Daily Devos: Jesus Returns to Heaven

JESUS RETURNS TO HEAVEN:  Acts 1:6-11 NRSV

PRAYER OF THE WEEK:

We praise you, for you are at home in heaven.  Help us to spread the good news of your love, all the way to the ends of the earth.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

COLORING PAGE OF THE WEEK:

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BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK:

6 So when [the apostles] had come together, they asked [Jesus], “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

Are you a person who likes to know what’s coming up next, or you more go with the flow?  Which kind of people do you think the apostles were?  Was it important for Jesus to go back to his home in heaven after Easter?  Why or why not?  What are some ways that you can spread Jesus’ love, even to the ends of the earth?

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Children’s Devotion Time April 2018: Thomas Believes

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 thank you for this time to learn more about Jesus’ friend Thomas.  Help us to learn to give and receive peace.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Large Group Bible Story:  John 20:19-31
Read about Thomas in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A19-31&version=ERV

We used the Spark Story Bible for our resource.  It was the story called “Doubting Thomas.”  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.  This month, we used the children’s bulletin from Spark, available on Sundays and Seasons.  You can use the children’s bulletin from your church.

Large Group Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you that you give us the gift of believing in you.  Help us to spread your peace to those we meet.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Activity:  Peace Doves
Supplies Needed
dove kite printed on white cardstock (find the image on Pinterest here:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/433753007856479485/)
scissors
stapler
drinking straw
white duct tape
hole punch
light weight string
clear tape
white crepe streamers

Instructions

  1. Cut out dove and fold on lines. Staple where indicated (this is important for how the kite will fly).
  2. Cut the end off of a drinking straw and staple to the back of the wings.
  3. Put a small piece of duct tape over the place where you are the punch the hole, approximately at the chest of the dove. Punch hole through all layers.
  4. Tie a six to eight foot length of light weight string through the hole.
  5. Add streamers to the tail with clear tape.
  6. Enjoy!

Dove Kite

© 2018 by Pastor Breen Marie Sipes, Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish, Byron and Hardy, Nebraska.  https://familygodtime.wordpress.com Please give credit where credit is due!

Daily Devos: God Sets His Bow in the Clouds

GOD SETS HIS BOW IN THE CLOUDS:  GENESIS 9:8-17 NRSV

PRAYER OF THE WEEK:

Dear God, we thank you that you set your bow in the clouds, and that you remember how much you love us.  Help us to always be aware of the greatness of your love for us.  Amen.

COLORING PAGE OF THE WEEK:

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Find the original post with this coloring page here:  https://longingjesus.wordpress.com/awana-weekly-verse-reminders/#more-399

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK:

8God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK: 

What do you think of when you experience a storm? What do you think of when you see a rainbow?  What does God think of?  What are some of the ways that you remember that God loves you?

Lenten Resources for Families 2018

Over the past few years, I have gathered all sorts of amazing resources to help you and your family keep Lent.  Recognizing that any one resource might not work for all families, I wanted to provide a list of diverse resources rather than focusing on just one.  God bless your Lenten journey!

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Interactive Family Devotions from Javaluia:  https://javaluia.com/2018/01/18/family-lenten-devotions-for-2018/

Weekly Email Devotions from Sparkhouse Family:  https://info.1517.media/acton/media/33371/the-promise-of-easter

Lent in a Dish from Family God Time:  https://www.pinterest.com/breensipes/lent-2017/

Journey Around the Cross from Family God Time:  https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/journey-around-the-cross-prayer-week-1/

Lent Creative Prayer Resources:  https://www.pinterest.com/breensipes/lent-resources-2018/

Jelly Telly 5 Minute Devotions Holy Week Video Series:  https://www.jellytelly.com/blog/easter-week-5-minute-family-devotionals

Tri-Saints Parents Easter on Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/breensipes/tri-saints-parents-easter/

 

Everlasting Love: Jeremiah 31:3

During the month of February, my family and I have decided to dedicate ourselves to celebrating God’s love.  Stay tuned for a whole month of love (and hearts!) celebrating the one who first loved 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 remember how much you love us.  Help our time together to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Verse:    Jeremiah 31:3 NRSV
The Lord appeared to him from far away.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

Questions to Ponder:

  1. One of the big holidays that we celebrate in February is Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is often a time when we focus on romantic love, or friendship love, or even family love.  Before any of those loving relationships came into our lives, who loved us first?  How do you know?
  2. In this verse, God is reminding the prophet Jeremiah that he loved Jeremiah before he was born, he loves Jeremiah right now, and will love him all the way into eternity. What do you think about God loving each of us with that kind of love?
  3. When you love someone, you are faithful to them. In what ways has God been faithful to you?

