Children’s Devotion Time October 2017: Wicked Tenants and Fruits of the Spirit

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One of the churches in our parish has begun having inter-generational Sunday School once per month.  We call it “Children’s Devotion Time” or “CDT.”  Each child in the class has an older adult who serves as an individual mentor during devotion time.  It includes an opening prayer, a large group Bible Story, an age-appropriate leaflet about the day that they work on in child/adult pairs, a closing prayer, and a simple craft.  It is based on Family God Time, but done at church and for a larger group.  Join us in this new faith formation experiment!

You can learn more about just how we have set this up here: Children’s Devotion Time Instructions

Large Group Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we are thankful for this time to learn more about being a part of your vineyard and learning to bear fruit.  Help us to learn and grow together.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Large Group Bible Story:  Matthew 21:33-46
Read the Parable of the Wicked Tenants in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+21%3A33-46&version=ERV

We used the Whirl Story Bible for our resource.  It was the story called “Whose Vineyard is it?”  You can purchase your own copy here:  https://www.augsburgfortress.org/store/product/19372/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition

Work in Pairs:
Each child/adult pair has a four-page leaflet to work on which is developmentally appropriate for the child.  They work through the leaflet together, taking as much time as they need.  I get these resources from sundaysandseasons.com, which is a paid subscription lectionary resource that my parish subscribes to.  You could also work through a children’s bulletin for the week from your church.

This month, I developed the resource for the center of the bulletin.  You can find this resource here:  Fruits of the Spirit leaflet 10 8 17

Large Group Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you give us everything we need.  Help us to remember that it all belongs to you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Activity:  Fruits of the Spirit Fruit Salad
Ingredients:
1 banana, sliced
strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 can fruit cocktail (with pineapple, cherries, peaches, pears)
1 apple, cut in small chunks
1 small bunch of grapes
juice of ½ lemon
¼ seasonal melon, cut in chunks (we will use cantaloupe)

Taking the ingredients one by one, let the children assist you in mixing them up in a large bowl.  Remind them what each fruit means as you put it in.  Serve in small bowls with forks.

© 2017 by Pastor Breen Marie Sipes, Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish, Byron and Hardy, Nebraska.  https://familygodtime.wordpress.com Please give credit where credit is due!

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Jesus Dies and Rises: Luke 22-24

**We took a bit of a summer vacation ourselves, but for the next two weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer. Our curriculum was Group’s Maker Fun Factory.
You can find week one of this series here: God Creates Us https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/god-creates-us-genesis-1-psalm-139/
You can find week 2 here: Rahab and the Spies
https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/rahab-and-the-spies-joshua-2/
You can find week 3 here: Gideon’s Army
https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/gideons-army-judges-7/

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about Gideon’s army. Help our time together to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story: Luke 22:14-20, 22:39-53, 23:32-35, 23:44-56, 24:1-8
Read the story of Jesus dying and rising in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A14-20%2C+22%3A39-53%2C+23%3A32-35%2C+23%3A44-56%2C+24%3A1-8&version=ERV

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time. You can find it here:

 

Make the Story Come Alive
This is a really long story. In fact, in all of the gospels, the story of Jesus dying and rising takes up half of the total story. It is that important! However, it also might be hard for little ones to pay attention to from start to finish. We thought it would sink in better if we added movement and place to the story, and we invite you to tell it in the same way.

Materials needed:
A plate, cup and washcloth at station #1
A cross at station #3
A blanket for station #4

Station #1: Jesus eats with his friends
Ask, “Where do we go in our house to eat?” Let your children lead you there. Say, “On the day that he was arrested, Jesus ate a special meal with his friends. He took a loaf of bread and said. ‘This is my body, which I give for you. Do this to remember me.’” Pretend to give bread to each other from the plate. Then say, “At the end of the meal, he took a cup of wine and said, ‘This is my blood, which I pour out for you. Do this to remember me.’” Pretend to take sips from the cup. Then say, “At this meal, he also washed the feet of his disciples, and told them to love each other as much as he loved them first.” Pretend to wash each other’s feet with the washcloth. Then say, “After the meal, he and his friends went to a garden to pray. Where is our garden?” Follow the children to a garden, yard, or pot of flowers at your house.

