Learn Something New This Week!
According to dictionary.com, the word disciple comes from the Latin word discipulus, meaning “pupil” and from discere, meaning “to learn.” A disciple is a pupil or one who learns. Jesus chose 12 men as disciples to be His pupils; men who would learn from Him and take the good news to the whole world. Another time, He chose 70 disciples and sent them out to do His work.
Teach your children a new skill this week. It can be as simple as learning to tie their shoes (depending on their age) or learning to make a bed. Ideas: Let them pick a new skill they would like to learn such as: sew on a button, bake a cake, make an omelet, set the table, change a tire, draw an animal, make a campfire, fly a kite, etc. (I know this sounds simple, but as parents we often forget to teach our children the simple skills we learned as children. It is easier and quicker to do some things ourselves, but kids love learning these things and it’s a great time to be together and instruct them).
After teaching them, ask:â€¨As a learner, what did you have to do first? (LISTEN to the instructions) Once you knew what to do, what was next? (DO what was told).
In order to be a good disciple (learner; pupil) you must learn to LISTEN carefully and then DO what you are told.
Play “Simon Says”
Start out with a parent as the “Simon.” If the kids have never played this before, explain that they are to do exactly what you say IF you say, “Simon Says.” Start out with simple, easy instructions: Simon Says touch your head, Simon Says touch your elbow, Simon Says touch your toes, Simon Says jump up and down, etc. Mix in instructions WITHOUT saying Simon Says and see if they do it.
After playing awhile, play elimination – if someone does the action and you haven’t said “Simon Says” they must sit out and watch. The last one in is the winner. Take turns letting the kids be the “Simon” and call out the instructions, reminding them to be sure to say “Simon Says” each time.
Talk about what it takes to be a really good “Simon Says” player – you have to LISTEN and DO what Simon says. If you don’t listen, you won’t hear the phrase, “Simon Says,” and you could be tricked. If you don’t listen, you won’t know what to do.
A disciple needs two qualities: they need to LISTEN and then DO what they are told. Jesus’ disciples didn’t always listen and do what Jesus told them to, but they were always learning. In order to keep learning, you must listen and do what God says in the Bible.
Read the following story and discuss:
Madison put the leash away and fell across the sofa, “I don’t think Benji is ever going to learn!” “What’s the problem?” Mom asked from the dining room where she was setting the table. “I tried teaching Benji to sit, but instead of sitting all he does is run around. If I didn’t have him on a leash, I’m pretty sure he’d run away,” Madison complained.
“It takes time to train a puppy. Why don’t you try giving him a treat every time you tell him to sit and he obeys?” Mom suggested. Madison got some dog treats and tried teaching her new puppy to sit. It went a little better, but Benji just wouldn’t listen and do what Madison commanded. Mom suggested that Madison be patient and give Benji lots of praise and love. Day after day, Madison took Benji for walks, played with him, and tried teaching him to listen and sit. Weeks later Madison yelled from the porch, “Hey, Mom, watch this!”
“Sit!” Madison commanded. Benji sat on the grass. “Roll over!” Madison ordered. Benji rolled over and over on the grass. “Lick my face,” she said and Benji ran up to her and licked her face.
“Well, you finally did it,” Mom praised them both. It took a lot of patience to teach Benji those tricks, but aren’t you glad you stayed at it?!”
Ask the kids:
- Why was Benji finally able to learn the tricks? (Madison stayed at it)
- Is it hard for you to learn to do the right things, the things you know you are supposed to do? (things like obeying your parents, loving others, being kind, etc.)
- Name one thing that is hard for you to learn.
Remind your kids that the more they keep trying, the more they will succeed. Remember when you were learning to ride a bike or hit a baseball, you made lots of mistakes. The more you kept at it, the better you were able to do it. If you practice obeying and loving and being kind, you will learn to do them better.
Close with a prayer asking for God's help.
Fresh Baked Cookies
Bake a cake or cookies with your children. Follow the instructions on the box or recipe. (You can use any simple recipe or make any type of food to teach the principle of following another’s instructions.)
