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Connected to Divine

In the book of John, chapter 15, Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches. It order to be truly alive and in order to do great things with our lives (which is like producing fruit) we need to be connected to Jesus. We need to be praying and reading the Bible and listening to God. Jesus is holy. Another word for holy is “divine.” It’s easy to remember that word, because He is divine and we are “de branch.” But we need to stay connected to the holy or “divine” if we want to be really alive.

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Not Seeing but Believing

Do we always have to be able to see things in order to believe they exist? What are some things that we can’t see but still know are there? (Let kids share their thoughts.) We can’t see the air all around us, but when the wind is blowing, we can feel the air, or we can see the things it moves. (Use fan to illustrate air movement—maybe letting it move a scrap of paper.) We can’t see sound waves, but when we hear a loud noise (use whistle to illustrate sound), we know that sound is real. We can’t see the love that our parents and friends have for us, but we feel their hugs and hear their loving words, and we know that their love is real.

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Snake on a Stick

Strange as it may seem, there is a connection between Moses’ snake on a stick and Jesus on the cross. Many of you might know the famous Bible verse, John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” But right before that verse is this one: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

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A Watered Garden

We all have something like a garden inside each of us. Our “inside garden” is filled with our thoughts, our discoveries, and our feelings. Our garden is who we are deep inside.

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Be Prepared

The story is about what will happen at the end of the world when Jesus comes again. Nobody knows exactly when Jesus will return, but we know that Jesus will come to earth again. We need to always be ready, to be doing what God wants us to do. And with Jesus in your heart and God’s love in your life, you will be ready for Jesus when he comes again.

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Two-Faced

I’ll ask you the same question that Jesus asked his disciples after they had heard this story; which son did what his father wanted him to do? (Wait for answers.) Yes, the first son did the right thing. Were these sons two-faced? (Wait for answers.) Yes. Both of them said one thing and did the opposite. The first son said the wrong thing and did the right thing. The second son said the right thing and did the wrong thing. In the end, do you think it’s more important to say the right thing or to do the right thing? (Let children respond.) Actions speak louder than words. Of course, the best thing would be to both say and do the right thing.

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Seventy Times Seven

For the 14th Sunday after Pentecost or Proper 19 (Lectionary 24) From “Saving the Ants”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Matt. 18:21-22 “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No!” Jesus replied to Peter, “Seventy times seven!” (NLT)

Preparation: Bring a large pad of paper and a fat marker.

Have you ever hurt another person? If you’ve either accidentally or purposefully stepped on someone’s foot, or pushed someone, or called your sister or brother a mean name, or made someone

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What a Dog Teaches Us About God

This past summer, one of the members of our congregation at West Tokyo Union Church passed away. He was an unusual member, but he ran to church every Sunday and waited outside in the courtyard next to his water bowl until the service was over. Snack time often spilled over into the courtyard and Bjorn was always there to opportunistically clean up any leftover treats. He knew the value of a vigorous post-prandial roll in the grass and he was often joined by the children

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Inseparable

Can anything pull us away from God? No! We’re inseparable. When I read this verse, I thought of my favorite stuffed animal and of other kids with their favorite toys. Have you ever seen someone try to take a favorite toy away from a child? They will hang on for all they’re worth.

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Weeds in the Field

The disciples knew this wasn’t just a story about a field with weeds, and they wanted Jesus to tell them the meaning. So Jesus told them that the field represented the world and he was the owner of the field. Who do you think the good seeds are? I can see many good seeds from where I’m sitting. Those who love Jesus are the good seeds. Are there any bad seeds in our world? Yes, unfortunately there are people who do not love God and who do mean things to other people.

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