Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kidmin1124 - "Top 5 Reasons for Focusing Kids on Giving at Christmas!

Please check out my newest post on Kidmin1124 . . . Top 5 Reasons for Focusing Kids on Giving at Christmas! Along with seeing my Top 5 Reasons, you'll find three ideas for ways to involve your kids in giving to others this Christmas . . . as I said, "there are so many ways you can help the children in your ministry focus on giving to others this Christmas, but whatever you choose, be sure to do something to intentionally engage them and focus them on giving! As you do, you may find giving to others will become their favorite part of their 'favorite time of year'!" 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Snowy Lesson!

Okay . . . I live in Michigan and we are supposed to get some snow today . . . we typically have no shortage of snow. I've never been a big "fan" of the cold, white stuff, but since winter is upon us, I'm posting a free short object lesson you could use with the children in your ministry!

Whiter Than Snow!

Monday, November 28, 2011

"In the Beginning Was the Word . . . " Put Feet to Their Faith This Christmas with OneVerse!

I'm sure we all agree the focus for the month of December is Christmas . . . Christmas trees, Christmas cards, Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies, Christmas parties, Christmas gifts . . . and on and on it goes. But, let's stop for a moment and remember . . . Christmas is all about how Jesus, the Word, "was coming into the world!" (NLT)

The Word, Jesus, is why we can celebrate Christmas, so this Christmas help your kids focus on this truth by focusing on the Word, Jesus, and His written Word, the Bible as well with the oneverse project through the Seed Company. As they say, "Today, nearly one-third of the world's language groups representing 340 million people are still waiting for God’s Word in a language that they can understand clearly.

So, what is the oneverse project? Consider the following . . .

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's Celebrate Advent . . . Expectation . . . We Have Hope!

Christmas is only four weeks away!!! I love Christmas and I love celebrating, so Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year! As we begin Advent, let's take a moment to stop and focus on the reason for the season and celebrating! Advent is about waiting and anticipation. Before Jesus' birth, God's people waited for Him to come. Now, after His birth, we wait for His return. We anticipate with great joy the day Jesus returns for us and Advent helps us not only celebrate His birth, but look forward to His return!

There is a lot of symbolism related to Advent - 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Please Check Out Kidmin1124 - My New Post is About Reassuring Parents Our Ministries are Safe Places for Their Children

"With the news of the past week it is impossible to not have our hearts grieve for children who have been harmed at the hands of an adult they should have been able to trust. When news like this hits the airwaves, it leaves parents understandably shaken and in need of assurance they can trust the adults who have access to their children. So what can you do to help parents know their children are safe with you?" Please check my post on Kidmin1124 for the full post on this important topic.

Give the Gift of Honey Bees or Chicks . . . and Jesus with Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog!

For the past month I've been encouraging you to "Put Feet to Their Faith" by involving the children in your ministry with Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog. Children do think a lot about gifts this time of year, so let's use this to help them focus on living what they believe by giving to others! I love the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog because it gives you so may ways to help others - many are less than $50 - and each opportunity to help includes the opportunity for those who are being helped to learn about the Best Gift ever . . . Jesus! Consider these opportunities for the children in your ministry . . . 

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Giving away a Folkmanis Bear in Tree Stump Puppet!

Do you have a puppet ministry in your church? Do your preschool teachers like using puppets with the children in their classes? Or, is a puppet something you would love to add to your ministry this year, but one which you just have not invested in yet? Well, I'm delighted for the opportunity to give away an adorable little Bear in Tree Stump Puppet from Folkmanis! This little bear makes a great addition to any puppet ministry or preschool class!

I Have a Winner in My FFH One Silent Night Album Download Give-away!

I'm happy to say Stacia McKeever is the winner in my FFH One Silent Night album download give-away! (You will find my review at this link) Thank you Stacia for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your email so I can get the code to you) and thank you FFH for sending one download to me for review and for making another available for give-away!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy First Birthday About the Children's Department!

