Children’s Sermon: Gifts – What we get from God to give to God’s people and world

Bring stuff you got from the ELCA Youth Gathering. Bring the Spiritual gifts scorecard and questions.

Hi everyone!

So two weeks ago, I went to this really cool event down in Houston, TX called the ELCA Youth Gathering. It’s this amazing thing that happens every 3 years. High school students from all over our denomination, the group of churches that we are also a part of, get together for more than 3 days of service, activities, worship, and fun. I went with Coleen and Brendan – and 31,000 people from all 50 states, 8 countries, and other territories that make up the ELCA. Now 31,000 is a lot of people. It’s really hard to get to know that many people. But one way we try to is by giving little…gifts. And these gifts look like these. Show all the buttons, etc. We trade them, learn where each other is from, and celebrate that there are Lutherans all over the place. There are lots of youth and families and people who go to a church just like this one. And we all worship and celebrate a God who loves us each and every day. Attending the ELCA youth Gathering is a real gift – just like all these little things are gifts too.

So to continue that theme about gifts – the gifts we can give each other and the gifts God gives us – we’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about our spiritual gifts. Now spiritual gifts are special talents and abilities that God gives us to help us serve, care, and take care of the church and each other. Spiritual gifts are things we can do well that we use within the church to serve Jesus and help tell others about his story. So each week, your parents will get a sheet like this. And it has questions to answer. And based on your answers, you’ll get a number – your score. The score doesn’t help you win anything – it just tells you what gift you might be better at. If you want, you should try to answer them too. They’ll cover all kinds of topics – some that you are good at and some that you aren’t. You might answer some questions and get a low score – and that’s okay. God doesn’t give us every talent and ability. We only are given a select few because God knows that the gifts were given are gifts this church and this world needs. So we’ll spend time looking at our spiritual gifts, discovering them, talking about them, and hopefully sharing them with each other. Because this church is bigger than just one person. This church needs you.and me…and you,land you…and everyone so that we can love, and serve, and follow Jesus in everything that we say and do.

Thank you for being here! And I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/15/2018.

Children’s Sermon: BLESS

Bring several different kinds of stuffed animals (hopefully 1 for each kid). Make sure they’re the kind of animals not typically brought to a blessing of the animals event.
Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today is a fun day because we’re worshipping in a new space (the fellowship hall) and we’re surrounded by….animals! Describe all the different animals that you see. They’re here for a very special reason. They’re here because we’re going to bless them.

It’s a bit of an odd thing to bless something. We don’t do that all the time. We usually only do it when someone sneezes. They’ll sneeze Ah-choo! And we’ll sometimes tell them God Bless You. And that’s a blessing. It’s a strange blessing but it’s one of the few times in our daily life when we’ll say the word “bless.” But we don’t have to only use the word bless when we sneeze. In fact, God invites us to bless everything.

Because a blessing is three things. A blessing, first, is a celebration. We see something or someone in our life who is about to do something difficult or new or maybe just needs us to point it out to other people that this is important – so every blessing is a celebration – of noticing what’s important and asking God to see it too. An blessing is, second, a prayer. We talk to God and ask that this person or animal or object is given all the good and loving and wonderful things that God can give. A blessing is, third, an act of faith. It’s when we say, in a very public way, that God is important to us – and we trust in God – and so we ask God to bring goodness to whatever it is that we bless. God knows what this person or thing or animal needs. And God will be with them always. But we can, as followers of Jesus, take a moment to celebrate something special, to pray about it with God, and to trust that God will be loving and kind and awesome.

So that’s why we bless all sorts of things. We bless weddings and people. We bless babies when they’re born and gardens when we plant them. We bless animals because of all the love the bring in our lives and we also bless each other – each and every week at the end of the service – because all of us need to remember just how loved we are and just how important we are to God.

Now who do you think can do blessings? Pastors. Pastors can! And that’s part of what I get to do. But we can also bless each other. So I brought these animals up here so that you can practice blessings. So let’s try it.

Pass out the animals. Practice Cookie the Goldfish, creature of God, may the Father Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever. Amen

That’s it! You just blessed something. So later today, you can bless your friends, your siblings, and definitely your parents because we all need blessing sometimes. And God invites us to bless all things and all people every day – because when we bless, we share God’s love.

