Children’s Sermon Matthew 16:13-20 Pentecost 10A

Faith+Open: Gather the children around you and ask them, who am I? Get their answers (if they can only come up with ‘pastor’ or ‘youth director’ or whatever your role may be help them along and name some things that you are (mother/father, son/daughter, fisherman, hiker, etc). How do you know who I am?

Faith+Share: You know who am by things you see me do or by what I tell you or teach you. Give an example–you would know that I like bike riding if you saw me out on my bike enjoying a ride. Or you might know that because I have told you a story about one of my bike rides. How do we know who Jesus is? Gather their answers–help them along if needed.

We know who Jesus is because of the stories we have in scripture, the prayers we say in worship and on our own. The disciples are with Jesus in our gospel today. (If you have time use the book mentioned in the extended activities). They know who he is because they have been following him for awhile now. But there are many people who aren’t sure who Jesus is and Jesus is asking what people are saying about him. Some think he is one of the prophets who lived before him who has come back. Peter says to Jesus that he knows who Jesus is, That he is the messiah, the Son of God. Peter knows this because of what he has seen and because of what Jesus has told him.
We might not live in the time Jesus did but we still know who he is–can you think of some words or names that you have heard to talk about Jesus?

Do you know what else we know because we know who Jesus is? We know who we are! You could say to that you know who I am because I am a child of God and I know who you are because you are a child of God. We all belong to God and we are marked with that blessing in our baptism and in our prayers and in our confessions and when we come to the table–we are a child of God all the time and everywhere. Each and everyone of you is a loved child of God–the most important part of who you are!

Faith+Prayer: God, you love your son Jesus who is our Messiah. Help us remember that we are your loved children so that we always know who we are and who we belong to. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Have children repeat this blessing with you using your hands to make the cross. May you always know you are loved child of God. Invite them to go give that blessing to someone they are sitting with in the congregation.

Extended Idea:  Read Jesus, This Is Your Life: Stories & Pictures by Kids edited by Jeff Kunkel summary found at Children’s Literature: A Resource for Ministry and have children draw their own story of Jesus’ life in their own life. 

Children’s Sermon Isaiah 56:-1-8 Pentecost 9A August 14, 2011

This week texts are full of images of inside and outside that may be difficult for children (and adults for that matter!) to pick up on. Spend some time focusing on how Christ came with an openness that extends past all the boundaries we put up knowingly and unknowingly. 

Faith+Open: Gather the children at the front with you. Ask them not to sit but to stand and make a circle. Stand in the middle of the circle. Ask the kids to put one foot in the circle and show how they are on the inside of the circle. Ask, who is on the outside of this circle? (answers like others in the congregation, etc)

Faith+Share: We will hear from a prophet today–Isaiah. Isaiah is a prophet who wanted the people of God to understand that how they lived with others mattered to God. Isaiah talks about some people who were difficult for the others to welcome in or get along with or understand. They were people that most others would not want to let into the inside of this circle. They wanted God to be just for them. Can you think of people who might be hard for you to get along with or people that would be hard to welcome? Yeah, that is a reality of life we don’t always let people in the inside of our lives or even the inside of groups that we belong to. Where do you think Jesus is in the circle? (get answers) I was once told by a wise person that whenever we make a circle around Jesus, trying to keep Jesus in one place with us–Jesus moves to the outside of the circle (move to the outside of the circle). Jesus wants everyone to know God’s love and does not stay inside one little place or with one group of people. Jesus’ love opens up the circle. (at this point pick a place at the top of the circle, have the two ends open up to make a line and ask them to hold their arms out).  Explain that now we have this open circle that will allow anyone in (even all those people out in the congregation, ha, ha).

Faith+Prayer: Let’s all Pray together: Jesus, help us to open our circles and open our hearts. Be with us today and with all those who need to hear your voice of love. Amen

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

Extended ideas: I love this idea at Worshiping with Children. Click the link to see the explanation about having people collect prayers in baskets for those on the outside.

