Losing Ourselves In The Service Of Others
The teachings of Jesus can be summed up in the phrase “love God, love people”…in that order. It’s important to understand that because our relationship with God affects how we treat the people around us. In today’s passage, Jesus teaches about loving God, loving others, and who our neighbor is.
If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet. The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbe7OruLk8I
- 10,000 Reasons… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E
- Revelation Song… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-zk-E55dRk
- VBS 2017 song(s) from CD
GLASSES OBJECT LESSON
- Roll a piece of paper starting at the corner. Form a funnel with a dime sized hole in the end. Cut off the tops so that the wider opening is all the same length. Tape paper so that the funnel will stay wrapped. Make enough so that each child has two.
- Have them hold their funnels up to their eyes. These are their new glasses.
- Give them an exact course to follow. It won’t be easy to see through such a small hole. They can only see what is directly in front of them. Make the course obstacle free and in a straight line. Tell them to walk slow and be careful.
- When they arrive at their destination, everyone will be pleased with their ability to easily perform the task. Have them remove their “glasses” and turn back to look at the path they had just followed. Was there anything they missed seeing along their path?
- Without knowing, did they pass another family member who might have needed their help?
- Did they pass unfolded clothes or unwashed dishes? (mom may have needed their help today!)
- Ask, “Why weren’t these things noticed?” “Were you totally focused on your own path/needs/course?”
- Explain: these glasses represent living our lives focused only on ourselves and what we need to get done. While many of the things we do in life are very important, sometimes we only see our needs, and are blinded to all of the needs and ways we can be helping others. Simply opening a door for someone, or stopping to help someone will only take a little time, but can make a BIG difference.
Read Luke 10:25-37
- Children may need help locating the book of Luke in their Bible
- Say, “The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Luke is one of the 4 Gospels found in the New Testament.”
- What is a “parable?” A simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
- Why did Jesus teach using parables? It’s important to explain why Jesus taught his disciples using parables. Ask your child, “Do you like stories?” Jesus knew we all like stories and that it’s easier to remember and understand his truths if taught in the form of a story. In Matthew 13: 10-17 (following Jesus speaking to the large crowds in parables), the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He went on to explain “why” to them.
After reading the Luke passage talk about the first 2 people passing and how they were wearing their “Selfish Glasses.” Perhaps they were “too busy” or had something they had to hurry and get to. Again, there is little purpose in all of the things we accomplish, unless we are willing to serve others along the way. Talk about how the Good Samaritan did more than just what was necessary by leaving money for the man to be cared for and then asking them to let him know if it cost more than what he gave. He wanted to come back through town and give them more to care for this man.
Think about and share with your family a time where you had the opportunity to serve others.
Was it convenient? Was there a time or money cost? Was it easy? How did you feel afterwards?
- Prayer Pot or Pail
Using craft sticks, slips of paper, etc. let each family member write down or suggest people or things your family can pray for (ie: Grandma, Mr. Jones down the street, The Lost) Put these in a pot or pail. Family members can select one and pray for whoever or whatever is listed. Use these prayer concerns throughout the week and allow children to add new names or concerns.
Questions to ask: “In addition to praying for _________, how can we bless and help them?”
- Prayer Cards
Using index cards, write down ways our family can show compassion to others or people near and around us. If you have recent Christmas cards from family and friends, pick one each day and pray for this family God has placed in your life. When praying together, we also begin relating to God together.
God Sightings are those little moments along the way when God shows up in the circumstances of life. When we begin to recognize these teachable moments, they become opportunities for us to reveal the ways of God to our children and family. Below are examples of daily occurrences, similar to The Parable of the Good Samaritan, your family may encounter.
- A homeless person holding a sign: Sometimes the homeless are referred to as “hobos” and our judgment as to why someone might find themselves in this predicament is verbalized to our children. Showing compassion is loving others the way God loves us.
- Ask your child, “How might we help people and lessen the need for someone to stand on the side of the street?” Talk about local organizations set up to aid people in need. Discuss how your family and/or your church can help.
- Let’s pray for them right now. We don’t know ALL that’s going on in their life, but God does.
- Passing Ambulance: Pray for the person and family needing these services. Thank God for the EMTs for being an extension of God’s love in our community. How can we be an extension of God’s love in the community?
- Funeral Procession: Talk about and pray for the family and friends who are celebrating the life of this loved one. “What are ways we can extend God’s love to people we know who are experiencing the loss of a loved one?”
- Create Random Acts of Kindness Cards: Sample attached
As we begin being intentional about serving others, we also begin establishing patterns that display the priorities in our family.
- Go to Pinterest and search “Crafts about Good Samaritan.” There are MANY to choose from.
Am I A Good Friend?
If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop, tablet, or smart phone! The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.
- What A Beautiful Name It Is… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5L6QlAH3L4
- Good, Good Father… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_m5ZWchiZo
- Holy Spirit… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zARVp3420I
- Families with children may consider playing a VBS song or two
In the books and movies, The Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins is charged with the responsibility of destroying the last remaining ring sought by the evil king in order to conquer Middle-earth. Although this is his task to complete, Frodo is not alone in his journey. A courageous and committed friend, Sam, is by his side through each challenge. At the end of the series, Frodo says, “I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”
A friend is defined as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” This is someone with whom you have experienced victories, disappointments, boredom, and adventure. Someone that you enjoy spending time with and that shares similar interests with you. A friend is different than an acquaintance, who is described as “a person who one knows but who is not a particularly close friend.” These are the people that you work with or go to school with. You may enjoy talking to them but don’t really spend much time with them.
Ask: Who are your friends?
