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.

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.”

Epiphany 4 Year B 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Preparation: Address an envelope to “The Children of (your church).”  Try to make it look like an actual letter from Paul, so the return address should be Ephesus.  Find a good sticker to serve as a stamp.  The only thing that needs to be on the letter inside is “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

Faith+Open: As the children gather, show them the letter and ask if any of them have every gotten a letter or card in the mail, wait for a few answers.

Faith+Share:  Today we heard a little bit of a really long letter.  The letter was written by a guy named Paul to one of first churches in a city called Corinth.  The part that we heard talks a lot about food, meat in particular.  There seems to be a whole lot of worry about what meat to eat, and if it’s ok to eat meat from temples that do not worship God and Jesus.  As I was reading through the part of the letter that we heard it seemed to me that Paul was kind of saying, “You know what?  This whole thing about meat is not really the point.”  I looked back at the beginning of the passage and saw this little sentence, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

Pull out your letter here and show the children the words.

What the heck does that mean?  Well, let’s think about this another way.  Have you ever met a know-it-all?  Someone who thinks that they have all the answers?  Paul is talking to some people like that.  You see, the people of the church in Corinth were telling people that they knew what God wanted, and that all people should just live like them.  Paul says to them that they might be right, but being a know-it-all about it just makes people feel bad.  See, there were some people in that church who thought that it was wrong to eat the meat from the temples, they thought that God would not love them any more if they did eat it.  Paul said, if it makes some people uncomfortable then you should not do it, even if you know that God will still love you.  That comes back to our letter from Paul.  Being a know-it-all puffs people up, it makes the know-it-all seem mean and makes the people around upset.  But, if we listen to each other and act in love it builds us all up and makes us a stronger and happier group of people.

Faith+Prayer: :  Loving God, help us to being loving toward each other in all our actions.  Teach us to share what we know in ways that build up our community.  Help us remember that you love us no matter what.  Amen

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

Epiphany 3 Year B Mark 1:14-20

Scripture: Mark 1:14-20

Preparation: Find a fishing net and some toy fish. Make sure that you emphasize the work “gather” throughout the children’s time.

Faith+Open: Call the children together by saying something like, “Come look what I caught!”  When they are close enough to see what is in the net give them a chance to see the fish.

Faith+Share: Today I have a net.  Look at these fish that I gathered in here.  It looks like I did pretty well, don’t you think?  If these were real fish I could eat for a few days on this many fish.  Well, maybe not, they are kind of small.  Have any of you ever gone fishing? (Leave a little time for them to answer.)  Have you ever used a net?  (Allow answers again.)  Usually, with this kind of net you would probably catch the fish on a pole, then use the net to scoop them into the boat.  In the Gospel lesson today we hear about some fishermen who use nets too, but their nets are huge!  They drag their nets behind them in the water and gather a bunch of fish, kind of like I have here (Drag the net a little like you are scooping the fish off the ground).

When Jesus sees these fishermen he knows that they would make good disciples and he calls to them.  He says, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  They drop their nets and follow, but what do you think Jesus means?  Do you think he means they should drag nets along behind them and scoop people up?  (Give a second for the silly image to sink in.)  No, that wouldn’t work!  I think that Jesus means that he will teach them to gather people together, like the net gather  the fish.  Instead of a net, Jesus is going to teach his disciples the Good News that Jesus is bringing to the world.  People will gather around the stories and words of Jesus, and we can help by sharing the good news, too!

Faith+Prayer: :  Gracious God, teach us to gather around your word and be fishers of people, just like the disciples in this story.  Help us to share the stories about Jesus with other people and to show the world your love and peace.  Amen

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

Epiphany 2 Year B John 1:43-51

Scripture: John 1:43-51

Preparation: Small toy of a large animal (like an elephant, or dinosaur), either in your pocket or in a small bag or backpack.

Faith+Open: As the children start to gather, call to them and say, “I have a whole elephant in my pocket!  Come and see!”  As the kids gather around, ask them what they think of you having a whole elephant in your pocket.  Take a few answers and then show them the toy.

Faith+Share: OK, I tricked you a little bit.  I did have an elephant in my pocket, but just a toy.  Sometimes this trick happens in a bigger way!  For example, in Kansas there is a sign by one of the main highways that says, “Come and see the World’s biggest prairie dog!”  Did you hear those three words again?  “Come and See.”  The prairie dog is huge, but it’s made out of concrete, it’s not real, just like the elephant.  We hear things like this all the time, maybe not exactly “Come and See,” but people talking about amazing, fantastic stuff that just isn’t real, or is not as amazing as they make it seem.

Today’s Gospel story has this same thing, an amazing, fantastic, unbelievable story, and it’s not quite what it seems; but this time it’s even better than it seems.  Jesus is talking to the people who will become his closest friends, his disciples.  Some of them just don’t quite believe that Jesus is who he says he is.  One in particular, Nathanael, says something kind of mean.  He says, how can Jesus be any good at all, look where he’s from!  Nothing good can come from that place.  His friend, Phillip says those three words, “Come and See.”  When Nathanael meets Jesus, Jesus tells Nathanael something that Jesus could not possibly know.  When Nathanael hears it, he believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus says, “but wait!  There’s more!”  If you think that was amazing, I tell you that you will see heaven opened up and the angels of God flying around me.  The story just gets better, Come and See!

Faith+Prayer: Amazing God, you keep surprising us with you love and mercy.  Help us to open our eyes and see the wonders of the world you made.  Open our hearts so that we might love each other as you love us. Amen.

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

Baptism of Jesus Year B Mark 1:4-11

Scripture: Mark 1:4-11

There are so many wonderful children’s stories on baptism. Consider for this Sunday reading the Gospel from the Jesus Storybook Bible as one way to tell the story. Other resources are Welcome, Child of God by Anne Ylvisaker–a very short board book that can be read in worship. Or Come Right in Your Home God says when we are Baptized. These books could be read at the beginning or in the midst of this children’s sermon if you have enough time or they could be out on display for ideas for others. Augsburg FortressWashed and Welcome series has some great resources. 
Also a note that the children’s sermon for January 1 could be adapted for this Sunday as well

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you either in the usual place or around the baptism fount. One idea would be to have the fount up near the altar for this Sunday.

Faith+Share: Today we are remembering and focusing on the baptism of Jesus and what it means for us to remember our baptism everyday. What are some things that you do everyday? (take answers–brush teeth, eat, drink, etc) Yes, we do all those things everyday! There is something that was not mentioned that I would like us to do everyday as well–that is remember our baptism. Do you know what baptism is? (take answers and fill in with information if needed while summarizing) Yes baptism is when a person, lots of times a baby, is marked as a child of God with water and oil. We say you are ‘sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever’. We are baptized once, but we are to know forget about it but remember and live out that we are children of God everyday.

OPTION: insert one of the stories or show pictures of Jesus baptism from a children’s Bible.

One way that we remember this is by knowing that the Holy Spirit is with us all the time. We are given the Holy Spirit but we also give the love of the Holy Spirit to others. Can you put one hand on your tummy and another out in front of your mouth? Now take a deep breath in and feel your tummy go up. (Do this together). Now let that breath out and feel it on your hand. Our breath goes in and out everyday just like the Spirit is with us and goes out to those around us everyday. We can take deep breathes in and out to remember and to know God is with us all the time. We can also remember our baptisms when we use water–like when we brush our teeth or take bath and we cans say a prayer.

Faith+Prayer: Let’s practice that now: Keep your hands on your tummy and take a deep breath in and out. Now prayer with me. God, thank you for your gift of baptism. Help me remember that I am a child of God everyday. Help me to share your love and grace. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Go in peace remembering you are a precious child of God + in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Christmas 1 Year B Luke 2: 22-40

Scripture: Luke 2:22-40

Faith+Open: Gather the children around the baptismal font.

Faith+Share: Ask: Does anyone know what this is? What do we do here? (baptize babies, children, adults) That’s right! We baptize people of all ages and promises are made to them. God’s promise of eternal life and love is stated, parents promise to teach their children about God both at home and at church and we as a congregation promise to also teach them about God and be willing to help them in their faith. All of these promises were also given to you!

How can we teach people about God? (Reading the Bible, praying, singing, talking about God with them, someday teaching Sunday school, etc.) Who teaches you about God? ( Accept all answers)

In today’s Bible story we hear about two people Simeon and Anna. They were special people who lived in the temple praising God all day and all night. One day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to church just like your family brought you this morning. Simeon and Anna held the baby Jesus and gave him a blessing and told his parents how special Jesus was, just like at your baptism. We are so blessed that God gives us people in our lives to tell us how special we are to God!

Faith+Blessing: Make sure that there is water in the baptismal font. Dip your hand in the water and bless each child by saying: “God I thank you for ______(this child) bless them forever.”

Faith+PrayerGod, thank you for giving us people who tell us how much you love us! Help us to tell others that you love them too! Thank you for your son Jesus, Amen.

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!”

Christmas Day Year B John 1:1-18 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: John 1:1-18

Preparation: small birthday candles.

Faith+Open: Gathering children. Start humming “Happy Birthday to you”… when kids arrive say, There are so many good Christmas songs, I wish we could sing them all. Like my favorite one, can you guess what it is? Hum “Happy Birthday”  Kids should recognize it and may even tell you it’s not a Christmas song. Yes, I’m humming Happy Birthday to you… such a great Christmas song… 

Faith+ShareDo you think it’s a good Christmas song? No/Yes.. take answers and go either way with it. Well, it may not be exactly a Christmas song and it doesn’t do a good job of telling the story of Jesus. But it is a song to sing together today to help us remember what we are celebrating. Let’s Sing. Sing Happy Birthday together. How do you celebrate a birthday? Take answers. Comment on what is the same or different. I was thinking about the ways we celebrate Jesus’ birth–we have candles (point to advent wreath or other candles), we give gifts of offering (show offering plate), we sing to ether and we have a meal that Jesus gave us (point to altar/bread/wine). Our gospel story today says that God become flesh and lived among us and that Jesus was the word and the light for us to know God’s love. One of the ways we know each week is when we gather for the bread and the wine. The bread and wine are ways that we can touch and feel and know the low of God who came to be with us. They help us to feel God’s presence here. 

I have hear a small birthday candle for each of you. I would like you to take this home and find a time to light it and try to put it in a piece of bread so we remember the words that Jesus came to be with us.  Gather your family to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus or another favorite song. Then thank God for the light of Christ in the world and in our lives. 

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for coming as real person. Thank for the word of life in Jesus. Help us to share our bread and our story of your love. Amen

Faith+Christmas Blessing: May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +

All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann

Christmas Eve Year B Luke 2:1-20 Children’s Sermon

Scripture Luke 2:1-20

Supplies: Large Christmas stocking, eight little cardboard boxes (about 2 x 2) or seven legal size envelopes. You will need the following items or pictures in the boxes or envelopes:

 

  1. A scroll
  2. A picture of Bethlehem
  3. Manger or stable scene or small animal figure (to make manger cut a toilet paper tube in half. Then cut one of the halves about an inch shorter than the other one and staple them curved sides facing out, to each other. Glue hay/straw or yellow raffia or yarn to it.)
  4. Baby Jesus (To make baby Jesus to fit the manger, use a popsicle stick or a clothes pin wrapped in cloth and draw a face.)
  5. Small candy cane (shepherd staff)
  6. Gold pipe cleaner in the shape of a halo
  7. Small color page of the Nativity-or a small crèche
  8. A heart with a cross
  9. A coloring page to hand out at end of children’s sermon (optional)

Faith+Open: Gather the children to where you would like to do the children’s time. Show them your stocking and talk about how you always find presents in your stocking on Christmas morning. Ask if they have a stocking as well. Then explain that THIS stocking has the best present ever.

Faith+Share: Have the boxes or envelopes numbered 1-8 for ease of telling the story.

Pull out #1: This box/envelope has the start of the best present ever. Pull out a scroll with Joseph     and Mary’s name on it. Tell how Joseph and Mary had to take a trip to check-in with the emperor to sign their names. Mary was expecting a baby so it was a hard trip.

Pull out #2This box/envelope has a picture of Bethlehem. This is the city of King David, where he was born and where Mary and Joseph had to go to be registered.

Pull out #3: This box/envelope has a manger in it  When Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem all of the hotels or inns were full. The only place they found was a barn where animals live.

Pull out #4: While they were staying in the stable Mary had her baby! What was the baby’s name? Jesus! Pull out a baby Jesus.  Place the baby in the manger.

Pull out #5: There were shepherds near by watching sheep. Doesn’t the candy cane look like a shepherds staff?

Pull out #6:  Suddenly angels appeared the shepherds saying don’t be afraid! A very special baby has been born! Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth!

Pull out #7:  So the shepherds went to where the baby Jesus was and were so happy! They had found the best gift ever! God’s love given to us in Jesus!

Pull out #8Isn’t this the best present that you have ever seen in a stocking? God loves us so much that God sent Jesus to be with us and to show us that God loves us no matter what we do. God wants us to love and talk to God through prayer, songs, dancing and everything that we do. That’s what the cross reminds us of!

You each get a color page just like in box #7 to work on and you can hang it in your room to remind you of your best Christmas gift ever!

Faith+Prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for the gift of your son Jesus. We are so glad that you love us so much and we love you too! Amen.

Faith+Christmas Blessing:  May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +

All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann

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.