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5 Creative Ways to Surround Kids with the Bible

What do you want most for your children? Most Christian parents want their children to know God and His love for them.

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One of the best ways for kids to get to know God and His deep love for them is to expose them often to His Word.

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Hebrews 4:12 Coloring Sheet for Kids | OneHope | Undeterred.net

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Reading God’s Word is essential to understanding God and His love. God speaks, instructs, and loves throughout every page.

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Thankfully, the Bible isn’t a boring textbook full of codes and rules. Instead, His Word is a love story that depicts His love for and pursuance of the human race. It is a road map for every hill and valley of life’s journey. It is both an adventure and mystery book, filled with the truest stories of God’s unexplainable power and might.

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Here are some creative and fun ways to invite kids to get to know God through His Word.

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Bible App for Kids | The Brave and Beautiful Queen

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Watch and Listen. Instead of playing the radio while driving to and from grandma’s house or the grocery store, use this “extra” time to cultivate your child’s love for the Bible. The Bible App for Kids is a great resource that allows your child to listen to the Bible while watching its stories come to life.

Fill their Lunchbox. Write a Bible verse on colorful scrapbook paper, their napkin, or even a banana, and slip it into their lunchbox. In the midst of bullying, peer-pressure, or just the stress of school, a lunchbox note can remind them where the best words of comfort and encouragement come from.

Decorate. Surround your kids with Scripture by decorating your home with Bible verses! Use a chalkboard to display a weekly Bible verse. Many stores offer wall décor printed with Bible verses, as well. Make sure your home showcases a love for God’s Word and watch the influence it has on your children.

Gameify. Use that chalkboard in your kitchen to have a Bible verse memorization competition. Introduce your children to sword drills and make a game out of Bible trivia questions. Using your child’s competitive nature is a great tool to use in cultivating a love for Scripture.

Create traditions. On Christmas morning, read aloud about the birth of Jesus found in Matthew and Luke. Make a tradition of praying a certain Bible verse over your child before a test or game. Some fitting verses might be 2 Timothy 1:7, Numbers 6:24-26, Philippians 4:13. Use family vacation as an opportunity to read a chapter of the Bible together before hitting the beach or amusement park.

The Bible says to train children while they are young (Proverbs 22:6). What better area to train children than a love for God’s Word and a desire to know the contents of its pages!

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11


 

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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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God'sGoodNews-03

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

 

God'sGoodNews-02

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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Ask: What if they never ask me about God?

 

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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!

 

BULLYING: 4 STEPS TO HELP TWEENS HANDLE IT

EquipTweenBullying

Recently our team conducted a session for 11-14 year olds and spent a section specifically addressing online bullying. Unfortunately this issue has become even more rampant since the wave of seemingly “consequentless anonymizers” like Snapchat have taken center stage.

In today’s anonymous world youth are encouraged to dissociate themselves with negative behavior and instead cling to their anonymous label that grants them access to the “waves of culture”. Instead of strength of character we see a growing epidemic of mean behavior amongst those that should be brothers and sisters. We’d like to share a few practical steps you can share with your tween to help them in bullying situations.

Step In

Oftentimes adults are somewhat in the dark about how prevalent this issue is in their tween or teen’s world. Step one to combat this is to step in to their world. The easiest way into the world of tweens is by connecting with your child in familiar non-threatening conversations. These conversations can be started with simple questions like “Who is your favorite person at school?” or “Who is the most popular?” Make an effort as these conversations progress to take note of your child’s reactions and responses. Even jot down the names they mention on your phone. It will mean a lot to your child when you are able to follow up and ask how their peers are by name and not just description.

Parents’ reactions to difficult situations will shape the way our kids relate their world to us. Kids often feel that they exist within two or more “worlds” and do their best to maintain a positive atmosphere in all of them. There is the school world, home world, and various game or online worlds that add to this. As a parent you need to be willing to step out into their other worlds. That may mean sitting in on a gaming session, asking for a tour of their Facebook or WhatsApp, or visiting them for lunch at school (if appropriate). Do whatever you need to in order to better understand where they live day to day.

