Online Sunday School

March 7
Mary Anoints Jesus
(John 12:1-8)

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.  Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?  It was worth a year’s wages.”  He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied.  “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Kids, Let’s talk about the verses we just read:
It was almost time for Passover, and crowds of people were heading to Jerusalem to celebrate
the feast.  On their way to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples stopped in Bethany and visited
again with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  They hosted a dinner for Jesus and his disciples.
Jesus had visited with them before, and in a previous visit, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the
dead.  This visit, Lazarus joined Jesus at the table as an honored guest.  Martha served the meal, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  Mary’s actions during this meal would have been considered scandalous by most people in that day.  It wasn’t a woman’s place to sit at the master’s feet as a disciple, but she was a devoted disciple who wanted to learn from and worship the master.
Mary brought with her a jar full of expensive perfume made from pure nard.  During the meal,
she anointed Jesus’ feet with the perfume and wiped his feet dry with her hair.  Jewish women at that time didn’t let their hair down in public, so her act could have been viewed as extremely improper.  Judas, the disciple who carried the money bag, expressed his view about Mary’s
anointing with perfume as a waste.  The perfume was worth a year’s wages.  He said it should
have been sold and the money given to the poor.  But Jesus defended Mary’s actions.  Mary was
showing great love for her master and gratitude to him for restoring life to her brother.
Anointing his feet showed Mary’s great humility.  Mary probably wasn’t aware that her simple act was a preview of things to come: Jesus humbly washing his disciples’ feet as a servant and Jesus’ death and burial.  Jesus said the perfume was used as an anointing to prepare for his burial. Judas, who had stolen money from the money bag before, revealed a heart in love with self and money, not characteristics of a disciple.  Judas’s actions were a preview of things to come: his betrayal of Jesus.  But Mary’s actions showed her love and respect for Jesus.
Let’s talk some more . . .

In Bible times, most people wore sandals, and the roads they walked on were dusty.  They may have bathed and been clean, but by the end of the day, their feet were very dirty.  Foot washing was one of the first things people did when they entered a house.  A good host provided water for the guests to wash their own feet, or a servant in the house would wash the guests’ feet.
Before Passover, Jesus and his disciples were sharing a meal when Jesus unexpectedly got up
from the meal.  He took off his outer robe and tied a towel around his waist.  Then he poured water into a washbasin and began washing the disciples’ feet.  Jesus’ actions were that of a servant not a master, and the disciples were uncomfortable with the reversal of roles.
When it was Peter’s turn to have his feet washed, he strongly objected.  Peter’s response showed love for his master but not humility.  Jesus was teaching his disciples humility and servanthood by his example.

Jesus had a special way of teaching – a very humble man he was!
Like many other things Jesus taught, the disciples didn’t understand the lesson at the time.
But his words became clear after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Jesus told Peter, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.”  Since Peter’s greatest desire was to be with Jesus, he responded, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!”
Again Peter showed his love for Jesus but with an element of pride and self-will.  Jesus scolded Peter again by saying people who have bathed only need their feet washed. Then Jesus said to
all of the disciples, “If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each
other’s feet. I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do.”
When we choose to follow Jesus, we agree to be a servant to others. Jesus taught us by
example to be humble, servant leaders. Jesus said, “Since you know these things, you will be
happy if you do them.”
Jesus wants all of us to be humble in our ways. To act like he would have and to love one
another as you would love yourself.

Let’s try some an activity below: See ya next week !

February 28
Matthew 5:1-9

Kids,
Today we are going to read Matthew 5:1-9 . . . 
Jesus’ Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

The children of God.
What an awesome scripture!
Jesus preached his most famous sermon to a huge crowd on the side of a mountain. The Sermon on the Mount, as it is often called, is found in Matthew 5–7. Jesus’ sermon began with twelve statements, called Beatitudes, to encourage the crowd and explain how people will live in God’s kingdom. That’s pretty cool, that Jesus knew to explain to the children of God and all the people how they should live in God’s wonderful Kingdom.

Matthew shared several features of this setting.
First, it took place on a mountain. Mountains are important in the Gospel of Matthew, where they are often places of revelation. Second, Jesus sat down to teach the crowd, which was the expected pattern of Jewish instruction in that day. Finally, the makeup of the crowd was important. Jesus taught his disciples, but that also included the people in the crowd who were following him.

