Posted in Children, God Loves Me!

Children’s Sermon on The Holy Spirit for Pentecost: Acts 2: 4

Scripture: Acts 2: 4

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Props: handheld fan, candle and light (if your church doesn’t light candles for service), cotton ball with essential oil, recording of strong wind


Do you know what special day this is? This is Pentecost Sunday. It’s the time when we remember that before Jesus returned to heaven, he promised that God would send a helper — the Holy Spirit — to live inside of those who follow him. He promised that the Holy Spirit would give them the power to do great and mighty things.

One day, after the Resurrection at Easter, the disciples were all together and they heard a sound from Heaven: a loud, powerful rushing wind. And a flame appeared – no candle or anything – and touched on each disciple. And the disciples felt a great power and immediately went out to preach – that’s what the power of the Holy Spirit helped them to do – to tell others about God and Jesus.

How do you think you can tell when the Holy Spirit is giving you the power and the urge to tell someone about God and Jesus? Let’s test our senses to see how many ways we can feel that mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit:

Can you feel the Holy Spirit? (use a battery-powered hand fan to blow on the children) Can you feel the wind like you’re at the beach or high in the mountains? YES! That’s the Holy Spirit making sure you know it’s there for you.

Can you taste the Holy Spirit? Hmmm, that’s a tough one, isn’t it. Wind doesn’t have a taste, but it we stick out tongues out when the wind blows, we do get another way to feel the wind and know the Holy Spirit is encouraging us.

Can you smell the Holy Spirit? (hold a cotton ball with essential oil in front of the fan to send a scent on the wind) Let’s try it: we already know we can feel the wind when it brushed past us, but the wind – the Holy Spirit – can also use smells to let us know how we can minister to others.

Can you hear the Holy Spirit? (cue Crystal to play the wind storm sound on the Clavinova) Wow, right! That’s a big mighty wind. That’s definitely the Holy Spirit when it really needs to get our attention, right!

Can you see the Holy Spirit? Take a look at the candles on the table. That’s the light of Christ we bring in each Sunday and we take out into the world each week. What makes that light move so that we can see it? YES! The Holy Spirit.

Our basic senses are how we feel and know that the Holy Spirit is with us and ready to help us to do what God asks us to do. This is what we are reminded of each year on the day of Pentecost: that when we know God and follow Jesus, we are filled with the Holy Spirit which gives us the power and the instructions to do wonderful and mighty things for God.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us the power of the Holy Spirit. Please fill us up each day with the Holy Spirit that we would have the power to live for Jesus and let His light shine in our lives. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Delivered on Sunday, June 4, 2017, at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Children, God Loves Me!

Children’s Sermon on John 10: 3-5 – Jesus Knows Your Name

Swim Coach Chris Puglia with South Carolina Special Olympics USA Games 2014 Swimmers Amanda, Tate, and Travis

Scripture: John 10: 3b – 5

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

Who here is on a sports team – any time of year? Swimming, dancing, soccer, football, gymnastics, baseball, running, bowling, lacrosse…

And how do you and everyone else know which team you’re on when you’re playing a game or competing? Colors of the uniforms

And how can your coach tell you apart and know your names to call out suggestions to help you win? You’ve spent time together in practice and your coach has learned who you are and your name.

And how do you know which coach’s voice belongs to your coach? You know his/her voice and how he/she talks.

In today’s Children’s Church lesson, we hear the same kind of being known and of knowing about Jesus, about how He knows our names and we know His voice so we know which voice to follow to make good choices in life. As I read the scripture, think of yourself as one of the sheep:

He [Jesus] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

For Jesus, He knows our names and who we are instantly. But for us, we have to learn how to tell Jesus’s voice from other influences, sometimes just our own wants. So we come to church and we study and we ask our teachers and parents and leaders how they learned to know Jesus as well as He knows us.

Will you pray with me?

Dear Jesus
Thank you for knowing my name.
Thank you for protecting me as your sheep.
Help me to know your voice.
Help me to follow your guidance.
In your name, we pray,

Posted in Children, God Loves Me!

