WordServe Kids Focus for July: Friendship

Over the past school year, we’ve enjoyed taking kids through God’s one big story. We’ve traveled through the Bible covering the familiar stories of Abraham and Joseph, Moses, and King David. We made it all the way to Jesus, Paul, and the start of the early church.

As the church started, no longer were there just a handful of disciples. These were growing congregations filled with people from all walks of life. And I think you see where I’m going with this: they were pretty much like that middle school band. They didn’t always get along. Sure, every so often, they got it right and there were glimpses of greatness. But they disagreed and argued. They had a hard time forgiving and accepting each other. At times, they even found it difficult to keep worshiping together.

Several of the apostles began writing to these believers, instructing them how to practice getting along and living in harmony with one another. These writings are not presented in the form of a story. They are letters and sermons, delivered by people and for people. They’re historic, but they’re not really a story. This summer may feel a little different, but it’s amazing to read these letters from real people to real people.

To help illustrate these important truths, we’ve wrapped them in a summer-long story about friendship. We’re continuing in July looking at what the New Testament letters have to say about friendship.

Friendship is treating others the way you want to be treated. Each week, we continue looking at a “one another” principle that gives us a framework for loving others the way God loved us. Because these are short verses, we suggest that you take this summer to memorize each one.

Our theme verse for July is Proverbs 17:17, NIrV. “A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” This verse is a great reminder that friends aren’t just there for each other when everything is going well. They also are there to help when life is hard.

In Week 1, we kick off July back in the book of Romans. We know that it’s not always easy for us to get along with each other. This was also true of the believers in Rome. In Romans 12:16, Paul tells them that friends accept each other regardless of their differences. It’s easy to see how different we are from people around us. God accepts us as we are. When we accept others, we get to help them see how much God loves them too. Our Bottom Line is: Friends accept each other.

In Week 2, we’ll take a closer look at how friends forgive each other. In Colossians 3:13, Paul reminds us that God has forgiven us for everything we’ve ever done wrong! At some point, one of our friends will let us down. We should let go of what we’re holding against them and forgive them because God forgave us first. Putting up with each other means we don’t hold on to the things people might have done to hurt us. When we forgive them, we get to show them how much God loves them too. Our Bottom Line is: Friends forgive each other.

In Week 3, kids will discover how they can encourage each other. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul tells the believers that they should build each other up with how they speak to one another. Basically, friends encourage each other. We have hope because of Jesus. When we share that hope with others, we can encourage them to keep going even when life is tough. Our Bottom Line is: Friends encourage each other.

Finally, in Week 4, we’ll wrap up our summer in the book of Hebrews. This is another letter full of wisdom from God. We will take a look at how friends worship with each other. The writer of Hebrews talks about this in chapter 10 verses 24 and 25. Life can be hard sometimes. Don’t try to go it alone. When we are connected to a community of friends who can encourage us and remind us of God’s love, it makes those times a little easier. We shouldn’t give up meeting together with our Small Group and friends at church. Encourage each other to live out loving God and loving others in every single thing you do. Our Bottom Line is: Friends worship with each other.

We pray this will be a fun end to the summer for kids to learn more about how they can show friendship to everyone.

July Parent Cue

Parent Cue for Toddlers

 By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

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FaithFULL Kids Celebration

On Sunday June 8, 2014, WordServe celebrated the first anniversary of the FaithFULL Kids program.  God has blessed us and provided not only what we have needed–a meeting and storage location, food and monetary donations, and an abundant harvest of workers to serve–but He has also provided physical and spiritual nourishment for kids in our community.  Because of God’s goodness, we were able to meet (and exceed) our goals laid out for the first year of FaithFULL Kids.

Here are a few ways we have seen God at work this year:

–96 kids have received meals each week.

–In the 37 weeks of this past school year, 3,552 backpacks have been filled.

–This adds up to over $8,500 worth of food.

–There have been over 518 volunteer hours this year alone with an average of 14 volunteers each week.

–More than 220 people have been involved with an average of 6 new volunteers per week.

–Approximately 40 boxes of food were distributed during Spring Break.

–Over $23,000 has been raised to fund the program.

Our vision for FaithFULL Kids isn’t stopping with just these statistics–we have a dream to expand this program and impact even more children and families in the coming year.  This Summer, join WordServe Kids each Wednesday from 10:30-11:30 AM, as we pack meals for FaithFULL Kids at Guardian Taekwon-Do and deliver to Huggins Elementary for pick-up by our FaithFULL Kids families.  During pick-up, we have fun and faith-filled activities planned to help deepen our relationships with these children.  This is a great way for your kids to share their faith and serve the community during the summer months!  To sign up to serve or for more information, click HERE.

 

Lavi–a FaithFULL Kid in Action

Lavi Schwartz, son of Sabrina and Haim Schwartz, is one of our precious WordServe Kids who recently decided to take an active step to help others and demonstrate his faith.  Sabrina said,

“About two weeks before school let out for the summer, Lavi came to me and said “Momma, I want to do a lemonade stand for charity!” Surprised, I asked him “Why?” He said, “So that people who don’t have anything can have something!” Still curious about what he wanted to do, I asked “When?” and of course as expected from an impulsive young boy, he replied “Right now!” I explained to him that I didn’t even have a lemon to squeeze into a glass, so he would have to wait for me to get all the supplies. Lavi was not pleased with that answer and continued to beg. As a compromise, I asked him to start a shopping list and design some sketches for signs. When I saw his sign sketch, I noticed he was asking $40 for lemonade!   When I told him “Lavi, no one is going to pay $40 for lemonade!”, he simply replied, “Mom, it’s for charity; sure they will.”
Once I found a free Saturday morning, we made signs and prepared a table on the corner in front of our house. I posted Lavi’s stand on Facebook and friends, family, and neighbors came from all over–and you know what? Lavi was right!  Within three hours, he had raised $160 to donate to FaithFULL Kids.

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I can honestly say God was at work through Lavi with this because I can’t think of anything that could have sparked this idea. Not to say Lavi isn’t a giving child. He is. I just don’t know where or how he got the idea to do a lemonade stand to raise money for charity. In fact, while people were flocking over to him, he leaned over to me and whispered “I’m so glad I started this business!”

Lavi took a risk–most people really wouldn’t pay $40 for a cup of lemonade even on the hottest Katy day–but his faith that God could use him and his desire to serve others showed that even the smallest acts of service can have a great effect on the world.

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FaithFULL Kids–Sheila’s Testimony

Last week, Suzy Moore explained the impact FaithFULL Kids had on her life when she and her community group packed and distributed meals over Spring Break.  This week, Sheila Abel would like to share her experience of serving the recipients of the FaithFULL Kids backpack meals.

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“The biggest impact was the children. The children serving and the children receiving the help had only one commonality – GOD. Boundaries such as ethnicity, economic status, even age did not exist for that 30 minutes; they were all playing together enjoying each other, showing the adults that people of all backgrounds are the same inside; we want to love and be loved. For those children, playing tag and running with each other was how they loved on each other.

One child even came up to me and we created a beautiful bracelet for her out of tree bark and grass. Her little eyes were full of joy and gratitude mostly likely from the time an adult gave her. See, she plays with kids all the time; she stopped playing tag with the group and came over to the adults to join in our conversation.  Maybe to get attention that her little heart needed and our interaction gave her a little of God’s love. This I will remember because I am not in any way an “artsy-crafty person” so this was truly a God’s thing. (BTW that bracelet was really cute and would go with so many outfits, too. Next time I will be ready for her.)

The opportunity to have my kids go out and pack a few boxes of food and then hand it out provides them with a reminder of how blessed they are to always have access to food and how quickly something taken for granted could be taken away so easily. When we dropped of the food my kids were getting hungry, to provide an example for them of how it feels to be hungry, but to place others needs first. After the event they were very hungry and on the drive back home we had a delighted lesson on blessings and sharing those blessings with others.

The only risk I personally felt was how greedy I have seen myself become.  Returning home and viewing my pantry and freezer provided me with the realization that my family and I do not know truly know what it is like to ”be hungry”. Maybe we need to experiment during the summer, my children learn more by doing. 

If you are thinking about doing it, remember one thing – many of those truly in need want better they just need that hand to help them up. In all of the stories I can remember out of the Bible , God has always provided a hand from somewhere.  If He is calling you , ACT now–because the blessing you receive will have much more meaning now.”

If you would like to be a part of this awesome program, click here for more information, as well as the link to sign up!  Packing parties begin this week and will continue every Wednesday for the remainder of the summer.  Join in with what God is doing and bless children during these summer months!

FaithFULL Kids–Suzy’s Testimony

If you’ve been around WordServe for any time at all, you’ve probably heard us talk about FaithFULL Kids, a program that provides non-perishable food on the weekends to students at Huggins Elementary who receive free/reduced lunch during the school week.  We are passionate about this program because it meets basic needs in students’ lives, while providing an opportunity for them to experience the love of Christ.  This summer, we are expanding our ministry to pack and deliver meals on a weekly basis and we need your help!  One of our faithful participants, Suzy Moore, wanted to share a bit about how involvement in FaithFULL Kids has impacted her in a big way.  Over Spring Break, she and members of her community group delivered the food and found themselves making meaningful connections with the recipients.

“I knew that we were serving to form relationships inside of the Fulshear community, and at the time I arrived, I thought “I can’t even form meaningful relationships with my next door neighbors”, so I was very apprehensive about how I was going to form a relationship with a complete stranger that day. I observed Shelia Able make a connection with the most precious and sweet young girl named Erica. However, the door did not seem to open for me to make a connection on that day. Or so I thought. The next week while I was having lunch with my daughter at her elementary school, the same young girl with whom Shelia made a connection recognized me, and ran over to say “Hi Morgan’s Mommy! It’s me, Erica.” The light bulb went off for me. God called me to that serve event that Sunday to form a relationship, …with this young girl. (I was thinking it would be an adult/parent; I never saw young Erica coming – funny how God works that way). I know that I can make an impact in this community through serving Faithful Kids. I am certain that I have not fully experienced all that God will do for young Erica, but I am blessed to know that Faithful Kids allowed me to play a very tiny role that day to further His Kingdom, one (young) relationship at a time.”

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This Summer, join WordServe Kids each Wednesday from 10:30-11:30 AM as we pack meals for FaithFULL Kids at Guardian Taekwon-Do and deliver to Huggins Elementary for pick up by our FaithFULL Kids families.  During pick-up, we have fun and faith-fulled activities planned to help deepen our relationships with these children.  This is a great way for your kids to share their faith and serve the community during the summer months!  This opportunity isn’t just limited to parents and kids–we want everyone to get involved!

To sign up, visit the FaithFULL Kids website here!