Redeem the Time

This is the third and final sermon in the Stewardship Mini Series.  The first sermon on Biblical Foundations can be found here, and the second sermon on gifts and tithing can be found here.  This week we use Ephesians 5:15-20 to explore stewardship of time.  Rather than add one take-home activity, I made a wrote a five day home study that expands on this lesson.  My desire is to provide tools for parents to lead their children in worship and begin meaningful conversations.  I would love input on the take-home activities.

Theme:  Stewardship | Using time to our greatest benefit and to honor God

Scripture:  Ephesians 5:15-20

Materials:  A lunchbox full of junk food, a poster board or large piece of paper, markers

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 we have been talking about in the past few weeks?  *wait for answers, offer hint if needed*  We have been talking about taking care of things, things that God has given to us.  These things (like pets, friends, toys, and time) really belong to God, but he has asked us to take care of them for now.  Last week we ended by talking about some gifts we can give God like our time through prayer or reading the Bible with our parents.  Today we’re going to talk about why it’s good for us to spend time with God.  First, let’s read from the fifth chapter of Ephesians.  Paul tells us how we should and should not live.  When you hear me say Holy Spirit, I want you to stand up and listen carefully, because that is when Paul tells us how we should live.  Now, listen.

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but [live] like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nice job everyone; you can sit now.  Can anyone tell me what we are supposed to do with our lives?  Paul mentioned music a lot – that’s because he wants our hearts to be so full of God’s love and his Word that our hearts sing out his name!  God wants us to spend our lives learning about, praying to, and loving him.  Think about that while we look at what I brought today.

What is this?  *hold up lunchbox*  That’s right, a lunchbox; who usually packs your lunch for you?  Well today I packed my own lunch!  Let’s see what is in here: teddy grahams, a chocolate cupcake, chips, and a soda!  Mmmm, that sounds like a good lunch to me – what do you think?  What?  What’s wrong with my lunch?  Do you mean that if I eat all of this that I might get sick?  You’re right.  This is all junk food – none of it is good for my body.  What do you think would happen if this was all I ever ate?  I would get sick and wouldn’t grow up to be big and strong – you can’t survive without the nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and other good food.

In the same way that we wouldn’t feed our body only junk food, we can’t feed our minds with just junk either.  But a lot of people do – they fill their minds with what is on TV, in magazines, movies, and other junk.  These things aren’t always bad, just like cupcakes aren’t always bad, but we need to make time to put good and nourishing things in our mind.  We have to make time to spend with God.  The Bible says that our strength comes from God, and that strength comes to us from his Word.

Activity:  In the middle of this piece of paper I have drawn a clock and the words “Redeem the Time”.  That means, use every chance you have in the day to worship God.  What are different ways we can spend time with God or show him that we love him during the day?  Together, let’s write or draw different ways we can dedicate our time to God every day.

Closing Prayer:  Dear God, we love you so much and you are so important to us.  Thank you for you servant Paul, for how you used him to speak to us today.  Help us to remember you in our every action and every thought so that we can bring honor and glory to your name.  Amen.

PARENTS! 

  • Monday – Time – Using pictures or words, write out the schedule of a typical day of activities (school, TV time, computer time, outdoor play, etc.).  Use the schedule you made for the lesson last week if you still have it.  If you did not do it last week, ask your child what special time they have set aside for God.  Help them think of times (in the morning, right before bedtime, etc.) when they could be alone with God in prayer, study, or any other form of worship.  If you covered this last week, ask them if they have been able to continue to set aside this time each day.  Keep them accountable and help them make it a habit. Make sure you save the schedule.
  • Tuesday – Opportunity – Using the schedule you made, explore with your child ways that they can bring honor to God through their daily activities.  They can say a quick prayer of thanks for their teachers while they are at school.  They could seek out a classmate with whom they usually do not play.  Chores could be sped along by singing their favorite hymn.  Make sure you ask them what they think they could do before you give options; their answers might surprise you!
  • Wednesday – Junk – Using a green marker, help your child circle all of the things on their schedule that are “junk”.  Junk is anything that is not beneficial for the mind, body or soul.  Remember, treats are not bad, but too much of anything quickly becomes junk!  You might circle TV time, computer time (apart from doing homework), or anything else that might happen too much and interferes with the necessary things (family time, worship time, chores, etc.).  Have them compare the “junk” to the necessary and beneficial things.  If your child is older, make a bar graph or pie chart!  Which category is bigger?  Teaser: How can we make the junk smaller?
  • Thursday – Redeem the Time – Revisit the schedule and any graphs you made.  Ask your child, “How much of our time, talent, and money belong to God?”  The answer is all of it (see A Great Responsibility)!  God has given us many precious gifts, including all of the time we have on this earth – why not use this time to our greatest benefit and to honor our awesome God?  As a family, pray and ask God to help you worship throughout the day.  Ask him to show you how to get rid of the junk and use every moment for his glory.
  • Friday – Commitment – As a family, dedicate, or rededicate, time as a family that is just for God.  This can be singing together, talking about Bible stories – anything that brings you together in worship.  All of these times should include prayer.  Decide how you, as a family, can redeem your time.  This could mean using Sundays as an extended time for family and God (no extra-curriculars), setting a family rule of no TV after _____ pm or instituting prayer before every meal – whatever the Lord is calling you to dedicate as a family.
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All Things Come of Thee

This is the second installment of a mini-series on stewardship.  Last week we introduced the concept of stewardship through exploring the story of creation.  This week we continue to build off of the idea that everything belonged to God first, but he still desires, and requires, our time, talent, and tithe.  I am particularly excited about the take-home portion that has a few activities and conversations for families to do together while exploring the different gifts we can dedicate to God.

Theme:  Stewardship | It all belongs to God, but he loves to receive our gifts.

Scripture:  1 Chronicles 29:9-18

Materials:  A wrapped gift (to use as a visual), large paper

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:  (Post the creation picture if you still have it.)  Does anyone remember what we talked about last week?  (pets, taking care of God’s creation, etc.)  Yes!  We talked about how even though God created everything and everyone around us, he has put us, his children, in charge of his creation.  He wants us to take care of our pets, of nature, of each other until Jesus returns to the Earth.  Good job everyone!

Today we’re going to continue talking about the things that belong to God.  First we are going to listen to a passage from the Old Testament.  Make sure you notice how I feel when I read – am I scared, excited, or sad?  We are also going to be reading about gifts, see if you can figure out what Israel is giving to God. Continue reading

A Great Responsibility

 

Every year, the church I attend does a three-week long sermon series on Stewardship.  This was the time last year when I really began writing my own sermons rather than looking up pre-written sermons.  With the exception of a few additions, this is the first sermon in the series from last year.  I really thought that starting with Creation was a wonderful way to begin teaching children about stewardship.

Theme:  Stewardship | Biblical Beginnings

Scripture:  Genesis 2:5-17

Materials:  The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Bible Doodle Book or a hand-drawn picture

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:  Read The Beginning: A Perfect Home, pages 18-27, from The Jesus Storybook Bible.  After reading the chapter, spend time talking about what God created while you look back over the pictures.  Ask the children which is their favorite animal or other creation.

Raise your hand if you have a pet (if not everyone raises their hand, ask who has helped take care of a pet before).  Go around the circle and ask about the animals and how they help take care of them.  Briefly talk about what animals need to live healthy, happy lives.

We just read that God put Adam and Eve and their future family (that’s us!) in charge of his creation.  God’s creation includes the planet/environment, animals, and people – everything in and on the Earth.  That was a big responsibility to give to us.  It’s also a big responsibility to take care of our pets; we just talked about everything they need to live happy, healthy lives. Continue reading