2014 Advent Liturgy

This liturgy will be used in assembly at Sojourn Kids starting November 23rd and the songs will be sung by the kid’s choir during service on December 14th.

Leader 1: We get to be worship leaders for the whole congregation in a few weeks, when we will sing our worship songs as a kids choir in the sanctuary! Let’s practice and learn our worship songs together!

“Oh Come All Ye Faithful”

Leader 2: Our memory verse this month is Romans 12:10! “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.”

Leader 1: You all are such great singers! Isn’t it such a blessing and so much fun to sing worship songs to God? He is so good, and we love to praise Him for it!

“The First Noel”

Leader 1: God is generous. He has given us so much, especially in Jesus. If you have experienced God’s grace and you are thankful, then you can respond to Him by giving back. We give our money to show our thankfulness and trust that God will continue to give us all we need.  Let’s sing one more song!

“Hosanna In The Highest”

Leader 2: Let’s pray! Bow your heads as we talk to God! Our Father in Heaven, thank You for sending your son Jesus to the earth to be our friend and our Savior. Jesus, thank You for coming to earth and taking our punishment on yourself. Holy Spirit, thank You for being our perfect teacher and for giving us strength to be obedient to You. We praise You, God, for our Advent Season when we get to thank You for coming to earth to be with us. Help us to remember Your goodness and love at Christmastime. Amen.

Leader 1: Thanks for worshiping the Lord with us today!

God’s Word is Living (At Home for November 16th)

sojournkids at homeThis week’s SojournKids Bible lesson was “God’s Word is Living” (Hebrews 4:12-13) Use the questions below to review it with your kids. You can also review the weekly North Star Catechism (on the attachment).

READ Hebrews 4:12-13 or Story 152 in The Gospel Story Bible

ASK: How does verse 12 describe God’s Word?  Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word is like a sword.

ASK: How is the Bible like a sword?  Just like a sword can cut through something so God uses the Bible to cut into our hearts and take out the sin

Check out the daily devotionals that correspond with this week’s lesson in Old Story New by Marty Machowski, pages 392-396.  This week’s North Star catechism question is…

4.  Does God have a beginning? No. He has no beginning and no end.  He is forever.

Isaiah 26:4  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.

Born Again! (At Home for November 9th)

sojournkids at homeThis week’s SojournKids Bible lesson was “Born Again!” (1 Peter 1:3-9) Use the questions below to review it with your kids. You can also review the weekly North Star Catechism (on the attachment).

READ 1 Peter 1:3-9 or Story 151 in The Gospel Story Bible

ASK: What is Peter talking about? Peter is talking about Jesus and the hope that we have because we believe in Jesus

ASK: What does the Bible say happens to people when the Holy Spirit changes their heart and they believe? The Bible tells us they are born again!

Check out the daily devotionals that correspond with this week’s lesson in Old Story New by Marty Machowski, pages 386-391.This week’s North Star catechism question is…

3. Are there more gods than one? No. There is only one true God.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the LORD is one.

Download this week’s SojournKids at Home here.

SojournKids Music Liturgy for October

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Leader 1: Let’s sing together a song about who Jesus is!

“Jesus Came to Earth”

Leader 2: Our memory verse this month is Philippians 2:3! “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others as better than yourselves.”

Leader 1: Great job, guys! Now, who knows what a Skeleton is? Is a skeleton alive? (NO!) We’re going to sing a song about how we aren’t skeletons because, even when we were dead because of sin, God made us alive!

“We’re No Skeletons!” by Jeremy Quillo (c) 2014 Sojourn Music (part of a forthcoming recording)

Leader 1: God is generous. He has given us so much, especially in Jesus. If you have experienced God’s grace and you are thankful, then you can respond to Him by giving back. We give our money to show our thankfulness and trust that God will continue to give us all we need. (Instruct kids to bring their offering to the treasure chest on the piano) Let’s sing one more song!

“Soar Like Eagles”

Leader 2: Let’s pray! Bow your heads as we talk to God! Father, thank you for your love. Thank you for giving us strength to make us soar like eagles! Thank you for making us alive so we’re no skeletons! You have shown us your love by forgiving our sin and showing us grace. Holy Spirit, help us to love like Jesus. Amen.

Leader 1: Thanks for worshiping the Lord with us today!

Two Trips to the Grocery Store: A Parable about Biblical Relationships

65__430x_girl-shopping-cart1Imagine heading over to your local grocery store. You pick up milk, bread, eggs, and a bag of sugar. You’ve got your kids in tow and you’re relieved that they don’t make too much of a scene.

You finish quickly and head to the checkout counter. The cashier rings up the items and tells you your total. You swipe your card and sign while the bagger puts your few groceries in a sack. The cashier thanks you for shopping and hands you your receipt. As you walk out toward the parking lot, you look it over. The receipt looks normal—it has the name of the store at the top and your name next to an abbreviated version of your credit card number at the bottom. You see today’s date, the items you purchased, the amount you paid for each item, the tax, and the total. That seems like a pretty normal trip to the grocer.

