Category: prayer

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.

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

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)

 

 

Elisha and Naaman (2 Kings 5)

By | February 1, 2015

The Bible gives reference to many types of diseases that afflicted people including deaf- ness, fevers, seizures, speech impediments, and skin diseases. Of these diseases, one that was greatly feared was that of leprosy. Leprosy was highly contagious, and it is because of its con- tagious nature that there were strict laws concerning those who had the disease. Leviticus 13:45- 56 says, “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp”. Not only were the people sick, but they were completely cut off from their family and friends until they were either healed or died.

We are exactly like those who suffered from leprosy. No, we don’t have a disease that eats away at our skin, but we are diseased with sin. When we have sin in our lives, it eats away at our hearts, and we are completely cut off from God. Thankfully, there is a cure. Jesus was sent to cure us from the sickness of sin. He is the perfect healer—we just need to trust him as our Savior.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.46.20 PMLast week we learned about an example of God’s compassion. Elijah was running for his life away from Queen Jezebel. She was not happy that Baal had been defeated on Mt. Carmel. Elijah felt defeated and requested to die. God provided rest, nourishment and encouragement for Elijah under a broom

What encouragement did God give Elijah? God said that he had pre- served 7, 000 servants of God who were hidden from Jezebel.

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 5

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

 

 

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 Talk:

  1. Naaman was the first person mentioned in today’s story. Who was Naaman and what was his problem?

    Naaman was a successful commander in Aram’s army; through him the Lord had given victory to Aram; Naaman had leprosy.

  2. A servant girl knew how Naaman could be healed. What suggestion did she give Naaman’s wife?

    She told Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Samaria that could heal Naaman; the prophet’s name was Elisha.

  3. Where was the servant girl from originally? Why do you think it was strange that she offered help to her master?

    The girl was taken captive from Israel. She could have been filled with hatred and bitterness against her captors. Instead she was aware of the one true God, and she unselfishly wanted to share that knowledge and healing power with her captors.

  4. Sometimes people do things to hurt us: a friend says something mean to you; someone teases you; your team is upset at you because you dropped the ball during the game. How do you act when someone has hurt you?

    The servant girl is a great example to us of how we should show Jesus to others even when they have hurt us.

  5. When Naaman reached Elisha, what did Elisha do?

    He sent his servant to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan River seven times, and then he would be healed.

  6. What was Naaman’s reaction?

    Naaman was angry and refused to wash, but his servants convinced him that he should do as Elisha said.

  7. What happened when Naaman obeyed? He was completely healed.
  8. What did Naaman say after he was healed?

    (v15) “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”

  9. The servant girl made a difference in Naaman’s life. She was just a girl taken from her country and made into a slave, but she was used by God to save a man’s life, and to turn him to the one true God. Take this opportunity to talk about how God uses all kinds of people to accomplish His purpose—that of bringing people to Him. We should be watching for chances that God gives us to share Him with others.

 

PRAY:

  • Read or recite as a family John 3:16.
  • Give thanks to God for His wonderful gift of salvation which heals us from the disease of sin.
  • Ask Got to make you aware of people around you that are in need of Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Pray for boldness to speak with those people about God’s healing gift of salvation.

 

DO:

  • Cut out the Memory Verse puzzle, cut into its pieces.
  • Use the puzzle to practice the memory verse for this unit.
  • You can either use the copy provided to complete as a family, or you can make one copy for each family member.*Copy or glue the puzzle onto cardstock for sturdiness prior to cutting.

 

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Elijah Ran from Jezebel

By | January 24, 2015

Our story for today talks about Elijah sleeping under a broom tree. Unlike its name would suggest, it does not have large sweeping branches and leaves. In fact, it is just the opposite. A broom tree is actually a desert shrub with long slender branches, small leaves, and white fragrant blossoms. It has a large canopy which provides only a small amount of shade in the desert.

In Israel the white broom tree was used as kindling for stoves. The roots, trunks, and branches were used for coals because they retained the heat for long periods of time. A traveler through the desert would celebrate finding a broom tree. Although not much, it would provide some shade dur- ing the daylight hours. The traveler could then use the branches for a fire to cook his meal. He would cover the embers from the fire with 2-4 inches of sand for a cozy, warm mattress during the cold, desert night.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 8.24.08 AMElijah found new strength under the canopy of a broom tree. He found shade to rest during the day, bread was cooked for a meal, and he may have used the embers to warm his bed at night.

God used the attributes of a broom tree to renew Elijah’s strength and spirit.

 

Review: Last week we learned how God showed Israel once again that He is the one true God. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel led Israel to worship Baal. Elijah, God’s prophet, challenged the prophets of Baal. Whichever god called down fire and burned up the sacrifice would prove that he was the one true God.

The God of Israel easily won the challenge. What did God do to make sure there was no doubt that He was GOD? God burned up the wood, altar, stones, and even the water in the trench. Israel cried out saying, “The Lord He is God!”

 

Scripture Reading: I Kings 19

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

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TALK

  1. Elijah had just witnessed a miracle of God against the false god Baal. God also ended a drought in the land. Elijah should have been celebrating. Instead, he was afraid and on the run. What was the reason for Elijah’s behavior?

    Queen Jezebel, a Baal worshipper, heard about what was done on Mt. Carmel, and said she was going to kill Elijah.

  2. Elijah went into the desert where he sat under a tree to pray. What did Elijah say to God?

    Elijah told God that he had enough and wanted to die; then he went to sleep.

  3. Elijah had very quickly forgotten the power of almighty God. We are often like Elijah. Has there been a time when you gave up because you had forgotten what God had done for you?
  4. An angel came and fed Elijah. How long did Elijah travel after eating the food? Where did Elijah go?

    Elijah traveled for forty days and forty nights. The Bible states that Elijah was strengthened by the food; this seems to indicate that the food gave Elijah supernatural strength to travel for so long without needing more food. Elijah traveled until he reached Mt. Horeb. This is an alternative name for Mt. Sinai where God gave Moses the Ten Command- ments.

  5. God told Elijah that He was going to pass by. What four things happened and at what point did God speak to Elijah?

    There was a powerful wind, but God was not in the wind. There was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. There was fire, but God was not in the fire. There was a gentle whisper. It was then God spoke to Elijah.

  6. What good news did God bring Elijah, and what did God tell Elijah to do? God told Elijah that there were 7,000 Jehovah-worshippers that had escaped death. Elijah was to anoint Hazael as king over Aram, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha to succeed him as prophet.

This is a wonderful story of God’s compassion and provision for his servant, Elijah. Psalm 103:13- 14 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Even when we forget what God has done for us, He still loves us and wants only what is good for us.

PRAY

Use your prayer time giving praise and adoration to God for who He is. Use the following verses to praise God for His characteristics:
  • God the Protector: Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”
  • God the Provider: Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glo- rious riches in Christ Jesus.”
  • God is With You: Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”• God is Almighty: Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

 

DO

Cut out the cards found Unit 13 – Names of God and display them for all to see. Discuss the names of God and what they mean. Read the following verses one at a time and see if your family can match the characteristic of God with what Elijah experienced.

I Kings 19:6—Jehovah Jireh

I Kings 19:8—El Shaddai

I Kings 19:11-13—Jehovah Shammah

I Kings 19:18—Jehovah Sabaoth

 

(Vista Dublin lesson January 25th, Vista Worthington Lesson, February 15th)

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