SojournKids

This Week in SojournKids: Paul Gave Hope (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Josh RobertsComment

Parents,

Below are some devotional helps to use throughout the week.  We'd love for you to use some or even all of these to review this week's story with your kids.

Dinner Time (Deep Dive)

READ the story together.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

ASK some questions about the story.

  • Who were the main characters? (Paul and the Thessalonians)
  • What are the main story beats? (The Thessalonians are worried about those who have already passed away; Paul explains that when Christ returns they will be called up as well; Paul challenges them to live in a way that glorifies God.)
  • What’s the main point? (Paul encouraged the Thessalonians by reminding them that Jesus will return.)

CONNECT it to the family.

We are called to live life to the fullest and to not worry about when Christ will return. He will return, but we will not know the day are time. We should live our lives in a manner that honors God each and every day. 

PRAY together.

God, we thank you for sending your Son to die on a cross for our sins. We long for his return. We pray that we will live our lives in a manner to glorify God. Amen.

Drive Time (Quick Refresh)

ASK what story we’ve been studying this week. (Paul Gave Hope)

  • See what they remember from the story – details, main points, any take away they have, etc.

REMIND them of the main point.

  • Paul encouraged the Thessalonians by reminding them that Jesus will return.

Bedtime (Soul Work)

ASK how they feel about what we’ve been learning about this week.

  • Do you ever think about when Jesus will return?
  • Does it make you worried?
  • What did Paul tell the Thessalonians to do?

ENCOURAGE them about the truth of God’s promise.

  • We are called to live life that daily honors God no matter what lies ahead.

RELATE to them.

  • At times we will worry about what tomorrow brings, but God gives us grace when we do and a reassurance that everything is in his hands.

PRAY for them before they go to sleep.

Breakfast Time (Daily Encouragement)

ENCOURAGE them to trust God’s promise today.

  • At school as they’re working, playing, talking with friends, etc.

PRAY for them before you drop them off to start their day.

REVIEW one of these doctrine memory questions, or the month’s memory verse by having your kids repeat it after you.

Gospel Project Big Picture Question: How do we live while waiting for Jesus to return? We remember God’s truth, grow in godliness, and spread the gospel. 

Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Additional resources can be found in the Gospel Project for Kids app under Unit 35 - Session 2

July 2018 Kids Music Liturgy

Jared KennedyComment
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Here's the songs and liturgy our kids are reviewing this month during our Sunday children's ministry. 

Leader 1: Good morning/evening!! Listen to these words from Psalm 47 –

Clap your hands, all peoples!
    Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
    a great king over all the earth.

Sing praises to God, sing praises!
    Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
    sing praises with a psalm!

Now, let’s stand and sing together!

King of Everything

Leader 2: Our memory verse this month is 2 Timothy 3:16-17!

Repeat after me: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Leader 1: Does anyone know what the word “Scripture” means? Scripture is God’s Word – the Bible (Whenever you hear that, does anyone else think of the song the B-I-B-L-E-?? I do!). There are many different ways we can refer to the Bible, God’s Word. No other book on earth is like the Bible. The Bible teaches us all about God’s love for us and about our Savior, Jesus. Are you thankful God gave it to us?!

Let’s sing about God’s Word and praise him for it!

The Word of the Lord

Leader 1: This month we will be learning more about God’s Word and about how it is a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path.” Does anyone think they might know what that phrase means? The Bible teaches us about how to live a life that pleases God. Sometimes that can be so hard! Sometimes we stumble and fall, as if we’re walking in the dark bumping into things! We will never be perfect until we’re in heaven with Jesus, but we look forward to that day and hope for his return to be soon.

Leader 2: As we sing the next song together, you can bring your offering to God to the front of the room!

Let’s sing a song about Jesus coming back soon.

Even So Come

Leader 1: Hey, who can tell me what time it is? (Catechism time!!)

(Play the Catechism riff like “Tequila”: G-F-G-F x3, G-F-G “Catechism!”)

Leader 2: This question reminds me of the song we just sang! Let’s read it together.

Q: How do we live while waiting for Jesus to return? A: We remember God’s truth, grow in godliness, and spread the gospel.

Leader 2: Let’s pray! Bow your heads and fold your hands and close your eyes as we talk to God!

Father, we thank You for sending Jesus to earth to teach us Your Word, to help us understand the truth about who You are and what You want us to do, and to save us. We thank You that because of what Jesus has done for us, we can follow You and be more like You. Please help us, by the power of Your Spirit, to follow You and love and obey You, our King. Please open our eyes to see more of You and open our minds to understand You better today as we learn from Your Word.  

Just for Parents: 5 tips for establishing a devotional routine with your toddler

Jared KennedyComment

When our daughters were toddlers, we had a regular bedtime routine. It usually involved reading a story, saying prayers, giving hugs and kisses, and listening to some music before bed. Their stuffed toys got involved, too. Mr. Lamb would read along, and Smiley the Dog would share in hugs and kisses. Once the nightly rhythm was established, every part mattered. Knowing exactly what to expect helped our kids feel safe, confident, and secure.

And when one part was missing—well, I remember one vacation to a theme park. We’d been out late watching fireworks, so we skipped some of the normal bedtime steps. On top of that, we discovered Smiley had been left on a tour bus earlier in the day. Needless to say, sleep was fleeting that night! I learned just how much my kids count on a regular rhythm to thrive.

Christians know that rhythm should include religious instruction, but toddlers are always on the move—no wonder most parents struggle to corral them for any sort of formal family devotional time. Adding to that difficulty is the fact that young parents are often on the move, too. They’re busy establishing a career while raising toddlers and preschoolers at the same time. It’s hard to be present with your children when you’re on call or working overtime or third shift.

I believe God is aware of our seasons of life, and I’m thankful he doesn’t give us a family devotions model that’s overly formal. Moses told Israel to teach their kids during the regular rhythms of life—mealtime, bedtime, drive time, and so on (Deut. 6:7).

With that guilt-free vision in mind, here are five quick tips for establishing a regular devotional routine with your toddler.

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1. Find a Time That Works

In our family, we were able to establish the most regular routine at bedtime. If you work third shift, that’s not going to be feasible. Choose a regular time around the table—maybe at breakfast—instead. You’ll be surprised just how much your kids hold you accountable once a family worship pattern is established. It’ll be something they count on and look forward to. Start with one small thing, like reading a short story or saying a prayer. Be consistent. It’s better to gather the family once per week than to exasperate your kids with failed attempts to meet every day.

You’ll be surprised how much your kids hold you accountable once a family worship pattern is established.

I recently spoke to a dad who for several years worked what he described as the “grave shift.” During that season, a nightly devotional was impossible, so he leaned heavily on teaching his kids in small doses throughout the day. My friend’s wife would read to their kids at night before bed, then he’d take a five- or ten-minute break from work to call and pray with them.

I’ve found his regular intentionality to be incredibly encouraging. While not having a set devotional time may seem less than ideal, a regular, “slow drip” approach to family discipleship is actually quite effective. In this way, we can teach our toddlers that relating to God isn’t just something we check off our list at the end of the day; it’s the way we live.

2. Read Something Simple

Two- and three-year-olds have an attention span of two to three minutes. Their vocabulary is limited to 200 to 1,500 words. Like a careful parent cutting up their child’s food into digestible chunks, it’s important to keep your routine short and understandable. Our youngest kids need to learn the vocabulary of faith—basic Bible words like sinpromiseprayer, and the name of Jesus—before moving to more abstract concepts like forgiveness.

If you’re just beginning a family devotional time with your toddler, find a resource that keeps these developmental considerations in mind. You might try Ella Lindvall’s Read-Aloud Bible Stories, David Helm’s Big Picture Story Bible, or my Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible.

3. Talk to God

Bow your head. Close your eyes. Tell your kids to fold their hands. (So they don’t hit each other during the prayer! That trick has worked for centuries.) Then, talk to God. Make it something quick and memorable; remember their short attention span. In our family, we adapted this short prayer:

Thank you God for [child’s name]. Help her to grow up to love Jesus and trust in Jesus. Please help her to have godly friends and a godly husband when she gets big. Please protect her from harm and danger this night. And from Satan and his schemes. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

4. Use Music for Memory

Our kids wanted to listen to music as they fell asleep at night. A friend recommended an album of lullabies that put the questions and answers from the Children’s Catechism to music. (If I had toddlers today, I’d use the The New City Catechism albums and the music of Rain for Roots.)

Our kids memorized great truth simply because they sang it nightly. Other great music albums like the ones from Seeds Family Worship and PROOF Pirates have more of a beat and are less helpful at bedtime. But we made sure this music was in our car so we could sing along (sometimes loud and silly!) while we drove around time.

5. Give Your Kids Your Full Attention

Your devotional routine isn’t just a time for you to impart information to your kids; it’s time for them to spend time with you. So put your phone away. Look your kids in the eye, and let them know you’re listening to them. Show them affection, and not just when it’s time for bedtime hugs and kisses. Cuddle. Have a short wrestling match.

It’s through the attentive presence of loving parents that kids learn about our loving Father.

This post first appeared at The Gospel Coalition. 

This Week in SojournKids: Paul’s Joy in Prison (Philippians 1:12-30)

Josh RobertsComment

Parents,

Below are some devotional helps to use throughout the week.  We'd love for you to use some or even all of these to review this week's story with your kids.

Dinner Time (Deep Dive)

READ the story together.  (Philippians 1:12-30)

ASK some questions about the story.

  • Who were the main characters? (Paul and the Philippian Church)
  • What are the main story beats? (Paul talks about the advancement of the gospel; Paul explains that to live is Christ; Paul encourages the church to be joyful.)
  • What’s the main point? (While he was in prison, Paul told the Philippian church to be joyful.)

CONNECT it to the family.

Paul remained joyful while in prison. We are called to live with that same joy. Paul told the Philippians to be joyful. Paul faced hard times, but God used him to share the good news about Jesus and to help the church. We will also face hard times, but God will use us.

PRAY together.

God, we thank you for the joy that you give us. We thank you for Paul and the example he is to us. We pray that we can have similar joy. Amen.

Drive Time (Quick Refresh)

ASK what story we’ve been studying this week. (Paul’s Joy in Prison)

  • See what they remember from the story – details, main points, any take away they have, etc.

REMIND them of the main point.

  • While he was in prison, Paul told the Philippian church to be joyful.

Bedtime (Soul Work)

ASK how they feel about what we’ve been learning about this week.

  • What is joy?  
  • Would you consider yourself to be joyful?
  • Is it always easy to be joyful? Why?
  • Where did Paul find his joy?

ENCOURAGE them about the truth of God’s promise.

  • God is with us during the hard times. He helps us live a life of joy.

RELATE to them.

  • We must be reminded that our joy comes from the Lord.
  • How can we show joy even when things are hard?
  • We will fall short, but God is there to help us.

PRAY for them before they go to sleep.

Breakfast Time (Daily Encouragement)

ENCOURAGE them to trust God’s promise today.

  • At school as they’re working, playing, talking with friends, etc.
  • God uses our lives to bring Him glory.  

PRAY for them before you drop them off to start their day.

REVIEW one of these doctrine memory questions, or the month’s memory verse by having your kids repeat it after you.

Gospel Project Big Picture Question:   When should we tell others about Jesus? We should always tell others about Jesus even when it is difficult.

Memory Verse:   Philippians 1:20-21 – “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Additional resources can be found in the Gospel Project for Kids app under Unit 34 - Session 4

This Week in SojournKids: The Shipwreck (Acts 27:13-44; 28:11-16)

Josh RobertsComment

Parents,

Below are some devotional helps to use throughout the week.  We'd love for you to use some or even all of these to review this week's story with your kids.

Dinner Time (Deep Dive)

READ the story together.  (Acts 27:13-44; 28:11-16)

ASK some questions about the story.

  • Who were the characters? (Paul and the Sailors.)
  • What are the main story beats? (There is a storm out at sea; God protected Paul in the shipwreck; Paul arrives at Rome.)
  • What’s the main point? (God protected Paul in the shipwreck so he could stand before Caesar.)

CONNECT it to the family.

God protected Paul in the shipwreck. Paul told the sailors to trust God too. God wants us to trust Jesus. Jesus died to keep us safe from sin and death. We can share this good news with everyone.

PRAY together.

God, we thank you for Paul. We thank you that he stopped at nothing to preach the Gospel of Jesus. No matter how scary and sad his life was, he never stopped sharing the love of God. Amen.

Drive Time (Quick Refresh)

ASK what story we’ve been studying this week. (The Shipwreck)

  • See what they remember from the story – details, main points, any take away they have, etc.

REMIND them of the main point.

  • God protected Paul in the shipwreck so he could stand before Caesar.

Bedtime (Soul Work)

ASK how they feel about what we’ve been learning about this week.

  • Do you feel like you could tell others about Jesus even when you are scared? What would make that hard?
  • Sometimes our life can feel like a storm, but God wants us to trust Jesus.

ENCOURAGE them about the truth of God’s promise.

  • God wants us to trust Jesus. He sent Jesus to die for us to keep us safe from sin and death. We are called to share this good news.

RELATE to them.

  • God wants us all to tell others about Jesus.
  • Mom and Dad are called to set an example for you.
  • Where could we go to tell others about Jesus? (park, library, etc.)

PRAY for them before they go to sleep.

Breakfast Time (Daily Encouragement)

ENCOURAGE them to trust God’s promise today.

  • At school as they’re working, playing, talking with friends, etc.
  • Have courage to tell your friends about Jesus.

PRAY for them before you drop them off to start their day.

REVIEW one of these doctrine memory questions, or the month’s memory verse by having your kids repeat it after you.

Gospel Project Big Picture Question:   When should we tell others about Jesus? We should always tell others about Jesus even when it is difficult.

Memory Verse:   Philippians 1:20-21 – “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Additional resources can be found in the Gospel Project for Kids app under Unit 34 - Session 3