Station #2: Jesus prays
Say, “Jesus was worried about what was going to happen to him. He prayed to God while his friends fell asleep. Let’s pray like he taught us to pray.” Pray the Lord’s Prayer together. If your family does not know the Lord’s Prayer, you could pray another prayer that you do know, or learn a repeat-after-me version with actions, below:

Our Father (ASL for “father,” open palm with thumb touching forehead)
Who art in heaven (two hands point up)
Hallowed be they name (trace a cross on your forehead)
Thy kingdom come (motion towards self with both arms)
Thy will be done on earth (point at ground)
As in heaven (point to heaven).
Give us this day our daily bread (one hand to mouth, as if eating)
And forgive us our trespasses (ASL for forgive, trace a circle on left palm and wipe it away)
As we forgive those who trespass against us (ASL forgive again)
And lead us not into temptation (cross out arms and shake head)
But deliver us from evil (pretend “devil” horns)
For thine is the kingdom (ASL “king,” a “k” from left shoulder to right hip)
And the power (muscleman arms)
And the glory (raise arms to sky)
Forever and ever (wind arms down)
Amen (praying hands)

When you are done praying in the garden, tell your family, “When Jesus was finished praying, soldiers came to arrest him and take him away. Can we make our feet sound like a whole bunch of stomping soldiers?” Practice doing this together. Then ask, “Where do we throw away garbage?” At our house, this is a dumpster, but you might have it in a trash bin in the garage, the kitchen, etc. Let your children lead you there, march like soldiers all the way.

Station #3: Jesus Dies
When you have arrived at the “garbage dump,” direct the attention of your family to the cross. Say, “Jesus was nailed to a cross at a garbage dump. Some people made fun of him. Some people asked him to forgive him. Jesus forgave everyone, and then he died. Can we sing, ‘Were you there’ together?” Sing a verse or two of “Were you There” together. If you are stumped, check out this video:

When you are finished singing, ask your family, “Is there anywhere in our house that reminds you of a cave?” It could be a small closet, or a root cellar, or even a cardboard box large enough to fit one of your children. We used one of our girl’s play tent. Let your children lead you there.

Station #4: Jesus is Buried
When you arrive at your cave, ask for a volunteer to be Jesus. Wrap them up in the blanket, lay them inside the “cave” and shut the door. Each of my kids wanted a turn, so we let each of them try it out. Say, “After Jesus died, his friends came to bury him. They wrapped him up in a cloth and laid him in a cave and shut the door. He stayed there for three days.”

Station #5: Jesus is Alive
Tell your Jesus to unwrap themselves and be ready to jump out of the cave. As a family, count to three together and open the cave. When Jesus jumps out, shout “Alleluia! He is risen!!!” You could also sing an Alleluia like you do in church. If you are stumped, try this version:

Thank you for experiencing this amazing story along with us!

Song: Jesus Loves Me
When we learned this story at VBS, we paired it with an old classic. Did you know that it has more than one verse? You can sing it here:

Activity: Cross Paintings
For our activity, I found this idea on Pinterest:

http://www.applesandabcs.com/2012/03/easter-cross.html

Here is a pic: IMG_20170803_084150836.jpg

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you. Join us next week for out final VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you died for us and rose again so that we can live. Help us to always remember how much you love us. In your name we pray, Amen.

Gideon’s Army: Judges 7

**For the next three weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer. Our curriculum was Group’s Maker Fun Factory.
You can find week one of this series here: God Creates Us https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/god-creates-us-genesis-1-psalm-139/
You can find week 2 here: Rahab and the Spies
https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/rahab-and-the-spies-joshua-2/

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about Gideon’s army. Help our time together to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Judges 7
Read the story of Gideon’s army in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+7&version=ERV

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time. You can find it here:

Now, read Joshua 1:9: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+1%3A9&version=NIV

Discuss as a family:
Who was Gideon?
What was Gideon’s army?
How did they defeat the Midianites?

Song: Be Strong and Courageous
Our focus verse for the day at VBS was Joshua 1:9. Here is a video to remind us of this verse:

Activity: Gideon’s Torches and Noisemakers
My favorite part of this story is when a small group of 300 people defeats an entire army by using their brains instead of their strength. We thought it would be fun to pretend to be that army for God Time.

To make the torches, gather a small, inexpensive LED flashlight, a roll of red tulle, duct tape (we used the orage tape from last week), and a scissor. For noisemakers, we purchased glowing whistles from the seasonal section of WalMart. I could have just used glow wands for this craft, but I wanted something that they could play with again and again. The glow whistles still work long after the glow stick part has faded.

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Wrap the tulle around the end of the flashlight to look like the flame coming off of a torch. Secure the tulle to the flashlight with the duct tape. Open the whistles and crack them to make them glow.

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Our girls then had a wonderful time running up and down a darkened hallway yelling “For the Lord and for Gideon!” I surely would have run away in fear!

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Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you. Join us next week for another VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you give us strength and courage. Help us to always stand up for what is right. In your name we pray, Amen.

