A Palm Sunday Carpet

Note: Dog story followed by children’s sermon:

The palm branches brought in by our pastor for this Palm Sunday were augmented by large fan-shaped branches gleaned from the nearby woods here in Tokyo, and carried in by eager middle schoolers to create a very green and festive opening hymn processional. As the parade of Sunday School students ended, many of the large branches were placed on the floor at the front of the church where the children typically gather for the kids’ sermon. It made

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Sweet Temptation

Well, I’ve got something in my sack here that’s about this big. (Indicate with thumb and forefinger about one-half to one inch.) Do you think you’re stronger than something that big? Okay, I’ll show you what I have. Candies! No, I don’t want you to have a wrestling match with candy. I don’t want to see how strong these muscles are. (Indicate biceps.) I want to see how strong you are inside. We’re reading a lot of verses this Sunday about temptation. Does anyone know what temptation is?

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A Noisy Parade

He came riding on a young donkey. Have you ever seen a parade that consisted solely of one man riding on a donkey? It may not sound that exciting, but this was King Jesus, the man who could do miracles and heal people. The crowd knew who he was, and they went wild! They yelled, waved palm branches, and threw their coats on the road! Did they make a lot of noise? They sure did! The whole city heard them! Everyone came running.

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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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Dry Bones

Ezekiel was given this dream to show him that God could do anything. The people of Israel were alive, but they felt very sad inside. They had stopped listening to God. It was as if their spirits were dead, like those dry bones. God sent the prophet Ezekiel to them to bring their hope and their spirits back to life. Sometimes we feel sad and far away from God. We may feel like the Lord doesn’t hear our prayers. We don’t have to stay that way, far away from God like a dry bone. God wants us to be alive in him, full of the Holy Spirit and happy to be children of God. If we open our hearts and lives to him, the Spirit of God will come whooshing into our lives again.

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I Just Wanna Be a Sheep

King David knew a lot about sheep. He knew how silly they were and how much they needed a shepherd. And after he became king, he wrote a song, a psalm, that begins, “The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23:1 NLT). Now if the Lord is my shepherd, what does that make me? Right! A sheep! Isn’t that insulting? No, just realistic. We do need God. We need taking care of. It would really be silly to think that we didn’t need God as our shepherd. Do you think those sheep would last very long out in the wilderness without a shepherd? No!

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Meanie in the Quicksand

We’re all sinners. We all do things that we shouldn’t do. In a way, we’re all like that meanie, stuck in the quicksand. But even before we say, “Please, help me,” God has already thrown us the rope and pulled us out. (As you speak, you can throw one end of the rope out, or do the action of throwing a rope.) God loves all of us and he sent Jesus to save us.

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Giving Our Best

5th Sunday in Lent From “Scolding the Snakes” Scripture Reference: John 12:1-8

Preparation: Bring a reproduction of a religious work of art (from a poster, book, or magazine). It would be nice if this were a biblical scene the students might recognize.

I’d like each of you to imagine that you are a famous artist. You’ve been practicing your drawing and painting for a long, long time. Now you can draw whatever you can picture in your mind. If you want to draw a

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Coming Clean

For the Fifth Sunday in Lent From “Sitting on the Rainbow” Scripture Reference: Psalm 51

Preparation: Bring a small bottle of vegetable or olive oil, a damp cloth, and soap.

Have you ever gotten oil on your hands and then tried to wash it off with water? Does the oil rinse off? (Let children respond.) No, it doesn’t come off with just water, does it? What else do you need to get oil off your hands? (Someone may offer the correct answer.) Right: you need

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Holy Name

For the Third Sunday in Lent

From “Sitting on the Rainbow” Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud Scripture Reference: Exod. 20:7

Does everyone here have a name? Names are important aren’t they? Everybody has a name. Let’s hear some of your names. (Let children respond.) How do you feel about your name? Do you like it? (Children may share.) You should feel good about your name. It is very precious. When you were just a tiny baby, you received your name. The best name for you that

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