Saturday, December 31, 2011

When I Am Weak, He is Strong

We're learning how to fast, what to fast and different reasons to fast, but the thing that I want us to grasp this month is that the whole point is for us to make ourselves weak so God can be strong in our lives. Everywhere you go people are bragging about themselves, how smart they are, how strong, about their grades, the lie they got away with, that they're the tallest in the class, the best at baseball, dancing, riding horses, or how many toys they got at Christmas. But God doesn't want us to be prideful about things that don't matter. He wants us to learn that if we will become humble, someone who isn't prideful but loves others more than themselves, He will be strong through us. Like this, Jesus said about that one disease in Mark 9, "this kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting." in other words, we can't heal that person, but if we humble ourselves and pray and desire God more than we want food or TV, or video games, He will be strong through us and then when we pray... things change.

2s Lesson: This month 2s will learn about God keeping David safe when he defeated Goliath

3s Lesson: This week’s lesson is about Jesus calming the storm as he traveled with the disciples

4s Lesson: Will be learning about God creating the earth and ways we can thank God for creating the world

5s Lesson: This week’s lesson is about God taking care of Elijah by sending ravens with food to eat

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wait Training

We are about to bust through the doors of 2012 and with that we are going to be starting a new series with the grade schoolers about the purpose and power of prayer and fasting (say that line again). As Pastor Josh leads us through the BE Series and we join together in fasting, your children will be learning about the "hows," "what's" and "why's" of prayer and fasting.

January is easily one of my favorite months when it comes to what we learn about together as an entire church and the amazing chance you have as parents to take what you know and learn about prayer and fasting and bring it to your family's dinner table. I strongly encourage you to take some time and decide on ways the whole family can get involved and even write down prayer requests that the family can intercede for, together. If you need a place to start or to get some ideas from, I came across this Kid's Fasting Calendar that will be a great resource for any family.


In our series Wait Training, your 1-5 graders will be learning about how to wait on the Lord and that "when I am weak, then I am strong." We will be exploring the areas of:
Jan. 1 - "Humility," defining fasting and making myself weak through fasting.
Jan. 8 - "What Prayer Exercises Can I Do?"
Jan. 15 - "How Can I Hear God Speaking?"
Jan. 22 - "What Happens When I See Nothing Happen?"


What are some prayer focuses and ways your family is getting involved in January's fast?


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Glory of Christmas

Recently while riding in the car with my wife and listening to Christmas music, she briefly made the comment, "Isn't it great that once a year the world witnesses to itself about Jesus?" It was a short comment and wasn't followed with any conversation, but every since she mentioned that I have been thinking about the glory of Christmas.


Of coarse we can focus on the commercialization of the holiday or the fact that, politically we're not suppose to say Merry Christmas, but the reality is, when everything is stripped away, there is still a solid structure that this holiday is built on - the love, generosity and kindness of the Creator and how His desire has always been to be in relationship with us as a race and as individuals.

So, Merry Christmas. I hope this year you are able to take a moment and experience God's love, generosity and kindness through every sense and through the people around you. And that even more than in previous years you experience His love and desire for you, His beloved child.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Myrrh the Merrier

Not to be confused with the sound a bored cow makes, myrrh is the third and final gift that we discussed in Kidz Express in our series Happy Birthday, Jesus! Last week we spoke about how Jesus is not only our King and High Priest who links us to the Father, but He also is our sacrifice that atones for our sin and makes us righteous in the eyes of His Father and ours. Just as gold is to royalty and frankincense is to priesthood, myrrh is the gift the Magi brought to signify and honor Jesus for His great sacrifice through His death on the cross, and causes us to respond by saying, "Jesus is My Life Saver."

5/K Lesson: This week’s lesson is about Balaam and his talking donkey and how God wants us to listen for his voice.

4s Lesson: We will learn how Joseph showed God’s love to his brothers when he forgave them for sending him away to Egypt.

3s Lesson: This week’s lesson is all about “Jesus is Born!” and how Jesus is God’s precious gift for us.

2s Lesson: This month the 1s and 2s will be learning about the birth of Jesus through hands on activities such as playing with baby dolls in little mangers

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Asking the Right Questions

Have you ever been completely at a loss and bewildered at something that your child has done? First let me just say that you are not alone and if you need to weep on someone's shoulder, we have operators standing by. Secondly, something I have been learning lately that may be a helpful tool for you, is making sure that instead of switching into the disciplinarian role, I stay in the teacher role. I do this by asking two very important and strategic questions. Why and what's next?

Often times when someone acts or says something that is against our values or expectations our first response is to react and ask something like, "WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU THINKING!" or "WHAT DID YOU JUST DO!" Although these questions sometimes get answered, it doesn't really satisfy what we're trying to ask and the conclusion or changed behavior we want the other person to come to. It's kind of like trying to kill a tree by clipping off all the leaves. Although you may see some change in the tree, it is never really effective in changing the tree's behavior - the leaves come back next year. However, if you go for the tree's roots, it changes the "leaf growing" behavior extremely.

