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Thanksgiving activity guide

Whether they’re in diapers or dorm rooms, you can take advantage of Thanksgiving to point kids’ hearts in the direction of thankFULLness. We’ve compiled powerful stories, great parenting advice, and even activities to do together that inspire a biblical attitude of gratitude.

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Use Thanksgiving and this great FREE resource to help young people focus on what they DO have instead of what they don’t.

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Download your Thanksgiving activity guide here!

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29 genius ideas for really USING the Bible verse your child brings home from church

You see it coming every Sunday…the memory verse paper. You have high hopes of being intentional with it, but by Wednesday it somehow always ends up in the recycle bin. And you end up feeling guilty. We’ve created a list of great ways that will have you looking forward to getting that memory verse paper. AND actually USING it!

  1. Make it into a table topper so your entire family can get their “daily bread” while eating their daily bread at breakfast, lunch and dinner!
  2. Tape it to dresser drawers so kids can review while they’re getting dressed.
  3. Record your child reading the verse, then play it on repeat to help them practice learning it while picking up toys.
  4. Clip it to the mirror in the bathroom—kids can read the verse in their head while brushing teeth, styling hair, or washing hands.
  5. Put it in a baggie and hang it in the shower—clean inside and out!
  6. Where do your kids go often? Tape it to the Band-Aid or Goldfish box—God’s Word will beKids-32 there every time they head for a snack or get a boo boo.
  7. Not for the faint of heart—use dry-erase markers to copy the verse onto a window or mirror. If your kids are old enough not to write on the upholstery, this can be done inside your vehicle!
  8. Use chalk paint to make a beautiful board and let the creativity flow to word art the verse. Place it where everyone will see and read it often!
  9. Do some math—divide up the number of words in the verse and segment them according to the number of stairs in your home. Attach each word/phrase to the backdrop of a stair and you’ll be able to practice every time you climb.
  10. Get a binder ring and hole punch each verse. Attach to the ring and keep in your car, purse, bedroom or anywhere you or your kids can easily flip through it.
  11. Write super tiny and put this week/month’s verse into a little girl’s locket or glue to something small a little guy can carry in his pocket. Then it is with them wherever they go!
  12. Put it in a note in your child’s lunchbox.
  13. Use it as a bookmark in a book you’re reading together as a family.
  14. Put it in an envelope and mail it to your child while you are out and about–who doesn’t love getting mail!
  15. Stick it under their pillow and see how long before they realize it’s there! Read it before bedtime every night.
  16. Tape it to the bottom of someone’s plate or chair at the dinner table. Every night move it to another location. Whoever is “it” reads the verse aloud to the family.
  17. Play a game where you hide it in each other’s room. Every time you find it, read it through, and then go hide it in someone else’s room.Kids-31
  18. Glue it into a spiral “I’m not scared” notebook that your child can keep near their bedside or anywhere they experience fear. God’s Word will be at their fingertips where they can easily read through all the affirmations.
  19. Hang it on the fridge. There. I had to say it. I know you were thinking it.
  20. Cut it into a puzzle and try to reassemble. Store each set of pieces in a baggie and grow your collection!
  21. Snap a pic and post to social media with a shout out to your church—they’ll appreciate knowing that you enjoy what they are doing, as well as knowing parents are using their resources at home.
  22. Cut and paste onto a piece of paper or greeting card and write a letter to the person who came to mind when reading this Scripture. Helps you and your child learn to encourage others!
  23. Pair with Christmas cards you receive at the holidays and pray a verse for each family’s Christmas card/photo you receive.
  24. Bury it in the cereal box and see who discovers the hidden “treasure” first.
  25. Tape it to a screen—kids may use that device once they’ve memorized and recited that verse to you.
  26. Build up a stash, then let your kids unleash their creativity to make a wind sock or mobile.
  27. Cut out the words and tape to building blocks. Scramble the blocks, then build them in the order the words should go.
  28. Save them up and when you have a bunch, make them into a paper chain. Use the chain as a countdown to an exciting activity—trip, vacation, birthday, holiday etc.
  29. Hang a string or wire across your mantel with clothespins. Clip each new verse on and decorate your home with meaningful Scriptures.

