Category: Family Challenge

The Exile Began | Jeremiah 36

By | June 27, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.54.41 AMFEAR OR FEAR?

In the English language there is only one word for fear. In the Hebrew language, which is the language of the Old Testament, there are two words for fear, pachad and yare. The Hebrew word pachad means to have fear, dread, terror, or to be startled. For example, you would never willingly stick your hand in a fire because you would be afraid of being burned. The other Hebrew word for fear is yare, meaning to stand in awe, to reverence, or to re- spect. For example, you recognize the power and position of God and so give Him proper respect.

In today’s Bible reading, King Jehoiakim failed to have dread or respect of God. The scroll that was read to Jehoiakim contained warnings about upcoming judgment against Judah, but the king was not afraid of God’s judgment. He had such lack of respect for God and His Word, he burned the scroll.

 

Review:  Last week we learned how God called Jeremiah to deliver a message to Judah. At first, Jeremiah was afraid because he was young and could not speak well. God touched and put His words into Jeremiah’s mouth. God told Jeremiah that the entire nation would oppose his message, but then God told Jeremiah to not be afraid.

What does God promise Jeremiah? Although the people will fight against Jeremiah, they will not overcome him because God will rescue him. Even with the entire nation against him, Jeremiah did not have to worry, because God promised to be with him.

Memory Verse: Ezekiel 37:27: “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

 


TALK

God called Jeremiah to be His prophet while Josiah was king of Judah. Now, about twenty years later, God had a message for King Jehoiakim. Jeremiah had all the words written on a scroll, and had his scribe, Baruch, go to the temple and read the scroll to the people.

  1. In verse 5, Jeremiah tells his scribe, Baruch, that he must go to the temple and read the scroll. What was the reason that Jeremiah said he could not deliver the message? Jeremiah said that he was restricted from going to the temple. We are not told why Jeremiah was not allowed in the temple.

  2. The Lord and Jeremiah both had the same wish for Judah after they heard the message of the Lord. What did both God and Jeremiah desire for Judah? They both desired for Judah to turn away from their wicked ways. What did God say He would do if Judah turned back to Him? “I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”
  3. How did the officials react after Baruch read the scroll to them? They looked at each other in fear. What did they do? They told Baruch to take Jeremiah and hide. They told King Jehoiakim everything that had been read to them.
  4. King Jehoiakim told the officials to bring the scroll and read it to him. What did Jehoiakim do as the scroll was being read to him? Whenever three or four columns of the scroll were read, the king would take a knife, cut them off, and throw them in the fire, until the entire scroll was burned. Not only did Jehoiakim destroy the scroll, but he also wanted to destroy God’s prophet, Jeremiah. The king ordered that Baruch and Jeremiah be arrested. How did God protect Baruch and Jeremiah? God hid them.
  5. The Bible states that when the officials heard what the scroll had to say, they looked at each other in fear. How does the Bible describe Jehoiakim and his attendants’ response? They showed no fear nor did they tear their clothes. Jehoiakim’s father, Josiah, also had a time when God’s Word was read to him. Read 2 Kings 22:11–13. How was Josiah’s reaction different from Jehoiakim’s reaction to God’s words? Josiah tore his clothes, showing sorrow for the sins of the nation against God. Being part of a family that goes to church and has family worship time means that we hear God’s Word often. Sometimes it is easy to hear the words, but not do anything with what we have heard. We may be able to quote numerous Bible verses, but we never think about how we should apply them to our lives. Read James 1:22–25. What should we do with God’s Word? Do not just listen to it, but do what it says; then you will be blessed.
  6. What was to be Jehoiakim’s punishment because he refused to listen to God’s warning? Jehoiakim would no longer have someone on the throne. This meant his entire family line would be removed from the line of royalty. This judgment was fulfilled when Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin, ruled only three months before he was captured and taken into captivity

 


PRAY 

Use this unit’s memory verse as the foundation for your prayer time.

  • Invite God to dwell among you; to be a part of everything that happens in your home.
  • Ask God to reveal to you any false gods that you may have. Ask God to remove them from your lives, so that He is the only God in your home.
  • Commit your lives to God to show those around you that you are God’s people, living a life that is righteous even if those around you are not righteous.

