Prove It! A North Star Catechism testimony from Pastor Mike Schuetz

CIMG4178“We used to try to cram everything possible into a once a week family devotion: hymn of the week, a Bible verse, the North Star Catechism question, a Bible story, a fun craft to keep things interesting, prayer for missionaries, etc. At some point, reality kicked in as well as common sense and/or the Holy Spirit. So, we tried something simpler for North Star — off-loading the North Star Catechism memorization to a fun little game before meals. Right before we pray for the meal, I’ll say, “Hey! North Star question: What is faith?”  If the kids (or adults) are stumped, we all repeat the answer aloud. Then I follow that up by shouting: “Prove It!”  This is the kids chance to recite the accompanying memory verse.  The ritual takes about 30 seconds, and on a good week we’ll usually remember to do it 4-5 times before dinner. That’s usually enough to where the kids can start saying it on their own. On a bad week, or if the answer if harder, we’ll just repeat the same question the next week. It’s simple and easy. The North Star flash cards will make it even more fun I’m sure. It’s simple and easy.” –Mike Schuetz, Sojourn College Pastor and Director of the URBN Experience

This Sunday, the North Star Catechism flash card set will be on sale at Sojourn book tables. The flash cards contain the content for all 78 catechism questions and answers in a deck of 52 playing card size flash cards. They provide a fun way to practice key truths about God’s glory, God’s kingdom, God’s cross, God’s grace, God’s church, and God’s mission. The tuck case and cards were designed by Sojourn staff member and graphic designer, Chris Bennett. Follow the link below to download the free catechism and order other resources.

55DRV  flash card

Check out the North Star Catechism resources including the new flash cards here!

Exploring Grace Together

Exploring Grace TogetherThis Summer, SojournKids is embarking on an adventure of grace together for Vacation Bible School. The Kennedy family is getting into the spirit early with this new family devotional, Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family, by Jessica Thompson. Jessica gives us forty days of devotionals that point to Jesus as our greatest treasure. We’ve been reading the stories during each evening with our girls after dinner while they eat dessert. The stories tell true-to-life experiences from the lives of grade school kids–explaining their struggles and  deepest desires. They then go on to show how Jesus provides the great treasure of joy and salvation through his one-way love. Here is what Sojourn’s lead pastor, Daniel Montgomery, has written about the book:

“My wife and I have enjoyed journeying through Exploring Grace Together with our kids. These forty short, fun devotionals have been kid-tested and proven by the Montgomery boys and girls and by two grateful parents who have often lamented the shortage of books that teach the gospel of God’s grace rather than the ‘gospel of rules and behavior modification.'” Daniel Montgomery, Pastor, Sojourn Community Church

On Thursday of next week, I’ll post an interview with Jessica Thompson, in which she answers questions and explains a bit about why she wrote this book and provides some help for how to think about family devotional time with your kids.

The God of Israel Cannot Be Captured (at Home for May 18th)

sojournkids at homeThis week’s SojournKids Bible lesson was “The God of Israel Cannot Be Captured” (1 Samuel 4-7).  Use the questions below to review it with your kids. You can also review the weekly North Star Catechism (below).

READ: 1 Samuel 4-7 or Story 53 in The Gospel Story Bible

ASK: What happened in this story? People captured the Ark, but they were trying to capture God.

ASK: What happened to the idol Dagon when the Ark was in his temple? It kept falling over. Eventually, its hands and head broke off.

ASK: Who led the cows and cart back to Israel? God did. He is all-powerful and cannot be controlled or captured.

Check out the daily devotionals that correspond with this week’s lesson in the book, Long Story Short by Marty Machowski, pages 267-271.

This week’s North Star catechism question is…

55. Who will come to God? We can’t reach God, but he reaches us. God calls to his people, and they follow him.

John 10:27 –My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

Download this week’s SojournKids at Home here.

Interview with a Kids team member: Anne Davidson

SojournKids Summer Serve

Anne, why did you decide to serve with SojournKids?