As you are enjoying the special treat, ask them:
What if you decided to put in whatever you wanted (a whole box of salt) just because you wanted to?
Why was it important for us to read and follow the instructions or recipe?
The person who wrote this recipe made it many times and knows exactly what and how much should go into it. Following the recipe will make sure that the final product tastes the same each time and will be good. Jesus gave some instructions in the Bible. He also came to earth to SHOW you the way to live. By following Him, you can know the right things to do.
What are some instructions God has given you? (obey your parent, love one another, be kind, forgive each other, pray, be thankful, etc.)
What is one thing you will follow today?
Follow The Leader
Play “follow the leader.” Choose a leader who will lead the others in what they must do. (Join in, Mom and Dad – that will make it much more fun) The leader can lead the others by walking, jumping, skipping, swinging arms, making faces, laughing, singing, etc.) Take turns and pick a new leader after a short time. (If they run out of ideas, give them ideas: pretend we’re playing ball, eating ice cream cone, cleaning a room, painting the house, etc.)
Did you like being the leader or the follower best? Why?
Jesus had twelve helpers called disciples when He lived on the earth. They traveled around with Jesus and watched as He taught the people and healed them and did His Father’s will. Then after Jesus died, they taught and healed people and did God’s will.
A disciple is one who watches the leader and follows Him. A disciple doesn’t go his own way, but is willing to follow the one in charge. Jesus wants you to follow Him. Name one thing you can do today to follow Jesus. DO IT!
Are You a Disciple?
Ask: How will people know if you are a disciple (followers) of Jesus?
John 13:35 says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Did Jesus say that people will know you are a disciple if you wear a sign saying, “I am a disciple?” No!
Did Jesus say that people will know you are a disciple if you have pink hair? No!
Did Jesus say that people will know you are a disciple if you wear polka dots? No!
He said that people will know that you are a disciple if you love others.
Plan and do one thing to show love to someone else TODAY. (Brainstorm for ideas)
Ideas: Pray for someone. Write a note or card or draw a picture for someone sick. Make some food for someone. Give a bottle of water to a worker. Say nice, kind words to a friend. Visit and take some flowers to an elderly person.
What's in a Name?
There was a man in the early church named Joseph, but the disciples nicknamed him Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement."
Barnabas was a good leader who helped and encouraged others.
If you had a nickname, what would you like it to be?
Where did the name "Christian" come from? Read Acts 11:25-27 to find the answer.
What is a Christian? Write the word on a piece of paper and mark out the last three letters, "ian." (A follower of Christ, a disciple of Christ, one who learns from Christ)
The believers in Antioch must have had been so much like Jesus Christ that others nicknamed them "Christians."
Would others think we are like Jesus? Would they nickname us Christian?
We should be glad to wear that nickname and live up to the honor of being called by Christ's name.
Items needed: paper cups, bucket of water, or empty bowl or pitcher
Optional: a whistle for the referees and a pompom for the cheerleaders
Choose two people in the family to be the referees (discouragers—pointing out all the mistakes) and the cheerleaders (encouragers—giving words that help). Run a simple relay two times. The object of the game is to fill the empty pitcher with water from the bucket one cup at a time. Mark a starting point. Time the kids to see how quickly they can do it.
Have the referees point out all the mistakes the first time (you'll never make it, you dropped some water, you're too slow, etc.). Then run it a second time with the cheerleaders giving words of encouragement (you can do it, you're almost there, you're going to win, etc.)
How did you feel when they were shouting discouraging words to you?
How did you feel when they were shouting encouragement?
What words of encouragement did they shout to you?
Did their encouragement make you want to keep going?
Read Ephesians 4:29. (Edify means to build up)
To be disciples of Christ, we need to speak words that encourage or build others up; not words that tear them down.
Items needed: card stock (or construction paper) cut into bookmark sized pieces
Pencils or pens
Give each family member a blank bookmark and a pencil. Have them write their name at the top. Pass the bookmark to the person on your right who will write a good word that describes the person whose name is on the top of the bookmark. Continue passing the bookmark until it arrives back to its owner. (You may need to help younger ones write their word.)
Ask each person to read his or her encouraging words aloud. Keep the bookmark and read it often.
We want to be like Barnabas and encourage others.
Follow the Leader
Play an old favorite, Follow the Leader.
Choose one person to be the leader and the others (join in, Mom and Dad) follow that person and do what he or she does. (March, skip, jump, swing arms, put hands on head, etc.)
Do you like being the follower or leader best? Why?
What would have happened if you had gone your own direction instead of following the leader? (You would have been left behind, you wouldn't be part of the game, you would be alone, etc.)
Why is it important to follow God? (We don't always know the right way to go; He knows what is best; He can be trusted, etc.)
Drawing in the Dark
Items Needed: blindfold
White board and marker or paper and crayon
Slips of paper with a name of something to be drawn on each one (dog, refrigerator, bicycle, computer, elephant, house, etc.)
Draw pictures to illustrate that others can help us, if we only listen.
Choose two volunteers. Designate one to draw and the other to guide. Let the guide choose an item to be drawn while the other one is blindfolded. The guide must help the person drawing by giving him or her instructions on where to place the marker, what to do draw, etc. When finished take off the blindfold and see the creation. Take turns guiding and drawing.
What helped when you were drawing the picture? (The other person's instructions, having someone who could see what I was doing give me advice, etc.)
Would it have been harder if you didn't have someone helping you? (Yes)
How does God help us? (He gives us the Bible so we can know the right way; He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us; He gives us people [parents, teachers, etc.] to help us.)
God wants us to know the right way to go, but we must be willing to listen and do what our parents, teachers, and others in authority tell us.
Ten Commandment Toss
Items needed: a ball
Marker (write the numbers 1-10 around the ball or write numbers on small pieces of paper and tape them to it)
The entire family should know the Ten Commandments by now. Gather the family in a circle. Toss the ball to someone. He or she must say the commandment that matches the number that is on top of the ball. (If the number 5 is at the top of the ball, he must say commandment number 5—Honor your father and mother.)
We must first learn the commands of God, so we can know what to do. When we follow and keep His commands, God is pleased with His disciples.
Follow the Leader
Play a game of Follow the Leader.
Choose one person to be the leader and the rest of the family will follow their example and do what he or she does (hop, skip, jump, swing arms, clap hands, go a different direction, stop, walk backwards, etc.). This is a great game to take outside and get a little exercise too. Take turns being the leader.
Did you like being a leader or a follower?
What did you have to do to be a good follower? (Pay attention, do what the leader did, etc.)
Jesus calls us to be His followers, His disciples. We must pay attention to what He did and follow Him.
Examples to Follow
Items needed: slips of paper and a bag/basket (to hold the slips of paper)
Write each of the following verses on a slip of paper (if you have older kids have them look the verses up; if you have younger kids, you may want to write what Jesus did).
Invite family members to draw a slip and act out one of Jesus' examples that we can follow.
Jesus is our example. There are some things Jesus did that we cannot do (heal people or forgive sin), but there are many things He did that we can follow.
- Matthew 6:10 (Prayed)
- Luke 4:16 (Faithful to God's house)
- Acts 10:38 (Doing good/helping others)
- John 13:34,35 (Loved people)
- Luke 2:51 (Obeyed His parents)
Jesus left us a good example to follow.
You Can Make A Difference
Items needed: a food item and salt
Make or serve a food item (potatoes, eggs, popcorn, chips) with and without salt. First, serve the item without salt; then serve the same item with salt.
Which did you like better? Why or why not?
What are some good uses for salt? (It makes food taste better, it preserves meat, it cleans things, it puts out a grease fire, etc.)
How can we be like salt? Just like salt makes things better, we make the places where we live better. We can help others, we can be peacemakers, and we can encourage others and make things go a little better in everyday life.
Jesus said that salt can lose its flavor and then is thrown out. There is no purpose in keeping it. Jesus warned us not to become useless like salt that has lost its flavor.
What is one thing you can do to make life better for the people around you? At school? At work? At the playground?
Ask each family member to do that one thing and report back on what happened.