Children’s Sermon on John 11: 1-45 – Unconventional Signs of Our Love and Humanity

Scripture: John 11: 1-45 – the illness and death of Lazarus

Focus: The sadness and grief we feel and share (i.e., crying) when a friend or loved one dies are some of the outward signs that we have learned to love one another and to share God’s love through our acts of kindness toward one another.

Who here has ever written a note or made a card for someone’s birthday or Father’s Day or Grandparents’ Day? Yeah! It’s fun, and we write nice things like “I love you” and “you’re beautiful” and “I have so much fun at your house”, right?

IMG_1727I’ve got a couple of notes my niece Anna has made for me. This one was for my birthday last year. It’s a pink Pecachoo and says “Happy Birthday CeCe” and has a heart on it. Do you think any of these words and pictures might be signs that Anna loves me? Yeah, the heart, and she says “Happy”. Those are great signs of love, easy to spot.

I’ve got this other note with me that she wrote one when she’d done something she wasn’t supposed to and I put her in time out. Here’s what it says:

IMG_1726I don’t like you, CeCe.
You’re mean.
By Anna

Isn’t that the very best, most wonderful note you’ve ever heard about how much my niece Anna loves me?

No? You don’t think that sounds like she loves me? It’s not a common sign of love, to tell someone you don’t like them, but when we share our feelings with someone – even our not-so-happy feelings, that’s also a sign that we love them. You see, there are more signs of love – especially Jesus’s and God’s love – than just the fun ones like hugging and saying I love you.

In today’s Children’s Church, you’ll read and talk about the time Jesus learned that his friend Lazarus had died. In the Gospel of John, we read that when Jesus went to see Lazarus after he had died that “He wept,” and that those gathered around saw Jesus’s crying as a sign of his love for his friend.

Will you pray with me?

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for becoming human like us
And showing us more ways
To love and to be kind to others.
Help us to always remember
That others will know
That we are Christians
By our love.

Delivered on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Children, God Loves Me!

Children’s Sermon – Genesis 2-3, focus on Rules and Forgiveness

Scripture: Genesis 2: 15-17, 3: 1-7

Props: house key

IMG_1663When I got old enough (third grade, age 8), my mom and dad decided that I could be allowed to come home right after school instead of going to after school. This meant that I would get on the school bus at school and off near my house in my neighborhood. And I would walk down the street to my house. And I used this key [hold up the key] to open the door and go inside and lock the door back. And the very next thing I had to do was to call my mom at work to tell her that I was home and that I had closed and locked the door.

That’s when my mom would remind me of the rest of the rules:

Rule #1: do all of my homework and leave it out on the dining table for mom to check when she got home. Who else has a “homework first” rule after school? That’s a pretty popular rule.

Rule #2: do all of the chores on the list on the counter. Weekdays, this would be some laundry and some part of getting dinner ready, like making a salad. What chores do you have to do at home?

Rule #3: pick up my room – all toys in the toy box, all dirty clothes in the hamper, bed made up

And sometimes I managed to do all of this in time to watch a show on TV. My favorites were Thundercats and G I Joe. That was my reward if I got everything done. But if I didn’t, my consequences would be an early bedtime, extra chores, and when I was older, losing my telephone time.

In today’s Children’s Church, you guys are going to read and talk about a time when God gave his first children Adam and Eve a rule to follow…and they didn’t follow it. What do you think God did? That’s right: He forgave them. He also gave them new chores and responsibilities to help them learn why following His rules will help them have everything they need. We are such lucky and blessed people that our loving God forgives us when we mess up, when we break the rules, because God knows we will try even harder next time to be better.

Will you bow your heads and pray with me:

Dear God,
Thank you for loving me
And giving me rules
To help me be a good person.
And thank you also
For forgiving me
When I make mistakes.
Help me to forgive others
When their mistakes
Hurt my feelings
Or someone else’s feelings.
I honor you now and forever.

Delivered Sunday, March 5, 2017 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Children, God Loves Me!

