Lenten Family Devotional Week Five 

Week FiveThis week you will need:

Day Twenty-six: sticks from your yard, twine

Day Twenty-seven: baking soda, grape juice concentrate, paint brushes, paper, water

Day Twenty-eight: cotton balls, paper, and glue for the alternate craft

Day Thirty: stones you can write on, chalk marker

Day Twenty-five: Monday: Peter’s Confession

Read Luke 9:18-20

Discussion:

– Why would people think Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, or a risen prophet back from the dead?

– Pete finally understands who Christ is and proclaims it. Do you proclaim that Jesus is Lord?

– Does your life reflect your confession of faith?

Activity:

– Jesus Is Lord Experiment: Today, we’re going to write “Jesus Is Lord” on our arm or hand. I’d use a Sharpie, but if you want to use a washable marker, that will work, too. Now, if we publicly proclaim He is Lord, how should we live? How should we act? At the end of the experiment, discuss with one another what you found. Did people notice? Did it remind you of who you want to be?

Day Twenty-Six: Tuesday: Take Up Your Cross

Read Luke 9:23-27

Discussion:

– Here, again, we have this idea of paradox. To save your life you must loose it. Lose your life and you’ll save it. Discuss paradox again.

– What does it matter if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?

– What does it mean to take up your cross?

Activity:

– Make Crosses: Gather some sticks from the yard. Break or cut them with kitchen scissors down to appropriate cross sizes. Use twine to tie the sticks together. Hang them with your other Lenten artwork.

Day Twenty-Seven: Wednesday: Transfiguration

Read Luke 9: 28-36

OR

The Glory of Jesus, p.202-203 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– What do you think about Peter’s suggestion?

– What do you think Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were talking about while the disciples slept?

– Why did Jesus only take 3 of his disciples?

– What do you think glory even looks like?

Activity:

– Secret Message: You will need baking soda, water, and grape juice concentrate. Mix together equal parts of baking soda and water. Use a paintbrush to write a message on a piece of paper. Watercolor paper will stand up best to the liquid, but any paper will work. Let the message dry. Trade papers. Paint the page with grape juice concentrate to reveal the secret message!

Day Twenty-Eight: Thursday: 72 Go and Come

Read Luke 10: 1-12; 17-20

Discussion:

– Do you think these 72 were thinking they might die?

– Do you think these 72 really had any idea what they were doing?

– Would you have been comfortable traveling with no provisions?

– What is peace? How can we strive to have it in our home?

– The Kingdom of God came near no matter what the people did. Why is this significant?

Activity:

– Sheep Among The Wolves Game: Everyone sit in a circle and close your eyes. I will tap one of you. You will be the sheep. Everyone else is a wolf. Then we will go around and ask questions (to me) about who is the sheep. You cannot ask if it is a specific person. You can only ask yes or no questions, like, “Is their favorite color red?” “Do they have a lot of hair?” Etc. I will answer yes or no for the sheep. Play a few times so everyone has a chance to be the sheep.

– Alternate activity: Draw a sheep on paper. Glue cotton balls onto the sheep to make him fluffy.

Day Twenty-Nine: Friday: The Good Samaritan

Read Luke 10:26-37

OR

Jesus’ Great Stories: The Good Samaritan, p.176-177 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– How does this story answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

– Why was it significant that the man was a Samaritan?

– How can you be a Good Samaritan?

– Can you think of any examples of people who lived out this story in their lives?

Activity:

– Put On A Play! This is an excellent story to act out. Even better if you’re willing to get out some supplies to really wrap the injured man up. (An ace bandage, some band aides, a roll of toilet paper.) You’ll need a man, robbers, priest, Levi, Good Samaritan, and an Inn Keeper. If you have an extra person for a donkey, awesome! If you need to duplicate parts, no worries. It is just for fun!

Day Thirty: Saturday: The Woman In Adultery

Read John 8:1-11

Discussion:

– Why would they bring this woman to Jesus?

– What do you think Jesus wrote on the ground?

