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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!

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. +