WordServe Kids Focus for September: Opportunity Knocks–Responsibility

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Have you ever walked through your local grocery store and noticed the potential just sitting on the shelves?

You can head down one aisle and discover spices from around the world.

Over in the produce stands, you can find the ripest apples, cartons of blueberries, maybe even some obscure Dragon Fruit.

Not to mention all of the staples on another aisle: flour, sugar, eggs, and milk.

Incredible ingredients that will sit there and go bad unless someone takes them home and creates something delicious.

You can speculate all day about the potential in that grocery store, but until there is some type of response to what you believe can really happen, it’s just potential. In other words, with the right kind of response, faith in a process I can’t fully understand, and a big mess of dishes, those ingredients could turn into warm, sticky-sweet, apple cobbler goodness. But if those ingredients just sit there, even though they have incredible potential, the flour will just stay powdery and tasteless. The butter will soften. And those apples will turn brown. In fact, if you do nothing, they will lose their potential and turn into something that just makes your trash smell bad.

Think about someone’s life, with all of the God-given, God-created ingredients. You have time, talents, opportunities, words, and resources. The point is, we can choose to either respond to what God has given us or we can ignore it. One of the most powerful things leaders and parents can do is to inspire their children to trust that God can do amazing things through the abilities He’s given them. Kids should grow up knowing that their faith in God’s ability to do that, can profoundly affect how they view and respond to their unique potential.

That’s why we’re taking September to look more closely at what the Bible has to say about responsibility. We define responsibility as: Showing you can be trusted by what you say and do.

In Week 1, we head back to the garden of Eden where God created Adam and Eve and gave them their First Job. Through passages in Genesis 1 and 2, we’ll see how they were put in charge of the entire world. They took responsibility and began to cultivate the earth.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted by taking care of what God has made. The first job God gave to Adam and Eve was a task that we can continue today.

In Week 2, we’ll look at 1 Kings 19:16-21 and 2 Kings 2:1-15. Elijah was nearing the end of his work as God’s prophet. God chose Elisha to carry on the work. But first, Elisha had some things to learn.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted to lead by learning how to follow. We all want to lead, but we need to learn from our leaders before we can be in charge.

In Week 3, we’ll hear from one of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 21:28-32. In the Parable of the Two Sons, a father asked his sons to do some work. One said “yes” but didn’t follow through with his actions. The other said “no” at first, but ended up completing the job anyway. We’ll discover that it’s important to do what you say you will.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted by what you do. You can’t just say you’ll do something; you actually have to do it.

In Week 4, we’ll look at another of Jesus’ parables found in Matthew 25:14-29a. In the Parable of the Talents, a business owner went on a trip and put three guys in charge of some money. Each one did something different, but only two of them were found faithful and given more responsibility.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted with more by taking care of what you have. If you want more responsibility, show that you can be responsible with what you already have.

Our memory verse this month is Luke 16:10a, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” (NIV) When we show responsibility with the little things, there’s a good chance we’ll have opportunity for greater responsibility in the future.

God has created everyone with potential: talents, time, resources, opportunities. And we can either respond to God with our abilities in a way that honors Him, or we can waste what He has given. Think about the word responsibility. It really breaks down into how you respond with your abilities. And we want children to not only understand how to respond to the ability that God’s given them, but also how to respond to God’s ability to work through them to change the world around them.

Click here for a copy of the September Weekly Parent Cue!

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

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.

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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WordServe Kids Focus for June: Harmony

This past year, we’ve enjoyed taking kids through a contextual look at 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 these just a handful of disciples. These were growing congregations filled with people from all walks of life. And needless to say, they didn’t always get along. They disagreed and argued. They had a hard time forgiving and serving each other.

Several of the apostles began writing about how to live together as believers. These writings are not presented in the form of a story. They are letters. They are sermons. Delivered by people and for people, they are historic, but they are not really a story. But we think it’s important that kids experience those letters and sermons too. So to help illustrate these important truths, we’ve wrapped them in a summer-long story about friendship. We’re taking the summer to look 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’ll take a look at a “one another” principle that gives us a framework for loving others the way God loved us. Because these verses are short, we suggest that you take this summer to memorize each one.

In Week 1, we take a look at what John says about loving each other in 1 John 4:10-12. Kids will learn that because God loved us first, we should also love one another. Our Bottom Line is: Friends love each other.

In Week 2, kids learn from Peter’s teaching on hospitality found in 1 Peter 4:9. When it comes to welcoming others, we need to do so without complaining. Our Bottom Line is: Friends welcome each other.

In Week 3, kids will start talking about what they know that they could teach others. InRomans 15:14, Paul tells the church that they have what it takes to share Jesus with others. Our Bottom Line is: Friends teach each other.

In Week 4, we take a look at an important principle about patience. It’s hard to be a good friend when people can be frustrating. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should put up with one another. Our Bottom Line is: Friends are patient with each other.

Finally, in Week 5, kids talk about an important part of friendship: service. Life isn’t all about us. Paul shares with us in Galatians 5:13b that relationships aren’t all about us. Our Bottom Line is: Friends serve each other.

Our summer widget, the Friend Pix Chain, was created to help kids memorize the verses each week. This simple chain comes with nine guitar-style picks, each one listing a Bible verse reference to go with the nine weeks of our summer Friendship series. Kids can add a new pick each week as they memorize the verse and wear the chain to remind them to treat others as they want to be treated.

We’ve also created a nine-week devotional book called Over the Fence: Adventures in Friendship. The book details the summer adventures of four unlikely friends through nine episodes. Each stand-alone story is followed by four days of devotional thoughts and activities to spark kids’ imaginations with God’s design for friendship. This book will be available for purchase at The Orange Conference or in our online Orange Store in May. (http://www.whatisorange.org)

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

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

To download a printable copy of the Parent Cue, click here!

WordServe Kids Focus for April: Serving with Humility

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Many parents desire to help lead their children into a growing relationship with Jesus, but just don’t know how to begin or where to turn to for resources. WordServe Kids uses a great curriculum for Sunday morning worship called Orange.  The Orange curriculum provides easy monthly talking points for parents to relate what kids are learning on Sunday mornings to their every day lives.  Start praying about ways you can emphasize these Scriptures and truths with your children this month.  Below you will find April’s First Look from Orange!

“A 2010 study by the Barna Group found that most active churchgoers see Easter as a good time to invite someone to attend worship service. According to the researcher, “If each of those people brought just one adult as their guest, that’d be the equivalent of adding 115 new people per Christian congregation.” Although it may not be realistic to expect everyone to bring a friend, it is clear that our churches need to be prepared to welcome guests throughout the Easter season. [Source: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/13-culture/356-most-americans-consider-easter-a-religious-holiday-but-fewer-correctly-identify-its-meaning#.Utx4vP30BN0]

The thing about hosting guests is that sometimes we have to give up some of our own comfort to accommodate their needs. We might need to park further away, sit in a seat that isn’t our norm, wear a certain volunteer shirt, or patiently answer questions. An accumulation of small considerations can make a big difference to a guest. And Easter is a wonderful time to find a new way to put guests first in our churches.

Humility is putting others first by giving up what you think you deserve. Putting others first is not our natural inclination. We live in a world that’s all about putting ourselves first. Jesus lived in a world like that too. He could have looked out for Himself, but He didn’t. Out of His love for us, He chose to put us first.

Putting others first will cost you something: your time or money. Maybe it will cost you some pride. But when we choose to follow Jesus with our lives, believing that His death and resurrection made it possible for us to be right with God, the least we can do is put others first—even if it’s a bit uncomfortable and costs us something.

The monthly memory verse is: “Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves,” Philippians 2:3, NIrV. When we put others first, sometimes we’ll have to make sacrifices. We might sacrifice our pride. We might sacrifice our wants. But nothing we sacrifice will compare with the great sacrifice Jesus made for us.

In Week One’s Bible story, Jesus serves His disciples by washing their feet (John 13:1-17). Our Bottom Line is: I can put others first by serving them. Serving others often means taking the dirty jobs that no one else wants to do.

In Week Two’s Bible story, Peter wanted to take action and fight in the garden, but he didn’t wait to consider what Jesus wanted (John 18:1-11). Our Bottom Line is: I can put others first by giving up what I wantWe show humility when we allow others to choose what they want before we make a choice.

In Week Three’s Bible story, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to death on a cross (John 18:12 – 20:23). Our Bottom Line is: I should put others first because Jesus put others first. It cost Jesus everything to put us first. His humility can inspire us to help someone else, even when it costs us something.

In Week Four’s Bible story, Jesus doesn’t have to forgive Peter, but chooses to make things right and restore His relationship with Peter (John 21:1-19). Our Bottom Line is: I can put others first by making things right. Be the first to go to the person and ask for their forgiveness.”

Download and print a PDF copy of these verses, along with some conversation-starter questions for your kids here:  April Parent Cue

 

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

Two Wheels Make a Difference

On Saturday April 2, 2011, a group of people from WordServe decided to connect their faith to everyday life when they met at Wal-Mart to purchase bicycles for refugees in the Houston area. Bicycles are an important part of life for refugees in this country as bikes are often their primary means of transportation.  Bicycles also allow them to keep in touch with each other and friends in the community.  But something as simple as a bicycle can be very hard to come by as a refugee just coming to this country, and for many, it is a luxury they simply cannot afford. So, a group of WordServe servants gathered at Wal-Mart one Saturday to purchase bikes for the refugee community. We also collected used bicycles from friends and neighbors. In all, 12 bicycles, 12 helmets, and 12 locks were provided to the refugee community! Here’s an account from one of the WordServers who helped deliver the bikes: Continue reading

The Year of the House

Can you see God in a house? The people of WordServe Church spent many hours this past year looking for God–and finding him–among the rubble of a local home destroyed by fire. For WordServe, 2010 was indeed the year of the house. Take a look at the video below and watch the journey unfold as a group of people take a risk, step out in faith, and tackle something so big that we could never have accomplished it without God. See this house transform from ashes to beauty, and realize that in the process, God was transforming each of us in incredible ways, too.