April is here! This month we’re teaching kids a memory verse from Matthew 22:37-39 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… Love your neighbor as yourself.” The bottom line is I can love God and love people. We’re excited to teach kids this important truth! Check out the Parent Cue below for ideas of how to keep teaching this to your kiddos at home!
Monthly Archives: March 2016
Whew! Easter flew by and April is here!
At Easter we celebrated the most amazing display of God’s love for us! Before and after His death and resurrection, Jesus taught that we can show God how much we love Him by treating others the way He wants us to treat them. We can’t wait to teach kids the memory verse from Matthew 22:37-39 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… Love your neighbor as yourself.” This month kids will learn to care for others through the lens of “my neighborhood.” As we teach kids about who their neighbors are—that is, everyone around them, including their teachers, doctors, cashiers at the grocery store, and literal next-door neighbors—we will reinforce the bottom line: I can love God and love people. This month we will teach the following Bible stories.
- Saul to Paul • Acts 9:1-31 | Everyone can learn to love God and love people. Saul didn’t believe Jesus was the Rescuer, and hated Jesus’ friends. But one day Jesus met Saul and changed him so that he decided to follow Jesus, to love God and love people.
- Early Church • Acts 2:42-47 | We can love God and love people with our friends. The Church is the group of God’s people. We are God’s people, and we can show love to God and people by spending time together, praying and learning about God together, and helping when someone has a need.
- Peter and John • Acts 3:1-16 | We can love people with what we have. Peter saw a man who couldn’t walk and the man asked for money. Peter told him that he didn’t have money to give him, but instead he told him he would give what he did have; with Jesus’ power Peter helped the man to walk again!
- Love God, Love People • Matthew 22:34-40 | I can love God and love people. Jesus taught people that the most important things they should do are: love God and love people! When we show love to people, it shows God we love Him, too.
We can’t wait to teach kids the important truth that God wants us to love Him and love people!
Elementary students at Antioch are learning all about Perseverance this April! Perseverance is refusing to give up when life gets hard. We would like to equip you to continue the conversation about perseverance at home. To help you do this we want to provide this great resource called God Time Cards. These short cards are designed for elementary kids to do as a weekly devotion. They are fun and engaging – and we know you and your kids will love them!
Below you will find the God Time Cards for April to help you and your elementary student continue learning about the importance of perseverance and what it means to keep going when life gets hard. Simply click below to get started! Have fun!
I’ve never been much of a long distance runner. I like sprints—quick and fast, finished in less than 10 seconds. In fact, the one time I did compete in a long distance race, I ended up sick on the side of the track. I know a ton of people who’ve run marathons. They put in the hard work, build up the stamina, and finish the race. They may not win, but they finish—and for a marathon that is a huge accomplishment.
On the other hand, one of my friends is on another level. He races in triathlons. He started a few years ago with this goal: compete in the Ironman Kona triathlon. This race is hard core. It starts out with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by 112 miles on a bike, and to top it all off, a full 26.2 mile marathon.
Only the best of the best compete at Kona, meaning you can’t just sign up for this, you have to qualify for it. That goal set my friend on a journey of years of training, multiple triathlons, and a team of doctors and athletic trainers who got him in tip-top shape to make competing in Kona even a remote possibility.
And believe it or not, his perseverance paid off. Not only did he qualify for Kona, he came in first and WON his division. He had what it took to swim, bike, and run the distance.
Just like runners show perseverance on the track, Christians often have to show perseverance in their faith. Jesus never promised that following Him would be easy. In fact, He said quite the opposite. “In this world you will have trouble.” But in the next breath He encourages His disciple with these words. “But have no fear, I have won the battle over the world.”
Jesus won the battle over the world as He persevered through the worst: rejection, violence, heartache, even death itself—all to rescue us. This is why the author of Hebrews told us to “fix our eyes on Jesus.”
In fact, the author of Hebrews has a lot to say to his audience about perseverance. See, life was very difficult for these early Christians as they were persecuted for their faith. They were forced into hiding. They met secretly in fear of violence. By simply continuing to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, the early Christians were seen as outcasts. So, the book of Hebrews was written to remind those Christians to refuse to give up. Even though life had gotten hard, they needed to keep doing what they knew was best for them to do.
This month, we’ll spend most of our time in the book of Hebrews where we’ll discover more about what the Bible says about perseverance. We define perseverance as refusing to give up when life gets hard. We have the chance to lean in to them and say: “Don’t give up. Persevere in your faith. Trust God no matter what.”
Throughout Scripture, the writers continually point people of faith to continue their journey relying not on their own strength, but God’s supernatural power. Take our memory verse for example. Isaiah 40:31 (NIrV), “But those who trust in the Lord will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow week.”
Isaiah offers hope to those who persevere and trust in God. They will find strength even when they feel like giving up. Going through those tough times will teach us that God is always there.
When it comes down to it, we all have experienced things that we would have never experienced if we didn’t push through the difficult times. When you get to the other side, you’ll see something that you would have never seen before—if you just believe in what God can do and what God can do in you.
We start off our month on perseverance with Jesus’ last words before He ascends back to heaven. In Matthew 28:20, we have the huge task Jesus gave His disciples to share His story throughout the world. In Acts 1-2, we discover how Jesus’ sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to help the disciples accomplish that task.
Bottom Line: When life gets hard, remember God is with you. Because of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God is always with us. No matter what happens, we can continue to persevere because God can give us the strength we need to continue.
In Hebrews 12:1, the author of Hebrews reminds us that when life gets hard, we can look to the heroes of the faith and see how they trusted God through some extremely difficult circumstances. God brought them through those trials, and God will help us through ours.
Bottom Line: When life gets hard, remember how others persevered. It’s comforting to know that others have made it through to the other side of difficult times. When we see how God helped them, it’s helps us trust God more with our own circumstances.
In Hebrews 12:2-3, we will talk about what it means to run the race of life with perseverance. It will get hard, but we can focus our attention on Jesus. He is the ultimate example of someone who endured death itself to accomplish the rescue mission God set out for him.
Bottom Line: When life gets hard, remember what Jesus did for you. Jesus persevered through the most difficult life had to offer. He did that for us. We pray kids discover that they can trust Jesus with their whole life from now until eternity. When life doesn’t go as planned, kids can look to Jesus and remember how His life and death overcame the world.
Finally, through Hebrews 12:12-15, kids will learn that others are watching us as we persevere through difficult times. When our friends or family members are having trouble persevering, they can look to our example and be encouraged to stick with it.
Bottom Line: When life gets hard, remember you can help others persevere. After we go through a difficult time, we often have a chance to help others through similar situations. We want kids to learn that as they trust God and persevere, they will set an example and encourage others to do the same.
April Editor’s Notes
By Dan Scott, Rethink Group
Calling all kids- You’re invited to Antioch’s annual summer kids program, Summer Swamp! This year the theme will be Love One Another— an instruction Jesus gave his followers in John 13. We will learn how Jesus showed love to others then explore how we can follow his example.
This is an outdoor kids camp which invites kids to explore the theme by singing loud, playing goofy games, creating fun crafts, and more. All kids ages 3yo (and potty trained) through 5th grade are invited!
Days: July 11-14, 2016
Where: Ensworth Elementary (2150 NE Daggett Ln, Bend, OR 97701)
How much: $25 per child, $50 max per family
Join us across the street and enjoy a free lunch at AL Moody Park and get to know people in the community!
Questions? Email Antioch’s children’s pastor (email@example.com). Hope to see you at Summer Swamp!
During this Easter season, we remember that Jesus participated in the Last Supper on the night He was betrayed by Judas. The Last Supper was an important event leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It was the meal that commemorated the Passover and initiated the practice of communion. Communion is a Christian practice that is SO meaningful, but also kind of obscure (it can be hard to understand!), and the Passover is a part of the Old Testament that is often, well, passed over.
This Easter season might be a good time to teach your kiddos about the significance of these three important parts of God’s story!
This might seem like a daunting task! We want to help make it easier and more fun. Below you will find summaries of the Passover, the Last Supper, and communion; as well as some activities to make these things more real and comprehensible to your kids.
The Passover | Exodus 12
The Egyptians made the Israelites (God’s chosen people) their slaves. God sent Moses to help lead the people out of Egypt into freedom. God used Moses to bring 10 plagues (super bad things, like people getting sick and swarms of bugs). The last one was the worst—some people were going to die. God told Moses to tell the Israelites that if they put some blood from a perfect lamb on their door, then they would be safe and no one in their family would die. They were supposed to eat the roasted lamb that night, with their shoes and coats on, ready to go when it was time. God did as He said He would, and the Israelites were freed. God told them to remember that day forever, to remember how God cared for the Israelites and saved them. The way they did this was to have a Passover meal each year.
