“Bee- Attitudes” At-Home Activity

Last week our elementary aged children completed a review of the Beatitudes. After 4 weeks of study, our children have added knowledge about the attitudes that Jesus wants us to have and how to live a blessed life as Christians. We’ve discussed each verse, the meaning of each of the attitudes that Jesus called out (i.e. mourn, meek, persecuted) and extensively worked on matching the first portion of each verse with its corresponding promise. Our key memory verse from Jeremiah 17:7 states, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” This serves as a great reminder that when we put our trust in God and fully depend on Him, He will help us to be more like Christ and develop the attitudes that He values.

 

Often, this topic is taught to children through the pun “Bee-Attitudes”. It’s a fun way to help children connect, engage and retain the key messages found in Matthew 5:3-13. For the Beatitudes explain to us how we should “be” as Christians. Here’s a fun extension activity that you can do at home with your child to reinforce what they’ve learned over the past few weeks. Do now or pick it up in a few weeks or few months to see how much they remember and can also apply about our study on the Beatitudes. Most importantly, use this craft as a visual reminder of your child’s and you family’s quest to be more Christ-like.

 

Sock Bumblebees

From Bible Message Make –n- Takes by Susan Lingo

Materials: rubber band, chenille wire, black marker, yellow baby sock, fiberfill (or lots of cotton balls), black electrical tape, black construction paper, scissors

  1. Stuff the sock with the fiberfill.
  2. Close the opening with the rubber band
  3. Using black tape, add stripes to your bumblebee.
  4. Draw a face on the opposite end of the bee with a black marker.
  5. Twist the chenille wire around the sock to make a head and two antennae.
  6. Cut the black construction paper to make wings.

Have fun making this craft!

Happiness Hamburgers

“I am happy when I am…” how would you fill in the blank? Are you happy when you are surrounded by those you love? Are you happy when something good happens to you? Are you happy only when everything is going right in your life? In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he shares the attitudes that truly make a person blessed, or happy. It isn’t earthly possessions, power or position that Jesus called out, but instead attitudes that show a reliance and surrender to God. As our children have learned, it is not the “me attitudes” that focus on self (-preservation, -promotion or -centeredness) but instead the “be attitudes”, those things that Jesus admonished us to be.

On Sunday, the children continued learning about the attitudes that Jesus stated make a blessed or happy person through a game, informal quiz and craft activity. We’ve been reviewing Jeremiah 17:7 that says “But blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” But trusting in God and developing the attitudes that Jesus wants us to have, we can be blessed.

Help your child continue to review, understand and apply the teachings of Jesus found in Matthew 5:1-12. We did a fun craft to help us remember the 8 “be attitudes” and corresponding verses. This should be a helpful tool in remembering the keys to happiness in Jesus. Enjoy!

 

Happiness Hamburger 2

Blessed in Persecution

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

 

Those were the words Jesus spoke during his sermon on the mount. He shared that persecution- for our beliefs in Him, will come. For, just as others were persecuted, insulted, ridiculed and even killed for preaching the gospel, we run the risk of being treated harshly because of our Christian values and lifestyle. But He promised that for our faith, perseverance and unashamed proclamation of the gospel we will receive our reward in heaven. What a powerful declaration to take hold to. Yet, how does this promise translate into real life and become a meaningful source of hope for our children?

Persecution was touched on just a little Sunday in our Sunday School lessons. In our Sunday School lesson, we saw how the church at Antioch thrived amidst and in spite of the persecution of the early church. Why did this church thrive? For one, with zeal they taught the gospel. They embraced the fact that Jesus came to save the lost- both Jew and Gentile. Also, the church had a missionary focus, giving generously to support their Christian brothers and sisters and the spread of the gospel. They remained committed to growing- upward with God, inward as a family of worshipers and outwardly through missions. That is not unlike our church’s Vision 24 goal of growing upward, inward and outward. We see that as a result of them remaining committed to growing in these 3 directions that God blessed them. By being blessed, they were then able to bless others. What a great cycle to be caught in- blessed to be a blessing to others!

As we continue our study of the beatitudes in Children’s Church we’ll explore how to hold fast to our beliefs and values when they may be unpopular or unwanted. A great at-home support is regular communication with your children about what they experience on a daily basis at home, in their neighborhood and at school. Instances of doing what is right when pressured to do otherwise, helping others unprompted and with a compassionate spirit and finding ways of being a blessing to others are only a few examples of how we can emphasize the importance of doing what Jesus has called to do and being who He’s called us to be in spite of what others may say, think or do.

 

Interested in being a part of DBC’s Children’s Ministry as a teacher or assistant in Sunday School or Children’s Church? Contact Krystal Speed at kspeed@downtownbaptist.org.

Life in the Other Direction – Called to be Different

Curious what your child learned at church today? Looking for helpful tips on connecting the content to experiences at home during the week? Check out the summary of this Sunday’s experience below.

9:30 AM Bible Study Overview:

Babies – Preschool Lesson:  Paul Taught About Jesus (Acts 17:1-4, 10-12)

Paul and Silas traveled to two cities (Thessalonica and Berea), sharing the gospel.  In Thessalonica, the people listened and some believed.  In Berea, the people were much more eager and verified what was taught by searching the scriptures.  Many more were saved there.

 

Home Connection: Paul and Silas preached the gospel. Then, the people carefully read scripture in order to know the truth for themselves. Read a Bible story with your child, discussing the individuals and the pictures. Share with them that we read our Bibles to know the truth and also to learn from the experiences of others. See how Jesus showed love to others and how he shows love to us.

 

Elementary Lesson:  Stephen Preached (Acts 6:8-7:60)

Stephen was selected to minister to and support the needs of the widows.  His zeal for the gospel surpassed that, as he proclaimed the good news to all that would listen.  His enemies brought charges of heresy against him and he was questioned by the Jewish council.  He recounted the Jewish history from Abraham to Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior.  People didn’t like what he said.  As a result, he was stoned for staying true to his belief in Jesus.

 

Home Connection: Sometimes people don’t fully understand who Jesus is or want to hear about his love for us. How might your child respond to someone that doesn’t believe in Jesus or makes fun of him or her for their beliefs? Discuss and even role-play how to handle this tough situations.

 

Children’s Church:

Today our pastor started a new series, Life in the Other Direction, an exploration of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, as captured in Matthew 5-7. Our children also started a complimentary series of lessons in Children’s Church. Today we introduced the idea of being blessed. This sets the stage for a more detailed study of the beatitudes in the weeks to come. As the weeks progress, children will learn about the attitudes that God values from Christians.

Today we looked at how our relationship with Christ makes us different. Using a scientific observation, we saw how Christians can be in the world but not of the world. We filled a cup with water. We added a few drops of food coloring to symbolize Christ in our hearts. Then, we poured oil into the cup. The oil represents the world and the actions and attitudes that others say are okay (like hurting someone else, lying, being unkind). We noticed that the two don’t mix. As followers of Christ we are commanded to love and be different, following Jesus’ example.

We read Matthew 5:1-12 and noted who Jesus says is blessed. Our discussion remained high-level as we looked at what the word blessed means (favor, joy, good things, coming from God). Children then learned a Bible verse that summarized how one becomes blessed- “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).

Home Connection: It is okay to be different. In fact, Jesus expects us to be different from the rest of the world as we follow his example. Ask your child in what way(s) he or she is being a good example for others (siblings, friends, classmates, etc). Also, encourage them to reflect upon the memory verse. By trusting God and placing our faith in Him, we know He will take care of us and no matter what comes, good or bad, we are blessed because we are His!

Helping Children Develop A Lifestyle of Worship

Last Sunday, the children’s Sunday School lesson and the day’s sermon focused on the story of the wise men. A continuation of the joy-filled celebration of the birth of our Savior, we explored the journey the wise men took to witness the revelation of God’s promise. Moving westward, the wise men journeyed to worship Jesus. When they arrived they were overjoyed! They presented the baby gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and worshiped him.

As we move through the holiday season and transition back into the normal routine come January 4th, how do we keep the message of Christmas (the fulfilled promise of a Savior) in our hearts and endeavor to live a life filled with worship? The Lifeway curriculum that we use for our children’s Sunday School presented what I found to be a rather simple and cleaver way to help our children develop a lifestyle of worship. Try this at home and witness how it can enhance their worship.

Worship Cube Calendar – A Daily Worship Prompt

Worship Cube Calendar 2

  1. Make 2 cubes. I used this template.
  2. On the first cube, write the days of the week, Monday – Saturday.
  3. On the next cube, help your child generate ideas of how he or she can worship Jesus daily.  Write each worship activities on a separate face of the cube. Some examples are: pray, write a letter to God, read or recite a Bible verse, talk to a friend about Jesus, sing a song, write a list of things that you are thankful for.
  4. Assemble the cubes.

Every day of the week, rotate the cubes to reveal a new prompt for worship.

Worship Cube Calendar

 

How do you help your children develop a lifestyle of worship?

A Short Note on Faith

Nearly 3 years ago, I replaced the carpet in my condo with stained concrete and learned a lot about faith in the process.

  • First, I learned in order to move to a new and better state, you must visualize what is possible.  Sure, I could have opted to reinstall the same beige carpet I’d had before but what’s the point of staying with the familiar when there’s so many better options?  Don’t let your current situation limit your God-given desires and dreams. 
  • Next, I learned to trust the process and the one whose hands it is in.  I knew the project was in the hands of a skilled contractor and that I had to defer to his guidance and allow him to lead the process.  So, from ripping up my old carpet, exposing cracked and imperfect concrete, priming the floors, and meticulously painting my floor section by section, I had to resist the urge to question his methods or say how it should be done, and instead let him do what came naturally to him.  Trust in Him, submit to His will and allow Him to do the hard work that will ultimately yield great results.
  • Finally, I learned that amazing things can happen when you place your faith in the right person.  When the work was done, the results of their handiwork far exceeded my expectations and was much more beautiful, durable and functional than anything I could have imagined.  “Now unto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine…”

In conclusion, this experience was a great reminder to me of what faith is all about- visualizing what is possible, trusting the process and the skilled and masterful hands that are doing the work and being ready for amazing results that will no doubt blow your mind!

Sticky Faith Night Recap

For whatever reason, I have a very bad memory. There are large parts of my childhood that I just don’t remember or that are a bit fuzzy. I had a very easy and enjoyable childhood, so I don’t think I’m subconsciously repressing them. I just don’t recall the past as vividly or completely as others. It’s to the point, that my nephew will ask me “Auntie Krystal, do you remember when you were little …” and I’ll respond, “No, I don’t remember, tell me about it”. See, he knows so much about the K Sisters (my dad’s nickname for me and my two sisters) because his mom is always recounting the antics we used to get into and simple stories of what it was like growing up in the Speed house in Sierra Vista, AZ. Sad as it is, I honestly don’t remember many events from childhood, or at least not to the extent that his mom does. That’s what makes a particular memory so meaningful.

On Sunday, my sister and I enjoyed an adult-only meal (she’s childless for the week since her son is down south visiting our other sister and her family). These are really rare. I started sharing with her a recap of DBC’s first “Sticky Faith Night” and insights I’ve been recording as I read the book.

Although not one of the topics explicitly discussed during last Wednesday’s gathering, an impactful idea nonetheless, is the notion of the 5:1 Rule. This “rule” suggests that we should be intentional about having five adult influences to “pour into” each child. This is a parent thoughtfully recruiting 5 adults to invest in their child in small, medium and big ways to enhance the foundation that they are already cultivating in their child. I like this idea. So, during dinner I asked my sister who her 5 adults were growing up. Some of the names she shared were the same as what was on my mental list. There were some who weren’t. She flipped the question on me and I shared, with one specific one sticking out.

I knew him as “Mr. Wilson”. He and his wife were very active in our church in AZ. I remember (yes, this is one of the random things I can recall) only one real personal interaction with him, although there were likely more. This vivid memory is of my middle sister, myself and him enjoying ice cream at the local Baskins Robbins. It was summer, late evening and my sense is it was a happy time filled with lots of laughter. Of all the things I’ve forgotten over the years, this one trip to the ice cream shop remains. It wasn’t like this was one of only a few times that I had interaction with a positive male role model. Nope- my father was (and still is) very present in my life, along with other male examples. Quite simply, I was able to experience up close and personal someone who was well-respected and involved in my church in a neutral environment, just enjoying the moment. Over ice cream and laughter, it was reinforced that I was special, important and worth taking a departure from everyday routines to do something different. I’m sure he never considered that one summer evening would be a major childhood memory that I still retain 25+ years later. But it was!

This is just one of the many aspects of sticky faith- everyday ideas to build lasting faith in kids. The first of the two-part series introduced a variety of ideas and thought-starters that fueled an engaging discussion amongst the participants. If you missed it, here’s a short summary of some of what was discussed. I took the liberty of adding my own thoughts in J

Sticky Faith as a theological conviction:

  • “Mom, I will always follow Jesus…because there are so many guys like Mike at our church who I know love me.”  (p. 9)
  • A key goal as a church is having adults that know and love kids

Sticky Identity

    • Belonging to Christ should be at the core of our identity as people/parents/children of God
    • Each child is a beloved individual, created and known by God
    • Understand your personal identification; What family rituals helped shape your family identity?
  • “What you believe is lived out your actions” – as Chris puts it “Live Loudly”
  • We may be the only Bible that somebody ever reads
  • Emphasizing to our kids, “We have a lifetime together- we (parents) are there for the long haul.”

Faith Story

  • Sharing our journeys – intentionally – can see how others tackle things in life
  • Kids learn and listen from the way we talk about faith
  • We may try to shield our kids from messy things by not talking about it. What happens when tough stuff comes up in other places?
  • Be honest and open about your failures, concerns, etc
  • Who do you see Christ as?  How do you relate to Him?  What is His character?

As we seek to build sticky faith in our kids, it is important to start with one fundamental truth- each of us is loved by God. Ephesians 1:4-5 makes this point in a way that moves me every time I read it. I think it quite simply shares the depth of God’s love and His feelings towards us. If you visit my office, you’ll see a piece of original art hanging on my wall that captures these words. Not only does it act as a visual reminder to me of God’s unyielding love, but to anyone that ventures into my office, it is a reminder of their identity in Christ. I strive to have my actions and words match up with these verses, showing the value that each of us have by virtue of the love that God has for us.

Chosen Photo

How powerful it is to have a whole community of adults circling a child, echoing that He loves them, through their words and deeds. This is what sticky faith is all about, sharing the truth of who each child is in and through Jesus Christ. As we endeavor to grow our sticky faith community at DBC, we invite you to join us. Pick up a book, begin reading and come out to our next Sticky Faith Night on Wednesday, August 26th. I know you’ll be blessed as you allow God to use you to nurture this stickiness in kids.

As we seek to build sticky faith in our kids, it is important to start with one fundamental truth- each of us is loved by God. Ephesians 1:4-5 makes this point in a way that moves me every time I read it. I think it quite simply shares the depth of God’s love and His feelings towards us. If you visit my office, you’ll see a piece of original art hanging on my wall that captures these words. Not only does it act as a visual reminder to me of God’s unyielding love, but to anyone that ventures into my office, it is a reminder of their identity in Christ. I strive to have my actions and words match up with these verses, showing the value that each of us have by virtue of the love that God has for us.

How powerful it is to have a whole community of adults circling a child, echoing that He loves them, through their words and deeds. This is what sticky faith is all about, sharing the truth of who each child is in and through Jesus Christ. As we endeavor to grow our sticky faith community at DBC, we invite you to join us. Pick up a book, begin reading and come out to our next Sticky Faith Night on Wednesday, August 26th. I know you’ll be blessed as you allow God to use you to nurture this stickiness in kids.