Monthly Archives: December 2011

Family Devotions for Elementary, Sunday Jan 1: King Hezekiah and Sennacherib

Bible Text: 2 Kings 19.8-20 (click on link to see NIRV text).

Key Point of Passage: Hezekiah prays to God for deliverance from the Assyrian army. Even though Assyria has beaten everybody else, Judah serves the one true God.

Memory Verse: “Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. He said, ‘Lord, you are the God of Israel. You sit on your throne between the cherubim. You alone are God over all of the kingdoms on earth. You have made heaven and earth.’ ” (2 Ki. 19.15).

Questions for Family Discussion:

1. Preparation/Background – it can be hard for young people to jump into a historical passage like this without some background info. A good study Bible, Bible dictionary, or encyclopedia can help give you (the parent) some idea of the setting. You may want to show them on a map/globe where this took place. In short, Assyria was the most powerful nation on the planet at the time. Sennacherib was the ruler of Assyria; he lived from 705 – 681 BC. He attacked the nation of Judah and conquered most of it – but Jerusalem still remained.

2. Find an easy to read version of the Bible to read together as a family. The NIRV (New International Reader’s Version) is a good choice for elementary kids. Then if your child is able, help them find the passage in their Bible and read it out loud, while helping with hard words. Or read it out loud for your child.

3. Re-read verse 11. Sennacherib says that Assyria has beaten up everybody else, and he asks Hezekiah why he thinks he will be any different. What do you think Hezekiah thought would happen to him? Would you be scared if a big, huge army like that was coming after your city? What would you do?

4. Re-read verse 14. So when Hezekiah heard the bad news, what did he do? What is a temple? Why do you think he went to the temple?

5. When Hezekiah heard that the scariest army in the world was coming after his city, he prayed (v. 15-19)! What would you have done?

6. Re-read verse 16. Hezekiah tells God that Sennacherib is making fun of him! Now look at v. 15 – is God somebody you should make fun of? Why or why not?

7. What does Hezekiah pray for in v. 19? Have you ever prayed for God to help you in a very bad or scary situation?

8. Read the end of v. 20 – What does Isaiah tell Hezekiah? Why do you think God listened to Hezekiah’s prayer? 

Family Activity Idea:
Since this passage is about prayer, spend some time praying together as a family! Like Hezekiah, think of some things that you are scared of happening, or things that you are worried or sad about. Those are good things to pray for. Hezekiah also remembered how powerful God was (see v. 15). Also say some prayers like that, or prayers of thanksgiving for good things God has done. 

Encourage your child to pray, too – even if it just a short prayer. Also try to make prayer a family habit this week – before dinner, before bedtime, or some other time when the family is all together.

Another great way to see God’s faithfulness over time is to keep a family prayer journal. Write down things that you pray for as a family, then check back to previous days’ prayers periodically, and check off the ones that God answered!

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Filed under Family Devotional/Sermon Questions, Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Parents' Tool Box, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Family Devotions for Early Childhood, Sunday Jan 1: King Hezekiah and Sennacherib

Bible Text: 2 Chronicles 32:1-22; 2 Kings 19:8-19 

Key Point of Passage: God saved Hezekiah and Jerusalem from their enemy.

Questions for Discussion:

1)      Sennacherib and his big army attacked King Hezekiah’s city and made fun of God. They compared God to silly statues called idols that were made and worshipped by people.

But who was bigger: God or those silly statues other people worshipped?

And who was bigger: God or Sennacherib’s army?

2)      Did God save Hezekiah and all Jerusalem?

3)      When we’re afraid, can we pray to God for help too?

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Filed under Family Devotional/Sermon Questions, Parents' Tool Box, Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview, Toddlers 2's & 3's

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Jan 1: The Wise and Foolish Builders

Bible Text: Matthew 7:24-29

Key Point of Passage: The wise person obeys Jesus’ words and his life is safe and secure, but the foolish person does not obey and his life crashes down. 

Memory Verse: Obey the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:3).

Questions for Discussion:

1)      What happens when a house is built on the sand near the sea and a storm comes?

