Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fantasy or Real Heroes

It is easy to understand the attraction to “Superman” or “Wonder Woman” for who wouldn’t want to be able to leap over tall buildings or vanquish bad guys. The movies create the fantasy that if only we had these “super powers” our life would be so much better.

Even adults are pulled into the fantasy world of the “Super Mom” who can effortlessly work a full time job, whip up a gourmet meal for 10 guests in a spotless home, while teaching her children advanced math, train for her next marathon run, and finish her second graduate degree. Sounds too good to be true, but for many moms they feel guilty and frustrated that they can’t be more like our society’s version of the self made “Super Mom”.

They have traded a fantasy hero for the real hero, the mom that God created to trust in Him for strength, not rely on her own self will to take control of life’s challenges! It is only through God that we are transformed from the ordinary into the majestic “He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body.” Philippians 3:21 Are you ready for God to use your life experiences for His purposes and be transformed into the majestic hero He created you to be?

Our young children also find it hard to separate fantasy from God’s truth, when it comes to “Super Heroes”. In the Cove Kids Preschool lesson for this weekend, your child will learn that “God is the One, True God”. He is not a pretend hero like Superman or Wonder Woman. Your child will learn about God’s awesome power and faithfulness in the story of Elijah and the Fire from Heaven. The story can be found in 1Kings 18:1-39.

In this Bible story, Elijah loved God and obeyed His commands; for he knew God was the biggest, strongest, one and only God. Elijah lived in a land where many people worshipped a fake god named Baal. Elijah trusted God and knew He could always count on God. He bravely challenged the Baal worshippers to ask their fake god Baal to bring down fire from heaven to burn up wood. Only the one true God could do that. Hundreds of Baal worshippers prayed and prayed but to no success. Elijah prayed and God was faithful in sending down fire that not only burned the wood but all the rocks around the fire pit.

Elijah was courageous to stand up to the King and many worshippers of Baal, for Elijah knew God’s word “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid.” Deuteronomy 31:6 This is the memory verse your child will learn throughout this month. To help your child learn this verse, they will receive a magnetic memory verse card to take home and practice.

Throughout this month your child will be in small fellowship groups learning through games, crafts, making snacks, and applying Bible truths. You may hear your child say “I was a Super Hero by helping, by sharing, by doing the right thing.” Parents will receive a colorful Super Hero Challenge Sheet which will help your child to learn real heroes are those who love God and love others. Each time you see your child being a Sharing Hero, Good Friend Hero, or Helping Hero please draw a star next to that hero picture. This will help your child apply the Bible truths that God loves us and He wants us to show love to others. Those who do this are the real heroes! We can trust in God’s power and strength! We know that we can always count on God!

Carolyn Hillegeist
Early Childhood Coordinator

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

God Invites Me to Follow Him

When I say the words Silly Bands what comes to mind? For me it was running around trying to find these crazy shaped bands that went on the wrist. Of course every store was sold out of them at the time and they were no where to be found. They were flying off the shelf like hotcakes. My child just had to have them because everyone else did. It was the latest greatest thing. He was following a trend. Now where ever I go it seems like every store and gas station has them. Are they still as popular as they once were?

Raise your hand if you have ever followed the latest greatest tend? Maybe for you it was bell-bottoms or leg warmers or the denim jean jacket. Maybe a cool hairstyle? We all make decisions about what we will or will not follow.

This week we will learn that God provided us with salvation and

forgiveness through His Son Jesus. God wants us to follow Him through Jesus. Our bible story is from Joshua 24:1-18. Joshua made it clear to the Israelites that they had a choice to make. Joshua knew that God gives us a choice. We choose who or what we want to follow in life. We all have that same problem sin which separates us from God. God sent his one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins. It is up to us whether or not we take that next step to follow him. Unlike a trend or fad he will always be there for us and he will never fade away.

"But as for me and my family we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:1-18

By Tera Buskirk
K-2nd Grade Coordinator

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Patient Heart

As a child I remember how very difficult it was to wait patiently for my birthday, Christmas, our vacation, or even my turn to play a game. It seemed like an eternity to me.

Even today as an adult I am caught up in the “instantaneous” generation. I find myself impatient with my computer, my microwave, instant replays, and so on. Can you relate? Unfortunately with all the technological advances we seem to becoming more and more impatient with life. Then we wonder, why can’t our children just be patient?

