Category: Family Devotional

Fall Child Dedication Service

By | August 28, 2015

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At Vista Child Dedications are held during service, two times a year -in the spring and fall.  The next opportunity will be Sunday, October 4th.   If you would like to have your child(ren) dedicated please sign up here and feel free to email Melinda Woody with any questions you may have.

What is a child dedication?
This special service permits parents to publicly present their children to God and to make a commitment to bring their children up in a Christ-centered home.   Child dedication is the act of giving back to God the gift He has given you as parents. It is an act of worship, thanksgiving, dependence, trust and commitment. We as Christians have a tremendous responsibility given to us when the Lord blesses us with a child.

What does it signify?
It is a parent’s act of dedication, making a spiritual commitment to God concerning the upbringing of their child. This commitment involves a lifestyle of praying for the child, teaching from God’s Word and setting a Christ-like example.

How is this different from baptism?
Dedication is not infant baptism. It does not indicate or assure salvation. At Vista, we believe that every person must exercise personal faith in Christ when he or she is old enough to understand the Gospel.

Where in Scripture is there a precedent for dedication of a child
The practice of child dedication has been modeled throughout the Bible. The Israelites brought their 8-day-old children to the priest for blessings. Hannah (I Samuel 1:24-28) brought her long-awaited son Samuel to the priest Eli to dedicate him to the Lord. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for His dedication.   He allowed little children to come to Him for His blessing (Matthew 19:13-15).

What is the next step?

If you are interested in participating in the child dedication service please email Melinda Woody.

 

Just a Phase.

By | May 30, 2015

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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)

talk.pray.do – May

By | May 7, 2015

 

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TALK

  • Can you name all the fruits of the Spirit? Which comes easily to you? Which one is the hardest?
  • What is Joy? Who is the most joyful person that you know? What do they do that makes you think they are joyful?
  • What is a peacemaker? Who are some peacemakers you know?
  • What does it mean to be patient? Is it hard to be patient sometimes? Why?
  • What is kindness? Who was the last person you showed kindness to?

 

PRAY

Practice the fruits of the spirit this week. Faithfully pray and ask God for help. Do something good for someone. Practice self-control when your emotions or desires are leading you to lose control. Be gentle with your actions and kind with your words.

 

DO

This week join with us on the Vista Parents blog for devotional prompts on how to be a family rooted in the Fruit of the Spirit. Daily devotional posted on the different fruits of the spirits. Enjoy planting the wildflowers together as a family.

 

Join with us on social media using the #KCrooted #talkpraydo

Micah, Prophet to Judah | Micah 1–7

By | April 28, 2015

When you love and respect someone, the best way to show it is by trying to be more like him or her. For example, while you may get annoyed when your younger brother copies everything you do, it isn’t because he’s trying to annoy you (okay, maybe sometimes he is), it’s just that he thinks you’re so cool that he wants to be more like you.

God desires us to be like Him. He loves it when we copy Him. In fact, He purposely gives us examples of how He wants us to copy Him. In Micah 6:8, God gives us three ways that we can copy His example: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God is just when He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). God shows mercy when He does not abandon His people (Nehemiah 9:31). God showed humility when He sent His perfect Son, Jesus, to earth as a man to die in our place (Philippians 2:6–8).

Charles Caleb Colton, a 19th century cleric, penned the phrase, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” It is a way of showing adoration toward the one you are imitating; a desire for him or her to be your role model. Who are you trying to imitate; who do you want to be like? Phillipians 2:5 tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

 

Review: Last week we learned details about the promised Messiah. Isaiah described the pain and suffering the Messiah would suffer, but he also prophesied that the Messiah would be killed and then raised from the dead. Isaiah’s message was one of hope to an exiled people. God wanted them to know He had not forgotten about them and that He always keeps His promises.

As believers who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, what should we do with the message of the Messiah? We should be passing along the Good News to others who do not know Jesus.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.38.24 AMMemory 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.”

 


 

Talk:

Micah was a prophet during the same time as the prophet Isaiah. In the first verse of the first chapter of Micah, we learn that Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah.

  • In Micah 6:1–5, God reminds Israel what He has done for them in the past. What are some of the ways God had saved them?
    • Delivered from slavery in Egypt; delivered from King Balak and the evil prophet, Balaam; showed His righteous acts in Gilgal.
  • Who does Micah say is responsible for the judgment being brought on Judah? (3:9–12) The leaders were leading the people astray. What does he say will happen to them?
    • They will be completely destroyed.
  • Micah is one of the few prophets who comes right out and explains why he has come. What two things does Micah explain about his message in Micah 3:8?
    • Micah is empowered by God’s Spirit and his message is to declare the sin of God’s people.
  • Verse 11 says that the leaders are under the false impression that God is still among them and that no harm will come to them. Read 2 Peter 1:5–10. How does it describe people who have forsaken righteousness and have instead chosen to do things their own way?
    • They have become nearsighted and blind. In this passage nearsighted means “to shut the eyes.” It is a willful choice. The leaders of Judah chose to shut their eyes to the truth of their sin and forget the God of their salvation. We are often like the leaders of Judah: we tell a “little white lie” and don’t confess it as sin; we call somebody a name; we don’t spend daily time with God. Each time we don’t acknowledge the truth of our sin, we become a little more nearsighted and forgetful of the God who cleansed us from our sin.
  • Micah 6:8 makes it clear how God expects His people to live. What are the three ways Micah mentions? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Can this description be used for the way we live? Do we act fairly? Do we show compassion and kindness to everyone around us? Do we walk carefully or wisely with our God, making Him and His commands more important than our own desires?
  • As with Isaiah, Micah gave a message of hope. What does he say in Micah 7:18–20?
    • God delights in showing mercy; He will have compassion again; He will hurl their iniquities into the sea; He will remain faithful to His covenant.

 

Pray:

Use 2 Peter 1:5–6 and Micah 6:8.

Ask God to increase righteous qualities in your life. Put your name in the verse, and mention the qualities by name. (For this very reason, I, (your name), will make every effort to . . . ) Commit to God that you will be imitators of Him; “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly” with Him.

 


Do:

Supplies: Bible Memory Verse for this unit

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)

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