Five Finger Friendship Challenge: Have each person trace their hand on a piece of paper. On each finger of your drawing write a way you can be a good friend. For example: be kind, show gratitude, give a gift, do a chore for them, share, etc.
In 1 Samuel 18, we are introduced to a very extraordinary friendship. Jonathan was the son of King Saul and would have been crowned king himself after his father died. David was selected by God to be the next king and had been anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel. This unlikely duo became very close friends that cared deeply for one another. In fact, when King Saul had become angry and jealous of David, it was Jonathan who stood up to his father, protected David, and warned him of his father’s plans to hurt David.
Read 1 Samuel 18:1-5; 19:1-7, 20:1-42
- Being a good friend…
- Requires self-sacrifice
- Jonathan’s friendship with David was at the cost of his own career
- Friendship is not about what they can do for you
- Requires loyalty
- Jonathan openly defended and protected David from his father
- Requires self-sacrifice
- Requires commitment
- David and Jonathan took steps to keep their families from being rivals
Ask: How do you treat your friends? Do you encourage them with words? Are you kind to them even if they do something that upsets you?
What can you do this week to be better friends with the people that live around you?
(Parents, help your child think through a task to complete).
A wise man once said, “To have friends, you have to be a friend.”
Families With Teenagers
Use the passages to help your teen understand that our friends influence us. In the same way, we influence our friends. Engage your teen in discussion about their friends and how they see these two ideas in their friendships. (Hint: parents, consider allowing teens to use generic terms rather than a friend’s name…especially if it isn’t the most positive friendship on the planet.)
Families With Children
Use the passages to help your child understand that our friends are a gift from God. We must be kind to them, pray for them, defend them, and seek ways to care for them.
Dear God, I pray for my friend ___________. Thank you for giving me a good friend. Please help me be a good friend. In Jesus’ name, amen.
*For older children, teenagers, or adults encourage each to pray on their own using their own language. It’s important for each person to learn to verbalize their faith.
Want further study on this topic?
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.
Mark 2:1-12 is the story of four men lowering their paralytic friend through the roof of a house to be healed.
Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.
John 15:13 Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Giving Christmas Away
Share these strange Christmas traditions from around the world. http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/12/24/35-weirdest-christmas-traditions-around-world.html
1. South Africa– Locals eat deep-fried caterpillars. EEWW!
2. Venezuela – Many residents in Caracas go to Christmas worship service on roller skates.
3. Germany – Germans hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first child to find it on Christmas morning wins a prize.
As a family, discuss what Christmas traditions you currently observe or something you grew up doing.
1. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
2. Do you go around the room and have each person share one thing they love about their family prior to opening gifts?
3. Do you attend the annual Christmas Eve service at FBCH with your family (Sunday, December 24 at 5:00PM).
*Youth and Adult Alternate Idea—Write Christmas Time on a piece of paper. Give three minutes to see how many words people can come up with using only the letters from Christmas Time. Splitting into teams is a good idea if you have enough people. For fun, offer a simple prize to the winner.
*Children Coloring Option— You may discuss traditions while your children color the nativity scene. Pick up a printed copy at the welcome centers or download your own http://www.biblewise.com/kids/fun/coloring/creating-christmas-nativity.php
Christmas time is filled with opportunities to create special memories for your family. One Christmas tradition that most families celebrate is the tradition of gift-giving. Giving gifts has a biblical connection. In the Christmas story (Lk. 2 & Mt. 2) the wise men brought gifts. The shepherds gave praise. Everyone in the Christmas story showed their love for the new-born Christ.
Read I John 3:16-17. What does verse 16 teach us about how we know what genuine love looks like? What does this passage teach us about loving and caring for others? Verse 17 teaches us two very important principles to remember year-round and particularly at Christmas.
First, we should seek to see people the way God sees them. God loves everyone and so should we. Every person has sinned and needs a savior (Jesus). Do you know anyone that may not know about Jesus? Would you be willing to share Jesus with them and invite them to church? Better yet, could you include them in your Christmas tradition? Second, the Bible teaches us to do something about the needs we see around us. As a matter of fact, the bible says, if we see the need and do nothing, the love of God is not in us. Wow. Let me say that with emphasis and backwards, WOW. This Christmas, let’s DO something to give Christmas away!!
So how does this impact the way we celebrate Christmas? Let me give you three ideas.
1. Take time to identify the needy people around you.
2. Choose to give Christmas away. Instead of focusing on the gifts you will receive, turn your attention to the joy of giving to others. Like Jesus, you will find greater joy in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35).
3. Make Jesus the main point, the big idea, the focus of your holiday season. You will find that God always honors faithfulness and selflessness.
Further Scripture Reading
Luke 2:1-20 & Mt. 2:1-12 The Christmas story
Matthew 1:18-25 The birth of Jesus
Is. 9:6-7 & 11:1; Is. 40:1-11; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9 OT prophecies of Jesus coming
Song: Matthew West and Amy Grant “Give This Christmas Away”
Video: Thailand https://vimeo.com/80841542
Ways to “Give Christmas Away” based on our Acts 1:8 missions strategy.
1. Jerusalem — make cards & cookies for neighbors including the story of Jesus’ birth.
2. Judea — go shopping and give to the local food pantry using a shopping list instead of a Christmas list. You can send cards, gift certificate, or gift basket to church planters.
Renew Church Refuge Church
c/o Checkerz Williams c/o Justin Haynes
106 Idaho Court 1131 Piety Street
Laplace, LA 70068 New Orleans, LA 71171
3. Samaria — Make blankets or clothes, make a donation to buy medicine for the Mexican Indian Training Center (MITC) medical team, or make a donation to help someone go to MITC.
