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

Children Sermon Pentecost 22A Matthew 25:14-30

Scripture: Matthew 25: 14-30

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Have children line up smallest to tallest. Then take the smallest child and the tallest child and put them side by side. Ask the kids, “who do you think can jump the highest? Who do you think can run the fastest? Snap their fingers? Stand on one foot?  Do some experiments and have them try out those things.

Faith+Share: What about serve God?  (Both!) Yes! In today’s Gospel story, we hear that it doesn’t matter how big or small or if you can do a lot or a little, the important thing is that you use what you are good at to share God’s love! Who can give a smile? A hug? A high five? Help a friend tie a shoe? Read a Bible story? You are each important to God and important to everyone here. When you go back to your seats today give a hug or high five to those that you walk by. 

Faith+Prayer:  Jesus, we are tall and small, big and little, all different sizes and ages. We are all your children and we praise you for this gift. 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. Read one of the lectionary link stories from Children’s Literature for this week.

2. Do more experiments of things that kids can do

3. List many ways kids can serve God. Have a project ready for them to do.

Children Sermon All Saints Matthew 5:1-12

Scripture: Matthew 5: 1-12 (for Proper text Matthew 25 click here)

Preparation: visual aids of a Bible and a map

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Have you ever been lost? I have! One time I took a wrong turn going home and ended up on the wrong road. I knew that I had to find the right road to get home. I was by myself too so I didn’t have anyone to help me. It was a little scary but I was able to find the right road after looking for a while. I did have a map with me so that I could read it and find the right way to go. (or tell a story of time YOU really were Lost!) Show them the map and say this might have helped you!

Faith+Share: We heard the word “blessed” a lot in this story this morning (or we will hear when we read the Gospel) and one meaning of that word is “you are on the right road.” (From the Hebrew)  When we follow Jesus we know that we are on the right road. But how can we know that we are on the right road? Or what happens if we don’t know how to follow Jesus? Well, God gave us a kind of map to help us. When we read the Bible we can learn about God and this can help us follow Jesus. And even better God gave us family and friends to be on the journey with us. When we are all together we can help each other follow Jesus. When we pray together, read the Bible together, sing, play, work together, in all of those things we can follow Jesus! 

Show the Bible during this part of relating it to being a map

Today we spend time remembering those who have died this year. We do this as a way to remember their life and their walk with God. They are people who we love and we miss and we remember today in the ways that they showed us God and lived following Jesus. (you may want to take time here to hear from the children about anyone or a pet they have lost and invite them to pray for or remember them today in worship through lighting a candle or whatever your ritual may be)

Faith+Prayer:
Jesus, you have come so that we can know God and know how to follow you. Help us on our paths each day to see and show your love. 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

Extension Ideas: 

1. Have children share someone or a pet they have lost. Listen to their stories and pray for their remembrances

2. Including children in a lighting of candles ritual

Children Sermon Pentecost 21A Matthew 25:1-13

Scripture: Matthew 25: 1-13 (for All Saints text click here)

Preparation: another adult or youth to participate

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Welcome them and have your volunteer adult enter walking up either with or after the children. Have the volunteer plop down and look bored.

Faith+Share: 
Dialogue follows:
Leader: “Hey____ what’s wrong? What are you doing?”
2nd person: “I’m waiting”
Leader: “What are you waiting for?”
2nd Person: “Jesus. Isn’t that what our story is about?”
Leader: “Well, kind of.  Jesus says that he will come back one day but we don’t know when so it could be a long time from now. But we know that God is with us always now. You know, when I have to wait I like to do something to pass the time. It makes the time that I am waiting seem productive.”
2nd Person: “Like what?”
Leader: “Well, Jesus says that we will have to wait for him to come back but we should be sure to tell other people about him and help people while we wait.”
2nd Person:  “Oh. That’s a good idea, it’s better than just sitting here and doing nothing. Very boring.” Leader: “Right! We shouldn’t be bored so God has things for us to do while we wait. Let’s see what could we do while we wait for Jesus?”
2nd person: Name some missions and ministries of your congregation. Ask the children what they could do while they wait for Jesus. “Jesus loves us very much and wants us to share that love! What a fun thing to do while we wait!”

Faith+Prayer:
God we wait for you and we also live for you. Teach us to see you today in our world and to reach out to those who need to know your love. 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

Extension Ideas: 
1. Do a service project like making cards for those who have lost loved ones this year.
2. Read one of the stories from Children’s Literature for November 6

Children Sermon Reformation Day Jeremiah 31:27-34

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:27-34

Preparation: something you can say or sing ‘by heart’–UPDATE and a Greek or Hebrew or Latin Bible.

Faith+Open: Gather the Children. Do you know anything by heart? A song or a poem that you can say without looking at paper or having someone help you? I know _____________ by heart. Share a short song, Bible verse, piece of the catechism, whatever you know by heart!

Faith+Share: Jeremiah tells us that God says,  “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” What do you think it means to have something written on your heart? (you can refer to last week’s children’s message if you used the Shema. Ask them if they were able to say this week and if they know it by heart)

It means that because God first gave us this gift of love and faith, we can know something in our hearts we can live in a way that shows we know God. What are ways that we can show we know God? (how we treat others and ourselves, creation, reading the Bible, learning songs and verses that help us remember God loves us).