Matthew used a standard Jewish literary form for each Beatitude, starting with “Happy are people . . .” or “It will be well with the one who . . .” and ending with “for that one shall receive . . . .” These blessings are for people who are ready for the kingdom of God, who experience well-being and happiness under God’s rule. Being a follower of Jesus and God will make you a a happy person.
When we’re hopeless, grieving, humble, and hungry to do the right thing, God plants happiness
within us. God promises the kingdom to the meek, the poor in spirit, the merciful, and the peacemakers. The peacemakers are called God’s children because they live in peace and bring
harmony to others. The lifestyle Jesus taught in the Beatitudes challenges us in our daily lives to be more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us become more like Jesus.

One of today’s activities include a crossword puzzle for you to print out and complete.
Jesus started his sermon with the Beatitudes. They are statements that tell us how to live like Jesus and how to be happy. The word bank has words from Matthew 5:1-9. Insert the words from the word bank into the puzzle by counting the number of letters and boxes. Unscramble the letters in the highlighted boxes to make the word needed to finish the bonus statement.

Here are some other activities for you to print out and complete.

That’ it for today’s lesson. Have fun with the activities and don’t forget to keep reading the Bible.

February 21

Kids, we should read the Bible every day! God should be part of our everyday life!
Let’s take a moment and read Deuteronomy 6:1-9 to ourselves.

Love the LORD Your God

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.  Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

God’s word is not supposed to be something we just learn about at church once a week.  It is meant to be a part of our everyday lives: something we study, something we talk about with others, something that we think about and try to live out every day.

Let’s say a SIMPLE PRAYER:
Dear God,
Help us to read our Bible every day.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Let’s share an activity . . .
ITEMS NEEDED:
A clock with a minute hand.
Do you see this watch ticking away?  Every detective knows that the clock never stops ticking on crime.  The school day ends for you at a certain time.  The work day for most of your parents does too.  But detectives know that they can be on call any time of any day.  In fact, the moment a crime is discovered, the clock is already ticking for them.
Detectives are always on the case, and the sooner they can get to the scene, gather evidence, and look for clues, the better chance they have of cracking the case.

Church begins and ends at a certain time every Sunday, but our time with God should last all week. God is there for us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so why should we be satisfied with a few hours on Sunday?  Like true detectives, true Christians are always working out their faith.  Sunday through Saturday, day and night, we can grow our faith by studying God’s Word and praying to Him every chance we get.
This watch will keep ticking every day of the week.  Let’s keep our faith growing every day as well.

OBJECT LESSON OR KIDS SERMON:
Here are some general questions – Answer the questions the best that you can. Use your Bible if you need to.
What is the Bible?
What does Moses tell the people about the Bible?
Why does Moses want the people to remember God’s Word?
How many days a week do you read your Bible now?
How many days a week should we read the Bible?

Here’s another story . . .

Have you ever heard the term bankers hours?  Bankers hours refers to the regular time when the bank is open.  Traditionally, bankers hours are about 9 am to 5 pm, though every bank is different. Regardless what the start and finish time may be at a specific bank, you can expect them to open right on time and close right on time.
Many jobs operate on a similar schedule.  The office opens at a certain time and closes at a certain time.  Any work not done by quitting time can be resumed in the morning.  No big deal!  But there are some professions that just can’t stick to regular business hours.
One of those jobs is the job of a police detective.
A police detective doesn’t expect to work 9 to 5.  They know that crime doesn’t keep regular hours, and because of that, they have to keep odd hours as well.  If a crime happens at 1 a.m. Saturday night, they need to be on the scene immediately.  From the moment a crime happens, evidence at the crime scene can deteriorate, become corrupted, or even vanish completely.  A good detective knows the sooner they get to the scene, the better their chances of solving the crime!  Detectives keep their cell phones charged and the tools of their trade packed and ready.  They are always on call, always investigating, always searching for clues.
Today we’re starting a new series called Bible Detectives.  We want to train you guys to become Christians who are seeking God and investigating their faith every day.  We want you to see your faith not as something you work on a few hours every Sunday but a vital part of your everyday life.  We serve a God who is watching over us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and as Moses taught the children of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy, God wants us to work on our relationship with Him every day of the week!

Let’s talk about the scripture:
So the scripture passage comes right after Moses has read the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel for the second time.  He emphasizes to the people that they need to not only learn these commandments for themselves but teach them to their children.
Talk about them when you lie down, when you wake up, when you sit down together, and when you are walking.  To put it in terms of a police detective, be on the case all the time!
God wants every part of our life to be touched by His Word, and if we let the Word of God become part of our everyday life, not only will we have a strong relationship with God, we will live in a way that leads other people to God.  Being a Christian means we study and live God’s Word all day, every day.  We are always on the case.
Some of you may be wondering why I started a series on detectives by talking about bankers. Bankers aren’t as exciting as detectives.  Sure, some of them make good money, but why would I even bring them up?
I started this lesson talking about bankers and banker’s hours because that’s how too many Christians treat their faith.  We clock in on Sunday morning when we get to church.  We sing our songs, give our money, nod our heads along with the message, and then clock out when we leave. God has our full attention for an hour or two on Sunday.  The rest of the week, we’re on our time.
God isn’t part of our home life or school life.  God has no influence on how we work, play, study, do chores, or practice.  Even though God is watching over us at all times, He has no influence on how we live our daily life.
This isn’t the life God wants.  This isn’t the way Moses taught God’s people.  God’s Word should guide every part of our life.  It should inspire us to be better children, siblings, classmates, students, teammates, neighbors, and friends.  God’s Word should make us want to be better people and to treat everyone with love and respect.  More than anything, God’s Word should lead us to an ever-growing relationship with God Himself!
You can’t keep banker’s hours and grow your faith.  You need to be a detective.  You need to be always on the case.  I hope this series will inspire you to make God’s Word a part of your life every day.  I hope it will transform all of us into people who value our time with God and spend every opportunity investigating His Word.  When it comes to tracking our lives, God is always on the case. Let’s be on the case all the time, studying the Bible and living our faith every day.

Remember that God’s word is not supposed to be something we just learn about at church once a week.  It is meant to be a part of our everyday lives: something we study, something we talk about with others, something that we think about and try to live out every day.


Let’s close with that Simple prayer again . . .
Dear God,
Help us to read our Bible every day.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

February 14

BOTTOM LINE: God’s love will never let us down.

OBJECTIVE: Kids will learn they can count on Jesus to be there for them always.

KEY PASSAGE: Kids – Take some time to look up these Bible verses and read them.
Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the Spirit of a lot of wonderful things that fulfill our hearts.
1 John 4:7-8 talks about Love and God. It is an awesome verse. Read it a couple times and remember how much God loves you.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 talks about love and how it has so much meaning. Read it and think about what love means.

God’s love never fails because God never fails. God is love, and God’s love is enough to get us through any disappointment we may face!
For most of you, Valentine’s Day is a day to trade cards with friends at school and get a little candy from Mom and Dad. In a few years, it will be a very different day. Many of you will have Valentines of your own. Some will not. Some will try to gain a sweetheart, and some, unfortunately will lose yours. When you get to that point, you’re going to see just how much people can fail you. Broken hearts and broken promises add up, and you’ll soon realize how much people can let you down.
Boyfriends and girlfriends aren’t the only ones that’ll let you down. Nobody is perfect, and in your life, you can expect your parents, your teachers, your heroes, just about everyone to disappoint you. Promises are forgotten or broken. Hopes and dreams fail to come true. These leave you disappointed, wondering if there’s anyone at all you can trust.
You can trust in God. God is your maker. He sent his son Jesus to die for your sins. He loves you with all his heart, and he wants nothing but his best for you. God will give you the love you need to get through the hard times.
In God’s love we find hope. We find hope that we will love again. We find hope that things will get better. We find hope that we will one day live with God in a place free from pain and broken hearts.
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a happy day. It’s a day when young people in love celebrate their new love and old couples celebrate all their years of love. It’s a day of hope for many more who wish to be in love. But for some, it’s a day of sadness of not having love. In fact, sometimes Valentine’s Day can turn into a disaster.
Take this story for example. A guy in Indiana wanted to show a girl he knew in Florida that he loved her, so he arranged to send her a HUGE bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day. The flowers were delivered as promised, and the girl was absolutely delighted.
“Are these from your boyfriend?” asked the delivery man.
“No,” she said. “He’s a really good friend.”
“Oh, okay,” said the delivery man.
Later that day, the delivery man called the girl back and asked her out on a date. It’s never easy to watch your plans fail, is it? You plan and you prepare. You want to make sure everything is just right. But then… disaster strikes. We see it happen in the Super Bowl, when one team’s plan for victory falls apart. We see it on Valentine’s Day, when one young man’s hopes of winning his true love are dashed to pieces. We see it on TV shows, where an aspiring singer’s hopes of stardom are crushed when she’s told, “You’re just not good enough.”

