All posts written by Jared Kennedy

Testimony: Someone’s Mariam

I’m thankful for this testimony from one of our Kids servants at Sojourn East, Shannon Overton:
Working with the 2-year olds in Sojourn Kids can sometimes feel wonderful and sometimes feel defeating. On the wonderful days, the kids are calm, we can engage them in a chorus of “Jesus Loves Me,” and I have time to look into their eyes and say, “Jesus loves everything about you,” and see their precious smiles in response. But on the defeating days, it feels like I’m just doing damage control. One kid is crying, one is banging a block on another’s head, one is playing Houdini trying to escape from the room, and one is trying to avoid getting a dirty diaper changed. It’s days like these when I walk out of the room weary and wondering if I did anything that day to help spread the love of Jesus to these children.

And then I remember Mariam. Rewind six years to 2007. I was a new mom in a new town with no established friendships and the nearest relative was a 6-hour car ride away. The birth of our son was one of the best days of my life. But, about 3 months after his arrival – after all the family and friends had made their visits and gone home – I quickly began to feel very isolated. The loneliness of being in the house all day with a baby and the monotony of my daily duties as a mom became more than I could handle. My relationship with Christ was not strong at the time, so I felt like I had no one to lean on but myself, and myself was falling apart.My husband and I were new members at a church, and as a typical first-time mom I was reluctant to put my son in the nursery. One day after church, exhausted with baby in tow, a nice lady approached me, introduced herself as Mariam the nursery worker, and said very kindly but honestly, “Honey, you need to bring your baby to the nursery.” I made the typical excuses – not wanting him to get sick, he might cry the whole time, etc., to which she said, “You need a break and I can give that to you.” The next Sunday I gave in and nervously took my son to the nursery. I hung around for a while until Mariam finally shooed me out of the room assuring me my son would be fine. And after several nervous Sundays, I realized that in Mariam’s loving care, he was fine!

God sent Mariam to me during a time of great need. Sunday mornings became my time to recharge for the week ahead, not only through worship, but also through the break it gave me from my duties as a mother. It was commonly the only time of the week I could carry on a face-to-face adult conversation without interruption. For a glorious 1-1/2 hours, the only item on my to-do list was to worship God. It might not sound like much, but in those days it felt like a mini vacation!

Through this trial, God gave me a heart for mothers with young children. So, on those days with the 2-year olds when it seems like all I did was keep them from hurting themselves or each other, I stop and remember, “This job with which God has entrusted me goes far beyond what happens in this room for 1-1/2 hours with these kids. Maybe a mom of one of these kids had a rough week. Maybe this morning is the only break she’s had from her kids all week. Maybe she’s exhausted and broken. Maybe this time will recharge her for the week ahead. Maybe today I was someone’s Mariam.”

Adventure Bible Website-new resource for teachers and parents

I’ve recently discovered a new resource for teachers and parents. The Adventure Bible NIV is the Bible that we’ve purchased for classroom sets for our Elementary classrooms at SojournKids. I love this Bible because it provides helpful study aids that are age appropriate for younger elementary children, and NIV is both accurate in translation and readable for younger elementary kids.

Now, the folks at Zondervan publishing have launched a new website for the Adventure Bible (www.adventurebible.com). I’m excited about any resources that encourages kids to read their Bibles. My oldest daughter, Rachael, already enjoys the the Adventure Bible iPhone app that helps her practice Scripture memorization, and I’m excited about introducing her to the games on the new website. At SojournKids, we’ll use the crosswords, word finds, maps, and time lines to help supplement our curriculum. For homeschooling families or Christian schools, the classroom settings look like a great tool for tracking your child’s learning. Check out the video above to learn more.

Behold Your God Family Devotional, week 1: Glory

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 3.35.19 PM“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:3-6

Definition: The glory of God is his infinite greatness shining out to the world.

Sermon Passage: Isaiah 40

Memory Verse: Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Family Devotion Introduction: When you color a picture, you put your name in the corner of the page because you made it. God made everything. He also owns everything. And God has written his name in all of the creation to show us that it belongs to him. Psalm 19 says that all of creation declares the glory of God. His creation displays his goodness and his greatness to every person in the world. If you think it’s hard to see in creation, look to Jesus where we see the fullness of God’s glory!

  • Monday- What does it mean for a person to be famous?
  • Tuesday- What does it mean to say that God is great?
  • Wednesday- Who should be more famous, you or God?
  • Thursday- Read 2 Corinthians 4:6. How does Jesus show us the greatness of God?
  • Friday- What are some ways we can tell other people about how great God is?
  • Family Experience- Read 1 Corinthians 10:31 together. Go out to eat or make a picnic and talk about what it means to eat, drink, and do all things to the glory of God.

Sign up for the Student Baptism Class!

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We’re encouraging all graduating 5th graders and their parents to register for the Student’s Baptism class. The class will be held at St. Vincent’s in the third floor classroom from 5-7PM on Sunday, May 19th, and it is required for any student (ages 10-18) who wants to be baptized at Sojourn.  Even if your 5th grader has never asked about baptism, this is an opportunity for them to hear a clear presentation of the gospel, a clear explanation of baptism, and help you begin to have this conversation with them.

Sign Up Here!

The North Star Catechism

north-star-catechism-banner

Whether or not we sail across troubled seas, Christians are all pilgrims. For thousands of years, travelers have been guided on their journey by focusing on a fixed point in the night sky: the North Star. While other stars appear to shift with the passing of time, the North Star remains anchored in the same position. This celestial gift allowed people to know where they were and where they needed to go. Our prayer is that the North Star Catechism will provide this same kind of clarity.

Here is the free catechism!

Looking for more?

North Star Catechism Flash Cards ($5.00 donation)
Click Here to Purchase!

55DRV  flash card

The North Star Catechism Flash Cards set contains the content for all 78 catechism questions and answers in a deck of 52 playing card size flash cards. They provide a fun way to practice key truths about God’s glory, God’s kingdom, God’s cross, God’s grace, God’s church, and God’s mission. The tuck case and cards were designed by Sojourn staff member and graphic designer, Chris Bennett. 

North Star Scout Book 1: God’s Glory, Q & A #1-15
($3.00 donation) Click Here to Purchase!

Scout Book    Scout Book 2 

The North Star Catechism Scout Books are pocket-size devotional guides designed to help you teach key truths about God–his gospel, his church, and his mission to your kids. Each Scout Books contain two devotionals, craft and family discovery activities, kid-friendly journal questions, and catechism memory sections. The catechism memory section is age graded for memorization by preschoolers, Grades 1-2, and Grades 3 to Adults. Purchase a Scout book for each of your children!