Preparing Him Room: Resources for Advent

searchWow, I can’t believe the turkey’s been eaten, and the first day of advent is right around the corner.  I’ve bought some Christmas presents but have hardly begun preparing my heart for Jesus.  It can feel so hard to keep Him at the center of this season with so much to do.

Sometimes getting ready for Christmas with children can really help us adults to recapture the wonder of Christ coming to earth as a baby, to be Emmanuel, God with us.  My prayer is that in time together reading scripture, reenacting the story of that night in Bethlehem, we all can rediscover the true and lasting joy of Christmas: Jesus Himself.

Advent Readings

*Good News of Great Joy by John Piper.  This is a free ebook of daily advent scripture readings and commentary.  The commentary is geared for adults but the scriptures could be used with kids.  http://www.desiringgod.org/books/good-news-of-great-joy

*Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the birth of Jesus Family Devotional by Marty Machowski.  This is a new family advent devotional that looks at the prophecies of Jesus the Messiah and how he fulfilled them.  It includes readings, songs, and activities to do as a family.  http://www.amazon.com/Prepare-Him-Room-Celebrating-Devotional/dp/1939946530

*Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp. A gorgeous family advent devotional.  Scripture selections span all of the Bible and includes the author’s commentary.  http://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Greatest-Gift-Celebration-Christmas/dp/1414397542

There are free printable ornaments for kids to color while reading Ann Voskamp’s book through this link (and other cool advent stuff): http://www.aholyexperience.com/thegreatestchristmas/#gc-title-fgtc

Music

There is so much great Christmas music out there.  Just one to add to the mix:

*Andrew Peterson’s Behold The Lamb of God. A musical that tells the story of the first Christmas. https://store.rabbitroom.com/product/behold-the-lamb-of-god-2-cd-set

DIG Discussion Guide for 11/23

This month’s verse: Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12, “The Light of the World”, Seeds of Faith, vol. 2, track 4

Below are the scriptures and some questions discussed in DIG classes on 11/23.

Preschool-Exile and Return, from Ezra 1-6

*I wonder how it felt for the People of God to be forced to go to a strange land, to live in exile?

*I wonder if God was with them in Babylon?

*I wonder what it was like to return Jerusalem and rebuild the walls and the Temple?

Grades K-1-God makes a way (Jesus Storybook Bible), from Exodus 14-15

*I wonder why Pharoah wanted God’s people back?

*I wonder how God’s people felt when they saw the Egyptians?  Did they believe God would make a way?

*I wonder what it looked like when the sea closed over the Egyptians?

Grades 2-4-Isaiah 25:1-12

*I wonder what it means that God is a stronghold?

*I wonder what God’s feast for all peoples will be like?

*I wonder what it will be like when God wipes away every tear?

Middle School-November’s theme: What does it mean to be Human?

*How did humanity become broken? (Genesis 3)

DIG Discussion Guide for 11/16

This month’s verse: Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12, “The Light of the World”, Seeds of Faith, vol. 2, track 4

Below are the scriptures and some questions discussed in DIG classes on 11/16.

Preschool-The Temple: a House for God, from 2 Samuel 5-7, 1 Kings 5-8, 2 Chronicles 6 

*I wonder how it felt to build the Temple, a house for God?

*I wonder how it felt to finally live in the land that God promised?

*Now that the temple is gone, I wonder how people get close to God?

Grades K-1-God to the Rescue! (Jesus Storybook Bible), from Exodus 3-13

*I wonder what it was like for Moses to see the burning bush?

*I wonder how Moses felt when God said “I will be with you”?

*I wonder why Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people leave Egypt?

Grades 2-4-Isaiah 1,2

*I wonder why Israel kept walking away from God after all he had done for them?

*I wonder what it would take for them to return to God?

*I wonder what the Day of the Lord will be like?

Middle School-November’s theme: What does it mean to be Human?

*What does it mean to be created in God’s image? (Genesis 2)

High School Community Group-Jesus’ Encounter with Individuals in Luke

Sunday’s theme: Jesus’ encounter with Peter, Luke 5:1-11

1. Why did Peter respond the way he did after Jesus helped them catch the fish?
2. Why did Jesus pick Peter, James and John to be His disciples?
3. How could Peter just leave everything behind to follow Jesus? Did he leave his family behind?
4. In light of Peter’s encounter with Jesus, how does this help or encourage you to share Jesus with others?

