During July we will be looking at the book of Psalms together as a church family.
It was written as a book of songs, with words and poetry expressing feelings towards God. Some Psalms are cries for help, others are vents of frustration, anger and sadness. Others are full of praise, thankfulness and awe at who God is and what he's done. We should be encouraged by this book that we to talk to God about ANYTHING.
We've put together some simple ideas for you to explore four different Psalms with your family on a Sunday morning after our joint worship time. Enjoy! Any questions do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Psalm 146 - a musical special!
This is a Psalm of PRAISE! It begins and ends with an encouragement to worship! And it is full of reasons to praise and worship God - He made the world, He is just, He gives people what they need, He sets people free, He opens blind eyes etc... Let's join in!
Jo, one of our Year 3-6 leaders, is also a music teacher and has set us a challenge. If your family is musical, or you fancy a musical challenge - follow the instructions below!
Introducing Psalm 146
Jo's musical challenge
How about writing your own lyrics to the tune of the Liberian folksong below... You can add lots of percussion or African drumming if you want to! Choose one of the simple parts and just keep singing it over and over. Try 2 parts going at the same time, or even 4!
Here is an audio file to get you started learning the simple parts: https://bit.ly/3eYjqzI
Once you have found a part you feel comfortable singing, try it along with the accompaniment here: https://bit.ly/30En6BH
Here is the YouTube instrumental version for you to sing along with... Don't forget to include any clapping or percussion!! https://bit.ly/3fVOHoo
And if your family is musical, see the photo above with the notes and chords for you to play yourselves with suggestions for alternative words/verses! Send in any videos to our Grace Kids Facebook page, we'd love to see...
More Family Worship
'I will praise the Lord as long as I live' (ESV)
Which one of the reasons to praise God in Psalm 146 means the most to you? Why do you think that is?
Is there anything that really helps you worship? It could be songs in the car/ silence/ people/ nature/ reading...
Here is another Bible journalling idea:
Give everyone a sheet of paper and each write one line about God - something He is or does, something to praise Him or a line from a Psalm that you remember...
Fold the top of the page down just enough to cover your words, and pass it onto the person next to you. Keep passing it on in the same way after each line. Decide how many rounds you want to do, unfold the paper and read them out to each other.
Make a wordle with paper and pen, using words prompted by Psalm 146. Hint: long words work best! Or you could use a scrabble board - lay out the words 'Praise the Lord' across the middle of the board and equally distribute the remaining letter tiles.
How many words of praise can you find? You could try a written wordle with the name 'Jesus' across the middle and whenever you come across something in your Bible about Jesus, add it in. We would love to see your wordles over the summer! How about posting them on the Grace Kids Facebook page?
We need God like we need water! King David writes this song from the desert...
He is under pressure but he says that he 'thirsts' for God and wants to follow after God with all he has. David knows that God is one we should seek after and the one we should praise for 'His love is better than life'.
Psalm 63 with Jo
Jo helps our older children get to grips with Psalm 63 this week - using the whole of our bodies to connect with Jesus. Watch out - she gets the giggles!
'Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.'
Psalm 63 v 3
The song above from Seeds Family Worship may help you remember the memory verse...
What or who do you go to when you’re feeling low or sad?
What does David praise God for in Psalm 63?
How can your family grow together to desire and long for God?
Make origami lips - if you use white paper, you can colour the lips red and write verse 3 & verse 5 on the sides.
Bible journalling ideas:
Or take some time watering plants around your house/ garden, talking about how we need God like they need water to grow.
Psalm 119 v 105
Imagine a torch or lantern. God's word is like a light, shining in the darkness and showing us the way to live. We need light to survive on this earth. And we need God like we need light!
In this (extra-long) Psalm, King David talks about obeying God and following His ways. If you are anxious, worried or don't know where you're going, the Bible is like a light showing us the way to go. We can follow Jesus' ways and not be worried about our lives.
A lamp to my feet!
Watch this video which helps explain Psalm 119 v 105.
You might need to get your lightsabers out at the end! (You can also look up Hebrews 4 v 12)
Joe, Jon, Rachael & Jo
If you missed last week, catch up with our Year 3-6 team about their favourite verses from the Psalms.
Watch out for Jo's emojis at the end!
Here's a little clip to help you memorise our Bible verse!
'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.' (ESV)
Do you feel lost or in the dark about anything? Where do you need light in your life? How could you explore God's word this week? Why not pray together and ask the Father for the Bible to be a like a light to you and for his peace at this time.