One way to make this story really come alive would be to make a “Passover taste testing plate.” Include:
- Unleavened Bread (Tortillas or Pita Bread) or Matzah – This reminds us that on the night of Passover the Israelites ate bread without yeast because they didn’t have time to wait for it to rise. They had to be ready to go as soon as it was time to leave Egypt. We also should be ready to follow whenever God calls us to do something. Yeast is also used as a symbol of sin (it puffs up a person with self-love), so the bread without yeast symbolizes freedom from sin.
- Hard-Boiled Egg – The egg represents the animal sacrifices people made in the temple to demonstrate that the cost of sin is death; this was before Jesus came to be the first and last sacrifice for all. It also represents new life, as some creatures are born from eggs.
- Lamb – This represents the original Passover lambs.
- Parsley, Celery, and Lettuce – These greens represent the leafy plant “hyssop” which was used by Israelites to spread the lambs’ blood on their door during the first Passover.
- Salt Water – Dip the greens in the salt water to represent the hyssop dipped in blood. Salt water also reminds of us of the tears shed by those in slavery.
- Horseradish or Romaine Lettuce – These bitter ingredients are a symbol of the bitterness of slavery—that of the Israelites, and of all people to sin.
- Charoset (Apples, Nuts, Cinnamon, Raisins, and Honey) – It looks like mud! This symbolizes the mud used by the enslaved Israelites to make buildings for the Egyptians. Its sweet taste also reminds us of the sweet hope in God’s promises (to free the Israelites and to send a Rescuer for all people).
- Grape Juice – Back then, people drank wine with their meals (which is another drink that comes from grapes).
(View this article for more information about the Passover!)
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, just like all Jews did. But this time, He taught them something new. He took the unleavened bread and broke it and said that it was like His body breaking for people. He held his cup of wine and said that it was like His blood, which would be poured out for people. He was telling them about the new covenant, the new way of life. Jesus was going to die and come back to life, so that people could have new life in Him. During the meal, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, showing that He was the Servant of all, the One who had come to cleanse all of them.
Below are some images of what the Last Supper might have looked like. Kids can color these and/or write about what they see happening in the picture.
Communion | John 6:46-59
Jesus taught that people should “eat his flesh and drink his blood.” That sounds gross! What He meant was that we should remember His sacrifice, His death on the cross for us. We should remember it and live in the new life He has given us. Food and drinks are things we need to stay alive—similarly, we need Christ and His sacrifice (symbolized by His body and blood) to have the new life, the best life! We take communion now to remember that Jesus gave His life for us, and that we need Him to sustain us; to be with us; and to help us be right with God, follow Him, and live in friendship with Him forever.
Invite kids to write out a prayer that could be said while taking communion:
- thanking Jesus for His love for us, shown by His suffering and death on the cross, the price He paid to free us from sin so we could be with God.
- asking for forgiveness for the things we have done to hurt God’s heart, the times we have run away from God and followed our own plan.
- asking that Jesus would live in us and change our hearts so we can follow God and experience the happiest life–the one only He can give us!
Check out this video that explains communion!
Do you want to teach your kids how to pray? Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggests that just as a child learns how to speak by listening to his mother or father speak, so we learn to pray by listening to Jesus talk to the Father. By repeating the prayers of Jesus, we learn to pray!
There is an entire book of the bible which is filled with prayers. This book is the Psalms. As a family, explore the Psalms and begin to imagine them as the words of Jesus– which will teach us how to pray to God! (If this is confusing, click here to listen to the Antioch series: “Praying with Jesus”.)
As a family, consider memorizing The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus uses to teach his disciples how to pray. To make it a little easier, use these resources:
- Free downloadable coloring book based on the The Lord’s Prayer.
- A story which puts The Lord’s Prayer in kid words.
- Print out this art, cut it into 6 sections, and hide them around the house for a scavenger hunt. As kids find them, challenge them to put the puzzle back together!
- Listen to this song and learn the The Lord’s Prayer as a family.
- Consider reading the Lord’s Prayer in different versions, such as the New International Reader’s Version and The New Living Translation to help your child better understand the prayer.
Our hope is that we will recognize the wonderful way in which Jesus teaches us how to pray!
