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Call To Worship

An Adaptation of Psalm 91:
Leader: Let we who live with faith in God proclaim,
People: "Lord, You are my refuge and my fortress, my God I will trust forever."
Leader: Let we who trust in the Lord know that holy love surrounds us.
People: God's protection will follow us throughout our days.
Leader: When we call out to the Lord,
People: We know that we are heard.
Leader: God is with us in every trial and temptation,
People: Therefore we will rejoice in the salvation of the Almighty! Amen!

An Adaptation of Psalm27:
L: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
P: The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
L: One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after:
P: To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
L: "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!"
P: Your face, LORD, do I seek.
L: O Lord God of our salvation, we worship and adore you,
P: We will sing your praises for ever and ever. Amen!

An Adaptation of Isaiah 55:1-9
Leader: We gather today, O Lord of Life, seeking fullness.
People: Not the fullness our world offers, but fullness that comes from You.
Leader: We spend so much of our lives on things that do not count.
People: Things that promise much and give little.
Leader: Help us now... today, to find fulfillment in Your love,
People: May we discover all you have to give,
Leader: And seek You while we yet have the gift of days.
All: Lift us O God, to a higher plane of living, as we lift
our hearts and minds and souls into Your Holy presence!
Amen! Make it so Lord! Amen!

Praise
Leader: Come let us join our hearts in a chorus of praise,
People: And lift up our voices with the saints of every age!
Leader: Let this place be filled with a spirit of joy,
People: For God is in this place with gifts of life and love!

Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 126)
Leader: Let us come before the Lord with open hearts,
People: Let us bring our broken dreams, our conflicts and our griefs.
Leader: For God is good and out of sorrow will comes new gladness.
People: The Lord will fill us again with power to sing with joyful hearts!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 118: 19-29)
Leader: This is the day that the LORD has made;
People: Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Leader: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
People: Let us rejoice and celebrate for Jesus Christ is Lord!
Leader: O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
People: For his steadfast love endures forever. Amen! Halleluia! Amen!

A Call To Worship (Based on Isaiah 65:17-25
Leader: .Celebrate and rejoice all you people of Christ,
Women: For the Lord our God is doing a new thing!
Men:
.....The old order is gone,
All:
.........Everything is new!
Leader:
.llness, disease and crying and mourning,
Women: Shall be as a distant memory!
Men:
......Hatred and war shall cease from the earth,
All:
.........For Christ has risen! Death is defeated!
................Halleluia! Jesus lives!
................Halleluia! Amen!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 118)
Leader: God is our strength and salvation,
People: Therefore we will sing with great joy!
Leader: This is a day that the Lord has made,
People: Let us be glad and rejoice in it!
Leader: O give thanks to God for he is good,
People: His love will never end! Praise the name of God! Amen!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 30)
Leader: Let us lift up the name of the Lord;
People: And rejoice for God hears our prayers!
Leader: Praise the One who brings healing to our pain;
People: And causes joy to follow the long night of sorrow!
Leader: We will not be silent. We will not still our tongues!
People: O Lord, our God, we will give thanks to You forever!

A Responsive Invocation (Based on Psalm 8)
Leader: You, O Lord, are more wonderful than our lips can proclaim!
People: When we consider the awesome works of your hands,
Leader: Your love for us is more than amazing!
People: You have trusted us with the whole of the earth,

Leader: And put everything we see under the care of our hands.
People: Lord, O Sovereign Lord, the earth is filled with your glory!

Unison Prayer of Invocation (Based on Psalm 32)
Our hearts are blessed as we gather before You today O Lord, for you have given us freedom from all our transgressions and joy in exchange for heavy hearts. You are the refuge we seek when we are troubled and the courage we need when we venture into our days. Bless us today with Your steadfast love as we declare our trust in You. Amen.

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 22)
Leader: Come to us even now O Lord of Life,
People: And fill this place with your presence!
Leader: We praise your name and rejoice in your love,
People: We stand in utter amazement of who you are!
Leader: Everyone who calls upon you will find fulfillment,
People: They will rejoice forever, because you are God!
Leader: Rejoice and give thanks!
People: Halleluiah! Amen!

A Responsive Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 16)
Leader: You are our security, O Lord, we find refuge in You.
People: Everything that is good comes from You Lord!
Leader: You give me guidance and make my heart glad,
People: You lead me on the path of life.
Leader: In Your presence there is fullness of joy,
People: In Your kingdom there is fulfillment forever! Amen!

A Call To Worship [Based on Psalm 66]
Leader: Make a joyful noise to God all the earth,
People: Sing out the praises of God.
Leader: Come all you people and know the joy of the Lord,
People: The love of God is greater than the tongue can tell!
Leader: Bless the Lord all you people, bless his Holy Name!
People: We praise, and worship, and honor, and glorify Your name O Lord!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 25)
L: Let us reach out with heart and soul to the Lord.
P: O Lord, our God, in you we place our trust.
L: Let us ask the Lord to lead us.
P: Help us O Lord to find the paths we should take.
L: Lead us in Your truth O God,
P: And we shall rejoice in your love and goodness forever! Amen!

A Call To Worship (Based on Col. 1:15-28)
Leader: Lord Jesus Christ, You have called us together,
People: To rejoice in who You are.
Leader: And delight in who we are because of You!
People: We stand amazed in Your presence,
Leader: Because, O Lord, You live your life in us!

A Call To Worship (From Psalm 138)
Leader: We gather to give thanks to You, O Lord,
People: With all our heart!
Leader: We will sing Your praises before all creation,
People: And rejoice in Your steadfast love!
Leader: You have created us O Lord, and made us for Yourself,
People: In You we become eveything You have made us to be!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 107)
L: O let us give thanks to the Lord,
P: For the love of God will never end.
L: Let we who love God be unashamed to declare it,
P: Because God has answered our cries for help.
L: The Lord our God has met our every need,
P: We will therefore proclaim the love of the Lord!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 50)
L: O Lord, our Lord, You call the day into being,
P: You are the joy and the beauty of each new day!
L: We offer to You the deep thanksgiving of our hearts,
P: We praise Your Holy Name for the gift of Your salvation!

Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 80)
L: Hear us O Lord, we call upon Your name today,
P: Shine your light upon us and give us Your grace!
L: Give us life, O Lord, as we reach out to You.
P: Let Your face shine upon us O lord God of hosts!
L: Help us to never turn away from You,
P: That we may rejoice in Your salvation! Amen!

A Unison Prayer of Invocation
O Lord of life and giver of every good gift. Apart from your leading we have no direction. Without your grace, we have no strength. Wanting your love, we have not hope. Open our hearts to the touch of your hand we pray and grant us the joy of your face shining upon us. O God, be in our midst this hour and let the renewing power of your Holy Spirit call us to new and glorious living! Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 71)
L: We gather to worship and praise you O Lord,
P: Because you are our haven of rest.
L: You are the One to whom we turn,
P: In every trial and troubled time.
L: You give us hope and we trust in you alone.
P: From the very beginning of our lives,
.....to the very end, you are our strength! Amen!

Responsive Call To Worship
L: Listen, O People of God! Do you hear it?
P: There is so much noise. It is hard to hear!
L: Listen, O Body of Christ! Can you hear his voice?
P: There is so little time. It is difficult to listen!
L: Listen for word of the Lord, O People of God. In this word there is life.
P: Open our ears and our hearts, O Lord. Give us the life that comes from your word! Amen!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 1)
L: We rejoice and praise Your holy name today, O Lord,
P: Because you have kept us from a destructive path.
L: We give thanks because Your word gives us hope,
P: And we reflect on Your word at all times.
L: You are the Source of deep seated faith,
P: And our spirits are refreshed in your presence! Amen!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 51)
L: May your love and mercy be upon us today, O Lord.
P: Cleanse and refresh us from every transgression.
L: Let your joy and gladness dawn in our spirits.
P: And the recreating power of your Spirit make us new.
L: Have mercy upon us O God,
P: And let your Spirit lead us in truth and righteousness. Amen.

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 113)
L: Let us praise the name of the Lord,
P: God is wonderful! Yesterday, today and forever!
L: The Lord our God has done marvelous things,
P: We are blessed more than we could ever imagine.
L: For all the amazing gifts we have been given,
P: We praise the name of the Lord! Amen!

A Responsive Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 146)
L: You alone, O Lord God, are worthy of praise.
P: There is no other source for hope and help.
L: We place our faith and trust in God alone;
P: Who created the heavens and the earth,
L: Who gives life and hope and justice and love,
P: To all who call upon the name of the Lord.
L: Therefore we will praise you forever, O Lord.
P: Praise the Lord all you people! Praise the Lord forevermore!

A Unison Prayer of Invocation
We come to worship you O Lord our God, to declare our trust in you and rejoice in the light of your love.  Quiet our hearts and make us still in our spirits that we might know the wonder of who you are.  We wait upon you, O Source of all joy -- we wait upon you and commit the moments of this holy hour into your hands. Amen.

A Responsive Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 66)
Leader:   Let us make a joyful noise to God.
People:  O Lord, our Lord, your name is more than glorious!
Leader:   Let us praise the name of the Lord.
People:  O God, your acts of love and mercy are awesome!
Leader:   Let us worship and bless the name of the Lord.
People:  We worship you Lord!  We worship and adore your
               holy name!  The sound of praise will be forever on
               our lips!  Amen!

A Responsive Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 121)
Leader:  We gather today to open our hearts to a question,
People: Where do we look for help in troubled times?
Leader:  Our help come from the One who made heaven and earth,
People: The Lord our Creator is also the One who protects us.
Leader:  The Lord will keep give us strength to resist evil,
People: He will watch over us today and for ever and ever.
             Blessed is the name of the Lord. Amen!

Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 32)
Blessed are those whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered. They are happy for the Lord declares them "not guilty" and there is no deception in their hearts. Let us worship and rejoice in the One who is our hiding place and our refuge in times of trouble.

Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 17:1-9)
Leader:  Come fill this place with your presence O Lord,
People: We call upon you for you hear us when we pray.
Leader:  We come to celebrate your unchanging love,
People: For in you we find refuge from our burdens.
Leader:  Watch over us O God, according to your tender love,
Unison: Hide us from all adversity, in the shadow of your wings!

Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 98)
Leader:  Sing to the Lord a new song,
People: For our God alone is Lord of all.
Leader:  Break into joyous songs of praise,
People: Let all the earth celebrate and rejoice.
Leader:  For our God comes in victory,
People: With righteousness and justice for all.

Call To Worship    (Based on Psalm 46)
Leader:  The Presence of God is our Strength,
People: Our refuge in times of trouble.
Leader:  When God is with us, there is joy in our hearts,
People: Therefore we rejoice and give thanks.
Leader:  For you alone, O Lord are God,
People: The one who reigns in all the earth.

Call to Worship    (Based on Psalm 122)
Leader:   I was glad when they said to me,
People: "Let us go to the house of the Lord."
Leader:   Here we gather, in this place,
People:  To pray for the peace of your people, O Lord.
Leader:   May the shalom of God fill our hearts and our world,
People: As we journey toward the birth,
             of the One who brings peace!   Amen.

A Call To Worship
Leader: As the days draw closer to our Saviors’ birth,
People: We long for the peace only God can give.
Leader: As the hours fly by and we grow busier each day,
People: We hunger for the rest only Christ can give.
People: As commercials cry out and our budgets are strained,
People: We thirst for the meaning only God’s Spirit can give.
Leader: O come let us open our hearts,
People: And prepare for the birth of our Lord!

Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 146)
Leader: Joy comes to those who hope in God.
People: For the Lord is a Keeper of promises.
Leader: Our God is a God of healing and help and hope!
People: The Lord will reign forever,
Leader: Our God will keep faith with all generations.
People: Let us praise the Lord both now and forevermore!

Call To Worship (For Advent)
Leader:  The days have gone by and the time has come.
People: The manger awaits the opening skies.
Leader:  The choirs have assembled and the worshipers are here.
People: O come to us holy child of Bethlehem,
Leader:  Let your light shine upon us and your glory appear,
People: For you are Emmanuel! The Lord here with us!

A Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 148)
L:  Praise the Lord!
P: Praise the Lord all over heaven;
L: Praise God all over the earth!
P: Praise the Lord, all you angels!

L: Let every creature everywhere praise the Lord!
P: For the Lord our God has given us a Savior!
L: We have received the amazing gifts,
P: Of love and life and joy forevermore!  Amen!

A Call To Worship   (From Isaiah 60)
L:  Arise, shine, for your light has come;
P: And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
L:  Lift up your eyes and look around,
P: Then you shall see and be radiant,
L:  Your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
P: The glory of God shall be our strength and our hope!

Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 29)
L: Let us worship the name of our wonderful God,
P: The Lord reigns over all creation!
L: The voice of God creates all things,
P: Nothing exists without the creative power of the Lord.
L: May God give strength to all who gather here today,
P: May the Lord bless us with peace!

A Call To Worship (Based on Psalm 40)
Leader:  We come together to be in the presence of God,
People: For the Lord knows our hearts and hears our cries.
Leader:  Our God puts joy in our hearts,
People: And a song on our lips!
Leader:  Here we are, O Lord, we open our lives to you,
People: Let your love pour over our souls,
Leader:  And your mercy flood our spirits!
People: For you alone are the Lord our God!
     Halleluia!  Amen!

A Unison Prayer of Invocation   (Based on Psalm 27)
We have gathered together today, O Lord because our spirits long to come into your presence. You alone are the hope and joy we seek for the living of our lives.  You alone are the salvation we long for. O Lord, do not turn away from us, but come and dwell in our midst today. Reach into every heart and soul that has assembled in this place and be gracious to us. Answer our heartfelt prayers and send us away to proclaim the glory of you name in all the world. Amen.

Call To Worship   (Adapted from Micah 6:1-8)
Leader:  Come together O people of the Lord,
People: And listen to the mighty voice of God!
Leader:  Let us remember all the blessings of the Lord,
People: And the strength we have received from God's hand.
Leader:  Open you hearts to all the Lord would ask of you,
Unison: To do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God!

Call To Worship   (Adapted from Psalm 112)
Leader:  Happy are those who fear the LORD,
People: Who greatly delight in the commandments of God.
Leader:  They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
People: They are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
Leader:  They have distributed freely,
People: They have given to the poor;
Leader:  Acts of kindness and mercy endure forever,
People: And they bring honor to the name of their God!

A Call To Worship   (Psalm 119:1-5 adapted)

Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.

Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,

O Lord, you have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.

O that our ways may be steadfast
and that we may praise you with honest hearts!

A Call To Worship   (Psalm 32 adapted)

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, All you People of God,
and shout for joy, because your heart seeks God.

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.

May all your people offer prayer and thanksgiving
to your Holy Name.

O Lord, you are a hiding place for us;

You help your people in times of trouble;

You cause our hearts to be filled with glad cries of deliverance!
Amen.

A Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 121)
L:    Let us declare O People of God the source of our help and hope.
P:    Our help comes from the Lord who made the heavens
        and the earth.
L:    The Lord is present with us at all times,
P:    We are never left alone.
L:    God's help is at hand every waking moment of our lives,
P:    We place our hope in the Lord from this time on
        and forevermore!  Amen!

A Call To Worship   (Adapted from Psalm 95)
Leader:   O come, let us sing to the LORD;
People:   Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Leader:   Let us come into God's his presence with thanksgiving;
People:   Let us make a joyful noise to the Lord with songs of praise!
Leader:   O come, let us worship and bow down,
People:   Let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
Leader:   For we are the people of God's pasture, the sheep of the Lord.
People:  O Let us hear the voice of the Lord today!

Call To Worship   (Based on Psalm 23)

L:  We rejoice in the One who leads us beside still waters,
P:  And gives us refreshment of soul.
L:  Christ our Shepherd shows us the way we should go,
P:  So that the name of God will be glorified.
L:  Though all manner of evil befall us, we will not be afraid,
P:  For the Great Shepherd of our souls is with us.
L:  We are never away from the love and mercy of the Lord,
P:  And we shall be with him for ever and ever.  Amen!

A Call To Worship    (Based on Psalm 130)

L:  O Lord God, hear the voice of your people today.
P:  Listen to our words and our hearts as we pray.
L:  O Lord, if you held our sins against us, who could stand?
P:  O we thank you that you are a forgiving God!
L:  We place our hope and trust in you alone,
P:  Our spirits wait for the outpouring of your love.

A Call To Worship   (Psalm 118:24-29 - Responsively) [NIV]

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.

The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

A Call To Worship
Leader:   Christ is Risen!
People: He is risen indeed!
Leader:   Our Lord has overcome the power of death,
People:  In Christ we live forevermore!
Leader:   This is the Lord's doing;
People:  It is a marvelous thing in our lives!
Leader:   This is the day that the Lord has made;
People:  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Leader:   Let all God's people rejoice;
People:  Alleluia!  Amen!  Alleluia!


