Happy New Year, all!
Have you never had to endure a child learning to play the clarinet? It’s pretty awful. It sounds more like a person strangling a duck than anything close to actual music. But that goes with any musical instrument, doesn’t it? To become great at playing an instrument, you need to practice … to rehearse. You need to commit to sticking with it even when you don’t feel like it.
Maybe you’re not really a “music person.” Maybe your interest involves the soccer field or basketball court. Or maybe you find yourself at home on the stage acting or dancing. Whatever your “thing,” you know firsthand that in order to get better—to master your sport or hone your craft—you have to put in the work and practice, practice, practice.
The same is also true for faith. It takes practice to grow and mature in your relationship with God. It takes commitment. That’s why we’re spending the whole month of January to discover how commitment can show up in our lives as we practice our faith with our elementary aged kids.
Commitment is making a plan and putting it into practice.
If we want to know God better, we need to practice our faith. But practicing isn’t something that comes naturally to any of us. That’s why we need a plan. And the best place to start is with spiritual disciplines; or “faith skills.”
This month we will focus on four faith skills that we think kids need to practice to know God better. We’re taking this month of commitment to dig deeper into these faith skills to help kids get a handle on what it means to practice their faith. We use four simple words to help us remember these skills:
HEAR. PRAY. TALK. LIVE.
Each week this month, we’ll focus on one of the faith skills as we talk about making a plan and putting it into practice.
In Week One, we’ll look at the word Hear. We want kids to learn how to hear from God as they listen to what Jesus said, listen to God’s Word, and His Holy Spirit. For the first week of commitment, kids will focus on navigating and personalizing Scripture as they look at the familiar parable of the wise and foolish builders found in Matthew 7:24-27.
Our Bottom Line is: Practice hearing what God says. We can’t do what God says until we know what God says, and that begins with listening to God.
During the month, we’ll memorize a great verse that reminds us about the importance of making a commitment to practice our faith. 1 Timothy 4:8a says: “Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way.” When we commit to practicing our faith and follow through on our plan, we’ll grow in such a way that will impact our entire lives.
Remember, as we unpack these four faith skills, not only this month but every week in Sunday school and at home, we’re giving kids an opportunity to develop these skills over time so when they grow older, they will understand what it means to be the church, and understand how to work, live, and move in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
We can’t wait to see what God will do in the lives of kids and families this month as we commit to practice our faith and grow in our relationship with God.*
For our preschoolers…..
As we enter into the year 2015, it’s a time when many of us evaluate where we are and where we want to go. What do we really need to do this year? Where do we need to go? Whom do we need in our lives? I know Someone we ALL need. We all need Jesus. I need Jesus. You need Jesus. Even our little preschool friends need Jesus. And, that’s what we’re sharing with them this month.
Each week, our preschool friends will hear a story of someone who really needed Jesus— like in a very big way. The blind man needed Jesus to help him see for the very first time. (Oh, how preschoolers love the mud aspect of this story.) The lame man needed Jesus to heal him so he could get up and walk. Not to mention that he needed his four friends to get him to Jesus.
The deaf man needed Jesus to help him hear and talk. Can you imagine suddenly being able to hear and speak clearly having never done so before? How awesome!! The ten lepers needed Jesus to heal them, and He did. My favorite part of that story is the one guy who comes back to say ”thank you.” We made sure to include that part in the activities as we want our preschoolers to say “thank you” too.
All these men really needed Jesus to do some pretty big things. And, sometimes preschoolers need Jesus for some pretty big things, at least they’re big to them. What we want our preschoolers to know is that we all need Jesus, and He is there with us each and every day to love us and to help us. What an amazing Savior He is.
Jumping Jehoshaphat, you read the whole thing – THANKS!
Here are your lessons for the week:
By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.