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.

Children’s Sermon: All Together

Idea from Dollar Store Kid Sermons. Bring a bunch of bungee cords.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So when I moved into my house a few years ago, the previous person who lived there left a bunch of stuff. They asked me if I wanted any tools or anything and I said yes because I didn’t have anything. But, of course, they left a lot of stuff – stuff I could use and stuff I couldn’t. Some of the stuff I threw out. Some I donated to our church sale. Some of the stuff I kept. And I brought with me a few of the things I kept – specially these – a bunch of old cords.

Now let’s take a look at them. Each one is short with a hook on each end. They’re designed to hook together like this. But they’re all different colors. What colors are they? And they’re all different sizes. What sizes are they? Some are thick. Some are thin. They’re different. But they’re all suppppper stretchy. See how far they can stretch? And they’re also super tight so as they stretch, they don’t break and they can hold things together. They’re pretty neat.

If we look close at them, we notice that they’re made up different pieces. This green one has a green outer covering that is threaded together and weaved. But look at this part that shows us the inside? What do you see? There are a bunch of different cords – different black pieces. Which means this whole cord has these long pieces inside it. For this cord to be stretchy and strong, each of these black pieces has to be in it. If it had one less, it wouldn’t be as strong. If it had one more, it would be too big and the green cord would break. With these pieces working together, we get a cord that is strong and stretchy. And they’re all needed, working together, to make this cord what it is.

Today in our story about Jesus (Mark 9:38-50), we’re going to hear his friends come up to Jesus with a complaint. Someone they didn’t know was talking about Jesus and helping people just like Jesus did. They didn’t know who this person was; they didn’t know where they came from; they knew nothing about him. And so Jesus’ friends tried to stop that person because they didn’t know him. But Jesus tells them something powerful: those who are not against us are for us. This person who the disciples didn’t know was being faithful, trusted God, and trusted Jesus. And even though Jesus’ friends didn’t know that person, that person was needed and important. That person was making a difference.

And like how this cord needs different pieces working together to make it whole, Jesus needs all of us – everyone here in this church – everyone who is in other churches – Jesus needs all of us so that we can love, serve, and help the world just like he did. Jesus wants us to trust and follow him. But he doesn’t want us to do that alone. He wants us to do that together – because all of us – including you and you and you and me – are needed to love others just like 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 19th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/30/2018.

Children’s Sermon: the Way

“The Way.” Take a journey through the sanctuary.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today. Today, we’re going to take a little trip around the sanctuary. And I’d like you to follow me.

Get up and go through the sanctuary. Stop by the stained glass windows. Highlight the different stories we see in each window. Each window tells a story, pointing to God, etc. After you get to the back of the sanctuary, stop and look around.

So we’ve got from all the way by the altar to here, in the back. How did we get here? They followed me and we went around the sanctuary. We could have gone a different way. We could have just walked down the center aisle to get here. But instead, we went a different way to get to where we needed to go. To follow Jesus’ story, we went around the sanctuary instead of just straight through it. We went a different “way.”

The phrase “The Way” is important. When Jesus started teaching about God, about how God wants us to live our lives, and when Jesus started to call friends and others to follow him – he didn’t call his movement “Lutheran” or “Christianity” or “Christian.” Instead, his movement was called “The Way.” And the way is just what we did – we walked a different path – we listened to different stories – we did different things. We followed “The Way.”

We follow the “way” by coming to church and hearing about Jesus. We follow “the way” by saying our prayers and listening to what God is telling us. We follow “the way” when we take care of our friends and family – and when we help those who don’t have everything we have or who are being made fun of or bullied. We follow “the way” by trusting that Jesus is loves us and that he is always helping us.

When you hear stories about Jesus, always listen for the phrase “the way.” It’s something not just a reference to a path or a journey – it’s sometimes a reference to Jesus being always with us – and helping us to love everyone in the same way he 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 18th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/23/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Words Come Out

We’re blessing athletes today. Idea from dskidsermons. Bring some toothpaste. Bring a plate.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today is an awesome day because we’re blessing coaches, athletes, and players. If you play sports, we want to bless you and pray that you have a safe and fun season. In honor of that day, under my alb, I’m wearing one of the few things I have from high school – when I, for a short time, played on a team. And since I haven’t grown since like 8th grade, the jersey still fits. It’s my jersey for Lacrosse. I played midfield; number 47; and I wasn’t the greatest player. But I had fun doing it.

Ask the kids if they play sports (or if their parents and friends do). Share their teams, their numbers, and celebrate them for working and playing hard.

Now, one of the things that’s really important in sports is communication. If we’re on a team, we need to work hard to make sure we use our words to let our teammates know what we’re doing so that we can work together well. And we have to make sure our words are helpful and truthful too. If we’re playing soccer and we tell our teammate we’re going to the right but, instead, we go to the left – our teammate won’t know what we’re doing. The words we use are important and when we’re working together, especially in something like a sports team, we want our words to be truthful, helpful, respectful, and meaningful. Because words, when we’re playing sports or even if we’re in school – words have power.

I have something with me today. What is it? Toothpaste. Toothpaste is great! It helps our teeth stay cavity free and clean which is why we should brush twice a day. The toothpaste is in the tub. How do we get it out of the tub? Let the kids help you get toothpaste out and onto the plate. Awesome! When we squeeze the tub, especially from the bottom, it comes out and we can use it.

But what if we used too much? How can we get the toothpaste back into the tub? We can’t!

Once the toothpaste is out of the tub, it’s out there – and we can’t really put it back in. And our words are like that too. When we say something or put words out there, we can’t put them back in. What we say, or write, or post on the internet, that’s all out there. And we can’t put them back – if we end up saying something that isn’t helpful or is mean or is hurtful.

We’re going hear a special reading today from a guy named James who is going to tell us that words are powerful and what we say matters. What we say to each other; what we say about each other; makes a difference. When we say hurtful, untrue, or mean things – once the words are out there, once they cause hurt, we can’t undo them. What we say should be about helping each other, listening to each other, taking care of each other, and assuming that the people around us mean the best. In other words, our words should love our friends, our family, the people in church, in schools, and in the whole world – our words should show that we love and care for them – in the same way Jesus loves and cares for 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 17th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/16/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Open up!

Idea from Bring cotton balls (to stuff you ears). A hat (to cover your ears). Things that make it so you can’t hear.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

I want to talk about a fun word that Jesus uses today. But before I can talk about the word, I’ve got to do something first.

Start plugging up your ears. Plug them up as much as you can. Talk to the kids about the different things you are using so that you can’t hear anything.

Now it’s really hard to hear when you cover your ears! It’s hard to hear people talk or whisper or hear noises. What is also hard when you can’t hear? Accept answers. Some people might lose their hearing because of an accident, an illness, or for other reasons. Others are born deaf – they can’t hear. But, right now, I’m being really silly – because I covered my ears so I can’t hear. Unlike some, I can help myself hear better. But what do I need to do? Open my ears!

Take off everything.

One of the stories we’re going to hear today involves Jesus helping someone hear. He’s going to pull this person aside, touch his ears, and help him hear. And when he does that, Jesus is going to say a word in the language he spoke – called Aramaic. And here it is:

Pass out sheets with the word on it.

This is a word that I….don’t know how to pronounce. Try to pronounce it. Work on it with the kids. It’s a word that means “be opened… opened.” Jesus, in our story today, is doing more than just trying to open up someone’s ears so they can hear. He’s was inviting the people around him to be open to the fact that he was God’s Son; that Jesus was God coming into the world to take care of us; and that Jesus loved everyone – including us and the people that we sometimes ignore or aren’t nice too. Jesus wanted everyone to know that, no matter where we are, God is there too. And we should open ourselves to God being wherever we are – and that means there is nothing that we go through that Jesus doesn’t go through with us. So I invite you, this week, to remember that Jesus is with you at school, in the car, at soccer practice – Jesus is with you always. And Jesus is inviting all of us to open up and discover how Jesus’ love – changes everything.

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 16th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/9/2018.