About the Children's Department is one year old today!!! Yesterday I posted about some of the things this past year brought and today I want to look forward to the coming year, but first off I want to thank you for reading my blog! I sincerely appreciate you all!

So, what does 2012 bring for About the Children's Department? Well . . . 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please Check Out Kidmin1124 for a Post on "Thankfulness . . . What If?"

For the past few weeks I’ve been writing about some of the things I’m thankful for. I recently saw a post on a friend’s facebook which made me stop and think about thankfulness . . .
Please check my full post on Kidmin1124 and think about what you can do to be intentional about being thankful all year long!

One Day Away From Our 1st Anniversary - A Look Back!!!

Tomorrow, November 24th, is the one year anniversary of About the Children's Department! First of all, thank you to all of you who take time to read my blog. I most sincerely appreciate it!

So, what has the past year looked like??? Well . . . 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pay Attention!!!!! Speak Up!!!!!

We all know about the children who were allegedly abused at Penn State . . . and sadly are hearing about similar situations in other colleges and universities. We in children's ministry, are around children all the time. We have to not only do everything we possibly can to insure the children in our ministries are safe, we also have to pay attention and speak up when we see or suspect a child is being harmed. 

Far too often we do not pay attention and do not speak up. It is not "just parental discipline" for a parent to abuse their child. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to strike our children. If children show up in our ministries with bruises, pay attention and speak up! If children who up in our ministries who are timid and who act as if they are afraid of being hit, pay attention and speak up!

Only 39 Days Until My 2012 VBS Reviews!!!!

Okay . . . I realize you are likely thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and may not have given much thought yet to VBS 2012, but in just 39 days my 2012 VBS Countdown and Reviews begin to release! I received Lifeway's Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS kit and it looks wonderful! I'm looking forward to "diving in" and taking a closer look, but so far I do like what I see!

Beginning on January 1st I will release my Top Ten VBS Countdown for 2012 complete with individual reviews and a side-by-side comparison chart. The entire month of January will be focused on VBS with info, ideas and resources to help you find your best fit for VBS, Summer ministry, mid-week ministry and so many more opportunities for ministry where you can make use of VBS resources!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog!

Thanksgiving is this week and at my house as soon as dinner is over, the Christmas tree goes up and the gifts go under the tree! I love Christmas and I love giving gifts! It is pretty safe to say the children in your ministry likely love Christmas and receiving gifts, too, so this year help the children in your ministry shift their focus from receiving gifts to giving gifts with Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog

I love the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog . . . for as little as $5 the children in your ministry can send gifts to children and families in need and in so doing, "put feet to their faith" as they focus on giving and sharing the Good News of Jesus with children and families around the world! 

So . . . what gifts could the children in your ministry give? Consider the following . . . 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tomorrow is the Day for My American Girl Kanani Doll Give-away!

Well, for the past month I've been talking about giving away one Kanani American Girl Doll of the Year 2011 & Paperback Book on my other blog, grandma's cookie jar and tomorrow is the day for the drawing! I wish I had more than one to give away . . . I've heard from so many of you who would give the doll to a little girl who otherwise would not be able to have an American Girl doll. But, I do have one to give away and tomorrow is the day for the drawing! Thank you to all of you who have been sharing my posts for the past month - your kind words about grandma's cookie jar and your willingness to share it with the people you know means so much to me!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Have a Winner in My the Grace Effect book Give-away!

I'm happy to announce Donna Sandefur is the winner in my give-away for the book, The Grace Effect! (You will find the review at this link) Thank you Donna for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your address so I can have it sent to you) and thank you Thomas Nelson for sending a copy for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

One Silent Night by FFH . . . I'm Giving One Away!

I had the opportunity to review the new Christmas release from the band FFH, One Silent Night. As they say, "it is a mix of original songs and Christmas classics. Founding member Jeromy Deibler comments, “We just feel blessed to be able to make this record and wanted to do the kind of Christmas music we like to listen to, something that’s not trendy but more of a classic style. For us Christmas is about remembering… slowing down to see what is important. And being reminded of the glorious impossible that was the birth of Christ. We hope this album reflects that desire and inspires others to do the same.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

John Elefante - Christmas Time Is Here . . . Great Gift for Volunteers!

