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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Antioch Kids: Preschool!

All month long, your preschooler will be learning that he or she has helping hands! In fact, we all have helping hands. God made our hands to help others!

Preschoolers spend a lot of time surrounded by people who help them—their parents, their older siblings, their teachers. And, they love to learn all about community helpers like policemen, firemen and construction workers. They are  learning that they can help too.

This month, we are sharing four stories from the Bible where someone used their hands to help others. Preschoolers will learn how everyone helped each other in the early church. They will hear about the rich woman who helped Elisha whenever he came to town. In the story of Nehemiah, they will see how we can help others by doing and by leading them as well. And finally, they will hear how Aaron physically helps Moses hold up his arms. All these Bible characters used their hands to help someone in need.

The Basic Truth we will be teaching all month long is: God made me.

The Key Question we will be asking is: Who can help others?

The Bottom Line we will be repeating is: I can help others.

The Memory Verse your child will be learning is: “Be kind and loving to each other.” Ephesians 4:32, NCV

Below, you will find a link for fun ideas to continue teaching your kids all week long! Simply click on the link and a PDF will download! Enjoy!

May 5th- 11th: Week 1

May 12th-18th: Week 2

May 19th-15th: Week 3

May 26th-31st: Week 4

You can also find these resources on the Antioch Kids resource table as you enter the kids hall on Sunday mornings! Enjoy!

What’s the point of Church?

Your elementary student learned yesterday about the importance of coming to church! The bottom line your child learned is that friends worship together. This is a commitment that is slowly being lost in our culture, and we’d love for you to continue to talk to your kids about the importance of regularly coming to church! Below, you will find answers to questions your kids might ask and ideas to help church be a positive experience.  Enjoy!

Where does it say in the Bible that we should go to church every Sunday? Hebrews 10:24-25 gives us good advice. The writer says: 24 Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. 25 Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.” We weren’t meant to live our lives alone. God created us for community. Community can only happen if you see each other often! God wants us to connect with other people who want to live for Him, and the best way to do that is by gathering together frequently- such as every Sunday!

What is the point of going to church? First, going to church gives us the opportunity to remember and think about God’s love for us. We forget things really easily, but going to church is a great reminder to help us remember how great God’s love is- especially seen in Jesus! Going to church is also a great opportunity to learn more about who God is and what matters to Him. The Bible is packed full of information, and learning about God with friends makes it more fun! Going to church is also a great time to be given instruction and reminders about what we should be doing with our lives. Think of an athlete. They train and work hard for the race. Going to church on Sunday is one way that a Christian can train to work hard for the things God desires throughout the week.

What if I your kids don’t feel like going? On a day when your kids don’t feel like going to church, encourage them to go! Set your kids up to have a good time at church. Eat a fun breakfast, pray out loud on your way to church, ask God to teach every person in the family something new about Him, and don’t forget to smile and show your kids that you also want to go to church!

As your wrap up, ask your kids “What do you like most about church?” If they need some help coming up with ideas, help them remember that church is a place where they get to see friends. They get to sing at church, they play all kinds of crazy games, they talk and learn about God together, and they learn about how their lives fit into God’s Big Story.

Then, ask your kids, “What gets in the way of going to church?” Maybe it’s hard to get to church because life is so crazy busy. Maybe you have to work around a sport team’s practice schedule. Or maybe you have the kind of family situation where you can’t come every week. As a family, brainstorm things you can do to help you come to church every Sunday. This might include adding in a fun element on your way to church, praying for an desire to go to church, or challenging each person in your family to remember one thing and share it out loud on the way home!

Want to hear what Ken Wytsma has to say about the importance of church? Watch this short Redux video! Then check out the Redux website for more answers to questions you might have!

Homemade Advent Calendar!

With December right around the corner, we wanted to help you and your family navigate the holiday season well! This blog post gives you easy ways to show love to others as well as appreciate the festive season! Below, you will find 25 Christmas activities to do as a family that are free or cost next to nothing… right here in Bend, Oregon! Instructions and directions are included in the links. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

December 1: Deck the Halls! String popcorn and cranberries to make a garland. Then, hang it in your house as you put up your Christmas decorations!

December 2: Join us for the Jingle Jam! Meet us at 255 SW Bluff Drive for this annual Christmas kids and family event, featuring Christmas songs, singing, dancing, and a reminder of the real reason behind the season!

December 3: As a family, go through your closets and find warm clothing items that are not being used. This can include beanies, scarves, socks, pants, jackets, and sweatshirts. Make sure the items are clean, then bring them on Sunday morning or drop them by the church offices. All items will be given to The Family Access Network at Bend High.

December 4: Make spiced cider on the stove-top, read your favorite Christmas story as it simmers!

December 5: Read Isaiah 7:13-17; 9:1-7; 11:1-2, 35:5-6, 40:3-5, 42:1-4 and learn what was said about Jesus in the Old Testament!

December 6: Drive around the neighborhood to see everyone’s Christmas lights. Don’t forget to turn on the Christmas Carols as you drive around!

December 7: Make peanut butter pinecone bird feeders and say Merry Christmas to your furry friends living in your trees!

December 8: Make Christmas cookies & drop them off at your neighbor’s house. Don’t forget to wish them a Merry Christmas!

December 9: Go shopping for canned goods. Drop them off at The Shepherd’s House, The Giving Plate, or The Family Kitchen.

December 10: Make snow candy! It’s fun and yummy!

December 11: Do a candle-lit picnic dinner next to the Christmas tree!

December 12: Cut paper snow-flakes to put in your windows!

December 13: Play Christmas carols all day, in your house, in the car, at the office!

December 14: Call your grandparents or another family member and tell them you love them!

December 15: Make holiday cards for a local nursing home. Nursing home residents often feel lonely during the holiday season because of their physical disabilities. A card will help to alleviate some of the loneliness that is often felt during the holidays!

December 16: Family movie night! Rock, paper scissors who gets to pick. Make sure to pick a Christmas movie!

December 17: Make peppermint bark to give to a friend or teacher!

December 18: Pick your favorite Christmas book to read before bed!

December 19: Read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Don’t have the book? Watch the story here!

December 20: Read the story of the birth of Jesus, found in Luke 2:1-20.

December 21: Have hot cocoa and cookies with friends or neighbors.

December 22: Write a letter to Santa… or better yet, have your kids call him and give him their list! Encourage your kids to give a reason why they should be on the Nice List, and then list one or two things they really want for Christmas.

December 23: Paint the snow! Simply combine water and food coloring in a spray bottle and send your kids outside to paint the snow to look like Christmas!

December 24: Read the story about the birth of Jesus, found in Matthew 1:18-25.

December 25: Merry Christmas! Thank God for sending Jesus and letting you celebrate his birth today! Make a Happy Birthday Jesus cake and serve it to your family for breakfast.

For a festive display, secure a piece of twine under your fireplace mantle using pushpins. Print out the above ideas and cut them in strips. Then roll each strip and tie it with a festive ribbon. Make sure to write Day 1, Day 2, etc., on each rolled up idea, then secure them with old fashioned clothespins to the piece of twine! Let kids open one idea per day as you count down the days until Christmas!

Thanksgiving Fun!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we wanted to give you three ideas to make the day fun as well as meaningful! Below you will find 3 simple ideas that will help you and your family give thought to what you are thankful for, and also make great memories, as you eagerly await the feast to finish cooking!

1. Birdie Thanks!

What you need: A badminton shuttlecock (or a sock filled with beans) and a permanent marker.

What you do: Decorate the shuttlecock to look like a turkey. Draw a beak, a wattle and two eyes. Then, let the person with the closest birthday begin with the birdie. This person gets to choose who to throw the birdie to first.  As the person catches it, he names something he’s thankful for, then tosses it to another family member.

2. I’m thankful FOUR…

What you need: Colored paper, scissors and markers

What you do: Begin by cutting out large 4’s from the colored paper. Give each family member a “4”, and ask her to fill the paper with things she is thankful “for” (or 4). Let each person tell the group what they are thankful for, then keep the “4’s” and read them again next year leading up to Thanksgiving!

3. Turkey Hunt!

What you need: Index Cards, glue, and picture of turkey (below).

What you do: Find 12-15 index cards. Paste the picture of the turkey on each card. Then, have everyone leave the room except for the “hider”. The “hider” hides the cards around the room. Then, invite the “hunters” back into the room to find the hidden turkeys. As each turkey is found, it is brought back to the leader who keeps track of who found each turkey by writing the “hunter’s” name on the back of each card. When all the turkey’s have been found, the hunter with the most turkey’s is the winner and becomes the “hider” for the next round.