Monthly Archives: March 2012

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Apr 01: Jesus Goes Back to Heaven

Bible Text: Acts 1:1-14

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages 402-403 

Key Point of Passage: Jesus appeared to His disciples many times for forty days before they watched as He was taken up to Heaven.

Memory Verse: Jesus will come back (Acts 1:11). 

Questions for Discussion:

1)      After Jesus died on the cross and came back to life, did he continue to appear to His disciples?

2)      After forty days, where did the disciples see Jesus go?

3)      Did Jesus leave us forever? Or will He come back?

4)      And who did Jesus send to be with us while we wait? We’ll learn more about the Holy Spirit in a couple weeks.

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Filed under Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview

Family Devotions for Early Childhood, Sunday Apr 01: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Bible Text: Mark 14:1-15:39

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages 378-387, 393-395

Key Point of Passage: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was betrayed and crucified by men.

Memory Verse: God loved the world so much that He gave His Son (John 3:16). 

Questions for Discussion:

1)      Why did the priests want to kill Jesus?

2)      Who did Jesus say was His Father?

3)      How did Jesus die?

4)      Why did He have to die?

5)      What happened three days later? Does anyone know? We’ll learn all about that story next week!

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

Upper Elementary Sunday Apr 1: Spiritual Warfare (Armor of God)

Key Passage:  Ephesians 6:10-13

Key Themes: 

  • We are all involved in spiritual warfare.
  • The believer is to find strength in the Lord.
  • Our job is to obey God and resist the devil.
  • We have authority in Christ.

Discussion Questions: 

1. How are we to be in the Lord and his mighty power? What does this look like?

2. What happens if we submit to God and resist the devil?

3. Who ultimately has authority over Satan?

Related Passages: 

1 Pet 5:8-9
James 4:7
Luke 9:1-2
Luke 10:1, 17-20
1 Cor 10:12-13
Heb 4:15

Application Points: 

1. How can you be strong in the Lord?

2. What does it look like to be strong “in the Lord” versus being strong in your self? Can you tell of any experiences when you were strong in the Lord when in previous situations you had tried to be strong in yourself?

3. Do you think the devil knows your weaknesses? How do you go about resisting the devil? See 1 Pet 5:8-9

4. Do you sometimes think that you will never be tempted by a particular sin? See 1 Cor 10:12

5. Is there any temptation you can’t resist? How does God help you so you can resist? See 1 Cor 10:13

6. Can Jesus understand what you are going through? See Heb 4:15

7. Prayer: This week, pray with your child against temptation. Ask for strength and protection in the areas you both struggle with. Pray also that you would be on your guard in areas where you feel strong.  At the end of the week, ask your child how the week went.

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

Lower Elementary Sunday Apr 1: You Should Have Seen It! (Gethsemane)

Key Point:God loved the world and sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

Lesson Summary: 

Know What: Children will hear the story of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion.

So What:  Children will learn that Jesus died for everyone so we could have eternal life.

Now What: Children will play a game where they will answer questions and reflect on what they learned about Jesus’ last days.

Bible Text:

Mark 14:12-72
Mark 15:1-47 

Verse to Memorize (optional)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

This verse reminds us Jesus went through all the pain and suffering He did because He loves us so much and wants to be Forever Friends with us. 

Discussion Questions: 

1. What was the most loving thing Jesus did?

2. Why did He do it? Use this as an opportunity to discuss the gospel with your child.

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

Family Devotions from Sermon for Elementary, Sunday Mar 25: Genesis 15

Bible Text: Genesis 15 click on link to see NIRV text).

Key Point(s) of Passage: Abram was worried that because he did not yet have any children, that his servant would inherit everything. But God promised that not only would Abram have a son, but that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Memory Verse:“Abram believed the Lord. The LORD accepted Abram because he believed. So his faith made him right with the Lord.” (Ge. 15.6)

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 v. 1. What is the very first thing God said to Abram? Why do you think God said that to him (why might Abram be afraid of God) ?

4. Also in v.1, what do you think God means when He says, “I am like a shield to you” ?  How is God like that for you?

5. Also in v.1, what do you think God means when He says, “I am your very great reward” ? How is God a reward for us, too?

6. Read v. 2-3. What was Abram worried about? (Parents – you might need to explain a little bit about how inheritance works)

7. Read v. 4. But what was God’s reply? How do you think it felt for Abram -already an old man- to hear that he would finally have a son?

8. Read v. 5. Have you ever tried counting all the stars on a clear night? Do you think Abram tried counting all of them?

9. Read v. 12-14. How did God speak to Abram? Has God ever spoken to you in a dream or while you were sleeping? What did God tell Abram? (God told him prophetically [in advance] what would happen to Abram’s descendants when they became slaves in Egypt, and then were miraculously delivered in the Exodus and got to take treasures with them).

Family Activity Idea
1. Find a nice, clear night when many stars are visible. If it is feasible, drive to a more rural location without many city lights. If available, bring a pair of binoculars or a portable telescope. Go outside and lay on your back and gaze up at the stars. See if you can count even a small portion of the stars in the sky without losing count! How many stars were you able to count? On a clear night, you might be able to see as many as 3,000 stars: You could even help NASA in their Star Count program: Now what do you think it felt like for God to tell a childless Abram that he would have more descendants than he could count?!

