Children’s Sermon Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 14:13-21, August 3, 2014

Prepare: You will need several pieces of paper cut to look like loaves of bread and some crayons that you are willing to break in half or even smaller.  For the Worship Station you will need a jar with enough pennies for every person who comes to worship to take one, and another jar or basket to collect them again.  You can also have snack sized bags for them to take home the extra crayon pieces.

The pieces of paper will turn into a prayer, ideally they should be part of the Prayers of the Church or prayers of intercession.

20130822-223520.jpg  As the children gather, set aside about one crayon for every 2 or 3 children.  You want to set it up so that they need to break the crayons in order to do what you are asking them to do.

20130822-223633.jpg I love the story that we get to hear today!  Jesus does something unbelievable!  He feeds thousands of people with nothing!  Well, they had a couple of fish and 5 pieces of bread, but that’s all.  Let’s think about that for a minute, 2 fish and five pieces of bread.  How many of us are here? (take a quick head count)  Would that be enough food for us?  Maybe we should modernize this a little.  Let’s say that they had 2 sandwiches and an extra piece of bread . . . I think that we would all be still be a little hungry if that is all we had to share between us.  But Jesus is able to make that be more than enough – in fact, there was more leftover than they started with!

This is a story about sharing what we have and ending up with more than we thought there could be, so I want you to think about a place where people need more of something.  If could be people who need more food, or more clean water or more safe places to sleep or more love, you get the idea.  I am going to give each of you a loaf shaped piece of paper and you can write or draw a prayer on it and we will use it later in the worship service.  There is only one problem, I only have enough crayons for half of you, and we need to all work on this at the same time . . . what should we do?  Let’s break them into pieces and see if we have enough then!

Quickly draw or write your prayers and put them in the basket and them you are welcome to take home the crayons that you used in one of these bags.

Give what time you can – then pray to wrap up.

FaithCross_Worship For the worship station, invite people to add their penny (or more if they want) to the basket.  Estimate how many pennies you will collect and how much money that will be, then make a few signs that talk about what can be done with that money.  For example – a church that worships 450 to 500 people on a weekend could buy 2 or 3 meals at a rescue mission like the Denver Rescue Mission.  You could buy 4 or 5 chicks through something like Heifer International, or contribute to a water project.  Find several examples of how pooling a small resource from all the people gathered can make a big change in the community around you or in the world.  Invite people to pray about their donation as they make it.

20130822-224425.jpg   God of abundance, just like Jesus created more than enough out of way to little, stir up more than enough love and hope in us so that we can share your loving word with all the word.  Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  May God give you more than enough love, more than enough peace and more than enough grace.

~GB

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Weekly Devotion Page for August 3, 2014

36 July 27 - Seventh Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, August 3,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Weekly Devotion Page – July 27, 2014

36 July 27 - Seventh Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 27,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Children’s Sermon Pentecost 7A Romans 8:26-39

Preparation: markers and paper with the words “what If” at the top (or print the whole poem if you like) either to hand out or at worship station

20130822-223454.jpg Gather the children with you. Ask, What kinds of things do you worry about? (take their answers) Yes, I worry about those things too sometimes (or add in your own worries). In fact I have this poem here by Shel Silverstein that lists all kinds of things that might be worrisome.
Read Poem:   Whatif by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear

and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

That is quite a list of what ifs! Sometimes I also think that all these what ifs and worries and things that could happen or event things that DO happen that are sad or scary, what if God does not love me anymore–??? Have you ever thought of that what if?

20130822-223633.jpgDid you hear our scripture for today though? I heard it loud and clear, let me read it to you. “For I am convinced–which means I am very, very sure and certain, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height , nor depth,(–insert their worries here and say things like not war or divorce or darkness or lost teeth, etc) nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do you Know what that means–not one single thing will ever make God’s love go away. Not for you, not for me, not for anyone. Phew… that is some good news, to know that love will be with us no matter what happens or does not happen.

FaithCross_WorshipI have these papers for you that say ‘what if’ on the top. I want you to go ahead and write or draw anything that worries you or scares you. Then after you do that, draw a BIG HEART over the top of it and write God’s Love in that heart to help you remember that nothing will separate you from God’s love.

20130822-224425.jpgJesus, help us remember, no matter what ifs we worry about, no matter what comes our way, that your love is with us to stay. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpg+May you know God’s love is with you always+

 

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Children’s Sermon Romans 8: 12-25 Year A, Pentecost 6 July 20, 2014

20130822-223454.jpg Go to where you normally have the children gather and flop down with a lot of drama: sigh, play with your shoe or hair. Look extremely bored. Have the kids come join you but don’t seem too excited. Say, “well, you can come up if you want but don’t hurry we have LOTS of time.” Hopefully, the children will think this is a bit funny. When they are gathered say to them, “I’m soooooo bored. I am waiting. Waiting and waiting and waiting. Do you ever have to wait? What do you have to wait for? (Accept all answers.) Do you like to wait? Is it hard? What are some things that you do when you are waiting?

20130822-223633.jpg Well, do you want to know that I am waiting for? Jesus! Jesus promised that he would come back and we know that’s true but we have to wait. Today in a letter that Paul wrote to some people in Rome a long time ago he is talking to them about waiting for Jesus. The people in Rome are getting tired of waiting for Jesus and think that Jesus should just come now so that they can quit waiting for the world to be made right again. But Paul says that it doesn’t work that way, even though we want it to. Paul tells them that THEY have things to do while they wait for Jesus that will help everyone learn about Jesus! What things can we do while we wait for Jesus to tell the whole world about Jesus? (Accept all answers but you may have to prompt a bit.) We can love people, we can help people, we can send cards to people in the hospital, we can make care kits for people in parts of the world who don’t have medical supplies, help with clean water, etc. We are waiting and sometimes it’s hard. Waiting for Jesus to come back, but it may be a long time so we might as well have something to do while we wait! God loves us and the whole world so much and we want to tell everyone!

FaithCross_Worship Have a worship station with some simple service ideas: card making for shut-ins, putting together simple care packages to keep in the car for those in need (hand sanitizer, Kleenex, water bottle, granola bar, short written prayer, all in a ziplock bag). Next to the service station have a prayer wall or table where people can write prayers about waiting. What are they waiting for in their life? Where is it hard to wait? Where are signs of God’s presence with us as we wait?

20130822-224425.jpgWaiting is hard, God. But we know that you are with us even if we are unsure. Help us to see signs of your presence in the world. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Our hope is in Jesus+ (Make the sign of the cross)

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Faith + Home Connection August 2014 Romans 12: 1-8

FaithCross When you are gathered with your household share with one another what gifts from God you see in them.

20130822-223633.jpgRead together Romans 12: 1-8

20130822-223454.jpg We are all interconnected through Christ Jesus and each of us has a place and a purpose in God’s family. We are not to be something that we are not but embrace who God created us to be and what it is that we are good at and are passionate about. Many times we think that our gifts don’t directly translate into something “religious” or “churchy.” But God created us for all types of vocation and avocation. Our response to God’s grace and love is that we use our gifts to the up building of God’s creation and people. Each aspect of our everyday lives is important and is in the love and mercy of God.

What are your gifts? What gifts do you see in each other? How can you use your gifts to reveal God’s love and grace in the world? What reminders can we give each other that each part of our day is sacred and part of God’s mission?

20130822-224425.jpg Thank you God for creating each of us with unique gifts. We want to use them to reveal your love and forgiveness in the world. May we support each other in using our gifts. We are grateful for the community that we live in and the people who walk with us in our faith journey. All of these things we pray in the name of your son, Jesus, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Be transformed in the love of Christ Jesus.+

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Weekly Devotion Page for July 20, 2014

35 July 20 - Sixth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, July 20,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Children’s Sermon July 13, 2014 Pentecost 5A, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Preparation: Bring in one vegetable seed and some examples of the food that it makes – for example, bring in one corn kernel and an ear of corn.  Even better if it is a seeds that could be planted and then grow!

For the worship station – you will need some butcher paper, a black marker, some tape and some colored sticky dots.

20130822-223633.jpg   If you are not too pressed for time, I always think that it is fun to quickly retell this story and have the children act it out.  Don’t read it, just retell it!  Have someone be the sower, have some children be the seeds, you will need some birds, too!  All of the children can join together at the end when the seed grows and returns a good crop.  Then you can wrap up by going through a little bit of Jesus explanation.

If this is going to be too long you can just briefly tell retell the four places the seeds fall and  jump right to the explanation below.

20130822-223454.jpg  Wow!  That was really fun, but do you know what it all means?  Yeah, neither did the disciples!  So Jesus took a little time to explain it.  He said that sometimes, when we tell people about our faith that they might say mean things, or that we are silly for believing in any of that stuff.  That is like the seeds on the path that got eaten by the birds.  Or, maybe we hear about Jesus but we really just want to play with our iPads, or phones, or we get caught up in playing sports or acting in plays or whatever, and we think those things are more important than God.  That is like the seeds that land in the thorns and get choked by weeds and can’t grow.  Or maybe we get really excited about something at church, but it doesn’t really turn out the way we hoped, so we just decide not to go back to church anymore.  That is like the seeds in the rocky soil that don’t have good roots and just fall over.

But then there is the good soil, and it returns a hundredfold, or maybe sixty or thirty . . . ok, wait, what does that mean?  Well, I brought in a seed to see if we can figure this out.  OK, here is a corn kernel.  It really doesn’t look like much, does it?  And it is not very expensive, either.  I could pretty easily scatter a handful of these in my garden and just hope that one or two would grow and I would probably have at least a few corn plants.  Then, each of those corn plants would grow (I hope!) several ears of corn, like this!  How many kernel are on this?  More than one, that’s for sure, maybe there are 50 or even a hundred, just like the story says, and this is just one ear of corn!  All this from a tiny, inexpensive seed.

Jesus is saying that our faith, and the faith we share with others can be like that, too!  Some of it might not grow, for all kinds of reasons, but if even the littlest part of our faith takes root in ourselves or in someone else it will grow beyond anything that we can imagine.

FaithCross_PrayALT God of Creation, we praise and thank you for sowing seeds of faith in us.  Help us to continue to scatter the seeds of our faith knowing that faith will not always grow, but that when it does it will be amazing!  Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT +Go and be Good Soil and a faith sower +

FaithCross_Worship The general idea is to create something big out of little pieces, so this could take many different forms!  I will go through the example of making sticker flowers with round colored stickers, but if could be a whole congregation Lego project, or a kick off for a summer food drive, or school supply drive.

For the flowers, tear off a big sheet of butcher paper or art paper.  If can be whatever color you want (green would match the season!)  Then draw a couple of flower stems, make them big, and add leaves and a block circle at the top that will be the center of the flower.  Invite people to stick a dot on the paper to help build a large colorful flower around the circle at the top of the stems.

Before they put the dot on the paper, ask them to think about what keeps their faith from growing?  Then have them categorize it as P (path), W (weeds), or R (rocks) and write that letter on the dot.

Some examples might help people decide – for Path it might be things like the way other Christians behave, or hearing that believing in God is silly or stupid.  For the Weeds think of things like money worries, sports teams, clubs, video games.  For rocks think of disappointments and missed expectations.

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Weekly Devotion Page for July 13, 2014

34 July 13 - Fifth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, July 13,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Weekly Devotion Page for July 6, 2014

33 July 6 - Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, July 6,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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