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A wonderful present!

Children's sermon
Object: 
A Christmas present (inside have a note that says "EVERYTHING")
Today we begin the Advent season. It's a season of looking forward to a certain holiday ---- a special day. Does anybody know what day I'm talking about? (Let them answer.) You feel like I do ---- you look forward to Christmas! Christmas is that wonderful day when we exchange gifts. It's a time for family and friends and giving and receiving presents. I brought with me a present that is special because it is from a very important person. Would you like for me to open it? Let's do it! (Open the gift.)

It looks like there is not much inside this present. But I see there is a note inside. Let's just see what this note says. (Read it.) It says just one word: "Everything." That may seem like a strange gift. But when I tell you who gave me this gift, I think you will understand.

You see, this gift is from God! I wrote the note and put it inside the gift because I know that everything ---- EVERYTHING ---- is from God anyway! The air that I breathe is from God. This congregation is a gift from God. YOU are a gift from God. The food I eat, the clothes I wear ---- EVERYTHING is from God! Even my body and my mind are gifts from God. What a wonderful, thoughtful God we have who gives us all that we need and so much more!

There is one great gift that is above all others. That gift is the gift of God's own son Jesus. Jesus is God's gift to the world ---- to you and me. Jesus comes to us at Christmastime to remind us that he also is God's gift. In fact, we give gifts to each other to help us remember that the greatest gift in the world ---- Jesus ---- is from God.

As we get ready for Christmas and think of buying or making Christmas gifts for others, think about how EVERYTHING we have is from God. Think of how the best gift ---- Jesus ---- is from God. That's why we give to others and others give to us. It helps us remember how giving our God is!

Dearest giving God: Thank you for everything ---- especially Jesus. Amen.

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"Hook and Line" by C. David McKirachan
"When?" by C. David McKirachan


Hook and Line
by C. David McKirachan
Mark 1:14-20

I went fishing with my father as a child. The scene those words probably paint in your head is not the way it was. He went with others when invited, taking me as a companion. It always seemed to me he was there but not comfortable with what went on. I inherited his attitude about hook and line.

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“And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for people.'” (v. 17)

Good morning boys and girls,

So fun to see you today. How are you? If you were a smiley face what would you look like? Would you be sunny smiley or sad sack or sort of in between? (kids respond) I am a smiley face today because you are here and I have a good news story to tell you.

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Dean Feldmeyer
Ron Love
George Reed
Christopher Keating
In the stories of Jonah proclaiming God’s judgment to the Ninevites and Jesus calling fishermen to be his disciples, the lectionary provides us this week with two stories of God sending a simple, pointed message -- and against what might seem to be common sense, the targets for those messages actually responding to them. After all, Nineveh was a big enough city that its residents likely did not have to worry about its security -- and yet the people “turned from their evil ways.” And the fishermen at the Sea of Galilee dropped their nets and followed Jesus into a highly uncertain future.

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Bill Thomas
Ron Love
Mark Ellingsen
Bob Ove
Frank Ramirez
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Frank Ramirez
Jonah later claimed that the reason he fled after the command of God to condemn Nineveh was he knew all along God is merciful and would forgive their sins. Is that true? How could Jonah know in advance that the Destroyer of Nations who built pillars to commemorate their atrocities would don sackcloth and ashes and repent? The rules just changed.

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Some prisons have recently introduced a scheme whereby very dangerous prisoners who pose a high security risk earn spending power through playing sport or helping with cleaning. Thus these prisoners may be paid for playing Scrabble. This has produced something of an outcry amongst some sections of the general population. They find it outrageous that men who have committed horrendous crimes such as rape and murder, should be paid for playing games. Prison should be for punishment, they say, not a holiday camp.

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Now is the time!

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Acknowledging our call by grace, we pray for the Spirit to strengthen us to make us worthy of our call. Stress on grace and Sanctification again.

Psalm of the Day
Psalm 62:5-12
* Psalm attributed to David which refers to God as Elohim. Expression of confidence in God's protection.
* Total dependence on God (v. 7). For life is but an instant (v. 9).

Special Occasion