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We want to communicate with you in all kinds of ways and so our postings will be many and varied! We do offer a weekly children's sermon and monthly Time Together devotional on a regular basis. You can find those through the archives as well as the Children's Sermons and Resources Tabs. We hope you will leave your comments and contribute to the networking of this site!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Epiphany 2 Year B John 1:43-51


Scripture: John 1:43-51

Preparation: Small toy of a large animal (like an elephant, or dinosaur), either in your pocket or in a small bag or backpack.
Faith+Open: As the children start to gather, call to them and say, “I have a whole elephant in my pocket!  Come and see!”  As the kids gather around, ask them what they think of you having a whole elephant in your pocket.  Take a few answers and then show them the toy.

Faith+Share: OK, I tricked you a little bit.  I did have an elephant in my pocket, but just a toy.  Sometimes this trick happens in a bigger way!  For example, in Kansas there is a sign by one of the main highways that says, “Come and see the World’s biggest prairie dog!”  Did you hear those three words again?  “Come and See.”  The prairie dog is huge, but it’s made out of concrete, it’s not real, just like the elephant.  We hear things like this all the time, maybe not exactly “Come and See,” but people talking about amazing, fantastic stuff that just isn’t real, or is not as amazing as they make it seem.

Today’s Gospel story has this same thing, an amazing, fantastic, unbelievable story, and it’s not quite what it seems; but this time it’s even better than it seems.  Jesus is talking to the people who will become his closest friends, his disciples.  Some of them just don’t quite believe that Jesus is who he says he is.  One in particular, Nathanael, says something kind of mean.  He says, how can Jesus be any good at all, look where he’s from!  Nothing good can come from that place.  His friend, Phillip says those three words, “Come and See.”  When Nathanael meets Jesus, Jesus tells Nathanael something that Jesus could not possibly know.  When Nathanael hears it, he believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus says, “but wait!  There’s more!”  If you think that was amazing, I tell you that you will see heaven opened up and the angels of God flying around me.  The story just gets better, Come and See!
Faith+Prayer: Amazing God, you keep surprising us with you love and mercy.  Help us to open our eyes and see the wonders of the world you made.  Open our hearts so that we might love each other as you love us. Amen.

Faith+BlessingMay your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day Sermon 2011

I do not often post sermons as normally I preach from an outline and I find that the way I deliver sermons and the way I write often don't translate to one another. However, I do have this one written out and so thought that I would share this message that was shared with others on Christmas Day.
Merry 5th Day of Christmas and Blessings on your New year!
~Pastor Leta Behrens


Christmas Day 2011                                                          
Luke 2

Ah… it’s Christmas morning. I feel like we can all take a collective sigh of relief because the moment we have been preparing and waiting for has arrived. We were having out annual Christmas Even fried chicken lunch yesterday and we talked about our favorite parts of Christmas. Seeing lights at Woodward governor and making desserts were at the top of the list and as I’m sure you can imagine so was opening presents—a favorite that each child at our table was sure to get in. I said that I love singing Silent Night and holding the candles. And I do. But I also love Christmas morning—not only is it delightful to see all that anticipation come to pass and to see eyes light up with the fun of what of the morning brings but I love it because it is the moment that all the promises that have been proclaimed come to rest in a space and time in a moment that is set apart—apart from the chaos of what it took to get to the moment, a part from the inner turmoil of our hearts, a part from the very world for just a moment. All that was prepared for has come to be…

It is a moment that opens up hearts and minds to reflect… on what we are grateful for perhaps, on the gifts of our lives that can be held, that are tangible and on those gifts that are so easy to claim or touch. It reminds me of a favorite series of books that my children enjoy this time of year called Auntie Claus—without spoiling anything I’m sure you can guess that she is related to Santa—his sister. Auntie Claus has a niece and nephew, Sophie and Chris Kringle who learn slowly about the secret of their family. In the third book Chris is having some doubts about the whole Christmas spirit thing and he says that he won’t believe anything until he sees it, because seeing is believing. Auntie Claus’ response is , “Ah but believing is seeing and all the best gifts are invisible.” Through a series of events Chris comes to see that this is true and he that he has found the “key to Christmas.”

