Tag Archives: Mark

Children’s Sermon for November 11, 2012 – Pentecost 24, year B, Mark 12:38-44

Scripture Focus: Mark 12:38-44

Prepare: Get enough pennies for each child to have 2 pennies.

Faith+Open: As you welcome the children, ask them to think about all the things that they and their household own. Give them a minute to think and then suggest things that they may not have thought of, like the family car, their bed, the washing machine, etc.

Faith+Share: Wow, we have a lot of stuff, don’t we! That makes me feel pretty good, except . . .

Today we hear a story about Jesus people-watching outside the temple. He sees some scribes and talks about how they seem to brag about how good they are. They wear fancy clothes, get the best places to sit, they even show off when they pray! Jesus says, that’s not so good, they shouldn’t be showing off like that.

Then, he sees a widow. A widow was one of the poorest kinds of people in Jesus’ time. Widows are women whose husbands have died. It’s still really sad today, but in Jesus’ time there were laws that made it very difficult for a woman to live without a husband. The widow walked up quietly and put two small coins into the offering (hold up two pennies). The story says that both of her coins together were worth less than one of these pennies. Then Jesus says the craziest thing. He says that the widow gave more than anyone else! Wait, she gave less than a penny, how can that be more than anyone else?

Jesus says that all the other people gave out of their abundance. Or to put it another way, that the other people have lots of stuff, like you and me, and they gave just a very small part of what they had, but the widow put all that she had to live on in the offering, she kept nothing for herself. That would be like you and I bringing all that stuff we talked about to church and putting it in the offering plate . . . which probably wouldn’t work since I’m pretty sure that a washing machine won’t fit in the offering plate.

I brought some more pennies, enough for each of you to have two, so twice as much as the widow had! (pass out the pennies) As you take your two pennies, think about this being all that you have to live on, to buy food, to buy clothes, to pay for shelter. Not much, is it? Today, when we get to offering time, I want you to put one penny in the plate, and keep one penny as a reminder of the story.

Faith+Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for the blessings that you have given us; food to eat, warm places to sleep, and people who love us. Teach us to share the amazing gifts that you have given to us with those who need them. Amen

Faith+Blessing: May the God of abundance give you all you need.

~GB

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November Faith + Home Connection Mark 12: 28-34

Faith + Open: Gather the household members to a comfortable place in the home. Light a candle and open with prayer. For this prayer, have each person gathered offer a word or a phrase of how they have felt God’s presence this day/week. Have everyone say a loud “AMEN” together!

Faith + Share: This month we have two texts that are related. First read Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, then read Mark 12: 28-34.

For Children: Sometimes it feels like we have a lot of rules in our lives, doesn’t it? But Jesus tells people in the Bible that the most important thing to remember-better than any other rules-is to love God with your whole body and love everyone you meet! When do you like to talk to God in your day? How can you show love to the people in your family, neighborhood or school?

For Youth/Adults: Jesus is repeating in Mark 12 the words from Deut. 6. In Judaism Deut. 6 is call the “Shema” which means “to hear.” These verses in Deut. are so important that they are written down and kept in what is called a mezuzah-a small capsule type object that is fixed to doorways in Jewish homes. Mezuzahs are a constant reminder to love God with all of your existence all day long no matter where you are. What helps you to remember to have God first in your daily life? Prayer? Scriptures? How or when do you hear God in your daily life?

Faith + Blessing: Write down the words of Deut. 6: 4-5 on a large piece of paper and put it on your refrigerator or a prominent place in your home. When you pass by this verse take a moment and read it out loud to hear the words of the Shema.

Faith + Live: This month at LCM we will be putting together 50 Thanksgiving meals to show love for our neighbors who may be hungry. Let’s see if we can do more than 50! Look in the Master’s Voice for more information on this important way to love our neighbor! The Confirmation youth will be making 50 cards with words of God’s love and community to go into these baskets.

Faith + Close: Prayer: God creator, Jesus Christ redeemer and Holy Spirit our sustainer, we pray to love you with our whole lives and our whole selves. Focus us on our community and all of your people in the world so that all will hear your voice of love for your creation. Amen.

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 21 Mark 10:35-45

Children’s Sermon by guest writer Mary Stoneback who serves Ascension Lutheran church in Colorado Springs, CO. Thank you Mary!

(if you would like to submit a children’s sermon please email pastorleta@gmail.com)

Scripture: Mark 10:35-45

Faith+Gather: Gather the children together. Ask, Have you ever asked your parents for something and they said “no?” Maybe you asked for a new bike, a new outfit or maybe a chocolate chip cookie? Was it hard to understand why they said no?

Faith+Share: Today in Mark’s Gospel reading, two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, asked Jesus for something very big. They asked Jesus to have a special place at Jesus’ right and left side when the disciples think he will be made king, to be his special assistants. What exactly are they asking for? It’s a little different than asking for a bike, an outfit or a cookie.

Well, the Disciples didn’t really know what they were asking for either and Jesus let them know this. In Jesus’ time, the Jewish people were made slaves, living under the rule of a bad Roman king and they desperately wanted to be freed from the meanness they experienced. The prophets in the Old Testament had told people about God’s plan for a new kind of Kingdom, the Messiah’s Kingdom. Jesus was their hope for a new future but it wasn’t the kind of kingdom they expected. Jesus’ kingdom didn’t have thrones and palaces like that of Rome. Instead, it was in the hearts of Jesus’ followers. And that’s not very easy to understand.

Jesus knew that James and John were willing and would experience really hard times because they were His followers but Jesus said, “no” to their request to sit to the right and left of Him when Jesus goes back to heaven because it wasn’t for Jesus to grant that request. Jesus knew what was best for them.

Just like James and John, we don’t have to fear asking God for anything. He hears us when we pray but the answer may not always be yes. God wants to give us what is best for us, not only what we want. Sometimes it may be really hard to hear “no” even if we ask for a cookie right after brushing out teeth but God says “no” sometimes for our own good, even when we don’t always understand why.

Faith+Prayer: Dear God, thank you that we can talk with you like a parent or friend. We can ask you for help, for understanding and for the desires on our hearts. Thank you for listening to our prayers. Help us trust you, even when your answer is “no”.

Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Gracious God (pause) Help us to see you in our lives this week.

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Guest Writer: Mary Stoneback, Ascension Lutheran, Colorado Springs

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 20 Hebrews 4:12-16 and Mark 10:17-31 October 14, 2012

Children’s Sermon by guest writer Molly Sullivan who serves Lord of the Hills Lutheran Church in Centennial, CO. Thank you Molly!

(if you would like to submit a children’s sermon please email pastorleta@gmail.com)

Scripture: Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Preparation: Gather a “lovie.” Your favorite toy/stuffed animal/blanket from when you were a kid. You could also use one from your child, or a picture of yours, or just jog your memory and have a good description of yours ready.

Faith + Gather: Ask all God’s children to come have conversation with you. Invite them to sit around you. While they are coming up ask the children if they get allowance? Ask them what chores or duties they perform to receive this allowance? And then ask what they like to do with the money they receive from their allowance. (Allow several children to answer making sure to repeat their answers so the congregation can hear.)

Faith + Share: Our second reading this morning comes from the book in the Bible called Hebrews. This passage has lots of big words but basically tells us that God knows life is hard and he understands just how tough things can be sometimes. It says that God has been where we are in the form of Jesus.

