Kids FLBC

Kids Ministry as Forest Lake

Category: Weekly Devotions (Page 1 of 11)

The Lord’s Prayer: ‘On Earth as it is in Heaven’

Big Idea: God makes earth more like heaven when we live with Jesus as our King.

Bible Passage: Matthew 6:5-13, (focus on: verse 10.)

Parent Prep: Although the 'Big Idea' this week is the same as the last one in this Lord's Prayer series, this time we are looking globally. This week we will think and pray through ways to 'bring the kingdom' to our world – and the role we all play in doing so.

Read Matthew 6:5-13 together in your Bibles, or read it in a children's version here, or watch it together here.

Talk 

Together, read Matthew 28:19-20. Talk about what 'nations' are. Using the map that you printed off for Sunday (or print and download here: World Map), choose a country or nation at random. You could stick your map up and throw a pen at it to see which it hits, or close your eyes and randomly choose, or even put it across the room and throw something small and see where it lands. However you choose your nation, colour in that country, and 'google' search the nation to find out who lives there and what their culture is like. Take note of the country's most popular religion and whether many people there know of Jesus. Does this country have a Bible in it's native language?

Listen

Ask children, does [this country] look like heaven/God's Kingdom? Does everybody obey Jesus and name Him King and Saviour there? Is there hurt, brokenness or pain there? Have children name where they see brokenness in the country you have researched. 

Ask children, do you think that God cares about those things? What do you think God, the King over everyone, wants to do about those things? Read Romans 10:14-15 together. God has chosen us, His people, to be the ones to go and tell others about the good news of Jesus. How can we be a part of God's plan for the whole world? Daniel shared in his message yesterday, there are 4 ways we are all involved in this mission: to Pray, Encourage, Give and Go.

Do 

  • Pray – Using the country you have chosen as a family, work out which direction it is in. Then, stand as a family to face that direction outside on the pavement or driveway. Trace around children's feet as they face the direction, and write the name of the country in the middle of the drawing. Commit as a family to stand in these feet spaces and pray that God's word would go forward and many people there would know and accept the good news of the gospel. 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.'
  • Encourage – as a family, write and post a letter of encouragement to Daniel and Megan, or the Callows family as they serve God in Thailand. Alternatively, write a letter to your family's sponsor child(ren) together and include your favourite Bible verse to share with them.
  • Give – Talk with children about your family's budget, and how much is set aside to bless the work of overseas missionaries or people in need overseas. Ask children how they would feel about contributing to this giving work. What could they give to bless and further the work of the gospel in far away places? Remind children that just as Jesus took the small lunch of the boy with fish and bread and blessed thousands with it, Jesus can take whatever small amount they have and multiply it by His mighty power to bless many people.
  • Go- Did you know that according to a Barna study, most Baptist missionaries decided to do that work by the time they were age 11? Encourage children to seriously pray and ask God if this is work He has called them to, and that they would have the faith in Him to follow wherever He leads them. 

Have a great week, and we hope to see you soon!

The Lord’s Prayer: On Earth as it is in Heaven

Big Idea: God makes earth more like heaven when we live with Jesus as our King.

Bible Passage: Matthew 6:5-13, (focus on: verse 10.)

Parent Prep: Although the 'Big Idea' this week is the same as the last one in this Lord's Prayer series, this week we are looking locally, at our community. This week we will think and pray through ways to 'bring the kingdom' to our local area and the people we meet there.

Read Matthew 6:5-13 together in your Bibles, or read it in a children's version here, or watch it together here.

Talk 

Together, look up in a dictionary, or 'google' the word: Community. [A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.] Talk about the 'communities' your family members are a part of. They can be geographical communities – like the lady at the local grocery store ('living in the same place') or the people you do the same things with each week –  like a sports team ('having a particular characteristic in common'.) 

