“Love Your Enemies”

Have you taught your kids “The Golden Rule”?

You know, that famous one-liner that says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

It’s definitely easier said than done! Most kids can quote this well-known aphorism, but most have a hard time applying it within conflict. In fact, many adults even struggle to treat others with the love Jesus calls us to, when they have been wronged themselves. We are in need of some practical advice. How can we treat others the right way?

We invite you into a deeper understanding of the words of Jesus: “Treat others the way God has treated you.” That is, let our behavior toward others be dependent on and reflective of God’s behavior toward us, which is ultimately the way we want others to treat us.

The way kids see it:

“She hit me, so I hit her back!”

“He stole my puzzle first—that’s why I took his book!”

“I’m eating her Cheerios because she always eats mine!”

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In the age of Batman and Ironman—a culture that emphasizes fairness, earning what you’re worth, and exercising a sort of vigilante vengeance—it is only natural to children that they should avenge themselves when wronged. In fact, there is a degree to which this intuitive sense of justice is healthy and necessary. Wrong-doing should be acknowledged and behaviors corrected. However, there is more to it than simply punishing the wrongdoer. We can invite kids to strive to make things good instead of simply making things even.

In Exclusion and Embrace, Miroslav Volf explains, “The trouble with revenge… is that it enslaves us.” When we treat others based on how they have treated us, we are letting them control us. This is reacting. Our actions toward them are completely controlled by their actions toward us. Volf says that we can become “shaped in the mirror image of” people who are unkind to us.

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Responding, on the other hand, is a process of taking the time to formulate a response based on information outside the other person. Knowing that God ultimately promises to remove all that has gone wrong with the world, we know there is hope for things to be made right again. Volf says that, knowing God’s promise that one day everything will be made right again, we are freed to see people the way God sees them, and treat them with the love and kindness God shows us. We can invite our kids into the same type of response—instead of choosing to react in anger, they can choose to join God’s plan to make everything in the world good again.

There is freedom in this! When we refuse to do what is expected—that is, to retaliate—we choose a different, better path. When I choose to respond lovingly to someone who has been unkind to me, I am empowered to choose God’s path—instead of following the path my offender has chosen for me.

Jesus was the best example of this; as Volf writes, “… Christ, the victim who refused to be defined by the perpetrator, forgives… the enemy.” One time, some soldiers and religious leaders approached Jesus, holding weapons. They already didn’t get along with Jesus, because he had disagreed with them in public many times (Luke 5:27-32; 6:1-11; 14:1-14; 20:1-8; 20:20-26), plus since they were carrying weapons it was clear they wanted to harm Jesus! Jesus’ friend Peter tried to protect him, cutting off someone’s ear in the crowd, but Jesus told Peter he didn’t want to fight, and healed the injured man. When Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross to die, Jesus prays for the people who hurt him. The Bible says God has a never-stopping, always and forever love for people. This is the example we are invited to follow when we make it our goal to treat others as God has treated us.

In this lies a compelling opportunity for our children: Choose God’s path instead of the wrongdoer’s path—treat others the way God has treated you! This requires that kids learn to be in charge of themselves. We do not mean that kids need to be in perfect control of their body—after all, kids are still learning fine motor skills and self-control as a normal stage in their development. Rather, we invite kids to intentionally choose how they react in different situations, knowing that God longs for the situation to be transformed into something good—for both them and the other people involved! We can help kids name the emotion they are feeling, think of a way God has been kind to them, and choose a similar response to how God has treated them.

Let’s invite kids to be agents of change, treating others the way God has treated them. Remind kids that bullies and mean girls are not in charge of them. Each person is in charge of him or herself. And as Christians, we choose to let God be in charge of us. In the Bible, the apostle Paul encourages us to let God’s love and peace control us, and to “overcome evil with good.”

Not only does this path free us from being controlled by another person, but it also breaks the cycle of sin, bringing God’s redemptive love into a situation. When a person treats me poorly, so I treat them poorly back—or if I even treat a third person poorly because the person who offended me put me in a grumpy mood—this simply spreads negativity.

We can invite kids to see everyday situations in a different way:

“She hit me, so I told her, ‘That hurts my body and I don’t like it. I don’t want you to feel hurt either. Let’s keep each other safe!’”

