Jonah, Prophet to Nineveh

Last week, kids at Antioch saw Hosea’s amazing love for his unfaithful wife that provided a picture of God’s greater love for His unfaithful people. This week, we will look at Jonah, which offers a powerful contrast.

The Book of Jonah is not primarily about Jonah and a big fish. While that part of the story sure is interesting, the story of Jonah centers around the mercy of God for people throughout the earth—even Israel’s worst enemies!

God spoke to Jonah. He said:  “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do”(Jonah 1:2). Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. No wonder Jonah ran the other way!

However, no one can outrun God. (Ps. 139:9-10) Through a storm and some time in the belly of a fish, God got Jonah’s attention. Jonah went to Nineveh. For three days, Jonah walked around the city. His message to the Ninevites was brief: “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!” He advised them to stop sinning and instead live like God instructs.

The people of Nineveh immediately repented—they begged God to forgive them, then they mourned their bad behaviors. They put on sack cloth and sat in ashes and cried out to God.  And God withheld His judgment. He did not demolish the city.

How did Jonah react? “This made Jonah very unhappy, and he became angry.” (Jonah 4:1). Jonah refused to thank God for the mercy He showed to the Ninevites, and refused to love the people of Nineveh, even when God did.

God was not pleased by this response and prompted Jonah to examine his heart. He left Jonah—and the reader—with a question to consider: “Shouldn’t I show concern for the great city Nineveh, which has more than one hundred twenty thousand people who do not know right from wrong, and many animals, too??” (Jonah 4:11).

God loves people—and, as kids will also observe, loves the animals He has made, too! His love never ends, and His mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). Mercy means “being treated better than you deserve”—the story of Jonah is filled mercy. God treated Jonah better than he deserved. God treated the Ninevites better than they deserved. And God treats us better than we deserve every single day! His love is unending and his kindness is real!

As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:

  • God loves people.
  • God sent Jonah to Nineveh because He loves people.
  • Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.
  • God sent Jesus because He loves us.
  • What is God like? God is merciful and loving.
  • What is mercy? Being treated better than you deserve.

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Abundance Swap

Join us for our the ABUNDANCE SWAP on December 9th. 
Bring items at 1:00pm. Swap starts at 2pm. It lasts an hour.

What is the ABUNDANCE SWAP?
It is an alternative to the holiday shopping season because some of the good stuff we have isn’t being well used or fully enjoyed.

How does it work?
Step 1.  Find quality items. Look  in your home, shop, garage or office for items that someone would enjoy as a gift. These should be fun, useful, interesting or beautiful items in really good shape that you feel  you can spare. “Quality” doesn’t mean “expensive”. It means well-made, worthwhile, and likely to be valued. Please only include items that are in good enough condition to be “gift worthy”.

Step 2.  Contribute then collect. On the day of the ABUNDANCE SWAP, bring your items. Help organize your items in these categories: Men’s Items, Women’s Items, Kid’s Items, Kitchen, Home Decor, Outdoor Equipment, Garage, Tech, and Miscellaneous. Once you have contributed, enjoy a cup of coffee– then the swap will begin. We invite you to find some things that you’d like to take away to give as gifts to others!

Step 3.  Spend less and love more. Use the gifts you take home to reduce the cost of your new gift purchases.  As you spend less, consider using the “saved” money to help those in need in our community and around the world.

Three simple steps, that’s it. This will be our own holiday shopping event–a round of giving and receiving that includes no money and no new demands on resources. For some of us it may be a stretching exercise – a chance to let go of stuff, or to let go of worries that we might not get back “our fair share”, or  let go of commercially-planted ideas that a gift should be shiny, new, and from the store.

Bonus! There will be coffee,  hot chocolate, and a gift wrapping station available. We hope you can join us this year at the ABUNDANCE SWAP!

Questions? Email us by clicking here. See you December 9th!
Time: 1pm
Place: Antioch Office (255 SW Bluff Drive)

To learn more, watch this short video here or click below!

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Christmas Is Coming!

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Hi there!

Christmas is just around the corner! We wanted to give you some last-minute ideas for ways to keep Jesus at the center during the next couple of days. These are just a few idea-starters from the We Are That Family blog and MinistryLift.

  • Hide the baby Jesus from a Nativity set and search for him on Christmas morning, or wrap him as a gift and open it as the very first Christmas gift!
  • Play Christmas Bingo! See this template provided by Focus on the Family.
  • Read the book, The Jesse Tree, and/or create one of your own!
  • Celebrate Jesus’ birthday! You can have a party, with a cake and party hats, and think of ways to give gifts to Jesus—like blessing someone else in need, or dedicating a few hours each week for a special time of worship.
  • Talk about the spiritual significance of some traditional Christmas symbols–such as candles and Christmas lights, which represent Christ as the light of the world (John 8:12).

We hope to see you on Christmas Eve at Bend High! We pray that you experience God’s love and joy fully this Christmas.

 

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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“The Biggest Story” for Your Summer

Happy Summer!

If you’re looking for a new God-centered story to read to your kiddos on a picnic blanket in the shade, or to a musical background of crickets and frogs at bedtime, we have an idea for you!

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The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden, by Kevin DeYoung, offers a unique and informative perspective on some of the Bible’s more prominent stories. DeYoung tells these stories in a way that shows how all of the individual stories, from Genesis to Revelation, come together as God’s one, big Story. He deals with some of the more challenging Bible stories that leave us asking questions—such as God’s request for Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice—and he explains important aspects of God’s purpose for them.

This authentic telling is complemented by DeYoung’s sense of humor, which will keep older kids and adults amused and engaged. Plus there are 127 pages of Don Clark’s absolutely amazing illustrations! Check these out…

Click this link for a video introduction to the book, with narration by Propaganda. Below is a summary of how The Biggest Story takes us through the greatest Story ever told.

The story begins in the Garden of Eden, where “It was a wonderful time to be God’s children in God’s wonderful world.” We are then taken through the choice Adam and Eve made to trust the snake and turn away from God, and how every person continued to make wrong choices from then on.

Still, God promised that someday a son of Eve would “crush the head of that nasty Snake” and make everything right again. And God continued to make good promises and give good blessings and important messages to His people. Then after a long, long time, God sent the Snake Crusher: Jesus, His Son.

But surprisingly, this Savior died. It is explained that this is how God did everything that humans couldn’t do—keeping promises and choosing the right way—so we could be with Him again. We then learn of the following justice: the resurrection of the innocent, crucified King-Priest-Prophet, and how God sent the Holy Spirit to bring the “power and peace and the presence of Christ with us all the time.”

But that’s not all! We learn that “We live in the beginning of the end of the story that we are still in the middle of.” The end will find us back in a renewed, perfect Garden with God, where “forever and ever”—once again—“it will be a wonderful time to be God’s children in God’s wonderful world.”

The Biggest Story can be purchased here from Amazon. You can read more from Kevin DeYoung, here on his blog.

We love this honest, humorous, beautifully-illustrated take on God’s Story! We would love to hear your thoughts as you explore this way of sharing Scripture with your kiddos. Happy reading!

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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“Play Through the Bible”

Hi Church family!

Summer is approaching! However, the cold and rain still visit us on some days, making the playground a less desirable destination for you and your children. When outdoor play isn’t an option, we have a solution! Blogger Liz came up with some creative ideas to “Play Through the Bible” in 25 weeks with her toddler. While her plan is geared toward toddlers, it can be expanded upon for older preschoolers.

You can click this link to view Liz’s full introduction of her “Play Through the Bible” program. I have provided a brief summary below.

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The idea is to provide a simple (short and repetitive), basic, and engaging way of teaching the messages of Scripture. For each week, Liz presents the following:

  • Bible Story: One story in the Bible with a big idea! Examples include: Creation, Adam & Eve, Joseph, and Holy Week.
  • Focus Point: A main message to repeat. Ex. “God created everything.”
  • Story Time Tips: Ideas of how to make the story more engaging. Ex. While learning about creation, switch the lights on and off, point outside to the sky, and make animal noises.
  • Activity: A game or activity that reinforces the story. Ex. Go for a walk or read a book, point to things, and ask “Who made this?”
  • Discussion: An ongoing conversation to have with your child. Ex. Ask your child, “Who made you?” and teach them the answer: “God!”
  • 5 Crafts: One easy craft for each day of the week. Ex. Yellow strips on a piece of black paper, showing how the first lights may have been placed in the dark sky.

You can follow her schedule (five days a week for 25 weeks) or go through her program at your own pace—say, choosing one project whenever a rainy day approaches. Liz recommends using The Rhyme Bible Storybook and The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers as you read each week’s story. We suggest using the Jesus Storybook Bible as an additional resource—you could even read the same Bible story from a different Bible each day for one week!

Click this link for the complete list of stories and activities.

We hope this is a fun and meaningful way to explore God’s story with your preschoolers! We would love to hear your stories of aha-moments, laughter, and successes as you engage in this goal—please feel free to comment below or email us 🙂

Blessings,

Chelsey

Antioch Kids | Preschool Coordinator

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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