Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Jonah and Nineveh

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God’s Grace Extends Beyond Israel’s Borders

 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16

(Open the bible and read to your child the book of Jonah) Jonah was a prophet, who God wanted to use to save the city of Nineveh. This city was so wicked that Jonah didn’t want to go there, so he fled from God on a ship headed the opposite direction. As we know, God will pursue us, and the same was true for Jonah. God made a storm so severe that the people on the ship grew fearful. This caused them to throw Jonah overboard, which immediately calmed the sea. Jonah was swallowed by a fish, and stayed in the belly for three days. Afterwards, Jonah warned the city of Nineveh and they repented. However, Jonah was angry because he felt they should perish. God reminded Jonah that he loves all of us, and will pursue all of us in order for us to spend eternity with him.

The Jesus Connection:
Read Matthew 12:39–40. Jesus tells us that the three days Jonah spent in the belly of a fish was a picture foretelling the time that Jesus’ crucified body would be in the grave before the resurrection. God had a plan to rescue Jonah from his sin of disobedience. God’s plan for Jonah involved three days swallowed up in a fish. Jonah found his salvation in God. In the end Jonah was released and went on to preach repentance to Nineveh. God has a plan to rescue us from our sin through Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and spent three days in the grave swallowed up by death. But death could not hold him, and on the third day he rose again. Now the message of repentance and faith in Christ is proclaimed all over the world. The question for us is, will we trust in him?


Doubting Thomas

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus calls to faith all who are His

31 But these (miracles) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31

(Open the bible and read to your child John 20:19-31) Jesus had left the tomb, so when they went to check on Him it was empty. The Jewish leaders probably assumed the disciples had stolen the body, and a search had likely begun. As the disciples hid, Jesus appeared among them. Thomas however was not present at this time, so when he was told the Jesus was alive, he wouldn’t believe them, unless he “saw the nail marks and placed his finger where the nails were”. Well when Jesus appeared to Thomas, he told him to do just that. Jesus told Thomas he was blessed because he saw and believed, however Jesus said we are blessed when we believe and have not seen his hands. Jesus gave Thomas the evidence he asked for, how much more will Christ give us evidence that He is the Son of God.

The Jesus Connection:
After his resurrection, Jesus opened the minds of his disciples to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). Jesus explained that he himself was the central theme of Scripture. Yet, Thomas, who was absent, did not believe. He was in need of gospel truth. Jesus knew what Thomas needed and reappearing in his presence, showed him his nail-scarred hands. Jesus called Thomas to faith and opened his mind. Thomas immediately responded by addressing Jesus as God. Thomas doubted, but when confronted with the risen Lord who was slain for his sins, Thomas believed. For us, although we have not seen, we have heard the Word and when God opens our minds, we too can believe.

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers  

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The forgiveness of our sin is the greatest healing we can receive  

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

(Open the bible and read to your child Luke 17:11-19) The word spread about all the miracles that Jesus has done, so when ten lepers heard that Jesus was teaching in their village, they went out to meet him. When Jesus saw the lepers he immediately told them to go see the priest to examine them. Now the priest were the ones that verify the healing of a leper, so the ten had enough faith to do as Jesus said. Along the way they were healed, showing that when we walk in faith Jesus will take care of us. After they were examined and verified they were healed, only one leper came back to Jesus to thank him, a Samaritan. The Samaritan not only reminds us that salvation is for all, but it also reminds us to seek Christ in the good times, not just the bad.

The Jesus Connection:
Though many Jews believed, the Jewish nation as a whole would reject Jesus as the Messiah. Many Gentiles, however, would gladly receive the gospel. Here we see a Samaritan throwing himself at the feet of Jesus. Clearly this man had been healed not only physically but also spiritually. The other lepers found healing; this man found Jesus. By healing the man’s illness, Jesus saved his earthly life. But Jesus pointed to a greater healing when he told the man that his faith had made him well. That commendation indicated that God recognized his trust in Jesus and he would be saved. We are also sick with sin and condemned to death. By dying on the cross, Jesus saved us and gave us a greater healing, the forgiveness of our sins.


Jesus Walks on Water

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus is the Son of God who saves

 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:17

When Jesus finished teaching he went off to pray by himself. To do this he told the disciples to get in the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side of the lake they were at. Later that night, Jesus had to make his way to them, and in order to do that he began to walk on water. Upon seeing this, Peter asked if he could come out to Jesus. Jesus told him “come” and Peter began to step out onto the water and walk towards Jesus. This took faith, as Peter had to trust he wouldn’t fall to the bottom of the lake, but once Peter began to take his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus and trust that he is God, to get us through whatever trial may come.

