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!

Jesus is alive. Wow! That news really shook up the world. It changed everything. In fact, you could call it “The Great Shakeup.”

Our Bottom Line this month is, “Jesus wants me to tell others about Him.” We’re starting the month sharing the Great Commission with our preschoolers. We want them to get excited about telling others about Jesus and how much He loves them. We’re encouraging preschoolers to, “Go tell everyone, everywhere about Jesus.”

Then, preschoolers will learn about men who did exactly what God asked of them. They went out and really shook things up. Our preschool friends will learn about Peter who shared about Jesus even when he was in jail. They’ll hear the story of Saul and how his life was changed and he became Paul. Finally, they’ll hear the story of Paul and Silas and how God really shook things up when they were in jail. All month long, preschoolers will discover how they, too, can shake things up by telling others about Jesus.

Below, you will find resources to help you talk to your child about what they are learning at church. We, at Antioch Kids, will be praying for you to have moments filled with wonder as you continue to teach your child that God who loves them, made them and wants to be their friend forever.

Resources for April 7: 0413_pc_emailable_01

Resources for April 14: 0413_PC_Emailable_02

Resources for April 21: 0413_PC_Emailable_03

Resources for April 28: 0413_PC_Emailable_04

Enjoy!

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Antioch Kids: Preschool!

What is your favorite gift that God has given you? Think abou it. God has given you and me many gifts! Included in that list, did you include the gift that God gave when He sent His Son to die for you and for me? This gift is almost bigger than we can digest!

This month, we want your preschooler to say “Wow!” when they think about God. He has given so many good gifts. We want them to be wowed by the miracles that Jesus performed while He lived among us. We want them to be wowed by the awesomeness of His power. We want them to be wowed by His entrance into Jerusalem, and we want them to be wowed by the fact that He came alive on Easter day.

It is a month of WOW moments. We’d love it if you took time to talk to your preschoolers about the (true!) stories they are learning on Sunday morning! Below, you will find a resource to help you do this well!

Help them to see that Jesus was the ONLY one who could perform those amazing miracles. Help them to feel the excitement of Palm Sunday. Help them to experience the joy of Easter.

And as out them to bed each night, let them thank God for the amazing things He has done and given! Wow!

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Antioch Kids: Elementary!

God told the Israelites that He would provide for them in the desert—He did. God told Joshua that the wall of Jericho would fall if the people marched around it for seven days—it did. God told Mary that she would have a baby boy—she did.

Jesus said He would die and rise again three days later—He did!

Honesty is important because it builds trust. Honesty is choosing to be truthful in whatever you say and do. What God says is true; He has shown us that time and time again. And that’s one of the reasons we know we can trust God.

But the same should be true in our own lives. If we want other people to trust us, we need to live honest lives. When we tell the truth and we follow through with our promises, other people learn to trust us. But when we cover up who we are, what we’ve done, or we constantly break our promises, then the people around us stop trusting us. They begin to wonder if, in the Moment of Truth, can you be trusted?

The monthly memory verse is: “An honest person has respect for the Lord,” Proverbs 14:2a, NIrV. Living a life of honesty shows that we respect God and the people we care about. We can find a way to be truthful and still careful of the feelings of those we care about.

In Week One’s Bible story, Jacob’s sons lie to him about what’s happened to Joseph (Genesis 37:17-36; 45:25-28). They broke their father’s heart by telling him Joseph had been attacked by animals. Our Bottom Line is: When you are not truthful, you can hurt the people you care about. Regardless of our reasons for lying, someone eventually gets hurt.

In our Week Two Bible story, we meet Gehazi, Elisha’s trusted servant (2 Kings 5, NIrV). When Gehazi lies about accepting gifts, he can no longer be trusted and suffers a great loss. Our Bottom Line is: When you are not truthful, you lose trust. Honesty is also about consistently speaking and living truthfully and acting on what we say.

In Week Three’s Bible story, Zacchaeus was a thief and considered a traitor to his people (Luke 19:1-10). When he decided to follow Jesus, Zacchaeus worked hard to earn his community’s trust. Our Bottom Line is: When you are truthful and make things right, you build trust. When we admit we have not been truthful, we can earn back other’s trust.

In Week Four, Judas betrays his Teacher and Friend for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25, 45-50; 27:1-5). Judas spent every day with the Truth but still chose dishonesty. Our Bottom Line is: You can lie so much that it’s hard to remember what’s true. So often in our lives, one lie leads to another as we have to cover up the stories we told before.

Week Five is Easter! In this week’s Bible story, we’re examining some of the amazing things Jesus said and the most amazing thing He did (John 3:3, 16; 14:1-6, 28-29; John 18-20). Jesus made some incredible statements about Himself that even some of His followers had trouble believing. But our Bottom Line is: When Jesus came back from the dead, it proved that what He said was true. When we have doubts about God, we can remember He kept the biggest promise of all.

Living an honest life may sometimes be hard. It might mean admitting when we’ve done something wrong or made an embarrassing mistake. It might mean passing up a chance to sneak an extra turn and win the game while your friend isn’t looking. Or it may be as simple as following through on the things we have promised. Whatever the circumstances, this month look for ways to be honest so that others can trust you.

By Daniel Scott ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

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What can your kids give to God?

The holiday’s are in full swing! Have you asked your kids what they want for Christmas? Have you asked your kids what they want to give God for Christmas?

Wait.

Stop right there.

Can you give God something for Christmas?

I’m glad you asked! Yes, yes you can! Below you will find an awesome idea, thanks to Noel Piper’s book titled “Treasuring God in our Traditions”, that will help your kids understand what they can give to God!

Start here. Talk to your kids about the meaning of Christmas. For example, ask your kids “Whose birthday do we celebrate on Christmas?”. Of course, they will say “Jesus!“.

Then, use some kid logic to get them thinking. Ask your kids, “What do you give on birthdays?” And off course, they will say “Presents!“.

Tie the two questions together and ask, “Well, how do we give presents to God?”

I’m pretty sure this will stump them. It might stump you. It stumped me at first!

Grab your Bible and help your kids find Matthew 25:30. As a family, read this verse which says, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Read it again and explain to your kids that this verse gives the answer. It says that when we love and care for others, we love and care for the King. And that is what God wants. The best presents we can give God are sacrifice, service, servant’s hearts and loving attitudes.

Here is where it gets fun!

For the month of December, give your kids the a challenge. Anytime you catch your kids serving others, doing chores with a happy heart, or choosing to help someone, give your child a quarter to put in a special container. All month long, every time your child earns a quarter, they should put it in that special container.

On Christmas Eve, count up all the month in each child’s special container. Then, go to an online justice gift catalog such as Compassion International or World Relief and pick something to give to someone in need with all the money that has been earned.

We recommend placing some visual reminders around the house to help your kids remember this challenge. Write “What can we give to the King?” on bathroom mirrors, on a large piece of paper, or on a picture frame in the middle of the room. Help kids decorate containers to collect their quarters in. And don’t forget, remind yourself that by choosing to have a servants heart each day is a way to give a good present to God!

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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!