WHY JUST KIDDING AROUND?Ok Lets admit it without reservation: We are all just kids at heart. In our most genuine moments, we are still that wide-eyed kid opening presents on Christmas morning; that awestruck munchkin seeing Sleeping Beauty's Castle for the first time at Disneyland; that runny-nosed urchin diving into the pile of leaves on a cold November Saturday afternoon; that scared child with the red-rimmed eyes on the first day of kindergarten. Though we may cover it with big words and sophisticated clothing, we are just kids.The thing I love about the Apostle John's first letter to those early Christians is that he understands that we are all just kids. There are few who write with more passion than the Apostle John did and few who have more affection for their readers. In his first letter, he refers to the early Christians with terms of endearment like "dear children", "dear friends", and "beloved". He writes with the passion and authority that only one who actually walked and talked with Jesus could. He shares the Good News that Jesus told him personally with an uncontainable joy that leaks off the ancient pages and into our lives.He desperately wants those early believers to understand the joy that Christ offered him and he wants all God's kids to know He now offers it to you. NO KIDDING!So wipe your nose and your tears and prepare yourself for some really Good News and Grins To Go.And please stop hitting your sister and teasing your brother . . .BUT SERIOUSLY . . .When the Apostle John wrote this letter to the early Christians, he was, most biblical scholars believe, a very old man. If you read through the entire letter in one sitting, you'll notice a few things:1. John often refers to his readers with terms of endearment and seems to relate like a grandfather telling stories beside a roaring fire. His concern for the faith and the wellbeing of his audience, including us, leaks off the pages of this very personal letter.2. John's concern for these early Christians is that they understand God's love for them. He writes in easy to understand, declarative statements that make it clear what God offers us through Jesus Christ, and our appropriate response to this gift. John understands that most of us are immature in our faith so he writes simply but firmly. 3. John is very concerned that false teachers not lead us astray. In the same way that you would warn your kids about "bad people" out there, John warns us that there are "religious scam artists" who are not as concerned about our faith as they are about our wallet. 4. John reminds us that the natural response to the new life God gives us is to have "a new life!" Because Jesus makes a difference in our lives, we think, act, and talk differently. John outlines this new conduct and the confidence we have because we know that we have eternal life through God's unfailing love.I don't know about you but I often need the comforting voice of a wise grandfather figure to calm, encourage, direct, and gently discipline the scared little boy that hides deep inside of me. Admit it: you do too! When you cut through all the stuff we use to create the illusion that we have life all figured out, we are just kids trying to find our way through this thing we call life.So put away all the bravado that you need to survive your day and yield to the little kid that hides deep inside. Break through the hard shell that the world forms around your heart and be prepared to laugh. Finally, relax for a few moments, enjoy yourself and enjoy your God.