God Called Isaiah

King Uzziah’s death marked the end of an era. His reign had been long and prosperous. Uzziah became king when he was 16, and he reigned over Judah for 52 years.

But Uzziah’s pride got the best of him. (See 2 Chron. 26:16.) Under Uzziah’s leadership, God’s people had turned away from the promises of God and trusted in the promises of the world around them. God had promised to bless the entire world through Abraham’s family, but God’s people were rebelling against Him. Instead of blessing, they set themselves up to receive God’s judgment. But God’s plans and promises were not thwarted. God sent the prophet Isaiah to preach a message of hope.

Isaiah 6 opens with Isaiah worshiping in the temple. Then God gave Isaiah a vision. Isaiah saw God sitting on a throne. God was reigning over the universe. The magnitude of God’s holiness made Isaiah realize the magnitude of his own sin. His response? “Woe is me!”

God extended His grace to Isaiah. He took away Isaiah’s guilt and shame and invited Isaiah to stay in His presence and then gave him an important job–to tell the people of Israel God’s message.

Isaiah knew he was sinful but God forgave Isaiah’s sin. Isaiah tells us God is good and holy. Like Isaiah, we also know we are sinful. God sent His Son, Jesus, to take away our sin. Only He can save us. The one true God is good and holy.

Help your kids understand that God is perfectly holy—He is pure and without sin and He is unique from anything and everyone else. God is also loving and full of mercy and grace. God sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for the sins—past, present, and future—of those who would trust in Him. When we trust in Jesus, God says to us the words Isaiah heard: “Your guilt is taken away. Your sin is atoned for.” As you talk, reinforce these truths:

  • There is one true God.
  • God called Isaiah to be a prophet–meaning God gave Isaiah a message to tell to others.
  • Isaiah saw God the King on His throne.
  • Isaiah tells us that God is good and holy.

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Elisha and Naaman

Everyone gets sick at some point in his or her lifetime … often many times! Illness is probably no stranger to your kids. This week, kids will learn about a commander for the Syrian army—he was really sick. He had leprosy, a skin disease that was likely disfiguring and isolating. Without a cure, Naaman would face great suffering. But help came from an unlikely source: a young slave girl.

The people of Israel and Syria were often at odds with one another. The Syrians sometimes attacked the cities in Israel and plundered them. They took what they wanted, including people to work as slaves.

The young slave girl who served Naaman’s wife had been taken from her home in Israel.

As an Israelite, the girl knew about the one true God. She was familiar with God’s prophets, including Elisha, who had performed miracles to help and heal people. The girl told her mistress that Elisha the prophet could heal Naaman. So the king of Syria sent a letter to the king of Israel, asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy. But the king of Israel had no power to heal Naaman. The power to heal comes only from God.

Elisha called for Naaman. But what happened next was not at all what Naaman expected. Naaman expected Elisha to call upon the name of God, wave his hand over Naaman, and miraculously heal him. Instead, Elisha instructed Naaman to go wash in the river.

Naaman was upset! He could have washed in a river back home! But Naaman’s servants urged him to wash. He did, and God healed him.

Naaman was sick. He had a problem with his skin. When Naaman washed in the river, his skin got better. It was a miracle! We are all sick with a sin problem—but when we trust in Jesus, He heals us. It’s a miracle! God forgives us and gives us new life.

Help your kids understand that not all sick people will be healed on this side of heaven, but our physical maladies are symptoms of an even greater illness–sin. Life is not how it was designed to be, but God plans to make it good! Jesus’ death and resurrection provided healing—forgiveness and eternal life—for those who trust in Him. As you talk, reinforce these truths:

  • There is one true God.
  • The servant girl teaches us to always want the best for others–even people who treat us poorly.
  • God healed Naaman.
  • Naaman learned that obeying God is always best.
  • There is no one like God.
  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
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Elijah Ran from Jezebel

The prophet Elijah had just witnessed God’s great display of power over the false god Baal. God had sent fire from heaven and then ended a long drought with a great rain. Elijah must have felt a sense of victory; the evil King Ahab could not deny the one true God. But trouble awaited Elijah in the form of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel.

When Jezebel heard what happened at Mount Carmel, she threatened to kill Elijah. Elijah ran away and hid in the wilderness. What a change Elijah experienced! He went from a man faithfully and confidently praying for God’s glory to be displayed at Mount Carmel to a man begging the Lord to take away his life. (See 1 Kings 19:4.)

God was merciful to Elijah. An angel of the Lord brought Elijah food and drink while he rested. Then Elijah traveled to Horeb for a personal encounter with God. Horeb—another name for Mount Sinai—was a familiar place in the history of Israel. It was the place where God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites and where Moses met with God.

After the events in 1 Kings 18, Elijah might have expected a grand display of God’s presence, but what he experienced was just the opposite. The Lord was not in the wind. The Lord was not in the earthquake. The Lord was not in the fire. God revealed Himself to Elijah in a voice, a soft whisper.

Elijah’s circumstances were difficult, but God didn’t leave him. God gave him Elisha, a friend and successor. God assured Elijah that he was not alone; there were 7,000 people in Israel who had not turned to worship Baal.

Some people did not like Elijah—they wanted to hurt him because he worshiped God. He urged the people to turn from sin and to return to the true God. Elijah points us to Jesus, who also longs for us to turn from our sin and trust the one true God.

Help your kids understand that the messages God gave through the prophets like Elijah pointed forward to the ultimate prophet, priest, and king—Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection brought victory for God’s people. As you talk, reinforce these truths:

  • There is one true God.
  • God spoke to Elijah in a small whisper.
  • God encouraged Elijah.
  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
  • Jesus is with us when we are afraid.

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Elijah Confronted Evil Ahab

This week, we continue in the big story of the Bible by learning about the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. King Ahab was an evil king. In fact, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). The things that Ahab did made God angry. God wanted His people to be faithful to Him, but King Ahab led them away from God.

God chose Elijah to get Ahab’s attention. In 1 Kings 17, Elijah told Ahab that a drought was coming. God prevented rain in the land for three years. For Ahab, a man who worshiped Baal—the false Canaanite god of rain and fertility—the drought sent a strong message about the one true God.

When God was ready to send rain on the earth, Elijah appeared to Ahab and instructed him to gather the Israelites and the prophets of the false gods at Mount Carmel. Elijah challenged the people to choose: Follow God or follow Baal. They couldn’t do both.

Elijah set up a challenge to prove who is the one true God. He faced off against the prophets of Baal. Each group prepared a bull on an altar and called on its deity to send fire from heaven. The prophets of Baal called and cried and cut themselves, but Baal did not answer.

Elijah poured water on and around his altar. He called to God, and God sent fire from heaven. Everything was burned up. The prophets could not deny that the God of Elijah is the one true God, and God sent a great rain to end the drought.

The people who worshiped the false god Baal worked very hard to show they loved Baal, but Baal was silent. The one true God is not like false gods. God is real and cares deeply for His creation. God showed His love for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of the world.

Help your kids understand that God is an initiating God. We love God because He first loved us, which He proved by providing Jesus. Only God—the one true God—has power to help His people and to save them. And He saves them through His Son, Jesus, whose name means “the Lord saves.” As you talk to your child, reinforce these truths:

  • There is one true God.
  • Elijah showed the people God’s power.
  • God hears His people when we pray.
  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
  • The one true God defeated the prophets of Baal.

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God Time Cards :: August

During the month of August our elementary students are learning all about Obedience. Obedience is trusting those who lead you by doing what you’re asked to do. We would like to equip you as parents to begin a conversation about obedience at home this month. To help do this, we want to provide you with this great resource called God Time Cards. These are short devotions are designed for elementary kids. They are fun, engaging – and we hope you love them!

Below you will find 4 God Time Cards to help you and your family continue learning about obedience this August. Simply click below to get started! Enjoy!

Week 1                    Week 2

Week 3                    Week 4

What is My Elementary Child Learning in August?

When you hear the word, obedience, what comes to mind?

Perhaps the last time you got a speeding ticket.
Or what you wish your kids would learn.
Maybe you think about that old hymn many of us sang growing up in church.

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

(And for those of you now singing that song for the rest of the day, sorry about that.)

The phrase “Trust and Obey” may come off trite and cliché, but the point of the phrase is nonetheless true. Trust and obedience go together. That’s why we define obedience like this:

Obedience is trusting those who lead you by doing what you’re asked to do.

Our obedience demonstrates that we trust people who are in charge, as well as, shows God we trust His plan for our lives. But we don’t always get it right, do we? And our disobedience breaks our relationship with God.

All throughout Scripture, we see how God responds to that disobedience. While there were consequences, God continued to love the world and made a way to restore our broken relationship. With that in mind, this August, we’ll walk kids through God’s One Big Story of God’s plan to rescue us by sending Jesus, His only Son, to make it possible for us to have a relationship with God again.

Obedience, we can’t get around it. Obedience is something everyone has to work on whether we’re 9, thirty-nine, or seventy-nine. We can’t wait to see what God will do in each of our lives as we discover more about what the Bible says about following and obeying God and those He’s put in authority over us.

WEEK 1
We kick off the month at the beginning of the Bible with Adam and Eve in the Magnificent Paradise God created for them to enjoy. Yet, as we discover in Genesis 3:1-24, Adam and Eve decided that they would rather make up their own rules than follow the ones God made for them. Rather than trusting God’s plan, they trusted their own. The consequences they faced changed history.

Bottom Line: I should trust and obey even when I think my way is better. Whether we’re a child or an adult, we will face times when we think our way is better than the one set out for us. We want everyone to learn that when we trust and obey, the consequence can have lasting impact beyond ourselves.

WEEK 2
After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the world was broken. This broken world continued to spiral until God had enough. In Genesis 6–8, we read the account of Noah and how he trusted and obeyed God while the rest of the world opposed God. We’ll discover how God used Noah and his family to start over.

Bottom Line: I should trust and obey even when others don’t. This simple bottom line is difficult to put into practice. God calls us to be different from the world. We will stand out to our leaders when we trust and obey when others aren’t. We might never know how God will use our obedience to point others towards Him.

WEEK 3
For week three, we continue our journey through God’s One Big Story with Abram. As we track along with His story throughout passages in Genesis 12, 13, and 15, we’ll see how Abram dropped everything to follow God. God gave Abram a clear promise to establish a great nation from Abram’s family, but God didn’t offer a clear picture of the journey it would take for that to happen. Abram obeyed God in spite of the unknowns.

Bottom Line: I should trust and obey even if I don’t know how it will all work out. Often the big moments of obedience, like the one that happened to Abram, happen to parents or leaders and are out of kids’ control. However, we pray that kids will learn they can trust and obey with how they respond and the attitude they demonstrate throughout the situation.

WEEK 4
In the final week of August, we’ll discover that God’s promises to Abraham are starting to come true. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, gives birth to a son. They name him Isaac. But then in Genesis 18, 21, 22, we discover that God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Abraham trusted what he knew about God and obeyed believing that God would make a way of escape for Isaac. Eventually, Abraham’s family becomes a great nation and another Son would arrive on the planet. Jesus would become the ultimate way of escape for the whole world.

Bottom Line: I should trust and obey because there’s a bigger plan. Like Abraham, God might be asking us to do something that we don’t quite understand. But as we read through the Bible, we read about how God has been faithful throughout history. We can trust what we know about God to trust and obey right now.

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God Time Cards :: July

Our elementary kids will continue to learn all about Faith this July. Faith is defined like this: believing that what Jesus did can change me.  We would like to equip you to keep talking about faith at home this summer. To help do this, we want to provide you with this great resource called God Time Cards. These short devotions are designed for elementary aged kids to do during the week. They are fun and engaging – and we hope you and your kids will love them!

Below you will find the God Time Cards for July. Simply click below to get started!

Week 1                    Week 2

Week 3                    Week 4

Week 5

What is My Elementary Child Learning in July?

Summer is one of those times of the year when you hope to escape your normal day-to-day and head off on a family vacation. Perhaps you have a passport and hope to fill it with stamps and visas from around the world or maybe you keep albums filled with photos from the places you’ve seen and the people you’ve met along the way.

But when you think about it, these aren’t just passport stamps and travel photos, they are stories capturing moments we lived. As we travel the world and experience the different landscapes and cultures, often we can’t help but notice that no matter where in the world we are, God is already there and up to something amazing.

The prophet Isaiah writes, “The whole earth is filled with God’s glory.” And that glory was made real when 2,000-some years ago a REAL human was born, lived a perfect life, died, and rose again. Of course, that man is Jesus. And throughout the past 2,000 years since, His story—His LIFE—has been changing the world.

This summer we’re excited for kids to experience that life-changing story of Jesus and put their faith in Him.

We’ll talk about faith like this: Believing that what Jesus did can change me. Our hope is that kids discover that no matter where they are in the world, the story of Jesus can change them too.

This summer, we get to view the story of Jesus through a man whose life was radically changed when we encountered the story of Jesus. He went from a person who did whatever it took to stop the message of Jesus from spreading to one who ended up writing most of the New Testament of the Bible and dying for his faith in Jesus. This man, as you may have already guessed, is Paul. He went all over the known world preaching the Story of Jesus. We’ll explore where in the world Paul was and how we fit into his story too.

WEEK 1
We continue our look at Paul’s journey in Acts 15:1-35 with an important meeting that happened in Jerusalem. Paul and the rest of the disciples were arguing about if people who weren’t Jewish had to become Jewish in order to follow Jesus. At the end, they decide that the story of Jesus is for everyone. Nothing should stand in the way of people coming to faith in Jesus.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus is for everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’re from. God’s gift of salvation, through Jesus, is for everyone. When kids start understanding this, we hope that it inspires them to help ALL their friends find out more about Jesus.

Our Memory Verse is Ephesians 2:8. “God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift.”We can’t earn God’s grace. And while it cost God His own Son, it costs us nothing. It’s God’s gift!

WEEK 2
In Acts 21-36, 25:23-26:32, we find out more about an opportunity that Paul had to share his story with King Agrippa. Paul told King Agrippa that he believed Jesus was the Son of God. That truth was bigger than any other faith story because Jesus actually lived, died, and rose again to save us. This is proof that the Story of Jesus is way bigger than any other story.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus is bigger than every other story. There are many voices that a child hears in his or her life. From what’s talked about on TV to the music they hear and the friends they find at school. We pray that kids start to realize that no matter what they hear from those competing voices, they can believe that the Story of Jesus is the one upon which they can put their faith.

WEEK 3
In the third week, we’ll take a look at something Paul wrote while he was under house arrest. He was hoping to encourage the early churches in Ephesus. In Ephesians 4:32, Paul writes how we should forgive others because of the way God forgave us through Jesus.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I forgive others. Even though Paul wrote these words a couple thousand years ago, they are still true for us today. We hope kids start to realize how much God forgave them, and they can respond to that forgiveness by forgiving the people in their own life.

 

WEEK 4
Next we head to Acts 27:1–28:10 where we discover that Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome. This was obviously something Paul never planned, but his faith in God never wavered. God used that whole ordeal to help others put their faith in Jesus.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I see my problems. No matter what we face in life, we can believe that God will help us through the tough times. While it may not turn out as we’d expect, we can trust that God has our best in mind. This changes how we see and respond the problems we face.

WEEK 5
We’ll finish up our Where in the World series with something else that Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. In Ephesians 4:4-6, 15b-16, Paul cast vision for how we need to work together to accomplish everything that God wants us to do.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how we work together. We can work together using the gifts that God gave us. When we believe in the story of Jesus, life is not just about me anymore. It’s about me working with others to continuing helping even more people hear and believe that Jesus is who He said He was.

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June God Time Cards :: Faith

To kick off the summer, our elementary kids will be learning all about faith. Faith is defined like this: believing that what Jesus did can change me.  We would like to equip you to begin a conversation about faith at home this summer. To help do this, we want to provide you with this great resource called God Time Cards. These short devotions are designed for elementary aged kids to do during the week. They are fun and engaging – and we hope you and your kids will love them!

Below you will find the God Time Cards for June to help you and your family continue learning about faith. Simply click below to get started!

Week 1                    Week 2

Week 3                    Week 4

What is My Elementary Child Learning in June?

Summer is one of those times of the year when you hope to escape your normal day-to-day and head off on a family vacation. Perhaps you have a passport and hope to fill it with stamps and visas from around the world or maybe you keep albums filled with photos from the places you’ve seen and the people you’ve met along the way.

But when you think about it, these aren’t just passport stamps and travel photos, they are stories capturing moments we lived. As we travel the world and experience the different landscapes and cultures, often we can’t help but notice that no matter where in the world we are, God is already there and up to something amazing.

The prophet Isaiah writes, “The whole earth is filled with God’s glory.” And that glory was made real when 2000-some years ago a REAL human was born, lived a perfect life, died, and rose again. Of course, that man is Jesus. And throughout the past 2,000 years since, His story—His LIFE—has been changing the world.

This summer we’re excited for kids to experience that life-changing story of Jesus first hand and put their faith in Him.

We’ll talk about faith like this:
Believing that what Jesus did can change me.

Our hope is that kids discover that no matter where they are in the world, the story of Jesus can change them, too.

This summer, we get to view the story of Jesus through a man whose life was radically changed when he encountered the story of Jesus. He went from a person who did whatever it took to stop the message of Jesus from spreading to one who ended up writing most of the New Testament of the Bible and dying for his faith in Jesus. This man, as you may have already guessed, is Paul. He went all over the known world preaching the Story of Jesus. We’ll explore where in the world Paul was and how we fit into his story, too.

WEEK 1

We’ll kick off the summer with an overview of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We want kids to understand that the Story of Jesus is not just a bunch of stories in the Bible; rather it’s a message of salvation He came to give the world. We’ll go through an overview of the Life of Jesus, discover why He needed to come, and discuss what putting our faith in Jesus means for us 2,000 years later after He walked on our planet.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes everything. The most important moment in all of history was when Jesus lived on planet earth. What He taught, how He lived, died and rose again changed the course of humanity. We pray that kids will come to realize that Jesus isn’t just a story in an old book, but a real person who can change their life, too.

Our Memory Verse is Hebrews 11:1 (NIrV), “Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see.” This verse gives us a great definition for what it means to have faith. As kids learn this verse, we want them to remember that the beauty they see around them in the world can point them to God and His plan to send us Jesus.

WEEK 2

We’ll see what happened in Acts 9:1-25 when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul was on his way to stop the message of Jesus from spreading. But Jesus had different plans for Paul. Paul was about to become the one to take the story of Jesus to the rest of the world. This encounter with Jesus completely changed Paul’s life.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I see him. When we encounter the Jesus of the Bible we realize that he is not just a character in a storybook—but a real human being who lived and died and rose again.

WEEK 3

We’ll continue Paul’s story in Acts 9:26-31, as we find out what happens when he goes to join up with the other Jesus followers he was known for persecuting. As you can imagine, they were probably a bit frightened to trust Paul. But Barnabus convinced the rest of the disciples that Paul could be trusted. He stood up for Paul who used to be his enemy.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I see others. When Jesus enters our life and starts changing us from the inside out, we’ll start to see others how He sees them.

WEEK 4

We’ll finish up June with passages in Acts 11 and 13. Paul and Barnabus head to Antioch as they discover that the message of Jesus is starting to spread to people outside of the Jewish community. Many of these new followers of Jesus are in need. The rest of the disciples send Paul and Barnabus on a journey to collect money that will be a huge help to those Jesus followers.

Bottom Line: The story of Jesus changes how I help others. Jesus said that people would know we are His followers by the way we show love to one another. Putting our faith in Jesus into action will change the way we take initiative to help others in need.

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