All posts by bw

Teach Us to Pray! Luke 11: 1-13, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost July 24, 2016

20130822-223454.jpg Here are a couple of ideas: invite the children forward to help lead the Lord’s Prayer wherever it occurs in your worship service. Invite the older children/youth to write one line about what they think each petition means and use that for the prayers of intercession or the prayers of the people.

*For a more “traditional” children’s sermon: Gather the children and ask them what are questions that they might have for God? Have a large piece of paper and a marker to write down their answers (or have a helper with you). Accept all answers (Pray for these things at the end). More than likely, some of these responses will connect somehow to the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer (the traditional version that we say, not necessarily the one in Luke.)Say:  We ask God all kinds of things! Do you ever ask your mom, dad, grandma and grandpa etc, for things? Maybe dinner, or lunch, or help finding a toy? Yes! We all ask for help! God wants us to ask for help and for what we need.

20130822-223633.jpg God is always happy to hear from us which is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray! You can pray to God yourself, you don’t need an adult or a pastor to pray, you get to talk to God anytime you want about anything you want and God listens. And we can talk to God about all sorts of things Jesus says: food, God’s peace, our fears, forgiveness, help with a friend. We may always not hear an answer right away, but we know that God promises to hear us! Sometimes we hear God’s answer through other people, or reading the Bible or in all kinds of ways. Sometimes, Jesus says, we have to look in lots of places for God’s answer to us.

To help us remember the Lord’s Prayer and all of the different things that we can pray for, I made a colorful bookmark out of different colors of ribbon tied together that I keep in my Bible. At our worship station today, you can make one too!

20130822-224425.jpgJesus, thank you for teaching us that God hears us always. Let us remember that we can talk to God about anything, anytime we want. (Pray for the items written on the large sheet.) We pray together the Lord’s Prayer now: (use whichever version is comfortable in your community.)

FaithCross_Worship

Have a table with the instructions available for all with ribbons cut into three inch lengths.

Lord’s Prayer in Color

Blue-“Our Father, who art in heaven’”

White-“Hallowed be thy name,”

Purple-“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,”

Green-“On earth as it is in heaven.”

Brown (yellow beads)-“Give us this day our daily bread”

Red-“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Gold-“For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.

Tie each color of ribbon together with a knot making a bookmark for your Bible or any book.

Use this to help you to remember to pray unceasingly!

(For the bracelets-string the beads on in order and then tie the bracelet on your wrist.)

20130822-223908.jpg+God hears your prayers+

 

God Knows Your Name Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 3rd, 2016 Year C

 

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As you have the children come forward have a large piece of butcher paper and numerous crayons available on the floor. Invite them to write their name on the butcher paper as you begin. (Just first names are fine for time sake.) Say, “When you meet someone for the first time, what’s usually the first thing you tell someone about yourself? Yes, your name! Our names are very important and they help other people talk to us, call us on the phone, email us, send us a card or even a present! Without our names, life could be very confusing, couldn’t it? Our names help people remember what is special about us and us about them. Do we learn and remember names of people who we don’t see very often? No, it’s hard to know the names of people who we don’t go to school with, live in our neighborhood or have never even met! But we learn the names of people who are important to us and we see a lot in our lives. Knowing someone’s name is a way to say “I care about you!”

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In our story today, Jesus sends the disciples out to all kinds of different towns and cities where they will meet all kinds of different people. Jesus reminds the disciples and us, that the most important thing to remember as we go along in our life meeting new people, learning new things, and telling people about God is that God knows our name, everything about us and says that we belong to God. When people don’t like you, or don’t want to even meet you, even though that’s hard, it’s ok because God knows you and your name and says “I care about you!” When we baptize babies, children or adults, we say their name because we know that God is  saying that we all belong to God, God knows us and promises to always call us by name to God.

Besides learning people’s names, how can we tell people that God cares for them? (Accept all answers.) There are all sorts of ways to show God’s love! A few ways we do that as a church are….(Fill in with ministries of your congregation). And you are never too little, young or old to help in one of those activities! As you go back to your seat, I want you to draw a heart around someone else’s name (not your own) to show that God cares for them.

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(Invite the children and the whole congregation to join hands for the prayer. Have everyone hold their hands out with thumbs to the left. Then when you join hands, you are supporting someone’s hand and someone else is supporting you. The true meaning of community!)  Dear Jesus, thank you for caring for us. You know our names and everything about us. Help us to share you love and care with our friends, with our families and with people that we meet. May your peace fill us and the whole earth. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship

Take the sheet of butcher paper with the children’s names on it from children’s sermon and place it on a table with more crayons, markers, etc. Have people write their own name as well as draw a heart around someone else’s name. Invite the congregation to pray for the person whose name they drew a heart around. And to try and meet them if they don’t already know each other!

20130822-223908.jpg +God knows your name and cares for you+

God Gives Us Big Love! Children’s sermon on Luke 7: 36-8:3 June 12, 2016 Pentecost 4 Year C

*This week in particular in our country and world has been one where we wrestle with human dignity and worth. In light such stories such as the young woman who was raped and who’s worth was declared as less than her male assailant’s worth, this children’s lesson highlights that in God’s kingdom, all are worthy, all are welcome, all have dignity and all are loved. May we all begin to atually live this out in our daily lives. Thank you for using our site and we pray that we are truly partnering with you in your ministry!

 

20130822-223315.jpg As you announce the children to gather, lay out a nice blanket or quilt for them to sit on, maybe have some comfy cushions, or other hospitality items. Even little packages of safe, non-allergenic snacks would be fun! As they gather, ask them if they are comfortable, what they need, welcome them whole heartedly. Go over the top! Have other adults help you if you have a lot of children.

20130822-223633.jpg (Depending on what the adult sermon for this week is focusing on you may want to read the Luke 7 from the Spark Storybook Bible on page 354.) Ask, “Did you feel special when you came forward and we had a nice place for you to sit, snacks, etc.? It’s nice to feel special! Did you do anything to deserve this special treatment? Nope! All you did was show up! That was enough! When you have friends or family visiting how do you make them feel welcome? (Accept all answers) Yes, we do special things for people just because we love them!

In our story this morning, there is a woman who knew that Jesus was all about love and she wanted Jesus to know that she loved him too. A long time ago in Jesus’ time, you only wore sandals or no shoes at all and your feet became very dirty. When you went to someone’s house for dinner or a special occasion, often someone would wash your feet. Jesus was at a friend’s house for dinner but the friend didn’t wash his feet, so this woman began to wash them with her tears of joy for Jesus and then put wonderfully smelling perfume on his feet. The guests were shocked by this woman’s behavior because she wasn’t invited to the party! But Jesus welcomes everyone and wants everyone to know that they matter to God. God sees us all as special, no matter what we say or do, nothing can change that. God wants us to see everyone around us as special and deserving fancy treatment such as what we did this morning for you! If you see someone who needs help what should you do? What if someone is mean to you? Or is kinda different or seems weird? How should we treat them? What if someone makes a mistake with us? What if it’s a big mistake? Should we forgive them like God would? Yes! We treat people how God treats us always! With love, respect, joy and honor!!! We are all special to God!! God gives us big love and so we give big love to each other!!

FaithCross_Worship Have two change jars sitting on a table. Make copies of a clip art of a coin-have the coin the size of a quarter sheet of paper. Invite people to write on the coin mistakes they have made with other people that week. They can write as many as they want. Have them place it in the “coin” jar. In another jar have it full of red paper hearts that say, “You are loved by God no matter what.” They are invited to take that heart as a reminder that Jesus takes our mistakes and offers us nothing but love in return. Have this sign on the table: “Take a “coin” sheet (as many as you would like) and write the mistakes that you have made with other people this on the sheets. Place those “coins” in the “coin” jar. Take a heart out of the other jar. Take it home as a reminder that no matter what mistakes you have made, Jesus offers you unconditional love and forgiveness every single day. You are a beloved, worthy and special child of God now and forever.”

20130822-224425.jpg (You can pray this with the children or print it on the hearts for  the worship station as well.) Jesus, you declare that all people are worthy of love, dignity and forgiveness. We attempt to live our lives showing and proclaiming this truth so that no one is lonely, hurt, sad, or feels worthless. Give us courage to welcome all people, even those who aren’t like us, into our homes, our neighborhoods, our church, and our hearts. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg+Jesus always gives you big love+

My Peace I Give To You, John 14: 23-29, May 1, 2016 Easter 6C

20130822-223520.jpg As the children come forward give them a handshake or a high-five and say “I give you peace.” They might think that’s a bit strange but that’s ok!

20130822-223633.jpg Once you’ve greeted everyone say, “Did I tell each of you “I give you peace”? Good! Why do you think I did that? (Accept all answers) Yes, those are all good reasons! In our Bible story this morning Jesus says that he gives his peace to the disciples. Do you think that they were confused by that too? I think so! It’s a strange thing to give someone peace…it’s not the same as giving a sandwich, a toy or a sticker…Jesus knew that he would not always be with the disciples or with us. He would be going to be with God in heaven. Jesus also knew that sometimes the disciples might get scared because there are scary things in the world.

Do you ever get scared? What scares you? (Share something that scares you.) Those things can scare us! When you get scared what do you do? Who do you run to? (Hopefully they will answer, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa or some family/close friend.) Yes! We run to someone who loves us and will help us! Does that make us feel better? It does me! I don’t like to be scared and alone…I think that’s what Jesus means by giving us peace, Jesus reminds us that we have each other to help us remember that we are never truly alone. If we’re scared and our mom, dad, etc. are not around, Jesus is! This makes us feel better! Did you know in church we offer each other peace in our worship service? We call it the passing of the peace and we shake hands or give hugs and say, “Peace be with you.” We do this to remind ourselves that we are not alone! We have this whole community around us! Praise God!

FaithCross_Worship Have strips of cloth cut out from one piece of fabric so that everyone receives the same color. Invite the congregation to write with a fine tip permanent marker the words “I give you the peace of Jesus.” Have them take the strip of cloth with them to their seats. If your congregation has as part of you liturgy the “Passing of the Peace,” invite them to tie this strip of cloth around the wrist of someone as they offer a sign of peace. If not, choose a time to do this in your worship.

20130822-223749.jpgGod, Jesus and Holy Spirit, you are one and we are also connected as one. May we share your peace and love with everyone that we meet. Remind us when we are scared that you are with us and will never leave us. We pray for your peace to reign in our hearts and our world. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +The Peace of Christ be with you always+

Caught in Jesus’ Love! John 21: 1-19 Easter 3C 2016

20130822-223315.jpg Have a large rope or a really big net if you have one and spread it on the ground where you want the children to gather. Invite them to sit on the net or in the circle of the rope. That might mean that they will have to get cozy! Be sure to sit with them on the net or within the rope.

20130822-223633.jpgSay, “Today’s Bible story is kinda interesting isn’t it? The disciples go fishing as they are probably hungry. They don’t catch anything at all, all night despite being life-long fishermen. Suddenly a stranger on the shore yells out to them, “Hey put your nets on the other side!” It worked!!! They had so many fish that it nearly broke their nets! They realized that the stranger was Jesus! They went back to shore and Jesus had breakfast of fish and bread waiting for them. Do you remember another story of fish and bread with Jesus and the disciples? Yes, he fed 5,000 people with two fish and 5 loaves of bread! Jesus sure likes fish and bread! Then Jesus says something strange to Peter after breakfast: Jesus asks him three times if Peter loves him. What did Peter answer? Yes! Of course he loves Jesus! Then Jesus tells him to “Feed his sheep.” Now Jesus didn’t own sheep, but we call Jesus the good Shepherd who takes care of us and so Jesus told Peter that if he loves Jesus to care for those who Jesus takes care of-everyone!

Ask them, “Do you love Jesus?” (Hopefully they will say yes, but be prepared!) “I love Jesus too! So what should we do? Yes, take care of everyone whom Jesus would take care of-the whole world! Jesus gathers us all as his sheep or his people, just like the disciples gathered all of those fish in their nets. Jesus “caught” the disciples with his love and we are to “catch” everyone with the love of Jesus too! If they need food, feed them, if they need clothes, clothe them, if they need shelter, house them, if they are lonely, visit them, if they feel unloved, LOVE THEM!

FaithCross_WorshipHave a large net hanging on a wall or on a large table with simple cut out of fish (one for everyone in worship) and some pens and markers. Invite people to write on the fish who “caught” them (or showed them) with the love of Jesus in their lives. Invite people to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those people in our lives!

20130822-224425.jpg Jesus, you know that we love you. We don’t always show that perfectly to the world, but you are with us and love us so that each day we can try anew. Thank you for sending people to catch us in your love and may we catch everyone we meet in your love too! Amen!

