Children’s Devotion Time May 2018:  To the Ends of the Earth

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

When [Jesus] had said this, as [the disciples] were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (1).png

Large Group Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)

Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn more about the last thing that Jesus said to us.  Help us to learn to be your witnesses, all the way to the ends of the earth.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Large Group Bible Story:  Acts 1:1-11

Read about 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 Spark Story Bible for our resource.  It was the story called “Ascension.”  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, I made a leaflet with a map activity.  Children identified where they lived on a state, country, and world map, and drew stars where they live and arrows to the ends of the earth.  I also found an Ascension Paint-By-Number Image here: http://www.biblewise.com/kids/fun/ascension-paint-by-num.php  You can also 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 went back home to heaven so that we will have a home there too.  Help us to spread your love to the ends of the earth.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Activity:  String Art Arrows

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Supplies Needed
(1) 14” section of 2 x 4 per student
(1) arrow template, printed on cardstock and cut out
(1) ruler
(1) awl
(19) 16 x 1” wire nails with large heads per student
(1) hammer
(1) scissors
crochet thread in multiple colors

Instructions

  1. Center the arrow template on the section of 2 x 4 and tape down, if desired. Mark the nail holes according to the dots on the arrow with an awl.  Remove template.
  2. Drive one nail into each marked spot. Once they are each in securely, adjust the height of the nails until they are fairly even (I left ½” sticking out).
  3. Let the children and youth use string to fill in the design. On the example, I used red to outline, cream to fill in the middle, and red to do a double outline at the end.  I secured the ends of each string around the bottom right nail.
  4. Put it on a shelf in an upright position to remind us that Ascension Day is when Jesus returns to heaven!

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© 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!

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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:

Ascension001

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?

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.