Listen

Ask children, do [these communities] look like heaven/God's Kingdom? Does everybody obey Jesus and name Him King and Saviour there? Is there hurt, brokenness or pain there? Have children name where they see brokenness in the communities you have named. Maybe people use hurtful language, or the people they meet seem sad or angry. Maybe children notice there are other kids at school who are mean, or come to school hungry. Maybe there is a neighbour or an elderly person down the street who seems lonely. Maybe a friend from a sports team or club has been sick.

Ask children, do you think that God cares about those things? What do you think God, the King over everyone, wants to do about those things? Read 1 John 3:16-18 together. God, our King, has chosen to use us to help others. When we know how much God loves us, we want to love others the same way. Whatever we have, we want to give to others to help them, just like Jesus.

Do 

Say to children, "When we choose to live with God as king, other people can see how wonderful it is to be in God's Kingdom." With the list of communities you made earlier, draw a basic map together of places your family goes and interacts with each week. It could include the local grocery shop, school, grandparents or friends houses, or sporting/activity clubs. Then, choose (at least) one community space or place that your family interacts with, and colour it in together. Decide on one way that you could make it look more like heaven this week by sharing the love, hope and healing of Jesus with those people. Maybe you could write a letter or draw a picture for an elderly neighbour, or for the lady at the grocery store this week. Maybe you could text or send a video message to a sick friend to tell them that you are praying for them, and pray for them as a family. Stick your map on the fridge with your colourful communities to remind you to bring joy and love to those places this week. Remind children as you do this, that we are doing what Jesus has first done for us as it says in 1 John 4:19: "we love because He first loved us."

Have a great week – we'll see you soon.

Mother’s Day – Colossians 2

Big Idea: We are strengthened in our faith when we drive deep into God's word and with God's family.

Bible Passage: Colossians 2:6-7

Parent Prep: This week we have celebrated Mother's Day together, and our schools are going back! We are taking it easy this week with our family devotions as a way to celebrate and thank our mums (and all our mother-figures) and give rest to those who need it.

Read Colossians 2:6-7 together in a children's Bible. 

Talk

As you drive, walk or sit together this week, discuss with children what makes plants and flowers grow up strong. Sunshine and plenty of light, good, deep roots, water, healthy, fertile soil. As plants need these things to grow up strong, so we need things to help us grow up strong in our faith too. Explain to children, when someone tells us about the hope of Jesus, and we put our trust in Him, it's like when a seed is planted. But seeds need lots of things to help them grow into healthy plants.

Listen

Ask What kind of things do we need to grow up strong in our faith? What makes our 'seed of faith' grow? (Reading and asking questions to understand God's words, singing songs of praise to Him, speaking to Him in prayer, trusting Him when it is tough, having others who are strong in the faith around us to encourage us, serving Him in love, using our gifts to help and serve others, telling others about Him).

Do

Go out into the garden and water the plants together. As you do, point out the things that make plants grow. Then, list the things that help our faith grow, and talk about where you have these things together in your family life. Celebrate that God has given you these ways to know Him, and be 'overflowing with thankfulness' to Him for these. Consider singing a song of praise together, or praying in thanks for these things around your family's 'Ebenezer' stone if you have one.

Enjoy your gardens, the sunshine, and the week together 🙂

The Lord’s Prayer: Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done

Big Idea: God makes earth more like heaven when we live with Jesus as our King.

Bible Passage: Matthew 6:5-13, (focus on: verse 10.)

Parent Prep: This week we look at our calling to partner with God in bringing hope and healing to our world. When we pray "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we are asking God to have His way here on earth as He does in heaven. In heaven, He is on His throne, and all praise and glory go to Him, all the time. In Revelation 21:3-5 describes a perfect home for His children, where there are no tears, no death, no mourning or crying or pain. When we ask God to make this earth like heaven, we are asking for these things. Healing, hope, restoration, life and joy. We are asking God to draw near to His people and make broken things 'like new'. And we are asking God to use usas instruments in His hands as He does this. 

