Children’s sermon Matthew 25: 1-13, Ten Bridesmaids, Year A, Pentecost 32, Nov. 9, 2014

Preparation: an oil candle  and lighter

20130822-223315.jpg Gather the children with you. Show the children your oil candle that is unlit.  Ask, “does anyone know what this is?” Take answers. “And how does it keep the light burning?” Take answers. “yes the oil we have here keeps the flame going, as long as there is oil in the lamp the flame will go. “ Light the candle.

20130822-223633.jpg  “In our gospel today Jesus tells us a parable—which remember is a story that tries to tell us something about God or about how we are called live as God’s children. This parable is about bridesmaids and back when Jesus was alive and there was a wedding the bridesmaids didn’t stay with the bride like they do today, instead they stayed with groom and carried oil lamps so that everyone could see how well he was dressed and how he would make a good husband who could take care of the bride. Well, these bridesmaids did not keep oil in there lamp so they could not keep the light shining on what they were supposed to. Jesus tells this story to help us see that how we live and shine God’s light matters for showing others about Jesus’ love.”  “What are ways that we can help each other have enough oil in our lamp to shine a light for Christ?” Take answers but come around to the idea that when we pray for each other, read the scripture, sing songs, and remember that we are children of God then we can show that to others.

20130822-224425.jpg For our prayer today we are going to do something different. We are going to sing a song and let it help us remember how we are lights and let it remind the rest of the people worshipping that they are lights as well.

Sing This Little Light of Mine or Give me Oil in my lamp or another  light song

20130822-223908.jpg  +May your light shine bright in the day and night and may you know God’s love in you+

FaithCross_Worship Anointed with Oil: set out small bowls with oil and make small cards that have either the blessing above (+May your light shine bright in the day and night and may you know God’s love in you+) or a baptismal blessing–+You are sealed by the Holy Sprit and marked with the cross of Christ forever+

Create a sign that says: Take a card and dip your finger in oil. Make a sign of the cross with the oil on the card as a reminder to take home. Then go and give the blessing to another person.

LB

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All Saints Children’s Sermon Nov. 2nd, 2014, Matthew 5:1-12 Year A

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Death is not something that we talk about much in our culture and today can be a wonderful opportunity to talk to children about death. Many of them have experienced death in some form or another (if not a relative, then maybe a pet) and to give them a space to process grief in their faith community can be valuable and supportive. This might be a longer children’s sermon or incorporate it into the sermon message to be a cross generational time in worship. For young children it is important to use precise language. Say the words “death,” and “died.” Children become confused and scared by euphemisms such as “lost,” “passed on,” or “gone.” They have all been lost or their parents can be “gone” for time and this can raise anxiety around what death actually is.

FaithCross_ConnectALT Have a picture of someone or a pet from your life whom has died. Tell the children about this person or pet. What do you remember about them, what saying or action from them you now say or do? If a pet, tell about something that was uniquely that particular pet. Ask the children to tell one thing about someone that they know who has died. Give space for this. If you do this as a cross generational time, have people pair up or small group themselves for this conversation. Say, “Do we sometimes feel sad about missing our loved one or pet? We do don’t we? It can make us feel good to talk about the person or pet that we miss and still love but it can also make us feel sad at the same time. Life is like that and we all feel sad and happy at the same time sometimes.”

FaithCross_BibleALTSay, “Jesus talks about what it is to be blessed in our Bible story this morning. He even says that people who mourn-who are sad-are blessed. That seems weird doesn’t it? To be blessed is to feel sad? But here is what Jesus means-we only feel sad about missing someone or a pet who has died because we loved them very much. To love someone and to have that person or pet love us feels very good and is important. Jesus is reminding us that love is what is the most important thing-even when we are sad. All love, love for each other, our friends, family, pets, comes from God. To know love from friends, family or pets is to know a little bit more about God’s love in our lives. This is a blessing-that God loves us, gives us people around us to show God’s love and to know that God is with us always. That’s what Jesus means that people are blessed-God’s love surrounds us all at all times and in all places. Even when death is involved. Today we are remembering and celebrating people that we miss so much because we love them so much! Death cannot and never will stop love. God’s promises that not even death can separate us from God’s love. This is a day when we share that good news with each other and the world.”

FaithCross_PrayALTLove is forever. God, we are grateful for your presence with us when we are happy, sad, confused, joyful, angry, peaceful and at all times. Love from you flows to others around us and we are indeed blessed to live in your love and promises with our friends, family and pets. We know that death doesn’t separate us from you and that we are never alone because you promise to with us always. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

FaithCross_Worship Have small candle holders, tea light candles, permanent markers, a large candle stand or table, easy lighters (for safety only adults should light candles). Have a table where everyone can decorate a candle holder with a loved one’s name on it and other important words or symbols about your relationship with the person who has died. Put the tea light in the candle holder and place it on the table with the other candles. Each person can light their own candle. After your worship station time, have a communal prayer highlighting all of the people that this congregation has loved as evidenced by all of the lit candles. Pray that this love spills out into God’s world as the light of Christ shines through us for the sake of the world.