– Why did no one throw a stone?

– What would it mean to go and sin no more?

Activity:

– Transgressions on Stones. Sometimes we need a physical reminder to drop the guilt, the burdens that we carry. Grab a chalk marker, help the younger kids, write on stones the things you are sorry for. Write the burdens that hold you back. Now take your stones outside and drop them one by one. Once it rains, the words will be washed away. Or you can grab the hose and wash them away right now so you can see the words disappear.

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Lenten Family Devotion Week Three

This week you will need: 
Day Fourteen: ingredients for Dole Whip

Day Fifteen: Copies of the coloring page + colored pencils, crayons, markers, or watercolor paints

Day Sixteen: Flashlight

Day Seventeen: Coke, Mentos

Day Eighteen: Copies of the coloring page + coloring supplies


Day Thirteen: Monday: Love Your Enemies

Read Luke 6:27-36

OR

Jesus The Teacher, p.164-165 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Does Jesus’s command sound foolish to you?

– What would happen if Christians embraced the foolishness of the Gospel?

– Do you need to work on showing love to those you disagree with? With those who despise you? With those who curse you? With those who wish to see you fail? With those with different political opinions than you?

Activity:

– Role Playing: Sometimes it is helpful to work out scenarios and what we should do so when we encounter something similar, we know better how to respond. Keeping the words of Jesus in mind, how should the following scenarios play out?

• Your friend comes to visit. When they leave, you notice your new video game is missing. What should you do?

• A kid is talking bad about you on the playground. What should you do?

• Your brother takes your toy without asking and breaks it. What should you do?

• Your Facebook friend comments on your post about politics and calls you names. What should you do?

Make up other scenarios to fit your family and your child. Help talk them through the scenarios and what Jesus would have us do.

Day Fourteen: Tuesday: Jesus Cleanses The Temple

Read John 2:13-22

Discussion:

– Why was Jesus upset to find people selling animals and changing money in the temple?

– This passage is a fulfillment of prophesy. Why would that be important for the Jewish people? Why would it be important to us?

– Do we see people doing something similar in a modern context?

– Does Jesus sound a little bit crazy here?

– Did the passage of time make more sense out of his words?

Activity:

– Make a Whip! While my initial thought was to make an actual Indiana Jones style whip, with my crazy boys, I thought better of it. Less whelps on them all to explain later. However, there is a Pin on Pinterest for making a Paracord whip if you are feeling adventurous. We’re making Dole Whips. Because I’m a weanie. And I like food.

You’ll need 5 oz. almond milk, 5 oz. coconut milk, ½ cup pineapple juice, 2 ½ cups frozen pineapple chunks, sweetener of choice (honey for us). Blend it all in your blender. Enjoy! If you made paracord whips instead, Run!

Day Fifteen: Wednesday: Nicodemas

Read John 3:1-15

Discussion:

– Why was Nicodemas confused about being born again?

– Do you think those outside of our faith find this confusing, as well?

– How do physical things we do in our lives and church mirror eternal truths?

Activity:

– Jesus & Nicodemas Coloring Page (Remember to display the finished art with the rest of your Lenten artwork!)


Day Sixteen: Thursday: God Loves Us

Read John 3:16-21

Discussion:

– Have you ever memorized John 3:16? Have you ever looked closely at the verse that follow?

– Why would wicked people not want the light?

– Do you think it is important to let people into our lives to see what our lives really look like?

– What would you say living in the light looks like?

Activity:

– Listen to the song “Oh How He Loves Us”.

– Find the Light hide and seek. You’ll need it to be relatively dark. You can play as a group if you have smaller children. Grab a flashlight. One person turns on the flashlight and hides. The others look for that person, using the light as a guide to find them. Alternatively, you can have a flashlight show in your living room. Turn off all the lights, grab some flashlights, turn on some music about God’s love for us, and let the lights dance across the ceiling.

Day Seventeen: Friday: The Woman At The Well

Read John 4:7-30

Discussion:

– What does Jesus talking to a Samaritan show us?

