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.

16Aug_11x17poster_Obedience

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.

16Jul_widescreen_Verse_NIrV

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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What is My Elementary Child Learning in May?

Do you ever notice that you define yourself by specific things or circumstances that show up in your life? Maybe it’s like there’s this box you carry around with everything that defines you: your stuff, your work, your family, your kids, your gifts and talents, or your home.

But there’s a problem with looking at life like this because if this is how we see our lives it’s all too easy to become preoccupied with the wrong thing.

Think about all the stuff in the box. It’s “your” stuff, right? Or is it?

We tend to talk about our lives using words that highlight our ownership of those things and circumstances. Words like my, ours, and mine. And those words can make a huge difference on how we see the world. As long as we keep using these words, we can tend to believe that our stuff will make us happy and that putting more stuff into our boxes will make us even happier.

But the truth is just the opposite. Something radical happens when we look at our life as not really ours. When we view our life as really God’s gift to us—it changes everything. When we see that all the stuff we have is somehow connected to God and the story He wants to tell with our lives, it begins to change the way we see everything. When our world doesn’t revolve around us, our situations look a lot different.

That’s why this month, we want to explain something to kids about contentment. It is deciding to be happy with what you’ve got. In other words, you can choose to be happy because of what God has actually given you. You can choose to shift your focus away from what you don’t have and toward what God desires to do with the life you have. When you trust Him with your life, you become more focused on being grateful for everything He’s already given to you.

The Bible has a lot to say about contentment. This month, we’re going to unpack several of those moments where people learned something about contentment as well as some key principles about how we can live our lives focused on trusting God no matter what.

See, when it comes right down to it, contentment is a heart issue. It can’t be solved by getting the thing that’s off-limits, the thing that someone else has, or even more of a good thing you already have. In other words, contentment happens when we place our trust in the One who is able to meet our needs each day.

When you teach kids to see their life as a gift from God it sets them up for a life of contentment and fulfillment. There will be no reason to be distracted by what others have, or what’s off limits, or what we had in the past. And when all of us really trust God, we will be content with exactly what He has put in our box for today and won’t worry about the future.

WEEK 1
We kick off our month of contentment with a closer look at the context around our memory verse. In Philippians 4:11b-13, the Apostle Paul wrote about contentment to the church in Philippi. Paul wrote that he has learned to be content no matter what circumstance he was facing, which was a pretty amazing thing to say considering he was writing this while he was under house arrest.

Bottom Line: When you focus on God, He can help you be content. No matter where you are in life, contentment is one of those things that is often difficult to find, even for kids! We pray that when kids focus on God and all that He’s done for them, they’ll find the strength they need to be content.

Our Memory Verse is Philippians 4:12b (NIrV), “I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough.” There will be moments when we are only focused on getting more and more stuff. But we need to remember that we can be content with what we have because we can do all things through God who gives us strength.

WEEK 2
In 1 Kings 21:1-19, 27, we find King Ahab whining about not getting something he wants. A guy named Naboth owned a vineyard that Ahab desperately wanted. His wife, Queen Jezebel, took matters into her own hands and at Naboth’s expense, gets Ahab that vineyard.

Bottom Line: When you focus on what you don’t have, it can make you miserable. For Ahab, even though he got what he wanted, it was ultimately a bad move for him. God gives us so much. When we focus on what we don’t or even can’t have, we can become angry and bitter at God for not giving us what we want. God has our best in mind. We should trust Him no matter what.

WEEK 3
We find the Israelites in Exodus 16:2-21; 17:1-4 focusing on what they used to have instead of focusing on God. As they were traveling in the wilderness, they longed to be back in Egypt where they had food and shelter. At the same time, they seemed to forget that in Egypt they were slaves! They were so caught up in what they used to have, that they were missing out on what God was doing in their lives right then and there.

Bottom Line: When you focus on what you used to have, you can miss what you have now. There are times we look back on parts of our life wanting to go back and live those moments again. Kids may want to go back to preschool when they didn’t have homework forgetting that they had an early bedtime AND had to take a nap during the day. When that happens, they forget that right now is pretty great. Times may be hard, but God has us here for a purpose. We can trust Him with the details.

WEEK 4
This week we’ll take a look at Luke 12:13-21 and a story Jesus told about a rich fool. He was so focused on getting more and more that he missed out on opportunities to help others around him. We don’t want kids growing up so focused on their stuff that they miss out on what matters most: loving God and loving each other.

Bottom Line: When you focus on stuff, you can miss what matters. It’s not bad to have nice things. But when having those things and getting more of those things becomes all you think about, we may need to evaluate something. We can become so focused on our stuff that we miss out on the relationships we have. We pray kids will start to discover how to prioritize what matters most.

WEEK 5
We’ll close out the month discovering a little more about one of Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:25-34. Jesus knows that sometimes people worry about every little thing. By telling us about God’s care for the birds and the flowers, God will take care of everything we need.

Bottom Line: When you focus on God, you don’t have to worry. This could be a huge week for some kids in our ministries as they learn that God cares deeply for them and will take care of them. This might not look like they expect, but God will meet their needs.

 

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What is My Elementary Child Learning in April?

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.

WEEK 1
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.

WEEK 2
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.

WEEK 3
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.

WEEK 4
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

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What is my elementary child learning in March?

Recently, we moved into a new house. We love it, but a new place means a new floor plan, unfamiliar noises, and really just unfamiliar everything. One night after we’d just moved in, the girls were upstairs in their rooms, the boys were in the basement, and my wife and I were in the living room. Outside there was quite a storm brewing. And suddenly the sky lit up followed by loud booming thunder. And that’s when the lights went out.

We heard squeals and screams coming from all over the house. I scrambled through boxes and drawers to find a flashlight, a candle, anything that could help us find each other in this new unfamiliar space we found ourselves.

Finally, I found my phone and turned on that tiny LED flashlight on the back. And in a moment, everything was okay. Sure, we still were without power. We still didn’t quite know where everything was. But we had light. And everything seems better when you have a little light.

The kids just needed to know we were still there. That we’d be able to find them. They’d be able to get to us. That small light gave them hope that everything would be okay.

That’s hope. The belief that although it was dark and difficult to see, everything is going to be okay.

All it took was a small light that pierced through the darkness of that night.

Our life is going to feel like that sometimes, like our life just doesn’t make sense. Our world will be dark and confusing and down right scary. For our kids, this might be difficult to understand.

But here’s thing, just like that light pierced through the darkness of my home, we get to speak into the hearts of these kids and remind them that even in the dark, God is still in control. God still loves them. And God will faithfully carry them through the darkness into His marvelous light.

Unfortunately, even for our kids, this happens more than we’d like.

Maybe someone we care about dies.
Or they get bad news from a doctor.
A parent loses a job.
One of our children gets bullied at school.
Someone gets divorced.

Kids find themselves trying to make their way through the dark, when all they might need is a little light. That’s why we’re taking the whole month to talk about hope.

Hope is believing that something good can come out of something bad. It’s important to help kids know what to do when life throws them a curveball—when their picture doesn’t pan out the way they think it will—to let them know that life will get messy at some point. But no matter how confusing, God still has a plan. He is powerful enough to make something good come out of something bad.

That’s why a great verse to get your kids to memorize is John 16:33b: “In this world you will have trouble. But be encouraged! I have won the battle over the world,” (NIrV)

Those are actually the words of Jesus. And if you want a demonstration of how God can use pain and suffering and do something powerful, just think about Jesus. More specifically, think about the message of the Gospel. The life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is enough to give us all the hope we will ever need, which becomes especially important this month as we get to celebrate and discovery more about Easter.

 

WEEK 1:
We start our month on hope in John 11. Here we discover a moment when Jesus brought hope to two sisters who thought all hope was lost. When Lazarus died, his sisters were devastated. But Jesus used the opportunity to point people to God. Jesus was stronger than even death itself and raised Lazarus back to life four days after he was dead. Through this story, we want kids to remember that whatever happens, then can remember that how powerful God is.

 

WEEK 2:
Next, we’ll look at several passages throughout John 14-16. We get the chance to eavesdrop on the last conversations Jesus had with His disciples before He was arrested. At the Last Supper, Jesus takes one last chance to encourage His disciples with the promise of heaven, the Holy Spirit, and that He will always be with them. Through this moment in Jesus’ life, we pray kids will realize that whatever happens, they can remember what Jesus promised. It’s such a comfort to know that God is always with us and wants to be with us forever.

 

WEEK 3:
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate how Jesus was worshipped as He rode into Jerusalem. Yet, as we’ll see through passages in John 18-19, less than a week later, Jesus went to the cross for us. It was painful, but He endured all of it for us. We know that now, but when Jesus died, His disciples must have thought it was over—that everything they had hoped for would never come true. But, God wasn’t finished yet. Just like the disciples didn’t yet know the end of the story, sometimes our kids can’t see how there story will turn out. We pray that as they go through those times, they’ll remember God is always at work.

 

WEEK 4:
Then, on Easter Sunday, we celebrate that we can have hope because Jesus is alive! In John 20:1-18, we’ll find out that all the promises that Jesus made are true. Everything that Jesus said and did lead to this moment. He paid the price for our sin on the cross and came back to life making it possible for us to be with God forever! This is something to celebrate! We want all the kids to leave believing that whatever happens, they can know that God loves them.

 

Here’s the reality: No one knows at what point your kids may be going through a dark time that doesn’t make sense. But as a leader or a parent, you have an opportunity to lay a foundation so that whatever happens in their life they can have hope.

They can have hope—

because of what Jesus said about heaven,
because of what happened at the resurrection,
because God’s story is much bigger than the one they see,
and because Jesus promised that He would always be with them.

By: Dan Scott
Used with permission. The reThink Group, Inc.

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What is My Elementary Child Learning in February?

When you have a job to get done, you need the right tool. Hammers and screwdrivers work great for doing the job they were designed for, but sometimes you need something a little more complex. You need a tool that has the right attachment for the job, one that cooperates with that tool to get the job done.

Like a drill.  Without the right drill bit to do the work, it’s just a noisy paperweight.

Or a ratchet. Without the right socket, well, I guess you’ve got a shiny little … hammer maybe?  It’s just not useful unless you have both parts working together.

There are even some tools that don’t need another piece.  They need another person, like those lumberjack crosscut saws. The saw won’t work at all unless two people are working together.  That’s cooperation—working together to do more than you could do alone.

When you think about it, cooperation is huge. When you cooperate, you can build more. You learn more. You can do more.

As kids are growing they become more aware of the people around them. They have friends on the playground or in their neighborhood. They have to work in teams to finish projects in school. If they don’t learn God’s plan for cooperation, they’ll have a difficult time getting along with people. That’s why it’s important that we take some time out to discover more about what the Bible says about cooperation.

Cooperation is actually a spiritual concept that originates with God. God designed us as human beings not only to need each other, but also to need Him. Now, it’s not like God was up in heaven desperate for some help, so He made us. No, God is all-sufficient. But, He created us so we could have a relationship with Him, and so that we could participate in His work together. In other words, God put all of us together on this planet to do more together than we could ever do alone, and in some cases—with His help—to do things that might even seem “un-doable.”

So, we want every leader, every parent and every child to memorize this verse of Scripture:“Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do,” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NIrV).

Just think about the difference you could make in your church if every parent, leader and child really bought into this spiritual concept of cooperation. The Bible is full of stories of people who came together in faith to do something they never could have done alone. We can’t wait to hear about what happens when kids start understanding God’s design for cooperation.

 

WEEK 1
Think about the Israelites building the tabernacle. We’ll look at different passages throughoutExodus 28, 31, 35 and 39. God could have had Moses do the work on his own, but instead God called expert artists, craftsmen, and all kinds of people to work together to build this incredibly intentional place of worship.

Bottom Line: We can work together to get God’s work done. Cooperation starts with God. When we work together we can do the work He has for us to do and accomplish more than we could ever do on our own.

 

WEEK 2
There’s this really great and rather bizarre story in Exodus 17:8-13 where Joshua is battling a group of people called the Amalekites. As the battle starts, Moses is standing on a hill with his brother Aaron and another guy named, Hur. And there Moses is, holding up the staff of God. As long as Moses keeps his arms up, the Israelites are winning. But when he drops his arms, the Israelites start losing. So Hur and Aaron make this really great decision. They hold up Moses’ arms—and with God’s help, the Israelites are victorious.

Bottom Line: We can work together to help someone else succeed. Just like Hur and Aaron, it’s important for a child to realize that working together isn’t just about doing something for yourself. You can work with other people to help them win at life too.

 

WEEK 3
In Luke 5:17-26, we find in the life of one paralyzed man who just happened to have some really good friends. When His friends heard that Jesus was in town, they tried everything to get their friend to Jesus. In fact, as friends, they cooperated, tore a hole in a roof, and dropped their friend down in front of Jesus while He was teaching. And as a result of their faith and cooperation a miracle happened.

Bottom Line: We can work together to change someone’s life. When we work with others, we not only help them, but we can help God change their life.

 

WEEK 4
In our final week, we look at how the Early Church worked together in Acts 2:42-47 to help those who were in need. And when they cooperated, people noticed.  When other people saw all of these different kinds of people working together, they came to know Jesus.

Bottom Line: Working together can point people to Jesus. Our kids can learn how to be the church even at a young age. Just think about the impact they could have on the world when they realize that how they work together could impact a person’s relationship with Jesus.
This month, think about this question: “What can you do together?” What can you do together as a church to demonstrate to your children the way God designed us—not only to need each other, but also to need Him?  How can we cooperate with God on His plan to change the world?

I have this sneaking suspicion that the children who watched those friends that tore the roof apart and saw Jesus make that man walk again were never the same. They had stories to tell for generations because they had seen the power of cooperation and what happens when God shows up to put His stamp of approval on people working together. This month, help make that the story of your church too.

16Feb_standard_Cooperation

What is My Elementary Child Learning in January?

We’ve all experienced them—young and old alike—moments when frustration gets the better of us and we suddenly feel like we’re losing our minds.

Temper tantrums.
Yelling at that someone for cutting you off.
Eating the entire jar of jellybeans.
Fighting on the playground.
Throwing a video game controller across the room.

This happened to my son a few weeks ago. He was playing on his device when all of the sudden I hear him yelling, “That’s SO delayed!”

One of the buttons wasn’t working and rather than being able to propel his character across a ravine, the character was jumping to his death.  He tossed the thing on the floor and stormed out of the room. Not good.

When the system doesn’t work, we can’t turn the power off. We can’t pause for a snack break. We can’t always stop before falling off a cliff. In short, sometimes we lose. My son not only lost control, but he faced a consequence and lost his gaming system for a while.

And really … that sounds a lot like life too. Self-control is important. That’s why we’re taking an entire month talking about it. We define self-control like this: choosing to do what you should do not what you want to do. And this month, we’ll learn that self-control really has more to do with God than self.

Throughout the Bible, God talks about a lot about self-control. As a fruit of the Spirit, self-control is a response to the changes that He is making in our lives. On our own, we are helpless to control anything, but with God’s power we have an advantage. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us and are able to do what we should do even when it’s not what we want to do.

The book of Proverbs includes several verses where God gives us wisdom to practice for those moments when we’d rather do anything but show self-control. Proverbs are not merely wise sayings. Rather, they are part of God’s story where He leans into the world that He created and whispers to us: “Here’s how you should live.” Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at self-control through God’s lens and explore four truths that Solomon captured in the book of proverbs.

As we learn to reflect the character of God and respond to His love for us, self-control is crucial. After all, how we live speaks volumes to our friends, family, and even strangers we meet every day. Our ability to show self-control in the heat of a moment could make or break someone’s view of God.

Let’s all learn together this month to pause, select the right words and actions, and most importantly tap into God’s power to show some self-control.

Our memory verse for the month is Proverbs 25:28: “A person without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken through.”  This verse can serve as a great reminder for kids (or adults) in those moments when they don’t want to show self-control.

 

WEEK 1

For week one, we’ll look at Proverbs 25:28 – “A person without self-control is like a city whose walls are broken through.” In ancient times, the city without walls was exposed to harsh elements and cities that could conquer them. A lack of self-control exposes you to danger.

Bottom Line: God can give you the power to control yourself. We want kids to start the month realizing they can lean into God’s power to help them demonstrate self-control.

 

WEEK 2

In week two, we’ll discover more about Proverbs 16:32 – “It is better to be patient than to fight. It is better to control your temper than to take a city.” God reminds us having patience and showing self-control is more important than winning an argument or conquering an entire city.

Bottom Line: Pause before you lose your temper. God wants us to know that to PAUSE and show patience even when it’s difficult is better than choosing to fight our way through life.

Our memory verse reminds us that when we show self-control it protects us from harm.

 

WEEK 3

For week three, we’ll look at Proverbs 21:23 – “Those who are careful about what they say keep themselves out of trouble.” We want kids to understand the power of showing self-control with the words they say.

Bottom Line: Select your words carefully. When we lean into God’s power and select our words carefully, we may show others a glimpse of God’s grace, which could change them forever.

Our memory verse shows us that self-control is like surrounding ourselves with a wall of protection from consequences that could hurt us.

 

WEEK 4

In week four, we’ll see what God says in Proverbs 25:16 – “If you find honey, eat just enough. If you eat too much of it, you will throw up.” You can have too much of a good thing. Here we are given a clear picture of what could happen if we don’t know when to stop.

Bottom Line: Know when to stop. When we are able to show self-control and stop what we’re doing, we might end up with too much of something. And having too much can cause us harm.

Our memory verse reminds us that when we ignore self-control, we leave ourselves open to responding in ways that could end up hurting us.

WEEK 5

For the final week, we’ll look closer at Proverbs 4:23 – “Above everything else, guard your heart. Everything you do comes from it.” In order to show self-control, you need to fill your heart and minds with what will help you guard your heart. The apostle Paul gives us an idea of what some of those are in Philippians 4:8. We should think about what is noble, right, and pure, lovely and worthy of respect. When we fill our heart with these things, we’ll have a better chance of responding with self-control.

Bottom Line: Use God’s words to guide your thoughts. If we focus on God’s Word, when those frustrating moments come, we’ll be able to remember the truth of Scripture to help us show self-control.

With all of the Proverbs we discovered this month, we know that God can help us protect ourselves from the consequences of not demonstrating self-control.

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©2015 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

What is my Elementary Child Learning in December?

For the month of December, we’re sing a famous movie line and “Triple-Dog-Daring” kids to show compassion to the people around them and even across the world.

We define compassion like this: caring enough to do something about someone else’s need. But when it comes to compassion, no movie even comes close to the greatest story of all time, yep, THE Christmas story.

Think about it. The Creator of the universe, the one who made galaxies, solar systems, stars and planets, was attentive to His creation. He saw how sin had broken His people and His world. He saw and understood—more than we ever will—what the ultimate consequences of sin were for us. He saw our greatest need.

But God didn’t stop there. He did something about it. Jesus became one of us. Humbling Himself to be born as a tiny baby in a remote town in the dwelling place of animals. His birth announcement was sent first to a lowly group of shepherds and later to kings from a distant land. He lived as one of us, so that eventually He could die as atonement for our sin and be raised again on the third day so that we could also one day live forever with God in Heaven.

The Christmas story can really be summed up in one verse of Scripture. And this is the verse that we want every parent, every leader, and every child to memorize and carry with them the rest of their lives. Because there’s no other verse that can compare with what this verse says. It’s the essence not only of the Christmas story, but the essence of the story of Jesus. It’s found in John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life” (NIrV).

If you look at the Christmas story, it’s easy to see that one aspect of God’s character is compassion. God saw our greatest need, and He met it in the most remarkable way. To get kids thinking more about this we’re taking the entire Christmas season to talk about compassion and ask a different question each week to get kids and families thinking about how they can show compassion this Christmas.

WEEK 1

This week kids will discover that compassion starts with God. John wrote about God’s love in his first letter to the church. In 1 John 4:9-12, we read that God initiated compassion when He sent His only Son into the world to give His life for us. John goes on to challenge his audience to love others as God loves us.

Bottom Line: God loved you first. How will you love others? Every week this month, we’ll be asking our kids an important question to help them think more about showing compassion. We kick off the month thinking about how we can respond to God’s love for us and how we can love the people around us.

WEEK 2

For week two, we’ll head back to the book of Luke. If you start reading the Christmas story from the beginning, you hear about an angel who came to Mary. The Bible says this angel shows up after hundreds of years of God’s silence. But in the middle of that silence God was up to something huge. He had seen our greatest need and was doing something about it.

Bottom Line: God saw our greatest need. Whose needs do you see? We want to help children understand that compassion starts with recognizing a need. We’ll help them see the needs that impact their world and discover ways they can do something about them.

WEEK 3

In the most incredible part of this Christmas story, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. We don’t always think about it, but when you take time to understand that what’s really going on here, you discover it’s pretty amazing. This is the moment that God stepped onto the planet in the form of a human baby. God cared enough about our need not only to recognize it, but to send His Son to become like us so that He could do something about that need.

Bottom Line: God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give? Jesus is the greatest gift God could have ever given to us. In response to that gift, we challenge kids to answer this question, “What will you give?” In the season that more and more is all about what we can get, we want kids to think about how they can show compassion and give to others in need.

WEEK 4

We’ll close out the month remembering how angels startled a group of shepherds and their flocks. This choir of angels announced what was about to happen. God kept His promise and now everyone could have hope and joy knowing that God would rescue them. The shepherds who heard the message that night were never the same. They couldn’t wait to share that good news of great joy to everyone in town.

Bottom Line: God gave us great news. Who will you tell? This good news of God’s compassion is as powerful today as it was 2,000 years ago. We want kids to answer the question, “Who will you tell?” We will challenge them to think about the people in their lives who need to hear and experience God’s love through the message of Jesus.

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