Children’s Sermon: Matthew 5:4 (Beatitudes)

My Nannie’s prayer shawl, gifted to her by the Franke at Seaside Prayer Shawl Ministry when she broke her shoulder.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Scripture: Matthew 5:4 – the second Beatitude

Props: something you have that someone else gave you as a gesture of comfort

This morning we are continuing to study the Beatitudes, what Jesus said at the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s focus is on this sentence: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

What does “mourn” mean? Sad, someone died, someone lost something important

What does is look like when we see someone mourning? Crying, falling to the ground, wearing black

And we see and read right here that Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted. Now, I’m a linguist, and that’s about the highest kind of English grammar teacher. And, like a lot of sentences in the Bible and many other books, when I read today’s beatitude, my brain fills in some gaps. Here’s what my linguist brain reads:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted BY WHOM? Someone had to do the comforting, right?

Let me tell you about this blanket I brought with me today. It’s not actually a blanket but a prayer shawl, my Nannie’s prayer shawl. You see, there’s a group of ladies who love to knit and they love to pray, and many years ago, they started to pray comfort and peace and help into every stitch they knit. And then they gave the prayer shawls to ministers and doctors and caregivers to give to people who had broken bones or really bad illnesses in the hospital or at home. These knitting ladies don’t know who will get the shawl and their prayers; all they need to know is what Jesus promises in today’s scripture: that someone is mourning and deserves comfort.

And when my Nannie put this shawl around her shoulders (demonstrate with your own shawl), she could hug herself and it was like getting a hug from God and Jesus and wonderful people who cared that she needed help not being so sad anymore.

Now when you see someone mourning – who is crying or sad or hurt – who is here to give them comfort like a hug? God – yes, God gives us comfort, but does he have arms? Jesus – oh, definitely, but he’s not here on earth anymore. Who did Jesus leave to keep giving out hugs? US! Yes, US! We are all part of this one sentence in the Bible – whether we are the sad person who needs comfort or the person sees a need and gives a hug or prayer for comfort.

I’ll ask you to pray with me and think – believe – that someone here in the church today is sad and probably needs some comfort:

Dear God, Thank you for reminding us to look for and see who needs comfort. We will hug the people we can read and ask you to send hugs to the ones we can’t reach with our arms. And we ask you to bless us when we are sad and lost with hugs and prayers of comfort. Amen.

Children’s Sermon delivered at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC, on Sunday, February 5, 2017.



Posted in Children, God Loves Me!

Children’s Sermon: Isaiah 11:1-10 – Jesse’s Root and Jesus’s Birth – Waiting

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10 with Romans 15:13

Props: cup/pot of soil and a Christmas tree seed (similar seeds for demo purposes only: pumpkin, cardamon pod, pepita/pine nut); slice of a Christmas tree trunk for counting the rings; photos of Charlie Brown Christmas tree, 6-8′ home tree (yours or online), and ask how tall the church Chrismon tree is


charlie-brown-pathetic-christmas-tree-3About 10 years ago when I moved back to Charleston, I didn’t know it but a squirrel or bird planted a Christmas tree in my front yard. The first year, it look pretty much like this [ask if anyone recognizes the tree; if not tell them it’s the Charlie Brown Christmas tree]. Yep, that’s what a 1-year-old Christmas tree looks like.

christmastreeNow, 10 years later, my front yard tree is about 5 feet tall. Can you believe that? It took TEN YEARS for my tree to grow only 5 feet tall. I mean, I’m still taller than my tree.

us_plants_homeThe tree you’ve got in your house – or will have – is usually about 6-8 feet tall, and that takes hmmmm 8 to 12 years to grow that tall.

Now take a look over at the Chrismon tree here in the church. I have it on good authority that’s a 12-foot tree. How long do you think it took for that tree to grow that big and tall? [take guesses]
chrismontreeringsWell, thanks to Mr. Jonathan who got us a slice of our tree, we can find out exactly how many years it took. [count the rings out loud] That’s right, FIFTEEN years. Are any of you fifteen years old? [no] Guess what that means? Our tree is older than you are!

In today’s lesson, the prophet Isaiah learns from God a really great description of who Jesus will be and what he will do for us. Now Isaiah lived 700 years before Jesus was even born. He says that Jesus will come from the root of Jesse and He will be wise and strong and so much more. And God’s people waited patiently and were faithful for 700 years before Jesus was finally born.

If you get a chance, ask your mom or dad to let you read the church’s newsletter. Both Pastor Mike and Ms. Crystal write about the word “advent,” which means waiting. And it takes two main qualities to wait: patience and faith. Sometimes we have to wait a while before a promise comes true, and when it takes an especially long time, it also takes faith to not give up hope that the promise-maker is really going to do what he or she promised.