– What is this living water?

– Why did the woman think Jesus was a prophet?

Activity:

– Mentos & Coke: This one is going to be messy. Grab a coke, or a Sprite if you want the water look, drop in a mento, run. Laugh. Be sticky. The kids will love seeing the “living water”!

Day Eighteen: Saturday: The Centurion’s Servant

Read Luke 7:2-10

Discussion:

– What faith did the Centurion show?

– Did he also show humility?

– Do we have faith like this? That a word can make us well? Heal our hurt? Our brokenness? Our problems?

Activity:

– Centurion Soldier Coloring Page (make sure you hang this finished work up with the rest of the Lenten art!)

Lenten Family Devotion Week Two 

Needs This Week:  
Day Seven: blindfold, cups, three drinks

Day Twelve: black construction paper, white school glue, salt, watercolor paint and paintbrushes


Day Seven : Monday: Water To Wine

Read John 2:1-11

Discussion:  

– What do you think was going through the minds of the servants as the collected the water?

– Was the wine Jesus made good?

– Why do you think Jesus told his mother, “My time has not yet come.”?

Activity:

– Taste Test Time! Gather three liquids that you drink. Please don’t get anything gross. I mean, I guess if you have a household of preteen boys, sure, that might work. You’ll also need a blindfold! Each person takes turns blindfolded and tasting the three drinks and guessing what is in the cup. Could the guests have mistaken water for wine? If you want to make it easy for younger kids, choose drinks that are more different- water, juice, milk. If you want it to be more difficult, choose similar drinks- orange juice, mango juice, grapefruit juice or Pepsi, Coke, RC Cola or cow milk, almond milk, coconut milk. Parents- participate! It is fun for kids to watch parents play, too.

Day Eight: Tuesday: Jesus Heals a Leper

Read Luke 5:12-16

Discussion:  

– What is leprosy?

– In Hebrew culture, lepers were considered unclean. It was part of the ceremonial law that Jewish people could not touch lepers. It kept them from spreading disease. Yet, here, we seek Jesus reaching out his hand and touching the unclean. Discuss the significance of that act.

Activity:

– Let’s Put On a Play! Cast the rolls in the story. Jesus, Leper, Priest. Act out the story. With younger kids, you may need to narrate as they act.

Day Nine: Wednesday: Through The Roof

Read Luke 5:17-26

Discussion: 

– What do you think the paralytic man felt when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.”?

– Why would that statement anger the church leaders?

– Which is easier, healing us of our bent nature or healing our bodies?

– Talk about the role of the paralytic man’s friends. Would the man have the ability to even get to Jesus without these people?

Activity:

– Story Time Yoga: We’re just going to move our bodies with the story. Participate or just read and instruct.

Start lying flat on your back, arms and legs extended. You’re a paralytic.

Your friends are lowering you down to Jesus. Reach both arms and legs straight up. Flail them around like you’re falling, if you wish.

You’re on the floor in front of Jesus. Lay flat on your back, arms and legs extended.

Put your hands in prayer position as you hope Jesus heals you.

Jesus says, “You’re sins are forgiven!” Touch your heart, clap your hands, shout “Yay!” But you’re still lying flat on your back.

Reach to the left with your arms as the church leaders ask “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Reach all the way to the right with your arms as Jesus answers, “Which is easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or rise and walk?”

Return your hands to prayer position.

Jesus says to you, “Rise…” you stand up in your spot.

Lean down and touch your toes. “Take up your mat.”

Stand back up and step forward with one leg. “And walk!”

Jump up and down and glorify God!

Day Ten: Thursday: Healing on The Sabbath

Read Mark 3:1-6

Discussion:  

– Have you ever thought about the laws concerning the Sabbath and how we can honor them in a modern context?

– Why do you think none of the church leaders spoke up before Jesus healed the man?

– Why would the church leaders want to destroy Jesus?

Activity:

– Pharisee May I? Game: This is similar to Mother May I, but a little different. One person is the Pharisee. Everyone tries to get from the start line, to the finish line, where the Pharisee is. They ask a question, “Pharisee May I take 4 steps toward you?” If the Pharisee answers, no one moves. If the Pharisee says nothing, take the steps. If you forget to ask the Pharisee before moving, go back to the beginning. Encourage the Pharisee to sometimes answer and sometimes not answer.

Day Eleven: Friday: The Beatitudes

Read Matthew 5:2-12

OR

Jesus The Teacher p.160-161 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Have you ever heard the word paradox? (If not, you can explain it to them.)

– What other paradoxes do we find in Scripture?

– Does this make Christianity untrue?

– Which line from the Beatitudes spoke to you most?

Activity

– Word Art: Make word art for the word Blessed. You can write it in rocks outside. You can make the word from a pile of laundry. You can write it on a piece of paper. You can make the word out of Legos. Bonus: If you can combine paradox in the art, like writing “blessed” in a mess your kids made or making it out of dirty dishes.

Day Twelve: Saturday: Salt & Light

Read Matthew 5:13-16

                       

Discussion:

– Why would salt be such an important concept in those days? (Hint: Lack of refrigeration)

– Are you a city on a hill in your community?

– Is showing your light the same as bragging about your good deeds?

Activity:

– Salt and Light Painting: You’ll need white school glue, black construction paper, salt, and watercolor paints. With the glue, make a simple drawing that represents light. It can be a lightbulb, a candle, a flame, a fire, a window, the sun- whatever light object of the child’s choice. Once you have your object drawn in glue (if you want, you can chalk draw it on the paper and then trace over it with the glue), sprinkle salt over the entire thing. Pour off excess salt. Wait a couple minutes for this to dry. Don’t want to paint in wet glue. Once it is dry, take watercolor paints. Wet your brush, mix your color, and simply touch the brush to the salt. The salt will soak up the color from the brush. Once your art is complete, allow it to dry and display it with your Lenten artwork.

Lenten Family Devotional Week One

This week, we’ll have the two days before Lent to prepare ourselves for the coming season. Technically, Lent won’t start until Day Three- Ash Wednesday. But I encourage you to go ahead and get started with the two Pre-Season devotions.

 

Needed Items for Activities—

– Day Two: party supplies (balloons, noise-makers, cake, party hats, etc.)

– Day Three: celery, peanut butter (or equivalent), raisins, honey

– Day Four: sturdy board (cardboard, poster board, etc.), blue paint, pasta, white glue (like basic school glue)

– Day Five: partially baked bakery bread OR look over the ingredients to make your own bread

Day One—Monday: Sacrifice

A common theme for Lent is sacrifice. We focus on denying ourselves, giving some comfort or happiness up for a season. After all, Christ gave himself for us; what would be too big to give in return for such sacrifice? In looking toward the “giving up” at Lent, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, when we rid ourselves of the excess in life (and we in the West have plenty of excess), we find that we have more than we need. We realize how abundantly blessed we really are, and we realize that Christ is all we really need.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.” —John 6:35 (ESV)

The second thing to keep in mind is not to draw attention to ourselves as we fast. We tend to put everything on social media and share everything. Fasting is best not done in such a way. It is one area of your life you can not put out there.

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash you face, so that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” —Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV)

Share with those in your household. Share with your accountability partner if you have one. Those things are fine. But don’t point out to the world how miserable and deprived you are for the sake of the cross. We do keep a list on our fridge during Lent of everything each person is giving up. It helps us keep one another accountable. But that is for our family, our inner circle. That is not for the world or social media.

Last year, one of my kids gave up candy for Lent. Inevitably, the child was given candy. We instructed him to take it and say, “Thank you.” He then had the option of giving it to someone else or saving it for Sunday, the day we break fast.

During this season of self-denial, let us not forget why we deny ourselves. It isn’t to be thinner or better than anyone else.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)

 

Discussion—

– What will you give up for the 40 days of Lent? Will it be a sacrifice on your part to do so?