“He stole my puzzle—so I asked if we could share it and do teamwork together!”

“She ate my Cheerios, so I asked if she was hungry, then told her about the snacks she could have.”

Don’t give unkind people the satisfaction of reacting exactly the way they think you will—instead, be intentional about showing God’s love to them. This frees you from their control, breaks the cycle of badness, and even gives them a glimpse of the power of God’s love—which truly “covers a multitude of sins.” Good really can defeat evil—and not by punching it and throwing it in a prison cell—but by overcoming it with the greatest Love that has ever been known.

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God Speaks Through His People {Unit 9}

Hello Church Family!

Summer is nearly here, and so is our next unit! In Unit 9, kids will learn about some different people that God used in special ways, as part of His Big Story, to encourage others to trust and follow God.

Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? God uses people for His glory and our good.

Key Passage: “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King. He will save us.” (Isaiah 33:2)

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The First Judges • Judges 3:7-31 | God’s people turned from Him to worship idols.
Judges saved people from the consequences of their sin, but not the cause of it. God’s plan was to one day send a true Deliverer—Jesus, His own Son—to be the King of His people. Jesus saves people from sin forever.

 

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Deborah and Barak • Judges 4-5 | God’s people needed someone to rescue them from their enemies.
God does what is for His glory and our good. (Psalm 115:3; Romans 8:28) God fought for the Israelites and used Deborah, Barak, and Jael to defeat Canaan. In a similar way, God uses people and events to not only save us from our enemies, but to bring about our ultimate good: salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

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Gideon • Judges 6-8 | God used Gideon’s weakness for His glory.
The Israelites cried out to God because they knew they could not save themselves. Even Gideon was not able to save them; God used Gideon to save the people, but God fought the battle for them. The people needed someone who was mighty to save. Jesus Christ came to save us from sin because we cannot save ourselves. Only God, through Christ, can save us.

 

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Samson • Judges 13-16 | God gave Samson power.
Samson had an important job—to deliver Israel from the Philistines. He ultimately did this, but he forgot to trust and obey God along the way. We also forget to trust and obey God, but Jesus came to deliver us from our sin!

 

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Ruth and Boaz • Ruth 1-4 | God provided a redeemer for Ruth.
Boaz was a family redeemer. That means he would help his close relatives who were in trouble. Boaz cared for Ruth and Naomi because their husbands were no longer alive. In a similar way, Jesus is our Redeemer. We need help because of our sin. Jesus redeemed us by defeating our sin on the cross.

 

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Eli and Boy Samuel • 1 Samuel 1-3 | Samuel was made to tell others about God’s plan.
Samuel used God’s words to tell the people what God is like. John 1:1 says that Jesus is the Word. Jesus showed the world what God is like, and He told people to trust God and obey Him. Jesus freed people from the consequences of sin and his spirit gives us power to do what is good!

Check out these Big Picture Cards for Families to keep the conversation going at home!

Trust God {Unit 7}

Happy Spring! (It’s finally starting to feel like it!) In our next unit, we will be following the Israelites to the edge of the wilderness, on the brink of entering the promised land! As they enter the promised land, Joshua—Moses’ successor—reminds the people to trust God, because He is good and faithful.

Big Picture Question: Whom can we trust? We can always trust God.

Key Passage: “Be strong and brave. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIrV)

 

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Joshua and Caleb • Numbers 13:1–14:38 | The Israelites did not trust that God would give them the promised land.

Joshua was not perfect, but he trusted God. We, also, are not perfect, but God wants us to trust Him—believing that Jesus loves us and that His way is best!

 

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The Bronze Snake • Numbers 20:1-20; 21:4-9 | God told His people to look at the bronze snake to be healed.

The Israelites had a huge problem: they had become big complainers! They had forgotten to trust God. Because of their sin, snakes came to Israel, but anyone who was bitten could look at the snake on the pole and live. Because of our sin, we have a huge problem: our actions cause us to move away from God. Anyone who looks to Jesus and trusts in him will be forgiven and live with God as He intended.

 

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The Promised Land and Jericho • Joshua 2; 4–6 | God defended His people and led them into the promised land.

