Cooperation

blog

 

“Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9

As kids are growing they become more aware of the people around them. They have friends on the playground or in their neighborhood. They have to work in teams to finish projects in school. If they don’t learn God’s plan for cooperation, they’ll have a difficult time getting along with people. That’s why it’s important that we take some time out to discover more about what the Bible says about cooperation.

Cooperation is actually a spiritual concept that originates with God. God designed us as human beings not only to need each other, but also to need Him. Now, it’s not like God was up in heaven desperate for some help, so He made us. No, God is all-sufficient. But, He created us so we could have a relationship with Him, and so that we could participate in His work together. In other words, God put all of us together on this planet to do more together than we could ever do alone, and in some cases—with His help—to do things that might even seem “un-doable.”

Just think about the difference you could make in your church if every parent, leader and child really bought into this spiritual concept of cooperation. The Bible is full of stories of people who came together in faith to do something they never could have done alone. We can’t wait to hear about what happens when kids start understanding God’s design for cooperation.

This month, think about this question: “What can you do together?” What can you do together as a church to demonstrate to your children the way God designed us—not only to need each other, but also to need Him?  How can we cooperate with God on His plan to change the world?

This Month’s bottom lines are:

We can work together to get God’s work done.

We can work together to help someone else succeed.

We can work together to change someone’s life.

Working together can point people to Jesus.

 

Self-Control

Blog_01

 

 

 Self Control

We’ve all experienced them—young and old alike—moments when frustration gets the better of us and we suddenly feel like we’re losing our minds.

Temper tantrums.

Yelling at that someone for cutting you off.

Eating the entire jar of jellybeans.

Fighting on the playground.

Throwing a video game controller across the room.

In life when the system doesn’t work, we can’t always turn the power off.
We can’t necessarily pause for a snack break.  In short, sometimes we lose.

 Self-control is important. That’s why we’re taking an entire month talking about it. We define self-control like this: choosing to do what you should do not what you want to do. And this month, we’ll learn that self-control really has more to do with God than self.

Throughout the Bible, God talks about a lot about self-control. As a fruit of the Spirit, self-control is a response to the changes that He is making in our lives. On our own, we are helpless to control anything, but with God’s power we have an advantage. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us and are able to do what we should do even when it’s not what we want to do.

The book of Proverbs includes several verses where God gives us wisdom to practice for those moments when we’d rather do anything but show self-control. Proverbs are not merely wise sayings. Rather, they are part of God’s story where He leans into the world that He created and whispers to us: “Here’s how you should live.” Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at self-control through God’s lens and explore four truths that Solomon captured in the book of proverbs.

Self-control is crucial. After all, how we live speaks volumes to our friends, family, and even strangers we meet every day. Our ability to show self-control in the heat of a moment could make or break someone’s view of God.
This month we have 5 bottom lines to remember:

1. God can give you the power to control yourself. 

2. Pause before you lose your temper.

3. Select your words carefully.

4. Know when to stop.

5. Use God’s words to guide your thoughts.

 

 

 

Compassion

blog

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.
Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life”
John 3:16

There’s just something about a great Christmas movie that no matter how you’re feeling, after you watch them you can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. Whether it’s—

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Elf

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” – The Polar Express

Or even the classic, “I Triple-Dog-Dare you!” – A Christmas Story

—Christmas movies have a way of changing the way you look not only about Christmas, but also about life as we see characters on the screen transform from unbelief to belief, from stingy to generous, or from cold-hearted to compassionate.

For the month of December, we’re heading back to the movies and “Triple-Dog-Daring” kids to show compassion to the people around them and even across the world.

We define compassion like this: caring enough to do something about someone else’s need.But when it comes to compassion, no movie even comes close to the greatest story of all time, yep, THE Christmas story. 

Think about it. The creator of the universe, the one who made galaxies, solar systems, stars and planets, was attentive to His creation. He saw how sin had broken His people and His world. He saw and understood—more than we ever will—what the ultimate consequences of sin were for us. He saw our greatest need.

But God didn’t stop there. He did something about it. He became one of us. Humbling Himself to be born as a tiny baby in a remote town in the dwelling place of animals. His birth announcement was sent first to a lowly group of shepherds and later to kings from a distant land. He lived as one of us, so that eventually He could die as atonement for our sin and be raised again on the third day so that we could one day live eternally with God in Heaven.

If you look at the Christmas story, it’s easy to see that one aspect of God’s character is compassion. God saw our greatest need, and He met it in the most remarkable way. To get kids thinking more about this we’re taking the entire Christmas season to talk about compassion and ask a different question each week to get kids and families thinking about how they can show compassion this Christmas. 

- God loved you first. How will you love others?

-God saw our greatest need. Whose need do you see?

-God gave us the greatest gift. What gift will you give?

-God gave us great news. Who will you tell?

 

Service

blog

“Let your light shine so others can see it. Then they will see the good things you do.
And they will bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

As God’s Son, Jesus deserved a palace with a throne, complete with servants waiting on His every need or desire. Yet for Jesus, it wasn’t about the lap of luxury or the fame. Jesus came for a different reason. He came to save us and rather than being served, He chose to serve others.

The Book of Mark records it this way—Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served. Instead, he came to serve others. He came to give his life as the price for setting many people free” (Mark 10:45, NIrV).

For us, we often think of service in terms of our experience with a waiter at a restaurant or the phone call we make for technical support. But as we lean into God’s heart and discover what it means to reflect His character to the world around us, we soon discover something more about service. It’s not just what people do for us, but rather what we need to be doing for the people around us.

It’s like our definition for service: lending a hand to help someone else. There’s something pretty great that happens when we decide to take the focus off of ourselves and lend a hand to help someone who needs it.

When we start to serve others we begin to realize that God is up to something big in this world. The amazing thing is that He wants us to be part of it. This month as we learn what it means to lend a hand and serve others, we pray kids are inspired to use what they have to join in the work God is doing and make a difference in the world.

That’s why the bottom lines for this month are:

Serve others because of what Jesus did for us.

Have a good attitude when you lend a hand.

Use what you have to lend a hand.

Ask God for what you need to lend a hand.

Lend a hand without looking for applause.

 

Individuality

blog

Individuality

-discovering who you were meant to be so you can make a difference

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.

Set an example for the believers in what you say and in how you live.”

1 Timothy 4:12a

God is the only God. God is one of a kind with no beginning and no end. And everything God has created is unique and one of a kind. Each animal is not only different from the other species, but also different from other like animals. No Zebra has the exact same patterns of stripes. Each monkey has its own temperament. Each sparrow sings a slightly different tune.

The same is true for people. God made each person one of a kind—even identical twins have unique fingerprints! Every person that ever was or ever will be is an original, including the kids we serve each week in our children’s ministry environments.

Now, imagine that God created each one of those kids with an individual box of potential and your job as a parent or leader was to help them figure out how to open it and use it.

There’s a tendency to treat kids like they need to wait before they can start discovering what’s in their box—before they can do something that matters.  But kids can use their gifts right now. Sometimes they just need some help figuring out what’s in their box.

That’s why the points to remember this month are:

Jesus wants to use their story to make a difference

When they discover their gifts they can make a difference

When we use our gifts together we can make a greater difference

They can make a difference right now

Initiative

blog

Initiative

-is seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

“Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord.”
Colossians 3:23a (NIrV)

Initiative isn’t just some practical principle; it’s really a spiritual principle that starts with God. God took initiative on our behalf. When God saw our broken relationship with Him, He sent Jesus to make it right. And because we are made in God’s image, we are wired to be able to take initiative and get things done.

All month long, we’re heading to the Old Testament to talk more about one of the greatest examples of someone taking initiative: a man by the name of Nehemiah. This month, we’ll break down the story of Nehemiah into four segments that will give kids insight into this idea of initiative.

When you see something big to be done, ask God for help.

When you see what needs to be done, don’t wait for someone else to do it.

When you see people in need, don’t wait for someone else to help them.

You can trust God to help you do what needs to be done.

Wisdom

blog

WISDOM

-Finding out what you should do and doing it

“Choose my teaching instead of silver. Choose knowledge rather than fine gold. Wisdom is worth more than rubies. Nothing you want can compare with her.”

Proverbs 8-10-11

Sometimes it’s easy to know the wise choice. You probably know by now that a healthy breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and granola is a wiser choice than the greasy, fast-food goodness of a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. It may pain you because you love a good breakfast from a fast-food joint, but you know that the healthy choice is the wise choice.

But what happens when the wise choice isn’t as easy to spot? Maybe you’re deciding between a few great job opportunities or figuring out the best neighborhood to raise your family. You weigh the pros and the cons of each choice and seek guidance from wise people. You even take time to pray about it. And in the end, you trust that the choice you made is best.

As parents and leaders, we’ve learned this over time. But our kids are just starting their journey of discovering wisdom, and unfortunately, our choices aren’t always cut and dry. As our kids grow up, they’ll soon learn that not every decision they’ll have to make is as clear as we might wish.

That’s why giving kids a strong foundation of wisdom is important. We want them to be equipped to face whatever choices they may encounter in the future, so we’re taking the next several weeks to talk about wisdom.

 It’s not simply about the difference between right and wrong, but about what is wise as we see life from God’s perspective. Jesus knew this first hand. The Bible says that He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

When it comes to wisdom, we want every child to grow up and say: “I can trust God no matter what.” And, because of how they trust Him they will also realize they can treat others the way they want to be treated and make wise choices regardless of the circumstances.

The principle is simply this, when a child realizes how much Jesus really loves them, what He did so they could have a relationship with God—and when that child makes a relationship with God and His words a priority in his or her life— then they will have the power and wisdom they need to live out a bigger and better story.

