Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Together

In this week’s biblical principle, we learn that friends worship God together (Hebrews 10:25; Colossians 3:16). The early believers would meet in each other’s homes to worship God. They would sing praise songs, learn of Jesus’ teachings, and look for ways to help each other.

This habit of the early church was the foundation of Small Groups today. When we meet with our Small Groups, we worship God with our friends. Our Bottom Line is: friends worship with one another. So it is important for us to gather with our Small Groups on a regular basis.
The monthly memory verse is: A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” (Proverbs 17:17 NIrV) We can worship God with our friends at all times, not just at church. Maybe you and your friends can help someone in your neighborhood or start a band that honors God with your songs. Worshiping God is always a great thing to do with your friends.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Together

In this week’s biblical principle, Paul teaches the Galatians to serve each other (Galatians 5:13b). He instructs the believers to use their new God-given freedom to care for the poor, widows, orphans, and others in need.

Our Bottom Line is: friends serve one another. When we get to spend time with our friends, we can serve them by thinking about what they would like to do, eating snacks they would like to eat, and looking for ways to help them.

The monthly memory verse is: A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” (Proverbs 17:17, NIrV) The reason we look for ways to serve our friends is because we love them. Jesus showed us that loving our friends means serving them any time we get the chance. And many times, we can add new friends by serving people we might not consider to be our best friends.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tips for Helping Kids Survive Tragedy

When tragedy strikes, children respond in a variety of different ways. If your child has experienced any sort of loss, it’s important to help that child through the grieving process. True, there’s a big difference between being jilted by a boyfriend or girlfriend and sorting out feelings after a school shooting or a terrorist attack. But the process itself remains fairly consistent.
1. Allow your children to acknowledge the crisis. This may not take very long – or it may go on for weeks, depending on the event. But the first step in helping a child work through the grieving process is to encourage them to admit there’s a reason for grieving. This may be a bit unsettling to some kids. They like a sense of consistency and order in their lives. Help them to take ownership of the change.

2. Shelter your kids from graphic video and pictures. In our "24/7 live" news coverage from around the world, be aware that the graphic, often disturbing video and pictures - don't have to be part of conveying the "news" of what's happening to your children. My advice is that when tragic events occur – especially in the immediate aftermath – keep the television news programs off when your kids are around.

3. Give them the opportunity to respond to how they feel about the change. Kids are very creative in finding ways to express pain and grief. Encourage the use of the arts and music in particular. A poem about the event or how they feel about the aftermath can let the healing begin to flow in the life of a young person who can’t really put into words what’s happening in the hearts at that moment.

4. Reassure your kids - as best you can. Since we don't have control over natural disasters, or senseless acts of terror and violence, as parents, we shouldn't promise a child that we will protect them from any harm that such an event may bring. Our job here is to reassure them as best we can. If kids are worried about being caught up in a tragic event, we can tell them how unlikely it is to happen. And, of course, we can tell them, "Mom and Dad will do everything we can to always make sure you are safe from harm."

5. Don’t underestimate your kids’ spiritual depth. If you’ve ever wondered about what your children think about God or faith in Christ, you’ll probably find out in the wake of a crisis or trauma. Be prepared for questions about life and beyond you may never have heard from your child before. Kids really do want to talk about theological issues. Sometimes it takes a crisis to bring those questions to the forefront. Be ready—and don’t be surprised!

6. Do get the help they need. If you don’t have the answers to their questions, find someone who does. Be the grown-up and get the information. Put your pride on the shelf if you must. Your own self-esteem won’t be worth too much if it costs you credibility with your own child.

7. Give your kids something tangible to hold on to. My good friends John and Becky Hart serve a church in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Their church is literally within eyeshot of what used to be the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. They saw and heard the 9/11 attacks from their neighborhood, and lost a couple of church members in the attacks. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Becky noticed the comfort her own daughter found in a small anchor she had given her. It served as a symbol that her faith in Jesus Christ was her anchor in the midst of the storm that resulted because of the terrorist actions. Crosses, doves, anchors and eagles all serve to remind us that we have a Friend like no other who will never leave us in times of trouble.

Remember the hope that lies in each one of us who believe in Jesus Christ and trust in His Name. Your kids will feel better about surviving a crisis when they see the confidence of God in you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Write Stuff

In RiverKidz yesterday, our biblical principle comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:11a. Paul wrote these words to instruct his friends in Thessalonica to give each other hope, even though they faced persecution for their belief in Jesus.

Our Bottom Line or our main point is: Friends encourage one another. It’s important for friends to encourage each other with positive words; to cheer each other on when we’re tired or hurt.

Our memory verse is -->
“A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” Proverbs 17:17, NIrV

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stuck Like Glue

At Jesus’ final meal, He spoke with His disciples about what it meant to have a lasting friendship with Him. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, NIV)

Days later, Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross to take the punishment for our sins, setting the example for ultimate friendship. But Jesus demonstrated friendship throughout His life. He walked alongside His friends. He helped their hurts. He never shied away from discussing important topics. He surprised them with acts of service.

Friendship is spending time with someone you trust and enjoy. Just as Jesus spent time with His friends so they could get to know Him better, we can build trust and have fun with our friends as we spend time with them.

But we often take friendship for granted. We have friend requests on Facebook and conversations through email that make us feel hyper-connected with anyone on the other side of the Internet connection. However, real friends are Stuck Like Glue and won’t let go when times get tough.
The monthly memory verse is: A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.” (Proverbs 17:17 NIrV). Everyone needs encouragement, especially in tough times. A friend will be ready with helpful words and simple actions to strengthen his friends.

In Week One’s Bible story, Paul writes to the believers in Rome teaching them about accepting one another (Romans 14:13; 15:7; Acts 9). Our Bottom Line is: Friends accept one another. Even if someone has different interests than us, has a different background, or makes a bad choice, we can still accept and help them.