Prayers of Dedication

Prayer of Dedication
O Lord, we open our hearts to the absolute wonder of your gift to us. The gifts we bring today are but pale reflections of our gratitude. In Jesus, your heart was fully opened to us and through Jesus our hearts are opened to you. May these gifts provide for the opening of hearts that have yet to know your love. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
O Lord God of every good gift, give us hearts to perceive You in all that we are and have. The gifts we bring to You are but the outward expression of Your life in us. We ask that day by day we would grow closer to all that You have designed us to be, and in doing so my our giving begin to change our world. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
You have brought us to Yourself, O Lord. You have given us the gift of faith. Your mercies toward us are more than we could ever hope to deserve. We stand in awe before You today offering our gifts, our hearts our abilities and our worship. Come now, O Holy One and make us fully Your own through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
O Lord God of every good gift, give us hearts to perceive You in all that we are and have. The gifts we bring to You are but the outward expression of Your life in us. We ask that day by day we would grow closer to all that You have designed us to be, and in doing so my our giving begin to change our world. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
It is amazing, O God, that You should depend on our gifts to build the kingdom of your Son Jesus. How much You must value us to invest such trust in our family of faith. May our giving finally bring much honor and glory to You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
As we bring these gifts to You, O God of light, we ask that Your Spirit open us up fully to all we can be through the love of Christ. Shine Your light within our hearts that we might see more clearly how You can change the world through the gifts we bring. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
As we bring these gifts, O Lord, we so desire to bring all the praise and honor our hearts can contain. With the children of old, we bring our hosannas and with the saints of every age we bring our adoration. Yet, no gift we bring can compare with the amazing grace so freely given to us. Bless these gifts we pray, and give us wisdom to use them in the spreading of Jesus' love. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
How can we begin to thank you Lord? We can scarcely understand it. This gift of life everlasting which is ours in Christ, is greater than our hearts can contain. Can a God such as this receive offerings such as these? O Lord, may Your overflowing grace surround those who bring these gifts and prepare those who will receive the ministry they support. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
The amazing trust you have placed in us is almost more than we can fathom, O Lord. That You should build the Kingdom of the love of Your Son through the gifts we bring, is a mystery to our minds, but joy to our hearts. Receive these gifts, we pray and lead us ever deeper into the fulfillment of faithfulness. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Holy Lord, Creator of all that fills our lives with joy, the gifts we bring to You are tokens of our gratitude. From Your gracious hand we have received peace, grace, hope and love. May the gifts we bring result in other hearts coming to know the joy of Your love. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Thank You O our God for; sin forgiven, burdens lifted, joy restored and courage given. Yet, of all the gifts You shower upon us, our lives are blessed beyond measure that You should use our gifts to bring the world to You! Amen!

A Prayer of Dedication
You are near to us, O Lord. Yet we are so often far from You. You bless us countless times each day with the bounty of Your love. Yet we are so often forgetful of the gifts You give. May it be, O Lord, that the gifts we bring today should open our hearts more fully to the wonder of the greatest gift this world has ever known! Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
If we should begin to count Your gifts to us, O God, we would not rise from our knees. Words fail as we seek to number the blessings that have blessed our lives. The gifts we bring to You today are but pale reflections of our gratitude. May we experience the joy of seeing these gifts touch other hearts with the glory of who You are! Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
The gift You seek most of all O Lord, is the gift of our love. As we brings our gifts today, may we have grace to offer our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our souls to You. And as we give all to You, we discover that in the giving we are receiving more than we can imagine. May the mystery of our love for You and Your love in us, bring true peace to our lives and to the world around us. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
We stand before You today, O Lord of life, Creator, Redeemer and Friend, with full hearts, empty hands and open minds. Come live Your life in us, O God. Receive our gifts and let joy fill this place and love come upon us like an overflowing stream. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
No gift we bring, O Lord of all, can express the gratitude in our hearts. Because of your love, we have hope, joy, love, forgiveness and life everlasting. What tongue has the power to worthily praise your name? What gift can begin to compare with Your gifts to us? Therefore we stand silent before You as gratitude flows from our heart to You. [Wait for a time of silence] Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
We worship you, O Lord with all of our hearts, with all of our minds, with all of our spirits and with all our strength. We offer these gifts as a token of our desire to belong fully to you. Free us, we pray, from the obsession of possession and fill our hearts with the true treasure of your eternal kingdom. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
As we bring these gifts to You O Lord, we ask for strength to bring the gift of our obedience to Your Holy will. As our father Abraham was blessed with the gift of faith, so may we walk in faith through all the days of our living. With those who have walked before us, we pray that You would bless us with courage for the journey of faith, which leads to the home You have prepared for us. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Where there is life, O God, you have given it. Where there is joy, you are the source. Where there is hope, you are the author. Where there is love you are the fountain. Where there is giving you are the giver. O God, even as we bring our gifts, may we see that these offerings are of your hand. We thank you O Divine Redeemer that even in our giving you are loving us! Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
We bring these gifts to honor you, O Lord. You are great and these gifts are small. Your love is from one end of eternity to the other. Our love is faltering, waning then growing. O may the gifts we bring lead us further into commitment to you. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Receive these gifts we bring, O Lord. We wrap them in our praise to you. Enlarge our hearts to reach out with love and hope to the broken world that surrounds us. May we give ourselves to you in a way, that your Holy Spirit can make of us, an outpost of your kingdom's love. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
O God of life and hope and joy, You have blessed us in ways that go way beyond our understanding. Were we to count Your gifts to us, we could number the stars of heaven. Please accept the gifts we bring to you as tokens of our love and seeds of blessing for the those who have yet to discover your love and grace. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Who are we, O Lord, that you should receive gifts from our hands? What greater way could you have chosen to make us so truly your children? As a child reaches out with simple gifts of love to a parent, so we reach out to you with gifts that reflect our love. As you have redeemed us from aimlessness and sin, so refresh us with the Spirit of Christ, that we might be fully given into your hands. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Help us, O Lord God, to let go. We too easily cherish the things of this world and lightly consider the claims of eternity. Give us grace today. Give us the power to see ourselves in the light of Your love. May the gifts we bring today call us to the joy of living for You in a lost and broken world. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
How can we give to you O Lord? We have received everything from your hand. We do not have life, liberty or happiness except you have given it to us. We do not have food, shelter or clothing unless you grant it to us. How can we give to you unless you first give to us? Merciful God, as we offer these gifts to you, we become more like you. O Lord, our Lord, shape our hearts by the good pleasure of your Holy Spirit, that through giving we might discover the joy of living. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
Thank you Lord, for loving us before we ever dreamed of bringing gifts to you.  We pray that in the ministry made possible by these gifts, the world might come to know the blessings you have given to us. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
We bring these gifts of love to you O Lord, as a token of our gratitude. In the best of times you give us life and love and length of days. In the tough times you give us courage and hope. O gracious God, receive these gifts and bless the persons they will reach, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
We dedicate these gifts to you O Lord our God, for you are worthy of all glory, praise and honor. You have given to your people beyond measure, and saved us with an everlasting salvation.  May the ends of the earth come to know that you alone are God, and that your grace and mercy are from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
With these offerings, O Lord, we bring our resolve to care for one another, seek those who are in need of your love and pray for the reign of Jesus Christ in all the world. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
It is the "Good News" of your love for us that has brought us to this place, O Lord of all. It is the promise of life and life everlasting that strengthens us for our daily lives. It is the profusion of blessings you have poured into our lives that enables us to honor you with these gifts.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
O gracious God, we bring our praise and thanksgiving, our gratitude and our gifts. You have blessed us with your steadfast love and renewed us in the image of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
Because of your great gifts to us O Lord, we have forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to your perfect love. Bless the gifts we bring and give us courage to live more fully for you.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
We begin our Advent journey, O Lord, with the awareness that no gift, at any time, in any place can compare with your gift to us.   O use the gifts we bring to open our hearts more fully to that which is ours in Christ.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
O Lord of every good gift and Maker of every life, we come before you as those who have received the greatest gift of all. With the Magi of old, we are on a journey to the manger. The gifts we bring grow pale as we bask in the light of your love. Bless these gifts, O Lord, and grow your love more fully in our hearts. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
The days draw ever closer to the celebration of your birth, O Lord. We have been gifted beyond all hope or expectation. Our hearts are full of your love. O bless these poor gifts Lord Jesus and build us up in your holy love. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
No offering, however costly O Lord, comes even close to what you have offered to us. Help and hope, life and joy, refuge and strength are ours in Christ. O may the gifts we bring help bring the love of Christmas to every waiting heart. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
You, O Lord, are the source of every good and wonderful blessing in our lives. In Jesus you have given us all you could possibly give. Teach us, gracious Lord, to give in a way that will bring glory to you and joy to the world.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
The gifts we bring to You, O Lord, fall so short of the gifts of great kings from the East. But, such as we have we bring to You.   Above all things, may we know the joy of bringing to You, a heart filled with worship.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
We are amazed O God, at the wonder of your love for us.  You gave us the amazing gift of your Son Jesus Christ long before we considered you.  Now we come before you bearing gifts that come from your hand.   How could we not love you and offer the gifts we bring for the building of your kingdom of love?  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
There is absolutely nothing that you have withheld from us, O Lord.  All that we have is from your bounty.  No mountain is high enough, nor is there an ocean wide enough to compare with your love toward us. The gifts we bring could never contain the gratitude in our hearts, yet in faithfulness we offer them to you. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
O Lord, there is none like you, pouring out the treasure of divine blessing we can barely comprehend.  Our hearts are empty and you fill them, our joys are few and your multiply them. O teach us to become like our Lord Jesus spreading light and life and love everywhere our steps would take us. And would you be pleased, our Savior, to touch other lives through the gifts we bring today. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
Along with these offerings, O Lord, we bring a willingness to be shaped by your Spirit. Give us grace to grow in all the ways you desire for our lives and courage to turn away from all that would separate us from you.  As we give may we know the transforming power of your love.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication  (Adapted from Isaiah 58:1-9)
We bring these gifts in humility to You O Lord.  Give us open hearts to also bring the gifts that truly bring joy to your heart.   Compassion, mercy and justice for all who are the forgotten and the "left out" of our society.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
You are the greatest Giver of all, O Lord.  You are the Provider of all things
and the One who has called us to work for the growth of your kingdom.
Bless the gifts we bring so that our efforts will bring about praise to
your Holy Name.  Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
You have promised great joy and blessing, O Lord, to all who open their hearts
to the needs of your children everywhere.  The gifts we bring today are the tokens of our desire to love and serve your Holy Name.  O fill our hearts with the joy of giving.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
It is so very clear Lord, that you have blessed your people abundantly
from the beginning of time until now.  We long to see your love and grace
fill our world.  We dedicate the gifts we bring today to the building of
the kingdom of your love and grace, in the hearts of all people. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
Every good gift is from your hand, O Lord.   May we become more fully aware that the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat are from your hand. The gifts we bring are but a portion of your gifts to us.   Even in our giving, we proclaim that you are Lord of all. Amen!

A Prayer of Dedication
You have given us light and life, hope and joy, O Lord.  Bless the
gifts we bring and the ministries they enable us to carry out.  O help
us to truly become bearers of the light of Christ in our world. Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
O Lord of love, the gift of life and new life in Christ
is so far beyond anything we could ever imagine! The
gifts we bring today seem so small and so insignificant.
And yet, by the power of your Holy Spirit, you turn our
gifts into life-giving ministry.  We give thanks!  Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication (Adapted from Psalm 118)
We give you thanks and praise O God, because your love will
endure forever. You have given us the gift of your salvation and
have placed a deep joy within our hearts. We are more than
blessed to be here in your presence.  Amen.

A Prayer of Dedication
O Holy God and Savior of us all, we stand before you in glorious
wonder today as the truth of resurrection fills our spirits.  There is
no God but you and there is no hope for life eternal apart from your
love and grace.  O bless the gifts we bring today and make of this
church a fellowship worthy of your mercy and grace.  Amen.


Prayers of Confession

A Prayer of Confession
O Lord God Almighty, Ruler of heaven and earth; we dare not lift our eyes into the brilliance of Your holiness. Cover us, we pray, with the cloak of Your mercy and the grace of Jesus Your Son. Then may we heartily turn from all that would keep us from Your holy love and flee into Your waiting arms for refuge and strength. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
O Lord God, full of mercy and compassion, give us courage today to see ourselves in the mirror of Your Son Jesus Christ. We confess that we fall so short of all You have made us to be. Give us grace, O gracious Lord, lest we be overcome by the truth of our shortcomings. Give us understanding, O Lord of truth, that we might receive and grow in the redemption so freely offered in Jesus our Savior. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
O Lord God of mercy and great compassion, your love has encouraged us to come to you with honesty and truth. We confess that we can not free ourselves from the grip of desire for earthly things without the work of your Holy Spirit in our lives. Along with the gifts we bring today, we pray that you would receive and renew our hearts for the building of your kingdom. In the name of Jesus our Redeemer we pray. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
We confess, O Lord of all who live, that we have come so very short of all that You intend for our lives. Turn our lives, we pray, to the work You have given to us. May we come to know the true joy of bringing hope, joy and love to the dispossessed of our world. Turn our hearts from self to service, and give us strength to work for life and liberty for all Your children. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
As we stand before you O Lord, our hearts unfold in the sunshine of your love. How difficult it is sometimes, to see how far short we fall of your design for our lives. You have given so much to us -- invested so much in us. We confess that we can not reach out unless you reach through us, nor give except you give through us. We offer our imperfect lives and wayward hearts to the transforming power of your love. Free us, O God, from the bondage of self and let the miracle of your love be expressed through these broken hearts. For Jesus' sake we pray. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
Forgive us Lord. For we are way too vulnerable to self righteousness. Save us from the sin of pride that magnifies self and diminishes others. Give us the pure grace of your forgiveness and renew our hearts for the service of your kingdom. Through Jesus love and grace we pray. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
O Lord God of grace and mercy, we flee to your redeeming love today. We acknowledge that we imitate the world too much, and the Lord Jesus too little. We confess that we are too often "case hardened" when we see the suffering of others. There is so much to do, we get overwhelmed. We are tempted to do little or nothing. Yet, you have decided to need us for your work. Let us hear your voice today. Grant that our hearts may be filled with your love. And at the last, give us the joy of reaching out with your strength to bring healing to a shattered world. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
O Lord of compassion and mercy, we confess that one of Your greatest gifts to us has so often been the source of our greatest trials. You have given us the gift of choice. We can choose between right and wrong, between love and hate. We can take the high road or the low road. We can reach out in your name or we can retreat in the name of selfishness. O Great God of grace, help us to choose with clarity, compassion and commitment. Cleanse us from every wrong and give us the joy of making choices that bring honor to the name of Christ. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
Give us courage, Lord, that we might search the deepest and darkest corners of our being for anything that offends your holy name. Give us mercy that we might stand in the brilliance of your light. Give us grace that we might go from this assembly cleansed from our sin and refreshed for your service. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
O God of heaven and earth, Creator of all we have and are, we come before you today as those who need Your help with faithfulness. We long to hear the words, "Well done good and faithful servant," yet our service to you has fallen short. O give us the strength of your Holy Spirit, that we might set our hearts more squarely on the goal of unwavering commitment to your lordship in all of life. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
We stand before you in need of grace, O merciful Lord. We are too easily attached to the things of this world and too easily detached from you. We long for goods ahead of goodness and for money ahead of of meaning. We beg your forgiveness for our wandering hearts and pray your guidance for our wavering spirits. O come and recreate our divided hearts today, that we might know the pure joy of loving you above all things. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
Open our eyes merciful Savior, that we might see more clearly the fullness of your gifts to us. We confess that our gratitude toward You comes short of the glory that is due Your holy name. Forgive us our meager praise and lose our tongues to glorify the wonder of Your name. Amen.
[Response to the Prayer of Confession:   Sing first verse of "O For A Thousand Tongues"]

A Prayer of Confession
Be gracious to us today our Lord, for we are in need of your mercy.  We are often quick to doubt and slow to pray. We are tempted to let go of faith when we need to hang on. We are discouraged by wrong when we need to be encouraged by your Spirit. O God, our loving Lord, give us strength to trust in you all the days of our lives. Amen.


Other Prayers and Readings

A Litany (Based on Psalm 91)
Leader: Let we who live with faith in God proclaim,
People: Lord, You are my refuge and my fortress, my God I will trust forever.
Leader: Let we who trust in the Lord know that holy love surrounds us.
People: God's protection will follow us throughout our days.
Leader: When we call out to the Lord,
People: We know that we are heard.
Leader: God is with us in every trial and temptation,
People: Therefore we will rejoice in the salvation of the Almighty! Amen!

A Pastoral Prayer (See Isaiah 55:1-9)

O Divine Redeemer, Your love toward us came at such a cost. How much you must love us! We can not begin to fathom just how deeply we are loved. Can a child possibly become aware how much a mother or father loves them? They are so unaware. Do they fully understand what grief and sorrow comes to a parent's heart when they are wounded?

O God, it is in our experience as parents that we more fully understand Your love for us. How it must break Your heart when we persist in doing the things that finally erode the meaning and the joy of our lives. When we see our children heading in directions that will be their undoing, it worries us so. Yet, we can not control the what, where, how, when, or why of their living without doing damage to their persons. Is this what free will does to Your heart?

God... help us to listen today. Not only with our ears. We've seen the faces of our children when they are listening with their ears alone. Help us to listen with our hearts. And hear with our souls. And act with our wills.

Finally, may we allow the light of Your Holy Spirit into the dark recesses of our spirits that Your Son Jesus might break the stubborn rebellion of our souls. And we will give the glory, the honor and the blessing to You.

And You will give us joy! Amen!

A Pastoral Prayer (Based on Isa. 43:16-21 - Consider scripture followed by prayer)

O Lord of life, there are times when it seems as though there is nowhere to turn, no place to go and no one to trust. Even the sunshine can be like gloom and the midnight hour is as a clock without hands.

O God come to us in the hour of our greatest trial as the One whose light the darkness can not overcome. Lead us from places where no mortal knows the way and no earthly power can help. Merciful Savior, You alone can flood the desert with rain, and bring life out of the barren fields. And You alone can bring gladness to the heart forsaken, the spirit lost and the soul extinguished.

Come even now into this assembly, touch every heart with Your Spirit, lighten every burden with the power of Your touch. Call forth praise from our lips and the world shall know indeed that You are God and there is no other god before You. We are created to know and love You forever. You have made us for Yourself O Lord and our hearts are restless 'til they find their rest in Thee! Amen!

A Responsive Benediction
L: You have come to receive the truth of God.
P: We leave to share the light!
L: You have come to grow in the love of God.
P: We leave to share the love!
L: May it be so!
P: Amen! Let it be!

A Benediction
Go from this place O People of the Lord, with thanksgiving in your heart and the joy of the Risen Christ in your spirit. Go with praise on your lips, a smile on your face and compassion in your heart. Go as light and life in a dark and broken world. And may the God of everlasting love give to you the gift of peace. Amen!

A Responsive Benediction
L: Receive the Lord Jesus Christ.
P: We receive the Lord!
L: And as you leave this place today,
P: We will live our lives in Him!
L: For once you were dead in sin,
P: But now we are alive in Him! Forever! Amen!

A Litany for World Communion Sunday

Leader:  O Lord, our gracious God, from all around the world this day,
People: May a joyful shout of praise rise to your holy presence!
Leader:  From our brothers and sister of every tongue and every tribe,
People: From men and women, boys and girls,
Leader:  May the gladness of our God fill every breast!
People: As we gather round your table O Christ,
Leader:  Your people rejoice in your salvation!
People: May the whole world know that you alone are God!

[Sing:  He's Got the Whole World]

Words of Welcome   (Perhaps for the beginning of your bulletin)
We welcome you today in the name of the one who frees us from every burden, renews our spirits and inspires hope and joy in our living. May this time of worship encourage and lift you up.

Responsive Benediction
Leader:  We have come to give praise and thanks,
People: To him who seeks and saves those who are lost.
Leader:  We depart now to honor and serve,
People: The one who now seeks through us.
[Ask all to hold out their hands]
Unison:  Take these hands now O Lord, and use them to reach out this week to all who need your love. Amen

Benediction
Go out in joy, all you people of the Lord!
Hold fast to the love that has redeemed you,
to the hope that will lead you to everlasting joy!
Share with the world,
The life that has been given to you,
To give away!   Amen!

Benediction
Go from this place O people of the Lord, with love in your hearts, joy in your spirits and good news on your lips for the healing of the world.  Amen.

Benediction
Go from this place in the joy and strength of the great God of our salvation. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  Amen.

Benediction
May the peace of God be with you and fill the days of this season as you go from this place. May the light of the Lord shine upon your path and the joy of the Lord be your strength.  Amen.

Benediction
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, may you abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit and may the love of the Lord fill your days. Amen.

Benediction
Beloved of the Lord, go from this place with hope in your hearts, strength in your soul and patience in your spirit 'till the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Amen!

Benediction
May the Great Shepherd of Israel, the One who shines above the cherubim, shine upon you, be gracious unto you and lead you all the days of your life.  Amen.

A Benediction
Go in the name of the Lord with thanksgiving in your heart. Share the gifts of love and joy with all you meet. Let the overflowing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ set your course and guide your steps until we meet again!   Amen!

A Benediction
Go from this place with the hope and the help of the Lord in your hearts.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on
and forevermore!  Amen!

Benediction  (Based on Romans 5:1-11)
May your faith give you peace and may God's Spirit give you love.
May the grace of God give you hope and may the love of Christ
give you strength. Amen.

Benediction
Go from this place as children of light.   Take the love and comfort
of God with you wherever you go.  God's goodness and mercy shall
follow you and the light of the Lord will be upon your path. Amen.

A Benediction
O people of the Lord, you have been raised with Christ!  Go from
this place with joy and rejoicing in your hearts, for Christ is your
life and his glory is your hope!  Amen!


Children's Messages

"You'll Never Believe This!"

Tell the children you are about to show them something they will find very hard to believe. [You will need a seed from a pine cone or an apple -- put the seed in an envelope and have this in your pocket] "I have a whole forest right here (pat) in my pocket! Do you believe me?" (They won't) Ask if they want to see the forest (or apple orchard. When you finally open up the envelope you can ask them if they see a forest. Explain how this one seed could produce a tree which would have at least 100 pine cones (apples). These 100 pine cones would have thousands of seeds and if they all grew into trees, there would then be millions of trees!

All from this tiny seed!

Relate this to the story of Thomas from the gospel. He could not believe that Jesus would still be alive after he died on the cross. He had to see it to believe it. Jesus explained to his disciples and to Thomas that he was still alive and that his love could live in them. And if they shared the love of Jesus with someone else and that person shared Jesus' love with another person, soon there would be thousands of people sharing Jesus' love. Just as there is a whole forest in one tiny seed, there is a whole world of love in just one heart if we share it with someone else.

*****

"A Miracle Kit! - Part One"

You will want to announce this ahead of time -- a week or two before this Sunday.

Tell the children you are going to give each of them a "Miracle Kit of Life." Ask them to take the kits home and follow the directions inside. As you pass these kits out, ask the children to tell you what they think might be inside. There will be a wonderful surprise when the kits are used and the surprise will have something to do with life. Tell them to be sure and come back next week so everyone can see what has happened with their kits. (They need to open the kits and follow the directions today!)

Supplies: In one quart zip lock bags put: Starfoam cups for each child. Enough potting soil to fill about 2/3 of the cup (in baggies), Four beans (raw Great Northern or other white - navy type beans - ( save the extra beans for 5/24! ) and the following instructions:

Fill each cup with the soil. (Save about 1/2" for the top) Put the four beans in the cup and cover with the remaining soil. Water well and place in a sunlit window. Keep watered. Watch for new life and bring the cup back to church next Sunday.

NOTE!!! (Do two or three of these -- depending on how many children you have -- you will have one or two that may not have planted in time .. or a couple of children who will be present next week who are not here today. From experience, I can tell you there is much "weeping and gnashing of teeth" from heartbroken children when their cups don't grow -- one mom explained that she forgot to plan the seeds until Friday.)

*****

"A Miracle Kit - Part Two"

The children should be bringing back their "Miracle Kits" Talk about how life is a gift from God and that the life was already in the seeds. We can "help" the life grow, but we can not "make" the life.

Life needs care to grow. It needs light, water, warmth and earth. These things are like love. Love helps us to grow and it helps to make our lives to be happy. The care you gave to your plants is like love.

