FPCSS Director of Family Ministries and Christian Education
FPCSS Director of Family Ministries and Christian Education
Paul gives us such an appropriate mental image of the Christian life. Not only do we sit in our position of Christ, and walk in his ways, but we stand, as soldiers, outfitted properly, against the devil’s schemes to distract us. His depiction gives us a vivid image of a Roman soldier, but these tools are things every soldier needs. The belt, breastplate, boots, helmet, shield, and sword cover all of the vital physical organs, but they also each serve a purpose, metaphorically, of our vital spiritual organs.
Play Simon says, but with a twist. Use the terms “sit in Christ,” “walk like Christ,” and “stand for Christ” as you play. Mix in others, like “buckle your belt of truth,” “jump in your boots of readiness,” “take up your shield of faith,” “raise your sword of the Spirit,” “put on your helmet of salvation,” and “tap your breastplate of righteousness.” You can also mix in silly ones, like “pick your nose,” or “stick out your tongue” and others to catch them off guard.
Also, if you didn’t have a chance last week, consider a prayer walk or bike ride this week, to keep our schools surrounded in prayer as JBU starts this week and Siloam School District starts next!
This weeks passage give specific instructions to children and to parents. But it starts with a call to everyone, husbands and wives, children and parents, masters and slaves, to submit to each other. Not to say who was in charge in each situation, but as a way of saying “after you,” like Pastor Jonathan said in his sermon. When children submit and honor their parents, it looks like obeying their rules, even when we don’t always like them. When Parents submit to and and keep from provoking anger in their children, it looks like listening and understanding before mandating the rules.
With school starting soon, during a pandemic, let’s cover our schools and our town in prayer! We would love for each family to go on a prayer bike ride, or prayer walk to and around their own schools this week. Pray for the administrators, teachers, paras, guest teachers, students, and parents at each school. Pray that they will stay healthy and make wise decisions. Pray for God’s protection over the building and all of the people that will be in it. If your children are too young for school, walk around your neighborhood praying for the same. Be sure to share your pictures or prayers on our private Facebook Group to encourage others in the FPCSS family to participate.
This week, Paul writes about putting off our old selves, like an old stinky outfit, and putting on our new selves, like a brand new set of clothes. Much like trying to stop a bad habit, we will never be successful unless we replace it with a good, new habit. For every bad thing we take off of our old selves, we must replace it with something good and new.
If you have young children have a dress up party. Put on frilly dresses or hero suits. Let them primp by doing their hair or putting on lipgloss. Talk about how first they had to take off their old, plain clothes to put on the fancy clothes. Be sure to share picture on the Facebook Group!
If your children are too old for dress up, take time during your back-to-school shopping to talk about that new “first day of school” outfit they probably picked out. Help them make the connection between clearing out old things in their closet to make room for their new clothes and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Jesus wants YOU! He calls you by name, just like Samuel. He calls you to join his people, the church. But he doesn’t just want you to join a bunch of people for no reason. He wants you to participate, to use your gifts for the good of the church. He wants us to use our gifts to grow the church. Like a healthy body, we need to take in good food (God’s word) and get exercise (using our gifts) so we can grow into people who look and act like Jesus.
Put together a puzzle. It can be a giant floor puzzle, a simple four piece puzzle, 100 pieces, 1000 pieces, and as hard or easy as you like. You could even draw your own picture, cut it into pieces and put it together again! Talk about how in the box, apart, the pieces don’t really have any purpose. But when they are put together, they create a beautiful, full picture. We as the church are the same. We aren’t meant to exist apart, but together for a full picture of the glory of God. Share a picture of your completed puzzle on the FPC Facebook Group!
Often, it is good to think of the world as God’s stage, where he is the star actor, center stage. But sometimes the metaphor shifts, where God is the playwright and we are the actors on the stage. The angels, saints who’ve gone before, and even the demons watch and marvel, as God works out redemption in our lives on his grand stage. One of the most amazing plot twists, other than Jesus’ death and resurrection, is that we, as Gentiles, are invited into this story!
Sunday Pastor Jonathan spoke about how mundane things can be rebellious acts against the darkness. Simple acts of obedience or kindness, even when no one is looking are still legitimate ways to praise God in view of the heavenly hosts. This week, find a mundane act that you can do to serve someone else. Have your children write and mail cards to elderly friends (contact the church office for mailing address, if needed). Bake bread or cookies together to leave on someone’s doorstep who is lonely. Call or video chat with someone you know who is vulnerable.
