Tag Archives: new life

Signs of New Life and the nearness of God’s Kingdom, Luke 21: 25-36, Advent 1, Nov.29th, 2015

20130715-113716.jpgHave the children come forward and stay standing up for this time. Say “Look around our worship space. What do you see?” (Accept all answers.) “Yes, we see people, the piano/organ, the font, the table, bread, wine, water, pews, carpet, etc. We see all kinds of things in here that tell a story! What story do you think that all of these things and people tell? They tell the story of God’s love. They are telling us to remember to look around to look for love, which is always a sign of Jesus in our world. Do you ever see things in your day or on tv that scare you? Yes, I do too. But I remember to look for signs of love around me when  I feel scared.

20130822-223633.jpg In our Bible story today, Jesus says that we will see things in the world that we won’t understand or might even scare us. But he says “stand up! Look for signs of love and hope!” Jesus tells us that when it seems that things are scary or sad, that he is with us forever. Nothing can make Jesus go away. He also says that there is something that we can do to help us to look for signs of God’s love and new life everywhere we go: pray. Praying is not just about asking God for what we need or a friend needs but is also about just talking to God and listening for where God might be telling us to look for signs of love. Sometimes we say words when we pray and sometimes we can be silent when we pray. Doesn’t matter what kind of prayer you say or do, all prayer connects us to God and helps us to see signs of God’s love in the world. Let’s practice that now.

20130822-224425.jpg (Start by saying “Dear God” and then telling the children that we will be quiet for a minute.) Dear God, (silence is kept) we see things that we don’t understand. Open our eyes  to see more of your love, more of your hope and more of your grace. May we stand up to be signs of your love in the world.  Amen. 

FaithCross_WorshipHave someone draw a tree on  butcher paper or use a large plant or indoor tree that you may have in your church. Have leaves cut out for people to write signs of God’s love and new life to tape on the paper tree or have string to hang the leaves on the real plant/tree. Invite people to take their leaves home to place on their Christmas tree.

20130822-223908.jpg + Jesus is near+

Children’s Sermon 3B April 19, 2015 Luke 24: 36b-48 and Acts 3: 12-19

20130822-223520.jpgTwo week ago we heard a pretty good story in church about Jesus. Do you remember what that story was about on Easter? (Have the children “tell” the story. Have prompts available such as a rock, or something to resemble the empty tomb, etc. You may have to help them “wrap it up.”) Yes, we heard this great story about God raising Jesus from the dead! Do you know or remember why that is important? (Accept all answers.) It’s good news that we can be with God forever and loves us forever no matter what! Being told that you are loved is really important isn’t it? Who do you tell and show that you love them? (Accept all answers.) Ideally, we should with our words and actions tell people that we love them.
20130822-223633.jpgWe have two stories today about telling the whole world that God loves them. Jesus appears to the disciples and tells them that he is alive, God’s forgiveness and love is for everyone and the disciples need to tell everyone they meet that story. Everything that Jesus does points to God’s love for us. In Acts, we see the disciple Peter doing that too. A man with hurt legs couldn’t walk and when Peter told him to walk in name of Jesus the man did! Peter then tells the people gathered that God does amazing things and the most amazing thing that God does is love us all the time! Peter is pointing to God’s presence in everything! This is too good a story to not tell! All of you just told me the story of God’s love through Jesus and you did a really great job! Who else can you tell or have you told someone this story before? As people who know the story, Jesus invites us to tell it to everyone we meet!
20130822-224425.jpg Jesus, you come to us in our everyday lives. We are witnesses to your story of love, forgiveness and hope. May your story be heard, seen and experienced by all people and creation. Amen

FaithCross_WorshipApril 20th is Earth Day and one way to tie this good news of new life, hope and forgiveness for all of creation is through this worship station. New life springs up and God invites and calls us to nurture all life around us. Google clip art images of caterpillars, butterflies, birds, nests and eggs and have a couple of different images to choose from. Have a cross with tape available and invite people to place an image (decorated or not) on the cross. Invite people to write on the image how they can nurture new life around themselves or how “new life” has been nurtured in them by a person or an animal. You can add to this cross for the rest of the Easter season with images and words/prayers of new life.
20130822-223908.jpg+You bear the good news to the world+

New life in Christ John 12: 20-33

ffjChildrenSermonHave some flower seeds, a tulip and tulip bulb, (or a poinsettia,) soil, small pots, and markers, etc. to decorate the pots if you desire as part of a worship station.

20130715-113716.jpg Have a tulip, a tulip bulb (or some other bulb flower) or the poinsettia. Gather the children around the tulip/poinsettia. If using the poinsettia ask the children when they last saw this plant. Christmas! The cool thing about poinsettia’s is that they “bloom” (red leaves) when it’s cold and actually need to stay in a dark closet with no light for much of the year. We bring them out in the fall when there is less sunlight and that is when they thrive. In the dark the poinsettias are renewing and getting ready to grow!

If using a tulip and bulb ask the children if they have every planted bulbs before. Does this bulb look like it could become a flower right now? No. It doesn’t. It just looks dead and pretty useless right now. But we plant the bulb in the fall about 6-8 inches underground so that no sunlight gets to them. All winter they stay a bulb in the ground, dead and not doing much. And then when the weather gets warmer and the ground unfreezes and becomes softer and warmer, the bulb begins to grow a stem. And a couple of weeks later you get these beautiful tulips that grow! This dead bulb will stay just the way it is unless we bury it in the dark and let it sit for a while. Beautiful things can come from the dark!

20130822-223633.jpg In our Bible story from John today Jesus talks about how new life can come from things that look dead and useless. In nature, tress, flowers and plants have parts of them that die, these become seeds that grow into new life. Jesus was trying to explain to his disciples that he too will die, but it’s not what they think. Jesus will die, they will be sad, but God will bring new life from Jesus’ death-like this flower. Jesus’ death and God raising him to life means that we have new life too! Each and every day God makes us new and we can grow like this flower to share God’s beauty and love with the whole world. When we die, we go to be with God in new life after we die. Jesus gathers us all up in this life and in the next and we are never alone! God brings life from EVERYTHING NO MATTER WHAT! Pretty cool, huh! We have new life and we are never alone.

FaithCross_Worship For a worship station have soil, (small cup for scooping the soil), small terra cotta pots, and seeds. Permanent markers are the best way to draw on the pots so warn parents and have supervision. Have people draw symbols of new life on their pot and then plant a seed. You can have them take them home for the plants to grow during the Easter season, or give them away to an assisted living facility, half-way house or other places where your congregation can share the good news of new life and community forever in Jesus.

20130822-224425.jpgGod, you bring new life from everything around us. You promise that we are with you always, even when we’re in the dark and can’t see the sunlight. Gather all your people so that the whole world will know your presence and love. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Grow in God’s love+

Faith + Connect March John 12: 20-33 Lent 4

20130822-223454.jpg Gather as a household. Share with one another where you saw or heard God today. Were those situations joyous or difficult?

20130822-223633.jpg Read John 12: 20-33.

For children: Have you ever seen a plant grow? Did you know that the seed that plants come from are technically dead? Seeds come from live plants and they are part of the plant that dies. Just left in the package all by themselves, nothing happens to them. But when they are given soil, water and sunlight what happens to them? They grow! But part of the plant had to die first. Jesus tells us that in order for us to grow sometimes we have to let another part of ourselves go. We might have to not always be first, or keep a toy to ourselves or help when we don’t feel like it. That’s what Jesus means by “losing your life” he means to think about other people first and you will change like the seed changes into a plant!

For youth/adults: When have you heard the voice of God in your life? Did you know that it was God right away or did you only recognize it afterwards? We might be a little squeamish about admitting that we have heard God’s voice as we can sound a bit unstable to the rest of the world, but God does still speak to us. Jesus even said that God spoke to the crowds not for Jesus’ sake but for them. God never leaves us alone and is always with us. Listen for God in your life today.
Another part of our Bible passage has to do with Jesus drawing all people to himself. We tend to think of Jesus dying on the cross about each of us individually, but what does it mean for us all to be caught up in Jesus arms? How does that change how you view your neighbor or coworker if they too are drawn to Jesus by Jesus? How do we treat each other differently if that were the case?

FaithCross_ServeALT Find a bulb/seed and begin to grow a spring plant. When the plant is about ready to bloom, give it away to someone who could use the message of new life. Decorate the pot with symbols of spring and Easter. Write a card that prays for them to know the new life that God offers us all.

