Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Birth of Jesus

Paraphrased from Luke

A long time ago, in the town of Nazareth, lived a young woman named Mary.  Mary loved God very much.  She was engaged to be married to Joseph, who was a carpenter.
One day, while Mary was at home, an angel suddenly appeared.  Before Mary could say anything the angel told Mary that she was favored by God, and that God was with her. Mary was surprised.  The angel quickly tried to reassure Mary, "Do not be afraid!"  the angel said.  "God has found favor with you.  You will have a baby boy, and are to give him the name Jesus."
Mary was confused, she was not yet married to Joseph, so how could she have a baby?  The angel thought that this might concern Mary so he said, "The Holy Spirit will perform a miracle, and because of this your baby will be called  the Son of God."
To Mary's surprise the angel had more exciting news;  "Even your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a son in her old age.  Many thought that she couldn't have children, but she is already pregnant.  Nothing is impossible with God."
Mary couldn't believe what she was hearing, she didn't know what to say.  She realized that she was trembling, and knelt down.  When she was finally able to speak she said, "I am the Lord's servant, and I hope everything you have said will come true."   The angel then disappeared, and Mary was left alone.
Soon after, Joseph found out that Mary was going to have a baby.  Joseph was confused and upset by this. But an angel came to him in a dream and said, "Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  The child Mary is going to have is God's son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."
When Joseph woke up he remembered what the angel had said.  He knew that everything was okay, and he wasn't upset anymore. 
In those days the government decided that they should count everyone that lived in that area of the world.  So Joseph had to take Mary to his town, Bethlehem to register.  It took Mary and Joseph a long time to get to Bethlehem.  They didn't have cars back then, so it probably took them a lot longer to get there.  This was very tiring for Mary because she was soon going to have a baby.
When they reached the town, all the inns were full and there was nowhere that they could stay.   Someone offered a stable for them to stay.  Mary and Joseph were thankful that they at least had a place to lay down.  It was warm, and there was plenty of straw to lay on.  That night an exciting, wonderful thing happened.  Mary and Joseph had a baby!  But it wasn't just any baby, it was Baby Jesus!  The creator of the whole world, the King of Kings, the one who would save the world.  The little baby boy fell asleep in Mary's arms and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger.

Discussion Questions

  • Where did Joseph go to be counted?  To Bethlehem
  • Who went with him? Mary, because she was engaged to him.
  • What happened while they were in Bethlehem? It was time for Mary to have the baby.
  • Did she have a bed for him? No, she laid him in a feed box.
  • What was the baby’s name?     Jesus!


Dear God,
Thank you for the story of Baby Jesus.  Thank you for teaching us that you do what you promise, and you help us to always be happy.

Bible Verse for December

“I bring you great news; Jesus is born.”
Luke 2:10-11

Home Connect

Sit down as a family and talk about family birthdays.  What do you do to celebrate the birth of each child in the family?  What made each child’s birthday good news?  What makes Jesus’ birthday good news?  It is so awesome Jesus was born to save us from our sins!  What a gift we have in Jesus!

My Recipe Center

Remember Jesus' birth by making “babies” in swaddling clothes.  Remind your child to wash his or her hands.  Open a can of breadstick dough, and have your child pull the breadstick apart.  Help your child wrap a hot dog in each portion of the dough, leaving the top of the hot dog unwrapped as the baby’s head.  Bake according to the package directions.  Say a prayer of thanks with your child, and enjoy the snacks.  

  • Tell about what you think is exciting about Jesus’ birth. 
  • Who can you tell that Jesus was born?

 Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that Jesus was born.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Make a present for Jesus such as a craft, picture, or card.  Tell Jesus that the present is for his birthday and that you are glad he was born to help us.
  • Sing “Silent Night” with your family.
  • Sit in a circle with your family and tell each other why you’re thankful for Jesus’ birth.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

God Dwells With Us

John 1:1-14

Before the world began, there was the Word.  The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  All things were made through him.  Nothing was made without him.  In him there was life.  That life was light for people of the world.  The Light shines in the darkness.  And the darkness has not overpowered the Light.

