Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

In preparation for Easter Sunday, 4Soils has teamed up with David C. Cook publishers of great Sunday School curriculum to bring you resources for you and your child!

Of course, don’t forget to read the story in Sproutville! Which is made available for FREE to everyone between now and Easter Sunday 4/20/14

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

Three chapters of the Easter story from Gethsemane to the cross to the resurrection on Sproutville!

Parent Devotional

Why do you believe that Jesus is alive? Luke 23:46—24:12 reports Jesus’ victory over the grave as historical fact. Other eyewitness accounts in the Bible as well as Old Testament prophecy support Luke’s account. But the women who went to the tomb did not go expecting to find Christ alive. They went because they had known the love of Jesus. They wanted to honor their memories of Him.

When the 11 disciples were told what the women had seen, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive. Even though Jesus had told them it would happen, they didn’t believe. Did Peter run to the tomb expecting to find Christ alive? He went away wondering what had happened (Luke 24:12). What did it take for Peter and the other disciples to believe that Jesus is alive?

The women, Peter, and the other disciples believed that Jesus is alive when they had a personal encounter with the risen Lord. Not until we encounter the risen Lord can we truly believe that Jesus is alive.

As you celebrate that Jesus is alive, thank Him for what His death does for you. Prepare your heart to worship our risen Lord. Then let that excitement overflow as you worship with the children.

Tips for Discussing this with your Children

Children this age are eager to embrace the wonder of Bible stories that teach about God’s power. They don’t need to understand how God does a miracle in order to accept the fact that He can do miracles. This lesson is an opportunity for you to encourage their natural sense of wonder about God.

  • Children are very trusting. Don’t assume that they, like Peter and the disciples, will doubt that Jesus is alive. They will believe the Bible. Encourage their faith by confidently stating that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive.
  • Share with the children your own joy and wonder over the Resurrection. Share what is meaningful to you about the ways your family/church celebrates that Jesus is alive. Point out to them special decorations, traditions, or music that show the joy of this occasion.
  • Give the children time and opportunity to respond to the lesson. Each part of the lesson is designed to help you interact with the children and what they believe about Jesus being alive.


Activity: True or Not?

This activity will teach children they can believe Jesus is alive. The activity will get children thinking about things they believe.

Instructions to children: Listen to some sentences I read. If you think what I say is true, show a thumbs-up. If you don’t believe it’s true, show a thumbs-down.

Read each statement below one at a time. After each one, let the children show what they think. All of the statements are true. The information following the statements gives details on why they are true. 

  • It snows in the middle of summer. The snowflakes almost always melt into raindrops before they reach the ground, except in very cold places like the North Pole. 
  • Your fingernails and your hair are made of the same stuff. Both are made of keratin. A bird’s feathers are also made of keratin. 
  • A little frog in South America is the most dangerous animal in the world. The skin of just one poison arrow frog contains enough poison to kill hundreds of people. People put the poison on the tips of arrows. Lions and poisonous snakes are dangerous, but it would be hard for one lion or snake to kill hundreds of people. 
  • The humps of a camel do not hold water. The humps are fat. Fat gives food energy so camels can go a long time without food. Their stomachs hold a lot of water. 
  • Hummingbirds can fly backward. Hummingbirds can rotate their wings similar to the way we can rotate our shoulders. This allows them to push backward just as we can swim in a backward direction. 
  • Sponges are animals. Sponges are like sea anemones. They are animals that attach to rocks. They don’t have eyes. 
  • Glass is made from rock. Sand, lime, and soda, which come from rocks, are melted together to make glass.

All these statements are true. You should have believed every one and given it a thumbs-up. Let’s talk about what you believe.

Sharing Time

  • What is something you know is true? Let the children tell their ideas. Some children might tell things you are certain are not true. This is okay. Simply acknowledge what they say.
  • What does it mean to believe something? Believe means we accept something is true. We believe things we are completely sure of. Make sure your children understands what it means to believe something. Give an example, such as: The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.
  • What are some things you believe? They might talk about believing people love them, the day of the week, their name, God’s love, the Bible is God’s Word, and so on


Bible Story Review Questions

Q: Who died on a cross?
A: Jesus died on a cross. 

Q: What is a tomb?
A: A tomb is a cave for burying dead people.

Q: Why did the women go back to the tomb?
A: They wanted to put spices and perfume on Jesus’ body.

Q: What surprised the women at the tomb?
A: The tomb was open. The stone was already moved away.

Q: Who suddenly stood beside the women?
A: Two angels.

Q: What did the angels tell the women?
A: Jesus is alive.

Q: What did the women do?
A: They remembered what Jesus said. They went to tell the disciples what they saw and heard.

Q: Who believed that Jesus is alive?
A: Peter, the disciples, and the women believed Jesus is alive.

Q: What can we believe about Jesus?
A: We can believe that Jesus is alive.

Prayer Time

Let’s use our prayer time to talk with Jesus about what we believe. You might want to tell Jesus that you believe He is alive and thank Him for rising from the dead. Begin a time of silent individual prayer, then close your prayer time.

Here is a suggested close.

“Dear Jesus, thank You for rising from the dead and that You are alive. In Your name I pray. Amen.”

Discussion Guide to Teach Your Child About Palm Sunday

In preparation for Palm Sunday, 4Soils has teamed up with David C. Cook publishers of great Sunday School curriculum to bring you resources for you and your child!

Of course, don’t forget to read the story in Sproutville!

Discussion Guide to Teach Your Child About Palm Sunday

Comment below to let us know if you’d like to see more resources like this and how you’ve used it to engage your child during this season!

Parent Devotional:

There are all kinds of people, influences, and powers that want us to treat them as our king. Jobs, family, hobbies, bill collectors, and so on want our attention. At times it’s like they all want to be our kings. They want us to give them more and more of our energy
and attention.

Of all the ones who seek to gain our attention, Jesus alone is worthy of praise as our King. God has crowned Him with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9). We glorify Jesus for all He has done for us.  He has shown us the Father (John 14:9). By His death He forgives our sins (Acts 10:43). He gives us abundant life (John 10:10) and our hope of eternal life in
glory. Declare Jesus is your King in word and deed.

The Gospel passages for this Bible lesson teach us how the people in Jerusalem praised Jesus as their King.  You can learn from their enthusiasm to help you teach your children to make their own ways to praise Jesus their King. Ask Jesus to show you meaningful and engaging ways for your class to praise Him.

Take time now to exalt the Lord of lords, and King of kings in your own way.

Tips for Discussion with Your Child:
Children this age might think kings and queens lived long ago or only in make-believe stories.
Today’s lesson will teach the children that they have a King who may be very different from the way they think about kings. Here are some ideas to help your children to begin thinking about Jesus as their King.
— Long ago and in storybooks kings sat on thrones and wore fancy clothes. But thrones and fancy clothes don’t make someone a king. Jesus is King because He is God’s Son. He has always been King.
— Different kings rule over different things. Some rule over lands and people. Others rule over the hearts and minds of people. Jesus wants to rule over the hearts of your children to help them do what is right.
— Jesus is King even if we don’t listen to or obey Him. When we choose to praise Him as our King we learn that He is the greatest King we will ever have because of His great love and power to save us from our sins.
Suggested Discussion Questions
1 What do kings do? 
Children might say kings tell people what to do; they wear robes and crowns, and sit on thrones; they make 
rules; they lead countries; they’re rich; they live in palaces, etc.
2 How do people treat kings?
They might say people bow to kings, follow their directions, serve them food, and so on.
3 Who is your king?
They might name government leaders, Jesus, or people. They might not have an answer. This question will help children consider the possibility that they do have a king. You
don’t need to tell them now that Jesus is our King. The fun of this lesson will be discovering that fact.
Bible Story Review Questions
1 Where was Jesus going?
A: Jesus was going to Jerusalem.
2 How did Jesus go into Jerusalem?
A: He rode a donkey.
3 How did the people treat Jesus?
A: They treated Him like their King. They praised Him by laying down their coats, waving palm branches.
4 What did the people shout to Jesus?
A: “Hosanna” and “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the King of Israel.
5 Why did the people praise Jesus?
A: The people praised Him because of all the things He had done and because they saw Him as the King.
6. Who can we praise?
A: We can praise Jesus our King.

Applications for the Week
1. How will you praise Jesus our King during the week?
Encourage your child to tell you an idea. S/he might suggest ideas from the pictures they put on their paper palm branch (see downloadable activities #3).
2 When will you praise Jesus our King?
Let the children suggest some times. They could say right now, during family devotional
times, at school, at home, and any time! Tell the children they will honor Jesus by praising Him as our King.
Prayer Time
Pray with your child to praise Jesus our King. You might encourage him/her to pray aloud his/her own prayers of praise to Jesus.
Here is one suggestion if time is short
“Dear Jesus, I praise You for being my King. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Discussion Guide courtesy of David C Cook. 

Five Great Lenten Books for Moms

Five Great Lenten Books for Moms

Easter is just three weeks away. As we race towards the empty tomb amidst the chaos of Easter egg hunts and baskets and jelly beans, finding moments to pause and reflect can be difficult.

It can leave you in a spiritual runt.

Through all the busyness, God calls us to stop. Lent is the season to stop and listen to God’s voice. It is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your motherhood and on the beautiful little miracles you are nurturing for God.

It is also a time to recharge your soul and make time for God’s voice to guide you through the days ahead. We’ve compiled a quick go to list of great reads for these 40 days and beyond. If you have a book that nurtures your soul–please share it with us!

A practice in gratitude (and a book that will get you sobbing):
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
by Ann Voskamp
Voskamp shares her very personal struggles with saying “Yes” to God, but in truth living the “No.” One Thousand Gifts will guide you through the process of being grateful, writing down all those gifts and living the Yes. It is a deep, deep read that will transform you from survival mode to thriving mode.

For a quick study with your best mom friends
Having a Mary Heart in A Martha World
by Joanna Weaver
Weaver is a Martha–a woman who does everything at all times–but often forgets to be like Mary and sit at Christ’s feet. Having a Mary Heart is a great self-study, but also lends itself to a group study with your best mom friends. The book includes guided reading questions for going deeper.

Read along with your husband and your older children
Why Jesus Crossed the Road
by Bruce Main
Main is a minister and the leader of Urban Promise, a unique program in Camden, NJ that serves underprivileged and at-risk youth in one of the poorest cities in the United States. Main challenges all of us to be more like Christ and to cross the road to help those we are called to love and help. It is a great book to read and share with your family.

For the quick read while you’re in the school parking lot
Be Still and Let your Nail Polish Dry
by Andrea Boeshaar, Sandra D. Bricker, and Loree Lough
Even if you can’t remember the last time you actually painted your nails, this book is the perfect tool for squeezing out a little stillness and quiet time with God. Leave it your car or pack it in your diaper bag for those rare 5 minutes of silence. There are 104 contemporary devotions from Christian woman writers. You can read it in order or skip around.

When you can’t find the right prayer
A Prayer Journal
by Flannery O’Connor
When Southern writer O’Connor was in college, she kept a prayer journal. The journal is a raw, personal work with intimate and honest prayers. In one prayer, O’Connor prays, “I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside. .” The book departs from the traditional prayer we all know and instead gives us the courage and freedom to pray from our own hearts.

Meatless Lent Recipes

Meatless Lent Recipes
When I was a kid, going meatless on Fridays for Lent meant there was one thing on the menu:

Frozen Fish Sticks

While the spirit of meatless Lenten Fridays is one of sacrifice, you don’t actually need to torture yourself or your family with same thing over and over again. With Lent in full swing, you might find yourself in a Friday meal time rut. Give these healthy, quick and delicious meatless meals a try from some of our favorite bloggers.

  1. Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Shakshuka) with White Beans, from Linda at Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  2. Meatless Meals, Vol 4: Roasted Vegetable Pockets, from Steph at Confessions of a Meatless Lent RecipesStay-at-Home Mom
  3. Lemon Pepper Shrimp Linguini, from Stephanie at Mamma Bear’s World
  4. Stuffed Zucchini, from Trina at O’Boy Organic
  5. Potato and Caramelized Onion Flatbread, from Colleen at Souffle Bombay
  6. Quinoa and Vegetables (with a kick), from Lauryn at The Vintage Mom
  7. DIY Mac and Cheese on the Stove, from Andrea at About 100 Percent
  8. King Salmon with Lemon and Rosemary, from Trish at Nana’s Fabulous Life
  9. Mushroom Wontonioli, from Cindy at What the Heck’s a Bonbon?
  10. Wild Rice Fruit Salad, from Colleen at Souffle Bombay
  11. Egg and Arugula Salad, from Linda at Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  12. Grilled Greek Pizza, from Steph at Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

What’s your favorite meatless Lenten Friday Meal?