I snapped this picture while some of our Volunteers Kids helped set up for Kids Worship during the first service. I love being a part of such an awesome group of Christ Followers.
I know parenting is crazy busy and brings lots of struggles but I would like to challenge you to take an opportunity this week to teach your kids about Grace. Do something special for your kids (give them ice cream; let them stay up 10 minutes late; etc.) and tell them that you are showing them Grace by giving them something they didn't earn and therefore don't deserve. This will go a long way in teaching what God's Grace to us looks like.
This past Sunday, several of your kids recited this Bible verse from memory. We even had a 5 year old say the verse. Please take time to learn this verse with your kids and more importantly to discuss its meaning.
Mr. Caleb taught in Kids Worship this Sunday about the importance of growing up. He used several illustrations to reference how things grow. Everything must grow (plants, animals and humans) in order to survive life. The same is true for Christians. If we don't grow in God's Grace we will eventually fall away because of our lack of spiritual maturity.
I pray that we are parents who are growing in God's Grace and teaching our kids how to do the same.
Sometimes I just really love me some me. I also like spending time with me. Every once in a while I like to treat me to dinner (more often than not it's dinner at the drive-through). I tell me that everything is going to be just fine and that me is the most important person to myself. But here's the kicker,
Life is not about ME.
Ouch. I don't like the sound of that too much. I kind of like the thought of me being my favorite person. But living for Christ means so much more than living for myself.
Who are you for?
God has given grace to humanity through the death of Jesus, who paid our sins in full with his blood. The phrase that I teach in our kids worship is, "Grace is getting something you don't deserve." There is nothing that we could have ever done to make God give us grace, but God willingly and lovingly gives grace to us freely. All we have to do is accept that beautiful gift by believing that Christ died for our sins.
Yet, Romans 12 encourages us to not stop there.
Here are several things that Romans 12 says of Christians:
- Present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God,
- Do not be conformed to this world,
- We are one body in Christ made of many members,
- Abhor what is evil: hold fast to what is good,
- Bless those who persecute you: bless and do not curse them.
This chapter is so encouraging on how we are to live for Christ, and how we are to live in love with one another. What a beautiful reminder to know that this life is not about me, but about us worshipping Him.
How does this apply to me?
Some days I get so stuck in my ways and tired of being me, but I realize that most of the time I'm living for me, and not solely for Christ. There are even times when I pray only for myself and what I need. Though this isn't wrong to do, if all I do is pray only for myself and no one else, instead of the body of Christ or for those unsaved, every time that I pray then I'm living more for me than myself really thinks. I often pray for things that I want rather than things that God knows that I need.
In Christ, we as believers should PRAY for one another and LOVE one another.
I am not for Me. I am for Christ.
Not a doubt in my mind that Restore Kidz has the best volunteers who love hanging out with the kids and pouring Christ into their lives. Anytime your kids attend Kidz Worship at Restore please take time to thank the volunteers for the time and effort they put into making worship fun for the kids.
Yesterday in Kids Worship kids learned they shouldn't worship God just on Sunday's. We read from Romans 12:1 and James 1:23 and talked about how we should live for God every single day which is also worship.
Kids learned that singing praises to God is only a small part of Worship. Worship is lived out daily through our actions which can be instrumental in pointing others to God. Kids teachers encouraged the kids to pray for others and love others. What a great lesson for kids & parents of any age. Check out the Podcast below to see what Pastor Steve has to say about Worship.
Kids memory verse, Psalm 29:2, is a great reminder of how God deserves our praise. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to teach your kids about Worship this month and we pumped to see your kids again this coming Sunday!
Two weeks ago Pastor Marc read from Matthew 6 and spoke on some reasons why we shouldn't worry. I wanted to write on this topic last week, but I needed to do some soul searching of my own before I could express my thinking about not worrying. Since then I've been asking myself this one question everyday for the last two weeks, What is beneficial to Christ's kingdom? Before I answer that question, and yes it is relevant to not worrying, let's take a look at Matthew 6:25-34 and three ways to keep ourselves from worrying.
Look around at what God has done
This world from the beginning of time has been God's canvas. Many times he adds to it, other times he takes away. Yet, in the end, it is ultimately His beautiful creation. He created this world for us. Jesus says that our Father in heaven takes care of feeding the birds, clothing the lilies of the field, and ends by saying that if God takes care of these things he will much more take care of us, for we are created in His image. This world that He created is just one expression of His love for us.
Look to Eternal priorities, rather than Earthly priorities
"I REALLY want that new car." "I NEED that new phone." "I HAVE to have the new (insert)." Don't get me wrong, these things aren't inherently bad, but they are still THINGS. We shouldn't put THINGS over God's kingdom.
Matt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
At the end of each day what do you want most? Are you wanting to serve Christ or are you wanting to serve yourself?
Be present and don't worry about tomorrow
Somedays we spend our time wanting to escape from today, wishing for tomorrow to come. Other days we spend our time anxiously waiting for the problems of tomorrow to come. But what if we used today to the best of our ability? What if we asked God to give us wisdom in our decisions today? He is a God who is in the NOW. He has been and forever will be, and He continues to work today.
Who can you encourage today? Who can you show love to today? Who can you pray for today?
What is beneficial to Christ's kingdom?
I told you that we'd come back to this didn't I? One of my favorite chapters in the New Testament is Philippians 4 and I always find myself going back to this book so often because of it's encouragement to live out Christianity. The verses that stick out most to me in this chapter are verses 8-9.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me - practice these tings, and the God of peace will be with you."
So my answer is this: everyday we should be seeking to do whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.
God will give wisdom to those that ask of Him, and He will reveal to you what these good things are each and every day.
