Advent 4B Luke 1:26-38 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: Luke 1:26-28

Preparation: a newspaper
Author note: Adapted from a children’s sermon by Pastor David Barber which was adapted from a Sundays and Seasons idea (Augsburg Fortress)

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Good morning! Anyone know how many days until Christmas? Allow for answers (you might get some funny ones!) Yes we are waiting for Christmas and while we wait in Advent we share the good news of Jesus coming. How many of you read the paper? Show the newspaper you brought with you and take some responses.

Faith+Share: What kind of stories do newspapers tend to have? Allow for responses.There are some news stories that tell of good things but a lot of news we hear or read in our paper is bad news. We read about wars and children who are hungry or people who are hurting. (Use some current, appropriate, examples).  I’m wondering, are we people of bad news or good news? Allow for responses. We are people of good news! When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and to the Shepherds, he was bringing them good news about Jesus birth and we bring good news to others. What is the good news we have to share? Yes our good news is that Jesus is coming and what is Jesus bringing? Jesus is bring light and love and peace and joy and we share this with others–because we are messengers just like the angels were messengers so long ago when Jesus was born we are messengers now that tell others the Christmas story so they know that God is with us all the time. We can live and enjoy the good news for ourselves but we also share the good news with others so they can experience the love of God as well. 

Faith+Prayer: Loving Jesus, Thank you for this advent season. Thank you for the angels that bring good news. Help us to be messengers of Jesus light and love. Amen

Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 3B John 1:6-28 Children’s Sermon

Scripture Focus: John 1:6-28

Preparation: Simple nativity set or picture

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Show them the nativity set or scene. Ask them to tell you who they know about in this scene. Name the different people present.

Faith+Share: Is there anyone that is important to the Christmas story that is not here? See what they say. There could be several answers… or they might just say no… or they might look at you blankly!
Our Gospel today comes from the Gospel of John. And we heard/will hear about a man named John the Baptizer. Has anyone heard of him? Well he was a cousin to Jesus, Elizabeth is his mom and Mary went to visit her while they were both pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John. John knew about Jesus, he know that his cousin was one who would come to bring light into the world, to show people just how loved they are by God. John wanted everyone to know this as well so he did all he could to tell the people to get ready for Jesus to come—not just be born but to show up and walk with them and talk with them. John was so serious about this that he started baptizing people to help them get ready. He wanted them to hear that their sins were washed away and that were loved by God. So, John was not in the manger when Jesus was born, he was just a baby himself, but John is an important part of our Christmas story because he reminds us that while we wait in Advent we are not just preparing for Christmas, we are telling the world this great story!

You know, I think someone else is missing from this nativity scene too. Each one of you. Because the Christmas story is not just John’s story and it’s not just Jesus’ story, it’s your story too because you are loved by God and Jesus came to show you the way too. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we watch and we listen and we wait for Christmas. Help us to tell our story about Jesus birth and about your love to our family and our friends and our neighbors. Amen

Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 2B Mark 1:1-8 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: Mark 1:1-8

Preparation: You will need to prepare one volunteer–it can be a child or youth or adult. They will be the one to go behind the altar (or other designated space) and try to get a message to the child volunteer you ask for during the children’s sermon.

Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Today we hear in gospel that John the Baptist was one of the people who was trying to get the message out that Jesus was coming and to prepare the way of the Lord. So, I was thinking, getting the message can be really important and we in advent can listen for the message of love and hope in Christmas. 

Faith+ShareSo, I want to try something, kind of like telephone but ‘whole church telephone’. I need a volunteer, anybody here think they are good listener? Pick a child who you think can go to the back of the church comfortably. Ok, you look like a good listener. Can you go to back of the church (say something like by the baptismal font, or last row, or by doors to indicate where you would like he/she to go). Send your other volunteer to the opposite end, like behind the altar for example. Great, now I’m going to ask ___________ (your prepared volunteer) to say a message to you from across the room. I want you to listen to the message and repeat it back. But first, I think we need everyone’s help. I need the whole assembly to talk too. Just turn to your neighbor and have a conversation for a few moments while ___________ sends his message. Once people are talking look at volunteer to give his/her message. It can be something like “prepare the way of the Lord” or “Christ is coming”. This person should not scream it or use a microphone. The point is that the other person CAN’T hear them. After a moment get everyone quiet again.
Ok, so what was the message? What, you can’t hear? I thought you were a good listener! No, you’re right, there was so much noise and talking going on that you couldn’t hear the message. Let’s try again but this time without people talking. 
What was the message? (child should be able to repeat this time)

So come on back. In Advent we are waiting and preparing for Christmas. Sometimes though there is so much noise and so much distraction that we forget what we are preparing for. John the Baptist wanted people to prepare and to know that God was coming to be with them. And that is what we are focused on now, how God comes to us as a baby and as a kid and as a grown up and how God walks with us even now and wants us to hear the message that God is with us and loves us. That is what we always watch for in our daily lives, for Christ to be present in the world. 

Faith+Prayer Let us pray together or repeat after me: God, we watch for you and hope for you. Help us to see you and prepare for you each day and in this Advent time. Amen. 

Faith+Blessing: May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 1B Mark 13:24-37 Children’s Sermons

Scripture: Mark 13:24-37

Supplies: a pair of binoculars

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Hold up your binoculars and start using them to look around the sanctuary. Oh wow! Look at that–the colors are new! Oh my there are new candles and a wreath and a tree. Hhhmm, I heard it is Advent and I’m supposed to watch for something. Do you know what I’m watching and waiting for? Pause and take responses. Keep looking through your binoculars and pondering what you see.

Faith+Share: I read in the gospel of Mark that we are to keep watch and waiting. And it’s Advent so we watch and wait for Jesus. So, do I need these binoculars for what we are watching for? You don’t think so? But I want to see God right away and isn’t God far away? …. It seems like in Advent we watch for God we also know that God is near. So maybe I don’t need these binoculars to see God. Hhhmmm, what are the ways we know God is around us? Take responses. Focus in on how we can see God working in the acts of love around us in the world. And while we wait for Christmas, we can focus on how we see the light of Christ around us during this time when it’s dark longer. At this time of year we say Christ is our Light because we think about God being the one that gives us light and hope.  In our Gospel today and in all of Advent we talk about how we are waiting and watching for God’s light. We can call those Godsightings–like when we see or hear stories of people helping others or acts of love. God is all around us and working in our world today. Where can you watch for God this week?  Take responses.

Faith+Prayer: This week, watch for God in all you do. Keep a list or tell your family at dinner what you saw. 
Prayer with me: Christ our light, shine us while we wait. Help us see you  each day and know that your love is with us always. Amen

Faith+Blessing:
May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Extended Ideas: 
Have a candle cut out (or binoculars) with Christ written on it and have kids take it back to their seats and write where they can watch for God this week.

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: interchurch.org 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 http://www.lfsco.org/get-involved/hands-on-projects.

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

Children Sermon Reign of Christ Sunday November 20, 2011

Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-46

Preparation: pitcher of water, small cups

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Have a pitcher of water and enough cups for each child (don’t worry you are not giving them much water!) I have some water here to pass out to all of you. Today we are we are celebrating that Jesus is the one we call Lord and that he has shown us how to follow him and to know God. When you get water, hold on to it and don’t drink it quite yet. 

Starting with some older children fill their cups fairly full. Share your water out of the pitcher until it is empty. Then have them share with other children until their cups are empty. (If you have a very large amount of children ask for a few volunteers for this activity.)

Faith+Share: God pours all of God’s love into you and wants you like a fountain, to pour it out to others. When you think that you have run out God keeps pouring (pull an extra pitcher of water out from a hiding spot or have someone from the congregation bring up another full one) What are some ways that we can pour God’s love into other people?(Accept all answers–emphasize that when we give food, water, shelter, clothes or help of any kind we are helping others and we are serving God. This is how we show and act in love) 

We are so blessed that God loves us so much and give us all of God’s love every day. Let’s tell everyone we know about this love! 
Go ahead and drink your water imagining God filling you up with love. 

Faith+Prayer:  God, thank you for filling us with your love. Be with us as we share our love with others. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Remember God is with us always.  Make sign of cross together saying:

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

And remember your high fives and hugs on the way back! 

Extension Ideas: 

1. Talk about what a king looks like–how is that like or unlike what we know about Jesus? What do Christians look like?

2. Sing the Song Grace Flows Down (lyrics below, go to your favorite music source to hear song–comes up on youtube)

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
Amazing Love
Now flowing down
From hands and feet
That were nailed to the tree
As Grace flows down and covers me 

Chorus
It covers me
It covers me
It covers me
And covers me

~LB/BW

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.