Monthly Archives: October 2015

How to Give – Part 3

How to Give Part 3

This is the final part for learning and teaching How to Give. Remember we have to set aside what we can to be ready to give and we need to trust God and bring the whole tithe and he will bless us. I’m sure many of you have given money to something in the past. But, as a Christian, the New Testament tells us four ways to give.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

So, here are four ways to give:

  • Sacrificially: A sacrifice means you give up something. For some this will mean eating rice and beans so you can give more. For others it will mean waiting to buy the latest tech toy so you can help someone now. God knows the intent of your giving and is not judging you against someone else’s ability to give.
  • Generously: To give generously means you give more than just the leftover change. You purposefully think about what you can give and then you kick it up a notch. It’s that extra bit that makes you smile about how you are helping.
  • Willingly: If you give willingly, it means you give without strings. No one has to twist your arm or beg. You see the need and you figure out how you can give generously. And if it means sacrificing something, you do. You don’t keep score.
  • Cheerfully: If you give cheerfully, you are giving without harboring ill thoughts about what you could have used the money for  (which is probably some material item you don’t really need anyway). It satisfies you to give.

Have you thought about how you give? Have you thought about what keeps you from giving? Perhaps it is not trusting God really will provide. Or, maybe you like to control things and think you know the best way to do things with your money and you miss what God is trying to tell you to do. And then, there is always something that will come up that could keep you from giving. The unexpected doctor’s visit, unplanned expenses at car inspection time, or a great sale on cheese and so you stock up. It’s life and these things happen. But if you have set aside what you can for giving, if you trust God to bless you beyond what you hope for, and if you learn how to give sacrificially, generously, willingly, and cheerfully, then when things come up, you don’t panic. You stick with your plan and give.

It’s okay to talk about money in church. You have to, so people know what the Bible says about it. When approached from a Biblical point of view, people can learn how best to use and give this luxury God has blessed them with. Because look, if we as a church can’t disciple people how best to use their money, the world surely will.

Be sure to read How to Give Part 1 and Part 2 to get the whole story.

Luke 2:11 – Jesus is Born!

Luke 2 11 CraftSo, last week it was cotton balls and this week it is craft sticks. I guess I’m just having fun with some good old, standard stuff for crafts lately! It’s only October, but the set of lessons we are using for the kiddos at church talked about Jesus’ birth today. Why? Well, Jesus is the reason we can have forgiveness of our sins. His birth on earth is the reason we have hope for eternal life. Why not celebrate that in October?!?

Well, here you go. It is pretty much a blank piece of paper, with the great verse from Luke 2:11 which says, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Now, that is some Good News! PK would say we should call it the Great News.

Luke 2 11For this craft you will need:

  • one paper per child Luke 2 11
  • 8 craft sticks per child
  • glue, crayons
  • something to cover the table

You can see how I made the stable. The craft sticks just give it added dimension. You could certainly just draw them on. I left the paper blank, so the kids can use their imagination. Some will want to add animals and hay. Some might want the moon to shine and older kids may want to draw in Joseph and Mary too. Let their picture show how they understand the story of Jesus’ birth. Let them tell you.

Simple, yes. Effective, yes. The impact of you sharing a story many will already know, priceless because it is so important! Happy teaching.

 

How to Give – Part 2

How to Give part 2

How much money do you make? Wow, what did you pay for that? Do you have enough money to send your kid to that college? All of these money questions kind of border on the line of nosiness. But if we don’t talk about money in church, how are we going to teach people what the Bible says about it? It’s just one of those topics, like sin or priorities – according to the Bible, that you have to teach.

The other day, Paul mentioned that the people needed to give what they already decided to give. To have that money set aside for when he came. But isn’t it hard to set that money aside when we are told to save or spend by worldly standards?

God promises to take care of our needs…not our greeds!         -PK

You can find this promise in Malachi 3:8-10. It says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

So if you don’t know what to give, or if your gift is enough, or if you should take the leap of faith and give more than common sense might dictate over your heart, remember this verse. I shared once about An Unexpected $400. Even when times are tight, we always tithe and give beyond that in other ways. Why? Because we know, we believe that God will never let us go hungry and have a roof over our heads. And we always have. Even if it ends up being one of those “never to be duplicated again” leftover meals.

When you give and when you care, you are fulfilling a need for someone else and that is Jesus’ love in action. So bring the whole tithe and allow God to shower you with blessings. The blessings will come in many forms, maybe as money or a meal, maybe as some hand-me-down clothes for your little one or help changing a flat tire, and maybe as a hug or a listening ear. These are all God’s blessings, be sure to thank Him!

Next time I’ll have 4 ways the New Testament tells us to give, but here’s Part 1 if you missed it!

 

Homemade Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Going to Texas Roadhouse is always a treat for our family. Last time we were there, everyone filled up on so many rolls and peanuts we actually had leftover dinner to bring home! My son asked me if I could make the rolls at home. So, I found this recipe for Texas Roadhouse’s Rolls with Cinnamon Butter. I didn’t need the butter, but the picture of the rolls was enough to make me want to try this recipe. So, I did.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

They take some time, what with the double rising and all, but if you want good bread, it sure is worth it. I actually made the dough in the morning before work and put it in the fridge. I had my son take it out when he got home (because PK is forgetful) and let it warm up. It was easy to pat out and fold. My only thing is I made them too big! That’s not really a bad thing since they were so good. But if you are looking for uniformity, watch as you cut.

I am saying this recipe is a keeper for Will it Work Wednesday. A delicious keeper. They are sweet and after the first bite my son said they’re just like them. I’ll be making these again. Now I need to work on steaks. If you need a yummy dessert, try these soft Lofthouse style cookies. Gee, wonder what other recipes I can find with the word house in it! Enjoy!

Will it Work Wednesday 2

How to Give

How to Give

What if your pastor told you in church that he looked over everyone’s giving over the last several years to see who was giving faithfully, who looked to be tithing, or who seemed to just stop at the ATM for 20 bucks before church. And then he paused and let that sink in. Would you squirm and crouch down in your seat? Is there suddenly something in your eye that you need to rub your eye to avoid eye contact with him? Are you in shock that the pastor might only look at you as a dollar amount? Or does your heart skip when you realize in that split second that you haven’t been giving as you could?

PK did this just to see what sort of reaction people might have. Of course he was just kidding. He doesn’t have a clue what people give and he doesn’t want to know. That is why there is a treasurer. He certainly doesn’t look at people as wallets. None of us should. Money is a material item that we need in order to live in the world. But how will people learn how to do the most good with their money if they aren’t discipled in just that topic? Why are we so sensitive about talking about money in the church?

If you have a pastor who is guilting or pressuring you to give, I would suggest looking closely at the mission of your church and see just where the money is going. Is more going towards the mortgage than outreach? That could be a sign. So, let’s talk about it. What does the Bible say about money and giving?

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 says, “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.”

Paul is writing this to tell the Corinthians what to do with their money. Basically, on Sunday set aside what you can according to what you make, and it will be collected when he comes. There won’t be any passing of the plate or scrounging around for it because you have been saving it up. In this way, you are giving what you already decided to give. You have set it aside.

Are you setting aside money each week for the Lord? Is it the first or the leftovers? Is your giving just a quick stop at the ATM or is there thought and prayer behind it to be used wisely? Are you trusting your church to use your gift wisely?

So, the first step towards open talk about giving and using your money wisely, is recognizing that the Bible instructs us to set aside money to give. I can’t wait until next time to share just how you should give!

Here’s Part 2 and Part 3!

Isaiah 53:6 Don’t Turn from God!

20151018_070510So, who doesn’t like a good cotton ball sheep? You can never have too many! Today’s craft goes with Isaiah 53:6 which says, “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” This is the NLT and I chose to use it because it didn’t have the word ‘iniquity’ in it. That is a tough word to understand and use, even if you know the definition.

PK suggests telling kids, it’s like when their parents call for them, do they answer? Or do they pretend they can’t hear or run the other way. Our kids giggled when we asked them if they listen to their parents. We try, right?!

20151018_070451For today’s craft you will need:

  • one paper per child Isaiah 52 6
  • one cotton ball per child
  • crayons, glue
  • something to cover the table

It’s pretty self explanatory for putting together. If you’re looking for another visual of God holding kids in his hand, check out this craft for Isaiah 44.

Be sure kids get the idea that God is reaching out for them, we just need to stop going in the opposite direction. That’s a good lesson for adults too!

Copycat Lofthouse Cookies

20151009_153357If you are looking for a delicious dessert to bring to your next get together, these cookies are definitely it. Soft Lofthouse Style Frosted Cookies really are an ultimate cookie.

I love finding things that work (the first time) for Will it Work Wednesdays. With six people in our family, I need to find keeper recipes. How about you?

Like the homemade tootsie rolls, I recommend following the recipe. They rolled out well without sticking too much. Just be sure to flour your cookie cutter occasionally. I got 48 nice circles and had a little icing leftover. I usually use margarine in baking and it turns out well. However, PK came home with super cheap margarine one day. I don’t recommend it for the icing. I had to add another cup or so of sugar and no milk to get it thickened up. I’ll definitely be making these again.

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If you like to plan ahead, I want you to know I cut out all the discs and froze some (unbaked) on a tray. When I was ready to make more, I let them thaw on a tray before baking and you would never know. I love little advantages like that. Work once, eat many times, right?

Follow this link and make some today. They won’t last long once you do!

Will it Work Wednesday 2

Less Talk, More Action

Less Talk, More Action

Do you know those lyrics, “a little less talk and a lot more action”?  How about letting them run through your head today as you go about your daily stuff? Except today, put them in a biblical context.

Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  These verses are telling us we don’t want to be babies in God’s words, but mature Christians.

However, is it just knowing stuff in the Bible that is going to make us mature? No.

If we only read and study the Bible it does no good.

-PK

There is a reason God included things in the Bible. If we only study and meditate on it in our own quiet time or in the confines of church then the Bible is just a book. What we need to do is zoom in on two words in the verse: constant use. This means you are taking what you read and applying it – all the time.

By doing this, the Bible becomes an action book. You read it and then rather than keeping it to yourself, you live it out, you apply it. Rather than having another Bible study to become more smart and just talk about it, you take what you have learned and use it as a compass in your daily life. The Bible starts to live through your life and that is when other people start to notice something a little different about you.

When people start to notice that your life is a little different, that opens up the conversation to what is different. If you only have information from the Bible, then you probably will either scare someone away or be over their heads. But, if you have are living the Bible, then people can see the change and realize they can live it too.

So, how do you go from milk to solid food or from information to using? You make your time in the Bible intentional. Read your Bible, pray about what you read, and then in the midst of daily living, remember what you read and try to keep it at the forefront of your actions. Maybe this will mean jotting it down on a piece of paper and tucking it into your lunchbox or on your visor or bathroom mirror. Taking one small step can make the ‘constant use’ a reality in your life. And then, as the song says,  “a little less talk and a lot more action” becomes a way of life. And if Biblically based action isn’t a good thing, then I don’t know what is!

 

Numbers 21 – The Bronze Snake

20151011_065948I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to look at is a snake. I think they are gross even when they are behind glass in a pet place. They just stare at you all creepy like and curl around everything. So if God told Moses to tell people to look at his bronze snake and they would be healed, yikes, not at the top of my list of things to do. But, I would do it so I could live. Faith needs to be stronger than our fear.

Kids need to know that sometimes, we need to believe in the most far-fetched thing. We don’t know God’s plan, but he has it all worked out, we just need to trust him. Even though this craft goes with Numbers 21, we can be reminded of this event in John 3:14-15. It says, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” The words of Jesus, Amen.

20151011_065838For this craft you will need:

  • one pipe cleaner per child
  • one straw per child (a pencil would work too)
  • two beads per child

I just pulled stuff from my box, you could really make these any color and the kids will get the point. I mean, let’s face it, most crafts end up in the garbage when they get home. You are giving the kids an experience to remember. Check out the step by step directions in this picture, so easy!

20151011_070255

This is just something a little different from a paper activity and if you are doing a Bible snake theme for some reason, check out this Snake Proof craft! Or if you want some yummy snake-like things to make, you have to try these Homemade Tootsie Rolls. They actually work. Have fun teaching!

Homemade Tootsie Rolls are Delicious!

Homemade Tootsie Rolls

Are you looking for a sweet, easy treat for snack or to pull out for dessert? Will it Work Wednesday is letting you know you have to try these tootsie rolls. I remember seeing a ‘How do they make that’ sort of show once and saw them making them. Who knew I would be able to replicate them at home?

20151002_193314Check out the recipe I used here. Follow the recipe and they are delicious. A few hints that will help (in my opinion):

  • Make sure you put enough powdered sugar in so the dough is really stiff.
  • When you are rolling out the dough, do it on parchment paper and then lift it onto the tray. I just used my hands and patted it down. Don’t worry about the extra sugar, it will get rolled up in it.
  • Make sure the dough stays cool. As soon as it warms up it melts together.
  • Don’t even bother wrapping them, just eat them!

20151003_105914My only issue is that they do melt together when sitting out. So, I just leave them on the tray in the fridge and they are self serve. They don’t look like much, but the kids love eating them! I did wrap them in wax paper the first time I made them.  That took a lot of effort when they were unwrapped just as fast!

Have fun making and eating them!

Will it Work Wednesday 2