Dec 032015
 

At last night’s Family Christmas Celebration, we learned that Jesus is God’s greatest gift of generosity to sinners like you and me.  When sin entered the world, it broke our perfect relationship with God and others. Because of this, we need a rescuer/redeemer.  God sent Jesus to be this rescuer/redeemer. He is the greatest gift of all and the real reason we celebrate at Christmas time.  God generously gave us His Son, even while we were sinners.  Understanding God’s great generosity changes how we treat others. We can love, serve, and give to others during this season because God first loved, served, and gave to us.

One way that you can encourage your family to apply what we learned is to create a Generosity Jar.  If you attended the event, you should have left with a copy.  If you were unable to make it, we have extra copies available for pick up on Sunday morning near the Crossing Kids checkin area.  We’ve also included a copy of the instructions below.

 

Generosity Jar
Family Christmas Celebration 2015
Take Home

Introduction
Ask: Have you ever heard of the word “generosity?” What does it mean to be generous? Can you think of a time where someone did or gave something generous to you? Can you think of a time where you were generous to someone else?

Say: When we attended Family Christmas Celebration together, we learned a lot about the word generous. We learned that generosity is giving more of something than what is expected. We learned that Jesus is God’s greatest gift of generosity to sinners like you and me.  Do you remember the memory verse they shared with us? Let’s practice it together now.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.
Isaiah 9:6

Generosity Discussion
Ask:  Why was it generous for God the Father to send Jesus to the world? (The world was broken and filled with sinners like you and me. Our relationship with God was broken because we sin, or disobey God with our thoughts, words, and actions. We can’t fix this brokenness on our own. We need God to do it for us.)

How has Jesus been generous to you and me? (He left his throne in heaven and came to our messy, broken world. He lived a perfect life in our place, died, and rose again so that we could have a relationship with him and spend forever in heaven with him if we trust in Him as our Savior. He gives us everything we need. All of the good gifts we have on earth come from him.)

Say: When we understand God’s great generosity to us, it changes how we treat others. We can love, serve, and give to others during this season because God first loved, served, and gave to us. Let’s read a few verses about generosity together now.

1 Chronicles 29:14—But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

What does this verse say about generosity? (Everything we have comes from God already. We can only give what he’s first given to us.)

Proverbs 11:25—A generous person will prosper whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

What does this verse say about generosity? (Being generous doesn’t just bless the person we’re being generous to, it blesses us as well. Being generous takes our eyes off of ourselves/what we want and places it on other people.)

Matthew 6:21—Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What does this verse say about generosity? (Our hearts are always connected to what we treasure. When we struggle to give/be generous, it’s likely because our hearts are holding onto something/valuing something too much. Giving generously reminds us that our true treasure is in heaven, not on earth.)

1 John 3:1a—See what great love the Father has lavished* on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.

1 John 4:19—We love because God first loved us.

What do these verses say about generosity? (God has given so much to us! Because He made us His children/He first loved us, we can love and give generously to others.)

*Note that lavished just means to give generously.

Say: There are three main ways that we can give generously to other people—through our time, through our treasure, and through our talents.

Ask:

What do you think it means to give generously through our time? (Spending our time loving/serving other people.)

What do you think it means to give generously through our treasure? (Using our money or resources to buy or give something to someone else.)

What do you think it means to give generously through our talents? (Using the things we’re good at/gifted at to bless other people.)

Generosity Jar Activity Directions

Say: Tonight we’re going to create a Generosity Jar. In this jar, we will brainstorm ways that we can give generously to others using our time, our treasure, and our talents. We’ll write down these ideas on a slip of paper and place them into the jar. We’ll take some time throughout the month of December to pull these ideas out of the jar and use them as ways to give to others.

Step One: Decorate your jar.

Step Two: Brainstorm/record ideas of ways to give generously. Use the categories time, treasure, and talent, to help you.

Option for Older Kids: Give each child a few slips of paper and have them discuss and write down ideas they have.

