22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

As you probably know, this church chooses a theme for each year.  This year's is "Changing Lives Through Jesus."  One of our previous themes was "Let the little children come to me..."  Throughout that year we focused on the many ways we are called to minister to the children among us.  We reminded each other how much Jesus loves children.  We reminded ourselves that this congregation has A LOT of children and how it seems that God is calling on us to focus on our ministry to children.  We highlighted all of the different ways this church cares for kids.

Sometimes I feel like it's our theme every year.  I love this year's theme and mission, but I look around and it's clear to me that our mission to care for children hasn't changed.  And I'm so thankful that there are so many in this congregation who haven't forgotten that either.  Long before we ever had a theme that highlighted our ministry to kids, there were people who worked tirelessly to care for the many children that God brings our way.  And, even though that theme has come and gone, the ministry continues.

Last week reminded me of that.  If you look around the auditorium you'll see evidence of it.  You'll see the stage is decorated to look like a farm.  You'll see kids covered in fading tattoos that remind them to "Chews Love" and "Jump for Joy."

It was all a part of VBS 2008-a week where over 50 kids came here every day to have fun and learn about Jesus.  They made crafts.  They played games.  They had snacks.  They sang, REALLY LOUDLY.  And they learned about Jesus.

All week, the kids learned about how God grows fruit in our lives.  The fruit you can see talked about in the quote above.  But, more than learning about it, they saw it.  They saw it in all of the people who took care of them-the people who showed love, the people who exhibited patience, the people who filled their lives with joy.

This morning, we're going to look at that those same fruits.  It's a pretty great way to talk about how God changes lives.  And showing those fruits is a pretty great way to teach our kids about them.  I'll say more about that later on.  For now, let me just say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.  To those who have already demonstrated the fruits of the spirit this week.  God Bless you.