Tag Archives: Monthly Devotions

Faith + Home Connection December 2012

Faith + Open: Gather the household around your Advent wreath, Nativity display or Christmas tree. Light a candle on the Advent Wreath, light up your Christmas tree or just light a candle that is near by. Read Luke 1: 39-55. Have someone be the narrator, Elizabeth and Mary. The words of Mary in Luke 1: 46-55 are often referred to as the “Magnificat” or “Mary’s Song.” These words have been set to music by composers for hundreds of years. Listen to a child sing Marty Haugen’s version from Holden Evening Prayer on www.youtube.com.

Faith + Share: for children: Was there ever a time when you were so happy that you started singing a song? What song do you like to sing when you are happy? What is your favorite song from church or Sunday school? Make up a song about how much God loves you!

For youth/adults: Music is very much a part of our lives and can help us to express emotions, both joy and sorrow, that just mere word cannot. What kinds of music do like to listen to when you are happy? Feeling sorrow or a bit melancholy? Mary’s song was just not about happy emotion but about what God is doing in the world. It was an expression of justice, hope and solidarity. These words in the Magnificat are not only what God has done but what God will do in the future. When have you witnessed these actions of God in your own life or in the world? How are we to be a part of God’s actions of justice, hope and solidarity?

Faith + Blessing: After each meal time, bed time or other prayer close with the words “May our spirit rejoice in the God our Savior, amen.” You can also exchange the sign of the cross as you say these words in your household.

Faith +Serve: One of the ways that we can participate in God’s actions of justice, hope and solidarity in our community is to partner with other community organizations. Write and/or create Christmas cards to take to an assisted living facility. Maybe even do a little Christmas caroling while you are there dropping off the cards!

Faith + Close: God our Savior, you care so deeply for all of the world. Help our spirits to sing a song of hope, mercy and love to a world that is straining to hear it. We give you thanks for the great things you do for all of your people and pray for the hungry to be full, the lowly lifted up, for all to be looked upon with favor. May our spirit rejoice in the God our Savior, amen.

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Thanksgiving Table Faith+Home Connection

Share this around your family table at Thanksgiving or anytime this month!

Meal Blessing: Come Lord Jesus be our Guest and let these gifts to us be blest. Thanks be to God who is our bread may all the world be clothed and fed.

While you eat…

Share your highs and lows from the year—what you are thankful for this year and what you pray for in your life or in the world.

Read Revelation 21:4-5 “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Talk: Families with young children: What is God’s promise in this verse? How does the promise of God’s love help us to live together as family?

Families with teens: What is the promise of this scripture? What do you imagine it would feel like to be where there is no more pain? How do we live this promise at school and home?

Families of Adult(s): What is the promise is this scripture? How do we live this promise in our daily lives? How does this verse connect with your highs/lows and/or lead you into the future?

Pray: At the end of the meal join in prayer thanking God for your highs and praying for your lows.

Blessing: Share this blessing around the table or before people depart or go to bed. Mark the sign of the cross on their forehead or hand and say, “_________(name) may you know God’s love is for you in your blessings and in your sorrows. Amen

Share-Read-Talk-Pray-Bless are the Faith Five format from Faith Inkubators! Check them out here!


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November Faith + Home Connection Mark 12: 28-34

Faith + Open: Gather the household members to a comfortable place in the home. Light a candle and open with prayer. For this prayer, have each person gathered offer a word or a phrase of how they have felt God’s presence this day/week. Have everyone say a loud “AMEN” together!

Faith + Share: This month we have two texts that are related. First read Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, then read Mark 12: 28-34.

For Children: Sometimes it feels like we have a lot of rules in our lives, doesn’t it? But Jesus tells people in the Bible that the most important thing to remember-better than any other rules-is to love God with your whole body and love everyone you meet! When do you like to talk to God in your day? How can you show love to the people in your family, neighborhood or school?

For Youth/Adults: Jesus is repeating in Mark 12 the words from Deut. 6. In Judaism Deut. 6 is call the “Shema” which means “to hear.” These verses in Deut. are so important that they are written down and kept in what is called a mezuzah-a small capsule type object that is fixed to doorways in Jewish homes. Mezuzahs are a constant reminder to love God with all of your existence all day long no matter where you are. What helps you to remember to have God first in your daily life? Prayer? Scriptures? How or when do you hear God in your daily life?

Faith + Blessing: Write down the words of Deut. 6: 4-5 on a large piece of paper and put it on your refrigerator or a prominent place in your home. When you pass by this verse take a moment and read it out loud to hear the words of the Shema.

Faith + Live: This month at LCM we will be putting together 50 Thanksgiving meals to show love for our neighbors who may be hungry. Let’s see if we can do more than 50! Look in the Master’s Voice for more information on this important way to love our neighbor! The Confirmation youth will be making 50 cards with words of God’s love and community to go into these baskets.

Faith + Close: Prayer: God creator, Jesus Christ redeemer and Holy Spirit our sustainer, we pray to love you with our whole lives and our whole selves. Focus us on our community and all of your people in the world so that all will hear your voice of love for your creation. Amen.

Faith + Home Connection October Mark 10: 46-52

Faith + Open: Once everyone in the household is gathered light a candle to remind us of Christ’s presence with us always and open with prayer. Pray this prayer, one of your own or a combination of the two. Dear God, we call to you for help and you call back to us with words of healing and promise. We are grateful that it is your call to us that draws us near to you in our times of helplessness, sorrow, joy and gratitude. May we use our lives to call out to people around us to share your voice with those who need to hear the healing words of your Son. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Faith + Share: Read aloud Mark 10:46-52. With younger children read from the Spark Story Bible, page 338, or your favorite children’s Bible. After reading it through once have different people read the different parts: Bartimaeus, Jesus, the crowds. Or even act it out!

With children: Bartimaeus was blind and alone. He was probably scared some of the time not knowing who or what was around him. Even though Bartimaeus could not see Jesus with his eyes, he knew immediately when Jesus was close and he called out to Jesus for help! Following the sound of Jesus voice he jumped up and went to Jesus not worried about falling, running into something or someone or getting hurt. Bartimaeus didn’t need his eyes to know that Jesus was there! He knew in his whole being. Bartimaeus reminds us that we only need to listen and follow Jesus’ voice and we know that Jesus is always close to us even when we can’t “see” Jesus! What are some ways that we can help us to “know” that Jesus is close? (Ideas: prayer (talking to God), reading the Bible, family and friends who love us and care for us, helping to care for our family, friends, and people we don’t even know!)

With youth/adults: There is a lot going on in this short story and feel free to ask your own questions and go down a different path than the one I will take here! But some questions and thoughts that I have are about the crowds in this story. The crowds wanted Bartimaeus to leave Jesus alone and not bother him. Bartimaeus, as a blind beggar utterly alone, was not part of the “in crowd.” He was to be avoided, unclean, a nuisance at best, and a scar on society at worst. This “worthless” person shouldn’t be bothering Jesus! But Bartimaeus ignores the crowd and continues to call out for mercy/help (best translation would really be that he says “mercify me”) to Jesus. The crowds must have been shocked when this cry stopped Jesus cold in his tracks! “The least of these” is what caught his attention, not the rest of the crowds or disciples with him! Jesus then calls out to Bartimaeus and the crowds suddenly change their tune. Hey Jesus is calling you Bart! You had better go! This story is not just about transforming Bartimaeus but transforming the crowd (us) as well. The crowd around Jesus thought that they were the “in group” with the disciples and were quick to try and keep the less desirables out. But Jesus transforms the crowd from gatekeeper to conduit. By hearing Jesus calling to Bartimaeus, the crowd then becomes the encourager of Bartimaeus to go to Jesus! I would like to think that someone even took him by the arm and guided him for safety! Both the crowd and Bartimaeus are transformed together to be all together with Jesus. For Jesus, both the insiders and the outsiders were in equal need to transformation and he brought them together for the purpose of a whole community which then Bartimaeus became a part. So how are we sometimes the “gatekeepers” keeping those we don’t think are desirable away from God? How can we hear Jesus voice calling to those on the margins and become a conduit for encouraging and pointing people to the one who can transform each and every one of us and all of who we are to be “made well” or whole with God? How might the person we least expect point us to Jesus?

Faith +Close: At the end of your Faith + Share time extinguish the candle and share one word/phrase about the conversation on Mark 10. Leave a little time for silence and then either use the Faith + Blessing below or close with a simple “amen.”

Faith + Serve: We have lots of opportunities to serve here at LCM. This month, let’s send 50 children from Molholm Elementary school to the outdoor lab! Without some assistance many children at Molholm may not be able to participate in the outdoor lab. We will be doing a baked goods sale in October at LCM to support this project so look for more information soon! But in the mean time have a jar or a glass set aside in your kitchen that you can label “Called into the world.” Every time you or a family member eats a piece of bread or other baked good place some spare change in the glass. Even a penny will help! Collect this change throughout the month of October and bring it in on October 28th-Reformation Sunday-and watch how a little bit from each of us combines to great abundance!

Faith + Blessing: As you leave for work or school each morning make on the sign of the cross on the back of each other’s hand and tell the other person, “Remember Jesus is calling you.” Jesus calls us to him and into the world to share God’s love with everyone!


Faith + Home Connection Monthly Devotion-September

Faith + Open: Gather the household where all can be comfortable. Light a candle and have someone pray either with their own words or this prayer: Loving God, we are so thankful that you include everyone into your community of grace and mercy. We pray that we live lives that proclaim the transformation of our hearts from the love of you and that we offer this love to everyone we meet. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read Mark 9: 38-50 aloud. If you have younger children in the household most of this passage can be found on page 326 of the Spark Story Bible.

For children: Have you ever talked with a friend who does not go to your church about God? If your friend knew about God then they probably learned about God from someone you do not know. Does it matter where someone hears about God? Jesus says no! All that matters is that we believe in God and that we help others to believe in God too, even if they hear about God from people we do not know! How can you tell someone about Jesus today? What story about Jesus would you tell a friend? Just talking about Jesus is important!

For youth/adults: Jesus uses some fairly strong language here about being separated from God. Jesus does not want anyone to stop anyone from being close to God. We have some images that pop into our heads when we think about the place of hell but Jesus wants to drive home the point to the disciples and to us, that hell is not a place but a condition. Anytime we are separated from God we are technically in hell. Believing in Jesus is how we can have a close relationship with God in our lives. Someone can put up a barrier to our relationship with Jesus but often we create our own separation-our own hell-from God. What are some ways that we might separate ourselves from God either intentionally or not? How do we keep others from knowing about the love of God from Jesus Christ? What are some ways to remove barriers that separate us from God? What faith practices help you to feel close to God? Do you share those practices with other people?

Faith + Serve: One faith practice that nurtures our relationship with God is serving God’s children. We also proclaim the love of God to our communities through our actions in serving as well. With school beginning this month, consider volunteering either in your child’s or if you do not have children in the home, the neighborhood school. If this is not available to you, think about how you could be involved with the children and youth in your congregation or neighborhood. Can you offer to lead one activity or bible study? Be a mentor for confirmation youth? Offer to write the prayers for Sunday worship with a youth and pray them together in worship? Be creative!

Faith + Blessing: At the end of the day (maybe at dinner or night time devotions) offer to each other how you recognized your relationship with God that day or maybe helped someone else recognize their own relationship with God. Give a short prayer of thanks for God in our lives and end with “Let us be at peace.”

Faith + Close: Close your time together with a prayer. Offer prayers to all in the world who cannot openly share their faith because of fear of harm or persecution. Give thanks that we are able to talk about Jesus and pray that we do to all that we meet!

Faith + Home Connection July

Faith + Open: Gather everyone in the household where all can be comfortable or around the dinner table. Light a candle and open with prayer: Dear God, you give us all that we need. We thank you for all of the good things that you give us: food, housing, clothes, work (add your own here). Help us to share not just the material things that we have but our love for you! Amen.

Faith + Share: read John 6: 1-15. Page 426 in the Spark Story Bible and page 244 in the Jesus Storybook Bible. Have five pieces of bread out and two gold fish crackers to represent the fish.

For Children: Look at the bread and the “fish” on the table. Would that even be enough to feed your family dinner? But Jesus used just a little bit of food and fed 5,000 people! If you were there that day what would you tell people about what Jesus had done? Jesus is able to give us what we need, not always what we want. What are the things that we need? (food, clothing, shelter, family) So is a new toy a need or a want? It’s ok that we sometimes want fun things, but we have to remember that what we want is not always what we need. That is so hard for us to understand! Even for adults!

For youth and adults: When we read a story like this it is easy to think of Jesus as someone who will give us whatever we want whenever we need it. The disciples didn’t understand the true power of what Jesus could do and the people were amazed by the miracle. It’s easy to believe in God when we get a “miracle” isn’t it? What about when we pray for a miracle but don’t get it? God seemingly doesn’t “give” us what we wanted, or what we think we needed. But Jesus wasn’t interested in people believing only because of the miracle. Jesus wants people to believe because God loves them so very much and everything in our lives, miracles or not, are to show God’s love for the world. So even non-miraculous deeds can reveal God to the world. So how can we live our lives beyond thinking about miracles to show God’s love for the world?

Faith + Blessing: At the beginning of every meal this month say: Thank you for what we are given. Help us to give to others what they need to live.