The Jesus Connection:
Jesus was no ordinary man. He was more than a great teacher: Jesus was, and is, God. When the disciples in the boat saw Jesus walk on the stormy waves, they worshiped him as God. Little did they know that this same Jesus, who had power over the wind and the waves, who could walk on water and heal all the sicknesses of those who came to him, would soon die on the cross for their sins.
If Jesus had not been God, he should have rebuked the disciples for worshiping him. But Jesus did not correct them. There, in the middle of the sea, Jesus received the worship of the disciples.
In this story, Peter cried out, “Lord, save me.” His words were more profound than he could realize. Our own sin separates us from God. We need to cry out with those same words: “Lord, save me.” As he did with Peter, the Lord extends his hand to save and deliver us safely to the shore of heaven.

Stephen Forgives His Accusers as They Stone Him

Key verse:

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”
(1 Peter 3:15)

Our hope is for our kids to know that: We stand up for Jesus

(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 6:8 – 7:60) Stephen was someone who stepped in to help when the church began to grow. He had wisdom and a love for Christ, which made the Sanhedrin angry with him. Their anger led them to create false accusations against Stephen, so they went to bring charges against him. When they asked Stephen if the allegations were true, he stood his ground and gave a speech, hoping to lead the Sanhedrin to repentance. Instead the Sanhedrin grew angry at him and proceeded to hurl stones at him. As Stephen was being slowly executed, he spoke the words similar to what Jesus said. He asked God to forgive his accusers and killers. Stephen was an example of how we stand our ground and stand up for Jesus. We may not face the same type of persecution, but we can feel secure in knowing that people will see the grace of God through our faith.

Ask your kids the following questions, and encourage a family discussion on sharing your faith. How can we share our faith with words? What are some actions that share our faith? What gets in the way of sharing our faith? Why is it important to use both words and actions when we’re sharing our faith? How have you seen someone use both words and actions to share faith in Jesus? What’s one way you’ll commit to sharing your faith in words and actions this week?

Activity/Challenge for Families:
1) Make heart-shaped cookies, and share them with people. If the opportunity presents itself, tell the people you share the cookies with about what having Jesus in you has meant for your life.. Then with gentleness and respect, just as our Key Verse says, invite those people to learn more about Jesus. Pray that you will make an impact in someones life by introducing them to Jesus!


Jesus Returns to Heaven

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
(Matthew 28:19-20)

Our hope is for our kids to: Tell others about Jesus

(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:1-11) After the resurrection, Jesus gave his disciples instructions on what to do next before he ascended into heaven. One of those instructions was to “go and make disciples”. This was easy for the disciples because they knew for sure that Jesus was who he said he is. By staying 40 days with the disciples they saw him long enough to know that this is the man who they followed for years, and who also died and rose again. Because of this we know that we can be confident in our faith, and spread the gospel to all.

Talk with your kids about how you first learned about Jesus. You might share experiences of people telling you about Jesus and heaven. Perhaps someone shared with you what it would look like to have a meaningful friendship with Jesus. Talk with your kids about the best way to share your faith in Jesus. Then encourage your children to each pick one person they’d like to tell about Jesus this week. Check back at the end of the week to see how each person followed through.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Get a blank sheet of paper and some crayons, and then gather the family. Explain that the family will work together to make “disciples” by teaching what they know about Jesus. Each person should take a turn sharing one thing he or she knows about Jesus. As the person shares, he or she should draw one part of a person on the sheet of paper. For example, while drawing a person’s head one person might say that Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. See how many disciples your family can make in this manner.


Key Verse: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’”
(John 11:25)

Our hope is for our kids to: Have faith in Jesus

(Open the bible and read to your child 1 Peter 1:3-9) Jesus had already ascended into heaven and the believers were left with spreading the gospel. Peter was a bright spot, someone who completely changed from the follower who denied Christ three times. In this passage we see Peter giving gold nuggets of hope. This was very important at the time because the early Christians were facing persecution under the Romans. Peter reminds us that our faith in Christ gives us hope, and our hard times help our faith grow stronger for the next difficult time. Our weakness is his strength.

(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Talk about what it means to you to put your hope in Jesus, or encourage a close family friend to share with your children about when he or she first put hope in Jesus. Then talk with your children about what it means for them to hope in Jesus. Encourage your children to share personal examples of when they’ve hoped in Jesus. As a family, talk about things that keep you from having hope in Jesus, and discuss ways you can encourage each other to keep hoping, even in the midst of these things.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Plan a time of faith filled storytelling. Encourage each family member to come up with at least one story in advance. It can be a personal story or a story you’ve heard that really expresses the value or meaning of keeping that faith. Pop some popcorn or prepare another fun snack together; then sit around and have each person tell stories of faith. Afterward, encourage family members to share what their faith in Jesus means to them.