Children’s Sermon December 1st, 2013. Advent 1A Isaiah 2:1-5

Preparation: if you would like to pattern your children’s sermons off of our take home devotions for advent the pick an ornament that reminds you of peace or says something about peace.
You also need a picture of a sword and plowshare to show how they look alike. You can simply google for images.

Faith+ Connect: Gather the children with you and near the advent wreath. “Good morning! Look around and tell me if you notice anything different about our space today” take answers and highlight any Advent preparations you have made.

Faith+ Bible: “Today is the beginning of Advent, a season where we prepare for… (Let them say Christmas if they know the answer). You have noticed some things we have done to prepare and you may be making preparations at home too. Today we hear from the prophet Isaiah in our Bible reading. Isaiah is talking to the people about the promises of God that one day we will all walk I the light and on the path of God. We know that this light is in Jesus. One way Isaiah tries to describe what this is like is to say that God will turn swords into plowshares. Do you have any idea what that means? I bet you know what a sword is though, right? So a sword would have been used for fighting and for taking land or things away from someone else. The vision that Isaiah has is for people to come to God and put away their weapons and live together. A plowshare is a part of a farming tool called a plow and it looks like a blade that is also in the shape of a sword. So Isaiah calls people to come together to live in Gods ways and to live in peace.” (Show your picture or toy plow)

If you’re using the home devos take out the ornament that you picked and talk about why it reminds you of peace. Show the children the devotion book and give them each one. Take a few minutes to talk about how to use it and that each week they (and you) will pick an ornament to share.

Faith+Chat: Another way he says this is to say that we will walk in the light. Each week of advent we will light a candle. Today we light the candle and remember the promise that we are people of the light and we can work to live in peace with others in the world. You can light a candle at home as well this week to prepare for the birth of Jesus and to live in the light.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we wait your coming and pray for peace in our days and in our world. Thank you for being our light in all ways and all the time.

Faith+Blessing: Walk as a child of the light. +

Advent 2013 + Household Devotions


Just in time for the start of Advent!  A simple four week resource for gathering together to prepare your hearts and minds for Christmas. Please print, copy and handout (or share electronically!) to whomever you so desire.

This is a devotion that homes and families of all shapes and sizes will find to be worth their time in spending a few minutes together each week of this week Advent. These links will let you download whichever format works best for you.  Note that all the links will take you to our Mediafire site so you can view the files before you download them.

Booklet Style – prints as a landscape on 8.5 x 11 inch and folds into a booklet

A Page a Week – each page is one devotion, great for eReaders and tablets

Supplemental Images for make your own ornaments 

Here is an overview:

Faith+Connect-a ritual of lighting a candle, picking an ornament off your tree for your time together, and singing or listening to a Christmas song that fits the scripture for the day
Faith+Bible and Faith+ Chat–scripture and discussion prompts plus optional activities
Faith+Prayer–a prayer together
Faith+Blessing–a time to bless one another as the devotional time ends.

We encourage you to use this in your home and share with others. For all you wonderful youth directors, children’s ministers and pastors we encourage you to have this available for your congregations and visitors throughout Advent.

We love feedback so let us know if you used it and what you thought!
Link  supplemental pages

+Blessings to you all this Advent and Christmas,
Leta, Brigette, Gus

Faith + Home Thanksgiving Devotion

ffjChildrenSermonUse this simple format around the Thanksgiving table to gather all in your home that day around each other and the God’s word of love, mercy and forgiveness for us all. This does not need to be done in order nor do all parts have to be practiced. Use this devotion in a way that makes sense for you and those gathered.

20130822-223454.jpgShare with each other your highs and lows of the past year. Have paper, pens or crayons for younger household members to write done what others share.



20130822-223633.jpg1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

What are some ways that you show joy? As an individual? As a family? Who is someone that you are grateful for today? When is your favorite time to pray as an individual or a family?

20130822-223749.jpgGracious God, we don’t always remember to show you our gratitude. Thank you for your unending presence, unconditional love and mercy. We thank you for this meal that we are sharing today. May it nourish us for service in your world. We pray for those who are hurting today, don’t have community, family, a safe place to be or food for their journey. May our gratitude lead us to willingly share what we have with your people in need. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

20130822-223908.jpgAt the end of the meal, say together: Rejoice always for God loves you now and forever.


Children’s Sermon Luke 23:33-43, Christ the King Sunday, Year C

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have an object (any object will do) in a box or bag or in some way covered up. You are going to play the game 20 questions with this object.

FaithCross_ConnectALTGather the children around you and show the box that contains the object you have chosen. You can tell the kids whether it’s an animal, vegetable or mineral if you would like. Then have the children ask you only “yes” or “no” questions about the object. You don’t have to keep track if they ask 20 questions or not, that is up to you! It also doesn’t really matter if they guess what the object is or not for this lesson. When the children have either guessed or reached question number 20, say, “It was hard to only ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions wasn’t it? Were you wondering if I was telling the truth or if there was more information than ‘yes’ or ‘no’? Even though being told ‘yes’ or ‘no’ seems like an easy way to go, it’s actually harder than being able to get a longer answer from someone isn’t it? It’s better to have a real conversation and get more information.”

FaithCross_BibleALTWho can help me remember the story from the Bible about Jesus we just heard? (Accept all answers and guide them through a retelling of the gospel.) Is this the time of year when we think about this story? This sounds more like Good Friday doesn’t it? Well, we are hearing this story today because it is the last day of the Church’s calendar-kind of like our New Year’s Eve and this story is really important to us but this story comes with a lot of questions to. People in the story are even asking questions: Are you not the Messiah? Do you fear God? Can’t you save yourself Jesus? Jesus doesn’t give a yes or no answer to these questions does he? Do you think if he told them they would have believed him? Maybe yes, maybe no-but the most important thing is that Jesus heard their questions. And then Jesus tells the people listening something more important than anything: that they will be with Jesus. This is why we hear this story today. It helps us to remember what is most important as we celebrate Christmas, that Jesus is with us always and loves us. Jesus will never leave us, no matter what questions or how many questions we may have about God. We can ask God whatever we want, even if it is a hard question. We can talk to each other about our hard questions too, can’t we? We can talk to our moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and everyone here. We all have questions about God and we should talk about them together.

FaithCross_PrayALTDear God, thank you for listening to our questions. We know that we can talk to you anytime we need to about anything. Thank you for families who talk to us about you. In Jesus name, amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT“Jesus is with you today.” (Make the sign of the cross on one another.)

Faith + Home Connection December 2013 Isaiah 9: 2-7

20130822-223520.jpgGather the household around the Christmas tree. Turn on the lights or light candles. Open with prayer: God of light, we gather to hear the promises of your love to us. May we walk in your light and share your light and love with your creation. In your son, the light of the world, Jesus’ name, amen.

20130822-223633.jpgRead Isaiah 9: 2-7. As it is being read have paper, pencils, colored pencils, crayons and markers available. Draw the images that Isaiah offers here as it is being read. Maybe read it through more than once.

For children: (Note: some of the images are hard in this passage. Yet, many of our children are exposed to images of war and destruction. This can be a good time to talk openly about those things.) God wants us all to live in peace. What does the word peace mean to you? What does peace look like? What would you say to God in a prayer for peace?

For youth/adults: The promise of prosperity and peace is the focus of this passage. Yet, we know that those things are elusive in our world and it’s easy to think that tangible, financial prosperity is the true meaning of these promises of God. But prosperity in that sense of the word for people means poverty for others. What do you think God’s prosperity looks like in the world? When is “enough” stuff “enough” for us? How can we participate in God’s promise of everyone living in peace and stability? How can we encourage our neighbor to thrive? In this season of gift giving how can we celebrate the joy in giving gifts (this is not a bad thing!) to loved ones and not get caught up in the extravagance?

FaithCross_ServeALTA great way to give gifts and walk alongside a local or global neighbor is to contribute to a favorite charity in honor of that person. Make a fun card and attach a small ornament or piece of Christmas candy to the card. Or make some cookies or other treats for neighbors without family.

20130822-223749.jpgDear God, your light shines on us and lifts our burdens. You offer us promises of new life, peace and justice. May we rejoice in the gift given to us, your Son who reveals your love for all creation. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg (Make the sign of the cross on one another) May you walk in the light of God. 

Children’s sermon November 17th, 2013 26th Sunday after Pentecost Year C Luke 21:5-19

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: This children’s time is loosely based off of the Gospel reading and is also an opportunity to talk to children about complex and frightening topics such as super typhoon Haiyan. Have a large cross available for the children to put sticky notes on. Have several stacks of sticky notes, pencils, pens and markers. You will also need either a cross sticker or some sort of simple cross to give everyone in your congregation. Invite the adults to participate with the children.

FaithCross_ConnectALTHave the children gather around the cross. Ask the children if they know why the cross is important to us. (Accept all answers.) Tell the children that yes, Jesus died on the cross and it is how we know that God understands our fear, our hurting and is always with us. Jesus on the cross reveals that God is with us even in some pretty scary times and places. We have all had scary experiences haven’t we and we worry about being alone, sick, hurt or scared. This is completely normal and we all worry. Every single person here-even adults-worry about these same things.

FaithCross_BibleALTWe heard Jesus mention some pretty scary things in the Bible this morning didn’t we? Jesus knows that we hear difficult things on the news or on the computer like storms or other stuff. BUT Jesus wants us to know that even if these scary things happen-we are not alone. We have a whole group of people here and in our neighborhoods that are with us; we have family, friends AND Jesus promises to be with us NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing-Jesus promises to be there. Jesus says this in the Bible: Matthew 28: 20 “I am with you until the end of the age” which means forever.

But that doesn’t mean that we still won’t worry, right? I do! I worry! Do you know what I do when I am worried? I might talk to my husband or my friend but I always pray and talk to God about what is scaring me. I have some sticky notes here for all of us (including adults!). Let’s all write or draw a picture of what is worrying us or scaring us. (This might take some time so you will need to allow for this. Have older children help younger children or adults help.)

When you are done writing/drawing, put your worry on the cross. Jesus knows what it is to be afraid and hurt and promises to listen and be with you when you are scared and hurt. The cross can remind us of that. After you put your worry on the cross come and pick up a cross sticker to take home to put in your room, on your refrigerator or another place where you will see it. The cross can remind you that when you are afraid God is there and to tell God all your worries and fears.

FaithCross_PrayALT Dear God, sometimes we are scared. Thank you for promising to be with us and for our friends, family and neighbors who help us when we are worried or scared. We know that you love us and care for us always. In Jesus name, amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT (Make the sign of the cross): Do not be afraid, Jesus is with you always.

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.