 

Rahab and the Spies: Joshua 2

**For the next four weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer. Our curriculum was Group’s Maker Fun Factory. You can find week one of this series here: God Creates Us 

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Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about Rahab. Help our time together to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:
Read the story of the creation of people in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+2&version=ERV

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time. You can find it here:

Now, read Romans 8:31: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A31&version=NIV

Discuss as a family:
1. Who was Rahab?
2. Who came to her house?
3. What did she do for them?
4. How did she ask them to help her?
5. What did they tell her to do?

Song: God is For Me
Our focus verse for the day at VBS was Romans 8:31. Here is a video from Lifetree Kids to remind us of this verse:

Game: Sardines with Spies
A large part of the story with Rahab was how she hid the spies that Joshua had sent so that they would be safe. We played a version of hide and seek called “Sardines,” though we adapted it to be “Spies.” One “spy” went to hide while all of the other spies counted to ten. Then, we searched for the first spy. When we found that person, we hid with them instead of calling attention to them, since the spies hid on Rahab’s rooftop. The last person to hide with the group was the next spy to hide. We played until all of our family members got a turn.

Activity: Rahab’s Wristband

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Another important part of the story was Rahab’s rescue plan. The spies from Joshua told her to hang a red rope from her window so that, when the Israelites conquered the city, the army would know where to find Rahab and rescue her and her family. I thought it would be a neat reminder of the story to wear a red wristband or bracelet that we could carry with us. However, when we went to buy supplies, they were out of red duct tape. We agreed that blaze orange would have been very easy for the army to see, so that’s what we went with.

We got the idea of how to do them here: http://happyhooligans.ca/duct-tape-cuff-bracelets/

My girls are hard on jewelry, so we added an extra layer of duct tape inside to make it more sturdy. Thanks to me, they also have tiny wrists. I added a tie to keep it on their wrists. To make the tie, cut off an 18 inch strip of duct tape. Fold it lengthwise so that the sticky side is on the inside and cut it into four marrow strips. Use an awl or something sharp to poke holes in the ends of the bracelet. Thread the tie through the holes and tie a bow. Trim the ends.

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My girls liked these so much that they asked us to make tiny ones for their stuffed animals:

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We made them thinner (half of the width) and cut a little more than an inch off of the length of the bracelet. The tie only needed to be 9 inches long. They especially love the stuffed animal bracelets, because they report that they are able to find their beloved animals at night when they fall out of bed.

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you. Join us next week for another VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are always with us. In your name we pray, Amen.

God Creates Us:  Genesis 1 & Psalm 139

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**For the next five weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer.  Our curriculum in 2017 was Group’s Maker Fun Factory.

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about our wonderful complexity.  Help our time together to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

**We did the first part of the activity right after our gathering prayer so that the glue had time to dry.

Activity part 1:  Five Senses Photo Booth
Recently, our family went to a party where there was a photo booth.  The girls had so much fun, that I thought it might be a good idea to recreate it at home and tie it into the creation story, since God made us so wonderfully complex.  Here’s how we did it:

Supplies needed:
Five Senses file printed on cardstock:  Five Senses
scissors
coloring utensils
glue
popsicle sticks
a small, dark room (we used my walk-in closet)
a stool
other fun photo booth props
a camera with a flash

Instructions:

  1. Cut out each of the five senses.
  2. Color the parts. As you do, you can interview your children about their favorite part of each sense.  For instance, “What is your favorite thing that God made that you can smell/see/hear/taste/touch?”
  3. Glue the completed parts to the popsicles sticks. Allow to dry while you do the Bible story and song.

Bible Story:  Genesis 1:26-31, Psalm 139
Read the story of the creation of people in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1%3A26-31&version=ERV

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time.  You can find it here:

Now, read Psalm 139:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139&version=NLT

Discuss as a family:

  1. What does God know about us?
  2. Where does God see us?
  3. How did God make us?

Song:  Hippo Song
During our Bible learning station at VBS, we put our fingerprints on a heart to remember that God’s fingerprints are on our hearts.  It reminded me of a great creation song, and my girls could not wait to sing it over and over again:

Activity part 2:  Five Senses Photo Booth
Once the glue was dry, I cleaned out the floor of my closet and put a tall stool in the open space.  I gave my children some extra options for photo booth fun, like noisemakers, felt hearts, sunglasses, and glow bracelets.  After they each made their selections, I sat them on the stool in the “photo booth,” closed the closet door, and took their pictures.  We had a lot of fun, and, just like a real photo booth, the photos were a bit crazy, cramped, and a bit out of focus.  Here were some of my favorites:

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.  Join us next week for another VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for making us so wonderfully complex.  Help us to remember that everything we are comes from you.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Jesus Goes to Heaven: Acts 1:1-11

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Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about when Jesus went to heaven.  Help our time together to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Acts 1:1-11
Read the story of Jesus’ Ascension in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+1%3A1-11&version=ERV

We used the Kid’s Bible App for our devotion.  The story was called “Into the Clouds.”  The Kid’s Bible App is a free app that you can find here:  https://www.pinterest.com/breensipes/online-faith-resources/

Discuss as a family:

  1. Who did Jesus promise would come to them?
  2. When will Jesus come back?
  3. Where did Jesus go?
  4. Where were the disciples supposed to go after Jesus left?

