God Speaks

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God Speaks!
Uh-huh! He does! You betcha!

HiSKidZ in our KidZChurch are finishing up a series of lessons entitled, “God Speaks” from the folks at High Voltage Kids Ministry. Personally, I’ve been loving these lessons, and from what I’m hearing the kids are, too.

One of the highlights of a great series for me is when it becomes more than just a series or a great teaching for kids, but when God really speaks to me through it.

So, of course, it’s been super fun to see (or hear) how often and, all the ways, God has been speaking to me lately. I’m not completely sure whether He’s talking more or I’m listening more, but either way, it’s been so much fun!! Even when it’s not been so much fun–discipline isn’t always pleasant at the time, BUT. . . . in the end it’s soooo good, and it reminds me of how much I am loved.

It’s kind of funny, because with the exception of a few really dry times in my spiritual life, it always seemed to me like God has made His presence very real in my life. But this week, it’s like we went on a trip together and have just gotten in some extra great, extra good quality time.

Throughout the last couple of weeks we have taught that God speaks through people, circumstances, thoughts and the Word to correct us and direct us and comfort and encourage us. I think that in just this week alone, He has revealed Himself in all of those ways.

I’ve been encouraged, inspired, instructed, directed, corrected and cared for by the King of Kings, Father God, the Savior of the world, and I love, absolutely love, that it’s so personal.

What about you? Has God been speaking to you lately? If so, I hope it’s something you can share with someone so that He can speak to them through you, or share here, I’d love to hear how God has been speaking to you lately.

If you haven’t heard him lately, don’t give up, friend. Continue to seek Him, wait for Him, surrender to Him and praise Him until you hear Him speak again. As we say in early childhood, “Put on your listening ears!” God is here. God is real, and . . .

God Speaks!

Artwork courtesy of High Voltage Kids

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Joshua Prayers–Teaching Kids to Pray Through Discouraging Times

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This week, HiSKidZ at our church will be learning from the story of God’s encouragement to Joshua that “God speaks to comfort us and encourage us.” Thank you Brian Dollar and the folks at High Voltage Kids!

In order to give our “bigs” a concrete tool to help them as they learn to pray and seek God for themselves and their friends when they are discouraged, lonely or scared, we came up with the “Joshua prayers,” a simple acrostic method for praying specifically in hard times.

SO this week HiSKidZ will be learning to pray for:

J—Joy to return in our hearts
O—Open hearts to hear God’s voice
S—Safety and Protection from the devil’s tricks
H—Humble Hearts to trust God in hard times
U—Understanding that God is faithful in trials
A—Answer God’s encouragement with obedience

Each child will be given two cards like the one in the graphic above. One is for them to take home and use to pray for themselves or their friends, and the other is to share with someone who needs to know that God is there to comfort and encourage them, too.

I’ve always loved the stories of Joshua and the thought that the guy who grew up with Moses, and scouted out the promised land and saw God ruling over all when others saw giants big and tall (10 were bad and 2 were Joshua and Caleb!), still needed God’s encouragement for the tasks that would lie ahead. Even more, I love how, of course, God knew it, too, and was there every step of the way–which is a great comfort and encouragement to me!

Things I Want HiSKidZ to Know–Elijah’s Stories

Days of Elijah

These are the days of Elijah!

At least in our church they are. HiSKidZ in our elementary programs have been learning through High Voltage Ministry’s Curriculum about God’s faithfulness to Elijah and how “life is full of ups and downs but God is faithful.”

I love Elijah’s stories because they are filled with miracles, power and the kinds of things that just make kids (and their teacher) go, “Woah, Awesome!”

Birds bringing happy meals, a widow baking lots and lots and lots of bread out of next to nothing, the resurrection of a child, the total domination of the prophets of Baal, and the Spirit inspired ability to run faster than a speeding chariot are all part of Elijah’s encounters with the One true God.

As we come to the end of our lessons, we see Elijah in a cave on the mountain of God where He receives a message from the Lord wanting to know what he’s doing there.

Elijah tells God the things He already knows concluding with something sort of like, “Um, trying not to get killed.”

Then God says to him, “Go out. Stand on the mountain in front of me. I’m going to pass by.”

And as the Lord approached, a very, very, very powerful wind tore the mountains apart, breaking up the rocks.

But the Lord wasn’t in the wind.

After that wind there was an earthquake.

But the LORD wasn’t in the earthquake.

After the earthquake a fire came.

But the LORD wasn’t in the fire.

(At this point I do have to wonder a bit what Elijah was feeling. . .fear of the Lord is my top answer on the board!)

And then after the fire, there was only a gentle whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he pulled his coat over his face, and he went and stood at the entrance to the cave, where he and the LORD talked.

Elijah once again told God about the story He already knew, and about the fears God was already taking care of, and the LORD GOD JEHOVAH told him to keep going; it was going to be okay; there were others; he was not alone. After the mighty display of God’s power, God quietly reminded Elijah that there was still work to do, and God would be there with him to do it.

It’s so important that we share Elijah’s story with our children. For one, they need to know the awesome power of our miracle-working God.

They need to know that as His children, even when times are hard, the pressure is on and we feel alone, God is with us.

But even more, they need to know that His reminder may in some great announcement, but in the gentle whisper of the God who loves us. So we need to listen to His voice and follow His call, because the One who calls us is always faithful.

You can check out more of Elijah’s story in I Kings 17-19