It’s March and we can’t wait for Easter!!! This month we are teaching preschoolers this bottom line: I can follow Jesus. Our March memory verse is “‘Come, and follow me,’ Jesus said” (Matthew 4:19, NIV). We will be teaching kids about how Jesus was wise at a young age and grew up to be a teacher who called people to follow Him. He was the King who had come to save all of the people from their sin so that they could live with God forever! Check out the Parent Cue below to view some ideas of how you can teach your preschooler more about following Jesus!
March is here and Easter is just around the corner! This is one of the most profound and sacred times of the year, when we remember the great, costly gift God gave so that we could be with Him. We are teaching the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the context of this bottom line: I can follow Jesus. Our memory verse is “‘Come, and follow me,’ Jesus said” (Matthew 4:19, NIV). Our preschoolers will hear the following stories on Sunday mornings this month.
- Jesus Teaches • Luke 2:41-50; Matthew 5, 22:34-39 | God sent Jesus to teach us to love God and love people. When Jesus was young, He spent time talking to the teachers in the temple about God. When He grew up, Jesus taught many people about God. He is the best teacher ever!
- Follow Me • Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11 | God sent Jesus to do an important job. One day Jesus asked some fishermen to follow Him and learn how to teach people about God. They were surprised—their job was to catch fish, not teach people! But they obeyed Jesus, and left their fishing nets, because they knew they could trust Him.
- Palm Sunday • Matthew 21:1-16 | God sent Jesus to do something special. Jesus came into Jerusalem, and the people there welcomed him by laying their coats on the road and waving palm branches. They knew He was the new King, the Savior, who could teach them about God and rescue them.
- Easter • Matthew 26:20-30, 27:1-2, 28:1-2 | God sent Jesus to be my friend forever. Jesus was the true King, and some people didn’t like that, so they killed him. But God brought Jesus back to life! Jesus died and rose again, so that if we follow Him, we can be friends with God forever!
We can’t wait to teach kids about our wise and loving God who came into our world because He wanted us to spend eternity with Him! This is such an important truth, and we hope kids will be able to retell this amazing story themselves. Here is a great video of part of the Easter story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. We also invite you to check out this blog post to view more ideas of how to prepare for and celebrate Easter with your kiddos.
Praise God for His great love in sending His Son Jesus! We are so excited to celebrate Easter with you, church family. He is risen indeed!
Learning Bible verses can be challenging, but it is so important! The Bible is the book made up of God’s true words; it helps us learn more about God, His love for us, and how He wants to use us in His Big Plan. Passages of Scripture can be so helpful in life when things are a little confusing—and when they have already been memorized, they often come to mind at just the right time! We would love it if kids were able to memorize the Antioch Kids Bible verse each month.
So, how do we make it happen? Our post “Toddlers Can Learn Bible Verses Too!” provides seven ideas of ways to help kids learn Bible verses. Below are some practical and specific ways to memorize the Bible verse “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV). Judah and Josiah were recruited to help demonstrate each activity! (With big thank-yous from Chelsey, Antioch Kids’ Preschool Coordinator!)
- Act out the words. Come up with motions to represent each word of the verse.
- With God – point upward with both hands
- all things – use arms to draw a big circle in the air
- are possible – put two thumbs up
- Matthew 19:26 – open and close hands like a book
Click here to view a video of Judah demonstrating these memory verse motions.
- Use props. One week we taught kids how Jesus fed 5,000 people with only two fish and five loaves of bread (Mark 6:31-44). One way to teach the Bible verse in the context of this story is to have kids sit in a circle, and pass out food (like Jesus did) as you say the verse, then have each child in the circle try it on their own. Another week our story was how Jesus calmed a storm (Matthew 8:23-27); kids could “make a storm” by shaking blue fabric while repeating the verse.
- Move around. For the story of how Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22-33), we could invite kids to walk across blue paper, pretending to walk on water, as they recite the verse. Or, for “Feeding the 5,000” we could draw pictures of fish and bread, and then have kids step from one to the other while saying the verse.
- Get artsy. When learning the story of how Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), kids can practice the memory verse as they color or paint pictures of wine jars. They could even write the verse on their picture!
- Use logic. Write the words of the memory verse on different pieces of paper and have kids put them in the correct order. If they are not yet able to read, you can use dots (i.e. place one dot on first word, two dots on second word, etc.) and have kids put the words in sequential order according to the number of dots on each paper.