In the same way, when we ask, "what did you do," we're not actually targeting the root of the issue. When we ask "why did you just make that decision," we can approach the issue in the teacher role and help the child understand why they made that decision, why they are suffering the consequences, and how to make the right decision the next time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Frankenstein and Myrrh???

Kidz Express attendee: "Pastor Rob, why did the wise men bring Frankenstein to Jesus for His birthday?"
Pastor Rob: "oh, child, my sides are aching..."

Why did the magi bring frankincense to Jesus and what was its significance? Frankincense was one of the main ingredients used to make the incense that burned in the tabernacle in the mornings and evenings. It was a holy recipe that was forbidden to be used in homes or for common use. The reason the magi brought it to Jesus was to symbolize and honor Him as our High Priest. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus we are able to have relationship with the Father, Jesus is our mediator and link to a holy God. (Ex. 30:34-38, Heb. 8)

5/K Lesson: We will focus on Genesis 3:1-24 and the account of Satan tempting Adam and Eve in the garden. We will learn that God loves us and knows what is best for us so we should obey Him.

4s Lesson: We will learn about Joseph’s jealous brothers and how God wants us to be loving to others even if we are mad or jealous.

3s Lesson: We will talk about Jesus loving us and how he wants to be our friend. We will hear the story about Jesus healing a man whose friends had lowered him down through the ceiling.

2s: Lesson: This month the 1s and 2s will be learning about the birth of Jesus through hands on activities such as playing with baby dolls in little mangers


Friday, December 2, 2011

Great Kid's Media

If you're anything like me you are very skeptical about the quality of Christian products - after all, if we serve the Creator shouldn't we be the most inventive? Lately there have been some great improvements and strides forward in the quality and creativity of Christian resources and they actually reflect the decade that we live in.

Here are a couple "kid tested, Pastor Rob" approved items that I would highly recommend to parents looking for some cool media for their kids:

What's In the Bible? DVDs - I tried to call watching these "research", but I'll be honest, it was wildly entertaining! Check out the website here. What’s in the Bible? is a new DVD series from VeggieTales® creator Phil Vischer designed to walk kids and families through the entire Bible. DVDs 1-5 (Genesis – 2 Samuel) are available now.

The Rizers CDs - I think most of the Bible memorization music for kids I've heard was written and recorded in the 80s - but this music is current and well written too! Check out their website here.

If you're ever looking for a Bible that is easy for kids to understand but doesn't water down the gospel, this is often what I use and I would highly recommend. Check it out on amazon here.

And since apparently this blog turned into an infomercial, here is a great book I recommend to all parents. Loving Our Kids on Purpose combines the principles of the Kingdom of God and revival to form a powerful strategy for parents. Check it out on amazon here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Have you ever wondered why the Wise men brought Jesus gifts and what their significance was? This month in grade school we are going to be starting a new series called Happy Birthday Jesus! We will be exploring the gifts that the Wise Men brought to Jesus and why they were significant. This week we will be talking about the Gift of Gold and how this is a gift befitting the King of kings.

Now unless you are keeping a secret from all your friends and neighbors, I doubt any of us have a wealth of gold laying around that we could wrap and FedEx up to heaven (if so, I accept donations...), but there are ways that we can honor Jesus as our King. We will be brainstorming ways in our service to do just this, so challenge your grade schoolers this week to honor Jesus by talking to Him, asking for help when they need it, being thankful, and obeying their parents (I thought you might like this last one).

5/K Lesson: We will explore God creating the animals as told in Genesis 1:1-25. The lesson focuses on the concept that God is loving, so we thank God for animals.

4s Lesson: We will hear the story of Joseph and his Special Coat. The Lesson centers around the concept that God is loving, so we love others.

3s Lesson: We will learn about how God protected Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

2s Lesson: We're discovering how God takes care of us through the story about Noah and the Ark

No Kidz Quest or Cadre 5.0 tomorrow due to the Thanksgiving weekend. Next Sunday, Dec. 4, is our last week of KQ & C5 until January 8. 


HOPE YOU ALL HAD A GREAT THANKSGIVING!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh

As you will be seeing in a post this coming weekend we are going to be discussing the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus and what their significance was. In some of my research I came across this blog post from a pastor in Georgia named Steve Whipple who describes how they work out their gift giving for a family of 10. I really like the idea he talks about and thought it may be helpful to a few of us.

People ask us from time to time how we do Christmas with 8 children. Well, we’ve done a variety of things over the years, but we have always kept it simple. We don’t put this huge emphasis on Santa and we only give a couple of gifts to each. 
We draw names among the kids. They used to try and buy each sibling something, but as the family grew it just became more practical to draw names. They really enjoy doing this too. Searching for that special gift. We give them a budget (usually $5) and they get to pick a special gift for their siblings. Sometimes they will make gifts too. My oldest daughter knitted scarves for her younger sisters last year.
In recent years we have settled on buying each child “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh” gifts. This is not original to us, but I share it as a possibility for your family too. It really helps keep the perspective of Christmas.
The GOLD gift is something they want…a toy, gadget or something. Not something ridiculously expensive, mind you. The FRANKINCENSE is something they need…usually a clothing item. While the MYRRH is something spiritual…a Bible, devotional book, Christian CD, etc. The total for all these gifts per child may be $25-35 or less. Even at that, it can get expensive. We usually set a total budget and divide it out based on what we can afford. (We NEVER use credit cards..aren’t you proud Dave Ramsey?) However, we have never put a big emphasis on buying lots of expensive gifts. We shop sales and use discounts and coupons as much as we can. Sometimes a toy or game may be given to more than one child, combining the gift. This is helpful on the budget too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 12 Memory Makers For the Holidays

I was thinking today about all the great things I used to do when I was young during the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I grew up close to a lot of my family and all the cousins would get together and have a lot of fun. So I thought between yours and my childhood memories we could come up with some fun things to do during the holidays.

By the way, this is my official disclaimer that these ideas come from a mid 20s man and may be less than perfectly safe for all age groups...

Number 12.
Winter picnic. Every year my dad would load us all up and drive into the mountains where we'd have a picnic or roast hot dogs. Sometimes there would be 3-4 feet of snow where we'd go so we'd take along the sleds too.

Number 11.
Bowling.

Number 10.
Christmas movie marathon - libraries are a great free resource!

Number 9.
Hooky-bobbing. Ok, so here is where my previous disclaimer may be most useful. In Montana we don't salt the roads so it was easy to do locally, but around here you may need a snowmobile or 4-wheeler. We would  hook a sled up to the back of a suburban and my dad or an uncle would drive us around. The nice thing with this is you can moderate your speed according to the age of your rider.
Not what I had in mind...
Number 8.
Shovel a random driveway.

Number 7.
Search for great Christmas light displays.

Number 6.
Serving a meal at a homeless shelter. I don't think I did this until I was in middle school and I did it with my Boy Scout troop, but it was very eye opening and to this day I still have a heart for the homeless.

Number 5.
Ice skating. Manhattan Square Park in Rochester is fantastic and only costs $2 to skate and $3 for rentals. (Kathryn and I went there after I proposed last December).

Number 4.
Sledding or ice blocking. If you have never been ice-blocking before prepare to be amazed. This is basically what you do when there is no snow for sledding. Go to your local grocery store and buy a solid block of ice. Take said ice to a hill and lay a dish towel over the top (this keeps your bum slightly warmer and actually grips to the ice much better). Be ready for a wild ride, these things go much faster than you'd think.

Number 3.
Cards and board games! Monopoly and Yahtzee are personal favorites.

Number 2.
Matinee. Our family tradition is to see a matinee together on Christmas Day.

Number 1.
Collect cans (and search your couch) and give the change to the Salvation Army Red Kettle workers.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Thanksgiving Charade

Almost as amazing as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, this week we are putting a challenge to your grade schoolers to see which team can come up with the best skit about what actually happened almost 250 years ago. We will also talk about how, thousands of years before the very first thanksgiving, the Israelites would give offerings to God called peace offerings or thanksgiving offerings. This was a way for them to thank God and unlike most of the other offerings, after the sacrifice of the animals and bread and drinks was made, the one who offered it up to God was able to eat it with his or her family & friends. This was a way to symbolize that the person who offered it was at peace with God and in relationship with Him. See Leviticus 7.

5/K Lesson: Exploring what it means to praise Jesus through the story about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a Donkey.

4s Lesson: Learning that God is loving and we can trust him as shown the story of Noah and the rainbow in the sky.

3s Lesson: Learning that God helps us do great things through activities based on David and Goliath.

2s Lesson: Discovering how God takes care of us through the story about Noah and the Ark

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sunday Nov. 13

Hey Parents Express- 
Remember that this Sunday all grade schoolers will be joining you in the main service. Kidz Express for Nursery and Preschool will still be open.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

David vs. Goliath

I recently heard about a man who paid his son to memorize the speech that David gave to Goliath right before his gruesome battle. He knew that if he could instill into his son what it meant to have "the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel" on your side, how much different his life would be. Essential, we hear David saying, "my Dad can beat up your dad."

I don't know why as a child it seems so important for us to have a dad who can beat up everyone else's dad, but I know that on more than one occasion those words came out of my mouth. Maybe it has something to do with knowing and believing that we are secure in who our father is, or our identity, and the authority that comes with being in a family line that holds power and position. I'm not saying that power and position is something that you yourself need to provide for your children, but teaching them that this is already provided for them through their relationship with a heavenly Father. I'm also not saying that this should be a place for us or our children to use our relationship with God to become a bully or push people around with the Law, but to realize as David did, that he had the ability to protect the innocent and stand up for what was right because of his identity.


To often we try to protect others by denying them access to powerful tools because of our fear of their destructive capabilities rather than giving them appropriate instruction in how to properly use those powerful tools. Identity can be one of those powerful tools, check out 1 Samuel 17 and Ephesians 1 for a glimpse at who we are in Christ.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stones of Remembrance

Joshua 4:20-22: And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' Tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground'" (NIV). 

The memorial of twelve stones was a great reminder of God's grace and power. When Israelite children saw it, they would hear the story and learn about God. It kept God's faithfulness fresh in their parent's minds too. All of us have memories of answered prayers and of God's work in our lives. How often do you share these stories with your children? Faced with trials, it can be easy to focus on our fear rather than remembering how God has provided for us in the past.

Each time you experience God's grace, make a memorial of the occasion in your mind (you might even write it down). These are your stones of remembrance.

Offer strength and encouragement by sharing your stories of God's faithfulness with your children.

Visit parentingbydesign.com for more resources and updates to help you parent by God's perfect design.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sunday Sept. 4


This Sunday is our Hoogle Boogle Express Test. A review game we play every month to talk about what we learned over the past few Sundays. Here are some review questions for the month of August. 
  1. The last 2 months we have been learning about the six what? (express truths)
  2. Express Truth #4 says, “I can make the right what?” (choice)
  3. When we make right choices, what kind of consequences do we get? (good)
  4. Tell us about a good consequence you got last week?
  5. Express Truth #5 is a lot like the golden rule and says what? (just as God has treated me with love, I treat others with love.)
  6. The best way for us to learn is to see someone else’s example – what did Jesus do for the disciples and what example was he trying to set? (washed their feet, set a loving, good example)
  7. Finish this sentence, With Jesus, nothing ____ _____________?” (is impossible)
  8. Just like putting mentos in soda, what happens when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit? (we’re filled with power)
  9. How old were the disciples when Jesus asked them to follow Him? (teenagers)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kidz Quest

Kidz Quest is a discipleship program tailored especially for your grade schoolers from 6-8pm on Sunday nights during the school year. Starting September 11 we will be kicking off Kidz Quest for the school year and will be taking 28 weeks to look through the life of Jesus and into the days of the early church. We also have childcare available for infants-preschool from 6-8pm. 

We encourage you to Check Out One of Our Community Groups and bring your kids by the church from 6-8pm.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You Have The Power to Do The Impossible

How many times have you read the words of Jesus, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these..." and didn't pause long enough to think about what he meant or wrote it off as something that didn't imply doing the impossible? Or maybe doing the impossible is only intended for a small portion of the truly dedicated Christian population? I know there have been countless times when I wouldn't allow God to do the impossible through me because of my unbelief, doubt, or because I was too terrified to be obedient... and honestly it will probably happen again. But the reality is that Jesus says that "whoever believes" meaning all those who believe have access to a power in God that is as easy and natural for Him as it is for us to breathe.What if we could begin to train ourselves to quiet the arguments our minds make, or the lies the enemy feeds us and begin to move in this way?

This brings us to our 6th and final Express Truth, "With Jesus, Nothing is Impossible." This Sunday we are going to briefly look at the lives of the disciples and their journey from uneducated fishermen and tradesmen to Spirit filled miracles workers and what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

You Have the Power to Love Others.

This Sunday we will be looking at Express Truth #5 - Just as God has treated me with Love, I treat others with LOVE. If you didn't notice, this is a variation on the golden rule: Treat other the way you want to be treated, which comes from Jesus's sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:12.

Jesus was by far the best example we have of following this truth and if we set ourselves up to follow His example we will ultimately fulfill this truth without even trying. Unfortunately it is so easy for us to put ourselves before others and even forget why this is not a good practice. But as we reflect on God's eternal love for us, we see that even when it's hard, even we have been wronged, just as God loved us while we were in our sin, we can love others when they are nice to us or mean to us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Encouraging your kids

For whatever reason there are those of us who have a natural ability to encourage and inspire others. In fact it is even attributed as a gifting that God gives some and it doesn't take long to realize who those people are. But for the rest of us (fortunately) we're not necessarily off the hook in this department, especially when you have kids. It becomes our responsibility to be our children's greatest encouragers. This doesn't mean that we become unrealistic or unauthentic in the way we encourage them, but we do need to realize the importance and even the power of encouraging others. Recently I came across this blog by Carey Nieuwhof about his struggle in learning a balance in encouraging his kids. Check out his post How to encourage your kids to read more.

If you need some help getting started, here are 101 ways to praise your child.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Discipline and Love

As hard as it is to deliver a consequence to a child for a bad choice, the alternative can often be even worse. When I am tempted to forego discipline, I have to ask myself, "What is the most loving thing I can do for this child?" In almost every case, the answer is to give the child the consequence he has earned, so he can learn the lesson God has designed for him.

A good consequence, delivered with empathy, demonstrates love and respect for your child's freedom to choose and his ability to learn from the consequence of a bad decision. The author of Hebrews says it well: "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Heb 12:11).

Post provided by Parenting by Design

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Express Truth #3

Warren W. Wiersbe explains to us that when God spreads His Word there are 4 different types of responses that we can have according to Matthew 13. The hard heart which has no place for the Word of God and therefore the enemy comes and steals the word just as a bird eats seeds off of the ground. The shallow heart which has an emotional response to the Word of God but as soon as difficult situations come along, gives up just as a plant withers in the hot sun. The crowded heart which receives the Word of God but never cleans out the old ways of thinking and therefore the Word of God is lost among the worries, lusts and cares of life. And finally the fruitfull heart that receives God's Word and understands it. The fruitful heart is the one that hears God and jumps into action at what He says.

When we position ourselves to be like good soil for a seed, we come across the reality of Express Truth #3, "God speaks to me through His Word and by His Spirit." This week we will be acting out the parable of the sower and learning about what it means to tune into God just as a radio tunes into a station. God is speaking to us constantly through the Bible, to us directly, through what we learn in church and even what our parents tell us, but it takes practice to learn how to hear and understand what He is saying.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Express Truths

If you sat down and thought through the lessons that you would like your children to learn before they strike off on their own, or even by the time they reach a certain age, what would those lessons be? Over the past several months I have been praying and seeking God about what it is I would like to impart to the children that pass through our ministry before they move into OutBreak with Pastor Seth.

A few months ago, once I solidified the six major truths I would like to impart, I decided that I wanted to really launch these truths when we welcomed our new 1st graders. So throughout this month and next we are going to explore our 6 Express Truths that will be a major part of what we learn throughout the entire year. I plan on developing each lesson and series to focus on one of the 6 truths whether we're learning about prayer, fasting, worship, money, bullies, obedience or any other type of life lessons or lesson from the Bible.

Last Sunday we focused on Express Truth #1 "I am a child of God the King" and learned that no matter what happens to us, or the choices we make, it will never change the fact that God loves us and He is our creator.

This week we are focusing on Express #2 "I can trust God no matter what". We will be looking at the life of Joseph and learning that even when bad things happen, I can trust God, when God asks me to do scary things, I can trust God, or when I am concerned with my well being, I can trust God.

So talk with your kids this week and ask them what types of things they find hard to trust God with, share some times when you had to trust God, and pray with them to choose to Trust God no matter what!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kingdom Conference


Elim Gospel Church will be hosting an awesome conference this fall. We are featuring guest worship leader, Kent Henry, and the outstanding ministry of Jack Taylor, Bishop Joseph Garlington, and Leif Hetland.

The Kingdom Conference is a great opportunity to experience God and get refreshed at the beginning of the school year. I would highly recommend bringing your grade schoolers for one or more of the meetings to help enrich and empower them as well.

For more information Click Here to check out our website.

video

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Move Up Sunday/Water Baptism

Hey Parentz-
All Aboard the Express Train
This Sunday we have 2 very special reasons for you and your children to make it out to Kidz Express. The first is that we will be celebrating the arrival of our new 1st graders into the Grade School Ministry. Parents of new 1st graders are welcome to join us with their children for the entire service as we give them a tour of our regular Sunday morning service, worship, games and as we start our series All Aboard the Express Train where we'll explore the first 3 of 6 truths that we believe and focus on in Kidz Express.

Also, during second service I will be teaching a class from 10:45-11:05am for any grade schoolers interested in being water baptized on July 17. This opportunity is open to anyone who has confessed Jesus as the leader of their life and would like to declare that publicly. Please let me know if your children are interested by emailing me at robhagstrom@elimgospel.org. (Parents, if you would also like to be water baptized, email Pastor Eric Scott at ericscott@elimgospel.org)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Aint No Boogle like a Hoogle Boogle!

Yep that's right, this Sunday is our Hoogle Boogle Express Test. A game show style service where we review everything we learned for the month, and hand out free prizes to the most knowledgeable. Here are the review questions we will be covering in our small groups before our challenges start:

  1. What were some of the weird things God asked Ezekiel to do? (cook with poo, lie on his side for 430 days, speak to a valley of dry bones)
  2. What is hard about being obedient to God?
  3. What happened to the valley of dry bones when Ezekiel spoke to them? (they came to life)
  4. Why do you think it’s so easy to think about ourselves?
  5. What was Esther’s cousin’s name? (Mordecai)
  6. How would you have felt if you were Esther? Scared? Nervous? Excited?
  7. What could have happened when Esther went to see the king? (she could have been killed)
  8. Do you think you would have risked your life to help others like Esther did? Why or why not?
  9. John the Baptist was a little weird, what were some things he did that were weird? (wore camel hair, ate locusts, lived alone in the desert)
  10. Why do you think people are embarrassed to talk about what they believe about Jesus?
  11. What are some of the reasons why you asked Jesus to be the leader of your life?
  12. Why should we tell people about Jesus? (so they can live in heaven too, to be blessed, to be healed, have peace etc. etc. etc.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

WEiRD like the Baptist

Weird means odd, different from the rest, unusual, abnormal, or strange. Following Jesus should make us weird in a good way, weird in a God way. Most people think that we should keep our opinion and belief in God to ourselves and not push our ideas on others. It’s weird to talk openly about believing in God and having a relationship with Jesus. Most people who do believe in God or Jesus act shy about sharing the Good News about Jesus with others. It’s weird to boldly talk about Jesus and not be embarrassed about your faith. We should never be ashamed of Jesus and how He is changing us from the inside out. Sharing that is not only good news, it’s powerful and will save other people’s lives too. John the Baptizer ate weird things, dressed weird, and challenged people with weird teachings even when it made people really angry to be confronted with their sin. If you decide to be weird like John the Baptizer, you may look different, dress different, talk different, or even eat different, but your life will be all about pointing others toward Jesus.

Catch Phrase:
I don’t need to be like the world, I am called to be different – set apart, holy.

Scripture Verse:
Romans 1:16
"For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes…"

Discussion Questions:
1. Share what you think is the weirdest smell on earth.
2. Why do you think people are embarrassed to talk about what they believe about Jesus?
3. Why do you think God wants us to tell others about our relationship with Jesus?
4. If you are a Christ follower, what are some ways you can tell other people about Jesus?
5. Some of you may not even know what it means to be a Christian or a Christ follower. Do you have any questions about what it means?


Material and image from LifeChurch.tv's "Weird" series.

Friday, June 10, 2011

WEiRD like the Queen

Weird means odd, different from the rest, unusual, abnormal, or strange. Following Jesus should make us weird in a good way, weird in a God way. Most people only think about themselves and what is in their own best interest. It’s weird not to be selfish and think of what’s best for others. Most people are just polite because they have to and many are just plain uncaring about others. It’s weird to really care for others and be willing to step in to help them out. People are naturally selfish. Changing this pattern of thinking takes God transforming us into a new person. Allowing God to make you new will also make you weird. It would have been safer and easier for Esther to just go on living in the palace and ignore the danger her people were in. She risked her safety and comfortable lifestyle to do what she knew was right. She risked her life to save other people’s lives. If you decide to be weird like Esther, you may be called upon to do something really risky and difficult but you will be showing the world what God’s power can do when we trust in Him.

Catch Phrase:
I don’t need to be like the world, I am called to be different – set apart, holy.

Scripture Verse:
2 Timothy 3:12
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…

Discussion Questions:
1. Why do you think it’s so easy to think about ourselves??
2. How would you have felt if you were Esther? Scared? Nervous? Excited?
3. Do you think you would have risked your life to help others like Esther did? Why or why not?
4. Name some ways you could be weird and stand up for what’s right, even when it costs you something.




Material and image from LifeChurch.tv's "Weird" series.

Friday, June 3, 2011

WEiRD

Depending on the type of person you may be, hearing that word spoken about you is either a compliment or an insult. But as the old saying goes, "Normal is just a setting on a dryer." This month we are going to be exploring some of the weird things that God asked His people to do in the Old Testament and discuss whether or not He would ever put an "un-normal" challenge to us.

Let's face it, if we choose to live life God's way, people are going to think we're WEiRD. The choices we make, the values we have, the way we spend our time and money, even the way we think and talk will be different from everyone else. We aren’t supposed to be like the world. We are called to be different—set apart, holy. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could go on living like everyone else. To be like Him we should be weird.

This week we are going to look at the life of Ezekiel and see if he was truly WEiRD or if he just talked the talk.

Catch Phrase:
I don’t need to be like the world, I am called to be different – set apart, holy.

Scripture Verse:
Galatians 1:10,
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

Discussion Questions:
1. What is the weirdest thing you have ever had to eat?
2. Have you ever seen someone do something really weird?
3. What were some of the weird things Ezekiel did?
4. Why do you think God asks us to do things that may seem weird?
5. Is it hard to obey God when others may think its weird?
6. Look up this week’s verse, Galatians 1:10, what do you think God is trying to teach us?


Material and image from LifeChurch.tv's "Weird" series.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home School vs. Public School vs. Christian School

I know that for many different people there are different reasons and methods of getting the same thing done. We all like to do things the way we do them and sometimes it can seem completely foreign to us why, "those people do it that way." But what I am coming to learn is because God has created us all so uniquely, even in the way our brains operate and the way we make decisions and process information, we can come to different conclusion because there is not a black and white answer. And to go a step further, at times our passion and love for doing what we do in the way we want it done, can cause us to contort our faces when others do it differently.

One of those hot topics can be the area of whether or not we home school our kids, send them to public school or to a private school. What's the right answer? Maybe you're saying, "well Pastor Rob, there is no "right" answer..." but privately in your head you're saying, "...but all the brilliant, beautiful parents who really love their children _____________."

Recently I came across a blog where the author has spent a significant amount of time looking into this very dibate. I want to pass along what Pastor Sam Luce has concluded on the matter, and even though all of his ideas and arguments may not be how I would say them, I do feel like he gives us a great starting point, especially if you have ever or will ever try to answer this question for yourself and your family.

Check out his blog Homeschool, Public School, Christian School: Conclusion and if you're interested you can check out these blogs as well:

4 reasons I WOULD send my kid to Public School
4 Reasons NOT to send your kid to Public School
4 reasons I WOULD send my kid to Christian School
4 reasons NOT to send your kids to Christian School
4 Reasons to Homeschool your kids
4 reasons NOT to Homeschool your kids.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hoogle Boogle Express Test 5/29

Happy Memorial Day weekend-
Hope you all have plans that will be fun and relaxing. Remember to hug a veteran this weekend.

Because of the holiday weekend we will not be having Kidz Quest this Sunday.

Sunday morning is Hoogle Boogle.
Hoogle Boogle is a review game that we play at the end of most months to go over what we have learned in Kidz Express. Below are some review questions you can go over with your grade schoolers to help them get ready.

1. What do you think is the weirdest way for humans to communicate to one another?
2. What would you do if you could not speak to anyone?
3. Do you think you have ever heard God and if so what did He say?
4. What does PASS stand for? (Pray, Ask, Step out, Stop)
5. What do the letters in the ACTSS model of prayer stand for? (Adore, Confess, Thanks, Supply, Silence)
6. When we pray for supply what are we praying for? (what we need and what others need)
7. When you’re praying the Adore part – how can you describe God? (beautiful, mighty, loving, forgiving, etc. etc. etc.)
8. What are the 4 different places that thoughts come from when we’re trying to hear from God? (flesh, friends/family, devil, God)
9. What is one of the best ways of identifying which voice is God’s? (everything He says is out of LOVE)
10. How many people in this room has God spoken to? (everyone)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hear Ye Hear Ye

Here's a look at some upcoming 'happenings' in Kidz Express:

May 29 - No Kidz Quest due to Memorial Day - feel free to hug a veteran.

May 29 - Camp Judah Registration Table opens Sunday morning. Please make sure you turn in all forms (registration, medical and rock wall - using the rock wall is optional).

Also, every camper is receiving a $25 discount towards camp from the EGC Open. Registration can also be turned in to the main office.

June 5 - Camp Registrations are due. Any turned in after the 5th will be charged a $20 late fee. We cannot accept registrations that are incomplete, do not have a medical form signed by a physician or are not paid in full.

June 12 - Last Kidz Quest of the school year. See you in September!

June 26 thru July 1 - Camp Judah. 

July 3 - Good-bye Ceremony for our 6th graders.

July 10 - Move Up Sunday. Parents of new 1st graders are welcome to join us for the entire service.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hearing Requires Listening

All month long we have been discussing if it is possible to hear from God and if so, HOW? This Sunday we are going to discover that we have all heard from God but we need to learn how to differentiate between what He is saying, what our flesh, our friends and the enemy is saying to us.

One of the best ways to know which one is God's voice is because everything He says to us is out of LOVE - spell that with me L-O-V-E. God is never going to say anything to us that is mean, will hurt us or lead us to hurt others. God will never say "that person just cheated off of your homework at school, you should go yell at them, call them a bad name and then hit them." However, just because it's out of love doesn't mean it will be easy, but we know that God wont ever harm us and that He loves us more than we can imagine!

Then enough with the talking, we are going to take some time in our service to wait on the Lord with pencils and paper ready and listen to what He is saying.

Verse:
John 10:27 "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

Friday, May 13, 2011

ACTSS

This week we will be getting a visit from another familiar friend to Kids Express who will be helping us to dive into our next lesson. Andrew Danglis will be looking at how we can help get the lines of communication open to God so that we can position ourselves for His Downloads. The ACTSS model of prayer is a great tool for all believers to help them in their prayer life.

A - Adoration, start praying by worshiping God for who He is and what He has done for us.
C - Confess any sins, attitudes, or mindsets that could hinder your relationship with Him.
T - Thanksgiving, express how grateful you are for what God has done for you personally and focus on the ways He has blessed you.
S - Supply, ask Him for the things that you need in your life.
S - Silence, don't hog all the air space, give God a chance to speak back to you and let your prayer times be a 2-way conversation.

Verse:
Luke 11:1-4


Discussion Q's:
1) How did you feel being alone talking to God?
2) What did you tell God that you adored about him?
3) When do you think you can do this at home?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hearing From God - Is It His Will?

This Sunday we have a special guest speaker coming to discuss our next lesson in Download from.GOD. Karen Lampson, our former Express 56 Director, will be looking into the scriptures with us and helping us to understand if what we're hearing is actually from God or just something we made up.


Mrs. Lampson will be helping us not to let His voice PASS us by.
P - Pray for God's will, not your own. Is. 55:8
A - Ask, is this consistant with the Word of God?
S - Step out in faith.
S - Stop, listen and wait on the Lord.

