Kids Ministry as Forest Lake

Month: August 2020

Philippians 2:1-18

Big Idea: When we put others first like Jesus did for us, we shine like stars in a dark sky.

Bible Passage: Philippians 2:1-18

Parent Prep: In this passage, Paul calls the Philippians to love and serve each other 'in the same mindset as Christ Jesus' (verse 5). Paul explains that to be a follower of Jesus is to live in the exact opposite way to the way the world acts: to be humble, put others first, and care for their needs as more important than our own. This is the only true way to be exalted by the Father and 'shine like stars in a dark sky'. In the Kingdom of God, things are upside down. The world tells us that in order to be exalted and 'shine like a star', we must be proud, self-promoting, put ourselves before others and look out for our own needs. This is the world our children live in. So it's okay for our kids to be confused by Paul's teaching. It's also okay to find it difficult to practice his instructions. They don't come naturally to anyone, not even children. When we teach children to 'be humble', 'looking out for the interest in others', we must first help them see the beauty of what Jesus has done for us. Then it's helpful to acknowledge that it is hard, and that we cannot do it without His help. Ultimately, this leads us to prayer, to ask for His help to shine like a star in this darkened world. That way, when kids find humility, serving and caring for others difficult, we can acknowledge that they are not alone, and not to give up, and point them back to Jesus for His help. 

Read Philippians 2:1-18  together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


Paul gives the Philippian church some tough instructions. Read verse 3 together. He tells them to never, ever, ever do anything to put themselves first and be selfish.Then read verse 14. He tells us to never ever complain or argue! Try and remember the last time your family went a whole day without someone putting themself first, arguing or complaining. (Extra points for families who don't argue trying this activity!)

Instead of living the way the rest of the world lives, Paul tells God's family, "In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought." (verse 5). That's pretty hard to do all of the time. You can read how Jesus thought by reading through verses 5-11 together in Paul's poem. He was King and he didn't even come to earth to boss people around and tell them to do what's right. He came as a servant and served His people by laying His life down for us to save us. 

Paul says that to really 'shine like a star' in this dark and broken world, we must also be ready to lay down the things we want, and look out for the needs of others. That way people will see the way we live and act, and be surprised by our love and hope and want to know more about Jesus.


Ask children to name someone they think is a 'shining star' in this world. Think celebrities, pop stars, superheroes etc. What makes this person a 'shining star'? What makes them so special? Is it their humility, and ability to put other people first? Help children see that being a 'shining star' in this life is different to being a shining star in God's family. 

The world tells us to 'make yourself the most important', but Jesus says, 'make God the most important, and love others as you love yourself.'  It's upside-down and the opposite to what people are usually like, but that's how we'll really be like Jesus, and be shining stars to point others to Him.


It's pretty tough to be like Jesus, we need the help of His Holy Spirit. The best way to be like Jesus is know Him, and to know His great love for us. We can read all about how great Jesus is in Paul's poem in verses 5-11. This week, write your own poem about how great Jesus is. It could be an acrostic poem, describing Jesus' humility and love for us through His death on the cross. You can choose any word for your acrostic – but for younger children,  the word JESUS is nice and short. Consider using the word 'PHILIPPIANS' for older children, as a challenge to see if they can find many describing words for the humble character of our God.

Consider sharing this acrostic poem with our church family, or with another family in our church (like your 'gospel partner families), so that they can be encouraged to 'think like Jesus in their lives together', too.

Have a great week!

Philippians 1:12-30

Big Idea: We can be an encouragement to others in our church family, no matter what we are going through, because of our hope in Jesus.

Bible Passage: Philippians 1:12-30

Parent Prep: This week we continue our study into Philippians, and read more about Paul's encouragement to the people of the church there. (To learn more about the book of Philippians, consider watching this Bible Project video.) It is while he is in prison that Paul writes this letter of encouragement to his friends. He assures them that "I will continue to rejoice, for…what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." and that "to live is Christ and to die is gain." Despite his own suffering, Paul encourages his friends in their own troubles, urging them to "Stand firm in the Spirit, striving together…without being frightened." 

