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Lower & Upper Elementary December 2012 Sneak Preview: Compassion

If you want to understand who God is, if you want to learn more about His character, there may be no better place to start than the Christmas story.

The Creator of the entire universe was attentive to His creation. He saw and understood our ultimate consequences of sin. He saw our greatest need. And He did something about it. He humbled Himself to be born as a tiny baby in a remote town in the dwelling place of animals. He lived as one of us so that, eventually, He could die for us and rise again, giving us the chance to live eternally with God in heaven.

The Christmas story shows that one aspect of God’s character is compassion. COMPASSION is caring enough to do something about someone else’s need. God lovingly saw our greatest need and met it in the most remarkable way.

God’s example of compassion is summarized in the monthly Memory Verse: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIrV) God saw the world’s greatest need and cared enough to do something.

In Week Oneour Bible Story is a glimpse into God’s compassionate rescue by sending Gabriel to Appear to Mary (Luke 1:26-33). Gabriel tells Mary that God has seen His people’s need. Immanuel, God with us, is coming to rescue us! Our Bottom Line is God saw our greatest needs. Whose needs do you see? When we slow down and look outside ourselves, we see the needs of those around us.

In Week Twoour Bible Story is THE moment of God’s big gift to us: Jesus is Born (Luke 2:1-7)! God didn’t just see our needs. He did something to meet them. He came to us! Our Bottom Line is: God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give? After we see someone else’s needs, how can we go and help them?

In Week Three, our Bible Story tells of Shepherds Visit Jesus (Luke 2:8-20) after having heard the good news from a host of angels! After the shepherds saw the baby Jesus, they wanted to tell everyone they met about how God was meeting our greatest need. Our Bottom Line is: God gave us great news. Who will you tell? Every person has the same great need to be rescued. We can help meet it by telling them the good news of Jesus.

In Week Four, our Bible Story helps us understand why we can show compassion to others. Since God Showed His Love (1 John 4:9-12), we can also love each other. It’s God’s love in us that gives us the passion, energy, and creativity to do something to help others. Our Bottom Line is: God showed the world His love. How will you show the world? When Jesus was born into the world, God’s love met our greatest need. So, now we serve others because it’s what God modeled for us.

In Week Five, our Bible story follows some wise men who visited Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). The men left their homes to travel a far distance, navigating the constellations, just to visit Jesus. They must have understood our Bottom Line: God loved you first. How will you love him? We can follow God and show Him our love by spending time with Him, talking to Him, reading His Word, among other things. We can love God by loving others.

People with very real and practical needs surround us. Let’s train our eyes to see their hurts and teach our hearts to step outside our comfort zone. When we can imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes, take action, and do what is in our ability to do to help them, we reflect God’s COMPASSION into the world.

 By Jessica McKee ©2012 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

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

Lower & Upper Elementary November 2012 Sneak Preview: Cooperation

God can do ANYTHING. There is literally nothing God can’t do. He knows everything and He sees everything, and He is powerful enough to make anything happen.

Even though God is completely self-sufficient, He chooses to work with us. From the beginning, God looked for ways to work with the people He had created to accomplish His plan. God worked with Noah to build the ark that saved both people and animals. God worked with Moses to bring the Israelites out of slavery. And when Jesus stepped on this planet, He worked with His friends and disciples to share the message of God’s love with the world.

Just like God doesn’t work alone, God doesn’t want us to work alone. God wants us to work with others, seek help from others, and be ready to offer help to others. This month’s memory verse helps kids understand: “Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do,” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NIrV). When we don’t cooperate with others, we will always be limited in what we can accomplish.

A one-man band can play a simple tune, but with more than one musician we can have a true jam session and build a beat together. Because cooperation is working together to do more than you can do alone.

In Week Oneour Bible story demonstrates how the Israelites cooperated to build the tabernacle (Exodus 28:1, 3; 31:1-11; 35:21, 25, 34; 39:42-43). All the skilled workersand artisans had to work together to build this first “church location” for God in the middle of the desert. We still work together as the church to accomplish God’s work. OurBottom Line is: With God, we can work together to get His work done. When we team with other people and rely on God’s strength, we can do what He asks us to do.

In Week TwoOur Bible story shows how cooperation helped Joshua win the battle over the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-13). Moses, Aaron, and Hur were not the victors of the battle. Joshua was. But the three men cooperated with God and each other to help Joshua succeed. Our society does not often emphasize helping others succeed, but ourBottom Line is: With God, we can work together to make someone else succeed.

In Week Threeour Bible story tells of Nehemiah, a man who wasn’t afraid to ask for help with the impossible task of building the wall (Nehemiah 1:1-6, 2–4; 6:1-16). OurBottom Line is: With God, we can work together to do what seems impossible. Our tendency is to desire self-sufficiency, but teaching kids when to ask for help is important. It’s the only real way to accomplish something bigger than ourselves.

In Week Four, our Bible story shows how cooperation led to Jesus healing a paralyzed man (Luke 5:17-26). Because the friends cooperated with Jesus and each other, the man walked out of that house. Our Bottom Line is: With God, we can work together to change someone’s life. Whether we think about changing someone’s life through bringing them to Jesus, or through helping meet their physical needs, both require the combined efforts of teamwork.

We aren’t made to only work with other people. We are also made to cooperate with God. And it’s when we learn how to work with God and others that, in His strength, we can do incredible things.

By Jessica McKee ©2012 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

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