Jesus knows how hard it sometimes is to follow Him. But do any of you know just how hard the Bible says it is? Our gospel text from the book of Mark explains it in an interesting way. Tell me what your “lovie” is. This is usually a stuffed animal, blanket or toy that is your favorite. (Bring yours, or a picture of yours, and show it to them as a prop). We love these things very much, don’t we? For grownups our favorite “lovie” sometime becomes money or “stuff.” People in American culture seem to think that the more stuff we have…the better. I want you to imagine giving away your “lovie,” your favorite blanket, your favorite stuffed animal, or toy. Would that be hard? Imagine someone who has lots of “lovies.” Fancy cars, lots of TV’s in their house, awesome clothes, cool toys, and the latest gadgets, anything you could ever want. Now imagine them giving that all away. That is super hard even to imagine right? The gospel story says entering God’s kingdom is just that hard. He likens it to a rich man giving up everything that is precious to him. Actually it says it is easier for a camel to fit through the hole in a needle. Funny to think about that huh? But you know what? That’s not the end of the story.

After Jesus says how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God the disciples say “Well I don’t think I can do that!” “How do we know who will be with God in eternity?” And guess what Jesus’ response is? If you do these things…meaning the really hard stuff, AND ASK ME TO HELP YOU…Then I will help you. And if you believe in me, that I am God’s Son, you will be blessed. Jesus doesn’t say it will be easy, but He says that by doing them “in His name” God will be with you.

Faith + Prayer: God in Heaven, Thank you for our favorite things. Help us to make your son Jesus one of our favorite things too. Please walk with us this week. We pray in Jesus name (and all God’s children said)…AMEN!

Faith + Blessing: Have the kids repeat: Gracious God (pause) Help us to see you in our lives this week.

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Guest Writer: Molly Sullivan, Lord the Hills ELCA Centennial, CO

Children’s Sermon Mark 10:1-16, Psalm 8 and Genesis 2:18-24 19th Sunday after Pentecost Oct. 7th, 2012 Year B

Scripture: Mark 10:1-16; Psalm 8; and Genesis 2:18-24

Faith + Gather: Invite the children forward to where you gather for children’s sermon. Ask the children about who lives in their house with them. Notice how no two families are the same?

Faith + Share: Say, “Well, all of today’s Bible stories are about God creating the world and families! We read about God creating people, the heavens and the earth and how great God’s creation is and about Jesus being very concerned that people have safe families to live in and how important children are to God. Jesus wants to make sure that everyone is cared for and loved because God loves us so much! It hurts God’s heart when people aren’t nice to each other or don’t take care of one another. We know that sometimes a mommy and daddy no longer live in the same house but we also know that mommy’s and daddy’s love their children very much and take care of them. God takes care of us like a mommy or a daddy and even if we sometimes are sad, or scared or lonely, we can remember that God loves us and puts people in our lives that love us. That can be people in your actual family or it can be people here at church, at school, or in your neighborhood. We have our family members who live in our house, but family can also be anyone who loves and care for us and we love and care for them. Who are some friends that you love and care for?”

Faith + Blessing: Have the children sit or stand in a circle and place a hand on each other’s shoulders. Have them repeat after you to each other: “God cares for you and so do I!”

Faith + Prayer: Dear Jesus, you love all of your children. Thank you for being with us always. Thank you for all the people in my life who love me. Amen

~BW

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Faith + Home Connection October Mark 10: 46-52

Faith + Open: Once everyone in the household is gathered light a candle to remind us of Christ’s presence with us always and open with prayer. Pray this prayer, one of your own or a combination of the two. Dear God, we call to you for help and you call back to us with words of healing and promise. We are grateful that it is your call to us that draws us near to you in our times of helplessness, sorrow, joy and gratitude. May we use our lives to call out to people around us to share your voice with those who need to hear the healing words of your Son. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Faith + Share: Read aloud Mark 10:46-52. With younger children read from the Spark Story Bible, page 338, or your favorite children’s Bible. After reading it through once have different people read the different parts: Bartimaeus, Jesus, the crowds. Or even act it out!

With children: Bartimaeus was blind and alone. He was probably scared some of the time not knowing who or what was around him. Even though Bartimaeus could not see Jesus with his eyes, he knew immediately when Jesus was close and he called out to Jesus for help! Following the sound of Jesus voice he jumped up and went to Jesus not worried about falling, running into something or someone or getting hurt. Bartimaeus didn’t need his eyes to know that Jesus was there! He knew in his whole being. Bartimaeus reminds us that we only need to listen and follow Jesus’ voice and we know that Jesus is always close to us even when we can’t “see” Jesus! What are some ways that we can help us to “know” that Jesus is close? (Ideas: prayer (talking to God), reading the Bible, family and friends who love us and care for us, helping to care for our family, friends, and people we don’t even know!)

With youth/adults: There is a lot going on in this short story and feel free to ask your own questions and go down a different path than the one I will take here! But some questions and thoughts that I have are about the crowds in this story. The crowds wanted Bartimaeus to leave Jesus alone and not bother him. Bartimaeus, as a blind beggar utterly alone, was not part of the “in crowd.” He was to be avoided, unclean, a nuisance at best, and a scar on society at worst. This “worthless” person shouldn’t be bothering Jesus! But Bartimaeus ignores the crowd and continues to call out for mercy/help (best translation would really be that he says “mercify me”) to Jesus. The crowds must have been shocked when this cry stopped Jesus cold in his tracks! “The least of these” is what caught his attention, not the rest of the crowds or disciples with him! Jesus then calls out to Bartimaeus and the crowds suddenly change their tune. Hey Jesus is calling you Bart! You had better go! This story is not just about transforming Bartimaeus but transforming the crowd (us) as well. The crowd around Jesus thought that they were the “in group” with the disciples and were quick to try and keep the less desirables out. But Jesus transforms the crowd from gatekeeper to conduit. By hearing Jesus calling to Bartimaeus, the crowd then becomes the encourager of Bartimaeus to go to Jesus! I would like to think that someone even took him by the arm and guided him for safety! Both the crowd and Bartimaeus are transformed together to be all together with Jesus. For Jesus, both the insiders and the outsiders were in equal need to transformation and he brought them together for the purpose of a whole community which then Bartimaeus became a part. So how are we sometimes the “gatekeepers” keeping those we don’t think are desirable away from God? How can we hear Jesus voice calling to those on the margins and become a conduit for encouraging and pointing people to the one who can transform each and every one of us and all of who we are to be “made well” or whole with God? How might the person we least expect point us to Jesus?

Faith +Close: At the end of your Faith + Share time extinguish the candle and share one word/phrase about the conversation on Mark 10. Leave a little time for silence and then either use the Faith + Blessing below or close with a simple “amen.”

Faith + Serve: We have lots of opportunities to serve here at LCM. This month, let’s send 50 children from Molholm Elementary school to the outdoor lab! Without some assistance many children at Molholm may not be able to participate in the outdoor lab. We will be doing a baked goods sale in October at LCM to support this project so look for more information soon! But in the mean time have a jar or a glass set aside in your kitchen that you can label “Called into the world.” Every time you or a family member eats a piece of bread or other baked good place some spare change in the glass. Even a penny will help! Collect this change throughout the month of October and bring it in on October 28th-Reformation Sunday-and watch how a little bit from each of us combines to great abundance!

Faith + Blessing: As you leave for work or school each morning make on the sign of the cross on the back of each other’s hand and tell the other person, “Remember Jesus is calling you.” Jesus calls us to him and into the world to share God’s love with everyone!

~BW

Children’s Sermon Sept. 30th, 2012 18th Sunday after Pentecost Mark 9:38-50

Scripture: Mark 9:38-50

Faith + Open: As children come forward, randomly put them into two distinct groups preferably (depending on your space) with some separation between them. Make sure that no one migrates and make it clear that this is where they need to be. Don’t have them sit down.

Faith + Share: Take one group (this will be group 1 for reference) of the children and say “Ok you are with me. Let’s go over here for a little bit and talk.” Lead them away (maybe down one of the side aisles towards the back of the worship space) and don’t even acknowledge the other group( group 2 for reference). Begin talking to your group in hushed tones occasionally looking at and pointing to the other group still up front. Do this for only a minute to two. Then bring the groups back together.

Say to group 2: “How did it feel to be left up here alone not knowing what was going on? (Accept all answers) Did you wonder why you didn’t get to go with the other group? Did you wonder if you were different or had done something not quite right?” (Accept all answers) Turn to group 1: “How did you feel to go with me? Like the “in” crowd or like you were special for some reason?

Well in our story this morning there were two groups of people- the disciples who were with Jesus and another group who weren’t directly with Jesus but were helping people in Jesus’ name. The disciples thought that the other people were too different and shouldn’t be allowed to talk about Jesus. But Jesus tells the disciples that anyone who tells people about him ARE part of his group! Anyone who loves Jesus, tells people about Jesus, and helps people in Jesus’ name are important to Jesus and Jesus includes or welcomes anyone who believes! Pretty neat! Jesus tells the disciples “to have piece with each other” and this means to not worry about someone who is a bit different from themselves but welcome into God’s family!

We have a part of our worship service where we do this: it is called the “passing of the peace.” We do this because Jesus wants us to welcome everyone and so we shake hands or give a hug to let everyone here know that they are wanted and welcome here! So when we say “peace be with you” we are really saying “God’s peace and we are so glad you are here!”

How else can we let people know that we are glad that they are with us not just in worship on a Sunday morning but in our lives as well?

Faith + Blessing: Today when we pass the peace I want all of us to say that to each other, “God’s peace and I am so glad that you are here!”

Faith + Close: Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for loving everyone. We want everyone to feel you love for them, help us to welcome everyone we meet for you. We all belong to you and we are so thankful! Amen

~BW
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Children’s sermon Sept. 23rd, 2012 Pentecost 17 Mark 9: 30-37

Scripture: Mark 9:30-37

Prepare: Copy of verse 37 for each child present.

Faith + Open: Gather the children to your children’s sermon space. Begin by asking them a series of questions about themselves. Such as what is their favorite color, food, brothers and sisters, favorite games, etc. Then say, “Wow! By asking all of these questions I have learned a lot about all of you this morning! Have I learned everything about you though? (NO!) I will need to ask you a lot more questions and talk to you for a really long time to learn everything about you! It would take me my whole life to learn everything about even one of you!! Now I am going to tell you something about myself. (Say something in a foreign language if you can or say something with ridiculously big/difficult words.) So what do you now know about me? What did I just say? (Looks of confusion should abound!) You didn’t understand what I just said about me? What questions could you ask to find out? (Accept all answers.)

Faith + Share: Well, in the first part of today’s gospel lesson from the book of Mark, Jesus is telling the disciples something about himself that they did not understand. Jesus told them that he was going to be hurt by people, so hurt in fact that Jesus was going to die. BUT Jesus also told them that he would rise again. The disciples didn’t understand this at all but they were afraid to ask Jesus questions about it! Jesus wants us to ask questions. Jesus welcomed children and their questions and says that welcoming children and questions is welcoming God into our lives. Just as I learned things about you by asking questions, questions are also how we learn about Jesus. Do we always know all of the answers? (No) but we can talk together, read the Bible together and learn about Jesus together! I want you to write, or have mom/dad/adult you came to church with, one question that you have about God or Jesus and talk about it in your family this week. If you want you can ask another adult in the congregation too!

Faith + Close: Prayer: Dear Jesus, we want to know more about you. Thank you for hearing our questions and thank you for the people in our lives who learn about you with us. Thank you for loving us so much! Amen

Faith + Blessing: Give each child a copy of verse 37 to go in to their Bibles to remind them to ask questions about Jesus!

~BW

Faith + Home Connection Monthly Devotion-September

Faith + Open: Gather the household where all can be comfortable. Light a candle and have someone pray either with their own words or this prayer: Loving God, we are so thankful that you include everyone into your community of grace and mercy. We pray that we live lives that proclaim the transformation of our hearts from the love of you and that we offer this love to everyone we meet. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read Mark 9: 38-50 aloud. If you have younger children in the household most of this passage can be found on page 326 of the Spark Story Bible.

