Monthly Archives: February 2012

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Feb 26: Jesus Prays in the Garden

Bible Text: Matthew 26:36-46

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages 374-377 

Key Point of Passage: Jesus was sad in the garden as he thought about the pain He was going to have on the cross, but He still prayed for God’s way instead of what He wanted.

Memory Verse: Jesus died and rose again (1 Thessalonians 4:14). 

Questions for Discussion:

1)      Jesus went to the garden with three of His friends and He asked them to stay awake and pray with Him. Did they stay awake?

2)      Jesus was sad because He knew He was soon going to die on a cross. But even though He didn’t want to have to hurt, did He demand that God do things His own way? Or did He pray for God to have God’s way?

3)      Even though Jesus still had to be crucified, do you still think it helped Jesus to pray to God when He was sad?

4)      Do you think it helps us to pray to God when we are sad too?

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Upper Elementary Sunday Feb 26: The Wise Trust in God (Fear of the Lord)

Key Verse: 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Key Themes: 

  • The wise person trusts in God rather than in Himself
  • God promises to keep us in the Way of the Wise- to make us strong- if we trust in Him.

Additional Texts: 

Psalm 78:9-22
Psalm 125:1-2
Isaiah 12:2
Psalm 20:6-8 

Discussion Questions: 

1. What does it mean to trust God with all of your heart?

2. What does it mean to acknowledge God in all of your ways?

3. Why do we need to trust in God rather than in ourselves?

4. What can we do to help ourselves look to God?

Application Points: 

1. Discuss the memory verse with your child. Discuss ways in which we depend on ourselves rather than on God. Help your child understand how he can trust God in various areas of his life.

2. Encourage your child to talk to God about a problem he is having, somthing that bothers him, something he is concerned about, etc.

3. Give your child a penny. Point to the inscription at the top (“In God we trust”) and ask him to read it. Suggest to your child that he put the penny in his pocket (or another appropriate location) as a reminder to trust God in all situations.

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. 

My Hope is in the Lord (Norman J. Clayton)

My Trust is in the Name of the Lord (Laurie Jasurda)

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

Some May Trust in Chariots (Lynn Deshazo)

Trust and Obey (James H. Sammis/Daniel B. Towner)

Standing on the Promises (R. Kelso Carter/Norman E. Johnson)

Trust in the Lord (Frank Hernandez)

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Lower Elementary Sunday Feb 26: Making it Connect

Key Point: The Bible is God’s story. He loves us and wants us to be part of His story.

Lesson Summary: 

Know What: Children will do a review of the New Testament which includes the Birth of Christ and the beginning of Jesus’ early ministry so they can begin to see how it all connects.

So What:  Children will learn God has a plan. Long ago He sent His Son Jesus so we can become part of His story.

Now What: Children will participate in a game that will help them remember what they have learned of the New Testament up through Jesus’ early ministry.


Verse to Memorize (optional)

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
(1 John 4:16 ESV)

This verse means that God loves us. His Story, which we have learned so far this year, shows us how loving He is for us. 

Discussion Questions: 

What has God been teaching you lately? What have you learned about Him?

Worship Songs: 

Sing or listen to some of the songs we’ve shared with your children throughout your week! 

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Family Devotions from Sermon for Elementary, Sunday Feb 19: Genesis 11.27-12.9

Bible Text: Genesis 11.27-12.9 (click on link to see NIRV text).

Key Point(s) of Passage: God calls Abram to go to a new land, and Abram does. God promises to bless the world through Abram.

Memory Verse: ” I will bless those who bless you. I will put a curse on anyone who calls down a curse on you. All nations on earth will be blessed because of you.” (Ge. 12.3).

Questions for Family Discussion:

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

1. Preparation – Pray a quick prayer together as a family that God will help you to understand His word.

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. Read ch. 12, vs. 1 – what did God tell Abram to do? Did God tell Abram yet where he was going? Would it be hard for you to move to a new country without knowing where you were going? Why or why not? How can we trust God in situations like that?

4. Read 12.2 – God told Abram he would become a great nation! How do you think that would that feel to have God say something like that to you? What nation was God talking about? (The nation of Israel; in a spiritual sense, all believers in Christ are “grafted in” [see Romans 11] to the nation of Israel)

5. Read Galatians 3.7-9 – Who else are “children of Abraham” (Abraham is a later name for Abram) ? St. Paul is telling the Galatians that one of Abraham’s distant descendants (like a great-great-great grandchild) was Jesus Christ – so those who believe in Jesus are like children of Abraham!!! So what do you think the Bible means when it says “All nations will be blessed because of you” ? (The whole world is ultimately blessed through Abraham’s later relative/descendant – Jesus). How is Jesus a blessing for all nations? (Also see Galatians 3.14).

6. Read Genesis 12, verse 4 – So after God told Abram to leave to go to a new country, what did Abram do? Would that be easy or hard to do? Why?