Christmas day brings these truths together. The truth of seeing and believing and believing and seeing. Because the Christmas story is about both. A God that we often, too often, think of as invisible and our God who came to be and to dwell—to be seen and touched and held—with humans on earth. Jesus arrives to walk with us under the very stars and with the creation that he made as God. It is the gift of Christmas, the coming of God to be with us and to leave the Holy Spirit with us that holds together the very gifts of God that surround us each day.

This advent and Christmas I have been keeping prayers as a vigil from a afar with a colleague from seminary named Laura. Laura was diagnosed this fall with a rare form of cancer. She has been keeping us updated on her health through a website where she posts everything from her chemo experiences to her deep heart experiences. What she writes if often so beautiful in the way she describes her journey.

Leading up to Christmas she has written about an image of tethering—not the tethering that happens in the game Tether ball where one is likely to get hit in the face or knocked over! But the kind of tethering that comes from those deep connections that are possible with one another and with God. She describes this tethering in many ways, one being her feelings as her family takes vigil by her dying grandfather’s side a few days ago while she cannot be there because of her illness. She writes:

I sit in the recliner, looking at the Christmas tree that bears two Christmas garland strands....1x1x1/4 inch red, green and gold foil wrapped presents, on a garland strand of long and short gold beads. It hung on Grandma and Grandpa’s Christmas trees for as long as they had trees. It has hung on ours for the years since. This morning it looks to me like it holds the whole tree together...every other ornament possible because of that garland that came before it.
Truly though, the garland, the tree, and the gifts collecting around it are only significant because of the One gift that came before us all…

I am tethered to my grandpa... He is surrounded by my Dad and Mom, by my Uncle and Aunt and his pastors all through this day....this precious day. He and I are attached, you see, by some sweet life-long-loving-connection. The wonderful thing is that I get to stay tethered, whether in this life or the next. Whether alive in this life or not, we are both "in Christ". We are both in God's spacious and intimate embrace, one cannot get closer than that.

This is God. This is Christmas.
God come to earth as one of us—Emmanuel.
To tether us to the seen and the unseen.
To tether us to a baby born as savior and to heaven above.
To tether us to God and creation and to one another like garland on a Christmas tree.

As you hold this moment of Christmas morning, in this time where all that was prepared for has come, may you know that always in this journey of life you are tethered to a God who made the stars and the sky and you and me. We are given a key, a gift… a sweet life-long-loving connection that tethers us all together in the grace, mercy, truth, and love of Christ.

Merry Christmas. God is with you!
Amen.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baptism of Jesus Year B Mark 1:4-11

Scripture: Mark 1:4-11
There are so many wonderful children's stories on baptism. Consider for this Sunday reading the Gospel from the Jesus Storybook Bible as one way to tell the story. Other resources are Welcome, Child of God by Anne Ylvisaker--a very short board book that can be read in worship. Or Come Right in Your Home God says when we are Baptized. These books could be read at the beginning or in the midst of this children's sermon if you have enough time or they could be out on display for ideas for others. Augsburg Fortress Washed and Welcome series has some great resources. 
Also a note that the children's sermon for January 1 could be adapted for this Sunday as well

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you either in the usual place or around the baptism fount. One idea would be to have the fount up near the altar for this Sunday.

Faith+Share: Today we are remembering and focusing on the baptism of Jesus and what it means for us to remember our baptism everyday. What are some things that you do everyday? (take answers--brush teeth, eat, drink, etc) Yes, we do all those things everyday! There is something that was not mentioned that I would like us to do everyday as well--that is remember our baptism. Do you know what baptism is? (take answers and fill in with information if needed while summarizing) Yes baptism is when a person, lots of times a baby, is marked as a child of God with water and oil. We say you are 'sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever'. We are baptized once, but we are to know forget about it but remember and live out that we are children of God everyday.

OPTION: insert one of the stories or show pictures of Jesus baptism from a children's Bible. 

One way that we remember this is by knowing that the Holy Spirit is with us all the time. We are given the Holy Spirit but we also give the love of the Holy Spirit to others. Can you put one hand on your tummy and another out in front of your mouth? Now take a deep breath in and feel your tummy go up. (Do this together). Now let that breath out and feel it on your hand. Our breath goes in and out everyday just like the Spirit is with us and goes out to those around us everyday. We can take deep breathes in and out to remember and to know God is with us all the time. We can also remember our baptisms when we use water--like when we brush our teeth or take bath and we cans say a prayer.

Faith+Prayer: Let's practice that now: Keep your hands on your tummy and take a deep breath in and out. Now prayer with me. God, thank you for your gift of baptism. Help me remember that I am a child of God everyday. Help me to share your love and grace. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Go in peace remembering you are a precious child of God + in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.


Christmas 1 Year B Luke 2: 22-40


Scripture: Luke 2:22-40

Faith+Open: Gather the children around the baptismal font.

Faith+Share: Ask: Does anyone know what this is? What do we do here? (baptize babies, children, adults) That’s right! We baptize people of all ages and promises are made to them. God’s promise of eternal life and love is stated, parents promise to teach their children about God both at home and at church and we as a congregation promise to also teach them about God and be willing to help them in their faith. All of these promises were also given to you!
How can we teach people about God? (Reading the Bible, praying, singing, talking about God with them, someday teaching Sunday school, etc.) Who teaches you about God? ( Accept all answers)

In today’s Bible story we hear about two people Simeon and Anna. They were special people who lived in the temple praising God all day and all night. One day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to church just like your family brought you this morning. Simeon and Anna held the baby Jesus and gave him a blessing and told his parents how special Jesus was, just like at your baptism. We are so blessed that God gives us people in our lives to tell us how special we are to God!

Faith+Blessing: Make sure that there is water in the baptismal font. Dip your hand in the water and bless each child by saying: “God I thank you for ______(this child) bless them forever.”

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for giving us people who tell us how much you love us! Help us to tell others that you love them too! Thank you for your son Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Eve Year B Luke 2:1-20 Children's Sermon



Scripture Luke 2:1-20
Supplies: Large Christmas stocking, eight little cardboard boxes (about 2 x 2) or seven legal size envelopes. You will need the following items or pictures in the boxes or envelopes:
  1. A scroll
  2. A picture of Bethlehem
  3. Manger or stable scene or small animal figure (to make manger cut a toilet paper tube in half. Then cut one of the halves about an inch shorter than the other one and staple them curved sides facing out, to each other. Glue hay/straw or yellow raffia or yarn to it.)
  4. Baby Jesus (To make baby Jesus to fit the manger, use a popsicle stick or a clothes pin wrapped in cloth and draw a face.)
  5. Small candy cane (shepherd staff)
  6. Gold pipe cleaner in the shape of a halo
  7. Small color page of the Nativity-or a small crèche
  8. A heart with a cross
  9. A coloring page to hand out at end of children's sermon (optional)
Faith+Open: Gather the children to where you would like to do the children’s time. Show them your stocking and talk about how you always find presents in your stocking on Christmas morning. Ask if they have a stocking as well. Then explain that THIS stocking has the best present ever. 

Faith+Share: Have the boxes or envelopes numbered 1-8 for ease of telling the story.

Pull out #1: This box/envelope has the start of the best present ever. Pull out a scroll with Joseph     and Mary’s name on it. Tell how Joseph and Mary had to take a trip to check-in with the emperor to sign their names. Mary was expecting a baby so it was a hard trip.
Pull out #2: This box/envelope has a picture of Bethlehem. This is the city of King David, where he was born and where Mary and Joseph had to go to be registered.
Pull out #3: This box/envelope has a manger in it  When Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem all of the hotels or inns were full. The only place they found was a barn where animals live. 
Pull out #4: While they were staying in the stable Mary had her baby! What was the baby’s name? Jesus! Pull out a baby Jesus.  Place the baby in the manger.
Pull out #5: There were shepherds near by watching sheep. Doesn’t the candy cane look like a shepherds staff?
Pull out #6:  Suddenly angels appeared the shepherds saying don’t be afraid! A very special baby has been born! Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth!
Pull out #7:  So the shepherds went to where the baby Jesus was and were so happy! They had found the best gift ever! God’s love given to us in Jesus!
Pull out #8: Isn’t this the best present that you have ever seen in a stocking? God loves us so much that God sent Jesus to be with us and to show us that God loves us no matter what we do. God wants us to love and talk to God through prayer, songs, dancing and everything that we do. That’s what the cross reminds us of!
You each get a color page just like in box #7 to work on and you can hang it in your room to remind you of your best Christmas gift ever!

Faith+Prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for the gift of your son Jesus. We are so glad that you love us so much and we love you too! Amen.

Faith+Christmas Blessing:
May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +


All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Day Year B John 1:1-18 Children's Sermon

Scripture: John 1:1-18
Preparation: small birthday candles.

Faith+Open: Gathering children. Start humming "Happy Birthday to you"... when kids arrive say, There are so many good Christmas songs, I wish we could sing them all. Like my favorite one, can you guess what it is? Hum "Happy Birthday"  Kids should recognize it and may even tell you it's not a Christmas song. Yes, I'm humming Happy Birthday to you... such a great Christmas song... 


Faith+Share: Do you think it's a good Christmas song? No/Yes.. take answers and go either way with it. Well, it may not be exactly a Christmas song and it doesn't do a good job of telling the story of Jesus. But it is a song to sing together today to help us remember what we are celebrating. Let's Sing. Sing Happy Birthday together. How do you celebrate a birthday? Take answers. Comment on what is the same or different. I was thinking about the ways we celebrate Jesus' birth--we have candles (point to advent wreath or other candles), we give gifts of offering (show offering plate), we sing to ether and we have a meal that Jesus gave us (point to altar/bread/wine). Our gospel story today says that God become flesh and lived among us and that Jesus was the word and the light for us to know God's love. One of the ways we know each week is when we gather for the bread and the wine. The bread and wine are ways that we can touch and feel and know the low of God who came to be with us. They help us to feel God's presence here. 


I have hear a small birthday candle for each of you. I would like you to take this home and find a time to light it and try to put it in a piece of bread so we remember the words that Jesus came to be with us.  Gather your family to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus or another favorite song. Then thank God for the light of Christ in the world and in our lives. 


Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for coming as real person. Thank for the word of life in Jesus. Help us to share our bread and our story of your love. Amen



Faith+Christmas Blessing: 
May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +


All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Advent-Christmas Message and Welcome

As we dwell in this Advent season we look forward to the new year, new resources and networking capabilities. We hope the you will join us, contribute, comment, and let us know what you are looking for more of to assist you in your ministry, home life, personal journey.

There is a newness to our blog that has begun this Advent and we are excited to announce an addition to our blogging team! Gus Brockmann is joining us and with that we get an incredible amount of experience in worship and children's ministry combined. Read all about Gus on our About Us Page!

We are grateful for all our readers and followers! And especially thankful to textweek.com for linking us in and for the wonderful job of networking so many resources.

May you find time for experiencing the peace, hope, love, and joy that comes to us in Christ Jesus.

Merry Advent and Christmas!

Leta, Brigette, Gus

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent 4B Luke 1:26-38 Children's Sermon

Scripture: Luke 1:26-28
Preparation: a newspaper
Author note: Adapted from a children's sermon by Pastor David Barber which was adapted from a Sundays and Seasons idea (Augsburg Fortress)

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Good morning! Anyone know how many days until Christmas? Allow for answers (you might get some funny ones!) Yes we are waiting for Christmas and while we wait in Advent we share the good news of Jesus coming. How many of you read the paper? Show the newspaper you brought with you and take some responses.

Faith+Share: What kind of stories do newspapers tend to have? Allow for responses. There are some news stories that tell of good things but a lot of news we hear or read in our paper is bad news. We read about wars and children who are hungry or people who are hurting. (Use some current, appropriate, examples).  I'm wondering, are we people of bad news or good news? Allow for responses. We are people of good news! When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and to the Shepherds, he was bringing them good news about Jesus birth and we bring good news to others. What is the good news we have to share? Yes our good news is that Jesus is coming and what is Jesus bringing? Jesus is bring light and love and peace and joy and we share this with others--because we are messengers just like the angels were messengers so long ago when Jesus was born we are messengers now that tell others the Christmas story so they know that God is with us all the time. We can live and enjoy the good news for ourselves but we also share the good news with others so they can experience the love of God as well. 


Faith+Prayer: Loving Jesus, Thank you for this advent season. Thank you for the angels that bring good news. Help us to be messengers of Jesus light and love. Amen


Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent 3B John 1:6-28 Children's Sermon

Scripture Focus: John 1:6-28

Preparation: Simple nativity set or picture

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Show them the nativity set or scene. Ask them to tell you who they know about in this scene. Name the different people present.

Faith+Share: Is there anyone that is important to the Christmas story that is not here? See what they say. There could be several answers... or they might just say no... or they might look at you blankly!
Our Gospel today comes from the Gospel of John. And we heard/will hear about a man named John the Baptizer. Has anyone heard of him? Well he was a cousin to Jesus, Elizabeth is his mom and Mary went to visit her while they were both pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John. John knew about Jesus, he know that his cousin was one who would come to bring light into the world, to show people just how loved they are by God. John wanted everyone to know this as well so he did all he could to tell the people to get ready for Jesus to come---not just be born but to show up and walk with them and talk with them. John was so serious about this that he started baptizing people to help them get ready. He wanted them to hear that their sins were washed away and that were loved by God. So, John was not in the manger when Jesus was born, he was just a baby himself, but John is an important part of our Christmas story because he reminds us that while we wait in Advent we are not just preparing for Christmas, we are telling the world this great story!

You know, I think someone else is missing from this nativity scene too. Each one of you. Because the Christmas story is not just John's story and it's not just Jesus' story, it's your story too because you are loved by God and Jesus came to show you the way too. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we watch and we listen and we wait for Christmas. Help us to tell our story about Jesus birth and about your love to our family and our friends and our neighbors. Amen

Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 2B Mark 1:1-8 Children's Sermon

Scripture: Mark 1:1-8
Preparation: You will need to prepare one volunteer--it can be a child or youth or adult. They will be the one to go behind the altar (or other designated space) and try to get a message to the child volunteer you ask for during the children's sermon.

Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Today we hear in gospel that John the Baptist was one of the people who was trying to get the message out that Jesus was coming and to prepare the way of the Lord. So, I was thinking, getting the message can be really important and we in advent can listen for the message of love and hope in Christmas. 


Faith+Share: So, I want to try something, kind of like telephone but 'whole church telephone'. I need a volunteer, anybody here think they are good listener? Pick a child who you think can go to the back of the church comfortably. Ok, you look like a good listener. Can you go to back of the church (say something like by the baptismal font, or last row, or by doors to indicate where you would like he/she to go). Send your other volunteer to the opposite end, like behind the altar for example. Great, now I'm going to ask ___________ (your prepared volunteer) to say a message to you from across the room. I want you to listen to the message and repeat it back. But first, I think we need everyone's help. I need the whole assembly to talk too. Just turn to your neighbor and have a conversation for a few moments while ___________ sends his message. Once people are talking look at volunteer to give his/her message. It can be something like "prepare the way of the Lord" or "Christ is coming". This person should not scream it or use a microphone. The point is that the other person CAN'T hear them. After a moment get everyone quiet again.
Ok, so what was the message? What, you can't hear? I thought you were a good listener! No, you're right, there was so much noise and talking going on that you couldn't hear the message. Let's try again but this time without people talking. 
What was the message? (child should be able to repeat this time)

So come on back. In Advent we are waiting and preparing for Christmas. Sometimes though there is so much noise and so much distraction that we forget what we are preparing for. John the Baptist wanted people to prepare and to know that God was coming to be with them. And that is what we are focused on now, how God comes to us as a baby and as a kid and as a grown up and how God walks with us even now and wants us to hear the message that God is with us and loves us. That is what we always watch for in our daily lives, for Christ to be present in the world. 


Faith+Prayer Let us pray together or repeat after me: God, we watch for you and hope for you. Help us to see you and prepare for you each day and in this Advent time. Amen. 


Faith+Blessing:
May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

December Faith+Share


Scripture Focus: Luke 2: 1-20
Faith + Open: At this time of year we are all focused on how we show friends and family how much we love them. We do this by buying or making and giving gifts. Yet, some of our greatest gifts have not been things. God’s greatest gift to us was born in a barn surrounded by wandering shepherds and loud, smelly animals. What was the best gift that you have ever received that was not a thing. Share with one another and then open in prayer and sing either Away in the Manger (LBW 67, ELW 278) or Joy to the World (LBW 39, ELW 267)  together.

Faith + Story: Read Luke 2: 1-20 or pages 212-217 in the Spark Story Bible.  If you have a Nativity set, use the pieces to act out the story.

Faith + Share: For Adults: God comes to us in unexpected ways. Think about the shepherds faithfully doing their work with the sheep when an angel, declaring that God was doing a new thing in the world, interrupted them. These shepherds then immediately had to go and check it out! Have you ever been interrupted by God? Share a time when God seemed to put you on a different course. How did you react? Were you as excited as the shepherds or a bit more cautious? Did you tell anyone about this?
For families: Angels told the shepherds about Jesus being born and where to go and see Jesus. We can be messengers about Jesus too! Who tells you about Jesus? Who can you tell about Jesus? What would you tell a friend about Jesus?

Faith + Serve: We can use our words to tell people about the love of God in Jesus and we can use our actions as well! In the month of December as a family decide if there is someone in your neighborhood that you can help. Maybe shovel the walk when it snows. Maybe take over a hot meal if you know that they are sick. Make and give Christmas cards with the message of the birth of Jesus to neighbors.

Faith + Ritual: At the daily meal where everyone is gathered ask how each one showed or told someone about Jesus. Doesn’t have to be directly but even a kind act or word is showing Jesus to the world. Then at the end of the meal sing the chorus to Go Tell It on the Mountain (LBW 70, ELW 290) to celebrate how our whole lives tell about the love of God in Jesus Christ!
                

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Advent 1B Mark 13:24-37 Children's Sermons

Scripture: Mark 13:24-37
Supplies: a pair of binoculars


Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Hold up your binoculars and start using them to look around the sanctuary. Oh wow! Look at that--the colors are new! Oh my there are new candles and a wreath and a tree. Hhhmm, I heard it is Advent and I'm supposed to watch for something. Do you know what I'm watching and waiting for? Pause and take responses. Keep looking through your binoculars and pondering what you see. 

Faith+Share: I read in the gospel of Mark that we are to keep watch and waiting. And it's Advent so we watch and wait for Jesus. So, do I need these binoculars for what we are watching for? You don't think so? But I want to see God right away and isn't God far away? .... It seems like in Advent we watch for God we also know that God is near. So maybe I don't need these binoculars to see God. Hhhmmm, what are the ways we know God is around us? Take responses. Focus in on how we can see God working in the acts of love around us in the world. And while we wait for Christmas, we can focus on how we see the light of Christ around us during this time when it's dark longer. At this time of year we say Christ is our Light because we think about God being the one that gives us light and hope.  In our Gospel today and in all of Advent we talk about how we are waiting and watching for God's light. We can call those Godsightings--like when we see or hear stories of people helping others or acts of love. God is all around us and working in our world today. Where can you watch for God this week?  Take responses.

Faith+Prayer: This week, watch for God in all you do. Keep a list or tell your family at dinner what you saw. 
Prayer with me: Christ our light, shine us while we wait. Help us see you  each day and know that your love is with us always. Amen


Faith+Blessing:
May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Extended Ideas: 
Have a candle cut (or binoculars) out with Christ written on it and have kids take it back to their seats and write where they can watch for God this week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Faith+Share Monthly: November

Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-46


Faith + Open:  Gather together and light a candle. Ask someone to pray. If you would like use this prayer: Gracious God, you pour out your love to us in so many ways. We want to share that love with those around us. May we be a fountain showering the love and grace of your son Jesus Christ to those we know and those we don’t know, amen.