Can you imagine waiting 700 years and still believing that God would make good on His promise? That’s some amazing patience and faith to wait and believe that whole time – 700 years – for God to keep His promise. We only have to wait 4 weeks every year – that’s how long the season of Advent lasts – where we prepare our hearts and lives for our first glimpse of the tiny seedling – the baby Jesus – who grew up to fulfill ALL of God’s promises as our Savior Jesus Christ.

Will you pray with me?

Dear God, Thank you for trees and especially Christmas and Chrismon trees to remind us just how long it takes to grow into what God has planned for me. Help me to be patient and faithful when I want things to happen faster than they are. Amen.

Delivered on Sunday, December 4, 2016 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church.


Posted in Children

Children’s Sermon on 1 Samuel 16: 14-23 – Talents

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16: 14-23

Props: the result of someone’s talent that helps you illustrate at least one answer below – I chose to focus on the “when” and show my grandmother’s portrait painted by a 78-year-old novice watercolorist

Just before you came up here you saw Pastor Mike welcome four new members to the church, and he asked them three questions. They are all important questions, but the last one, though simple, really has a lot packed into it. That question is “Will you be a faithful member of the church?”

Our new members said yes, and one thing that means is that they will use a sheet called a Time and Talent sheet to find out the different ways they can share their talents through the church’s activities and ministries.

So here’s my question to you:

What are talents?
accept all kinds of answers, including examples of talents
you could get lucky (like I did) and get the “perfect” answer: talents are special gifts that come from God that we can use to help others

Who gives us talents?
accept all kinds of answers, including talent teachers like musicians, coaches, teachers, etc.

Samuel wrote down for us what happened when Saul needed help. You see, Saul had a lot of bad days, and when he had a bad day, nothing could make it better. It took a while, but Saul learned that God had given someone the talent of playing a lyre – a tiny harp – and that hearing that person play could make the bad days get better. So Saul asked for help finding someone who plays the lyre well, and someone found David, a shepherd who could also play the lyre. David came to work for Saul. He played the lyre to make the bad days get better and also learned to help Saul in other ways too.

Nell Jones (portrait, watercolor) by Lucy Williams

Now I have another question for you: When do we get our talents?
accept all kinds of answers: when we’re born, when we need them, when we’re ready
It’s so important to remember that ALL of those answers are right. If we were to read further in Samuel’s book, we’d learn that as David grew up, he received many more talents from God to use at different times. You know, my grandmother’s best friend Lucy was over 70 years old when God gave her a new talent as a watercolor painter. And she painted this portrait of my Nannie as a gift for her. And she also paints portraits for many of her friends and cards. She’s even painted me a few cards for my birthdays and special occasions in my life, and I cherish them and her talent.

Okay, last question: How many talents do we get?
accept all kinds of answers
Well, let’s count how many talents David has when he first meets Saul:

  1. he’s in the field with the sheep, so he has a talent as a shepherd
  2. he plays the lyre well, so he has a talent as a musician

So David has at least two talents, and I encourage you to read ahead in Samuel to see what other talents God gives to David as he grows into a man and becomes a King.

Will you pray with me?
Dear God, thank you for giving us talents so that we can do the things you ask us to do. Help us to be patient and practice our talents to do the best job we can. Amen

Delivered on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Children

Children’s Sermon on Luke 17: 5-10 – The Mustard Seed

Scripture: Luke 17: 5-10









It’s World Communion Sunday so I’ve brought some of my favorite things from all over the world. [point out the different mustards]

What do all of these things have in common? [mustard] That’s right! And they all came from this tiniest tree seed in the world.  [hold up a single mustard seed].

How much mustard do you think we can get from this one seed? Enough for a sandwich? Enough for a hot dog or hamburger? Probably not.

So how do we get enough seeds to make enough mustard? [take various answers]

We plant one seed to make a tree of more seeds. Now, from what I’ve read, it takes 3-10 days for a mustard seed to send up its first stems and leaves.