4. Ends of the Earth — look through the Baptist Global Response gift catalog PastorGevan gave out Sunday morning for ways your family can give or check out thislink, https://gobgr.org/donate/giftcatalog. You can give towards purchasing water filters for East Asia or make a donation to help people go to Kenya by giving online at http://fbchaughton.org/about/tithes-e-giving/. You can also sponsor an orphan from Compel Outreach International http://www.compeloutreach.org/orphans.html.
God’s Plan for Women (and everyone else)
The tradition of celebrating Mother’s Day has been around for quite some time. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially marked the 2nd Sunday of May as a national holiday. Even before our “modern” way to celebrate, God has desired us to understand His plan for women, and the responsibility of being motherly, whether we have given birth to a child, adopted a child, or never had children. Becoming “motherly” is from God and honoring these special women in our lives glorifies Him.
Read: Titus 2:3-5, Proverbs 22:6
Ask: What is the difference in motherhood and being motherly?
- Webster’s Dictionary defines Motherhood as a noun meaning, “the state of being a mother” and Motherly as an adjective meaning, “of, resembling, or characteristic of a mother, especially in being caring, protective, and kind.”
- Many women honor God by offering motherly love and guidance to others, not in their biological family.
Is there someone in your life who has offered godly advice, wisdom, and love? Children, give an example of why you love your mother?
What do the above scriptures say about motherhood?
- Our society educates for every career with some form of training, but many times women enter adulthood, marriage, and/or parenting head first. God doesn’t leave us hanging. He tells us in Titus, and we learn by example, how to be reverent and to live a respectful lifestyle honoring Him.
- In Proverbs, we are reminded the impressions and teachings taught in early years remain with children. But our children still choose whether or not to be faithful in these teachings.
What are some lessons we learn from women in the Bible?
- Eve: Eve was the first woman created. She didn’t have a mother or anyone who could model what a godly woman should look like. She is unfortunately remembered as the woman who was tricked by Satan. We can learn from Eve’s life that Satan will always be scheming against us, our families, and the people around us. He will try by creating doubt in our minds concerning God’s Word. (Genesis 3:1-3)
- Sarah: Sarah can be thought of as the “Mother of Nations,” and received this extraordinary honor from God. Unfortunately, Sarah’s impatience led to conflict. We learn from Sarah that God’s promises always come true AND his timing is always best. (Genesis 16 & 21:1-7)
- Hannah: Hannah was a beautiful example of a woman who believed in the power of prayer. She prayed earnestly for a child, and God honored that prayer with a son. We can learn from Hannah’s life there is power in prayer. Her drive to pray came in the face of criticism, but she modeled the importance of giving every last shred of her emotions, thoughts, and will to the Lord. She left them at the feet of Jesus and modeled giving God glory as being more important than the desires of her heart. (1 Samuel 1:8-28)
- Mary: We surely can learn from Mary, the mother of Jesus! She was given the responsibility to raise a baby whose destiny was to die and be resurrected for the sins of the world. We learn from Mary that being a parent, or investing deeply in the life of someone, can come with pain. Just as God was with Mary, he will be with each of us during the most painful moments of life. She taught us how to model God’s goodness in the face of pain and sorrow. (Matthew 1:20-21)
- Jochebed, mother of Moses: She put her infant son in a waterproof basket and set it adrift on the Nile River when the Egyptians began killing the male babies of Hebrew slaves. Her name is first mentioned in Exodus 6:20 where the family line of Moses and Aaron is recorded. God arranged for Jochebed to be a part of her baby’s life on a day to day basis. She surrendered what she treasured most to the will of God. We learn from her that the heartbreak of giving up her child was balanced by God’s favor when she chose to make every effort for her child not to be killed. She also teaches us that the heartbreak of dreams not being fulfilled is bearable because God gives us himself, the most desirable dream we can imagine. (Exodus 2)
For Women: How can your life become a godly influence for others around you? Each stage of life offers us opportunities to reach out to younger women leading and guiding them in a way that benefits the kingdom of God. If there are women who have been instrumental in your life, tell or show them in upcoming days.
For Men: As a husband, father, son, or friend, what are ways you can show appreciation to the women God has placed in your life? How can you honor them, and model love and respect towards them?
For Children/Teenagers: How can you honor your mom, grandmother, and other women on this special day?
- Make a video telling them why you love them, what is special about them, or why you are thankful God placed them in your life.
- Make a card she will enjoy receiving, even if it’s next week.
**Many of our moms or special women in our lives have passed away. Honor and remember them by doing something you enjoyed together and pray thanking God for their influence in your life.
As your family prays, be reminded there are many more examples of women in the Bible who left their mark on history. These ladies were examples of both positive and negative influence and, in many cases, didn’t model “How we should live,” but God used their life to show us “How not to live.” Whether you are a mom, a young girl, a teenager; whether you have children, hope to have children or exhibit “motherly” love to others, you are important to God.
For all of us, the Bible teaches that it is vital to be people of faith and model what it looks like to love and serve God. We should strive to point people towards Christ by praying for them, modeling faith and character, and training them in wisdom.
Freedom Isn't Free
Memorial Day is about more than grilling, boating, and partying. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and began in 1868, three days after the Civil War ended. It was intended to be a day to decorate the graves of our fallen soldiers with flowers and flags. The goal, to celebrate and remember what our honored soldiers had died to defend.
Sadly, many Americans take the freedom we enjoy for granted as if this liberty were cheap. Take time to talk amongst your family about any family members that served in the armed forces. Did any of these lose their life defending our freedom? How does that make you feel?
Find the words in the word search below. Parents talk with your child about what the words mean.
Consider purchasing small flags and decorate your house, business, yard, or driveway as you remember those who died for our freedom.
