Tag Archive: children’s ministry


Egged

IMG_0631It sounded like a good idea at the time.

My Children’s Ministry Magazine had an idea to “egg” your neighbors’ homes with the story of Easter.  It seemed so simple and fun.  Copy the Bible verses, cut them, put them and candy into 12 plastic Easter eggs, leaving one egg empty because Jesus is alive – not dead in the tomb anymore.  Then secretly hide them in their yards and leave a note on their door so they know they’ve been egged.  What a fun way to share Easter with your neighbors!

I decided it would be fun to “egg” the children that I teach in my Good News Club.  My son and I went to the store for eggs and candy.  We printed and cut the Bible verses and door notes, filled the eggs, and prepared many sacks of 12 eggs along with addresses and directions to each child’s home.  Then in the morning while the children were at school, we went out and hid eggs.  A lot of eggs.  Do you have any idea how many children are in my Good News Club?  There are a lot!  But my son and I kept going.  And going.  Hiding eggs.  Driving.  Looking for another home.  Hiding more eggs.  Staying away from barking dogs wondering what we’re up to.  Wondering why in the world we thought this was a good idea.  And hiding more eggs.  Finally we were done.

I decided to stop at the grocery store to get something easy for dinner from the meat counter.  The people there are so friendly.  The man behind the counter asked us if we were doing anything fun that day.  My son and I looked at each other and said, “No.  We’re NOT doing anything fun.”  And we laughed.  The man probably wondered what we had been doing that day to get such a reaction.

But we all have days like that, don’t we.  When we’re in the middle of something that is difficult.  Or something that is not what we thought we signed up for.  Maybe it’s a class in school that we’re trying so hard to earn an A in.  Or maybe it’s spending way too many hours at work.  Or maybe it’s taking care of a newborn that we love, but isn’t able to show us any appreciation while they cry and keep us up all night – no smile or anything.  Or maybe it’s feeling alone while taking care of a loved one.  Or volunteering in ministry and wondering if what we’re doing is worth our time and effort.  Or “egging” several children’s homes.  It can seem like no one understands, no one appreciates our hard work and it just doesn’t matter.

But it does matter.  Especially when that difficult class is over and you earned that A.  When you reach your career or financial goal.  When that baby finally smiles at you.  When you’re loved one holds your hand.  When someone in your ministry says, “thank you” and when a child leaves an egg on your front porch.

Yes, that’s what happened.  I was “egged.”  The next morning I found an egg on my front porch.  Inside was a note written by a child that said, “Mrs. Lori, Thank you for teaching me all about God and Jesus.”

You know what?  That “egging” trip was fun!  Filling the eggs, finding the houses, staying away from barking dogs.  It was all worth it.

IMG_5623

IMG_4917It’s that time again.  Time to thank my Good News Club Team for all of their hard work and dedication to our club this year.  So, what do you give a group of teenagers?  As I wandered through the store I came up with a fun idea using something that everyone likes.  Candy!

I decided to give my teen volunteers a bag of candy with a fun message to let them know that they made a difference in the lives of our kids at club and that I appreciate them.  Here is my message for them:

Thanks for making a difference in the lives of so many kids this year! You made our club more fun than REESE’S as you shared many TREASURES from God’s Word.  You taught and interacted with the children like a STARBURST and not like BUTTERFINGERS.  So it was ALMOND JOY to have you on my Good News Club Team.  You are worth more than 100 GRAND and you deserve a big PAYDAY, but all I can give you is this bag of candy.  I appreciate you!

But why let the fun stop there?  One of our kids at club memorized every single Bible verse.  Since we meet every week during the school year and we have a new verse each week, that’s a lot of Bible verses!  So that child gets a candy surprise, too!  Here’s the message for that child:

Congratulations, (child’s name)!  You know that learning God’s Word is worth more than 100 GRAND and more fun than REESE’S because you memorized every Bible verse at Good News Club this year!  Now you have stored up TREASURES from God in your heart, which will give you (ALMOND) JOY as you remember God’s Word when you need it.  You are a Bible verse-learning STARBURST and you deserve a big PAYDAY for your hard work!  Good job, Mrs. Lori

So, do you need some inspiration today?  Maybe all you need is to take a walk through the candy aisle!

And to all of my fellow volunteers in ministry:  You’re making a difference, too, even if I can’t give you candy!

 

 

 

IMG_4920It’s here!  The “Children’s Ministry Magazine” May/June 2014 issue.  The one with my article in it!  They said that they were going to publish it.  And they did!  I have enjoyed reading this magazine for several years, but this one is extra fun!

Just Like Daddy

SCAN0896I came across one of the cutest pictures.  You can see it here.  It’s a picture of my brother wearing Daddy’s shoes before I was born.  It reminds me of the pictures that I have of my own kids stepping into my shoes or my husband’s shoes and trying to walk around.  Trying to be like Mommy or Daddy.

One of my husband’s parents’ favorite stories to tell over and over is about the day that one of my sons visited them and very proudly showed them the belt that he was wearing.  It was just like Daddy’s belt and he wanted everyone to see that he was like his Daddy.

I’m sure you can think about times when kids that you know have done the same thing.  They’ve tried to imitate their Daddy.  Which makes me wonder.  Do we still want to be like Daddy?  Not our earthly Daddy, but our Heavenly Father.  Do we want to imitate Him?

Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,” (NASB).  That verse makes me think of this picture of my brother, a child loved by his parents and desiring to imitate his Daddy by walking in his shoes.  What if we still did that today?  Or maybe the better question is, How can we still do that today?  Verse 2 says to “walk in love,” verses 8-10 say, “…walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  There is a lot more in this chapter of Ephesians about how to walk and how not to walk, but I like these verses because they remind me of my children walking in shoes that – even thought they were too big for them – they were so happy to try.  Maybe imitating God feels like we’re walking in shoes that are too big for us, but we are called to try anyway.  And the best thing is, we don’t have to do it on our own.  God is right here with us all the time.

So how are you doing at imitating your Daddy today?  I think our Heavenly Father looks on us with delight when we do, in the same way that we delight in our kids when they try to imitate us.  We’re so pleased that we take pictures and save them for years.  God doesn’t need to take pictures, but I’m sure He is pleased when He sees His beloved children walking in His ways and imitating their Daddy.

Literally Speaking

SCAN0736This cartoon from the newspaper is a fun reminder that younger kids are literal thinkers – a good thing to remember when we teach them!

This also made me laugh.  One of the teens that was teaching kids in my backyard this summer said that Jesus was reigning in Heaven, which is true, but as soon as he said that I imagined lots of little children trying to picture in their minds how Jesus was “raining.”  Then one child shouted out, “Raining?!”  It was so cute!  And a good reminder to think about how children understand our words.

Leaving a Mark

Handprint

Last week I hosted a vacation Bible school in my backyard called a “5-Day Club,” which is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship.  Many children came each day during the week and it was a lot of fun to chat with them and their moms.  However, each day the children left their mark in the way of animal cookie crumbs on the patio, donuts under the swings or purple, red and orange popsicle juice on the pool deck.

If you haven’t heard of Child Evangelism Fellowship before, they are an international ministry that shares the Gospel with kids.  The 5-Day Clubs are taught by teenagers during the summer after the teens are trained.  It’s really a fun time!

So last week I invited my friends and neighbors to come to my backyard for the 5-Day Club and, except for snack clean-up, it was a neat time.  Each morning the teenagers came and played games with the kids, sang fun songs, taught Bible lessons and shared the Gospel.  At the end of the week I invited the teens and their siblings to swim in our pool.  After they left I found two little handprints on the lower portion of the mirror in our exercise room where the kids had changed for our pool party.  Yes, the teens’ siblings left their mark just like the children had during the week.

But the teenagers left their mark, too.  The children went home each day with songs about Jesus singing in their heads, many of them memorized Bible verses that God can use in their lives and one of them even decided to trust Jesus as their Savior.  Now that’s the kind of mark that I want to leave.

We all leave our mark everywhere we go and in everything we do.  God’s desire for each one of us is to choose a relationship with Him and then to do good things that He has already planned for us to do.  That is what the teens did here last week.  Okay, so I know we can’t all spend our summers teaching children about Jesus, but that’s okay because God has a plan for each one of us.  Ephesians 2:10 is one of my favorite Bible verses, “God made us.  He created us to belong to Christ Jesus.  Now we can do good things.  Long ago God prepared them for us to do,” (NIrV).

So what mark will you choose to leave?  Will it be simply leaving cookie crumbs behind for other people to clean up or will it be choosing to belong to Jesus and following His plan for your life?  If you’re stopping by my backyard, I’d prefer not to find any more melted donuts under the swings.  Oh, and if you need some inspiration in encouraging your kids in leaving their mark, you can read my “Papa’s Plan for Buddy Bee” book with them!

Let’s make our mark for Jesus today!

IMG_4286Okay.  I admit it.  These are my favorite shoes.  I’ve worn them all through the fall, winter and now the spring.  And last year I wore the same shoes, but a different pair.  They were so comfortable that when they started to wear out I went to the store hoping that they would still have them.  And they did!  What a happy day!

And now this new pair looks worn out, but they are sooo comfortable.  I will say that I have nice shoes when I need to look nice, but these shoes are my favorite and even though they’re getting kind-of embarrassing to wear, I still wear them because, well, you know, they’re comfortable.

Which makes me think, what else am I getting comfortable with?  I know I should get rid of these shoes for good, but they’re so comfy.  And after all, they’re just shoes.  But are there things in my life that maybe I’ve gotten too comfortable with – like with this pair of shoes?  Are there things in your life?

It’s a good question to think about.  It’s nice to be comfy, but what if God is calling you to give up something like a bad attitude or to do something new that may not be so comfortable?

A lot of the things that I’ve done have not been so comfortable.  Like when I agreed to lead worship for children and I showed up to find 350 children gathered in front of me and a microphone.  That turned out to be one of the most fun things I’ve done.  Definitely not comfortable, but fun.  And I think that’s the point.  When we’re not comfortable, we have to count on God to work through us.  We have to remember every moment that God promised to never leave us and that He will help us.  And we learn to trust the Holy Spirit to comfort us and give us courage.  And that is the best thing about serving God.  Watching what He does through us when we are definitely not comfortable, but willing to serve Him and do our best.

So as the weather warms up here, it’s about time to get rid of my comfortable shoes that I have enjoyed wearing for so many months.  Why is that so hard to do?  I will say, though, that I’m looking forward to wearing sandals and flip flops.  Shoes that are cute AND comfortable.  I am so ready for that!

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Hananiah, Mis...

You know how you can read a passage of Scripture a hundred times and learn something new each of those times?  Well, the kids that I teach ask really good questions so I like to anticipate their questions and study more than just the lesson.  And I learned something really neat that every parent will appreciate.

The lesson this time was about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  I knew that when these teenagers arrived in Babylon from Judah that they were given new names, but I hadn’t noticed before what those names meant.  Or what their original names had meant.  This is what’s really neat.  Their parents gave them names that had to do with God, the one true God, which means that their parents were probably teaching them about God and encouraging them to follow Him.  We know that these young men knew the one true God.  Here are the names that their parents gave them:

Hananiah:  Yahweh is gracious.

Mishael:  Who is what God is?

Azariah:  Yahweh is a helper.

Now look at their names given to them in Babylon:

Shadrach:  I am very fearful of God or Command of Aku (the moon god).

Meshach:  I am of little account or Who is like Aku?

Abednego:  Servant of the shining one (Nebo, a Babylonian god).

The leaders of Babylon must have wanted these young men to forget their God and worship the false gods of Babylon, but would they?  No.  Even when persecuted by being thrown into a very hot, fiery furnace made for baking bricks, they still stood up for God.  They said that no matter what would happen, they would worship only the one true God.  Go Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!

Here’s what is really neat to me.  (Well, besides the whole amazing true story.)  Sometimes we as parents can wonder if our children are listening to us, but we can know that they are.  We can teach our children about God, train them in godly ways and encourage them to live for God and to stand up for Him.  And when we need to let them go we can continue to pray for them.  I’m sure the parents of those three teenagers were praying for their sons while they were in Babylon.  And just like in Babylon, when our culture encourages our kids to forget about their God and choose the ways of the world, they will have the courage to choose to trust God to help them as they stand up for Him and for what is right.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

* The name information is from the ESV Study Bible.

Got Worries?

worried face

Have you ever worried?  Did you know that kids worry?

Children’s Ministry Magazine recently shared a statement from The Washington Post about kids and stress.  It said, “Your kids may benefit from a lesson on worry.  Stress is the leading reason 10-15 percent of school-aged children now need medical attention for stomach pain,” (March/April 2013).  I agree that kids could benefit from a lesson on worry.  Many children have told me about things that they are worried about, from rain storms to school fire drills to parents arguing.  Children do worry.  And so do we.  So what do we do when we worry?

Well, anytime we don’t know what to do, we can look to God.  And, guess what?  God has a lot to say about worry in His Word, the Bible!

When I spoke about worry to a group of children at a Christian school chapel, I brought a special little friend with me.  A small Play-Doh person.  We decided that our Play-Doh person seemed happy and joyful.  But then we imagined that our Play-Doh friend was our age and we shared things that we worry about.  As each worry was shared, our Play-Doh friend was pressed down more and more until it was all pressed down flat from worry.  Our Play-Doh friend didn’t seem so joyful anymore.  When you  have things that you are worried about, do you feel pressed down flat like that?  That’s not how God wants us to live.  He wants us to have joy and know that He cares about us.  So what should we do when we worry?

The Bible has a lot to say about worry, but I like the verse in 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your cares and worries to God because He cares about you,” (NLT).  So when we worry, we should give our worries to God because He cares about us.  Did you know that God cares about you?  He created the whole world just by speaking.  He made the planets, the sun, the stars, the flowers, the puppies.  And He made you!  Since God made you, He cares about you.  In fact, God cares about you so much that He even knows how many hairs are on your head!  This morning when you combed your hair, did you count the hairs on your head?  No?  Why not?  Okay, I didn’t either.  I really don’t care how many hairs are on my head, but God does.  He even cares about things about me that really aren’t that big of a deal.  Can you imagine how much He cares about the things that really do matter to you?  He cares a lot!

So we know God cares about us, but how do we give Him our cares and worries?

First, let’s think of ways that we tend to give God our worries.  One thing we tend to do is to say, “God, I’m worried about this and I know you care about me, but, well, I’m not sure that you can really take care of this.  I’m just going to keep holding onto this worry.”  That’s like giving our worries to God in the same way that we play with a yo-yo.  We start to give it away, but we hold onto it with a string and keep bringing it back to us.  That’s not how God wants us to give Him our worries.

Here’s another way that we tend to give God our worries.  We say, “God, I know you care about me and I’m worried about this, but, God, this is a really big worry and I don’t think you can handle this one so I’m going to keep worrying about this and handle this one on my own.”  When we do that, it’s like we’re giving our worries to God in the way that we play with a boomerang.  If I take my boomerang toy to the park and throw it, it will come back to me.  When we give our worries to God, but don’t trust Him to take care of us, our worries come back to us, too.  Did you know that God is a really big God?  He is!  He keeps all of the stars in place in the sky and He can take care of you!

So here is how we should give our worries to God.  Like a hot potato.  If you pick up a hot potato, you will put it down very quickly or your hands will hurt!  And you won’t pick up a hot potato again.  You will leave it alone and not touch it.  That is how God wants us to give our worries to Him.  He wants us to remember that He cares about us and to tell Him our worries and trust Him to take care of us.

And then, when we do that, we will have joy because we will know that God cares about us.

Are you feeling pressed down flat with worry today?  Give God your cares and worries because He cares about you!

*Note:  The Play-Doh idea came from The Hands-On Bible.  The yo-yo, boomerang and hot potato idea came from notes that I wrote in my Bible a long time ago from a book, but I don’t remember which one.  I’m sorry to whoever I am not crediting for that!

You Could Be A Hero!

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 2.11.09 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 2.10.38 PMDid you know that you could be someone’s hero and you don’t even know it?

Recently I found out that two of my Good News Club children wrote about me for their hero assignment in school.  If you’re a Bible teacher, than you understand how fun this is.  We don’t teach in order to get things like recognition, money or our pictures on Wheaties boxes.  In fact, it costs money to lead a Good News Club and to do many things in ministry and often in ministry no one says, “Thank you.”  It doesn’t matter though, because we teach because we feel called by God.  And we get to teach from God’s Word.  What could be more exciting than that?  However, when parents and children let us know that what we are doing is making a difference in the lives of those that we teach, that is such a blessing!

So this winter I was excited to find out that two of my kids in club wrote about me for their hero assignment at school.  They had to draw a picture of their hero and put that on the cover of a Wheaties box of cereal and then put their story on the back of the cereal box.  I’ve never had my picture on a Wheaties box before and now it is on two!  (Haha.  Don’t go looking for them in your store.  They’re not real Wheaties boxes.)  The really neat thing about this is not that they wrote about me, but that these boxes were displayed in the school where people could find out about Good News Club and our amazing God.  Now that is very cool!

So are you wondering what makes a hero to children?  Want to know what is important in children’s ministry?  Here are some of the things that they wrote:

“Mrs. Lori has a kind heart.  When we come into Good News Club we get a tasty snack.  When we are stuck on something or don’t know what the answer is she will help us.  After Good News Club is over Mrs. Lori lets us pick from a million books.  And she is kinder than my brother and sister and trust me they are kind.”

“We do athletic stuff like parachute and Duck, Duck, Goose.  If you searched up most athletic person there would be a picture of Mrs. Lori on there.”

“She knows everyone’s name every day.”

“She is smarter than Albert Einstein.  She knows every word in the book that we read.  Mrs. Lori knows what to say when she is up to talk.  If she wasn’t smart we would be dumb when it comes to God.”  (My note:  That book that we read is the Bible.  Both of the children drew it on their Wheaties boxes!)

“Mrs. Lori is friendly.  She is always fair and doesn’t leave anybody out.  When hurt she will always help you.”

“She helps kids when they don’t know what to do.”

“She’s nice to the other people on the Good News Club Team.”

“She’s intelligent.  She knows every word in the stories.  She can say every kid’s name and tell every kid about God.”

“She always puts God first.”

I think it’s fun to see what is important to the children that we minister to.  It seems that things like knowing their names, being kind and friendly, knowing the Bible lessons well, playing fun games and having tasty snacks are important to these kids.  With God’s help, I can keep doing that.

I’m still amazed that God has called me to be a part of teaching children and leading them to know Him.  What a fun task!  And who knows?  You may be a hero today and you don’t even know it.

The thing that I’m really excited about is that what these kids really see in me is Jesus, and He is the real hero!