Proper 27C

Day: Proper 27C

Lectionary Passage: Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21

Scripture Focus: Psalm 145:1-5

Object: Noisemakers (one per child) TIP: If you can’t give each child a noisemaker, then use toss confetti to shower the children as they shout “God is Wonderful!”

I love to celebrate! Really, I love, love, love to celebrate! I love to celebrate birthdays and holidays and anything else that suits my fancy. And, of course, you’ve got to have cool things to help you celebrate… like these noisemakers! (Give each child a noisemaker).

This morning, I want us to celebrate. But not just any old thing, I want us to celebrate God! That’s what our Scripture passage is all about. It’s about celebrating God because God is wonderful and loves us all so much. You know, each and every day God reaches out to us with that love and that is something to celebrate. So, get your noisemaker ready… after I shout “God is Wonderful” I want you do blow those noisemakers to celebrate. Ready? 1… 2… 3… God is Wonderful! (Let the kids blow the noisemakers). That was awesome! Want to do it again? Alright, 1… 2… 3… God is Wonderful! (Let the kids blow the noisemakers).

As you take these noisemakers home with you, I want you to remember to always celebrate God because God is wonderful and amazing and always good to us.

Let’s pray: God, we want to praise and celebrate you and all that you do for us each and every day through your love. Amen.

Proper 26C

Day: Proper 26C  (Reformation Day)

Lectionary Passage: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

Scripture Focus: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

Object: Calendar

Good morning! Does anyone know what Thursday was?  (The kids are sure to say Halloween.) Halloween? I thought it was Reformation Day! Hmmm… let me check my calendar…. well, it looks like we’re both right. Thursday was Halloween, but it was also Reformation Day.

I bet you already know all about Halloween, so let me tell you about Reformation Day. On Reformation Day we remember this really courageous event. You see, a pastor named Martin Luther thought the Church was in trouble because so many people had forgotten the way to follow Jesus. And he was right! So, Martin Luther decided to do something really bold: He went up to church door and nailed a letter to it explaining that to be a follower of Jesus was all about having faith. And a lot of people agreed with Martin. Those people became known as Protestants and they started the Protestant Reformation. That’s why we celebrate  Reformation Day.

And you know who else agreed with Martin Luther and the Protestants? Paul! In our Bible passage for today, Paul gives thanks for the faith of the early Christians. He knew that’s what they needed to follow Jesus. And the same was true for Martin and his friends and for us today. Following Jesus is all about having faith in him. That’s something we can’t afford to forget ever!

Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you for giving Martin Luther the courage to stand up and tell others the good news of faith in Jesus Christ. Help us always remember this and to be bold in telling others, too. Amen.

Special Installment: Death of a Friend

Sunflower

Special Installment: Death of a Friend

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:52

Object: Sunflower seeds and picture of a Sunflower

Good morning friends. Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a sunflower (show the picture of a sunflower)? Sunflowers are beautiful flowers. They’re very tall with bright yellow flowers. But like all flowers, eventually sunflowers die. By this time of year (or, by autumn) sunflowers have dried up and died. I’m always sad when sunflowers die because they are so beautiful and bright and make me happy.

Death is always sad. Especially when a friend dies. It’s very sad when we know we won’t see them anymore. When we won’t be able to talk or hug or laugh with them anymore. It’s okay to be sad when someone we love dies.

But you know, the story doesn’t end there. Take a look at this sunflower again. Do you see the dark center? About the time a sunflower starts to die, the center begins to change into seeds (show the children sunflower seeds). Birds, squirrels, and even people love to eat these seeds. And these seeds can be planted to grow into another beautiful sunflower. 

When someone dies who believes in Jesus Christ and knows God loves them, the story doesn’t end when they leave this earth. A change waits for us. When one of Jesus’ friends dies, we change by leaving behind this  body and going to heaven to live forever with God. Our Scripture passage tells us this happens in a twinkling of an eye (note, RSV translation).

Even though we can’t see our friend anymore on this earth, we know they have gone to heaven with Jesus. And one day, we will see them again. Just like a sunflower keeps living because of the seeds inside, when Jesus’ friends die, they go on to live with God in heaven.

Let us pray: Merciful God. We are sad that our friend died. We wish he/she was here. But we know he/she is with you in heaven. Help us find comfort in knowing this is not the end but a new beginning. Amen.

Dedicated to the memory of Jason Molitor who died suddenly on October 21. He was a loving father, faithful disciple, devoted pastor, and a friend. He will be greatly missed until we see him again. 

