Tag Archives: Hebrews

Perfect for All Time

1507ch7896edfor Sunday, November 15, 2016
25th Sunday after Pentecost
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 28
Year B
lectionary focus: Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
prop: your church bulletin

Welcome!

We are people who like to do things in order. We start at the beginning, go to the middle, and finish at the end. Even our worship service goes in order. Each Sunday we pray and sing and listen and share and have communion. And each Sunday, right before you guys come down to the steps, we pray the Prayer of Confession. This is the part where we tell God that we’re sorry for what we have done wrong. When I was a kid your age, the Prayer of Confession always confused me. It made me sad that each week we again said that we were sorry. I kept wondering why we didn’t get better, why we didn’t get it right. I mean, I made mistakes as a kid, but I thought surely when I became a grownup I’d be perfect and not need to tell God sorry.

Well, I’ve got two things to tell you about that. One: we don’t get perfect and two: we are perfect. I know, I know—I just said that we don’t get perfect and yet we are perfect; this is one of those conflicting Jesus things. First, we will never get perfect in that we will always, every week, every day make mistakes. We will always need to tell someone and God that we are sorry. But the second thing is that God knows we His children are each perfect, and God loves each of us no matter what, no matter what mistakes we make. And because of these two things—that we are imperfectly perfect—each week, we say the Prayer of Confession and while our Amen is still echoing off the ceiling, Pastor Joe reminds us that we are forgiven and that God loves us and that we are God’s perfect children.

Each week after our time on the steps, the next activity in the order of worship is to hear the scriptures read. Today we hear these words from the Book of Hebrews: “For by that one offering (Jesus) forever made perfect those who are being made holy.” (New Living Translation)

As a grownup, I’ve come to love the part of the service where we pray the Prayer of Confession. Of course, I still make mistakes and need to tell God that I’m sorry, and that makes me sad—but I know the very next order of the service is to hear again loud and clear that God forgives me and loves me and thinks I’m perfect. Therefore, I encourage each of you to hold fast to this truth: confidently tell God that you are sorry and confidently accept God’s love and forgiveness, because nothing can separate you from God’s perfecting love.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We make mistakes.
We are sorry.
Thank You
for forgiving us
for loving us
and for making us perfect.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, encourage, and inspire.

Revolution Sunday!

IMG_3369for Sunday, December 29, 2013
1st Sunday after Christmas
Year A
lectionary focus: Hebrews 2:10-18
note: This would be the perfect Sunday to get the Youth Group to lead the Revolution engerizer! (Revolution by Kirk Franklin)

Merry Christmas! Here we are! We have lit the Christ Candle and are celebrating Christmas! But after all of the excitement of this past week, some people think this Sunday is kind of boring. Instead, I say that the word for today is Revolution! Everyone say after me: Revolution! (Revolution!) Now, as a science word, revolution reminds us that the Earth has made its year-long circle–or revolution–around the sun so we change from the year 2013 to 2014. (Happy New Year, by the way.) But as a Bible word, revolution reminds us that Jesus has been born to bring change–or revolution–to our lives.

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that Jesus was not born just to be a cute little baby and have sweet angels sing and fluffy sheep prance all around. Jesus was born to change our lives. Being born like us, Jesus calls us brothers and sisters. And Jesus calls us to call each other brother and sister. Jesus expands our family to all those around us…here at church, at school, in our neighborhoods, across the country, across the oceans, across the world, everywhere near and far. This idea that we are all brothers and sisters, that we are all children of God, is a complete change from the divided life lived before His birth; there were lots of different groups of people, some lived here and some lived there and they couldn’t be friends because they were different. Even nowadays, sometimes it is easy for us to slip back to way of thinking, and we talk about them and about those people. But that is when we need to remember the Revolution! We need to change from that thinking. We need to reach out to those around us, to our brothers and sisters in Christ and share God’s love with others the way Jesus wants us to do.

