Children’s Sermon: Meet John (the baptist)

Bring Honey Sticks. Bring Spark Story Bible.

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today.

So today in our gospel reading, we’re going to meet someone named John. Now John was a bit unusual. Open story bible to page 234. Here’s one picture of what an artist imagined John the Baptist to look like. What do you see? He’s got big hair. Little eyes. Big Nose. A big mouth. And he’s eating a bug. A bug! It’s a kind of bug called a grasshopper. Our bible story will tell us today that this man named John will be hanging out in the wilderness eating grasshoppers and wild honey. That doesn’t sound like the most yummy meal to eat.

But John seems to be doing okay out in the wilderness. And that word “wilderness” is important. It’s a word that means a place where there are no towns, buildings, cars, and where people don’t really live. What do you think a place like that looks like? A forest. A prairie. A dessert. It’s empty of people but full of animals, and maybe different kinds of plants. A wilderness is a place that’s a little bit adventurous but also a little scary. It’s a place where, if we need help, we might not find what we need. It’s a place where, in today’s term, you get no cell service. There’s no gas stations if our gas tank in our car is low or a water fountain and we can’t stop by Target to pick up new clothes or something we need. A wilderness is a place where we might need to bring all the stuff we need. We’ll need to bring all the food, and bed, and a tent – all the things to have a camp. Because, out in the wilderness, it feels like nothing is out there. We can feel scared because we might feel alone. We can be a little nervous because we might feel lost and unsure of where to go. And we might feel anxious because being a new place or a place far from home can be scary.

But there’s someone else always out in the wilderness – and that’s God.

John was in the wilderness because he knew that even in scary places, God is there. Even when we are scared, or we find ourselves anxious, or we’re confused and feeling lost, God is right there with us. In fact, there’s nowhere we can go that God can’t find us. There might be times when you’re feeling anxious, scared, or lost. You might find yourself in a wilderness or feeling like you’re living one. But even when we feel as if we are in a wilderness, God is always there, helping us, loving us, guiding us, and making sure we are never alone.

Now, you’ll hear how John ate bugs. I couldn’t find any bugs…but I did find…honey! So if you can have a honey stick, here you go. Share the honey sticks.

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 Second Sunday of Advent, 12/10/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Invite and Share

Bring 100 postcards with an invitation to Christmas Eve worship services. Be by the Advent Wreath.

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today. I hope you had a great week.

Now today is a special day because it is the start of a season in the church year called Advent. Can you say Advent? Advent! Great! Advent is 4 weeks long – 4 complete Sundays – and it’s a time when the church is covered in the color…point to stole…blue. Later today, some of us will decorate the church with wreaths and a big, green, tree. Advent is a time when we’re waiting for something. In fact, the word Advent means “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” So what do you think we’re waiting for? Christmas! That’s right. Advent is the season when we countdown to Christmas, to the day we celebrate Jesus being born and God choosing to live a human life to serve, love, and save the entire world.

Advent is also a time when we use this. Go over to the Advent Wreath. This is called an Advent wreath and it has space for 4 candles. Each candle represents one Sunday as we countdown to Christmas. So since today is the first Sunday we’re going to light one candle. Let’s light one candle together. Light one candle with the kids.

One of the beautiful things about candles is they burn, shine, and look pretty. What’s something that candles give off? Heat. Light. If we get close, we can feel heat because it is on fire. And if we look at it, we see light. The candle shares it’s light and it’s warmth, serving as a reminder to what Jesus is about to do: come into the world to show us the warmth of God’s love for you and all of us.

And so, when I was thinking about what the candle shares, I thought of something that maybe we can share too. We as a church are going to have a big celebration on Christmas Eve. Since Christmas Eve is on a Sunday, we’ll have one worship service at 10 am in the morning to mark the end of Advent. And then we’ll have our two worship services at night, at 5 pm and 10:30 pm, to mark Jesus entering the world. I love these Christmas services. The music is great, everyone gets dressed up, and it’s a beautiful time for all of us to be together. It’s a great service that shows just how much God loves us. And all of us are going to experience that – but wouldn’t it be great if all our friends or family members or neighbors could join us? Yeah! So why don’t we share an invitation with them to do that?

I have with me postcards and I’m going to need your help. Let’s give 1 or 2 postcards to each person and family. This way, all of you can address them to people you know and invite them to come to worship with you on Christmas Eve. With a simple postcard, we can – like this candle – bring warmth and hope to someone who might need it this year. So let’s invite and share Jesus this Christmas.

Pass out postcards. 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 First Sunday of Advent, 12/3/2017.

Children’s Sermon: King (Queen)

Bring a printout of a coloring sheet that has “Love the Lord with all your heart, etc.” Bring the book of Peppa Goes to London.

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving. I’m still pretty full from all the delicious foods I was able to eat. My favorite was a fancy cheesecake and pie that I had. What was something you ate recently that you liked? Accept answers.

So when I was thinking about today’s lesson today, I was thinking a lot about a king. What does a king have? Fancy clothes, a castle, a crown. It’s hard to think about kings and queens and royalty here because we don’t have them. But there’s a book my in-laws recently gave my kids that I thought might. Read Peppa Goes to London through the page where the Queen takes over a bus. A king or queen is someone who, like in the story, tells us to do something – and we’re called to do it. Kings were people that were in charge. They oversaw countries, territories, and towns. They made decisions about government, who did what, and what kind of things they should do. And there were all sorts of different kings – and kings with other kings over them. So in Jesus’ time, there was a king over where he lived – King Herod – who had a king who told him what to do, Pontius Pilate – who was a governor from Rome – and Pontius Pilate had a king he reported to – the Emperor of Rome who was in charge over everyone and everything. What the Emperor said, was what everyone was supposed to do. And, sometimes, the Emperor would say good things but sometimes they would say bad. And it was hard to say no when the Emperor asked everyone to do bad things – things that hurt people, or made people cry, or took things from them. When people said no to that, they would be arrested or hurt themselves. So people did what the Emperor did because the Emperor was in charge – and it was dangerous if they didn’t do what the Emperor asked.

But you know what? There’s a king who is even more important than the Emperor. It’s a king who oversees everything. It’s a king who cares about what we say, what we do, and loves everyone – whether they call him king or not. And it’s a king who will always tell you to do the king, caring, and loving thing. And that’s Jesus. As Christians, as people who have been baptized, and as people who know who Jesus is – Jesus is our king. But what are the things you think Jesus tells us? Accept answers.

Well – one thing that Jesus tells us is to do this – go over the coloring sheet. Point out the crown. Point out our response. What are the ways we can love and serve like Jesus does? Take care of people. Help people. Be kind. If you want to connect to the lesson last week, talk about the leaves full of promises.

So I want you to take these back to your seat – these coloring sheets – and color them during the service. And then, when you get home, you can hang it on your fridge and your wall – as reminder that we have a king who will never steer us wrong, who will love us always, and who will help 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 Christ the King Sunday, 11/26/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Pledge

Set-up a “tree” in the sanctuary. Have leaves of different colors that you can hook to the branches of the tree. Bring a pledge card and time and talent sheet. Start at where the tree is. A commitment/stewardship tree based on Psalm 1:3. “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper”

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today. Thank you for doing something different today and sitting with me by this tree. So let’s talk about the tree. Is it small or big? Is it tall or short? What is it missing? Leaves! Right! It’s missing leaves. Now I know it is fall outside and trees out there are loosing their leaves. But I think this tree could use some pretty leaves, don’t you? YES! So let’s each put a special leaf on the tree but first…I want us to write something on them first because today is a special day at church.

Today is a day when many people here will drop in the offering plate later in the service an envelope that is filled with a green pledge card and a time and talent sheet that is filled out. This pledge card is green, like the leaf of a green and growing tree. The time and talent sheet is filled with different ways to volunteer to help people, help the church, and make a difference all over the world. Each year, we’re asked to fill this out and turn them into the church. They both represent a promise that we make to God of the ways we’ll support what God is doing in the world. God gives us financial gifts so, if we can, we give that money to the church. God made each of us as special and unique; we all have different things we can do that others can’t. So we make a pledge to use our gifts to help the church and the world. This pledge and this time and talent sheet is one way we respond to all the blessings and love God gives us.

But even if we can’t fill out a pledge card or a time and talent sheet, even if we think we’re too young to help out, too busy, or too old, we all have something we can offer to God and to others. We can all make a promise that we will share God’s love by doing one thing. And so these leaves that we have will be leaves of promises that we will hang and cover this tree. So let’s start: what’s one thing you can pledge to God to help love others as much as God loves you? Help at church. Clean my room, Help my brother. Donate a toy to a friend. Listen to someone who needs help. Be kind.

These are all great! And let’s hang them on the tree. Hang them on the tree. Now, I need one more thing for you to do. This tree needs more leaves – and everyone else is going to put them on. So let’s pass out a leaf to everyone – no matter their age. They can spend time thinking about what they can give to God, and then they’ll write it down and before they leave church today, they’ll hang them on this tree. And then, at the end of the worship today, we’ll have a tree covered in promises because God makes a big promise to each of us: no matter what and no matter where we go, God will never stop loving us.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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 24th Sunday After Pentecost, 11/19/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Wait

Bring stickers for kids to have.

So I have something here…what are they? Stickers. Stickers! Who likes stickers? MEEEEEE. I like stickers too. And at the end of this children’s message, I’m going to give you these stickers. I’m going to give you each one. But only at the end. Until then, we all need to wait. And wait. And wait.

So you know what’s something I don’t like doing? Waiting. Waiting can be so boring sometimes. Like, when it’s dinner time, and I have to wait for the food to bake. I’m hungry now. I want to eat now. But I have to wait. And wait. And wait. Do you like waiting? Nope! What are things you don’t like to wait for? Accept answers from the kids. Those are all hard things to wait for.

Today, we’re going to hear a lot of different lessons from the bible that are going to talk about waiting. And we’re waiting for someone specific. The bible tells us that we’re here to wait for…Jesus. Jesus, God’s Son, already came to our world. He lived in it, made friends in it, helped people, and showed everyone what God’s loved looks like. Even though we don’t see him, he’s still here helping us love each other. The bible tells us that, someday, Jesus will come back so that everyone can see him. So we’re waiting for him to return, to come back, so everyone can see him and everyone can see just how much God loves us.

So that means we have to wait. And it’s hard to wait. Like we’re still here, waiting for me to give you the stickers. What are the things we can do while we wait? Be patient. Be kind. Be helpful. Love everyone. So Jesus promises to come. We know he’s going to come. But, right now, we need to wait. But we wait knowing the promise will be fulfilled. So God invites us to act like the promise is true and that it’s already here. So if we think Jesus will take care of everyone when he is here, we take care everyone now. If we think Jesus will welcome everyone into his family, we do the same as well. We can’t do everything Jesus do – Jesus is God so Jesus knows things we don’t. Jesus can judge about people more than we can. So Jesus doesn’t want us to pretend to judge each other like he can. But he does tell us to love each other like we can. So that’s what we do. While we wait – we love.

And here’s your stickers!

Thank you for being up 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 23rd Sunday After Pentecost, 11/12/2017.

Children’s Sermon: What’s Call?

All Saints. Bring a light (iPhone), Justice League action figures, and a batman mask. Make sure light has bat signal on it. Going to shine a bat signal on a piece of paper.

So I brought some friends with me today: my superhero friends! But not Marvel these are DC…the Justice league to be sure. I have…Superman. Green Lantern. And Wonder Woman. But…wait a second. I’m missing someone. Who do you think I’m missing? Batman! Batman. I wonder where he is? If we don’t know where someone is, how can we reach them? Email. Text. Yell. Call. We could call them! Bring out phone. Do you know Batman’s number? I don’t. Is there another way we can call him? Bat signal. The bat signal!

Now, I don’t have a big bat signal but I do have this one. Shine the iPhone and use the little signal. Shine on piece of paper. When we call Batman, when we use the bat signal, we are telling Batman that we have a job for him to do. There’s a villain somewhere or someone needs helps. We need Batman to help make a difference. That’s what we need when we call for Batman.

In church, we sometimes use that same word: call. It’s not an easy word to understand. When I talk about our “calling,” we might be confused. And that’s ok. But that’s why I think about the bat signal. Just like we send out word when we have a job for Batman, God sends us a signal, a call, to do a job God wants us to do. All of us have a calling that God gives us. And the call can show up in different ways. When someone asks us for help, that’s god telling us to help. When we see someone hurting, that’s God calling us to see if we can make them feel better. And if we see someone crying, we might not always be able to make it better, but we can sit with them and let them know that we will stay with them, no matter what. Because that’s some of the jobs God gives us as Christians. Helping is a job God gives you and it’s something you can do, no matter how old or young you are. You are God’s superhero – and just like Batman (put on mask) can help when we call for him, God calls you to help others too.

Thank you for being up 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 All Saints’ Sunday, 11/05/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Coloring Community

500th Birthday of the Reformation! Bring a color sheet (page 40) from the resources by NC Lutherans. We’re worshipping with First Congregational (UCC) and Pascack Reformed Church.

So for those who don’t know me, I’m Pastor Marc and I’m the pastor here at this church. I am so happy that all of you are here today. And today is a very special day. We’re doing something we don’t usually do – and all of us are here together, at this church, today. Most Sundays, we’re at our own churches. Some of us are at Pascack Reformed in Park Ridge. Others at First Congregational, United Church of Christ, in Park Ridge. And others are here, at Christ Lutheran Church. We are all part of 3 different church communities – with different traditions and stories and background. But we’re all here – together – to celebrate something that happened a long time ago – that is part of all our histories and where we come from. We’re basically having a party – and like every good party, we have special music and after church we’ll have food and time to talk to each other. But one thing I like to have at a good party is decorations – more than the amazing decorations than we have already. So let’s make a few simple ones.

Pass out clipboards with the page 40 coloring sheet (all the different communities the ELCA is partners with) and crayons.

This is a coloring sheet and I hope everyone got one…good! Now, let’s start coloring – and while we color, let’s talk about it. What do you see on the page? Accept answers. It’s also full of symbols (describe the symbols). Do any of the symbols look familiar to you? Have Pastor Mark and Pastor Larissa share which ones look familiar to them too. Everyone keeps coloring! And there are words in the middle of it – Get someone to read them.

The words are from a letter that tradition says a man named Paul wrote almost 2 thousands years ago. That’s a lot time ago. But these are words from our bible, from our scripture, and this verse describes a little bit about why we are gathered here together. All of us are unique and different from each other. We are part of 3 different churches. We have 3 different traditions that inspire us and help us know God. We all have like different things, have different favorite colors, and come from different families. We are not the same. But I believe that God doesn’t want us to all be the same. God likes that we are different. God likes that we use different colors to color different parts of our coloring sheets. God values you – and can’t wait to see you grow up and, everyday, discover just how much God loves you.

So on this Sunday, when we celebrate this special party about a guy who, 500 years ago, wanted all of us to know the gifts God give us and how God loves us unconditionally, we celebrate what makes us different and special but also what makes us neighbors and friends – Point to the Cross. Jesus is what makes us who we are – and draws us together – and shows us how God loves us. Because all of us are part of God’s people – and belong to God’s holy, diverse, and amazing family.

Thank you for being up 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 Reformation Sunday, 10/29/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Birth…I mean Baptism Candle

There’s a baptism at 10:30 am. Focus on the baptism candle.

I’m so happy you’re here today!

So today at the 10:30 am we’re going to have a baptism! I’m really excited about it. God loves us always and a baptism is one of the ways we know God does. Little —- is going to be carried up here to the front and in front of family and friends and the entire church, God is going to make a promise to be with —- always. And this is a gift because the creator of the entire universe, of all the stars and planets and blackholes and all creatures and animals and other people is going to say to give little —– a gift of love that will never end, no matter what. And this gift of love is a promise – a promise from God to help us grow in faith and love towards God and each other.

Part of the baptism involves this….what is it? A candle. A candle! Right! Let’s talk about the candle for a bit. Is it small or big? Is it as big as the altar candles? Is it as big as a birthday candles on a cake? Accept all answer. Get the kids to talk about the candle a lot.

There are only a few times when I use candles at home. When there is a birthday, and we need a special cake or cupcake, we need candles on the cake to represent the party. We put the candles on the cake, sometimes having enough candles to represent how old someone is, light then and then what? Sing a song and watch the person blow out the candles. And when a person blows out a candles, we tell them to do what? Make a wish! We usually tell people not to tell their wish – but sometimes I wish for a special present, or for something fun to happen, or I wish that my family and friends have a fun time or are taken care or etc. What other wishes could you make? Accept answers.

Well, this candle is like a birthday candle because it has a wish attached to it too. But instead of a wish that we ask after we blow the candle out – this wish, this prayer we make, this promise God makes to us, is made once we light the candle. Because scripture tells us that Jesus is like a candle in a darkened room or a flashlight in the middle of a night. When we have a hard decision to make, Jesus promises to help us. When we are confused or worried or don’t know what to do, Jesus promises to the help us. When we have a choice to make between what will only help us and what will help other people, Jesus promises to show us what God wants. This candle is a candle that marks our baptism. It’s a birthday candle that celebrates the day God, in a very public place, tells the entire world that we are loved. This candle will be for —- a sign that Jesus will always light his way. And that’s a wish, a prayer, and a promise that we can never blow out.

Thank you for being up 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 20th Sunday After Pentecost, 10/22/2017.

Children’s Sermon: You’re Invited

Bring Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch.

I’m so happy you’re here today!

So I want to start with a question: what’s your favorite meal of the day? Accept answers. My favorite is…lunch. I love lunch. It’s in the middle of the day. You get to eat all kinds of foods. I love sandwiches, burgers, and more. Lunch is great! And you know who also like’s lunch? Pete the Cat.

We’re not going to read all of this story but there’s a special story about Pete…and his big lunch. Walk through the story. Pete gets hungry because it’s lunch time and he does what I do at lunch time: open the fridge, stare at it, and wonder what I’m going to eat. Pete wants a sandwich so he starts pulling things out. Go through the weird things Pete pulls out. There’s a whole apple. A whole fish. A box of crackers. A jar of mayo. A can of beans. A pickle. All sorts of stuff! This sandwich is whacky and weird and Pete knows it’s going to be delicious. But once he’s done – he’s got a problem. It’s too big for him to eat by himself. So Pete thinks and thinks and thinks…and what do you think he does? How can he get help eating this sandwich? He calls his friends and invites them. Pete invites all his friends to help share his big lunch.

Jesus is going to tell a story today and part of that story involves someone who throws a big party – a big party with lots and lots of food. Like Pete’s lunch, there’s more food than one person could eat in one sitting. The person who is throwing his party is going to invite people who are like him – people who can afford to have a big party with lots of guests. But those guests don’t come. So the host invites everyone – regardless of who they are, what money they make, or if they are friends or not. The host invites everyone to this party – to this place to eat and share a meal – and the host does that because the host can. The host has something amazing to share and invites all different kinds of people to share in it.

Jesus invites us to imagine that his love and his care for us is like being invited to a big party or being invited to some place with a big lunch. Jesus invites us to realize that all of us, regardless of how old we are or what we know or how many times we go to church or if we took a bath last night or whatever – Jesus invites all of us to be with him. And he does this not because we’re perfect or wonderful or get everything right. Jesus invites all of us to his party because that’s just who Jesus is. You right now are part of Jesus’ party. You, right now, get to share in Jesus’ love and hope. You, right now, are part of Jesus’ family and are in his party. And that invitation – changes everything.

Thank you for being up 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 19th Sunday After Pentecost, 10/15/2017.