Christmas Day Family Activity

Set the tone for gift opening this year.  Take time this Christmas to remember Christ’s birth before you open presents.  This activity combines the Christmas story with personal family memories that will help your family count your blessings and better appreciate gifts.

Just download the sheet below.  Print it out and give family members different parts to read.  It will help if they know in advance.

Christmas Blessings Family Activity

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Discuss it: God shows mercy to misfits

Youth Sunday School on Nov. 11 is about God’s mercy to Jacob, who was quite the trickster.  It is amazing that God still shows mercy to misfits and includes them – us – in his plans to build his kingdom.

Discuss with your teen or pre-teen the short cuts Jacob attempted to get the blessing he desired.  Here’s a sheet to guide that discussion.

Hatfields and McCoys

One of my current pleasure reads at home is Dean King’s The Feud:  The Hatfields & McCoys: The True Story.  I say “pleasure” read, but it’s kinda depressing.  The bitterness continues a vicious cycle over and over, spilling into murders, interstate legal battles, and revenge leftover from the Civil War.

Our topic Sunday is forgiveness.  While we are unlikely to get into the same pattern as America’s most infamous feudists, we are still prone to similar types of unforgiving spirits that reflect the same human tendency.  It is much subtler but just as pervasive; it leads to cliques, ostracizing, and foolish Facebook posts.  This discussion sheet will help you make a family discussion about forgiveness.  It affects not only our relationship with others but also our relationship with God.  And a forgiving person reflects the forgiving nature of our heavenly Father.

Help your teen through the storm

Want to connect on a deeper level with your teen?  Download this sheet and talk about life’s storms with them.  We all go through storms.  It’s those who are prepared who can stand strong through a storm.  Jesus taught His disciples a powerful lesson as he calmed a terrifying storm:  He is in control.

I have been impressed with these devotional handouts.  They are interactive, easy to follow, and they go hand in hand with our Sunday School lessons.  Better still, when you use them, you’ll often get to go deeper with your teen.  Let me know what you think.

They’ll put their trust SOMEWHERE!

Psalm 78:1-8 reminds us just how crucial it is to tell the next generation about God and what He has done.  We do it so that the next generation will put their trust in God.  The lesson:  Students WILL put their trust SOMEWHERE!  It is up to the previous generation to ensure they know to put that trust in the right source.
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Brain-sweating Wisdom

Our youth series right now is called Brainsweat, and it’s all about wisdom – something God created and something we need.  You have two great opportunities to bring up this subject with your teens.  The first has great discussions about guarding your heart (and an example from the ’88 Olympics); the second contrasts the different types of wisdom that we find in the world…do you want your teens following worldly wisdom or godly wisdom?  How to you train them in this?

Great discussion questions are on these sheets.  Be sure to take advantage of them!

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Socrates and Skiing

What do Socrates and skiing have in common?  You’ll have to find out!  The common link is wisdom, something the youth will be studying over the next four weeks.  You’ve got two discussion sheets this week.  Pick one and talk about it with your youth this week.

Brainsweat_LS1_family

Brainsweat_LS2_family

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Learn to be a misfit

This Sunday we begin a new series called Misfits.  As Christians, we should be in the world but not of it, so it is natural to be a bit of a misfit.  You have two discussion opportunities for your student this week.  One of them is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was a real German misfit during WWII.  If you look at the other, you’ll learn the cloudiest city in America in 2008 – without even needing to purchase a Snapple drink!

Either way, take advantage of two opportunities to have a faith conversation with your student.  Do whatever you can to make it work – including blaming me for doing it! (“Well, Rev Kev says we’re supposed to go over this…”).  If something is corny in the discussion sheet, it’s okay to point it out and laugh at it.  Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

Break a mirror, get 7 years of good luck

Who do we look to?  Who do we imitate?  Take a look at this week’s discussion sheet to start a great conversation with your teen.  This week our Sunday School lesson concludes a six week study called “Inside-Out” – a study in the book of James.

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Core Beliefs are coming up

Twice a year we cover 3 of our 6 Core Beliefs – those beliefs that are central to our faith.  On February 10 we will discuss what the Bible says about Man.  Then on February 17 we cover the Bible and how it’s foundational to our faith.  On February 24 we will cover the Trinity.

Parents, every year I counsel with students who have strong doubts in their faith.  For that reason, I urge you to help solidify at home what we’re covering in Sunday School…Truth is, it’s the other way around.  Sunday School solidifies the foundation laid at home.  So visit the Resource Page, where we have notes on all 3 of the Core Beliefs that we’re covering.  Pick a section and discuss it with your teen, or use one of the FAQs at the back of the notes for discussion.  You’ll be glad you did.

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