Tag Archives: Mark

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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Children’s Sermon July 1, 2012, Mark 5:21-43 – 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Focus: Mark 5:21-43

Preparation: Get an alb or robe sized for a child. It doesn’t have to be a perfect fit, the child will just stand in one place.

Faith+Open: Invite the children to gather together and ask for a volunteer to wear the robe. Once they have it on have them turn and face the other children and away from you. Ask the child to tell you when you touch robe.

Faith+Share: That was pretty tricky, wasn’t it? In the gospel story that we hear today, Jesus does something even more amazing! But first, let’s finish talking about the robe. Jesus is surrounded by a crowd of people, all of them are trying to touch him because they believe that Jesus can heal them and make them feel better. Jesus notices when one woman touches him, and he stops to look for her. Pretty amazing, but not as amazing as what happens next.

You see, Jesus was walking through the crowd to get to someone’s house, his name is Jairus. Jairus’ daughter was dying and Jairus knew that if he could get Jesus to come to his house that Jesus would save his daughter. He had faith in Jesus. Well, at the same time, a woman who had been very sick for years and years knew that Jesus was going to be walking through the town. She knew that if she could just touch Jesus’ robe that she would be healed. She had faith in Jesus, too. She pushed her way through the crowd and touched his robe, and Jesus stopped, not because he felt her touch the robe, but because he felt power go out of him. He felt the woman get healed! She was very scared to talk to Jesus, because she thought that she had done something wrong, but Jesus was kind and blessed her. But, in the time that Jesus stopped to talk to the woman, Jairus’ daughter died. Jesus continued to the house anyway and brought her back to life.

Now, all that sounds pretty amazing, and it is amazing, but there is still something even better in the story. It doesn’t matter how we come to Jesus, he still takes time to listen to us and care for us! Jairus was afraid for his daughter, but was not afraid to ask Jesus for help. He went right up to Jesus and asked . . . well, maybe he more pleaded and begged, but he was not afraid to talk to Jesus. The woman, on the other hand, thought that she was not worth Jesus’ time, and thought she would just sneak up without being noticed. Then she was afraid when Jesus turned to find her. Jesus cares for each of us in the same way. He listens when we pray and ask for help. He looks for us when we need help and don’t know how to ask.

Faith+Prayer: Loving God, thank you for listening when we pray, and thank you for loving and caring for us even when we don’t know how to pray. Give us faith like Jairus and the woman so that we are never afraid to come to you when we need help. Amen

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

– GB

Children’s Sermon June 24, 2012 Mark 4:35-41

Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

Preparation: This is optional. You can do this without props. small boat sheets or blue paper to make waves and helpers to stand outside the circle of children and make the waves cups of water for the helpers to sprinkle a small amount of water on the kids.

Faith+Open: Gather the children. Today our gospel reading is one where Jesus is with the disciples and they decide to go out in a boat together. Have any of you ever been in a boat? Was it like this? (show them your tiny boat) No that would be silly for people to get in a boat this small.

Faith+Share: But we are going to pretend that we are in this boat and we are going to make a storm. So pretend you are in the boat and it’s nice and calm, you are enjoying the sun and the rocking of the waves. Everybody rocking gently. Now there is a little trinkle of sound… do you hear it? (star rubbing your hands together then have everyone join you). Oh my it’s getting a bit louder. (start snapping your fingers then have everyone join you). Now the wind is starting…(have everyone join in you rocking harder and make wind noise. If you have helpers this is the time for them to start really making the sheets or paper go) Now it’s a big storm (stomp feet and have everyone join you… if you have helpers this is the time to splash a sprinkle of water on the group and you keep talking, summing up the story or pause for the giggles then tell the rest)

The disciples were in this kind of storm where they were getting wet and knocked around and we are having fun with our storm but the real storm was probably very scary. Jesus says, “Peace be calm” and everything stops. (have everyone stop, try it again if it doesn’t work) Now, when I want something to stop I shout STOP! But Jesus said ‘peace, be calm’ I think he said that to show how he was command over the storm and also to give us words to know when we are afraid. Peace and be calm remind us that there is no storm Jesus can’t stop and that we are never alone no matter how scared we are. (if you have time you can ask about what kinds of things are scary to them and have them rehears the words Peace Be Calm)

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, you give us good words of love. Peace, Be Calm. Show us that you are with us all the time and that we are loved. Amen

Faith+Blessing: May you know the Holy Spirit’s peace and calm today and always

LB – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 2B Mark 3:20-35

Scripture Mark 3:20-35 (can also work with 2nd Corinthians 4:13-5:1)

Preparation: You will need blank pieces of paper, a black marker or crayon, and other colors. If you have children’s worship bags the kids will have what they need. If not, provide a way for them to grab some crayons or markers on their way back to their seats.

Faith+Open: Gather children to you and welcome them. Today, in our gospel lesson, a crowd is gathered to hear Jesus teach and debate with those who oppose him. The crowd tells Jesus that his mother and brothers are there to see him and Jesus says something a little surprising… do you know what? He says who are my mother and brothers–all the people of God are my mothers and brothers. So it can kind of sound like Jesus is rejecting his family, but he’s trying to show that he came for all people. So he loves not just his mother and brothers but all who were following him and really all people whether they knew him or not.