MEMORY VERSE: “Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8a (NIV)

SUMMARY: The Bible tells us that God is love and that love never fails. People and circumstances
will let us down, but God never will.

Lets Talk . . .  God will never fail you, even when your choice of chocolate might.
Does anyone here like chocolate?
There are a lot of different chocolates you can buy this time of year. Does anyone know why? Let me give you a clue. Is there anyone here allergic to chocolate?
As fun and as nice as boxes of chocolate are, they are not a catch-all gift for Valentines.
Some people are allergic to chocolate. Some people don’t like chocolate. Some people love chocolate, but they don’t like the samplers because they would rather not take a chance eating one they don’t like – like the coconut!
Long story short, you better know your Valentine before you buy that box of chocolates if you don’t want a Valentine’s Day FAIL!
There’s only one thing and one person that will never fail and never let you down. God’s love is the thing, and God is the person. God is our Creator. He loves us, and he will always be there for us. Valentines will come and go, but God’s love is never changing and never wavering.
Don’t put your trust in the things of this world. Place your trust in the one who will never let you down, Jesus!
I hope all of you enjoy Valentine’s Day, this year and in the years to come. It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate love and all the good that love brings. Just remember that only one love will never let you down, and that’s the love of God. As 1 John tells us, God is love, and when we place our trust in God, he will never let us down.

SIMPLE PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for your amazing love. Help us to share that love with others, and to sense your love when we need it most.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.

February 7
Boy Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2:36-52

Background:
Luke 2:39-52 talks about the story of Jesus when he was 12 traveling to Jerusalem with his parents for the annual festival of Passover. Passover recalls the events that saved the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt long ago. Families would travel in large groups from city to city and Jesus’s parents lost track of him during their travels. He was lost. Mary and Joseph hurried back to Jerusalem to try to find Jesus. They found him at the temple gathered with teachers of the law. The teachers were amazed at Jesus’ understanding of Scripture. His parents wanted to know why he had stayed behind. Jesus gave any answer that was wise beyond his years: “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Fathers’ house?” he asked.
Jesus was a unique child! He understood that he would become the Messiah at an early age.
All children have special traits and are unique children of God !

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for helping Jesus to grow. Thank you for helping us to grow to! Amen.

Bible Story:
Read Luke 2:39-52 from the Bible.
What happened when Mary and Joseph couldn’t find Jesus?
Mary and Joseph had to come back to the temple and find Jesus. When they did, Jesus’ parents were surprised to find him discussing God’s law with the leaders and teachers.
Jesus knew he was special!

Activity Sheets:

Activity: Express:
The places I’ll Go

When you grow up, where will you go? What will you do?
Draw a picture of yourself all grown up. Imagine where you might go and how you’ll get there.
Write on the picture what you imagine from the picture you drew.

Another thought . . .
What do you think Jesus imagined his future life to be like?
Do you think he knew all the good work he would do for God?
What does the Bible verse (Luke 2:39-52) tell us about how Jesus grew?
What are some privileges you get as you get older? or what are some advantages you get as you get older?

One Room Kids Comic: 

What did you notice in this week’s One Room Kids Comic ?
Kahley got a special privilege in today’s story.
Why do you think Kenji was mad ?

Family Devotion:

Let’s take a look at your Take- Home Pages for today
Ask your family to join you in this weeks devotion.
Read the devotion at the bottom of page 79.

Have a great week !!
See you next time !

January 31

“The Holy One of God”

Hi Parents – you can have some fun with this lesson if you take about a half hour to practice before calling the kids to lesson. Go online and Google “easy magic tricks for children”. I clicked on the site “13 Easy Magic Tricks For Kids” though I’m sure other sites can do as well. Quickly look them over, pick one or two, practice, and voila! You’re ready for a little fun! (Since magic is deceptive it may be a good idea after the trick to show them how this is done – so they can know, learn, and maybe later have fun with their friends.)

Hi Kids!
Can you predict the future? People who seem like they can are sometimes called fortune tellers. Why don’t you and your parents take a moment now and make a couple easy predictions about your future for today – then wait and see if they come true!

In the Bible’s book of Acts, chapter 16, beginning with verse 16 the Bible talks about Paul and Silas meeting a girl that could tell the future. She was amazing in what she could predict! People would gather around, and the men with her would charge people money before letting her predict – kind of like a magic show. But she wasn’t having fun telling the future – these not very nice men were making her do this so they could make money off the crowd. So Paul helped her by praying in the name of Jesus to help her stop. How was Paul able to do this? By praying in the name of Jesus. This story is about healing – making someone better.

Have you ever seen a magic show – someone doing magic? Can you do magic? How about your parents – can one of your parents do magic? Go ahead – ask if they can. Maybe they can show you a magic trick! If not, maybe another day.

Now, let’s read more scriptures. Read from the book of Mark 1:29-30. Wow! She was sick with a fever, and Jesus healed her just by touching her and lifting her up – she was all better! Now read again from Mark chapter 1, this time verses 40-42. See! Jesus did it again! This time by touching and commanding he healed a man who was sick with a nasty skin disease that doctors call leprosy. These are what we call miracles – it didn’t take medicine or surgery, just the touch of Jesus and by the command of his voice.

Now, let’s think about the difference between fortune telling, magic shows, and what it was that Jesus did. Have you ever seen something that really amazes you? Can’t figure out how it is done? Maybe something like a magic show? After a while you can usually figure out how it was done, and discover that lots of people can have fun this way. But there are some things that no one can do. People will say, “that’s impossible!” It’s impossible to make a fever go away just by touching. It’s impossible to cure a man’s skin disease by touching and commanding. But Jesus did. How? Because Jesus is filled with the goodness of God and the heart of God. Jesus is the Holy one of God – the son of God. God gives life. Because Jesus prays to God and has the Spirit of God, Jesus was able to do these miracles of healing.

In our first reading, in the book of Acts, Paul was able to help the girl because it was the right thing to do and because he called upon the name of Jesus for Jesus to help her. Even today people call upon the name of Jesus when we pray for help. We start a lot of our prayers with, “Dear Jesus”. We finish a lot of our prayers with, “In the name of Jesus I pray”.

Is there someone we know who needs God’s help? Let’s pray. “Dear God, thank you for these stories in the Bible, that teach the difference between tricks, games, and the goodness of God – miracles. We can see that you give life and even heal people. Lord, there are people today that can use your help, in all kinds of ways. Help them! In the name of Jesus we pray. So let it be – Amen!

January 24

A morning prayer: Dear Lord, it’s a new day – and it’s a church day! What shall we do together? Let me set this time aside to be with you, that you may show me this day how to live all week long. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

A New Testament Reading: Mark 1:14-20 Simon & Andrew; James & John.

A Reading from the Old Testament: The Book of Jonah (there are only four chapters).

In today’s gospel of Mark, Jesus calls the first four of his disciples. Simon and Andrew had started their work, just like you did today – you got up, had breakfast, brushed your teeth, and started your Sunday School. Andrew and Simon, and James and John too all were fishermen, working with their nets. They knew what they were doing – it was everyday work for them. Until Jesus came.

Jesus called out to them saying, follow me! And pretty much just like that, they did! What do you think they heard in the voice of Jesus? Did they hear the voice of a stranger? Did they hear the voice of God? Was it a voice like a father or grandfather’s voice calling them? They were busy, doing their work. Why do you think they moved and followed Jesus?

The story about Jonah and the whale is pretty famous. It will be interesting to read the whole story, when you have time. But today we are going to be talking about Jonah. When the story begins in chapter 1 Jonah probably had gotten up and started doing what he thought he was going to do that day – probably a LOT like other days. But today is different. Today “the word of the Lord” came to Jonah – God called him!

Do you know what you will be doing today? Has a “word of the Lord” ever come to you? If God had something special for you to do today, what might that be? Maybe that’s why you are doing this lesson today – to get ready to find out!

What do you think Jonah did? Did he obey like Andrew and Simon, James and John? Did he follow God’s voice? No. Jonah didn’t! In 1:3 Jonah instead ran the other way! He got on a boat and went the OTHER way.

A windy storm blowing the waves surrounded the boat. Even the sailors were afraid! But the sailors were brave men, and tried to continue on.

Well, Jonah didn’t have time for God, was even afraid of God’s plan, but God used the wind and the waves and the storm, and the whale too, to get Jonah to go to the big city God told Jonah about. God was angry at the city and the King, and wanted Jonah to tell the city of Nineveh about the punishment God planned to give to the city and it’s king. So eventually, in chapter 3, Jonah went to the city and gave God’s message. And then, in chapter 4 verse 5 we learn that Jonah left the city, climbed a hill, and then sat down and looked back to see what would happen.

Goodness! How would you have felt, finding your way through that big strange city, and then telling the people that they were bad and were going to be punished by God? Would you want to deliver that message? What might people say or do to Jonah?

Can you imagine! The people DID believe Jonah, and so did their king. They showed they were sorry in a number of ways, and asked God’s forgiveness. And by the end of chapter three God changed God’s mind and decided not to destroy the city.

Do you think Jonah was relieved? Happy not to have the people mad at him? Was Jonah happy now for the city now that it was saved? Surprisingly, Jonah was NOT happy – he was disappointed, maybe even mad! So actually, by the end of chapter 4, God uses a shady plant to help teach Jonah a lesson about Jonah, his anger, and the love and mercy of God.

The sailors were brave and tried to help Jonah. The city of Nineveh listened to God’s words and obeyed, changing their ways. Jonah especially was the one man in the story that was supposed to know God and follow God’s ways. But Jonah was a bit of a rascal, wasn’t he? He didn’t listen to God at first and ran the other way on the boat. He went to the city only because God made him go. Jonah knew the city was bad. And Jonah wanted to see God punish the city – he climbed that hill almost like wanting to see 4th of July fireworks! Jonah shows anger, and Jonah pouts.

What does this story tell us about God? Well, God has plans – and often will use us in helping his plans to work. All the world is subject to God – people, boats, wind and storm, sailors, whales, cities, more people and kings. Whether we know or not, believe or not, we are part of God’s big story – and plans. God WANTS all people to know God and obey God. God has enough love for all the world, and all people. Do you think God wants you to know God, and does God have enough love for you? You bet!

January 17

Hi Kids!

Last week we talked about our baptism and how baptism helps bring us into the family of God. Isn’t it great to be part of a family, having persons who love you near you all the time?

Now, for this week. Have you ever been at a really busy place with lots of people and store counters and then looked around and suddenly couldn’t find your parents? Did you think, “Oh no! I think I’m lost!”? But most of the time our parents are still nearby. Thank goodness!

Sometimes this happens even to adults – we get really busy and aren’t thinking about where we are, and suddenly, the thought comes – “Gosh, it feels like I’m kinda lost!” Again, thankfully, we’re not really lost – we look around and can find ourselves right away.

Let’s take a moment with family and talk about times we thought we were lost. What made you think you were lost? How were you “found” again? How did you feel when you were found? How did your friends who found you feel? How do you think even GOD felt? What can you do to make sure you DON’T get lost?

Sometimes it is even worse if we lose something really important. Have you ever lost your temper? Have you ever lost the feeling about how much you love someone? Certainly we don’t want to “lose” love and goodness! Losing our temper, love and goodness makes us feel lonely, doesn’t it? That’s when we become the ones looking, looking EVERYwhere, hoping to find love and goodness.

Let’s look at three bible stories Jesus told in the gospel of Luke, chapter 15. With your family, start reading with verse 3 the stories about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Read just one at a time. If you want, you can spread this out over three different times of reading and talking.

What do you think the lost sheep is about? Why is this sheep so important – doesn’t the shepherd have lots of sheep? Who is the lost sheep? Could it be a real sheep? Sure it could be! That’s why Jesus thought of it – people who watch over sheep would certainly know this story. But could YOU be the lost sheep? Could your brother or sister, or a good friend? Could adults? Maybe it could be just about ANYone!

If we are the sheep, who is the shepherd? When the sheep was lost, was the sheep ever really alone? Do you think the sheep might have been scared? How about the shepherd? Was the shepherd worried about the sheep? And when the shepherd found the sheep, see how happy he was! Even HEAVEN was happy! Did you ever think heaven could be so happy about things that happen here? About sheep and children being found?

What about the story of the lost coin? Who could the woman be? She has ten coins, but lost one. Why is she so worried about one coin? With the coin lost, she was worried. But now look, with the coin found she’s so happy! Even the angels are happy for her! Everyone is so happy!

Now read about the lost son. This is not a lamb or a child, this is a young man who gets lost. How does HE get lost? Is this about temper and other things, about love and goodness? Does the story come to a part where the young man thinks it through and decides he wanted to be different? Why do you think he wanted to “find his way” back home again? Do you think his parents would be happy to see him again? How about his brothers and sisters? How about the angels? Heaven? How about God?

That’s a LOT for this week. Just like we learned last week about us and baptism, we have family who cares about us. Our own family, but also the family of God, and especially, God. Jesus is teaching us about this, and giving us the chance to discover love and goodness in real life.

You don’t ever want to get lost. But if you ever feel lost, know that God has shepherds who will be looking for you, and will be soooo HAPPY when you are found!

Let’s pray. Dear Jesus, thank you for being God’s son. Thank you for my baptism, and the Bible that teaches me real things about living. Thank you for my family. I am so thankful I am naming each one of us by name! (take time to name…). I don’t want any of us ever to be lost, but if it happens, come look for us! Thank you Jesus. So let it be – Amen!

(Parents – did you know that Amen in the bible means “so let it be”?)

January 10

Hi Kids!
In old cowboy movies about the wild west, church folk would sometimes be seen gathering at the river. In fact, there’s even a song about that – “Now We Gather AT the River!”. One at a time the church folk waiting to be baptized would wade into the river where the preacher was waiting for them and he would then push them down under the water – and then help make sure they came up again just fine! It was exciting and refreshing, and everyone watching would cheer and clap. There was something about it that was like a fresh start, a new beginning – something everyone who was a Christian did.

Today’s calendar for the church brings us again to scriptures about baptism.
Wow! That’s a really neat topic – baptism! Have you been baptized? Do you remember your baptism?

Ask your parents to tell you what your baptism was like. Where did it happen? What did you wear? Who was there? Were family and friends invited? Were you given any gifts to remember and celebrate your baptism?

Ask your parents to talk about their own baptisms – were they the same or different from yours?

Even if you do not remember your baptism, it is said that each time you witness someone’s baptism, whether it is by a river or in a church sanctuary, you are “remembering” yours in seeing theirs.

Let’s read a few scriptures about baptism:
Mark 1:4-11
Acts 2:38-39
Galatians 3:26-27

The scriptures say that one of the gifts received in baptism is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Wow! Scripture and even today’s Christians say there is POWER in the SPIRIT! Talk with your parents about what kind of gift you think the Holy Spirit is, and how might that make a difference for you the rest of your life.

Baptism scriptures refer to those being baptized as being part of a family – the family of God. You already have a family at your house. What is meant by a church family, and what is meant by the family of God? How might this make a difference for the rest of your life?

There is much that could be talked about with baptism. If you and your family would like to learn more you might invite your pastor to visit you and ask him to talk about baptism. If you have not yet been baptized, talk about when a good time might be for your baptism.

Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, you often prayed to your “Father in heaven”. Even your prayers sound like family! Help me to remember that already I am baptized, or one day will be, and that I have or will have the gift of the Holy Spirit and be part of the family of God. Just like I have a special family at home, I have a special family with the church too! Thank you Jesus! Amen.