WordServe Kids Focus for December: Wrapped Up Generosity

14Dec_standard_Generosity

“It’s official—the holidays are around the corner. How do I know? Relatives are asking for Christmas lists so they can get their shopping done. The commercials on TV are rolling out their latest toy temptations to get children drooling. Even the shopping malls and discount stores are busy stocking Christmas decorations just in case you feel like getting a jump-start on your seasonal lawn ornaments and light displays.

With all this Christmas hoopla, it’s easier than ever to lose focus on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. That’s why we want to spend this month talking about Generosity: making someone’s day by giving something away.

We hope kids get wrapped up in others as they show them how much God has been so generous toward us. There’s a danger in getting so wrapped up in ourselves or so wrapped up in our things that we miss the essence of this season. There’s just something about giving that reflects the character of God to those around us. Every good thing we have is a gift from Him. But we also know that God’s generosity has a purpose. God gives to us and expects us to do the same for others in return.

Generosity changes us when we learn how to give the way God gives. This month, we’ll look at four great stories from the New Testament that help us understand God’s plan for generosity in our lives.

In Week 1, we start our month on generosity in Luke 12:13-21 with a parable Jesus told about a rich man who was wrapped up in the wrong thing. He worried more about storing up more stuff and ended up losing everything that really mattered. Our Bottom Line is: Don’t get wrapped up in your stuff.

In Week 2, we get to eavesdrop on a conversation that Jesus had with a rich ruler that Luke recorded in Luke 18:18-25. This man was so wrapped up in his stuff that he couldn’t let go of what didn’t really matter in favor of what mattered most, a relationship with Jesus. Our Bottom Line is: Get wrapped up in what matters most.

In Week 3, we celebrate that God sent us the greatest gift when He sent us Jesus. Through John 3:16-17 and Luke 2:1-18, we will focus on Jesus’ birth as we pause and remember that God gave us His only Son, so we could have a personal relationship with Him. Our Bottom Line is: Get wrapped up in Christmas.

In Week 4, we’ll see that the wise men knew how to be generous. In Matthew 2:1-12, we read about the men who came to visit Jesus. They went above and beyond to see Him and show generosity. Our Bottom Line is: Get wrapped up in giving.

Our memory verse is a great reminder for us. “Be rich in good deeds … be generous and willing to share,” 1 Timothy 6:18. Many times, we think that our ability to be generous is connected to our stuff. However, being rich really isn’t defined by how much we have or collect, or how many presents we get. We’re not generous because we are rich; rather, we are rich because we are generous. This month, we hope that kids will discover what it really means to be rich—to let God’s generosity show up in their lives and help them get wrapped up in others.”

Click HERE for the December Baby and Toddler Parent Cue.

Click HERE for the December Preschool Parent Cue.

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

Advertisements

WordServe Kids Preschool Focus for September: God’s God It!

How often do we throw out the words, “I’ve got it”? More often than we’ve actually got it, I would think. You know who’s actually “got it”? God. God’s got it. He is everywhere and has power over everything. That’s what we want our preschoolers to learn this month. No matter what’s going on, God’s got it.

They’ll learn God has the power to answer prayer through the story of Elijah and the fire. They’ll hear the story of Moses and the burning bush and learn that God has the power to speak to them. We’ll continue with Moses and tell the story of the pillars of clouds and fire to show our preschoolers that God has the power to show us the right way to go. And finally, we’ll close the month with the super amazing story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego where preschoolers will learn that God is so powerful that He can always be with them. Always. And, because He’s always there, He’s always got it!

Click here for the September Preschool Parent Cue!

by Kathy Hill, Editor in Chief, FirstLook

Back to School Sunday

Whether you were ready for it or not, school officially started again this past Monday!  At the beginning of the fall semester, many students, teachers, and parents set goals and routines for the new school year after having a busy, lazy, or restful summer.  At WordServe Church, we believe that a huge part of having a successful school year means focusing on spiritual preparation and priorities, not just excelling in academics and sports.

Every year, one of our favorite Sunday celebrations is Back to School Sunday.  This past Sunday, we set the tone for the new school year by introducing our latest sermon series, The Happiness Project.

the-happiness-project-header

Parents, grandparents, and friends also had the incredible opportunity of praying over their students through the Blessing of the Backpacks.  Each student brought his or her school backpack and received prayers and blessings of encouragement from the congregation.

 

bts1bts3bts5

We also had three very special guests in attendance:  Doug Waddill, principal of Huggins Elementary, and Fred and Patti Shafer, namesakes of Shafer Elementary.  These people clearly love students–they allowed them to make ice cream sundaes on top of their heads!

bts2bts4

We hope that as you begin your fall semester, you make a relationship with Jesus a vibrant part of your daily life.  We have many opportunities for you to grow your faith and put it into action–FaithFULL Kids, Community Groups, WordServe Youth, Habitat for Huggins, and of course, Sunday morning worship.  We pray this is the best school year yet!

 

 

Living Water International Trip to Honduras

livingwaterteam

Over the summer, WordServe participated in several activities and projects that built relationships with members of the community and met needs, like FaithFULL Kids and Habitat for Huggins.   Though our mission focuses on reaching our own communities for Christ, we believe in the calling we have as Christians to reach the nations for Jesus.  From July 26-August 2, a team of servants from WordServe traveled to Honduras with Living Water International to help drill a water well for a community that lacked a source of fresh, clean water.  Through meeting a physical need for clean water, the team was able to introduce the community to the source of living water that will never run dry–Jesus Christ.  When the team returned, each member shared testimony of how they saw Christ at work during the time in Honduras.  In case you missed the Celebration Service, you can check out the videos below:

Chad Yelverton’s Christ Cam

chad

Bill Hogan’s Christ Cam

bill

Jason Zimmerman’s Christ Cam

jason

Kasey Hogan’s Christ Cam

IMG_0842

Leslie Wakefield’s Christ Cam

leslivingwater

Lisa Harp’s Christ Cam

lisa

Marcus Dillon’s Christ Cam

marcus

Matt Lewis’ Christ Cam

matt

 As you can see, this trip was truly life-changing for all who were involved.  If you have questions about the trip, please ask one of team members.  If you are interested in going on a short-term mission trip of your own, contact Nolan Donald or Bill Hogan for information about future trips.

WordServe Kids Focus for September: Opportunity Knocks–Responsibility

sept responsibility

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.

Habitat for Huggins Update

Since December, WordServe has been involved in an on-going project called Habitat for Huggins.  WordServe was contacted through our adopted school, Huggins Elementary, about a family in need of major home repairs. The family has eight children, four of whom are currently attending Huggins. After meeting with school leaders, counselors, and other city officials, WordServe decided to commit to rebuild this house and make all the necessary repairs so that the family can return to their home.   Going into the project, we as a church realized that this was a great undertaking that could take up to a year to complete.The following video highlights the vision for the project, as well as showing the “before” condition of the home.

With the help of many volunteers from WordServe, a host of handy “Mikes”, generous donors from the community, and God’s gracious provision, much progress has been made on the home!  The house demolition and clean up was completed on May 10 and we have turned the project over to a contractor for flooring, framing, drywall, roofing, electrical, and plumbing.   Check out the current transformation!

photo(9)

photo(6)

photo(7)

photo(8)

photo(5)

We are excited about the challenges still left before us and feel that this project is clearly in line with our vision of “transforming communities one relationship at a time.” This project is a direct link to our adoption of Huggins Elementary and represents our focus on changing the community through the schools. It is our hope that every person connected to WordServe will play some role in bringing this project to completion. We know it will take skilled workers for much of the construction, but it will also take people willing to serve through clean-up, painting, prayer, food for the workers, and in any other way that God might lead someone to serve.  We will provide updates when the contracted work is complete and we are able to schedule our regular Saturday workdays again.  We hope you will take part in what God is doing to transform our community one relationship at a time, through one hammer and nail at a time!

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.

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 May: Breakthrough Endurance

We hope you found some valuable Scripture and talking points to incorporate into your conversations with your children last month.  This month’s focus in WordServe Kids is “Breakthrough Endurance”.   What a timely topic with the end of school drawing near!  Make it a goal to recite this month’s memory verse with your kids in the mornings before they head to school:  “Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

14May_standard_Theme

“Like most kids in elementary school, you probably studied inventors—those men and women who work tirelessly to bring us technology that changes our lives. From a movable type printing press which made it possible for the Bible to be published for the masses, to the Internet which now allows multiple translations of the Bible to show up in the palm of your hand. From figuring out how to harness electricity to creating a glass bulb which can light up the night. Inventors have spent countless hours on prototypes, mistakes, or even failures on their journey toward a breakthrough—that one moment when everything comes together making a theory into a reality.

Simply put: being an inventor takes a whole lot of endurance. But let’s face it—life in general takes a whole lot of endurance too.

The kids in your ministry have been in school for eight or nine months by now. They are tired of the classes, the schoolwork, and the tests. They’re ready for summer, yet they know they still have a few weeks left. Like you, we want them to finish strong. That’s one of the reasons why we’re taking the month of May to look more closely at endurance.

ENDURANCE is sticking with what you started even when it gets tough. When work gets tough, when exhaustion sets in on the soccer field, or when that science project just won’t come together, endurance is what gives us that extra something to keep us going until we finish what we began.

The believers in the early church faced all sorts of trials and suffering that could have easily made them question their faith and abandon the mission Jesus had for them. Yet, they remained strong. They endured through all of it because they had faith that everything they faced was worth it—knowing that more people would know the message of Jesus.

Our memory verse for the month is Galatians 6:9, NIrV: “Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up.” When we have endurance, we can know that it will be worth it. We’ll experience the joy of finishing what we started.

In Week One’s Bible story, before Jesus ascended back into heaven, He left His disciples a huge task of telling the world about His life, death, and resurrection. It’s a big job, but He didn’t leave them without a helper. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and shared God’s story like they never had before! (Acts 1:1-10; Acts 2:1-41) Our Bottom Line is: I can stick with it because God will help me.

In Week Two’s Bible story, we find out that Paul and Silas were thrown in prison after they wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus, even when they were ordered to quit. Paul and Silas started singing, and God showed up for them in big way. (Acts 16:16-40) Our Bottom Line is: I can stick with it even when things don’t go my way.

In Week Three’s Bible story, we take a closer look at our memory verse for the month,Galatians 6:9. This is a great principle reminding us that even when things don’t go our way, if it’s something good, we will see a reward for our hard work and endurance. Our Bottom Line is: I should stick with it because it’s worth it.

In Week Four’s Bible story, we end our month with the special vision that God gives John on the Isle of Patmos. (Revelation 21:1-8, 22-27; 22:1-5) John assured us that God knows how His one big story will end. We get a tiny peek of what that will look like. And it will be amazing. Our Bottom Line is: I can stick with it because God knows the end of the story. We pray kids will find huge comfort in discovering that no matter what they face, God has it already worked out.”

Click HERE for a printable version of this month’s Parent Cue with Discussion Questions!

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

WordServe Kids Focus for April: Serving with Humility

14Apr_standard_theme

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.