All posts written by Jared Kennedy

Behold Your God Family Devotional, week 5: Justice & Righteousness

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 1.54.35 PMHe is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does not wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Definition: The justice and righteousness of God is the noble decision making of God to always do what is right because he is the standard of what is right.

Sermon Passage: Isaiah 1:10-26

Memory Verse: Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he

Family Devotions: Sometimes we are hurt and we suffer from pain. We scrape our knees and cry. Some children are terribly sick, and all people will one day die. The world is broken because of our sin. The Bible tells us that God always does what is right, and this means that he must punish sin. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve for our sin, and he gives us the reward he deserves for his perfect life.

  • Monday- How do you feel when someone is mean or has done something wrong to you?
  • Tuesday- How do we know that God is always right? Why does God get to choose what is right and what is wrong?
  • Wednesday- Read Romans 3:23. What do we deserve for our sin? Do we really want God to give us justice?
  • Thursday- Read Romans 3:24-26. How does Jesus show us that God hates sin?
  • Friday- How should we respond when someone wants us to do something we know is wrong? What motivates us to do what is right?
  • Experience- Choose your favorite family game (board game, kickball, tag, etc.) and choose a prize for the winner (ice cream?) When the game is over, explain that because one person won the whole family wins. Talk about the fact that because Jesus died on the cross, we can all be saved. He won the game for us!

Download the full devotional booklet here.

Behold Your God Family Devotional, week 3: Goodness

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 11.14.18 AM“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Psalm 34:8

Definition: The goodness of God is the standard of moral perfection and trustworthiness possessed only by God.

Sermon Passage: Psalm 34

Memory Verse: Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Family Devotion Introduction: Imagine walking into a messy room with piles of clothes and toys all over. Your parents want you to pick up each toy, sock, and shirt and put it in its place. God wants things to be in their perfect place, because he is perfect. God isn’t rigid and harsh with his people when they are mixed up and messed up. Because God loves us he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins, and he sends his Holy Spirit to put everything in our lives back into its perfect place. Because God is good, we can trust him to put our lives in order.

  • Monday- Who decides the difference between right and wrong?
  • Tuesday- What does it mean that God is good?
  • Wednesday-How is God being good different than you being good?
  • Thursday- Why do we call the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection good news?
  • Friday- Read Ephesians 2:10. What good things can we do to reflect God’s goodness?
  • Family Experience- Plan an activity that your family can do together to serve one of your neighbors to show God’s goodness (clean their yard, make a meal and invite them over, wash their cars, etc.)

Download the full devotional booklet here.

Behold Your God Family Devotional, week 2: Beauty

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 11.03.55 AM“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I wil sing and make melody to the Lord.”

Psalm 27:5-6

Definition: The beauty of God is the perfection of every aspect of God’s character and attributes

Sermon Passage: Psalm 27

Memory Verse: Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Family Devotion Introduction: Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant who sells everything he has to buy a valuable pearl (Matthew 13:45). A pearl is a round gemstone created by oysters. You have to search inside messy oyster shells to find them. But the search is worth it, because the pearls are worth a lot of money. Why do you think Jesus made that comparison? He wanted to tell us that God is beautiful and perfect. Jesus came so that we could fully experience that beauty and perfection.

  • Monday- What are some things that you have seen that are beautiful? Thank God for them.
  • Tuesday- What does it mean to that God is beautiful?
  • Wednesday- Is it hard to think of God as beautiful and perfect? Why or why not?
  • Thursday- Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” How does Jesus help us to see how beautiful God is?
  • Friday- How can we show others how beautiful and valuable God is?
  • Family Experience- Go for a walk with your family (or go to the park, zoo, or art museum). Notice with your family some of the beautiful things that God has made. Pray and praise God for all of the beauty in his creation.

Download the full devotional booklet here.

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.