In this weekend’s Bible lesson your child will learn “I Will Be Patient”. This is the last lesson in our series TEN HUT, which focuses on the life of David. Your child will learn that David wanted to thank God for all He had given him. David wanted to build a very special temple for God. God told David he would not build the temple. David would have to patiently wait until his son Solomon was born, as he would build the great temple. While David waited for Solomon to grow up, he gathered wood, stone, and other things to use in the building of the temple. Waiting patiently is the right thing to do even if it is difficult. This makes God very happy as it shows God we have faith and trust in His plans and His promises!

You can help your child to learn to be patient by sharing a story about how you waited patiently for something-trusting and believing in God’s promises! You can help your child to remember a time when they waited patiently for something.

When I begin to lose my patience with others I remember how patient God is with me. As His word says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3: 8-9

Our awesome God is so patient with us and He wants us to learn to be patient with others and with circumstances in our lives. We can help our children to be patient by modeling patience in our lives.

Carolyn Hillegeist
Early Childhood Coordinator

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Promise Keeper

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." -2 Corinthians 1:20-22

It's one thing to make a promise, but it's another thing to KEEP one. God is flawless, and all of His promises are sure! He is not a liar, He doesn't forget His promises, and He loves to bless His children! When He makes a promise to us, He's telling us that it's going to happen… we just need to believe Him for it!

In looking towards the ending of the journey into the Promised Land, God's promise seemed unreal to the Israelites. There were huge giants living in the land. The people of Israel looked like grasshoppers compared to them! How were they going to take over this "promised land?" But God promised them victory, if they would believe Him for it. It's significant that those who BELIEVED God for His promise (Joshua & Caleb) delivered the rest of the people into the land.

We receive what we believe! What promises has God made to you? The Bible is chock full of them! Our God is the God who not only parted the sea, but created it. He's the one who thought up the idea of the sun, invented the cell, and so intricately fashioned our bodies together. He's the one who made the concept of relationship, and the Way (through Christ) to have it with Him! Our God is Great, and He can do far more than all we can imagine!!! All of His promises are a "YES!" Do you believe that today?

Talk to God this week about His promises. Thank Him for the ones you've seen Him fulfill in the past! In fact, write them down so you can look back on His faithfulness. He keeps His Word, from generation to generation. Commit to boldly believe God for all the wonderful promises He's made to you! Claim His truth for your life! Share one of God's promises with someone this week, and watch to see His word come into full fruition!

A Thankful Heart

The Thankful Heart

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I must admit I sometimes don’t exhibit a thankful heart. I don’t think about all the blessings that God has given me. Not just material things, but the blessings of friends and family who encourage me and lift me up in difficult times. A recent illness in my family brought me closer to the brothers and sisters in Christ who prayed for our family. I thank God for their fellowship and for demonstrating God’s love to our family!

This weekend your preschooler will grow in their understanding of thanking God for who He is. He not only blesses us with food, clothing, shelter, but He puts in our lives others who love and care for us. Your child will learn the key verse “I Will Thank God!”, as they continue to learn about King David. David thanked God in songs and praises throughout his life in good times and bad.

David wrote in Psalms 100 “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgivings and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”

You can help your child to appreciate all that God has given by taking a walk and having you child point out things that God has made for us. (sunset, flowers, birds, water, air, plants, etc). Share with your child things that you thank God for (family, brothers & sisters in Christ, the Cove, pastors, God’s word, etc.) Can you thank God for the bad times as He helps you grow into the person who He can use for His Kingdom?

In all things we should thank God for His mercy, His love, for our salvation through His son Jesus Christ!!

Carolyn Hillegeist
Early Childhood Coordinator

Thursday, September 9, 2010

God Hears My Prayers

Is there anyone out there who loves dropped calls? Failed text messages? Emails that won’t send?  Well, I sure don’t. In fact, I rather DISLIKE when that happens. For two reasons: One, it shows my incompetence of electronics (I see you smiling), and Two, it means that whatever I was trying to communicate, didn’t get through. It can be very frustrating, or even worrisome, when we can’t communicate our point. It puts an uncertainty in us that shouldn’t be there: “am I being heard?”

The cool thing is when you are talking to God, that answer is always an emphatic “YES!!” There are many places in God’s Word that remind us of this. Here are just a few:

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”
– Psalm 34:17

“I LOVE the Lord, because He has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.” – Psalm 116:1-2

“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.” 1 John 5: 14-15

God always hears our prayers. Where ever. When ever. And as our story for this week shows, that was a good thing for Joshua.