Faith+Share: When we think about all the people that we can call family, who do you think of? (take answers building up to neighbors and people that we know at church) 2nd Corinthians “I believe so therefore I speak”–and we are to speak in love to and about God and to about our families. I have here this paper that I want to use to make a scribble prayer. Prayer is a good way for us to talk to God and for us to tell others about God. You can let someone you know and care about know that you pray for him or her and that shows your love for them through God. 

Draw a scribble and show the kids the sections. Write the names of people or groups that they have talked about as being in their family as people they can pray for. Then do a small amount of decorating–OR even better have another that is finished to show them. This idea is adapted from Worshipping with Children–click the link to access the original idea.

Invite children to do this scribble prayer back in their seats.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for calling us all your family. Help us show your love and speak to you and about you. Amen

Faith+Blessing: May the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit set your Faith on Fire!

~LB

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Faith+Home Connection June 2012

Faith + Open: Gather the household to a comfortable location. Light a candle and pray: Dear God, thank you for this time together. Thank you for your word for us to think about. Most of all thank you for Jesus, amen.

Faith + Share: Read Mark 4:35-41. This story can also be found on page 286 in the Spark Story Bible and on page 236 in the Jesus Storybook Bible. If you have younger children have them act out the role of the disciples.

For children: Have you ever been in a storm, like a thunderstorm or a loud rain storm? If so how did you feel? (Accept all answers-some may like storms!) If you were scared did you go find your mom or dad or another adult that you were with? Did it make you feel a bit safer? Well, the disciples learned that day that Jesus was with them always and looked out for them even if it didn’t seem like it! Jesus is with you too! We may not always know it, but Jesus is with us when we are scared no matter what!

For youth/adults: There are many ups and downs in our lives. Sometimes we may feel as if no one is looking out for us in the storms that happen. Have you ever felt that way or wondered where God is? Even with Jesus right in the boat with them the disciples wondered this too! But Jesus was there and got the disciples through the storm. It didn’t mean that the disciples didn’t get tossed around and wet, but they did come out of the storm with Jesus. Our lives our like that too, we will have storms, that is a fact, and we will get tossed about, wet, and maybe even a little sea sick, but Jesus is right there through it all!

Faith + Prayer: You are the God who stills the storm and never leaves us. God we thank you for being with us and loving us even when we are wet and tossed around. Help us to remember that Jesus is with us always and to not be afraid, amen.

Faith + Blessing: Take a note card or any piece of paper and write on it “Don’t be afraid Jesus is here!” Place it on your mirror, door, refrigerator or anywhere that you will see it daily.

Faith +Serve: If you know of someone going through a hard time right now make them a card (and maybe some treats!) and take it to them. Write the blessing from above on the card and tell them that you are praying for them!

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Children’s Sermon Easter Sunday Year B Mark 16:1-8-or-John 20:1-18

Scriptures: Mark 16:1-8-or-John 20:1-18

Preparation:  Get a big piece of paper, like off an art roll, and write/paint/color “Alleluia” on it as big as you can.  Have it all rolled up so that no one can see what it says, but so that it will be easy to unroll like a banner.

Faith+Open:  Enter into the space as excited as you can.  Say things like, “Children, come quickly!  The most amazing thing has happened!  You’re never going to believe this!”

Faith+Share: : Do you know what has happened?  Have you heard the news?  Jesus isn’t dead!  He’s alive, ALLELUIA! 

Unroll your banner, you need to be really over the top about this, super excited, far beyond anything that the children are going to give back.

Wait, why am I so much more excited than you?  Have you heard this story before?  Oh, you have, well, it’s still exciting, don’t you think?  Maybe we need to look at this a different way.  Have you ever lost a special toy, and then found it again?  It’s pretty great when that happens.  Or, maybe more for your parents, putting on a pair of pants and finding $20 in the pocket.  It just makes your day so much better.  Now think about Jesus friends, they didn’t lose a toy, they lost their best friend, their teacher, the person they thought was God in human form.  He was gone.  Then, suddenly he’s not!  He’s alive and with them!  Now that would be an amazing day, don’t you think?

The story gets better, too.  Jesus came back with an unbelievable gift for everyone.  Jesus forgives us all for everything, and opens the gates of heaven.  So, when you think about it that way, even if you’ve heard the story before, it’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Ok, now that we’re all excited about the story, let’s try this again.  I’m going to shout, “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”  Then you say, “Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

Here we go:

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!

Faith+Prayer:  Amazing God, WOW!  Your live and with us!  Help us to celebrate the good news of Christ risen and share the Easter blessing with everyone we meet.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing::  You say, “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”

They say, “Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

Children’s Sermon Palm Sunday B Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Scriptures: Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Option 1: If your Palm Sunday Worship does not include a procession you can use children’s time to celebrate the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  With or without palms, have the children gather into a parade and walk around the sanctuary shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!”  Get them to make some noise!  Talk about how exciting it must have been to have see Jesus coming into the city, let them dance and shout.  Gather them together and use the prayer at the end.