Option for Younger Kids: Brainstorm ideas together as a family. Write down the ideas onto the paper for them.

Step Three: Pull slips of paper from the jar throughout the month of December and give generously to others. You can also use the jar to collect spare change to give away at the end of the month.

Pray
God thank you for giving your Son Jesus to us as the greatest, most generous gift of all. Please help us to understand your great generosity to us more and more so that we can love, serve, and give to others this season because you first loved, served, and gave to us. Amen.

*We’d love to see how your family uses your Generosity Jar. Take pictures and share them on our Facebook page this month. https://www.facebook.com/CrossingKids

Jun 022015
 

We hope your child had as much fun as we did Tuesday night at Kids Club. Here is a sneak peek into what we did.

Unfortunately Winnie and Eddie once again lost tonight’s challenge from the Dark Knight and another unlucky 5th Grader was tar and feathered.

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At Bible Story, we learned that real faith trust God in the face of suffering.  We saw this in the lives of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as we heard the story of the Fiery Furnace and also discussed what this looks like in our lives today.

Quest – Kids Club 2015 – Tuesday Night Bible Story Intro from The Crossing on Vimeo.

Bible Story Overview: During our week together, children will learn what real faith is by examining several stories in the Book of Daniel. We will learn that real faith lives differently to make a difference in a broken world, trusts God in the face of suffering, is humble not proud, and perseveres to the end.

Memory Verse: The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. Daniel 11:32b (ESV)

Tonight’s Objectives:

  • There is one true God, the only one worthy of our worship and praise.
  • In this life, we will all face furnaces/suffering. (1 Peter 4:12, Job 5:7)
  • We have a God who enters into the furnace/suffering with us. No God rescues like this! (Daniel 3:24-25; 29/The Gospel)

Bible Story Connection: Daniel 3 (Action Bible p. 476-479 “Facing the Heat”)

Supporting Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12; 1 Peter 1:7; Isaiah 43

Follow Up Questions:

1. What is suffering? (Something challenging or painful.)

2. What type of suffering did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego face? (They had to choose between worshiping the one true God or bowing down to a statute/idol. If they refused to worship the idol, they faced death by being throne into a fiery furnace.)

3. What did they choose? (To worship the One true God only and face the furnace.) 

4. What did we learn about real faith tonight? (Real faith trusts God in the face of suffering.)

5. Practice the memory verse together.

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Worship Music:

The Quest (Daniel 11:32b) – Seeds Family Worship 

The Glory of Our King – Matt Redman

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Preschool Craft: Fire Tile Coasters

Elementary Craft: Helmets and Tiaras

Preschool Game: Dragon Games

Elementary Game: K-1st—Storm the Castle, 2nd-3rd—The Quest (Obstacle Course), and 4th-5th—Fire Game (Capture the Flag)

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As you can see from the pictures below, there was also plenty of time for laughter, food, friendship, serving, dancing, worship, and fun.

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We can’t wait to see you tomorrow.

Nov 242014
 

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What story will most capture your child’s heart this holiday season?

Children begin to form their understanding of what Christmas is about from very early on. The only real question is who or what will have the most influence in shaping it.

The biblical story of Christmas can be confusing to kids who are bombarded with our culture’s holiday icons and values at every turn. You have an opportunity this December to spend time not only decorating, wrapping gifts, and going to parties…but, most importantly, focusing your family’s hearts on who it’s all for.

Start your Christmas season off with a night that focuses all your senses on Jesus at our Family Christmas Celebration on Wednesday, December 3 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at The Crossing. Your family is invited to experience a night in Bethlehem during the time of Jesus’ birth. Visit various interactive shops, meet characters all over town, and watch the live story of the Nativity come to life.

One thing your family will make that night is a keepsake Nativity set from Caravan Shoppe like this one…

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And, as you leave, we’ll hand you a simple, hands-on Christmas devotional that you can do with your kids throughout the holiday season, too!

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This free event is geared for families with children ages 3 through 5th grade. It’s a great opportunity to invite others to hear about the Christmas story. Childcare is available for ages 2 and under by RSVP.

Sign up online HERE or in the foyer through November 30, if you plan to attend.

We hope to see you and your friends there!

Jun 132014
 

We hope your child had as much fun as we did Thursday night at Kids Club.  Here is a sneak peek into what we did.

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Professor Polymer made a guest appearance through the roof and was defeated by Kid Spectacular and Spectacular Sis.  He received his own punishment in the slime tank.

Professor Polymer – Thursday Night from The Crossing on Vimeo.

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We learned that Jesus is the greatest Hero of all because He is Omnipotent at Bible Story.

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Thursday Bible Intro from The Crossing on Vimeo.

Word of the Night:
Omnipotent—Jesus is all-powerful. He defeats His enemies once and for all.

Tonight’s Super Hero Parallel:
All superheroes have enemies, Jesus did too.

All superheroes use their special powers to defeat their enemies.

Jesus is all powerful.  He defeats evil once and for all.  Even death has no power over him.

Citizens trust in super heroes to save them when they’re afraid because of their super powers/what they’ve seen them do in the past.  When we are afraid, we can trust in Jesus.  We know that nothing is too hard for Him.

When in trouble, people in comics call out for help from superheroes.  When we’re in trouble, we too can call out for help from Jesus.

Tonight’s Bible Story Connection: Jesus rising again. (John 20)

Supporting Scripture:

Matthew 14, 17-21, Mark 4:37-41, Luke 4:39-40

Memory Verse: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11

Worship Music: Hero – Philippians 2:9-11 (Seeds Family Worship)
Jesus Came to Save Sinners – The Village Church

Thursday: Jesus is omnipotent. 

Question(s) of the Night:

  1. Why is Jesus the greatest hero of all?  He is omnipotent.  Jesus is all-powerful. He defeats His enemies once and for all.
  2. What does Jesus have power over?  (Everything!  Sin, death, the devil, sickness, the weather, etc…
  3. Practice the memory verse together.

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Pre-School Craft: Cross with Cape
Elementary Craft: Super Hero Flyers/Finish Wood Cross (K-2nd) and Capes (3rd-5th)
Pre-School Game: Super Hero Feats of Strength
Elementary Game: Memory Verse Scavenger Hunt (K-2nd) and Obstacle Course (3rd-5th)

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We hope to see you at Ultimate HERO Challenge is tonight from 5:30-7:30 at The Crossing.

Jun 102014
 

We hope your child had as much fun as we did Tuesday night at Kids Club.  Here is a sneak peek into what we did.

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Despite the valiant efforts of Kid Spectacular and Spectacular sis, time once again ran out on Professor Polymer’s challenge and another unlucky recruit was slimed.

Professor Polymer – Tuesday Night from The Crossing on Vimeo.

We learned that Jesus is the greatest Hero of all because He is exalted at Bible Story.  

Tuesday Bible Intro from The Crossing on Vimeo.

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Word of the Night:
Exalted—Jesus ranks far above everything else because He is God. 

Tonight’s Super Hero Parallel:
All super heroes have a secret identity.  On the surface, they appear to be just another person.  People are unaware or confused about their identity.  The same is true of Jesus.  People were often confused about who he really was, even the disciples and those closest to him.

When a superhero’s glory is revealed, people respond to them very differently.  There is sense of wonder, awe, fear, and even worship.   The same is true of Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration.

Tonight’s Bible Story Connection: The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13)

Memory Verse:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Tonight’s Objectives:

  1.  Jesus is the greatest hero of all because He is exalted.  He ranks far above everything else because He is God.
  2.  When we understand who Jesus really is, our response is wonder, awe, fear, and worship.

Worship Music:
Hero – Philippians 2:9-11 (Seeds Family Worship)
Jesus Came to Save Sinners – The Village Church

Questions of the Night:

  1. What makes Jesus the greatest hero of all?  He is exalted!  He ranks far above everything else because He is God.
  2. What happened on the mount of transfiguration?  Jesus took three of his disciples up the mountain.  Jesus’ appearance changed.  He no longer looked like an ordinary human.  His true glory was revealed.  God spoke and said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am pleased.  Listen to him!”
  3. Practice the memory verse together.

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Pre-School Craft: Masks and Cuffs
Elementary Craft: Mask and paint wood cross (K-2nd) and Mask and Wrist Cuffs (3rd-5th)
Pre-School Game: Super Hero Gear Race
Elementary Game: Obstacle Course (K-2nd) and Speed Training (3rd-5th)

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As you can see from the pictures below, there was also plenty of time for laughter, food, friendship, serving, dancing, worship, and fun.

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We can’t wait to see you tomorrow.

Jun 102014
 

Tonight at Kids Club, our young heroes in training will learn that Jesus is the greatest Hero of all because he is Exalted–He ranks far above everything else because He is God.

If you’re a parent or volunteer, please take a minute to complete the devotional below to prepare your heart for time with kids and important follow up conversations. You can also download an electronic version of the devotional here.

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Dec 112013
 

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Last Wednesday, Crossing kids and their families gathered to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus, our King. It was crazy, it was loud, but we had a fun time!

The evening started in the foyer, as children visited various stations and characters, looking to find and collect different prophecies.

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All those dressed up represented a prophecy, or in this case, a message from God about the birth of Jesus. Their prophecies helped us understand the journey to Jesus, that began hundreds and thousands of years before he was born. I still find it amazing, and was thankful for being reminded.

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Together, we watched a video called ‘The Very First Noel’ about the Wise Men journeying to Jesus. The Wise Men understood that the baby they were visiting wasn’t just a normal human baby—He was their true King and Savior! And they responded to him by giving generous gifts and worshiping him. I think kids and adults alike enjoyed the short film – laughing and crying together!

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“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

Like the Wise Men, when we understand who Jesus is, our right response is worship.

One act of worshiping Jesus is to serve others. Families left to make homeless bags, filling them with socks, water bottles, toothbrushes and much more.

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We hope you picked up the devotional to take home and do as a family, exploring how we can respond to Jesus in worship. How is it going? We’d love to hear your thoughts as we begin the countdown for Christmas!

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Dec 052013
 

Last night, over 700 children and their families joined us for Journey to Jesus, our Family Christmas Celebration.  At the end of the night, we passed out a copy of this year’s weekly Advent Devotional.  Additional copies are available to pick up this Sunday morning or you can download a printable version of the entire document here.

Family Christmas Celebration Devo

Each week, we’ll post a copy of this week’s focus on the blog as well.

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Nov 282013
 

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There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 12:7).

Praise to the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 106:1)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Over three hundred years ago, America’s forefathers gathered together in this new land and gave thanks to God for the blessings that He had bestowed on them during the year.  See – the English girl is learning!

I hope that this week, each of us finds the time to sit with our families, friends and children, discussing and delighting in the blessings that God has bestowed upon us this past year. It’s a great opportunity to talk with our kids, and even remind ourselves why we celebrate Thanksgiving, and why Thanksgiving is so much more than a commercial holiday…

But really. Give thanks in all circumstances?

 

A 5 a.m. to start for this wretched Turkey and I…

Family tension…

Uncle Bob lets out a second notch on his belt, before having his annual snooze…

Grandma has enjoyed it, but now she’s exhausted and the kids are arguing, again…

Mum just doesn’t stop complaining…

Dad just watches the football all day…

First Thanksgiving alone…

If you only knew the year I’ve had…

God sees. He knows. He cares. He loves.

Look Back and see God’s faithfulness to his people throughout history, at the cross and in Jesus’ resurrection. Give thanks.

Look Down and around, wonder at God’s blessings and gifts of grace in your own personal life. They are there, no matter how big or small. Give thanks.

Look Out, seek to encourage and bless those around you with joy and thanksgiving. Give thanks.

Look Forward to the joy that is set before us. The future we’re promised in Christ Jesus. Give thanks.

To give thanks is a command. In the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs of life… we are to give thanks. So let us give thanks this day. Let us praise, thank, serve and worship our ever faithful God! 

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

For the kids: here is a funny poem and some coloring pages to enjoy!

Nov 072013
 

I attended the father and daughters seminar on Sunday. I walked out being pretty glad I’m not a parent let alone a father!!

I have the book, ‘Strong Father, Strong Daughters’ sat next to me, asking to be read. What’s holding me back? I pick it up, flick through it, and put it down… several times.

I’m scared. Maybe you are too…

“The toxicity of our culture – and we’re to keep them pure?

She needs a hero – and I’m supposed to be one?

Protect and defend her – I feel so inadequate, at a loss.

Be the man you want her to marry – eek no thanks.

I don’t really want to sacrifice myself for anybody… let alone have daddy and daughter dates talking about clothes and body image *shudder*.

And above all this I’m supposed to gently lead her into a relationship with God?!

… boys are so much easier!!”

Maybe.

How can we be strong fathers and mothers to our daughters?! By doing what it says in this book? I can try. It has some really helpful advice and wisdom. But I’ll fail, feel guilty, a lost case.

However if we take a look at the ‘hero’ parents from the Bible… they didn’t do too great a job either….

Adam brought sin into the world, and his firstborn killed his brother. Noah’s kids sexually abused him. Abraham got so desperate for a kid he slept with his wife’s slave, he was then an old man Dad. Isaac blessed the wrong son, giving away his inheritance. Jacob married a woman who had ‘weak eyes’ and another whose name means ‘female sheep’ – they had 12 sons (must have been tough at bath time!). Moses married a foreigner. Shepherd boy King David slept with another man’s wife, killed the man, and proclaimed that his new son the King. That son, Solomon had over 700 wives and 300 concubines…! Isaiah named his son ‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’ (!). The prophet Hosea was told to marry a prostitute, their daughter was called ‘not loved’. Jesus’ Father Joseph wasn’t even his real Dad.

Well this has been a depressing read so far… sorry!

The good news is that we have been given a wonderful example of a father’s love… in God the Father himself. The disciple John says,

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

Throughout the whole of humanity’s story here on earth, God has lavished his love on his undeserving children. He’s the hero, the perfect provider and protector. He even sacrificed HIMSELF for his sons and daughters. It is God we can lean on. God we can trust and rely on. God who’ll give us the strength when we can no longer carry on… because it’s God’s power that ‘is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9).

This Sunday reminded me once more of the blessing my own father is, and has been to me. From making us m&m sandwiches whenever mum was away… not often (!), burping loudly down the phone – which descended us all into fits of giggles (!), to sitting us on his knee when we’d be in floods on tears (a practice I still do to this day)! My dad is a rock in my family, through times of joy and sorrow he is there, gently leading and showing us Christ. It’s actually in the times of sorrow that I learn most from my dad… to know he’s not perfect, but to see him and my mum, in their weakness lean upon God’s sustaining strength and grace.

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So fathers – let’s step it up and take the lead, in his grace – be the fathers God planned for you to be. Mothers – let’s gracefully give them the space in which to do it, be their helper not their guilt tripper.

We are, and will be, weak fathers and mothers, but we have a strong God ‘whose power is made perfect in weakness’! We can be strong in his strength, with his courage and wisdom that is at work in us.

Finally, a song I love back home in England…

 

How deep the Father’s love for us,

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the chosen One,

Bring many sons to glory

 

Behold the Man upon a cross,

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished

 

I will not boast in anything

No gifts, no power, no wisdom

But I will boast in Jesus Christ

His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom