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.

Everybody’s Welcome: Peter and Cornelius

animal pile justjennifer

photo by justjennifer on flickr.com

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 Peter and Cornelius.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Acts 10
Once again this week, I asked my six year old daughter to choose which story we would learn about for God Time.  She has been exploring the Bible App for Kids all summer, and has been telling us a lot about what she had learned.  She said that one of the most memorable stories from the Bible App for Kids was Everybody’s Welcome, so that set our subject for the day.  You can get your own free copy of The Bible App for Kids here:  https://www.bible.com/kids

If you do not have access to this app, you can read the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10&version=ERV

(It is a long story, so you might want to take it in little chunks.)

Discuss as a family:
What did Cornelius learn from God in this story?  What was Peter’s vision?  What did he learn from God in this story?  How can we make others feel welcome in our home, in our church, in our school or workplaces?

Song:  Freedom is Coming  
My husband picked our song for this week.  It is a song that he knows from a Lutheran worship band called Prays Twice from when he was in high school, and that’s the version we used at our house.  You can learn the song from another source by watching the youtube video here:

Our kids could not sit still because the beat is so infectious.  I invite you to have your own dance party while you sing!

Activity:  Come on Down!
To get an idea of what Peter’s vision looked like, I told my children to bring us three small stuffed animals each.  We put them in a blanket and then raised it up as high as we could reach.  Then, we slowly lowered it down as we said, “All are welcome!”  This week’s activity is small but simple, and our kids wanted to do it again and again.  We didn’t get a picture again this week…having too much fun!  See the pic above for a close approximation.

Alternatively, you could do a craft with white sheets of paper and coloring utensils that will not bleed through the paper (i.e. crayons or colored pencils).  On one side, you could write “We have freedom” and draw all sorts of animals.  On the other side, you could write “All are welcome” and draw all sorts of people who you think God welcomes.

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 thank you that we have freedom and welcome because of you.  Help us to give freedom and welcome to others.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

A Baby and a Bush: Exodus 1-4

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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 your servant Moses.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Exodus 1:6-2:15, 3:1-15, 4:1-17
My family is continuing to discover the Bible App for Kids.  It is fabulous and free!  This summer, when I don’t have other ideas, we are definitely going to start here for Family God Time.  It is available on itunes, Google Play, and Amazon.  You can download a copy here:  https://www.bible.com/kids

Bible App for Kids

This week, we did the story, “A Baby and a Bush,” which tells the story of the childhood and call of Moses.  This app includes the story, interactive pieces, and questions to ponder.  Go through it together as a family.  In my family, we have to take turns interacting with the story, or they crash the app.  Each child gets a turn, switching every time we “turn the page.”

If you do not have access to this app, you can read the story together here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+1%3A6-2%3A15%2C+3%3A1-15%2C+4%3A1-17&version=ERV

Discuss as a family:
After reading this story, what questions do you have?  What details stand out for you?  What is your favorite part of this story?  What stories from your own life does this story remind you of?  What is God doing here?

Song:  Pharoah, Pharoah
For me, it’s not summer until this old favorite makes the rounds.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Pass the Basket
It has finally gotten hot here, so my kids have been spending a lot of time in the pool.  One of their favorite “pool toys” is a Little Tykes picnic basket.  One day, they were floating it on the surface of the pool and passing it back and forth, and it reminded me of the story we had just learned from Exodus.  I introduced it as a game, and now it has stuck.  My girls take turns, one being the princess who rescues baby Moses, one being Miriam, Moses’ smart sister, and one making crying baby noises on behalf of the pretend “baby” in the real basket.  They pass it back and forth across the pool, saying, “Here you go, Princess” and “Here you go, Miriam,” trying to get it to go farther and farther without sinking the basket.  It is another game that I have introduced once and they have replicated multiple times, and helps them to remember the story even when we are not formally doing God Time.  I hope your kids enjoy it, too!  (If it is not hot where you live at this time of year, this could easily be a bath time game with a smaller bowl for a basket.)

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

Closing Prayer: (Can be a repeat after me prayer if you have non-readers in your family)
Dear God, we thank you that for holy time together as a family.  Thank you for creating us and all that exists.  Help us to remember that you think it is all very good!  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.