There was a man named John who was sent by God.  He came to tell people about the Light.  Through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.  John was not the Light, but he came to tell people about the Light.  The true Light was coming into the world.  The true Light gives light to all.

The Word was in the world.  The world was made through him, but the world did not know him.  He came to the world that was his own.  But his  own people did not accept him.  But some people did accept him.  They believed in him.  To them he gave the right to become children of God.  They did not become his children in the human way.  They were not born  because of the desire or wish of some man.  They were born of God.

The Word became a man and lived among us.  We saw his glory — the glory that belongs to the only son of the Father.  The Word was full of grace and truth. 

Discussion Questions

  • Who did God send?  A man named John
  • Who was John teaching about?  He came to tell the people about the Light. The Light represents God
  • The Word is coming from who?  God
  • The Word is full of what?  Grace and Truth
  • Jesus is God!  True


Dear God,
Thank you for teaching us that Jesus is the Son of God.    Amen.

Bible Verse for December

“I bring great news; Jesus is born.”   Luke 2:10-11

Home Connect

With your child, think of neighbors or friends who don’t have a church home.  Then go to their houses, call them on the phone, or send cards and invite them to join your family for a Christmas service at your church.  Christmas is coming, and Jesus wants everyone to know that he is God and he loves everyone!


  • What would you say about Jesus to someone who doesn’t know him?
  • What do you like most about knowing Jesus?  Tell others about those things.

My Recipe Center

Make this simple snack with your child.  Gather a package of crescent rolls, cheese cubes, and pieces of fresh broccoli.  Help your kids stuff the crescent rolls with the other ingredients and bake as directed on the package of rolls.  Remind your child that God became a man and lived with us, but that he is still God “inside”, just as the broccoli and cheese are inside the rolls.


  • What are things you know about Jesus that make him special?
  • When you believe in Jesus, his light shines in you.  What about that makes your special?

 Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that Jesus is God.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to share the news that  Jesus is God.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Cut a cross shape from construction paper.  Write “Thank You” on it, and keep it in your room as a reminder of God’s love.
  • Look at the night sky or a picture of the stars, and tell Jesus why you’re thankful he’s a light in the darkness.
  • Have your mom or dad take you up some—place high, like a big hill or even to the top of a slide.  Tell your mom or dad how Jesus lived in heaven and then came down to earth to help us.

God Cares for Hagar and Ishmael

Genesis 21:8-21

Isaac grew and became old enough to eat food.  At that time Abraham gave a great feast.  But Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac.  (Ishmael was the son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave.”) So Sarah said to Abraham, 
“Throw out this slave woman and her son.  When we die, our son Isaac will inherit everything we have.  I don’t want her son to inherit any of our things.”

This troubled Abraham very much because Ishmael was also his son.  But God said to Abraham, “Don’t be troubled about the boy and the slave woman.  Do whatever Sarah tells you.  The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.  I will also make the descendants of Ishmael into a great nation.  I will do this because he is your son, too.”

Early the next morning, Abraham took some food and a leather bag full of water.  He gave them to Hagar and sent her away.  Hagar carried these things and her son.  She went and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

Later, all the water was gone from the bag.  So Hagar put her son under a bush.  Then she went away a short distance and sat down.  Hagar thought, “My son will die.  I cannot watch this happen.”  She sat there and began to cry.

God heard the boy crying.  And God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven.  He said, “What is wrong, Hagar?  Don’t be afraid!  God has heard the boy crying there.  Help the boy up.  Take him by the hand.  I will make his descendants into a great nation.”

Then God showed Hagar a well of water.  So she went to the well and filled her bag with water.  Then she gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up.  Ishmael lived in the desert.  He learned to shoot with a bow very well.  He lived in the Desert of Paran.  His mother found a wife for him in Egypt. 

Discussion Questions

  • Abraham had two sons.  One was Isaac.  What was the other son’s name?  Ishmael
  • What did Ishmael do to Isaac at the feast?  He made fun of Isaac.
  • This upset Sarah and she told Abraham that they had to leave.  Where did Hagar and Ishmael go?  The desert.
  • They ran out of water in the desert as Hagar began to cry what happened?  An angel appeared telling her not to worry God would provide and showed them a water well.


Dear God,
Thank you for teaching us that you are always close to us.  You are with us on good days and bad.  We know we can count on you to hear our prayers.  Amen.

Bible Verse for November

“So I say to you. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open to you.”    Luke 11:9

Outdoor Family Fun

Try this game when you and  your child are in the car during the week.  Have your child close his or her eyes, listen for a sound, and tell you what it is.  Then have your child open his or her eyes and point to where the sounds was coming from.  Play the game a few more times.  Mention that God has even better ears than we do, and repeat the Bible Point together.  God hears us when we pray.

Homespun idea

Play a few games of Hide-and-Seek in your home.  Explain that whoever hides will help count to 10 and then call, “I need you.  Come find me.”  (You may want to hide first to demonstrate the game.)  When you find each other, say the Key Verse together: “Ask and God will hear you.”  Have fun taking turns and repeating the Key Verse.

Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that God hears us when we pray.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to talk God.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • When you’re in the car, sing your favorite song or make up a song to sing to God because he hears you no matter where you are.
  • In the morning, say a prayer for each person in your family.
  • Blow some bubbles.  As you blow each bubble, say a prayer to God.  Imagine that your prayers are floating up to God, just like the bubbles!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Issac is Born

Genesis 21:1-6

The Lord cared for Sarah as he had said.  He did for her what he had promised.  Sarah became pregnant.  And she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age.  Everything happened at the time God had said it would.  Abraham named is son Isaac.  Sarah gave birth to this son of Abraham.  Abraham was circumcised Isaac when he was eight days old as God had commanded.

Abraham was 100 years old when his son Issac was born.  And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh,” Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.  No one thought that I would be able to have Abraham’s child.  But I have given Abraham a son while he was old.

Discussion Questions

  • Did Sarah have a boy or girl?  Boy
  • What did they name the baby?  Issac
  • How old was Abraham when Issac was born?  100 years old
  • What did Sarah do when she learned she would become pregnant? Laugh


Dear God,
Thank you for the story of Issac.  We know that you always keep your promise.  Please help us learn to be patient.  Amen.

Bible Verse for November

“So I say to you. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open to you.” 
Luke 11:9

Outdoor Family Fun

Take a “Joyful Walk” around your neighborhood.  Write down everything your child is happy to see.  When you  get home, count all the things you saw, and thank God for them.

Homespun idea

Enjoy sharing the experience of making new colors.  Make mixtures in primary colors (from the recipe below),  and then put a scoop each of two colors into a resealable plastic bag.   Check to be sure the bag is sealed.  Allow your child to “squoosh” the plastic bag to blend the colors.  You may want to add another color or another scoop of a color you’ve used. 

When your child has finished the mixing colors, hang the bag(s) in a sunny window and admire the effect.  Talk about what happened with the colors and how we can rejoice and thank God for the amazing colors he has made.

Items needed:
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • food coloring.

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix cornstarch and a little water until smooth.  Add food coloring to the remaining water—the darker the better—and stir into cornstarch mixture.
  2. Stir over low heat until the mixture is clear and thick, being careful not to let it burn.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have three batches: blue, red, and yellow.
  4. Allow mixtures to cool before working with them.

The mixtures can be stored three to five days in the refrigerator for later play.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Abraham Has Three Visitors

Genesis 18:1—19:29 (summarized)

Abraham was sitting by his tent one very hot day.  He looked up and saw three men standing nearby.  He was happy to have visitors.  He hurried to them and asked them to stay for dinner.

Then Abraham ran to his tent.  “Quick, Sarah,” he said.  “Get some flour and bake some bread.  We are having guests for dinner.”
Sarah made a good dinner for them.  While they were eating , the men said a very surprising thing.  They said, “next year you and Sarah will have a baby boy.”

Now this was surprising, because Abraham and Sarah did not have any children.  And they were too old to have a baby.  Sarah was listening in the tent.  She heard what the men said.  And she laughed.  She did not believe them. 

Then God said, “Why did Sarah laugh?  Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  And God kept his promise.  Even though Abraham and Sarah were old, God gave them a baby boy.  They named him Isaac. 

Discussion Questions

  • How many visitors did Abraham have?  Three
  • What did the men tell Abraham?  That he and Sarah would have a son in one year
  • What did Sarah do when she heard this news?  She laughed.  She thought she was too old.
  • Is anything to hard for God?  No, anything is possible for God.  He kept his promise and they did have a baby boy.
  • What did they name him?  Issac


Dear God,
Thank you for all the amazing things you do in our lives.  Please help us to be patient and wait on your timing  Amen.

Bible Verse for November

“So I say to you. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open to you.”    Luke 11:9

Outdoor Family Fun

Plan a family picnic together.  Your plans might include taking a blanket to a grassy area—under a tree if possible—and eating small bread rolls, your homemade butter, chunks of mild cheese, and “camel’s” milk (cow’s milk and a little imagination).  Read and talk about what happened in the Bible while you enjoy the picnic.  Discuss how Abraham entertained his guests under the great trees of Mamre. Before eating, thank God for the food and for one amazing thing God did for you or for Abraham and Sarah. 

Homespun idea

Here’s an amazing and fun activity for your pre-schooler—making real butter.  You will need a small plastic jar (baby-food jars work well, but they are breakable), half-and-half cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt (for flavor), and a clean marble.  Fill the plastic jar about half full with cream.  Add the salt and marble, and shake the jar for about five minutes or until you no longer hear the marble move.  Open the lid, remove the marble, and enjoy eating homemade butter on your toast.

Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that God does amazing things.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to thank God for all the amazing things He has done in his or her life.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Find something amazing and thank God for making that thing amazing.
  • Have your mom or dad read to you about a miracle in the Bible, like the ones described in John 9 or John 20.  Thank God for the amazing thing he did in those verses.
  • Look through a book about babies—they could be animals or people.  Tell your parents why one or two of the babies seem amazing to you

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

God makes a Covenant with Abram

Genesis 15 1-18

The Lord spoke his word to Abram in a vision.  God said, “Abram, don’t be afraid .  I will defend you.  And I will give you a great reward.”  

But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you give me?  I have no son.  So my slave Eliezer from Damascus will get everything I own after I die.”  Abram said, “Look you have given me no son.  So a slave born in my house will inherit everything I have.”  

Then the Lord spoke his word to Abram.  He said, “That slave will not be the one to inherit what you have.  You will have a son of your own.  And your son will inherit what you have.” 

Then God led Abram outside.  God said, “Look at the sky.  There are so many stars you cannot count them.  And your descendants will be too many to count.”  

Abram believed the Lord.  And the Lord accepted Abram’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.  

God said to Abram, “I am the Lord who led you out of Ur of Babylonia.  I did that so I could give you this land to own.”  

But Abram said, “Lord God, how can I be sure that I will own this land?”  

The Lord said to Abram, “Bring me a three-year old cow, a three-year old goat and a three-year old male sheep.  Also bring me a dove and a young pigeon.”

Abram brought them all to God.  Then Abram killed the animals and cut each of them into two-pieces.  He laid each half opposite the other half.  But he did not cut the birds in half.  Later, large birds flew down to eat the animals.  But Abram chased them away.

As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep.  While he was asleep, a very terrible darkness came.  Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers and travel in a land they don’t own.  The people there will make them slaves.  Then your descendants will leave that land, taking great wealth with them. 

Abram, you will live to be very old.  You will die in peace and will be buried.  After your great-great-grandchildren are born, your people will come to this land again.  It will take that long, because Amorites are not yet evil enough to punish.