Parenting Books Guide

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There are so many parenting books published these days.  It can feel very overwhelming and confusing where to start reading.  I’ve started a list below with links.  It is by no means exhaustive but I will continue to add to it on the resources tab of the blog.  Let me know if you have favorite Christian parenting books, I’m always looking for new ones to read and share!

General Parenting 

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1433520095/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=51966838525&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18209239502702270770&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_87yfrcri4g_b) This book explores how to live out the gospel with your kids, rather then just trying to get them to be rule followers.  Some of the examples felt contrived but I found the book’s premise really helpful.

Habits of a Child’s Heart: Raising your kids with the Spiritual Disciplines by Valerie E. Hess and Marti W. Garlett (http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Childs-Heart-Disciplines-Experiencing/dp/1576834271/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416083977&sr=1-1&keywords=habits+of+a+child%27s+heart&pebp=1416083980109) This book gives age appropriate ways to introduce children to the practice of spiritual disciplines.

To My Friend Reflections on Motherhood: Wit and Wisdom on Raising Toddlers to Teenagers by Michelle Sbrana (http://www.amazon.com/My-Friend-Reflections-Motherhood-Teenagers/dp/0595474276/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415654343&sr=1-1&keywords=reflections+to+my+friend)  A quick, fun read with many practical ideas for every aged child.

Parenting Young Children

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=loving%20the%20little%20years&sprefix=loving+the+little+%2Cstripbooks%2C144) Super quick and entertaining read for parents of infants and toddlers.  I didn’t agree with all the author’s views but found it really thought provoking.

Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I never expected about being a mom by Lisa-Jo Baker (http://www.amazon.com/Surprised-Motherhood-Everything-Never-Expected/dp/1414387857) An inspiring, encouraging read about the beauty and difficulties of motherhood.  Although the author has young children moms of all ages will appreciate this memoir.

Parenting Tweens/Teens

Sticky Faith by Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sticky%20faith&sprefix=sticky+f%2Cstripbooks%2C214) An indispensable book that examines the state of the spiritual life of American teens and provides practical ways to help kids own faith for themselves.

Boys should be Boys by Meg Meeker (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=let+boys+be+boys&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Alet+boys+be+boys) A pediatrician writes about how to nurture boys to grow into the men God created them to be.

Enough: 10 Things We should tell teen girls by Kate Connor (http://www.amazon.com/Enough-Things-Should-Teenage-Girls/dp/1433682931) The author is brutally honest about what we need to be talking about with our girls to help them fight the destructive lies our culture tells them about being women.

Ten Things for Teen Girls by Kate Connor (http://www.amazon.com/10-Things-For-Teen-Girls/dp/1433682915/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=10PZE6EHYJK4APQ3C5EQ)

Ten Things for Teen Guys by Dan Connor (http://www.amazon.com/Things-Teen-Guys-Dan-Conner/dp/1433682923/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416085324&sr=1-10&keywords=10+things+for+teen+boys)

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker (http://www.amazon.com/Strong-Fathers-Daughters-Secrets-Father/dp/0345499395/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416084150&sr=1-1&keywords=christian+father+books&pebp=1416084171667)

Student Ministry

The goal of BeFree Dover is to make disciples who love God supremely, love others sacrificially, and make more disciples as an overflow of their love for God and others.  Our developing student ministry exists in the same vein, to make disciples of our middle schoolers and high schoolers.

A wonderful team of folks met together last spring to pray, dream, and discuss the most effective means of helping our students grow as disciples.  We put together a guiding document with some foundational principles from Scripture, values we hope to see in the lives of students, along with some practices to help in the process.  If you click on the “Student Ministry” tab of the blog you can read this document.

Just as the Sunday morning DIG ministry is aimed to supplement the primary discipleship provided for kids in their family, the events or practices we are developing for our students are similar.

Towards that end, we have developed a High School Community group to help students grow in their love for God and the Scriptures, and to develop a sense of mission for those in their schools who do not yet know Christ.  In addition, we are intentionally partnering with Young Life to provide an outreach opportunity for students to reach out to unchurched friends.  We will be adding an update from each High School Community Group to the weekly blog post detailing what went on in DIG.  We are hoping this will encourage discussion between kids and parents and help you have great Gospel-centered conversations with your kids.

Here are some details of the High School Community Group and Young Life:

High School Community Group

The high school community group meets every other Sunday at the home of Andrew & Cristy Tripp (8 Patriot Drive, Dover) from 7-9 PM.  Here are upcoming dates: Sunday 11/16, Sunday 11/30, Sunday 12/14.  For more information contact Andrew or Cristy Tripp at cstomp5@gmail.com

Young Life Dover

Dover Young Life Club meets every Monday night, 7:30-9 PM.  We usually meet at Restoration Church (80 Rutland Street, Dover.)  For more information, contact Bjorn Anderson at bjornanderson@gmail.com

 

 

Discussion Guide for 11/9

This month’s verse: Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12, “The Light of the World”, Seeds of Faith, vol. 2, track 4

Below are the scriptures and some questions discussed in DIG classes on 11/9.

Preschool-The Promised Land, from Joshua 1-4 

*I wonder how the people felt when Joshua told them to get ready to go into the Promised Land?

*I wonder how it felt when God led them through the water into the Promised Land?

*I wonder what the people of God will do, now that they are in the Promised Land?

Grades K-1-The Forgiving Prince (Jesus Storybook Bible), from Genesis 37-46

*I wonder why Joseph told his brothers about his special dreams?

*I wonder why God let Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery?

*I wonder why Joseph forgave his brothers?

Grades 2-4-Nehemiah 1,2

I wonder why Nehemiah wept when he heard the news about the Jewish people?

I wonder why Artaxerxes allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem?

I wonder how Nehemiah felt when people mocked him for continuing the building of the Jerusalem walls?

Middle School-off

Thanksgiving Tree

DSC_0519As Thanksgiving nears, here is a daily activity to do as a family to help everyone remember God is the giver of all things.

1.  Place some branches in a vase.  Cut out paper leaves and hole punch them.

2.  Each day during a meal, talk together about what everyone is thankful for.  Write the items on the leaves and add them to the branches.

3.  Praise God for His provision and faithfulness.

I got the idea from Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience.  Here is a post with printables and scriptures references for making your own Thanksgiving tree: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/11/a-christian-family-thanksgiving-activity-the-thanks-giving-tree-free-printable/

Discussion Guide for 11/2

This month’s verse: Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12, “The Light of the World”, Seeds of Faith, vol. 2, track 4

Below are the scriptures and some questions discussed in DIG classes on 11/2.

This week we are also including a brief overview of what went on in the High School Community group, which is meeting every other Sunday night.

Preschool-The Ark and a Tent for God, from Exodus 25:1-40:38 

Tabernacle-model-from-above,-tb103099103-bibleplaces

Preschoolers played with models of the tabernacle and learned how God used it to be with his people. The following link shows pictures of a life size tabernacle model. http://www.bibleplaces.com/tabernacle.htm

*I wonder how it feels to come so close to something as precious as the ark?

*I wonder how the incense and smoke helped the People of God get ready to be close to the ark and close to God?

*I wonder how you get ready to be close to God?

K-1-The Girl No One Wanted (Jesus Storybook Bible), from Genesis 29-30

I wonder what it was like for Leah to have a sister like Rachel?

I wonder what helped Leah realize that God loved her?

I wonder how we can know that God loves us?

2-4-Ezra 3

I wonder what it was like for the Isrealites to rebuild the temple?

I wonder why they had to give so many burnt offerings to God?

I wonder why some people shouted to God and some people wept with loud voices when they saw the temple foundations laid?

Middle School-October’s Theme: Who is God?

What was God’s plan to save a dying world? (Eph. 1:3-5, Is 46:10)

High School Community Group-Fall Theme: Jesus’ Encounters with Individuals in Luke

Jesus encounters Satan in the desert (Luke 4:1-11)

Key Questions:

1. Why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus out into the desert to be tempted? (v.1)

2. If Jesus was perfect, was he even able to give into temptation?

3. What is the point of this passage? Is it about how we fight temptation?  What does it teach us about Jesus?