Read Matthew 6:5-13 together in your Bibles, or read it in a children's version here, or watch it together here.

Talk 

Say to children "God wants our world to be perfect, for us to be close to Him and to enjoy Him forever. No more tears, no more crying or pain. He promises one day this will be our real life." Read together Revelation 21:3-5. Ask children, "Is that what our world looks like now?" No, our world is full of brokenness. Ask children to list places they see tears, death, mourning, crying or pain. Remind children that our own sin is also part of the world's brokenness, and can hurt ourselves and others. Write or draw the things and places that they list out on pieces of paper or sticky notes for your activity later.

Listen

Ask children, "What's the best thing about heaven?" [That God is there, on His throne, dwelling with his people.] Ask children to describe what they think heaven might be like to you, and let them imagine as much as they want to. If you like, try to draw the things they describe. Add your own thoughts and wonderings, encouraging children to imagine as much 'good' as possible.

As children imagine, ask, "Why don't you think earth looks like that now?" Allow children to think through reasons our earth has brokenness and pain, and heaven does not. Eventually, lead them to see that the difference is that in heaven, and in God's coming Kingdom, everyone always lives as God desires. People on earth right now, do not. Ask children, "Do we always live with God as our King?" Help children see that when we choose to sin, and act as if we are the boss, that we contribute to the pain here on earth. When we choose to live as God desires, we bring life and light, hope and healing to our world.

Do 

Say to children, "When we choose to live with God as king, other people can see how wonderful it is to be in God's Kingdom." With a large piece of paper, or a board, or even a blank piece of wall-space, stick up or write the heading "God's Kingdom". Underneath the heading, stick your sticky-notes and post its that you wrote or drew earlier with the broken things of this world on them. Then, on new sticky notes, or pieces of paper, write or draw together ways you could bring hope and joy to those places.

Eg. If a sticky-note says "falling off my bike," draw or write someone hugging/comforting/sticking a band-aid on a sore knee. Or, if a sticky note says "not sharing toys", write or draw a child sharing toys with their friends or siblings. Then, take these new pieces of pape/sticky-notes, and stick them on top of the 'brokenness' sticky-notes. As children stick up their new pictures and words, have them say, "When I choose to live with Jesus as King, I help bring healing to people." When the activity is complete, stand back and admire how much more beautiful 'God's Kingdom' now looks. 

Remind children, God gives us His Holy Spirit to be able to do these hard things, to bring healing and hope to a hurting world. Pray together and thank Him for His presence, and that we get to be a part of His big plan to save the world. Ask Him for help this week to go out and be a part of bringing hope to our world.

Have a great week!

The Lord’s Prayer: Heavenly Father

Big Idea: We can call God "Father" when we talk to Him, because Jesus made a way for us to be God's children.

Bible Passage: Matthew 6:5-13

Parent Prep: As our kids grow older, often they tend to feel pressure to 'pray good prayers'. To use the "right words", to say the "right things", or to make them sound fancy enough for God (or grown-ups) to hear and be impressed. Or sometimes, because they pray, and maybe lack the ability to discern God's answer without grown-up help, they find prayer a boring, monotonous experience. This week we are talking about how Jesus teaches us to "approach the throne" when we talk to God, and how amazing it is that because Jesus made a way for us, when we come to God, we can simply call our holy God, "Dad", and talk to Him as someone we love. 

Read Matthew 6:5-13 together in your Bibles, or read it in a children's version here, or watch it together here.

Talk

Say to children. [As adapted from the Jesus Storybook Bible p 224] When Jesus taught his friends how to pray, he told them not to pray with 'extra-super-holy' words. It's not because you're so clever or good or important that God will listen to you. God listens to us because He loves us. The reason we can talk to God as our loving Dad is because Jesus made a way for us to be called God's children! Everyone who trusts in Jesus can approach God's throne like a child asking their dad for help. 

