MONTHLY ARCHIVES: March 2014

Conversation Starters: The Creator

Posted on March 26, 2014 by Karah

Use these discussion starters to help foster a spiritual conversation with your family.

How we view the origins of the universe impacts everything about our worldview. Did everything start with a speck of dust or a big bang? Is the universe the creative work of an intelligent being? Or is there some mixture of these two approaches? The Bible points us to an all-powerful, personal Creator who gives us a meaning and purpose for life.

Concept: The Creator

Preschool

Genesis 1

LIFE POINT: God made the world and everything in it.

Name your favorite part of God’s creation.

What was the most special thing God made?

LIVE IT OUT: Use an opportunity spent outside to praise God for His wonderful creation. Whether you are enjoying grass, water, the weather, the sunshine, or animals, emphasize to your child that God created these things. He made the world for us to enjoy and care for. Thank God for His wonderful creation.

Kids

Genesis 1:1–2:3

LIFE POINT: God created the world.

Try to name one thing God created on each day of creation.

What did God say when He saw everything He created?

What was special about the seventh day of creation?

LIVE IT OUT: Talk with your child about the awesomeness of the world God created. Consider praying together a back-and-forth prayer. You lead by saying, “Thank You, God, for creating (something you feel shows God’s awesomeness).” Ask your child to follow with thanking God for something he thinks shows God’s awesomeness. Continue bouncing back and forth by stating things that God created.

Students

Genesis 1:1-3,6,9,11,14,20,26-27

THE POINT: God spoke the universe into creation.

Why does what we believe about creation matter?

What part of creation is most amazing to you?

Have a conversation around this quote:

“What surprises me most about God is that the Creator of the universe should want a relationship with me.”1 —Rick Warren

1. David Kuo, “Rick Warren: ‘God Didn’t Need Us, He Wanted Us.’” Available from the Internet: http://www.beliefnet.com.


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Conversation Starters: Bible Validity

Posted on March 19, 2014 by Karah

Use these discussion starters to help foster a spiritual conversation with your family.

The Bible is the Word of God. Trusting what it says is critical for faith and life. While there are those who argue it is a flawed document, the Bible continually shows us its trustworthiness and reliability. Beyond strong historical and archeological evidence, the Bible speaks of its own reliability and truthfulness and we can trust it in all matters.

Concept: Bible validity

Preschool

Jeremiah 36

LIFE POINT: The Bible is God’s Word.

Who told Jeremiah to write the scroll?

What did the king do when he heard the words on the scroll?

LIVE IT OUT: Help your child think of her favorite books. If the Bible is not on the list, suggest that it be added. Once it is on the list, talk about things that make the Bible the most wonderful book that has ever been written.

Kids

Jeremiah 36

LIFE POINT: The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

What did Jeremiah tell Baruch to write on the scroll?

Why did the king get angry about what the scroll said?

Who told Jeremiah what to write on the scroll?

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your child to get his Bible. Challenge him to write inside his Bible what he believes makes the Bible the most wonderful book ever written. Pray with him, thanking God for the Bible.

Students

Psalm 119:1-8,137-144

THE POINT: You can trust God’s Word as the foundation for your life.

How has the Bible helped you in your faith and life?

If you’re not consistently reading the Bible right now, what will help you do so?

Have a conversation around this quote:

There’s no better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself.1  —Dwight L. Moody

LIVE IT OUT: Help your student with accountability and encourage her to read the Bible regularly.

1. “Dwight L. Moody quotes,” Thinkexist.com. Available from the Internet: http://thinkexist.com.


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Conversation Starters: Tell Others

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Karah

Use these discussion starters to help foster a spiritual conversation with your family.

THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: Is it fair that someone would die and not go to heaven simply because they’ve never heard about Jesus and, therefore, never had the opportunity to receive Him? Although God can and will make Himself known however He chooses, taking the gospel to every nation is the critical call for every Christian.

Concept: Tell others

Preschool

Luke 3:2-3,15-17; Mark 1:1-8; John 1:29

LIFE POINT: Jesus is the Son of God.

What did John say about Jesus?

What did John do for Jesus?

Who is someone you could tell about Jesus?

LIVE IT OUT: Remind your child that the best way for a person to learn about Jesus is to have someone who cares about him talk about Jesus. Think of family members who may not know about Jesus. Plan a way to say a good word about Jesus to a family member or draw a picture about Jesus that can be given as a gift.

Kids

Luke 1:1-25,57-80; 3:1-22; John 1:19-37; Matthew 3:13-17

LIFE POINT: Jesus is the only Savior.

Who did John say he was?

What did John tell the people to do?

What did John do for Jesus?

LIVE IT OUT: Talk with your child about ways to tell others about Jesus: words, actions, written messages. Choose one friend or family member who needs to hear about Jesus. Pray for that person. Talk about what your child can do this week to tell that person about Jesus.

Students

Romans 1:16-25

THE POINT: All people are without excuse.

Why is it wrong to measure our idea of “fair” against God’s actions?

How important is it to share the gospel?

Have a conversation around this quote:

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” 1 —Charles Spurgeon

LIVE IT OUT: Ask your student to choose something in creation that reveals God to him or her.

As you drive together, point out some things that remind you of how great God is.

Pray that your student will be able to share the gospel.

1. Charles Spurgeon, “A Sermon and a Reminiscence,” The Spurgeon Archive. Available from the Internet: http://www.spurgeon.org.


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Why Kids Flourish at Camp

Posted on March 12, 2014 by Phil

Campers often describe camp as their “happy place”” or “the best two weeks” of their year. And, from my own observation, I’ve seen that kids and the counselors who work with them are obviously happy at camp.  They smile a lot. They look relaxed. There’s a lot of laughter.  So many fun things happen at camp every day that it’s no surprise it’s such a happy place for kids.

Recently I’ve read several books about the science behind happiness and the research that’s being done to determine the specific elements that cause people to “flourish” in life.  (See my reading list below.)

Traditionally, psychologists have focused on studying psychological diseases – depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc. – and their cures. But led by Martin Seligman  (University of Pennsylvania), a new breed of psychologists called Positive Psychologists have, for the past decade, been studying the positive side of people. They ask not what is wrong with people, but what is right.  They research what makes us do well in life and the reasons why some people thrive and find success and happiness in life.

Originally, Seligman had a theory of “happiness” outlined in his book Authentic Happiness, but he moved away from only using the word “happiness” to a new theory that focuses instead on well-being or “flourishing.”  Seligman determined that it’s inaccurate to use the term “happiness,” as some people simply don’t have the personality to appear outwardly happy to others, even when they are doing quite well in life.  I’m an extrovert who smiles a lot, so, objectively, people would probably say I’m pretty high on the happy scale.  But how do we account for an introvert who doesn’t show a lot or emotion or display the outward symptoms that we equate with happiness?  He may not smile a lot or appear outwardly happy, but, Seligman contends, he could still be flourishing.  So, instead of using a one-dimensional definition that’s dependent on momentary emotions and personality traits, Seligman developed a more thorough theory of well-being that moved beyond his original happiness theory.

Seligman’s uses the acronym PERMA to define his theory and the five measurable elements he has determined lead to well-being. As I read about each pillar of PERMA in Seligman’s book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, I kept having “ah-ha” moments.  “This happens at camp!” I would think. “And this, too!” In fact, as I read, I determined that ALL of the elements of flourishing that Seligman describes happen at camp. According to Seligman, “No one element defines well-being, but each contributes to it.”

I’ve always been sucked in by inspirational quotes and quick sounds bites about how camp contributes to happiness, but I love knowing the science behind why kids flourish at camp.

PERMA at Camp… Read more…  from Sunshine Parenting…

 


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Conversation Starters: God is Real

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Karah

Use these discussion starters to help foster a spiritual conversation with your family.

We live in an age when belief in God is no longer assumed or even valued. Many believe we no longer need a god and that our scientific knowledge has disproved the reality of God. Others see that same scientific knowledge as pointing to the existence of an intelligent designer. The Bible assumes the existence of God, and it points us to those things that affirm the reality of an intelligent, personal Creator.

Concept: God is Real

Preschool

Exodus 12:31-40; 13:3,14; 14:10,13-16,21-22

LIFE POINT: God loves people.

What did Moses tell the people to do to get ready to leave?

How did God protect the people?

LIVE IT OUT: Talk to your child about a time when your family traveled somewhere. Remind her of the trip that the Israelites took. Help your preschooler know that just as God took care of the Israelites, He will always take care of your family.

Kids

Exodus 3:1–4:7

LIFE POINT: God is the only true God.

How did God speak to Moses?

What did God tell Moses to do?

What did God say His name was?

LIVE IT OUT: Remind your child that God told Moses His name, I Am who I Am. Together, decorate a small poster board with God’s name, I Am, on it to hang as a reminder that God is the only true God.

Students

Psalm 19:1-14

THE POINT: God has given us ways to know Him.

Tell your student why you believe God is real.

What helps you overcome doubt?

Have a conversation around this quote:

“If you’re sincerely seeking God, God will make His existence evident to you.”1 —William Lane Craig

LIVE IT OUT: Plan to memorize Psalm 19:1 with your student.

Check back with your student in a couple of weeks about the verse he or she has memorized.

Encourage your student to locate some pictures online or at the library that were taken from the Hubble telescope.

Talk with your student about how awesome God’s creation is and how it declares His glory.

1. William Lane Craig, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, God?: A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2004), 28.


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