Sunday, August 28, 2016

Being a Disciple of Jesus

Children’s Chapel
September 4, 2016
Proper 18C

Welcome: Children will enter quietly and sit together on the floor. Welcome all children and ask if there are any new friends today. Remind children of listening skills.

Theme: Being a Disciple of Jesus.”

Introduction: Good morning boys and girls! How many of you went to school this week? All of you? Wow! That’s great! You know I think I know what everyone did while they were at school. You went swimming, right? No? Oh I know, you played outside on the playground all day long, didn’t you? No? Wait, a second, I’ve got it, you went to the movies and then to Duck Donuts for lunch and then you went on a field trip to the beach! No? You all didn’t do any of those things this week at school? I wonder why not? (Allow answers.) You mean to tell me that you don’t get to do the same things you did in the summer at school? That must be really hard! Since I am not really sure about what you did at school, why don’t some of you tell me what you did. (Allow answers.) It sounds like you did some really neat things that were different from what you did during the summer. Sometimes it’s not easy to leave behind the fun things we did during the summer in order to do other things that help us to grow and learn during the school year. Jesus talks about something similar in the Gospel of Luke. Let’s listen to what he says.

Bible Reference (Read Aloud)
Luke 14:25-33

25Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Response: In the Bible reading from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus asks us to be his disciples. Another word for a disciple is a follower. I wonder what it means to be a follower of Jesus. (Allow answers.) If we are followers of Jesus it means we trust Jesus above anything else including our very own selves. In the Gospel Jesus says in order to truly be one of his disciples we have be willing to say that we will give up everything in order to follow him. He tells us to give up our possessions and all the things that we hold as really important to us. That sounds really, really difficult, doesn’t it? The good news is that Jesus knows just how difficult this is for all of us to do. Jesus gave up his own life by dying on the cross just for you and for me, so he knows that to follow him is very hard. The other good news is that Jesus is always with us, strengthening us as we trust in him. And that’s just it. When we give up control over what we think is most important in our lives and say, “I trust you Jesus, lead me to where you want me to go,” we ARE disciples of Jesus. Jesus shines his light and love through us into the world. When we go back to school after a summer vacation it’s hard to give up all those fun things we may still want to do that we did in the summer. Be we trust our teachers to lead us as we practice learning new things that help us to grow. In the same way, it may be hard to give up control over what we think is important to us to become disciples of Jesus. As we trust in Jesus though we are strengthened by his love to be able to grow into the people God created us to be.

Pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus who calls us all to be his disciples. As we trust in you oh, God along with your Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit may we be strengthened so that we are instruments of your light and love in the world. Amen

Together pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Response Activity

Monday, August 22, 2016

In God's Eyes, We Are All "The Best"

Children’s Chapel
August 28, 2016
Proper 17C

Welcome: Children will enter quietly and sit together on the floor. Welcome all children and ask if there are any new friends today. Remind children of listening skills.

Theme: In God’s Eyes, We Are All “The Best.”     

Introduction: How many of you watched the Olympics? There were so many amazing athletes! Let’s think about some of the events that we watched (allow answers.) All of the athletes who were at the Olympics were competing against each other to win a special prize. Can you tell me what those prizes are? You are right! The athletes were competing for the gold, silver and bronze medals. If you are an athlete and you win gold at the Olympics you are considered the “Best” in your sport. That’s a pretty awesome thing, right?  In our Bible story that we are going hear today, Jesus talks about what being “the best” or the most important means in God’s kingdom. Let’s listen to what Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament.

Bible Reference (Read Aloud)
Luke 14:7-14
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Response: In the parable or story that Jesus told, he said that when you go to a party do not sit in the greatest seat of honor or the “best” seat, sit in a place of lower importance showing humility. Humility is a big word that means to not see yourself as more important than any one else. Jesus also said that if you have a party to not just invite people who are your friends or those of importance who may one day invite you to their parties. Jesus said to also invite people who are poor, who are sick, people who may not be what the world thinks of as the best and who may not be able to pay you back. I wonder what Jesus means in this parable? While we are thinking of this let me read you another story called “I’m the Best!” by Lucy Cousins. (Read book aloud.)