Listen

Ask children, Do you know that God is always listening to you? Did you know He can hear the quietest whisper deep inside your heart, even before you started to say it?  God knows exactly what you need before you ask Him.  Jesus says that when we address the King of Heaven who made everything in the whole universe, we can call Him, 'Father'. 

Ask What are some things that you ask your mummy or daddy each day? What do you ask for help with? What do you need from them? Imagine if you could ask God, like you ask us, for whatever you needed. What would you ask for?

Do

Read together Ephesians 3:12. This verse tells us that because we have faith in Jesus, we can approach God's throne with "freedom and confidence" as His children. Then read together Isaiah 58:9. This verse tells us that when we call out to our God, as His children, He answers, "Here I Am." How great to have a God who not only hears and answers, but actually wants us to speak so that He can bless us!

Using the acronym ACTS, as Ps Mark mentioned during his sermon, come up with and design a framework for your kids to use to help them when they want to talk to God. Here's a few ideas. You can use a big poster sheet, a whiteboard/chalkboard or a simple piece of paper. Stick it on the fridge, or on the back of the toilet door or in a bedroom to help remind kids of simple words to use when they pray. Pull it out when you pray together around the table or at bed time.

Adoration: Under the heading 'Adoration' write "Adoration is telling God how great He is." Write words or draw ways to describe God that remind you of His goodness. This list can be added to as you use it throughout different seasons in life. Some examples could be "provider" or "protector" or "good Father", "Saviour," "friend", "Good Shepherd". 

Confession:  Under this heading, write "Admitting I am not perfect." Help children to voice their confessions by reminding them that not only does God already know about their sin, but He has already paid for it and is always ready to forgive them. Under the heading of confession, write or draw "I'm sorry for," and leave a blank space so that children can speak out loud each day to fill in the gaps with the things that make their hearts heavy. 

Thanksgiving: This is an easy one for kids! Have them write, draw or list things they are thankful and grateful for. When things are tough, remind kids that even when God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want Him to, we can always thank Him for being with us in the toughness, no matter what.

Supplication: Underneath this heading, write "What do we need today?" Have children name things that they (or others) may need. It might be physical, concrete things they write or draw, like help with a test or a new pair of shoes, but it also might be a more abstract concept – like asking for strength to forgive someone who hurt them. Try not to 'coach' children too much through what they 'should' or 'shouldn't' ask God for, but allow them to come to Him in freedom and confidence as a child to a parent, expecting that He can provide for them. It is appropriate, when we don't know what else to ask, for children to simply ask their Dad for 'help'. 

Put your poster or board up in your home and feel free to add to it during this season together. If you'd like, to encourage others, post a picture of your board on our Facebook pages, so we can pray along with you!

Hope you have a great week!
 

 

 

 

 

God’s Grace & the Kingdom: Matthew 19-20

Big Idea:  We become a part of God's Kingdom because of God's goodness to us- not the things we have or the things we do.

Bible Passage: Matthew 16:19 – 20:19

Parent Prep: This week is all about assurance. This week Mr John shared a fantastic analogy. He asked kids to imagine what it would be like if they had to work hard enough every day to remain beloved members of their own families. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is what many children understand God's love is like. This week, as we look at Jesus' answer to the rich young ruler, and the story Jesus tells His followers, we will explore God's grace to us and how it brings us an everlasting assurance of His love.

Read the Bible story together from your children's Bible, or online here; or watch the story of the Rich Young Ruler here.

Talk

Say to children, In verse 25 of chapter 19, it says the disciples were amazed and surprised that Jesus said it was very difficult for the rich man to enter heaven. He said it would be harder than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle! The disciples were surprised because they thought that rich people were God's favourite people. They thought having lots of money was a sign of God's favouritism and blessing. But Jesus used the parable in the next chapter to teach his disciples that God doesn't just choose the people that the world says are "best" to be in his family. God isn't impressed by lots of money or good behaviour – he loves us whether we are rich or poor, good or bad. He chooses to give His grace to whoever He pleases, not because we have earned it, but because he is full of love for us.

