Category Archives: Faith + Home Connection

Faith+Home Connection March 2012

Faith + Open: In Lent we focus on repentance, renewal and community. A beloved story from the Old Testament that is often drawn upon in this season is that of Jonah and the big fish. Jonah is a prophet who runs away from God’s command to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. He spends three days (note the same span that Jesus is dead) before being released from the fish. Jesus uses the metaphor of Jonah being in the fish for three days for his own death and resurrection. Read the whole book of Jonah as a family either in one sitting (it is not long) or in two or three installments. It is found on page 190 of the Spark Story Bible. Begin your devotion time by lighting a candle and a prayer.

Faith + Share: For adults: Was there a time when you know you ran from God? Why did you “hide”? Or how did you “hide”? We don’t all physically run away, sometimes we choose activities that keep us from God. What are the things that keep you from a close relationship with God? TV, food, work, hobbies? These things in and of themselves are not bad but when they keep us from devotion, worship and service they can be an obstacle. The old trite saying is true that we sometimes have to hit rock bottom (or get swallowed by a whale!) before we know that we need God to save us and we need to remember our identity as God’s child. Has someone ever told you something or asked you something that made you realize that you were in need of confession and repentance like the Ninevites? How did you react?

For children: Sometimes it’s hard to do the things that God wants us to do. Have you ever tried to be nice to someone who was not being nice to you? What did that feel like? Hard, easy, scary? Jonah felt that it was too hard to go to Nineveh to tell them that God wanted them to say they were sorry for the things they had done so he went on a boat instead! But God had a big fish swallow him and Jonah knew that he had to listen to God. So Jonah went to Nineveh (after being spit out by the fish! EWWW!) and told the Ninevites to say they were sorry to God. Jonah still wanted the people of Nineveh to be punished by God though. But God forgave them instead! This surprised Jonah! God forgives us even when we may not deserve it! Have you ever been forgiven by someone even when maybe you didn’t deserve it? When?

Faith + Serve: Just as Jonah was sent to proclaim God’s love to people he didn’t know in Nineveh, so we too are sent to tell people all over the world that God loves them! One way that we do that in the ELCA is to help people in malaria infested countries receive nets to protect them from mosquitoes. For only $10 a net can be given to a family and can save a life! For Lent have a change jar on a kitchen counter or some other prominent place. Every time you pray for a meal or pray at church, or anywhere, put some change in the jar. Have a family goal of 2 or 3 nets for the six week period!

Faith + Blessing: Anytime someone leaves the house offer this blessing: No matter where you go, God is with you! 

Faith+Home Connection February 2012

Faith + Open: Gather your household in a comfortable space. Light a candle and offer a prayer for your time together. Prayer: Gracious God, we give you thanks for this day and for our time together here. We are so grateful for all the blessings in our lives and we pray for those who have less. We pray for abundant life for all of your creation. Amen

Faith + Scripture: Read 2 Kings 5: 1-19 Elisha cures Naaman Spark Story Bible page 148. With younger children read the story and then have them act out the story.

Faith + Share: There are many themes in this story. The pain and desperation of someone with a terrible disease, the misunderstanding of the simple cure, being seemingly snubbed by the person you sought help from, and the over-arching theme of coming to believe in God.

For Adults: Naaman asked for help from the King of Israel but the king knew that he was not the correct person for the job. Elisha knew that this was his role in God’s kingdom and steps up. Has there ever been a time when someone has come to you with a serious problem or issue and you just knew that you could not help them? What did you do? Did you find someone else or direct them differently? Elisha did not receive Naaman but sent only directions. Some may think it was because maybe Elisha was afraid of the leprosy but what if it that wasn’t the reason? Why else would Elisha not see Naaman? Understandably, Naaman was angry and almost didn’t follow the directions that Elisha gave as he felt snubbed by the prophet. He also didn’t believe the cure. It’s common to “blow off” or ignore the simplest explanation that is given to us. Sometimes we may even ignore God as the message didn’t come how we thought or wasn’t what we expected. How can we be more open to hearing God in our lives? How can we help others?

For Children: Sometimes we all get sick. There are many people that God gives us in our lives to take care of us, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, doctors and nurses. When was a time that you were sick and someone made you feel better? What did they do? After Naaman was cured he was so happy and he went back to the prophet Elisha to say thank you to God. How can we let God know that we are grateful that God takes care of us?

