Archive for January, 2014

Jesus Loves

Key Verse: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”
(Mark 10:14)

Our hope is for our kids to: Help other see Jesus

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 5:13-16) Salt has many uses. It’s a preservative, so it prevents food from spoiling. It also enhances whatever it is added to and adds flavor to food. Jesus says we are the salt of the earth, we enhance and preserve (influence) others. We are also a light, which means people are drawn to us when they are lost, confused, or need direction. All of this is possible because our identity is in Jesus, and when our identity is in Jesus we become who we already are, a child of God.

Share:
(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Talk with your kids about someone you all know who seems to be reflecting the light of Jesus to other people. Discuss the effects that person has on others and how you feel when you’re around him or her. Then talk about ways that each family member can share the light of Jesus with other people, such as by giving someone a Christian book, serving through an act of kindness, or telling someone what Jesus has done for him or her personally. Commit to sharing the light of Jesus in one of the ways discussed. Then encourage each other throughout the week to share how you’ve followed through on being salt and light to the people around you.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
As a family, make a list of people you consider to be salt and light, just as Jesus said to be. Your list might include friends, family members, church workers, or even world figures past and present. Create a scrapbook with a one-page biography of each person you name, and add pictures if possible. Explain in your scrapbook why you’ve included each person and how he or she lives out Jesus’ instructions to be salt and light.

Celebrate New Beginnings

Key Verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
(John 1:1)

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God blesses us when we choose his ways

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 5:1-12) This passage is the beginning of a message Jesus preached called the Sermon in the Mount. Jesus is preaching to those who seem to have no hope, that may feel the kingdom is out of reach for them, but Jesus gives them hope. He tells them that there is a joy that He gives, and nothing in this world can take that away. He ends with the message of perseverance. There will be times when you are insulted or when you’re going through a hard time, but that’s when we can have confidence knowing God is with us and will love us through all our trials.

Share:
(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Share with your kids a unique characteristic you’ve seen in them that you know pleases God. Make sure to include specific examples of those characteristics. For example, you might share how you’ve seen your child be generous with time or money. Or you might talk about how you’ve seen your child be forgiving and gracious to another family member. Ask your kids to come up with other positive attitudes and characteristics they’ve noticed in each other. Then encourage your kids to think about attitudes and characteristics in their lives that aren’t pleasing to God. Ask your children to commit to asking God to help them overcome those attitudes and behaviors to live in a way that pleases him.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Help your child turn a rainy day into a great day by making a special umbrella together! Use a white or light-colored nylon umbrella and some permanent fabric paints or permanent markers. Encourage your child to think of activities that your family likes to do on sunny days, such as tossing a Frisbee or playing catch with a ball. Then help your child draw and color pictures of those activities onto your special umbrella. The next time a rainy day threatens to ruin a day of fun, test out your new umbrella together and play in the puddles instead! Ask: What were some of the favorite activities you drew? How can you still have fun, even when it’s raining outside?  When bad things happen on earth, what does Jesus tell us to look forward to?

Celebrate New Beginnings

Key Verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
(John 1:1)

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus wants everyone to follow him

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 4:12-25) After Jesus called his first disciples he began to teach, preach, and heal. He left his hometown of Nazareth and preached to large crowds and in the synagogues. Jesus would also go on to do various healings, as He was able to heal any and every disease or illness known to man. These healings were done so that people would believe in who Jesus is. The entire purpose and plan for Jesus’ ministry was so we could all follow him and have eternal life.

Share:
(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Remind your kids about a time they came to you for help. For example, maybe your child couldn’t figure out a math problem. Or perhaps your child was struggling with a bully at school and asked you to talk to the teacher or the other child’s parent. Then talk with your kids about the fact that Jesus wants us to come to him when we need help. Encourage your kids to talk about what it looks like to come to Jesus and how Jesus might respond in specific situations. Then as a family, come to Jesus in prayer.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Help your child create a family newsletter that tells what God has done for your family over the past year. Help your child pick out favorite photos from the past year, or have your child draw pictures of the amazing ways God has blessed your family. Have your child attach the photos or drawings to blank pages. Encourage your child to say things he or she has noticed as answered prayers or blessings. For young kids write the words down for them, and let him or her copy the words onto the pages. Ask: How has Jesus helped you during the past year? Who are people you’d like to tell about Jesus? Make copies of the newsletter for your friends and family if you wish.

Celebrate New Beginnings

Key Verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
(John 1:1)

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus is our friend

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child John 1:35-42) In the book of John the first words of Jesus is found in verse 38 of chapter one when he says, “What do you seek?”. He knew Peter and Andrew were looking for something. It is the same for our lives, as we are made to seek after something, to have a desire to know our creator. This question is answered when we meet and follow Jesus, just like Peter and Andrew did many many years ago.

Share:
(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Talk with your children about your best friend. Share how you met your friend, some of the things you’ve done with your friend, and some of the characteristics that make that person a great friend. Encourage your children to talk about their relationships with their best friends as well. Then talk about the things it takes to keep a friendship strong, such as shared interests or spending quality time together. Think together as a family about how those things translate into a friendship with Jesus. Encourage family members to commit to spending more time this week on growing their relationships with Jesus.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Help your child make these chocolate roses, and take the treats to special family members and friends. Help your child melt a 12-ounce package of chocolate chips in a pan on the stove or in a microwavable glass bowl. After the chocolate has melted, let it cool for a minute or two. Then have your child carefully stir in 4 cups of corn flakes. Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place the mounds of chocolate roses in the refrigerator until they become firm. Ask: Who can we give our chocolate roses to? What can we tell people about Jesus? Then tell your child, “Let’s take these roses to the special people we talked about. We can show those people that we love them and that Jesus loves them, too!”

Celebrate New Beginnings

Key Verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”
(John 1:1)

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus is God’s Son

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 3:13-17) John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus, whose purpose was to announce the coming Messiah. The baptism of Jesus accomplished many things, one of which is the confirmation that He is indeed the Son of God. We hear God’s voice after Jesus is baptized, and we see the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus in the form of a dove. All three persons of the trinity are present! The power of God is amazing and powerful!

Share:
(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Ask your kids to tell you in their own words who Jesus is. If your kids have trouble coming up with an answer, encourage them to share what they know about Jesus. For example, kids might say “Jesus loves me” or “Jesus died on the cross and rose again” or “Jesus performed miracles.” Then explain to your children that Jesus is God, who came to earth in human form. Share with your kids how God sent his only Son to earth to die for our sins so we can have a relationship with him.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
On a big sheet of paper, draw an outline of a person (who will represent Jesus). Write “Jesus is…” at the top of the paper. Give everyone a marker, and let family members write words or draw symbols inside the outline, indicating who Jesus is to them. Continue until everyone runs out of things to write. Then examine what you’ve written, and close with a prayer thanking God for sending Jesus.