You might also take this story as an opportunity to begin teaching your children the Apostles’ Creed.  It tells the important parts about Jesus’ life that help us to know that he really is the Son of God!  This is how we say the part about Jesus in our church:

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Song:  Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
This is my favorite song for Ascension Day, because it reminds us of all of the important events in Jesus’ story.

Activity:  Ascension Day Celebration
In our family, we love making things go UP for Ascension Day.  In the past, we have done rockets (the air pressure or Dollar Store hand pressure kind), helium balloons (make sure they don’t have strings that will get tangled up with wildlife, and released butterflies (Earth’s Birthday Project is a great source, though it takes some planning:  http://www.earthsbirthdaystore.org/d/7/butterflies.htm)

This year, my girls saw me preparing a coloring sheet for Sunday worship, and asked if they could do that for a project.  I figure that if they are enthusiastic about something having to do with God, that is the right thing to do.  We couldn’t resist giving it some kid of upward motion, though, so here we go!

  1. First, print out the coloring sheet on card stock: Ascension Window Coloring

(I found the original at http://www.familyholiday.net/ascension-of-jesus-christ-coloring-pages/, but colored in the “leading” sections so it would be easier for my kids to color.  I also added the back page.)

  1. Next, color both the front and the back coloring sheets. Cut them out.

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  1. Cut a 2 yard length of string or ribbon. Put a knot in one end.
  2. Use a glue stick to make the back of one of the coloring sheets completely tacky. Line up the ribbon or string along the center with the knot at the bottom.  Press down.

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  1. Add the other coloring sheet, face up. For extra strength, I recommend one staple at the top and bottom of the ribbon, to prevent it from shifting.

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  1. String the ribbon over a curtain rod in your home. Let your children help Jesus to ascend to heaven, saying “Jesus went back to heaven!”  Then, have him descend and say, “Someday, he will come back again!”

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Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we are happy that you ascended into heaven, and that some day you will come back to take us with you.  Help us to celebrate you every day.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Children’s Devotion Time May 2017: Plenty of Room

One of the churches in our parish has begun having inter-generational Sunday School once per month.  We call it “Children’s Devotion Time” or “CDT.”  Each child in the class has an older adult who serves as an individual mentor during devotion time.  It includes an opening prayer, a large group Bible Story, an age-appropriate leaflet about the day that they work on in child/adult pairs, a closing prayer, and a simple craft.  It is based on Family God Time, but done at church and for a larger group.  Join us in this new faith formation experiment!

You can learn more about just how we have set this up here: Children’s Devotion Time Instructions

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Large Group Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we are thankful for this time to learn more about God’s house.  Help us to learn and grow together.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Large Group Bible Story:  John 14:1-14
Read about Jesus’ description of God’s house in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14%3A1-14&version=ERV

We used the Spark Story Bible for our resource.  It was the story called “God’s House.”  You can purchase your own copy here:  https://www.augsburgfortress.org/store/product/8122/Spark-Story-Bible-Sunday-School-Edition

Work in Pairs:
Each child/adult pair has a four-page leaflet to work on which is developmentally appropriate for the child.  They work through the leaflet together, taking as much time as they need.  I get these resources from sundaysandseasons.com, which is a paid subscription lectionary resource that my parish subscribes to.  You could also work through a children’s bulletin for the week from your church.

Large Group Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you always make room for us, and that we always have a home with you.  Help us to learn to welcome others, as you first welcome us.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Activity:  God’s House
Supplies
House Template printed on cardstock:  God’s House Template
2 Popsicle Sticks per house
Glue
Scissors
Coloring Supplies

Instructions

  1. Cut out the house template and fold the front doors in.

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  1. Color the outside of the house as a house.

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  1. Open the front doors and draw a picture of yourself.

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  1. Close the front doors again and glue the popsicle sticks to the roof of the house. Allow to dry. (When I made my example, I glued the sticks on first.  I do not recommend it. 🙂 )

Blessings on your time together!  I hope it is a holy time for you!

© 2017 by Pastor Breen Marie Sipes, Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish, Byron and Hardy, Nebraska.  https://familygodtime.wordpress.com Please give credit where credit is due.