Children’s Sermon: R E P E N T

REPENT. This is from Worshipping With Children. Today’s candle is “Peace.”

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

We’re going to me a guy in our story about Jesus today who goes by the name John. And we call him John the Baptist. John the Baptist was, according to the gospel according to Luke, was Jesus’ cousin. John the Baptist was kind of a wild guy. He liked to dress like an outdoorsman who lived off the land, wearing camel hair clothes, and eating bugs for his lunch. He was hanging out in the country, in the wilderness, in the places where there were not cities or farms or villages. He was in a wild place – and he was there because he knew that God would meet him there.

While John was in the wilderness, God spoke to him and gave John the words he should use. And one of his favorite words is…this one Show the word It’s…Repent. Let’s say it together. Repent! This is a word that John uses again and again. Repent – Repent – Repent! Repent is a word we don’t usually use a lot. It’s one of those church words – words that we use in church but that we don’t always hear at school. But “Repent” is a word that we should all use. And what it means is…turn the page over…it means “sorry.” Being sorry is feeling bad that you did something wrong or your hurt someone. And being sorry is something we all have experienced.

But did you notice something different about these two words? They’re different sizes. Repent is big and sorry is small! Right! I wrote R E P E N T in very big letters and sorry in small because they’re different. When we’re sorry, we feel bad that we did something wrong. We might apologize, we might feel sick in our stomach, we might even get upset because we’re feeling so bad. Feeling sorry is a good, normal, and an important emotion we shouldn’t run away from.

But Repenting is different. Repenting – Repent – is doing something to make sure that we never do the thing that hurt someone again. Repenting is about changing our behavior so that we don’t create the circumstances or situations where we feel sorry like we did. So if we didn’t share a toy with our friend, we make sure to share the next time. When we say an unkind word about someone, maybe because of what they looked like or how they dressed, we ask why we did that – why we thought they looked different – and we change our thoughts so we don’t do that again. When we see someone who doesn’t have as much as us, who can’t enjoy the things we do, we don’t treat them differently or poorly because of that. Instead, we ask why they don’t have what we have, we step into their shoes, and then we change our behavior so they can experience the joy that God wants for them.

Now, repenting is a lot harder than just feeling sorry. John wasn’t interested in people feeling sorry about the bad things they were doing. He wanted them to change. And he knew, with God’s help, we can all admit what we do wrong, how we harm others, and we can ask God to help change us so that everyone can live the life God wants them to: a life full of love, a life full of helping each other, a life being kind, and a life of loving each other – and even strangers – as much as we love ourselves. And when we repent, with God’s help, we can create a world where everyone gets to live in peace.

So today, for the Advent wreath, we’re going to light two candles. The first one, if we remember, was about Hope. Today, it’s about peace. So let us pray: Advent Lighting Words – from “worshipping With Children:”
God, we know that we are not all you created us to be. You call us to repent, to make changes. So, we light the first candle knowing that you are with us in all the shadow of the world and we light this second candle promising to make the changes we need to make to be your people. Be with us, show us what to do, and give us the courage and energy we need to change

Amen.

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 Second Sunday of Advent, 12/9/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Happy New (church) Year! Hope and the Cow Who Climbed a Tree

Bring Year C glasses. Today’s Candle is “Hope.” Book: the Cow Who Climbed A Tree

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

Happy New Year! Today is the start of a new church year – when we’ll go through a new cycle of special colors, scripture readings, and more. In our Bibles, we have four separate books, separate chapters, that teach us about Jesus. And we need all four to see who Jesus is. And this upcoming year – “Year C” as you can see in my glasses – we’re going to read a bunch of stories about Jesus from the gospel according to Luke. It’s in the gospel according to Luke where we get the story about angels telling Shepherds about Jesus’ birth, where we discover who’s John the Baptist’s parents are and how Jesus and the John the Baptist are cousins, and where we hear how, way after he is born, after he dies, and after he is raised from the dead – Jesus meets two friends of his while they’re on the road to a place called Emmaus. So I can’t wait to spend the next year spending time with Jesus and with each of you through the Gospel according to Luke.

One of the big ideas we’ll hear in Luke is “hope.” Now hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Hope is something that a little hard to describe so I brought a book to help me. The book here is The Cow Who Climbed a Tree” which stars a cow named Tina. Tina was a curious cow. Tina loved discovering. Tina loved science, and learning, and reaming. Tina even imagined building a rocketship to take her to the moon! Tina had a lot of amazing ideas – but her 3 sisters weren’t interested. They thought her ideas were silly. They thought Tina should only be focused on the things cows usually like – standing around and eating grass. They weren’t very nice to Tina nor did they treat her the way they should. Her sister hoped that Tina would be just like them. But Tina, the cow, hoped her sisters would celebrate and support her love of discovery, science, and learning. They both hoped that each other would be different than they are.

But as we flip the pages in the story, we see how both Tina and the sisters change. Tina, after climbing a tree, meets a dragon who helps Tina realize that being herself – loving science and learning is good. And the sisters, after noticing that Tina is missing, go to find her – and discover how Tina’s love for learning, and her inventions, were helping all sorts of animals learn how to “fly.” Her sister saw Tina for the special cow that she is – and they celebrate that by saying “YES!” when Tina asks if they want to fly. In the end, the sisters changed. They accepted Tina for who she was – a cow that loved to learn. And they discovered that Tina could help them love,see, and experience the world differently too.

We’re going to spend all year hearing about the hope Jesus gives to each of us. There are times when we will be sad. There are times when we we’ll look around the world and it looks like sadness, tears, and just icky stuff is what this world is about – and that they always seem to win. There are times when we’ll hope that we are different and that the people are different too. And Luke will remind us, over and over again, that because Jesus was born, because Jesus lived just like us, because Jesus grew up just like you, and because Jesus lived, and died, and rose from the dead – and that Jesus loves you – we have a hope that God will always, in the end, win.

So let’s light the first candle of Advent on the Advent wreath a candle that represents Hope!

Let us pray: Advent Lighting Words – from “Worshipping With Children”
God, the world is scary. But, You are with us in the worst of situations. So, in the darkness we light this first candle of Advent with hope –
hope that you are with us even when awful things happen,
hope that you will show us what we can do to fix the world,
and hope that you will fix what we cannot.

Amen.

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 First Sunday of Advent, 12/2/2018.

Children’s Sermon: T H E O L O G Y

Bring a piece of paper with Theology on one side, words about God on the other. Bring clipboards and crayons for each kid.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

I want to talk about a word today – and it’s a word on this piece of paper. I’d like each of you to take a clipboard, some crayons, and trace the word. What letters do you see? T H E O L O G Y. That word spells…theology! Theology is a word that looks pretty fancy but it isn’t. Theo is latin for the word and ology is “study of.” So this word means…”study of God.” So when we’re talking about God, reading our bible, going to Sunday School, worshipping in this space, and learning about what God’s people are doing in the world – we’re doing “theology.” We’re studying and learning more about God.

But theology is more than just study. Theology – our studying about God – also depends a lot on what we say about God. And the words we use are important. So let’s turn over our pieces of paper. What do you see on the other side? Words like love, eternal, Jesus, kind, justice, caring, etc. These are all words that describe who God is and what God is about. So we say that God is love – which means God loves you, me, and everyone. We say that God is eternal – which is a fancy word for forever – and that means God will always with us, forever and ever. We say that Jesus is God because Jesus is – and so when we learn more about Jesus and hear his story, we discover who God is. That God heals. That God helps all people. That God welcomes everyone. And that God especially cares for us even when no one thinks we’re important or special. What we say about God – becomes our personal theology about God. And everyone here – you, your parents, and even I – we all have our theology about God. And sometimes what we say about God is perfect – but other times, we let other opinions or thoughts or perspectives twist who God really is for. And our words about God become less about love and justice and kindness – and words that are mean, or push people away, or say who gets to be loved by God and who doesn’t. We always have to be careful about the words we use with God because the words we use inform what we know and share about God.

So looks at this sheet. See these words? When you think about God, when you pray, when you read your bibles, and when you talk about God – use these words. Remember these words. Because these words will help you not only know more about God – it will help you love and be kind and listen and care for the people around you – just like God loves, listens, and cares for 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 the Christ the King Sunday, 11/25/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Being Loved by a God Bigger than the Universe

Using the book “The Ultimate Construction Site Book” and images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Using an idea from Worshipping with Children.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

Do you like books? I like books. And my family and I really like this book – The Ultimate Construction Site Book. It’s full of images and descriptions of different construction sites where they’re making big and amazing things. Let’s look at a couple of pages.

