What is my Elementary Child Learning?

Louis Zamperini was on a WWII reconnaissance run when his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. He was captured and held as a POW, enduring two years of verbal and physical torture. When he returned home at the end of the war, Mr. Zamperini continued to suffer regular nightmares and felt his life spinning out of control. Until he heard Billy Graham deliver a message about forgiveness. Mr. Zamperini found the guards who had haunted him and chose to fogive them. He hasn’t had a nightmare since.

“The hardest thing in life is to forgive.” Mr. Zamperini said. “But healing, real healing, only comes from forgiveness.” See more of Louis Zamperini’s inspiring story of the power of forgiveness here.

Forgiveness is deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay. When we choose to forgive others, it’s a response to the great love and forgiveness God has shown us. Forgiveness means letting go of what someone did to us in order to restore the relationship.

But forgiveness isn’t always a simple exchange. What if the person never apologizes? Forgive anyway. What if the person does it again? Forgive again. What if the person never changes? Keep on forgiving. By controlling how you respond and making an alternate choice to forgive, you can delete the impact of what that person did to you.

The monthly memory verse is:Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you,” Colossians 3:13, NIrV. Through God’s forgiveness, we are inspired to love, serve, and give to others. His forgiveness changes our eternity. And our forgiveness of others can impact their futures.

In Week One’s Bible story, Jesus told a story about a son who sinned against his father (Luke 15:11-20). He owned what he did was wrong and returned home to seek his father’s forgiveness. Our Bottom Line is: Everyone needs to be forgiven, even me.

In Week Two’s Bible story, the older brother chose not to forgive the Prodigal Son(Luke 15:21-32). He missed out on a party and also missed out on rebuilding a relationship with his brother. Our Bottom Line is: When you don’t forgive, you miss out.

In Week Three’s Bible story, Peter thought he was doing well to forgive someone seven times (Matthew 18:21-35). Jesus raised the stakes when He said we should forgive others even more. Our Bottom Line is: Since God forgave you, you should forgive others.

In Week Four’s Bible story, Jesus teaches about judging with an example of someone who needs to focus on his own problems before pointing out his friend’s.(Matthew 7:1-5). Our Bottom Line is: Be careful not to judge others, because you’ve been wrong too.

In Week Five’s Bible story, Zacchaeus was a tax collector who stole money from people (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus offered him forgiveness, which changed Zacchaeus’ outlook on life. Our Bottom Line is: When people are forgiven, it can change them.

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By Jessica McKee ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

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40 days Until Easter

All around the world, people begin thinking about the importance of Easter 40 days before Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated. This tradition gives the opportunity to think about God’s love and recognize what He has done.

We want to help you lead your kids in this conversation! Often, this 40-day preparation for the celebration of Easter includes various types of Christian disciplines in order to better reflect on what Jesus has done.

First, pull out a calendar. Locate the date of Easter and count back 40 days (not including Sunday’s). This year (2014), that is March 5th- which is today!

On this day, the goal is to remind ourselves that we need Jesus. The most common way to do this is to play in or mark oneself with dust. “Dust”, you ask? “Why dust?” Because God made the first man, Adam, out of the dust. (Read Genesis 2:7).  In spending time thinking about this, we find ourselves thanking God for all he has made and realizing how creative our God is. On this day, to say thank you to God, people choose to give up something they really like. It isn’t required, but often people want to do something to show God that they are thankful for all He has created and all He has done. It is a simple idea: cut something out and replace it with prayer, Bible reading, or time with God.

As the 40 days progress, we would love for you and your family to spend intentional time thinking about the Easter story!

To help you do so, here are a few free resources that we think are awesome:

1. A free devotional: What Lent Really Means, by Ann Voscamp

2. Intentional activities: 26 interactive ways to help kids think about Easter, by Lindsay Edmonds. 

3. Lenten Lights: Eight Biblical Devotions to Prepare for Easter, by John Piper

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What is my Preschool Child Learning?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, walked around here on the same earth that you and I now inhabit. When I see pictures of places that I’ve read about in my Bible, I am truly humbled to know that my heavenly Father sent His Son here, to this earth for me—to save me. And, to save you. Then, I think about what Jesus did in His years here on earth, and I am amazed.

We want our preschoolers to feel that same amazement, that wonder and awe, that only Jesus can bring. Jesus came to do amazing things, and He did them. They’ll hear about how the people in the temple were amazed by the questions a 12-year-old boy was asking. They’ll hear of the awesome experience that was Jesus’ baptism when God spoke from the heavens. They’ll watch in awe as Jesus turns water to “super fancy drink” at a wedding.

In addition, our preschoolers will learn that Jesus invited some special friends to go on His amazing journey with Him. They’ll hear how these men left their jobs to follow their savior and watch Him do amazing things. Finally, they will learn that Jesus taught us how to pray. We can talk to our Father in heaven any time, anywhere, about anything. Now, that IS amazing. What a gift!

Week 1 we’ll see how Jesus amazed the teachers in the temple when he was just 12 years old by knowing so much about God! (Luke 2:41-50)

Week 2 your preschooler will be amazed by Jesus’ choice to allow John to baptize him to show everyone how much he loved God, and by God telling everyone that Jesus is His son! (Mark 1:1-11)

Week 3 children will be invited to join the rest of the Antioch body for worship Sunday! There is an optional movie for kids and the nursery/nursing mothers’ room will be available.

Week 4 your little one will hear the amazing story of Jesus’ first miracle- turning water into “fancy drink” at a wedding celebration! (John 2:1-11)

Week 5 we’ll explore how Jesus didn’t just do amazing things but he also picked 12 friends called disciples to get to tell everyone about the amazing things he did! (All 4 Gospels)

It is our hope that your child will be filled with wonder and amazement as we explore some real-life, tangible concepts about Jesus- things that he did, in the real world that we live in! Those things were amazing, and we hope to lay the foundation in your preschooler that Jesus came to do amazing things, did those amazing things in space and time, AND still does amazing things today!

Our prayer is that you and your child will rediscover a sense of awe and wonder at who Jesus is, what he shows and tells us about God, and the amazing things he did and still does today! We hope your preschooler learns that Jesus came to do amazing things and, what’s more, this amazing man loves them, made them, and wants to be their friend forever!

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