Children’s Sermon Matthew 25: 31-46, We are all connected in Jesus! Christ the King Sunday

Preparation: Have enough name tags with different identifications on them such as: “sick,” “hungry,” homeless,” “thirsty,” “stranger,” “lonely,” etc. You can have more than one child with the same “label.” Expand upon labels as is appropriate in you context. Have enough name tags with “Jesus” written on them for each child (or even congregational member).

20130822-223454.jpg Gather the children and give them each a name tag with the label on it as they come up. Ask them, “Have you ever needed help and didn’t get any? How did that feel? (Accept all answers) It doesn’t feel that good does it. Have you ever helped a friend or even someone that you didn’t know?” (Hopefully, they will say yes.) “We all have helped someone, even if we may not know it! When we offer a hug, a smile or say a kind word, very simple things, we can help someone know the love of God can’t we? Here at our church we help people we know and people we don’t know in many different ways. (List some of the internal ministries (meals for the sick, visits, etc.) and outward ministries here. If you have any that children participate in be sure to say so and invite more children and youth to be a part of that ministry!) Some of the people we work with are the people that Jesus talks about in our story today and are on your name tags. Why do we do that? Is it just to be good? Is it just because Jesus says so (Jesus does but…)?”
FaithCross_BibleALT “In our story today, Jesus does say that we should feed hungry people, give water to those who need clean water to drink, give people clothes, care for sick people, etc. And we do that! But it’s not just so that we can feel good about ourselves or make sure that God loves us right? No, God loves us no matter what. You each have on a name tag with a label of a type of person on it. We’ve all been sick, we might need shelter one day or food. We never know, one day we help someone else and the next day someone is helping us. That’s what we call “partnership” or working together. We all need stuff sometimes!”
“Here is another name tag for each of you. Whose name is on it? Jesus! That’s right! Jesus says that he loves us all very much, is with us always and we know that each one of us reflects Jesus to the world with every word, smile and action. Jesus says that you are a part of Jesus and Jesus is a part of you! And you, and you, and you and you (point to all of the children and all of the adults!)! Jesus says that we are connected to God and so we are also connected to each other-EVERYONE matters! We want everyone to know God’s love and to know that Jesus is with them and a part of their lives. So this name tag today reminds you that Jesus is part of you and your life each and every day and you are also connected to all of God’s people!”

FaithCross_WorshipWe are all connected and share in the life and love of God. Have a large wooden cross or a large poster board cross that can be attached to a wall or free standing. Have several post-it notes and pens on the table with the cross. Invite each person to write a way that they need that community to pray for them this week on a post-it note and stick it to the cross. Then invite each person to take another person’s prayer off the cross and pray for them that week. You can choose to have names on them or not.

20130822-224425.jpg We are grateful that you love us all and bring us together for community, support and help when we need it. We pray for all of those who do not have enough to eat, do not have clean water, shelter, or are lonely in anyway. We pray to look for ways to be your love and mercy to all in the world and we long for the day when all of your people have what they need for daily life. In the name of Jesus who is with us always, amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT +You matter to God+

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Faith + Home Connection December 2014

FaithCross_ConnectALT Gather as a household and share one thing that you are enjoying or pondering about the Advent season and also share what is troubling you about the Advent season.

FaithCross_BibleALT Luke 1: 26-38: Read this out loud together. For younger families, this story can be found in the Spark Storybook Bible on page 196 or in the Jesus Storybook Bible beginning on page 176-179. Younger children may want to act out the story or be one of the different voices as the story is read.

FaithCross: for children: Did you ever do something really hard? What was it? Did someone ask you to do it (like a parent or a teacher) or did you want to do this thing yourself? Did you do it? Were you surprised that you could do it? Mary was asked to do this hard thing-having a baby is not easy! But she knew that God was with her and that with God, anything is possible. God can surprise us all the time! Look for God to surprise you with God’s love today!

For youth/adults: I am always surprised by Mary’s calm and sure response to Gabriel’s announcement about this impossible and scary thing about to happen to her. Mary was willing to give her whole life to what God was doing in the world-bringing salvation and eternal life. What do you think is impossible to do in the world? (Eradicate hunger, poverty, violence, etc.?) What do you think would change (or could change) about these huge issues if we all responded to God’s call to participation like Mary? What would a first step, that you could actually take, be towards something that the world needs and perhaps God calling you for participation in?

FaithCross_ServeALT For Christmas this year, do an “alternative giving” option with friends and family. Give donations in honor of family members and give a simple handmade gift (such as an ornament, something you have knit, sewed, carved, created or a homemade card) with a note explaining the donation instead. One possibility is the ELCA Good Gifts Program. Follow the link here: http://www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-Good-Gifts
One simple idea to say “Here I am!” to the things God is doing in the world!

20130822-224425.jpg God of all possibilities, open our eyes and our hearts to follow you into hard and what might seem like impossible places. We pray for all your love and grace to flow through us to your world. May we always remember that with you, nothing is impossible. We pray this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Do not be afraid, nothing will be impossible with God+

 

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Household Devotion Page for Thanksgiving – Year A

ThanksgivingInsert.pubHere is the devotion page for Thanksgiving – year A readings

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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Weekly Devotion Page for November 23, 2014

53 Nov 23 - Christ the King.pubHere is the devotion page for Christ the King Sunday, November 23,  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 Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 25:14-30, November 16, 2014

Prepare: You will need a trash can and a couple crumpled up sheets of paper. I would put the trash can somewhere away from the children, you will be throwing the crumpled paper into the (or at) the trash can, and it could be chaos if the trash is too close by.

20130822-223454.jpg  Ask the children if they play any sports. You are aiming for basketball, so maybe steer them in that direction.

FaithCross_ConversationALT Basketball is really fun! Let’s think about basketball for a minute. The basic idea is that you need to throw the ball through the hoop, right? Well I can’t really bring a basketball and a hoop into the church (Or maybe you can?!? Depends on where you worship!) but I did bring a trash can and a couple balls of paper. OK, here’s the thing about this – If I really want this paper to go into the trashcan, or a basketball to go through the hoop, I need to make sure that I throw it hard enough to get there, right? If I just barely throw it, like this, I know exactly where it’s going to go, but it’s nowhere near the trashcan. But, I’m afraid that if I really toss it far enough that I will miss! Then I will have to get up and go get it, which is a pain, so to be safe, I’m just not going to throw it. Sound good? (I hope that you get some encouragement to throw it here, but you may have to get them worked up a little) OK, but what if I miss? Should I worry about it? No? Ok, here goes!

(doesn’t matter if you make it)

Wow, that was much more fun than just dropping the paper!

This is kind of like the story we hear in the Gospel today. Three people were given some money. Two of them risked it, they spent the money on something that they hoped would make them even more money and it worked – kind of like me really tossing the paper. The third person was nervous and kept the money hidden so it would be safe. Well, the man who gave them the money was really happy with the two that invested or spent the money, because they did something wonderful with a gift he had given them, but he was really mad at the third guy because he hid the gift and didn’t do anything!

Now, we all know that when Jesus tells a story there is ALWAYS more going on than what it first seems. Jesus isn’t really talking about money, or about rich people and servants, Jesus is talking about us! Jesus is talking about gifts from God that make us all good at different things. Some of us are really good at figuring out problems, some are good at art or music, or running or caring for people – all kind of different things! Jesus is telling us to use our gifts to make the world better – we should invest our gifts and we will get good things back.

FaithCross_PrayALT   Generous God, thank you for the gifts that you give! Give us all the courage to invest in our gifts and use them to help others. Amen

FaithCross_Worship Prayer partners! Ask people to join together in groups of 2 or 3. These can be household groups or random groups. Somehow distribute these three questions (on a screen or in a worship bulletin or whatever works in you context).

  1. What gifts do you have?
  2. What do you risk if you invest in your gifts and use them?
  3. What do you risk if you hide your gifts?

Prayer partners should ask these questions our loud, but the answers can be silent (better if both people talk, but the important thing is hear the questions so that everyone thinks about them).

After all three questions have been asked (and answered) then invite the partners to pray with each other.

20130822-223908.jpg God loves everything about you.

~GB

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Weekly Devotion Page for November 16, 2014

52 Nov 16 - Twenty Third Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the 23rd Sunday After, November 16,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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Weekly Devotion Page for November 9, 2014

51 Nov 9 - Twenty Second Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the 22nd Sunday After, November 9,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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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!

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