20130822-223908.jpg+You are blessed and loved by God+

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Weekly Devotion page for November 2, 2014

50 Nov 02 - Twentyfirst Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for All Saints Sunday, November 2,  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 for October 26, 2014

49 Oct 26 - Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, October 26,  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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Children’s Sermon Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 22:34-46, October 26, 2014

Prepare: You are going to play a word game, so you will need several cards with either a noun or a verb on them and one more that says “LOVE.” The number of cards you use depends on how much time you have, but you probably need at least 3 of each plus the “LOVE” card. They should be simple and obvious, like RUN, or DOG.

Worship Station: The worship station can be done without added stuff, but if might be helpful to have paper for everyone to write on, or even better small note cards.

NOTE – I am using this with my congregation as part of our stewardship/giving commitment Sunday, so I will also include that idea, but you can leave out the giving commitment part if it does not line up with what your congregation is doing.

FaithCross_ConnectALT  Ask the children if they know what a noun is and what a verb is. You might have to explain it, and if they are too young you can also just use “thing” or “action.”

FaithCross_ConversationALT Alright! Good, now we are going to play a word game! I will hold up a card and you tell me if it is a noun or a verb.

Start with the easy ones, and offer lots of encouragement! Then hold up the LOVE card last.

What do you think of this one? Is love a noun? You can feel love, right? We know when we love someone or when someone loves us, so maybe it is a noun. But, maybe it is a verb, too. Love is something that you do, too! Think about that for a minute. When you love somebody you want to do good things for them. You want to make them feel good, and you want to take care of them. So love is not just a noun, love is something that we do.

In this Bible story that we read today we hear Jesus talking about love because someone asked him a very difficult question. They want to know what the greatest commandment is. I think that they were thinking of the 10 commandments – you know, “have no other gods,” “Honor you parents,” “Don’t kill.” But Jesus, like he so often does, answers the question in a completely different way. Instead of picking one of the 10, he kind of picks them all. He says the most important thing you can do is to love. Love God, love yourself and all the people around you. Remember, love is not just a noun, it is a verb! To love all these people we have to do something! We have to care for them, we should do good things for them, we should work to make them feel good, joyful and safe. That is a difficult thing to do, and I think that Jesus knew that when he said it. Let’s pray for a little help learning how to be more loving.

FaithCross_Worship *Stewardship Emphasis* If you intend to collect pledges you can have baskets out or whatever your custom is. If you are not colleting pledges you can just have people do the prayer work and write down their love commitment.

Ask the people to think for a moment about the person or situation that most upset, angered, frustrated, or otherwise made them unhappy in the past week. Then ask them to turn to the person next to them and just share the one word that they felt in that situation. Nothing more! Not what was happening, not who was involved, just one word about how they felt.

Next have them think about how they could have been more loving in the situation and write that on the paper (if you are using paper). That is their commitment to be more loving this week.

If you are collecting pledges, do that now, and tell them that they are making a double pledge. One to support the church financially in the coming year and the other to be more loving, even in the most difficult times of their daily lives.

20130822-224425.jpg    Loving God, we often fail to be the loving people you created us to be. Help us to see past our own hurts and anger and to live out your love in our lives. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg God loves everything about you.

 

~GB

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Faith + Home Connection November 2014

 

20130822-223520.jpg Have the household share your highs and lows of the day. Where did you see God today? Where do you need God today?

20130822-223633.jpg Matthew 25: 14-30 or page 316 in the Spark Storybook Bible. “The Parable of the Talents.”

FaithCross For younger children:  God has given you so many gifts and talents! Do you know what a talent is? In our story it means money, but we think of a talent as something that you are really good at. What are you really good at? How can that help other people? God wants us to use our whole selves, all the parts of us to share God’s love and forgiveness with everyone we meet!

For youth/adults: We all know those people who hide money in a mattress, a drawer, or a jar. They hold onto what they have for fear of not having enough or losing what they have completely. Saving is not bad, we do need to save for an unexpected life event, but God calls us to think of our money, our gifts (talents-if you will!) and our time as not ours alone. God reminds us with this story that all that we have already comes from God. What are we to do with what God has given us? When we share it, we read, it multiplies. In God’s kingdom, there is abundance and sharing our gifts and time doesn’t subtract from what we have but increases! We are to share all that we have without fear of running out or not having enough. What is a gift or talent that you have? What are some ways that you share it?

FaithCross_ServeALTfor children: Give five people a hug or a high five today to share God’s love!

For youth/adults: Decide on one thing that you can do each day to share a gift you have. You can write notes, put change in jar at the end of each day for charity, find out if a school or non-profit organization needs your job skill, etc.

20130822-224425.jpg Pray for all people to know their value and worth as beloved children of God. Pray for everyone to know the gifts that God has given them. Pray for everyone to have enough food, clothing and shelter throughout the world.