In the Bible, there are two basic kinds of relationship—contract relationships and covenant relationships.

contract relationship is what you expect from your grocery store. For a satisfactory contract, one party agrees to supply a specified quantity of some desired product, and the other party agrees to pay. In a contract negotiation, an arrival at a mutually satisfactory agreement is important. Like buying a car, it’s important to settle on a price before the agreement can be signed. Contracts have obligations and they require performance. The terms of the contract must be fulfilled. If I’m checking out at the grocery store and I don’t have enough money to pay, I don’t get to keep the items in my cart. Even when all of the terms are kept, some contracts—like the fading ink on a receipt—only last for a specified period of time. The parties in a contract are simply consumers so I may choose to break my contract on purpose if it no longer benefits me. If another grocery store has a better price, I’ll walk away.

Now imagine a different sort of trip to the store.

This time, everyone there greets you by name. This is a little strange. You’ve had friendly chats with the butcher before, but you had no idea that you were such a well-known customer. You pick up your items. While you’re shopping, a store employee offers you a latte and also offers to watch your kids while you shop. In your head you think, “Creepy! Do I know you?!?” but out loud you politely decline and quickly head to the checkout counter. Instead of a cashier, the manager meets you there. As you walk up, he announces your name to everyone around, and he begins to recount the history of your relationship with the store: “Donna first visited this location just before our 2005 renovation. She was in a hurry to pick up baby food for her six-month old. We remember it like yesterday. She bought puréed squash, peas, and bananas. At this point, you’re thinking, “I know that they keep up with my purchase history with that Bonus Card, but this is pretty freaky.” For a few minutes, the manager drones on, and then suddenly you realize that he’s no longer reminiscing. He has his right hand raised, and he’s swearing an oath. We solemnly swear to provide you with the very best produce, only non-GMO snack foods, and the most delectable selection of meats…” By now, you’re growing a bit impatient, and you blurt out, “Alright, alright, nice gimmick, but let me pay for my groceries.” So, you swipe your card, and—to your embarrassment—the credit card is declined. You look up at the manager, who has been waxing eloquent, and you say, “I’m sorry. I know I’ve ruined your whole, whole… thing, but I just don’t have enough money with me today.” The manager looks back and says, “That’s okay. Your money is no good here. We’re family. Take whatever you like.”

As you walk to your car, you think to yourself, “That may be the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in my life.” Then you think, “That was kind, but I can tell you one thing—the store isn’t going to be in business very long if they keep that up.”

Covenant relationships do not arise with expected benefits as the chief barter item. Instead, they arise out of a personal history and the desire for a deeper relationship. In a covenant, negotiation has no place. The stronger party, that is, the party who is greater in grace, offers his help. The initiative is his. For this reason, ‘gift’ is descriptive of covenant as ‘negotiation’ is descriptive of contract. Just like a contract, a covenant can be broken, but the point at which this transpires is less clear. I have a covenant relationship with my wife, and even when I break promises that I’ve made to her—like failing to love and cherish her well when she is sick—that doesn’t mean that our covenant relationship is over. That’s because the focus in a covenant relationship is on personal loyalty to the other party. When covenants do outline a time of termination, the term is usually “until death.”

Pastor Tim Keller describes it this way:

[Covenant relationships] are binding on us. In a covenant, the good of the relationship takes precedence over the immediate needs of the individual. For example, a parent may get little emotionally out of caring for an infant. But there has always been an enormous social stigma attached to any parent who gives up their children because rearing them is too hard and unrewarding. For most people, the very idea is unthinkable. Why? Society still considers the parent-child relationship to be a covenantal one, not a consumer relationship.

Keller gets at something really important for us to understand as parents. The Bible makes clear that children are not commodities. The Bible tells us:

“Children are a heritage from their Lord, and offspring are a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3 NIV)

It’s true. Kids are gracious gifts from God to us. They are not the products of our success, and they weren’t given to us for our pleasure and benefit. God designed our world so that children are given to a man and a woman as a gift of grace within the context of the man and woman’s covenant relationship with God (Genesis 1:28) and their covenant relationship with one another (Genesis 2:24, 4:1).

Sometimes we are tempted to set goals for our kids with our hearts set on getting “a return on their investment.” This kind of thinking is from our consumer culture and not from the Scriptures. When we slip into a consumer mentality, we are tempted to think that our success as parents is measured by our kids’ performance. So, when your kids are cute and you’re posting fun stories and pictures of family night on Facebook, you feel good about yourself. You’re keeping up your responsibility as a good parent, and your kids are keeping up their end of the deal too! But, when your kids are screaming and pitching a fit on aisle 7, and you’re giving in to their every desire, because discipline at that moment is too hard—you just want them to shut up—you feel like a disaster. In those more typical grocery store moments, we may feel like cutting our losses. But we can remember that we have a Father who loves us even when we don’t perform. Our relationship with our kids is covenantal. Parenting isn’t about your performance. You can press in with faithfulness, because our kids are a gift from God.

How about you? Do you struggle with having a consumer mentality with your kids? What helps you remember that your kids are a gift?

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