Category Archives: Devotional

Family Devotional – Worship

By Teresa Sayles, Children’s Ministry Creative Arts Director

Woodland Hills Church

The thousands of athletes competing in the Olympics this summer have had to do a lot of work to get there. And they each have a lot to be thankful for. Many of them would say a big reason they are even at the games is because of the support and encouragement of friends and family as well as coaches and fellow athletes. Although they may win a gold medal seemingly all on their own, that medal really belongs to many who helped that athlete get to the podium.

If an athlete has a lot to be thankful for, then we who know the love of God have a whole lot more we can be thankful about! We know that God’s love for us is never-ending and never-changing – He loves us no matter what! We know that God is always with us and never leaves us, even when things are sad or scary. And we know that Jesus died and rose from the dead so that our broken relationship with God could be fixed and we could be with Him forever! And, on top of all that, God continues to bless us with family and friends and countless other things each day. We really do have A LOT to be thankful for!

Explain to your kids that God doesn’t want us to worship Him because it’s “what we’re supposed to do.” He wants us to worship Him because we love Him so much and realize how He has blessed us and helped us each day! Read Mark 12:28-34 together and point out that in verse 33, the man Jesus is speaking with says that loving God and others is better than giving offerings and sacrifices, the way they were used to worshipping God in those days, and that Jesus agrees with the man, saying that he is wise to say so. The man and Jesus were both saying that God doesn’t care how we worship – What he cares about is why we worship! He wants us to worship because we love Him SO MUCH!

As a family, spend some time worshipping God in unique and fun ways this week. Perhaps you put on some worship music or find some worship videos online and sing and dance together. Maybe you go for a walk on a nice day and praise God for all the cool and beautiful things in nature that you can see. You could create a mural or different works of art showing things that each member of the family is thankful for, or you could choose to show your worship through serving others in your neighborhood or community together as a family.

You can also download this coloring page for your kids to decorate as they think of ways they can worship God this week.

Goodness Devotional and Resources for Tough Family Discussions

A Note to Our Parents: We are including this week’s devotional on the spiritual fruit of Goodness in this blog post, which you will find near the end. First, however, we realize it’s been a tough summer with the various events and violence in the United States, and this past week, one of those events was very close to home. You as parents may be concerned and looking for simple ways to talk to your kids about current events. We have come up with a few related Biblical resources and themes that you can use to engage and talk with your kids at whatever level you deem best. We highly recommend you take the time to listen to Greg’s sermon – Philando and Jeronimo – from this past weekend if you haven’t already for a Kingdom perspective.

We would encourage you to talk to your kids about who Jesus is, how he loves unconditionally, and how he showed his love for all throughout his time here on earth. Good Bible passages that illustrate Jesus showing love to everyone would be Matthew 6:43-48 (Loving Your Enemies), Matthew 8:5-13 (Jesus and the Roman Centurion), Matthew 9:18-26 (Jesus Heals a Sick Woman), Luke 19:1-9 (Jesus and Zacchaeus), John 4:4-30 (Jesus and the Samaritan Woman), and John 11:1-44 (Jesus Raises Lazarus) along with any of the accounts of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection. For a family devotional on Kingdom love and kindness, check out our blog post from June 15th.

Identity is key to helping us know how to react in situations, and it may be helpful for your family to talk about what it means to be a child of God and a follower of Christ. One passage you may want to check out that deals with our identity in Christ would be 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, “So from now on we don’t look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don’t anymore. When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ. God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people’s sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him. So we are Christ’s official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God! Christ didn’t have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.” Other identity passages include Galatians 3:26-29 (All One in Christ), 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (Parts of One Body), and 1 John 3:1-3 (Children of God).

Jesus also came to bring peace, and as his followers, we are called to live out that same peace with everyone. On this topic, you may want to read together 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers and sisters, be joyful! Work to make things right with one another. Help one another and agree with one another. Live in peace. And the God who gives love and peace will be with you.” Other helpful verses on this topic are Romans 12:17-18 and James 3:17-18. For a family devotional on this topic, check out our blog post from June 23rd.

If you find your kids are feeling fearful or worried with any of the topics you raise or other things they may hear, we would recommend taking time as a family to pray together and to reaffirm the love and power of Jesus by checking out stories and verses such as Isaiah 41:10 (God is with You), Mark 4:35-41 (Jesus Calms the Storm), Luke 12:22-34 (Do Not Worry), and John 10:1-18 (Jesus as the Good Shepherd).

If your children are old enough, you may also want to look at Ephesians 6:18, “At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” As the book of James reminds us, our prayers are powerful and effective, and we encourage your family to pray through all of this together and keep Jesus and his love your focus.

 

This Week’s Family Devotional on Goodness:

At first glance, “goodness” may seem like it’s about following rules and being “good.” But when Paul was listing the fruits of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians (5: 22), he meant a goodness of generosity. This generosity is about sharing everything you have and you are with others. So whether it’s your time, your money, your talents, or your love, God calls us to be generous and put the needs of others before ourselves.

Read Romans 12:10, 1 Corinthians 10:24, and Philippians 2:3-4 together and talk about what it might look like for your family members to love others unconditionally and put their needs above your own. Encourage them to specifically think of people whom they may find it difficult to love and have them pray about ways they can show God’s love to them and believe the best about them no matter what.

Brainstorm together some ideas and ways in which your family and its individual members can show love to others and put them first. Some suggestions might be drawing pictures for a neighbor, making cookies for a community event, volunteering at a food shelf, or other random acts of kindness. Encourage them to also think of ways they can show generous love to people all over the world, whether that’s through prayer, raising donations for a non-profit, or befriending a child in his/her class that seems to be having a rough time.

Family Devotional – Love and Kindness

This summer, we’re excited to have two different lesson units for the Preschool-Elementary kids on Sunday mornings! June 5-26 and July 10-24, we will be doing a Dr. Seuss-inspired unit on the Fruits of the Spirit, and August 7-21, we will be learning about interacting with God and the Holy Spirit through prayer, worship, and the Bible, all with an Olympics theme! Each of these lesson weeks, our staff will bring you a devotional idea you can use with your kids to help them take what they just learned on Sunday morning and integrate it into their daily lives.

By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

The word love is used so often these days that it can get confusing. “I love this TV show!” for example. Can you really love a TV show? What does love mean? What does God think love looks like? This past week, we talked about love and kindness in Heroes Gate and how we are to love God and others.

Read together: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

(The Message)

Question’s for conversation starters with your family:

  1. Can you think of a time when you felt very loved or someone showed kindness to you? How did that make you feel?
  2. Can you think of people you would like to show kindness and love to?
  3. Can you think of someone that it is a little harder to be kind and loving toward? How can you try to show them God’s love?
  4. Have you ever felt loved by God?

Prayer time – Pray for God’s help and God’s guidance as you try to show others His love. Ask for His help and opportunities to show love even when it’s not easy.