Pentecost 11B

Day: Pentecost 11B

Lectionary Passage: Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Scripture Focus: Ephesians 5:2

Object: Jelly Belly jelly beans

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.

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Pentecost 10B

Day: Pentecost 10B

Lectionary Passage: John 6:24-35

Scripture Focus: John 6:35

Object: Loaf of sandwich bread

Good morning everybody! I bet you’ve all seen this stuff at home. It’s good old sandwich bread. I usually like mine with a lot of peanut butter and just a little grape jelly. But, if I was really hungry, I think a plain slice of bread would do the trick. When you get really hungry, even a plain piece of sandwich bread tastes good and stops your hunger. But this bread doesn’t keep us from getting hungry again sometime later.

Every day we get hungry. We need food. That’s just a fact. It would be great if food fell from the sky. You know, that actually happened one time! Way back in the day, God fed the Israelites by sending bread from heaven. It literally rained bread! They would collect the bread and eat it so they were no longer hungry.

That happened a long time ago. But did you know that God has sent us, me and you, bread from heaven, too? In our Bible story, Jesus says he is the true bread from heaven. He didn’t mean that he was like this sandwich bread. He wasn’t talking about the kind of bread that stops our tummy hunger. He is the kind of bread that stops our spiritual hunger. You see, we’re all hungry for God’s love, kindness, care, and grace. When we have Jesus in our lives, then we are no longer hungry for those things because he fills us up! When Jesus is in our hearts, we aren’t hungry anymore because we are full of his love for us.

Let’s pray: Thank you Jesus for being the true bread of life that fills us up with God’s love. Amen.

Pentecost 9B

Day: Pentecost 9B

Lectionary Passage: John 6:1-21

Scripture Focus: John 6:10-13

Object: None

Good morning everybody! It sure has been hot this summer. Everyday is like a million degrees outside. When it gets really hot like this, I get extra thirsty. Do you think it would be better for me to drink a milkshake or a glass of water? (give kids a chance to respond) I would need water. After that, I might go ahead and drink a yummy milkshake, but water is the best thing for me.

God always knows what we need because God knows everything about us. God knows that on a hot summer day when we are thirsty that we need water. And in our story for today, God knows that hungry people need food.

Let me tell you about the story. One day, Jesus was teaching near the Sea of Galilee and a huge crowd of people were following him so that they could learn more about God. It got late and everyone was very hungry. There were thousands of people. A young boy offered to share his lunch. He had five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus took that small mount, gave thanks to God, and started to pass it around to everyone who was there. That’s when the miracle happened: the boy’s lunch was enough to feed everyone in the crowd!

Most of the time, God provides what we need in ordinary ways. But every now and again, God surprises us with miracles that show the amazing power of God. God doesn’t always give us what we want, but we can count on God to provide everything we need.

Let’s pray: Thank you God for providing everything we need. Help us always to be thankful. Amen.

Pentecost 8B

Day: Pentecost 8B

Lectionary Passage: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Scripture Focus: Mark 6:34

Object: None

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.

Pentecost 7B

Day: Pentecost 7B

Lectionary Passage: Amos 7:7-15

Scripture Focus: Amos 7:14-15

Object: None

Good morning everybody! When I was little, I wanted to be (share with the kids what you wanted to be when you grew up…). Sometimes we decide from a very young age what we’ll do as an adult, but often we end up doing something totally different.

In our story for today, we meet a man named Amos. He was a herdsman who took care of cows all day. He made sure they were feed and watered and protected. He was also a tree trimmer. Then suddenly, God asked Amos to become a prophet. A prophet is someone who shares God’s message to the people of Israel. It was a very important job!

I bet Amos was pretty scared when God asked him to do something totally different with his life. He might have worried that people wouldn’t listen to him or that they would laugh at him. But God was with Amos the whole time. God helped Amos become a great prophet.

I hope we will all remember the story of Amos. It teaches us that suddenly things can change in our life but we can always count on God to be with us the whole time and help us.

Let us pray: Thank you God for caring for us. Give us courage and strength to follow Amos’ example and always rely on you. Amen.

Pentecost 4B

Day: Pentecost 4B

Lectionary Passage: Job 30:1-11

Scripture Focus: None

Object: None

Good morning everybody! I’ve been thinking about some really puzzling questions. Like why is there a light in the fridge, but not in the freezer? Or what is gravity and why does it hold stuff down? Or why is a boxing ring square? Things like that. I bet you could think of some pretty tough questions you would like to have answered.

There are a lot of questions that we can answer. We’ve learned a lot about the world. But I still don’t think there is anyone who can answer every single question in the whole wide world.

The book of Job is in the Old Testament. It’s about a man who had some really tough questions and he wanted answers. He asked big questions. Like why is there suffering? Why do bad things happen? People he knew gave him answers. But Job didn’t think those answers were right. He believed that only God knew the real answers because God is the one who created everything. God has all the answers. Some of our questions will have to wait to be answered until we get to heaven, but they will be answered.

Asking questions is very important. It’s part of how we grow. And God made us to be curious and to think about even the really tough stuff. I hope each of you will ask questions all the time. And don’t be shy to ask questions about your faith and what we believe as Christians. Otherwise, how are you ever going to learn the answer?! Just like Job, we can ask tough questions. Sometimes we’ll get the answer we need from others, like our caregivers or teachers or pastors, but sometimes the answers will still be a mystery and we’ll have to ask God. Just remember: Don’t stop asking questions because being curious is part of how God made us.

Let’s pray: Thank you God for creating us to be curious creatures. Help us to be bold and ask questions but also to be patient when the answer isn’t clear. Amen.

Pentecost 3B

Day: Pentecost 3B

Lectionary Passage: Mark 4:26-34

Scripture Focus: Mark 4:26-29

Object: Package of seeds

Good morning. I’ve brought with me this morning some seeds. They came in this really pretty package. I take them out to look at them, but they always look the same (show the kids the seeds by pouring them into your hand). I can’t figure out why they haven’t started to grow. The package says they are suppose to grow into (name of seeds) but so far a whole lot of nothing has happened. What do you suppose I’m doing wrong? (Let the kids answer… plant the seeds!)

Oh! I have to plant the seeds! Well that makes sense. A seed needs sunlight and water to grow. Nothing is going to happen if they just stay in this package.

That reminds me of our Bible story for today. Jesus explained many things to us by using picture stories called parables. In our story for today, he compared the Kingdom of God to a seed. The seed has to be planted in order to start growing. Then it grows and grows.

When we tell others about Jesus and about how much God loves them, it’s like planting a Kingdom seed in their heart. God uses us to help others come to Jesus! So we are all Kingdom seed planters and we can grow in faith together.

Let’s pray: Thank you God for asking us to help plant Kingdom seeds in others so that we can all grow in faith together. Amen.

Pentecost 2B

Day: Pentecost 2B

Lectionary Passage: Mark 3:20-35

Scripture Focus: Mark 3:31-35

Object: Family picture

Good morning everyone! Today I brought a family picture with me. That’s me there (describe the people in the picture with special attention to point out how you are related). But you know, this is only one of my families. I have another much bigger family and you are part of it. It’s called the church!

The church is a family, too. In our Bible story for today, Jesus explains that his followers are like family to him. He says that anyone “who does God’s will is [my family].” That means everyone in this sanctuary (emphasize the whole congregation) is a family. But the church family is even bigger! It includes every Christian in the whole world! We are part of one big family. So no matter what happens, I hope you will remember that the church is your family and you are always welcome among family.

Let’s pray: Thank you God for giving us two families. One we are born into and one that we have as the church. Amen.

Trinity Sunday B

Day: Trinity Sunday B

Lectionary Passage: Romans 8:12-17

Scripture Focus: None

Object: A banana

Preparation: Bananas naturally divide into three wedges. Before worship, practice this neat trick: Peel a banana halfway, then slowly slide your finger down the center of the banana top until the banana splits itself into three equal parts. Then, slide your hand up the banana to make the three parts stick together again. To see a video of this trick, click here.

Today is Trinity Sunday! Trinity means three. We use that word to help us understand how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are related. We call them the “Trinity.” But that doesn’t mean there are three different gods. It’s a bigger mystery than that! Let’s see if we can collect some clues to understand the Trinity.

I think a banana can help us. I’m going to show you how to slice a banana into three parts with just one finger (perform the trick and reveal the three slices of banana). This is our first clue: It is possible to make one part into three parts. Now, lets’s see if we can make the three parts into one again (slide your hand up the banana to make the three parts stick together as one piece again). This is our second clue: It is possible to make three parts into one again.

Just like the one banana had three parts, the one true God has three parts. The first person, we call them persons instead of parts, is God the Father who created all things. The second person is God the Son. That’s Jesus! We know Jesus was sent to love us to offer us eternal life through grace. The third person is God the Holy Spirit who is our helper and friend, guiding us to follow God’s ways. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Trinity! Case closed!

Let’s pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, we give you thanks for all the ways you help us and love us. Amen.

Pentecost B

Day: Pentecost B

Lectionary Passage: Acts 2:1-21

Scripture Focus: Acts 2:2

Object: None

Today is Pentecost Sunday! We celebrate Pentecost each year to remind us what happened on the very first Pentecost. After Jesus went back up to heaven, his disciples were gathered in a room. Suddenly, there was a sound of rushing wind. It was very loud and it filled the whole room. Fire appeared above the heads of each of the disciples, and they began to speak in many different languages.

At Pentecost the disciples were filled with God’s Holy Spirit. It’s pretty hard to picture what the Holy Spirit looks like because you can’t see the Holy Spirit with your eyes. But, you can feel the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, the disciples felt the Holy Spirit like a rushing wind. I want you to fan yourself for a second (fan yourself with your hands to show the children what you mean). Now, I can’t see the wind created by fanning, but I sure can feel it! That’s a lot like God’s Holy Spirit. We may not be able to see it, but we can feel the Holy Spirit doing amazing things.

On Pentecost Sunday we celebrate that God sent the Holy Spirit to help all disciples, including you and me. And though we might not be able to see the Holy Spirit, the more we grow closer to God, the more we’ll be able to feel the Holy Spirit all around us.

Let’s pray: We praise you, Holy God, for the gift of your Spirit who lives and moves all around us. Amen.