Friday, November 30, 2012

Share and Show Jesus’ Love!

It is really easy for me to be excited about Christmas . . . Jesus came to Earth and was born as a human so we can know Him – this is truly exciting! It is very easy for this message to be “lost” in all the “busyness” and the “celebrating” of Christmas. I, probably like most of you, tend to be very busy at Christmas and I absolutely love celebrating it with my family, particularly my grandsons! But I need to be sure to remember some very important things about Christmas . . . there are those who are so badly in need of hearing and receiving the message of Christmas – Jesus’ love.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top 5 Reasons for Focusing our Kids on Receiving at Christmas

Yesterday I posted my Top 5 Reasons for Focusing Kids on Giving at Christmas, but today I want to stop to think about the Top 5 reasons for Focusing our Kids on Receiving at Christmas . . . yes, I said “receiving“! At Christmas children – and adults, too – think quite a bit about the gifts they would like to receive, but in God’s Word we find some of the most incredible gifts anyone could ever receive . . . and we read they are gifts God wants us to receive! Consider the following .  .  .

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top 5 Reasons for Focusing Kids on Giving at Christmas!

“Christmas time is here. Happiness and cheer. Fun for all that children call, Their favorite time of the year!”
Ah, yes . . . Christmas time is here and while children are likely to be focused on the gifts they hope to receive . . . as for many children it is their favorite time of year, I believe it is the ideal time to redirect their focus to giving to others! So . . .  here are my Top 5 Reasons for Focusing Kids on Giving at Christmas . . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

VBS 2013!!!

A dear lady I know once told me in children's ministry there are two seasons in the year . . . Christmas and VBS, because when you finish one of them, you begin to plan and prepare for the other! Well, believe it or not, it is almost time for my January of VBS with my Top Ten VBS Countdown for 2013, VBS reviews, give-aways and side-by-side comparison chart!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A FREE Christmas Gift for You to Give You Volunteers!

Free Christmas printables -- from 5x7 size all the way up to poster sizeI love the word "sale"! "Clearance" is even better, and what isn't there to LOVE about the word, "Free"?!!! I understand about having to make dollars stretch when it comes to church budgets - and personal budgets, so they other day when I was browsing on Pinterest and found a link for Free Christmas printables I knew I had to share them with you! These would make wonderful gifts for your volunteers!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Surprise Your Volunteers with a Sweet Gift!

{DIY sugar cubes}If you would like to brighten the day of your volunteers with a sweet little surprise, consider making them homemade, shaped sugar cubes . . . or find a "crafty" person in your church who will make them for you! :-) 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Give the Gift of . . . Thankfulness!

We just celebrated Thanksgiving, so we have been thinking about being thankful, but as you move into the Christmas make the commitment to continue to focus on being thankful! Consider the following . . . 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stable in Bethlehem - I'm Giving One Away!

It is the time of year for "Christmas" books to be released and one new one is a great choice for little ones! This board book runs through the account of Jesus' birth with a focus on counting!

It's Time to Think about Christmas - a Nativity Set for Each Child!

The first year my husband and I were married, he got me the Precious Moments Nativity Set . . . this was 31 Christmases ago! Every year I love setting up my Nativity Set . . . on Thanksgiving, after dinner while my husband sets up the tree! We have a bay window in our living room and the tree goes in the window; I set the Nativity Set in the window as well with the kings traveling across the living room to the Nativity because I want the focus to be on the Reason for the Season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for Confident Hope and Perfect Peace!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I have so much to be thankful for, but one thing I'm most thankful for is because I know I can put my confident hope in God! "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope." Romans 15:13

As you think about your family and ministry, are you able to have confident hope in God? There are so many things to do and the world is certainly filled with uncertainty, but as you pause for Thanksgiving, keep the following in mind . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Few Special Give-Aways . . .

grandma's Christmas give-away!grandma's Christmas give-away!Along with writing this blog, I also write grandma's cookie jar and all November I've been giving away a lot of things in my "Special Month of Christmas Give-Aways"! I have a few give-aways coming up which I wanted to let you know about . . . 

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce Kendal is the winner in my Nothing is Impossible with God book give-away (you'll find the review at this link) Thank you Kendal for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your address by November 27, 2012 so I can have it sent to you) and thank you New Growth Press for making it available for review and give-away!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Christmas Lesson!

Kidz CONNECTIONWith Christmas just around the corner, I thought it was a good time to give away a free Christmas lesson for both preschool and elementary age children. These lessons are from kidz Connection curriculum (which I write) and are from the Talking with God year of lessons.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Put Feet to Their Faith - Gifts of Hope

There are only 32 more days until Christmas! Since I'm an adult, in my opinion the time is flying by, and Christmas will be here before I know it . . . if I was a child I'm sure the time would drag! If you are looking for a project which you could involve the children and families in your ministry in to help them give to others this Christmas, there is still time to do something with WorldHelp's Gifts of Hope!

With the Gifts of Hope catalog you can pick items to give to children and families around the world . . . these items can . . . and actually do . . . change lives as people receive items they truly need - such as coats, seeds, farm animals, clean water, shelter and more - and most importantly, learn about the best Gift the world has ever received; Jesus!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

If We Build It, They Will Come . . .

I saw an interesting - rather amazing - photo on facebook  . . . 
(This is the turnoff from Banff to the Trans-Canada Highway. Many stretches of this highway run through wilderness areas and they found vehicle/animal collisions increased, so they built "animal crossings" - fences with one-way gates, overpasses and underpasses so animals could have a safe way to cross where their animal trails already were. This photo actually shows a bridge for the Canadian Pacific railway, but the elk found it provided a safe way for them to cross as well - as long as a train isn't headed for them!)

 This photo made me think . . . 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cultivate and Model a Heart of Thankfulness!

Every year in November we talk about and focus on Thanksgiving; for good reason, but this year make the commitment to modeling and encouraging a heart of thankfulness all year long! Consider the following . . . 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Having a Heart Attitude of Thankfulness

Yesterday I wrote about being thankful. I said, "Being thankful goes to the heart of who we are. It can be far too easy to be a person who just takes advantage of the kindness of others and this is something people who serve in churches need to be on guard for." We cause great pain to others when we take advantage of them and when we misjudge them.

Of course, none of us want to be people who take advantage of others or who misjudge them, but how can we be on guard for this and recognize if this is what we are doing? Consider the following . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be Thankful!

Thanksgiving is just a week from tomorrow, so as we turn our focus to being thankful, I want to take a moment to encourage us all to be intentional about being thankful all year . . . not just in November. I've been talking with my four-year old grandson about being thankful people. I tell him we love to be people who are thankful and encourage him to look for reasons to be thankful to others and to God. If the habit - or "mind-set" of being thankful is one which is encouraged and celebrated from the youngest ages, I believe it is one which will become a part of who we are!

While being thankful is part of having good manners, I think it is more than a manners "issue". Being thankful goes to the heart of who we are. It can be far too easy to be a person who just takes advantage of the kindness of others and this is something people who serve in churches need to be on guard for. We have people who volunteer their time, abilities and gifts to serve in our children's ministries. These people give and give and give - and we happily take what they give. Do we truly stop to let them know how very much we appreciate them and what they do? Or, do we take them for granted?

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce, Thomas Li is the winner in my Heart of the Matter book give-away! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Thomas for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your address by November 21, 2012 so can have it sent to you) and thank you New Growth Press for making one available for me to review and another for me to give away!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review - Nothing is Impossible with God - I'm Giving Some Away!

There are times in all of our lives when we feel weak, have questions about our faith and need to rest in God's power. A point in our life where we move from knowing God's Word tells us nothing is impossible for God to where we believe it because we've experienced it in our own life. This author - Rose Marie Miller, shares her story of how she moved from being a person who was trapped in moralism and legalism - "a religion of duty, rules and self-control through human willpower." -  to a person who was freed by the Gospel. This message of how the "Gospel can change anybody" is a message we all need to hear!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Movie Review - Brave

Tomorrow, November 13, 2012, is the release to blu-ray/DVD date for the Disney movie, Brave. When this movie was in the theaters last spring, I heard "rumblings" about how it was not a good movie for families to see: it had the main character showing disrespect and disobedience to her mother and there was "nudity" in it. Well, certainly these are things to be concerned about, so I was somewhat apprehensive as I reviewed the movie when Disney sent me the blu-ray/DVD to review. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I’m Thankful For . . . God’s Word!!!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and for the past couple weeks I’ve been posting about some of the things I’m thankful for . . . God’s Grace, my family and today I want to share another thing I’m thankful for . . .  God’s Word! Stop and think about it for a minute. God loved us enough to give us His Word so we can know Him and love Him back! This is beyond amazing!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Free "Snowy" Lesson for Children . . . Whiter Than Snow!

Okay . . . as much as I'd like to see snow only on December 25th, period, - I live in Michigan and we typically have no shortage of snow. I've never been a big "fan" of the cold, white stuff, but since there is sure to be so much of it in the near future, I'm posting a short object lesson you could use with the children in your ministry!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sneak Peek VBS 2013 - Turn It Up! from Orange!

I have another "sneak peek" at VBS 2013 for you . . . Turn it UP! from Orange! They are doing something new this year with a plan to partner with parents throughout the week to make a greater impact on the kids in your church and community with a special Family Experience at the end of the week! Orange says, "TURN IT UP takes a journey through the Bible to give context for God’s Big Story. This summer, help kids discover how they can be a part of the story when they turn up the power of God’s love in their life. "  Let's take a look at their scope and sequence -

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fun, Family Christmas Gift Craft!

If you are looking for an activity for families to work on together or one kids could make for their parents for Christmas . . . one which parents will actually want to hang on their wall, try this craft!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review - the Heart of the Matter - I'm Giving One Away!

There certainly is no shortage of devotionals on the market, but Heart of the Matter is one which could very well be life changing for your or for someone you know.  They say, "Change which goes deeper than the surface of our lives happens over the long haul as we daily remember and connect the truths of the gospel to our lives. Every day we need to be reminded—in different ways—how Jesus, God’s own Son, came to this world to save us from sin, sorrow, and death. The promises of God, which are all 'yes' in Jesus, change the way we view ourselves, our circumstances, and other people. This devotional gives a daily reminder of these life-changing truths."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your Thanksgiving Inventory . . .

Thanksgiving is only sixteen days away . . . so today, this post about being thankful is for you and is for fun! Are we truly thankful people? Do we get so "caught up" in the business of life we don't spend time "taking inventory" about all of God's many, many blessings in our lives?  Take a moment to watch this skit about "Your Thanksgiving Inventory" from the skitguys - it is sure to bring a smile to your face . . .

Monday, November 5, 2012

I Have Winner!

I'm happy to announce Terri Conner is the winner in my Preschooler's Bible give-away! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Terri for reading About the Children's Department and thank you Cook for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

What is Your Ministry Really Like?

Okay, we all want to believe our church and children's ministries are places where people are affirmed, cared for, supported, encouraged and loved, but are you sure this is really the case? It is oh so easy for us to be so "caught up" in the ministry and all we do each week that we end up missing when there are people who "fall through the cracks". Consider the following . . . 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanksgiving . . . I’m Thankful for . . . My Family!

Last week I  posted the first thing I’m thankful for is God’s grace! As I said, God’s grace “is so utterly undeserved and so lavishly given . . . which makes it truly amazing! When I think of God’s grace there is nothing else for me to feel than complete thankfulness.” If God’s grace was the only good thing in my life it would be enough to leave me a forever thankful person!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How Can I Be Intentional About Praying For You?

Okay, I'm all for praying for one another, but how often when we pray for others do we pray "generic prayers" opposed to prayers specifically for someone? Even when we know someone has things we can pray about, how often do we actually talk to them to find out what they would most appreciate being remembered in prayer on their behalf? Yes, it takes time to sit down and actually talk to someone, but if we are serious about praying intentionally for those in our church and ministry, how can we pray intentionally if we do not first talk to the person we are praying for?

So, how can I be intentional about praying for others? Consider the following . . . 

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Have a Winner!

I'm happy to announce Mary Beth Dawson is the winner of the VeggieTales Ultimate Christmas Collection! (You'll find the review at this link) Thank you Mary Beth for reading About the Children's Department and thank you Big Idea for sending one for me to review and for making another available for me to give away!

Thanksgiving . . . What Am I Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and, as usual for this time of year, our thoughts tend to turn to the things we are thankful for. For the next few weeks, I’m going to look at the things I’m thankful for . . . and share these with you!
First of all, I’m most thankful for Grace! God’s grace is the most amazing gift we could ever be blessed with . . . it is so utterly undeserved and so lavishly given . . . which makes it truly amazing! When I think of God’s grace there is nothing else for me to feel than complete thankfulness. So . . . how do I show this thankfulness because thankfulness which isn’t shown or expressed is not thankfulness at all. Consider the following  . . .

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Equip Your Kids So They Show Their Thankfulness!

Yesterday I posted about what a truly thankful life looks like, so today I want to encourage you to go beyond thinking about what a truly thankful life looks like to taking steps to equip your kids so they are able to show their thankfulness! When we are truly thankful people, our thankfulness will overflow into the lives of others, so look over the following ideas and select at least one then use it to help your kids show their thankfulness!