2)     What about when a house is built on a strong solid rock foundation? Can the storm wash away the house then?

3)      Jesus said that when we obey His teaching, we are like wise people who build their houses on solid rock. But if we  disobey, we are like the foolish man who builds his house on the sand. How can obeying Jesus keep you safe in your life?




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Lower Elementary Sunday Jan 1: The God Man

Key Point: Jesus is God and man and I can believe in who He is.

Lesson Summary: 

Know What: Children will hear that the birth of Jesus, god’s Son, came true just like God had promised. Jesus, who is God, also became a man.

So What:  Children will learn that Jesus is God and man.

Now What: Children will play a game where they will be challenged to distinguish between human and divine characteristics.

Helpful Texts: 

Luke 8:22-25
John 1:1-34 

Verse to Memorize (optional)

I and the Father are one.”
(John 10:30 ESV)

When Jesus made this statement, He was telling the people He was not only a man, but He was also God. 

Discussion Questions: 

1. What was one way Jesus showed He was man?

2. What was one way Jesus showed He was God?

3. What are the most difficult situations in your life right now? Can you think of any similar situations that Jesus might have faced? Lift up your child in prayer before Him.

Worship Songs: 

Sing or listen to some of the following songs with your children throughout your week. 

Big House

Lord I Lift Your Name on High

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Upper Elementary Sunday Jan 01: Imitate Your Father (Fear of the Lord)

Key Verse: 

Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
Psalm 86:11 NIV

Key Themes: 

  • God can give us an undivided heart
  • God can teach us the way of wisdom
  • We must look to God and imitate Him

Additional Texts: 

3 john 1:11

Discussion Questions: 

1. What does is a divided heart? Do you at times have a divided heart? What does that look like?

2. Does having an undivided heart mean that there will never be any moments when your heart is divided?

3. What does affection for God look like?

4. Can we learn to love the things God loves? How?

Application Points: 

1. Discuss with your child the natural tendency we have to imitate those whom we admire. Give some examples.

2. Look at a list of God’s attributes and choose a one or two a day. Each day,  brainstorm ways you can practically imitate that attribute. Follow up with your child on how he or she was able to display God’s attribute.

Have a time of prayer asking God that He would give you both an undivided heart.

Worship Songs: 

Sing or listen to some of the following songs with your children throughout your week. Note: Names in parentheses are original authors, not necessarily the recording artist. 

I Want to walk as a Child of the Light (Kathleen Thomerson)*

May the Mind of Christ, My Savior (Kate B. Wilkinson/Cyril Barhan-Gould)

More and More Like Jesus (Kevin Thompson)

Our Great Savior [Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners] (J. Wilbur Chapman/Rowland H. Prichard)

Psalm 19 (Terry Butler)

Step by Step (Beaker)

*if you know of a good recording of this one, let us know!

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Filed under Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Read with Me Bible Review

The “Read with Me Bible” is a great, early childhood resource for introducing children to God’s Word. There are two versions: one for toddlers (ages 2-5) and one for preschoolers (ages 4-8).

The toddler version (“Read with Me Bible for toddlers”) has 24 classic Bible stories; 10 are from the Old Testament, and 14 from the New Testament. The age appropriate, paraphrased text helpfully presents the central focus of each story in a format that is easy to understand and engaging for toddlers. The artwork will draw adults and children alike into the story and characters.

The regular preschool version (“Read with Me Bible”) greatly expands its survey of Biblical material and has 106 stories, including often overlooked ones like Elijah’s healing of Naaman. This version uses actual NIrV Bible text (which is rare in preschool Bibles), so it is a great first introduction to God’s word. It also has eye-catching artwork.

We (the Caldwells) have extensively used both of these Bibles with our twin 3-year-old girls, and they love them! They already have their favorite stories that they ask for when it is time for “family oceans” (family devotions : ). They have been a great resource for our family to help instill the love of God’s Word at an early age.

You can purchase them at CBD and other booksellers.

