Kids Ministry as Forest Lake

Month: September 2020

Philippians 4:1-3

Big Idea: Jesus' love for us is bigger than any fights we have with each other!

Parent Prep: Child psychologists use the phrase 'rupture and repair' when talking about the natural conflict we have in relationships. Even healthy relationships with the people we love include disagreements. The disharmony that comes from conflict is called the 'rupture'.  But when both parties in the relationship are willing to work together to reconcile, we have the 'repair'. To 'rupture and repair' is the process of gospel reconciliation. It's what Jesus did for us. He repaired what we ruptured by our sin, and reconciled us to God. In the parent-child relationship, it is the parent who does the 'repairing' work; helping the child to be calm, and think through how to forgive, confess, understand and be united together again. As we model this gracious and loving work of 'repair' in relationships with our children, we remind them of the assurance of our love for them – that nothing they rupture is too big or too bad for us to forgive. In turn, we aim for them to learn the art of reconciliation, in showing grace to others, too. In the process of 'rupture and repair', psychologists observe that often, after a truly gracious healing work of 'repair', a relationship reaches a new level of depth. This, too, is a reflection of the gospel. When we realise how much we are forgiven, we reach a new level of depth of love for our Saviour. This love then, overflows to others as we learn to forgive and repair our relationships with them in light of our own forgiveness.

Read Philippians 4:1-3 together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


Have you ever had a big fight with your brother or sister? Choose an example to talk through as a family. What made it hard to forgive the other person? What made you want to stay mad at them? What did you do to fix the problem?


Paul writes to 2 of his friends.

1) He talks about how much he loves them because they also love Jesus.

2) He points out that all his friends who love Jesus – even the two who are fighting- are going to be together for all of eternity because of what Jesus has done. So with that in mind,

3) He pleads with his friends to not be on two different sides of an argument, but to be on the same side, following Jesus together. Fighting for each other and for the gospel, not against each other. Jesus' love for us is so great, and we have been forgiven even though we have caused our God so much hurt, how can we not forgive each other for the hurt they cause us?

Before Jesus goes to the cross and dies for his friends, he actually prays this for His friends, too. Jesus says, "Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name—the name you gave me. Then they will be one, just as you and I are one. " Jesus wants us – his followers- to be on the same side, fighting for each other, not against each other. You can read this together in John 17:11.


This week, take the opportunity to call out and encourage when you see your kids 'fighting for each other'. This could look like choosing to share or be generous when they could keep something to themselves. It could mean letting another child go before them when making a choice, or using kind words to encourage each other. Each time it happens, notice it and help kids recognise what it looks like to 'fight for eachother' or 'be on the same side' as Paul talks about. Encourage kids to also call it out when they see it happening, so that they can look for it too. 

Consider making a chart for the week while you're on holidays. For every time you see family members 'fighting for each other', put a gold star or smiley face on the chart (be generous with your stars!). Every time family members fight 'against each other', use a different coloured sticker. At the end of the week, use your chart to talk about whether it was easy or hard to fight for/against each other. (It doesn't matter how many of each sticker colour there is – it's school holidays! It will give you a great chance to talk about this week's devotion!) Reflect together on how it felt when someone was fighting for you instead of against you. If there is still hurt, anger or bitterness between any family members, use the time to pray together and ask Jesus to remind you of His love so you can forgive one another. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you 'be on the same side' and fight for each other in the Name of Jesus.

Have a great week!

Philippians 3:12-21

Big Idea: We press on by pressing into Jesus.

Parent Prep: Part of being a kid is growing resilience. Children try and fail hundreds of times before they master simple skills, such as walking, eating with cutlery, tying shoelaces, kicking a ball – the list goes on. As parents, part of our job is to encourage kids to 'just keep trying' even when they are struggling to learn something. It's the same with their walk of faith. Our job as parents is to encourage kids to 'just keep trying' even when they are struggling to be like Jesus – and each time they fail, we have the added privilege of modelling God's response to His children. To extend grace, to point to Jesus and remind them of His great love for them. 

Read Philippians 3:12-21  together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


Ask children, "What are some goals you would like to acheive this year?" Or, "What are some things you would like to do but can't yet?" Their goals can be as simple or as complicated as they like. Being able to click, hop on one foot, sing/play a whole song by heart, tie their shoes etc. 

Ask, "What do you need to do to acheive these things/make these things happen?" 


To do something hard, it takes lots of hard work and practice – doing it over and over again, even when we fail. It is the same as following Jesus. Paul says "I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do." Jesus wants us to be like Him, but it takes lots and lots of trusting and trying to be like Jesus. 

Paul says, "Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me." Paul says what helps him to be like Jesus most, is to forget about his past sins and failures, and to look at Jesus and focus on His goodness and love, and that helps him move forward towards His goal. 

We can do this too. What are some ways we can 'look ahead' or 'look to Jesus'? We can read the Bible together to see Jesus and what He was like, we can talk to Him in prayer and spend time worshipping Him by singing and talking about Him together. We can join in with others in our church family who are also 'running this race' so that we can be encouraged by them to keep going, too.