Listen to one or both of these songs. Consider the price that many have paid for our freedom.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65KZIqay4E Proud to Be An American by Lee Greenwood.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-VfFTVu-6E Freedom Hymn by Austin French.
The idea of remembering what others have done for us is not new to Christians. God reminded us several times in scripture to “not forget” the scriptural principles He gave us in the Bible. Read these aloud:
Remember this, keep it in mind. take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:8-9
11“Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ Deuteronomy 8:11-17
What does the author warn us to “not do” in verse 11?
What does verse 16 say that God will do if we will stay faithful and remember God during tough times?
Spend a few minutes talking about what God has done for you. Then, pray and thank God for your freedom as a Christian and as an American.
Guide your family to complete one or more of these activities.
- Take flowers to the grave of a fallen soldier. If you cannot find a grave, consider bringing the flowers to the surviving spouse of a fallen soldier.
- Write a poem about the meaning of Memorial Day. Share it with family, your life group, and/or a church staff person.
- Make a patriotic fruit pizza/dessert. Google for directions. Invite friends over and AFTER you have explained the meaning of Memorial Day, eat.
- Visit a local cemetery or Memorial. Talk about what the soldiers sacrificed and how that makes you feel. Pray to conclude your time.
–Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, 7970 Mike Clark Rd. Keithville, LA
–Battle of Mansfield Memorial (Civil War) 15149 Highway 175 Mansfield, LA –Freedom Park/Veteran’s Park on Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, LA.
-Visit with veterans at the Veterans Nursing home. Everybody has a story.
Family Worship – Father’s Day
If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet. The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.
• Good, Good Father https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ak0OoFBw3c
• How He Loves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzfPHnoT0-0
In 1909, a Spokane, Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.
When God established the family he charged Dads with the responsibility to lead, provide, and care for the family. In fact, lots of research statistics (both positive and negative) highlight the importance of the father in the family. Dads are important!
Read Genesis 6:5-10; Titus 2:6-7
Compared to the culture around him, Noah’s life stood out. What an example! In verses 9 and 10 we discover that Noah had three sons. In only a few verses later, God asks Noah to take on a big task…one that would not be easy.
Ask: What is the big task that God asked Noah to complete? What are some things that would make this difficult?
In the story of Noah’s Ark (Genesis chapters 6-8), notice 4 ways that Noah led his family:
1. He prioritized his relationship with God (6:9) – “Noah walked with God.”
2. He listened carefully to God’s instructions (6:13-7:5) – “He did everything that God had commanded him.”
3. He led his family to obey God (7:13) – “Noah along with his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah’s wife, and his three sons’ wives entered the ark with him.”
In Titus 2, Paul instructs men to be an example of integrity and hard work. It is important for adult men to teach young men to honor God, work hard, and lead well.
Is there someone in your life who has provided godly leadership and encouragement during difficult times?
Men: How can you model Noah’s example of godly leadership in your family? Did your father (or another adult man) lead you in this way? Have you told him how thankful you are for that?
Women: How can you honor your husband today? Have you thanked him for his leadership in your family?
Children: What is a creative way for you to honor your Dad today?
• Make a video telling him why you love him and why he is special to you.
• Write 2-3 notes and put them in places he will find them over the next few days (examples: in his sock drawer, next to his coffee cup, etc.).
**Many of our Dads or men who have influenced our lives have passed away. Take time to remember their leadership in your life. Maybe write down a few of the things they taught you and thank God for what they mean to your life.
• As you pray and thank God for your father, ask God to give him strength and courage to lead in a godly way.
• Thank God for being the Ultimate Father and for the tremendous blessings He gives to us.
Family Worship – Labor Day
If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet. The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.
- Reckless Love – Cory Asbury…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE
- You Say – Lauren Daigle…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8WK9HmF53w
- Known – Tauren Wells…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xckDgX8xNfg
- Do it again – Elevation Worship…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_lnQIITxU
Begin by watching the video on YouTube called –“Stephen Curry – Success Is Not an Accident (Original)” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxsdiusm1NQ
After watching the video ask these questions:
- What allowed Stephen Curry to become the best shooter today?
Answer: Hard Work!
For families with children:
- What did this hard work look like for Stephen?
Answer: He practiced before practice. He practiced afterwards until he got 5 free throws in a row. Practice, practice, practice!
- In our spiritual lives what are some things we could work on to become a better Christian?
Answer: Read the Bible more; pray for others not just what we want; look for ways to serve others.
- Are we able to work hard enough to get ourselves into Heaven when we die?
For families with children:
- While we can work hard and practice for basketball, football, or a closer relationship with Christ, there is one thing we can’t practice enough or word hard enough for. What is this?
Read Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Say something like this: In almost every area of our lives, hard work pays off. If we work harder at school, that sport we love, our job, or even our marriages we will often see the results from our labor. Thankfully, salvation is not this way with God. As we see in this Scripture, God gives us the free gift of eternal life, not based off of anything we have done.
Ask: Why do you think God has made salvation this way?
Answer: God makes it clear that salvation is a free gift, because if it were something that we could earn we would turn all of our attention on how great we are (boasting). However because we need God for salvation, that then draws our attention to the one who rightly deserves of our praise and admiration. Jesus!
Optional Object Lesson:
- Salvation object lesson using money – https://www.creativebiblestudy.com/object-lesson-salvation.html
- Ephesians 2:8-9 word search – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/514606694901471941
- Ephesians 2:8-9 color sheet – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/23643966766423763
Read John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
So, we see that the only way we can receive salvation is through Jesus. So then, what is our responsibility as a Christian? What should we “work on”?
Read Matthew 22:37
“Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
So, as we live our lives every day for the Lord, our focus should be on loving the Lord with all of our heart and loving others as ourselves. If we do that everything else will fall into place.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for today and all the many blessing you have given to us. We come to you in prayer thanking you for Jesus. It is only through Him that we are able to spend eternity with you. We also ask that you would help us see the different areas in our lives that we can show more love to you and others around us. Help us to not waste time on things that have no eternal perspective and focus on things that brings you Glory. Thank you for everything you have done for us and we pray that everything we do brings honor and glory to your Son’s name. In Jesus name we pray, amen.”
*All Scripture references are from the New King James Version
Thanksgiving Pause 2018
Thanksgiving Pause 2018
A story is told of an older man off the coast of Florida who threw shrimp into the water to feed the seagulls. Physically, he was just a slightly hunched over shell of the man he had been 50 years prior. He could be seen slowly walking the beach with a gentle smile on his face while feeding his birds. People often wondered why he would spend hundreds of dollars on seagulls.
This frail man was a legendary WWII pilot. In 1942 he survived a plane crash in the ocean for 30 days. He fought thirst, sharks and the sun. But starvation is what nearly killed him. He wrote about how he and his men had a devotion each day and prayed, trusting God. One day he leaned back, put his hat on his head and began to sleep. A seagull landed on his head. There was no reason for a seagull to be there hundreds of miles out to sea. He seized the opportunity to take the seagull and use it as bait to fish for food until he was rescued. The old man, Eddie Rickenbacker, is also known as the “The Red Baron”. He never forgot about the seagulls and how God provided so he could live. He spent his remaining days feeding seagulls to say, thank you!
Thanksgiving Activity and Family Talk
- Read aloud Philippians 4:6-7 and Psalm 9:1.
- Parents spend a few minutes talking about a favorite family memory. Guide your family to do the same. Give each family member an opportunity to share a favorite family memory: holiday tradition like opening presents or singing songs, vacation mishap destination, outdoor adventure, a family moment like a sibling being born or learning to ride a bike, sporting event experience, circumstances surrounding their salvation decision, etc.
*Idea: Grab a bag of caramel M&Ms and tell family members to take as many M&Ms as they would like in exchange for sharing a favorite family memory, something they are thankful for, they must share something for each M&M they eat. The caramel M&Ms are simply delish! I am convinced Jesus will include these in our welcome bag at the entrance into heaven.
Popcorn Prayers of Thankfulness
Lead each person in the family to speak one word or small phrase of something or someone they are thankful for. Choose one person to open and when it seems all are finished, have one person to close the prayer time.
I am thankful for….
Person #1- Jesus’ love
Person #2- Family
Person #3- My friends _____, _____, _____
Person #4- Caramel M&Ms (You get the idea!?!?)
If you have a good story to tell, please email Pastor Scott. We would love to hear how you spent your family devotion times.
Hope ~ Love ~ Joy ~ Peace - Christmas 2018
Depending on your family’s preference, below are a few songs to choose from:
- Christmas Dance – Go Fish Guys! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXPkFKpR2Ao
- It’s About the Cross – Go Fish Guys! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tNyKzIABfk
*better for families with young children
- Away in a Manger – Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Guq-iP5jcf0
- Silent Night – Choir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEH7_2c644Q
- Joy to the World – Cedarmont Kids https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjinc8ctg5c
The excitement and anticipation of Christmas celebrations seem to begin earlier each year. Today, December 23, the wonder and excitement are visible on the faces of children and adults alike. Christmas is here! The busyness of shopping, decorating, cooking and visiting family is a part of the things we must do at Christmas but tonight let’s stop and continue preparing our hearts for this season.
- Hope of God’s Promised One:
Read ~ 1 Peter 1:13 “Be sober-minded and set your HOPE completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Sometimes we confuse the words “wish” and “hope.” When trying to explain what hope means, it does sound a lot like a wish. Webster Dictionary defines hope as, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” In reality, hope is an expectation of something you know could happen, while a wish is more like a desire for something that might not be as doable (ie: When we study for a test, we HOPE to make a good grade. When we don’t study for a test, we WISH for a good grade.) The people in the Bible were hoping for the Savior. They believed what God said, and they were anxiously awaiting His arrival because God had promised it. The HOPE of Christmas is celebrating His first arrival as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes while waiting for Him to come again.
Questions: What is a hope you have this Christmas? What is something you might wish for, even if you think it will never happen?
- Love for the World
Read ~ John 3:16 “For God loved the world in this way; He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal Life.”
Love in this verse refers to sacrificial love, meaning God gave up the most important person in His life – His Son, Jesus. In addition to proving His love for us, it was the way for people to be forgiven of sin and reunited with God. God has written about His love for us in the Bible over and over. Because of this incredible love, His greatest gift to us is Jesus.
Questions: What is a way you like to show love to others? What is a favorite way you have been shown love?
- Joy, Joy, Joy
Read ~ Luke 2:10-11 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great JOY that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Joy can be a difficult word to understand. If we lose $20, we are sad. If we later find that $20, we are happy. Joy is more than the temporary feeling of being happy. It is not an emotion that comes and goes. Joy comes from within and we can have joy even when we are sad. The news of Jesus’ arrival was one of JOY! Even though Jesus was born in less than majestic surroundings, Mary and Joseph were joyful in his birth. Even in his death on the cross, they could have JOY because they knew he was God’s son.
Question: What makes you scared or afraid? What brings you joy?
Read ~ Psalm 4:8 I will both lie down and sleep in PEACE, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
“Peace on earth” is a familiar phrase, especially at Christmastime. It’s in Christmas songs, on Christmas cards, and printed on decorations. Peace usually refers to quiet surroundings and no one fighting or arguing. We can experience the peace of Christmas and all year long, because of Jesus. He promises to protect our hearts and minds from evil in this world.
Discussion: Share about a time you felt afraid and needed peace.
It’s Christmas! The day we’ve been waiting for is almost here. Your family and friends may already be gathering to celebrate. In the 2000+ Decembers since Jesus was born, many things have changed in our world and in each of our lives. It has in my family. Just 1 December ago, LOVE was evident as our family spent December 20-December 29 planning and preparing for my dad’s funeral. HOPE, JOY, and PEACE were also present. Not because of the love we had for each other, but because of the LOVE Jesus has for us. Only because of Jesus can we have HOPE, LOVE, PEACE, and JOY in the most difficult of circumstances. Before there were any silver bells ringing, twinkling lights on a tree, food to be prepared or gifts to be wrapped, God sent down from heaven the greatest gift of all: Love wrapped in swaddling clothes and hope nestled in a manger. He sent Jesus! Merry Christmas from our grateful family to yours!
~ Teresa Small/Minister to Children ~
*All Scripture references are from the Christian Standard Bible Version
*Some references and thoughts are from “The Way to the Manger,” written by Jeff and Abbey Land
Happy New Year - 2019
If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet. The following songs are some that we sing at FBCH and can be found (with words) on YouTube.
- When I Think About The Lord… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr0cBlKM7FM
- Holy Spirit… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zEiiZi2DKk
- Reckless Love… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE
- How He Loves Us… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzfPHnoT0-0
The word “new” always seems to bring excitement with it! I remember, as a child, when my parents would buy a new Matchbox car to add to my collection. Think back to that first new (or new-to-you) car…you wanted to show it off to everyone. Just this week we’ve spent time ripping into boxes filled with new things that loved ones chose as gifts for us. New things are a lot of fun!
- What are some reasons new things are so much fun?
- Everyone share a favorite gift you received this Christmas.
When you think about turning the calendar to January, have you ever thought about a new year in the same way we think about a new item? A new year holds tremendous potential for excitement, happiness, and fresh experiences.
- What is your favorite memory from 2018?
- What is one thing you are looking forward to in 2019?
Read Jeremiah 29:11
Do not be mistaken, this verse does not promise an increase in financial wealth or even that we will add more “stuff” to our collection. Although one or both of those may happen, God’s “plans to prosper you” are that you would find your joy in a relationship with Jesus Christ and experience Him working in and through your life. Let that sink in for a moment…the God of the universe wants to use your life to spread the truth of His Son and be a blessing to others! Hopefully, that causes your heart rate to increase a bit with excitement and brings a new meaning to the phrase “Happy New Year!”.
“Plans for a hope and a future” should bring a sense of security knowing that God has thought through our tomorrows and has already made arrangements to care for us. Knowing this, maybe 2019 will be a great opportunity for your family to consider how to be a blessing to others.
Read Romans 10:14-15
Spend several minutes thinking through the following questions. Consider listing thoughts from family members to help develop a plan for 2019.
- Because God has blessed me so greatly, how can I be a blessing to my family?
- Our church is connected with several ministries in the Shreveport/Bossier area. Might there be a day or two this year that I might volunteer some time to serve with one of them?
- Our church has partnered with churches and ministries within the continental US and internationally. Would I (or my family) be willing to sacrifice some things (i.e. a night out at a restaurant each month, or maybe even a vacation) so that one or more of our family might be able to participate in a church-sponsored trip?
When everyone has had the opportunity to share thoughts, pray and ask God to give you clear thoughts related to this conversation. Thank Him for blessing you and for the plan, He has for your life.
Happy New Year! We are excited about all God has in store for 2019.
Spring Break 2019
If your family enjoys singing, fire up a laptop or tablet. The following are a few songs that your family may know and can sing together with words on the screen!
- What a Beautiful Name… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5L6QlAH3L4
- Do It Again… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_lnQIITxU
- Reckless Love… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE
- Known… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xckDgX8xNfg
Don’t you love spring cleaning? When I was younger, I remember my mom opening up my bedroom door on a Saturday morning and she would come in with the vacuum cleaner on full blast! She would hit the side of my bed and say “Get up, get up, the sun is up!” As soon as I recovered from my near heart attack, she would give me my list of things I had to do to help clean the house for our spring cleaning. This was always the time of year where we would go through the whole house and not clean like normal but do a deep cleaning. We would clean the stuff that might normally get looked over. We would finally get the house back to being squeaky clean.
In our own life, we might be in the need for a spring cleaning. Too often we get into a rut and don’t allow the Holy Spirit to do the deep cleaning that may be necessary for our lives. Psalms 51:10-12 says…
10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
(New King James Version)
We read this passage as it was written by David just after he had sinned with Bathsheba. David understood that he needed God to clean up his heart. He came to God because no matter how much David did to clean his own heart, it would never be fully clean.
From time to time we all need to humbly come back to God and ask him to forgive us for where we have failed him. For those of us who have accepted Jesus as our savior, we need to come to God in what is called repentance, which means to completely turn away from how we have been living and move towards Christ. For those of us who have never accepted Christ, we need to understand that we have stains on our life that we can never clean, and the only way we will be made clean is through Jesus. Isaiah 1:18 says…
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
(New King James Version)
The only way our sins will be made “white as snow” is when we fully surrender to Jesus. As we spend time together over this spring break, let’s make sure we are not only cleaning our house but also allowing Jesus to clean our hearts.