Read Philippians 1:12-30 together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


Even though Paul is going through a lot of troubles, he is writing to encourage his friends to be brave. That's a very hard thing to do! Yet Paul says that he will 'continue to rejoice' (rejoice means to be glad and celebrate), because he knows that the hard things that happen to him, more people will know Jesus, and He will know Jesus better.


What are some hard things that our family has faced? Are we able to be glad and rejoice because we know they bring us closer to Jesus? Why or why not? Do hard things draw our family closer to God and His people and His Word, or make our family more distant from God, His people and His word? Why do you think this is? Do you think this makes it harder to easier to encourage others in our church family?

Think of one of the hard things your family has been through, or are still going through. How can we celebrate this and be glad? Where can we see God using it to send His good news of Jesus to other people? Where can we see God using this hard thing to pull us closer to Him and His people and His word? Can we sing and celebrate with a song or prayer now together? (You can use this song, or choose one of your own together – One Thing Remains)

Are there other families in our church family who need encouragement? Who can we be praying for? How can we encourage them to 'Stand together, with the same purpose, and work together like a team to help others believe the Good News," as we read in verse 27?


If you haven't already, ask another family in our church family to be Gospel Partners with your family. Put a photo of that family on your fridge. Write down some ways you can help them "Stand together", "Work together like a team" and "Help others believe the good news". Consider how you can encourage that family this week. Consider drawing them a picture, or writing them a postcard or letter of encouragement like Paul did for his friends, and put it in their mailbox. Ask them to be praying for your family too. 

See you next week!


Philippians 1:1-11

Big Idea: We can have great joy and love for our family of believers, and pray for and encourage each other as we grow to be more like Jesus.

Bible Passage: Philippians 1:1-11

Parent Prep: As we begin our new series in Philippians, it is helpful to know a little about the city of Philippi. It was a prominent city of Macedonia in its day. Paul was on his missionary journey when he has a dream about a man in Philippi saying, "Come to Macedonia and help us." (Acts 16:9). Paul listens, and so they go. There he goes by the river to meet some people praying, where he meets Lydia. She becomes a believer, and is baptised, as is her whole household. Then after Paul and Silas are met with opposition for preaching, they are beaten and thrown in prison. There we read the story of the earthquake- the jail crumbles around them, and the jailer in charge of Paul and Silas becomes a believer, too. His household members also are baptised and follow Jesus. Shortly after, Paul and Silas are ushered out of town. They are only there a few days, yet a small number of people believe in Jesus, and from there, an apparent flourishing church grows – we read about how proud Paul is of his brothers and sisters throughout the book of Philippians – the letter he wrote to them. To learn more about the book of Philippians, consider watching this Bible Project video.

Read Philippians 1:1-11 together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


In a Bible with a map, or on Google Maps here, find where Philippi is together. Have a look at a map of Paul's Missionary Journey either in a Bible, or here. Watch what happened to Paul and Silas while they were in Philippi, here, and here. Lots of hard and bad things happened to Paul in Philippi! Yet when we read his letter to the church there, he says he cares for them, thinks of them with great joy and prays for them as often as he remembers them! 

1) Highlight or underline "I thank my God every time I remember you." Even though Paul had such a hard time visiting Philippi, he remembers his time and the people there with joy. Why is that? Look for the answer in verse 5. "Because of your help/partnership witin the gospel/good news."  He remembers his time with the believers in Philippi as a joyful time, because they celebrated the gospel together. He could have remembered the hard times and the bad things that happened, but he chooses to celebrate the joy of the people coming to know Jesus. They are now his special forever friends!

2) Highlight or underline together in your Bibles, the words "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy." in verse 4. Paul prays for his special friends in Philippi. He cares for them, so he prays for them as much as he can – even though he is in jail facing his own troubles!

