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.
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.
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
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 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.
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 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 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.
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
by Lance de Ruig
Keir Tayler and I have just come back from the country of Montenegro, after having met (literally) all the Christian leaders in that whole country. There were three. One guy has been there for 25 years and has only 30 people in his church. Another guy has been there for 15 years and only has seven people in his church. He has just suffered a church split where his deacon took a whole lot of people with him, but they have nowhere to meet so they don’t even fellowship together.
That’s not easy. But caring means nothing if God doesn’t change our hearts.
Here’s how this motivates me. Montenegro might be on the other side of the world but I ask myself this question: What is stopping South Africa from being like that in a hundred years time? What is stopping our city from becoming like that?
I’ll tell you what’s stopping that from happening here: you and I telling others about Jesus.
You might never get a chance in your life to go to Montenegro or send money for the people there or do anything along those lines, but what you can do is care for your city, the people around you, and ask God to work on your heart. You can make sure that your children and your grand-children and your grand-children’s children grow up in a country where Jesus is loved and praised.
We can ask God to give us a heart for the lost simply because it’s something we say, or we can really let the reality of that sink in and mean it. Here’s a reality: 99 percent of Montenegro’s population right now is going to spend an eternity without Jesus. There are only three men giving up their lives to try and stop that from happening. So the question is, what are we doing?
Let’s open our heart to God and ask him to give us a heart for the people in our city, for the people in Montenegro and Eastern Europe, and the people of this world. This is about this world – this is about the fact that so many people are without God and hope. What are we doing? There are millions of people in Johannesburg right now without God and hope. We have a mission before us.
What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
What was it that made you believe it?
How should we “live” evangelism?
“Seeking and saving the lost.” Christ’s life can be summarised in that phrase. But if we’re honest, seeking and saving the lost is not our culture. Our culture is more about maintenance, self-centredness, and “I”.
The reality is this: if we don’t care for the lost and the fact that people are not being born again, we’ve got sick hearts. That’s why we want to focus on the heart with the theme My Heart // My Love.
When our heart is moved with the Gospel our heart has a love for our city and the nations of the world. Inward to outward. We’re trusting God to change hearts. We’re desperate to see revived hearts which care for the lost – hearts which know, deeply, the benefits of the Gospel; hearts that urge us to pray for others and trust for real opportunities where we can share this wonderful liberating Gospel. This sharing is a lifestyle.
If the Gospel doesn’t ignite our hearts we aren’t going to ignite other hearts with the Gospel! If the Gospel isn’t what we’re about, can we really expect ourselves to make it our life? Can we expect others to believe it? If we don’t feed on Jesus and nourish ourselves in Him (see John 6 for context) how can we have a passionate conviction to invite others to do the same?
Our city and our world needs the Gospel of Jesus. And God has commissioned us to bring this Gospel to a world without hope. As God works on our hearts in this respect, let’s talk about it!
So send us:
- Testimonies of God working on your heart. Testimonies can also just be one-liners, not long blogs posts. (Leaders, encourage your guys to send us these!)
- Tweet and Facebook about what God is doing, about your love for the people of this city, etc. using the hashtag #LoveJoburg.
- Instagram photos of the city to #LoveJoburg.
- Send us stories of encounters with God, evangelism, prophecy, people you’ve met in the city, how God is working on your heart, etc.!
- Send us your photos of the city, of the people in the city.
- Leaders, tell us what’s going on in your group – prophecy, testimonies, what God is saying to you collectively, etc.
Everything will go up at our My Heart // My Love page.
Email your stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officially we’ll kick off the My Heart // My Love preaching series on 27 July (in the third term) and this will also include a Love Joburg evangelism focus on Wednesday nights at Bedfordview. But let’s not wait until then! Let’s have God work on our hearts now!