Jacob & Joseph: Cheating a Cheater

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Read: Genesis 31:3-9; 17-21

Everyone loves a safe and warm place they can call home. If for some reason a person has to leave that home, all they want to do is get back. Maybe they can’t live there, but at least they can visit.

The movie, The Wizard of Oz, tells the story of Dorothy who is magically transported from her home in Kansas to the land of Oz. The entire movie, Dorothy works to figure out how to get back home. Even though Dorothy had made good friends in Oz, at the end of the movie, she still wants to go home.

A couple of years ago, basketball player, Lebron James left a team in Miami for Cleveland. Miami’s basketball team was good – they had won championships. Miami was warm, and it has lots of fun things to do (like the beach). Lebron, though, chose to head to Cleveland where it is cold and they hadn’t ever won the championship. Why? It was home. He had grown up there.

Jacob had lived with his Uncle Laban for 20 years. Jacob married Laban’s two daughters. Jacob worked for Laban the entire time. Jacob wanted to go home.

It’s very easy to think Jacob didn’t deserve to go home. He cheated his brother, Esau, out of the most important things possible – his birthright and blessing. Jacob lied to his father to get the blessing. He was not a good boy. In spite of all the naughty things Jacob did, God didn’t forget his promises about Jacob (Genesis 25).

When Jacob was ready to go home, God was ready to help him get there. God prepared Jacob’s wives to be ready to leave. God spoke to Laban to allow Jacob to go. God softened Esau’s heart to not be angry. God wants you in a safe, warm place. He will work to get you there. God always keeps his promises.

Questions: Why was Jacob worried to return home? Have you ever felt worried about coming home? Why?

 

Parents: Tell a story about returning home. Why do you remember it so well? Encourage your child to know they can always feel safe coming home – no matter the circumstance.

Commit

Memorize this month’s scripture verse. Put it on a refrigerator, mirror or bulletin board in your house where everyone will see it.

“God turned into good what you meant for evil…so that I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20

Create

Make a “Come Back Can” (search on YouTube – come back can – space painter (brandon mcdonnell.) It’s the video toward the bottom of the first search page.

Jacob & Joseph: Cheating a Cheater

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Read: Genesis 29:13-30

In the 1930’s several long lost paintings (from the 1700’s) were discovered. The art world was amazed that these works of art were brought back to be appreciated. People were so excited that thousands upon thousands of dollars were spent (worth millions in today’s value) to obtain these paintings.

Except they were all fake.

The paintings were forged by Dutch artist, Han van Meegeren in order to make the money he never could quite gain through his own original paintings. van Meegeren was so successful in his forgeries (down to creating the cracks naturally found in two hundred year old paintings), no one discovered the forgeries until he told on himself!

Han van Meegeren was caught when he sold a supposed Vermeer painting to the Nazi general Hermann Goring. It was a crime in the Netherlands to sell great works of art to the Nazi’s, so to reduce his jail sentence, van Meegeren confessed to the forgeries. After 10 years of lying and cheating, it finally caught up to him.

No matter who you are, lying, cheating and tricking always catch up to you. Someone will eventually find out – most times sooner than later. In this week’s story, Jacob is tricked by his uncle Laban into marrying the wrong daughter. It costs Jacob 7 extra years of his life! However, it’s actually Jacob’s own tricking and cheating that is catching up with him. You might remember how Jacob tricked his father to cheat his brother out of his blessing and birthright. Now Jacob is tricked out of a long period of his life.

Yet, through it all, God is faithful to his promise to Jacob and his family. Jacob paid the consequences of his lying and cheating, but God continues to bless him in many other areas of his life – as we’ll see in the coming weeks.

 

Questions: What lies did Jacob tell? (Genesis 25:29 & Genesis 27) How did Jacob pay for these lies? (Moved away from home, tricked by his uncle, married the wrong girl) Have you ever had a lie catch up to you? How did you feel?

Parents: Share a time from when you were a child when you told a lie that caught up with you in one form or another (caught in the lie, felt immense guilt, told more lies to cover up, etc) Share how it might have slowed you down in a goal or desire.

Commit

It’s possible your child has confessed to you. Don’t punish your child, but use this opportunity to walk through the process of forgiveness – pray confession and sorrow, ask for forgiveness, thank God for forgiveness and blessing.

Pray with your child (all that applies):

“Jesus, I confess I lied and cheated. I’m sorry I did those things. Will you please forgive me for lying and cheating. Thank You for Your forgiveness, and I thank You that You will continue to bless and care for me.”