When we come to church, we often talk about faith and that helps our faith grow from a teeny tiny seed into a giant tree. And Jesus tells us that if you have just a teeny tiny bit of faith – like this teeny tiny mustard seed – and you share that faith with others, then you can grow a faith tree just like this teeny tiny seed can grow a huge mustard tree. [show picture of mustard tree with house underneath to illustrate how big it can become]

What’s really cool is that churches all over the world, in all different languages, are celebrating communion today, the same as we are, and that’s what it’s like when we have and share just a little bit of faith and help it grow – a faith tree that’s a big as the whole earth.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, you showed us that faith starts small, as small as the tiniest mustard seed, and grows into a huge group of believers when we plant it and share it with others. Help us to show others our faith every day. Amen


Delivered on Sunday, October 2, 2016 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Children

Children’s Sermon on Genesis 1: 1-2, 26-31 – Children’s Work

Scripture: Genesis 1: 1-2, 26-31

Prop(s): Bulletin


Good morning! How many of you look at the bulletin before church starts? [praise raised hands, welcome anyone who identifies as a newcomer]

One of the things I notice about today’s bulletin is that the word “work” appears a LOT of times. Do you go to work? [expect lots of NOs]

Are you sure? [more NOs]

Are you really sure? [more NOs]

What if I told you that you got hired for your first job on the day you were born? That you go to work every single day?

That’s right! Before God sent Jesus to earth, He gave us some rules, and the first four start with LOVE.

And when Jesus came to earth, He reminded us that the #1 rule of life is to love one another as much as God loves us.

Who remembers how much God loves us?

[Read or have a child read John 3: 16]

Now as I look back at our bulletin for this morning, we start out our service with Miss Crystal chiming the hour – you’ve head the big bell, right?

And them Preacher Mike shares announcements and invites others to come up and remind us of what’s happening at and through the church this week.

And then he says “now let us greet each other in ritual friendship.” What do we do then? [expect or prompt answers like say good morning, say hello, hug, shake hands]

Those are really great ways to show friendship, to show love. Can you think of some new ways? [I give the example that all of the choir members can’t reach each other to shake hands so they wave, or give the peace sign, or blow kisses]

[Praise examples] I want to show you one that I really would like to see you practice next week: Can you make a heart with your hands [praise everyone for doing so]. Now how about I make half the heart, and you make the other half. Now that’s a new sharing of love.

And that’s what God hired us all to do on the day we were born: to show and share love with everyone in the world.

Pray with me: Dear God, thank you soooooooo much for sending us Jesus to show us how to share love in many ways here in our church and out in the world. Amen.


Delivered on Sunday, July 10, 2016 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Children

Children’s Sermon for Luke 4: 14-21 – Scripture gives us power

Scripture: Luke 4: 14-21

Props: 1 book Bible, 1-2 digital bibles (app on phone, tablet), power cords for digital devices

Preparation: pull up the Luke 4: 14 scripture on all devices


Alright, pop quiz time.

[Hold up the book Bible] What’s this? [praise answer]

[Hold up the phone with the Bible app showing] What’s this? [phone: praise answer]

[Hold up the tablet with the Bible app showing] What’s this? [tablet/kindle/ipad: praise answer]

[Hold up the power cord(s)] What’s this? [power cords: praise answer]

You guys all get an A! Now what do all of these things have in common..and why on earth have I been allowed to bring my phone and my tablet into church?

[allow for 3-4 answers; if you’re lucky enough to get bible apps as an answer, praise it]

All of those are great answers, but I have a surprise thing that’s the same about all of these. They are ALL bibles!

And if I open my book Bible to my bookmark, it’s today’s reading.

And click on my phone app, it’s today’s reading.

And click on my tablet app, it’s today’s reading.

And they all tell us that reading God’s word in the Bible as often as possible is really important.

Now, wait, these power cords can’t pull up the Bible. How do they fit in here? [allow for 1-2 answers]

Yes! They charge up the phone and the tablet – they give it power – so that we can read the Bible. And reading our Bible gives us power – power to learn what God and Jesus want us to know and power to do what they ask us to do.

Pray with me: Dear God, thank you for sending us your word to read every day and for giving us the power to understand you and do what you ask us to do. Amen


I delivered this children’s sermon on July 3, 2016 at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC.