December Faith + Alive in the Home Philippians 4:4-7 Advent Year C


20130822-223520.jpgIn this busy season, making time to check in with those in our households or with those whom we are in close relationship is vital. There are many ways to do this! Here is one: Gather your household around the Christmas tree or the Advent wreath (if you have one), or simply light a candle. Where do you see God doing something new in your life today? Where do pray for God’s work to be revealed?

20130822-223633.jpgPhilippians 4: 4-7 (Advent 3C, December 13th, 2015):

This is not a “typical” getting ready for Christmas scripture text. No mention of Mary, John the Baptist, prophets, little town of Bethlehem, a baby or any of the images we associate with this time of year. So why is this part of our Advent reading? I tend to think it has something to do with verse six: “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

For children: What are you excited about today? What is it that you are having a hard time waiting for? Presents? Time off of school? Snow? What are you worried about today? Tests? Friends? Brother or sister? Mom or dad? Our Bible reading tells us not to worry about anything but to know that God hears our joys and our worries. Make some colorful strips of paper about two inches by about eight inches to create a paper chain. You can have 24 of them to count down to Christmas. But on each chain each day, write or draw something that you are excited about and something that you are worried about. This will be a daily prayer to God. Each day add a chain (families can create one large chain or each person can have their own prayer chain) and hang it on your Christmas tree as a reminder that Christmas is about God with us!

For youth/adults: Worry has been a primary human emotion for thousands of years. It seems that we are wired to worry about anything and everything. Some worry is good and healthy as it can keep us safe but often our worry goes overboard. Paul and the community at Philippi were not immune from worry. Paul is reminding them (and us!) that worry can crowd out our rejoicing and to offer all of daily lives, each part, to God. What is worrying you today? What brings you peace in the midst of worry? When you find yourself worrying about circumstances you can’t control, write down the worry, (paper, phone or computer) and say a prayer of thanksgiving that God is with us always.

FaithCross_ServeALT “Let you gentleness be known to everyone.” God is gentle and loving with us and we want to show the world God’s gentleness. When someone cuts you off in traffic, in line at the store, or is rude to you, offer them a prayer of grace. When you do those same actions (as we all do!), offer yourself a prayer of grace as well!  For younger children, have a small jar in a prominent place where each time someone (adults too) in the household is gentle, kind, and showing God’s love, a coin (pick which denomination works for you) can go in the jar. At the end of the month, as a household, chose a place to donate the coins. (You can have the children decorate the jar or container if you would like and keep this project going.)

20130822-223749.jpgPray for each other’s worries and joys. Thank God for God’s gentleness and love through Jesus Christ.

20130822-223908.jpg+God’s peace and gentleness be with you+

Signs of New Life and the nearness of God’s Kingdom, Luke 21: 25-36, Advent 1, Nov.29th, 2015

20130715-113716.jpgHave the children come forward and stay standing up for this time. Say “Look around our worship space. What do you see?” (Accept all answers.) “Yes, we see people, the piano/organ, the font, the table, bread, wine, water, pews, carpet, etc. We see all kinds of things in here that tell a story! What story do you think that all of these things and people tell? They tell the story of God’s love. They are telling us to remember to look around to look for love, which is always a sign of Jesus in our world. Do you ever see things in your day or on tv that scare you? Yes, I do too. But I remember to look for signs of love around me when  I feel scared.

20130822-223633.jpg In our Bible story today, Jesus says that we will see things in the world that we won’t understand or might even scare us. But he says “stand up! Look for signs of love and hope!” Jesus tells us that when it seems that things are scary or sad, that he is with us forever. Nothing can make Jesus go away. He also says that there is something that we can do to help us to look for signs of God’s love and new life everywhere we go: pray. Praying is not just about asking God for what we need or a friend needs but is also about just talking to God and listening for where God might be telling us to look for signs of love. Sometimes we say words when we pray and sometimes we can be silent when we pray. Doesn’t matter what kind of prayer you say or do, all prayer connects us to God and helps us to see signs of God’s love in the world. Let’s practice that now.

