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Mrs. Crispin's favorite time of the year!

Editor's Note: ZPC Children's Ministry Director Amy Crispin writes about what's been going on down in her area of the building. This year's Third Grade Bible Dedication will take place Sunday, February 24.

It’s that time of year again! Actually, it’s my favorite time of year! Third Grade Bible Dedication time! I love this event for so many reasons. The first being, third graders are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world! They are still young and silly, but they understand my humor and can be quite introspective and wise.

Third Grade Bible Dedication is our young ZPCer’s first rite of passage as Christian children in the church. This event provides their parents the chance to give them the most important tool they will need as they transition from primary to secondary learners. This precious tool, for most, will be their very first Bible or perhaps their very first “grown up” Bible. Within its pages parents will write letters of encouragement and include letters and verses from loved ones. Each child will also be given special Bible highlighters and page-tabs as an encouragement to highlight important verses. My prayer for these children is that they will write their thoughts and questions in their new Bibles, and look back at the words they wrote as nine- and ten-year-olds when they’re older and see how far they have come in their walk with Christ.

Rites of passage are important. Bibles are important. But in the eyes of a third grader, fun is more important! Third graders who participate in our dedication class meet with me and two fantastic volunteers every Sunday afternoon for six weeks to play games and make crafts. Oh! And learn what is actually in the Bible and where to find answers to questions. But it’s the games and the crafts that makes this class really fun! We get to run around and get sweaty playing Noah’s Ark tag. We sit on the floor making Bible covers, or fancy books-of-the-Bible flashcards and talk about school and friends and sports and whatever pours from our mouths. This special time creates a bond between our third graders (and us adults) that will hopefully carry them through high school and beyond. I spend most of this time laughing with these goofy kids! It’s so much fun.

Anyone is welcome to come and visit during our class. You’ll laugh, you’ll get sweaty, and you might even learn something you never knew before!

Please pray for these children as they cross the bridge from dependent to independent learners. Pray that they find time each day to spend in the word learning about Jesus. Pray that their Bible gives them the answers they seek and that the words and love of our Lord and Savior penetrate their souls.

Posted by Amy Crispin with

God keeps his promises

Editor's Note

About the author: Amy Crispin is the director of children's ministries at ZPC. She partners with parents at ZPC to create a great experience for ZPC kids in grades 1-4. She has served at ZPC since 2006, but has been attending ZPC since 2002! Amy is married to Matt and they have 4 kids: Natalie, Tommy, Charlie, and Andy.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: Malachi 3:1-4

Read: Malachi 3:1-4
Say: "The name Malachi means my messenger.”

God had a message for his people. Malachi reminded the people that God loved them. The Jewish people were surprised at Malachi’s message because they said, “How have you loved us?” We don’t know why the Jewish people felt like God didn’t love them. Maybe they felt like God didn’t love them because the Messiah had not come and the promises of peace and God’s blessing were not happening.

God loved his people and was very disappointed that they thought he didn’t love them. They had seen God’s power, protection, and his faithfulness to keep his promises. God always keeps his promises and never stops loving his people. God was working out his plan to send the Messiah who would rescue his people.

The Jewish people had seen God keep his promise to allow them to return to Jerusalem after 70 years of being in Babylon. He helped them rebuild the temple and the walls were rebuilt in 52 days. However, they returned to wicked, sinful behavior.

Before Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, the Jewish people were to worship God at the temple and bring sacrifices. The sacrifices and worship at the temple were pictures pointing them to Jesus who would be the perfect sacrifice. Malachi told the people that God was going to send a messenger who would prepare the way before him.

You and I know that God kept his promise to his people to send the Messiah. The Jews thought the Messiah would set up a kingdom and rule the land. We learned in Zechariah that the Messiah would come first as a humble servant. (Zech. 9:9) Jesus came first to rescue us from our sins. He is the perfect sacrifice who shed his blood to take away all our sins. (John 1:29

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Activity:

Make a Christmas Card telling of the birth of Jesus.

  • Find the story of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20) and print on the computer.
  • Take a piece of cardstock and fold it in half.
  • Tear the story into 7 pieces, each piece a little shorter than the next so they stack on top of each other to look like a pine tree.
  • Find a star sticker or make one from paper by drawing two triangles on top of each other, one of them upside down.
  • Glue the seven pieces of paper starting with the smallest on top, finishing with the longest on bottom.
  • Tear one more piece of paper for the trunk
  • Glue the trunk on the bottom and the star on the top of the tree. 
  • On the inside, you get to be a messenger of the Good News! Tell your friend about Jesus and what he has done for us. Tell them his birthday is soon! Ask them if they’d like to celebrate with you. Maybe you could bring them to church or invite them over for snacks and games.
  • Mail your letter and don’t forget to put a return address. Maybe they’ll write you back!

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for keeping your promises. Thank you for sending your son Jesus to save me. Thank you for loving me.

Help me to share with other people why I love you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.

Posted by Amy Crispin with