Today I’ve brought a pretty simple thing with me. It’s a lamp. Let’s turn it on (switch the unplugged lamp on an off). Well, that’s strange. My lamp is giving us any light…. oh, that’s because it isn’t plugged it! (plug the lamp in) And we have light! A lamp needs more than just a switch to work. It needs electricity. We can’t see the electricity but we know it’s there because it powers the lamp.
And that reminds me of the Holy Spirit. We can’t see the Holy Spirit but we know it’s there because it powers us to follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us energy and keeps us going even when things get tough. Can you imagine that something invisible can be so powerful?! But that’s exactly the case with the Holy Spirit. We can’t see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful.
Let’s pray: God, thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to live inside of us and power us to follow Jesus. Amen.
Preparation: You will need scissors and a piece of butcher paper. First, fold paper accordion-fashion so that all sections are equal. The number of folds determines the number of people in the chain. Then on the top section, draw a person whose hands extend the folds of the paper. Third, carefully cut around your person. Finally, open out the paper and reveal your paper chain people. TIP: Don’t try to fold the large paper while you’re talking with the kids. Instead, have the paper folds done in advance and just make the cuts to create the people chain.
(Begin making the paper chain people) I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love most about coming to church is that I get to see some friends. And you know we’re not just friends because we like the same tv shows or cheer for the same teams or play the same games. Even though that stuff is cool, we’re friends because of something even greater. We’re friends because we all love Jesus.
In our Bible story for today, Jesus says that he wants us all to be one. I think that means that Jesus wants everyone who loves him to be stuck together with other people who love him (reveal paper chain people). By sticking together, we are one. So together we can learn about following Jesus, we can teach others about Jesus, and we do a lot of other cool stuff that we couldn’t do on our own. So, I’m glad that we are one big group all stuck together!
Let’s pray: God, thank you for sticking us together so that we can all grow closer to you through Jesus. Amen.
You know, it is really hard to remember things sometimes. That’s why I have a fool proof system for remembering stuff. You see, I also remember to tie a piece of string around my finger to remind me there’s something important I need to remember. The only problem is that I can’t always remember what that something important is. I guess my system for remembering things isn’t very good.
Luckily, Jesus gave us something much better than a piece of string to remember what he taught us. In our Bible story for today, Jesus tells us that God sent the Holy Spirit to help us remember all that Jesus said. The Holy Spirit does that in a lot of different ways, like helping teachers and preachers and each of us whenever we read the Bible. I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad we have the Holy Spirit instead of a silly string to help us remember about Jesus.
Let’s pray: God, we give you thanks for the Holy Spirit who helps us remember the really important stuff like Jesus and what he taught us. Amen.
I’ve got my cell phone with me today. One of the things that I love about my phone is that I can have a different ring tone for everyone who calls. So, I don’t even have to pick up the phone to know who is calling. Like this one… (give two or three examples of callers and play the ring tone – have fun with it!). Having different ring tones for different people makes it really easy to know who’s calling!
Jesus says kind of the same thing in our story today. He’s not talking about cell phone, but he does say that his followers know his voice and follow him. And that’s good news because Jesus gives all his followers eternal life. That means that Jesus wants to save us and bring us up to Heaven with him one day. It’s a good thing we know the voice of Jesus!
Let’s pray: God, thanks for sending your Son Jesus Christ. He calls us all to follow him and when we hear his voice and follow then we get amazing blessings from you. Amen.
You know we have a lot of great cooks in our church. And I bet you have a great cook at home who makes all your favorite meals. One thing I love about cooking is that there’s a job for everyone. Even if your small, you can still help by stirring the pot (make a stirring motion with the big spoon). That way everyone helps make a great meal.
In our story for today, Jesus meets up with the disciples on the shore where they’ve been fishing. The disciples had been fishing all night but they didn’t catch anything until Jesus told them where to cast their nets. The next thing you know, they have a huge catch of fish! When they get back to shore, Jesus has cooked a meal for them. It was pretty simple: just bread and fish but I bet it tasted really good after their long day of fishing. After the meal was over, Jesus said to them: “Feed my sheep.” Jesus wanted to make sure that his followers would always know to take care of other people. And that includes feeding them when they’re hungry.
So next time your helping in the kitchen or eating your favorite food, remember that you can help feed others too. One of the ways we can do this in our church is… (elaborate on ways kids can help at your church, like bringing can goods to a church food pantry, or helping at community meals by setting the table or making fun place mats, etc.)
Let’s pray: God, help us remember to care for other people by feeding them. Amen.
This morning, I’ve got $20 with me and I need your help to pick the best way to spend it. Now, I could use the money to buy a bag of food to give away to people who are hungry. Or, I could use the money to buy a new songbook for others to sing praise to God. Well, let’s take a poll: Raise your hand if you would buy food for the hungry…. now, raise your hand if you would buy a songbook to worship God… it’s a tough one!
