Category: Family Sunday

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

Hosea, Prophet to Israel

By | February 28, 2015

We have learned that because of the sin of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was divided into the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom was known as Israel and the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. The Northern Kingdom was comprised of ten tribes, one of which was Ephraim.

Manasseh and Ephraim were the sons of Joseph. When Joseph died, Jacob adopted Manasseh and Ephraim as his own, thus making them two of the tribes of Israel. The tribe of Ephraim was known for complaining against both the judges of Gideon and Jephthah. The conflict with Gideon ended peacefully, but the conflict with Jephthah resulted in the death of 42,000 Ephraimites. The tribe of Ephraim, led by Jeroboam, led the revolt resulting in a divided kingdom and Jeroboam becoming the first king of the Northern Kingdom.

Hosea, as well as other prophets, commonly refer to the Northern Kingdom as Ephraim. This is a reflection of the fact that Ephraim was the most powerful of the tribes in the Northern Kingdom. Keep this in mind during today’s Scripture reading.

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Review:  Last week we were introduced to the prophet Amos. God gave Amos a vision of how He was going to destroy Israel because they worshipped false gods and ignored God’s commands. God showed Amos in the vision that He was going to send locusts and fire—but Amos begged God not to send the locusts and the fire, because the punishment would be too great. God then gave Amos a vision of a plumb line that He used to show that Israel did not measure up to His standard. Even though the book of Amos is filled with judgment against Israel, God did not leave them without hope.

 

What was God’s promise to Israel? One day Israel would be restored and returned to the land that God promised them many years before

 

Scripture Reading: Amos 7:1–16 and Amos 9:11–15.  ****Reading God’s Word is the most important part of family worship. If you don’t have time to do anything else, be sure to do this section.


Talk:   God instructed Hosea to marry Gomer even though she would be unfaithful and love others. In chapters 1–3 of Hosea, God is using Hosea’s life to symbolize Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him and what was going to happen to the people of Israel because of their sin.

Gomer and Hosea had three children. The first was a son named Jezreel. By giving him that name, God was saying that He was going to punish the reigning dynasty that had rebelled against His purpose and His plan. Later, two more children were born.

 

  • What were the names of the other two children and what did their names mean?

Lo-Ruhamah means God will no longer show His love to Israel. Lo-Ammi means that God will no longer call Israel His people.

The prophet, Hosea, tells Israel why God is so upset with them. Hosea says there were three things that Israel was not doing and seven things they were doing.

  • What was Israel not doing that they should have been doing? (see Hosea 4:1)

Israel had no faithfulness, no love, and no acknowledgement of God. What was Israel doing that they should not have been doing? (4:2) Israel was cursing, lying, murdering, stealing, committing adultery, breaking all bounds, and causing bloodshed.

  • What warning does Hosea give the Israelites? (9:7–9)

Hosea warns Israel that because their sins are so many and their hostility is so great against God’s prophets, “God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sin.”

  • From the names God gave to Hosea’s children, we know that He is telling Israel that He has disowned them. How is the message in chapter 11 different than the message in chapter 1?

Chapter 1 was a vivid description of God’s anger and coming punishment against Israel. Chapter 11 is filled with God’s compassion and love for Israel as a father loves his child. God is filled with sorrow because of the actions of Israel.

  • What does Hosea tell Israel to do in order to once again receive God’s blessing?

(14:1–2) “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God . . . Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously’.”

  • If Israel follows the advice of Hosea, what will be God’s response?

(14:4) “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”

  • Hosea 14:9 says, “The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them.” God is good and wants to lead us in the right direction because He loves us. God did a wonderful thing because He loves us so much: He sent His son, Jesus. Romans 5:8 tells us that even while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. God still loved Israel even though they were sinning and had not turned to Him. Just as God told Israel that He would forgive them if they returned to Him, God will forgive us.

 

 

Pray: Using Romans 5:8, give God praise for His love. Thank God that we do not have to try and earn His love. Ask God

 

Do: Family Night – Ahead of time, cut out the Prophets pictures and staple them together to make a booklet. Answer the following questions and write your answers inside the prophet image of Hosea.

  1. What message did God have for His people?
  2. What judgment did God say He would send upon His people? 3. How did the people react?
  3. Was there any good news for the people?