Show them your ancient language Bible. Ask a child to read to you from it--Oh you can’t! So if you can’t read what the scripture says it makes it difficult to know what it is that God has written on our hearts and they ways to know God. Martin Luther, a man who lived a long time ago, wanted people to have the chance to know God through the Bible and to learn things by heart not only by listening but  by reading them. Before him only people who knew an ancient language could read what God’s word said. Now we have Bibles in all languages and all kinds of formats to help us know God by heart. 

Faith+Prayer and Blessing:  My hope for you is to know some things by heart. Let’s pray, “God help us to know you and to know that you love us no matter who we are–we are always yours.” Amen

Let’s work on knowing by heart that God is with us all the time by learning this blessing(or saying our blessing if you use this often OR pick one you do use often)
Make sign of + saying:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right
Amen

Extension Ideas
1. Teach them a song like Love the Lord your God (see Children’s Sermon Pentecost 19A)
2. Teach them the Lord’s Prayer or another prayer
3. Have the children share songs or stories or poems they know by heart.

~LB

Children Sermon Pentecost 19A Matthew 22:34-46

Preparation: Ten commandments written into the categories of Love God and Love Neighbor and index cards or pieces of paper rolled up with the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 written on them)

Faith+Open: Gather children with you. Have you heard of the ten commandments? Can you tell me what they are? Respond as appropriate, if they know them Yay! If not, respond encouragingly that there are two commands they can learn (or maybe three, I’m partial to Honor father and mother 🙂

Faith+Share: Good, we know that there are ten commandments given to Moses and actually there are a lot more than 10 in the Bible. There are 613! So we are going to learn them today… pause… just kidding! What rules do you have at home or school? Do you think there is one that is the most important? yay, it might be hard to decide what is most important. Jesus was asked by some leaders who knew all the 613 laws very well which one was the most important. And they might have been surprised because he had an answer for them. He said, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul and mind and Love your neighbor as yourself. If you think about it,(show ten commandments divided into these categories) when we talk about how to live as Christians these two commands cover all the other commandments. Go briefly through list. 

When Jesus said to love God and neighbor he was not actually saying something new. He was telling them what scripture said in Deuteronomy and in Leviticus. In fact this was such important part about being Jewish that it has a special name, the Shema. Have them repeat the word Shema. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and explain that this tells us to love God and live in God’s word all the time, everyday and everywhere. Show them a mezuzah or the rolled up paper. The Shema would be in the mezuzah which would go on the doorposts of people’s homes so that would remember that God’s word was on their hearts at home and whenever they left home. Hand out the index cards or scrolls that you have prepared and encourage the children to take them home and put them on their table or by their door or in a special place. Tell them to try to read and say the Shema as a family every day this week.

Faith+Prayer and Blessing: 
God, you love us all the time. Thank you for the gift of your words and your love for us. Help us to show our love for you and our love for others by the way we act and live. In the name of the Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Extension Ideas: 
1. Have kids repeat the Shema or parts of it.
2. Make mezuzahs or scrolls together instead of handing them out
3. use chart paper and have the kids come up with which category each commandment goes into
4. Teach them the song “Love the Lord your God”  Here is a link to a youtube so you can hear the music

Lyrics:
Love the lord your God
With all your heart and
All your soul
And all your mind
And love all humankind
As you would love
Yourself and…

Love the lord your God
With all your heart
And all your
Soul and mind
And love all humankind

We’ve got Christian
Lives to live
We’ve got Jesus’
Love to give
We’ve got
Nothing to hide
Because in God we abide

Love the lord your God
With all your heart
And all your soul
And all your mind
And love all humankind
As you would love
Yourself and…

Love the lord your God
With all your heart
And all your
Soul and mind
And love all humankind

We’ve got Christian
Lives to live
We’ve got Jesus’
Love to give
We’ve got
Nothing to hide
Because in God we abide  LOVE

~LB

Children Sermon Pentecost 18A Matthew 22:15-22

Preparation: offering plate

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Hold up the offering plate. Do you know what this is used for?

Yes for offering. What goes in offering? Yep mostly money, although you know sometimes a picture or note comes in the offering and that is wonderful too! 

Faith+Share: Why do you suppose we collect an offering during worship? Take some answers and see what they have to say. You can also ask if they put anything in the offering plate.

We do take offering as a part of worship because it is a way for us to be in ministry together, to put our money together and use it to help others, to teach people, to have a building to gather in, to have a place for people to pray, and sing, and worship, and get help, and talk to God, and all of the things that we do here together. Our gospel story today is Jesus telling the leaders of the synagogue and the people listening to him that we ‘give to God what is God’s’. What do you think is God’s? Take some answers. Is money God’s? Are we God’s? 

Yes, really it’s an interesting answer because everything is God’s. So when we give to God what is God’s we are saying that we offer what we have in money, time, in our prayers, in who we are. And we are all children of God. We can offer what we have and ourselves to God everyday, not just in worship but in worship we do come all together to share and to give and to praise God for everything.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for all that you have given us (list some things the kids brought up). Help us to know how to offer what we have to you and how to share what we have with others. Amen

Faith+BlessingRemember that you are God’s child all the time and everywhere. 

Extended Idea: 

1. Talk about saying ‘It’s Mine” and then say how God says YOU ARE MINE all the time!

2. Offering is a time that kids can participate in worship, even without money. They can add drawings or notes or coins that they have. Consider having a basket up front (on a stand or held by an acolyte) where kids can come during the offering time of worship and bring their own offering. This has been a delightful experience for many churches and they do it every week!

3. If you have a children’s church time, kids could draw pictures of their offering–something they are good at or draw/write a prayer, etc. and when they come back to worship they could be welcomed to put it in the offering basket.

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.