Go through the book. See how big they are. Talk about how special these big buildings and machines make us feel. And how important those buildings, and others, can be to us. They are awesome.

That feeling you have right now – of being impressed and amazed at these big and important buildings and creations – Jesus’ friends had the same feeling. As we’ll hear in our story about Jesus today, he and his friends are in the Temple – in the big religious building in the city of Jerusalem, like our church but even bigger. And they were super impressed. They saw the big stones that held it together, the elaborate art on the walls, and all the people that were there. They were impressed!

And Jesus was too – but he wanted them to think about things in a different way. He told them that the big building will not last forever. That it will, eventually, fade away. And that, in fact, these big buildings – while big and impressive – shouldn’t be the focus of our love and attention. Because they are all very small compared to the rest of the universe – and to God. In fact, those buildings – and all the buildings in this book – are located here – on earth show the earth image. And the earth – while massive and big – is small compared to the rest of the universe. Show images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The universe is big and vast and amazing. And our God is even bigger and more powerful and amazing than that. Jesus wanted his disciples, and he wants all of us, to think bigger than just the big buildings around us. Jesus wanted his friends to know that the creator of everything – the creator of the universe – God’s love for us is bigger and better than anything else in the universe. Each of us are very small when we compare ourselves to the big buildings, planets, and amazing galaxies that make up the universe. But each of you are loved by the One who created it all. And so let’s always try to think about bigger – to think about more than just our city or our buildings or what seems to impress us. Let’s always think about how God’s love is bigger than all of us – and how we can share that love 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 the 26th Sunday after Pentecost, 11/18/2018.

Children’s Sermon: All In

Hokey Pokey Time.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So it’s a little cold outside, right? The leaves are falling from the trees. The wind is blowing. The heat is on in our homes. And it might even snow this week. Can you believe it? No!

Play the Hokey Pokey with the kids.

Pretty simple game right? I tell you what to put into the circle, we move around, and then we turn. We put an arm in. And then we put a leg in. Then we put a face in. We put all our body parts in one at a time until the end – when we put in our whole body. And then the game is over.

But what if we did it differently? What if we just put our whole body in at the very start? It would make for a very short game – and we wouldn’t warm up much – but it would help illustrate one of the many things that Jesus tells us today.

Our story about Jesus today talks about his visit to a holy place, the Temple in Jerusalem. And if you don’t know what the Temple is, think of it as a big church – like this one – but bigger. The temple is full of people and is huge, gigantic, and massive. It looks so impressive that Jesus’ friends can’t help see all the people in fancy clothes who are there, all the religious leaders in their big robes, and all the large stones and statues and images that make the Temple such a vibrant place to be. Jesus’ friends notice the big and fancy stuff. But Jesus notices something different. He notices someone that his friends don’t – a woman who is a widow. And she’s poor. And she doesn’t have much money or resources or wealth. But she takes what she has and offers it to God – because she is all in with God.

She doesn’t just give part of what she has. She gives everything. She doesn’t, like in the hokey pokey, put in only part of her body – her arm, her foot, her leg. She puts her whole body in. And that’s something God wants from us too. God wants us to put our wholeself with God – to trust God, to pray to God, to worship God, and to study God’s word. God wants all of us to be with God – because God, through Jesus’ life – his death on the cross – and his resurrection – has put God’s whole self with each of 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 the 25th Sunday After Pentecost, 11/11/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Looking at the world differently

Bring some Halloween Masks. Pulled in from Dollar Store Children’s Sermom.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So in a few days, there’s going to be a big holiday in our area. It’s…Halloween! Do you have your costumes picked out? What are you going to dress as?

Those costumes sound great! I love how you are going to pretend to be those characters. No only do you get to dress up like them, but you might even get to pretend to be like them. So, for example, if you’re Captain America and have an inflatable shield – you can throw it, gently and safely, just like he does. Or if you’re Harry Potter, you can use your magic wand to chase bad guys and enjoy some delicious butterbeer. When we dress up like our favorite characters on Halloween, we don’t just look like them – but we also, sometimes, get to pretend what it’s like to be like them and to see the world around them like they do.

So how do we see the world like our costume characters do? Well – it helps to sometimes have a mask. So I brought some masks that I just happen to have lying around in my house. Show off your masks. Putting on these masks let us see the world in a different way.

In our lesson about Jesus today, we’re going to hear a story about how Jesus helped someone see in a new way. The person was born blind meaning they couldn’t see. However, they knew Jesus was nearby and they asked for Jesus’ help. At first, people told the blind man to stay silent. But he wouldn’t. He kept talking. And so Jesus healed him – and then he could see. Before, he had experienced life in only one way. But, with Jesus, he got to see the world in a new way.

Because of your baptism, because Jesus loves you, and because Jesus is with you always – we get to see the world in a new way. We get to, in a way, get to imagine ourselves wearing a Jesus Mask – seeing the world like Jesus does. So, let’s pretend we’re putting on our Jesus mask. Pretend to put on a Jesus mask. And when we look at ourselves, when we look everyone in the pews, and when we go see everyone at school, in our neighborhood, and in the world – we now get to see them in a new way. We get to see them as Jesus sees them – which means we get to see that everyone everywhere is loved. And since Jesus loves them, we should too.

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

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/23rd Sunday after Pentecost, 10/28/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Why I’m Served Last

Bring a basket and a little piece of bread.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today I’d like to talk about something you might see me do when I serve communion here at church. I usually stand behind the altar – as tall as I can so people can see me – and I prepare the meal we’re invited to share. There are a lot of different parts of the communion liturgy – the order we follow. So why don’t we go up to the altar itself and look at different parts of it.

Go up to the altar. Have the kids stand behind and around it. Go through the order briefly:
The items up there.
The prayers.
Words of institution.
The distribution – pass out bread/wine or a blessing.
Then before we clean up – the people who help with communion receive communion.
And at the end of that, the people who help served communion – serve communion to me.

Now if you go to churches, you’ll notice that the pastor might give themselves the wine and bread. Others might do what I do. In my opinion, there’s no right-or-wrong way for a pastor to receive communion. Instead, I invite the people who will communion to serve me – because it’s something important for my faith. It helps remind me that even though I’m the pastor, and I wear these robes, and I stand in the pulpit, and I write sermons, and I serve communion – even though everyone spends a lot of time at worship looking at me – I need Jesus just as much as you do. I’m not the most important thing here – Jesus is. And just like I get to serve you all Jesus – I need to be served Jesus as well. Jesus is something that comes to me – and by having other people serve me – I’m reminded that no matter how important I or others might say I am – I still need Jesus. I still need God’s love. And I need others to help me experience God’s love too.

We sometimes need help. And it’s hard to admit when we need help. We usually have no problem wanting to do everything ourselves. We look at the people around us who maybe are older, or taller, or able to do things we think we can do to – and we wonder why we can’t. So we try to pretend that we don’t need help – that we don’t need other people – and that’s how we’re supposed to live. We’re supposed to do things on our own – everything – and if we can’t, then there must be something wrong with us. But Jesus is going to tell us that since we are baptized – since we are part of Jesus himself – and since he is with us, always – we get to take care of each other. We get to see how the people around us are suffering – if they’re sad or hungry or whatever – and we get to help them. We get to love each other because Jesus, no matter what, always loves us – even before we ever heard or understood the name Jesus. But it sometimes hard to take care of each other if people don’t know we need help. We might always want to do everything ourselves – but the strongest, most grown up, most loving, and sometimes most difficult thing we can do is ask each other for help. When we’re sad, when we’re struggling, when we can’t quite figure things out – asking for help is a hard thing to do but it’s an important thing to do. Because none of us can do everything on our own. We all need each other to help us because God gives each of us special talents and abilities to take care of each other. And it’s through other people that we experience Jesus’ love and care for us. We need each other. We will take care of each other. And we can help live the way Jesus wants us to if we learn how to always, no matter what – and no matter how silly it might make us feel – to ask for help.

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 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, 10/21/2018.

Children’s Sermon: What to do with hard texts?

Bring the carrots and other stuff from the Community Garden

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So it was a bit cold this morning, wasn’t it? It finally feels like fall. Leaves are falling from the trees, acorns are falling and making dents on our cars, and we’re starting to wear sweaters and long pants. It’s fall! What are some other things we do to get ready for fall? Accept answers.

