Category: Vista Worthington

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

By | August 8, 2015

smaIn Daniel, chapter two, Nebuchadnezzar is given a dream about an image with a head made of gold. The image also consists of silver, bronze, copper, iron, and clay. When God gives Daniel the ability to interpret the dream, he tells Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom. Daniel reveals that it is God who has given Nebuchadnezzar dominion, power, might and glory. Daniel makes it very clear that Nebuchadnezzar has power only because God has allowed it. Daniel then proceeds to tell Nebuchadnezzar about his future. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom will be destroyed, and God will set up a kingdom that will never end. The Bible records Nebuchadnezzar as falling prostrate before Daniel, but it’s not for the reason that you might think.

Nebuchadnezzar is giving praise to this God of Israel who can interpret dreams. He did not show any remorse or fear about the future. It seems that he did not hear anything Daniel said past the golden head representing himself, for in the very next chapter he builds an image of gold. There is no name given to the image, so we can assume it was not made to honor any god. Nebuchadnezzar most likely built the image to honor himself. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride gets the best of him. The fourth chapter of Daniel provides a vivid description of how God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar’s pride.

Review: Last week we learned about how Daniel and his three friends remained faithful to God. Daniel and his friends were chosen to be in the king’s service. They were to be given a portion of the king’s food and wine. Daniel requested that they only be given vegetables and water. God blessed them by making them healthier than all the rest who ate food from the king’s table.

Why did Daniel and his friends not want to eat food from the king’s table? Much of the Babylonian food is offered to idols and it would be wrong for them to eat it..

Scripture Reading: Daniel 3

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Divide into pairs.

  • With their backs facing each other, tie the pairs together at the waist.
  • Tell the pairs that they are not allowed to communicate with each other in any way.
  • With all pairs participating at the same time, give the pairs directions to do various activities: sit on the couch, spin in a circle, walk to the other room, lie on your back, or any other simple activities you create.
  • After attempting to do the activities, discuss the difficulty of doing the tasks when the partners are unable to communicate to tell each other what they are thinking. It’s like having two minds that are often in opposition to each other.
  • Now give the same directions to the pairs, but this time let them communicate with each other.
  • Discuss how much easier it was to accomplish their tasks when they were of the same mind.
  • When our minds are in tune with God’s mind, we can be determined that we will serve God in spite of what others are doing around us. We will be able to accomplish God’s plan because we will be working in unison with Him instead of doing the opposite of His plan. James 1:8 says that a man who doubts God is double-minded and “is unstable in all he does.” It is important that we be single-minded, focusing on serving God, so that when temptation does come, we can be strong to stand against it.

 

Pray:

Adoration: Give praise to an almighty God who is able to save, even from a fiery furnace.

Confession: Ask God to forgive you for putting other things over Him; for having idols.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that He is a loving God that watches over His children.

Supplication: Ask God to help you take a stand for what is right even though others around you may not be doing what is right.

 

Lesson: August 9th

Daniel and His Friends Obeyed God

By | July 25, 2015

dan 1YAHWEH: THE LORD

The book of Daniel was written during the time that the nation of Israel was in exile. It would have been a common belief among the Babylonians that Israel’s defeat was an indication that they served a weak god. The Jews may have had such thoughts themselves as they were living in exile. They may have thought that God had not kept His promises to them.

God used the lives of four teenagers to prove that not only is He the one true God, but that He had not forgotten about His people or His promises to them. The account of Daniel and his faithfulness proves the sovereignty (one who has supreme power and authority) of Israel’s God. Daniel and his friends trusted the Lord, and He showed Himself able to protect and deliver them.

As a result, His power is made known to and proclaimed by the nations of the world. Our Memory Verse for this unit sounds like it could have been the words of Daniel giving praise to God, but these words were actually stated by a pagan king of Babylon.

 

Review: In the last lesson we learned how the nation of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. God took His prophet Ezekiel to a valley where he was instructed to prophesize to dead bones—telling them that God would breathe life into them again.

What was God promising His people who were now in exile through this prophecy? God would put His Spirit back in them and they would be made new. He would settle them back into their own land.

Scripture Reading: Daniel 1

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Supplies: paper, pencil or pen

To help review the lesson, divide into two teams and play a game of Tic-tac-toe. One team will be “X” and the other team will be “O”. Using the review questions below, ask one team a question. If the team gets the right answer, they can put either an “X” or an “O” in a spot on the board:

 

  • Why did God have to punish the Jewish people? They chose to worship false gods.
  • How did God punish the Jewish people? They were captured and taken into slavery.
  • What kind of men did the king want Ashpenaz to look for? Ones who were handsome and smart.
  • Why didn’t Daniel want to eat the king’s food? Much of the food was used for idol worship and God had specifically told the Israelites not to eat certain foods.
  • What did Daniel ask that he be fed instead of the king’s food? Vegetables and water.
  • Why did Ashpenaz not want to give Daniel vegetables? He was afraid that Daniel would not look very good and the king would be upset.
  • For how many days was the official to test Daniel and his friends? Ten days.
  • How did God bless Daniel and his friends for taking a stand for what was right? They looked even better than those who had eaten the king’s food.
  • How much better were Daniel and his friends than all the magicians in wisdom and understanding? Ten times better.
  • What special gift did God give to Daniel? The ability to understand dreams and visions.
  • Why did the Babylonians change the names of Daniel and his friends? They wanted them to forget about their home land and their God, and to worship the false gods.

Pray: Ask God to help develop you into people who please Him no matter what. Give thanks to God that He is able to protect and deliver us from the enemy’s temptations.

 

Lesson: July 26th

How will you help?

By | July 15, 2015

Vista Parents,

In 2 short months Vista Hilliard will be starting weekly services.   I am beyond excited to see how God is moving at Vista. We are seeing leaders press out in missional ways to be apart of this opportunity on the Gospels Edge,  as others step in to fill the gaps. All while families will have the opportunity to worship in their community, given chances to invite their neighbors to our church!

As One Church in Multiple Locations living at the intersection of Jesus and real life – this is a step for all of us to be apart of.  Pastor Brian’s blog post helps us narrow in ways we can support this movement.

  • Pray  –  pray for those taking this step, pray for the community, pray for the leaders.
  • Disciple  –  continue to pour into, train and release leaders for Hilliard.
  • Step-up  –  as Hilliard leaders turn their focus to Hilliard, step into those spaces created by their absence.  If you see a need, fill it.
  • Repeat  –  as a missional church trying to live at the intersection of Jesus and real life, we’re always going to be in this mode of helping people establish a unique expression of the church in their community.  THIS is the Great Commission!  THIS is the church!

How will your family be apart of this mission?  Will it be praying for the leaders? Stepping into spaces in the absences of leaders? Or will you be apart of the Hilliard Community pressing into where God is leading?

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)

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.

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