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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!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Faith+Home Connection March 2012

Faith + Open: In Lent we focus on repentance, renewal and community. A beloved story from the Old Testament that is often drawn upon in this season is that of Jonah and the big fish. Jonah is a prophet who runs away from God’s command to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. He spends three days (note the same span that Jesus is dead) before being released from the fish. Jesus uses the metaphor of Jonah being in the fish for three days for his own death and resurrection. Read the whole book of Jonah as a family either in one sitting (it is not long) or in two or three installments. It is found on page 190 of the Spark Story Bible. Begin your devotion time by lighting a candle and a prayer.

Faith + Share: For adults: Was there a time when you know you ran from God? Why did you “hide”? Or how did you “hide”? We don’t all physically run away, sometimes we choose activities that keep us from God. What are the things that keep you from a close relationship with God? TV, food, work, hobbies? These things in and of themselves are not bad but when they keep us from devotion, worship and service they can be an obstacle. The old trite saying is true that we sometimes have to hit rock bottom (or get swallowed by a whale!) before we know that we need God to save us and we need to remember our identity as God’s child. Has someone ever told you something or asked you something that made you realize that you were in need of confession and repentance like the Ninevites? How did you react?
For children: Sometimes it’s hard to do the things that God wants us to do. Have you ever tried to be nice to someone who was not being nice to you? What did that feel like? Hard, easy, scary? Jonah felt that it was too hard to go to Nineveh to tell them that God wanted them to say they were sorry for the things they had done so he went on a boat instead! But God had a big fish swallow him and Jonah knew that he had to listen to God. So Jonah went to Nineveh (after being spit out by the fish! EWWW!) and told the Ninevites to say they were sorry to God. Jonah still wanted the people of Nineveh to be punished by God though. But God forgave them instead! This surprised Jonah! God forgives us even when we may not deserve it! Have you ever been forgiven by someone even when maybe you didn’t deserve it? When?

Faith +Serve: Just as Jonah was sent to proclaim God’s love to people he didn’t know in Nineveh, so we too are sent to tell people all over the world that God loves them! One way that we do that in the ELCA is to help people in malaria infested countries receive nets to protect them from mosquitoes. For only $10 a net can be given to a family and can save a life! For Lent have a change jar on a kitchen counter or some other prominent place. Every time you pray for a meal or pray at church, or anywhere, put some change in the jar. Have a family goal of 2 or 3 nets for the six week period!

Faith + Blessing: Anytime someone leaves the house offer this blessing: No matter where you go, God is with you! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Transfiguration Children's Sermon Year B

Faith + Open: gather the children to where you hold children’s time.  Ask: “Do you know that we have a special word that we use in the church to praise God for loving us? What word do you think that might be? (accept all answers) Well those are great words too but this is a neat one that I really like: it is Alleluia. Can you say that? Have you heard that in worship or in other places? We sing it most often before the Gospel is read and other place in the worship service. (Sing the Gospel acclamation Alleluia if you are comfortable!) Do you all know “Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Alleluia, Praise Ye the Lord”? Let’s sing that!

Faith +Share: We sing that song and we are so happy that God loves us and gives us life with God forever! It is a wonderful and joyful song! Well today is the last Sunday before a season that we call Lent. On Ash Wednesday, this Wednesday, you will come to church and we will tell God how sorry we are about the things we shouldn’t do and we get a cross made from ashes put on our foreheads to remind us that we belong to God.  It’s important to say we’re sorry and to admit when we have done something wrong, right?
Well, we think about that in Lent and we remember that God loves us so much that God sent Jesus to earth to tell us how much God doesn’t want the wrong things we sometimes do to hurt our relationship with God. God wants us close always! So we have a few weeks to think about how God loves us and how Jesus died on a cross out of love for us. To help us focus on that, we don’t sing or use the joyful word Alleluia for the whole six weeks of Lent. We wait to sing it again on Easter Sunday on the day that Jesus rose from the dead when we can celebrate that God gives us life forever too!
So I have a slip of paper for each of you that has the word Alleluia on it. We are going to put away the Alleluia’s for the next six weeks and to help us remember we will put the Alleluia’s in this box. (Have a large box covered in purple paper with Lenten symbols on it. Have the top open and be prepared to tie the box closed with string or ribbon.) On Easter morning will you help me take the Alleluia’s out so that we can sing it? All right!

Faith + Prayer: Loving God, we don’t want to not sing Alleluia, even for just a little while, but we also don’t want to take for granted your deep and everlasting love for us. Thank you for loving us and for being with us always. In the name of your Son Jesus who loved us enough to die for us, Amen.

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

*Note: if you have more than one service, use a different box for each service. On Easter morning have the slips of paper that the children put in the boxes attached to helium balloons that will rise up at the beginning of service on Easter. The more balloons the more exciting the effect! For more information on the burying of the Alleluias please see http://www.elca.org/Growing-In-Faith/Worship/Learning-Center/FAQs/Alleluias-During-Lent.aspx