Children’s Sermon 1
by debbie w parvin (lower case intentional)
debbie w parvin is a Quaker poet and writer. She wrote church school curriculum for the Christian Board of Publication for over a decade.
I want to tell you a brief story about a family outing:
One day a mother treated her two sons, Steve and Kevin, to ice cream cones. Steve got a cone of mint chocolate chip, and Kevin got one of Rocky Road. Yum! The day was hot, and after the family strolled outside a short distance, the ice cream got soft. Suddenly Steve gasped, and when Mom and Kevin turned to look, they saw that Steve’s ice cream was lying on the hot pavement. “Oh no!” Steve cried in shock and frustration. The ants and flies were already on their way to the scene. Instantly Mom turned to Kevin and asked, “You’d be willing to share your ice cream with Steve, wouldn’t you?”
Kevin looked at his cone. Rocky Road was his favorite flavor, and he didn’t get to eat desserts often because Mother was big on health and low-sugar diets. He stared at the chocolate scoop, the nuts, the marshmallows… “I was being careful,” Kevin said. “Steve must have been clowning around to drop his ice cream on the sidewalk like that. It’s not fair that I have to give up some of mine!”
Mom gave a little lecture (as moms often do at a time like this). She talked about how brothers should share with one another because they are family and because it’s the right thing to do. Then she instructed Kevin to offer some of his ice cream to Steve. Kevin didn’t move. He just stood there. Finally, Mom scooped some of the ice cream from Kevin’s cone and put it into Steve’s. Kevin began to cry. The End.
Well… that was a great story about sharing, wasn’t it? – Or was it? There’s a place in the Bible – in the book of Corinthians – that tells us that God loves a cheerful giver.
It’s obvious that Crying Kevin doesn’t fit that description. He also didn’t really share, because his ice cream was actually taken from him by his mother and given to his brother. That’s not sharing.
Now I want to rewrite the story so that Kevin is a cheerful giver. This time, when Mom asks Kevin to share, Kevin smiles, and with enthusiasm says, “Sure, Mom.” Even better, what if Mom never has to ask? In our revised story,let’s have Kevin think of sharing by himself! Let’s have him volunteer to give some of his ice cream to Steve!
So: On “take two” of our story, when Steve looks down and sees the yucky ice cream with the ants and flies, Kevin pops up and says, “Hey bro, don’t stick out that lip of yours and be sad. Stick out your tongue and lick some of my cone! I’ll share with you.”
Wow! How do you like this version? Kevin’s happy; Steve’s happy; and Mom, who is VERY happy, has probably passed out from the shock of it all.
In story number one, Steve receives ice cream, and in the revised story, Steve receives ice cream, but, what’s the BIG difference? The outcome may be the same, but the spirit is totally different. According to standards set in Corinthians, version two of the story is “right on” when it comes to describing the cheerful giver that makes God happy.
Mom can force Kevin to give up ice cream, but she can’t force Kevin to be happy about it. He has to be the one to make that decision. Sometimes love is a decision. Steve’s loss of spilt ice cream was a tiny loss. There are many children in the world who have lost basic needs. Some live in places of war where life is dangerous and frightening. Some are refugees fleeing from danger, and
separated from their parents. These losses threaten people’s lives.
Our global neighbors matter because we are all family. We may not live under the same roof, but we live on the same earth, and we’re brothers and sisters, because God is the parent of all of us. So choose kindness and give generously, but give from a happy heart and with a smiling face. It will make all the difference, because it will please God.
Children’s Sermon 2
by Mrs. Fe Malayang-Pia, member of the United Church of Christ
Mrs. Fe Malayang-Pia recently returned from the Philippines and shares this story with church folks who will benefit from being aware of what the worldwide church does when calamities occur in other parts of the
Good morning children! Have you ever heard of a country called the Philippines? No? Then, I will show you where it is on this globe. It is a small country made up of 7,100 islands.
On one of its islands, there is a school founded by American missionaries, named after Horace Silliman who gave $10,000 to start a school that will teach kids and young people about Jesus. This school is Silliman
University, established in 1901, and located in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. In December 2011, and again in February 2012, Dumaguete was hit by a typhoon and then an earthquake which destroyed a lot of roads, houses, businesses and yes, churches. Many people were hurt.
But, you know what? People from all over the world helped by sending money, medicines, water, food and other necessities to the individuals and communities who survived the storms. Our church sent money through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. All these were prepared and distributed by students, faculty and staff, and church folks of Silliman University.
I am telling you this true story because it shows that when people share what they have, it brings joy, not only to those who were affected but also to those who gave. Most of all, it makes Jesus happy to know that we are loving our neighbors, even if they live far away from us, and even if we don’t know who they are. Let us pray: Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the opportunity to help others in need. It makes us all a happy, loving, big family. Amen.
Children’s Sermon 3
by Charlotte Carpenter, a member of Central Christian Church, Waco, TX
• smiley-face stickers for the children
• offering envelopes of some sort, or the One Great Hour of Sharing coin box.
Good morning children. Do you know the book about Mr. Grumpy, or the song, “Don’t be Mister Grouchy Face?” I’ll sing words that are good for both boys and girls, then you sing it with me. (Tune: “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”) Don’t be grumpy Grouchy Face, grouchy face, grouchy face! Wear a happy smiley face; pass on a smile today. What are some things that make you happy or make you smile? (Allow time for answers.)
Have you ever wondered what makes God smile? (Possible anticipated answers: being kind, helping others, obeying our parents, etc.) Something that makes God smile is when we help people – even people that we don’t know, because in God’s eyes, they are God’s children, too, just like us.
This week is a special week in our church. With smiling faces, we give an offering to help people in our country and around the world who don’t have what they most need. Maybe their town was hit by a tornado, or maybe a fire destroyed their homes or church. Maybe they don’t have enough food because of drought, or perhaps fighting in their village or town meant they had to move away from their home. So, through our church, we can send food, or medicine, or we can help someone dig wells for clean water, or rebuild houses. Our money in this special offering goes with other money to send helpers, or food, or seeds, or blankets where they are needed, all year long. Each time we help God’s other children, God will smile, especially if we share with a smiling face.
Take this special envelope (or coin box) today and return it (next week) with some money you can share with a smile. Use these stickers to show that you are cheerfully sharing with others. Together, let’s all put a smile on God’s face.
Let’s pray together: Dear God, we thank you that your love makes us smile. Help us put smiles on others’ faces and make you smile too. In Jesus name, Amen!
Children’s Sermon 4
“You Do the Math” by Kristyn Y. Reid
Kristyn Y. Reid is the Worship Department Chairperson at First Christian Church, Midwest City, Oklahoma. She is a poet who also works part-time as a substitute teacher. The mission statement for our Worship Department is, “lex orandi, lex credendi: how we worship reflects what we believe.”
Supplies: 8 oz. glass, a gallon milk jug, filled with water,
Oh, you know what? (Hold up a clear, 8 oz. glass.) My glass is empty. Could you go [across the hall to the kitchen, or wherever is appropriate…or you could have a pitcher of water nearby] and get me more water, please?
Did you know that water is one of the things human beings need to live? What else do we need to stay alive? [air, food, companionship, shelter…] Thank you,______, for getting my water.
Children need 6-8 glasses of water each day and adults need more. Here is a gallon of water. (Hold up the plastic milk carton filled with water.) It takes 16 of these (Hold up 8 oz. glass.) to fill one of these [gallon container]. So this gallon holds about enough drinking water for 2 people for 1 day. How many of these would your family need for a whole day? [answers]
But we use water for other things, too…right? Like what? [cooking, cleaning, gardens, shower/bath…] How much do you think you use in a day? [answers] The average American uses 176 gallons of water per day compared to 5 gallons per day for the average African family! [www.water.org] We just walk to a sink or a hose, but they often don’t have running water in their house, either. The average distance a person travels to get water in a developing country—like most African countries—is 4 miles!
Here—pick that up [gallon] and bring it over to_______ [someone else in the congregation who is about 20 feet away]. Do you think you could carry that 4 miles? (You could have a few others try it, too.) How many times a day would you need to go get water? (Wait for answers.)
One Great Hour of Sharing provides water wells and other help to people in areas all over the world that are wrecked by disaster, war, or poverty and need a hand to survive. If something awful happened to your neighborhood, like a tornado or fire [whatever is appropriate for your area], and suddenly you couldn’t go to the kitchen every time you wanted a drink of water, where do you think you would go? (Wait for answers.)
One Great Hour of Sharing brought water, food, and blankets to tornado victims in Joplin, MO [or name someplace that is close to you – See Your OGHS Dollars at Work]. The offering also helped people affected by floods, fires, wars, hurricanes, droughts… those disasters that happen at times all across the world. (You could name specific instances in which areas near you were helped in a time of disaster.) The Bible tells us that people will praise God when they see you sharing with others. (from 2 Corinthians 9:13)
When we give money to One Great Hour of Sharing we are truly Jesus’ disciples. This is a great way we can be more like him and help our worldwide neighbors!
Let’s say a prayer.
God, thank you for giving us a world with water. We know that sometimes though, people have a hard time finding enough clean water. Help us to help our neighbors around the world have the clean water they need. Amen.