When you stop to think about Christian music, you can not help but appreciate the impact one person has had on it . . . John Elefante! For more than 30 years he has been singing, writing and producing some of the best Christian music we all have been blessed to enjoy . . . including my all-time favorite Christian band, Petra! So, when I saw where John was releasing three Christmas songs, I was completely delighted! After listening to these song, I have to say, I'm thrilled for the opportunity to let you know about them! (You can listen to a clip from the songs by following this linklinklink.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fun Idea For Volunteer Christmas Gifts!!!

Christmas is just around the corner!!! I love Christmas time and I love giving gifts! If you have a budget for giving gifts and are looking for something to give your volunteers, consider  giving your volunteers a song! Check my reviews of the following new Christmas CDs and then go to Amazon and download a song for each of your volunteers!
  • Born is the King (Hillsong)I love all the songs on this CD, but especially the song, Born is the King! "Born unto us this day, the Savior! Gifted from Heaven to a manger! The Hope of the world's alive for all mankind! All of the world rejoice, it's Christmas time! So lift up your voice and sing out His praise (It’s Christmas) Born is the King, rejoice in the day (It’s Christmas) Make a joyful sound (It’s Christmas) Let His praise resound (It’s Christmas)" This song will cause your volunteers to rejoice in the reason we can celebrate Christmas . . . Jesus, gifted from Heaven the Hope of the world! This song will have you ready to make a joyful sound and celebrate Christmas! 
  • oh for joy (David Crowder*Band) - If you are a fan of the David Crowder*Band then you will be delighted to hear of their new album . . . oh for joy! On this album they "deliver their first Christmas record featuring classic Christmas songs interpreted as only the David Crowder*Band can. Highlighting the band's unmistakable creativity and originality, oh for joy finds the band re-inventing familiar Christmas songs into something new and unexpected." (And if you have zero budget for gifts, you could give your volunteers a link to a gift from the David Crowder*Band . . . a free download of their song, ""O, Holy Night""!!!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Heart of Christmas!

If you are looking for Christmas music which will delight, encourage and challenge you, most certainly take a look at Matthew West's new Cd - "The Heart Of Christmas". In addition, if you are looking for an idea of something special you could give your volunteers, consider giving one song download as a Christmas gift to each volunteer this year!  "The Heart of Christmas. The 12 song record features an equal mix of Christmas classics and original holiday tunes penned by West. Fellow GRAMMY ® winners and nominees join West on the album including Vince Gill in “Leaving Heaven,” Amy Grant on “Give This Christmas Away” and Mandisa for “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” The Heart of Christmas was produced by Pete Kipley (MercyMe, Kristin Chenoweth). 

“Since the beginning of my career, I’ve dreamed of making a Christmas album,” explains West, “and I’m so excited to finally get that chance this year! The Heart of Christmas is a collection of original songs I’ve written, and some of my favorite classics. I was honored to have iconic artists like Amy Grant, Vince Gill, and Mandisa from American Idol join me on a few of the songs, and those are personal highlights for me.”

So for a few thoughts . . . 

Christmas In DiverseCity by TobyMac

For the young, or young at heart, TobyMac's first Christmas record, Christmas In Diverse City (Forefront Records) provides a "pop, rock, soul, hip-hop and urban flavor" for Christmas songs . . . some familiar old carols and some new . . . "with an irresistible and distinctive Christmas spirit. Featuring memorable collaborations with Owl City, Leigh Nash and Jamie Grace, the album’s track listing also spotlights performances and songs from TobyMac’s long-time touring band, DiverseCity. TobyMac says: 'I just tried to think outside the box. It’s difficult at first to imagine some of these songs with a modern beat, but I think Christmas is about celebration and come on, on the inside everyone wants to dance. It has a bit of everything- six songs are my artistry: an eclectic blend of Christmas classics and originals. The other seven tracks are my amazing band’s (DiverseCity) individual artistic efforts. I love it.'"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are You Ready for Christmas? Enjoy "oh for joy" From the David Crowder*Band!

