Category Archives: Time With Children

What’s Your Superpower? – Children’s Message on Romans 12:1-8

What do you think your superpower is? Everybody has one, but sometimes we forget to use the one we’re given! Do you know someone who does a really good job of teaching you things? They know how to keep it interesting, and they answer your questions – sometimes before you even ask! They just seem to know how to make learning fun and you can remember what they teach you? That person has a gift of teaching.

Do you know someone who is really good at encouraging you? No matter how bad you feel about yourself, this person can always help you see what’s good in you, and how God is working in your life. They help you cheer up when you are discouraged, and they always make you want to try harder. That person is an encourager; it’s their superpower.

Or maybe you know someone who is really kind. They are always doing nice things for other people, and they never seem to get mad or angry – that person’s superpower is kindness.

So what’s your superpower? You may not know it, but you are already developing a special gift that has been given to you by the Holy Spirit. This week, I’d like you to pay attention to the way God might be using you, and see if you can figure out what your superpower is. You can ask God to show it to you, and then be on the lookout for things you find yourself doing that might be God working through you. The church needs all kinds of people with all kinds of gifts, especially you and the superpowers you have! Let’s pray…

God, help us to notice when you are working in us and through us to show love to other people. Help us pay attention to the superpowers you have given us through the Holy Spirit, and help us to use our powers for good, so others will come to know you. Amen.

 

Traveling with Flat Jesus – Part 2

JULY 10, 2014
While we were on our way to Chicago, a couple of First UMC kids were on their way to Wisconsin Dells for a little family fun time – and of course, Flat Jesus went along, because he is with us always! (And apparently, Flat Jesus knows all the words to all the songs in “Frozen” to sing along in the back seat…)

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Meanwhile, we headed north, toward Green Bay, WI. No matter which NFL team has your allegiance, Flat Jesus cares about each one of us, so stopping by Lambeau Field should not be taken as an endorsement of the Green Bay Packers over any other team. (One of my friends asked if Flat Jesus could curse the field as he once cursed a fig tree in Matthew 21:18-22. I had to remind my friend that Jesus said we should love our enemies – Matthew 5:43-45 – and Jesus is always with each of us, even Green Bay fans.)

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From Green Bay, we drove north to Two Rivers, WI, which is right up the road from Manitowoc (pronounced MAN-uh-twok), home of the Maritime Museum. We toured a WWII submarine there, and Flat Jesus really got interested in the model boats and the fishing nets on display. I guess he kinda misses his time with Peter, Andrew, James, and John, as they fished together on the Sea of Galilee.

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While we were in Two Rivers, we stayed at a place that has its own miniature golf course! Flat Jesus liked the lighthouse a lot – it reminds us that he is the Light of the world, and that he told us we should let our light shine before others, so they can know how much God loves them. This was one of those places where a stranger came up to help us take the picture, and we got to tell the story of Flat Jesus to our new friend and his kids. Sharing the story of Flat Jesus was a lot of fun. Our new friend said, “That is so cool!” I hope he remembers that Jesus is with him always, too!

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We also stopped at the Wood Type Museum,

2014-07-01 12.14.58and Flat Jesus was glad to see his friend, Flat Gutenberg.  2014-07-01 12.14.36  Johann Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press, so Bibles could be printed for everyone to read.

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After we walked on the shore of Lake Michigan (the water was cold, but we did get our feet wet! You can’t see Flat Jesus in this picture, but he was definitely with us) we drove to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and stayed for a few days with family who live there.

Flat Jesus had fun walking on the water (again!) 2014-07-02 16.39.41 and diving off the swimming platform.2014-07-02 16.40.37 He even went sailing with Bruce one afternoon. As we left Crystal Falls, it was raining, but Flat Jesus stayed with us.

Be sure to send me your Flat Jesus pictures as he travels with you this summer. Whether we see him or not, whether it’s raining or sunny, Jesus is with us always.

Here’s one last picture of Flat Jesus, back home at First UMC – come see him this Sunday! Worship is at 9:30 am. See you then! – Pastor Jo Anne

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Traveling with Flat Jesus – Part 1

Note: this post comes from the webpage for First United Methodist Church of New Ulm, MN, under “From the Pastor’s Desk.” 

You know the children’s book, Flat Stanley? Well, this is the same idea.  Only this time, instead of mailing a picture to different places,  the children of First UMC each received a picture of “Flat Jesus” to take with them through the summer. They were invited to color in the picture, maybe even cut it out, and take the picture wherever they might go. Heading to Grandma’s house? Bring Flat Jesus along! Going to summer camp, or on vacation with the family? Flat Jesus is there! Children were encouraged to have someone take a picture of Flat Jesus at each location, and send me the photos by e-mail or Facebook.

It might be difficult to see in the photos, but across the bottom of each Flat Jesus are the words, “I am with you always!” from the Great Commission (Matthew 28:20). The whole idea was to remember that Jesus goes with us wherever we go, and will always be with us, no matter what. Isn’t that a great promise?

Since teaching by example is something Jesus did, and I want to be like Jesus,  I decided to kick off the summer with my own Flat Jesus itinerary.  I headed off to Chicago to be ordained to Word and Sacrament in the Evangelical Covenant Church (how I ended up in a Methodist church is a different story for another day!) and took Flat Jesus with me for the journey. After ordination, my husband and I took a few days of vacation before returning to New Ulm.

We learned along the way that total strangers really like helping to take pictures of Flat Jesus, once they hear the story. It was a great way to meet people, and to share the Good News of Jesus with people we might not otherwise have talked to. Here’s where we went, and what we did, remembering that Jesus is always with us, no matter what.

When we got to the hotel in Chicago, the first thing we did was check into our room…

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Then we took a walk to find something to eat. There was a Mexican restaurant nearby that had a great chips and salsa bar – we chose a few different kinds of salsa, and Flat Jesus liked them all!

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After supper, Flat Jesus sang really loud during the worship service!

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The next day was full of meetings, and Flat Jesus thought those pictures would be pretty boring for you, so I won’t post them here. But he was there, believe me! When the delegates voted to approve the 83 ordination candidates, he was very happy!

On Friday, Flat Jesus stayed with us as we took my mom and my sister to eat real Chicago pizza at Lou Malnati’s. On Saturday, he had to check out the ordination stoles during a break in the rehearsal for the ordination service. Then he graciously posed with Donn Engebretson and me – Donn was the Vice President of the Evangelical Covenant Church the year I served on the worship planning team for our midwinter conference, and it was a blessing to learn that he would be the one laying hands on me during ordination. This is all I have time to post right now – I’ll let you see where we went after Chicago tomorrow! Peace, Pastor Jo Anne

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Flat Jesus checks out the stoles, which were each made by my friend, Vicki Twigg.
83 stoles – that’s a lot of sewing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s Message for Trinity Sunday

Today is Father’s Day. Wave at your dad.  What do you usually call him?  What does your mom usually call him?  How about your grandpa and grandma, his parents? Just like your dad can have three different names, depending on how he is related to the person calling him, God is known to us in three different ways that all depend on how we relate to God in a specific instance. For example, we often think of God the Father, because that’s what Jesus called him, or sometimes we think of the Father as the Creator, like we heard earlier in the story from Genesis that starts out, In the beginning, God created… And we also think of Jesus as God’s Son, or  – if we look at  his relationship to us – we might call him God the Redeemer or Savior.  And last week, we celebrated another way God is present with us, as God the Holy Spirit. Remember how the disciples received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?  Sometimes we call the Holy Spirit our Comforter or Sustainer. Three different ways we recognize God, but it’s all just One God.  As you look around the church you may notice symbols in groups of three – that’s to represent the three ways we know God, and we call it the Trinity. So today, when you get bored, try looking around for things that are in groups of three, and you can tell me during coffee time what you found, okay? Let’s pray.

God our Maker, or Savior, our Friend, help us to know you and love you, no matter what we call you. We pray in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.