Children Sermon August 7, 2011 Romans 10 Pentecost 8A

This children’s sermon is based off of the Romans 10: 5-15 focusing on verse 15.

Faith+Open: Gather the children up at the front and welcome them. You may want to have them sit in a circle at this time so that when you do the faith + blessing they are already in a circle. So when your teacher at school wants you to know something important what does he or she do? Answers may range from telling the students about the subject matter, showing a video, or showing an object that is related to the lesson, etc. That’s right! When someone has something important to tell us they will use all kinds of different ways to tell us, not just with words! Did you know that you have something very important to share with everyone you know? You do! God! We are supposed to tell everyone we know about how much God loves the whole world. But it’s hard sometimes isn’t it? We may forget or get embarrassed or wonder what we should actually say.

Faith+Share: But this morning the Bible tells us that we can’t keep this wonderful love of God to ourselves! God sends us to school, the playground, to baseball practice, to our friends houses, everywhere, to tell about God’s love. Now we don’t always have to use our words we can share God’s love by helping people and by being a good friend, but our words are important too! It says in the Bible “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” Well, your feet bring the good news of God! And your feet are beautiful. To help you remember that you bring God everywhere you go we are going to do something special this morning. We are going to bless your feet! And we are going to give you a safety pin with red beads on it to attach to your shoe or sock to remind you that you bring the good news of God’s love everywhere you go!

Faith+Blessing/Faith+Prayer: Hand out the pins with the beads. Have other adults handy to help attach the pins to shoelaces or socks. Then do this blessing: Have all of the kids stand in a circle and put their foot with the pin attached in the circle. Pray: Dear God, thank you for all of these feet that spread your love in the world. You use all of our feet whether they are big or small, walk slow or fast or can walk at all. You promise to be with us always and we know that we can share your love with everyone we meet. Thank you for sending us! In Jesus name, Amen.

If you can’t get the pins made in time for Sunday, gather the materials in a baggie to give to the children to make later at home. You could expand this blessing to the entire congregation! Adults may like the pin as well!

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 7A July 31, 2011

Scripture: Matthew 14: 13-21

Faith + Open— Gather children together with you and welcome them. We hear a story today of a time when Jesus was with many people because they wanted to hear what he had to stay. They wanted to hear him so much that they followed him around even when he wanted rest, even when they started to feel hungry and tired they did not stop following Jesus. The disciples wanted to Jesus to send them away so that everyone could go find food for themselves. But Jesus did not want to send them away. He asked the disciples for the 5 loaves of bread and the two fish that they had so he could feed the people.

Faith+Share:  How many of you had bread at meal yesterday or maybe the day before? Bread is an important part of what we eat, just like other foods are too. They are to nourish us. Jesus could make enough bread for everyone—even people who did not have bread to eat or to share. How can we help make sure others have the bread and other food that they need? (use this time to get ideas for how we participate in the kingdom of God by taking care of our neighbor.  Summer can be a great time to remind people of donating to food banks or programs that are feeding kids in the summer when they don’t get school meals. Consider having a food drive for the next couple of weeks)

Show the children the loaf of bread for communion—or a loaf that looks similar. Jesus only had a few of these loaves but the Bible tells us he feed more than 5000 people. Jesus did not send them away at all! What do we use this bread for?

Yes for communion. We do not want to send anyone away either. Jesus helps us to know that all people are welcome to eat with us and all people are a part of God’s kingdom. And before we have communion we pray the Lord’s Prayer and we say, “Give US this day OUR daily bread”. When we say this we are not just praying for ourselves or our own tables but we are praying for all people to have enough of what they need to eat and drink and to live. At communion we remember that this bread is for the forgiveness of our sins and to know that God loves each and everyone of the children.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, Thank you for the food you give us in bread and thank you for the food you give us in love. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Break off a piece of bread for each child. Say this blessing as you hand it out: “May you always know of God’s love.”

Extended activities:

1.    Practice the Lord’s Prayer and talk more about what WE and OUR mean when we are praying.

2.     Teach the children a new table grace for them to say meals with their families.

3.     Read the story of the Feeding of the 5000 from a children’s Bible.

~Leta Behrens

Children’s Sermon July 24, 2011 Pentecost 6A

Scripture: Romans 8: 26-39

This lesson is based on the Romans 8 text. At the crux of Paul’s message in this passage is that the summary of all salvation history and God’s love for us is in the three words “God with us.” We all have times when we are afraid and need to be reminded of this fact. Paul is clear that our fear of things real and imagined cannot negate the reality and promise of God with us.

Faith+Open: After calling the children forward say, “I am sometimes afraid. Sometimes it’s just little stuff like the car running out of gas or not knowing what to say to someone. Sometimes it’s big stuff like being sick, do my friends like me or of being alone. We all get afraid sometimes. Do you ever get afraid?” (Wait for responses. You may want to ask what they may be afraid of. Accept all answers.)

Faith+Share: “Yes those are all things that can scare us right? Well today we read part of a letter from a man named Paul who went around to all kinds of different places telling people about Jesus. Paul was writing to the people in the church in Rome. He knew about being afraid. People didn’t always like Paul because he talked about Jesus all the time. They would put him in prison, be mean to him and even sometimes hurt him. Paul knew that his fear was real. BUT Paul also knew who else was real…GOD! Paul knew that God’s love was so big that it would reach Paul no matter what! It didn’t matter where Paul was, what Paul did (even if he did some not so nice things) or what Paul said, God was always there!”

“Do you know what?” God is always with you too! (Ask the kids to name places where they go in their week: school, grocery store, day care, swim lessons, etc.) “Yep! God is with you in all of those places! How can we remember that God is always with us?

Faith+Bless: Hmmm let me think….have you ever noticed how in church some people make the sign of the cross on themselves like this (demonstrate crossing yourself). Do you know why they do it? It is to remind them that God is with them forever! I am going to teach you this today! So take your right hand and use your pointer and tall finger together and start at your forehead. We start there because we want to remember that God in our head. Then we draw an invisible line with our fingers to our chest. This reminds us that God is in our heart. Then we go to our left shoulder, God is on our left. And then our right shoulder, God is on our right. So where is God? Everywhere! We can say, ‘God be in my head, in my heart, on my left and on my right.” (Make the sign of the cross as you say this together. Practice a couple of times.) Now you can do this in church too anytime you want or when we say, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” which is God!

Faith+Prayer: Let’s pray: God we thank you for always being with us. You love us and hold us no matter where we are or what we are doing. Be in our head, heart, on our left and on our right always. Amen”

Bonus ideas: If time allows sing a verse of “God’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” You could also bring the children to the baptismal font and make the sign of the cross with water on them while the whole congregation sings.

In my sermon on Romans 8 I am going to ask the adults to write down what their fears are and place them in the offering plate to give to God. Have crayons available so that young children who cannot write can draw their fears and participate. 

~Brigette Weier

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 5A Psalm 139

Scripture Focus: Psalm 139

Supplies—something knit

Faith+Open— After welcoming the children, tell them about the Psalm for today. If your service doesn’t use the Psalm this week or if they have not heard it, read either all or parts of it to them. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine God creating them and knowing them. Be sure to read the part about being knit together in the womb.

OR: use the book Before you Were Born by Nancy White Carlstrom.   It is a beautiful children’s book based on this Psalm and could be read, or parts read, to engage children in the psalm in a way that relates to them on a personal level. You could simply read this book or read parts and continue with the rest of the elements following.

Faith+Share: When you hear the words that you were knit together in your mother’s womb what does that make you imagine or how does that feel? Show them the knit item or items you have. If you can knit or if you know someone who does, you could also show them what it looks like when the person is knitting. Explain that to knit is to carefully bring yarn together to make it into something new. Another thing about knitting is that it creates warmth that stays with us. A knit scarf is meant to be warm, to keep out the cold and to keep the heat in and close to our necks.

God knit each of you together in a careful and loving way. You were created with God’s heart and hands and God knows you in this way as well. Psalm 139 is praising and thanking God for being a God that is will us from the beginning and all throughout our lives. Just like a knit scarf will keep the warmth on you, God will stay with you in your heart. They can remember this when they wear something knit or when they use water to remember their baptism or when they come to the table for the communion meal. Ask the children to think of ways they can remember how they are loved by God.

Faith+Prayer: God you know me, God you love me. Thank you for knitting me together. Thank you for your love that stays with me. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Making the sign of the cross say this another way to help us remember God is with us—God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right.

Extended activitiesIf you meet with children for a longer period of time outside of the worship space here are some ideas:

1.    have some knit samples the kids can put on and play with

2.    older kids can braid or twist yarn together in a bracelet to simulate knitting together

3.    create pictures of what life was like before they were born

Easter 3 A Children’s Sermon 2011

Children Sermon:

By Gus Brockmann, Worship and Children’s Ministry Director, First Lutheran in Longmont CO

Scripture Focus: Luke 24:13-35

Supplies – an easy to see optical illusion (see the picture to the left,  prints well on 11×17)

Faith+Open— After welcoming the children show them the illusion, being careful to talk about the most obvious part (in the attached file, talk about the forest).  Once they have looked for a few seconds point out the hidden picture (the tiger in the attached file).  Some of the children might spot it before you call attention to it, but that’s ok too!

Faith+Share:

Sometimes, like in this picture, we don’t always see what is really there.  It’s easy to see the trees, but we might not see the tiger until we look at the picture for a few minutes.  The Gospel today is a story that takes place on Easter, right after Jesus come back to life.  We hear about some people who run into a stranger on the road as they are walking home; at least they think he’s a stranger.  They invite the stranger to come with them, telling him that it will soon be dark and dangerous on the road.  The stranger agrees to go with them, and they talk about just happened in Jerusalem, and the stranger talks about the Bible and tells them stories from the prophets.  Once they get home, they make dinner and invite the stranger to sit and eat.

The stranger sits with them, picks up the bread, blesses it and breaks it.  In that moment, they realize that they are sitting with Jesus! They are amazed that their eyes did not see him, but they knew in their hearts that it was him.

Sometimes when we look at things we don’t see the whole picture at first, just like in the illusion.  We might not see Jesus all the time, but He is always walking with us and caring for us.

Faith+Prayer: Loving God, we bless you for the gift your Son, Jesus.  Thank you for sending him with us a friend and companion.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Let’s say together making the sign of the cross: God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left and God on my right.

Extended activitiesIf you meet with children for a longer period of time outside of the worship space here are some ideas:

1.    Find additional optical illusion pictures and examine them together

2.    Read the story of the Walk to Emmaus from Spark Storybook Bible or Jesus Storybook Bible

Living Water Children’s Sermon Lent3A

Scripture Focus John 4:5-42

Children’s Sermon #1 (Within Worship/shorter version)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Props: a fish bowl/aquarium or pictures of water life.

We heard story today of Jesus meeting a woman at a well where she was getting water. He tells her that she is loved by God even after knowing the things she had done wrong in life. Jesus says that the water she needs is from him—Living Water.  What do you think of when you hear the words ‘living water’?

Faith+Share:  Show your ‘living water’… I think of this kind of water. Fish and plants and mud and dirt and all those things that live in the water. What else needs water? What do we use it for?

We need water for life, all of us, every human and plant and animal. And we have water in our church building all the time—where is it? Yes, the baptismal font helps us remember what Jesus said about the kind of water we need from God. That water is a water of promise that we are loved and forgiven and held by God all the time, no matter who we are and no matter who we meet in our lives, humans are held by God’s grace in living water.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for water, for giving us what we need to live. Please help those who do not have enough water or clean water. Fill our hearts with your living water of love and mercy. Amen

Children’s Sermon #2 (Children’s worship time/longer version)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Props: a fish bowl/aquarium or pictures of water life.

We heard story today of Jesus meeting a woman at a well where she was getting water. He tells her that she is loved by God even after knowing the things she had done wrong in life. Jesus says that the water she needs is from him—Living Water.  What do you think of when you hear the words ‘living water’?

Faith+Share:  Show your ‘living water’… I think of this kind of water. Fish and plants and mud and dirt and all those things that live in the water. What else needs water? What do we use it for?

We need water for life, all of us, every human and plant and animal. And we have water in our church building all the time—where is it? Yes, the baptismal font helps us remember what Jesus said about the kind of water we need from God. That water is a water of promise that we are loved and forgiven and held by God all the time, no matter who we are and no matter who we meet in our lives, humans are held by God’s grace in living water.

Activity ideas:

Art—create pictures of living water either from cutting out shapes and gluing or coloring

Science—have buckets or milk jugs filled with water. Talk about the well water and what that may have been like to have to carry water a long way. Have kids do a relay to see if they can carry the water across the room.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for water, for giving us what we need to live. Please help those who do not have enough water or clean water. Fill our hearts with your living water of love and mercy. Amen

Written by Rev. Leta Behrens

March 20 Lent 2A Children’s Sermon

Scripture Focus: Genesis 12: 1-9

Background: In this travel narrative Abraham faithfully listens to God and leaves his home and goes where God leads him. When God tells Abraham that God will give his offspring the land, Abraham builds and altar and praises God. So too, does Abraham build an altar and praised God as he traveled through the land.

Children’s Sermon #1 (Within Worship/shorter version)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Ask: Have you ever played a game where you had to follow someone else or copy what they did? Follow the leader and Simon says are good games for that! Let’s try it out now.

Play “Simon Says” and walk them around the sanctuary (or around whatever part of the church makes sense in your context). At a natural place to pause, stop and say, “Abraham and Sarah were called by God to follow God away from their home. They did not really know where they would end but they traveled and did their best to follow God.” Keep going.

Faith+Share:  After “traveling” a bit, lead them by the altar area where you have already placed a set of building blocks.

Explain that each time Abraham and Sarah found a place to stay for awhile, they built and altar to the Lord. This way they remembered who they worshiped and that they were trusting in God. It’s kind of like how we come together to worship God. We can also worship God at our homes. We can built altars or simply pray around the table together.

Have them build an altar and then sing a praise song such as “Hallelu-Hallelu-Hallelujah-Praise-ye the Lord.”  Talk about how no matter where we are or what we are doing we can praise God every day in our lives and God will hear us! God travels with us in our life and is always present! That is reason to sing indeed! Blessings on your week!

Faith+Prayer: God, sometimes it is hard to know how to follow you. Help us to remember that no matter where we are or where we go we are called to your children and you are will us. Amen.

Children’s Sermon #2 (Children’s worship time/longer version)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Read the Genesis verses from a children’s Bible. Talk about who Abraham and Sarah are and why they are important to us as Christians.

Ask: Have you ever played a game where you had to follow someone else or copy what they did? Follow the leader and Simon says are good games for that! Let’s try it out now.

Play “Simon Says” and walk them around the sanctuary (or around whatever part of the church makes sense in your context). At a natural place to pause, stop and say, “Abraham and Sarah were called by God to follow God away from their home. They did not really know where they would end but they traveled and did their best to follow God.” Keep going.

Faith+Share:  After “traveling” a bit, lead them by the altar area where you have already placed a set of building blocks.

Explain that each time Abraham and Sarah found a place to stay for awhile, they built and altar to the Lord. This way they remembered who they worshiped and that they were trusting in God. It’s kind of like how we come together to worship God. We can also worship God at our homes. We can built altars or simply pray around the table together.

Have them build an altar and then sing a praise song such as “Hallelu-Hallelu-Hallelujah-Praise-ye the Lord.”  Talk about how no matter where we are or what we are doing we can praise God every day in our lives and God will hear us! God travels with us in our life and is always present! That is reason to sing indeed! Blessings on your week.

Faith+Prayer: God, sometimes it is hard to know how to follow you. Help us to remember that no matter where we are or where we go we are called to your children and you are will us. Amen.

Written by Brigette Weier

Edited by Leta Behrens, M.Div

Children’s Sermon Transfiguration Year A March 6, 2011

Scripture Focus: Primarily Matthew 17:1-9; includes Exodus & 2 Peter readings

Children’s Sermon #1 (Within Worship/shorter version)

Preparation: a short letter that has information about yourself in it written about you by a parent or a friend (write it from the perspective of someone else)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Say: We just heard three passages from the Bible and they probably sounded very different. But they had at least one thing in common—they told about ways that God is revealed to us. God is revealed to Moses on the mountain, Peter retells the story of Jesus’ baptism when God is revealed in the voice that says “this is my beloved son with whom I am pleased. And our Gospel story tells us about Jesus being as God’s son through his appearance and a voice from heaven. They are stories about some ways that we can know God.

How do can you get to know someone? (encourage responses) We can ask them questions. Like, what is your favorite color or animal. Or what they like to do or eat. Maybe about their family or who they know well? Could my mom or dad or my kids tell you something about me? Sure!

Pick one child to ask a couple of questions to: What is your favorite color? What was the best thing you did this week? You have revealed things about yourself to me.

Faith+Share:  Read the short letter you wrote “from your parent or friend” to the kids about yourself.

Do you now know EVERYTHING about me? do you know more about me? yes!  How do we know about God? (Jesus and the Bible maybe answers, encourage other responses as well like prayer, creation, other people, etc.)

In our gospel story today God tells us to listen to Jesus as Jesus is God’s son. We can learn about God through Jesus. Reading about Jesus in the Bible helps us to know how much God loves us and how God wants us to love others. And then we can tell others about who Jesus is and how much Jesus’ loves everyone! 

Faith+Prayer: God, we know you love us and you know all about us. Thank you for revealing yourself to us. Help us to show others your love. Amen

Children’s Sermon #2 (Children’s worship time/longer version)

Preparation: a short letter that has information about yourself in it written about you by a parent or a friend (write it from the perspective of someone else)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Say: We just heard three passages from the Bible and they probably sounded very different. But they had at least one thing in common—they told about ways that God is revealed to us. God is revealed to Moses on the mountain, Peter retells the story of Jesus’ baptism when God is revealed in the voice that says “this is my beloved son with whom I am pleased. And our Gospel story tells us about Jesus being as God’s son through his appearance and a voice from heaven. They are stories about some ways that we can know God.

How do can you get to know someone? (encourage responses) We can ask them questions. Like, what is your favorite color or animal. Or what they like to do or eat. Maybe about their family or who they know well? Could my mom or dad or my kids tell you something about me? Sure!

Pick one child to ask a couple of questions to: What is your favorite color? What was the best thing you did this week? You have revealed things about yourself to me.

ACTIVITY: Now put kids in partners or groups of three. Ask them to ‘reveal’ things about themselves to one another. Explain that when they are done they will share one new thing they learned about their partner.

Faith+Share:

Read the short letter you wrote “from your parent or friend” to the kids about yourself.

Do you now know EVERYTHING about me? do you know more about me? yes!  How do we know about God? (Jesus and the Bible maybe answers, encourage other responses as well like prayer, creation, other people, etc.)

In our gospel story today God tells us to listen to Jesus as Jesus is God’s son. We can learn about God through Jesus. Reading about Jesus in the Bible helps us to know how much God loves us and how God wants us to love others. And then we can tell others about who Jesus is and how much Jesus’ loves everyone! 

Faith+Prayer: God, we know you love us and you know all about us. Thank you for revealing yourself to us. Help us to show others your love. Amen

Materials: Children’s Bible, letter about yourself

Written by Brigette Weier

Edited by Leta Behrens

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.