Advent 1A

Day: Advent 1A

Lectionary Passage: Isaiah 2:1-5

Scripture Focus: Isaiah 2:4

Object: None

Good morning everyone! I am so glad to see you. Last night I had a really amazing dream that I could fly. Have you ever dreamed you could fly? (allow children to raise their hands) Oh, and one time I dreamed that I could breathe under water and swim with the dolphins! And another time… (continue with one or two more examples, perhaps things relevant to your region or sports team, to create a sense that in dreams anything is possible).

Dreams are amazing! I wish we had the power to make those dreams come true. That reminds me of a story from the Old Testament. It’s from a book called Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet. Prophets were hand picked by God to teach others all about God’s ways. In our story for today, Isaiah tells about God’s dream for the world. God dreams that one day there will be peace on earth, people will no longer fight, and everyone everywhere will worship God. That’s an amazing dream! As amazing as being able to fly!

But you know what is even more amazing? God has the power to make that happen! God is working every second to make the world a better place, to bring peace to all places. And the biggest thing God did was send Jesus Christ who teaches us all about love, peace, joy, and hope. God has the power through Jesus Christ to make the dream of a peaceful world full of love and joy come true! I think that’s pretty awesome.

Let’s pray: Holy God, we give you thanks that you dreamed big and are working to make your dream of a peaceful and loving world come true. Help us follow your ways and do whatever we can to help. Amen.

Advertisements

Christ the King C

Day: Christ the King Sunday

Lectionary Passage: Colossians 1:11-20

Scripture Focus: Colossians 1:15-20

Object: Two or Three different hats (baseball, cowboy, fireman, etc.) and a Crown hidden inside a bag

This morning I’ve got some hats with me and I want you to guess who wears them. Okay, first one… (put on the cowboy hat). Who wears this kind of hat? A cowboy, exactly. Okay, what about this one… (put on the baseball cap)? A baseball player. You guys are good at this game. What about this hat… (put on the crown)? A king! Exactly. Kings wear crowns.

And there is a very special king that I want to tell you about: Jesus. And today is Christ the King Sunday. It’s a special day we set aside every year to celebrate that Jesus is the King of kings. That means Jesus is in charge of everything. But you know what Jesus wants to be in charge of the most? Your heart! Jesus wants to live in your heart and help you follow his way all your life. That means we can’t let other things rule our hearts. We can’t pick things like sports or sleeping in or scouts over Jesus. We’ve got to make Jesus the King of our hearts by putting him first in our lives.

Let’s pray: God, we give you thanks for your Son Jesus who loves us and loves the world. Help us remember to make Jesus the king of our hearts today and every day. Amen.

Proper 28C

Day: Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Lectionary Passage: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Scripture Focus: 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12

Object: A Picture of Lazy Smurf

Our Bible story for today reminded me of one of my favorite cartoons: The Smurfs. It was about these small blue creatures who love to eat smurfberries and go on adventures. One of the Smurfs was called Lazy Smurf. Can you guess why? … Because he was lazy! He spends almost all his time sleeping, either in bed, a hammock, on the grass… pretty much anywhere, anytime, day or night. Lazy Smurf was the laziest of all the Smurfs.

I got thinking about Lazy Smurf because our Bible story warns us against being lazy. It says that laziness is not a good thing. Laziness means we’re not willing to work. As followers of Jesus, we’ve got to learn to work. Not just at regular jobs to earn money like our moms and dads do, but we’ve also got to work for God! We can work for God whenever we help others or tell them about Jesus. So, instead of being a lazy smurf, we’ve got to be worker smurfs!

Let’s pray: God, help us all to be good workers for you each and every day and all the time. Amen.

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.