 

(June 28th lesson)

Be unconditional: by more deeply connecting with your kids

By | June 9, 2015

Your kids pay attention to what you pay attention to.

They notice how you listen to them when they’re talking to you (especially when you ignore a phone call or text alert so you can keep listening to them).

They like it when you take them to a park and play with them versus sitting on a bench and passively watching.

Your kids recognize the subtle-yet-significant things you do to engage them; to see them, know them, and understand them. By being seen, they can then be known. By being known, they can then be understood.  And when they feel better understood by you, they just might begin to feel better understood by God.

Watch how this plays out as you lean into what your son or daughter is experiencing and wondering to ultimately love and lead them into a deeper connection with God.

 

unnamedEngage the questions your kid is asking, noting how one leads into the next:

  • “Do you see me?”: Give your kids your full attention many times throughout each day. Pay attention to the words they use, what they talk about, who influences them and what entertainment they’re into. Asking open-ended questions can communicate that you like talking with them, which creates a social connection between the two of you.
  • “Do you know me?”: Tangibly remember the important things your kids said were coming up, like handing them a note of encouragement the day of a big test or recording a TV show they enjoy. Suggest new things that they might be interested in trying based on this knowledge, such as a particular restaurant or movie. When your kids feel like you know what they’re interested in or are working through, they’ll feel like you’re personally bonding with them.

 

  • “Do you understand me?”: As parents we can often see what’s happening with our kids before they realize it themselves. Use such knowledge humbly, like hugging them when they’re feeling down without demanding a conversation about it. Your quiet compassion speaks volumes about your understanding and can even open them up for conversation later.
  • “Do I understand God?”: As kids feel understood, they become more open to new ways of understanding God himself. Their questions may deepen beyond what you feel you’re able to address. Again, let your presence and love be consistent as you explore the answers together. Share your own stories as a way to help them enter God’s story.
  • “Do I know who I really am?”: Your kids have a true identity that only God can reveal. The more they hear how he’s working in others, they more they can sense him at work in them. This requires multiple moments of growth, as faith is not just a one-time salvation decision but several decisions along the way. Spur this on by helping them plug into a church with loving people who will help them propel forward spiritually.
  • “Do I see others like God does?”: Even kids who regularly take part in church may not necessarily see others as God does. Help them realize the significant role they can play in others knowing God better, perhaps by praying for friends at dinner or hosting a monthly pizza night where your kid can practice the gift of hospitality by serving the other kids they invite.

Nahum, Prophet to Ninevah | Nahum 1–3

By | June 6, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.13.53 AMSometimes when people read the Old Testament prophets, they develop a false view of God. They read about God’s judgment, not only for the people of Israel, but also for other nations. They may think God is quick-tem- pered and always watching in order to punish, when the exact opposite is true. The Bible tells us that God is pa- tient and slow to anger (Numbers 14:18; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Nahum 1:3). God did send words of judgment through His prophets, but there was always time for repentance. For example, Noah was told about the earth’s coming destruction, but judgment did not come for 120 years. God told Moses that the Canaanites were wicked people, but they did not receive judgment for 400 years. The Northern Kingdom had 210 years before their exile, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah, did not experience God’s full judgment for over a century.

God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). He is unable to tolerate sin, yet He shows patience for the purpose of bringing people to repentance.


 

Review:  Last week we learned about the prophet Habakkuk. He had a conversation with God about why God was allowing Judah to go unpunished for their sin. When God told Habakkuk that Judah would be punished with the invasion of Babylon, Habakkuk was shocked that God would use such a wicked nation. In the final chapter, Habakkuk’s words change from questions to praise.

What lesson did Habakkuk learn from his conversation with God? Habakkuk learned to trust God no matter what the circumstances, even when he did not understand.

Scripture Reading:  Nahum 1–3


 

TALK

The prophet Nahum was a prophet to the Assyrian capital city, Ninevah. His prophecy came over a century later than Jonah’s first proclamation of judgment on this city.