If you are a fan of the David Crowder*Band then you will be delighted to hear of their new album . . . oh for joy! On this album they "deliver their first Christmas record featuring classic Christmas songs interpreted as only the David Crowder*Band can. Highlighting the band's unmistakable creativity and originality, oh for joy finds the band re-inventing familiar Christmas songs into something new and unexpected."

I've only heard a few David Crowder*Band songs over the years . . . this was my first opportunity to listen to an entire album. So, a few thoughts . . . 

Put Feet to Their Faith with Samaritan Purse's Gift Catalog . . . Give an Alpaca!

Christmas is a very big time of year for those of us in children's ministry because it is a very big time of year for children! Yes, it is the time of year to focus on the most amazing Gift ever . . . Jesus, but, if we are honest, most children are excited about Christmas because of the gifts they will find under their trees on Christmas morning. So, while it is inevitable for children will be excited about the gifts they receive, let's try to help them focus on and be excited about giving to others! Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog make it so easy for us to do this . . . consider the following "gift" the children in your ministry could work to give to others in need this year . . . 

Samaritan's Purse's Sudan Refuge Camp Bombed . . . Pray

"The refugee camp operated by Samaritan's Purse in Yida, South Sudan, was bombed by the government of Sudan at approximately 3:20 p.m. local time on Thursday. Over 23,000 people are living in the camp in the northernmost part of Unity State, after being displaced by fighting across the border in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State. Four bombs are reported to have been dropped. One bomb fell on a schoolhouse, but thankfully it did not explode. Another hit the marketplace, and two others fell on the fringe of the camp. All of Samaritan’s Purse staff have been accounted for and are safe. They have not been able to confirm any casualties among the refugees.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Have a Winner in My VeggieTales "O Holy Night" CD Give-away!

I'm happy to announce Pamela Ratliff Bartley is the winner in my VeggieTales "O Holy Night" CD give-away! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Pamela for reading About the Children's Department (Please message me your address by December 11th so I can send it to you) and thank you VeggieTales for sending a CD for my review and another for give-away!

The Grace Effect . . . I'm Giving One Away!

The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief

By - Larry Alex Taunton
Publisher - Thomas Nelson

I am so delighted for the opportunity to share an amazing story with you! A story which literally show how the "Grace Effect" has the power to heal and save us! 'Simply defined, the ‘grace effect’ is an observable phenomenon — showing life is demonstrably better where authentic Christianity flourishes.' What does Christianity give us beyond televangelists, potlucks, and bad basketball leagues?  Not much, according to the secular Left. The world, they say, would be a better place without it. Historian and Christian apologist Larry Taunton has spent much of his career refuting just this sort of thinking, but when he encounters Sasha, a golden-haired orphan girl whose life has been shaped by atheistic theorists, he discovers an unlikely champion for the transforming power of grace. Through the narrative of Sasha’s redemption, we see the false promises of socialism; the soul-destroying influence of unbelief; and how a society cultivates its own demise when it rejects the ultimate source of grace.  We see, in short, the kind of world the atheists would give us: a world without Christianity—cold, pitiless, and gracelessAnd yet, as Sasha shows us, it is a world that is not beyond the healing power of 'the grace effect.'  Occasionally infuriating, often amusing, but always inspiring, The Grace Effect will have you cheering for the courageous little girl who shamed the academic elitists of our day."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Please Check Out CMBuzz for a Post on . . . Christmas is . . . Giving!

Creative Ministry BuzzI'm honored for the opportunity to write for CM Buzz and my current post is about "Christmas is  . . . Giving!" As we enter the Christmas season, check this post for three ideas of ways you can, "help kids focus on giving!"
Christmas is . . . Giving! Children\s Ministry

While you are there, be sure to check the other resources you will find on CM Buzz . . . and their new YM Blitz for resources on Youth Ministry!