Category Archives: Faith + Home Connection

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:
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+


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+

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.


September Faith + Home Connection

20130822-223454.jpg Ask each person in the household to share: “Where did you see God today? Where did you need God today?”

20130822-223633.jpg Read Matthew 18: 21-35

FaithCross Forgiveness is the theme of this story from Matthew. Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive and Jesus answers with a really big number 77 times. Too big a number to keep track of! Forgiveness is an important theme in our daily lives too. From sayings such as “forgive and forget” to “better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” it seems to be part of our language and lives together to think about forgiveness. But it’s not the “get out of jail free” card that we tend to think of forgiveness as in our relationships. It’s more than wiping the slate clean and moving on. In the story of the Unforgiving Servant, it’s not just that the king was merciful and removed a debt that the servant could not have possibly repaid that is important. If forgiveness was just about ourselves and feeling better, Jesus would have stopped the story there. But Jesus goes on to tell that the forgiven servant then turns around and does not share that mercy with another person who actually owed him very little in comparison to the amount that the king had removed from him. He has the other person thrown in jail. Jesus wants us to go beyond ourselves and to see everyone around us as God sees them-beloved, imperfect and in need of radical mercy and forgiveness, not just once but over and over. Forgiveness is not a one-time act or just an action at all; it’s a way of living together as the people of God. When we live with each other rooted in this forgiveness that God shares with us over and over, each and every day without end, we are revealing the love and mercy of God for the whole world.

Youth/adults: How is forgiveness a way of life for you? How do you share God’s forgiveness with words or your actions? When was a time that you received forgiveness? When was a time that you offered forgiveness? What can make saying “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” difficult?

Children: When did you have to tell someone that you were sorry? What did they say back to you? Have you told someone “I forgive you”? Is that easy or hard? Did you know that God loves you so much that God will ALWAYS tell you “I forgive you” no matter what you say or do? Yes! God wants to treat our friends and family the way that God loves us!

20130822-224425.jpg God of forgiveness, thank you for loving us so much that your words to us are always “I forgive you.” We are grateful that through your son Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection we shown forgiveness and love beyond measure. May we live our daily lives rooted in that forgiveness and love. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Live in God’s mercy+


Faith + Home Connection August 2014 Romans 12: 1-8

FaithCross When you are gathered with your household share with one another what gifts from God you see in them.

20130822-223633.jpgRead together Romans 12: 1-8

20130822-223454.jpg We are all interconnected through Christ Jesus and each of us has a place and a purpose in God’s family. We are not to be something that we are not but embrace who God created us to be and what it is that we are good at and are passionate about. Many times we think that our gifts don’t directly translate into something “religious” or “churchy.” But God created us for all types of vocation and avocation. Our response to God’s grace and love is that we use our gifts to the up building of God’s creation and people. Each aspect of our everyday lives is important and is in the love and mercy of God.

What are your gifts? What gifts do you see in each other? How can you use your gifts to reveal God’s love and grace in the world? What reminders can we give each other that each part of our day is sacred and part of God’s mission?

20130822-224425.jpg Thank you God for creating each of us with unique gifts. We want to use them to reveal your love and forgiveness in the world. May we support each other in using our gifts. We are grateful for the community that we live in and the people who walk with us in our faith journey. All of these things we pray in the name of your son, Jesus, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Be transformed in the love of Christ Jesus.+

Faith + Home Connection February 2014

20130822-223520.jpgShare your highs and lows of the day. Write them on post-it notes and put them on the refrigerator and pray for each other at your next meal.

20130822-223633.jpgWeek 1: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31: Do you consider yourself called to God’s mission and work in the world in anyway? Why or why not? Do you think God calls us all or just some? How do you think God can use you in your school, job or community to share the love of Christ?

Week 2: 1 Corinthians 2: 6-16: What are some gifts that God has given you? How have you used them? What do you think it means to have the mind of Christ?

Week 3: 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9: It’s very easy to forget that we belong to God and not to anything else. Paul speaks of belonging to “people” but in our culture we belong to pro sports teams, groups, work places, neighborhoods, gyms, and many other organizations. (Which is not a bad thing.) How can we remember that above all else we belong to God? Who shares God’s love and nurtures your faith?

Week 4: 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 16-23: What is your faith foundation? Are there spiritual practice that help to lay the foundation for you? If you are holy and God’s temple how does that change how you are in your daily life? How you treat other people?

20130822-224425.jpgGod of life, we forget that we belong to you. We forget that we and all people are your holy temple. Help us to treat one another as with the “mind of Christ” so that the whole world will know your love. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg(Make the sign of the cross on one another): You belong to Christ and God’s Spirit dwells in you.

FaithCross_ServeALTAsk each week who is in need in your neighborhood or faith community? Find out if a meal, shoveling the walk, house cleaning or babysitting would be a way to bolster someone struggling. Pray for them each day.

Faith + Home Epiphany House Blessing

20130822-223633.jpg Read Matthew 2: 1-12-With younger children have them act out the visitation of the wise men.

20130822-223454.jpgThis is a story that is found only in Matthew. Historians say that the wise men may have been astrologers or perhaps priests of an eastern religion. The traditional names for the wise men are Melchior, Casper and Balthazar and there were thought to be three because of the three gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) that the gospel of Matthew states were offered to Jesus.

Why do you think that King Herod would have been unhappy with the birth of a “king of the Jews”? What would he have to fear? Why do you think the wise men offered the gifts that they did? What was your favorite gift that you ever received?