Faith + Close: Extinguish the candle and pray: Giver of all things, we thank you for what we have and know that everything is a gift from you and a sign of how much you love us. Today God we pray for all of those who do not have enough food, drink, shelter or love in their lives. Help us to serve them. Amen.

Faith + Serve: Find a local food pantry and get a list of what they need. Or help serve those in need at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Faith+Home Connection June 2012

Faith + Open: Gather the household to a comfortable location. Light a candle and pray: Dear God, thank you for this time together. Thank you for your word for us to think about. Most of all thank you for Jesus, amen.

Faith + Share: Read Mark 4:35-41. This story can also be found on page 286 in the Spark Story Bible and on page 236 in the Jesus Storybook Bible. If you have younger children have them act out the role of the disciples.

For children: Have you ever been in a storm, like a thunderstorm or a loud rain storm? If so how did you feel? (Accept all answers-some may like storms!) If you were scared did you go find your mom or dad or another adult that you were with? Did it make you feel a bit safer? Well, the disciples learned that day that Jesus was with them always and looked out for them even if it didn’t seem like it! Jesus is with you too! We may not always know it, but Jesus is with us when we are scared no matter what!

For youth/adults: There are many ups and downs in our lives. Sometimes we may feel as if no one is looking out for us in the storms that happen. Have you ever felt that way or wondered where God is? Even with Jesus right in the boat with them the disciples wondered this too! But Jesus was there and got the disciples through the storm. It didn’t mean that the disciples didn’t get tossed around and wet, but they did come out of the storm with Jesus. Our lives our like that too, we will have storms, that is a fact, and we will get tossed about, wet, and maybe even a little sea sick, but Jesus is right there through it all!

Faith + Prayer: You are the God who stills the storm and never leaves us. God we thank you for being with us and loving us even when we are wet and tossed around. Help us to remember that Jesus is with us always and to not be afraid, amen.

Faith + Blessing: Take a note card or any piece of paper and write on it “Don’t be afraid Jesus is here!” Place it on your mirror, door, refrigerator or anywhere that you will see it daily.

Faith +Serve: If you know of someone going through a hard time right now make them a card (and maybe some treats!) and take it to them. Write the blessing from above on the card and tell them that you are praying for them!

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Faith + Home Connection May 2012

Faith +Time for Families

Faith + Open: Gather the members of your household to a comfortable place in the home. For this month’s devotion you may want to find some branches with buds to have present. Or if that is not possible find some pictures of branches with buds or fruit; this is particularly helpful if there are young children present. Light a candle and pray: Dear God, with the lighting of this candle we remember that you are always present. May our lives be a light to your world. Amen

Faith + Share: Read John 15: 1-8.  What images jump out at you or capture your imagination?

Adults: Jesus is talking to the disciples here in John. He is clearly stating that it is God alone that makes our actions “fruitful” and life giving. Yet, there are images here of being pruned and even cast off. Jesus knows that there are times when we attempt to go it alone in this life but we need to remember that it is our life in God that gives us direction and allows us to fully blossom into all that God intends us to be. When we blossom for God we are showing the world how the love of God through Jesus Christ makes a difference in our lives and the lives of all in the world. Are there times in your life that you have felt cut off? Or perhaps times when you know that God was pruning you to be “fruitful”? When do you feel most “fruitful”? How will people around you know that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Children: Jesus tells us that we are a part of him and that he is with us always! We can show all of our friends, family and neighbors how much we love Jesus with how we treat them. When Jesus is in our hearts we can do anything! How can we show people that we love Jesus? Did you know that just as plants grow, change and some even grow fruit, you too will grow and change! No matter how big or little you are you have something special (gifts from God) to give to people! What are you good at?

Faith + Blessing: The metaphor of growing and bearing fruit can be talked about as you plant some seeds, a starter in a garden or a planter. Any plant will do, but maybe strawberries or something that provides fruit would be fun! Decorate a planter as a family with symbols of growth-vines, fruit, trees, flowers-and then as your plant grows you can talk about how we too grow in God!

Daily Blessing: Remind each other as you depart for school or work of being in Jesus with the simple words, “bear much fruit.”

Faith + Close: Ask everyone present for a prayer concern. Check in with younger children to see what they would like to talk to God about today. Then pray: Dear God, thank you so much for keeping us part of you. We pray that we may be fruitful and share the fruit of you love with the whole world. We pray for the environment that it maybe clean and healthy and that we as your people learn to care for your creation. We now pray for:                                                               In Jesus, our vine’s name, amen.