As a family, set a relay race track up – it can have as many obstacles as you like. It can be inside (perhaps a walking race) or outside. Choose a baton to use (maybe a wooden spoon or rolling pin) and set a timer. Then, run the race as a family, timing yourself. When family members have finished their leg of the race, have them cheer the others on to encourage them. Make a finish-line ribbon together, and write the name of JESUS across the ribbon. You could use toilet paper so that it breaks when the final family member runs through it. Remind children that we don't run this race towards Jesus alone; that we have each other, and that the Holy Spirit is always with us to give us strength. 

Have a great week!

Philippians 3:1-11

Big Idea: We can boast about the goodness of Jesus because He has made us right with God.

Parent Prep: It's natural for kids to learn to be proud of what they can achieve. It's a healthy part of development for a child to grow a sense of self-pride in what they are capable of. When it comes to salvation, however, the opposite is true. No one can reconcile themselves to God, no matter how holy they try to be. (Romans 3:23). We spend our time telling our kids how great they are, how proud we are of them and how much we think of them. But when Paul talks about his achievements, he considers what he earned on his own 'a loss' and 'garbage'. This is not to say we shouldn't encourage our kids to be proud of who they are and what they can achieve. It means that when we talk about salvation, and being acceptable to God, we need to help them see that nothing great about them, no matter how great it is, is enough. All of us are separated from God, and all of us need Jesus to reconcile us to Him. It's actually freeing for kids to learn that they don't have to be 'good enough' for God, and what makes them important to Him is simply because He has chosen them to be His.

Read Philippians 3:1-11  together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


Make a list of all the things your kids are good at together. Let them help make the list so it as personal as they would like it to be. Eg. Making playdough dinosaurs, cooking spaghetti, keeping their room tidy etc. 

Then ask your children, who in your family do they think is the best at being good and following all the rules. Is it mummy? Daddy? or any of the kids? Does this make that person better than everyone else in your family? Why or why not? 


Talk with children about all the things that Paul says He's good at. Look at verses 5-6. Here's why he says those things:

  • Being 'circumcised on the eighth day' was a command given to the Jewish people in the book of the law (Leviticus 12:3) to show that the baby belonged to God's people.
  • He was born an Israelite, one of God's people, from the tribe of Benjamin. He knew he was one of God's chosen Jewish people from God's special tribes.
  • He was the best at keeping the rules of the law: he was a pharisee! That meant he was an expert at the law and taught others what it said.
  • He was so good at being a perfect Jew that he bullied other people who didn't do what the law said. 

All these things should have made Paul the best and most acceptable to God, but it didn't. He said that the only thing worth really boasting about was how great Jesus was, because the only thing that makes us acceptable to God is Jesus. 

It's okay to be proud of the way God has made us, but not to boast about these things as if they make us more important than other people. Paul says the only thing that makes us important, and worth boasting about is that Jesus is so good that He chose us to be His friends. 


Instead of making lists about how good we are at things, try to make a list together of all the great things worth celebrating about Jesus. Pin your list to the fridge this week, and use it to shape your prayers, thanking Jesus for all the good He has given to us. 

Have a great week!

Philippians 2:19-30

Big Idea: We need special friends to encourage each other to follow Jesus.

Parent Prep: In Australia today, 1 in every 10 Generation Y young adults do not know any other Christians. It's an even lower number for Gen Z and Gen Alpha – the children of today. (You can read more here at Faith and For most of our kids, that means their faith in Jesus will be an anomaly on the playground. It's tough for anyone to follow Jesus when you're the only one, and it's even harder for our kids. Children learn to define themselves by the thoughts and opinions of the important people in their worlds, and by the time they are teenagers, their peers are some of the most important voices in their lives. If by and large, these voices aren't voices who also speak the truth of the gospel, statistically, we recognise that children begin to drift from their faith communities and eventually their faith. The current statistic is that 50% of church-going young people will have walked away from their faith by the time they are university age. The best evidence we have suggests that having around 5 important voices speaking a similar language of faith will help steady a child through their adolescent years as they grow more independent in understanding what they believe. These important voices can be parents, grandparents, small group or youth group leaders, peers and family members. It's best to have a mix of ages – so that kids have many people of various generations speaking the wisdom of God into their lives. Without a support network of faithful, encouraging believers, it is unlikely that a child's faith will last through to adulthood. We can help our children's faith grow deeper and stronger by encouraging them to find friends and build relationships with others who are intentionally following Jesus.


Read Philippians 2:19-30  together in a children's Bible, or this easy-to-read version here.


Read the passage together, and make a list of all the great things Paul says about his friends.

  • Timothy:

    • Genuinely cares for his friends v20
    • Cares about the work of Jesus v21
    • Tells others the good news of Jesus v22
    • He is servant hearted v23
  • Epaphroditus

    • Works hard for the Lord v25
    • Serves others v25
    • A good helper v30
    • Put his life in danger for his friend v30
    •  Almost died for Jesus! v30


Can you think of any friends who are like Timothy and Epaphroditus? Ask children to think of people they know in their lives who are like Timothy and Epaphroditus. Try and think of 5 together, and ask if each child can think of one friend like this. 


Make a list of these friends, and commit to praying for them. You could even write down things that are great about these friends too, so you can continue to thank God for your gospel-partner friends. As a family, make a commitment to spend time with these people often and regularly so that you can enjoy their company and be encouraged to be like Jesus together.

Have a great week!


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