The Year of the Recorder
My son is in the 4th grade which means it’s “the year of the recorder”. Not a tape recorder, but that lovely musical instrument that every elementary kid learns to play (I still have mine somewhere). If listening to him practice wasn’t painful enough, I got serenaded by TWO recorder players in the backseat while driving carpool to school this morning. One of them even played it with his nose. The joy of boys. But truthfully, it IS a joyful noise because my kid really struggled with learning how to play it in the beginning (“I don’t like music mom, it’s too hard.” “Yes, son, but you can do hard things.” Lather, rinse, repeat conversation every Wednesday (music elective) morning) but is now happy to play his recorder with his friends because he is feeling more proficient. It has just taken practice. 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.
We’ll wrap up the month with the faith skill Live. We know that most kids love to sing and worship God. But worship isn’t just something we do when we sing at church; worship is really how we honor God with our whole lives—through how we love others and serve them, and how we obey and praise God, or how we make time to rest. “Live”is also about giving of our time, money, and talents.
That’s why we’re looking at the story of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44. There were people giving lots of money, but Jesus knew that the two coins the widow gave meant more because they were everything she had.
Our Bottom Line is: Practice living for God. We hope kids realize they can worship God every day with whatever they’re doing, no matter what they have.
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.
Holy earplugs, Batman, you read the whole thing – THANKS!
Here are your lessons for the week: (we added the 2 year olds, too! )
By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.