Least of These – Children’s Sermon

Based on Matthew 25:31-46

Props: (optional) gloves, pasta, can of juice, Tylenol

I was wondering if you all could answer some questions for me:

  • Does God need this pair of nice warm gloves?
  • Does God need lunch from this bag of pasta?
  • Does God need a drink from this can of juice?
  • Does God need this bottle of Tylenol for his fever?

You answered “No” to every single one of my questions. So who does need these things?

That is right. There are people all around us who are in need.

One day, Jesus was telling his followers what the Kingdom of Heaven would be like. He told them that the king would come and would say to his people “Welcome to my Kingdom. Come, enjoy it. It was prepared for you because…

“I was hungry. And you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty. And you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger. And you invited me in. 36 I needed clothes. And you gave them to me. I was sick. And you took care of me. I was in prison. And you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the people who have done what is right will answer him. ‘Lord,’ they will ask, ‘when did we see you hungry and feed you? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in? When did we see you needing clothes and give them to you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘What I’m about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

What does this story tell us about when we do something for someone in need?

That’s right. It tells us that whatever you do for those in need, you are doing it for God. I saw some of you rang the bell for the Salvation Army yesterday. I heard that some of you shoveled snow at the end of your neighbors’ driveways who can’t do it themselves very easily. Let’s keep on making this Christmas about passing on that love that came through Jesus, in that stable on the first Christmas.

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James – Children’s Sermon

This Children’s Sermon is based on James 1:2, but is a great introduction to the book of James. Our semon series this fall is on the book of James.

Prep: Write a letter that reads “Dear Brothers and Sisters, You will face all kinds of trials. When you do, think of it as pure joy. In God’s Love, James.” I put the letter in an envelope, sealed it up, and addressed the outside like this:

20160917_204008This week, a letter came into the office that I thought might interest you. It is addressed to “FPC Kids and Jewish Christian Scattered Everywhere”. Is that you? Can anyone tell me who it is from? What city is it from?

This is so exciting because we are going to be learning about James in church this fall. I wonder what is inside.

Ask a volunteer to open the letter, and then ask another volunteer (a comfortable reader) to read the letter aloud. “Dear Brothers and Sisters, You will face all kinds of trials. When you do, think of it as pure joy. In God’s Love, James.”

I’m thinking we should just recycle this letter. I’m not so sure I’m going to like learning from James. It isn’t a surprise that we are going to face trials. We all have hard things in our lives…but to think of trials as JOY? What could he possibly mean? (The kids will likely have some good thoughts on this, but if they need help, try to steer them toward what they can learn from trials, and the promise that God will give them strength and wisdom through those hard times)

I guess you all have a point. When James wrote his real letter back in the time of Jesus, he wrote to Christians who were scattered all over Palestine. They were going through tough times. One of his goals was to encourage them to keep focused. To trust. To remember that the love and message of Jesus is something to hang onto through the thick and the thin. Maybe we should hang onto this letter after all. I think we are all going to learn a lot from James.

Let’s pray: Dear God, we know we will go through trials. We know there are so many hard times in our world. Please help us hang onto the hope and message of Jesus. Help us see trials as pure joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Gift for Sunday School Students

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Looking for an inexpensive and fun Christmas gift for your Sunday School class? Look no further!

I struggle to find something that is not junk, or junk food, but also that doesn’t cost a lot. I saw some stick-on mustaches on Amazon and that got me thinking about doing a themed “spy” gift.

Supplies

(You will also need glue stick and a permanent marker for creating the envelopes)

Solomon – A Children’s Sermon on Wisdom

Christmastime is certainly a time for wishes. When we are young, like all of you, we wish for presents and for special traditions. When we get a little older, we wish for fun gatherings. Sometimes we wish for things to be like they used to be. When we think seriously about what we would really like, we wish for big things like peace on the earth, or that people wouldn’t go hungry or get hurt.

If you had the opportunity to wish for one thing….and one thing only…I wonder what it would be. I’m not going to ask you say it out loud, but I want all of you think hard for a moment about that one thing you would wish for.

There was a King, after King David whose name was Solomon. He had a dream where God asked him what one thing he wanted. Most kings at that time would say “I wish for the most power!” or “I wish to defeat all my enemies!” or maybe “I wish for all the riches in the world!” But Solomon wished for none of those things.

Solomon wished for wisdom. Wisdom is not knowing a lot of facts or being naturally intelligent. Wisdom isn’t being smart. Wisdom is being able to take your knowledge and experience and then make a sound choice. Solomon wanted to be a wise ruler. A ruler who was fair and just and made good decisions.

That was quite a thing to ask for! Solomon was a wise king and was known far and wide for his wisdom.

I think this is a pretty cool story because wisdom isn’t something that is just available to Solomon or available to people who can memorize a lot of facts. Wisdom is something that all of us can have. We can find wisdom in the Bible – it might be thousands of years old, but there is wisdom that holds true today. We can have wisdom by pausing and really thinking through our decisions, and not just doing what we want to do. We can have wisdom by asking the right questions to the right people.

Would you rather be smart or wise? Put your hand on your head if you would rather be smart and your hand on your heart if you would rather be wise.

Let’s pray, “Dear God, Thank you for this story of Solomon and the example we have of him asking for wisdom over anything else. Please help us to become wise people. We want to use our knowledge to make good, sound decisions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Children’s Sermon on Trust – based on the story of Joshua, Caleb and the Spies in Numbers

Our church is using the curriculum The Story this year. This Children’s Sermon goes along with Chapter 6: “Wandering”. You will need a cross stitch or some other needle craft that has a nice-looking side and a not-so-nice side.

