All posts written by Jared Kennedy

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration, Part 5

Jesse Tree Outlines for December 19th-25th
(adapted for our toddlers from the RCA website and The Glorious Coming. The symbols and patterns used below are copyrighted by Reformed Church Press)

December 19th: The Watch Tower

Habakkuk 2:1a (NIV)  I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me and what answer I am to give.

Christmas is less than a week away! Waiting is so hard! These are the days of counting calendars and numbering the shopping days left.  But we know that Christmas will eventually come, and our waiting will be over. We wait for so many things, some of them happy and some of them not so happy. Waiting means we are looking ahead to the future.  Before Jesus was born, the people were waiting for a savior. They had faith that God would keep his promise. They waited a long time; some of them forgot to keep looking for God’s promised son. They no longer cared about God or God’s promise, and when Jesus arrived they didn’t recognize him.  But those who remembered and trusted God recognized Jesus and their waiting was finally over.  We are not only waiting for Christmas.  We are waiting for Jesus to come again as well.  Do we wait anxiously… on the edge of our seats… for Jesus to come again?  Or are we distracted?  Have we forgotten to keep on looking for his coming?  Father, help us to wait patiently and persistently.

December 20th: Zecharaiah and Elizabeth

Luke 1:17 (NIV) And he will go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Zechariah and Elizabeth honored God, and God loved them, but they did not have a child.  One day while Zechariah was working in the temple, an angel brought him a message from God.  The angel told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth were going to have a very special son and his name was going to be John. Zechariah didn’t believe the angel’s good news.  So, God took away Zechariah’s voice as a sign of God’s power. Imagine if you had seen an angel who had told you wonderful, happy news, and you weren’t able to tell anyone what had happened!  Sometimes it is difficult to believe God’s good news.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were happy to know that they would have a son chosen by God to do important work.  They were blessed by God even though the blessing was difficult to believe at first.  Father, prepare our hearts to believe the good news about your Son.

Continue Reading…

New Illustrated Edition of Pilgrim’s Progress – Justin Taylor

This looks like a great resource for family story time:

Steve Nichols: “This new Crossway book is excellent in every way. It is truly a beautiful book. Buy it for the whole family and read it together. Your kids will always remember it.”

From the publisher’s website: “This deluxe edition of Pilgrim’s Progress, brought to life in forty all-new, full-page, color illustrations by award-winning illustrator Mike Wimmer, takes readers on a visually stunning journey with protagonist Christian as he seeks the Celestial City.”

You can read chapter 3 online for free.

HT: Justin Taylor

Learning Centers: Puppet Center

Puppet Center

This center can also be called the “Story Re-telling” center.  Here children will re-tell today’s Bible story or perform their own skits using puppets. Sometimes the lesson will call for creating puppets, which can be used at the puppet stage.

Use the Center: Ask a group of students to create a puppet show about today’s lesson theme or story then perform it for you. 

  • What puppets will you use?  Who should be part of the story?  Who will have each puppet?
  • What happened first in the story?  What happened next?  How did the story end?
  • What did you learn about God in the story?  What did you learn about people?

Clean Up: Have the children put the puppets away in the basket after each playtime.

What we ask our Children’s Ministry workers to commit.

At today’s Germantown campus luncheon, I’ll be asking our children’s ministry servants to sign the following covenant.  This is what we ask our SojournKids workers to commit.

Children’s Ministry Servant Covenant, December 2009:

This covenant is an agreement of faithfulness between the children’s ministry of Sojourn Community Church (SojournKids) and the children’s ministry servant.  SojournKids does not consider the children’s servant to be a volunteer or lay-person.  SojournKids is seeking men and women who have a driving ambition and a confirmed gifting to nurture and teach children—nursery, toddlers, preschool, and elementary—to trust in and whole-heartedly follow Jesus Christ.

SojournKids recognizes that God has built his church community as a covenant Family with Christ as its foundation (1 Peter 2:4-12).  Children’s ministry occurs within the context of a larger covenant community where God has commanded parents to teach their children about God’s words and works (Psalm 78: 5-7).  Our children’s ministry is a catalyst for Christian families having gospel conversations together, and it provides the community context for nurturing and teaching children no matter their individual family background.  If you believe it is God’s desire for you to serve children, it is our desire that you pursue this ambition by using your gifts in SojournKids (1 Peter 4:10).  Upon signing this covenant the children’s servant agrees to the following items for accountability:

1.  As a Servant, I will give my time, talent, and ability sacrificially.

  • I will faithfully serve at every SojournKids ministry class where I am scheduled, and I will send an equipped Sojourn member when I must be away. (Weekly and monthly commitments run for a six-month time period–currently through February 2010).
  • I will arrive 45 minutes before my ministry begins.
  • I will not be alone with a child.  I will always stay in public areas of the Sojourn building with children and only enter the restroom with a child when another ministry servant is present.
  • I will leave the classroom in which I serve better than I found it—recognizing that other ministry servants will be using this classroom after I leave.

2.  As a Learner, I will seek discover and develop my gifts and abilities as a children’s servant.

  • I will attend at least 2 training sessions during each commitment cycle.  The sessions will usually be Sunday afternoon luncheons or one-day events in the local Louisville area.
  • I will study any and all assigned lessons before I arrive for my ministry assignment.

3.  As a Worshiper, I will remember that Jesus is present when I serve.

  • I will meet to pray with other servants at the beginning of each service, and I will serve with an attitude of prayer.
  • I will talk about Jesus while at play, because gospel life is more than just the lessons.

4.  As a Missionary, I will plainly demonstrate the gospel to children and families at every opportunity.

  • I will teach children God’s promises and plainly speak about their need to repent from sin and trust Christ (Acts 2:38-39).
  • I will greet Sojourn families and visiting families with biblical hospitality, and I will celebrate when families come back

By signing this form you agree to the above requirements so that SojournKids can fulfill its calling to nurture and teach the children whom God has given us.

Name_____________________________________ Date__________________

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration, Part 4

Jesse Tree Outlines for December 12th-18th
(adapted for our toddlers from the RCA website and The Glorious Coming. The symbols and patterns used below are copyrighted by Reformed Church Press)

December 12th: God Chooses a King

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

In Bible days, if you wanted to be king, “You did not have to be the richest or the cleverest (although that was always nice).  You had to look like a king, which meant you had to be the tallest and the strongest.  So you could carry the longest swords and biggest armor and defeat everyone.”(1)  Most of the grown-ups who saw David thought he was just a kid who tended the sheep, but while David was still a child God chose him to be a king.  God’s servant Samuel went to Bethlehem (David’s hometown), poured oil on David’s head, and anointed him as the future king of Israel.  God chose David to be king because he was getting his people ready for an even greater King who was coming.  He would not look like much at first.  He would be born in a tumble-down stable in Bethlehem.  Father, help us to remember that you choose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. Help us not to brag about our bigness but only about Jesus.  Amen.

(1) From “The teeny-weeny… true king” in The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Zonderkidz, 2008), page 118.

December 13th: King David

Psalm 23:1 (NIV) The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

David was chosen by God to be king when he was a boy, he didn’t become king until he was thirty years old. David was a good king because God guided him and because David listened to God.  Being a king is an important job. Kings must be wise and strong.  They must do what is good for the people of their land. Sometimes David fought wars and made other hard choices, because kings must protect their people like shepherds protect their sheep.  King David knew that God was his good shepherd.  Lord, help us to trust you as our provider and protector.  Watch over us and protect us, holy God.  You are our true king. Continue Reading…