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1 Dear Kids Place Families, The summer program is off to a wonderful start! I m so excited to be involved in the chapel portion of the program and I wanted to fill you in on how the first week went. In fact, each week we will keep you informed about what we re learning. Ask your kids to fill you in too. It can make for some wonderful conversations! Please feel free to call or me any time. I always welcome feedback, questions and suggestions! Eliason Associate Pastor of Children's Ministries North Shore Assembly of God Church Malden, MA

2 Chapel News Week 1 This summer s topic: Beatitudes In the Gospel of Matthew, it says that one day Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down to teach his disciples. He began the Sermon on the Mount by teaching eight attitudes that God wants us to have. These attitudes are called the Beatitudes. Throughout the summer we will be talking about these attitudes that God wants to grow in our hearts. Beatitudes #1 - Blessed are the poor in spirit. The first Beatitude teaches that we need to be poor not financially, but spiritually. What does THAT mean? It means that we need to acknowledge how much we need God. The truth is that we can t live without Him. When we realize this, we ll run to Him and find that He is there with love, forgiveness and the strength we need. Being poor in spirit means we depend on God every day. It s an attitude that says, I need You, God! Discussion starters: Ask your children... What Bible stories did you learn this week? (If they don t remember right away, ask them to tell you about Zacchaeus, or the parable of the tax Collector and the Pharisee.) Ask your child to recite the first Beatitude for you: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3

3 Chapel News Week 2 In chapel this week we learned the next TWO Beatitudes! Beatitude #2: Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. There are sad times that we go through in life and thankfully God is there to comfort us. This beatitude reminds us of that promise. But life isn t all sadness. So how can we have a daily attitude of mourning? This Beatitude has to do with being sad about our sin. Our wrong actions and attitudes separate us from God. But the good news is that when we are sorry, God forgives us and His love comforts us. It s an attitude that says, I m sorry for my sins. Beatitude #3: Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. We often think of meekness as weakness. But did you know that the two people the Bible calls meek were two of history s strongest leaders? They were Moses and Jesus! What made them meek? They had an attitude that said yes to God. Moses didn t want to confront Egypt s Pharaoh about the enslavement of the Israelites. But God called him and he said yes. Jesus wasn t looking forward to suffering and dying on the cross to save the world, but He said yes to the Father s plan. Both Moses and Jesus had attitudes that said, Not what I want, God, but what You want. Meekness is putting God first in your life and caring about others. It s an attitude that says, God, I give myself to You! Ask your child to recite the Beatitudes to you: Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

4 Chapel News Week 3 Beatitude #4: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Have you ever been really hungry? Or have you ever been so thirsty that you grab a glass of water and you can t chug it down fast enough? Well, that s the attitude this Beatitude is talking about, only it s a hunger and thirst for righteousness. What is righteousness? We learned this week that righteousness has two parts. First, righteousness starts with having a right relationship with God. We should crave friendship with God like we long to see our best friend. God is crazy about us! We should feel the same about Him. God made a way for us to have that friendship He died on the cross and rose from the dead! Because of what He did for us, we can have forgiveness and a wonderful friendship with Him. If we are hungry for God, He will fill that hunger! Second, righteousness is about doing the right things for the right reasons. When we love God, we will care about the things God cares about and we ll want to do good! It s not easy, but thankfully God is here to help us. This attitude says, God, more than anything, I want what pleases You! By now, the children have memorized the first four Beatitudes. Quiz them!

5 Chapel News Week 4 We are now halfway through the Beatitudes in chapel! It s been interesting to notice how the first 4 Beatitudes are like steps in our friendship with God: First, we realize how much we need God in our lives ( blessed are the poor in spirit ). Then we recognize our sins and we express our sorrow over them ( blessed are those who mourn ). Next, we commit our lives to God, giving ourselves to Him ( blessed are the meek ). Then, as we grow in our friendship with God, we begin to care about the things God cares about and we want what pleases Him ( blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ). But when we get to the last 4 Beatitudes, we notice that they shift from focusing on our friendship with God to our relationships with other people. The Bible says that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love others. So it is fitting that with the last 4 Beatitudes, Jesus shows us how to have right attitudes toward our fellow human beings. Beatitude #5: Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Forgiving someone who has hurt us is one of the hardest things to do. Ask your kids to tell you the story of the unmerciful servant found in Matthew 18: It s a story that reminds us of how much God has forgiven us and how He then expects us to forgive each other. Colossians 3:13 says, Forgive just as the Lord forgave you. When we remember how much God has forgiven us, it makes it easier to forgive others. It s an attitude that says, God forgave me; I will forgive you.

6 But there are times when remembering that doesn t seem to help us muster up forgiveness in our hearts. It s in those times that God is there to help us. Ask your kids to tell you the story of Corrie Ten Boom who had been a concentration camp prisoner but with God s help was able to forgive a former Nazi guard who asked for her forgiveness. We don t have these Beatitude attitudes naturally. We don t get them magically either. We need God s help with each one of them. That s why we say, The Beatitudes are the attitudes God wants to grow in our hearts.

7 Chapel News Week 5 This week in Kids Place chapel, we looked at Beatitude #6: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Picture a glass of pure water filtered of all impurities nothing but H 2 O. That water isn t hiding anything. What you see is what you get just pure water. Take that picture and apply it to our lives. Are our lives pure? Do we act one way in front of our friends and then act-out when we are at home? Do we treat our friends well and our families carelessly? Do we say nice things to people but think bad thoughts about them? God always sees how we behave and what we are thinking. Being pure in heart means being good inside and outside all the time. We are pure in heart when what our friends see is the same as what our families see and the same as what God sees in our hearts. But this is difficult. No one can be good all the time! The Bible says we ve all sinned in our actions and our thoughts. So what do we do? The first step is to go to God with our sins. The Bible says that if we admit that we have sinned, God will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure (1 John 1:9). Then He begins to work on our lives to make us pure on the outside. That s the second step. It doesn t happen all at once, but day by day, as we pray and read the Bible, He changes us from the inside out. Our ways of thinking begin to change and then our actions change too! It s an attitude that says, I want to do right from the inside out! And God will help us.

8 The last part of being pure in heart has to do with what our hearts are looking for. Pure water is just that water. Are our hearts cluttered with wrong desires? Are our hearts set only on video games, toys and TV? What about God? Do we want to know Him? Are our hearts looking for Him? The Lord said, When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:13) That s why Jesus said Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. As always I welcome your questions and suggestions.

9 Chapel News Week 6 Here's a snapshot of what we did in Kids Place Chapel during week #6 of the summer program! Beatitude #7: Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could all just be friends? But it's not easy. Trouble often finds its way into our relationships. That's why Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." This beatitude encourages us not to be troublemakers, but peacemakers. It's an attitude that says, "Let's be friends, not enemies." It's an attitude that seeks to mend relationships. It involves patience, forgiveness and not taking revenge when someone has done us wrong. There are many examples of people in the Bible who were peacemakers. Ask your kids to tell you the story of Joseph from the Old Testament and the story of Barnabas from the New Testament. But the greatest peacemaker of all time is God Himself. The Bible says that we had all turned away from God. Humankind was, in a sense, at war with Him. But God loved us too much to let things stay that way. Through His Son Jesus and what He did on the cross, dying for our sins and then rising from the dead, God made a way for us to be forgiven. When we turn back to God, we will find Him waiting with open arms to take us back. So now, when we act as peacemakers among our fellow human beings, we are imitating our Heavenly Father. I think the greatest compliment anyone could receive is when someone says, "Hey, you're acting like Jesus would act - you must be a child of God!" ( Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.") Let's follow the Lord's example and be peacemakers!

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