Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Understanding Your Toddler

(This is the second of an 8 part series on Understanding Your Youngster. Check back each week for helpful, age specific information on how to help your child's spiritual development and creating a godly foundation.)
"Moral intelligence means how we behave. It's moral behavior tested by life, lived out in the course of everyday experience. We live out what we presumably want taught to our children. They are taking constant notice and measuring us not by what we say but what we do."   Robert Coles
I'm a toddler. Welcome to my world! I'm inquisitive and like to do things on my own time table. One of my favorite words is "no." I like to do things myself. Join me in my journey and see how I do life!

  • While experiencing God's love, I need to hear and be reminded of simple Bible truths such as:
    • I am loved.
    • Jesus loves me.
    • I can thank Jesus for my family and my food.
  • Model God's love by being consistent. It helps me to see the same faces and hear the same voices weekly in my church community. This provides feelings of safety and security which are building blocks leading me to trust in God and others. 
  • Pray consistently for me and with me. I experience prayer when you say, "Let's pray and talk to God." I can hold hands with others or fold my own hands. Model for me, "Dear Jesus, thank you for my snack. Amen."
  • Parental involvement in the nursery every four to six weeks is important for me to connect church and home.
  • Read me stories from a children's Bible. 
  • Music and movement help me remember what I learn about God/Jesus/the Bible.  

"Childhood is about making discoveries."
--Jean Piaget

(Information pulled from Willow Creek's "Thought You'd Like to Know" packs.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hoogle Boogle 1.29

This past Sunday we reviewed what we learned in our Wait Training Series. Here are some questions your children should be able to answer:

  1. How did we define prayer? (talking and listening to God)
  2. How did we define fasting? (giving up something you want or need to spend time with God)
  3. What type of exercise is praising and thanking Jesus like? (stretching)
  4. Just like weight lifting is difficult, what type of prayer is really difficult? (praying for and forgiving others)
  5. What type of prayer is like a cardio work out? (praying for yourself)
  6. What does it mean to pray with J. O. Y.? (Jesus, others, yourself)
  7. What are 4 ways God speaks to us? (through the Bible, listening & journaling, godly counsel, peace)
  8. We learn from the story of the persistent widow that God is good and He hears... (our prayers)
  9. BONUS Question: I can trust God... (no matter what)
  10. BONUS Question: God speaks to me through His Word and... (by His Spirit)
3s Lesson: Learned about how God answered Hannah's prayers for a baby.

4s Lesson: This week's lesson was about God creating people.

 5s Lesson: Learned how the disciples listened to Jesus' words while fishing and ended up with a miraculous catch.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Are You There, God?

What happens after we spend 21 days fasting and praying and we don't see anything happen? This is the main theme of our final lesson in Wait Training. We will be looking at the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18 and how, even though God is quite different from the unjust judge, He speaks to us on the foundation of prayer. Not that we whine until we get what we want, but that we trust Him enough to have our best interests in mind. Warren W. Wiersbe says about the contrast between the judge and the Father,
"Unless you see the contrast that Jesus is pointing out, you will get the idea that God must be 'argued' or 'bribed' into answering prayer!God is not like this judge, for God is a loving Father, who is attentive to our every cry, generous in His gifts, concerned about our needs, and ready to answer when we call. 
Therefore; our request moves from "are You there?" to "help my unbelief." Imagine what our prayers would be like if we knew and understood that God is good and He hears our prayers (Matt 7:9-11, Luke 18:1-7), He looks out for us, He loves us dearly (Jn 16:27), and He knows what we need (Ps. 131:2).

2s Lesson: Will learn about God keeping David safe when he defeated Goliath.

3s Lesson: This week’s lesson is about God creating the world

4s Lesson: Will learn about God creating the Animals

5s/K Lesson: This week we will learn about John baptizing Jesus

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Understanding Your Infant

(This is the first of an 8 part series on Understanding Your Youngster. Check back each week for helpful, age specific information on how to help your child's spiritual development and creating a godly foundation.)
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I know it." Psalm 139:13-14 NLT
I'm an infant. Welcome to my world! I'm a learning machine and changing by leaps and bounds every day. I love to eat, sleep, look, listen and touch the world around me.

  • I experience God's grace and love through people: by their body language and words, by hearing that God made me and loves me, and by experiencing God through music I like. 
  • God's  love is modeled when I see the smiling faces, hear the same loving voices and words, and experience the same affirming actions. Remind me often that: I am loved, Jesus loves me, and God made me.
  • Feelings of safety and security with people and places are building blocks that will help me later in life to trust God and others more.
  • As you care for me and hold me, pray for me and my family. Pray in such a way that I can hear your soft voice and feel that I have been blessed.
  • Parental involvement in the nursery at church every four to six weeks is important for me to connect church and home. 
"Children are born motivated, not bored. They come out into the world eager, reaching, looking and touching." --Dorothy Rich

In what ways do you like to help your infant's spiritual development; share your ideas with other parents by leaving a comment below. 

(Information pulled from Willow Creek's "Thought You'd Like to Know" packs.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

can you hear Me now?

Recently I wrote a blog about asking the right questions because often we are not getting the answer we are looking for because we haven't sought the right question. This Sunday we are going to be looking at another situation where we often ask the wrong question, "Does God ever speak to me?" The answer is yes, but the question is wrong. What we should be asking is, "Why can't I hear you, God?"

There are many ways God speaks to us, but just like building muscles or getting good at a sport, there is a lot of work that goes into perfecting the skill. Robert Morris has a great teaching on 10 ways God speaks to us called "Steward His Spoken Word," and tomorrow I am going to be focusing on 4 of these keys with your grade schoolers:
  1. Reading the Bible
  2. Listening and journaling
  3. Asking godly counsel
  4. Following Peace
2s: Will learn about God keeping David safe when he defeated Goliath.

3s: Will learn about the Jesus’ resurrection

4s: Will learn about God creating the fish and birds

5s: This week’s lesson is about Jonah and the big fish

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Understanding Your Youngster

"You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed." --Plato
Over the coarse of the next 8 weeks I am going to be writing about some helpful info that may help you  understanding your child and where they are in their developmental stage. St. Francis Xavier said,
"Give me the children until they are seven, and anyone may have them afterwards."
The more we understand about how our children are developing, what they understand, and how they deal with  tasks, information and relationships the better equipped we can be at helping them to develop strong character, morals and spiritual disciplines. So join me as we look at tips and info at how to encourage your child's spiritual and moral development so that , "when they are old, they will not depart from it." (Pro. 22:6)

What age groups will we be covering?

  • Infants 
  • Toddlers
  • Two's
  • Three's
  • Four's & Five's
  • K-1st grade
  • 2-3rd grade
  • 4-5th grade

Monday, January 9, 2012

Prayer Exercises

Yesterday your elementary kids and I explored a connection between how we exercise our bodies and how we can strengthen our prayer life through different disciplines or routines. Looking at the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, where Jesus explained to His disciples how to pray, we saw three areas to focus our prayers:

Just like stretching helps warm up your muscles so that you don't injure yourself, Jesus shows us to start off by focusing ourselves on praising the Father God. This can get us into the proper mindset and help us to pray with the heart and will of the Father.
"Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
As stretching is to praising God, weight lifting is to praying for others. When others sin against us one of the most difficult responses is to respond in love through prayer and forgiveness.
"as we have forgiven those who sin against us"
And lastly, one of the best ways to keep your body healthy is by getting your heart rate up. Cardio workouts strengthen your heart so it can take much needed oxygen throughout your body and in the same way Jesus shows us how to pray for our needs.
"Give us today the food we need, and forgive us of our sins, ...don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." 
An easy way to remember this, is to always pray with J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, Yourself)

2s: Learned about God keeping David safe when he defeated Goliath.

3s: Learned about the people praising Jesus as he rode through Jerusalem on a donkey.

4s: Learned about God creating the plants of our world.

5s: Learned about God protecting Daniel in the lion’s den.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Family Prayer Nights

Hey Parentz-
Pastor Doug and his family are starting a family prayer night specifically designed for you and your children! Come join them from 6:15-7pm on Wednesdays, January 11, 18 and 25 in the Oasis Prayer Room at EGC; and then once a month starting in February.

You are not going to want to miss this great opportunity for you to help teach your children about the importance of prayer and gathering with other believers to pray and intercede.