Never Left Alone

 

Sanctity of Life Sundayneverleftalone

ThemeWe can never be orphaned because God has adopted us as His sons and daughters.  He cherishes each and every life.

Scripture:  John 14:15-21

MaterialsSuite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major (or any other piece by Bach), a slideshow or printed cards of famous orphans

Opening:  Have children sit in a circle.  Introduce yourself.  Light the candle and say, “We can’t see God, but we can see his light in the world.  This candle reminds us that God is here with us.”  Say a quick opening prayer for your time together and lead the Lord’s Prayer.

Lesson:  Who can tell me what it means to be an “orphan”.  What does it mean to be adopted?  Allow and guide answers as necessary.  To be orphaned means that a person has lost both of their parents either through death or through other circumstances.  The life and future of an orphan can be very uncertain, because people are so shaped by those who love and take care of them.  Adoption is an amazing thing for an orphan.  When someone is adopted by a new family, that family cares for them in the very same way they care and love their own children.

Begin music.  We are going to have a little history lesson and learn about three orphans whose lives would have been very different had it not been for the families who adopted them.  The first little boy we are going to talk about was orphaned when he was nine years old.  After moving half way across the United States, he was adopted by an uncle who taught him the importance of hard work.  Forty-four years later, after many different jobs and experiences, this little boy became the thirty-first president of the United States, Herbert Hoover.  He was President in a very difficult time but is known for creating many job opportunities and helping the poorest families during the Great Depression.

The next little boy was born as a slave and was kidnapped with his mother and sister when he was only one week old!  The master who owned this little boy’s family searched for his missing slaves but only found the little baby.  Fortunately for the little baby, this white family adopted him and raised him as their own son.  For the time they were in, this was a very strange and dangerous thing for a white family to do, but they cared for and taught this little boy until he left home to attend school.  This little boy became a great scientist known for his work with farmers and peanuts; his name was George Washington Carver.

The last little boy we are going to talk about was orphaned when he was ten years old.  After he lost his parents, he was adopted by his oldest brother, who was a great musician.  While shadowing his older brother, this little boy learned all about music, how to play many different types of instruments, and met many famous composers.  When he grew up, he wrote many beautiful pieces of music, including the one we are listening to now – his name was Johann Sebastian Bach.

None of these men could have achieved what they did without someone realizing that their lives were valuable and that they were worth the time and effort to raise them.  In the same way, God, our Heavenly Father, sees value in our lives and has adopted us as His sons and daughters.  Jesus told his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans, and because Jesus conquered death, he has not been separated from us.  He also sent his Holy Spirit to be with us – so we might feel alone, sad or scared sometimes, but we will never be without the comfort of God, our Father who loves and cares for us as much as he loves and cares for his own son, Jesus.

Closing PrayerDear God, thank you so much for bringing us into your family.  Thank you for showing us that we are loved and cherished in your eyes.  Help us to treat everyone in our lives with that same love and respect, and teach the world that everyone is worthwhile.  Amen.

~ Family Study Guide ~

John 14:15-21

Monday – verse 15

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

  1. Why do we have rules or commandments?  What would life (at home, at school, on the road, etc.) be like if there were no rules?  What is the purpose of commandments in the Bible for us today?
  2. This passage in John comes after Jesus tells his disciples that he will soon die.  He asks them to remember all that he has taught them and reminds them that the natural actions of loving him are doing the things he commanded.  As a family, pray that you will cherish the words of God in your heart and that you will live out the commandments, rules, in your daily lives.

Tuesday – verses 16-17

“and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

  1. Why do you think Jesus thought it was necessary to send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to the disciples after he left the earth?  Did he not trust that they could spread the Word by themselves?
  2. Obviously, we cannot do anything in our own power – we need the help of the Holy Spirit.  Discuss how the Holy Spirit can help you with something difficult you are facing now.  Pray together for each other and for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you in whatever path you directed.

Wednesday – verses 18-19

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.”

  1. Jesus is saying that even though he will die, he will not be leaving, or orphaning us.  How is his death different?
  2. To us, Jesus’ resurrection is a miracle, something only he could do.  He lives!  But why do we, ordinary people, get to share in his victory, his life after death?  Thank God tonight, as a family, for the amazing love God demonstrated by having his only Son die the death that was meant for us.