20130822-223908.jpg +You are caught in the love of Jesus+

What do you wonder about Jesus? Children’s sermon Easter 2, Year C, April 3rd, 2016

 

20130715-114218.jpg Invite the children forward. Have some bread, a cup/chalice of wine, a bowl of water and some index cards. Ask the children this, “If you could say one thing to Jesus or ask him one question what would it be?” (Accept all answers and even share your own!) Say, “yes, we have lots of questions don’t we? We’ve never really seen Jesus like the disciples did, and we don’t necessarily hear Jesus’ voice (remember that you may have some mystics among you who might hear Jesus!). And sometimes I have lots of questions too and I don’t always know who to talk to about what I’m wondering about Jesus and God. (Repeat some of their questions here.) What do we do with all of those questions? (Accept all answers.) Yes, we could talk to each other! Jesus breathed on the disciples and reminds them and us that we all have the breath of God in us and share that breath everywhere we go!

20130822-223633.jpg Thomas missed Jesus coming and breathing on the disciples and when he came back and heard about it, he had lots of questions. Jesus doesn’t mind our questions-as a matter of fact, Jesus came to Thomas to talk to him about his! Jesus knew that he wouldn’t be able to talk to all people so that’s why Jesus told the disciples and us that we are sent out with the love of Jesus to talk about our questions and wondering together and to look for Jesus everywhere around us. We might not think that we “see” Jesus like Thomas and the other disciples saw him, but Jesus gave us ways to see how much he loves us and is with us always, in our questions, in our wondering and when we feel God’s presence. Jesus said to look for him in bread and wine: which we do every week! When we eat and drink we know that Jesus fills us with what we need to be his hands and feet in the world. In water that is found in our baptismal font, we know that Jesus says we belong to God forever, no matter what. Jesus wants everyone to know that what God really wants is to love us and be with us. Even if we wonder if God is real or what God is doing. I have some blank index cards here. You can take one back to you seat and write or draw your questions for Jesus or what you wonder about Jesus. *During our worship station time, you can place them in the basket on the table and take with you a heart to remind you that Jesus loves you now and always. (If you don’t do worship stations, have index cards in the pews for all people. Invite them to place them in the offering plate.)

FaithCross_Worship Have index cards and pens on a table. Invite people to write their questions for God on them and either place them in a basket. (You could also have a large question mark on a piece of poster board hanging on a wall and people can write their questions on post-it notes to place on the question mark. The question mark could be inside a big heart.) Have heart stickers or paper hearts cut out for people to take as they leave their questions. Perhaps offer a time of wrestling with those questions in adult education, confirmation or some other forum.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, we love you and we are so glad that you love us! Thank you for hearing our questions, our wondering and our doubts. Be with us as this community grows and learns from those questions. Send us out to listen and talk with other people who also wonder about you and may we share your love and peace with them. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Peace be with you+

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Jesus is Risen! Luke 24: 1-12 (or John 20: 1-18) Easter Year C 2016

20130822-222604.jpg*Offer this children’s time near the beginning of your worship service. After the opening hymn or even prelude (depending on how your worship is structured) invite the children to come forward. Have someone from the congregation come running in toward the children (Idea: could be Mary Magdalene, or one of the disciples in costume!) saying: “The tomb is empty! Jesus is not there! He is raised from the dead like he said he would be!” (Or if you are using the John 20: 1-18 text change it to Mary saying, “I have seen the Lord!”) “Do you remember that just on Friday we laid him in the tomb but now-it’s empty! The stone was removed and there were men, like angels, saying that Jesus would rise from the dead! It’s true! We’re so happy! We could shout happy words all day long such as Hooray, Yippee, or I know Alleluia! Jesus is alive and now we can live with Jesus forever too! We need to  shout this to the whole world! Alleluia!

It would be fun to have a way to make the “Alleluia” even more exciting…let’s see I know! Every time you hear the word Alleluia today you can… (here is your choices from easiest to pull off to more planning: the children and adults can clap, ring jingle bells, wave a streamer, wave their hands, use a clapper, or if you have chime bells to hand out). We might be singing Alleluia or saying Alleluia, it doesn’t matter! Wave, clap, ring every time! Let’s practice! (Hand out the objects if you are choosing to do that.) “Alleluia!” Alleluia!” “Alleluia!” Listen for that word all morning!

*If your pastor can, add the word “Alleluia” into his/her sermon a couple of times at least to engage the children. And let’s face it, the adults too!

FaithCross_WorshipHave a large drawing of the tomb with the stone rolled away either hanging where it’s accessible to people, or on a large table.  Somewhere on the tomb or around the tomb have verse Luke 24: 5c “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” As people enter worship or during a dedicated worship station time, invite people to write in the empty space of the tomb where they look for and/or experience Jesus in their daily lives. Where do they see new life each day?

20130822-223749.jpgAlleluia! Christ is Risen! Living God, we look for you in our lives. We look for all of the ways that you give us life, hope and love. Like Peter, we are amazed and like the women at the tomb we can’t wait to share this good news! Alleluia! Jesus lives! Amen!

20130822-223908.jpg +You are made alive in Christ+

Growing in God’s Kingdom Lent 3, Year C Feb, 28th, 2016

20130822-222604.jpgHave a plant to show the children. Gather them around the plant and ask them what plants need to grow and flower or if a vegetable plant to grow vegetables/fruit. Accept all answers. Affirm that plants need water, sunshine, care and oxygen to grow and be healthy. Plants need people to care for them and we need God! We are continuing to learn about the Lord’s Prayer and this week we are talking about how God want us all to be healthy and grow, which is the part of the meaning of “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” God is always at work with us!

20130822-223633.jpg Jesus tells the people a story about a tree that doesn’t seem to want to grow fruit. A man wanted to just cut it down and get rid of it since it wasn’t doing its job of growing fruit. But the gardener asked to give the tree more time, wondered if the tree needed more love, more food, water and sun. Trees want to grow and give fruit, just as plants do, just as we want to grow up taller and stronger so that we can do more and more things! But sometimes, like with the tree, that doesn’t happen exactly how we think it should. It might take longer than we want or we might need to wait, which is VERY HARD! What kinds of things do you want to do when your bigger? *Accept all answers (dangerous here I know!). Affirm that there are MANY things that as children they can do now, but some that need to wait until they are an adult.
God wants you to do ALL of the wonderful things that God gave you talent and ability to do! To play piano, to play soccer, to read, to cure diseases, to love all people. God promises to give you all the time that you need to grow and be healthy! God wants you to grow, learn, make mistakes and try again! You will give to God’s world in so many ways! God’s kingdom and God’s will is all about all of God’s people and creation growing and working together to be healthy and whole.

FaithCross_WorshipJesus used the current events in Jerusalem to point out that God doesn’t punish but that our world and lives are filled with hazards. Jesus reminds the people and us that in all times and circumstances to turn to God. Turn to God in prayer, in actions, in thoughts and in love. Have a table with this week’s current newspapers, weekly magazines (such as Time), scissors, tape, and pens. Have a large poster board cross available. Invite people to cut out a headline or a short article to tape to the cross. They may write a short prayer by the headline or article that offers God’s presence and love into that situation.

20130822-223749.jpg God of life, you give us what we need to grow, learn, pray, love and bear fruit. May we offer this patience to all people that we meet. We pray for all people and places that are in sorrow and wonder why death and suffering occur. May they feel your peace and comfort. Thy kingdom come and thy will be done. In Jesus name, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Grow and bear fruit!+

 

In the Shelter of God’s Love Feb. 21st, 2016 Lent 2, Year C

20130715-113716.jpgHave a tent or a make shift canopy where you can gather the children under. Ask them if they remember what prayer we talked about last week (or last time you worshiped). Yes, the Lord’s Prayer! The Lord’s Prayer is important not just because Jesus taught his disciples to pray it but because it reminds us that we can talk to God about everything in our lives, even hard, sad or scary stuff, not just happy things. Have you ever been sad or afraid? *Share a time that you were afraid.

FaithCross_BibleALT You just heard a Psalm (or a song) that is all about God being with us when life is sad or scary. We will have times when we are afraid or sad and that’s ok. Life is not always happy but do you know what? The person who wrote this song wants you to know something: God is with you always and forever. Forever! No matter what! Jesus wants you to know that too! There is one sentence in the Lord’s Prayer that says: “Deliver us from evil.” Evil sounds very scary but Jesus says don’t forget that you are never alone no matter how afraid you are. It might sound as if we are asking God to deliver us-as if God didn’t know that we are afraid but Jesus is saying that God knows and will cover you like a tent with God’s love! We are always under God’s shelter no matter what. Even if we can’t feel it or see it. It’s hard to understand that but it’s true! We gather here at church, in a special space to remind us that God is our shelter. We can bring all of our fears, questions and worries here to church and know that God is with us and that all of these people are with us too!

FaithCross_Worship Have a table with a large piece of canvas (tenting type material) and have some permanent markers available. Invite people to write their fears on the canvas and hang it in the worship space in Lent as a reminder that God shelters us in our fear.

20130822-223749.jpgGod you are our shelter and safety. Thank you for delivering us from evil and for your son Jesus who shows us your love. May all people feel your love, presence and shelter. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +God is your shelter+