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.

Children’s Sermon: We Can All Do One Little Thing

Bring a giant Shriver’s balloon and some salt taffy.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I brought something with me today that is ridiculous. It’s…this! Share the giant balloon that is an eight foot tall salt water taffy. Let’s see how big this is. Compare it to the kids. Show how tall it is. Try not to knock over anything on the altar.

This is…gigantic. And it’s from a candy store in Ocean City New Jersey. Every night during the summer at 8 pm, the store gives out these giant balloons to kids. Kids line up to get them and then spend the rest of the night walking down the boardwalk carrying these HUUGGEEE balloons. It’s fun to see all the kids carrying them, playing with them, and celebrating these giant balloons.

Why do you think this candy company, Shriver’s, gives out these balloons? Accept answers.

I think they give them out for a few reasons. One, because they’re so big, they’re easy to see and they advertise the company. They hope people will see them and come to their store and buy their products. I also think they give them out because they like seeing the joy kids and adults have when they see something so big, so large, and so ridiculous. And they also, I think, represent something we might like to have – a giant piece of candy that’s bigger than us, that we can safely eat, and since this is pretend – we also pretend that we can eat this whole thing in one sitting, and not ruin our teeth, our appetite, our gain too much weight. These ridiculous giant taffy’s invite us to imagine a different kind of world where something ridiculous and fun brings us – and so many kids and adults – joy and fun.

Now, is it easy to carry this balloon around? No. Try it! Imagine trying to carry this around…all the time. It’s hard! You can’t get into the car easily. You can’t get into church easily. And if you carried this back to your pews, it wouldn’t fit very well with you. It feels impossible to have this in our life – because even though it’s fun – it doesn’t feel very practical.

In one of our readings today, from the book attributed to a guy named James, we’re going to start hearing some teachings that sound like they make sense and are good to do – but are sometimes not going to feel practical. We’re going to hear that we should always listen, not to speak until we listen first, and not get too angry too fast. We’re going to be invited to care for widows and orphans – which is God’s way of telling us to notice the people who are hurting, who don’t have much, and who we might not always see and that we should take care of them. James is going to invite us to imagine the world as a place where all people are fed, taken care of, and can become the people God wants them to be. And that’s going to sound great – and holy – and amazing – but…might not seem practical. God’s vision of the world is going to seem like this…giant balloon – fun, amazing, something to hope for, but not practical. Because how can we do all the things God asks us to do? It seems impossible to take care of all people, to listen to everyone, and to just…always love, no matter what. It seems like we sometimes can’t do that.

But James knows something that we sometimes forget. That, since we are Christians, and since we are baptized, and since Jesus is with us all the time – we get to do different and amazing and sometimes ridiculous things. It might seem impossible to take care of everyone – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And we do that by trying to do one thing: to be kind when we don’t want to; to listen to others when we first feel like we want to talk first; to notice the people who don’t have what we have and try to help them; to do one small thing. Because we can all do one small thing to love God, love our family, love our friends, and love our neights. And that one thing, (show the real salt water taffy that you have) while it feels small, can be just as sweet. Pass out salt water taffy to the kids that can have it.

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 15th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/2/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Rules of the Game

Bring a board game!

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I have something with me today – what is it? Looks like a game! Right! This is a game. It’s a board game that teenagers and adults can play. It’s called go through the game and show the box to the kids.

Now, when we have a game – and we want to know how to play it – we need to find something. What do we need to find? The instructions! That’s right. The instructions. And here are the instructions for this game. Go through the instructions – not describing how to play the game but different things the game gives us.

These instructions help us play the game the way the creator of the game intended. They’re a list of rules that help us enjoy the game and have fun. When we, together, follow the instructions – we all can have fun even if we don’t win.

Instructions aren’t necessarily easy. And they are sometimes hard to understand. We need to make sure we can read them, have the pieces we need, and can follow along. Some instructions are simple – others are complex. Instructions can be difficult – but they’re helpful for us to play the game the way the Creator intended.

Today, we’re going to hear in our readings from the bible that will sound like a list of instructions. And they’re not always easy to understand or follow. Yet we have to remember that because God loves us and Jesus is with us always, God gives us instructions to help all people experience God’s love. God’s instructions are away to help each other, take care of each other, be kind to each other, and more.

There might be time when we get an instruction that we might not understand. Or an instructions that feels like it doesn’t really work for us where we live. And that’s okay. God wants us to listen to these words, to read these instructions, and struggle to see if they help us to love each other. They might – or they might not. But God knows that when we gather together to figure these instructions out, when we pray and worship and share communion together, and when we bring a whole church of people together to figure this out – a church full of different people and different backgrounds and different experiences – the Holy Spirit will let us know how we can love each other the way God wants us to. Because love – the love we see as modeled and experiences and given to us through Jesus Christ – that’s our main instruction – and when we can love like that, we live the way God, the creator of everything, wants us too.

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 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/19/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Manna

Bring the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” and a Cat in the Hat hat if you can

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today I want to talk about an ancient Hebrew word we’ll hear today in our story about Jesus and to do that, I brought this: show Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

We’re not going to be able to read the entire book today so if you’ve never read it, I invite you to bug your parents to take you to the library so you can get your own copy and read it. It’s a book by Dr. Seuss who wrote all sorts of books, including The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss was an artist and a writer and he loved making up words. Let’s look at a few made up words in this book.

Go through and find some of the made up words for creatures, etc. Share them and invite the kids to imagine what those words are.

When we read books, especially Dr. Seuss, we get to use our imagination. We get to paint pictures in our heads of amazing things that we’ve never seen before or maybe that don’t exist. We get to dream up…anything. And we get to look at this brand new thing we dreamed up, maybe draw it, and share it with our family and friends – and get them to look at it and ask “what is it?”

Today, in our story about Jesus and in our very first scripture reading, we’re going to hear about God feeding God’s people through something called manna. Manna is an ancient Hebrew word – so why don’t we learn it? Can you say manna with me? Manna! Very good. The story goes that God’s people, the Israelites, after they escaped slavery in Egypt were wandering around a desert for 40 years. And there’s not a lot of food that grows in the desert. They start to get hungry and they do what we all do when we’re hungry – they start to complain. God listens to their complaining and says “okay. I’m going to give you bread – bread of my own making. All you have to do is, in the morning, go away from your camp into the fields, and you’ll see bread…everywhere.”

So that’s what the Israelites do. They wake up, go out into the fields, and they see something they’ve never seen before. It doesn’t look like bread…but it’s everywhere. And they don’t have a name for it. So they think, and think, and think and decide to call what they see – Manna – which literally means “what is it?” And that’s what God feeds them – with this amazing substance that we call bread but is so strange and different and wonderful, we have no real word to describe it. Rather, it’s something that God gives us, that feeds us, and all we can say call it is “what is it” – because we have no words to really describe it.

In all our lives, there will be moments when God will show up to us in a way that we didn’t expect. It might be in a vision – where we see something amazing – or it might be in the way someone takes care of us. God might show up to us when a friend is kind to us or when a stranger just seems to say and do the exact thing we need to be safe and loved. God shows up in amazing ways – in ways we can’t alway understand – and in ways we can’t always explain. But when God does show up, we are fed – we feel full, feel love, feel like we matter. And God does that for us through Jesus Christ every single day.

So when that love shows up – when you feel God in your life – you might not know what to call it – but there’s an ancient word we can use when we encounter the indescribable love of God – and that’s manna.

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 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/5/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Christmas in July is…Absurd. But it matters!

It’s Christmas in July! Bring the book: what Santa can’t do

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today is July 29 but all the songs we’re singing today are Christmas songs. Now that might feel a little weird to be singing Christmas songs when it’s hot, we’re wearing shorts, and we want to be at the beach instead of staying at home. For us, Christmas is usually a thing we do in December. It’s not something for July. But maybe it should be. And that god me thinking about a Christmas book my kids like and i thought I’d read it with you. It’s What Santa Can’t Do.

Read through the book.

We sometimes act as if Christmas only comes once a year and that there’s a specific way that Christmas is handled. But Christmas is more than trees and ornaments and Santa and presents. Christmas is the story of how God came into our world to live our life, to be like us, and to do everything he could to help us know just how much God loves us and the world. And that matters to us everyday. Which means, in the church and in our faith, everyday is Christmas. Everyday is Easter. Everyday is Good Friday. And everyday is also when Jesus was just hanging out with his friends, eating and drinking, and showing them a little bit about what living with God is all about. We might only celebrate parts of Jesus’ story one day or season a year. But his entire story makes a difference for us everyday because Jesus loves you, is with you, and will always be there 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 10th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/29/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Prayer is a Spiritual Gift we all can do!

Bring the stones you got from the NJ Synod day – the left over ones with names on them.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I brought with me today a cup full of these. What do you see? Rocks. Jesus is written on one side. Someone’s name is written on the other. Right these rocks have two names on them. Now, if you look at the Jesus side for all the rocks – all the handwriting looks the same. But when you flip them over, and you see the names, does the handwriting look the same? Nope. Right! All these rocks have Jesus on one side – but the names on the other side are all different. And that’s because these rocks come from different people.

When I was in Houston at the ELCA Youth Gathering, we had a day where all of New Jersey spent time in a long (and interactive) worship service. Part of that worship involved these rocks. Even though we were all from different parts of New Jersey, going to different schools, and having different families and backgrounds, we are all connected to each other in Jesus. Jesus unites us. Jesus makes us one. Jesus makes us all family. So we wrote our names on these rocks, put them in a big pile, and saw how connected to each other we are. All of us are different, we are all unique, and Jesus loves that we are different. But we are also connected to Jesus – and that makes us similar to each other. And that also means we’re called to care for each other.

Now there are different ways we can care for each other. But one of the important ways we can is through a gift – a talent – an ability – God gives us. And that’s prayer. We can pray for each other. We can give thanks to God when something goes well for the people around us and also tell God to take care of people when they are hurt. Pray is a powerful gift. It’s real. It makes a difference. And that’s why we do it.

So these rocks, with all these names, were supposed to be picked up by people. Each person was supposed to take a rock with someone else’s name on it and pray for that person. But not everyone picked up a rock. These were the ones left over. So I’m going to give each of you – and anyone else here – a job. Take one of these rocks. Read the name on it. Give the rock to your parents. And then, when you say your prayers today, make sure to pray for this person. Just say “God, keep loving this person.” And know that God will love them – and God loves you too.

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 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 7/22/2018.

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.