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Children’s Church: God’s love is for everyone

We did some math sums this week. We worked out that this year we had approximately 76 hours to impact your children at Children’s Church. That means that we had just over three days out of 365 days to build relationship and teach our children. That little number can seem disheartening, but God used “three days” this year to do incredible things in our children’s lives. We are amazed when we look back at the time, passion and resources our leaders put into this year with the deep desire to see your children know Jesus better. It was encouraging and somewhat sad to end the year this past Sunday.

Our Part
This Sunday we ended off our theme of God’s love by looking at how His love is for everyone and lasts forever. We are so accustomed in life to expect things to run out: money runs out, petrol comes and then is gone, batteries have energy and then die, food is fresh but then rots etc. We can live with this anxiety that everything will run out one day. But God’s love is so different. His love does not run out, dry up, die or rot. His love is eternal and He gives it to everyone.

Your Part
Enjoy this holiday season with your family. Spend time showing love to each other and to others. Keep talking about the gospel for that is great evidence of God’s great love.

We look forward to the new year!

– The Children’s Church team

Children’s Church: God Has No Missed Calls

When it comes to cell phones, we often have problems getting our message across to someone. Maybe they can’t hear us, the line gets cut off, their battery dies or we run out of airtime. With God this never happens. There are no missed calls, no lost messages and no, “can you hear me now”. We can be sure that when we pray, God hears every word clearly. By discussing with the children how love bears all things, we spent time this Sunday looking at prayer, and how, because of God’s love for us, He will always be available to us in prayer.

Our Part
We looked at Daniel in the Bible. Daniel would pray every day to God. But the king decreed that no one should pray to anyone else except to him for 30 days. If this law was broken it would result in death. Many of us would do the maths. To skip prayer to God for 30 days when I pray 365 days a year, to save my life, is easy to do. But Daniel refused to dishonour God. And so God protected Daniel when he was in the lion’s den. Daniel prayed and God listened and answered.

The aim of the story was to show how despite difficulties, we should still love – how even when people are against us, we should still live motivated by God’s love.

Your Part
Daniel’s story is a great one to encourage your children to keep praying to God, no matter what is going on in their lives. Share some of your stories of when God heard and answered your prayers. As we come near to the end of our theme of love, encourage your children to find ways to display love to others.

We will end next Sunday with our last lesson on God’s love. See your children then.

– The Children’s Church team

Children’s Church: Forgiveness

One of the hardest actions we can learn as people would definitely be the ability to forgive others. Whether someone performs a small wrong or a deliberate hurt that can scar for us some time, we too often find it difficult to forgive. Our children could grasp this difficulty and in our continued discussion of God’s love, this Sunday we looked at how scripture says that love keeps no record of wrongs. Our prayer is that this ability can be practised far above the choice to display unforgiveness.

Our Part
We looked through the story of David and how he went from being admired by Saul, to Saul wanting to kill David. It was so encouraging to read how David kept his heart on wanting to honour God and because of that, he chose to love Saul, forgive Saul, and not hold any wrongs against Saul. We looked how easy it can be to hold unforgiveness and thus not show love. But when we look at God’s response to us, and how He forgives us, the challenge is how we can forgive others.

Your Part
This lesson has to be practised more than preached. The best way to teach forgiveness is to show it. Parents, teach your children forgiveness by showing them forgiveness. Do not keep bringing up their faults in the past, but rather show them how love keeps no record of wrongs. Help them to see when they can show forgiveness to others. Help them find the words to do it, and the attitude to truly mean it.

We are so blessed live in freedom because we have been forgiven. We pray that our love for others will grow as we learn to forgive.

The Children’s Church team

Photo by juan pablo rodriguez on Unsplash

Children’s Church: Love is Kind

It is wonderful to see how encouragement can build a person up, but it is also frightening how easily one negative word can break someone down. This Sunday with our children, we looked at how love is kind and what the wonderful outcomes can be through us displaying kindness to one another.

Our Part

In our object lesson, we used the idea of making ripples in water to how kind actions can have a “ripple-effect” with people. The smallest stone causes ripples in water. In the same way, our smallest acts of kindness can positively impact a person.