20130822-224425.jpg God of life, your voice still speaks to us, open our ears to hear you and our eyes to see your work in the world. May the new life that grows in us be shared with your world. May our whole lives serve you and your creation. In the name of your son who draws us all to him, Jesus, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Your life glorifies God+



2014-11-17 08.36.06Did you know that Easter lilies bloom in the fall? The only reason that they bloom at Easter time is because we put them in hot houses and fool them into thinking that it’s summer in the middle of winter.

Last Easter at First Lutheran Church, we had our usual Easter lily garden. In recent years there have been fewer plants, but it is still an impressive sight. Most the lilies are taken home by the people who brought them for the worship services, but every year there are three or four that are left at the church. This past year those three or four plants were replanted in the courtyard as part of the flower beds there.

Within a few weeks all of the lily plants looked like they were going to die, and in fact, they did all die! Turned brown, fell over, looked dead – but then they all came back! They grew new leaves, fresh green stalks and after a few months even started growing blooms again. We figured that nothing would come of it, it was, after all, late in September before the buds started and we usually get at least one really hard freeze in Colorado in the beginning of October.

The freeze never came. The warm fall weather never broke and the buds kept developing. It was into November and the highs were still in the 60s or even 70s and the buds were growing bigger by the day. Then, on November 10 the weather changed. The temperature fell nearly 20 degrees in about 2 hours, and the snow was coming. The weather changed from highs in the 70s to lows below zero in a day, and there was no way that the lilies would survive outside, so we cut the stalks and brought the buds inside. We put them in water and waited.

One opened, then another, then two more! Four Easter lilies were blooming – almost 2 weeks after being cut from the plants, after living through an amazingly warm fall in northern Colorado, after dying the early heat of summer and growing new green, after blooming in time for Easter Sunday – and they were blooming on Christ the King Sunday.

Christ the King Sunday is, in my experience, the least noticed Festival of Christ Sundays. We all know the big two, Christmas and Easter. Many people also know the Baptism of Our Lord (near Epiphany), and many people also talk about their “mountain top” experiences on Transfiguration. Christ the King, though, always seems to make people slightly uncomfortable. Who is this King? Do we want a King? Why are we talking about the End Times? Who are sheep are who are goats? Christ the King Sunday, though, is strongly linked to Easter and Holy Week. It is a moment of Easter for us. We hear how we must die to this world to be born into the next.

So I think about these lilies and what they have been through. Life, death, rebirth, the trials of fall weather, a narrow escape from the deep freeze and here they are celebrating Christ with us on the last Sunday of the church year.


Children’s Sermon November 10, 2013 25th Sunday after Pentecost

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have a small tree branch or seed (maybe a tulip bulb) to show the children. If you can-have a bulb or other seeds to give the children.

20130822-223520.jpgBring the children together and have them sit in a circle where they can see you. Hold up the branch or the bulb. Ask the children what they see. (Accept all answers) Tell them that you see a great big green growing tree or a field of colorful tulips. You see a forest or a garden. Sometimes we have to look past what we know and try to see what God sees.

20130822-223633.jpgIn our story today, some religious leaders were asking Jesus about what happens after we die. Do we keep all of our friends? Do we stay married to the people we were married to? Do the rules of this world matter? Jesus tells them that they are worried about the wrong things. With God, there is no death-only life. Just like this bulb might look dead to us-it is life waiting to happen. God looks to bring life out of everything-even something as scary as death. God says that because God loves us so much and that we belong to her, that we don’t have to worry about what happens when we or someone we love dies. God will bring about life with God forever. Do we completely understand that? No but that’s ok. We know it’s true because God raised Jesus from the dead and God promises this new life to us too!

Even better, God promises us new life here and now, every day! God promises to be with us when we are scared and can’t see happiness or how a dead tree branch will grow leaves. God gives us all of these people around us to help us see new life in God when it is hard for us. And we show all of these same people God’s new life too! Here is a seed/bulb to help you to remember to look for new life in God everywhere you go.

20130822-223749.jpg Dear God of life, help us to see life and love everywhere we go and in everyone we meet. Help us to reveal the new life you promise us all. In Jesus name, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg (Make the sign of the cross) Remember that you belong to the God of the living.