Children’s Sermon First Sunday of Lent, Matthew 4:1-11, March 9, 2014

20130715-114218.jpgGet the children organized into a quick game of Simon Says as they gather together.  It doesn’t need to be log or involved, just enough to get them thinking about listening to instructions.

FaithCross  Simon says game over!  That was fun, thanks for playing!  I was thinking about that game, and it seems like the only reason that it works is because we all agree on the rules.  In fact, the only reason any games work is because we all agree on the rules.  In Simon Says we agree that one person will be able to tell the other people what to do.  What if, instead of one person being the leader and giving instructions, we all started giving instructions?  Like if you were saying, “Simon says sit,” and I was saying “Simon Says stand,” and someone else was saying “Simon says jump?”  Would the game still work?  Probably not, no.

That is kind of what the devil is hoping for in today’s Gospel story.  See, Jesus is out in the desert and doesn’t have any food or water, or a place to sleep.  It’s just Jesus and the desert.  The devil thinks that he can get Jesus to try to take control from his Father because Jesus is probably weak with hunger and thirst.  The Devil is probably hoping that Jesus and God the Father will fight for control, which is kind of like God fighting with herself (himself, whichever works for you), but that’s a longer story.  Jesus won’t do it, though.  Jesus says that it is not his place to challenge God’s power, or to tell God what to do.  He tells the devil that God is in charge and that is how it should be.  If Jesus can’t tell God what to do, should we?

Now I know what you’re thinking, isn’t prayer like telling God what to do?  I say, no, it’s not!  Let’s think about our game again.  Remember how we said the game works because we all agree on the rules?  The person in charge isn’t giving commands, really, it’s a game!  And what about when we are not playing a game?  How many of you like to be told to do something?  Like, “Go clean your room,” or “Eat your asparagus!”  Or think about the adults in your life.  They will probably do good things for you if you ask them.  Like asking, “May I please have a cookie?”  or “May I please wash your car?”  But if you try to command them to do something it probably doesn’t work out so well, right.  When we pray, we are asking God for help, or giving God thanks, or praising God for the good things in our lives.  We aren’t telling God what to do.

Let’s practice that and pray together using the Lord’s Prayer (ask the congregation to join if that works in you setting).

FaithCross_PrayALT    Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT  May God’s love go with you always.


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Children’s Sermon Transfiguration, Exodus 24:12-18; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9; March 2, 2014

Prepare:  Gather some hiking gear.  If you can go all out with a big backpack, tent and sleeping bag, even better!  You will not need to set anything up.

20130822-223520.jpg  Come in from a different place than usual, and make a big show of carrying so much stuff.  Talk to the children gathered about heading out for a long hike up into the hills or mountains or just out into the “wild.”

FaithCross  I was reading the scriptures for today, and it seems like the place to see God is out in the wild, or up on the hills, so I heading out!  I’ve got some water, and a tent (just go through your gear a little to show how ready you are), with all this stuff I should be able to stay out there for a long time.  I’m sure to see God if I just stay there.

Then, once I find God I can just hang out there and always be in with God.  So, if you want me, I’m going to be out in the middle of nowhere, hanging out with God.

But, you know, there’s a problem.  In the Bible stories we read today the people who went to the mountains to be with God came back down!  When they found God on the mountain they were given something.  Moses got the 10 Commandments, and the disciples with Jesus learned who he really was.  They had to come back so they could share the things that they learned with the rest of us.  What would our world be like without the 10 Commandments?  Or what would it be like if we never learned about who Jesus is?

You know what else? I don’t really even need to leave to find God.  god is here with us right now!  We can learn about God’s love right here with each other, and we can share the good news of God’s love with everyone we meet.  It is great to hang out with God, and with the rest of God’s people, but we can’t stay there, we have to take the good news out to everyone.

So, maybe what I should do with all the gear is go out and help people learn about God!  I’m going to go do that, but let’s pray first.

FaithCross_PrayALT   God of the mountains and valleys and everywhere in between, give us the strength to be your hands and voice in the world, and the courage to not just hide in the places where our faith feels safe.  Amen

FaithCross_BlessALT May God go with you wherever you are.


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Children’s Sermon Seventh Sunday After Epiphany, Year A, Matthew 5:38-48, February 23, 2014

Prepare:  Find a picture of Baljeet and Buford from “Phineas and Ferb” (and if you have not watched any “Phineas and Ferb” go watch some!)

20130822-223454.jpg  As the children gather have your picture of Buford and Baljeet out for them to look at.  Some of them will probably know these two characters, so ask them to describe their relationship.

FaithCross  Yeah, Baljeet and Buford!  Buford is a bully and Baljeet is his usual target, right?  Buford picks on him all the time.  So, I imagine that Baljeet is always plotting a way to get back at Buford, right?  Baljeet is smart and has a good reason to find some way to embarrass or hurt Buford.  He probably has secret plans and is building a Doofenshmirtz-style ‘Inator (if this doesn’t make sense – go watch the show!), like an anti-bullyinator.

That’s not true though, is it?  Baljeet and Buford actually care about each other.  Buford protects Baljeet, and Baljeet stands up for Buford when people say mean things about him.  They have even saved each other’s lives several times!  Isn’t that a little strange?  Buford is a bully!  Why would Baljeet stand up for him?

I think that Baljeet and Buford have gotten to know each other, and understand how the other person feels.  They know what really hurts the other person, and they know how to help each other feel better.  This is something that is easy in a cartoon, but how well can we do that?

Alright, this next part is just in your head, don’t say anything out loud!  I want you to just think about someone that you might call an enemy.  This is probably someone who is hard for you to love, right?  What do you think would happen if you acted with love around them?  I don’t mean that you should try to give them a hug right away or anything, but what if you treated them like a friend?  What if you got to know them and let them get to know you?  It’s harder to really not like someone when work hard to understand them better.  You might never be good friends, like Baljeet and Buford, but maybe you can find ways to be more caring.

Let’s listen to what Jesus has to say about this, too.  (Either read the Gospel text here – or re-read Matthew 5:42-48 if it has already been read).

20130822-223749.jpg    God of love and kindness, give us the courage to act with love even when we want to be mean and cruel to others.  Help us to love everyone we meet with the same love that you give to us.  Amen

20130822-223908.jpg  May God’s Word shine a light into your life today and always.


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Children’s Sermon Epiphany 6A Deuteronomy 30: 15-20, Matthew 5:21-37

Preparation: Take the  biggest paper or sheet that you have and make a BIG heart, markers or crayons, and a Valentine you received if you did receive one(and if you did not receive one, I am sorry and God loves you and so do I)
optional–smaller hearts cut out of paper

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children up front. “So, did any of you get or give a Valentine this week?” (take answers) “Me too, I especially like the one my dad (or whoever) gave me because even though I know he loves me it was really nice to get this card as a reminder.”

20130822-223633.jpg“We heard some difficult to understand readings from the Bible today. I heard a lot of words about how we can live together as a community and what things not to do. One part that stuck out for me is that it says in Deuteronomy that all these ways of living out the commandments God gives us are ways that we can walk with God and live with one another. It can be difficult to figure that out sometimes–do you every problems with the people you live with? Me too, sometimes I get frustrated or sad or angry, these things we all feel sometimes. We can also remember though that the commandments from God and the rules we live with in a home or at school or work or daycare come from a place of hope that love will be the first thing we are about.”

“So how big of love do you think God has for us? This much? (put your fingers a little bit a part) or this much? (put your hands a part) No? This much? put your arms wide. I know that God’s love is so big and wide that we can’t even imagine it because it stretches over the whole world holding all people. I thought I’d try though and I made this God sized Valentine (bring out your large Valentine). Now I know that it can’t find the actually whole world in it but I would like us to imagine it does and that all the ways that we help other people or show love to those that we even have a difficult time with can fit in this heart. Especially I want you to know that YOU fit in this heart and that God’s commandments and love are for you.”

Have each child put their name in the heart–You could also have smaller cut out hearts that you hand out for them to put their name on and then stick to the big heart. You could have them do this right then or if you have a sacred space time or a prayer time or even at offering have the children come up and put their hearts in God’s heart.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, thank you for your commandments of love. Help us to love one another as we walk with you.


20130822-223908.jpgYou are loved child of God


Children’s Sermon Epiphany 5A Matthew 5:13-20

Preparation: you will need salt and a candle

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Ask, “Did you notice anything in the gospel reading today?” (or if they have not heard it, summarize for them) Take answers. “I noticed that Jesus was talking to us about how to be in the world and he used two things that I think are pretty common…. salt and light.”

20130822-223633.jpgRead or summarize how Jesus uses salt and light to give examples of how we are to be in the world. Show them the salt and say, “So, what is it about salt that it does that makes it special? Well nothing really, salt is just being salt, being what it was made to me. How about this candle? (light the candle) what is it doing to be special in the world? Right, it’s shining light–it’s just doing what it was made to do too. Jesus is saying the same thing to us–that being who we are, and being in the world as God made us is giving light and life and saltiness to the world. God claims us as children and says that everything we are is precious to God and we can use our gifts and our love and our hearts to show the world what God is like. That God is love and opens this gift to everyone.”

You can also teach the song “If I were a Butterfly” by Brian Howard
For time you can even just teach one verse and the chorus.

20130822-223749.jpgHoly God, thank you for making us your children and help us to show your love. Amen


20130822-223908.jpgYou are a precious child of God made to light up the world with Jesus’ love +