The beauty of the book of Acts in the New Testament is that for the first time we see the church learning to live for Christ after Christ had ascended into Heaven. As terrifying as that may have been for them Christ commanded them, before he ascended, to go and teach all nations of what he had done.
And they did just that.
They grew in number, they gathered in fellowship as believers, and they encouraged one another daily. Persecution would soon follow, but they held fast to their belief in Christ.
So, how did they do it?
What should we do?
In Acts 2 we read that people from all walks of life that began to follow Christ now mingled with one another like never before. Many people repented of their sins and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, they sat down to eat with one another, and they sold their possessions and gave generously to any person that was in need.
No, I don't mean you need to sell all that you have.
However, we should seek to be generous with what we do have. Being generous for some may surely be with their treasure, but for others it might be their time.
Be generous in giving your time to encourage others to live for Christ. As part of the church we are to gather in fellowship to exhort and build one another up, encouraging one another.
ask god for courage
In Acts 4 we read about the growing persecution the church faces after Christ has ascended. Peter and John had just finished healing a man and teaching a crowd in Jesus' name. Because of this, the Jewish leaders came and arrested them and threatened them to stop teaching in Jesus' name. Since the Sadducees could find no fault in them Peter and John were released. Once Peter and John gathered with other believers they prayed for God to give them boldness to speak God's word.
They could've stopped right there... but they didn't.
God is our Creator, He is our Provider, and He is our Healer.
When we are discouraged and struggling, we as believers should come together and pray for God to give us courage to speak His word.
Who can you encourage this week?
What will you do to make a difference?
With the "Blizzard of 2017" it seems like forever since we have gotten to hang out with your awesome kids! Just want to give a quick update of what Mr. Caleb started teaching on January 1 so your kids will be ready when they return this Sunday.
Mr. Caleb did a fantastic job of introducing this new Element in Kids Worship. He took time to share how everything we do can be a form of worship to our God. Whether the kids are attending school, hanging out at home or even playing sports they can still honor and glorify God.
How often, as parents, do we teach our kids through our actions that other things come before God? Over the past days of school cancellation we have spent a lot of time together as a family. We have played in the snow, watched movies, played board games and video games, as well as watched the College Football National Championship (what a game). Though all of this extra time together I wonder what my kids have learned about Worship. We, the parents, are the ultimate teachers of what it means to Worship God.
I think you will get a kick out of going through this memory verse with your kiddos. They made up motions to go with the words to help them learn God's this verse. In order to help your kids be more prepared for this Sunday will you take time to review this verse with them? Maybe even try to learn it with them.
This Podcast is created by the writer of our curriculum directed to parents. This Podcast is made so we, the parents, can be un to date with what our kids are learning in Kidz Worship.
This month in Jr Church we are learning that Jesus is the Son of God. I already know what you are thinking... "What a fitting topic since Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Thats why you are the greatest parents ever!
This week in Kids Worship we learned about Lazarus. Even though Lazarus was dead and in the tomb for four days, Jesus still brought him back to life. How awesome that God loved us each so much that He sent His son to die for us. And He didn't stay dead! Jesus resurrected from the grave and is alive today!
Please take time to help your kids memorize the verse for the month. The best way for our kids to be excited about learning the verse is to see parents learning the verse. #challengeaccepted.
Check out the Podcast below to know exactly what your kids have been learning in Kids Worship.
This coming Sunday, the 18th, will be our Kids Christmas party. Please dress your kids or allow your kids to dress in a Christmas shirt or sweater. Homemade shirts and sweaters are strongly encouraged. We will have an abbreviated lesson followed by games, crafts, snacks, drinks and gifts. Parents don't need to provide anything more than transportation to 206 High St.
Learning something new
On our set up team we have a wide array of volunteers that come in and have different areas to set up before our service on Sundays. Everything that you see at 10:30 had to be set up so that we could have service, and all of it has to be packed up after service. No one person does it all. We work together in a rotation of roughly 30 people each Sunday that come in at different times from 8:30-9:45 a.m. When someone has a question on how to set up their area there will always be someone to help give an answer.
In many ways being on the set up team is like living out Christianity. No one person does it all. All of us have questions, but we do our best to work with each other in answering those questions. We guide and lift up each other to do better in living for Christ. This is community, and this is Christianity together in one.
Are you ready to serve?
We are always looking for new ways to get our people at Restore involved with serving on Sundays and throughout the week as well. Would you like to get involved with our Set Up team or our other serving opportunities? Click the link below to get started - http://www.restoreportsmouth.com/life-track/
1. Invite someone to your family gathering
I grew up in Hampton Roads, an area with a well-known military presence. Our extended family always made it a habit to invite anyone to Thanksgiving who couldn't make it home to their own family Thanksgiving. Through the years I've enjoyed turkey with many service-members, military spouses who were alone while their spouses were deployed, and anyone else who just happened to be away from home. Maybe you have a seat at your table. Make sure everyone has somewhere to gather this Thanksgiving, even if they can't make it home. I know a few families at Restore that have opened their home to individuals this Thanksgiving. My family will have a few joining us. Let's make sure everyone has a great meal with someone that cares about them this Thursday.
2. Donate your unopened canned goods
I know Restore Church just wrapped up a food drive, but it never hurts to donate more food to the food banks in our area. Be sure to keep track of any extra canned good you didn't need for that big meal Thursday. You never know how much difference a donation can make to the food bank. I've told the story before about how food banks were a real life saver for my mom when she was a single parent scraping by in the 1990s. Be thankful. Be generous. If you missed the food drive this month, don't worry. We will be accepting non-persiahbles Sunday for the local food bank.
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.