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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!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Weekly Devotion - September 9, 2012 - 15th Sunday After Pentecost - Lec 23B

Here is the Weekly devotion for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, Lec 23B - September 9, 2012

Did you miss a week?  Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Children's Sermon, Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 2, 2012, year B, James 1:17-27

Scripture Focus: James 1:17-27

Prepare:  You will need a small mirror and whatever you use to find out what time it is, your watch, your phone, etc.

Faith+Open:  After you greet the children, ask them if they have ever thought about their own heads.  Specifically, ask them about why they have two ears, but only one mouth.  Some of them will probably say something like this, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”  (If you want to, at this point, you can tell them that this is a very old saying from a Greek philosopher from about the same time that Jesus was alive!  His name was Epictetus.)

Faith+Share:  Today we heard a little part of a letter from a person named James, and he is saying something kind of like this, but he is talking about your whole body.  He says a bunch of great things in this little section.  One of them is to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to anger.  He says that staying angry about things just makes you mean and wicked, and that’s not a great way to act.

James writes that we should instead hear God’s word, and then do something with it!  He writes it in kind of a fun way, too.  (Get out your mirror) He says that people who just hear the word are like people who look in a mirror, and then 2 minutes later can’t remember what they look like.  That’s pretty silly, right?  Or, here’s something that I do, I look at my phone (or watch) to see what time it is, then a couple seconds later I have to look again, because I can’t remember what it said.  James writes that when we just hear God’s word and don’t do something with it, we are acting just like that.  God’s words are going one ear and right out the other.

We should hear God’s word and look for the places where God needs us to work and then do something, and we will be happy that we did.  I really like the end of this section of the letter.  James says that the real way to practice being what we call a Christian is to care for people.  A man named Eugene Peterson said it this way, real religion is this: to reach out to the homeless and the loveless, and to not let the bad stuff in the world make you a bad person (Note, this is a paraphrase of James 6:27 from “The Message”).

Faith+Prayer:  Amazing God, teach us to hear and do your word.  Teach us to help those who feel helpless and to love those who feel unloved.  Teach us to find joy in giving our time and love to the people who need it.  Amen.

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


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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Faith + Home Connection Monthly Devotion-September

Faith + Open: Gather the household where all can be comfortable. Light a candle and have someone pray either with their own words or this prayer: Loving God, we are so thankful that you include everyone into your community of grace and mercy. We pray that we live lives that proclaim the transformation of our hearts from the love of you and that we offer this love to everyone we meet. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read Mark 9: 38-50 aloud. If you have younger children in the household most of this passage can be found on page 326 of the Spark Story Bible.

For children: Have you ever talked with a friend who does not go to your church about God? If your friend knew about God then they probably learned about God from someone you do not know. Does it matter where someone hears about God? Jesus says no! All that matters is that we believe in God and that we help others to believe in God too, even if they hear about God from people we do not know! How can you tell someone about Jesus today? What story about Jesus would you tell a friend? Just talking about Jesus is important!

For youth/adults: Jesus uses some fairly strong language here about being separated from God. Jesus does not want anyone to stop anyone from being close to God. We have some images that pop into our heads when we think about the place of hell but Jesus wants to drive home the point to the disciples and to us, that hell is not a place but a condition. Anytime we are separated from God we are technically in hell. Believing in Jesus is how we can have a close 
relationship with God in our lives. Someone can put up a barrier to our relationship with Jesus but often we create our own separation-our own hell-from God. What are some ways that we might separate ourselves from God either intentionally or not? How do we keep others from knowing about the love of God from Jesus Christ? What are some ways to remove barriers that separate us from God? What faith practices help you to feel close to God? Do you share those practices with other people?

Faith + Serve: One faith practice that nurtures our relationship with God is serving God’s children. We also proclaim the love of God to our communities through our actions in serving as well. With school beginning this month, consider volunteering either in your child’s or if you do not have children in the home, the neighborhood school. If this is not available to you, think about how you could be involved with the children and youth in your congregation or neighborhood. Can you offer to lead one activity or bible study? Be a mentor for confirmation youth? Offer to write the prayers for Sunday worship with a youth and pray them together in worship? Be creative!

Faith + Blessing: At the end of the day (maybe at dinner or night time devotions) offer to each other how you recognized your relationship with God that day or maybe helped someone else recognize their own relationship with God. Give a short prayer of thanks for God in our lives and end with “Let us be at peace.”

Faith + Close: Close your time together with a prayer. Offer prayers to all in the world who cannot openly share their faith because of fear of harm or persecution. Give thanks that we are able to talk about Jesus and pray that we do to all that we meet!

Children's Sermon Pentecost 13 Aug. 26th, 2012 Ephesians 6: 10-20

Preparation: Have a bag with a hat labeled “salvation,” a vest labeled “righteousness,” a belt labeled “truth,” and a cardboard shield labeled “faith.” Have a Bible on hand as well.

Faith + Open: Invite the younger members (or the young at heart!) to a gathering space. Say, “I see that you are all wearing shoes and clothes today! Why do we wear shoes and clothing? Especially maybe a coat when it is cold or raining? (Accept all answers) Right we wear these things to protect our feet from the ground or our skin from the sun or from freezing temperatures! Shoes and clothes help us to be not only comfortable but safe and able to move around outside and do things that need to get done.

Faith + Share: Paul in a letter to some people in Ephesus talked about wearing some things that he called the “armor of God.” Does anyone know what armor does? (You may need to offer examples of medieval knights or police officers/firefighters.) Yes, armor protects our bodies. Paul here is talking about armor that protects our hearts so that we can talk about God to everyone we meet. Now I need a volunteer-begin to “dress” the young person-here is a belt. What word is on it? Truth. When we remember that the truth of God is that God loves us and everyone else we act loving to everyone we meet! Here is a vest-Paul uses the word “breastplate”-something that covers your body. It has the word righteousness on it. Righteousness is a long word that means we try to follow Jesus every day of our lives by loving God and our neighbors as best we can. Then we have a shield that has the word “faith” on it. Faith is a gift from God that keeps us close to God and helps us to remember that God is with us always. Let’s see, this hat has the word “salvation” one it. Salvation is another long word that tells us that Jesus died on the cross so that we can live with God forever, and we don’t have to worry about being separated from God ever! These are all pretty good things that help to us to know that God is with us always. But I think to wear them all the time would get cumbersome. You know, Paul also talks about the “word of God” which is what? The Bible that’s right! The Bible talks about all of these things (point to the clothes) and that God’s truth, righteousness, faith, and salvation are with us always and keep us close to God.
Sometimes we may not feel close to God but Paul says to pray all the time and  for everything that happens in our life, good and bad. God hears our prayers and protects our hearts with faith, salvation, righteousness, truth and most importantly, love.

Faith + Prayer: Let’s pray: “God you are with us always. Thank you for giving us what we need to love you with our whole heart. We want to share your love with everyone we meet so that they know that you protect their hearts no matter what too! In Jesus name we pray, amen.
Faith+Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weekly Devotions - September 2, 2012 - 14th Sunday after Pentecost - Lec 22B

Here is the Weekly devotion for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, Lec 22B - September 2, 2012

Did you miss a week?  Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekly Devotions - August 26, 2012 - 13th Sunday after Pentecost - Lec 21B

Here is the Weekly devotion for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Lec 21B - August 26, 2012

Did you miss a week?  Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Children's Sermon Aug 19, 2012 Pentecost 12B John 6:51-58

Scripture: John 6:51-58 "Bread of Life Theme"


Print up strips of paper with a Bible verse, suggested to use John 6:51a "I am the bread of life come down from heaven." Or John 6:35 "I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in my will never be thirsty." or you could use a verse that speaks about the word of God or another verse you want the children to know.

Cut these strips a part and put them in baggies with a little candy

Make a plate or basket of healthy foods and a plate or basket of junk food

Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Show them the two different baskets of food. Say, "What do you notice about these baskets?  How are the same? How are they different?" Take answers and lead the discussion in a direction that shows that both baskets offer food, a way to get full or not be hungry. But one basket has food that is good for us, that helps nourish our bodies and give us good, lasting energy. The other basket is food we like as well, but this food is more of a treat food or junk food. It's not the kind of food that helps us grow and be healthy.

Faith+Share: Say, "Jesus says he is the bread of life. What do you think this means?" Take answers. Say, "Which basket of food do you think Jesus is for us?" (healthy food--but maybe also the sweet food as the word of God be like honey--Ezekiel said that once!) "Jesus says he is the bread of like it's like saying that Jesus is good food for our minds and our spirits. The words of Jesus are something that we can learn and that will stay with us. The promise of Jesus that he will last, he will be with us all the time and that our basket/plate from God will not run out."

"Now, Ezekiel was a prophet who once said the word of God tastes like honey on his lips. So a little sweetness is sometimes good as well. I have a baggie here for you with a word from God in and a little sweetness for you as well. (pass out now or pray and pass out). I want you to take this piece of paper home and put it in your Bible or on a mirror or in the car or on the fridge, someplace where you will see it and read it and remember that Jesus promises God's love and care for you always."

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, Thank you for food that is good and food that is sweet. Thank you for promising to be like bread for us to help us grow in you. Amen

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

Use with permission for non profit. Intellectual property rights apply

Weekly Devotions - August 19, 2012 - 12th Sunday After Pentecost - Lec 20B

Here is the Weekly devotion for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, Lec 20B - August 19, 2012

Did you miss a week?  Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Children's Sermon Aug 12, 2012 Pentecost 11B John 6: 35, 41-51

Scripture: John 6:35, 41-51
Preparation: canned food or loaves of bread--or whatever items you are collecting for a food bank or other project. Take your items and 'hide' them around the sanctuary where they will be visible from where the children sit, but not too obvious. You are going to play a version of "I Spy" with the kids looking for these items.

Faith+Open: Gather the children up front with you. Say, "Good morning! I am wondering if you can help me find some things. I think there are some items like this one (hold up a sample) hidden around this room. Raise your hand if you can spy anything from where you are." Take a few minutes and let kids find things. You go get the items as they spy them.

Faith+Share: Say, "Wonderful job! You have found all of them-good thing we won't be finding pork and beans behind the altar at Christmas! Do you know what these items are for?" Take answers. Then go on to explain what you are collecting the items for and how they can help. One idea for food is to have grocery bags with needed items listed on them to hand out for the kids to take home and bring back next week.
Say, "In our gospel story Jesus says that he is the bread of life and in our reading from Ephesians we are hearing about how we live together as a community, as people who care about one another. When Jesus says he is the bread of life he is talking about how he gives life and love for you and for all people. Bread is food and we need food to live. We also need the word of God and Jesus to live as Christians. We then take what we have and share with others. So we will take this food (or other item) and share with those who need it so that they can know they are loved and cared for by us and by God."

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we love you. Thank you for giving us the bread of life. Thank you for giving us gifts to share. We pray for everyone who is hungry or thirsting or lonely or sad. Be with them God as we know you are with us. Amen

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

~LB (adapted from original children's sermon by Pastor Michael Stadtmueller) 
Use with permission for non profit. Intellectual property rights apply