Family, Faith and Fun Challenge Day 9

Hopefully your children are beginning to better understand the over arching story of the Bible. Knowing it will help them share their faith with others. This challenge was originally accompanied with scarves cut out of fleece fabric and fringed at both ends. Older children can help cut the fringe, while younger ones can tie the knots at the end of each fringe. Feel free to substitute another service project for this one. You can find lost of ideas here.

Monday, December 28, Day 9

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:1-16, 43-48, Matthew 6:1-4, Luke 10:25-28

Memory Verse: “And he answered, ‘You should love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Interesting Facts:

  • No one knows the exact spot where Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, but people have a couple of places they think it could have been.
  • Jesus did not preach the Sermon on the Mount like preachers preach today. He would have probably been seated, talking to his Apostles, but in a voice so that the others could hear him.

Thoughts to Share: Jesus taught about a lot of things while he was here on Earth. Many of them have to do with our relationship with God and our relationship with other people. Jesus summed up his teachings in two important commands. 1. Love God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. Today we are going to think about that second command.

What does it mean to love other people like you love yourself? It means two things. 1. That we don’t do the bad things to people we wouldn’t want done to us. 2. That we try to intentionally do good things for people that we would want someone to do for us. Can you list examples of both? What are some specific things you can say or do to other people (even your “enemies” as we learned from these verses) that would help you obey this command?

Family Fun Instructions: One of the ways we can love other people is to notice when they have a need, do nice things for them and/or share what we have with others who may not have any at all. Today you will make fleece scarves. Each scarf has a fringe at both ends. You can work together as a family to tie knots at the end of each piece of fringe. As you knot the scarves, think of someone who may not have a scarf and be cold. Can you give them a finished scarf and tell them God loves them? It is a great way to love other people and tell them something important about God.

Parenting Tips: God wants your kids to grow up to help other people and teach them about Jesus. Here you will find some tips for serving with your kids. Encouraging your children to help others and teach them about Jesus will also help your kids find purpose and meaning for their lives.

Family, Faith and Fun Challenge Day 8

If you have fallen behind on the challenge, today is a great day to catch up on the ones you have missed. This activity works best with a white board or chalk board, a plastic baggie with a white board marker or a pencil and paper if needed.

Sunday, December 27, Day 8

Bible Reading: Luke 3:21-23

Memory Verse: “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized, too.” Luke 3:21a

Interesting Facts:

  • The word that is translated baptism means being immersed in water. When a person is immersed in water, their entire body is underwater.
  • Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, the same river the Israelites had to cross to enter the Promised Land.

Thoughts to Share: Even though Jesus never sinned when he was on Earth, he set the example for something God wants us to do today to become a Christian. When we are old enough to understand that we have sinned and need God’s forgiveness, we should study about becoming a Christian. Before anyone is baptized, they need to repent of their sins. Repenting means more than just saying you are sorry. Repenting means you will try to not commit those sins again. Before we are baptized we also say that we believe Jesus is God’s son and we want to make him the Lord of our life. Then we are immersed in water. God forgives us of our sins, gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit and we are then called a Christian. 

Family Fun Instructions: When God forgives us of our sins, He erases them completely. It is as if they never happened! It is like writing something on a white board and then erasing it. Use a white board or a white board plastic packet and a special marker to use on it. Find the clues for Christmas Pictionary. As you erase a clue for the next person to take a turn, remember how God erases our sins when we repent and are baptized. (After becoming a Christian, Christians can just pray when they repent and ask God for His forgiveness.)

Parenting Tips: Here, you will find tips for teaching your kids how to (repent) apologize well. These tips work with God and with people. Helping your kids practice repenting and apologizing well to people when they make a mistake, can make it easier for them to repent when they sin.

Family, Faith and Fun Challenge Day 7

This challenge requires two jigsaw puzzles or you can make your own. On your primary puzzle, write a character trait from the list below on a piece. It’s okay if there are blank pieces left. Then take eight pieces from a different puzzle and write negative character traits on the back of each. Mix those pieces in with the primary puzzle. You will present your family with the combined puzzle to use.

Saturday, December 26, Day 7

Bible Reading: Luke 2:41-52

Bible Verse: “Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more pleasing to God and to people.” Luke 2:52

Interesting Facts:

  • Jews were required to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem three times a year for feasts.
  • Twelve years old was when Jewish boys in the time of Jesus started taking personal responsibility for their religious health and life.

Thoughts to Share: This is the only story we have about Jesus interacting with others when he was young. We learn two important things from this story. Jesus was already learning a lot about what was in the Bible that had been written down by then, our Old Testament. (The New Testament was written after Jesus went back to Heaven.) We also learn in the last verse, that Jesus did not just grow physically. He grew mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He had what we call good character. We learn later that Jesus never sinned. That means he had the character traits God wants His people to possess.

Family Fun Activity: You have in front of you a jigsaw puzzle. Take out all of the pieces and turn them upside down so you can’t see the picture. You will see that some pieces have words on the back of them. What you can’t see is that your puzzle box has some pieces that don’t belong in your puzzle! The pieces that belong in your puzzle have the character traits God wants His people to have or they have no writing on them at all. The pieces of the puzzle that have character traits that God doesn’t want His people to have written on them, don’t belong in your puzzle! Without looking at the picture, can you find the right pieces to your puzzle and put it together properly?!

Parenting Tips: Below, you will find a list of character traits mentioned in the Bible. Which ones do you and your kids already have? Which ones do each one of you need to practice more? Think of ways to encourage each other to have more godly character traits.

Godly Character Traits

While Christianity is ultimately about the heart, there are observable character traits that Christians should possess. In a Christian, these character traits should be an outward sign of a heart that loves and worships God. This list does not include every character trait, but is a good list to use when working with young people.

Commitment – Luke 9:62 – Being dedicated to God

Contentment – Philippians 4:11-12 – A state of satisfaction

Courage – Psalm 27:14 – Strength in the face of pain, fear or grief

Diligence – Proverbs 12:24 – Careful & persistent work or effort

Discernment – Hebrews 5:14 – Ability to judge well

Encouragement – Hebrews 10:25 – Giving others support, confidence or hope

Faithfulness – Romans 10:17 – Being faithful or devoted

Forgiveness – Mark 11:25 – Forgiving others

Generosity – Acts 20:35 – Giving freely without expecting anything in return

Gentleness – Titus 3:2 – Being kind and tender

Goodness – Romans 12:9 – Being morally good or virtuous

Gratefulness – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Being thankful or appreciative

Honesty – Proverbs 10:9 – Telling the truth

Hospitable – Hebrews 13:2 – Welcoming others into your home

Humility – 1 Peter 5:5 – Modest view of one’s own importance

Joyful – Proverbs 17:22 – Expressing great joy

Kindness – Ephesians 4:32 – Treating others with tenderness

Love – 1 Corinthians 13:3 – Unconditional love for others

Obedience – John 14:15 – Following God’s commands and directions

Patience – Galatians 6:9 – Accepting delays or problems without anger

Peacemaker – Matthew 5:9 – Encouraging harmony between people

Perseverance – Galatians 6:9 – Continuing to work towards goals despite problems

Purity – 1 Timothy 4:12 – Free from contamination by the world

Respectful – 1 Peter 2:17 – Showing deference or respect

Responsibility – Colossians 3:23 – Doing well what is expected, without being reminded

Self-control – Galatians 5:24-25 – Controlling negative impulses and doing what is right

Servant Heart – 1 Peter 4:10 – Willingness to love and serve others

Stewardship – 1 Peter 4:10 – Taking good care of things that have been placed under our care

Wisdom – James 1:5 – Using knowledge appropriately

Family, Faith and Fun Challenge Day 6

If your kids received books or kits for Christmas, they would be great to use for the activity today!

Friday, December 25, Day 6

Bible Reading: Luke 2:8-40

Memory Verse: “Anna came up to Jesus’ family at that moment. She gave thanks to God. And she spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the time when Jerusalem would be set free.” Luke 2:38

Interesting Facts:

  • No one knows for sure how many wisemen came to visit Jesus. There were probably more than three, as they usually travelled in larger groups.
  • The gifts the wisemen gave Jesus were gifts normally given to royalty. Frankincense and myrrh were used for medicine and burying people in that time.
  • New parents and parents of first born sons were required to go to the Temple to make sacrifices. The sacrifice Mary and Joseph made tells us they were poor.
  • Anna was one of the women prophets named in the Bible.

Thoughts to Share: Today’s story was about a lot of people who had been waiting for Jesus, the Messiah, to come to earth. When they found out he had been born, they felt pure joy! Joy is better than happiness. Happiness is felt when everything happens like we want it to happen. Joy is a deeper contentment that comes from trusting God. We can experience joy even when things are not going well in our lives. The people in this story had some special things God wanted them to do. God wanted them to celebrate the birth of Jesus and then tell others the Messiah had arrived. God still wants us to be joyful about Jesus and tell others about him. 

Family Fun Instructions: God gives each of us at least one gift or talent that can be a way we will be especially good at telling others about Jesus. We have to find that talent and then work to become really skilled at it. Then we need to look for ways we can use our talent to serve others and teach them about Jesus. Here is a gifts quiz. There is not a grade given, but you can use your answers to help you figure out what gifts God may have given you. Each person in the family should answer the questions. Then other family members can help figure out what gifts each person may have.

You may have some books, kits or other items around your house that will help you explore possible gifts God may have given you. These will give you a chance to try or read about some things to see if you can begin to figure out what your special gift or talent from God might be. If these don’t reveal your talent, keep looking. Everyone has at least one gift from God and if you keep trying new things, you will eventually find your gift. In the meantime, you can have a lot of fun trying new things!

Parenting Tips: Here, as mentioned earlier, you will find a gift survey. Answering the questions, may give you some clues as to which gifts God gave each one of you. Once you find each person’s gift, help them find ways to learn how to do it well. Then help them find ways to use their gifts to serve God.

Family, Faith and Fun Challenge Day 5

The next couple of days will be busy for most of you. Feel free to do these as time allows.

Thursday, December 24, Day 5

Bible Reading: Luke 1:26-45 and 2:1-7

Memory Verse: “The son of the Most High God will rule forever over his people.” Luke 1:33a

Interesting Facts:

  • An engagement in New Testament times could only be broken by a divorce.
  • Jesus was probably not born in a barn, but in a cave or first floor of a home where animals were kept during those times.

Thoughts to Share: Can you imagine all of the emotions Mary and Joseph must have felt over the time period covered by this story? They may have felt confused, scared, excited and a lot of other emotions. What we do know is that Mary and Joseph tried to do whatever God wanted them to do. They may not have been able to know exactly what would happen in their future, but they could decide that each time they had a choice, they would choose to do the right thing. God has a plan for each one of our lives. He does not tell us the future. If we obey God and always choose to do the next right thing, we will please God and more easily find the plans He has for us.

Family Fun Instructions: Use supplies you have around your house to make a manger scene. You can make your own pattern or use the one found here. We know that Jesus was probably born in a cave rather than the barns with which we are more familiar. We also know that it is very likely Jesus was actually born in the Spring and not on Christmas Day. December 25 was the day that some early Christians chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The important thing is not the actual date of the birth of Jesus, or the Bible would tell us the date. It’s not whether he was born in a cave or a barn. The important thing is that Jesus was born and grew up to die on the Cross for our sins. Mary and Joseph probably became more excited and perhaps even a bit impatient while waiting for Jesus to be born. You may be excited about celebrating Christmas tomorrow. After making the manager scene, use the calming workout below to relax so you can sleep well tonight. You can use this routine anytime you need to relax.

Parenting Tips: Here you will find tips for teaching your kids how to make good choices. It will take a lot of time and practice. If your kids can learn how to make good choices, they will be less likely to suffer the consequences that often come with making poor choices. As a bonus, the calming routine your kids used tonight can be used anytime they need to calm themselves. Use it regularly so they can eventually remember the routine without your help. Learning how to calm themselves before making choices will also increase the chances they will make a good choice.

Calming Workout

It can be difficult to calm yourself. Doing the following routine when anyone is anxious, afraid, worried, overly excited or upset, can help the person calm down. 

  • Take three slow, deep breaths 
  • Name five things you can see
  • Stretch your arms to the sky, then touch your toes. Do this three times.
  • Count backwards from 20 slowly.
  • Name three things you can hear.
  • Give someone or yourself a big hug.
  • Name five things for which you are thankful
  • Pretend to chew gum and blow three bubbles
  • Say the books of the Bible
  • Sit down and put your head between your legs for five seconds
  • Lay down, close your eyes, sing your favorite church song then pray to God and ask Him to help you stay calm because you know you can trust in Him