We then looked at the story of the Good Samaritan. It was sad to read how those who had more reason to help the injured Jewish traveller, chose to rather walk by and not help a person in desperate need. But it was so encouraging to read how the Samaritan chose to stop his journey and help the injured man. His kindness wouldn’t have been expected, it crossed cultural barriers, he used most of his money to care for a stranger, and he didn’t do it for reward. His kindness changed a person’s life. So can our acts of kindness to each other.

Your Part

Encourage your children to remember to be kind. Sometimes being kind doesn’t just happen naturally. We need to actually remind ourselves to be kind. Always look at Jesus. Talk about his kindness to us and how he can help us to become more kind because of him. Help them see the ripples of kindness in their kind acts to others.

The Children’s Church team

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Children’s Church: Gratitude

Too often in life today we can easily take things for granted. We receive so much and sadly that can lead us to lack gratitude. When we think of what God has done for us, what He still is doing for us, and who we are now because of Him, we should respond with great gratitude. This Sunday with our children we spoke about how we need to show gratitude to God and boast about who He is and what He does.

Our Part

We looked at the story of Jesus with the ten lepers. We explained to the children the severity of leprosy and how society shunned those with leprosy. But Jesus didn’t. Jesus showed love and he healed them – all of them. Sadly, only one of the healed lepers returned to say thank you. We might not need healing from leprosy, but Jesus performs such amazing miracles in our lives addressing our needs. Our response cannot be like the nine lepers. We need to show gratitude to Jesus.

We also discussed the need to boast about Jesus. We cannot keep the wonderful things he has done in our lives for ourselves. We need to tell others, encourage others with what Jesus can do, and let the world know that all glory belongs to God alone. Some of our children were given the opportunity to boast on Sunday about what God has done for them.

Your Part

Tell your children what you are grateful to God for. Let them hear your stories, your testimonies, God’s victories in your life. Ask your children to share their stories. They may surprise you. Give thanks to God together, and then boast about him together.

– Children’s Church team

Children’s Church: Love is Patient

I have heard many parents accuse their children of testing their patience. Well, mom and dad, on Sunday we got to turn the tables and we tested our children’s patience. To what end: To reveal that love is patient. As we continue to learn about God’s great love, our focus this Sunday is how we need to display patience as an act of love, the same way God shows patience to us.

Our Part
Our infamous Captain Mess-Up showed up again and proved to be quite annoying to our children. One five-year-old was heard telling Captain Mess-Up to change his heart, he was getting so frustrated by him. By using object lessons, like having patience for water to freeze to have cold ice for a drink, to waiting last in line to receive a treat, our children heard how we need patience.

We looked intently at the story of Peter and his relationship with Jesus. Peter messed up a few times, but Jesus always intended for Peter to be a leader in His church. Jesus had to show patience as Peter learnt, grew in faith, and believed in God’s call. Peter must have been so happy that Jesus didn’t lose patience with him. And so Jesus shows the same patience with us, for we too are called to lead in his church.

Your Part
You don’t need to test your child’s patience to keep proving this point (sorry if you wanted permission), but you can discuss with them how patience is an act of love. The best way to teach it is to show it, so challenge each other at home to show patience. Then look at how Jesus displays patience. He doesn’t give up on us, he keeps forgiving, and he keeps his plans for us. Help your children feel this freedom.

– The Children’s Church team

Love is…

Love was definitely in the air this weekend as we introduced our new theme this term: “Love Is…”. The Children’s Church team were buzzing with anticipation to begin looking at God’s love and what scripture teaches us about Him and His love.

We also welcomed our guest for the term: Captain Mess-up made an appearance and his heart was impacted as the children and leaders helped him understand that true love comes only from drawing closer to God. It will be exciting to see how his heart changes as the term unfolds.

Our Part
Our main focus for this first Sunday was to read how God reveals that love should be our highest aim. We are called to love God, and love others. We looked at 1 Corinthians 13 and discussed how love is the greatest gift we can have – and we can find more and more love continually from God. We are called to show the world that we are Jesus’ disciples, and one way of revealing this is by the love that we show.

