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.