God led the Israelites to the promised land, just as He promised. God will also keep His promise to everyone who believes in Him—His spirit will be with us here, then we will spend eternity with Him, too!

 

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Achan’s Sin and the Defeat of Ai • Joshua 7-8 | Achan experienced the consequence of his sin. Then God defended His people at Ai.

God created a good world, but the choice to not trust God causes ruin to His creation. Achan didn’t trust or obey God, and that was the cause of his ruin. We, also, cause harm to ourselves when we choose to not trust God. When we repent and trust Jesus, we are forgiven!

 

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Joshua’s Final Encouragement • Joshua 23:1-24:28 | Joshua encouraged the people to worship God alone.

As Joshua grew old, he left a legacy of obedience to God. God longs for us to obey Him, too. Jesus teaches us to obey by following His instructions found in the Bible!

 

Click HERE for this unit’s Big Picture Cards for Families.

Spring Worship Music

Most kids love to sing, dance and move! With this in mind, we are excited to share the songs kids at Antioch have been learning over the past few months, along with a few new ones which will be learned in the weeks to come. Below you will find two links–one for songs preschoolers at Antioch are learning, and another for songs elementary kids at Antioch are learning.  Simply click on the link and then click on each mp3 you want to download. The best part is, the songs have been purchased with our curriculum and are available to you at no cost! So, click below and add some great new songs to your digital library at no cost to you. These songs can be downloaded for a month. Enjoy!

Click here to download songs for preschool kids

Click here to download songs for elementary kids

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Jesus is Alive! {Easter}

Holy Week begins in a few days! We are taking a two-week break from Unit 6 to teach kids about the most profound act of love in the history of the world: God’s miraculous plan to bring us back into right relationship with Himself.

Key Passage: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5-6)

Big Picture Question: Who saves us from our sin? Only Jesus saves us from sin.

 

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Jesus’ Triumphal Entry ● Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19 | People welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King.

The last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry started off with the triumphal entry, when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds that day welcomed Him as King, but they didn’t really understand what kind of King He was. Jesus was the Messiah spoken about by the prophet Zechariah: “Look, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). One day, Jesus will return to earth on a white horse as King over everything, to make everything good again (Revelation 19:11). Jesus was first the suffering servant when He came to earth the first time, but when He returns, He will be the conquering King.

 

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Crucifixion and Resurrection ● Matthew 26:36-28:10; John 18:1-20:18 | Jesus died on the cross to save people from the consequences of sin.

Just a few days after the triumphal entry, the same crowd that chanted “hosanna” to Jesus now chanted “crucify Him.” Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, condemned, and crucified. After He died, Jesus was placed in a tomb, but on the third day, He rose again, conquering death and providing life to those who trust Him. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is the center of the gospel. Our sin has separated us from God, the source of life itself. But God is Love, and He loved His creation so much He came to earth as a man, Jesus—to defeat sin and death on the cross and in his resurrection, so that we could have new life in him, and be with Him forever.

Click HERE for this unit’s Big Picture Cards for Families, and don’t forget about the resources at The Gospel Project Blog! Happy Easter!

SUMMER SWAMP 2017!

Uniquely Wired. Wonderfully Made.

Every kid is uniquely wired for one reason. They are wonderfully made in the image of God! We want to help kids discover how the Creator of all things created us all to know and love Him. Summer Swamp is a four-day experience geared to capture a kids’ imagination about their Creator so they can discover how they are made by God, made for a relationship with Jesus, and made to love others!  

What will the week look like? We are glad you asked! 

DAY 1 Bottom line:  God made you. Bible Story: Amazingly and Wonderfully Made! Key Passage: Psalm 139:13-16  

DAY 2 Bottom line: God made you to trust Him. Bible Story: Jesus Heals the Blind Man. Key Passage: John 9 

DAY 3 Bottom line: God made you to follow Jesus. Bible Story: Jesus Teaches Nicodemus. Key Passage: John 3:1-21 

DAY 4 Bottom line: God made you to shine! Bible Story: Salt and Light. Key Passage: Matthew 5:13-16

Summer Swamp will be held at Ensworth Elementary School. It is a 4-day event beginning on Monday, July 10th through Thursday, July 13th from 9:30am-12:00pm. The cost is $25 per child (max $50 per family). To register, please click here.