Option 2:

Faith+Open:  As the children gather, make a significant change in your ritual.  For example, if you always have the children sit in a specific place, tell them that they can no longer sit there because someone spilled some really sticky glue on the floor and they would be stuck there forever.  Really ham it up.  Once you have a few of them going say “April Fool!”

Faith+Share: Do you guys know what an April fool’s joke is?  It’s what I just did to you, you try to convince people of something that’s just crazy or silly, then you say “April Fool!”  It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and this year it happens right on Palm Sunday, which I think is fantastic!  See, a really good April Fool’s joke makes people believe one thing, then surprises them with something else. 

NOTE:  This is where it is really important to make sure that you don’t make Holy Week into a joke.  Use the April Fool’s idea to get into the story, but don’t take it too far!

Today is the beginning of the greatest story in the Bible, the story of Holy Week.  I love it when Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day are the same because the people in the story are expecting something when Jesus comes into Jerusalem.  The people who are cheering for Jesus are Israelites, and they are looking for the next great king to help them.  They imagine Jesus to be a king who will build an army, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem and save them from their enemies, but that’s not where the story goes.  Jesus certainly has come to save them, but not from the Romans, and not from any enemy that we can see.  Over the course of this next week, Jesus goes from being the crowd favorite to being the one person that everyone seems to hate.  His closest friends turn their backs on them, and the crowds that cheered for Jesus call for his crucifixion, call for Jesus to be killed.  The story doesn’t go the way they expect.

But there’s one more twist.  This craziest thing happens, something that people in the Bible even describe foolish or silly.  Jesus . . .well, you have to come back next week to hear the rest!

Faith+Prayer:  Hosanna!  Amazing God, we praise you for your love and mercy.  Travel with us through this Holy Week and be with us when the story doesn’t go the way we expect.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Lent 2B Mark 8:27-38 March 4, 2012

Scripture: Mark 8:27-38

Preparations: Collect different kinds of crosses to show the children

Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Say, I brought some crosses to show you today. There are all kinds of different crosses and different ways that we share our faith with crosses.  Take out some different crosses one at a time.  Share your different crosses, pointing out the differences. If you have one that is pretty, one that is more crude, etc. You may have crosses with different pictures or in various shapes. If you have an anchor cross, Jerusalem cross, etc. tell the children briefly what they are about.

Faith+ShareThere are many different ways that we show the cross–some really fancy and some really natural (like a wood one). One thing these crosses have in common though is what they mean. Today Jesus says to ‘take up your cross’. That is is an interesting and even difficult thing for Jesus to say. Jesus died on a cross and did have to carry his cross up the hill. But I don’t think that Jesus meant for us to carry big crosses up hills all the time. Picking up our cross is a way to think about and to act on following Jesus. Jesus doesn’t mean that all the ‘bad things’ that happen to us are crosses but instead he means that we have a way of life to follow. And when good things and when bad things happen, he promises to be there with us. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, you gave us the cross to help us follow you. We love you and we want to go your way. Be with us all our days and all our steps as we learn to follow you and as we remember your love. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross saying:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right

Epiphany 5 Year B Isaiah 40:21-31 (with Mark 1:29-39)

Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31 (with Mark 1:29-39)

Preparation: If possible come in wearing something that makes it look like you have been working out (like running shoes, a sweatshirt) and bring a water bottle.

Faith+Open: Find a way to jog into the worship space (up the center isle or something like that).  Make it sound like you just made it in time as you call the children together, and act as breathless as possible.

Faith+Share:  Wow! Just made it!  I really thought that I was going to have to sit down before I got here, I was just so tired.  But, I knew that I really wanted to share this story with you today, so I prayed for a little more strength and ran as fast as I could!  The really funny thing, is that the story is about God giving us strength when we need it most.  Here, listen to it again
 
     He gives power to the faint
and strengthens the powerless
Even youths will faith and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up on wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Pretty cool, huh?  All of us get tired and want to stop.  Most of the time it’s ok to be tired, we can just head to bed or take a nap, but sometimes we need to keep going.  Can you think of some times when you need to keep going even if you are tired? (Give them a little time to think and answer.)  Those are all great reasons to keep going!  Sometimes it seems like we are going forever and never getting to the goal!  I know that when I was in school it felt like summer would never come, but I just kept working and trying and when summer finally did come I always felt so great!  God does more than just giving us strength and love.  The Gospel story today tells about Jesus healing people who are sick in many different ways.  All kinds of people come to Jesus so that he can help them to feel better and keep going!  And it seems like most of the people Jesus healed were too sick to come on their own, so other people bring them.  That is another way that God helps is, by giving us family and friends to carry us be with us when we need them.  So, even when we are weak or sick God finds a way to give us strength and help us to keep going.

Faith+Prayer:  Healing God, thank you for being our strength when we need it most! Thank you for putting people around us who love us and are willing to help us.  Be with us each day and give us strength to keep going, even when the task is hard and we are tired.  Amen.

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