Another thing we need to do is, if we garden, is to do our last harvests of the year and clean up the gardens so they’re ready for next year. On Tuesday at 5:30 pm, we’ll clean up our Genesis Garden. We’ll do a final harvest which will let us donate over 1200 lbs of vegetables this. We’ll clean up some tomatoes stakes and more. Everyone is invited to help out – and the more we do, the better it will be when we start the garden again next spring.

Now my family and I have are members of a community garden in the town we live. So in the spring, we got a bunch of different seeds, walked over to the garden, went to our plot, planted our seeds – and…then didn’t really go back. We went back a few times but…uh…I wasn’t very good at being a gardener this year. We had large sunflowers, tomatoes vines that grew everywhere, and pumpkin vines that…almost had pumpkins. I didn’t tend or take care of the garden like I should have. But I knew, since it’s fall, that I needed to go back and clear it out. So I did that on Friday with Oliver and George. And I was surprised what I found.

Because even though I didn’t do a good job harvesting or taking care of the garden, stuff still grew. And I’d like to show you what grew. Show off the super green tomatoes and the carrots.

Now that carrots are special. Most of the carrots I grew were super small. Some grew bigger but most didn’t. When you have carrots, one thing you’re supposed to do is, as they grow, make sure that the carrots have enough space between them. When the carrots are too close together, they’re too crowded and there isn’t enough room to grow. But when you spread them out, thin them out, they can grow nice and big. So if we want them to grow big, we have to visit the garden, weed it, give the carrots the room they need. The carrots will grow without our help – but when we weed, tend them, and get our hands dirty in the garden – they can grow bigger and stronger.

Today, our story about Jesus is going to be a difficult one. Jesus is going to say some stuff that’s hard to understand. He’s going to talk about about a camel, a sewing needle, a rich young man, and saying something like the first will be last and the last will be first. When we first hear Jesus speak, we’re not always sure what he’s saying. And that’s okay. It’s okay if Jesus says something and it makes us feel confused. It’s okay to have questions. It’s okay to say “what does this mean?” And when that happens, what we’re called to do is to not run away from what Jesus said – but listen to it again. To read more about it. To engage with it differently. We’re called to be active – to engage with Jesus’ words – knowing that it will take time to hear clearly what Jesus is telling to us. And that’s okay. Because when we’re active with our faith – when we go to Jesus – when we pray and listen to what he says over and over again – our faith, because of our questions, actually grows stronger. And we then discover just how much Jesus loves us.

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 21st Sunday after Pentecost, 10/14/2018.

Children’s Sermon: We Are For Each Other

Bring a bunch of stuffed animals – different kinds!

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

I want to talk a little bit about the first reading from the Bible we’re going to hear today. It’s a story from the book of Genesis, the very first book of the bible. The book of Genesis gives us different stories about God’s relationship with the world and everything on it. It’s not meant to be a set of instructions about how God created everything. Instead, each part of the story tells us how much God loves us and the world around us. It’s sometimes hard to hear that part of the story because we listen to the words but don’t imagine what the story looks like. So to help us imagine this part of the story, I’ve brought some friends with me. And here they are.

Share the different animals that your brought.

So the story begins with God seeing one person who is all alone. And God doesn’t like that. God knows that we need each other to live and love and be everything God wants us to be. So God decides to make a helper for that person. Now, a helper is more than just a person who helps. In the Old Testament, God is often described as a “helper.” So God wants to create for this person a partner who will help live and thrive and have everything they need. So God gets to work. And the story goes that God started to create all these different kinds of animals to see if they could be a good partner for the person. So God created a fish…and said “is this a good partner for you?” And, well, fishes are great – but there’s a lot they can do. So then God created a horse. Which was awesome but it’s hard to talk to horses or listen to them or even to get a horse to pray for us. So that didn’t work. Go through all the different animals. Then wrap up.

So God created all these animals and couldn’t find one that was the perfect partner for the person. And then God had the idea that we need each other so God, using the first person as a template/a model – God creates another person. And now, in the story, there’s two people who can care for each other, feed each other, help each other, pray for each other, love and serve each other.

God knows that we need each other to be who God wants us to be. That means all of us, regardless of how old we are, or where we’re from, or what gender we are, or whatnot – all of us are here to take care of each other. Everyone out there in the pews is called to help you and pray for you. And everyone up here is called to help and pray for everyone out there. We are designed by God to rely on each other. And one of the most important ways we can do that is by keeping each other in our prayers every day.

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 20th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/07/2018.