Archive for December, 2011


I never planned to write a book.  Here’s how it happened.

Last year I completed teaching a year-long series for my Sunday school kids.  It happened to be the same series that the teacher before me had already taught them.  Funny thing was, they didn’t even know it was the same series of lessons that they already had!  We had a great time with these lessons, but now it was time to move on to something else.  I made a suggestion box for the kids to suggest anything they wanted to do in Sunday school.  And even things they never wanted to do again.  Over the next few weeks I read their suggestions:  play musical chairs, eat suckers, … and then this one:  Teach us about Creation and Evolution.  In school they teach Evolution as fact.  We want to know about Creation.

I got right to work.  I wrote a three-month long series about Creation and Evolution.  We began by going outside and looking for evidence of a Creator.  Then I encouraged the kids to continue looking for evidence all week and throughout our series and share what they found on Sundays.  They did.  In fact, one girl brought in so many things that I just let her teach the class that day.  That was so fun!  Then a boy shared about how a bumblebee should not be able to fly because its body is too big and its wings are too small, but it does fly.  We learned so much together during those three months.  By the time we were finished, we had made a newspaper to share with our church and even had a chance to kindly defend what we had learned with a new friend in our class.  And I enjoyed watching the children get so excited to learn about God and His Word!

Time went on and later I was reading a book that mentioned that bumblebee.  Hmmm…  That is so neat how God created the bumblebee to fly.  I thought, if God had a plan for a simple bumblebee, then just imagine the plan He has for me and the kids that I teach and everyone!  We are created in the image of God.  God knows us and wants a relationship with us.  I had to share this with all my kids!

It was spring time and my Good News Club fifth graders would soon be leaving club to go to middle school.  And my sixth graders in Sunday school would be going on to youth group.  They had to know that they are so special to God and that He has a plan for them.  I wanted them to continue to live for God as they moved on to middle school.

As I went to bed that night I had an idea.  The kids love to hear my stories and they really learn through the Bible stories that I share with them.  I always keep a notepad by my bed for all those things that I need to remember for the next day.  That night I began to write more than just my usual one or two notes to myself.  I wrote pages and pages of notes.  My husband jokingly asked me if I was writing a book.  That was so funny!  I guess I was!

The next day I sat at my computer and typed.  Buddy Bee was born!

I read the story to my Sunday school kids and they loved it.  I was teaching a combined age class of elementary kids so it was really fun to have all of them enjoy the story, laugh when I wanted them to laugh and even understand the Biblical truths that I had woven through it.  So fun!  I couldn’t wait to share it with my Good News Club kids – also a large group of mixed ages.  But I really wanted some pictures.

I had seen artwork by Hannah Segura.  What a talented young lady!  I asked her to draw some pictures for the story so that I could share it with my Good News Club kids at our end-of-the-year party.  She said that she would!

More time went on and people suggested that I publish the story.  After some time I decided to contact a publisher, Hannah agreed to be my illustrator and now the book will be out soon.

My hope is that the story will draw kids and their parents closer to God and to each other and encourage them all to love God and live for Him.  And, of course, share the good news of the gospel.  Parents can use this book to start some great spiritual conversations with their kids at home.  You’ll have to read the story to find out Papa’s plan for Buddy Bee!

Enjoy “Papa’s Plan for Buddy Bee!”

Here is the link to the Facebook page for the book:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Papas-Plan-for-Buddy-Bee/313873945310948?sk=wall

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Merry Christmas!

My Christmas Music Dilemma

Christmas in the post-War United States

I love music.  And Christmas music?  You gotta love Christmas music!  I love it all.  Songs like Relient K’s “Santa Claus is Thumbing to Town,” Capital Lights’ “His Favorite Christmas Story,” Rebecca St. James’ “Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing,” and Matthew West and Amy Grant encouraging me to “Give This Christmas Away.”

So when I received a gift in the mail that I ordered for my daughter I found myself in a dilemma.  You see, this particular gift was a Christmas music CD that she requested.  Family Force 5 Christmas Pageant.

I hadn’t heard this CD yet.  And I did the unthinkable.  I opened that Christmas present before Christmas.  It wasn’t even my Christmas present.  But I did it.  I tore open the cellophane wrapper.  I pulled the label off the top.  And I put that CD in my car.  And played it as I drove.

It is Christmas music, after all.  And Christmas music should be enjoyed BEFORE Christmas, right?

Oh, how I love Christmas music!

By the way, my daughter is going to like it!

A Carrot Nose

“Roll it some more.”

“Is it big enough?”

“Keep going.  Just a little bit more.”

“Now?  Is it ready?”

“Oh, that’s perfect! The perfect size snowball for a snowman.  Now make another one, only a little smaller.”

My son and I went outside the other day.  The snow was beautiful.  The forgotten green grass was covered with sparkling, white snow.  Quiet stillness, crisp air and sunshine.  Even white birds flew in their v-shape pattern above us in the light blue sky.  It was a perfect day to play in the snow.  And build a snowman.

He made snow angels.  I didn’t.  I didn’t want to get my jeans too wet.  But soon it didn’t matter.  He pelted me with snowballs.  And I retaliated.  We were both covered with snow and wet spots.  Fortunately for me, the snowballs had to be small that day.  We even played on our snow-covered swing set.  I climbed and stood on a swing.  He cleared away snow as he went down the slide.  But my favorite part was the snowman.

Our snowman was the cutest snowman you’ve ever seen.  The snow would not easily pack so it was small.  We gave our little creation thin blades of grass for arms, two tiny raisin eyes and a baby carrot nose.  And we faced our new friend toward our house so we could wave back to it every day.  Until today.

It rained last night.  All that’s left of our small snowman friend is two tiny raisins and a little baby carrot sitting on the bench where we built our frozen friend that day.  The snow is gone.

My missing snowman reminds me of Psalm 1 where we see the contrast between the righteous man and the wicked man.  “And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season.  And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away…For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish,” (3-4, 6, NASB).

And Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 3 that the work we as Christians do for God will be revealed and we will someday receive a reward for what lasts through the fire.

So will the things that I do last?  Or will they melt away like that snow?

Today I choose to do the things that matter to God.  Things that will last.  Like the tiny raisin eyes of our snowman.  And a carrot nose.

A Plan and A Book!

We all know that a bumble bee should not be able to fly.  Its body is too big and its wings are too small.  But it flies.  Why?  Because God had a plan.

If God had a plan for the bumble bee, just imagine the plan that He has for YOU!

Find out more very soon in my new book!

God is BIG!

We sing it with kids all the time.  “God is big.  God is big.  God is very, very, very, very BIG!”  Did you know it’s true?

Some of my Good News Club kids showed me a clay model of the earth that they made in school.  It was so cool!  First I thought, “Wow!  That’s so neat!  Why didn’t I get to make that in school?  I’m sure I would have learned more about the earth if I could have made a clay model like that!”  And then I thought, “Wow!  That was all God’s idea!  God made the earth that way.  And He made it just right for us to live on it.  And He put it in just the right place in space.  God is big!”

Then another one of my Good News Club kids showed me a wasp nest and a honeycomb from her yard.  First I wanted to touch it.  It felt like paper!  So cool!  And then I thought, “Wow!  Those bees and wasps know how to make those because God made them that way.  That was God’s idea.  God is big!”

And then still another child showed me a drawing that she had made.  It was so good.  This child definitely has artistic talent.  And I thought, “Wow!  God made that child that way with that talent.  For a purpose.  I don’t know what that purpose is yet, but it’s going to be so cool!  Because God is big.”

I love it when those young boys and girls remind me of how big my God is.  He is big.  Very, very, very, very BIG!

While I was cleaning my house today I glanced out the window and saw a truck right in front of our house.  Not just any truck.  A Christmas light decorating truck.  Knowing they had the wrong house, I watched to see what would happen.  Would they start decorating our house?  The two men got out of the truck and looked at our house.  They looked at the other houses around us.  They looked down.  They looked at each other.

I looked around at the other houses, too.  All of the other homes on our circle have Christmas lights up already.  We have our lights.  We just haven’t put them out yet.  We usually put them up in November, but last year our lights were not working well so we don’t have those anymore.  We had to buy new lights this year.  And we did.  We will put them outside.  I promise.

Finally, the Christmas light men got back into their truck and drove off.  No Christmas lights here.  Not yet.

You know, Jesus is the light of the world.  He came from heaven to earth so that we could someday go from earth to heaven.  He loves us so much!

Maybe today you feel like my dark house among other brightly lit up houses around you.  You can know Jesus today!