  1. What does Nahum say is the reason Ninevah is being judged? (1:2–3) The guilty will not be unpunished. Although Ninevah repented when Jonah was sent to them, they had returned to their old sinful ways, and they were a constant problem for Judah.
  2. What things happen in verses 4–5? The sea and rivers dry up; blossoms fade; mountains quake; earth trembles. Just as God caused the Red Sea to part for Moses and the people of Israel, God can do with the sea as He wishes. Without water the flowers and trees would dry up and die. God brings the flood, and He also brings the drought. When God cuts off the water supply, plant life dies. God is in control of everything; He is

    all powerful.

  3. What does God promise in verse 7? The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust
    in Him. Do you trust in God? Have you asked Jesus to come into your life? The Bible tells us that we will be judged by God. He wants us to come to Him and let Him be in charge of our lives. He wants us to be in Heav- en with Him. There is only one way to do this. We must ask Jesus to come into our life and believe that He died and rose again to pay the punishment for our wrongs. We must trust in Him.

The book of Nahum is about God’s judgment against Ninevah, but there is much more to the book. It talks about God’s patience and compassion. He does not take pleasure in sending judgment on anyone, even if they are not following His ways. God always did and still does make a way of salvation for anyone who turns to Him.


PRAY

John 3:16 is a very familiar verse, but it is a wonderful summary of the main message of the Bible; the message of God’s salvation offered to all. Read or recite the verse together. Use your prayer time in praise and thanksgiving to God for His precious gift.

 


DO

Directions: Have two family members role play the following:

Instruct family member #1 to tap the other person on the shoulder with their finger over and over. Have family member #2 (the one whose shoulder is being tapped) ask family member #1 to stop. Family member #1 should say he or she is sorry, but then after stopping for only a second, start tapping again. Have the family members repeat this process a few times. Finally have them stop. Talk about whether the person who was tapping was really sorry. Why do you think the person played by family member #1 wasn’t really sorry, even though he or she apologized? Explain how our actions show whether or not we are really sorry. Discuss how God is a forgiving and patient God, but there is a point when God chooses to bring correction to those He loves.

 

Lesson: June 7th

Just a Phase.

By | May 30, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 8.38.53 PM

If someone has ever told you, “It’s just a phase,” chances are it was intended as a consolation or a word of encouragement. More than likely, what they meant was, “Don’t worry. You can survive this. It won’t last forever.” When I first became a mother and my colicky son was crying for hours after each feeding I needed to know there was hope for a different tomorrow. I needed to know there would come a day when I didn’t smell like baby vomit and when the child I loved didn’t cry for hours.

There’s a lot of truth to the idea that your current relationship with your child is “Just a Phase.” But that’s not to suggest that, as parents, we should grit our teeth and hold out for the next phase to come. A phase isn’t something to wish away or hurry past. Because once a phase is over, it’s over.

We only have the opportunity to know our child once as a three-year-old. After 52 short weeks, they turn four. Sure, moving to the next phase means they will stop throwing catastrophic tantrums when you insist they cannot finish the half-eaten breakfast bar they just discovered under their car seat. But it also might mean fewer spontaneous giggles, loss of imagination. It might mean they finally discover “bilzoder” is actually pronounced “bulldozer.” It might mean you have to start answering some questions you weren’t quite ready for.

Whether your child is a toddler, an elementary age kid, a middle schooler, or a high schooler, they’re in a phase.

And the phase won’t last for long.

Every phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future. But in order to leverage the opportunities of each phase, you have to show up for it.

That may sound obvious, but it can be incredibly challenging at the same time.

It’s easy to get stuck in the phase that came before. It’s baffling at times when you realize your child isn’t the same person you thought you knew last year. When their interests change, or their preferences change, it can be hard to keep up.

It’s easy to rush into the phase that should come later. Maybe it’s because we’re ready to watch a new movie, read a new book, or play a new game, so we stretch the age-limit just a touch. Maybe it’s because—let’s face it—if we can get our son to shoot a basketball through a ten-foot goal when he’s six, we’ve earned serious bragging rights. But childhood isn’t meant to be rushed. If we’re always in a hurry to get to the next phase, we can miss what is unique about the phase our kids are currently in.

So, whatever phase you’re child is in, remember there is something remarkable happening right now. This phase won’t last forever. Don’t rush the clock. Don’t wish away the moments you have.

At Vista we value Parent Equipping, coming alongside of families supporting and assisting parents to develop the Kingdom attitudes and practices of their children. This is an important concept to fully understand and embrace. Christian schools and the local church’s Sunday school have traditionally been looked to as the places where children learn about God, the Bible teaches us that children really need to learn from their parents. , Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs us to take God’s Word and …repeat it again and again to our children. We are to talk about it when we are at home and when we are away on a journey, when we are lying down and when we are getting up again. This is a basic model for teaching children about God in the home. The perspective taught in this passage is that the parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual development of their children.

We know that this is not easy. We know it can be overwhelming. We want to partner with you and your family in the development of worshipful, relational and missional children. You don’t have to do this alone so we have created ways to be on this journey with you:

  • Yearly: Milestone Celebrations – Child Dedications (twice a year) and Baptism
  • Monthly: talk.pray.do – a monthly resource based on Deuteronomy 6, encouraging families to teach their children about God as they go through the ordinary experiences of life. It’s about intentionality within the rhythm of your everyday life. We encourage you to TALK with your children for 15 minutes a day. PRAY at least twice a week in meaningful time together as a family. Then we simply ask that you DO one family night a month. Each month we provide instruction and tools to serve as a springboard for your family time.
  • Weekly: “What did they learn?” email follow ups to allow your family to continue the discussion at home regarding the lesson taught that Sunday. If you ever miss a week, check the Vista Parents Blog for more information.
  • Groups: Family Discipleship small groups that study a particular subject for 6 to 10 weeks. Check the Vista Parents Blog for groups forming or email me if you would like more information, to lead or host one.
  • Vista Parents Blog: As mentioned several times before the Vista Parents Blog is a hub of information for your family with everything from helpful tips, resources, lesson follow ups and important Kids Community updates.
  • Serve: We all go through seasons where serving is hard and requires sacrifice. Jesus is worth that sacrifice — and so are our children. We can trust Him to provide rest and Sabbath while we also serve. Whether it is teaching kids, chaperoning a student event, or serving in Kids Community, let’s remember that little eyes are seeing our actions and believing that they too are called to serve the body of Christ.
  • Family Sunday:  We offer Family Sunday, every 7 weeks or so to allow time for your family to worship and serve together.

Let’s do this together! Its just a phase and we don’t want to miss it.

Josiah’s Reforms | 2 Chronicles 34–35

By | May 15, 2015

When you check out a book from the library, how many authors are credited with writing the book? Some books may list two or three authors, but the vast majority have just one. Imagine how difficult it would be to have several authors from different backgrounds each write a chapter of a book and still have the story make sense. Strangely enough, this is exactly what God chose to do.

The Bible is comprised of 66 books written by over 40 different people over a period of 1,500 years. The authors lived in different places, spoke different languages, and had different walks of life: kings, physicians, fishermen, tax collectors, priests, royal servants, and slaves. The Bible addresses many topics: faith, love, family, government, education, good vs. evil, money, and law. None of the authors knew what the other authors were writing, yet each book of the Bible points to one big story—God’s plan for mankind. In 2 Peter 1:21, we read, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God may have used various authors, but He orchestrated the whole thing. There is no part of Scripture that did not originate from heaven.

The priest, Hilkiah, ran with joy to tell Josiah that he had found the Book of the Law. God’s Word to His people had been found, and they wasted no time in having it read. Even though you may have multiple copies of the Bible in your house, it’s lost until you spend time reading it.


Review: Last week we learned about the prophet Micah and his message from God to Judah. The leaders of Judah were responsible for leading the people astray and worshipping false gods. They refused to believe they were guilty of sin and blindly expected God to save them from destruction. Micah gave Judah the formula to a righteous relationship with God.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.05.01 PMWhat three things did Micah say the people should do to live righteously? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 34-35

 

Memory Verse: Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Use the following motions to teach this unit’s memory verse, or make up your own motions:

The Lord your God (point both hands to heaven)

Is with you (draw arms in to a hug)

He is mighty to save (raise both arms in strength)

He will take great delight in you (use fingers to draw a smile on your face) He will quiet you (use finger over mouth)

With His love (cross arms over heart)

He will rejoice over you with singing (jump up and down in celebration)


TALK

Josiah is the third boy king. Joash became king when he was seven, and Manasseh became king when he was twelve. Joash started well, but ended terribly. Manasseh started terribly but repented and ended well.

  • How old was Josiah when he became king?
    • 8 years old.
  • In 2 Chronicles 33:22, how does the Bible describe Josiah’s father, Amon?
    • He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
  • How does the Bible describe Josiah?
    • He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. Since Josiah’s father was wicked, how do you think Josiah learned how to do what was right? How important is it to listen to godly teaching even when you are young?
  • When Josiah was only 12 years old, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem. What things did he do?
    • Took down the Asherah poles, idols, and cast images; tore down the altars of Baal; cut down the incense altars. Josiah could have thought that because he was so young he couldn’t make a difference. It would have been much easier for him to have just left things the way they were. Read 1 Timothy 4:12. What does it say about being young? Paul is encouraging Timothy that he can still be a godly example in spite of his young age. We, too, can be examples at any age in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. How can you be an example in these ways to family, classmates, or neighbors?
  • While Hilkiah, the high priest, was supervising the repair of the temple, he found something. What was it?
    • The Book of the Law. This was possibly the first five books of the Bible. The Bible says it was found, which means it had been lost. The actual book had not only been lost to the people, but the God of the book had been lost to them because they were not living according to His commands. The Book of the Law was just laying around somewhere collecting dust from lack of use. Where is your Bible? Is it on the shelf collecting dust, only to be brought out on Sunday? Whether or not we read God’s Word, whatever God said will still happen, because God’s Word is eternal. (Psalm 119:89)
  • What did Josiah do when the Book of the Law was read to him?
    • He tore his robes and sent Hilkiah to the prophet to interpret what was written in the Law.
  • What did the prophet say would happen?
    • The prophet told Hilkiah that judgment was coming to Judah because of their sins against God. This would not happen until after the death of Josiah because he humbled himself before God, and God promised to spare him the grief.
  • What event did Josiah celebrate?
    • The Passover. The Bible says that it had not been observed to such an extent since the days of Samuel; no other king celebrated the Passover as did Josiah. This brought the people back to the time when God had delivered them from Egypt; back to their covenant with God.

 


 

PRAY

Adoration: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). Give praise to God that He is unchanging and that His Word is forever.

Confession: “. . . they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:21). Confess to God specifically when you have not acted according to His Word.

Thanksgiving: “So at that time the entire service of the Lord was carried out for the celebration of the Passover . . .” (2 Chronicles 35:16). The Israelites celebrated what God had done for them when He delivered them from the Death Angel. Give thanks to God as a celebration of a specific time when He helped you.

Supplication: “The king renewed the covenant of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep His commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:31). Make a covenant with God to keep His commands. Ask God to give you the strength to keep your covenant.



DO

Supplies: Any set of blocks that can be used to stack and build; stopwatch Place the blocks in a pile on a hard surface.

Divide into 2 teams.

When you say “Go” the first person on Team 1 runs to the blocks and sets one up, then runs back to tag the next person in line. Continue the relay for one minute to build a tower as high as the team can. The second team now has one minute to take apart the tower one block at a time. Team 1 (the building team) now has 30 seconds to go back and rebuild as much of the tower as possible. Then Team 2 has 30 seconds to take apart the tower one block at a time. Team 1 rebuilds as much as possible in 15 seconds (one block at a time), then Team 2 has 15 seconds to take apart as much as they can one block at a time.

Use this activity to discuss the wicked and righteous kings of Judah. A wicked king would reign and build up the idols and altars to worship false gods. Then a righteous king would reign and tear down the altars. A wicked king would reign and build the altars again. A righteous king would again tear them down. The people of Judah were in a cycle which would eventually lead them into captivity.

Do you remember the kings Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Amon? Were they were wicked or righteous?

Hezekiah—righteous

Manasseh—wicked and then turned to God

Amon—wicked

 

(Lesson: May 17th)

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