We're excited to be diving into one of the most famous chapters of the Bible, Psalm 23. It's all about God being our Good Shepherd, and how we can trust His goodness towards us and talk to Him about anything.
Psalm 23 is a more reflective Psalm, where David writes about how good God has been to him, how good He is right now and how he can trust Him for the future.
Sheep are mentioned in the Bible over 300 times - you could also look up Matthew 18 v 10-14; Luke 15 v 3-7; John 10 v 1-18. Ask God to speak to you as you read these verses.
Meet Lee and his sheep!
What does it mean for God to be our shepherd? Find out what a shepherd does in this video from Lee's farm in Exeter.
Watch what the sheep do when they hear his voice!
Exploring the Psalms with the Year 3-6 team
We asked Joe, Jon, Rach and Jo what their favourite verses from the Psalms are!
Do you have a favourite verse from the Psalms? We'd love you to share it with us.
'The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.'
Psalm 23 v 1 (ICB)
Why do you think we need a shepherd? Why is it important for us to have time with God, talking and listening to Him?
Standing on the rock! Following on from Stu's message last week, we are looking at the 'Parable of the Two Builders' from Mathew 7 v 24-27.
There are many things we can build our lives on - friendships, possessions, freedom etc, but these things aren't secure foundations. If we hear and follow the words of Jesus, we will not be shaken when difficult times come.
This song, by Pat Barrett, is about building our lives on Jesus. It's the only firm foundation - our houses won't fall down if we're built on Him.
Parents of little ones - do you remember this song from many years ago? 'The wise man built his house upon the rock.' https://bit.ly/2BamWJq - see if you can remember the actions. If not, try making some up!
'Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.'
Matthew 7 v 24 (ICB)
What does it mean to build your house on the rock? What would building your house on the sand look like for you?
Draw a picture of two houses - one built on sand and one built on a rock and write out the memory verse.
Paint a large pebble with the word 'Jesus' to remind you of this parable.
Build a Lego or Duplo scene like the one in the animation video above. We'd love to see photos of your houses!
Drum roll please....the winners of our medal/ trophy making competition are:
(prizes on their way!)
In Philippians 4 v 3-9, Paul says that peace is given to those who are gentle, thankful and prayerful (v 4-7) and who think and act as Jesus asks (v 8-9).
Story-time with Pam
Pam reads Grace Kids a story - 'Thunder Cake' by Patricia Polacco
Listen to the end where Pam talks about the ingredients for knowing the peace of God from our passage in Philippians 4.
'The God who gives peace will be with you.'
Philippians 4 v 9 (NIRV)
Older kids, why not try learning this?!
'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'
Philippians 4 v 6-7
Create a hand-print dove - draw around your hand, cut it out, stick on a beak and an eye and hang it up in your house to remind you of the peace that God gives through His Holy Spirit.
Older kids, you could choose one of these activities:
An origami dove: https://bit.ly/3elpa7e
A paper dove: https://bit.ly/2V1XIE1
See if you can remember the ingredients to finding peace from Pam's story or from looking it up in the Bible passage. What would bad ingredients be? Why not pray together (maybe you could use your 'Whatsup' prayer props from the other week) for God's peace in your situation.
Prizes!! Have any of you won prizes before? In Philippians 3 v 12 onwards, Paul talks to us about keeping focussed, keeping following Jesus and the promise of a place with Jesus in Heaven as our prize. We get to spend forever with our rescuer and greatest friend, Jesus!
Paul encourages us not to give up following Jesus, not to be distracted or discouraged by bad things, but to keep learning and growing as a follower of Jesus.
Anna Says 'Hi'
Anna says hello and introduces today's theme. Find out why she is looking puzzled holding up an Arsenal medal... and take part in this week's competition!
Head to our family worship page for some inspiration for family worship.
'I press on toward the goal to win the prize.'
Philippians 3 v 14 (NIV)
Parents, can you share something about how you've grown as a Christian and what it means for you to press on? Kids, what could you be discouraged or distracted by in your journey of following Jesus? Pray together, asking for help to learn and grow as a follower of Jesus.
Family Activity - competition time!
Design and/ or make a medal, shield, ribbon or trophy. Use salt dough, paper and felt-tip (inspiration- https://bit.ly/2Uy3flt), playdoh, fabric, wood - anything you have lying around!
We will judge the entries based on three categories: under 5s, 5-8s and 8-11+. Each winner will receive a prize! Closing date for entry: Friday 19th June.
We hope you had a lovely half-term enjoying the beautiful weather. What a month full of sunshine!
We are back in Philippians 3, where Paul tells us that the most important thing in his life is... knowing Jesus. He tells us that we can't put our trust in who we are or what we can do (even if those things are amazing). He says that everything is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus - the greatest treasure.
Storytime with Pam
Let's join Pam as she reads us two stories that Jesus told about treasure. What do you think of Pam's treasure? Send us some photos of yours, if you like!
You might want to pray with your children afterwards...
'The kingdom of heaven is like treasure' (ICB)
Matthew 13 v 44
Choose one of these activities to help discuss the beauty and priceless nature of God's kingdom and how everything is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus!
Treasure chest craft https://bit.ly/2AFSINW
Oyster shell with pearl https://bit.ly/2UgvfK9
Or you could design a treasure hunt (complete with treasure map if you want!) and talk about the joy of finding and knowing Jesus - parents, why not share something about your story?
As it's the last weekend of half term, we thought we'd do something a little different! We are going to join Joe and Martha from Spring Harvest, who have recorded a series called Giants of Faith - looking at people who followed God despite what was going on around them.
Just like in Philippians 2 v 19-30, when Paul talks about Timothy and Epaphroditus, they are people who can inspire us to follow Jesus and make choices that can impact those around us... We hope you enjoy!
Giants of Faith
Join Joe and Martha from Spring Harvest, as they look at the story of Mordecai and Esther.
If this link doesn't work, type 'Spring Harvest Giants of Faith' into Google and click on Episode 1.
'Do not worry about anything. But pray and ask God for everything you need.'
Philippians 4 v 6
Have a go at making the 'Whatsup' prayer props mentioned in the video.
'WOW', 'THANK YOU', 'SORRY', 'PLEASE'
Take time to pray with each other using these props. You could pray for courage to make choices to follow God, like Esther did.
Philippians 2 v 12-18: In this passage we learn that God loves to help us live for him! He loves to give us the desire and power to follow Him! As we obey Him and learn to walk with Him, he helps us. Amazing!
This power from God helps us to shine like stars - living differently in this world. So instead of grumbling, complaining and arguing, we can be be joyful, thankful and peaceful. Who wants to live like that? I do!
Older kids worship
Let's lift up our voices together to worship Jesus - Waymaker, Miracle-Worker, Promise-Keeper, Light in the Darkness!
Have you learnt 'Jesus Strong and Kind' too? We love this song and might even teach it to our adults!
Younger kids worship
Join Joe and Kez as they lead our younger ones in worship, singing 'Our God is a Great Big God' and 'My God is So Big'...
Who knows the actions?
Younger kids story time
Ann reads the story of 'The Lost Sheep' and shows us one of her special friends...
'Shine among them like stars in the sky'
Philippians 2 v 15 (NIRV)
What things do you find it easy to grumble, argue and complain about at the moment?
What do you think it means to shine like stars in the sky? How could you shine like a star?
Why not tell God, our Father, about the things you struggle with and ask for his help? Ask Him to meet with you by His Spirit & give you power to shine like stars and follow Him.
Philippians 2 v 1-11: At the beginning of Chapter 2, Paul talks about following the example of Jesus - copying Him - thinking of others more than ourselves; not being selfish or boasting; serving other people instead of being only interested in our own lives.
Paul tells us about Jesus giving up his place in heaven to become like a servant, being obedient to God which led Him to die for us.
Intro and story-time with Anna
This week we are talking about copying Jesus, or following Jesus example, by looking a one of the ways Jesus served others - washing His disciples' feet.
Anna reads from the Jesus Storybook Bible (go and get yours to follow along if you have one at home!)
Younger kids can also watch this short Saddleback video about Jesus washing his disciples' feet.
Older kids (8/9 years+) could watch this Bible Project overview of Philippians up to 5m 24s.
Worship with the Bartlett family
Dave, Rach, Josie and Reuben are going to teach us a song called, 'This Is the Story of the Cross' by Rend Collective.
Let's worship together and say 'thank you' to Jesus for everything He's done for us.
Song - Jesus Strong and Kind
Another song we'd love you to learn together is - 'Jesus, Strong and Kind' by Colin Buchanan.
It's an invitation to run to Jesus, who is strong and kind, whatever we're feeling or going through. Thanks to Dan R for finding this gem - I think it might become a favourite!
'In your lives, you must think and act like Christ Jesus.'
Philippians 2 v 5 ICB
Draw around your feet to make a template to write out the memory verse, then decorate and cut out.
Washing feet! Get your feet dirty (run around in the mud outside, use shaving foam/ sand?!) and then wash each other's feet in a bucket!
Ask each other how you might follow Jesus' example in serving and thinking of others more than yourself.
Pray together for humility and the right kind of attitude when serving others, and for more understanding about what Jesus did to serve us.
Philippians 1 v 18b - 30: In this passage we find out that one of the main reasons Paul was able to find joy in difficult times, was because he knew his friends were praying for him... and as a result, the Holy Spirit gave him help.
Paul also talks about the importance of these to things in finding true life : 1) following after and living for Jesus 2) blessing those around us.
Anna says 'Hi!'
Anna explains a little about what's happening this week...
Worship with Grace Kids
Get ready to join some of our kids as they lead us in one of our favourite songs - My Lighthouse!
Next week, the Bartlett family are going to teach us 'This is the Story of the Cross' - you can listen to it from Rend Collective kids album here.
Storytime with Ann
Join Ann as she says hello and reads our younger ones a story about Jesus.
'Live in a way that brings honour to the Good News of Christ'
Philippians 1 v 27
Make a handprint out of paint, or draw around your hand and colour it in. Then, next to each fingertip, write down the name of someone you'd like to pray for.
Pray together, asking for God's blessing on them, that the Holy Spirit would help them, like he did Paul.
Or you could make a prayer jar of lolly sticks with names of people to pray for... You could also use chalk, post-it notes, magnetic letters, stamps - whatever you have at home!
Paul said he found joy through prayers from other people & the help of the Holy Spirit. How do you feel about bringing joy by praying for the Holy Spirit to help other people?
How could you respond to Paul talking about the importance of following Jesus and blessing other people? Are there daily routines you could change? Are there distractions you could put aside? Share some of your ideas with us!
How do you think you would feel if you thought of others more than yourself? Take a look at Matt 16 v 24-25...
Philippians 1 v 12 - 18a: Paul tells his friends that God can do good things in difficult times. He talks about being able to share the Good News with those guarding him in prison. Because of this, other people feel more brave to share the Good News too! And even though some people are talking about Jesus to cause trouble, God is still using that for good.
Anna says 'Hi!'
Anna explains a little about what's happening this week...
We miss you and send our love!
Worship with Kez and Joe
Storytime with Rachael
Rachael reads our younger ones a story from 'Stories Jesus Told' by Nick Butterworth & Mick Inkpen.
'I want you to know that what has happened to me has helped spread the Good News.'
Philippians 1 v 12 ICB
See below for some ideas to help memorise verses...
Make a list of all the good things God has blessed you with during this lockdown. You could write each one on a piece of paper, put in a jam jar, shake, and take turns to pull one out and thank Jesus!
You could also use some recycling (yoghurt pots, toilet rolls) etc. to do some junk modelling.
Or paint an old tin can to repurpose as a pen or flower pot! Finding joy in rubbish!
Have you caught yourself saying, 'I'm bored', 'I don't want to do my work', or 'my brother/ sister is really annoying me'? From this passage, how might Paul help us to think differently about things we are finding hard?
Paul found joy in prison by focusing on what God was doing. Can you think of things that God is teaching/ showing you at this time?
What could you do as a family to show God's love to those around you?
Philippians 1 v 1-11: Paul writes to his friends because they are worried. They are worried about him and they are also worried because they are in trouble. In his letter, he shows them how to be joyful even in difficult times. Knowing he has friends that care makes Paul happy.
We're introducing memory verses during this new series as we want our children to 'store up His words in their heart' (Psalm 119 v 11) and fill their minds with what they need! Here are some ways to help:
Using chalk boards/ white boards etc—write the memory verse and rub out the verse a word at a time, each time asking the children to say the verse. Or write the first letter of each word and ask children to fill in the missing letters.
Write each word of the memory verse on separate slips of paper and place them in the correct order.
Hot Potato - everyone sits in a circle. The first person says the first word of the verse and rolls a ball to anyone in the circle. The person receiving the ball says the second word of the verse and so on.
Anna says 'hi!'
We miss you! Anna says hi to everyone and explains a little about what's happening this Sunday...
Storytime with Ann
Ann (our lovely Reception team leader) reads our younger children a story from the Bible
'I thank God every time I remember you. And I always pray for all of you with joy!'
Philippians 1 v 3-4 ICB
Write down some of the people you are missing at the moment.
Make a card or write a letter to show you are thinking of them. You could include the memory verse in your design.
Pray together for those people - you could use verses 6 & 9 - 11 to help you.
Why did Paul's friends make him happy? Why or how do the people you are thinking about, bring you joy and happiness?
Paul talks about working together ('partnership') with his friends - what do you think this means?
How can we work together with our friends to follow Jesus and serve others?