Proper 25C

Day: Proper 25C

Lectionary Passage: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Scripture Focus: 2 Timothy 4:16-18

Object: None

Today’s Bible story talks about something really important. It’s about being bullied. You see, Paul was trying to be a good follower of Jesus and spread the Good News to everyone he met, but others didn’t like that. So they teased him and hurt him. Paul was bullied by all kinds of folks who didn’t like him talking about Jesus. They bullied him because he was different than they were. But, Paul didn’t let those people get him down. He didn’t let their bullying stop him. And do you know why? Because Paul knew that God was on his side. He knew that through all this bad stuff, through all the hurt and bullying that God was right there with him. He didn’t have to face those mean people alone. God was there! And God helped Paul get through those hurtful times and live to enjoy many, many days of celebrating and praise with people who loved Paul and his message about Jesus.

And I want us all to remember that God will do the same for us. If you are teased or hurt or bullied by others, I want you to remember that you are not alone. God is with you. And God will help you get through those bad times. I also want you to remember that all these people (point to everyone in the congregation) love you, too. So, if someone is mean to you for whatever reason, I want you to remember you’re not alone and you are loved!

Let’s pray: Thank you God for always being on our side. Help us remember your love even in the bad times.

Proper 24C

Day: Proper 24C

Lectionary Passage: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Scripture Focus: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Object: Card Trick Instructions and a Deck of Cards (you don’t actually learn the card trick)

Today, I want to dazzle you with my amazing talent! I’m going to perform a card trick. (Fan the deck of cards out) Now, pick a card, any card, from the deck…. don’t show me… memorize your card… now, place it back in the deck (shuffle the cards, make a big show of it). Now, I will reveal your card….. is this your card? (Look shocked when they say it isn’t the right card.) But, how can that be? I have the directions right here. See, they are right here (show the card trick directions to the kids). Of course, I didn’t actually read the directions. I just figured that having them was good enough but I guess that you actually have to learn how to do the trick before it will work.

And that reminds me of our Bible story for today. It is talking about learning the Bible and how when we learn the Bible then it can help us know how to follow Jesus. But, if you just let your Bible sit around and never read it or explore it or learn anything from it, then it doesn’t do any good. Kind of like these card trick directions, I can’t learn the trick if I don’t read the directions! Well, we can’t learn more about following Jesus if we don’t learn the Bible. So, let’s all remember to read the Bible every day and not let it just sit around and get dusty.

Let’s pray: God, thank you for giving us the Bible that teaches us everything we need to be good followers of Jesus. Help us remember to read it every day and learn all it has to teach. Amen.

Proper 23C

Day: Proper 23C

Lectionary Passage: Psalm 66:1-12

Scripture Focus: Psalm 66:1-2

Object: None

I bet you’ve noticed that in worship we do a lot of singing. Every Sunday we sing songs together. Have you ever wondered why we do that? Well, the answer is pretty simple. Do you want to know? Okay, I’ll tell you. We sing songs in church because the Bible tells us to!

It says that we should shout to the Lord and sing praises to God. So, whenever we get together for worship, we sing songs about God to God. And, you know what? No matter what, we can all sing to God. Even if you’re not the best singer, God made your voice and wants to hear it! So, remember to sing songs to God and sing them loudly!!

Let’s pray: God thank you for giving each of us a special voice to sing praises to you. Help us to sing loudly in church because we are singing to you. Amen.

Proper 22C

Day: Proper 22C

Lectionary Passage: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

Scripture Focus: 2 Timothy 1:7

Object: Baking Soda, Water, and Vinegar

Preparation: You will need two bowls with about 1/2 cup of baking soda in each and about 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar. Because the vinegar and baking soda will react, you want to be sure the bowls are placed on baking sheet or towel to absorb the mess.

This morning we’re going to a little experiment to help us better understand our Scripture passage. Okay, first of all, I’ve got three things: Some baking soda, water, and vinegar. First we’re going to see what happens when I add some water to this baking soda (pour the water into one of the bowls).… Well, that wasn’t too exciting. Nothing happened. Let’s see what happens when I add some vinegar instead… (slowly pour the vinegar into the bowl and to see the chemical reaction). Whoa!!! That was amazing! The vinegar had a way cooler and more powerful reaction than the water.

Well, in our Scripture passage, Paul is telling us that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power. Timidity is when you’re too scared to do anything. Kind of like what happened when I mixed water and baking soda… a whole of nothing. But, God gives us a spirit of power so that we can do amazing things! Kind of like mixing vinegar and baking soda. God’s spirit helps us go out in the world and tell others about Jesus without being afraid. And that is an amazing thing.

Let’s pray: God, thank you for giving us a spirit of power so that we can do amazing things for Jesus Christ. Amen.

Proper 21C

Day: Proper 21C

Lectionary Passage: 1 Timothy 6:6-19

Scripture Focus: 1 Timothy 6:9

Object: Helium Balloon, Ziplock bag full of Coins, and clear fishing line

Preparation: Tie the clear fishing line to the helium balloon string. Then, tie the balloon string to the bag of coins so that the balloon is weighed down. During the sermon, you will cut the balloon string below the part tied to the clear fishing line so that as the balloon soars into the air you can hold on to it by the fishing line, which hopefully the children won’t notice.

This morning I’ve got this great balloon with me. Can you all see what is weighing it down? A bag full of money! The money is keeping the balloon stuck in the same place, dragged down by a heavy burden. And you know what? That can happen to us to.

Our Bible story for today warns us that we can get dragged down by money. We can get so caught up in being rich that we forget there are more important things than money. Like following Jesus. Just like this balloon, we can get stuck in one place because we’re weighed down. But, I wonder what happens when we cut our ties to money…. (cut the balloon string tied to the bag of money and let the balloon float into the air while holding onto the fishing line).

You see, when we are dragged down by money, we can’t soar to Heaven as followers of Jesus. It’s a good thing the Bible warns us about that trap so we can cut our ties and focus on being friends with Jesus.

Let’s pray: God, help us remember that things like money can drag us down so that we aren’t able to follow Jesus. Give us strength to cut those bad ties and soar after Jesus. Amen.

Proper 18C

Day: Proper 18C

Lectionary Passage: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Scripture Focus: 139:1-6

Object: Binoculars (or use your hands in imitation of binoculars)

Note: This sermon works best when you can loom over the children like a big imposing presence

The first time I ever heard this Scripture passage I got really, really worried. I got a picture in my head that God was up in Heaven spying on my every move (dramatically look down on each child with your binoculars.) I felt like God was just waiting for me to do something wrong (pan the children with your binocular stare). So that God could bust me in the act! I did not like that idea at all.

But now I know that isn’t what this Scripture passage means at all. It does say that God watches over us every minute. But not because God wants to bust us doing something wrong. God watches over us because God loves us! That means we are never alone. God is always right there watching over us. That also means God knows us better than anyone else in the whole world. God knows when we are celebrating and when we’re having a bad day. No matter what is going on, God knows about it and we can trust that God still loves us.

Let’s pray: God we are so grateful that you watch over us. It is good to know you are always there and we can count on your love. Amen.

Proper 17C

Day: Proper 17C

Lectionary Passage: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Scripture Focus: Hebrews 13:15-16

Object: Big Bag of DumDums and One Blow Pop

This morning I want to give each of you a dumdum lollipop. This isn’t too hard because I have this gigantic bag of dumdums that I got at the store. See, even though I’ve given each of you one, I still have a ton leftover for myself to enjoy. But, what about this (reveal the one blow pop)? I only have one blow pop. I want to give this one blow pop away to (name an adult nearby or another pastor). And when I give this to her, that means that I won’t have a blow pop for myself. So, do you think it is harder to give away a bunch of dumdums or this one and only blow pop?

Of course it is harder to give away my one and only blow pop! Because when I do that means that I won’t have any for myself. Even though I gave away a lot of dumdums, I still had this huge bag leftover. But, giving away my one and only blow pop is a big deal. In fact, we can say it was a big sacrifice. “Sacrifice” is a fancy word for giving away something that we have.

And in our Scripture passage today, we learn that God is happy when we make sacrifices. That’s because God wants us to share what we have with other people, even if we only have very little. I want you to remember that it isn’t about the amount you give away, but how big the sacrifice is. God is happy when people make big sacrifices. So, giving away dumdums when you’ve got a whole bunch isn’t a big deal. But, when I gave (name an adult nearby or another pastor) my one and only blow pop I made a sacrifice and that pleases God.

Let’s pray: God help us to remember that it isn’t about how much we have but how much we are willing to sacrifice and share with others. Help us be willing to make big sacrifices like you ask. Amen.