Need ideas? Here are a few ideas of fasting for Lent:

• Soda

• Candy

• Sugar

• Caffeine

• Chocolate

• Meat

• Dairy (Chocolate milk is big in our house, so this would be a big sacrifice here.)

• Video games

• Social media (This one tends to be over-used and over-talked-about, but it might be a good fit for you.)

• TV (Also, DVRing all your shows for Sunday watching might be cheating. Think about it.)

• Hot water (It is certainly a luxury you can do without.)

• Eating out

• Make-up

• Convenience, packaged foods

• All drinks but water

• Electronic devices

• Shopping for fun (No long walks around Target, no purchasing anything but necessities…)

• Your favorite toys (For kids, this might be Legos, the trampoline, Hot Wheels, etc.)

Note what isn’t on this list. Things you shouldn’t be doing aren’t here. Why? Because you shouldn’t be doing them. Giving up fighting with your brother isn’t a sacrifice, that is something you should be working on outside of the Lenten season.

Also note, I can’t give up something I don’t currently do. I can’t give up meat, because I already don’t eat meat. So, that wouldn’t really be a sacrifice for me.

– Why would Jesus say to anoint yourself with oil and wash your face while you fast? (Parents, hint: Anointing with oil was the ancient equivalent of bathing.)

– What kind of reward could there be for fasting?

– Should we fast on Sundays through Lent? (Parents, hint: It is the day of the Resurrection. Luke 5:33-35 can also help your discussion.) Some people do fast on Sundays throughout Lent. What you decide will be up to you, but your whole family should decide before together and all stick to the plan.

 

Activity—

Decide what you will deny yourself this Lent. Even young children can participate. We all have something. (Parents, be prepared to help younger children succeed in their task.)

 

Day Two— Fat Tuesday: Devotion

Lent isn’t entirely about sacrifice. It is a time of refocusing our faith— getting back to basics, refining and resetting our priorities. It is a new beginning. That isn’t all negative. It isn’t all in the giving-up. Sometimes we need to add in some good things.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor… So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31 (ESV)

One thing I am already asking you to do is commit to doing devotions as a family throughout this Lenten season. That is already adding in some good, but there is more you could do as a family and as individuals.

You can commit yourself to doing more for your spiritual life. Read your Bible daily if you don’t already. Pray in the morning when you wake if you don’t already. Listen to uplifting Christian music on your way to work through this season, or turn the radio off entirely and spend the time in prayer. Read a good Christian book. Give the money you would have spent (on shopping or eating out) to a charity or your church. Commit to praying daily for a specific purpose: your church, a ministry, a missionary, families in your church, your community, your family, etc. You can find a million ways to add in the good along with your fasting during Lent.

Lent is a good time to forgive those who have wronged you. Look into yourself for any grudges you may be holding, and let them go. If you know you have wronged someone, go to them this Lenten season and apologize.

Commit your family to being part of your church body this Lent. I’d like to think you have this commitment all the time, but I am all too aware that isn’t the reality of the lives of most people. Weekly church attendance, participation in a small group, participation in the ministries of your church— all of these help you reorganize your priorities. If the priority in your family is anything other than Jesus, you need to tear it down and start again. Anything that keeps your family from Christ needs to go. Anything. It is the simplest, most difficult thing you will ever do, and it isn’t a task that is just done. We all need to make sure that this life isn’t getting in the way of The Life.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Discussion—

– Will we, as a family, commit to being together and doing this daily devotion through Lent?

– Will we, as a family, commit to attending church every week this Lent?

– What will you add in that is good in addition to the thing you are giving up this Lent?

– Is our focus, as a family, on Jesus? Is anything keeping us from Him?

 

Activity—

– Have a party to start this season! Bake a cake. Get balloons. This is going to be a good season for your family! Celebrate!

 

Day Three— Ash Wednesday: Preparing the Way

Read Matthew 3:1-12

OR

“John the Baptist” on p.154-155 in Jesus Calling Storybook

OR

“Heaven Breaks Through” on p.200-203 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– What does ‘repent’ mean?