Your Part
The curriculum is available to be downloaded (get it here) and to refer to during the week. At Children’s Church, the leaders get two incredible hours with your children – they wish they could have more. The challenge is for mom and dad to use the rest of week to continue to water some of the seeds sown.

We look forward to discovering more of God’s love and how it impacts our lives. See you Sunday.

– The Children’s Church team

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Children’s Church: Who we are to Jesus

It’s hard to imagine that the term is already over and how much we managed to learn. We had an incredible nine weeks exploring who Jesus is, working through Jesus’ “I Am” statements. We thought it worth ending the term by looking at who we are to Jesus – and wow, it is encouraging.

Our Part
The Bible is our source of truth and in it we find so much life and evidence that reveals to us how God sees us. We played some games with our children, separating truth from lies, and in these games hearing the truth of who we are to God. He knows us by name, and He loves us as His children.

We then showed our children a picture of someone who is beautiful, unique, smart, special, and loved. We showed them a reflection of themselves. That is who they are to God.

Your Part
Our curriculum is still available for downloading and we would encourage you to do so, so that you can keep reflecting on the lessons we covered this term. Keep speaking about Jesus and make him known to your children. And keep reminding your children who they are to Jesus – loved, wanted, fought for.

We cannot wait for the new term to begin and to introduce the new theme.

Children’s Church team

Children’s Church: Jesus the Vine

The message Jesus is giving in his ‘I Am’ statements carry a clear similarity. If we hunger to feel life, He is the bread that feeds us. If we feel unsure in the dark, He is the light that guides us. If we feel afraid and alone, He is the shepherd who protects us. If we feel lost in life, He is the way, the truth, and the life. The common theme is that we need Jesus and we need Him so that we can experience what life really is.

This Sunday we looked at the last ‘I Am’ statement for the term and the message is the same. He is the vine, we are the branches, and we can only bear fruit in life if we have Jesus.

Our Part
We read through John 15 as Jesus teaches how, just as a branch needs the vine to find nourishment in order to live, thrive and bear fruit, so we need Jesus to live as God created us to live. We explored each part of Jesus’ analogy: the vine, the branch the fruit. We discussed how important He is to us and how much we need Him (which has been the common message this term).

Some groups had fun in our craft creating a tree out of a brown bag while others used balloons to make the vine.

Your Part
Read John 15 with your children. Count how many times Jesus says “abide/remain in me” and how many times he says “bear fruit”. Emphasise the importance of what Jesus is saying and how we can respond. Lead your children in learning to abide in the vine: read scripture with them, speak to Jesus with them, be a part of the church community with them.

We end the term next week by looking at who we are to Jesus. We can’t wait.

The Children’s Church team

Children’s Church: I Am The Way, The Truth, The Life

This past Sunday we looked at one of the most important ‘I Am’ statements made by Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus says that He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him. We had fun this Sunday in trying to help our children understand what Jesus means in this verse.

Our Part
We sent our children treasure hunting. We confidently told them several times where the treasure could be found. Sadly, despite the supposed honesty of our instructions, our children were misled and the treasure proved harder to find. We also asked our children to guide a blindfolded partner through a tricky obstacle course. The problem here was to discern your partner’s voice from the many others shouting out directions and instructions.

Our children are being told many “truths” day after day. Life Orientation teaches some values, parents teach too, whilst television and media can teach other values. Some of these are great truths but too many “directions” from other sources can be misleading, as our games emphasised. Our belief in what can lead us to salvation – good works, money to the church, church attendance – can also be wrong. Jesus’ statement then brings all the surety we need. Jesus alone is the way, He alone is the truth, and He alone is the life. He is the only way to the Father. We need Jesus.

Your Part
Spend this week exploring John 14:6 with your children. Discuss with them some of the other ways or truths that our children may think of following. Then, talk about Jesus. Talk about what Jesus did, and how He proved to be our way and truth and life. In the future, keep this verse on hand to remind our children when they feel lost or unsure that Jesus alone is our answer.

BIG WEEKEND LESOTHO

Our team returned from the Big Weekend in Lesotho and have incredible stories to share of all the things God did with the leaders and children there. Thank you for your prayers. Check out a video of our time there below.

The Children’s Church team