Have you ever been watching a sporting event where one of the teams played like they were falling apart at the seams?
The pitcher giving up run after run.
The defensive line that just can’t stop anyone.
The full-court press that simply can’t get the ball back.
It’s a mess. Finally the coach calls it: “Time out!”
He brings the team in, takes a moment to regroup. He adjusts and recalibrates to get his team ready to get back on the field and face their opponent.
The same goes for life.
Everything can be going well. You’re happy at work. The kids are excelling at school, and they are even getting along with each other at home. Life seems pretty perfect.
Then overtime something happens. Not overnight and maybe even so gradually that you don’t notice it. But one day you wake up and it seems like nothing’s going right and everyone is grumpy.
Something is off.
Something is broken.
And everyone needs a time out.
There are just some things that need an adjustment.
God wants to work in your life and the lives of your kids to tweak some things in your character. In a lot of ways, He’s taking a time out and making adjustments to conform you to the image of His Son. In those times, it’s like God is pulling us over to the side and reminding us when we need to recalibrate a few things.
And it makes sense, really. If God made us, He knows what we need to give attention to. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to His instruction manual and what He has to say about certain attitudes. Take the idea of GRATITUDE, for example. If we never take the time to acknowledge what God has done in our lives or how others have helped us, we may develop an unhealthy ego or a growing frustration at the people around us. We might become bitter and complain about every little thing.
That’s why GRATITUDE is a really big idea that God talks about so much. It affects more of your life than you probably have ever imagined. That’s why we’re taking this month to talk about what it means to show GRATITUDE: letting others know how they’ve helped you.
For week one, we kick off the month by taking a closer look at our memory verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It says, “Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.” (NIrV)
We want to help kids understand why God wants us to give thanks in all circumstances. We believe something will happen in the heart of any child when they learn to take a TIME OUT, think about this verse, and remember the Bottom Line: You always have something to be grateful for.
In week two, we will take a look at a powerful story in Luke 17:11-19 about 10 lepers who asked Jesus to be healed. But when their skin condition went away, they became so ecstatic about the miracle that they ran off and forgot to say “thank You.” All except for one, who came back. It’s great to influence children in such a way that they become the kind of people who put our Bottom Line into action: Take time to say “thank you.”
For week three, we’ll dig into a parable Jesus told one day about some vineyard workers. In Matthew 20:1-15, we read that a few of the workers started making comparisons to what others were getting paid and became ungrateful and started complaining. Then at the end of the day, they had a bad attitude because they thought, that’s not fair. Have you heard that around your house lately? Well, then, maybe it’s time for this week’s Bottom Line: Take time to adjust your attitude.
In week four, we’ll explore Exodus 23:14-19 and discover how some of the rules God gave His people included some major celebrating with entire DAYS and sometimes WEEKS set aside to give His people an opportunity to take time to celebrate. That’s what we want our kids to do too: Take time to celebrate what God has done.
Finally, we’ll look at how the Apostle Paul closed out his letter to the Roman followers of Jesus. He thanked people—a LOT of people—for helping him on his journeys. We hope kids come away with this Bottom Line: Take time to remember how others have helped you.
Sometimes gratitude takes a little bit of intentionality. Sometimes, you have to literally take a time out and remember what you have to be grateful for. A great way to do that is through giving.
This fall, we’re excited to put our gratitude into practice by giving to others. We’re giving kids a great opportunity to give to our friends and missionaries, the Mara Family. Kids will be encouraged to bring their change in to Antioch Kids this November to help raise money for this great family. And to make it even more fun, we’ll have a little contest between boys and girls to see who can raise the most money for the Maras!
By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.