Children’s Sermon Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 18:21-35, August 17, 2014

Prepare: You really don’t need any items for this, but you do need people!  You are going to need about 6 people minimum to make this work.  If you are in a place where that might be difficult to do with just children, make sure that you recruit a few helpers!

20130822-223520.jpgAsk the children if they know what forgiveness is and take a few answers.

FaithCross Today Jesus is talking about forgiveness, but not just how often to forgive, but whom to forgive.  The whole conversation starts with Peter asking how many times you should forgive, but Jesus takes it one step further . . . or maybe many, many steps further.  Jesus tells a story about a king who forgives a servant, which is great for the servant! But that same servant won’t forgive a fellow servant in the same way. The king gets mad and punishes the servant. There are all kinds of things to talk about in this story, but the one that really catches my attention is that the servant stops the forgiveness. The king starts something good, he forgives the servant, but the servant doesn’t pass it on.

Let’s try to demonstrate this. First I need a helper. Now, all of you are going to raise your hands. When my helper touches your shoulder you can lower your hands, but if I touch your should you have to put them back up. Ready? Go!

Let this go on for a minute or so to demonstrate how the helper will never really get anywhere if you are working against her/him.

Ok, this is getting us know where! Just like in the story, the servant worked against the king’s forgiveness and everyone suffered. Let’s change the game so that when you get to put your hands down you then touch your neighbor’s shoulder so they can put their hands down.  Ready? Go.

Wow, that when much faster! Now think about how nice it would be to live in a world where we all forgave each other and just let things go!

FaithCross_Worship For the worship station, the idea above gets taken to the whole congregation. If you have time, have the congregation “forgive” each other one at a time just like the children did, then do the next step.  If you don’t have much time just do the next step.

Next, have each person “forgive” two other people.  Start with one person touching one person’s shoulder so they can lower their hands, then the person who just lowered their hands touches two shoulders. Then each of those people touch two shoulders and so on. See how much faster it is when we forgive many others, not just one other!

20130822-224425.jpg   Forgiving God, through the grace of Jesus you forgive us no matter what we do! Help us to be forgiving people, even when it is difficult to do.  Amen

20130822-223908.jpg  Be at peace in God’s forgiveness.

 

~GB

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Weekly Devotion Page for September 14, 2014

43 Sept 14 - Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 14,  2014

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Children’s Sermon Matthew 18: 15-20, September 7, Year A Pentecost13

Preparation: Have different colors of paper or stickers or a simple way to put kids in groups of three. Make sure real little ones are with older ones.

20130822-223454.jpgGather children with you and ask, ‘what does it mean to gather?’ Take answers. Explain that gathering is to bring things or people together. “For example, I have these papers (stickers, whatever you are using) all gathered together and spread out. Now I am going to hand each of you one and I want you to gather with the other kids that have the same thing as you. Sit knee to knee with them once you find them”

(Hint–to make this go faster, have older kids prepped ahead of time OR give kids near each other the same object/color. You may also want older kids or teens prepared to be with a group or sit between them to help them along)

20130822-223633.jpgWe heard from Jesus today that when two or three are gathered in Jesus name, then he is there. Now we know that Jesus is with us all the time, even when we are alone. So what do you think happens when more people are gathered? Take answers. Talk about how Jesus is in the midst of that and helps us to reach others, show each other Jesus is there, and live out Jesus’ love.

“Now I would like you in your group to think of one way you could gather in Jesus name. Let’s start with an easy one. One way we gather with two or more is right here in worship! And when we gather here in worship we connect with each other and with God. Now you think of other places or ways you gather either here, or at home, or at school, or somewhere you volunteer.” Give them a minute. Then ask, “Ok, where are they places you gather?” Take their answers. Help them if needed. Then add to each one how that is gathering in Jesus name. For example–at home they gather for a meal and pray, or prayer before bed. At school they gather on the playground and gather in Jesus name when they are kind to a new kid or invite a lonely one in to their game. At a park they gather and Jesus is there in the way they treat each other. Maybe they are in boy scouts or girl scouts and they gather for an activity in helping someone else. Give them ways they can connect what they do each day with Jesus’ presence.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, you promise to be with us when we are together and when we serve you. Help us to remember you are with us in all the ways we gather. Help us to remember to pray and connect with you. Thank you for your love. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgMake the sign of the cross while saying:

God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right

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Weekly Devotion Page for September 7, 2014

42 Sept 7 - Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 7,  2014

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Weekly Devotion Page for August 31, 2014

41 Aug 31 - Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, August 31,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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Children’s Sermon, Matthew 16: 21-28, August 31st, 2014, Year A, Pentecost 12

20130822-222604.jpg Have a musical instrument that you don’t know how to play or a hand held game of some sort. As you invite the children forward be attempting to play the instrument or game. Talk about how hard it is to learn and maybe you should just give up. Maybe it’s not worth it or important if it’s hard. It would be easier to put a song on and just pretend to play or to only do what you know. What would be the easy way out?

Ask the children about something at school, or learning something that is hard. What is it that makes it hard? When was a time that you did something hard but then found out that you learned, or it became important in some way? (Accept all answers). Say, “yes, we all have hard things that we have to do sometimes.”

20130822-223633.jpg Today Peter and Jesus are talking about hard things. Jesus says that he is going to die but be raised again. Death is a VERY hard thing isn’t it? If your friend told you that they were going to die, you would say what Peter said, “No that can’t be true!” But Jesus told Peter that this very hard thing that Jesus was going to do is the exact thing that needed to happen for something better-God raising Jesus from the dead would proclaim to the whole world that nothing separates us from God-not even death! Jesus would take this hard and sad thing and point to the promises of God to be with us always and to love us always. The cross is a very hard thing, in Jesus’ time it was about death. We have crosses all around us here in church, we wear necklaces or bracelets with crosses to remind us that Jesus is with us in the very hard things and will never leave us. God’s love is there when things are easy and when things are hard like: (school, fighting with friends or siblings, death, etc.) That is that is the promise from God and so the cross tells us of that promise. Jesus doesn’t want us to keep that promise to ourselves, even when it might be hard or scary to share God’s love. How can we share God’s love in the midst of hard times with our family or friends?

20130822-224425.jpg God, you promise to be with us always. When things are hard or easy, you are there. When we feel alone or happy, you are there. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us your love and mercy. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship For a worship station around this fairly difficult text you can have some cross necklaces (kits are at craft stores) for the children (of all ages!) to make. Have some cardstock with cross foam stickers and cross templates for tracing to make cards to hand out to people who need to be reminded that God is with them in hard times. Take them to a rehab facility or a hospital.

20130822-223908.jpg +Jesus is with you always+

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Children’s Sermon Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 16:13-20, August 24, 2014

Prepare: You will need a large(ish) flat rock that will be stable and not rock back and forth, like a flagstone; and a box with some marbles in it. The box should be big enough to put the stone in (or the stone should be small enough to fit in the box!)

For the worship station, try to have several more flat rocks available. Flagstone is great for this! Have several colorful permanent markers out, too.

20130822-223520.jpg  As the children gather, set the stone out on the floor (someplace where it will not scratch the floor because the children will be asked to push on it! Maybe on carpet or bring a blanket if you have wood or tile floor.)  Keep the marbles hidden in the box for now. Ask the children if any of them have a nickname, something special that their parents or a good friend calls them.

FaithCross In the Gospel story that we hear today Jesus gives one of his friends a nickname, and it is such a good nickname that we sometimes forget his real name! Jesus gives his friend Simon the nickname Peter, which means rock. Have a rock right here! What can you tell me about this rock?

(You may need to encourage some answers here. Things like, “Does it move around, or is it steady?” “Do you think that it is breakable?” etc. You want them to see the rock as strong and stable.)

You could probably stand on that rock and feel pretty sure that you won’t fall over. Now, what if I do this? I am going to put this rock in this box that has some marbles in the bottom.  What happens now? Is it still stable? Do you still think that it would be ok to stand on?

When Jesus gives Simon the name Peter he does it because he wants to build a church on Peter! Not a building, but a community of people. Jesus wants Peter to be strong and steady for the people who follow Jesus. Jesus knows that this is a good choice because Peter has figured out who Jesus is. Peter knows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Other people say that Jesus is an ancient prophet who has come back to life, or that Jesus is trying to be John the Baptist – and that is kind of like the marbles under our rock. It makes everything a little less stable. Peter, however, knows who Jesus is, and doesn’t have any marbles under him to throw him off. He is steady as a rock!

FaithCross_Worship Have an area set up with the rocks and markers. Invite people to write the name of a person who is/was a rock in their faith formation.  It is not one name per rock, each rock should be covered in names!  Start with the all the rocks spread out, as they fill with names stack them together to make a cross, or a fish, or some other symbol of the Christian faith.

20130822-223749.jpg    Living God, we praise you for the people who have been rocks in our life. You have blessed us with people who build up our faith on a sure foundation. Teach us to be that sure foundation for people in our lives. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg  Be a rock for God’s church today and always!

 

~GB

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Weekly Devotion Page for August 24, 2014

40 Aug 24 - eleventh Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 24,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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Children’s Sermon Pentecost 10A Matthew 15:10-28 August 17, 2014

Preparation: The word for peace or love or hope or a mixture of them in different languages–you can do this visually with a collage that you make or use one of the links below. Prepare a handout or a worship station (more on station below under Faith+Worship)
A list of languages and the word for peace from Columbia University
An image of Peace in different languages

20130822-223315.jpgGather the children with you. Ask them listen to you as you speak the word peace–it will help if they close their eyes (or substitute another word if you like) Say the word peace in english first, then say it in a few different languages. What did you hear? (take their answers, exploring that maybe they are not sure what they heard)

20130822-223633.jpgThose were all different ways of saying peace in different languages. I want to teach this word because our readings today talk about what comes out of our mouths being what is from our heart. And that when dirty things come out of our mouths, which the bible passage called things that defile, it is like our hearts are dirty. What would some of those things be that may be ugly that we say sometimes? (help them think of things like lying, exaggerating, not nice names, teasing that hurts people, etc) And our hearts probably don’t feel happy or kind when we are saying those things, but they feel closed up and hard (make a fist with your hand) So when our hearts are open (open fist) and willing to love, words that are good and kind and peaceful come out of our mouths and those are the kinds of words that help bring different people together. Can you think of some of those words? (take answers)

One way that we start to open our hearts and minds is knowing that others people, no matter how different they are from us, are a part of God’s world and they are children of God too. And when we learn about different people our hearts start to be open and not closed. So I wanted to give you some words for peace today in other languages. (either use the worship station for this or hand out an image or list of words and their languages.) Teach one or two of the words now and then instruct the children in the worship station if you are using it.

FaithCross_WorshipHave the words in different languages available on a handout or at a station on a poster board. Have paper and markers available and have some printed paper with a big word PEACE (or love, hope or all there) Then ask people to write down the different languages around the word peace and take them home and learn them.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, God of peace, ____, _____, ______ (insert your choice of other language for peace) Help us to see others with open hearts and help us to have words that bring healing and love come out of our mouths. Be with all those who are hurt by words and help our world live in peace. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg+Go with God’s love to bring peace in the world+

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Weekly Devotion Page for August 17, 2014

39 Aug 17 - Tenth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 17,  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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