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 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!

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Children’s Sermon Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 22:34-46, October 5, 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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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!

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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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Children’s Sermon Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 21:33-46, October 5, 2014

Prepare: This might require a little planning! You need something that you can put together quickly, and that you can substitute a “wrong” piece for an important part.  For example it could be a little Lego model that has an obvious color scheme, but bring one piece that is really the wrong color, but is absolutely needed to finish the model.

I will use a different example below, and you are welcome to use that idea, too, it just takes a little more time to set up. For the example below, you need to make a small wooden cross that should be held together with a small piece of dowel rod. The one that I have is three pieces, a base, and upright and a cross piece, with a hole in the upright and cross piece. Instead of a dowel rod bring a piece of string and tangle it around the three pieces that you have. (You will see how the Lego version works)

Here are couple pictures of what I put together:

2014-09-25 12.13.58 2014-09-25 12.15.03

For the Worship Station you will need enough small, unpolished, unremarkable stones for everyone in your congregation.  They should be small enough to fit easily in a child’s hand or in a pants pocket. You will also need crayons or markers and a big sheet of white paper (maybe more depending on the size of your congregation).

20130822-223520.jpg As the children gather, tell them that you are going to build something today, and that you hope you have all the right pieces. Ask them if they like to build things.

FaithCross_ConversationALT Let’s build something! OK, I brought the pieces with me in this bag. I thought it would be fun to make a new cross for our Sunday School room. Wait – what’s this string doing in here? Oh man, it’s wrapped around everything! I’m going to have to untangle this from everything before we can go on, wait a second. . . OK, now let’s just get rid of this string (toss it behind you or somewhere away from you), there, now we can build! This is the base that it will stand on, and this piece goes into the base like this. Then there is a hole in the upright and this cross piece, and I just need a little wood rod to go through it . . . it’s here somewhere . . . hmmm . . . I don’t see it. I really wanted to show you how the cross looks, but I don’t have anything to hold it together. Wait! I could tie it together! Where did that piece of string go? There! Almost right. I sure am glad we had that string, even if I thought it was annoying at first.

This reminds me of our Bible story. Well, Jesus did it again. Someone asked a question and he told a story! As usual, the story isn’t really about what we think it’s about. The story is really about rejection. Do you know what that means? (Wait and see) Right, kind of like what I did with the string. I got rid of the string because I thought that it was useless, and more in the way than anything. As it turns out, the string was just the thing that I needed to make everything work. Jesus is talking to the leaders of the community that he is in and tells them that the people they reject are very people that God looks to for leadership. He tells them that the people who think they are in charge of everything are not always the people that God will give authority to.

FaithCross_Worship Have a basket or bowl filled with little stones. By the basket, have them sign that invites them to reflect on a time when they rejected someone, how did it make them feel? Take a stone to remind you to give people a second chance or a third chance.

Have another station with the paper and crayons, and invite people to write a word or two about how they feel when they are accepted and loved.

They should keep the stone with them this week. Hang the paper in the a prominent place in the church for a week or two.

20130822-224425.jpg  Gracious God, we need your love and acceptance in our lives. Help us to rest in your love, and to be loving and accepting to the people around us. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  Know that God loves and accepts you.

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Weekly Devotion page for October 5, 2014

46 Oct 05 - Seventhteenth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, October 5,  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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Faith + Home Connection October 2014 Matthew 21: 33-46 and Isaiah 25: 1-9

 

20130822-223315.jpgTake a walk as a household or with friends around your neighborhood or go on a hike to enjoy the changing leaves on the trees and the seasons. Ask each other how you have experienced God through changes in your life. When was a time that a change was hard? Needed? Helpful?

20130822-223633.jpg Read Matthew 21: 33-46 and Isaiah 5: 1-7. Both are about owners of vineyards and there are several connections between the two texts. The Matthew passage quickly moves from the focus of the tenants to the treatment of the landowner’s son. When we read Matthew and Isaiah together, we know that Jesus is pulling from the Jewish traditions (including quoting Psalm 118 in verse 42) to make his point about who he is and God’s work for reconciliation and justice in unexpected places and ways.

For children: When is a time that you saw something that was amazing or unexpected? Jesus came to tell the world that God loves them but not all the people thought that Jesus was God’s son and believed him. Why is it sometimes hard to believe good news?

For youth/adults: We often say that seeing is believing. The landowner sent his own son to the “wicked” tenants to show that he was patient and willing to work with them. Yet, the tenants wouldn’t even consider the goodwill gesture but instead just became greedier-wanting the son’s very inheritance! Why is it hard to believe when someone is acting benevolent or downright altruistic toward us? Do we always assume a hidden agenda? How can we open ourselves truly to the good news (the wonderful news!) of God’s love and merciful actions toward us through Jesus Christ? Jesus’ death “swallows up death forever” (Is. 25:7) and we will with “be glad and rejoice in his [God’s]  salvation.” (Is. 25:9)

20130822-223749.jpg Offer prayers for all who are abused, threatened and hurt by anyone. Pray that all people may act toward one another how God acts toward us. May we be part of revealing God’s mercy in the world.

20130822-223908.jpg + The God of mercy is with you today+

FaithCross_ServeALT Learn about agencies and shelter for men and women who suffer from abuse of any kind. Find out how you can be an advocate, volunteer or donate needed items for people as they recreate their lives.

 

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