Thursday – verse 20

“In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

  1. Cover your eyes with your fingers.  How much can you see?  Would you be able to move around very well?  Of course not!  Jesus said many things to his disciples that confused them, but here he was telling them that soon everything will be made clear, and they will be able to understand.
  2. Is there something in the Bible, or something Jesus has said that confuses you?  Talk about it as a family and then pray that the Holy Spirit will make God’s Word clear to you.

Friday – verse 21

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.  And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

  1. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Your actions speak louder than your words”?  What does it mean?  How does following Jesus’ commandments show that we love him?
  2. Look up the word “manifest”.  What does it mean?  How will Jesus manifest himself to us today?  (Remember, it can also be a feeling.)  As a family, pray that your love for Christ will be made clear to everyone through your actions and that Jesus will send us his comfort and love.

Saturday – Prepare for Worship

Together, review and reflect on this week’s lesson from John 14.  Did anything profoundly affect you?  Did any verses stick with you?  Did any of the discussions or prayers affect your bond as a family?

Preview the reading for Sunday, Luke 4:14-21.  This reading cannot be found in the children’s Bibles, but you may consider using the NIV or The Message if you have younger children.  Ask them if they have any questions about the passage.  Help clarify where you can, and write down any questions to which you do not know the answers.  It would be wonderful for you to take those questions to church and see if they are answered in the sermon.  If they are not, have your child ask your minister after the service.  I can guarantee that he will be thrilled!

Linking up with:
http://christianmommyblogger.com Picture Womanhood With Purpose A Little R & R

TheBetterMom.com GraceLaced Mondays The Alabaster Jar  USE this for BLOG

 Growing Home Photobucket Artful Homemaking CSAHM Parenting Button

  WIPWednesday  Walking Redeemed Womanhood With Purpose Missional Women

 

The Alabaster Jar TheBetterMom.com  essentialthingdevotions.com

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A Greater Plan

agreatplan

Theme: The meaning of Baptism &God’s plan for us

Scripture: Luke 3:15-22

Materials: baptism gown (or other white garment), oil, water, construction paper, glue, markers, ribbon or string for hanging

Opening: Have children sit in a circle. Introduce yourself. Light the candle and say, “We can’t see God, but we can see his light in the world. This candle reminds us that God is here with us.” Say a quick opening prayer for your time together and lead the Lord’s Prayer.

Lesson: Today is a special day – does anyone know what we are remembering today? Today is the day when we remember the baptism of Jesus. Let’s read about his baptism from the Beginner’s Bible. Read pages 303-307. Comprehension questions: Who baptized Jesus? What was John’s life like – what did he do? What happened after John baptized Jesus?

We too, like Jesus, get baptized. Who can tell us a little bit about what happens during a baptism service and what baptism means? Allow time for answers. Okay, that was great! I’m going to fill in some of the gaps. There are three major symbols in baptism – a white outfit, oil, and water. The water and the white outfit mean similar things: that we are washed clean from our sins and that we have gotten rid of our “old selves” and put on Christ – the changes of new life. The oil is used to mark your forehead, to anoint you, and the words “you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever. Amen.” are spoken over you.

Our baptism is very similar to, symbolic of, Jesus’ baptism, and it means that we are adopted into His family. When you are part of a family, you are a part of all of the plans of that family. God has a special rescue plan for His people, and we are all part of that plan. Everyone, together and individually, has special roles in this plan, but we are all called to live like Jesus and spread the good news of the Bible. And one day, maybe even in your life, Jesus will come back to earth and bring His family to His Kingdom.

Closing prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for the gift and sacrifice of your Son. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your great plan and including us in the baptism of Jesus. Help us to live out a life that brings you glory and serves as a shining example in this dark world. Amen.

Closing activity: Help children trace their hands on construction paper. Before helping them cut out their handprints, have them write their name on their hands. Glue (or attach in some way) the handprints together to form a wreath with a banner in the middle that says: “I am part of God’s plan!” Make enough hands to fill the wreath. Hang the colorful wreath in a prominent area.

handwreath

~ Family Study Guide ~

Luke 3:15-22 

Monday – verses 15-16

As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

  1. John was a prophet and a cousin of Jesus, but he says that not even he is worthy enough serve and be near Jesus.  What makes Jesus so great, and why is it miraculous that we have been adopted to be his brothers and sisters?
  2. John could only baptize with water and tell people to ask for forgiveness from God.  Jesus could do much more – how did the effect of baptism change after Jesus was baptized?  What does that mean for you?  Close in prayer as a family, and specifically ask for the Holy Spirit to be present in your life.

Tuesday – verse 17

His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

  1. Why does Jesus have the supreme right and ability to separate the “good wheat” from the “chaff” (His people who have served His purpose from those who do not know him).
  2. We, as God’s people, are on the earth to serve a purpose, to be a part of his great rescue plan.  What does he call all of us to do in this life.  What has he called you to specifically do?  As you close in prayer, ask God to bless your ministry and/or to show you how you can serve him this week.

Wednesday – verse 18

So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.

  1.  John was a popular preacher – many came to listen to him.  What do you think made him so popular?  What made people listen?  (Remember, he did not preach an easy message, but always taught the truth.  Look back farther in the chapter to see who was in the crowds listening.)
  2. You do not have to be a prophet or preacher to share Jesus’ message with people you know.  Is there someone in your life who needs to hear a specific message this week?  As a family, find pieces of scripture that might help with the situation.  Then, ask God to guide you as you speak with this person, that you will show nothing but the love of Jesus in your speech and actions.

Thursday – verses 19-20

But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done,added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

  1. Why did Herod lock up John?  (If you need to, read the NIV translation for help: But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done…)
  2. Herod concluded that the only way he could get John to be quiet was to lock him up in jail (but I am willing to bet that John still preached to his jailers and fellow inmates).  Oh! that this would be the only way someone could unsuccessfully get us be quiet about Jesus!  Is there something holding you back from sharing the good news?  Why?  Read Hebrews 13:6 for assurance.  Ask God to give you strength, wisdom, and discernment as you live out the Gospel and share Jesus’ message with the world.

Friday – verses 21-22

 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

  1. How is the oil that our heads are anointed with at our baptism symbolic of the dove descending on Jesus?
  2. Jesus was hated by many in his life for the message he taught.  You too will share in this discomfort others have for our faith. But, like Jesus, God will one day announce the we are his sons and daughters, he will bring us to His home.  How does that make you feel?  How might this comfort change the way you live your daily life?  As a family, thank God for the assurance He gives us of His love and provision in this life and in the next.  Ask that you will never turn away from His message and that you will keep Him as your rock and foundation.

Saturday – Prepare for Worship

Together, review and reflect on this week’s lesson from Luke 3.  Did anything profoundly affect you?  Did any verses stick with you?  Did any of the discussions or prayers affect your bond as a family?

Preview the reading for Sunday, John 8:15-21.  This reading cannot be found in the children’s Bibles, but you may consider using the NIV or The Message if you have younger children.  It may be helpful to find a picture of Jesus teaching to give them something on which to focus.  Ask them if they have any questions.  Help clarify where you can, and write down any questions to which you do not know the answers.  It would be wonderful for you to take those questions to church and see if they are answered in the sermon.  If they are not, have your child ask your minister after the service.  I can guarantee that he will be thrilled!

Linking up with:
http://christianmommyblogger.com Picture Womanhood With Purpose A Little R & R

TheBetterMom.com GraceLaced Mondays The Alabaster Jar  USE this for BLOG

 Growing Home Photobucket Artful Homemaking CSAHM Parenting Button

  WIPWednesday  Walking Redeemed Womanhood With Purpose Missional Women

 

The Alabaster Jar TheBetterMom.com 

A Song for the Father

songforfather

Theme:  Mary Sunday and making our lives a song dedicated to God

Scripture:  Luke 1:26-56

Materials:  A simplified translation of the story of Mary, pictures or a slide show to pair with the reading, paper and coloring/writing supplies

Opening:  Have children sit in a circle.  Introduce yourself.  Light three candles in the Advent wreath (including the pink one) and say, “We can’t see God, but we can see his light in the world.  These candles remind us that God is here with us and remind us to prepare for the birth of Christ!  We are lighting the pink candle today because today is the Sunday when we remember Mary.”  Say a quick opening prayer for your time together and lead the Lord’s Prayer.

Lesson:  I would like everyone to think of their favorite song and share it with the rest of us.  Why is it your favorite song?  One of my favorite songs is called “I Get to Be the One” by J.J. Heller.  It is about a mother singing to her new baby and telling the new baby all of the things they get to do together.  Can anyone guess why that is one of my favorite songs?  That’s correct – I just had a baby and I sing that song to her all of the time! Continue reading