Song: Everlasting Love
This song helps us to get this verse into our bodies as well as our minds and hearts.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Lacy Hearts

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Materials Needed:
White card stock
Pink or red card stock
glue stick
regular scissors
fancy edged scissors
markers
tiny hole punch
regular hole punch
small heart punch

Instructions:

  1. Cut out a large heart from white card stock using the fancy edged scissors.
  2. Cut a smaller heart out of red or pink card stock.
  3. Write “I have loved you with an everlasting love! Jer. 3:13” on the red or pink heart. Glue it to the center of the white heart.
  4. Use the hole punches to make the white margin “lacy.” Hand completed hearts somewhere where you will see them often this week.  We plan to hang them in our picture window so everyone can enjoy them.

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 you loved us before we were born, that you love us right now, and that you will love us forever and ever and ever!  In your name we pray, Amen.

Daily Devos: Jesus’ Baptism Mark 1:4-11

My family openly rebelled when I stopped providing daily devotions for the dinner table.  Because I am moving on to other projects for Lent, and my younger daughters want me to reestablish weekly Family God Time, I have simplified the devotions from what we did over Advent and Christmas.  We read the verses for the day while the food is being served for supper, and discuss the questions as we eat.  We pray the prayer before we leave the table.

You can get the whole week of devotions in a pdf file here:  Daily Devotions Mark 1 4 11

I hope this time will be a holy time for you and your family!

JESUS’ BAPTISM:  MARK 1:4-11

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Prayer of the Week:  Dear Jesus, we thank you for the gift of baptism, which unites us as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Help us to live as your beloved children.  In your name we pray, Amen.

SUNDAY

MARK 1:4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Have you ever spent any time in the wilderness?  What was that experience like?  Why do you think that John decided to appear in the wilderness, instead of a town?

MONDAY

MARK 1:5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Do you remember a time when someone was baptized in your church?  What was that experience like?  How do you think it would feel to tell John about all of the bad things you had done, and then have them washed away in the river?

TUESDAY

MARK 1:6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Have you ever known someone who wore different clothes or ate different food than you did?  What was that experience like?  Why do you suppose that John was so different than everyone else?

WEDNESDAY

MARK 1:7-8 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Who do you think John was preparing the people for?  What do you think it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?  What do you think of when you think of the Holy Spirit?

THURSDAY

MARK 1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

BIG QUESTIONS:  This is a time when Jesus and his cousin John were together in one place.  John had prepared the way for people to hear Jesus’ message, and now he was handing over the work to Jesus.  In what ways do you think you can prepare yourself and others for Jesus?

FRIDAY

MARK 1:10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.

BIG QUESTIONS:  When you think about the Holy Spirit, do you think of a dove?  Do you think of the heavens being torn apart?  Why do think that the Holy Spirit decided to show up in that way at Jesus’ baptism?

SATURDAY

MARK 1:11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Who do you think the voice belonged to?  Why do you think it said what it said?  What if these words were addressed to you?

 

Thanksgiving 2017: Psalm 118

Each year at our family Thanksgiving meal, we try to do some kind of activity that reminds us that we give thanks, not just in general, but also specifically to God.  This year, we will do this through an art project for the picture window in dining room.

A few weeks ago, I introduced the idea of giving thanks to my kids with a craft I found at Michael’s:

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We hung them on the inside of our picture window, facing out, along with some leaf stickers on waxed paper.  The kids couldn’t wait to take a picture:

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They have been so excited to share their art installation that I thought we would include our family members who are joining us for Thanksgiving.  Before dinner, each person will get a stack of paper leaves:

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Here is the file to print the leaves out:  Leaves for Thanksgiving 2017
I printed them on card stock in “Spice Market” colors.

Everyone will also get something to write with, and the instructions to write what they are thankful for, one thing on each leaf.  While they work, I will play this song from Psalm 118 for inspiration:

When it is time for the meal, we will take turns going around the table and saying what is on our leaves, with the rest of the family responding “Thanks be to God.”  The kids will use gift wrapping tape to secure the leaves to the window as we pray.  We will conclude our prayers with a “repeat-after-me” version of this prayer:

Thanksgiving Prayer for Harvest Time
Loving God, all that we have
comes from your goodness
and the work of those who love us.
Bless us and the food we share.
Watch over those who care for us.
Open our eyes to the needs of the poor
during this time of
harvest and thanksgiving.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
(Elizabeth McMahon Jeep, Blessings and Prayers through the Year, Liturgy Training Publications 2004)

May God bless you and your family as we celebrate!  May it be a holy time for you.