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Family Devotions for Christmas Sermons (Dec 11, 18, & 24-25): John 1-Jesus the True Light

Bible Text: John 1.1-14

Key Point of Passage: Jesus -the Word and True Light- came from God, and was God; He came into our world to overcome the darkness and make us children of God.

Memory Verse: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1.1).

Questions for Family Discussion:
A variety of questions have been provided which are intended for a range of ages; however, a hard passage like John 1 will be mostly suitable for elementary-aged children and above. You may need to further break down and explain these tough concepts to even elementary-aged children. If you have younger children, you may want to use the Christmas Lessons for Early childhood instead. Here is one such lesson.

You do not have to go through all the questions – pick and choose whatever you feel will work best for your particular family.

1) Who or what is the Word (v. 1)? What does it mean to be with God? What does it mean that the Word was God?!

2) What is verse 3 saying? Why does it seem to repeat itself – what is it trying to emphasize? Why is it important to remember that truth?

3) From v. 5 – Have you ever been in a really dark room and then turned on the light all of a sudden? Is darkness able to “overcome” a bright light? What other kind of darkness might John be talking about? What are some “dark” or scary or bad things in our world? What kind of “light” will overcome those things? What kind of light was Jesus? What kind of light can we be?

4) From v. 6-8:
Who is John? What was his job? Was John the special light? If not, who is? What does “bear witness” mean? Can we “bear witness” to that same light? How?

Why did the writer make sure to say “He was not the light” (v. 8)? Do people sometimes forget who or what is the real light (or most important thing) in life? How? At Christmas time, what do some people think is most important? How can we remember what is the true light or most important thing at Christmas?

5) From v. 10 – Why do you think the “world did not know him” ? Even worse, why do you think “his own people did not receive him” ? Why do you think people sometimes don’t receive something very good that they need?

6) From v. 12 – What does it mean to “receive” and “believe” in Jesus? What is the result if we do? What does it mean to be a child of God (see v. 13)?

Family Activity Inspired by John 1:
Find a very dark place – maybe a basement or a room late at night with all the curtains closed. Then try to find each other or a special object in the dark without using any light. Then try it without even using any words to communicate with each other! Then when all of your pupils are nice and dilated, turn on bright lights!!!

Then discuss things like: Why are light and words so important to have? What was it like to be in a very dark place and having trouble finding what you were looking for? What was it like to have bright light “overcoming” the darkness all at once? Also see question 3 above.

(Alternately, you could do this activity with one or more people blindfolded to simulate darkness)

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Filed under Family Devotional/Sermon Questions, Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Parents' Tool Box, Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Christmas Eve Service: Dec 24th, 5-6pm

Elementary aged children are invited to join our Christmas Eve service (Christmas story Scripture, carols, candelight and a short homily) with their families. We will have children’s ministry available downstairs for children 3 months through 5 years.

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Elementary Classes Sunday Dec 25: Small Group Celebration

This week the 1st-5th grade classes will be combined for a Christmas Celebration. 

Key Point: God sent His Son Jesus and together we can celebrate His birth!

Lesson Summary: 

Know What: Children will have an extended fellowship and music time.

So What:  Children will celebrate the birth of God’s Son, Jesus, and be reminded that God wants us to gather faithfully together.

Now What: Children will participate in an extended small group time with their leaders and celebrate community with one another.

Helpful Texts: 

Luke 2:1-20

Verse to Memorize (optional)

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:11 ESV)

This verse means that Jesus’ Birth was Good News that would bring joy to all who heard it!  It’s cause for celebration! 

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Sunday Sneak Preview, Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Dec 25: The Wise Men Visit Jesus

Bible Text: Matthew 2:1-20

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages 270-276

Key Point of Passage: God led the three wise men with a star to find and worship baby Jesus, but God kept King Herod from finding Jesus. 

Memory Verse: A Savior has been born; He is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

Questions for Discussion:

1)      How did the three wise men find little Jesus?

2)      What did they do when they found Jesus?

3)      King Herod said he wanted to worship Jesus too, but he really wanted to hurt little Jesus because he was jealous. How did God keep Jesus safe from King Herod?

4)      Let’s worship Jesus like the wise men did.

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Filed under Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview