Archive for September, 2012


A treasure chest

In honor of “Talk Like a Pirate Day” I have decided to dig for some hidden treasure.  So all hands on deck!  Here we go!

I love digging in God’s Word for treasure.  Aye.  It’s true.

For the last few months I have been studying the Psalms and David and First and Second Samuel.  There is so much treasure in there!  David even wrote about God’s laws in Psalm 19:10, “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold” (NIV).  And I just started going to a Bible study at church where we will study Genesis.  I love studying Genesis.  When my Sunday school kids told me that they wanted to learn about Creation, bliney!, I was all over that!  I wrote three months of curriculum and loved to watch their faces as they discovered the treasures in God’s Word about how everything began.  So, yes,  I mean, aye, I could spend hours every day just reading the Bible, doing word studies and researching the authors and the culture.  There is so much digging for treasure to be done.  But have you ever had God just hand you a treasure?  When you’ve spent so much time talking to Him and then He just shows up and speaks to you?  Now that is real treasure.

So yesterday I was a bit later than usual to pick up my son from school because my daughter called and we were enjoying chatting with each other.  Since there wasn’t much time before school would be out I kept my iPod playing in the car and just rolled down the windows and enjoyed the nice, slightly cool weather.  Usually I read a book, but this time I simply looked out the window.  That’s when I saw it.  Clover weeds and a butterfly.  Such a simple thing, but it was so fun to watch that little yellow butterfly hover over those white and purple flowers.  When I was little and then when my kids were little I enjoyed making crowns and necklaces with those simple flowers.  Then came the treasure.  God reminded me that He created that butterfly for His glory.  And He created me for His glory.  And those flowers, well, they were right there last year and the year before that and the year before that… and they would be there again next year.  And, avast ye!  God is like that!  God has always been good and He has always been here and He will continue to be good and here.  The writer of the Hebrews wrote to believers in 13:5, “…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (NIV).  Those words are a treasure.

Now you have to understand my iPod.  Thanks to my own kids and my ministries with kids I enjoy a variety of music.  My playlist in my car includes songs from Hillsong Kids, Hillsong United, Skillet, TobyMac, BarlowGirl…Savvy?  (Yesterday morning a Jump5 song was “spinning around” in my head after hearing it in my car!)  But at this moment the song “Promise of a Lifetime” by Kutless played.  With it’s lyrics like “I know you’re always there to hear my every prayer” and “I hear the words you say to never walk away from me and leave behind the promise of a lifetime” it was a treasure indeed.  Aye.  God is so good.  A real, true treasure.  More precious than gold.

So while I’m enjoying talking like a pirate today (I greeted my swashbuckling son this morning with a hearty “Ahoy Matey!” and later informed him that our ship would be sailing to school shortly.) I’m also enjoying searching for hidden treasure.  And treasure that’s not so hidden.  And I’m grateful for the amazing treasure I have in Jesus.

Here’s a link to the song by Kutless:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_38RfYrFYA

And in celebration of “Talk Like a Pirate Day” here’s a link just for fun!  http://www.jellytelly.com/video/pirate-etiquette-spoons/

Got some hidden treasure to share?  I’d love to hear it!  And I won’t make you walk the plank!  Aaaargh!

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To all of you who are involved in children’s ministry and specifically, Good News Club, I want to thank you for giving your time and talents to teaching kids about the amazing gift that Jesus has offered to us and influencing them week after week to love Jesus every day of their lives.  I’ve been involved in children’s ministry for many years.  This is my eighth year to be involved with Good News Club and I have tried different ideas to make our club the best that it can be.  As my club has grown it has been so much fun to watch God move in the lives of our kids.  My hope is that the following ideas will inspire you to make your own club or ministry irresistible to the kids in your area!  So get ready, get set, go make your ministry irresistible!

COUNTDOWN TO CLUB

PRAY.  Pray for your club time, team and kids.  Can’t remember all their names?  Try keeping a copy of the attendance list in your Bible.  Remember to also pray for the principle, teachers and staff at your school!  I like to choose a Bible verse for the year that the team and I pray over our club from the first meeting to the last.  Try it and watch our amazing God move!

SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE.  Request a table for Good News Club among the other tables, like Boy/Girl Scouts.  Decorate your table with a colorful tablecloth, display board about club, registration forms and pens, and candy like Dum Dum suckers or Smarties.  Bring your smile!  Stand at the table to greet your kids and answer questions.  Remember:  Club is awesome!  Be friendly and excited about your club!

KICK OFF PARTY.  Invite kids to the school field or nearby park to play kickball together before club meetings begin.  Divide into two teams, choose team names and kick that ball!  Kids can bring their own water bottles and a snack to share together before or after a fun game of kickball.  A leader might even bring popsicles for a special treat after your game!  Use this time of fun to build relationships with the kids!  Challenge the kids to invite their friends to club!  Have the leaders do a skit for the kids showing them how to invite their friends to club.  Then hand out lots of registration forms!

CLUB TIME

“4:00 NEWS WITH FRANKLIN.”  Encourage kids to love Jesus and live for Him.  Consider adding a quick newscast during snack time where a leader interviews a child.  Give the child questions the week before so they can prepare.  Ask about how/when the child decided to become a Christian, what activities they like to do, what opportunities they have had to share Jesus with others at school, home or in their neighborhood, with their soccer team or dance class, and what they are doing now to get to know Jesus more today.  Kids want to make a difference and they believe they can change the world.  Just imagine your kids making a difference at your school because they know Jesus!

“BIRTHDAY BLESSING.”  Birthdays are important to kids so make that important at club.  Snack time or closing time is the perfect time to give value to your special birthday kids.  Invite the birthday child to come up to the front as you share a quick thing or two that you have seen in that child that is super cool, like how well they get along with the kids or maybe the time that you saw them choose their Bible verse prize to give to their brother or how awesome they are at working in their Wonder Book each week.  Have bookmarks signed by the team ready to give to the birthday child at the end of club, and maybe a candy, too!  Make their day extra special by mailing them a postcard that they will receive at home on their birthday!

BIBLE LESSON IMPACT.  Tattoo your kids!  No, not real tattoos, but you can imprint your lessons about God on your kids all week long.  Our CEF lessons are awesome!  Practice presenting.  Add object lessons.  Bring them to life with costumes and props.  Is there rain?  Surprise the kids with spray bottle mist!  We had Nerf spears flying across the room at David during our angry, jealous Saul lesson!  And remember to have your own time with God.  You were never meant to serve Him alone and you can’t give away what you don’t have!

BIBLE VERSE, WONDER BOOK, AND NEW FRIENDS PRIZES!  What do your kids want?  Silly bands?  Skittles?  Pencils?  Target gift cards?  When kids hide God’s Word in their hearts now, God will remind them of those verses later when they’re older. Teach the kids how to study God’s Word today and they’ll remember truth as they grow.  Don’t let your kids keep club a secret.  Invite friends!

GOOD NEWS CLUB LIBRARY.  Elementary kids love to read!  Provide Christian books for them to borrow.  Just imagine your fourth grade boy reading a Bill Myers “My Life As” book in his classroom!  Or your second grade girl reading a Beverly Lewis “The Cul-De-Sac Kids” book!

BIBLES TO BORROW.  This is the perfect time for kids to gain a love for reading the Bible!  The NIV Bible is written at a 7th grade reading level so provide children’s Bibles for the kids.  The Action Bible from David C. Cook, the Hands-On Bible from Tyndale, and the NIrV Adventure Bible from ZonderKidz will fascinate your kids and draw them closer to God!

BIBLE JOURNAL.  Send a club journal home along with the Bible to Borrow or just the journal itself for children to share what they’ve learned in the Bible that week.  As kids read God’s Word they can write a note about what they learned, draw a picture or even create a poem or comic strip.  It’s their choice!  Consider having multiple journals so leaders can positively respond to entries during the week while kids take home a different journal.  At the end of the year, see how much your kids have learned from God’s Word!

ICE CREAM PARTY.  I scream.  You scream.  We all scream for ice cream!  And kids will bring their friends to club when you celebrate all the amazing things that your club learned about God as you finish a series of Bible lessons!  Bring lots of RediWhip and sprinkles!

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH.  Kids love jokes and riddles so occasionally share some laughs during snack time.  Kids’ magazines are great resources for kids’ jokes.  Your kids may even surprise you with some funny jokes of their own!

EXTRA!  EXTRA!

“FIFTH GRADE FUN.”  Your older kids are the key to your club.  If your oldest kids are excited and engaged in club, the other kids will be too.  While the younger kids like repetitive activities, you can keep those older kids guessing a bit.  Your older kids need to feel important so give them jobs at club and a special activity just for them.  Contact parents and plan a fun time for the oldest kids, their families and your leaders.  Shhh…Keep it a secret from the kids!  In the weeks leading up to the special day, provide clues and see which fifth grader can guess the activity first!  Maybe you’ll meet after school at Dairy Queen for ice cream cones.  Or play laser tag.  How about sledding at a nearby park?

CHRISTMAS PARTY.  We talk about Christmas and Easter all year long in Good News Club so celebrate big at Christmas time.  Our Christmas tradition is for the fifth graders to decorate a giant brownie for Jesus’ birthday cake.  When the fifth graders have the cake ready we all sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and then share the delicious brownie cake!