In the book I just read to you Dog proclaims that he is “the best” over all of his friends. This causes his friends to feel bad. Dog soon learns a very valuable lesson that he is not always the best at everything and he is humbled. In Jesus’ parable about the party, Jesus shows us that in God’s kingdom there is not one person on earth who is “the best” in God’s eyes. We all have great value no matter if we can win a gold medal at the Olympics or if we come in last place at the race.

There is another story from the Olympics that I’d like to share that really is a great example of Jesus’ words. During a track race, one runner fell and accidentally tripped another runner just right behind her. Instead of trying to catch up to the pack of runners, the tripped runner showed humility and helped the other runner who had accidentally caused her to fall behind. Later the runner who had been tripped fell again in pain and the same runner whom she had helped earlier stopped and helped her finish the race. Neither runner won gold in that race and were proclaimed “the best” by the world, but both winners won something even better, a true friend who would help them always in life.

In God’s kingdom, we are all in the same “race” together but we are not racing to be “the best” because we all are equal in God’s eyes. God asks us to love our neighbor just as the runners who helped one another did on the track at the Olympics. Sports competitions are not a bad thing, nor is having a party at your house with your friends. The thing that Jesus says is important is to remember that we are all created in God’s image and that each one of us has great value in God’s eyes.

Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for making each of us in your image. Help us to love one another as you love each of us and to remember that we are all of great value in your eyes. In your holy name,

Together pray the Lord’s Prayer

Response Activity

Monday, August 15, 2016

God's Call at Every Age

Children’s Chapel
August 21, 2016
Proper 16C

Welcome: Children will enter quietly and sit together on the floor. Welcome all children and ask if there are any new friends today. Remind children of good listening skills (Sit on the floor with hands to yourself, eyes on speaker, ears open, mouths in closed position.)

Theme: God's Call Each of Us at Every Age   

Introduction: Raise your hand if any of you have ever driven a car by yourself. No one! Why not? (Allow answers.) You’re right! You have to be a grown up or at least 16 and have a driver’s license to be able to drive a car all on your own. There are other things too that you have to be older than you are now to be able to do. Let’s put on our thinking caps and think of some things that grown ups do that children are not yet ready to do. (Allow answers.) Those are all great answers! Grown ups may own a house, they may have a job, they may go to college . . . These are all things people do or have when they are adults. As we grow up and learn we are prepared and ready to take on such big responsibilities such as driving a car when we are older and have gone through driver’s education and passed the test for our license. I wonder if that is how it is with God too. I wonder if we have to be all grown up in order to do what God has planned for our lives. Before we answer that question let’s listen to the Bible story from the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament.

Bible Reference (Read Aloud)
Jeremiah 1:4-19

4Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 6Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” 9Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. 10See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Response: In the Bible story I just read to you Jeremiah is told by God that “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you . . .” Did you know that God knew each one of you too before you were even in your mother’s tummy!?!? Isn’t that amazing! God knew each of us and then placed us in our mothers' wombs where we grew and then we were born into this world. And do you know what else? God also knew the plan he has for each one of our lives before any of were born! Jeremiah was called as a young boy by God to be a prophet or a messenger for him. Jeremiah said to God, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But God said to Jeremiah, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you . . .” God says that to each one of us too! We are all called by God to love others and to spread the good news of his love. We may feel like we are just little children and that it’s too hard to do God’s work. The good news is that we don’t have to do it all on our own. God formed each one of us with a special purpose in life. God also promised to always be with us always. As we trust in God we are strengthened and his Spirit shines through each of us making us perfectly prepared to do his work in the world.

Pray: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of our lives. Thank you for loving each of us. Help us to remember that you are always with us as we trust in you. Shine your light of love through us so that we may be strengthened to do your work in the world. In your holy name,

Together pray the Lord’s Prayer

Response Activity: God’s Plan Activity