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.

Children’s Sermon – July 31, 2016 – Luke 12:13-21

Prepare: You will need a “treasure chest” of some kind.  It can be an actual chest, or as simple as a little box.  It doesn’t need to have anything in it.

20130822-223520.jpgAs the children gather, set your treasure chest down carefully in the middle of the group, and ask them what they think is in it.

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Those are some good ideas! I think that I know what kinds of things you would keep in your treasure chest now.

In the Gospel we hear today, Jesus tells a story about a rich man who has so much stuff that he builds big buildings just to put stuff in.  He is very proud of what he has accomplished and of all his stuff, but he dies at the end of the story! Who gets all the stuff then? I think that is pretty interesting, but not as interesting as the question that started Jesus telling a story (because, you know that when you ask Jesus a question he is going to tell you a story for the answer, right?).

I guess it’s not really a question, but a request.  A man asks Jesus to tell his brother to split the family fortune with him.  Basically he wants half of his brother’s stuff. I think that Jesus is trying to tell this man that he is worried about the wrong things, or that he isn’t paying attention to what is really important. The man seems to be willing to make his brother man just so he can have more money, or animals – more stuff. Now, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if the man liked his brother, or didn’t like his brother, but it seems to me that Jesus is telling him to stop focusing on stuff, because things can get used up, be stolen or lost, and don’t last forever. Gathering things up in a box is just about as good as having an empty box (You can open the empty box here if you want.) What we should treasure is people! We should care for each other and use our wealth to help each other, not store it up and hide it away.

20130822-223908.jpgYou are God’s treasure

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, you treasure us and care for us. Thank you! Help us to treasure the people around us more than we treasure our stuff. Amen

FaithCross_WorshipFor a worship station, invite your congregation to think about the people that they treasure.  It doesn’t have to be someone in the room, they can even be friends and loved ones who have died.  Give them a minute to call those people to mind and then offer a “popcorn” prayer where people can name the people they treasure aloud or silently.

If naming people in prayer our loud is not part of you tradition you may want to have a few “plants” in the congregation to get the prayer started.

 

Teach Us to Pray! Luke 11: 1-13, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost July 24, 2016

20130822-223454.jpg Here are a couple of ideas: invite the children forward to help lead the Lord’s Prayer wherever it occurs in your worship service. Invite the older children/youth to write one line about what they think each petition means and use that for the prayers of intercession or the prayers of the people.

*For a more “traditional” children’s sermon: Gather the children and ask them what are questions that they might have for God? Have a large piece of paper and a marker to write down their answers (or have a helper with you). Accept all answers (Pray for these things at the end). More than likely, some of these responses will connect somehow to the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer (the traditional version that we say, not necessarily the one in Luke.)Say:  We ask God all kinds of things! Do you ever ask your mom, dad, grandma and grandpa etc, for things? Maybe dinner, or lunch, or help finding a toy? Yes! We all ask for help! God wants us to ask for help and for what we need.

20130822-223633.jpg God is always happy to hear from us which is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray! You can pray to God yourself, you don’t need an adult or a pastor to pray, you get to talk to God anytime you want about anything you want and God listens. And we can talk to God about all sorts of things Jesus says: food, God’s peace, our fears, forgiveness, help with a friend. We may always not hear an answer right away, but we know that God promises to hear us! Sometimes we hear God’s answer through other people, or reading the Bible or in all kinds of ways. Sometimes, Jesus says, we have to look in lots of places for God’s answer to us.

To help us remember the Lord’s Prayer and all of the different things that we can pray for, I made a colorful bookmark out of different colors of ribbon tied together that I keep in my Bible. At our worship station today, you can make one too!

20130822-224425.jpgJesus, thank you for teaching us that God hears us always. Let us remember that we can talk to God about anything, anytime we want. (Pray for the items written on the large sheet.) We pray together the Lord’s Prayer now: (use whichever version is comfortable in your community.)

FaithCross_Worship

Have a table with the instructions available for all with ribbons cut into three inch lengths.

Lord’s Prayer in Color

Blue-“Our Father, who art in heaven’”

White-“Hallowed be thy name,”

Purple-“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,”

Green-“On earth as it is in heaven.”

Brown (yellow beads)-“Give us this day our daily bread”

Red-“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Gold-“For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.

Tie each color of ribbon together with a knot making a bookmark for your Bible or any book.

Use this to help you to remember to pray unceasingly!

(For the bracelets-string the beads on in order and then tie the bracelet on your wrist.)

20130822-223908.jpg+God hears your prayers+

 

Children’s Sermon–Distractions and Prayer Luke 10:38-42 July 17th 2016

Preparation: get an assistant to either flash a light or make a small noise to distract you as you begin. Tell them to start out subtle before becoming more obvious to everyone.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children to you. Welcome them and start to tell them about the gospel story today. Prompt your assistance to start the light or noise distraction. As you start talking, fade off,lose your place, etc as you are distracted by the noise or light.

20130822-223633.jpgSay, “Wow I really want to focus on this Bible story but it’s hard, I keep getting distracted. Anyone else distracted?” Have the kids point out to you the distraction and then invite your assistant to join you. “This is like our bible story today. Jesus’s visiting sisters Mary and Martha. Martha is making dinner and trying to get this ready to be welcoming to her guest. Well she gets distracted by her sister Mary of helping her and she gets upset and tells Jesus to help her get Mary to come help. Jesus knows Martha is distracted by her worry and frustration and tells her that Mary is focusing in on Gods word and has also chosen a good thing. Jesus wants Martha to remember what the main focus is of being welcoming and that is to show care for others in Gods name.”

“Do you ever get distracted? What kinds of things distract you?” (Take answers, be prepared to prompt… Could mention the movie “Up” where the dog is always distracted by the squirrel or electronics, etc.). “Many things that are good and things that are not so good can distract us from remembering we are to focus on Jesus words and live our life based on his words and promises, even our thoughts and feelings can get in the way. I think I need that reminder to focus on Jesus and that many of us do. What are ways we can do this?” (Take answers, mention prayer and worship and reading scripture. If you use the inserts or other daily devotional in your congregation this is a great time to show it and teach again how to use it.)

Centering Prayer option: “All of these are good ways. And sometimes it good for us to take a little God time out. It can even be really short. It’s a time when we can just let our mind be open to listen for God. To do this we have to get pretty quiet, do you know how to be quiet? Let’s try. Good. Now I am going to set this time for just 30 seconds and we are going to try together to do a centering prayer. This means all we are going to breath in and think the word “Jesus” and breath out and think the words “Loves Me”. If other thoughts come just take a breath and remember your words. Let’s try together once and then we will set the timer.” Practice this together and see how it goes!

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, you are our God. Help us focus on you. Thank you for your words of love for us. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpgMay your heart, hands, feet, head, words, and actions be surrounded in God’s peace.

 

FaithCross_WorshipSet up a centering prayer/meditation area. Put out some pillows to sit on or chairs that are set a part from the worship space. Or simply provide the resources in the pews. Provide card with different kinds of centering prayer. You can write some simple ones like the example of “Jesus loves me” or “Come Holy Spirit” and/or print up some other resources from here: Contemplative Outreach 

 

 

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.