Welcome to Heart & Home
July 25, 2020
This week’s Summer Act of Service is to serve our family, friends, neighbors, and even ourselves. God loves each of us and wants to provide comfort when times are difficult. We know that "family units" are different for each household so we suggest various examples of serve opportunities so that everyone can participate.

For families with younger children or students that live at home, the children can take initiative to serve their parents in appreciation for all the care and support they provide. An example would be for the kids to prepare a meal (or order pizza and set the table) and allow their parents to be waited on as if they were at a fancy restaurant or on a much overdue date night. Another serve activity the kids can do includes extra chores while their parents relax with their feet up enjoying a cold glass of lemonade.

For a couple without children at home, each could take turns doing household chores
that the other person is normally tasked with, or leave a kind message somewhere
around the house, as a surprise note of gratitude.

And for someone living alone, they can reach out to a family member or friend that they have not spoken to in a while, just to call and say they care. And it is always nice to take an opportunity for self-care to include a quiet walk in nature, yoga meditation, journaling about feelings or goals, reading the Bible or another inspirational book, or exercise.

Please share pictures or video of your act of inward service to your family and friends
via our social media accounts on FaceBook or Instagram, or send an email to
communications@crossroadsnova.org . Get out there; spread cheer, and remember, no
act of service in God’s eyes is too small or big. Read more about it here .
Summer
Acts of Service
Reflection Guide
Before you SERVE with action, begin by going through the reflection questions below. We go inward to reflect and then we go outward to serve.
Matthew 7:24-27 
Scripture: These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.
 
SERVE:
This week’s Summer Act of Service involves serving your family. This could look like children making dinner or setting the table for your parents. It could also look like helping around the house with chores or calling a relative that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Our scripture this week talks about building our lives on a strong foundation. For many, their families are the first foundation that they build their lives off of.

Reflection:
In this week’s scripture we see that Jesus commands us to work his teachings into our lives. One of the most foundational parts of our lives are our family. Whether your family is your spouse and children, you and your significant other, or you and your pets, they are who you spend most of your time and energy around. How can we work the teachings of Jesus into the fabric of our families and our day to day lives?
 
General Reflection Questions:
  • How have you shared the teachings of Jesus with your family this week?
  • Think of a moment in your childhood that was formational to your life. How was it memorable and formational to you?
  • What is a habit that you have that doesn’t contribute to the strong foundation of your life? What steps can you do to turn it into a good habit? 

Reflection Questions for Families with Students:
 
  • You are at a time in your life where your experiences have an important influence on your life. What is something that you have recently experienced that transformed you in some way?
  • What is a way you can serve your parents and siblings this week? Why is it important to serve them?
 
Reflections for Families with Children:
  • Do you have discussions with your children about "using their manners" by saying words like "Please and thank you"? Let them know that by using kind words, we are sharing God's love with others.
  • Find a sandbox, or the next time that your family is at the beach, take a set of legos and a flat board for the kids to play with. Ask the children to build two different houses, one on plain sand and another on the flat board. Then pour a cup of water onto the house. Point out to the kids how the house on sand washes away, but the house on a solid foundation stays strong. Compare that to daily situations such as if someone says something mean, but the individual hearing it has good self-esteem, then the comments do not bother them as much.
  • Read this week's act of service activity to your children. See what ideas they can come up with to help serve the family or neighbors. Take pictures and share with the church community as stated above.

Prayer: God, our family is an important foundation for our life. Our understanding of our nuclear family helps us to better understand our church family. When we learn to serve our family, we are learning how to serve and love everyone who is a part of Your sacred family. Help us this week to give back to those who have given so much to us, Amen.
For Families with Children
Crossroads Kids Bible Story
This week's bible story is from Matthew 7:24-27. It is a parable known as the House on the Rock. It tells us that if our family has a good, solid foundation, that we will stay strong even after troubling times. Watch this video that illustrates the children's story of the two builders.

Here is a prayer to share as a family: Dear God, thank you for always being with us as we face the unknown. We trust that with Your help and guidance, our family is built on strong principles and beliefs. No storm can shake or erode our bond and the love in our hearts. Amen.
This Week's Highlighted Resources
The Color of Compromise: An Ongoing Conversation
It's not too late to join us for weekly online sessions (Wednesdays through August 19 from 7:00-8:30pm) featuring large group presentation and small group conversation focused on the history and legacy of racial injustice in our nation and the church. Through listening, learning, and sharing in conversation, we will reflect on both the painful reality of racism and meaningful steps toward greater levels of justice and reconciliation.

Pastor Jim Melson leads this weekly series based on the book  The Color of Compromise  by Jamar Tisby who is an African American speaker, theologian, writer and president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. The book is a challenging and insightful resource to help all of us learn and grow in the call of Jesus to racial justice and reconciliation.  If you can't attend each week, you can watch a recording of the teaching at your convenience.  Please read chapter eight for the next session on July 29th. To listen to past teachings and to sign up for the ongoing conversation, click  here .