20130822-223908.jpg +Live in the joy of God this day+

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Children’s sermon Matthew 22: 15-22, Paying Taxes, Year A, Pentecost 29, Oct. 19, 2014

Preparation: Pictures or objects that show ways in which money given to the congregation goes to support or serve others, children’s offering basket or whatever you use, coins

20130822-223315.jpg Gather the children with you. Bring an offering plate or if you have a children’s offering basket or bucket, have that with you as well.   Show them the offering plate/basket/bucket and ask, “Do you know what this is for?” Take answers. “yes we collect money in it and that is called collecting an offering. We have an offering time in every worship that we do together. Does anyone know what offering means?” Take answers. “Offering is a way we give something in the name of our faith and our worship knowing that what we have comes from God.”

20130822-223633.jpg  “In our reading today from Matthew we hear Jesus get asked about money. He says to give to Cesar or give to the government what belongs to them and give to God what belongs to God. What do you think belongs to God?” Take answers. “We could say that everything belongs to God and that what we have God gives us to  use to care for ourselves and others. So when you give coins or dollars to this offering basket it goes to help take care of others. Does anyone know where the money we give goes?” Take answers but move into showing pictures of ways that the money goes through your church and out your doors or to ministries inside your walls. You may want to show pictures of kids learning or coffee to welcome new people. Also service projects or global missions, whatever you are focusing in on at this time in your congregation. Or if your children’s offering goes to specific places focus in on that and where it is going right now.

20130822-223749.jpg Jesus, you give us words from God. And we are thankful for the gifts we have and the reminder that all we have comes from God. Help us to share what we have to make a difference in the lives of others. Open our hearts to your generous life. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg +May you know your gifts are from God and you are a gift to the world+

FaithCross_Worship  Have bowls of change—do all quarters if you can. You may want to have someone monitor the station or be clear about taking one (or however many you decide) coin. Prepare a sign that says: “Give to God what is God’s”  First pick up a coin and hold it in your hand. Feel the weight of the coin. How does it make you feel…happy, sad, anxious, indifferent? In what ways does money have power in your life? In what ways can you have the power to align your values with how you use money? Reflect on this this week. Take a coin with you and use this coin to make a difference for someone or something else. Be creative in either how you give it or multiply it or put it to use. Take a notecard with you as well and write down how you used this coin. Bring it back and post it on our board for sharing our stories.

LB

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Weekly Devotion Page for October 19, 2014

48 Oct 19 - Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, October 19,  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 for October 12, 2014

47 Oct 12 - Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, October 12,  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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Children’s sermon Matthew 22: 1-14, Wedding Banquet, Year A, Pentecost 28, Oct. 12, 2014

20130715-114218.jpgHave some fun instruments, ribbons to twirl, pompoms to shake etc. Have them in a basket or a bucket easily carried. Have one of these things in your hand as you walk around your worship space singing a fun song twirling a ribbon and inviting people of all ages to join in your parade. If someone says no, that’s fine, accept all who come with you. Lead the parade (children and adults!)to where you normally gather for children’s sermon time.

FaithCrossSay: “Wow that was fun! Did you guys like it? Yeah? What did you like about it? (Accept all answers.) Yeah, I liked those things too! I really liked that we were all together and having a good time and we could just celebrate and be a little silly. Have you ever received an invitation to a party? Did you go? Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. It’s kind of sad when we can’t go to a party and we know that it will be good one isn’t it? Have you ever had a party where not many people showed up or could come? How did that feel? We love it when all of our family and friends can be together and celebrate birthdays or holidays with us!”

FaithCross_BibleALTSay: “In today’s Bible story, we hear about a party. The king invites his friends and family but none of them come. So the king is sad and mad and turns around and invites all kinds of people to his party, strangers, visitors, good people, bad people, all kinds. The king wanted people to celebrate with and to share the joy of the day.

God is like that. God wants all people to celebrate with her the joy of love, togetherness and being in God’s kingdom.  And God invites ALL of us to be in relationship with God! God sent Jesus to tell everyone that they are invited to be with God forever! Doesn’t matter if we act good all the time or bad all the time (although God wants us to love each other), God gathers us all in for love, forgiveness and being together. How can we share this party with other people? (Accept all answers-offer ways that your community connects with the neighborhood around it.) We can share God’s love with people in so many ways! That is worth celebrating!

FaithCross_PrayALT God of joy, thank you for calling us all into your celebration of life and love through your son Jesus. May we share that joy with everyone in our lives. In Jesus name, amen.

FaithCross_Worship Option A: (You will need ribbons that are used for presents. Buy the thicker ribbons for writing on.) During worship station time, offer ribbons cut in 8 inch lengths and permanent writing pens. Invite people to write on the ribbons what they are celebrating about their new life with God today. Or they could also write where they would like to invite God’s joy into their life today. Have a cross available for the ribbons to be tied onto or attached in some way.

Option B: Have blank cards on a table with fun ways to decorate them. Have people write an invitation to give to someone in their daily life. Invite people to worship, a work service day, Sunday school, Bible study, a meal, a fun outing, etc.

FaithCross_BlessALT +God chooses you+

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