Thank you for being here! And I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on 5th Sunday after Pentecost, 6/24/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Seeds seeds seeds

Bring a coloring sheet for kids to color. Sheet is the life-cycle of the seed. Bring crayons so they can color too.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today, like all Sundays, I want to talk a little bit about Jesus. Jesus, when he was talking to people, liked to talk in about stories. He liked to tell these stories – that we call parables – to help us try to imagine a little bit about who God is, what God is doing in the world, and how much God loves us. Today, in our reading about Jesus from the gospel according to Mark, we’re going to hear Jesus use two different stories. And I’d like to, right now, talk about the first story he tells.

And that story involves this: show the coloring sheet of the plant’s life cycle.

Now, I’m going to talk about this piece of paper but as I do – I want you to color. Pass out crayons.

So this picture tells a story…of what’s this little round thing? A seed. And where is the seed? In the soil. And what’s it doing through the other pictures? It grows. That’s right. This picture shows how a plant grows. It starts as a seed. And then little sprouts grow. And then little roots. And then the sprout comes out of the ground. Leaves grow and the plant gets bigger and bigger. For most plants, this is how they grow. They start as a seed…and then the grow big.

Now, we know what a plant needs to grow. It’s needs soil; it needs sun; it needs enough water. And sometimes Jesus and his friends talk about the ways we can help Jeff a plant grow. But Jesus, in the first story today, doesn’t talk about how we can help a plant grow. Rather, Jesus points us to something amazing: that this plant, in the first place, grows at all.

Because is there any way you can tell a seed to grow? Can you point to it and say…GROW! And make it grow right then and there? Nope. We can help them grow – but we can’t make them grow. Instead, the seed is planted and it grows when it grows.

Jesus uses this image of a seed to tell us something about God. It’s hard to always see God at work. There are times when we are sad; or we are hurting; or we’re super happy – and we just don’t really see God around us. It’s difficult to see God’s love showing up in the people around us and in our world. But Jesus reminds us that even though we don’t see God, God is here. Even though we don’t always know how God’s love shows up around us, God’s love is here – and it’s growing – and it’s showing up – and it’s making a difference. God loves you. Jesus is with you. Jesus is helping you. And we are, like the seed, becoming more like the loving, kind, and Christian person God knows we can be.

Thank you for being here! And I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, 6/17/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Tickets from Jesus

Bring Your Ticket Archive Book.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So tonight is a very special night in my household. It’s the night when my family gather arounds to watch the greatest awards show there is – the Tonys! The Tonys, if you don’t know, is a show that celebrates all the amazing plays and musicals that were on Broadway, in New York City, over the last year. The awards are given out for best musical, best play, best actors, and more. And what’s really fun about it is that a lot of the musicals on Broadway bring a song from their show and perform it at the award show. That means if we’re not able to go to a Broadway show because we can’t afford it or live far away – we can still get a taste of this amazing plays and musicals are about – by turning on the tv and watching this fun show.

So since it’s the Tonys tonight – that got me thinking – and so I brought with me today…this. Show your ticket archive. It’s my ticket stub archive. Inside, I’ve shoved all sorts of ticket stubs, flyers, and some playbills from shows I saw. I don’t think it’s in any kind of order. We can see up in the front this these small little flyers from punk shows I saw when I was in college. Then there’s a few playbills and flyers talking about a Roller Derby show I’ve been to, an improv musical where the actors on stage make up songs, a playbill from the show Matilida…and then when we get into the center…we see rows and rows of tickets. I don’t have every ticket to everything I’ve seen but I’ve got most.

Walk through with them. Show the tickets and ask what the kids see. They see names, dates, numbers.

After a bit, go to the one that is your first Broadway.

Now, I didn’t grow up that interested in Broadway shows. I didn’t really see too many plays or musicals. I was much more interested in rock ‘n roll shows so that’s what I tried to do. But then someone invited me to see my first Broadway show. And it was this one – almost 12 years ago to this day. It was called Hot Feet. And it was…terrible. The story made no sense. The costumes were ridiculous. And the music, while entertaining, didn’t really fit at all. It was such a terrible show that the person who took me to it had to apologize, it was so bad.

