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Do you want friends who respect your relationship with God?

Inspire (for parents) When my daughter was ten years old, she adopted a new attitude that alarmed me. She became more focused on popularity, the drama in her friendships, and gossiping. A recent Christian radio broadcast about helping children discern the qualities of positive friendships prompted me to ask my daughter, “What qualities do you look for in a friend?” Her blank stare spoke volumes.

that her friend’s disrespect of her relationship with God masked a deeper, more personal hurt, my daughter lovingly responded, “He died for you.” She got it! For God so loves the world, He offers eternal life. It didn’t escape her, and she proudly proclaimed it. Being a Christ follower for many years, I often find myself caught up in the minutia of every part of Scripture and completely miss the simple and obvious plan of The Big God Story. I am thankful that God continues to offer His love and salvation to our broken world and that even children can and do recognize God loves us and offers eternal life.

I pressed in deeper by asking a couple more questions: “Do you want friends who build you up as a person, or ones who tear you down? Do you want friends who respect your relationship with God?” She started blinking. I took that as a by Mesha Martin good sign she was still breathing and her mind was working on the answers. She sat thoughtfully and quietly for a long time before saying, “I never 2:23–25; 3:1–21 thought about it.” Scripture: John demus) (Jesus and Nico Not too long after, she told me World and Offers e th Loves Main Point: God about an encounter with a friend Eternal Life that demonstrated a new, more your family to designed to allow is ce ur so re is compassionate view of friendship. Th your children d’s Word before have time in Go One troubled girl in particular n is for parents Because God’s pla attend church. ildren’s faith, seemed quite antagonistic about rturers of their ch nu l ua irit sp e th to be lly, your children things related to God. In fact, this you grow spiritua as at th ow kn we particular girl’s declaration was, “What lly as well. will grow spiritua has God ever done for me?” Knowing

Getting Started

Equip (for parents) Jesus’ message in John 3 is both comforting REM EMB “Do n and troubling. He asserts in verse 16 that ER v othi n ers “God so loved the world that he gave his one vain g ou E t of conc s and only Son, that whoever believes in him e e othe rs be it, but in lfish am bitio shall not perish but have eternal life.” Then tt you hum n or shou er than i in verse 18 He says, “Whoever does not your lity con ld lo inte s s o ider res elve k no s. Ea believe stands condemned already.” t othe ts, but ch o also only to rs.” P f yo to th hilip pian e int ur own s 2:3 This message came directly after eres –4 ts o f a passage at the end of John 2, during which people at the Passover Feast “saw the miraculous signs [Jesus] was doing and Support believed.” But Scripture also says, “Jesus (for parents & kids) would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men” (v. 24). Jesus knew the people This week Just for fun, show your at the Passover Feast only believed because children photos of themselves as babies. Let they saw Him perform miracles; and that their them know that new life is a miracle that only faith was only halfway there. Nicodemus was God can create. Before they were born, God made them and gave them life. Then, read probably one of these “halfway” believers. Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John The environment of SERVING asks the 3:1–9. Talk about what kinds of questions question, “What needs to be done?” In Nicodemus had for Jesus. Explain that God the account of Jesus’ conversation with welcomes our questions. You might want to Nicodemus, truth needed to be told. The truth start a list of questions your children have is: Jesus came to save people, not to punish about God. Don’t worry if you can’t answer them. Through His death and resurrection, them on the spot. Work together to find the people would have new life; and only through answers. God’s Spirit can people truly become born Read John 3:16, and share with your children again children of God. Throughout this that God loves us so much He sent His Son, chapter, Jesus asserts that being “born again” Jesus, to bring us into relationship and give us life into a new life is what is required to receive with Him forever! Use this time as an opportunity eternal life, not just believing in Him. to discuss with your children whether or not they This lesson is relevant to all Christians have made the choice to follow Jesus. If they because safe, convenient, and applauded haven’t, pray with them or let them pray in their own words. If any of your children make this faith is not what God wants from us. Following decision for the first time, celebrate! Jesus is about more than a simple transaction that gets us into heaven. He wants our whole Finally, share with your children that what lives. He wants all of who we are. you read is a part of The Big God Story in the Bible. Remind them they will hear more about how God loves us and offers eternal life in church this week.

© 2011 David C. Cook. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children’s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.

Prep for 4.17.11 Elementary