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES!  It’s always difficult to send our fifth graders away to middle school so we send them off with a small gift and prayer at our last club.  Tweens would like a Christian music CD (think TobyMac, Stellar Kart, BarlowGirl, Hawk Nelson), a picture from club with messages from the Good News Club team, a glow stick with a reminder to shine for Jesus in middle school or a pack of Extra gum to remind them that they are Extra special to God!

KIDS LOVE MAIL.  You know you love to get a real letter in the mail, too!  How about sending a postcard to a child when you see them doing something awesome at club?  Maybe Joey was a good friend to a new kid today or perhaps you saw Maddie choose her Bible verse prize and give it to her little brother.  When Billy misses club, a postcard in the mail will let him know you noticed he was gone.  And don’t forget a birthday postcard on that special day!  Money Saver:  Purchase plain 4×6 cards and make you own postcards.  Or skip the postage altogether and make friendly phone calls to your kids!

SHARE THE JOY.  You know you appreciate the teachers and staff at your school so show them by bringing in occasional treats to their lunch room.  Or show your attitude of gratitude with a simple bowl of candy in the office from your club.  Let them know they are a “Treasure” to your school with Nestle’s Treasure candies.  Or that they are “a great ‘Riesen’ to celebrate” with a dish of Riesen caramels.  One year our club day fell on May Day so our club made May Baskets and delivered them to all of our teachers!  Or  maybe your school collects Box Tops.  You should have seen the look on our secretary’s face when I gave her a bag full of Box Tops for her school when I didn’t even have a child enrolled there!  We are so grateful for the use of our room for club so children can learn of the love of Jesus, so let’s be sure to bless our school!

Now you’re ready and you’re set.  Will you go?

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!'” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV).

Blessings to you all as you go out and share the love of Jesus with kids!  -Lori

English: A pile of potato chips. These are Utz...

Mmmm… Potato chips.  I love potato chips.  My favorite chips are the Lay’s Classic potato chips.  I remember their slogan from a while ago:  “Bet you can’t eat just one Lay’s and not one more and more.”  It’s true.  Once you eat one of those crunchy, salty potato chips you will want to eat more.  And more.  And more.  And eventually you will be thirsty.  Those chips will create a thirst in you for something.  I like ice cold water.  Yep.  That’s perfect.

Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-16.  He said, “You are the salt of the earth.  But suppose the salt loses its saltiness.  How can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything.  It will be thrown out.  People will walk all over it.  You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill can’t be hidden.  Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine in front of others.  Then they will see the good things you do.  And they will praise your Father who is in heaven” (NIrV).

Can you imagine those chips without the salt?  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want them.  And I definitely wouldn’t eat more than one.  One taste of that awful chip would be enough.  I’d be done and gone.

In this passage, Jesus encourages us not to lose our saltiness.  Why?  Because He knows that we can.  We can get so busy with things in our life – even very important things – that we don’t spend time alone with God, or we don’t prepare well for our lessons that we will teach, or we just lose our enthusiasm for God and the ministry that He gave us.  We can lose our saltiness.  We need to be sure that our ministry with the kids stays salty.  Or the kids will not want to come and then they may never hear about the amazing gift that Jesus has offered to them.  As a Good News Club teacher of a club in a public school, I need my club to stay salty so that we will be a light for the kids in that school so that kids will come and see the good things that we do and praise our Father who is in heaven.

Think about the kids in your ministry.  What would they say about your class or your club?  Would they say that the activities are boring or fun?  Kids don’t want to come to things that are boring.  What about your lessons?  Do they keep your kids’ attention?  We need to learn, prepare and present our lessons well.  We can supplement object lessons, act out parts of the lessons with simple costumes, use props,….  Often I see children with little tattoos on their arms or faces.  You know the ones that you soak onto their skin with water?  Yeah, those.  They stay on the child for days and days without wearing off.  That’s what we want to happen with our lessons.  We want them to stay tattooed on the children for days and days.  Actually, even longer.  And they can.

So back to thinking about our kids.  Would they say that when they are in our class or our club that no one notices them?  Or would they say that they feel like they are loved and cared for?  We need to be sure that every child that walks through our door knows that we care about them.  Why would they think that God cares about them if we are right there and we don’t even care about them?  We need to get down to their level so we can look them in the eyes as we talk with them about things that are important to them.  And remember their names!  Finally, would the kids say that they don’t want to come?  Or would they say that they like to come and they even invite their friends?  Is your class or club salty?

In my club, I enjoy seeing the children gain a love for God’s Word.  I use the NIrV Bible at club, but at home on my own I like the NASB version.  Check out the same passage in the NASB.  “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Probably not real easy for children to understand, huh?  Nope.  So here’s one way to keep our clubs and classes salty.  Think like a child.  What was important to you when you were their age?  Present lessons on their level.  Plan activities that they can do well.  Play games that they enjoy playing.

Wow, there’s so much more!  So stay salty!  There will be more to come in Part 3.