rain in the spring made the weight of this tree too much for its shallow roots. A strong storm came, and down it went.
Regrdless of your season in life, Here is what I would like you to take away from my time with you this morning. 2
Your life will depend on where you put your roots and how deep they go down.
Repeat….Let’s pray for a minute…..
Kids, what did you think of Mrs. Ott? Isn’t she something else? I’d like just the kids to read again the verse Mrs Ott taught you Friday night and Saturday morning. Here it is:3
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.2
Now I’d like to point us thing morning to the passage of scripture in which this verse is embedded and all read it together. It comes from 1 Timothy 4: verses 8-16. I have used a combination of versions just to make it a bit easier to understand. Let’s all read it together…4
1 Timothy 4: 8-12; 15,16 Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but “a disciplined life in God”, or “Godliness”, is far more valuable, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. We’ve put our hope in the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers. Get the word out. Teach all these things. Don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Set an example with your life: by words, by actions, by love, bymfaith, by purity. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. Do not neglect your gift…. People will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.
These words were written by a mentor. It seems you appreciated your mentors this weekend and to Timothy, a young man who, more than anything wanted his life to be used by God….Paul was his mentor.
When the bible was written, there were no Apple stores, so he could not email or text. So Paul used letters to write his helpful thoughts to Timothy. And the great thing is that the Bible captures Paul’s words so they can be helpful in mentoring all of us this morning.
What he is really saying to us all, is this:
Your strength will depend on where you put your roots and how deep they go down.
And unlike a tree, as a person you have the ability to choose where you are going to put your roots. So, the first point Paul makes is this—among all the things a person could choose in their life, the most important priority is to pursue is a disciplined life in God or Godliness. Where we put most of our energy and where we put most of our time will be the place we put our roots down. And the wisest choice is to love God with all of our heart and follow closely the things he wants us to do.
Paul compares this to an athlete who works out in the gym diligently because they want to be the best they can be.
Some of you know that along with Mr. Evans, I coach our high school hockey team, the Uxbridge Tigers. (By the way, if you are interested in Hope through Hockey this year, our mission to help the kids in Weagamow, please let me know. You don’t have to be a Tiger to go).
As a hockey coach, you can be sure that I want my players to work out in the gymnasium. They need to be strong and skilled these days. In fact, it is not hard to see 3 who really wants to win. Right in our tryouts (which will be coming up soon) I ask Mr. Evans to lead 10 minutes of wind sprints (the kids call them “suicides”) right at the end
of a hard practice. It involves stopping and starting at each line, but in a race, so I can measure the fastest skaters. But doing it at the end of the practice and for a full 10 minutes, can even make some of the players sick to their stomachs and it is not long before we see who has been working out over the summer and who has most diligently prepared for a winning season of hockey.
Paul is saying, we should put even more diligent preparation into life by living a disciplined life in God—or pursuing Godliness.
It will be our 14 season with the Tigers, and our team motto is this: To win at hockey and win in life. And we know that winning in life takes something different than just being physically strong and skilled on the ice. This is why we focus our team each year on 14 character traits that will guide them for a lifetime rather than just a season.5 things like honesty, respect, hard work, optimism, self-discipline and responsibility. Early in the season we assign each one of these traits to a player whose job it is to make sure that our team exhibits that trait…..
One day after an away game, our team had boarded the bus on the way back to our school. I was just climbing on when the zamboni driver at the arena came running after me. Not sure if you’ve ever had a zamboni driver come running after you, but you automatically figure you or one of the players has done something very wrong. He was puffing as he said, coach, your team left the dressing room the cleanest I’ve ever seen after a game. I thought you should know. I thanked him and got on the bus.
The trait of respect. They’d got it. I was proud of my players and told them so. One year our team took a trip to Lake Placid, New York to play in the American Cup, a well known High School Tournament. Being from Uxbridge, a small town of 10,000 we were clearly outmatched, and had to admit to ourselves that we were the undisputed underdogs.
On the bus ride we watched the movie, Miracle, about the United States men’s hockey team, led by head coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), who won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. our games would be played in that same Olympic complex; some of the contests on the very same ice surface, now called The Herb Brooks Arena, in which that “miracle” had taken place. Perhaps we needed a miracle ourselves!
But, for this group of young men, I suspect what was about to happen, would be one of their best hockey memories ever. We were playing teams stronger than we were, but every game was close. We won two and tied one of our first three division games, scoring only two goals in each game. In a points tournament, often a goal differential is used to settle division standings. That tied game, meant we had to battle for first place and the right to go on to the finals.
It was Saturday night, our fourth and final division game, and the tournament was painfully close. We had to win or we’d go home. To make matters worse, we would have to win by a margin of three goals…winning by even two goals would send us home.
We played hard for 42 minutes only to be at a score of 0-0. We had just three minutes left in this seesaw battle. There I was, pacing up and down the bench, with the concern on my face growing more and more obvioius…when I heard Kyle Arbour, #13, say, “Hey Coach, remember the trait of optimism!”
Having played 42 minutes with no goals scored, and knowing we had to score three while holding them to zero, I chuckled as Kyle applied his appointed character trait – the very way I’d asked him to!
And then, with just two minutes to go, big Pete (Luinstra), #7, sniped a rising shot that picked the upper right hand corner of the net. (Pete is here this morning)… It was 1–0. But remember, just winning, would not do the job. There were 50 seconds left, and the face-off was in our opponent’s end. Our strategy coach, Mr. Neil Evans, set up the plan with our Captain, Tavis Smith, #11 (who usually played defense) taking the face off, with big Pete coming through the circle. The play worked perfectly, and Pete picked up the languishing puck and sniped that rising shot in the other top corner. 2-0!
With the other team coming back hard, the puck drifted into our end. Even before it happened, everyone knew what was on our goalie Dylan’s mind; we could tell he was going to skate out and play the puck – one of his specialties. I
wish I could say he passed it up and we scored the final goal … but I can’t. Dyl actually mishandled the puck right at that crucial moment; the other team’s player picked it up and shot at our open net!
In a classic Dylan moment, we all watched as he dove back with a full stick extension and stopped that (otherwise) certain goal. But he didn’t stop there; he played the puck again, this time successfully up to our center and top goal scorer, Mike Ramsey, #27, who, with just 24 seconds left, made one of his famous moves on their goalie and roofed the backhand game winner – putting us into the final playoff round!
All the character traits of a Tiger converged in that three minutes of hockey – three minutes and a tournament win none of us will ever forget. Our boys went out and dominated the highest rated team in the gold medal game with a 2-0
conclusive win. Uxbridge Tigers hockey lore says the win that day made their coach cry real tears. (But, of course, what happens in a hockey dressing room 5 stays in a hockey dressing room!)
Does everyone understand the point of this story. We were less skilled, and won. But we won because of the character of our players. It made them more optimistic. It made them better teammates. It made them self-disciplined. It made them work hard. And this character as a foundation for their hockey skills made them successful.
And that is what Paul was saying to Timothy. Being gifted and knowing your talents is great, but what is it that will allow you stay on track and strong throughout a whole lifetime? What is it that will allow you to withstand disappointments or trouble? What is it that will allow you to find your purpose? What is it that will have other people respect you so much, even when you are young, that they will want to know what makes you tick?
It will be your commitment to the deep roots of Godliness.
! But is something so important an easy thing to do?
! How may of you feel its easy to stand up for God’s ways at school?
! How many of you get to school or in the dressing room and are willing to stand up and shout: “I am a follower of Jesus and believe that God’s ways are best!”
I want to make sure you know that as you grow older, you may not get much encouragement to make following God’s ways your most important priority. In fact, you will have all sorts of people at school or at work or even in your family, trying to get you to forget it. They will say things like, oh God isn’t really there. Or, these are just rules to steal your fun.
Let me try and explain why it is so important to make God’s ways your top priority.
Whenever we follow God’s ways, we are brought under two umbrellas. The first is God’s Provision. The second is God’s Protection. Can you say that…..God’s Provision…..God’s Protection. Conversely, if we decide to go our own way, we move out from under these two umbrellas God has set up for us.
The best way to think about this is to imagine a mother bird looking after her young. What does she do? She fans her feathers out over babies to keep them warm and protected. Furthermore, she and the father bird take turns getting food and flying back and forth in order to provide for them. As long as they stay where they are supposed to
and do what their parents ask them to do, they receive – provision and protection.
But imagine that these baby birds are using their i-phones and go on facebook only to find that in the opinion of many other baby birds—staying in a nest isn’t all that fun or necessary. Parents are always just trying to set rules. So they jump out. Immediately, they are outside of the very place God created for their provision and protection. They will fall to their death if they can’t fly yet. Or if they don’t die falling, then they will for
become a wonderful meal for all kinds of animals who would love baby bird for lunch.
And that’s how it is for us. When we live by God’s ways, pursuing Godliness as Paul describes it, God is able to provide for us and protect us. But, if we go our own way, that provision and protection are gone. And this is one of the most important lessons any person can learn.
Let’s use some examples.
Take the trait of honesty for example. First of all, do you think Mr. Evans and I invented the trait of honesty? Do you think the principle of USS did? Was it your parents that were the first ones in history to think that being honest is a really good thing?
No! This trait started with our Creator God Himself. Honesty arises from the fact that God is truth. The very person and character of God is true and accurate and therefore He cannot tell a lie. You can trust Him with your life.
So when we tell the truth, one of the great provisions is the trust that others have in us. When we say something we are believed. But if we lie, we lose the protection of trust, the most critical ingredient in any relationship. If we aren’t trusted any more, we ruin one of God’s great provisions for us, trustworthy relationships. Friends you can trust are one of life’s most fulfilling and beneficial gifts. But, once word goes around that you don’t keep your promise, who will want to rely on you as their best friend. There are a lot of lonely people who have fallen out of the nest of trust, because they were not honest. What are some of the other provisions and protections that come from being honest?
! Honesty protects us from: guilt, shame, cycle of deceit (lies to cover up lies).
! Honesty provides for: a clear concience, trustworthiness, reputation for integrity
The bible is the place we find out the ways God wants us to follow so that we have his provision and protection. 8One of the most well known lists is the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20. Here they are in modern language. Sure enough, there it is….#9…..Do not tell a lie.
1. Do not worship any other god than the one true God.
2. Do not make idols or images in the form of God. An idol can be anything or anyone you give more importance than God.
3. Do not misuse God’s name or treat it with disrespect.
4. Dedicate a regular day each week for rest and worship of the Lord.
5. Give honor to your father and mother by treating them with respect and obedience.
6. Do not deliberately kill a fellow human being. Don’t hate people or hurt them with words and actions.
7. Do not have sexual relations with anyone other than your spouse. God forbids sex outside of a marriage relationship.
8. Do not steal or take anything that doesn’t belong to you, unless you have been given permission by the owner to do so.
9. Do not tell a lie about someone or bring a false accusation against another person. Always tell the truth.
10. Do not desire anything or anyone that does not belong to you.
What about respect? It is clear that God wants us to respect those in authority over us. Take policemen for example. They are not there to spoil our fun, but provide for our safety and protect us from those that may want to harm us.
Respecting your teachers or coaches has the benefit of opening yourself up to learning and being protected from our own tendancey to not give something everything we’ve got. They push us for our own future benefit.
And what about commandment # 5. Respecting and obeying our parents. You will find these days that lots of other kids will encourage you to make fun of your parents and their rules, but your parents and their guidance to you, is one of the most important umbrellas of protection and provision you will ever have.
And of course there is sexual purity…..#7. From the beginning of time Satan has tried to mess people up with this. Almost everyone you talk with in our world now will tell you it is fine to have sex just because it is fun. They will say there isn’t any harm to be done.
But life after life is ruined, and so many families have been destroyed because of this lie. God set up marriage for a lifetime between on man and woman and sex is to be saved for those two people alone. If you choose any other path with your sexual decisions, you will come out of God’s umbrella of protection and his intentions for your happiness and fulfillment.
What about this trait of Self-Discipline?
God asks that we always stay in control of our own mind. This isn’t just a nice idea, it arises from the fact that God very nature is one who is always in control. He never sleeps. He never loses it. He doesn’t have any need for another substance to mask his feelings or to stay alert.
A coach loves a self-disciplined athlete. A boss would fire an employee that came unglued. A parent really appreciates a self-controlled son or daughter. A young person appreciates a dad or mom that is always in control of themselves.
! Self-discipline protects us from: Excesses, revenge, doubting oneself
! Self-discipline provides for: optimism, enjoyment, healthy lifestyle, self-esteem And if you don’t have to be a certain age to be Godly and wise. In fact the youngest of you here can lead the world by your example…in fact I pray that you would lead the world by your example of how diligent you are in following the ways of God.
“Don’t let anyone put you down because you are young, but set an example in your
speech, in your actions, in love, in faith and in purity.”
And I have seen thousands of young people lead effectively at a very, very young age, out of a confidence and character that arises from an authentic relationship with God Himself —and a diligent commitment to His ways.
And I know I speak for all of your mentors and leaders that have organized kidsfest. While your mentors have been here to help you focus on your God given interests and skills, they would want you to know that even more important is your pursuit of Godliness. To put your roots down in a relationship with the God of the Universe, your creator, your friend, the only person who will never, ever leave your or let you down.
And with your roots firmly there, now pursue your gifts, whether they be in dancing, woodworking, stock trading, hairstyling, or hockey.
This morning I want to ask you about your roots. Not how big and strong you are. Not how intelligent and smart you are. Not even how much you may be the life of the party with your friends. But instead how deeply rooted are you in your relationship with God and following the things He wants you to do?
Have a look at the logo for our weekend. It shows the tree through various seasons and I want you to remember this kidsfest weekend and this logo. It signifies that if you are deeply rooted in God, if you love Him with your whole heart and if you follow His ways with all of your strength, your life will be strong and meaningful and happy. Throughout all of your days, you will stand strong through the tests and circumstances that life will bring you.
I pray that you will remain deeply rooted in Him for all of the seasons of your life!