Early on it just made sense to help out because I had 3 kids in SojournKids.  But after we became members, I really began to pray and ask the Lord where He would have me serve.  Even when I felt called to serve regularly in SojournKids I hesitated for many weeks.  I come from a small church so the big church setting of Sojourn plus its reputation of being a spiritual powerhouse intimidated me. I felt inadequate to teach. Through that season of seeking God’s will for where to serve, He reminded me regularly that He thoroughly equips the work of every believer (2Tim3:17).  So believing that, I decided to commit to serving in SojournKids and have been serving ever since.

How do you balance a busy family life with serving on Sundays?

I’m a rule follower.  If the call is to “serve one service/attend one service” then I feel I should.  However, aside from that, I love the Lord and I love the church body.  I don’t think I’ve ever looked at it as a balance–it’s just the deal for our family.  I attend the 9 and serve at the 11.  My bigger boys serve with me and my husband cleans the classroom after the service!

What has your experience been with having your older boys serve with you?

I’ve loved having them with me.  I don’t want serving to be my thing.  I don’t want to release them at 18 expecting them to blindly step into ministry.  So this has been a way for me to continue to disciple them as they serve.  It’s been a great experience for our family.

How has serving with SojournKids impacted your relationship with God?

I’ve watched the Lord do amazing things in my classroom and that’s a faith booster!  I think we tend to put Him in a box and assume he’ll get around to working in the lives of these little people when they’re a bit older.  That’s not at all what I’m seeing.  There’s a great deal of work He is already doing in little hearts.

Anne serves weekly at Sojourn’s campus in New Albany, IN. Would you be willing to serve with our teams this summer? If so, you can sign up to serve right now by clicking on this link.

May Kids Music Liturgy: Revival!

sjk vbs web 7

Leader 1: This month we are going to learn how God gives us new lives in Jesus. God transforms us, giving us victory over our sin and mistakes. Let’s celebrate our victory in Jesus today!

1. “Clap Your Hands” Written by T.J. Hester and Justin Schaeffer (c) 2012 Sojourn Community Church. One day, we will record this one. 

Leader 2: Our memory verse this month is Hebrew 4:12. “For the word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” Let’s sing about God’s invincible Word!

2. “The Word of the Lord” Written by Rodney Clawson. © 2004 Writer’s Extreme Music/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Co. (BMI).

eader 1: God has given so generously to us, especially in Jesus. In him we have everything! God loves it when we give our time and money from thankful hearts. Now is the opportunity for you to give back to God, the church, and the community. [Give now or after assembly]

Leader 2: Our catechism questions for this month help us understand how. God makes you and me his children. Here is our question for this week:

North Star Catechism for each week:
May 4, 2014—How does the Holy Spirit make us alive? The Holy Spirit helps us to have faith in Jesus.
May 11, 2014—What are the enemies of God’s grace? The lies that we’re good enough or that we can work hard enough to earn God’s love.
May 18, 2014—Who will come to God? We can’t reach God, but he reaches us. God calls to his people, and they follow him.
May 25, 2014—How do I know that I belong to God? The Holy Spirit marks us as God’s children forever.

Leader 1: When God gives us new life in Jesus it affects everything we do! Let’s promise together to use all we are to honor God and give him glory.

3. “In All I do, I Give Thanks to You” Written by Bobby and Kristen Gilles. (c) 2012 Sojourn Community Church

Leader 1: God is certainly worthy to receive glory from everything we do! Let’s pray that God’s love for us in the gospel would motivate us to live for him.

Leader 2: Lord Jesus, we are so thankful for your love for us. You gave up everything to give us life with you. Help us to love you in return and live our lives, not for ourselves, but to please you and bring glory to you. Come transform us Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Leader 1: We can rest easy, knowing that God takes care of all our needs.

4. “Cast Your Cares” By Jason Houser and Elliot Park. © 2007 Songs Of Extreme /Cedar Sides (ASCAP). 

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