There used to be a dividing wall between us and God, because of our sin, but God has broken down that wall. When we were far away from him, he brought us near. And now, he’s connecting us together, like legos. He’s building a temple for himself, using each of us, as unique blocks, joined together through the blood of Jesus. God is the foundation, and Jesus is the first brick laid to secure each of the others to it, and the Holy Spirit binds us together.
Break out the legos, Mega blocks, wooden blocks, or other building toys, or digitally with Minecraft. Even older kids can get on board with this family challenge. Build a Temple for God. Start with a firm foundation, that is God, and a cornerstone, Jesus, the first brick you lay. Make it as detailed and intricate as you wish. Then, share a picture or screenshot of your creations on the new private FPC Facebook Group! We want to see your house for God!
Has your family ever done a remodel or renovation? Or even just reorganizing a room? Did you take before and after pictures? What a major difference! Or have you watched TV shows about home makeovers? Sometimes the before and afters are unrecognizable. That’s exactly what the Holy Spirit does in us. He tears out the bad, old stuff and installs new, clean things. It’s a process called sanctification and it takes our whole lives. He never gives up working on us and bringing new life to our dead hearts.
Find some before and after pictures to compare. If your family has lived through a renovation, reminisce about how hard it was, but how the end result was worth it. If not, find a friend or family member (to make it personal) who has. Alternatively, if your kids’ room or playroom is particularly messy after a hard day of playing, take a picture. Then, depending on your child’s attention span, spend 10-20 minutes tiyding up. Take another picture afterwards to compare. Show them what a difference even their 10 minutes of cleaning can make. How much more can the Holy Spirit do in our hearts?
Week 3: Ephesians 1:15-23
Verse 11 says we were chosen before God made the world, so we know our past. Verse 14 says we are guaranteed an inheritance, so we know our future. But what about right now? We have security to live and serve others, just like Jesus did by washing his disciples feet. We can use our security, knowing who we belong to, to give to others, to serve others, and to do things that are “beneath” us, because our reputation is not at stake. We already belong to God, so we don’t have to worry what others will think.
Do a family service project. If possible, do it secretly. Mow an elderly neighbor’s yard, or wash their car. Pick up trash on a family walk. Drop off a goody bag for a family in need. Collect gently used toys to donate. Leave a treat for your postal service worker or delivery person. Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru, but make sure to include the kids in the discussion. Better yet, let them make donations to the cause from their own money. Ask your kids for other ideas of people they see in need that they can help.
For a printable version, click here.
Week 2: Ephesians 1:3-14
This passage repeats the phrase “in Christ” or “in him” NINE times. Paul is trying to make it clear that no matter what is going on around us in the culture, our location as Christians is always in Christ! Because we are hidden in Christ, we can have the boldness we need to go against the culture and live as Paul instructs later in this book. If we know who’s we are, we can withstand anything.
Play hide-and-seek with your whole family. Try to include even the youngest members by having them hide with mom or dad. It might take some practice, but even tiny tots can hide under a blanket, in a closet or behind a tree in your yard. Bigger kids can find some pretty creative hiding spaces!
Later, perhaps at naptime or bedtime, talk about how fun it was. Use it as a transition to talk about how we are “hidden in Christ.” Jesus literally covers us, like a blanket. He covers our sin and we can have confidence to live boldly!
AND, as a way to connect the FPC community, take a picture and tag @fpcsiloam on Facebook!
I'm so excited to roll out this new Family Worship Guide! This is a tool to help your family establish and continue worship rhythms and routines together, not just during the Corona Virus Quarantine, but long after as well. While it’s not all inclusive, each element corresponds with our Sunday Morning Worship Service. Since this is our first edition, please click here first to learn more about how to use this guide! For a printable version, click here.
Week 1: Ephesians 1:1-2 & 6:18-24
Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus about what it means to be distinctly Christian in a world that wants to say “Jesus plus…” For them, it was Jesus, plus Diana/Artemis, or Jesus plus the Emperor. Paul says it’s only Jesus.
Paul also writes to the Ephesian Christians to ask them to pray for him. He, being in prison, was probably going to have to testify soon, and make a decision between standing for Jesus and saving his own life. Paul asks them to pray for the courage to speak boldly about Jesus.
Because knowing what Christians believe is important to how we live, let’s memorize the Apostle’s Creed together. For the youngest children, you can start by teaching one line at a time, with lots of repetition. For older elementary kids, make it a game. Have siblings take turns with every other line or quiz each other. Talk about what each part means and why it’s important. For teens, try asking them to explain it back to you. Ask them to journal about how these beliefs are counter cultural.