In our Bible story today, the same kind of thing happens. There was this woman named Mary who bought a really expensive perfume and she used it to worship God by pouring it over the feet of Jesus. I know that sounds like a strange thing to do, but it was a way for Mary to show her love for Jesus. One of the people who saw her pour the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet got really angry. He thought Mary was wasting money that could have been used to feed the poor.
You know, Jesus didn’t mind that Mary used her money for worship. But, he also taught us to help the poor, too. Jesus wants us to worship God and help others. So, remember, as Jesus’ friends we need to find ways to use our money to help others and to worship God. Because God cares about full tummies just as much as worship.
Let’s pray: God, help us to always to follow Jesus’ example to worship you and to help others, too. Amen.
In our Bible story today, Paul tells us about the Body of Christ. He says that the church is like a Body. It has lots of different parts, but all of them are important.
Let’s think about that: We’ve all got eyes so we can see. We’ve got mouths so we can talk. Ears to hear with. Legs to walk around on. Those are all different parts of the body and each one has a special purpose! Can you imagine if you didn’t have eyes? You wouldn’t be able to see. And if you replaced your ears with extra legs you wouldn’t be able to ear… and you would look really weird with legs growing out of your head! Or what if we were all ears! We could hear really good, but we wouldn’t be able to do anything else. Each part of our body is important and without a part we just wouldn’t work right.
The same thing is true in the church. We have different people who do different things. We’ve got teachers, preachers, singers, helpers, cooks… all kinds of people! And that’s a good thing because it takes all different kinds of people working together to make the church work right.
Let’s pray: God, thank you for giving us so many different people in the church. Help us to always work together. Amen.
You know January is a really special month. It’s the only month in the whole calendar that starts a new year. See, this calendar proves that January is the beginning of a brand new 365 days. No other month in the calendar is like that. Sure, you’ve got fancy holidays like Valentines in February and Saint Patrick’s Day in March and Thanksgiving in November, but only January begins a new year. It’s special that way. January marks the beginning of something wonderful: A whole new year full of amazing new adventures.
And that reminds me of a story from the Bible. It’s about a new beginning, too. It’s the story of Jesus’ baptism. You see, Jesus was ready to start his ministry on earth. He wanted to start telling people all about God and helping them to love God. But first, he wanted to be baptized. So, he went to see his cousin John who was baptizing people in the Jordan River. John baptized Jesus by pouring water over him from the river. And when he did that something amazing happened: Read Luke 3:21b-22.
This was the start of an amazing adventure for Jesus. Just like January is special because it starts a new year, the Baptism of Jesus is special because it starts his ministry.
Let’s pray: God, thank you for new beginnings, new adventures, and new years. Help us follow Jesus in this New Year and always. Amen.
Good morning! Today I’ve brought with me one of my favorite candies: Jelly Belly jelly beans. These are very fun to eat because they have all kinds of flavors. Like this one, it’s root beer (eat the jelly bean)… and sure enough, it tastes exactly like root beer! (Continue along this line with 2-3 other flavors to give kids a clear idea that they jelly beans have true to life flavor) Of course, these jelly beans are not actually the real thing. It’s not like we just had some (restate the flavors). But these jelly beans sure come close to the real flavor. You could say that they imitate the real thing perfectly!
That reminds me of our Bible passage for the day. It says that we should be “imitators of God.” Well, that doesn’t mean we are God. It means that we are like God as much as possible. Like these jelly beans. They aren’t really (restate the flavors) but they are imitations of the real thing. We aren’t God, but we can imitate God by loving others and showing that love to everyone we meet. Through us, people can get a taste of the real thing: God’s amazing love through Jesus Christ.
Let’s pray: Help us God to imitate you every day and show others the love of Jesus Christ in all we do. Amen.
Welcome boys and girls! It’s so wonderful to see you this morning. I bet each one of us has a favorite animal. My favorite animal is (share your favorite animal; you may want to open it for the children to share their favorite animal…). I think if the Bible had a favorite animal it would be sheep! Sheep are mentioned more times in the Bible than any other animal. They are mentioned about 400 times!
Our story for today is one of those places where the Bible mentions sheep. It says that when Jesus saw the crowds of people who came to listen to him, he felt sorry for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. You see, when sheep don’t have a shepherd to lead them, they tend to panic and run in circles, or wander off into dangerous places. Sheep have even been known to run right off a cliff!
Jesus said people are like sheep because sometimes we are just as foolish as sheep. We run away from God or we don’t follow God’s rules. And when we turn away from God’s loving care, we’re just like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus wants every person to know that he is willing to be their shepherd. He wants everyone to follow him so that they will be loved and protected.
Let’s pray: God, help us to be smart sheep who follow Jesus instead of silly sheep who run away and get into trouble. Amen.