The sun went down, and it was very dark.  Suddenly a smoking firepot and a blazing torch passed between the halves of the dead animals.  So on that day the Lord made an agreement with Abram.  The Lord said, “I will give them the land between the river of Egypt and the great river Euphrates.  This is the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittities, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorities, Canaanites, Girgashities and Jebusites.”

Discussion Questions

  • God told Abram not to be afraid, He would protect him, and give him a great reward?  True or False: True
  • Abram was worried what God could give him because God had not given him something?  A son
  • What did God ask him to count? The stars in the sky to show him he would have many descendants.
  • God wanted Abram to trust his plans for our lives? Yes, it is difficult to be patient but God has great plans for each of us.


Dear God,
Thank you for teaching us how important it is to be patient.  We know you have great plans for our lives. Thank you for all that you do each day. Amen.

Bible Verse for November

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” 
Proverbs 3:5

Outdoor Family Fun

Take a blanket, dress appropriately, and enjoy an evening gazing at the stars in the night sky.  Talk about how God promised Abram and Sarai many descendants.  Attempt to count the stars together.  Also, watch for “shooting stars.”  During the first two weeks of November, the Taurids, annual meteor shower, may be visible.   If counting the stars in the night sky is difficult because of city lights or cloud cover, try visiting a planetarium for a star show. 

Homespun idea

Create a special time with your child this week (make sure it’s  something you can commit to).  This might be time you both spend with someone special, time to enjoy a special dessert after dinner, or game time.  Circle the day on the calendar, and let your child cross off and count the days until the special event will take place.  This will make the concept of waiting more concrete for your preschooler.  Remind your preschooler that God has good plans for us and always keeps his promises.

Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that God wants us to be patient.  Encourage your child to  commit to one of the following  challenges to thank God for the good plan He has for his or her life.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Look at a picture of yourself from your first birthday.  Thank God for all the wonderful plans he’s had for you since you were a baby.
  •  At the end of the day, tell your mom or dad about everything you did that day.  Pray together and thank God for the wonderful plans he had for your day.
  •  Have your mom or dad take you to the library or go online to look up something you want to be when you grow up, such as a doctor, a firefighter, or a scientist.  Then talk about how God has great plans for life.

Lot and Abram Divide the Land

Genesis 13:1-18

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. From the Negev he went from place to place until he came  to Bethel, to the  place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had  first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.  Now Lot, who was moving about  with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.  So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and  mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you?  Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”  Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar.   (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.  The two men parted company:  Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.  Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.  The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes  from where you are and look north and south, east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.  I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.  Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”  So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of  Mamre at Hebron, where he built an  altar to the LORD.

Discussion Questions

  • Why did Lot and Abram have to divide the land?  Their families and possession had grown so much there wasn’t enough space.
  • Where did Abram go to live?  Canaan
  • Where did Lot go to live?  Jordon
  • God wants us all to get along, be fair and share.  Did Abram and Lot make a good choice to go separate ways? Yes


Dear God,
Thank you for teaching us about obeying.  We pray that we do our very best to listen and obey each day.

Bible Verse for October

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” 
Proverbs 3:5

Outdoor Family Fun

Ask your child to help you think of a kind deed you can do for a neighbor or sick friend.  Ask your child, “What would you like someone to do for you?”  Pick a day this week to deliver cookies or a card together or lend a helping hand to someone you know.  Doing a kind deed is a way to get along with others and create good relationships.  You might also call a nursing home or senior center nearby to ask if you can come visit and bring a gift.

Homespun idea

Help your child make two sheep puppets from paper lunch bags.  To make the puppets, draw two eyes and a nose on the bottom of each bag.  Draw the mouth so that it extends from the folded—over bottom to the side of the bag.  Help your child glue cotton balls on the puppets.  You and your child can then use the paper-bag sheep to dramatize how Abram and Lot split their possessions.

Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that God wants us to get along.  Encourage your child to  commit to one of the following  challenges to keep our eyes and hearts focused on God.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Pick a toy to share all week long with your brother or sister.
  • Invite a friend over to enjoy a snack with you.  Let your friend choose his or her part of the snack first.
  • Let your brother or sister choose which television show or movie to watch.