3) Highlight or underline "And this is my prayer. That your love will grow more and more, and that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love." Paul prays that the people's love for Jesus and each other will keep on growing. And he prays that people would grow to know more and more about Jesus and His ways. He is confident and brave in His prayer, because he knows that "The work that God began, He will continue it until it is complete on the day when Jesus Christ comes again." God promises to help keep growing us to be more like Him.


1) Who are we thankful for? Who is in our church family that encourage us and support us to be worshipping Jesus? Have you travelled through hard times with these people? Can you think of a time it was hard, but God used it to grow you closer to Him and others in your church family?

2) Do we pray for these people? Do we care about them and serving them as much as we care about ourselves? Do our own worries keep us from praying for other people in our church family? How can we be praying for another family in our church? Who in our church needs help this week?

3) God promises to grow and grow our love. We can pray this for others. We can also ask it for each other. God promises to grow our love and knowledge of Him through our reading His Word, and worshipping Him with others in our church family. Which families can we pray for this week that God would grow and grow their love for God, and help them know Him better?


Ask another family in the church for a family photo, or print one off of social media. Consider giving that family a photo of your family and asking them to do this activity with you. Stick the photo on the fridge, and this week, as often as you think of them, or see the photo, pray that God would grow and grow their love, and help them know Him more through His word and their worship of Him.

See you Sunday!



Psalm 122:6-9 “Pray for Peace”

Big Idea: We pray for the peace of God to be with His people and the world.

Bible Passage: Psalm 122:6-9

Parent Prep: This week we look at the idea of peace, or more specifically, shalom. "The Hebrew word for peace, shalom (שׁלום), is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is bound up with the notion of shelemut, perfection. Along with truth and justice, peace is among the most hallowed Jewish values. In the Bible, the word shalom is most commonly used to refer to a state of affairs, one of well‑being, tranquility, prosperity, and security, circumstances unblemished by any sort of defect. Shalom is a blessing, a manifestation of divine grace."* This is God's ultimate good for us. That we would know His peace – His wholeness in our lives here on earth. Our mission therefore is to demonstrate God's shalom to the world as we are sent together to heal it and make it look 'on earth as it is in heaven'. It is also what we look forward to when at last we are called home to be restored God forever in the New Creation. This week, we are teaching children to ask God for His shalom in the various contexts of their world.

Read Psalm 122:6-9 in a children's Bible, or in this easy-to-read version here. As we did last week, when you read this passage, explain to children that when we read and talk about 'The New Jerusalem', for us it is talking about the Church [Galatians 4:26]. 


1) First we read to pray for peace, or shalom, for 'those who love you.' We pray for those who put their trust in Jesus. This includes ourselves, and our church family, and believers across the world. That God would be their strong place, the One who is their 'security'. 

2) Second we read to pray for peace, or shalom for those who are 'within the walls'. For our families in our big church family, we pray that we would be at shalom together. That we would be as one, whole, united together, and not fighting eachother, but supporting and strengthening each other, united in our love for Jesus.

3) Thirdly, we read to pray for peace, or shalom, 'in the great buildings' or 'citadels' or 'palaces'. Traditionally, the leaders or royaly would have lived in these great buildings. We are reading here to pray for those who lead the city of Jerusalem. We pray for shalom – wholeness and peace and togetherness for our church leaders, that they would face the future, and be strong as one in Jesus to lead our big church family together.

We also read to pray for our family and friends, or family and neighbours- we can pray for the world to know the peace and hope of Jesus – that the way we show love and peace to them would show them God's great 'shalom', too. Read together John 14:27 “I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid." Jesus gives us His peace, which isn't just based on feeling safe in the world. We know the world can be scary and changing. But Jesus isn't changing, He is always the same, and He has a special home waiting for us to be with him forever one day. And while we are here on earth, He promises to be with us every day. We can have 'shalom' peace -wholeness and togetherness with Jesus and be safe and rested in Him.


1) Who are some people that we know who love Jesus? Make a list of the people in your family, or people that you know, that love and trust Jesus. Pray together for those people that God would be their Rock and Strongplace. 