Ask older children if you were a king and you could choose who would be in your kingdom, who would you choose? Why would you choose those people? Would you choose to invite cheaters, liars, or mean people who hurt others? Why do you think God invites people who do those things to be a part of his Kingdom? Have you ever broken any of God's commandments? [Read the 10 Commandments together in Exodus 20]. Do you feel like you deserve to be in God's kingdom? Why or Why not? Assure children that because of Jesus' sacrifice for us, our sins are paid for, and so we can praise God that He invites us to be in His family and kingdom. We are not called in because we are good or impressive, but because He is a good God and in His love chooses to show us GRACE. This means that because we didn't earn it, we can't ever mess up so bad that we will get kicked out. God's love for us is completely free and never-ending!

Ask younger children Do you think that there is anywhere you could hide that God's love couldn't get to you? Ask children to come up with their best hiding spots – maybe even play hide and seek as you explain this to them. Each time you find your children say, "there is no where you can go that God's love can't find you!" Ask Do you ever think you could be so naughty that your mummy and daddy won't love you? Of course not! Just like there was no where to hide that God's love couldn't find you, our love for you goes on forever and ever and ever no matter what you do! It is the same with God's love. You can never make it go away or do anything to make Him love you any more because He already loves you always and forever! This means we can always, always tell God when we make a mistake and choose to sin because He will always, always forgive us and love us! When God chooses to love us, it is called His GRACE.

Do

Jesus said it would be "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone with lots of riches to enter the kingdom of heaven,". Find a needle if you have one and show children how small the size of a needle eye is compared to a camel. Explain to children that it is easy to rely on the things we have, and to let how 'good' we think we are to trick us into believing that we don't need God's grace. Set up a challenge course in your home with tiny 'hoops' (as the 'eye' of the needle) and large items to throw (as the 'camels'). Have children try to aim their large throwing-toys through a small space. Whether they are successful or unsuccessful, discuss, just as it is difficult to get the toy through the hoop, it is hard to keep our eyes on Jesus when we think we are 'good enough' to earn His love on our own. Every time a child throws a toy, call out "Thank God for His grace to us!" 

Pray together. Charles Spurgeon says, "His grace is given as freely as the light of the sun." Each morning this week, when you see the sunlight together, explain to children, that just as the sun freely gives light to the whole earth,  God's grace is freely given to us. Use the sunlight (or sunrise if you have early risers!) as your reminder of God's grace. Sit together in the warm sunlight and thank God for His grace – as sure, certain and freely given to us as the light of the sun.

Have a great week – see you online this Sunday!

 

Easter Family Devotions

Big Idea: We can live as 'Easter people' every day.

Bible Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Parent Prep: I'm sure over the last week that you've spent alot of time thinking about the Easter message and what it means for you. This week, as we reflect on the story of Easter, we will be spending our time talking about what it means to be 'Easter people' every day as we wait to be united with our Lord Jesus forever. 

Read the Easter story in Matthew 26-28 or watch the Easter story here.

Talk

Say to children, the message of Easter is the reason we celebrate not just on Easter weekend, but every weekend when we meet together, and every day of our lives! We are 'Easter people' – we celebrate & live everyday in hope because of what Jesus has done for us- by defeating sin and death. We also know that even though we will die one day, our death is just a passing on from this earthly life into perfect, eternal life with God forever! 

Listen

Ask older children

  • Why do you think it matters that Jesus rose from the dead? (He told us that He would [Matthew 20:17-19], He proved He is God.)
  • How should this change how I live? (Because of what Jesus did, if I trust in Him, I am forgiven. I don't need to fear anything in this life, because I know He will take care of me and hold me close forever. [Romans 8:38-39]). 
  • Why do you think Jesus is waiting so long to come back? (He is patient, waiting for people to come to know Him [2 Peter 3:9] and He has work for us to do in healing a broken world  & telling others the good news of Jesus [2 Corinthians 5:16-21].

Ask younger children 

  • Do you know how many people have defeated sin and death? Only 1! Our Lord Jesus! This is why we worship King Jesus – He is the only one who could beat sin and death forever.
  • How does it make you feel to know that Jesus is alive?
  • How do you feel knowing that our Mighty God who beat death promises to take care of you?
  • If these things make you feel safe and happy, who could you share this with?
  • Why do you think Jesus is waiting so long to come back to take us to be with Him? He has a special job for us! We have to tell others about His good news, and help to heal the broken world!

Do

If you haven't already, read together this passage here: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. Paul talks about being 'made new' and how when we trust in Jesus we see the world, and people, in a 'new way'. On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. Write 'Old' on one side, and 'New' on the other. Ask children to write or draw broken things or hurt they know of in the world on the 'old' side of the paper. (Eg. dead flowers or animals, sore/scraped knees, crying and sadness, hunger, poverty etc). Then, on the 'new' side, have children write or draw what it would look like for 'Easter people' with the hope of Jesus to meet these needs. (Eg. To tell others the stories of Jesus, give bandaids to people with sores, visit the sick in hospital, take care of the earth, comfort the sad, play with lonely children, give money to those in need.)

Say, "We don't see the hurt and brokenness of the world like everybody else, we see hurt and brokenness and have hope because of Jesus. We know that that one day we will enjoy perfect life forever with Him and all will be made new. Let's practice bringing healing and the hope of the gospel to people and our world every day, as Easter people."

We'd love to see your ideas posted on our new Facebook Group for our FLBC families here!

Here's some extra activities for you to do if you need during the week:

Preschool Activity Pages

Younger Children Activity Pages

Older Children Activity Pages

Psalm 23

Big Idea: We are invited to God's dinner party table where we find our rest and joy!

Bible Passage: Psalm 23:5-6

Parent Prep: This week we looked at verses 5-6 of Psalm 23. These verses are a change from the scenic imagery of us as sheep in a pasture, with Jesus as our shepherd,  to Jesus, the great Banquet Host. Here we see we are invited to be guests at His dinner table, our cups overflowing with His blessings. He gives good things in abundance, and we are invited to 'dwell' there with Him at the banquet 'forever'. This picture is of a generous host – a God who invites us to be drawn to the 'rest' of being with Him. He has prepared the meal – there is no work for us to do, but sit and 'tarry there' as Ps Mark said. We are to sit and enjoy the abundance of His goodness forever. This week with the kids, we will explore this 'rest of soul' that our loving Father gives us by His presence, and why it is good to rest a while with Him at the table. 

In anticipation of this devotion together, we encourage you to set the table for a special meal together. Consider letting children use decorations to dress the table up like a party (or banquet). Have party hats, party napkins, candles or flowers, decorative place settings. Perhaps consider making some 'placemats' as a craft to use for this meal. Set placecards with names on them at each setting for the members of your household. An additional craft idea could be to make invitations to this meal for your family members.

Read

Read together Psalm 23, in a children's Bible, or here. Read again the last 2 verses together. Here are verses 5-6 with pictures of the book we read together on Sunday.

Talk

Say, "In this part of the Bible, we hear David describe our God as a party host. He is making a beautiful dinner table, and He invites us to have dinner with Him. He says that 'his cup overflows'. He is saying God gives Him more than He needs for his day each day. He says that God has goodness and 'loving-kindness' for him every single day, and that He is inviting him to this table to be with Him forever. David isn't the only one who talks about this party-table either. Read together Luke 13:29, John 14:3 and Revelation 19:9. (The wedding feast is like a 'reception' after a wedding – a great party when we all finally get to be with Jesus forever!). 

Listen

Ask Older Children: How do you feel when someone important invites you to sit with them? How does it make you feel knowing that the God who made the earth and all creation has set a placecard with your name on it at His dinner table? David says that God gives him more than all He needs ('my cup overflows'). Do you feel like God gives you all you need and even more? If not, what do you think you need more of? What are you missing out on? Sometimes the things we think we want and need are not the same as the things God knows we need. There is a difference between what our human hearts want in this world, and what our hearts actually need, isn't there? The promise is that God says He will generously give over and above what we need (His goodness and His loving-kindness). What really needs to change is not what God gives us, but our own hearts. We can come to God and ask Him for all we need to get through each day, and He promises always to give us what we need most: His presence with us. 

What are some ways I can 'dwell' or 'sit in' the presence of God to bring us joy like David? (Reading/memorising scripture to myself, singing to Him songs of worship, praying, walking in the garden pointing out things He has made.) 

Ask Younger Children: How does it feel when someone special invites you to a party? Did you know that King Jesus invites you to His party? What do you think it will be like to be at God's big dinner party? God promises that when we need anything, we can come to Him – because He gives us everything we need. It's like being at a party where the lollies and food and drinks never run out! We can always come to Jesus when we need things because He always wants to give us what we need. Do you know what the best thing that Jesus gives us is? HIMSELF! He gives us His Spirit to give us calm, happiness and protection. He loves us, and He loves to BE WITH us! 

What are some ways I can be with Jesus today? (Sing Him songs, talk about Him, read stories about Him, talk to Him in prayer, walk in the garden and point out things He has made.)

Do

At your special table, prepare cups and saucers for each person. Each member of the family gets to pour (with some help!) a drink for the next person, and fill the cup until it overflows and spills over onto the saucer. As it fills up, the rest of the family can say, "God gives us more than we need!". At the end of your time, hold hands and close your eyes together.  Sit in silence for a moment together and encourage children to take 5 deep breaths in and out. As you sit, explain to children that it is in God's presence where we have all we need, and he calls us to sit and rest and 'dwell' in Him. As they breathe out, have children repeat, "Jesus you are all I need,' or 'You are here with me,' or a similar phrase to help children slow down and rest in the truth of our God's promise to be with us always. 

Then, because it's a party, and parties are fun, have a 30 second dance party at your table! 

We will continue to pray for you – and give you lots of resources for your family's Easter celebrations!

Love, from the Kids ministry Team. 

 

 

 

Israel Demands a King

Big Idea: God knows what is best for us, and we can trust Him to give it to us in His time.

Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 8-10.

Parent Prep: Over the last few weeks we have been working our way through Judges and now the book of Samuel. Since the start of last year, when we commenced in Genesis, we have been looking at God's Big Story to save the world and how He calls us into it. It's an exciting time for you to join us on this journey if you haven't already been following along. Here's a recap: It's a VIDEO from the Bible Project, which should bring you up to date with what's going on in the story so far, and will help you understand where we are as we begin in chapter 8 of 1 Samuel. (We will follow the same format each week: Prepare, Read, Talk, Listen, Do)

Read 1 Samuel 8-10 in a children's Bible, or read it here, and you can watch it here, too.

Next, Talk about the story with children:

The people wanted to be like every other nation and have a King. This meant that they were rejecting God as their king. God knew that a human king would boss them around, make their men fight in wars, make them pay taxes (take their money) and put them to work. God knew He was a better king than any human would be, but the people kept demanding a king. So, God gave them King Saul. As it turned out, Saul made a lot of mistakes and didn't turn out to be a very good king, even though he was very strong, handsome and smart. 

God had a plan to give the people the very best King. Eventually, He came down to earth Himself, as King Jesus. King Jesus isn't like every other human king, because King Jesus doesn't just boss people around and make them love Him. King Jesus is caring, kind, forgiving, merciful, strong, protective, humble and never ever gives up. And, King Jesus is the only one who could really save the people from their sins. God knew that all along, and it was His plan to give us the perfect King, in His timing. We can trust that God always gives us what we really need, in His own time. 

Listen. Here's some questions to ask around the table:

Older children: Have you ever wanted something because everyone around you has it? How did it make you feel to be the only one without it? What would you do if you were missing out on something everybody else has? Is it difficult or easy to go without something when everyone else has it? When it's difficult, what could you do about how you feel? Who could you talk to about finding peace about this? If you have been praying for something and God hasn't given it to you yet, how does that make you feel? Read Luke 12:27-32 together for reassurance of God's care for us while we wait for His answers.

Younger children: Who is the boss in this family? Why are mummy and daddy the boss? The job of a boss is to take care of everyone. God is the boss because He knows best. We can trust Him and be patient when we don't get everything we want, because God is the boss and He will take care of us. Our God knows what is best for us.

Allow the questions to prompt natural discussion around this topic and feel free to lead the conversation to wherever it is most important to children. Ask if there are any questions or feelings they may have about this story. Take the opportunity to bring these questions and feelings to God in prayer, reminding children He is (and you are) okay with their doubts and fears. 

Then, Do:

Family Activity

Give every member of the family a piece of paper. Ask them to write or draw one rule that they would make everyone follow if they were king for a day. This rule can be anything they like (you get to set the boundaries cheeky). Then crumple up the pieces of paper and throw them in a hat or basket. Each day, draw one rule out from the hat and make everyone obey that rule for a whole minute, or five minutes – or the whole day if you're game! Make a point of reminding children that human kings are not perfect, and that the only perfect King we have is King Jesus. His rules and commandments are for our best, because He knows what's best for us.

Worship together

Here's a song the Bumblebees have learned about King Jesus being the boss: Jesus is the Mighty, Mighty King.

Ebenezer

Big Idea: So far God has always helped us, and He will help us now.

Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 7 (read this together from a children's Bible if you've got one, or here: Easy-to-Read ) 

If you want, you can use these words to explain the story to your children:

This story opens with an act of repentance ("saying sorry and turning back to God") of the people of Israel. Their enemies had been fighting them and winning, and so the Israelites eventually turned to their leader, Samuel, and Samuel approached the Lord on their behalf. Samuel told the people it was time to stop pretending to follow God, and actually worship Him with their whole hearts, ridding their homes of false gods and idols. 

Together the people assembled at special place, worshipped together and confessed their sin of loving idols. They promised to love Yahweh alone and offered a sacrifice for their sin. As this was going on, their enemies came to attack. God's response to His people's broken-hearted repentance was to step in and rescue them in a mighty way. He thundered 'a loud thunder' so great that the enemies were thrown into panic and retreated. The people of Israel won the battle and praised God.

Samuel took a stone, and He set it up as a reminder for the people. He called it Ebenezer, which is a Hebrew word meaning 'rock of help' and said, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." We are told as long as Samuel lived and led the people, God's hand was in the Israelites favour and there was peace in the land.

Our God is mighty to save. He can help us, and He delights in caring for us (see Luke 12:32). He desires our whole heart – to love Him most and Him alone, and to trust Him no matter what happens. He promises He will take care of us, and be with us, through it all. We can also, like Samuel look back at our lives and say, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." We can trust that He has been faithful to care for us, and that He will be faithful still. We have reason to trust God with our future because He has always been faithful in our past. 

Family Activity

Go into the garden as a family and choose a rock or stone of substantial size. Choose it as an Ebenezer for your family home and place it somewhere in your home that you will see it each day. Gather around your stone and remind each other, "So far God has always helped us, and He will help us now." If you start to worry in this season, or things seem tough, say these words to each other. Leave this stone in your home as long as you need. Gather around it for prayer & to encourage each other each day, or lay your hands on it and speak the words aloud to remember who it is who is our 'Rock of Help'. Our God, Yahweh, God almighty. 

 

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