Joshua had led the Israelites into the Promised Land. He had also, with God’s help, led them to victory over both Jericho and Ai now. News of this spread like wild fire, and soon a coalition of rulers formed against Joshua and his army. Now, there was one town, greater than Ai, called Gibeon. The Gibeonites feared Israel, but instead of fighting, they tricked the Israelites into signing a peace treaty with them. When the royal coalition of kings found out, they were, in a word……upset. So they gathered all of their men (that’s FIVE kingdoms worth for those playing at home), and headed towards Gibeon. When Gibeon was found out about this impending invasion, they sent word to…..guess who? That’s right, Joshua. Although, I’m sure, Joshua cringed at the news, he knew what he had to do. He had to be true to his word (an admirable trait). Joshua gathered all his fighting men and marched all night to help Gibeon. During the march Joshua heard God say to him: “Do not be afraid of them, for I have given them into your hands. Not one will withstand you.” That must have been a relief! When Joshua and the Israelites arrived in the morning, they took the other armies by surprise. The other kingdoms were thrown into confusion, and Joshua capitalized. But even after a whole day of fighting, not all of the armies were defeated yet. Fearing they might escape, Joshua asked God for something huge! He prayed for the Sun to STAND STILL where it was, so there would be more daylight hours to finish the battle. The only thing more absurd than his request, was God’s answer. God heard Joshua’s prayer….and granted it! The earth stopped rotating, and the daylight was extended far longer than usual. Joshua finished the battle in victory.

God hears all of our prayers and requests. Even the ones we don’t verbally say. He reads our body language, interprets our tears, and understands our sighs. And no, he doesn’t always answer us with a yes. I’m sure we can all think of a time when the answer was “NO.” Or even “wait!” But the majesty is this, that He always hears us, and always answers us with and in Love! (And let’s be honest, you can think of a time when He said no and you realized it was for the best, which is what He wants for us). We may not always be heard by those we text, call, or email, but we can KNOW that we’re ALWAYS heard when we pray to God. And that’s something to talk about : )

Nathan Zaso
Cove Kids

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What is Happiness? Preview of CKC Lesson # 5 for Preschool Children

"To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness,.." Ecc.2:26

Do you remember a time when you were a child that you dreamed of getting something that would make you happy? I remember telling my parents that "if I only had a Betsy Wetsy Doll" I would be so happy. Then my birthday came and I got my dream doll! Well, I was so happy, until I learned that it leaked all over my new dress and then later it stopped wetting altogether! I learned "happiness" was very short lived and dependent on the circumstances and my emotions. Throughout my life experiences I learned "my efforts to find happiness apart from God were meaningless" just as Solomon the wisest man discovered. But when we place our faith and trust in God we will find everlasting happiness.

In this weekend's Bible lesson your child will learn that David was happy in good times and bad times, because he knew God loved him. David's life reflected his love of God, his faith and trust in a God who would never leave nor forsake him. God blessed David with His power to accomplish much in good times and in trials. The Bible story in found in 2 Samuel 5:1-4 & 7:8-9 and Psalms 57:7-10. Throughout the Psalms David proclaimed God’s faithfulness and God’s blessings.

Your child will discover through crafts, games, and the Bible story that as children of God we can be happy no matter what our circumstances or emotions, because we know we have a God who loves us. Your child will learn that God so loved us that He sent His son, Jesus, to take our punishment for our sins. We are saved and blessed because of God's mercy and His love for us. The key verse your child will learn is "I Will Be Happy Because God Loves Me".

You can help your children to realize how "blessed with happiness" they are by asking them to share with you all the blessings God has given them ( wonderful parents to take care of them, a home, food, great outdoors, fun things to do with friends, a great church to learn about God, etc.) You also can share with your child some of the blessings God has given you!

Help them remember a bad time like an injury or sickness or moving or loss of someone; that even in the bad times God blessed them with good doctors to care for them, healing, new friends, or comfort for losses.

As parents we want to shield our children from the trials of life, but God wants us to teach our children that He is our hope, our joy in all circumstances! So by sharing with your child a time when you were able to go through a difficult time because you knew God loved you and would always be with you, you will help your child to grow in trust and faith in our eternal God.

In Christ's love,
Carolyn Hillegeist
Early Childhood Coordinator