– How can we prepare ourselves this Lent?

– What relationship was John to Jesus?

– Why do you think they called him John the Baptist?

 

Activity—

– John the Baptist snacks: We’ll not go so far as eating locusts, unless you happen to have a store near you that sells such things and you are feeling brave. Instead, we’ll be making ants on a log with honey! Cut some celery into shorter sticks. Fill them with peanut butter or sunbutter, whichever your family happens to use. Take raisins and place them along the “log” in the peanut butter. Drizzle with a little honey. Enjoy. Now, this is far different than what John the Baptist would have really eaten, but we can pretend.

 

Day Four— Thursday: The Baptism of Jesus

Read Matthew 3:13-17

OR

“John the Baptist” on p.154-155 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

“Heaven Breaks Through” on p.204-207 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– What do you think ‘baptism’ means? (Parents, if you’re having trouble answering this yourself, ask you pastor.)

– Why do you think John was hesitant to baptize Jesus?

– Have you been baptized? Talk about your experience. Pull out photos you might have. If your kids were baptized as babies, describe their baptisms to them, and pull out pictures or their baptism outfits to show them.

 

Activity—

– Dove Comes Down art: Today, we’re exploring the wide world of dried pasta art! Grab your white glue and pasta of choice (or multiple kinds of pasta), and let’s get started. You’ll want a base that is sturdy, like cardboard, poster board, tag board, etc. Make that blue with paint, markers, or crayons. Now, glue the pasta into the shape of a descending dove. If you need to print a template, go for it. A descending dove is the perfect shape for making pasta art because it is pretty simple. If you normally toss artwork (like I do) try to keep their Lent art for all of Lent. Find some way to display it in your home during this season to remind your family of what you’re learning.

 

Day Five— Friday: The Temptation of Jesus

Read Luke 4:1-13

OR

“Let’s Go” on p.208-209 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– Is temptation itself sin?

– Did you notice that in Jesus’ answers, he was quoting Old Testament Scripture?

– Do you think memorizing the word of God is a good way to avoid temptation?

 

Activity—

– Sneaky Snake Bread: This sneaky snake will appear again in our story. He was there in the garden, tempting the first people created to sin. He is here in this story, tempting Jesus to sin. And he’ll be hiding in the garden, hoping to see the Son of God reject the cross. The first temptation of Jesus, because he was hungry, was to turn a stone into bread. We’re making bread! If you find yourself short on time, get a partially baked baguette from the bakery. Cut slits in the bread on opposite sides and stuff the bread with whatever you want. (If you want a dessert style bread, stuff with cream cheese or mascarpone and berries. If you’d rather go for a savory loaf, try Mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. If you want to make it for lunch, stuff it with deli meat and cheese.) Then bake it until it is brown. The alternating cuts can serve to “bend” the bread a little. You can also use olives and peppers to make eyes and a snaky tongue if you’re feeling up to it.

If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to bake your own bread from scratch, follow these directions:

8 cups white flour

1 T salt

½ oz. fresh yeast

5 T room-temp milk

1 and 2/3 cups cold water

Mix the yeast and warmish milk to activate the yeast. Wait a few minutes to give the yeast some time to adjust. Add the rest of the ingredients into the warm milk and yeast mixture. Once it is combined, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. (This is enough time to give all your kids a chance to knead the dough.) Knead until it is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap for about 2 hours to let it rise. It should double. Keeping it somewhere warm will help it rise well.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down, and knead it for a minute. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes. (These rest times are the magic moments for bread. Skip them, and your bread will be sad.)

Now, you’re going to use your dough to make a snake. Take some and make small stripes. Get as creative as you’re willing to get. Basically, use the dough like Play-Doh. If you’d rather let each kid make their own smaller snake, go with that. While the snake making is going down, preheat your over to 425*. Place the snake(s) on a large baking sheet.

If you want your snakes to be lovely, I would suggest an egg and milk wash. (Whisk one egg and 1 T of milk. Brush that onto the top of the bread before baking.) It’ll make it shiny and beautiful and super-impressive-looking.

