God is Love

Hello Church family!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and—naturally—it has us thinking about love. The greatest love of all—the love of our God—is so worth celebrating! This week, we invite you to take some time to remind your kids that love is more than red hearts, paper cards, and pink cupcakes. Use the ideas below to teach your kiddos that God’s love is powerful and enduring and greater than anything—and that we can share it with others!

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Memorize some Bible verses about God’s love. Some toddlers can memorize “God is love,” while your fourth and fifth graders might take up the challenge of memorizing the entire “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13)!

  • “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
  • “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
  • “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
  • “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
  • “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • “…God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:8-12)

Explore some Bible stories that illustrate God’s love.

  • Matthew 6:25-34 | God will take care of you—he gives birds and plants the things they need—and He loves you even more than them! He doesn’t want you to worry—He will give you everything you need.
  • Luke 19:1-10 | Nobody liked Zacchaeus, but Jesus saw him and wanted to hang out at his house! God loves everyone.
  • Luke 10:25-37 | Jesus told a story about a man who was hurt and needed help. Some people walked by him without helping him, but one man helped him get up and found him a place to stay and helped him heal. Jesus said that is how we should love other people!

Exercise your creativity! Below are a few ideas for art projects that reinforce the message of God’s love.

Love others with God’s love. Talk about ways to share God’s love with others this Valentine’s Day and the whole year long!

  • Write notes of encouragement. Path Through the Narrow Gate provides some printable notes from parents to their kids, reminding them of biblical truths of God’s love and how we can show that love to others. Print these for free, or make some of your own!
  • Bake a treat and give it to a neighbor.
  • Share toys with other children.
  • Give a hug to a friend who is sad or hurt.

We hope you have a meaningful and rewarding season of exploring God’s love with your kids-and a happy Valentine’s Day!

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What’s My Elementary Child Learning?

When we hear the word creativity we respond in a handful of ways.

Many of us get excited. We love everything to do with creativity. We can draw or paint, sing or dance, and LOVE the arts.

Others of us break out into a cold sweat thinking about that one art class we had to take in high school.

Still others of us simply ignore it. We think we’re just not creative. Never have been; never will be.

And if you look at your kids, I bet at least a few of them feel the same way. They hate being on stage, they have no rhythm, can’t play an instrument, and start to flip out when they see a box of crayons. For whatever reason, they’ve been taught to think about creativity in terms of arts and crafts, music and dance.

But there’s something about creativity that we all need to remember. We’re not creative because of our talents. We’re creative because that’s how God made us. He designed each of us with a mind to think beyond ourselves and imagine the possibility for, well anything.

It’s God’s image in us that gives us the capacity to see beyond the ordinary and to understand a dimension of life that a dog, or a tree, or a whale cannot experience. Our imagination—our creativity—is a reflection of His image.

That’s why we’re taking the month of October to look at CREATIVITY: using your imagination to do something unique.

It’s so important that leaders and parents work to tap into a child’s imagination and fuel their creative side. Not simply because we want to unleash a child’s potential to do unique things, but because we want every child to grow up and put faith in what God can do in their personal life and believe in what He wants to do through them.

You have an opportunity throughout a child’s life to spark his or her creativity and to say over and over again to every child: You have amazing potential to create because you were created in the image of an amazing Creator.

Really, creativity is simply imagination plus action. When your imagination leads you to do something good, to make a unique mark, to find a unique answer or solution, you are being creative.

In week 1, we start with the most creative act ever: God’s creation of the world. In Genesis 1, we see God’s creativity on display as trees and flowers, stars and galaxies, and a whole lot of animals are spoken into being. And then God created us in His image to be creative in the world we call home.

Our Bottom Line is: You were created, so you can be creative. Creativity isn’t just about arts and crafts, creativity is about using your imagination to solve problems and figure out how to help others.

In week 2, we look at Exodus 1:22–2:10. Miriam had the responsibility of watching out for her brother Moses when he was floating in the Nile River. She thought on her feet and creatively figured out a way for Moses’ mother to be with him in the palace.

Our Bottom Line is: Use your imagination to figure it out. We will discover that God gave us an imagination to solve problems of any size.

In week 3, we look at David’s final words in 2 Samuel 23:1-2. David notes that he did what God created him to do. He ruled God’s people. He wrote songs of worship to God. David didn’t always get it right, but he was still a man after God’s heart.

Our Bottom Line is: Use your imagination to do what you were made to do. God uniquely designed each of us to do something specific. We’ll discover ideas for how to put our gifts into practice.

In week 4, we take a look at one of Jesus’ familiar teachings from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus told His followers that they are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We can use our gifts to point others toward Jesus.

Our Bottom Line is: Use your imagination to do more good. When we use our gifts and talents to do good, we have an opportunity to show others God’s love. When people see the good we do, it points them toward God.

Our memory verse this month is Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God wants to do something unique with our lives. We are created in His image, and because of His work in us through Jesus, we have an amazing capacity to use our creativity to do more good things.

Every parent, every leader wants the children they influence to live their lives to the fullest. When we really believe we are made in the image of God, we believe in a new set of possibilities. When you understand the image of God that is in you, you begin to look at life from a new perspective.

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By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.