These are the bottom lines for this month:

If you want to be wise, ask God for wisdom. 

If you want to be wise, hang out with wise people. 

If you want to be wise, think before you speak. 

If you want to be wise, look before you leap. 

 If you want to be wise, find out what Jesus said. 

Conviction

blog

Conviction

— standing for what’s right, even when others don’t. 

“Don’t ever get tired of doing the right thing.” 

2 Thessalonians 3:13

Lots of people have conviction, but often when they act with conviction they come across as arrogant or smug. But that’s not what conviction is about at all. It’s not about what a person thinks is right because it’s too easy to become convicted about the wrong thing. Conviction has to be rooted in something deeper and more dependable than a personal opinion. It needs to be rooted in Scripture and what God says is right. And often it’s not even just standing for something that’s right; it’s also about standing for something that’s right in the right way. And that takes some practice, especially because standing for what’s right and showing conviction, may not win any popularity contests.

That’s why we’re taking the summer to help kids understand a little bit more about Conviction. Conviction is standing for what’s right, even when others don’t. Let’s take Jesus for example.

Even for Jesus, the Son of God, doing the right thing wasn’t always popular. Sometimes doing the right thing meant hanging out with tax collectors, blessing the little children, or even forgiving someone who had done something wrong. No matter what it was that Jesus needed to do, He did it because it was the right thing to do.

But doing the right thing often made Jesus stand apart from some of the rich and powerful people in His time. They didn’t like what He was doing or saying, but Jesus never let those crowds persuade Him to go against what God, His Father, wanted Him to do. Even when it meant going to the cross to die, Jesus knew that it was the right thing, and He did it.

Jesus was able to live with conviction because He knew the will of His Father, and that gave Him strength and courage.  In the same way, God has given us the ability to know what is right and the ability to do it. You see, when we are fueled by God’s character, we will stand up for the things that matter to God.

 

 

 

Conviction

blog

 Conviction

— standing for what’s right, even when others don’t. 

“Don’t ever get tired of doing the right thing.”

2 Thessalonians 3:13

Lots of people have conviction, but often when they act with conviction they come across as arrogant or smug. But that’s not what conviction is about at all. It’s not about what a person thinks is right because it’s too easy to become convicted about the wrong thing. Conviction has to be rooted in something deeper and more dependable than a personal opinion. It needs to be rooted in Scripture and what God says is right. And often it’s not even just standing for something that’s right; it’s also about standing for something that’s right in the right way. And that takes some practice, especially because standing for what’s right and showing conviction, may not win any popularity contests.

That’s why we’re taking the summer to help kids understand a little bit more about Conviction. Conviction is standing for what’s right, even when others don’t. Let’s take Jesus for example.

Even for Jesus, the Son of God, doing the right thing wasn’t always popular. Sometimes doing the right thing meant hanging out with tax collectors, blessing the little children, or even forgiving someone who had done something wrong. No matter what it was that Jesus needed to do, He did it because it was the right thing to do.

But doing the right thing often made Jesus stand apart from some of the rich and powerful people in His time. They didn’t like what He was doing or saying, but Jesus never let those crowds persuade Him to go against what God, His Father, wanted Him to do. Even when it meant going to the cross to die, Jesus knew that it was the right thing, and He did it.

Jesus was able to live with conviction because He knew the will of His Father, and that gave Him strength and courage.  In the same way, God has given us the ability to know what is right and the ability to do it. You see, when we are fueled by God’s character, we will stand up for the things that matter to God.

 

 

 

Honesty

Honesty 

-choosing to be truthful in whatever you say and do.

“Keep me from cheating and telling lies. Be kind and teach me your law.”

Psalm 119:29

There’s something about the things that we say that kind of stack up one way. Then there’s the way we live, or the reality about certain situations that stack up another way. If those all line up, there’s strength and balance like a dependable tower. When what we say lines up with what we do, people know they can trust us, because, like a strong tower, our lives are built with integrity.

Honesty really is a big deal. That’s why we’re spending the month of May to talk about Honesty. 

When we’re honest, when our words line up with our actions, people know they can trust us. Our relationships grow stronger.God understands the relationship between honesty and trust. This is something God set into motion in the first place.

Since the beginning, God has been in the business of making and keeping promises. 

God told Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation of people—He was. 

God told the Israelites that He would provide for them in the desert—He did. 

God told Joshua that the wall of Jericho would fall if the people marched around it for seven days—it did. 

God told Mary that she would have a baby boy—she did.

That baby boy was the answer to a promise God had set in motion from the beginning: God kept His promise to send a Savior. When we were lost, He came through and sent Jesus, the Messiah, the One in whom we can ultimately put all of our trust.

That’s really it, isn’t it? God is honest. He has proven from the beginning that He can be trusted—even to the point of sending His Son. And we’re called to reflect the image of God to a world around us that is desperate for people who will live with integrity.

We want kids to begin building the kind of lives that show they can be trusted. Because they know the One who can be trusted above any other.