Take hold of life that is real life! Children’s sermon/worship station on 1 Timothy 6:6-19 and Luke 16: 19-31

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children to the front of the worship space. Ask them what they can see from there. Ask them who they see. Then move them to the back of the sanctuary. Ask them the same questions. If time, move them to either side of the sanctuary and ask the same questions. Hopefully they will see different items and people. Coach them a bit in this if necessary.

20130822-223633.jpg Say, “Our Bible story today is kind of hard! Jesus tells a story of a man Lazarus who is left all alone: no one really saw him or they ignored him because they had much more fun things to look at, such as yummy food, pretty clothes, exciting toys. There was a man who had lots of food, clothes and money and he should have seen Lazarus and helped him but didn’t. Jesus tells this story to remind us that sometimes we need to move around and not be in the usual places in our lives to see new people and maybe see what they might have to teach or give us or for us to teach and give them. Jesus wants us to see everyone, even people who look, act or think differently from us. Jesus always sits with all of us together! And Jesus invites us all to be together. Everyone is invited to be with Jesus!”

I want us to go back to those different places in the sanctuary and tell the people there that we see them, God loves them and so do we! (Go to the back of the sanctuary and say, “We see you, God loves you and so do we!” Repeat on the sides of the sanctuary and the front.)

20130822-224425.jpg Dear Jesus, open our eyes to see people around us who need us to show your love. Move us to new places, so that all people are fed, clothed, and loved. Amen.

FaithCross_WorshipOn a table that is accessible for all, place quarter sheets of plain paper in a basket, along with paper crosses (cut out) pens, and glue sticks. Invite people to write on the quarter sheet a material item or an activity that they “cannot live without.” Have on the instruction sheet this message: “We have many items or activities in our lives that we hold closely and are an integral part of our lives. We might even go as far as to say that we “could not live without them.” Is that true? Are those items/activities pointing you to life with God or life with those items/activities? What might replace them if you gave them up? More time for prayer? For service? For your neighbor? Those items/activities are not “bad” in and of themselves, but might be distracting you from life with God. Jesus tells us that life with God is focused on God and other people, not ourselves. Glue a cross over the item/activity that you wrote as a reminder that Christ comes first in our lives.”

20130822-223908.jpg +Take hold of life that is real life!+

*You could also print this blessing on the crosses.

Children’s Sermon – Luke 13:10-17- August 21st, 2016

Prepare: Make a list of rules on a big piece of paper. Maybe something like this (but feel free to adjust for your own style and circumstance).

  1. No food in the living room
  2. Athletic shoes only in the gym
  3. Don’t talk to strangers

20130822-223520.jpg As the children gather make them do something silly before they can sit down (or otherwise be ready for the children’s sermon).  Something like you have to turn around 3 times, hop on one foot and high-five your neighbor before you can sit down! Be ready to make up a story that goes with your “rules for sitting down.”

20130822-223633.jpg I’m really glad that we all did those things before we sat down! Do you know why? Because they are rules! And they all mean something.  We turned around three times because one time I was going to sit down and there was a snake where I was going to sit, so I always turn around three times to check . . . but I guess that’s not really a problem here, and I didn’t really look for the snake, either.  But the hopping, that we do because one time I stubbed my toe on the couch before I sat down, so I always do that before I sit to remember not to stub my toe again . . . but I guess there’s not really a couch here.  But the high-five, that one is important because I was playing a game with a bunch of people once and we did that when we all got back to the circle . . . but I guess we are not really playing that game right now . . . come to think of it, while those rules for sitting down all had a good reason, they don’t really make sense here, do they?

Huh, well, I brought some other rules that totally make sense and we should never break, ever. No matter what! The first one is “No food in the living room.”  Well, unless your home sick, then you can eat in the living room. But the second one, “Athletic shoes only in the gym,” that one we never break. Oh, unless it’s awards night, and it’s in the gym, then we should wear nice shoes. OK, the last one is unbreakable for sure. “Don’t talk to strangers.” That one we never, ever break! Except, it’s probably good to say hi to the crossing guard even if you don’t know him, and you should order food from that server at the restaurant . . . OK, sometimes we break that one, too!

The thing is that most good rules are there to keep us safe, or protect precious things, or help us to live better. And we should always do our best to pay attention to those rules, but we also need to understand what’s going on around us. Jesus breaks a rule in the Gospel reading today, he works on the Sabbath.  He heals a woman who is bent over and in pain, and he does it because she is right in front of him and needs his help. He knows the rule about the Sabbath, he knows that he is breaking it, but he also knows that it is more important at that moment to care for the woman in front of him.  He just like the rules I talked about earlier, the best plan is to follow the rules, but sometimes caring for people needs to come first.

20130822-223908.jpgMay God’s truth and love shine in you today.

20130822-224425.jpg Good and loving God, we know that good rules are there to keep us safe and healthy, and we give thanks for that! Help us to also be loving and caring when we need to be so that we can show your love in the world. Amen

FaithCross_Worship Golden Rule Chain!  Create a space where people can share a time when they were treated with love and caring even though it was against the rules – OR – when they treated someone with love and caring when they *should* have just walked away.

This can be a popcorn prayer, or a time of open discussion, or you can have people tweet prayers to the pastor.  You name it!

You could even make and art project out of it!  Get a big piece if banner paper, and a bunch of markers.  Out line a rainbow lightly with pencil and encourage people to write their “Golden Rule” moment on the rainbow in the correct color for where they write. (Don’t get too picky, it will be cool no matter what.)

Children’s Sermon – Luke 12:49-56 – August 14, 2016

Prepare: Bring something with you that is a reminder or how you relieve stress for yourself (ideally a healthy stress relief!).  For example, I like to run or walk when I am stresses out, so I might bring my running shoes.

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As you gather the children ask them if they have every felt like they cannot do or say anything right. Like everything they do or say makes someone else upset or gets them in trouble.

20130822-223633.jpgIn the Gospel reading today we hear what seems like a pretty upset Jesus.  He even says that he is under stress! There are some clues in the story about what is causing Jesus to be upset, but we really can’t be sure exactly what it was because we weren’t there and, more important, it wasn’t happening to us.  And even being there or being the person who is upset doesn’t always make it easier to understand. 

I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of times in my like when I have been stressed out and upset and said some pretty strange or mean things, and I really had no idea what was making me so upset. Have you ever felt like that? And sometimes its not just one thing that is upsetting me, it’s a bunch of things. I think that might be what’s going on with Jesus, too. He know that he is on his way to Jerusalem to be arrested and die, he can hear people around him arguing about who he is and what his stories mean, he has even told them what is going on and they still don’t get it!

Just to be clear, being upset is OK. Being stressed out sometimes is normal, too. Jesus seems to be able to blow off a little steam and still work to guide people with a good story, but what do we do? I brought my running shoes with me, because that is what I like to do when I feel stressed out, or upset, or just overwhelmed with what is going on.  I put on my shoes and head out of a run. I know that whatever is going on, no matter how bad it seems, Jesus is with me, and Jesus understands what it’s like to feel like everything is going wrong.

20130822-223908.jpgJesus loves you and understands you.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving and understanding God, thank you for all the relationships that we have. Help us to love the people around us and to understand that when things go wrong it’s OK, and that you are still there with us. Amen.

FaithCross_WorshipMake a wall of healthy stress relief!  Use this as a chance to create some good social groups in your congregation, or as a way to figure out some interests.  Maybe you have a church full of runners and don’t know it. Maybe you have the makings of a chess club! Engage people in a conversation about stress relief and interests that might help to build community.  If could be written thing, or a discussion, or make a big banner. Whatever you think will engage the congregation in fun community activities.

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.