Faith + Serve: Find a park, trail or other place where as a family you can clean up the environment. Talk about how a clean environment helps trees, flowers, plants and wildlife to grow healthy. Or offer to help a neighbor with limited mobility to do yard or garden work.


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Faith+Home Connection April 2012

Scripture: John 20: 19-31

Faith + Open: Gather all in your home to a place where you can be comfortable. Light a candle and open with prayer.

God of life, you come to us wherever we are so that we may know you in our lives. Thank you for the gift of faith and may we share that gift with everyone we know. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read John 20: 19-31 in your favorite family Bible.

With young children have them act out the story for a different perspective.

With adults, have different people read the different parts in the story.

Questions For children: Tell of a time when you were afraid? Who were you with? What made you feel better? We are all afraid sometimes, but when we are afraid we know that just as Jesus came to the disciples to give them peace, Jesus is with you and will give you peace too! Who can you tell about the peace of Jesus to?

Questions For adults: The disciples were hiding and afraid to go out into the world. Jesus came and gave them his peace and told them that they were now to go out into the world with the transforming message of God’s forgiveness and love. When we are afraid God comes to us, not once but over and over to share God’s peace with us and to remind us that we are not people who live in fear but in the proclamation of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus and we must go out and tell the world. What holds you back from fully embracing the message of Easter? Do we live as if Easter is real? What holds you back from telling your friends and neighbors about the love of God?

Faith + Serve: There are people afraid all over the world for a myriad of reasons: war, famine, violence, disease just to name a few. Begin by praying for those who live daily in fear for God’s Spirit of peace to flow into their lives. Then go to http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/ELCA-World-Hunger.aspx and read about how you can make a difference in someone’s life!

Faith + Blessing: Jesus came and told the disciples “Peace be with you” and breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Give each other this blessing this month everyday:

May the Spirit and Peace of God be with you today. You can either give each other the “peace sign” or make the sign of the cross on each other.

Faith + Close: Extinguish the candle, give each other the blessing and then pray: God of life, we want to live as Easter people. Breathe on us everyday your gift of peace and love so that we may carry that out into the world. May all of creation be at peace! Amen


Faith+Home Connection March 2012

Faith + Open: In Lent we focus on repentance, renewal and community. A beloved story from the Old Testament that is often drawn upon in this season is that of Jonah and the big fish. Jonah is a prophet who runs away from God’s command to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. He spends three days (note the same span that Jesus is dead) before being released from the fish. Jesus uses the metaphor of Jonah being in the fish for three days for his own death and resurrection. Read the whole book of Jonah as a family either in one sitting (it is not long) or in two or three installments. It is found on page 190 of the Spark Story Bible. Begin your devotion time by lighting a candle and a prayer.

Faith + Share: For adults: Was there a time when you know you ran from God? Why did you “hide”? Or how did you “hide”? We don’t all physically run away, sometimes we choose activities that keep us from God. What are the things that keep you from a close relationship with God? TV, food, work, hobbies? These things in and of themselves are not bad but when they keep us from devotion, worship and service they can be an obstacle. The old trite saying is true that we sometimes have to hit rock bottom (or get swallowed by a whale!) before we know that we need God to save us and we need to remember our identity as God’s child. Has someone ever told you something or asked you something that made you realize that you were in need of confession and repentance like the Ninevites? How did you react?

For children: Sometimes it’s hard to do the things that God wants us to do. Have you ever tried to be nice to someone who was not being nice to you? What did that feel like? Hard, easy, scary? Jonah felt that it was too hard to go to Nineveh to tell them that God wanted them to say they were sorry for the things they had done so he went on a boat instead! But God had a big fish swallow him and Jonah knew that he had to listen to God. So Jonah went to Nineveh (after being spit out by the fish! EWWW!) and told the Ninevites to say they were sorry to God. Jonah still wanted the people of Nineveh to be punished by God though. But God forgave them instead! This surprised Jonah! God forgives us even when we may not deserve it! Have you ever been forgiven by someone even when maybe you didn’t deserve it? When?

Faith + Serve: Just as Jonah was sent to proclaim God’s love to people he didn’t know in Nineveh, so we too are sent to tell people all over the world that God loves them! One way that we do that in the ELCA is to help people in malaria infested countries receive nets to protect them from mosquitoes. For only $10 a net can be given to a family and can save a life! For Lent have a change jar on a kitchen counter or some other prominent place. Every time you pray for a meal or pray at church, or anywhere, put some change in the jar. Have a family goal of 2 or 3 nets for the six week period!

Faith + Blessing: Anytime someone leaves the house offer this blessing: No matter where you go, God is with you!