Going and Growing with Jesus – Tenderfoot Faith Launches Eagles That Soar!

I love sermons with a little suspense. A little mystery/mischief. A twist. But this isn’t one of them. Still, don’t despair. This one has the virtue of directness. It gets right to the point. Here’s the point.

Tenderfoot Faith Launches Eagles That Soar!

How we get off the ground makes all the difference where we land.

A little bend at the start throws a mighty curve in where we end up.

Got it?

Fire off a moon rocket with an aim off by the thickness of a pencil point. You’ll find yourself missin’ the moon and maneuvering on Mars! True for space shots. True for me and you!

It’s Scout Sunday. (Daaa!) So it seems fitting to reference the Tenderfoot, the beginner. We could as easily cite the Sunday Schooler, or the youth group. But, you know what? Regardless our age or experience, every one of us is a beginner every day the sun rises and we with it. So let’s not pretend these lessons are only for the kids. This ain’t kid-stuff. This is Spirit-stuff for us all!

Tenderfoot faith launches eagles that soar! How do we know? The Bible tells us so. At the top of your bulletin today you can find these words. I invite you to read along. “…The disciples came to Jesus, ‘Who’s the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Calling a child to him, Jesus put the child in their midst and said, ‘Truly, I say, unless you turn and become like children, you’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom…. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.’” ‘Sounds simple enough. Let’s take a look.

Now, here’s the 1-2-3 of it. #1, it all begins with Jesus, kingdom-stuff does. Jesus calls the child. ‘Lifts the child. Likely, puts the child on his lap! Suppose we teach the kids, suppose we remember for ourselves every morning, it all begins with Jesus! Jesus is calling. ‘Us as surely as that little one long ago. And Jesus is calling our little and growing ones, too. If you have responsibility for kids: family room to classroom, scout room to youth room, remember this. Do all you can, however you can, to get kids to a place where they can hear Jesus calling! When you get up every morning do the same for yourself! Pray to start the day. Breakfast grace is as good a place as a Supper-Thank-God-Upper. You don’t have to be freaky-godly to jot a Bible verse, or just a God’s-on-your-side note, and pack it in your kid’s lunch (or in your spouse’s pocket or purse). See, somebody brought the kid Jesus put on his lap. Don’t miss that. Or this. Jesus was on the lookout for that child. And for yours, too, sporting a scout shirt, wigglin’ in the kids’ choir, studying in the Sunday School. But also out on the Sunday soccer fields in warm weather, or munchin’ at McDonalds on a Sunday-missed. And lonely in the classroom when a test score disappoints, or home alone and-a-little-uneasy-about-it. Jesus calls. #2, Jesus lifts. Here’s the great relief. Jesus is in this child-business with us. It’s not all on us/you! Three times this week I’ve spoken to parents or grands with jailed kids or about to be. (All here. But you know none of them.) Well, Jesus is straining every mighty, mysterious muscle to lift them up, too. We’re not alone. Not alone. When we are not strong enough, he is, and to spare! Thing #3, and quickly. Jesus says you and I gotta be like kids, childlike, turn like them. My kids are both over thirty, but when directing the youth in this room, one still turns to see Daddy/Mom with the look that says, “Hooray for you. You can. You’re doin’ it. And it’s good!” Our other got a doctoral degree 2 weeks ago, and all 6’4’’ of him stood on tiptoe to see us beaming at the front of the room. Jesus wants you and me, however old, to do the same toward God! But you know what; I remember when they were not yet the size of the youngest chorister we’ll see/saw today. And they turned when I came home, ran to me with arms out, and leapt into my arms for a hug. THAT’S HOW JESUS SAYS IT’S TO BE BETWEEN US AND HIM/GOD! And, he says, THERE’S A HUMILITY IN THAT Heaven craves from us and awaits in us. In the simplest image, it’s those same children, pressed in-between Beverly and I or you and yours embracing… and told they’re the baloney in a family-hug-sandwich. And they BEAM… never asking instead of baloney… to be the big cheese! The disciples really struggled with that. We do too. Jesus says, “It’s not that hard. Your kids can show ya!”

Now let’s wrap up this message with another Bible Tenderfoot, that boy with the lunch of loaves and fish. Grown-up Philip sees hunger all around and asks Jesus, “A lad with five loaves and two fish? Pssh, what are they among so many?” The boy never asks. He just gives. Jesus says, “Make the people sit down.” That’s Biblespeak for, “Let me show you!” O, I tell you. That youngster never wondered if his lunch could launch a miracle. See, he knew a loaf in the hands of Jesus could unleash enough love to let no one go hungry. Here’s innocent faith fostering unimaginable events. Don’t you just adore that? Jesus does. God does. It’s kinda like us watchin’ that scrawny little 12 year old Tenderfoot Boy Sprout advance all the way to Eagle. ‘A young man ready for a hungry world that yearns to be fed, body and soul. This story dares to ask us if we have that kind of faith? It asks us. “Can you let loose your tender faith and trust God in Christ to let it, and let you, soar like an eagle? What do you say? What do you say?

Now I know it’s time to go. But before we do, just one more thing about this mountainside miracle. Scouts oughta know and notice… and smile! (The rest of us, too!) It all begins with a hike!!! A multitude followed Jesus. Hiked. Trod. Trekked. Trudged. UPHILL!

‘Lakeside to mountainside. Some long-legged. Some short. Some young, some old. But all together with Jesus. Friends, we need to learn, and teach each other, youngest to oldest. God moves our hearts as we move our feet. Faith is a journey, like scouting is an adventure, a step at a time, a rank at a time. And not alone. The scouts have their pack and their troop. We believers our company, the church [whatever one you call home]. And if we have been rightly started by those who know Christ and trust God, we are bound to arrive on time and on target, not just on tired feet, but on wings. It’s true. It’s reliable. It’s real.

Tenderfoot Faith launches Eagles that soar!

Kids who once crawled up in the lap of Jesus…

stand up to help him make miracles for the ages!

And when people see the signs that are done,

they still say, “This is indeed the One who is to come…

into this world… to make it as the next.”

Believe it!

Tenderfoot Faith launches Eagles that soar!

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