All posts written by Jared Kennedy

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…

Driscoll: 16 Daddy Christmas Tips

’Tis the season for Dad to drop the holiday ball, stress out as the money is being spent for presents, and miss yet another providential opportunity to lovingly lead his family. So, this blog is intended to help dads not fall into the same old rut of holiday humdrum, sitting on the couch watching football and eating carbs, but rather intentionally plan out the upcoming holiday season. Our children grow quickly and if we miss the sacred moments God opens up for us to connect with and bless our families, everyone suffers and we set in motion generations of missed opportunity.Dad needs…

1. a plan for the holidays to ensure his family is loved and memories are made. Dad, what’s your plan?

2. to check the local guides for what’s going on to make fun holiday plans for the family.

3. to carve out time for sacred events and experiences to build family traditions that are fun and point to Jesus. Dad, is your calendar ready for December?

4. to not let the stress of the holidays, including money, cause him to be grumpy with Mom or the kids. Dad, how’s your joy?

5. to give experiences and not just gifts. Dad, what special memories can you make this holiday season?

6. to manage the extended family and friends during the holidays. Dad, who or what do you need to say “no” to?

7. to ensure his family is giving generously during the holidays. Dad, who in need is your family going to adopt and bless?

8. to schedule a big Christmas daddy date with his daughter. Dad, what’s your big plan for the fancy daddy date?

9. to schedule guy time with his son. Dad, what are you and your son going to do that is active, outdoors, and fun?

10. to help Mom get the house decorated. Dad, are you really a big help to Mom with getting things ready?

11. to ensure some holiday smells and sounds. Dad, is Christmas music on the iPod, is the tree up, and can you smell cookies and cider in your house?

12. to snuggle up and watch some fun shows with the kids, especially the little ones. Dad, is the DVR set?

13. to take the family on a drive to see Christmas lights while listening to music and sipping cider. Dad, is it mapped out?

14. to help Mom get the kids’ rooms decorated. Dad, do the little kids get lights or a small tree in their room?

15. to read about Jesus and pray over his kids. Dad, how’s your pastoral work going with each of your kids?

16. to repent of being lazy, selfish, grumpy, or just dumping the holidays on Mom. Dad, are you a servant like Jesus to your family?

HT: Mark Driscoll | TheResurgence.

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration, Part 3

Jesse Tree Outlines for December 9th-11th
(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 9th: The Law

Galatians 3:24 (NIV)  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

God wants us to love him and to love one another.   God wants us to treat others the way that we want to be treated.  To help us to understand how to care for each other, many years ago God gave Moses ten ways to live and love others perfectly.  These ten rules are called the Ten Commandments, and they are still good rules for us today.  But there is a problem.  No one can keep them.  Israel promised to keep them, but they could not.  We cannot either.  God gave us his rules to show us that we have sinful and selfish hearts, hearts that do not work properly, hearts that do not want to trust and believe that God is good.  God’s rules lead us to make a true confession about ourselves.  We are sinners, and we need the Savior to come and take away our sins.  Come Lord Jesus.  Give us your perfect goodness because we cannot be good without you.

December 10th: Rahab

Joshua 2:9 “I know that the Lord has given this land to you.”

The Israelites were ready to enter the land that God had promised them. They sent two men into the land to find out more about the land. It was very dangerous to go into the land; if the people who ruled the land had found the two Israelites they would have been killed.  Rahab saved the lives of two of God’s people.  She hid the two men in her house and then helped them to escape.  She knew that God had promised the city of Jericho to Joshua and the Israelites, and she believed that God is a powerful God.  Brave Rahab honored God because she believed in God’s power. Even though Rahab was a sinful woman, God protected Rahab and her family.  Rahab hung a red rope from the window in her house so that the Israelites would remember to protect her.  God remembered Rahab’s faith and took care of her for the rest of her life.  Jesus was one of her children’s children.  Father, help us to trust in your strength.  Come and help us to believe.  Let your grace cover our sins.

December 11th: Ruth

Ruth 1:16 (NIV) But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

Ruth and Naomi had lost all the people they loved. Naomi’s two sons–one of them was Ruth’s husband–had died, and Naomi’s husband had died too. Naomi had been living in Ruth’s country, far from her family, and so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. Ruth could have stayed in her own country with her own family, but she chose to go to Bethlehem with Naomi.  She chose to follow Naomi’s God, the true God, instead of the pretend gods that her own people worshiped.  Naomi was so sad that she thought that God had forgotten her. In the days of the Bible, most women did not work at a job, so women would go into the fields and take the grain that the farmers left behind. Ruth went into the field to gather grain, and there she met Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s, who took care of them.   Boaz and Ruth married and had a son.  One of their children’s children was King David, and one of his children’s children was Jesus.  God does not forget his children.  He remembers.  He keeps his promises.  Thank you father for your faithfulness.  Help us to remember you.  Help us to believe that you alone are the true God.

The Jesse Tree: An Advent Celebration, Part 2

Jesse Tree Outlines for December 3rd-8th

(adapted for our toddlers from the RCA website and The Glorious Coming. The symbols and patterns used below are copyrighted by Reformed Church Press).  For more information about Jesse Tree resources, see part 1.

December 3: Ark of Safety

Genesis 6:8 (NIV) But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

When people sin, or do wrong things, God must punish it.  There came a time when there was so much sin in the world that God had to find a way to remove it.  God was gracious to Noah, and Noah and his family remembered God.  God asked Noah to build an ark to save his own family and the animals.  Then God sent rain and the world flooded, and God destroyed all the people and animals that were not on the ark. When the flood was over and Noah and his family were safely on dry ground, God made a covenant, or a promise, with Noah. God promised not to send another flood that would destroy the world. As a sign of this promise, God put a rainbow in the sky.  Even in a sinful world, God still loves us and keeps his promises.  Thank you, God, for keeping your promises. Continue Reading…

Learning Centers: Pocket Chart

Toddler Pocket Chart

This center provides a place for working on Bible and doctrine memory.  Toddlers can’t yet read, but they need the encouragement and comfort of God’s word.  Teach one word at a time and use the provided pictures on the back of each card. The Show Me Jesus! curriculum teaches 18 verses and 15 doctrine questions yearly.

Use the Center:

  • Fall: Genesis 1:1; Psalm 53:3b; Matthew 1:23b; Luke 1:37; 1 Thess 5:16-17; Psalm 30:10b; Questions 1-5
  • Winter: Luke 2:14a; 1 Cor 8:6b; Acts 9:20b; 1 John 4:19; Questions 1-8
  • Spring: John 17:17b; Acts 16:31a; Matthew 22:39b; Psalm 23:1a; Questions 1-11
  • Summer: Psalm 9:1a; Psalm 143:10a; Psalm 150:6; Psalm 25:4; Questions 1-15

Clean Up: Put verses and questions away in the proper envelope after each memory session.