1. If God already is fully aware of our sin, why do you think we still have trouble honestly confessing it?
2. Do you struggle to believe that God can fully and completely forgive your sin and remove your guilt? Why?
3. What are the benefits of repenting to God about our sins?
Additional ideas for Preschool and Children:
Before starting the devotional, have the children dust a few items or wipe off something to help them get the idea of cleaning in their mind. This could help for an easier transition to a topic that may be difficult for some to fully understand.
Also here is a great video to help them understand the concept of being made “white as snow” and Jesus taking out sin.
Mother's Day 2019
Mother’s Day is a holiday set aside throughout the world to honor motherhood. Did you know that celebrations of mothers can be traced back as far as the ancient Greeks and Romans? The clearest most modern example for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” The American version of this special day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and established as a U.S. holiday in 1914 by Woodrow Wilson (history.com). How many of these “did you know” statements can you guess correctly?
True or False
- Mother’s Day is on the same day every year. (False)
- More calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year.
(True, 122 million+)
- Mother’s Day is the third highest selling holiday for flowers/plants after Christmas and Hannukah. (True)
- Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. (True)
- The name “Mom” comes from the ancient Greeks. (False, it actually comes from babies because typically ‘ma’ is one of the first sounds they can make. That is why nearly every language uses a word for mother that begins with ‘M’ or ‘Ma’.
- You Say, Lauren Daigle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZvKJl1kK8g&list=RDoZvKJl1kK8g&start_radio=1
- Who you say I am, Hillsong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcC1Bp13n_4
- Reckless Love, Cory Asbury, and Francesca Battistelli) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQqBfaqK99Q
Mothers are also important to God. He created the family and gave mothers a unique place in that unit. Moms love, give selflessly, cook, clean, wash clothes, protect, and care for injuries. Many of our Moms work, manage the home, raise children, and more. The scriptures speak of this type of person.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Family members, take a moment to finish this statement while showing appreciation for your Mom: “Mom, what I love about you is________________.” Take turns so that every person in the family gets an opportunity to share.
Consider closing your time together by reading these scriptures and praying them over Mom.
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31: 25-30
“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” I John 3:18
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9
- Celebrate all week! Find something to celebrate about Mom each day for the next 6 days. Ideas: cook her breakfast, encouraging thank-you notes in her car or on the bathroom mirror, consider taking over what she does around the house on a daily basis, bring flowers, do family devotion together, purchase a book by her favorite author and provide “me” time for her to enjoy reading, etc.
- Consider having each member of your family pray a verse over Mom. See verses above.
Consider and easy-peasy art project with Mom, https://www.easypeasyandfun.com/mothers-day-crafts-for-kids/. Need a little more detailed project, try this, https://www.personalcreations.com/blog/mothers-day-kids-craft-ideas.
Memorial Day 2019
Family Devotion for Sunday, May 26
Memorial Day is not about picnics and barbecues. It is about showing respect to those who have fought and the many that died for our country. Whether there is support for war or not, we sometimes tend to remember the wars, instead of those who served and those who gave all to ensure freedoms in this country. Freedoms that have been passed on to the next generations. George S. Patton said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
What do you think about when celebrating Memorial Day?
Parents may want to share how their family celebrated when they were young.
Play a memory Game:
Using a deck of cards or one of your child’s memory games, turn the cards face down. The object of the game is to take turns turning over two cards at a time, trying to make a match. (Depending on the age of child participating, you can adjust the number of cards) If the cards match, you get the pair. If they do not match, try to remember what the cards were and flip them back over and the next player takes their turn. Play until all the cards have been matched.
Read Joshua 4 together
The Bible has a lot to say about remembering things that happened and remembering what God has done for us. This is the story of God parting the water of the Jordan river for the Israelites to cross. Not long before that God had parted the Red Sea and allowed Moses to lead the people across on dry land. God did something different this time by telling Joshua to choose 12 large rocks out of the middle of the riverbed and take the rocks with them. He told them 12 rocks to represent the 12 tribes of people that were there. God told Joshua these rocks were to be used to create a memorial to always remind them about God’s love and protection. Every time they would see the stones, they would be reminded of the time God parted the Jordan river for them. These reminder rocks would be a memory of the miracles God performed and the way God provided for them.
- What is a memorial?
A memorial is something, especially a structure, established to remind people of a person or event.
- Why did God want Joshua to carry 12 stones out of the riverbed?
God told Joshua to create a memorial to remind the people of God’s love and protection.
- What did God want the people to remember?
God wanted them to remember the time he parted the Jordan River for them to cross.
- Can you remember something God did for you or your family?
- When was a time God answered your prayer or the prayer of someone you know?
Consider a closing time for family prayer:
There’s no getting around it; freedom costs. Many in the military have given up their freedom so you and I may be given ours. We must remember the cost of freedom and be thankful. Make this Memorial Day memorable in your family by taking the time to pray and thank God for those who gave their life for our freedom and for Jesus, who gave His life for ours.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you, Lord for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedoms we enjoy today. We are reminded of how they stood in the gap for our protection. As we remember the families of our troops, we ask for protection, peace and provision for them and their families.
Thank you for letting us live in a free country filled with opportunities to worship and serve you, our creator. We thank you for the blessing of your love and sacrifice on the cross and for giving us the gift of eternity with you.
Make “Reminder Rocks”:
Supplies needed: rocks, paint or permanent markers
As each family member paints or decorates their rocks, talk about the things God has done for your family. Place the rock in a visible place as a reminder. Stop and take moments to tell Him, “Thank you!”
Father's Day 2019
Father’s Day 2019 – Family Devotion
This is the time of year when we focus on our fathers and all that they do for us. They lead our families, provide for us, fix things that are broken, and sometimes embarrass us! Dads are known for making any moment fun with some awkward dad jokes. Here are a few to get you laughing…
How many apples grow on a tree? All of them.