Keep the booklet to answer the questions about each of the prophets as we study each one over the next few weeks. Amos is already completed for you.

(Vista Dublin lesson March 1st,  Vista Worthington lesson March 15th) 

The Nothern Kingdom was Destroyed

By | February 14, 2015

The nation of Israel was familiar with captivity. They were slaves in Egypt for over four hundred years before God delivered them. Throughout their wilderness travels, they constantly turned their backs on God and worshipped idols. After entering the Promise Land, God sent judges to rescue them against enemies because they had turned against God. They had numerous kings that led them in doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. The Bible talks about God’s anger burning against the people, but He always forgave and rescued them when they repented and turned back to Him. Today’s story ends quite differently. God has been pushed too far, and a new phrase appears on the pages of 2 Kings…God ”removed them from his presence”. God has now turned His back on Israel. He will allow them to once again be taken into captivity.

Although Israel seemed to have no hope, God did promise that He would someday return Israel to their homeland (Isaiah 11:10-12). Even more importantly, God promised to send a Messiah. That promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God turned His back on His own Son because of our sin, but then Jesus was raised from the dead, and the perfect sacrifice was given for us.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 9.32.42 AMLast week we learned how God healed Naaman. Naaman, a valiant soldier in Aram’s army, had leprosy. A servant girl told him to go see Elisha for healing. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan River seven times for healing. At first, Naaman refused, but his servants convinced him to obey. Naaman was com- pletely healed.

What did Naaman say after he was healed? “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel”

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 17:1-23

Memory Verse: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey” 2 Kings 17:13b

 

 

TALK:Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 9.32.26 AM

  1. Who was the king of Israel during this time? Was he good or evil?

King Hoshea did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. What king attacked Israel?

Shalmaneser the king of Assyria.

  1. What did the king of Assyria do with the Israelites?

He took the Israelites captive and de ported them to Assyria.

  1. Reread verse 7; what does the Bible say is the reason Israel was taken captive? “All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God.”
  2. List some examples of things the Israelites did to sin against God.

They worshipped other gods; they secretly did things against the Lord; they built high places, set up sacred stones and Asherah poles, practiced witchcraft.

  1. God had warned all the nation of Israel against such evil practices, but they ignored God time and again. What phrase tells us that God had enough? (v 18-20)

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence…the Lord rejected all the people of Israel.”

  1. The nation of Israel not only went against the Sinai covenant with God, but they also ignored the words of the prophets that God had sent to them as warnings. God describes them as stiff-necked people comparing them with stubborn oxen refusing to move when needed. Are you sometimes stiff-necked? Talk about things we do that would ignore God’s Words. What should we do right away when we have sinned against God?

 

PRAY:

Adoration: Praise God that He is the one and only true God.
Confession: Confess a specific time when you ignored God’s Word and did evil in His eyes. Thanksgiving: Offer thanks to God for His patience and forgiveness.
Supplication: Ask God to help keep the idols out of your life and to obey His Word.

 

DO:

True or False Wall Instructions

  1. Choose 2 opposite walls—label one as FALSE and the other as TRUE.
  2. Use the questions below to review the five lessons from this unit.
  3. Have everyone stand in the middle of the room.
  4. After reading a question, each person will run to the wall he thinks is the correct answer. 
Questions
  5. After the nation of Israel was divided, the Northern Kingdom had several kings that loved and obeyed the Lord. False—they did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.
  6. King Ahab was married to Queen Jezebel. True
  7. The prophet Samuel challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. False—Elijah challenged.
  8. Israel was guilty of worshipping Baal. True
  9. Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah. True
  10. On Mt. Carmel, Elijah poured oil on the sacrifice. False—he poured water
  11. On Mt. Carmel, God proved He was real by sending fire from heaven. True
  12. Elijah was afraid of Queen Esther. False—it was Queen Jezebel
  13. Commander Naaman was cured of blindness. False—it was leprosy
  14. Naaman was told to wash in the Jordan River. True
  15. The last king of the Northern Kingdom was Ahab. False—it was Hoshea
  16. The prophet Elijah took the place of Elisha. False—Elisha replaced Elijah

 

(Vista Dublin lesson February 15th, Vista Worthington Lesson, March 1st)

 

 

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