Dreams are important in the gospel of Matthew. Joseph has a dream where an angel tells him to marry Mary and then another one to have the family go to Egypt. The wise men also have a dream where they are warned to not go back to Herod. Do you ever remember your dreams? Do you think that God can communicate with us in dream? Why or why not?

20130822-223908.jpgOn January 6th, the day of Epiphany, an ancient tradition is to bless your home. The tradition goes that the wise men found the baby Jesus and blessed him with gifts and we remember on this day that God blesses us with God’s very presence in our lives. The day of Epiphany also marks Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3: 13-17). Take a piece of chalk and go to a door in your home as a family. Preferably the front door but any entrance door is fine. Write on the door frame “20 + CMB + 14.” The “20” and the “14” are for the new year CMB refers to the names of the magi as well as the Latin  Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as “may Christ bless the house”. At the end of the house blessing make the sign of the cross on one another and say, “God is with you today and always.”

Take the slip of paper that has the star and the words “May Christ Bless This House” and write some ways that you see God in your life. Place the paper on the refrigerator and when you see God in your life write it on that paper throughout the year. Maybe even add more paper!

Download the 2015 printable here

20130822-224425.jpgPray as a family for the coming year. Pray for those things that you know are coming and for those things that you can’t anticipate.

FaithCross_ServeALTSend a note to a neighbor telling them that you are praying for them this coming year. Send notes (maybe with a treat!) each month to connect. You can do this anonymously as well!



Faith+Home Connection Monthly Devo January 2014

20130822-223520.jpgShare a high & low from 2013 or what you are looking forward to in 2014



20130822-223633.jpgRead Matthew 5: 13-16

MEMORY VERSE: This is the memory verse for this month. :  Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Write the on paper and post it on your fridge or in your bathroom–somewhere you look every day! Memorize this verse together this month!

FaithCrossFor children: Where are places that we see light? Look for lights around the house. What does light do? What do you think it means to let OUR light shine? How do you see God’s light in the world?

For youth/adults: What stands out to you in this passage? What is it about light/salt that would be a good image for us as Christians? Where is the promise or hope in the verses?



Pray together. Pray for places in the world that need light–look at a newspaper or get out a map and name out loud those places that need God’s light.


20130822-223908.jpgMake the sign of the cross on one another and say: + “God’s light is with you and shines through you”


FaithCross_ServeALTGo around your house and count light fixtures. For every light donate .20 cents to a local charity like Habitat to help those who needs lights in their homes.


Faith + Home Connection December 2013 Isaiah 9: 2-7

20130822-223520.jpgGather the household around the Christmas tree. Turn on the lights or light candles. Open with prayer: God of light, we gather to hear the promises of your love to us. May we walk in your light and share your light and love with your creation. In your son, the light of the world, Jesus’ name, amen.

20130822-223633.jpgRead Isaiah 9: 2-7. As it is being read have paper, pencils, colored pencils, crayons and markers available. Draw the images that Isaiah offers here as it is being read. Maybe read it through more than once.

For children: (Note: some of the images are hard in this passage. Yet, many of our children are exposed to images of war and destruction. This can be a good time to talk openly about those things.) God wants us all to live in peace. What does the word peace mean to you? What does peace look like? What would you say to God in a prayer for peace?

For youth/adults: The promise of prosperity and peace is the focus of this passage. Yet, we know that those things are elusive in our world and it’s easy to think that tangible, financial prosperity is the true meaning of these promises of God. But prosperity in that sense of the word for people means poverty for others. What do you think God’s prosperity looks like in the world? When is “enough” stuff “enough” for us? How can we participate in God’s promise of everyone living in peace and stability? How can we encourage our neighbor to thrive? In this season of gift giving how can we celebrate the joy in giving gifts (this is not a bad thing!) to loved ones and not get caught up in the extravagance?

FaithCross_ServeALTA great way to give gifts and walk alongside a local or global neighbor is to contribute to a favorite charity in honor of that person. Make a fun card and attach a small ornament or piece of Christmas candy to the card. Or make some cookies or other treats for neighbors without family.

20130822-223749.jpgDear God, your light shines on us and lifts our burdens. You offer us promises of new life, peace and justice. May we rejoice in the gift given to us, your Son who reveals your love for all creation. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg (Make the sign of the cross on one another) May you walk in the light of God. 

Faith + Home Connection November 2013

20130822-223454.jpgGather your household to a comfortable location. Share your highs and lows for the day/week.

20130822-223633.jpg Read Ephesians 1:11-23.

For children: Who talks to you about God in your house or at school? Is there someone who prays with you? Ask your mom or dad who told them about Jesus. Do you talk to your friends about God? Is that hard sometimes? It can be hard but God is with you always, especially when you might feel nervous or afraid! Say a prayer today for someone that you are grateful for in your life.

For adults/youth: Is there someone in your life who helps you to see God’s work in your life and in the world? What reminds you of God’s promise and of hope in your life? Is it a person or nature? How do we reveal God’s power in Jesus Christ in our communities?

20130822-223749.jpg God of all, you sent Jesus to reveal your love and mercy to a broken world. In Christ’s death and resurrection, you revealed your power over death and suffering and declared that nothing separates your people from you. We give thanks for all the people who show us your love, power and mercy in our lives. May we also be that light for others, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg (Make the sign of the cross on one another) You are sealed by the promise of the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.

FaithCross_ServeALTThis Ephesians text is appointed for All Saints Sunday, a day where we remember those witnesses of Christ who have died and those witnesses in our lives who are still living. Write a note with a prayer for someone in your life who reveals God’s love to you. You can sign your name or give it anonymously.  Another idea is to decorate a simple white candle with symbols of God’s love with permanent markers and give it to someone this week who is the light of Christ for you or for someone else.