Now, I could have decided then and there to never see another musical or play again. I tried it. I went. I stayed in my seat the whole time. I did the whole thing…and I just didn’t like it. But just because something isn’t great the first time – doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it again. And so the next time I was invited to a Broadway show I went. And I liked it. And then I kept going, over and over again. And, now, certain musicals and shows are just a part of my life.

All of you are going to sometimes experience things that, at first, seem boring. Or maybe a little scary. Or maybe you’ll try it and it won’t go well so you’ll want to give up. But I’m going to invite you to keep trying. Don’t give up. If it seems too hard at first, be patient and try again. Because, no matter what we’re trying, no matter how difficult it is, no matter how scared we are – we have someone on our side who is right there with us. And that’s…Jesus. Jesus is with you when things are going well and when things aren’t going well. Jesus is there when you’re working hard and winning all the time. And he’s there when you feel like you want to just give up. Jesus is our ticket [Pass out Tickets that you made talking about Jesus] to keep trying, over and over again, because when as we try, we grow and discover just who Jesus knows we can be.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, 6/3/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Night Light

Bring a Night Light. Maybe bring something dark to cover the light. It’s based on this:

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I want to talk about a sentence we’ll hear later, in our 2nd reading, and it’s something God says “let light shine out of darkness.”

Let…light…shine. That got me thinking – what are the different ways we can make light or help light shine? We can light a candle. Turn on a light switch. Light a fire. We can’t, on our own, make light – but we can use or create tools that can make light for us. And so I brought one of those tools today and that’s this: show the nightlight. And so when God says “let light shine!” I can turn this button on and….light shines!

Well, sort of. It’s a bit hard to see. This isn’t designed, like a flashlight, to give out light. It’s instead a light that is used at night. Use the cover to cover the light so that the kids can see how, a little light makes a big difference in a dark place. When we’re in a dark room, maybe in bed sleeping, and we wake up and can’t see anything – we can turn on this light – and we’ll be able to see. It’s not a lot of light so it won’t fill the room or hurt our eyes or what not. It’ll just be a little light to help us see – and to help us feel and believe that we’re okay and we’re not alone.

Now, there are times when we might feel like we’re a bit overwhelmed…or sad…or scared. We might feel like we’re in a room, in the middle of the night, and wondering if anyone can see us – or if there’s any light that can help us. We might even wonder where God is – thinking that, since we can’t see God, God isn’t really with us.

But what we hear in the 2nd reading is a promise that God has made to each of us. And that promise is that, no matter what, we’ve already been given God’s love – God’s joy – and God’s hope – through Jesus. So even in those moments when we feel really sad; even in those moments when we feel all alone; even in those moments when we feel alone – Jesus is right there with us. We might not see Jesus like we see each other. We might not feel Jesus like if we can feel our own hands. But Jesus has been given to us already. So we carry with us always, our own Jesus nightlight – who is always sending light to us when we’re sad; or afraid; or scared. He’s always telling us that we aren’t alone. And he’s making a promise that because we have him, in the end, we will be okay.

So always remember – no matter what – you’ve got Jesus. And there’s nothing in the night that can take that away from you.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, 6/3/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Eating Trinity

It’s Pentecost – so we’re going to light a fire in the baptismal font.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So it’s about look at clock and I don’t know about you, but it’s at this time of the day when I could use a little snack. What about you? They’ll say yes. So let’s see. What do I have? Pretzels! Mmm. Let’s have some of these pretzels.

Pass out pretzels. Start eating.

So did you ever look at these kinds of pretzels before? They’re kind of cool. They are like 3 different sections but they make one pretzel. There’s this part and this part and this part. And they’re all connected together. This kind of pretzel needs all these different parts to make it a full pretzel. If the pretzel was broken and it didn’t have this part Bite it so it’s missing a piece or this one bite it again or this one bite it – it’s still sort of a pretzel but it’s not exact. For this kind of pretzel to be whole – to be complete – it needs all 3 pieces together to make 1 whole pretzel.

Today is a special day in the church calendar and it’s called Trinity Sunday. Now Trinity is a word that doesn’t appear in the bible. In fact, the word itself didn’t show up until several hundred years after the bible was finally compiled and put together. The word Trinity is a word that describes God. And like this pretzel, the word Trinity talks about God’s 3 parts. And these parts are the ways we experience God in our lives. There’s the part that creates – that we sometimes calls Father. There’s the part that saves us – that we sometimes call Son. And there’s the part that helps us every day in our lives – and that we sometimes calls the Holy Spirit. Now these 3 parts aren’t distinct – they’re not 100% unique. Like this pretzel, they move and flow and are attached to each other so all parts of God are involved in making us who we are; all parts of God are involved in saving us; all parts of God are involved in helping us through our lives. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is 3 and one and One in Three. God is the Trinity.

Now the Trinity is confusing – so don’t worry if you don’t understand it. I don’t understand it fully either – and I don’t think I ever will. But the trinity does show us something. It shows us how God chooses to be – and that’s connected. Like this pretzel, with each part being connected to each other, so God chooses to be connected; to be in relationship; to reach out and form these bonds of love, friendship, and family that make God who God is. And since God chooses to be connected, we are invited to be connected to each other – to our friends, family, church members, and even strangers – just like God is.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on Trinity Sunday, 5/27/2018.

Children’s sermon: light a fire in the baptismal font

It’s Pentecost – so we’re going to light a fire in the baptismal font.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I want you to stand right about there….and look straight ahead. What do you see? The altar. The baptismal font. The pretty red paraments. Everything looks great, doesn’t it? We have the baptismal font setup here. We have the altar with almost everything it needs so we can share in communion with each other later in the service. There are red flowers on the floor and there’s red What shape/images are on the red paraments? Yellow flames of fire.

We’re surrounded by red which is a color that can represent fire. It represents how bright a fire can get. It represents the color a fire can get. And it represents the heat – the red hot heat a fire gets out. Where do you see fire? Fireplaces. Forest Fires. The altar candles.

We usually imagine fire in all those places – but we don’t usually think about fire in the church. But today…we will. Today, we’ll hear a story that’s full of fire. We hear how Jesus’ friends, after his resurrection, are gathered together just like we are. They’re hanging out together in the city of Jerusalem when, suddenly, a sound like a mighty wind – like the winds we heard this week when that storm came through – shows up. And scripture tells us that these little images of flames seemed to float and land on each of Jesus’ friends heads. Once they landed on their head, they didn’t hurt them. Instead, these little flames of fire helped Jesus’ friends do something amazing. It let them tell about Jesus – about God – and how much Jesus loves them and the world – in such a way that people, from all over the world, heard that story in a language they understood. The little flames of fire helped these friends of Jesus, when they talked about Jesus to people they didn’t know, be understood. And those little flames of fire, that mighty wind, is a description of what the Holy Spirit can do. The Holy Spirit – this part of God that comes to us – inspires us – and fills us up – helps us share Jesus’ story that the people around us – our families, friends, neighbors, and even strangers – can understand just how much Jesus loves them.

But the Holy Spirit doesn’t only show up on a windy day or when a little flame of fire appears over our head. In fact, it’s probably already showed up to you. When do you think the Holy Spirit showed up to you? Accept answers. Those are great – but there’s one place where the Holy Spirit met you – and that’s here – light the baptismal font on fire.

When we were baptized, even if we don’t remember it, we were given a precious gift. We were given Jesus. We were made part of Jesus’ family. And we were given this Holy Spirit – this force, presence, and active part of God that inspires us to be like Jesus, to follow his teaching, and to share Jesus no matter if we’re 3 years old or 93. Our baptism is the fuel that feeds our faith, our relationship with God, and helps us be the kind, caring, loving, and Christian people God wants us to be.

So now look at the scene again. What do you see? Fire. The Holy Spirit. All of us, right now, are filled with the fire of the Spirit. And because you have that Spirit – each of you – and all of you out there – can share Jesus with everyone.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on Pentecost, 5/20/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Card Carrying Lutheran

Bring your wallet (not too many things in it) but make sure you have your Lutheran card.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I have a question: when you want to buy something, what do you need? Money. Credit Cards. Apple Pay. Accept answers. Right! And I usually keep many of those things in this: show your wallet. Let’s go through my wallet and see what’s in there.

Go through what’s in your wallet. Show credit cards, health care cards, random cards for ice creams, and your clergy card. Even show cash (if you have any – you millennial you). But then stop when you have your Lutheran card.

Now this card is a very special card. What do you see on it? Go through it. Luther’s face. My name. Luther’s seal. Old Lutheran logo. I got this as a gift for my birthday and I like it because it’s very funny. This card makes me, a literal card carrying Lutheran. If anyone wanted to know what faith I am or what I believe, I can just take out this card and show it to them: I’m a Lutheran. I’m a fan of Jesus. I dig the church. I worship, pray, and hang out with Scripture. And this card says that there is a certain point of view, a certain flavor, a certain perspective of talking about Jesus – this Lutheran thing – that feeds my soul.

But let’s imagine for a moment that I don’t have this card. And you weren’t going through my wallet. And you didn’t know me. You just saw me walking down the street, dressed like I normally am. How could you tell if I was a Christian? Or even a Lutheran? Accept answers. But, in general, you can’t.

How can someone, by just looking at us, learn, hear, and get to know Jesus? They can’t.

People can only hear about God’s love for them if we tell them about it. People can only get to know Jesus if we show them who Jesus is. It’s great to be a Lutheran Christian. It’s awesome to follow Jesus. But if we keep Jesus to ourselves, like if we leave our Lutheran card in our wallet so that no one can see it – then we keep a part of ourselves hidden from the world around us. Jesus doesn’t want us to keep his love hidden. He wants us to show it, to share it, and to live a life where that love compels all of us to just keep talking about Jesus. Because if you or me or your parents or all your friends out here don’t talk about Jesus, who will?

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 7th Sunday of Easter, 5/13/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Matchbox Love

Bring a box of Matchbox cars someone gave you at T&T.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today. I want to share with you something that happened here at the church yesterday. We had our big Trash and Treasure sale. We fill the entire place full of toys, housewares, plates, clothing – basically everything – and then in one day, sell as much as we can. People start showing up at 6:30 in the morning, lining up to get in. It’s pretty amazing if you’ve never had a chance to see it.

So I was there yesterday morning, preparing our welcome tent. It’s a place in front of the line where we serve coffee, water, and take prayer requests for people waiting to go to the sale. So as the line was filling up, and we were busy getting ready for the sale, and right when the doors were about to open – a car drives up to me. And a guy gets out. And he’s carrying a big box – much bigger than this one. He dropped it at my feet. He looked me in the face, he said “here’s a bunch of things for your sale!” and then he jumped into his car and…drove away. Before I could even understand what he was doing, he was already gone and I was left with this big box – at my feet.

Now, imagine for a moment, you were me in that moment. I’m busy trying to get everything ready for the hundreds of people coming to the church – because we want to treat them well. The last time someone was supposed to bring things to the sale was two days ago – so this guy was obviously breaking the rules. And before I could even respond, he was off! How would you feel?

Accept answers.

What do you think were different ways I could have responded?

Accept answers.

I could have said “hey! Wait a minute!” and explained we didn’t have time to go through the stuff in the box or price it or get it to the right place so someone would buy it. And that would have been okay to do. I could have said “nope!” and been a time firm and stern about it because we were here, at the church till 11 pm the night before, trying to get everything ready. And I could have ignored the box – just left it there – and hope someone else take it so I don’t have to worry about it. Or just wait until the end of the sale, and toss it into the dumpster. All of those options – would have been right because that person didn’t follow the rules, assumed that I could just take them, and decided to make his problem – his box full of things – my problem without even asking. He put me in a tough spot where I didn’t even have time to think.

So I didn’t think. I instead chose to act in the most loving way possible. And I opened the box.

Open the box. Show the cars inside.

It was a box full of matchbox cars! So I put them outside, and gave them away free, knowing that these cars would bring someone joy.

In our story about Jesus today, Jesus is going to tell his followers that they should, when they can, always love. There will be times when we get caught in an unexpected moment or someone will make their problem our problem or that will be stressed out and overwhelmed and we won’t know what to do – and so when that happens – you know what we do? We do what Jesus asks us to always do – love. When we’re stressed out, we love. When we’re angry, we love. When we’re scared, we make sure to love ourselves and others if we can. We always just love – because when we love, we do what Jesus does for us each and every day – he loves us – always!

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 6th Sunday of Easter, 5/6/2018.