Step Back

Try to always remember the old saying “hurt people hurt people”. It seems simple enough, but it is imperative to remember that the one hurting others is usually trying to cover their own wounds. By jumping into a situation too quickly you can re-victimize the participants and thus get yourself excommunicated from their world quite quickly. Remember to keep your cool in these situations and make a concentrated effort to examine the situation from an unbiased perspective. Lastly, be sure to involve leadership that knows both parties well in the conflict resolution stage.

 

Step Up

Tweens especially are in a time of transition. Amongst their peers many social roles are established simply by who is willing to step up. Encourage your children in leadership roles that compliment their personality. One of the slogans we use with the teens is “Don’t be afraid – be a friend”. This may be a good memory verse to share with your child if they find themselves involved in a bullying situation where they need to step up:

Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Step Over (not on)

Once I saw a video on a nature channel about a mother bear and her cubs. I vividly remember the look in the mother’s eyes and body language when she realized the camera crew was stepping closer to her cubs. She had been grazing behind them comfortably, but seeing the possible danger she moved to step over her cubs and re-situate herself between them and the camera man. If you notice your child is the target of bullies, don’t be afraid to step between them and the bully to bring balance and protection to the situation.

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

This definition by Albert Einstein of insanity could easily be applied in this arena as well. We cannot continue moving in the same direction and stay in the same patterns but expect things to change. Sit down with your spouse and then with your tween and figure out as a team what steps you all need to take regarding your specific situation. Step one should always be to our knees in prayer as we seek first the Kingdom.


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CourtCourtney Alberson is Generation of Virtue’s lead solutions specialist. Which is a fancy way of saying she handles the team’s many IT needs and spends a lot of time in Photoshop. When she’s not finding solutions to problems, Courtney enjoys communicating God’s truth about love and relationships to teenagers and…drinking coffee.

Family Devos: Courage, the story of Esther

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

Step 1: Read

Esther 2:1-10; Esther 3:8-11; Esther 4: 8, Esther 4:12-16; Esther 7:1-7; Esther 8:3-6, Esther 8:9-11, Esther 9:2-6;

Play The Rescued App stories Bringer of Peace and The Peacemaker and the King’s Throne or the “Brave and Beautiful Queenstory of Esther on Bible app for Kids.

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Key Verse:

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

Step 2: Explain

Courage: Doing what is right, even when you’re afraid.

What do you think of when you think of courage? A firefighter putting out a fire? Not being afraid of bugs? Answering a question in front of the class? Courage is much more than that! Courage helps us do what is right, even when it’s hard or if we’re afraid.

Queen Esther had big reasons to be afraid. If the king knew who she really was, she might die. But Esther knew it was right to speak up for her people, the Israelites. Even though she didn’t know what would happen to her, she told the king the truth and asked for his help. God was with Esther when she faced the king. Because of Esther’s actions, her people were saved from death!

The Bible says we can have courage because God is always with us (Joshua 1:9). God will never leave us or forget us (Hebrews 13:5).

We need courage to not just go along with what everyone else is doing when we know it’s wrong. When we’ve hurt someone’s feelings, it takes courage to apologize. We might get asked to do a job that we think is too hard. A person with courage will try his very best to do what he’s been asked to do. If we are afraid of what our friends might think, we might not talk about Jesus or what we learned at church. Courage helps us make the right decisions and live a life that pleases God.

Whenever you feel afraid and like you need more courage, you can ask God to help you. He is always with you.

 Step 3: Pray

Dear God, I want to have courage to do what’s right. Please help me have courage when I am afraid or when I think the job is too hard. Thank you for always being with me and teaching me how to live in a way that honors you. Amen.

 Step 4: Talk about it!

Kids ask your parents:

Was there a time when you needed courage to do something? What happened?

Parents ask your kids:

In what situations do you need more courage?

Extra Questions:

  1. Who created the evil plan to destroy the Israelites? Haman
  2. What did Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, ask her to do? Speak to the king about the Israelites.
  3. Was it against the law for Esther to speak to the king? Yes
  4. What did Esther ask Mordecai and the people to do for her? Pray and fast.
  5. What can we do when we need courage to do the right thing? Pray

 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.

  1. As a family, role-play situations where you might need more courage, and act out how to respond and do the right thing. (Example: Kids, pretend to be a boss asking your parents to adjust some numbers on a report so the numbers will look better. Parents, pretend to be kids at school making fun of other kids.)
  2. Memorize Joshua 1:9 as a family. Play a game where you erase or scribble out different words of the verse until no words remain, and you can say the whole verse by memory.
  3. Color the images from the Bible App for Kids story, the Brave and Beautiful Queen.
  4. Draw or use the printed picture of a shield and a crown, and write “courage” on it to help you remember the story of Esther’s courage.

 

Sword Drill

It’s so important that our children learn about the Creator of the universe and His deep love for a fallen world; Jesus, His life, teachings, miracles and death; read stories about great heroes of the faith; and engage in the Bible’s instructions for living to the glory of God.

But alarmingly, “Figures show that almost half of children—46 percent—read Bible stories at least once a year, compared with 86 percent of their parents when they were growing up.”[1]

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 instructs us to “Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

As a small group leader for 2nd graders at my church, we are spending the month building faith skills—the first of which is reading the Bible.

My group is a mix of readers and non-readers, so being able to help them navigate the Bible is a challenge; but one that is worth the investment. It takes time, patience, and practice for kids to learn how to look up verses and begin to read passages of Scripture on their own.

This past week as were attempting to look up verses, one of my little ones groaned, “this feels like I’m at school and you’re making me do work!”

I wish I had remembered about “Sword Drills” from my childhood. It’s a tool that makes Bible navigation fun and challenging through gamification. Rest assured, now that I’ve remembered how much fun sword drills were for me as a kid, I’m going to bring ‘em back and start incorporating them into our weekly small group experience to help my kids build their Bible navigation muscles.

“Swords ready! Aaaaaaand, GO!”

Feel free to download and print this Sword Drill instruction sheet to use with your family or students to practice navigating through God’s Word!

OneHope Sword Drill

 


 [1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10621856/Rising-numbers-of-children-no-longer-read-Bible-stories.html

Jenna ScottJenna serves as a 2nd grade small group leader at Browns Bridge Church, is married to Dan and has 4 children ages 7, 8, 9 & 11. She loves getting to “use her words” to share the best story ever written as well as help spread the Word via OneHope!

10 Principles To Help Kids Make WISE Choices

We all want our kids to be wise.  We train them, talk to them, model for them, do everything we can to instill Godly wisdom and practical intelligence in their minds.  We spend eighteen years (sometimes more) monitoring their every move, correcting when necessary, and preparing for the day we will set them free to go out into the world and make a life of their own.

We hope and trust that the scripture we have quoted numerous times throughout our trials and tribulations of parenthood will come true:

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” –Proverbs 22:6

But, the question still remains…how do you GUARANTEE that your child will walk in the way they should go?  How do you GUARANTEE that all of the principles, lessons, and wisdom you have poured into them will actually stick with them when they launch out into the world?

After all, we have all seen children who grew up in godly homes, had amazing parents, went to church every single Sunday – and when they left the nest, they ended up walking away from it all – into a lifestyle of sin.

How do you make sure your child doesn’t end up that way?  The truth is – there is no guarantee.  I don’t mean to be a pessimist or to rain on your parade, but it’s true.  There is no guarantee that every child will choose to follow the way that is set before them.  They are individuals.  They make their own decisions.  There is no guarantee in the Scriptures that your child will become a life-long follower of Jesus if only you follow steps 1 thru 3.  It just isn’t in the Bible.

We are a culture obsessed with getting ahead and ensuring a win. We have little tolerance for failure.  We want guarantees on everything – purchases, programs, etc.  We want a 100% money-back guarantee that this will work.  “If you can’t guarantee the weight-loss program, I’m not trying it.”  “If you can’t guarantee that I will get a job on the first interview by using your training program, I am not even giving it an attempt.”  We want guarantees on EVERYTHING – including raising our children to follow Christ and make wise decisions.

It really breaks my heart when I see children raised in Christian families by parents who were desperately trying to raise them the right way – those children walk away from their faith.  In many cases, (though not all) it was the actions and attitudes of the parents that drove their children away from Christ.  The parents’ micromanagement and attempt to control their kid pushed the kid away. In trying to guarantee their child love the Lord and grow up to think exactly like them, the parents became the biggest obstacle in their kids’ spiritual development.

So, now that I have thoroughly depressed you – let me share some things that I have learned.  I want to again remind you that I am NOT an expert.  My children are 14 and 12.  I have SO MUCH still to learn and experience when it comes to parenting.

However, having been a Kids Pastor for 22 years, I have seen a LOT of kids grow up.  I have watched parents train their kids.  I’ve seen kids who have grown into amazing leaders and exemplary Christ followers.  I have also seen many who have fallen away, never to return to faith (not yet anyway).

So, although I cannot make any kind of overarching guarantee about whether or not your child will become the next Billy Graham or Joel Osteen – I do believe there are some basic principles to learn about how to train your children to make wise decisions that will draw them closer to God and help them become life-long followers of Jesus Christ.

In this video, I share 10 principles that will help guide the conversation with our kids when it comes to making decisions that are “in agreement with the Bible, influenced by the Holy Spirit, and promote the spiritual growth of the individual and those they influence.”  

 

“How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Choices” from High Voltage Kids Ministry on Vimeo.

I have included a fill-in-the-blank outline PDF for you – in case you want to play this video for your parents and use it as teaching tool.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Choices (OUTLINE)

Included is a printable outline for parents to fill in as they watch the vimeo:

“How To Talk To Your Kids About Making Wise Decisions”

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”– Proverbs 22:6

Wise Decisions – Decisions that are in agreement with the Bible, influenced by the Holy Spirit, and promote the spiritual growth of the individual and those they influence.

If you want your child to make wise decisions:

1) Ask God for _______________.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5

2) Establish clear _______________.

3) Explain the _______________.

4) Practice what you _______________.

5) Connect their decisions to _______________ _______________.

 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

6) _______________ your child through the decision-making process

 Questions to ask when walking through the decision-making process:

! What does the Bible say about this?

 ! Have I prayed about this?

! Do I have peace about this decision?

! How will this choice affect my family and those I care about?

! Is this choice being made so I can get as close as I can to sinning without technically sinning?

! Will this choice make it harder to share my faith with others?

! What does my pastor and/or spiritual leaders suggest I do?

7) As your child grows, allow them to make more decisions _____ _____________.

8) Don’t shield your child from _______________.9) Reconnect and _______________ the decision with your child.

 Questions to ask when evaluating an unwise decision:

“What _______________ did you _______________ in this?”

“What are you going to do _______________ next time?”

“What did you _______________ from this?”

10) Pick them up, dust them off, and let them ________________________.


 

thumbnailBrian began in Kids Ministry in 1992. He has served at two churches, The Oaks Fellowship (Dallas, TX 1992-1999) and First NLR (North Little Rock, AR 1999 – Present). He loves kids, Kidmin Leaders, and everything that involves leading children in their spiritual journey!

Brian founded High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources in 1998, which creates and provides Kids Church Curriculum, Music, Games, Videos, and more to churches around the world. He is the author of “I Blew It!”, a Kidmin Leadership book that helps others avoid the biggest mistakes in Kids Ministry. You can follow his blog at Briandollar.com.

Brian and his wife of 16 years, Cherith, have two amazing children – Ashton (daughter – age 14) and Jordan (son – age 12).