This is a great family activity idea, but one we couldn’t execute tonight (with small group happening). We’ll have to do it later this month!
Reason #5 (December 5th) – The Current Witness of the Church
Key Texts: John 13:34-35, 1 John 4:7-9
34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
1 John 4:7-9
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
Teaching: Most people who come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah do so because of the influence of a Christian that they know who loves them well and shares their details of their own encounter with Christ. The church is not just a historical witness; it is also a contemporary witness to the reality of God. The people of God love one another and extend grace to one another like no other people on the planet. When people inside the church are hurting and in need, fellow believers pray, give time and money, and show compassion. The people in the church today are more generous with their money, time, and energy than those outside the church. The love of the people of God for each other and the world around them is another reason we believe that God is real and at work in His church.
Family Activity: Do a family drive-by tonight. Decide on someone or a family in your church that you could do something special and unexpected for – do something that will meet a need (no Christmas cookies!). Write an anonymous note to the family saying that you are thankful to get to worship the Lord with them and hope this note reminds them of their great and mighty God who loves them dearly.
Here’s what we shared tonight with our kids for day 3 of Advent…
Reason #3 (December 3rd) – The Internal Witness of the Spirit
Key Texts: John 16:13-14, Romans 8:16
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.
16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Teaching: The Spirit of God speaks to our hearts and whispers to our minds that God exists and that Jesus is His only Son. Ultimately, anyone who believes in God believes because they have had a personal experience with the Holy Spirit and responded to the prompting of the Spirit with faith. The Spirit confirms internally what we see about God externally in creation and in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is at work around the world and across the ages to draw men, women, and children to faith in Jesus Christ. We believe in Jesus because of the work of the Spirit in our hearts.
Family Activity: Blindfold the kids in the family and create a mini obstacle course for them to go through. Have mom or dad call out directions to them so that they can get through the course without being able to see. When they are done, make the connection with them that we are all spiritually blind and need an outside voice (outside of ourselves) to help us navigate life – which is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians.
Tonight, we talked about the second reason we believe in God. Our Telephone game was hilarious and made the point well.
Reason #2 (December 2nd) – The Witness of the Word
Key Text: Psalm 19:7-8, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
7 The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Teaching: The unity and power of the Bible lead us to believe in the God of the Bible. This ancient book contains 66 books written by 40 different authors and yet maintains One Witness about the person and nature of God. Though it contains many interesting characters and various genres of literature, the Bible has one unifying story. It starts with creation and ends with recreation. It starts with sin and ends with forgiveness. It starts with rebellion and ends with reconciliation. It starts with God in a garden with his people and ends with God in a new city with his new people. Not only is the Bible amazingly coherent for a book written by so many different people over 1500 years, but it is also life-changing. It makes the foolish wise and the lost found. The powerful testimony of the Bible is another reason we believe in God.
Family Activity: Read Psalm 19.7-11 and find 10 attributes of the Word. Read the birth of Jesus story in the Storybook Bible if you own a copy. Play the Telephone game where you start a message and see how it ends up by the time it gets to the last person. Show them how hard it is to keep a message intact for two minutes, much less 1500 years!!
Tonight, we celebrated the first day of advent as a family with the first devotional in the 1P3 project. The kids really enjoyed our walk this evening to the mailbox where we talked about the stars in the night sky and what the universe tells us about the Creator.
Reason #1 (December 1st) – The Witness of the World
Key Text: Psalm 19:1-2, Romans 1:20
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge.
20 For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made.
Teaching: We believe in God because of the witness of the world – everything and everyone that God has made. The Bible teaches us that everything in the created world testifies about God – the sun and stars, the trees and grass, the rivers and plains, the dog and cat, our moms and dads. Everything cannot come out of nothing unless someone is eternal and outside of creation. The fact that the material world exists points us to an eternal, divine Creator who made everything out of nothing. The entire created universe displays and declares the truth of God’s existence.
Family Activity: Look up the size of the universe on the NASA website. How many stars exist in the universe? Go outside and see how many stars you can count in the night sky. How much of God’s creation can you see with the naked eye? What is the most beautiful sight you have ever seen in God’s creation? Draw a picture of what you saw and write one word on the picture about what it teaches us about God.