“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 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 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.

What to say when your child wants to become a Christian…

When a child begins to ask questions about faith, conversion, and what it means to follow Jesus, we hope this guide will equip you for the conversation.

Words Can Be Confusing!

If you have grown up in a church setting, you have probably heard the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” a thousand times. This is a way to talk about the decision a person can make to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, when talking about salvation in this way, the emphasis is often on a one-time prayer a child can pray instead of a deliberate pattern to follow Jesus with everything they’ve got. While we do agree that there is a moment of conversion, we don’t want it to stop there. That is just the beginning of the life Jesus invites us to enjoy!

What A Life of Faith Means:

If a child thinks they are “asking Jesus into their heart” so they can go to heaven, then that’s great! What an exciting moment! However, this is just the beginning. God doesn’t want someone to pray a simple prayer in order to “check the box.” Instead, God longs for us to know Him and follow Him throughout all of life.

What Kids Understand:

  • God is perfect and He created everything. That means God made you! Since God created everything, He is in charge. (Genesis 1:1)
  • People are not in charge. God asks us to trust Him! But we choose to do it our own way. That is called sin. And we do this over, and over, and over again. (Romans 3:23)
  • This means we are in big trouble. We deserve a big consequence—being sent away from God. Being separated from God means we should also be separated from everything that is good. This is really bad news for us. (Romans 6:23)
  • But God wants us to be with Him. God’s love is personal. He knows every person individually and loves us personally. So, He began his rescue plan. He left heaven and came to us. He did this in the form of a person named Jesus. (Matthew 1:23)
  • Jesus showed us how God wants people to live. He showed God’s love to others—the rich, poor, sick, healthy, and everyone in between. But there’s more…
  • God really does want us to be with Him—not separated from Him! Jesus made a way for this to happen. He stood in for us and took our punishment. He died so that we didn’t have to be separated from God and all that is good. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)
  • But Jesus didn’t stay dead! In fact, he came back to life and invited his followers—and you!—to follow him. When you trust and follow Jesus, he leads you back to the goodness of God—the relationship you were designed to most enjoy! And one day, he is coming back to make everything new and good again!
  • He invites you to trust Him and experience His love for you. 

God Living in You!

The best part is this: When a person chooses to become a Christ-follower, God promises to fill this person with His power by living within him or her! (1 Corinthians 3:16) While we might not see Him or feel Him, He promises to be with us every moment of the day, giving us the power we need to follow Him! The really good news is not that we accept Jesus but that he accepts us and invites us back to him to join in the work of restoring the world which He has made.

There might be a moment when your child “gets it,” or it might be a gradual understanding that is gained in time. There is not a one-size-fits-all conversion experience. No matter what your child’s experience looks like, we encourage you to invite your child to follow you as you follow Christ.

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My Child Wants to Get Baptized!

 

We love it when kids start asking about baptism! We also know kids can ask tough questions. Below you will find a guide  to help you answer the questions a child might ask about baptism!

When a person chooses to follow Jesus, Jesus invites him or her to be baptized. But what is baptism?

  • When you get baptized, think of it as the day you tell your family, friends, and strangers that you are on the greatest adventure of your life—following Jesus! When you get baptized, it shows people why you have chosen to follow Jesus. In fact, you are reenacting the story! Jesus came to us, died on the cross (you stand in the water), was buried (you go under the water), and came back to life (you stand again)!
  • It’s your chance to give Jesus the credit. You know Jesus was beyond generous in taking the punishment for your sin. You can hardly believe it—it’s such a good thing that Jesus has done for you!
  • You want to tell everyone! You want everyone to know this good news—that God loves us and wants us to follow Him. Getting baptized in a public place allows you to tell everyone around that you intend to follow Jesus with all of your energy, money, and passion—and invites them to do so, too!
  • You need to identify yourself. Getting baptized allows other people to identify you as a follower of Jesus. You want to make sure people know what team you are on and that the leader you are following is Jesus!
  • You want to find your people. There are many other people who have chosen to follow Jesus, also. Knowing each other allows you to encourage one another, serve each other, and work together as you all follow Jesus. Getting baptized tells other people you are a follower of Christ, too!
  • You want to receive God’s power. Getting baptized is an opportunity for you to receive power from the Holy Spirit for this great adventure to which He has called you and which you have chosen.
  • You want to celebrate! Jesus has given you a new life with a new purpose! This is the best news ever! Baptism is a celebration of God’s work in your life as you eagerly await being with God in His kingdom where everything is good again!

What now? 

At Antioch, it is significant to us to baptize individuals who want to make this public profession of faith. We encourage you, the parent, to enter into intentional dialogue with your child and also provide strategic experiences designed to help your child follow Jesus. Below are some creative ways to encourage a child’s faith before getting baptized:

  1. Learn From Others—Encourage your child to interview a few people who are influential in his or her faith (grandparents, family friends, etc.). Ask to hear about the time they got baptized—make sure to ask why they chose to be baptized! Conclude the conversation by asking about favorite Bible verses then memorize these verses before getting baptized.
  2. Experience Journal—Encourage your child to journal his or her thoughts prior to getting baptized using the following prompts:
    1. I believe God loves me—I know He does because…
    2. I want to get baptized because…
    3. Jesus, following you changes everything. How can I use my time/energy/talents/money to show your love to others?

To find out about the next baptism at Antioch, email us by clicking here!

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What is Child Dedication?

It is an exciting experience when a new child enters a family! In this moment, it is easy to sense that children are a good gift from God. In this joyful season, we encourage parents to recognize each child as a gift from God and then dedicate themselves to teaching their child about God.

What is child dedication?

A child dedication ceremony encourages parents to recognize that children belong first to God. God, in His goodness and love, creates and then gives each child to his or her parents. Parents are then given the responsibility to care for and enjoy this gift. Since children first belong to God, it is fitting that we acknowledge this. This ceremony also allows parents to commit to raising their child in a manner which pleases God, with the hope that the child will know Jesus, love him, and serve him throughout his or her life. A child dedication is both a dedication of a child and a dedication of their parents.

What can I do as a parent to ensure my child knows about God?

As parents, this can sound intimidating. Instead of making it your goal to have godly kids, we encourage you to make it your goal that your child would have godly parents. When a child observes his or her parent learning about God and working to obey God, an amazing example is set. During this dedication, we encourage parents to devote themselves to setting an example of an authentic relationship with God that a child could emulate down the road. In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, the advice is given to talk to a child about God all throughout the day—as you are sitting in your house, walking down the street, and wherever you go!

Is child dedication found in the Bible?

There is no command in scripture to participate in this type of ceremony. However, there is a tradition throughout the story of the Bible where God invites His people to bring children before Him—to dedicate the child to Him and commit as parents to raising the child according to God’s instruction. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah presented her son, Samuel, to the Lord. In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to present him before the Lord. In the same way, parents are invited to present themselves and their child to God.

What is my role as a parent in this child dedication? 

During the dedication, we ask that you or your spouse read a letter of dedication. This letter should express your intention to raise your child to know who God is and what He desires of His creation. The form of the letter can be a prayer (God, we ask that as we raise our child, you would give us wisdom…), it can be an actual note to the child ([Your child’s name], We promise to love you and support you…), or it could be a combination of the two. After you read this letter, you will be invited to dedicate yourself to live as a fully devoted disciple of Jesus so your child can follow you as you follow Christ. Then, the church community is invited to support your child and family in this endeavor.

We want to do this! Now what?

Awesome! Please contact us by clicking here and a date can be scheduled.

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What Is My Preschooler Learning in September?

Happy Autumn!

We’re excited to begin a new season with you and your sweet preschoolers. This month we will be teaching kids the bottom line, I can trust God, and the memory verse, “Trust the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5, NCV). Click here to view the motions for the memory verse!

During September kids will hear the following stories:

  • Noah (God’s Plan) • Genesis 6:8-33; 7:1-24 | I can believe what God says. God told Noah that a flood was coming, but that God would keep Noah safe if he followed God’s plan. God told Noah to build a huge ark and put his family and every kind of animal inside it. Noah obeyed, and the flood came. God kept his promise and kept Noah safe!
  • Noah (God’s Promise) • Genesis 8:1–9:17 | God keeps His promises. After many, many days, God dried up some of the water so that there was dry land for Noah and his family and all of the animals. He put a rainbow in the sky and told Noah that the rainbow was the sign of His promise that He would never send a flood to cover the whole earth again.
  • Jonah • Jonah 1:1–3:10 | I should go God’s way. The people of Ninevah did not follow God, but God still loved them. God picked Jonah to give a message to the Ninevites, so they could learn how to be friends with God! Jonah didn’t want to give the message, he didn’t think those bad people deserved a second chance, so he ran away. He ended up on a boat, and then in the ocean, and then in the belly of a big fish! After talking to God, Jonah decided to obey and talk to the Ninevites. They decided to follow God and Jonah learned that God’s plan is the best!
  • Naaman • 2 Kings 5:1-14 | I can trust God even when it’s hard. Naaman had a skin disease and went to Elisha for help. Elisha told Naaman that God would heal him if he washed himself seven times in the dirty Jordan river. That plan was very different than what Naaman expected, so he got angry and didn’t want to do it. But when he decided to trust God and obey, he was healed!

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Click here for a fun video telling the story of Noah.

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Click here to view a video of the story of Jonah.

A preview video can be found here, and the Parent Cue for September can be found here.

We can’t wait to see what God has to teach us—kids and adults alike—about trusting Him this September. See you soon!

Creation Exploration

Hi Church Family!

We are halfway through the summer and nearing the end of our preschool creation unit on Sunday mornings in Antioch Kids! Our bottom line for preschoolers is: God made everything! We love teaching this important truth to kids because it also teaches us about:

  • God’s power. We can’t create something out of nothing—but God can! And He made everything!
  • God’s creativity. Just look at how beautiful and amazing everything is! God is the ultimate artist—He came up with so many wonderful and unique plants and animals and land formations and human beings.
  • God’s wisdom. God knew how everything would work best. He had a plan for everything in creation to fit together for good, so that living things would thrive and humans in particular would enjoy the best lives possible—which, most importantly, means that they got to be friends with God!
  • God’s love. He knows each creature so well, because He made them, and because He knows them so well, He also loves them with a love more powerful than anything else!
  • The goodness of creation. Each day, when God finished creating something new, He said it was good! Everything God made was and is good. Even when Adam and Eve chose to not trust God and sin was first experienced in the world, God still valued His creatures—so much that He chose to leave heaven and come here to Earth. But he didn’t stop there. He was even willing to die so that people could know Him, trust Him, and spend forever with Him.
  • The image of God. We are made in the image of God! In fact, God shared His likeness with every single person, meaning that people are designed to show a portion of God to the world. For example, some people are naturally very creative, and that reflects our God who is creative! Some people are more relational—this characteristic can remind others that God loves us and is a relational God. Some people are very wise, reflecting the wisdom of God. We are made in God’s image and this is our greatest source of value!
  • The goodness of rest. God rested on the 7th day, and that reminds us that we need to rest too! It’s important to take time to remember Who made us and provides for us. Taking Sabbath rest is a practice of trusting God, taking time to refocus our lives on the most important Person, who is truly everything we need.

Below are some ideas for ways to integrate these truths about our loving Creator into fun activities!

Eat: Make fun snacks that reinforce the ideas of the things God created on each day! One fun idea is Creation Trail Mix:

  • Mini Oreos – dark and light
  • Frosted Mini Wheats Cereal – cloudy sky and dusty land
  • Pretzel Sticks and Green and Red M&Ms – trees, bushes, and flowers
  • Orange and Yellow M&Ms – sun, stars, moon, and planets
  • Goldfish Crackers – sea creatures
  • Animal Crackers – animals
  • Marshmallows – pillows (God rested!)

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Another great idea is to put each ingredient in baggies and make the snack into a scavenger hunt! Our Out-of-Sync Life provides some fun rhyming clues to find each ingredient. “Creation Story Snacktime” from Ministry Matters provides a super fun interactive snack experience for each day of Creation. One of these ideas is to create a landscape out of foods such as broccoli, celery, apple slices, peanut butter, and/or salad dressing!

Go Out: Go experience some of God’s amazing creation! Take a walk in the park, hike up a mountain, swim in a lake, go to the zoo, a farm, or a museum.

Books: Below are a few books we like that teach core truths related to creation:

  • Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones | The first chapter in this book tells an exciting account of how God created everything in the beginning!
  • A Love Letter From God – P. K. Hallinan | This book describes the amazing love of God for people.
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful – Cecil Frances Alexander | This book beautifully illustrates the hymn about God’s wonderful, unique creation.
  • God Gave Us Sleep – Lisa Tawn Bergren | A little polar bear learns that God made us to need sleep, and life works better when we take time to rest.

Crafts & Sensory Experiences: The Kids Activities Blog provides a bunch of ideas for art projects as simple as coloring sheets to more complex crafts. One craft provides a visual of what it might have looked like when God first created light. They suggest painting the inside of a shoebox black, cutting two holes in it, having your child peek into one of the holes, then shining a flashlight through the other hole. Another idea is to create a “Sky Sensory Bin” using supplies such as shaving cream, glitter, blue decorative stones, mirror tiles, and toy helicopters and airplanes.

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A Rocha is an organization centered on the proper care of God’s creation; their Creation Care Camp Curriculum is available free of charge. This program offers exploration activities, memory verses, songs, art projects, and games, all tied together with Bible lessons that demonstrate how God’s Word informs the way we care for His world. A Rocha’s Creation Care Camp teaches kids that God made everything, God is King of everything, and we have an important part in God’s work restoring creation to Himself!

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We hope you enjoy trying these fun activities that remind kids that God made them and loves them SO much!

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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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