2. Even though Abram might have been able to see 1,000s of stars that night long ago, we now know that there are actually billions of stars in the universe. It says in Ps. 147.4 that “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name”. God knows the name -not only of the 1,000s of stars we can see- but of each of the billions of stars that He made! And God knows each and every one of Abram’s numerous descendants, and each and every one of His followers. Though if you want, you can actually name a star too with However, after you die and get to be with God, you’ll have to compare His original name for the star with yours!

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Filed under Family Devotional/Sermon Questions, Lower Elementary (1st-3rd), Upper Elementary (4th-5th)

Easter Picture Books for Children

This week, we’d like to highlight some picture books that parents can use to help their preschoolers learn the true story of Easter:

My Easter Basket and the True Story of Easter by Mary Manz Simon

This board book teaches about the real meaning of Easter using different colors of things found in an Easter basket. It’s a simple, gentle introduction to the Easter story that could be easily duplicated in your child’s Easter basket.

The Best Thing about Easter by Christine Tangvald

This book is a nice explanation of how we can enjoy many different things at Easter time (candy, dying eggs, new clothes), but that none of these things are the best thing about Easter. The book makes no mention the Easter bunny, if that is a concern of your household.

The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs

This is a beautiful story about a little girl who receives a mysterious gift. She’s disappointed when it turns out to be a bunch of dirt and tosses the lifeless bulb away. She is surprised when the bulb comes to life as a beautiful Easter lily! It teaches children about the power of grace and forgiveness. (One of a series of four parable books which correspond to each season)
Easter Bunny Are You For Real? by Harold Myra

This book tries to answer the question “what does the Easter Bunny have to do with Easter”? It teaches children about the true meaning behind the traditions our culture uses to celebrate Easter and Spring. While mentioning the Easter Bunny, it never really answers the question of whether the Easter Bunny is real. [So it won’t ruin the fun if the Easter Bunny visits your family.]

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Filed under Book Reviews, Parents' Tool Box

Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Mar 25: Jesus Tells Us about His Return

Bible Text: Matthew 24:3-44 

Key Point of Passage: We must be ready for Jesus to return because He will come when we don’t expect Him.

Memory Verse: Jesus will come back (Acts 1:11). 

Questions for Discussion:

1)      Where does the Bible say Jesus will come from when He comes back for us?

2)      Does anyone know exactly when Jesus will come back?

3)      How can we “be ready” for Jesus to come back?

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Filed under Preschool-Kindergarten, Sunday Sneak Preview

Family Devotions for Early Childhood, Sunday Mar 25: God’s Promise to Abram

Bible Text: Genesis 15:1-18

Read with Me Bible Reference: Pages  40-43

Key Point of Passage: God promised to give Abram many children, and Abram believed God.

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

Questions for Discussion:

1)      At the beginning of this story, did Abram have any children?

2)      How many children did God promise Abram would eventually have?

3)      Do you think that would be easy to believe or hard to believe?

4)      Did Abram believe God?

5)      Did Abram’s belief in God make God happy?

6)      Do you think God is happy when we believe in Him too?

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

Lower Elementary Sunday Mar 25: The Last Supper- The Washing of the Feet

Key Point: Jesus was humble and served others and He wants us to do the same.

Lesson Summary: 

Know What: Children will hear the story of the Last Supper. Jesus modeled humility and servanthood by washing the feet of the disciples.

So What:  Children will learn that Jesus came to be a Servant-King.

Now What: Children will have an opportunity to experience what it means to be humble and serve by participating in a service project.

Bible Text:

John 13:1-20

Verse to Memorize (optional)

“serve one another in love.” Gal 5:13

This verse tells usthat Jesus wants us to be humble and serve others just like He did. 

Discussion Questions: 

1. How did Jesus serve His friends? How did the disciples respond?

2. What are some ways you can serve the people in your life?

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

Upper Elementary Sunday Mar 25: Obedience (Armor of God)

Key Passage:  Ephesians 6:1-9

Key Themes: 

  • We need to obey those in authority with a sincere heart.
  • There are blessings to obedience.
  • We all, including those in authority over us, need to obey God because  He is everyone’s Master.

Discussion Questions: 

1. What does it mean to obey?

2. What kind of attitude do we need for true obedience?

Related Passages: 

Deut 6:3
John 14:21
Col 3:20
James 1:22-25
1 John 5:3
Application Points: 

1. What authority do you have the most trouble obeying?

2. What family rules do you have the most trouble obeying? Why do you think those rules are in place?

3. Review the family rules with your child or corporately write new ones. Let your child have input so he or she will feel ownership in the system.

4. Family Fun Night: Play a game your child is familiar with, but drop all the rules. Let the players do whatever they want, whenever they want, for any reason. Discuss how the lack of rules makes chaos and the rules are designed to make the game fun for everyone. Rules are very similar– God knows what is best for us and gives us a guidebook in His Word. Obedience brings blessings— see Eph 6:3

5. This week, encourage your child extra hard to obey authorities in his or her life (teachers, parents, coaches, pastors, etc.) Tell them not to complain or argue (Phil 2:14), but to obey. At the end of the week, talk about how the week went:

  • was it harder or easier?  [It’s okay if it is harder– this is why we need Jesus and is a perfect opportunity to explain the gospel to your child. We cannot do it on our own!]
  • was life more peaceful? Did your child notice any blessings that came from obedience?  [Make sure you have noticed, rewarded, encouraged obedience from your child this week so they have experienced the blessings of obedience!]

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