Family Unity

Acts 2:1; 42-47 (ESV)

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place … And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I have always read this passage thinking solely of a church setting. They all gathered, they devoted to teaching and fellowship, etc.

This past week, when I was thinking about this passage, I thought what happens if I apply these verses to my home life?

I mean the early church was pretty unified, so maybe these disciplines helped create unity with themselves, and if applied to home perhaps we can have more unity in the family.

We are all believers, and we gather together every day with each, so how well do we match up to the early church?

  • Are we devoted to teachings?
    • No
  • Are we devoted to the fellowship?
    • Yes
  • Breaking of Bread and Prayer?
    • Yes
  • Do we share our possessions?
    • Yes
  • Do we attend church together?
    • Yes
  • Generous?
    • Depends – we have young kids.

Not to shabby with the assessment, but the one that stuck out to me was the very first.

Devoted to teaching.

We have separate devotions, but we don’t share our thoughts. So there is learning but no teaching.

Even though we are missing one occasionally two (again we have two young kids), that one is a huge one. Teaching is fundamental in the upbringing of kids. So we have changed this, and it wasn’t very hard.

We just read the Gospel Passage from Book of Common Prayer at dinnertime, and then we ask one question. One question usually gives five to ten minutes of discussion with each other.

That is it. Have we been unified? Time will tell, but dinnertime has been more meaningful and thought provocating.

Give it a try yourself.

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Worship God Always: Creative and Active Groups

When we break up into small groups during our Midweek, I let them choose if the children want to try a creative group or an active group.

This week, we were looking at the story in Acts 16, where Paul and Silas were in prison praying and singing songs to God.

The main idea is that even in tough times, we can always worship God and think of the blessings He has already given us.

Here is what the children did during this time.

Creative Group: Song of Praise

Items Needed: Paper Clipboards and Pencils

Say: In our story today, we talked about Christians getting arrested for helping out a little girl that was being taken advantage of for money. We can assume that they were not happy with the situation, but instead of being overwhelmed with anger, they started singing songs of worship?!

Ask: Does anyone here want to share a moment of frustration or anger?

Say: For our activity today, I want you to write a song or poem of worship to God that might help you in bad times.

Example: Don’t give up don’t quit. Remember good things take time. God will give you strength.

**Afterward**

Ask: Does anyone want to share their poem or song?

>> This activity went over well with kids. One child gave up free time to finish her song and even drew illustrations to go with it. Super simple and very engaging.

Active Group – Hard Stretches

Items Needed: Nothing

Say: Get in a large circle. We are going to something a little unusual before we start a game. We are going to stretch.

Do: Have the kids do some hard stretches.

Ask During The Stretches: Are these stretches easy? Are they annoying? Are they bothersome? Are they important?

Say Before The Game: I am not a big fan of stretches and there are a lot of times, that I complain during the stretches. But they are important because they help me get ready for what is ahead. In our lesson today, we learned that bad times are coming. Not everything in life is going to be good or fun. Stretches help your body can ready for the activity, similar to how worship is beneficial for the soul. We need to be in worship whenever we can get so that when bad times happen, we can still praise God during those times. Alright, since we stretched, let’s play my favorite game of tag ______________________ for a few minutes

>> I thought the kids would rebel or complain about the stretches since this is usually the hypergroup. The opposite it happened, they did the activity and listened very well.

God’s Plan Is Unstoppable Creative and Active Activity

In our Midweek Children’s program, we are learning about how God’s plan is unstoppable.  We used Acts 5:12-42.

After the lessons our teens come down and lead kids into a creative or physical activity.  Here is this week’s activities.

Creative Group

Items Needed: Dominos

Do: Today we head that “nothing can stop God’s plan” and when I think of unstoppable, I think of falling dominos.  I love seeing the huge setups of dominos and thinking how are these domino’s going to fall.   And when the first domino goes, I hold my breath thinking “is it going to make it.”  And when it does, it’s incredible.  

Today, in our creative, we are going to work together and set up dominos and see if we can make something cool.  

**Afterward**

Ask: Did you know that your design was going to work?  Why or Why Not?  

Say: Trusting God at the moment can we hard, the apostles were in prison (which was bleak), but nothing can stop God’s plan.  So even in the moment of hard times, we can trust that God’s plan can’t be stopped.

 

Active Group

Needed Items: Bag of Balloons

Do: We are going to play a game in which you will work together to keep up balloons.  We will start with one balloon, and periodically, we will add more balloons.   

**Afterwards**

Ask: Was this game hard or easy for you?  Why or Why not?

Say: Today we heard that, “nothing can stop God’s plan,” in the game you should be able to handle keeping the balloons in the air, but if we can’t adding more and more balloons, eventually it will be overwhelming.  The apostles could have felt overwhelmed by being imprisoned for sharing the good news, but God’s plan cannot be stopped.  We can trust that God’s plan cannot trust, so even when we are overwhelmed, we can trust in God.  

Kid’s Prayers “God Is Our Provider” Lesson

This past weekend, we chatted with the elementary age children about how God is our provider based on the scriptures of Exodus 15 – 16.

During the worship response time, we talked about how even though God is big, He cares about the small details of our life. We gave all the children slips of paper and had them think about an area of their life where they needed prayer. Some didn’t take it seriously, but others did.

Here are the results that I got.

“I want to pray for my MAP test for me to get a good grade”

“I pray that Northern California stay safe”

“I pray for everyone to stay safe”

“My family”

“Drink”

“I want got to know”

“Pray for my aunt”

“For everyone to be safe and love by God”

“I want an amazing Christmas”

“New friends”

Throw in a few for a dog, and surprised a lot of them want robots (which shows that they haven’t seen the Terminator movies).

One of the joys of Kidmin is that children surprise me every week. They are not supposed to be mature; then you see great maturity. I love that some of them thought past their needs and wanted, and prayed for the safety of others.

I am very proud of these special ones, and I pray for their needs (and wants). Lord hear their prayers.

Being Fishers of Men Creative and Physical Activity

In our Midweek Children’s program, we are learning about being “Fishers of Men.”  After the lessons our teens come down and lead kids into a creative or physical activity.  Here is this week’s activities.

Creative Group

Prepare: Have kids sit at a table facing each other.  Assign one person to be the leader and the other(s) the follower(s). Ask the leader to do some physical gestures or facial expressions that the follower(s) are to try to match exactly. After the desired amount of time, have the roles switch, so a follower becomes the leader. Continue until everyone has had a chance to be both a follower and a leader.

Ask: Was there any gesture or expression in our game that was hard to follow?  Why or Why Not?  Why do you think it is hard for others to be followers of Christ?

Say: Following Jesus is a significant decision because it will change your life.  With Jesus, the ordinary can be made extraordinary.  

Ask: How can we become “fishers of men?”

Active Group

Prepare: Divide the kids into two teams, or have the kids versus the teens.  

Needed Items: Balls, Ball Pit or Kiddie Pool, and Laundry Bags for each team

Do: We are going to play a game in which you have to catch as many balls as possible.  When the game starts, one a time someone is going to run up to the pit, grab a ball and throw it at someone on your team holding a bag.  Then run back to the end of the line.  When all the balls are out of the pit, the game is over.  The team with the most balls wins.  

Ask: Was this game hard or easy for you?  Why or Why not?

Say: In our story, Jesus told them they would be fishers of men.  In our game, you were trying to catch balls, which is fun but outside of fun, it has no importance.  As Christians, we want to be “fishers of men,” we want others to be followers of Christ because following Jesus is turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.  

Ask: How can we become “fishers of men?”

 

Family Chat: God Is Our Provider

Items Needed: Gross water, spring water, donut holes, large donuts

In today’s story, we find the Israelites are finally free from slavery. And at first, they were excited. So excited they sang a song celebrating their freedom. That is like Disney level of excitement. But it didn’t take long for them to start grumbling.

They were thirsty! Can you give me your best grumbling…

So Moses showed them water that was a little disgusting. The Bible say’s it was bitter. Have you had something bitter… (Give them a cup of water that is a little gross)

So what do you think Moses did? Well just as any normal person would do, he threw in a piece of wood. Seriously he threw in a piece of wood, and the water became fit to drink. Who knew, wood could do that?! Thankfully they ended up in a beautiful place with spring water (Give them a clean cup of water)

And things were good, but what do you think happened next?

Read verse Exodus 16:3

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (NIV)

Doesn’t that sound like teenager complaining about being grounded

Now they are hungry. Give me again your best grumbling…

So God provided the food bread from heaven, which tasted like wafers with honey. How awesome would that be! (Give them donut holes)

So God has provided drinks and food, but do you think that made them happy? No, they wanted meat. One more time give me your best grumbling

Now I don’t have meat, but I do have something a little bigger (Give them bigger donuts)

God showed His people over and over again that He knew what they needed and what they wanted. Still, the Israelites continued to question God’s provision. Thankfully our God is patient; we learn more about His patience much later in God’s Big Story. Even when they saw ten plagues, the crossing the red sea, making the water drinkable, bread and quail coming out of the sky, and we learn in Chapter 15 God providing water out of a rock. All of this shows God Provides.

Worship Response

Supplies: Bird Seed, Pencil, Glue Stick, Large Stripe of Paper

God Provides for you and me, as a worship response, I want you to write your name on the stripe of paper. When you are done, then you are going to trace your name with the glue stick. After that is done, we are going to give you some bird seeds, to scatter over your paper.

When you are doing that, be a reminder how God provided for His people, and know that He provides for you today.

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Family Moments With WWE

We are a pro-wrestling family. I will allow you to take a few moments for your judgments and disgust….

Are you done? Nope?! Okay, a few more moments….

There is something about pro-wrestling that I still love even as a grown adult. The fight between good and evil. The resilience of the undergod to finally succeed. The battle for the championship.

The story of an individual could last months or even decades, and as a spectator, you just enjoy the journey.

This past week, WWE reunited the fan favorite faction that broke up a few years ago, The Shield. This particular group holds a great deal of history with my family.

When the team was at its highest peak, my oldest son started getting into pro-wrestling. He would go hours into talking about whose his favorite wrestler. And it would change in minutes to another person. But one day, in all earnest, he told me his favorite wrestler was no other than Seth Rollins (one of the members of the Shield). We watched all their matches with such excitement that his favorite wrestler Seth Rollins and his friends were raising the ranks.

Then the unspeakable happened, Seth Rollins turned heel (a bad guy)

He was devastated, and he cried and cried. He ran upstairs into his room and balled his eyes out for a long time. Eventually, he came out of his room, holding in his hands a picture of his friends. And said, “Wrestling isn’t real, friends are real.” I would have laughed so loud, but my beautiful bride was standing behind giving me a look that said: “take him seriously.” So I hugged him and said “You are right.”

Fast forward today, during the reuniting of the Shield, even though my son played it cool, I could see the side of his face, and it had that smile of relief that his favorite wrestler was reunited again with his friends. It was an exceptional moment, and it was cool to share those moments with my son even if it was with pro-wrestling.

Encouragement to all parents, find those things that you can share with your kids, because you never know when one of those special moments show up.

 

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