As we continue to wish others a Merry Christmas and as we go into the New Year, let us keep the Revolution! Let our lives be changed by Jesus! Let us move forward sharing love near and far.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Merry Christmas!
Happy New Year!
Change my life!
Help me keep the Revolution!
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
Happy New Year!
Be the Revolution!

Best Friends Unawares

newstudentfor Sunday, September 1, 2013
Labor Day Sunday
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
15th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17
Year C
lectionary focus: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
note: The book Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh (Abrams, 2011) is an excellent extension to this sermon.

Good morning!

Well, here we are at the start of school. The new year is always exciting and a little bit scary. You’ve had a few days in your new classroom with your new teacher. You might have already known some of the kids in your class, but there were probably a few you did not know. Thing is, in just a few weeks, you will feel like you have known all of your classmates forever. The new school year’s feeling of “newness” will wear off as you learn more about your teacher and your classmates and what they like and what they do.  …  But, at some point this school year, you will…and I say will, not may…you will get a new kid in your class. Many times without much warning, there will be a new kid. And for them, there will be that “newness” big-time. By then the rest of you in the class will already know each other, and the “newness” of the new kid will be small for you guys. So, I want you to remember now how all of this “newness” at the start of the year feels. I want you to remember what it is like not being sure of someone’s name; remember what it is like not being sure how to get to the restroom from your new classroom; remember what it is like going through your new daily schedule; remember what it is like not knowing who to sit beside. And then remember how nice it feels when someone gently helps by reminding you what their name is, or which hallway to use, or what comes next, or to come sit by them. And decide now that you will be a person to help make your future new classmate’s life a little less scary, a little bit easier.

In our Bible story today, we have one of my favorite verses: “Do not forget to show kindness to newcomers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” When we meet new people, we never know what will happen. They may be our next best friend. They may be an angel in our lives. And so God reminds us to be kind and helpful and friendly to those new people we meet so that we don’t miss out on something grand. Life is full of good surprises. And new friends are some of the best surprises there are.

Will you say a prayer with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for this school year.
Help me
to remember the “newness”
and to help the new students
who will join my class.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

Here’s an Idea! Blessing of the Backpacks 2013

IMG_9864for Sunday, August 18, 2013
Blessing of the Backpacks 2013
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
13th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15
Year C
lectionary focus: Hebrews 11:29-12:2
prop: incandescent lightbulb (carefully) nestled in your backpack

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.
~Sir Joshua Reynolds

(Edison’s favorite quote around his laboratory.)

Good morning! We are getting ready for a new school year and we all have our backpacks today! For this service last year, I had a cabbage in my backpack. I wonder what I have this year? Here’s an idea:

This is a lightbulb. This is not something that you will find in anybody’s backpack, but you will see lots of them in schools. And in school, you will learn that Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb. Some people say that it is the most important invention because without it we’d be in the dark. But the thing is, Thomas Edison did NOT invent the lightbulb. No, in fact there is a whole list of guys who made lightbulbs long before Mr. Edison did. Thomas Edison was the scientist who made the lightbulb practical and easily available for everybody. This kind of lightbulb works by running electricity through the wire inside which then glows, shining light. But the early guys used wires inside that were very expensive, hard to find, or only glowed for a few minutes. Candles were much better than those bulbs. Mr. Edison, though, thought there had to be a way to make a lightbulb work easily. So he began experimenting, trying to find the right wire to use inside. Mr. Edison tried over 6,000 types of wires before he found the right one.* That’s a lot of wires! (Side note: You’d have to eat 30 Oreos every school day for a school whole year to eat 6,000 Oreos!) Mr. Edison had what we call perseverance. He moved forward in his work with persistence. This means that even though it was hard work, he stuck to it.

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that life is about sticking to it. We are called to be persistent, to live our lives with perseverance, to keep working even when things get hard. And these are good words for us to hear right now before we start school. Oh, sure, school is fun and all of that, but there will be times, there are times, that school is hard. Sometimes, we would much rather do anything than think! But just like inventing a lightbulb is one experiment at a time, learning is one thought at a time. Think and then think some more…and soon you will want to think even more! And then you will have a mind full of bright, shining lightbulbs!

Today we prepare to start school and we ask God to be with us as we learn. We ask God to be with us as we think. We ask God to stick with us as we stick with learning. We ask God to light our paths and guide our feet that we may run the race to learning with perseverance.

When we say our prayer today, I will say a line and use some hand motions and I’d like for you to repeat the line using the same motions. Will you pray with me?

Dear Lord,
As I hold my backpack, (hold your backpack)
Lord, keep me learning.
As I hold my head, (hold your head)
Lord, keep me learning.
As I hold my feet, (hold your feet)
Lord, keep me learning.
As I hold my heart, (hands over your heart)
Lord, keep me learning.
Guide my feet, (hands on feet)
Guide my heart, (hands on heart)
Guide my mind. (hands on head)
Bless me (folded hands for the remainder of prayer)
through this school year
that I may persevere
in my race to learn.
Amen

And now we will sing with Miss Amanda “Guide My Feet While I Run this Race.”

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
Happy New School Year!

* information source

We Gather Together

for Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sunday before Thanksgiving
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
25th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 28
lectionary focus: Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18); Mark 13:1-8
resources: Here are two good children’s books to extend this lesson:

**Thank You, Sarah! The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson
**Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines

Good Morning!

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. On Thursday, everyone in our country will stop and give thanks for all their blessings. In the early days of our country, families picked their own day of thanksgiving. People celebrated on different days whenever it fit their schedule. Then 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln received a letter from Sarah Hale. Mrs. Hale suggested that there be a National holiday of Thanksgiving–that everyone in the country stop on the same day and give thanks. But at that time, our country was at war. The fighting made times sad, food scarce, and money tight. It was hard for people to feel thankful. People thought, We can’t have a holiday now! We don’t have time for a party! There are too many problems to be solved! But President Lincoln and the people soon realized that gathering together was just what they needed to do, especially in those tough times.

Our times are tough now. You may have heard in the news about wars and storms and sickness. But Jesus tells us not to be alarmed by sadness. Instead our Bible story today tells us to be confident and to gather together. We are called to come together, to encourage each other, to inspire each other to do love. Because no matter tough times or good times, love is the response. It’s always better when we’re together.

So this Thursday, as you celebrate Thanksgiving and count your blessings big and small, be confident and share God’s hope and love. Encourage each other. And let us all gather together and continue to make the world a more beautiful place.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for a day of Thanksgiving.
Help us
to gather together
and encourage each other
to share Your love.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you!

Spectacular Building

for Sunday, October 21, 2012
Children’s Sabbath
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
21st Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24
lectionary focus: Job 38: 1-7, (34-41); Psalm 104: 1-9, 24, 35c; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

Good morning!

Today I brought my blocks because I like to build things. I have this idea to make a spectacular building with a fancy top using these cool, curved and pointy blocks to make turrets and high rooftops. But when we are building, we don’t start at the top. We start with the foundation. These first blocks that we place not only determine how and where we can place the other blocks, these first blocks give strength and stability to our building. When we start with an even and firm foundation, we can construct our walls straight and strong; we can set our roof to cover and protect. Without a good foundation, it does not matter how we do the walls or roof, our building will not stand.

Our Bible story today also talks about building things. But the Bible is not talking about building with toy blocks or real bricks. The Bible tells us that to build our lives well, we need a firm foundation in Jesus Christ. When the foundation of our life is a solid relationship with Jesus, then we can develop and grow and advance. When we build our life on Jesus, it doesn’t matter what happens to us, we will stand strong.

But just standing strong is not our goal. Jesus tells us that we are to be strong so we can help other people. Having our strength in Jesus does not make us higher and better than other people. Our foundation in Jesus encourages us to serve God and God’s children. And then we are all spectacular.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for supporting me.
Help me
to share Your strength
with all of Your children.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.