Maybe you have trusted Jesus as your Savior.  When we know the Light of the World our lives should shine, just like all the decorated houses around me.  Jesus told us in Luke 8:16, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light,” (NIV).

What I haven’t told you yet is that we do have some lights.  We have a Christmas tree with simple white lights in our front window.  That will shine tonight.  And everyone will see.  It’s kind of like the way that Jesus shines in us.  When we trust Him as our Lord and Savior, He will never leave us.  As we spend time with Him by reading the Bible, praying, going to church and telling others about Jesus, we will get to know Him more.  And that light within us will shine.  Even if it’s just like a simple Christmas tree with calm white lights.

I hope that people see the light of Jesus in me today.  Like my simple tree that will shine through the window tonight.  And like the homes around me that light up the darkness.

We’ve got to get our Christmas lights out!

My new book will be coming soon!

Waiting for Christmas

When will Christmas finally be here?  It takes sooo long!

Just imagine the anticipation that was felt in heaven as the time for the first Christmas came.  It had been a long time coming.

Remember back when Adam and Eve first sinned?  At that moment we were separated from God, but God made us and He loves us and He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him.  So He made a way for our sin to be forgiven.  And He told that snake, aka Satan, the plan.  “…he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” (Genesis 3:15, NIV).  The cool thing about this is that God already knew His plan before He ever made Adam and Eve.  Remember that star that the three wise men followed to find Jesus?  God created that star and put it in just the right place to lead those men at just the right time way back in Genesis 1:14 on day four of creation.  Before Adam and Eve.  Before we sinned.  Now that’s a God who loves us!

Later God told us through Isaiah, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel,” (Isaiah 7:14, NIV).  Actually, there are over 300 Old Testament prophecies about Jesus.  And in case you’re wondering, Jesus fulfilled every one of them.

Yes, there was a long wait for Christmas in heaven.  But Jesus came.  He is “Immanuel,”  which means “God with us.”  Paul told us, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons,” (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV).

I can just imagine the angels in heaven getting excited as Mary and Joseph met.  And started really liking each other.  And as Elizabeth and Zechariah prepared to have baby John the Baptist.  And Jupiter, known in ancient times as the “King Planet,” came closer to the star Regulus, known by the ancient Babylonians as “King,”  soon to shine so brightly in the sky*.

Maybe the angels began to sing God’s praises even louder in preparation for their opportunity to tell the shepherds about Jesus.  Soon Jesus would come to earth and live among us.

God had not changed His mind.  Even after knowing the people of Noah’s day and dealing with the Israelites.  God is faithful.  And He loves us.  We all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (NIV).  God loves me and God loves YOU.  You are worth everything that Jesus went through to offer you forgiveness for your sin.  He knew you and He came for you before you ever knew Him.

Jesus came at just the right time.

So we still have to wait a little longer for Christmas Day, but we can celebrate Christmas right now!  Just like the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:10-11, NIV).

Have you experienced the joy of knowing Jesus Christ the Lord and truly celebrating Christmas?  You don’t have to wait!

*More star info from Elijah Tice at http://www.clubhousemagazine.com.

Okay.  So there’s good fear – like being afraid to cross a street full of cars speeding by.  And there’s bad fear – like being afraid to ask a question about an assignment in school.  And then being afraid to tell your mom that you didn’t do your homework because you were afraid to ask your teacher how to do it.  So you lie to your mom and then to your teacher because you didn’t do your homework.  A couple days later your teacher e-mails your mom and your mom finds out you lied to her and you didn’t do your schoolwork.  Now you end up with no screen time for the whole weekend!  No TV.  No video games.  For the whole weekend.  Yes, when we let our fear control us we end up going down the wrong path that leads to a huge mess.  Like being covered in Silly String!

Satan knows that if he can get us to let our fear control us, we will do things like tell lies and do things that harm us.  And end up in a big mess.

This week in Good News Club I got to share with the children what we should do when we are afraid and have problems.  You know – things like remembering how big and great our God is and talking to our parents and talking to God.  We can ask God for help and then trust Him to answer us.  And then thank Him!

If you’re wondering where all of this came from, check out what David and King Saul did when they let their fear control them in the last few chapters of 1 Samuel.

Oh, and that fictitious story I mentioned above?  My young volunteer went down that path and – you guessed it – I covered her with Silly String!  What a mess!