7. Read 12.8 – it says that Abram “worshiped the Lord” when he got to his new country/home. Why do you think he did that? (It is speculation as to exactly why – it could be thankfulness for God taking him to a strange land safely, or recognizing God’s power, or maybe he was still a little scared being in a strange place and wanted to connect with God to feel peace, or maybe he was asking for God’s blessing on his new home). When are good times for us as Christians to worship God? What does it mean to worship God? What is worship really all about?

Family Activity Ideas
1) Parents – share with your children about a time that like Abram, you felt God calling you to go in a new direction (moving houses, changing jobs, getting married, etc.). Talk about the process of trusting God in your situation. Like Abram, is there a way that you can now see looking back, that what seemed like a scary situation at the time, has turned out to be an opportunity to bless others?

2) Take a “trust walk”. Abram had to go to a new place without fully knowing where he was going! Blindfold one person. One other person in the room has to guide them to a new location using only their words (go left, go right, jump, crawl, etc.)! Introduce obstacles or increase the distance if it is too easy.

For an extra challenge, have a few different people shout out bad directions, and have only person giving the right directions. See if the person can pick out the one, true voice. That is a good object lesson in how we need to learn to hear God’s voice in the midst of many voices in the world that are trying to lead us.

3) This is a “choose your own adventure” of sorts! Through Abram, God ultimately blessed the whole world! As a family, think of somebody you can work together to bless this week (outside of your immediate family). It could be a neighbor, or a friend at work or school. Then come up with a tangible way to bless them this week (bake them cookies, shovel their snow, ask them if would like prayer, etc.) – and do it!

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

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Feb 19: The Last Supper

Bible Text: Matthew 26:17-28 

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages 370-373

Key Point of Passage: Jesus gave bread and wine to His disciples so they would remember that they are forgiven because Jesus died for them.

Memory Verse: Jesus died and rose again (1 Thessalonians 4:14).  

Questions for Discussion:

1)      What did Jesus give His disciples to eat and drink at the last supper?

2)      What does the bread stand for/represent?

3)      What does the wine stand for/represent?

4)      When we take communion in church (eating bread/crackers and drinking wine/grape juice) we remember that God forgave our sins because Jesus died on the cross. Let’s thank God now for Jesus and for His forgiveness.

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Family Devotions for Early Childhood, Sunday Feb 19: God Calls Abram

Bible Text: Genesis 11:29-12:7

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages  40-43

Key Point of Passage: God called Abram to leave his country and home to move to a new land, and God promised to bless him.

Memory Verse: Abram believed the Lord (Genesis 15:6). 

Questions for Discussion:

1)      What did God ask Abram to do?

2)      Have you ever had to move to a new home or a new town? Or have you ever had a friend move away? Was it hard?

3)      Do you think it was hard for Abram too?

4)      Do you think it helped Abram to know that God would go with him and bless him when he went?

5)      Does God go with us wherever we go too?

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Upper Elementary Sunday Feb 19: The Wise Look Ahead (Fear of the Lord)

Key Verse: 

The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
Prov 27:12 NIV

Key Themes: 

  • The wise person looks ahead.
  • The wise person sees danger and hides from it (they look ahead and make good choices)
  • The wise person sees beyond immediate results to eventual consequences
  • The wise person corrects his swervings to the right or the left (corrects a wrong direction or trajectory).

Additional Texts: 

Judges 11
Judges 16:17-21
Prov 4:27

Discussion Questions: 

1. What happens if we don’t look before we leap?

2. What does it mean to think long term?

3. What are some easy areas in which kids your age can “swerve to the right or the left”?

Application Points: 

1. Talk with your child about the immediate result of bad choices and the eventual consequences of bad choices. Help him to understand that the pleasures of sin are very short-lived and that sin always carries consequences eventually. Perhaps you can share with him a situation from your childhood when you made a bad choice. Let him know the immediate result and the eventual consequence of that choice.

2. During the week ahead discuss possible choices to everyday situations. Encourage him to use his imagination to “look ahead” to the eventual blessing of good choices and the eventual consequences of bad choices. Practice this week so your child can learn to look ahead to where his attitudes, choices, and actions may lead.

3. Keep reminding your child this week that the wise person looks ahead to the outcome of his attitudes, choices, and actions and corrects what is wrong or makes a good choice. The wise person looks ahead and avoids danger to his soul.

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. 

Great is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm/William M. Runyan)

He Who Began a Good Work in You (Jon Mohr)

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

Praise the Name of Jesus (Roy Hicks, Jr.)

Standing on the Promises (R. Kelso Carter/Noram E. Johnson)

Trust and Obey (James H. Sammis/Daniel B. Towner)

Trust in the Lord (Frank Hernandez)

You Have Been Good (Twila Paris)

*if you know of a kid-friendly recording of this one, let us know!

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Lower Elementary Sunday Feb 19: The Lord’s Prayer Part 2: Listening to God

Key Point: Jesus promises to answer us every time we pray.

Lesson Summary: 

Know What: Children will hear the ways God responds to us and learn He responds through the Bible and through God’s people. Children will also hear that God will answer our prayers by saying yes, no, or wait.

So What:  Children will learn God desires our friendship and wants us to listen to Him.

Now What: Children will participate in an activity where they will see how God said yes, no, and wait to people in the Bible. Children will discuss their thoughts on how and why God answers our prayers.

Helpful Texts: 

Matthew 6:5-15

Verse to Memorize (optional)

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
(Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)

This verse means that God will always hear you and answer your prayers. 

Discussion Questions: 

1. Why do you think God says yes to some prayers?

2. Why do you think God sometimes wants us to wait? Is it worth waiting for God to answer? What would help us wait more patiently?

3. Where do you think God says no to some prayers? What would happen if God gave us everything we asked for?

4. Can you think of people or resources (the Bible, books, etc.) that can help you find answers to your prayers?

Continue to pray with your child. Share things you have prayed about and times that God has told you yes, no, or wait.

 

Worship Songs: 

Sing or listen to some songs with your children throughout your week!

Call to Me

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Filed under Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Sunday Sneak Preview

Family Devotions from Sermon for Elementary, Sunday Feb 22: Genesis 11.1-9

Bible Text: Genesis 11.1-9 (click on link to see NIRV text).

Key Point(s) of Passage: The Tower of Babel is partially constructed, but God confuses their language and people are scattered across the earth.

Memory Verse: “The LORD mixed up the language of the whole world there. That’s why the city was named Babel…” (Ge. 11.9).

Fun fact: We get our word “babble” from the Babel story. People that talk in other languages sound like they are “babeling” or “babbling” to us. In a similar way, the Greeks thought that people from uncivilized countries sounded like “bar-bar-bar-bar” when they talked, from which we get the word “bar-bar-ians”.

Questions for Family Discussion:

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

1. Preparation – Pray a quick prayer together as a family that God will help you to understand His word.

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. In verse 1 it says there was a time when the whole earth spoke the same language. What do you think the world would be like if that was true? How do you think our world is different now that we have so many different languages?

4. In verse 4 it says they wanted to build a tower to reach the sky. Why do you think they wanted to do that? (Later in verse 4 it gives at least part of the answer)

5. Why did God want to want to mix up their language? (Verse 6 gives part of the answer; one more possibility is that they were arrogant [“we’ll make a name for ourselves”] and that God wanted to humble them so that they realized they needed God).

6. Why were they not able to finish building the city? Have you ever tried doing something that was hard but had to stop because you didn’t have enough help? What was it and what help did you need?

7. Can we build a way for ourselves to get to heaven? That is, do you think we can get to heaven just by trying really hard and working to do good things with other people? (This is a good time to explain that no matter even if we built the tallest building in the whole world, or did more good things than anyone else, that we are all sinners who need God’s grace through Jesus Christ).

Family Activity Ideas

1. Spend time together as a family finding out about the world’s tallest buildings. You could even go visit a couple of them in Chicago! Then talk about all the amazing work of 1000’s of people working together it must have required to build a building like that! Then talk about whether that is the most important thing to God (doing big showy amazing things that everybody can see).

2. Share together as a family about different languages and cultures that your family is familiar with. For example, can anyone say some phrases in a different language? Do you ever eat food from other cultures (Mexican, Indian, Asian, European, etc.)? You could use this week to try a different type of food every night – tacos one night, then chicken curry the next, then Italian meatballs, etc. Then use it as an opportunity to remember that even though God scattered and confused everybody in the Tower of Babel story, He now wants people from every tribe, language, and nation to come together by worshipping God through Christ (see Rev. 5.9).

3. Another fun “Babel” game is to use the Babelfish website (http://www.babelfish.com/) to translate phrases into other languages. Keep copying and pasting the resulting phrases so they translate into other languages. For example, I used this site to translate the phrase “The hairy bear went to the mall with a stinky bag on his bumpy arm” and translated it into Spanish, then copied the resulting Spanish phrase and translated into French, then French to Greek, then Greek to Hindi, and finally Hindi back to English. The resulting phrase was: “A bumpy ride to the smelly bag by a commercial center of hairy bears. ” While you laugh at the silly translations, talk about how that illustrates how different languages like in the Babel story can make communication really hard!

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

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Feb 12: A Woman Pours Perfume on Jesus

Bible Text: Mark 14:3-9 

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages 362-365

Key Point of Passage: A woman poured perfume on Jesus as a beautiful act of worship and preparation for His death.

Memory Verse: Worship the Lord (Psalm 100:2).

Questions for Discussion:

1)      The woman in our story poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. Did this woman love money or Jesus more?

2)      Why were some people angry about this?

3)      Was Jesus angry too? Or was He happy? Why?

4)      What can we give to Jesus today to worship Him?

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Filed under Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview