“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.

Hugging For Peace

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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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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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God Time Cards :: July

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

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

Week 1                    Week 2

Week 3                    Week 4

Week 5

What is My Elementary Child Learning in July?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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June God Time Cards :: Faith

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

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

Week 1                    Week 2

Week 3                    Week 4

What is My Elementary Child Learning in June?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEEK 1

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

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

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

WEEK 2

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

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

WEEK 3

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

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

WEEK 4

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

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

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What is my Elementary Child learning?

Bobbie, the Wonder Dog, was a Scotch Collie and English shepherd mix who got lost from his family on a vacation in 1923. Over six months, Bobbie independently traveled 2,800 miles from Indiana to Oregon and was reunited with his family. Bobbie’s faithfulness was recognized by several newspapers, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Oregon Humane Society. (Source: http://voices.yahoo.com/eight-worlds-most-faithful-dogs-553021.html?cat=53)

Faith is believing in what you can’t see because of what you can see.Sometimes we lose sight of what God’s doing in our lives. But we can see all of the many other ways God reveals Himself. Through the things we can see, we can believe that what the Bible says about God is true.

When we recognize God at work around us, we respond to Him with trust. We have confidence He has a plan for our lives, and we are willing to take risks to see that plan accomplished. Even in our moments of doubt, God will show us something to remind us to have faith.

The monthly memory verse is: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see,” Hebrews 11:1, NIrV. We might not clearly see and understand everything about a relationship with God. We can ask questions and read our Bibles to learn more. But faith is believing that what God says is true, that we will live with Him forever, even when we can’t see every detail about how it happens.

In Week One’s Bible story, when Peter saw how Jesus performed a miracle, he believed that Jesus could be trusted and dropped everything to follow Him (Luke 5:1-11). Our Bottom Line is: When I see how God provides today, it helps me trust Him with tomorrow. The more we recognize God’s provision in the good times, the more confident we’ll be that He’ll provide in the hard times.

In Week Two’s Bible story, as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to experience something incredible. But when he lost focus on Jesus, he gave into his fears and began to sink. (Matthew 14:22-33). Our Bottom Line is: When I experience what God can do, it helps me face my fears. As we have more experiences with God, we see more of His strength and power.

In Week Three’s Bible story, John is struggling with doubt that Jesus really is the Savior. John’s disciples return and tell John about all the miracles they saw Jesus perform. (Luke 7:18-22, Supporting: Matthew 11; Mark 6:17-20; Luke 3:1-21; 6; 7:1-16). Our Bottom Line is: When I hear what Jesus has done, it helps me believe who Jesus is. It’s important to listen to the way that following Jesus has impacted people’s lives.

In Week Four’s Bible story, Nicodemus learns that Jesus is the Savior and only through Him can we live with God. (John 3:1-21, Supporting: John 7:49-51; 19:38-40). Our Bottom Line is: When I believe who Jesus is, I’ll live with God forever.We may not understand everything about Jesus, but we can ask questions to learn more. Jesus’ answers teach that any of us who believe in Him will live with God forever.

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By Jessica McKee ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

 

Antioch Kids: Elementary

Jesus’ followers witnessed so many amazing things while He walked the earth with them. They saw Jesus perform miracles and they heard Him teach a whole new way of thinking. Through it all, God was preparing them to carry Jesus’ ministry into the world. He was teaching them the basics:

Wisdom – I need to make the wise choice.

Faith – I can trust God no matter what.

Friendship – I should treat others the way I want to be treated.

When we focus on these ideas, we can also begin to discover what God is doing in us to change the world around us. We’ll learn from Jesus’ teachings that we, too, can make a difference.

The monthlymemory verse is: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can’t be hidden,” Matthew 5:14, NIrV. When we choose to love God by loving others, you will help God’s love shine on all people.

In Week One’s Bible story, Jesus loves and forgives Peter for denying Him (John 18-21). Our Bottom Line is: God is doing something in me so I will love the people around me. When we love the way Jesus loves us, we forgive when others wrong us, we serve and help meet others’ needs, and we sacrifice what we want for what’s best for others.

In Week Two’s biblical principle, Jesus is teaching the people how to be kind to others, even people who mistreat you (Matthew 5:41-41). In Jesus’ time, the Roman guards could force people to carry their belongings for a mile. But Jesus taught that, to show God’s kindness to the guards, the people should go an extra mile. Our Bottom Line is:God is doing something in me so I will love people who are hard to love.

In Week Three’s Bible story, Jesus commands His followers to go into all the world and tell about God’s love (Matthew 28:16-20). Our Bottom Line is: God is doing something in me to show the world who He is. Each of Jesus’ followers had a story of when God had shown them love, and they were able to share that story with other people.

In Week Four’s Bible story, Jesus commanded that we should love God with all our hearts and love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). Our Bottom Line is:God is doing something in you to change the world around you. Often, one of the best ways we can love God is by loving His people. Regardless of who the person is or what they’ve done, God still loves them, and we can too.

Use the links below to find a take home resources that correlate with each week and help your kids continue learning about the importance of faith, wisdom and friendship. See you Sunday!

Week 1 Family Resources

Week 2 Family Resources

Week 3 Family Resources

Week 4 Family Resources

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By Jessica McKee ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.