For children: Have you ever talked with a friend who does not go to your church about God? If your friend knew about God then they probably learned about God from someone you do not know. Does it matter where someone hears about God? Jesus says no! All that matters is that we believe in God and that we help others to believe in God too, even if they hear about God from people we do not know! How can you tell someone about Jesus today? What story about Jesus would you tell a friend? Just talking about Jesus is important!

For youth/adults: Jesus uses some fairly strong language here about being separated from God. Jesus does not want anyone to stop anyone from being close to God. We have some images that pop into our heads when we think about the place of hell but Jesus wants to drive home the point to the disciples and to us, that hell is not a place but a condition. Anytime we are separated from God we are technically in hell. Believing in Jesus is how we can have a close relationship with God in our lives. Someone can put up a barrier to our relationship with Jesus but often we create our own separation-our own hell-from God. What are some ways that we might separate ourselves from God either intentionally or not? How do we keep others from knowing about the love of God from Jesus Christ? What are some ways to remove barriers that separate us from God? What faith practices help you to feel close to God? Do you share those practices with other people?

Faith + Serve: One faith practice that nurtures our relationship with God is serving God’s children. We also proclaim the love of God to our communities through our actions in serving as well. With school beginning this month, consider volunteering either in your child’s or if you do not have children in the home, the neighborhood school. If this is not available to you, think about how you could be involved with the children and youth in your congregation or neighborhood. Can you offer to lead one activity or bible study? Be a mentor for confirmation youth? Offer to write the prayers for Sunday worship with a youth and pray them together in worship? Be creative!

Faith + Blessing: At the end of the day (maybe at dinner or night time devotions) offer to each other how you recognized your relationship with God that day or maybe helped someone else recognize their own relationship with God. Give a short prayer of thanks for God in our lives and end with “Let us be at peace.”

Faith + Close: Close your time together with a prayer. Offer prayers to all in the world who cannot openly share their faith because of fear of harm or persecution. Give thanks that we are able to talk about Jesus and pray that we do to all that we meet!

Children’s Sermon July 8, 2012, Mark 6:1-13 – 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Focus: Mark 6:1-13

Preparation: A backpack or suitcase full of travel gear. For example, if available, pack a backpacking backpack with the gear you might need for several days (tent, sleeping bag, clothes, etc). Or put together carry-on size bag for a weekend trip. Bring a walking stick and a Bible with the reading from Mark ready to read.

Faith+Open: Enter from a place that allows you to walk a distance with your gear and call the children to follow you as you walk to your regular meeting place.

Faith+Share: I bet your wondering what all this stuff is for, aren’t you? Well, I heard that Jesus was about to send us on a journey to go heal people, so I thought that I should pack. Have any of you ever packed for a trip? What kind of stuff did you bring? (Let them answer for a minute or two.) Well I have a bunch of stuff, too. Let’s see what I have with me. (Now go through your bag a little. You may just need to give highlights if you have a bunch of gear!)

Pretty good, don’t you think? I should be ready for just about anything! Now, I also heard that Jesus had some instructions and a packing list for me. It should be right here in the reading. (read verses 7-9.) Uh Oh, I think I may have over-packed! All I really need is my shoes, a couple of shirts and good walking stick. It may not seem like much to take on a long journey, but I think that Jesus had a plan. I think that he wanted the disciples to have faith that everything would fine, but even more, I think that Jesus wanted the disciples to get to know the people they were going to help and heal. He wanted to create trust between the disciples and the communities they entered. He was teaching them and us that it is okay, and even good to rely on each other for the things that we need, and to be ready to share we have more than we need.

Faith+Prayer: Gracious God, you give us good gifts. Sometimes more than we need or know how to use. Teach us to share with others when we have too much, and teach us to ask for help for others when we need it. Amen

Faith+Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

-GB

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