Bake your snakes until they are golden brown. Serve them as a snack or with dinner. It is up to you how you consume your snakes.

– Listen to the song A Stick, A Carrot, and A String by mewithoutYou.

 

Day Six— Saturday: Jesus Calls His Disciples

Read John 1:35-51 and Mark 2:13-17

OR

“Twelve Helpers” on p.156-159 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

“Let’s Go” on p. 210-213 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– Have you ever thought about just how crazy this all was? A stranger is coming and asking a bunch of guys to follow Him around.

– Why do you think these twelve were the chosen ones?

– Why do you think the religious officials were surprised that Jesus was spending time with tax collectors and sinners?

– What does Jesus’ response tell us about who He is?

 

Activity—

– Follow the Leader: Take turns being Jesus. Jesus says, “Follow me!” Then we follow along the way He is going. If He jumps, we jump. If He crawls, we crawl.

We Can Bless Others- Week Four

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25: 34-40 (NASB)

Think about a time when someone blessed you. I remember when I just had two little babies. I felt very overwhelmed much of the time. I’m not the most organized person, so I was rarely prepared. Well, one day, we were out and one of the babies had a huge blowout diaper. Of course, I had exactly one wet wipe on my person. I could have kicked myself. Then a complete stranger, another mom, noticed my predicament and “loaned” me her pack of wipes. That was an extremely simple gesture, but in that moment, it was such a blessing. It made that situation bearable for me. I am still grateful for those few wet wipes.

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Imagine if we all just gave a little of ourselves to one another. Imagine what a huge blessing we could be to each other.

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We often find ourselves saying, “But what can I do?” We think we do not HAVE enough to give. But think of it: You HAVE Jesus. You HAVE all that there is to give.

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We can find ways to give. We can find ways to bless others. Through acts, time, words, or things. We can be a blessing. You may not be able to feed all of the homeless people in your area, but you CAN feed one. You may not be able to clothe all of the poor, but you CAN donate your used clothing and clothe some.

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This week, let’s focus on ways we can bless others. Let’s write notes of encouragement. Let’s take food to the hungry. Let’s open our eyes and see how we can bless our world.

Discussion Questions:

  • In what ways are you a blessing to others?
  • Do you recall a time someone was an unexpected blessing to you?
  • What more could you do to bless others?

Activities:

  • Start a Family Food Drive! Decide on a budget, and go shopping for a local food pantry. You can also shop your own pantry. It doesn’t matter how MUCH you give, simply THAT you give.
  • Take on some Neighborhood Trash Duty. Take a family walk armed with a garbage bag. Pick up trash around your neighborhood. This is especially helpful on trash day ― when things might have gotten dropped on the ground. It may not seem important, but it is something you can do to show love for your neighbors.
  • Become a family of Secret Helpers. You can run this two ways. Way one: Each member of the family draws a name from a hat, and they secretly do things to try to bless that person this week. The alternative: Just let them play “Spy and Try” to secretly bless the family through the week. Either way works. They aren’t working for a Thank-You; they are trying to secretly be a blessing.

My Prayer for You:

Lord, open our eyes to the needs of those around us. Prick our hearts and let us be moved to action. Show us how we can be a blessing and give us the courage to do it. Let our hearts be burdened for others. Let us be moved to action and show others the love You so freely give. Let us be a blessing. Amen.

We Are Thankful – Week Three

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NASB)

“Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the nations, and I will sing praises to Your name.” 1 Samuel 22:50 (NASB)

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Then say, ‘Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us and deliver us from the nations, to give thanks to Your holy name, and glory in Your praise.’” 1 Chronicles 16:34-35 (NASB)

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 (NASB)

Clearly this thankful-thing is Biblical. Last week, we listed all our blessings, and for these, we should give thanks.

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Expressing gratitude can be difficult for some of us. Sometimes it is because we are not grateful because we are not focused on being content and counting our blessings.