In Sunday School today you heard a Bible story about Joshua and Caleb. They were with a group of 12 explorers who were supposed to look at the land that God promised to give them and then report back to the Israelites about that land. 10 of the explorers came back and said “we can’t go there! The people are big and strong like giants!” But Caleb and Joshua said “We can do it! God promised us this land and God will go with us.”

But the Israelites didn’t believe them. They listened to the 10 explorers and complained and cried so much that it cost them. They didn’t get to enter the Promised Land.

When I hear this story, the thing that comes to my mind is trust. What if I were to tell you that I have a beautiful cross stitch for you to hang up in your house. I want you to take it home with you today and put it on the wall. You might look at this and think – that isn’t very pretty! Why would you want me to hang this in my house. It doesn’t look like anything, I see lots of threads hanging out and it doesn’t even have a frame around it! But then again, you don’t have the whole story. Let me show you the cross stitch from a different angel. Now that’s more like it! You could iron it flat and put a frame around it, and you have a beautiful piece of art for your wall.

We aren’t so different from the Israelites who complained and cried about what seemed like the impossible. We too, can spend too much time looking at the details of our lives that seem messy and not too beautiful. But we need to be like Caleb and Joshua, trusting that we are part of a bigger plan. Trusting that God is making something beautiful out of all of our lives. When we just look at the back of the cross stitch, it doesn’t look too great. But when we see what all the stitches and different colored threads make on the front side, it is impressive and most definitely worth trusting even through difficult times.

Let’s pray: Dear God, Caleb and Joshua kept the big picture in mind. They trusted that you had a plan for the Israelites. Please help us to not get wrapped up into what looks messy in our lives. Help us to trust that you have a bigger plan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Children’s Sermon for Genesis 1, used with Chapter 1 of “The Story”

Our church is using the curriculum The Story this year. This Children’s Sermon goes along with Chapter 1. I have created slides of photos from the things my family did this summer. You can use my slides, make your own, or find some random images online to use for the “I Spy” game. I did not include the 4th photo of our church kids at VBS for privacy reasons. My slides are here: God’s Creation Slides

It is great to have each one of you here this morning as we kick off a new year of Sunday School. I hope you all had a great summer. How many of you had the opportunity to play outside?

Our family did some fun things outside in these past 3 months, and I’m guessing that you all did some similar things. I put together a few slides that show some things that we enjoyed experiencing outside. But we aren’t just going to look at the pictures, we are going to play an “I Spy” game. I want you to look at each picture and try to find the things in the picture that are God’s creation. Please raise your hand if you want to share the piece of God’s creation that you see.

First slide: water, waterfall, rocks, grass, trees, sunlight

Second slide: caterpillar, grasshopper, snapping turtle, rocks, water

Third slide: lake, trees, sand

(The kids might mention people, but if they don’t, help them by asking “what do you see that is included in every picture?”)

You did a great job noticing all the things that are part of God’s creation. In the first chapter in the first book of the Bible, we learn that God created all things, and that it was very good. The very best part of God’s creation, though, isn’t the air or rocks or trees or waterfalls. The very best part is YOU.

Forth slide: Here is a picture of all of you singing at Vacation Bible School this summer.

God created people to have relationships, to think and to love. God created people in God’s own image. All of you, and all of the adults behind you, all reflect God. And I’m so glad that I get to know each one of you and your uniqueness.

Let’s pray:

Dear God, Thank you for your creation. For the waterfalls, forests, creatures, and sky. Thank you especially for creating us. Help us to love and live in a way that reflects you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bear Each Other’s Burdens – Children’s Sermon

I need a volunteer that can promise to follow 2 rules. (Select someone who is 9-10 years old) Here are your rules: #1 – Do not drop the sugar and #2 – You must ask for help when you need it. Can you do that for us? You are going to need to put your hands out, palms up. (Put one bag of sugar on his/her hands.) How does that feel? Is it comfortable? Good. Because now I’m going to add a couple more. Please hold it still and remember, you cannot drop it and you must ask for help as soon as you need it.

These bags of sugar represent the things we have to do because we are part of a family. The sugar represents our responsibilities at home. Things like doing laundry, cleaning the house, putting away our toys, helping out our brothers and sisters, doing our schoolwork. (As you talk, add bags of sugar.) They represent making meals, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, making time for family and friends. (Add sugar until the volunteer look uncomfortable and then add some more.) In a family we also have to take care of each other when we are sick. Just this week Oliver was sick, and Finley was a big help getting things for him and playing with Henry when Oliver needed my help. (Hopefully by this point the volunteer is uncomfortable and has started to ask for help. Keep piling on the sugar until you have 3-4 volunteers holding up the stack.)

Ask the volunteer – how did it feel when your arms were getting tired and I kept adding more sugar?

What did you need in order to follow my first rule of not dropping the sugar? (help)

In the Bible it talks about how we are supposed to bear each other’s burdens. A burden is a load – This sugar was a burden today. Your jobs or responsibilities and your worries area also burdens. When the Bible says bear each other’s burdens, it means we need to take care of one another. In our families we need to help each other out. In our church family as well, we need to help each other. Pray for each other. Encourage each other. When we help carry each other’s burdens, the load doesn’t feel so heavy.

Our volunteer HAD to ask for help when he/she started to feel weak. We can ask for help too.

Repeat after me: Dear God, You have asked us to help each other. Please give us the courage to ask for help when we need it. Please give us the wisdom to know when to help others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Applicable Scripture:

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.