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29 Ways to use Scripture-01


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How to Raise Generous Children

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

-Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer [1]

If God’s Word told us to live one way but Jesus did the opposite, we would be confused and wonder what was truly important. Can you imagine if Jesus did the opposite of what He told us to do?

The Bible tells us to be patient people, but what if Jesus was consistently impatient with others? The Bible tells us to be tenderhearted and kind, but what if Jesus exemplified the opposite and was both coldhearted and mean? What if the Bible said to honor our parents, but Jesus was always disrespecting Mary and Joseph? What if the Bible told us to be generous with our time and money, yet Jesus seemed selfish and distant?

We wouldn’t consider any of those virtues or characteristics valuable. It is no different when it comes to our children and what we say versus what we do.

As parents, we long to be role models for our children. If we truly want to be their example, we have to make Jesus our example. The apostle Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 11:1 when he said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” When it comes to raising generous children, we must simply give more and take less, then watch our children follow our example. God’s desire for us as parents is for our character to influence our children’s lives by our example.

Father and little girl playing on the beach at the sunset

While children will surely be influenced by the way in which their parents live, they obviously need lessons, reminders, and practical applications in the area of generosity.

A recent episode of a popular sitcom showcased a father’s determination that a generous spirit be cultivated in the heart of his daughter. A young girl is having a temper tantrum in the kitchen over a slice of mango that is given to her sister. The father in the show pays no mind to her protests of unfairness and uses her temper tantrum to teach her a valuable lesson.

Did she want a slice of mango because she really loved mangos? Or was her protest simply a result of her sister having something she did not? This wise father recognized his daughter’s true desire and, instead, offered her impressionable little heart a lesson in generosity.

“Look,” he says, “turning toward her and leaning down to meet her eyes, “the only time you need to worry about what’s in your neighbor’s bowl is if you’re checking to make sure they have enough.[2]

Our heavenly Father taught us, His children, this lesson in generosity through the life of His Son. Jesus gave up His very life to ensure that we would have “plenty” – eternal life and a relationship with the Lord. What a beautiful, sacrificial example Jesus was!

We, like the father in the television show, need to take advantage of teachable moments that spur our children on towards generosity. At the same time, determine to exemplify generosity in order to cultivate it in your children’s hearts. Matthew 1:8 says, “…freely ye have received; freely give.”

Leaf Project

As the holiday season approaches, there are many different fun and creative ways to get your children involved in “freely giving” activities! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Host a pie party! Here’s how it works. Invite your neighbors/friends over, and ask everyone to bring a dessert pie. You provide the main course, which could be a pizza (pie) or a shepherd’s pie; get creative!
  • As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, offer to rake an elderly neighbor’s lawn. Suggest the idea to your children; they’ll be excited to help!
  • Make a family affair out of cleaning out your closets. Donate winter clothes, jackets, shoes, etc. to a local charity.
  • Have a family discussion about the poverty in which children in third world countries live. Introduce the idea of financially supporting one of these less fortunate children, and watch your children’s faces light up!

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[1] Schweitzer, A. (1975). Albert Schweitzer: Thoughts for Our Times. Mount Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press.
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/louis-ck-looking-in-your-neighbors-bowl_b_1964151.html

How to Raise Stand Strong kids

Whether biological or spiritual, it’s our job to study our children.

UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-02

A parent who notices a child with musical acuity will provide access to instruments, arrange lessons for formal training, oversee regular practice, cheer for success, and encourage when momentum is lost.

If a child seems to be a math or football prodigy, parents will scrutinize schools, coaches, and programs, taking every opportunity to intentionally set their child on a path that will ultimately lead to success.

But are Christian parents being as intentional with the spiritual growth of children? Are we doing everything we can to set our kids up to be successful in real life situations, where they are equipped and able to stand strong in the face of negative influences? Or are we so busy focusing on honing their ancillary interests that we’re leaving their spiritual education and growth to chance?

Because we have worked with millions of children around the world and done the research, we know that a successful formula exists to raise spiritually strong children. In a culture that strives to feed our kids the most nutritious foods, access to the best education, expose them to the most diverse experiences, and not deprive them from growing up to be the most well-rounded individuals, I don’t understand why parents wouldn’t be as meticulous and intentional in their children’s spiritual growth and development. The global Attitudes and Behaviors of Youth (ABY) survey clearly showed three main influences that allowed young people to stand strong against the negative influences the world throws at them.

UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-01

We call this the “trifecta”.

Intentionally providing access to and activity in these three areas of your child’s life will help them resist negative behaviors and engage in more positive ones instead. Yet each one takes intentionality. Family  Faith community (Church) and the Bible (Religious texts).  Spiritual discipleship of our children is not an option, it’s a command.

UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-03

Positive family experiences

Do you have to be a pastor to disciple children spiritually? No. God has given us all we need.

UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-04 UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-06 UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-05

Involvement in a faith community It is extremely important for children to be plugged into a faith community, like their church, that helps develop their spiritual training.

Yet the church has a much more limited amount of time with a child—as illustrated below. While a faith community is key, the most important entity in a child’s life is a parent—biological or spiritual. A church only has about forty hours in a given year to directly influence a child. On average, a parent has closer to 3,000 hours in the same year.[1] UD Raise Kids that Stand Strong-07Engagement in religious texts

We believe the only way a life can be transformed is through believing and accepting the Truth found in the Bible. God’s Word is more than enough for any situation we face. It is beyond what each of us deserves. (Romans 6:23) God’s Word is powerful and alive (Hebrews 4:12).

“The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.”― James Merritt

“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet.”― Mahatma Gandhi

“A thorough understanding of the Bible is better than a college education.”—Theodore Roosevelt

The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they ma enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.—A.W. Tozer

Like the intentional parent providing access to instruments, training, and encouraging practice, we ought to be doing the same with God’s Word. There are a lot of great resources you can use as they grow through different ages and stages of life, here are just a few:

LINKS-01LINKS-02LINKS-03LINKS-06 LINKS-07LINKS-05LINKS-04

While Bible reading seems to be trending downward [2], 62 percent of Americans wish they read their Bible more. People say they’re too busy to read the Bible, and yet – people want to read the Bible. [3] As Christians, we are responsible to instill a sense of destiny in our children. We must do everything in our power to invite them to carry on the torch of their spiritual legacy, training them to become faithful Christians. This type of spiritual growth and maturity happens when they become students of the Word, engage in regular Christian fellowship, and take part in positive family experiences.

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[1] Joiner, Reggie. Think Orange: Imagine the Impact when Church and Family Collide David C. Cook, June 2009, p.85.
[2] https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/664-the-state-of-the-bible-6-trends-for-2014#.VfLULdNVikp
[3] http://keithferrin.com/5-disturbing-statistics-bible-1-thats-super-encouraging

31 Prayers for Children

Being a parent drives us to our knees often. We know we need to pray for our children when they’re hurting or in a challenging phase, but are there other prayers we ought to be praying for them on a regular basis?

Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of Lifechurch.tv, recently preached a series on “Why We Pray”. Citing James, he challenged believers to replace rote, vague prayers with big, bold, specific prayers. Not only “because general prayers do not move God to specific actions”[1], but also because when these big, bold, specific prayers are answered, they can only be attributed to and bring glory to Him.

Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. James 4:2b

Here are some big, bold, specific prayers you can pray daily for the c31 Days of Prayer-07hild/ren in your life. Don’t limit your prayers to your own kids, begin to expand out and pray over all the kids you know—your neighborhood, friends of your kids, young people in the news, even the children and youth of the world.

  1. Salvation— My most earnest prayer is that child/ren will hear the Gospel and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:9)
  1. Spiritual growth— Grant my child/ren hunger to know more about You. As they read your Word, pray, fellowship, and serve with other believers, may they grow and mature in devotion to their Savior. (2 Pet. 3:18)
  1. Love— Let my child/ren feel, know, and accept God’s love and love the things God loves, especially others. (Eph. 5:2)
  1. Love for God’s Word— Every day I pray that my child/ren fall in love with your Word. May they grow to find Your Word more “precious gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.” (I John 2:5)
  1. Prayerfulness— Grow my child/ren into the habit of praying without ceasing, and in every situation, may they take their requests and concerns to you as well as intercede on behalf of others. (1 Thess. 5:17)
  1. Service—God, please help my child/ren develop servant’s hearts. May they be the first to say, “I can help!” then to do so wholeheartedly knowing it brings you great joy. (Eph. 6:7)
  1. Faithfulness—Let love and faithfulness never leave my child/ren. May these virtues go with them wherever they go because they and permanently written in their hearts. (Prov. 3:3)
  1. Honesty and Integrity— May the promptings of the Holy Spirit help my child/ren choose to tell the truth. Even if it is hard to make right choices and especially when no else knows about the choice they made, may integrity and honesty be their virtueand their protection. (Prov 28:18)
  2. Mercy— May my child/ren develop hearts of compassion for others, mirroring their Father in heaven who is merciful to them. (Ps 86:5)
  1. Respect—Father, may my child/ren show an exceptional measure of respectto everyone they come into contact with, as Your Word commands. (Rom 13:1)
  1. Self-Control— Let my child/ren stand out from others around them. May they bealert and self-controlled in all they think, say and do. (Prov 25:28)
  2. Courage—May my children be strong and courageous both in their character and actions. (Deut. 31:6)
  1. A Heart for Missions— Give my child/ren God’s missional for others who don’t yet know Jesus Christ. May they be uninhibited, bold witnesses for you. (Ps. 96:3)
  2. Purity—Daily create a clean heart in my child/ren and let that purity of heart continue all day long carrying over into theiractions. (Ps. 51:10)
  3. Kindness— May my child/ren always choose to be kind to each other and to everyone else. (Heb 13:2)
  4. Generosity—May my child/ren hold onto the things they “own” loosely, allowing them to be generous and always willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:18)
  5. Peace—No matter how hard it is, let my child/ren do everything they possibly can to create peace no matter who they are with or what situation they are in. (Rom. 12:18)
  6. Perseverance— Help my child/ren to not give up, but to finish what they start. May their prize be knowing that they finished well. (Heb. 10:36)
  7. Humility—Cultivate in my children the supernatural ability to treat others as more important than themselves. (Eph 4:2)
  8. Compassion— Give my child/ren gentle hearts, sensitive to the things that break God’s heart and the empathy to feel for others. (Col. 3:12)
  9. Responsibility—Help me to teach and model responsibility to my child/ren, giving them opportunities to understand and practice what it means to have a good work ethic. (Gal. 6:5)
  1. Contentment—Help my child/ren fight the urge to compare and complain, and instead reveal the secret of being content no matter what situation they find themselves in. (Phil. 4:12-13)
  2. Joy— May my child/ren find it easy to be filled with a spirit of optimism and joyfulness supplied by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)
  3. Justice—God, help my child/ren to love justice as much as You do and to act with fairness in all they do. (Amos 5:24)
  1. Hope—May my child/ren always know that you are the God of hope—even when things seem bad, you have the power to make good come of anything. (Ps 147:11)
  1. Willingness and Ability to Work— May my child/ren value the skills and abilities you have given them to do work, and may they steward these abilities to their fullest capacity to please you and no one else. (Col. 3:23)
  1. Passion for God— God, give my child/ren a youthful passion for the things that you love. May they be bold worshipers and witnesses for your Kingdom. (Prov 8:17)
  1. Self-Discipline—Create self-discipline in my child/ren and many around the world so that they may live a prudent life doing what is fair, right, & just. (I Tim 4:7)
  1. Trust—Help my child/ren understand that you are a safe refuge and that they can depend on you for everything. (Psalm 118:8).
  1. Satisfaction—May therealization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, be the source of my child/ren’s confidence. (Eph. 2:10)
  2. Gratitude—Help my child/ren to overflow with thankfulness always giving thanks to God the Father as the source of all good things. (Eph. 5:20)

Commit to praying these big, bold, specific prayers for the child/ren in your life for the next 31 days. Come back and leave us a comment sharing how it went!Button-01


[1] http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/pray/ Sermon 1: “Strengthened with Prayer”

 

Family Devotions – Forgiveness

Here’s the fifth in our new series of 5-step plans for doing Scripture-rich, interactive devotionals with your family!

Forgiveness

Step 1: Read

 Acts 9:1-19, I Timothy 1:13-15, Philippians 3:12-13

Play “From Enemy to Friend” in the Bible App for Kids

Forgiveness2-01

Key Verse:

“… I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” Philippians 3:13

Step 2: Explain

Forgiveness: choosing to love someone even if they have wronged you. 

Saul left home to study Jewish Law—the list of 600+ things that were “right” and “wrong”. He loved these laws so much that he went after anyone who didn’t live by them like he did—getting them in trouble, even having them thrown in prison or put to death!

He especially didn’t like people who believed in Jesus, and was on his way to Damascus to search for, arrest, and even kill as many as he could find there.

On the way, God stopped Saul’s attack. He spoke to Saul, told him that he could be forgiven for his past mistakes and start a new life following Christ.

Not only did God forgive Saul, but he even changed Saul’s name to Paul. Paul became a mighty man of God, despite all the bad things that he had done to God’s people before he was saved. If God can forgive Saul’s sins, He can forgive any of us.

Step 3: Pray

 Dear God, thank you for loving me, even when I make poor choices, and for Jesus’ death on the cross so I don’t have to constantly try and make up for my mistakes. Help me to remember that because of Jesus, I am forgiven. Help me to offer that same compassion to others who do wrong to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Step 4: Talk about it!

Kids ask your parents:

 Tell about a time when someone showed you/you showed someone forgiveness even though you didn’t think you/they deserved it.

Parents ask your kids:

Have you ever wondered if you could do something so bad that we or God could not forgive you for it?

Extra questions:

  1. Why was Paul on the way to Damascus? (to find and persecute Christians)
  2. Who stopped Paul? (God)
  3. What horrible things had Paul done that God forgave? (persecute and kill Christians)
  4. What was Paul’s new mission from God? (to share the Gospel)
  5. What did Paul say we are supposed to do about our past sins? (Forget the past, look forward to what lies ahead (Phil 3:13b)

 Step 5: Practice it!

Choose one or more of the following activities to help your child/ren put the concepts they just learned into action.  Download a printable here.

  1. As you color, think about things you need to ask God to forgive you for, or things you can ask others to forgive you for.
  2. Write down things you have done today that were not wise choices. Pray to God, asking Him to forgive you, then use a dark marker to cover over those words to symbolize that you’ve been forgiven.
  3. Find a dry erase board, some sand, or another creative and erasable place you can write or draw something mean someone else has done to you. Erase it once you have thought, prayed, and chosen to forgive that person.
  4. Forgiveness2-02Look up and write down I John 1:9. Now put it where you go when you are upset. Let it be a reminder to you of the power of forgiveness.

 

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3 simple steps to share the Good News

The best story we will ever tell our kids is God’s story of salvation. Yet, this important conversation can often get lost in the busyness of our lives. We may think it’s been covered at church, or that they just “get it” because we do. Or maybe you can’t even remember back to when you had your earliest encounter with Jesus and how it all went down.

But thanks to our ever-present smartphones and innovative tools like the Bible App for Kids, our kids have the chance to interact with the Gospel story more than ever before. And what better opportunity to engage them in the most important conversation of their life than as they naturally ask questions about the stories they are learning.

Here’s a simple way to share the gospel using the “God’s Good News” story on the Bible App for Kids. After you read the story in your app, you can personalize the experience with your child using these parent prompts, additional activities and questions.

1. Help them KNOW God’s love for them. 

God'sGoodNews-01Read:

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: God made everything, and He made it perfect. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their sin brought death into our world. Sin broke our relationship with God and broke His perfect world. But God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: What is sin? What does it do? Sin is when we disobey God. It’s the wrong things we do, say, or think that go against God. Sin breaks our relationship with God.

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God'sGoodNews-02

Explain: Everyone sins, and the result of sin is death. But sin couldn’t stop God from loving us! He had a plan.

How did God show His love for us? He sent His son Jesus. Sin broke our relationship with God, but Jesus came to fix it. 

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God'sGoodNews-02Explain: Jesus helped many people and taught them about God’s perfect love. His perfect life shows us what love looks like.

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: What did Jesus do for us because He loves us? He died on a cross for our sins. He carried out God’s plan to fix our relationship with Him. He rose from the dead three days later breaking the power of sin and death. He returned to Heaven. Now Jesus lives forever!

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: God loves you. He created you one-of-a-kind! Trusting and following Jesus fixes our broken relationship with God. Are you ready to be a part of God’s story and accept His love for you?

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: Would you like to pray a simple prayer with me and tell God you are ready to be part of His story?

Dear God, I’m sorry for all the things I’ve done wrong. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins. I want to be a part of Your Story and live with You forever in heaven. Please help me know You better. Amen.

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: One day, when Jesus returns, God will make everything perfect again. He will make a new Heaven and a new Earth. Everyone who trusts in Jesus will live with Him forever! Jesus will help you grow to be more like Him.

2. Encourage them to GROW.

God'sGoodNews-01Read: John 14:16-18, Galatians 5:22-23 (link to verses)

God helps us grow as we trust Him. Jesus didn’t leave us alone. He sent His Holy Spirit to live inside us and help us be more like Jesus. He helps us show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are called the fruits of the Spirit.

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Ask: How can we grow and become more like Jesus?

 

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Explain: One way is by reading our Bibles. The more we read our Bibles, the more we know about God and how He wants us to live. The Holy Spirit will help us remember what we’ve read and help us live in a way that shows others who God is.

We also grow when we talk to God. We can talk to God any time through prayer. You can talk to God out loud, or you can just think the words in your head. He is always listening and ready to help you.

God'sGoodNews-03Ask: How can others help us grow?

 

 God'sGoodNews-02Explain: We grow when we spend time with other people who love Jesus. This is why we go to church. Other people can help us make good decisions and encourage us to live every day in a way that shows God we love Him.

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3. Teach them to SHOW Jesus to others.

God'sGoodNews-01Read: Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 2:8

 

God'sGoodNews-03

Ask: How will others know you love God?

 

God'sGoodNews-02Explain: Our friends will know we love Jesus because of the things we do and say. As we grow, our life will start to look different. We will be more loving, kinder, and more joyful. When people ask what is different about us, we can share God’s story and the good news of Jesus with them too.

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God'sGoodNews-03
Ask: What if they never ask me about God?

 

God'sGoodNews-02

Explain: You can also share God’s love with them even if they don’t ask. Good news is supposed to be shared! You can tell your friends how you heard God’s story and realized He loved you. You can tell them how important He is to you and how He helps you every day.

You can always talk to God and ask Him to help you share His love and the good news of Jesus with your friends. He will give you the words to say.

The more you talk about and practice KNOWING, GROWING, and SHOWING, the more confident you and your child will become in sharing this great news with others!
*Next, how you can use the Bible App for Kids to help prepare your child to share this good news with their friends!

 

Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids

Review the conversation guides using know, grow, and show from 3 simple steps to share the Good News.

1. Engage with the Bible App for Kids together

BAKThe stories in the app provide the big picture of Scripture—how God is working from Adam and Eve through Christ’s return. (And more stories are being released all the time!) Each narrative also demonstrates how they all fit together into one Big Story so your child can grasp the thread running through the entire Bible.

God'sGoodNews-06-05-05The beginning screen for each story shows the Scripture reference. Look up these passages together in your Bible (print or digital!) Show your children how to locate the passage in the Bible, and then read the Scripture together before watching the story unfold in the app.

The more you review the Big Story of Scripture, the more your child will grow in his or her own understanding of the Gospel message. And the better they understand, the easier it will be for them to confidently share the Good News with others.

2.  Memorize Bible verses together

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach us and remind us of all that He said (John 14:26). One way He does this is through Scriptures we have memorized.

Tell your children about situations where you haven’t known what to say or do and how God helped you through His Word. As they begin to memorize Scripture, they will begin to experience this for themselves. Make this question a regular part of your conversations: “What verse has God used to help you this week?”

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Begin by memorizing verses that explain the Good News. Be sure to look up the verses together in your Bible or in a Bible app.

Here are some suggested verses. Write these on notecards and keep them handy for reviewing at dinner or while in the car. If you have a family dry erase board, write a verse on the board and then throughout the week erase words!

John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 1:12

3. Role play together

Role play conversations where you pretend to be their friends and start off a conversation by being the “friend” asking, “What app are you playing?” Ask your children questions so they can practice how to respond and make sure they are comfortable flipping between stories on their device to show what they know.

The more comfortable they are in talking about the story, the more natural and conversational it will be for them to bring up the topic with their friends.

Remind them that sharing the Big Story with their friends is as simple as a conversation—one that God through the Holy Spirit will help them begin

4. Pray together

Pray together for their friends by name. Keep a stack of notecards near the dinner table and place one friend’s name on each card. Have them write down specific requests for each friend, then pray about those together as a family regularly. Be sure to write down answers to prayer too!

Ask God to give them opportunities to share the Good News with their friends. Pray together for peace, wisdom, and courage to speak up in conversations. Remind them of Paul’s words:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16.

Above all, encourage them to remember that God is the One who will speak through them and call people to Himself. Sharing this Good News with our friends is a great joy and privilege!

 

Family Devotions: Honesty and Zacchaeus

Here’s another simple 5-step plan for doing a Scripture-rich, interactive devotional with your entire family!

Step 1: Read
Luke 19:1-10

 Key Verse:
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”
Proverbs 12:22

Zacchaeus-01

Step 2: Explain

Honesty: Being truthful in all you say and do.

Have you ever been tempted to not tell the truth? Maybe mom asked you to clean your room and when she asked if you did, you said yes even though you didn’t. Or maybe your parents gave you money for snacks at a ball game, and when they asked if there was any money left you said no, even though you had some change left.

When we don’t tell the truth, we are not honest. Even when we only tell part of the truth, and leave out important parts, we are still lying.

Lying almost always gets us into bigger trouble. Even if no one else ever finds out, God knows what we have done. It is sin, and sin breaks our relationship with God and with others.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector in the Bible. When he collected tax money from people, he took more than he was supposed to and kept it for himself.

When Zacchaeus met Jesus and realized his sin, he promised to return four times as much as he had taken from people! He wanted to make things right, with God and with the people he had stolen from.

Admitting that we haven’t been honest can be hard, but it pleases God. The Bible says that God takes delight in (is happy with) people who are trustworthy (who are honest and make the right choices). Sometimes it might mean saying you are sorry to someone. It might mean returning something that isn’t yours. An honest person will do whatever he can to make things right.

 Step 3: Pray

Dear God, Sometimes, I don’t always tell the whole truth. Please forgive me of my sin and help me choose to be honest when I might be tempted not to. If there are people I need to apologize to or make things right with, help me have courage to do the right thing. I want to be more like your son Jesus. I want to be an honest person. Amen.

 Step 4: Talk about it!

Kids ask your parents:

Was there ever a time when you were tempted to not be honest? What did you do?

Parents ask your kids:

Why do you think it’s hard sometimes to be honest?

Extra Questions:

  1. What kind of tree did Zacchaeus climb so he could see Jesus? A sycamore-fig tree.
  2. Why did Jesus tell Zacchaeus to come down from the tree? He was going to stay at Zacchaeus’ house.
  3. What did Zacchaeus say he would do after talking to Jesus? Repay anyone he had cheated.

 Step 5: Practice it!

Choose one or more of the following activities to help your child/ren put the concepts they just learned into action. Download a free printable with these activities here.

As a family act out the story of Zacchaeus together.

  1. Talk about situations where it’s hard to be honest. Encourage each other with ideas of how you can choose honesty.
  2. Draw a picture of a tree. Write the memory verse (Proverbs 12:22) on the branches to remind you to choose honesty.
  3. Award an “honesty” badge to someone who displays honesty.

If you liked this interactive family devotional, you’ll love these:

Obedience–the story of Abraham

Kindness–the story of Joseph