All posts written by Jared Kennedy

Advent–The Light Has Come

Dear Parents,

For a long time, Christians have celebrated the weeks before Christmas with a season known as “Advent.” Advent is a word that simply means “coming” or “waiting.” It’s a funny name, because when kids are really excited about something, they say, “I can’t wait!” Children overflow with anticipation whenever the time nears for birthdays, visitors, vacations, and especially… Christmas!

For many, many years, God’s people waited eagerly to meet their Savior. He was the king and the warrior who was coming to set them free from their sins. The Bible tells us that the whole world was waiting for the Savior to come. Celebrating Advent is a ways of saying, “I can’t wait for Jesus!”

One of the ways we celebrate Advent is by lighting candles in honor of Jesus–the one who has come to bring us light. The apostle John tells us that when Jesus came into the world:

What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out 
(John 1:5, The Message).

The prophet Isaiah says it like this:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:2, 6 NIV).

The whole world was living in a kind of spiritual darkness. They were lost without Jesus, but when Jesus came, it was like someone switched on the lights. The waiting is over. Truth and hope have come!

Read Luke 1 or Story #79 in The Gospel Story Bible then review these questions with your kids:

ASK: According to the angel, who is going to give Mary a baby? The Holy Spirit

ASK: What name is Mary to give her baby? She is to call his name Jesus.

ASK: What special things does the angel say about Jesus? He will be the son of God. He will be the king, and his kingdom will never end.


The Light Has Come from Jared Stewart Kennedy on Vimeo.

If you are leading children’s choir this Advent season…

Here are some timely words from Sojourn New Albany campus worship leader, Kristen Gilles:

Some of you may be leading a children’s choir at your church in this Advent season.  If you are, be sure to encourage all of the children to look to Jesus, their Worship Leader, as they sing their hearts out. Remind them that it’s okay if they don’t remember all the words or sing every note in perfect time or pitch.  Teach them to encourage each other to sing in full confidence that Jesus is making perfect their imperfect singing and worship.

Read more here


Dear Parents,

This past Sunday at SojournKids, we learned about Lazarus from John 11:1-44.  I loved telling the story to the kids, because it is so full of suspense. Jesus learns that his close friend, Lazarus, is sick, and then he vows “This will not end in death.” I asked the kids in our assembly what Jesus meant by that, and they said, “Jesus has power to heal. Jesus won’t let him die!”  Were they right? In a plot twist that seems totally out of character, Jesus  delays his journey to Lazarus’ home for two whole days. Then, while Jesus is delaying, Lazarus dies. When I got to that point in the passage the kids’ faces dropped (…except for the few kids that already knew the story, and they did a surprisingly good job not ruining the surprise).

When we got to Lazarus’ death, I asked the kids the same question that was on the lips of Mary and Martha and the other people present at Lazarus’ funeral. Why did Jesus delay? What could have kept him from coming and healing his friend? The answer is that by allowing Lazarus to die, Jesus taught Mary, Martha, and the others something that they couldn’t know any other way. Jesus said it like this: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). Jesus has power over death. He is the resurrection and the life!

And that’s good news! It’s good news, because the Bible teaches us that we’re dead. Ephesians 2:1 tells us, “And you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” We don’t have power to obey God or even hear God’s voice on our own. When Lazarus was in the tomb, he couldn’t hear Jesus voice, because his ears and brain were dead. Jesus said, “Lazarus! Come out!” But that didn’t make any sense, because dead men can’t move their legs and feet. But the Bible tells us, “The dead man came out.” Jesus has power over death! He raised Lazarus, and he gives to life to dead sinners like you and me!

Read John 11:1-44 or Story #106 in The Gospel Story Bible  then review these questions with your kids:

ASK: Who are the two women who greet Jesus when he finally arrives at the funeral? Mary and Martha

ASK: What does Jesus say about himself? I am the resurrection and the life?

ASK: Could Lazarus hear Jesus when Jesus called to him? No. Lazarus was dead, but when Jesus called, he came back to life.



Children’s Choir: Music Downloads & Hand Motions Videos

We have an exciting opportunity coming up for your kids this Christmas season! SojournKids are invited to participate in a Christmas children’s choir that will sing at all morning services on an upcoming Sunday. The East Campus kids choir will sing on December 22nd. All other campus choirs will sing on December 15th  Look for other details in your Inbox and coming home with your kids over the next few weeks.

Who is invited to sing in the Christmas children’s choir? ALL children ages 4 and up! New families welcome!
How do we sign up? Here are the links to sign up at the four campuses:

Signing up early helps us to know how many children to prepare for, but sign-up will remain open and no-one will be turned away on that Sunday if they haven’t signed up.

What songs will they be singing? Children will be singing in the first three songs of the service: “Hosanna in the Highest”, “Oh Come all Ye Faithful”, and “God is With Us.” All songs are on Sojourn’s Advent Songs album, which can be downloaded here.
What do they need to wear? Christmas attire! Scarves, hats, christmas sweaters, etc
Can they sing in both morning services? This is encouraged but not required! Your children are welcome to sing one or both morning services.
Other info: 
SojournKids servants will take children back to their classrooms after they sing.
This is a great opportunity to invite friends and family to Sojourn!

We’ll be singing the following three songs. You can download the lyrics and learn the hand motions below:

Hosanna in the Highest (lyrics pdf)

O Come All Ye Faithful (lyrics pdf)

God Is with Us (lyrics/hand motions pdf) 


Testimony from a @sojourneast mom

Here is a great conversation that an East Campus mom recently had with her 6 year-old about her cousin’s adoption and how Jesus provides for us:
Karis said, “I am so glad Jesus was born. I do love Jesus. He helps us when we need to solve problems, when we don’t know what to write at school, when we are sad. He kind of whispers into my brain what I should do. He also helps those who do not have homes and families. You know like our cousin. She did not have a home with a mommy and daddy, and I think God whispered to her that she will have a home and it was going to be ok. And, whispered to our Aunt and Uncle they would have a baby. Then she got to come live with them and be our family. Mom, I love that Jesus cares about us and we can know the gospel and learn and tell others because of Jesus. I hope it is free writing in our journal tomorrow instead of our teacher picking the topic because I want to write about why I love Jesus.”
What can a mom say to all of this “Yes, sweet girl, I agree!” I love her and her sweet heart!
Thank you SojournKids leaders and workers who help us teach our kids the gospel truth. We are so thankful to have you in our lives!