Prayer: Dear God we thank you for caring for us. You give us people who love us and help us when we need it. Help us to take care of our friends and family and to show them your love, God. There is no other God other than you and you bring us peace. Be with us always! In Jesus name we pray, amen.

Faith + Serve: Find some fun and bright plain greeting cards. Write little notes for children that are in the hospital. Let them know that you are thinking of them and praying for them. Let them know that God loves them very much!

Faith + Blessing: After Naaman came back to say that he believed in God and to say thank you, Elisha tells Naaman to “Go in Peace.” When anyone in the family leaves the home for school, work or other activity make the peace sign with your fingers and say “go in peace.”

Faith+Home Connection January 2012

Faith + Open: Gather and light a candle. Open with a favorite hymn (maybe “Go Tell it on the Mountain”). Prayer: God, while Christmas has come we are still waiting for you. Every day we praise you. We know that you keep your promises and will come again. In Jesus name, amen.

Faith + Share: read Luke 2: 22-40. Have a narrator and someone read Simeon.

For Adults: Simeon and Anna blessed Jesus and spoke to Mary about the importance of this baby. In a way they were helpful and supportive voices for these young parents. Who has been this voice for you in your life whether it is in parenting or other life circumstances? What was it that they said that was the most helpful or supportive? Have you offered words of blessing and encouragement to someone?

For children: Simeon and Anna were so excited to see Jesus when Mary and Joseph took him to the temple (church)! Who are you excited to see when you go to church? Who is excited to see you? Why do you look forward to seeing them?

For all: Simeon and Anna gave a blessing to Jesus. Can you write or say a blessing that you could give to a friend, family member or someone at Church? Or can you write a poem of praise to God for people who love us?

Faith + Serve: Many communities have a significant number of elderly people who may be lonely. Find an assisted living facility, or get a list of elderly who can no longer leave their home and write cards of blessings. You can either mail them or hand deliver them for a nice visit!

Faith + Blessing: Take the hands of the person that you are going to bless and say “God cares for you and so do I!”

December Faith+Share

Scripture Focus: Luke 2: 1-20

Faith + Open: At this time of year we are all focused on how we show friends and family how much we love them. We do this by buying or making and giving gifts. Yet, some of our greatest gifts have not been things. God’s greatest gift to us was born in a barn surrounded by wandering shepherds and loud, smelly animals. What was the best gift that you have ever received that was not a thing. Share with one another and then open in prayer and sing either Away in the Manger(LBW 67, ELW 278) or Joy to the World (LBW 39, ELW 267)  together.


Faith + Story: Read Luke 2: 1-20 or pages 212-217 in the Spark Story Bible.  If you have a Nativity set, use the pieces to act out the story.

Faith + ShareFor Adults: God comes to us in unexpected ways. Think about the shepherds faithfully doing their work with the sheep when an angel, declaring that God was doing a new thing in the world, interrupted them. These shepherds then immediately had to go and check it out! Have you ever been interrupted by God? Share a time when God seemed to put you on a different course. How did you react? Were you as excited as the shepherds or a bit more cautious? Did you tell anyone about this?

For families: Angels told the shepherds about Jesus being born and where to go and see Jesus. We can be messengers about Jesus too! Who tells you about Jesus? Who can you tell about Jesus? What would you tell a friend about Jesus?

Faith + Serve: We can use our words to tell people about the love of God in Jesus and we can use our actions as well! In the month of December as a family decide if there is someone in your neighborhood that you can help. Maybe shovel the walk when it snows. Maybe take over a hot meal if you know that they are sick. Make and give Christmas cards with the message of the birth of Jesus to neighbors.

Faith + Ritual: At the daily meal where everyone is gathered ask how each one showed or told someone about Jesus. Doesn’t have to be directly but even a kind act or word is showing Jesus to the world. Then at the end of the meal sing the chorus to Go Tell It on the Mountain (LBW 70, ELW 290) to celebrate how our whole lives tell about the love of God in Jesus Christ!

Faith+Share Monthly: November

Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-46

Faith + Open:  Gather together and light a candle. Ask someone to pray. If you would like use this prayer: Gracious God, you pour out your love to us in so many ways. We want to share that love with those around us. May we be a fountain showering the love and grace of your son Jesus Christ to those we know and those we don’t know, amen.

Faith + Share: Read Matthew 25: 31-46 or on page 318 in the Spark Bible. Have someone read the narration, Jesus’ part and the part of the disciples.

For adultsThis text is challenging as it seems to indicate that some people will get into the flock (sheep) and some won’t (goats). But this passage is not about who is in and who is out. Jesus is pointing out to the disciples that yes, they have clothed the naked, fed the hungry and visited the lonely, but just as many times they have not. We have the capacity to be both a sheep and a goat. In the Lutheran tradition we explain this as being both saint and sinner simultaneously. Jesus redeems us and we have he ability to follow God and serve God’s world, yet, we sometimes do not do what we know we should. Jesus wants the disciples and us to be aware of our need for God in our lives and our ability to be either a sheep or a goat! How might it change you to see everyone around you, neighbor and stranger as Jesus? Would your actions/thoughts/feelings about them change? What would be one thing that you could add this month to reflect serving your neighbor as if they were Jesus?

For children/youth: Have you ever forgotten your lunch money for school or maybe a coat on day that turned out to be cold? Did someone help you by giving you lunch money (or the school letting you eat) or by giving you a jacket or sweater to borrow? How did that make you feel? They were serving you or taking care of you the way that Jesus would! When we help someone who is hungry or cold or lonely, Jesus says that we are taking care of people the way we would take care of Jesus if Jesus were right here right now needing something. God wants us to be as nice to each other as we would to Jesus!

Faith + Serve: There are many hungry and lonely people in our communities. Here at Bethel we collect food for the holidays to help people who cannot afford to buy enough to feed their family. Please consider donating food items so that we can serve even more families than last year! BUT let’s also let them know that we are praying for them and care for them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas cards will be available on November 20th at both services for you to write a note of Christian love and encouragement to those who will receive a food basket from us. Children are welcome to write a card or draw a picture as well! There will be a basket to collect the cards for a couple of weeks following. Please only sign with your first name.

Faith + Close: As you gather for a meal remember in your prayers those who do not have enough to eat both in this country and all over the world. Sing as a family “This little light of mine” to help us to remember to be the light of Jesus in the world!

Words: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

All around my world, I’m going to let it shine, All around my world, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine let it shine, shine!

Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine, Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine let it shine, let it shine!

Faith+Share Monthly: October

Scripture Focus: Matthew 22: 34-46

 Faith+Open: Begin your family/household devotion time by lighting a candle and prayer. Read Psalm 1: 2 “But their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” God’s law is love! Write on a piece of paper: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Place this on your mirror or on your refrigerator or anywhere where you will see it a few time a day to remind you that God is love, God loves you and we love God!

Faith+Share: Read Matthew 22: 34-46: This passage has two parts to it. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 to the lawyer who asks what the greatest commandment is and then Jesus asks a question back: Who is the Messiah? Jewish tradition held that the messiah would be a descendant of David the response of “son of David” would make sense. Jesus does come from the lineage of David yet is more than just “son of David.” Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 to explain that he is from the Davidic line but is the Messiah, Son of God. If Jesus were David’s son then David would not call Jesus “Lord” since one did not call a son a greater title than oneself. But Jesus, as the long awaited Messiah, is not David’s son but Son of God. This quieted all the questions of Jesus for the time being! Jesus used the question from the lawyer to not only explain the law but to proclaim the gospel! Jesus is the Messiah from God for the salvation of all!

Adults: Jesus proclaims that the most important facet of the law is that it orients our whole live to God. Questions are a good thing as they deepen our understanding and relationship with God. Jesus’ answer to the lawyer in verses37-39 begs us to ponder what does it mean to love God “whole-lifedly”? To use verses 41-46 to ask this: How do we love God so that everyone we meet knows whom Jesus Christ the Messiah is for us and in our lives? Loving God and loving the neighbor are not equal things but our love for God should overflow to the love of our neighbor. How can we respond when people ask us questions about our belief in God?

Children: Jesus tells us in this story that people will try to ask you hard questions about God but that the most important thing to remember is to love God with your whole self. When you sing, dance, play with a friend, read a story or anything else you can love God! What else can you do everyday that shows you love God? (Pray, share with a friend, tell a friend about Jesus, send a card to someone who is sick, etc.) Jesus wants us to remember that God loves all of us the same and we should love all people as much as we love ourselves, our brothers or sisters and mom and dad.

Faith+Serve: Get a list of the people from your church whom cannot come to church because of ill health or other reasons. (Contact your pastor or someone else who may know this information.) Make (or buy if you want!) cards that tell them that God loves them and so do you! You could also make extra cards and give them out anonymously (or put your name on them, it’s up to you!) to neighbors in your neighborhood. Find out who in your neighborhood could really use some help with some outdoor work (raking leaves or pulling weeds) or other tasks and volunteer to do so.

September Faith + Share

The kids are back in school, families are settling into new routines and many activities are ramping up again for the fall. September is a wonderful time to begin the routine of family devotion time! Even if you start once a month or once a week, this month’s Faith Share is a meaningful reminder that God’s ways are not our ways and we all have much to learn about God!

Faith + Time: This month’s devotion comes from Matthew 20:1-16 and is the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. It can be found in your Spark Story Bible on page 298. (Use whatever Bible you have!)  Choose a family member to read the story out loud.

Faith + Share:
Adults: This story by Jesus on the outset appears to be that no matter how hard you work you will get the same reward. This concept is very counter-cultural in 21st century America as well as in Jesus’ time. How do we usually feel about people who don’t put in the same effort but seem to get the same reward? If we were the laborers who had worked all day we would grumble too! But Jesus reminds us that it is not about our deeds that our reward depends on but the graciousness and generosity of God. God chooses us and we don’t earn our way to God. How can we apply this same generosity to those around us?

Children: God loves you very much and doesn’t care if you are little or big, able to help a lot of people or only just one person. God just wants you to know that you belong to God. God wants us to remember to treat other people as special as God treats us. How can you show your friends that they are special? What about letting them go first in a game or in line at school? What about with your brothers/sisters? Maybe you could let them have the first snack or you could share a toy with them.

Faith + Serve: There are many people in our communities who work very hard but do not receive a fair wage for their work. These families struggle to provide food, clothing and other necessities. There are many organizations that help families in this situation. In the Denver Metro area Interchurch is once such organization. Consider a donation of your time, goods that they may need or monetary contribution. Visit: or look up a similar organization in your community!

Faith + Remembrance: If you choose to help a community organization, consider having a change jar on your dining table where at the family meal each day change is put in the jar to go to others. As change is added say, “The last will be first and the first will be last. We all belong to God and God’ generosity is forever, amen.” Or add this petition to your mealtime prayers.

~Brigette Weier
*You are free to use this devotion in your home or part of a congregational event. Intellectual property laws apply and this material may not be reproduced for profit without expressed permission from Faith Formation Journeys and it’s authors.

July Faith + Share

Summer is here! What a wonderful time to spend with friends and family relaxing and just being together! With the children out for the summer, keep their minds and hearts moving with a family devotion! Do these devotions anywhere and anytime!

Faith+Open: Matthew 13: 1-9, 18:23 is the Parable of the Sower. Read the story out loud together either with a family Bible, a children’s Bible (if you need a suggestion for a good children’s Bible I recommend the Spark Bible from Augsburg Fortress) or use the Celebrate insert (July 10th) if you are on the go!

Faith+Share: Choose which questions to answer.

Adults: Who in your life has given your faith roots or growth? Who do you think that you do or can sow seeds of God’s love to? How can you do that? Maybe through prayer, serving them, inviting someone for coffee, visiting someone who can’t get around, or volunteering with children or youth.

Youth: Who has told you the story of God’s love? Who do you tell the story of God’s love to? Do you share Bible passages or personal stories? How do you connect with God?

Children: Who tells you about Jesus? What Bible stories do you like to think about? Do you tell your friends about those stories?

Faith+Prayer: Adults: Try ending your personal or family prayers with this petition this month. God please let me be good soil to grow closer to you. Allow me through the Holy Spirit to be an extravagant sower spreading seeds of your love everywhere I go. Amen

Families/children: Go on a walk and find a beautiful rock that is about the size of the eldest’s child hand. Draw or paint a cross on the rock. When you pray as a family either before dinner or at bedtime, pass the rock from person to person so that all get a chance to hold the rock and pray. Close with the petition above or other words about spreading God’s love all over the world!

Faith+Service: Believe it or not it will be back to school time soon! Help a struggling family with school supplies for the year. Lutheran Family Services is holding a school supply drive. If you get them to Bethel by July31st we can get them to LFS in time! See the list below. For more info go to

School Supplies for Pre-K-3rd Grader

The student needs:

New backpack (please, no used backpacks),   Pencils – Pens, Glue Sticks,

Washable Markers, Colored Pencils, 2 Pocket/solid color folders

Ruler – Scissors, Crayons, “Learn to Write” paper

Wide-ruled paper, Easy Calculator,

~Brigette Weier, M.Div Student Luther Seminary