Category: lent

March talk.pray.do: Balance

By | March 3, 2014

talk-pray-do-logo-MED-web

 

talk

  • What is the best thing about our family?
  • What do you think makes a happy family?
  • Tell each person in the family why you are glad they are part of our family
  • What three words describe our family?

 

pray

Children love to hear you say what you think about them. Your words are powerful in the shaping of their hearts. As you tuck them in spend a few minutes telling them what you see in their heart. Things like honesty, friendship, love, forgiveness, and loyalty. Remind them that these things are so much more important than what they look like on the outside. Pray together and ask God to protect their heart. Pray that they grow up with a loving heart that follows after God.

do

This month use the family take home kit to have a game night playing the classic egg and spoon race…a game about balance.  Add obstacles in the course and talk with your children about how it was more difficult to see the finish line and focus on balancing the egg.  Share how God is always with us, even in the midst of imbalances and obstacles.

Feel free to use other variations as well: use your mouth to hold the spoon as you race through an obstacle, use a raw egg; add obstacles to the playing area; require players to march, skip, side-step, etc.  Be creative, but most importantly have fun and enjoy your family.

As we begin the 40 days of balance  we in Kids Community encourage your family to check out  check out the lists of examples on the Vista 40 Days page, which may inspire you!  We encourage you to share your experiences over these 40 Days on your site’s Facebook page, or on your Twitter or Instagram accounts (#40Days #VistaStories). We’d love to have a compilation of steps toward balance that we can share to inspire one another.

How will your family intentionally focus on what Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

Connect with us: Share your Family Night photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @vistachurches @vistadublin @vistaworthington  #talkpraydo #vistafamilies

40 days of Lent – Baptism of Jesus

By | February 28, 2013

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:17

As I write this, it is the fourteenth day of Lent 2013. Last night our family read Spirit Lighting – day seven of Ann Voskamp’s Lent devotional Trail to the Tree.  Her seventeen day devotional bolsters our Lenten intentions. It may just be doable for us in forty days.

Did you know that Jesus was baptized?       Why would He do that?

Read Matthew 3: 13-17: His example of humble obedience brought great joy to His Father. The Spirit of God descended on Him.

What do we learn from this?        What do we teach our kids?

  • Worship – humbly acknowledging God as Father
  • Service – obedience to further His plan of righteousness
  • Power – joy-filled gifts descending on those He loves

Have you talked about baptism with your children?     Do they know why Christians do it?      Do you?

Lent is about preparing our hearts to be humble before God because of His great love and mercy to us through the death of His Son. Fasting, giving up comfort, removing distractions and living simpler lives are all ways Christians use to humble themselves. When we change our hearts through humility or weakness – we receive a greater glimpse of the Spirit of God descending upon us and among us.

Lent is about preparing our hearts with new skills of prayer, conversation about Him, reading His words, memorizing His words, making music to Him, creating art about Him or serving others in His name. When we change our hearts through obedience to His ways – we provide others a greater glimpse of the Spirit of God descending upon us and among us.

  • How can your family change one thing in order to worship together this week?
  • How can your family change one thing in order to serve each other or someone else this week?
  • How can your family change one thing in order share personal examples of power only His Spirit brings this week?

Our family is trying to change by removing distractions, reading Trail to the Tree devotions, and discussing Baptism this week. Our humble desire is to bring Him joy.

 

 

 

40 Days of Lent – Ram in the Thicket

By | February 21, 2013

As a church family, Vista is focusing on Jubilee for the 40 days of Lent before Resurrection Sunday on March 31. The series is based off of Leviticus 25:10. Follow this link to the 40 days of Jubilee page, including resources, tools and a daily devotional. We invite you to look at the Vista Parents Blog 40 Days posts from previous years for encouragement and ideas to share with your family. Do this by clicking on ‘Archives’ to the right, then picking the month and year.

This year, Vista families will be following Ann Voskamp’s devotional Trail to the Tree. To download a copy, click here. (Note: you must scroll all the way down to the blue box, then click ‘subscribe’. After subscribing to Ann’s blog, you can scroll down to the bottom of any blog post and click on the link that says, “Free Easter/Lent devotional: The Trail to the Tree.”)

Each day has three different practices points:

  • Linger on the Word: daily readings from the Bible
  • Lift up your prayer to the Word: daily prayer guide for families to pray together
  • Live the Word: daily questions or activities to focus on Jesus

On day two of the devotional, she recommends reading Genesis 22:1-14. She spotlights the specific name of God used by Abraham when a ram was made available to replace the pending sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham names the place God-Yireh (jehovahjirah or Jehovah Jirah). When translated, this may mean “God sees to it.”

W. Ewing writes that “the best explanation of the text may be, Yahweh sees the needs of those who come to worship before Him on Zion, and there ‘is seen,’ revealing Himself to them by answering their prayers and supplying their wants” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

Voskamp then asks the following question: “Today can you live in trust, knowing He will see-to-it. All of it?”

Here are some questions for your family to explore together:

  • What does a provider do?
  • Does your family know God as their provider?
  • How did God provide for you today or how was He the God that sees?
  • Does your family know God as one who “sees-to-it”?
  • How does this idea of Jehovah Jirah fit into how you talk about debt?

Please share any thoughts or feedback with us in the comments section, or share your family 40 Days photos on Facebook!

Intentional Celebration

By | April 5, 2012

From the First Sunday of Lent blog:

“It is always so comforting to know that even if our best laid plans go awry, God honors our intentional focus on Him. As you move through the next 40 days as a family, how will you intentionally prepare for Resurrection Sunday? What will be the family devotion success stories and the failures? How will God meet each member of your family with a small shift in focus here, small changes in perspective there, and all of the laughter in between?

Pastor Mike has asked Vista to press in during this season: press into new habits, press into new perspectives, press into intentional devotion. “We hope to help you, encourage you, and laugh with you as every member of the family presses into that intentional devotion together.”

So how did it go? Was your intentional Lent focus everything your family hoped it would be? How did your efforts to develop new habits and new perspectives help you press in for 40 days? Did the Holy Spirit reveal God in a new way to your family?

Our family had some successes and some failures. We made it through about 20 Lent devotionals together and engaged in some good discussions. We attempted to fast from screen time for a couple weeks with various levels of success. We talked about some service opportunities but never really executed them. I am still hoping our “Alleluia Eggs” will be in the same places we hid them come Sunday morning. We have a seder feast planned for Thursday night with friends. We plan on attending the Dublin Crosswalk on Friday. We will serve together on Resurrection Sunday morning, and celebrate the empty tomb with “Resurrection biscuits“. All in all, our intentions have reaped some good results that we hope will continue.

As we have shared from the beginning, God honors our intentional focus on Him. Pastor Mike has been pushing us to look for the work of the Holy Spirit around us this Lenten season. Francis Chan encourages us in this manner:

“Even as the Spirit works in us to make us more like Christ, to transform us, His is also patient. This work will not be complete until His Kingdom comes in full, though this does not deter Him from working now.” p. 146 Forgotten God

We have tried not to focus on the success of the Lent journey, but on the small victories of obedience along the way. We made goals and asked the Holy Spirit to cover the rest. We are praying that He will continue to guide us forward for our family’s “common good.” We will read Ephesians 1 & 2 this week to celebrate why we intentionally engage in this life and what we can expect from God for our intentions. We are not called to be perfect or perform perfectly, yet we are able to offer what we can through His Spirit.

My prayer for you is that you celebrate Sunday as a family in the common good brought by the Spirit. Paul in Ephesians portrays the peace, rest and assurance we can have because we have the Spirit of the risen Lord in us.

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spiritf of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.                                           Ephesians 1:14-23

 

Click here to view One of our favorite Easter traditions

Intentional Recognition

By | April 1, 2012

As we near the end of the Lent journey, we celebrate Palm Sunday. Do you recognize this story? Do you recognize the Jesus in this story? Church tradition dictates in this celebration. Some of my favorite church hymns were sung on Palm Sunday. We have given palm branches to Vista kids for Palm Sunday before. To be honest, it often became nothing but a carnage of Palm branch sword fights. I don’t know if I ever understood why it was recognized as a celebration, but I loved it because it was one of those rare church traditions were children took a significant role.

How does our recognition change if we actually read about it from the Bible? Matthew 21:1-10, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-18 all give accounts of this Triumphal entry.

  • Who: These people were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They quoted from Psalm 118:25 so they knew the Jewish scriptures.
  • What: Jesus asked his disciples to make preparations for Passover in Jerusalem. He had been anointed by Mary as for burial just before this. A crowd gathered as he entered singing in Hebrew “save us” or translated into Greek “Hosanna”. The crowd rejoiced, the Jewish leaders were angry and Jesus cried when He saw the city.
  • Why: They had heard  that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for Feast of Unleavened Bread referred to as Passover (Deuteronomy 16: 1-8). Their plan was to honor an amazing Jewish rabbi in great Jewish Tradition who might save them from trouble and Roman occupation. They laid their coats before him  (2 King 9:13) . They waved palm branches (Leviticus 23:40). Yet God’s plan was to fulfill prophecy in His way and point toward the cross (Zechariah 9:9 & Revelation 7:9).

So it seems like children may or may not have been involved. What is clear is that these people were recognizing this entry as a big deal. It made them join together and celebrate. Yet it is traditionally understood that Jesus was entering Jerusalem at or near the time when the Paschal lambs were being slaughtered for Passover (14th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar). His recognition of this event was different from theirs.

Events and feelings from Passion Week are hard for us to understand and even more difficult to help children understand –  so much suffering, brutality and hate. It is easier to focus on the fun Palm Sunday celebration to protect our children. Often times we desire to protect our children from their own suffering and the suffering of others. The recognition that God chooses to let events like passion week happen is too hard, too uncomfortable and too messy.

Questions families can discuss and think about regarding Palm Sunday & Passion Week:

  • Why was it easy for these people to celebrate?
  • Do you think they understood what was going on here?
  • Why was Jesus crying?
  • Why is it important to work, talk and think through the tough times of life?
  • What kind of savior do we recognize  – one that we want to see or one that He really is?
  • Do I want God to do things my way and in my timing or do I trust His way and his timing?
  • Do we trust that the Holy Spirit works in us through hard, scary or confusing Bible stories as well as the fun ones?
  • Are we quick to join popular bandwagons or do take time to think about what they really mean?
  • Are we faithful to the things, people, issues God has put on our hearts everyday or only when it’s easy?
  • How does faith become something deep and meaningful instead of something trite? Can it be simple without being easy?
  • Does our family embrace or ignore hard questions about life and faith? Why? Why not?
Passion Weeks activities:
  1. Family Lent Challenge: A Passover Haggadah Use this activity with family, life-group or with neighbors and adapt it to your needs or time frame.
  2. Stations of the cross: a traditional Roman Catholic Church tradition focusing on the journey of Christ to the cross. Some of the stations used are traditional in nature and not part of the text found in the Bible. Sometimes it is used to focus on our own actions not the grace and mercy of God, but we have found it to be a powerful discussion starter in our home. Stations-of-the-Cross-for-Teens is a PDF especially for Teens.
  3. A helpful video from youtube that maybe be helpful for understanding significance of Palm Sunday
  4. Music for Palm Sunday and Passion week: song 1, song 2, song 3

 

 

 

WordPress Themes