We also want to help parents and the church synchronize their efforts to fuel wonder, discovery, and passion in our kids. There are three things available to you to help continue the conversation at Summer Swamp at home. First, once your child is registered, you will be sent a link allowing you to download the songs kids will be singing all week long! Then, as Summer Swamp nears, follow along with what your child is learning by watching a (short!) daily video available on our blog, antiochkids.com. We will also have God Time cards available for you! These suggest fun activities and interesting conversations for your family about topics relating to Summer Swamp!

This summer, we invite your child to discover how the Creator of all things created us to know and love Him!

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God is Holy {Unit 6}

Hello Church Family! For the next few weeks in Antioch Kids, we will be learning about God’s holiness—or perfect goodness—and what that means for humans. God gave a lot of rules in the Bible! But all along, God knew the rules would not save us. God Himself would come to us, to help us trust and follow Him, so we could spend eternity with Him.

Big Picture Question: Why did God give us rules? He gave us rules to show how life works best; He will help us trust and obey Him.

Key Passage: “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45, NIV).

 
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The Ten Commandments: Love Others ● Exodus 20:12-17 | God gave us rules to help us know how to love Him and others.
The last six commandments in the Ten Commandments show God’s people ways they can love others. When someone truly loves God, they become more of what God meant humans to be—and part of that means loving others. God created human life to work best when humans treat one another with love. Loving people is not an option, but a crucial part of trusting and following God.

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The Tabernacle Was Built ● Exodus 35:4-40:38 | God told His people to build the tabernacle so He could dwell with them.
God wants to be with his people. The people of Israel gave joyfully and generously and God equipped them to construct the place where He would dwell with them. We no longer need a tabernacle today because Jesus came to “tabernacle,” or dwell, with God’s people. Through God’s gift of Jesus, people can dwell with God forever.

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God Gave Rules for Sacrifice ● Leviticus 1–27 | God requires a sacrifice for sin.
The sacrifices God required of the Israelites were pointing forward to God’s ultimate plan to forgive humans and bring them back into a relationship with Him. The book of Hebrews tells us that the sacrifices themselves did not save the people, but it was their faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus who was to come that saved them. Jesus is the ultimate and perfect Sacrifice and He is the only way we can be made right with God.

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Worship Only God ● Deuteronomy 1; 3:23–4:40 | The Lord alone is God; there is no other besides Him.
Moses reminded God’s people to worship only the one true God. God does not want us to trust in false gods—things that will disappoint us. When we love something more than God, we are forgetting God’s goodness, love, power, wisdom, and faithfulness and exchanging that for something fake. God alone is worthy of worship and we should trust in Him alone.

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God Reminded His People of His Promise ● Deuteronomy 5:1–6:25; 8:1–11:1,26-28 | God reminded His people of His promise.
Moses reminded the Israelites about God’s covenant promise and His faithfulness to them. Moses called on the people to be holy and obey only God, because this obedience and holiness would bless them. All along, God knew that we wouldn’t be able to follow Him perfectly on our own. He was working on the ultimate plan: Jesus would defeat our sin on the cross, and the Holy Spirit would come and empower us to trust and obey God.

Check out the Big Picture Cards for Families HERE.

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God is Love

Hello Church family!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and—naturally—it has us thinking about love. The greatest love of all—the love of our God—is so worth celebrating! This week, we invite you to take some time to remind your kids that love is more than red hearts, paper cards, and pink cupcakes. Use the ideas below to teach your kiddos that God’s love is powerful and enduring and greater than anything—and that we can share it with others!

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Memorize some Bible verses about God’s love. Some toddlers can memorize “God is love,” while your fourth and fifth graders might take up the challenge of memorizing the entire “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13)!

  • “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
  • “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
  • “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
  • “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
  • “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • “…God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:8-12)

Explore some Bible stories that illustrate God’s love.