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Sometimes it is because we aren’t sure how to adequately express our gratitude. Other times, it may be because we try to suppress our emotions, thinking only intellectualism matters. (God made your emotions and uses emotional language to express Himself to us. Your emotions are God-given and can give glory to God. Don’t always suppress them.)

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Gratitude and expressing thanks is a matter of the heart. We have to see the blessing to be thankful for it. We sometimes have to practice this to get to where it is our natural response.

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This week, let’s focus on actually giving thanks. Let’s say, “Thank You,” to God. Let’s say,  “Thank you,” to one another. Let’s learn to express our gratitude.

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Discussion Questions:

  • Do you thank God for your blessings enough?
  • Do you thank others when they are a blessing to you?
  • Do you need to work on seeing things from a grateful point of view?

Activities:

  • Think of someone you have not/did not thank for something they have done in your life. It could be a teacher, pastor, friend, family member, librarian, crossing guard, etc. Write them a Thank-You note. Be specific about what you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be long, but be specific in your thanks. For kids that are too young to write, Mom and Dad can help with the writing, and they can do the decorating!
  • Consider how a Thank-You feel, and share that feeling. Mom and Dad, tell each of your children something you are thankful to them for. (Some examples: Thank you for always being willing to help. Thank you for sweeping the porch today. Thank you for being kind to your siblings. Thank you for giving me lots of hugs and kisses.) After you tell each child, “Thank you,” discuss as a family how it feels to be told, “Thank you.”
  • Have a Thank-You Relay. You’ll need spoons and cotton balls. Give each kid a spoon. Pass the cotton ball from spoon to spoon without using hands. Remember to say, “Thank you,” when you receive the cotton ball! If you have enough people, you can split into teams. You can amp up the intricacy for older kids if you need to or keep it simple for little ones. To take things up a notch, make them spin around, jump, run, or not bend their elbows while they pass the cotton ball! Grab a spoon yourself! This is full-family fun!

My Prayer for You:

Lord, help us to give thanks, to speak from our lips what our heart fully feels. Give us the courage to give thanks out loud and often. May it be a blessing to the people around us. Amen.

We Are A Blessed Family- Week Two

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17 (NASB)

If you are reading this right now, you are blessed. We have this amazing tendency to focus on what we do not have rather than what we do have. We think it trite to be grateful for the common, but what is greater to be thankful for than the ordinary? Without the ordinary, we can have no extraordinary.

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We have life. We have one another. We are infinitely loved by our Maker. We get to experience the wonders of this world He created for us. We get to experience the range of feeling He gave to us. We are abundantly blessed.

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Take time to make a list of your blessing. I think you’ll find this list surprisingly long. Let’s keep our blessings in mind this week and think of them often. Let’s take things with gratitude, not for granted. Let’s thank God for all that He has given us.

Discussion Questions:

  • What would you say is your greatest blessing?
  • Do you count your blessings enough?
  • When you list all of your blessings, does anything on the list surprise you? Did someone else’s blessings surprise you?

Activities:

  • Make a Blessing Table Cloth. Get a light-colored table cloth that you are cool with writing on, or grab some butcher paper and use that as a temporary table cloth. (Or you could even grab some osanaburg fabric to use.) Take time during the week to write your blessings on this table cloth. Aim to fill it up by the end of the week. Alternatively, you can grab a jar and write on pieces of paper and put them in the jar. Will your “cup runneth over”?
  • Do the My-Blessings A-Z. (This is a favorite around my house.) Make a list of your blessings using the alphabet ― one blessing per letter. You could make this into a book if you want, or just a list to hang for remembering.
  • Play the “I’m thankful for…” Game: This is a fun, group memory game. The first person says, “I am thankful for…” and then they name something they are thankful for. The next person says, “I am thankful for…” and names the thing the first person said, plus adds on their own. The third person says, “I am thankful for…” and names what the first person said, names what the second person said, and then adds their own. On and on you go.
My Prayer for You:
Lord, help us see how blessed we are. Help us recognize our blessing and recognize that You are the source of our blessings. Show us how much we have. Amen.