Want to hear a joke about paper? Never mind it’s tearable.
Dad, can you put my shoes on? No, I don’t think they’ll fit me.
Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.
What’s brown and sticky? A stick.
Fathers do so much for us and it’s great to take time to appreciate them! Today, let’s look at a scripture that talks about what the role of our father should be as well as our role as their child. We will begin in Ephesians 6:1-4.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
This is a pretty familiar passage that the apostle Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. In this section he is talking specifically to the families and what each of their roles should be within the family structure. He writes from two specific perspectives. The child and the Father.
Let’s look at both perspectives a little closer.
The section that is focusing on the child lays out two specific things that children should do for their parents. They should obey and honor them.
What do these words mean? Obey and Honor.
Obey means follow the instructions. Let’s say you have a dot-to-dot puzzle, but you decide you are not going to follow the dots as the author intended. Will the picture turn out right? No, because if we do our own thing, the picture will likely not turn out as good as the author intended. The author has wisdom about how the picture should look that we do not yet understand, so we should obey their instructions.
In the same way we should obey our parents, even if the instructions do not make sense at the time, or we think we may know a better way. Our parents know what is best for us, and we should follow God’s command of obeying and following their instruction.
Honor means to show respect to someone. How can we show respect? Three ways that we can show respect to them is to listen, serve, and be kind. When they ask you to take out the trash or clean up your room, the way to honor them is to listen and do this the first time without complaint. The next time you see the sink full of dishes or a load of clothes that needs to be folded, a great way to honor your parents would be to serve them by doing this without having to be asked. Finally, we all like it when someone goes out of their way to be kind to us, so we should strive to go out of our way to be kind to our parents.
If our desire is to serve God and follow his commandments, these are some simple but necessary things that we should do for our parents.
The other section in this passage is specifically to fathers. It says, “bring them up in training and admonition.” One of the main things that Fathers can do for their families is to be present. In the busy world that we live in, it is so easy to bring work home or focus on our hobbies and neglect the thing that God has instructed us to do, lead. As the leaders of our household we must do all that we can to train our children up in the ways they should go.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The church is here to help partner with parents when it comes to raising their children, but the parents are to be the primary discipler of their home. The church is given, on a good week, 3-4 hours with your child or student. The primary influence in their life is you! God has designed it in such a way that your student will best learn about God through your example and instruction.
So, this Father’s Day make a commitment to those who are celebrating you that you will be more present and aware of the responsibilities that God has entrusted you with. It is one of the greatest jobs we could ever be given.
1. Is there a funny story or memory that you have as a family of your dad doing something embarrassing
What is something you can do to show your parents that you obey and honor them?
In what ways can you be more present at home, and what can you do to help lead your family closer to God.
Labor Day 2019
Labor Day 2019 – Family Devotion
Worship through Music:
Bigger Than I Thought – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9YnFjsc2XY
Come Thou Fount (Above All Else) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svWaaVbOQps
Psalm 34 Taste and See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOzf0VrDNGU
Singing in the Victory – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXH60qrJHus
Singing in the Victory lyrics – https://www.dropbox.com/s/v2gwrnccm2vtd0v/signing%20in%20the%20victory%20Lyrics.png?dl=0
I’m sure most of you know why we celebrate Labor Day, but in case you don’t, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century. In the wake of this massive unrest of laborers. In an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a Federal Holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law.
Basically, workers felt abused, underpaid, over-worked, and under-appreciated. Do you ever feel like some of those things apply to you?
Mom and Dad, do you feel that way as an employee, or as a parent, or even as a spouse?
Teenager, do you feel like you don’t manage your time well? Are you trying to do everything for fear that you might miss out? Or maybe you just feel over-scheduled and overwhelmed.
Children, do you ever feel there are too many activities to go to, too much homework and not enough time to rest an enjoy time with God, family, and friends?
We are often over-working ourselves and the feelings of under-appreciation and being overwhelmed are just reminders that we need to turn to God and rest.
The old Greek saying isn’t too far off: “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”
Read the following verse
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. Mark 6:31(ESV)
How do you think you do when it comes to rest?
Here Jesus invites the disciples to get away and rest. This isn’t the only time we see this in scripture, check out some of the following examples
Look at what God did on the seventh day of creation. Do you remember? Just in case you forgot, read Genesis 2:2 for yourself:
“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Genesis 2:2
Why did God need to rest? He didn’t need to, He chose to. But why? Being God, He doesn’t tire. He rested because He considered His work complete. He also rested to leave us an example to follow… to pattern our lives after. Later in Scripture, He very deliberately included the importance of resting in the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:8-11, which reads:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work… For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. “Exodus 20:8-11
The primary purpose for our rest is to… take sufficient time to rest and relax. Find relief from the stress. To push away from our phones and computers. To leave the responsibilities of work. To give our bodies time to refuel. To allow our minds to be renewed. To let our emotions be refreshed and restored. To take our minds from the work of life and to focus them on the Maker of life.
Here are four searching questions only you can answer:
- Do you take time each week to rest?
- When you rest, do you stop thinking about your other responsibilities?
- Are you strong enough to say no to things that would have you over-committed?
- Have you begun to cultivate hobbies that relieve your stress, free you to be creative, or stir your affections for Jesus?
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. Mark 6:31 (ESV)
A Closing Thought:
Jesus recognized the need for rest in His disciples. He still does! Rest is not an excuse for laziness. It is an essential for effective service.
Father, help us to schedule time for rest. Help us to rest as a family. Forgive us for sometimes taking on too much and, as a consequence, failing to serve You well.
Some Additional verses on rest and labor:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23
Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” John 6:27