Faith + Share: Read Matthew 25: 31-46 or on page 318 in the Spark Bible. Have someone read the narration, Jesus’ part and the part of the disciples.
For adults: This text is challenging as it seems to indicate that some people will get into the flock (sheep) and some won’t (goats). But this passage is not about who is in and who is out. Jesus is pointing out to the disciples that yes, they have clothed the naked, fed the hungry and visited the lonely, but just as many times they have not. We have the capacity to be both a sheep and a goat. In the Lutheran tradition we explain this as being both saint and sinner simultaneously. Jesus redeems us and we have he ability to follow God and serve God’s world, yet, we sometimes do not do what we know we should. Jesus wants the disciples and us to be aware of our need for God in our lives and our ability to be either a sheep or a goat! How might it change you to see everyone around you, neighbor and stranger as Jesus? Would your actions/thoughts/feelings about them change? What would be one thing that you could add this month to reflect serving your neighbor as if they were Jesus?
For children/youth: Have you ever forgotten your lunch money for school or maybe a coat on day that turned out to be cold? Did someone help you by giving you lunch money (or the school letting you eat) or by giving you a jacket or sweater to borrow? How did that make you feel? They were serving you or taking care of you the way that Jesus would! When we help someone who is hungry or cold or lonely, Jesus says that we are taking care of people the way we would take care of Jesus if Jesus were right here right now needing something. God wants us to be as nice to each other as we would to Jesus!

Faith + Serve: There are many hungry and lonely people in our communities. Here at Bethel we collect food for the holidays to help people who cannot afford to buy enough to feed their family. Please consider donating food items so that we can serve even more families than last year! BUT let’s also let them know that we are praying for them and care for them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas cards will be available on November 20th at both services for you to write a note of Christian love and encouragement to those who will receive a food basket from us. Children are welcome to write a card or draw a picture as well! There will be a basket to collect the cards for a couple of weeks following. Please only sign with your first name.

Faith + Close: As you gather for a meal remember in your prayers those who do not have enough to eat both in this country and all over the world. Sing as a family “This little light of mine” to help us to remember to be the light of Jesus in the world!
Words: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
All around my world, I’m going to let it shine, All around my world, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine let it shine, shine!
Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine, Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine let it shine, let it shine!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Children Sermon Reign of Christ Sunday November 20, 2011


Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-46
Preparation: pitcher of water, small cups

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Have a pitcher of water and enough cups for each child (don’t worry you are not giving them much water!) I have some water here to pass out to all of you. Today we are we are celebrating that Jesus is the one we call Lord and that he has shown us how to follow him and to know God. When you get water, hold on to it and don't drink it quite yet. 
Starting with some older children fill their cups fairly full. Share your water out of the pitcher until it is empty. Then have them share with other children until their cups are empty. (If you have a very large amount of children ask for a few volunteers for this activity.) 

Faith+Share: God pours all of God’s love into you and wants you like a fountain, to pour it out to others. When you think that you have run out God keeps pouring (pull an extra pitcher of water out from a hiding spot or have someone from the congregation bring up another full one) What are some ways that we can pour God’s love into other people? (Accept all answers--emphasize that when we give food, water, shelter, clothes or help of any kind we are helping others and we are serving God. This is how we show and act in love) 
We are so blessed that God loves us so much and give us all of God’s love every day. Let’s tell everyone we know about this love! 
Go ahead and drink your water imagining God filling you up with love. 

Faith+Prayer:
God, thank you for filling us with your love. Be with us as we share our love with others. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Remember God is with us always.  Make sign of cross together saying:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right

And remember your high fives and hugs on the way back! 

Extension Ideas: 
1. Talk about what a king looks like--how is that like or unlike what we know about Jesus? What do Christians look like?
2. Sing the Song Grace Flows Down (lyrics below, go to your favorite music source to hear song--comes up on youtube)

Amazing Grace 
How sweet the sound 
Amazing Love 
Now flowing down 
From hands and feet 
That were nailed to the tree 
As Grace flows down and covers me 

Chorus 
It covers me 
It covers me 
It covers me 
And covers me

~LB/BW