20130822-224425.jpg (Start by saying “Dear God” and then telling the children that we will be quiet for a minute.) Dear God, (silence is kept) we see things that we don’t understand. Open our eyes  to see more of your love, more of your hope and more of your grace. May we stand up to be signs of your love in the world.  Amen. 

FaithCross_WorshipHave someone draw a tree on  butcher paper or use a large plant or indoor tree that you may have in your church. Have leaves cut out for people to write signs of God’s love and new life to tape on the paper tree or have string to hang the leaves on the real plant/tree. Invite people to take their leaves home to place on their Christmas tree.

20130822-223908.jpg + Jesus is near+

God Guide Our Path Luke 1: 68-79 Advent 2 Dec. 6th, 2015

20130822-223454.jpgHave a piece of rope or twine that you can lay on the ground (you will want lots of it as it will be a moving “path”). Have the children stand next to the rope on the ground. Explain that this will be our path for our time together. We will follow the rope as it moves around our worship space. Start moving the rope and have the children walk toward the baptismal font. Stop them there. Say, “When we bring a baby or a person to the font we are declaring God’s promises of love and grace. We say that God promises to make us new each and every day. We promise to teach each other about God and God’s love. We light a candle to remind us that Jesus lights our path in life.” (Light a candle to take with the group.) Say, “Let’s take this candle with us.”

Move the rope path to the table. Say, “When we gather for communion we know that Jesus promised to be with us forever and forgives all of the things that we do that hurt each other. We know that Jesus rescued us from ever being apart from God ever again. Let’s keep going.” Move the rope to the pulpit or to where there is a Bible (even on a chair or “staged” is fine). Have the children sit down and give another adult (preferably one that will sit with you and the children) the candle.

20130822-223633.jpg Pick up the Bible and say, “One of the stories that we read in the Bible today about a man named Zechariah. After being silent for nearly nine months he spoke. And when he spoke, he told the people how God will lead us on our path, send Jesus to be our light and will forgive our sins and show us love forever. We are in the church season of Advent-where we focus on how God will always give us what we need to be with God forever. God sent Jesus to be on the path with us and we have each other to tell each other about God’s love every day! This is a path that we can invite all people to be on because it’s a path of love, mercy, forgiveness and hope. This is the path to peace and love with all people! God invites all people to God’s path!

FaithCross_Worship If you have a portable labyrinth, have that available in a space. In a basket at the entrance, have a piece of paper with the words: peace and light written on it for people to meditate on as they walk the labyrinth. In the center have a tea light candle for them to pick up. Have a table where they can place their candle and light it. If you do not have a labyrinth, on a large table have some sort of “path” (either drawn on butcher paper, or made from sand, rocks, or whatever your creativity brings forth!) where people can place a candle and light it. Have the pieces of paper shaped as a heart with the words: peace and light written on them for meditation and prayer.

20130822-224425.jpg God of light, you guide our feet on the path. We will follow Jesus and walk the way of peace for all of creation. In Jesus name, the light of the world, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg+Walk in the Light of Jesus+

Children’s Sermon for November 22, 2015 – Christ the King Sunday

Prepare: Get a big piece of paper to make a banner and some markers.

20130822-223520.jpg Start with a big “Happy New Year!” Wait for a few funny looks from the children then talk about how Christ the King Sunday is the last Sunday of the church year, so this is a good time to sat “Happy New Year!”

20130822-223633.jpg What do you know about the year? Let’s start with the seasons.  If we are talking about the regular calendar, it starts in January, kind near the beginning of winter. Then we move on to spring, them summer, than autumn, and the we start all over again!  It goes in a big circle, and we notice the seasons as they change, and we know what is coming 

The year for the church is kind of the same, except that is starts with Advent. There are seasons in the church year, too, but more than in the regular calendar. We have Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. Just like the regular calendar, we know the church year and we know what is coming next! Next week we start Advent, which leads us to Christmas!

The regular calendar marks out the seasons of the earth going around the sun. The church year focuses on the life and the stories of Jesus. His birth and ministry. His death and resurrection, and the way that we tell the stories of Jesus. On this last Sunday of the church year we celebrate Christ as the king of all creation! By this time in the church year we have heard the stories, celebrated the miracles and mercy of Christ, and look forward to the time when he comes again.

Next week we start over! Next week we are once again waiting for Christ to be born. We are following Mary and Joseph on their journey. We are preparing to start the story of Jesus all over again, so Happy New Year!

20130822-223749.jpg God of renewal and hope, we celebrate your power and grace today! Hear us as we shout praises to you, and proclaim you as the ruler of all creation. Bring joy to our hearts and prepare us for life in your kingdom here with us. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg In Christ you are made new!



FaithCross_Worship The worship station is a time for New Year’s resolutions!  Take a moment to talk about some of the standard New Year’s resolutions – save more money, go to the gym, get in shape, etc. These are not bad things to want to change, but today we are going to focus on Spiritual resolutions!

Have the banner paper and markers out in the worship space. You are welcome to decorate the banner in some way! Invite people to write a spiritual resolution on the banner. Some ideas might be to read the Bible daily or to join a Bible study group, to pray before EVERY meal, to spend one day each month volunteering at a soup kitchen, etc.  Encourage people to think about doing things that help their community or enrich their spiritual life.

After worship, hand the banner somewhere in your building where people will see if throughout the season of Advent.

Are we there yet? Mark 13: 1-8 Pentecost 25B Nov. 15th, 2015



Gather the children together: When I was your age, when we went to see grandmas and grandpas or aunts and uncles, we always drove our car. Sometimes the trip was a day, sometimes two days and sometimes even when we planned for a trip to take a day or two it might take three or four because of things happening that we didn’t predict, such as a flat tire, someone not feeling well or bad weather. I’m not the most patient person, so if it seemed that the trip was taking a long time I would ask my parents, “Are we there yet?” I discovered that if I asked that a lot, they would stop answering me.

How many of you have ever been on a car trip? As you drive down the highway there are signs along the road. What do some of those signs say? (Accept all answers.) Yes, some will tell you where the next gas station is, where a restaurant or a hotel might be, or how far to the next town or rest stop. Does every sign you see mean that your trip is over? No. Sometimes we see a sign for the town that we are going to and get really excited only to find out we have a long way to go. Or we go for hours or days without seeing the name of the place we’re going and so we ask: “Are we there yet?” It’s really hard to not know how much time until we get to grandma and grandpas, or a friends house,  or whatever fun place we’re going. It can be hard to wait for fun things like our birthdays and what’s coming soon? Christmas! We don’t like to wait but to know when things will happen.


Jesus had been telling his disciples, his friends, all about when he would come to see them again. Jesus wanted them, and us, to know that there will be a time when we are all with God forever… but not yet. We don’t know when Jesus will come back and the disciples were wondering if there would be a “sign,” like a road sign that would let them know exactly how long until Jesus comes back to us. But Jesus says that the signs may not help us to know. Jesus also says that we don’t need to worry about if we’re there yet, we don’t need to be scared about anything because God promises to be with us forever. The important thing for us to remember are the signs of Jesus’ love such as water at baptism and the bread and the wine at communion. What are other signs of Jesus’ love in our lives? (Accept all answers: homes, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, friends, sharing, hugs, praying, etc.) Jesus wants us to share these signs of love with the whole world! We are a sign, almost like a billboard of Jesus’ love for the whole world to see!


Have someone with a digital camera take pictures of people. Print them out and place them on a big piece of butcher paper or poster board. Have the title: Signs of God’s Love. You can also have pictures of the different ministries from your community to add to the sign. Or have people write stories or draw pictures  on the butcher paper (poster board)of who shows them signs of God’s love. Place the banner where it is seen as people enter your building or better yet, can be seen by those on the street!


Thank you for all of the signs in our lives of your love, especially your son Jesus. Make us signs of your love and hope for the whole world to see. Remind us to not be afraid but to trust your promise to be with us always. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +You are a sign of Jesus’ love+