Verse:
Isaiah 55:8
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

Discussion Q's:
1. What are some things that people might ask God about or “seek His will” about?
2. Tell about a time when you asked God to help you and He did.
3. What does PASS stand for? Is there anything else you can do to help you know what God’s will is?
4. What happens if we think we know what God wants and it ends up being the wrong thing?
5. What is something that you can PASS on this week at school or home?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

No Kidz Quest

Parents,

We Do Not Have Kidz Quest This Sunday, May 8th. Enjoy Your Mother's Day Festivities!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Download from.GOD

This month we are starting a new series where we will be exploring if God still speaks to people like He did in the Bible and how do we become the type of people who can hear and understand what He is saying.

This past Sunday we discussed different ways that God communicates to us and what can hinder us from hearing God, such as sin, the devil, and us choosing not to listen or by being too distracted.

Memory Verse:
Matthew 11:15
“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

Discussion Q's:
1. What do you think is the weirdest way for humans to communicate to one another?
2. What would you do if you could not speak to anyone?
3. Do you think you have ever heard God and if so what did He say?
4. Would you like to hear God better and more often – it is going to take some hard work but with practice you can start learning what God’s voice sounds like.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

No Kidz Quest

Parents,

We Do Not Have Kidz Quest This Sunday, April 24th. Enjoy Your Easter Festivities!

He Is Risen!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Come One Come All

Howdy Folks!
Remember to come out to the Pancake Breakfast this Saturday from 9-10am or 10:30-11:30am. This is a great chance to help support some young people in their quest to make it to Camelot... uh... I mean Camp Judah. So bring your family and friends and come hungry!

Not only are we going to have some great pancakes, but we'll also be serving scrambled eggs, bacon (mmm bacon), fresh fruit and coffee! Maybe next year we'll call it the "Not Just Pancakes Breakfast."


Tickets at the door will be $7 for adults (13 & older), $6 for kids and 3 and under eat free!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lost!!!

This month we are going to be starting a new series called Case File: Jesus Christ. We will be investigating the life of Jesus, what other's said about him, what he said about himself, what God said about him, and what he did while he was here on earth.

This week we will checking out a video from Pastor Craig Groeschel's children's ministry at LifeChurch.tv about how just like a LOST pet, Jesus came to seek us so that we could have relationship with him again.

Verse:
Isaiah 53:6
NLT “All of us… have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own…”

Discussion Q's:
1. Tell everyone your name and what kind of pet you would like to have if you could tame any animal in the world.
2. Have you ever lost a pet before – how did you feel – how do you think you would feel if you lost your pet?
3. Have you ever been lost or got separated from your parents? Tell us what was going through your mind?
4. When we sin it separates us from God as if we are lost. But He sent His Son Jesus down to the earth to find us. And we can return to God if we ask Him into our lives by asking for forgiveness from our sins and inviting Jesus to be the leader of our lives. Have you asked God to find you?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hoogle Boogle Express Test

This Sunday is our Hoogle Boogle Express Test, a review we play at the end of every series to go over what we have learned. Here are some review questions you can go over with your grade schoolers:

1. What does ETSSG stand for? (earning, tithing, saving, spending, giving)
2. Why is it important for you to honor God with your money? (God will bless us if we do)
3. What are some good ways that you can earn some money?
4. How can we honor God with the way we earn our money? (do a job/chore well and until it's complete)
5. What does God mean when He asks for our firstfruits? (the first money we spend)
6. Are there any other examples of firstfruits in the Bible? (God gave His first Son)
7. List as many different kinds of blessings God could give us as possible.
8. What is the definition of “save”? (to set aside or reserve)
9. What are ways we can save money?
10. What are reasons we would want to save?
11. How can we honor God and spend our money at the same time? (tithe and save before spending)
12. What does it mean to "Stop and Think"? (take time to think about your purchase)
13. Paul talked about there being 7 gifts in Romans 12:6-8, try to come up with all 7. (prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, showing kindness)
14. What kinds of things can we give to others? (money, compliments, love, gifts, hugs, etc.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

HELP!

Have you ever wished you could come across some material that would help you with question you have about parenting or even general "life" questions? I want to highlight the above page that I added to the blog just in case you missed it or have been wondering to yourself, "What is this HELP! page that Pastor Rob added to the top of the Parentz Express blog and does it have anything that can be useful to me? If only he would expound on it some." (come on, you know you were just wondering that last Thursday...)

This is something that I came across recently that is full of advice for many of those tough parenting situations that can leave you scratching your head, pulling out your hair or even sobbing quietly in the basement when the rest of the family thinks you're just looking in the freezer for some fish sticks.

In the HELP! page there is a link to a trusted site from Focus on the Family called "Troubled With" which covers topics such as, Abuse & Addiction, Life Pressures, Love & Sex, Parenting Children, Parenting Teens, Relationships - such as divorce or blended families, and Transitions - such as adoption or moving.

So next time you are on your way back from "the freezer in the basement", check out the HELP! page.