Raising Kids With A Kingdom Perspective
This is a motivating and encouraging interview/discussion with Pastor Tony Evans on the Focus on the Family website. It’s not very long and well worth it to listen. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/raising-kids-with-a-kingdom-perspective-pt1
We’re here at the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one! It’s a great time to begin a daily family worship/devotion time. (Note: This particular discussion is focused on parents with kids but even if you don’t have children it’s a great time to start a family worship/devotion time. God’s Word is active in the heart whatever the size and shape your family is!)
“Far too many parents are more interested in their kids making THE TEAM than making THE KINGDOM.” -Dr. Tony Evans-
Ouch! This really is what our culture is focused on. We are so willing to give hours to school, sports, dance, music, etc. daily and not to the regular study of God’s Word together. We start preparing them for college and careers the day they are born practically! Are we preparing them for the skill of life? It is too easy to be busy and unaware of how much of our worldview is shaped by our culture. We even model our marriages and families according the norms of our culture instead of according to Scripture and how God designed families to be. In the discussion, Pastor Evans discusses his experience in putting together a bike without the instructions. He was feeling smart and well educated at the time. He felt he could do it on his own but it wasn’t going well. It wasn’t working and it was taking a long time. His wife asked him if he had thought about using the instructions and said, “Maybe the bicycle maker knows more about bicycle assembly than you do.” It’s a simple, funny, and profound statement. God is the maker of the family (of us!) and we’ve left God’s instruction manual to the side, yet we keep wondering why the bike (family) isn’t working properly? Hmmm.
Let’s get the instruction manual (God’s Word) out with our families every day! Our maker knows more about how we work and what we need than we do! Through it all, to God be the glory!
Our pastor preached a great sermon this past Sunday and something he said about Christmas stayed in my heart and I knew I wanted to talk about it more as a family on Christmas morning. He said that Christmas is about giving AND it’s about receiving. He pointed out how we are usually told over and over again that Christmas is about giving NOT receiving. GIving is awesome! We should give! It is a commandment to love others more than ourselves after all. However, Christmas is about receiving also. I have never really focused on the receiving part of Christmas or discussed the amazing free gift that we “receive” from God in Christ Jesus our Lord with my family. That is what this little lesson is about, receiving the greatest gift. =) Merry Christmas! -H-
(Do this after you open presents on Christmas morning or later in the day depending on what you think would work best for your family. Have one last present wrapped with Jesus’s name written large on a paper inside of it. Make it the most beautiful present! Have coloring activities in the box as well or you can set them aside to be used after lesson or another time during the day or evening as a fun reminder. Get great craft and coloring pages here: http://ministry-to-children.com/christmas-tree-coloring-picture/ and here: http://ministry-to-children.com/no-gift-compares-to-jesus-coloring-sheet-for-children/).
THE GREATEST GIFT! – A fun Christmas Day family worship lesson.
Read together out load – Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God….”
Talk: Who gave a gift to someone this morning? Who received a gift from someone this morning? Yes! Was it fun giving? Was is fun receiving gifts? Of course right?! It’s super fun to give and receive gifts! Did you have to work for your gift? No, it was a free gift given to you by your (mother, father, brother, sister, etc.) wasn’t it?
(Pull out the box you wrapped with Jesus’s name in it.) We are going to open up one more gift as a family this morning. Come on over and help me with it. What is inside? It’s the name of Jesus. Have you ever heard anyone say that Jesus is the greatest gift? It’s true! Do you know why people say that? Ok.
Tell me some of the things you got as presents this morning? (Allow them to tell you all their exciting presents.) Those are all wonderful gifts. Will any of them last forever? Could any of those gifts save your life or save you from your sin? Will they forgive you? Can any of your gifts make a way for you to be with God? No. That’s kind of a silly thought isn’t it. The gifts we received this morning are earthly things and they do not last forever. They have no power to save us, change us, or change the world.
Did you feel joyful or happy when you opened them? Yes! Of course. It’s not the kind of joy or happiness that will last forever though is it? If something or someone were to take your gift away your joy in that gift would be taken away too. This is why Jesus is the greatest gift you could ever receive!!!! Jesus is everything that the world is not! Jesus cannot be taken away, ever! Ever! Ever! Jesus DOES save you from your sin! Jesus came to earth as a baby and lived and died for you so that you can be forgiven for your sin and live forever with God in heaven! The ____(name gift)_____ I received this morning definitely can’t do that! The ____(name gift)_____ you received can’t do that either! Jesus is the greatest gift you could ever receive.
Remember when I asked you if you had to work for your gifts today? You didn’t right? Let’s read Ephesians 2:8-9 again: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God….” This verse teaches us that it is God’s grace (something good God gives that we don’t deserve or didn’t work for) that saves us, through faith (believing without seeing), and that it is NOT because of anything we do, but it is a gift of God. Did you get that? It is a gift you receive, like you received gifts today. God has given us the free gift of Jesus! The greatest gift in the whole entire world! Let’s receive that gift with joy with this Christmas morning.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father: Your grace and Your love is amazing! Unlike the things we received this morning, You have given us a gift in Jesus, Your son, that will last forever. Nothing in the world can take that gift away. Thank you for sending Your son to earth as a baby on the very first Christmas. Thank you that we have forgiveness of sin through Jesus and that when we put our faith in Him we will gain joy forever with You in Heaven. This free gift is amazing! With the help of the Holy Spirit we pray that You will make our hearts recognize just how amazing! May we delight in You and and share Your love with others so that they might receive the greatest gift in the world as well. In Jesus’s name we pray, AMEN.
Activity and song suggestion: Take the box you wrapped with Jesus’s name in it and play this song titled “Grace” which is Epesians 2:8-9 put to song by Seeds Family Worship http://www.seedsfamilyworship.com/release/seeds-of-faith-vol-2/. You can play it straight from their website. As you play the song, every time they say “it is the gift of God” pass the gift to a family member and say/sing “it is the gift of God”. When they sing the “La Di Da” part pass it around to each other sort of like hot potato but not fast. Continue and sing along and have fun celebrating “the greatest gift”!
Get awesome craft and coloring pages here: http://ministry-to-children.com/christmas-tree-coloring-picture/ and here: http://ministry-to-children.com/no-gift-compares-to-jesus-coloring-sheet-for-children/ to use in the morning or another time during the day to reinforce the lesson.
Family Ideas for the Christmas Season and Morning!
There are some really fun and meaningful things you can do as a family during the season of Christmas, Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning. These are some of the best I’ve come across so far! I love 1, 2, & 3 in the article for Christmas morning! Wrap each of your family members names in individual boxes, hand them out randomly, take turns opening the boxes one at a time, and then talk about and celebrate the life of each person in the family as you open. Then you (or whoever is leading) take out a large (the largest) wrapped box and open it with the name of Jesus inside. Talk about His life and why He is the greatest gift! Last, you can read the Christmas story in Luke 2 together! Want to do some Christmas themed coloring after? Go to: http://www.lifeway.com/kidsministry/2014/12/03/christmas-coloring-pages-2/ for some free images from the Christmas story.
Another great suggestion was to put pictures of the Christmas story around your living room and then have your family take them down and put them in order. Tell the Christmas story using it after!
I’ve pretty much shared most the article ideas now but you can read all the details and ideas in full at the link bellow!