*****

God's Spirit Will Help Us

Younger children may have a more difficult expressing or conceptualizing what it means to search for inner peace or serenity. (They are closer to those days of peace in mother's arms!) They can, however, understand worry and you can approach this lesson by focusing on how God helps us to not worry. God "holds us up" -- or helps us to feel that things will be okay.

Ask them if they ever worry about anything. Let them talk about their worries. (But, be ready to redirect the conversation quickly if you get something like I did when I first used this theme. One little girl said, "I'm worried my daddy is going to leave us because he had a big fight with my mommy last night!")

Now tell them you want to show them how God's spirit can help us. Take a single sheet of paper (8 1/2 by 11) and tell the children you are going to throw it across the room. (It will drop willy nilly to the floor.) Then invite one or two of them to throw it.

The paper needs some help. Tell the children you have an idea that will help. Shape the paper into a paper airplane and "fly" it into the congregation. The wings are kind of like prayer, the air that flows around the wings is like the Spirit of God ... holding us up. Likewise, God's Spirit will help us to feel that things will be okay. That's having peace.

*****

I Hope There's Something Good in Here!

Like the term "peace" -- "hope" is a hard concept for children to grasp especially in their younger (concrete thinking stage) years. Here's a way to talk about disappointment and hope. You will need two large bags of M & M's and a bag of beans. (Leftovers from the Miracle Kit!) Open one of the bags carefully from the bottom and replace the M & M's with beans. Close inconspicuously as you can with tape or well placed staples. Talk about disappointment and hope this way:

Doesn't this look good? (Shake the bag of "beans") Sometimes I really look forward to having a few of these. Let's open the bag and share them. [When you open the bag from the top and shake out the beans -- talk about being "disappointed" -- point to other times when they might have been disappointed -- let them share.]

Now bring out the other bag of M & M's. Say something like, "I hope there's something good in here." Talk about hoping for good things. Time permitting, have them share their "hopes". Then open the bag of M & M's and share them.

Conclude with the idea that Jesus gives us hope because he promised to live with us for as long as we live and that we would live with him forever. This is the best hope of all!

*****

God Gave Us "Choosers"

Objects you will need for this are a baggie with some M & M's and another baggie with some flowerets of broccoli.

Ask the children, "Do you know what a "chooser" is?" You see, God gave all of us "choosers". You can choose which toy to play with. You can choose to go outside or play inside. There are all kinds of ways you can choose. God gave us "choosers" to do this with. Can you tell me some ways you can choose?

Now show them the baggies. Explain how healthy etc. broccoli is and then ask which they would like to choose. (Mighty few of us will be able to talk the children into choosing broccoli over M & M's!) Talk about how hard it is sometimes to choose the right thing.

Close with a prayer that God will help all of us to use our "choosers" in a way that will make him happy.

*****

I'm Really, Really Sorry

Have you ever had a time when you had to say, "I'm sorry?"

Tell me about it. (Encourage the children to share their experiences and do a bit of interviewing) i.e. "Why did you say you were sorry?" (Did mom or dad MAKE you say it?") "What is the worst thing about having to say I'm sorry?"

Take it to another level. "What if I had to tell someone I was REALLY sorry?" That would be about something pretty serious huh? But what if I had to say to someone, "I am REALLY, REALLY sorry!!" That would be about something very serious -- wouldn't you say?

It doesn't feel very nice when we have to tell someone we're really, really sorry for something we did. Do you know what I mean? Feels a little crummy doesn't it?

Now -- here's the important part. When you say "I'm sorry to your mom or your dad, and you talk about not doing the wrong thing anymore -- what happens? Do they tell you it's okay?" It's like that with God. Every time we tell God we are sorry for something that we did that wasn't right, God forgives us and says, "I still love you!"

That feels really, really good!

*****

Who Can You Trust?

Objects: For this lesson, you will need a large bag of M & M's And some smaller bags like the small Halloween type ones.(Obviously, this is a part of the M & M series.) You could also use a large snickers and some of the smaller ones. Put all the candy in a large paper bag. The lesson will have to do with your carrying out some instructions that were given to you and whether the children would trust you if you didn't do it correctly.

Lesson:

"Boys and girls, I have some good news for you! Someone gave me some little bags of M & M's to give to you. This person ( me or your husband or wife) told me to give each one of you a bag of these M & M's. [Show them]

"But, wait a minute!" Here's a large bag of M & M's. [Show them] I know -- why don't I give each of you an M & M out of this bag [begin to do this -- one M & M to each child] and that way, I'll have these little bags for myself. Isn't that a great idea?" [Let them express that this isn't a great idea from their perspective.]

Talk with the children about how this would only be a good idea for you and it certainly wouldn't be a good idea in terms of the instructions you received about giving the little bags of M & M's to the children. If you don't carry out the instructions given to you, you wouldn't be very trustworthy. Would they want you to work for them? Relate this to the dishonest manager in the gospel lesson. Then:

"It wouldn't be very honest of me to keep the candy for myself -- would it? And you know something? I want people to trust me more than I want all this candy for myself -- so here you are. [Hand out the bags]

"Now aren't you glad I am an honest person? Don't you want to be an honest person too?"

*****

Would You Rather Have Love or Money?

Objects:

You need a pocket full of change. Pennies, nickels dimes and a few quarters.

Lesson:

How many of you boys and girls have pets? (Talk with them about their pets and then do something along the line of:) "Billy, how about if I give you all this money [a few pennies, a nickel and a dime] for you dog?

Billy will say no, of course, so you up the ante until it becomes clear Billy won't take your money. "Well then Billy, how much would you want to give me your dog?" Repeat this with a couple more of the children regarding their cat or bird or whatever. Then make the point that love is more important than money.

Now take all the change... say to one of the children then to a couple more... "Do you think your mom (or dad or grandmother etc.) would take all this money for you?"

Love is much more important than money. Money can't replace the love you have for your pet and it can't replace the love your parents have for you. It's like that with God. God loves us more than anything and God wants us to give our love back. Jesus said the most important thing in all of life is to love God with all of your heart as much as you can possibly love.

Isn't it great to have something that is way more important than money?

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