Staying on the Right Road September 1 How many of you have taken a trip? When you travel on an unfamiliar road, you need directions, or a map. This is called a road map. Look at these lines. These marks show Interstate highways, 4-lane roads, 2-lanes, and narrow country roads. These roads join our cities and neighborhoods. They connect our country together. If we stay on the right road, we end up at our destination. But what happens if we fail to read the road signs? Could we end up at the wrong place? (Pause and wait for a few answers.) Taking the right road and doing what is good is also important for children who love Jesus. God wants us to follow Him. His plan is for parents to teach their children to make the correct choices. What do your parents say when you do what's right? Do they say, "I'm proud of you!" I knew I could depend on you." You are happy when you choose what is right and good. And God is pleased with your actions, too. (Carolyn Ross Tomlin) When You're Absent Look around you. Do you know of friends or school mates who are usually present at church — but for some reason they are absent today? Let's think of some reasons why children miss church? Could it be to watch television? Or to play with friends? What about to sleep late? Of course, sickness may keep you out sometimes. When you're absent you are missed. It's a little like reading a newspaper with blocks cut out. (Hold up a newspaper that has several squares and rectangles cut away.) Oh, yes. This is still called a newspaper page. But so much is missing. A lot is left out. It's just not what it should be. When you miss Sunday School or church, no one can take your place. Your voices make our singing sweeter. Your smiles encourage our teachers and pastor. You are an important par of our congregation. Someone else may sit in your chair or pew. But God made you special — there is no one exactly like you. (Carolyn Ross Tomlin) God's Gifts Look at this plant. (Hold up a healthy green plant for boys and girls to see.) What words describe this object? Could we say the plant is healthy? Strong? Full of life? Yes, all of these words tell us the condition of this plant. Let us name some things that made this plant grow. What about sunlight? God created the world and He positioned the sun to provide us light and warmth. Is water necessary? All living things need water for nourishment. And who made rain to fall? Yes, God divided our earth into land and water. A plant also needs air. If you placed this vegetation in a dark closet without air and light, it would die. And last — soil. From the soil a plant receives food or nutrients. The dirt helps hold the seedling in an upright position. Do you know what happens if you pull a plant out of the soil? The small roots reach out like veins in our body. Therefore when it is removed from the soil, it withers and soon dries out. For a plant to be healthy and grow strong, it must have air, sunlight, water, and soil. We call these natural resources. Man is unable to reproduce these items. They are gifts from God — the giver of life. Just as plants are unable to grow without God's good gifts, in the same way you and I cannot grow and live without God's gifts. He also gives us air and sunlight, water and food, a place to live. Everything we have is a gift of God! (Carolyn Ross Tomlin) Carolyn Ross Tomlin is an author and ministry wife who lives in Jackson, TN.