Create

Choose a handful of famous pieces of art to look at with your children (here is a great list to work from: http://artcuratorforkids.com/a-year-of-art-appreciation-for-kids-52- artworks-your-child-should-know/). As you look through these actual works of art, talk about how God wants to use us to do incredible things. We don’t have to lie, cheat or deceive to see it happen either!

Advent Devotion: Week of December 25

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Read: Luke 2:1-7; John 1:1-5;14

Advent Theme: Jesus, the Savior of the world!

The Birth of Jesus

Here’s the craziest part of Jesus’ birth…God moved into our world. Yeah, the Creator of all we see took our form (a human) and lived likeus. But it goes further than that.

God became a baby! Poopie diapers, burps and spit up, late nights and early mornings of crying, learning to walk and talk, learning to read and write. This was God! When you think about it, it’s really unthinkable.

Jesus submitted Himself to this for me, you, the world. Knowing all things, God realized this was THE way to save us. And He was willing to do it.

Today, as you open presents, gathering around the tree or fireplace, spend time with family or even worship at church, reflect on this truth. God became man – beginning as a baby – for us.

Merry Christmas! The King has come!

-Pastor Andy Bondurant

Questions: What is the worst part of being a baby? Do you think it was hard for Jesus to make the decision to come to earth as a baby? Why? What does that mean for you and me?

Parents: God realized the only solution to the world’s problem was sending His Son to earth. God’s love for humanity drove Him to make this difficult decision. Share about a difficult decision you have made because you knew it would be best for your family or child.

Commit

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. -John 1:4

Create

Have the family or invite a few friends to read the story of Jesus’ birth as recorded in Luke 2:1-20. Rejoice for He has come!

Advent Devotion: Week of December 18

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Read: Luke 2:8-15

Advent Theme: Love

The Great Birth Announcement

100 years ago, we wouldn’t receive news on television, the radio, the internet or Siri. News came from newspapers, and in big cities, newspapers were sold by boys…kids. These boys, as young as 6 and 7 years old, would cry out the headlines to sell their papers. Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!

While the way we get the news is very different than 100 years ago, the most popular news items aren’t any different. Bad news always sells best. Murder, scandals, crime, fires, earthquakes are always good news for the news business. Then and now, we don’t hear much good news in the news.

2000 years ago, something undeniably good happened. It was Good News! Jesus was born in a stable to a young mother and her husband. They were greeted by shepherds – the lowest of the low in their society.

But it was still Good News. This baby, wasn’t just any baby. He was the Son of God! He had come to bring peace, joy and love to the world. 2000 years have passed, and this is still good news to celebrate.

Here’s a really cool part. You don’t have to be an adult to share this good news with friends, neighbors or family. You can be like one of those newsboys from 100 years ago shouting on a street corner…Extra! Extra! Hear all about it!!

We have Good News! God’s love has come to us through Jesus. Let’s share it!

-Pastor Andy Bondurant

Questions: What is your favorite way to hear the news? What do you think is the best way to share the Good News of Jesus?

Parents: Share a story of receiving some great news. What did you do when you heard the news? Did you share it with others? How did you tell them (in person, on the phone, internet, etc)?

Commit

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16 (NIV)

Create

On the fourth week of Advent we are challenging you to Invite four friends to encounter the love of Christ this Christmas season via text, website or invite cards. Invite cards are available at the information center which include the service times for our Christmas Eve and morning services.

Advent Devotional: Week of December 11

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Read: Matthew 2:1-12

Advent Theme: Peace

The Journey of the Magi

The story of the Magi is all about pursuit. A few really smart guys, figured something out, and they left everything to chase it down. It reminds me of the Olympics.

Did you watch the Summer Olympics in Brazil? I did with my family. We watched a lot of different sports, but one of our favorites was swimming. Do you remember, the girl named Katie Ledecky? She became a star in these Olympics. Katie won 5 medals in Brazil, and 4 of them were gold – first place!

Here’s something you might not know about her story. Katie didn’t begin pursuing (or chasing) the gold medals this year, last year or even the year before. In 2013 – 3 years ago – Katie and her coach sat down and made a few really, really big goals…like winning gold medals and setting records.

Then Katie pursued them. She trained and practiced and ate right. She did everything she could to see her goals come true.

Here’s something else you might not know about the story of Katie, the wise men or anyone who pursues a goal. We pursue things because that is how we are created by God. We are created by God to chase big dreams because God chases big things.

 

So here’s an idea…what if the story of the Magi isn’t about them pursuing God (through the star) but God pursuing them?

God reached down into a place that didn’t know or love Him (the FarEast). He used things we don’t believe God uses to speak to them (astrology is the study of the stars, believing they tell us truth. We believe the truth comes through the Bible – God’s word). God led them on a journey of hundreds of miles to reveal Himself to them.

God was chasing them! God is chasing you. His goodness and love will chase you forever. Here’s the best part about God pursuing you – it gives you PEACE! When He catches you, and you submit to Him, you life will be full of peace.

-Pastor Andy Bondurant

Questions: What is a dream you want to chase? What will you need to do to pursue it (practice, train, study, rest, etc)? Have you ever felt like God was this intentional about chasing or pursuing you? When did you feel that way?

Parents: Share with your children how God pursued you. What people, thoughts, scriptures did He send your way? How did you know it was Him? What caused you to submit your life to Jesus?

Commit

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. -Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

Create

Be a part of creating God’s peace on earth by joining Full Faith City Church. Gather your family/friends and help put together Baskets of Love this Friday at Cross Points at 8:30am. We will all drive to The Garrison Community Center located at 1124 E 5th St, Kansas City, MO 64106.

Advent Devotional: Week of December 4

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Read: Luke 1:26-38

Advent Theme: Hope

Angel Visits Mary

Mary was a young girl – 15 or 16 years old. One day an Angel visited her, and told her she would be the mother to baby Jesus. Mary was poor and lived in a remote place, so not everything the Angel told her made sense. She thought she was the last person God would use to change the world. But God was working in unconventional ways in order to save the world.

Wilt Chamberlain was one of the best basketball players of all time. He was tall – extremely tall – 7 feet 1 inches! He towered over all the other basketball players on the floor. He was an incredible rebounder, and he is the only NBA player to score 100 points in a single game. Wilt was an awesome player. However, he was a very poor free throw shooter.

There was hope!

One season the coach suggested Wilt shoot free throws underhanded. This type of shot is also called “granny style.” Wilt decided to give it a try and as a result of shooting the ball this unconventional way, his shooting greatly improved. His free throw shots were so good that he used this granny style in his 100 point game.

But the next basketball season he reverted to the traditional style, and he began missing his free throw shots again. When asked why he didn’t want to shoot underhanded since his shooting was better, he said, “I didn’t want to look like a sissy.”

While Wilt did incredible things on the basketball court, he is known as one of the worst free throw shooters in the history of the NBA. All because he was afraid of being a little unconventional!

Sometimes unconventional ways are better than the normal ways of doing things. God sent Jesus to be born to a young girl named Mary. It was unconventional and unexpected but then again, God doesn’t always make sense (and this should give you hope!).

-Pastor David Jones

Questions: Are unconventional ways easy or hard to do? Why? What unconventional things do you do in life?

Parents: Share a time when God asked you to do something that didn’t make sense to you or anyone around you. How did it work out? How did God use it?

Commit

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” -John 13:7 (NLT)

Create

Put together your Box of Hope (see list on the next page), write a short note and pray for the family in Shawnee who will receive your box. The food collected will benefit Shawnee Community Services. Please drop off your box(es) at the Christmas Tree in the atrium at Cross Points Church on Sunday, December 11th.

Advent Devotional: Week of November 27th

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Read: Luke 1:1-25

Advent Theme: Joy

The Birth of John the Baptist

Zechariah and Elizabeth had been married for a long, long time, but for some reason were never able to have a child. This made them very sad and lonely. They thought they would never have kids of their own. Heather and I were also married for a long, long time. We thought we would never have a child of our own. Have you ever wanted something so bad that you cried because you weren’t able to get it? That’s how we felt – very sad, crying a lot.

But then something unexpected happened.

After 15 years of waiting, Heather found out she was pregnant with twin boys! When we found out we laughed and cried and shouted and jumped up and down. We had a huge party and celebrated! Six months later, when Heather gave birth, we named one boy, Jack, and the other boy, we named, Ethan. They were both very, very tiny when they were born. Jack and Ethan were so tiny that they only weighed about as much as two cans of Coke. As a result, they had to stay in the hospital for three months while they grew bigger. Even though Jack and Ethan had to stay in the hospital Heather and I were so very happy. Jack and Ethan are gifts we never expected. Sometimes God is full of surprises!

Did you know that God likes to surprise you with good gifts. He loves you so very much and gives you good gifts. In fact, the Bible says that God gives good gifts to His children. As we celebrate the unexpected this year may your heart be filled with joy!

-Pastor David Jones

Questions: What is something you’ve always wanted but never got? How does that make you feel? Have you ever received a gift you really wanted, but you weren’t expecting? What was it? How did it make you feel?

Parents: Share about the joy you felt when your children were born. Has your joy increased over the years? Tell your children why they continue to bring joy into your life.

Commit

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

Create

God surprises us with joy and abundant blessings, as a response to God’s goodness in your life choose someone and surprise them with an early Christmas gift! (Choose someone that is not a part of your family.)