2) Who are other families in our church family that you know and love? Make a list of these families, and others you know from our big church family, and pray together that you would be at peace with them, and that all our church families would have wholeness and togetherness in Jesus.

3) Who are the leaders of our church family? Make a list and pray for these leaders that they would have shalom peace and know God's strength, protection, and have togetherness with Him and each other so that they lead our big church family well. 

What are some of the things you wrote on your Service Notes page? Are there any questions you have or words you wrote down but don't understand? Did you find anything interesting about the message? What was your favourite song to sing this week? Why did you like it?


As a family, do a puzzle together. As you put the pieces together, talk about God's shalom peace – meaning 'wholeness'. God is restoring and piecing together the world the way He wants it to be. One day we will see the full picture, God's perfect creation, when He finally restores all things to Himself. It is our job now to pray and to make the world 'shalom' – at peace and whole. Just like we put these pieces of the puzzle together, when we show God's love, justice and peace to others, we heal the world and make it whole so that people can see God's love and peace.


Psalm 122:1-5 “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Big Idea: We praise God because we can gather together as His people.

Bible Passage: Psalm 122:1-5 

Parent Prep: This week we begin yet another new routine. While it's exciting that we can begin meeting together again, another new change can bring some anxiety, or even a fresh wave of tiredness for some. After all, many of us have spent the last few months mustering what strength we have to create the current 'new normal'. The return to services means finding the strength to lead our kids and families through yet more change. If this is how you're feeling as a parent, take heart. This week's passage and promise is that in our gathering together, we are strengthened, filled with joy and encouraged for the journey. Think of this week as a sort of 'coming home at last' – a small window into what it will be like when at last, Jesus comes back and we are taken to our true home of rest with Him forever. If making it to join the online streamed service hasn't been a priority for your family and kids during this season, use this week as a 'reset' and return- to remind children why there is so much joy in the obedience of gathering with our family of believers.

Read Psalm 122:1-5 in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read online version here. When you read this passage, explain to children that when we read and talk about 'The New Jerusalem', for us it is talking about the Church [Galatians 4:26]. 


1) These verses talk about how happy it is to 'come home' to joining other believers in God's family to worship Him. The person who wrote this song was excited to be with other people who loved God and to sing to Him together. It is important for God's people to be together and praise Him. In Hebrews 10:25, we read, "We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other."

2) The writer of this song tells us that Jerusalem is a city not scattered, but 'compact together'. This means the houses stuck to each other and helped each other stand, be strong and supported. This is what families and households of churches are like. They strengthen and support one another. They help each other be strong in the Lord.

3) The writer talks about all the families being 'as one'. He says, "The city has been rebuilt as one united city. This is where the tribes come, the tribes who belong to the Lord." So we, too, come as families from all over our city to be together and praise God. We are given instructions for how to live from God's word, and we respond to God speaking to us by praising Him with our thanks and prayers.


1) What special celebrations do you look forward to? Birthdays? Christmas? How about Sunday mornings? Does it fill you with joy and excitement to be with God's people, praising Him? Why or why not? What would make it feel like 'coming home'? If you could make it full of joy, what would you do as part of our church service gatherings to praise God? 

2) Who are other families in our church family that you look forward to seeing? Who is in your big 'tribe'? Who do you like to spend time with, or help out when they are busy, or check in with? Who checks in on your family? Who else in our church family could you strengthen and support by being close to?

3) What did you write or draw on your service notes this week? Was there anything that God spoke to you? Was there anything that you heard that you want to learn more about? Was there anything you liked or heard that was good? Was there anything that was said that you didn't understand? We gather with our church family to hear God's instructions from His word, so it's good to talk about what we learn together.


Plan a special celebration meal or time this week. Consider inviting another family from church over for dinner, a play, some afternoon tea, or just to hang out. You could use an existing plan you've already made this week as your activity. Consider involving children in plans like what food you will have, how they might like to decorate the house or play area. As you plan together as a family, remind children that in our church family, we stand close and support each other to encourage one another to be closer to Jesus.

God willing, see you all this Sunday!

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