  • Matthew 6:25-34 | God will take care of you—he gives birds and plants the things they need—and He loves you even more than them! He doesn’t want you to worry—He will give you everything you need.
  • Luke 19:1-10 | Nobody liked Zacchaeus, but Jesus saw him and wanted to hang out at his house! God loves everyone.
  • Luke 10:25-37 | Jesus told a story about a man who was hurt and needed help. Some people walked by him without helping him, but one man helped him get up and found him a place to stay and helped him heal. Jesus said that is how we should love other people!

Exercise your creativity! Below are a few ideas for art projects that reinforce the message of God’s love.

Love others with God’s love. Talk about ways to share God’s love with others this Valentine’s Day and the whole year long!

  • Write notes of encouragement. Path Through the Narrow Gate provides some printable notes from parents to their kids, reminding them of biblical truths of God’s love and how we can show that love to others. Print these for free, or make some of your own!
  • Bake a treat and give it to a neighbor.
  • Share toys with other children.
  • Give a hug to a friend who is sad or hurt.

We hope you have a meaningful and rewarding season of exploring God’s love with your kids-and a happy Valentine’s Day!

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God the Redeemer {Unit 4}

The next five weeks will take us through Moses’ life, where we learn that Yahweh is a God who rescues and redeems!

Big Picture Question: What is God’s plan? God’s plan is to rescue His people from captivity.

Key Passage: “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household… But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.” (Hebrews 3:5-6)

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Moses Was Born and Called • Exodus 1:8-2:10, 23-25; 3:1-4:20| God rescued Moses to deliver His people from captivity.

Moses was chosen by God to help deliver God’s people out of Egypt. When God’s people cried out to God, He responded and miraculously rescued them from physical captivity. Jesus was a greater Deliverer because He rescued God’s people from captivity to sin. The Exodus points back to Joseph bringing His family into Egypt and forward to Jesus rescuing God’s people from sin.

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The Plagues, the Passover, and the Crossing of the Red Sea • Exodus 5-14 | God proved to the Egyptians that He is the one true God.

God used miraculous plagues to show Pharaoh and the Egyptian people that He alone is God and graciously spared the Israelites from the final plague when they trusted in Him and put the blood of a lamb around their doors. God spared Israel by the blood of a lamb, but Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God’s salvation of His people is always by grace through faith and we need Jesus to trust and obey God.

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The Wilderness Test Exodus 15:22-17:7 | God provided for the physical needs of His people.

God provided food and water for His people as they wandered in the wilderness. When Israel became hungry and thirsty, they grumbled about Moses and God, and God graciously provided for them even though they did not deserve it. In the same way that God provided for Israel’s physical need, God provides for the spiritual need of people through Jesus. God is gracious and He freely gives what we need – including Jesus – not because of anything we have done, but because of God’s goodness alone.

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The Golden Calf • Exodus 32:1-35; 34:1-9 | It’s always best to obey God.

Moses went up Mt. Sinai to talk with God for 40 days. During that time, the people rebelled against the one true God and asked Aaron to make a golden calf to be their god. When God became angry, Moses interceded on their behalf. As Moses interceded for Israel that day, Jesus intercedes for all God’s people today.

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The Ten Commandments: Love God • Exodus 19:1-20:11; 31:18 | God gave us rules because He knows what’s best for us, and He will help us trust Him.

The first four of the Ten Commandments were given by God through Moses to teach His people how to love and worship Him. God loves us and His plan is the best way to live, but we cannot obey God on our own. And that’s the point of the law – to show us of our need for another way to be right with God; a way found only in Jesus. God is holy and wants us to be holy as well—we can be holy because of Jesus.

For more resources and ideas of how to continue these conversations at home, check out these Big Picture Cards for Families.

Fun New Music! {Unit 4}

We are coming up on Unit 4 in Antioch Kids! Check out these worship music videos from The Gospel Project for Kids. We love that these songs reinforce what kids will be learning for the next five weeks in Antioch Kids!

Preschool

Confidence of Our Hope | We will be singing this on Sunday mornings!

Everywhere I Go | We will be singing this on Sunday mornings!

God Gives Us Everything We Need

Clap Your Hands

Here With Me

I Give All My Thanks To You

 

Elementary

Confidence of Our Hope | We will be singing this on Sunday mornings!

Follow | We will be singing this on Sunday mornings!

Freedom

God  Redeems

Here With Me

With All My Heart