All posts by Olivia

He is Risen! Celebrate Year Round

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Telling the good news of Jesus rising from the dead should not be taught on just one Sunday of the year. Easter is the good news that needs to be told all year. Without the resurrection, what hope do we really have? Everything in the Bible would just be another story. Aren’t we lucky it’s not? Good for you for being a teacher of little ones and sharing the good news that He is risen!

20160328_073254For this craft you will need:

  • one piece of construction paper
  • one He is Risen square He is Risen card
  • small piece of tissue/napkin
  • scissors, tape, markers, glue

Ok, so this requires a little prep on your part, but if you make one pattern, the rest just get done quickly. A template for your project is to the right. It’s really simple. Cut out two at a time, they don’t need to perfect. After all, it’s a cave with a stone.

Let the kids decorate the outside of their cave. Tri-fold the paper and tape the bottom together. Glue the stone to the long, thin piece of paper and the He is Risen and piece of tissue (Jesus’ empty burial clothes) inside. Weave the long stone paper through the two slits and you should be good to go.

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If your kids like things with moving and pop up parts you may want to check out these crafts that move!

John 14:3 – If I Go I Will Come Back

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Exodus 14 – Parting the Red Sea

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Romans 5:12 – Sin Enters the World

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Isaiah 14:12 – The Fall of Satan

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Disciplining, Discipling, and Loving Your Kids – Part 3

LOVINGI’m sure we have all found ourselves shushing our children at some point. Hopefully, we were trying to let them know that it wasn’t the right time for them to be talking or teaching them how to be polite when someone is on the phone. Have you heard anyone say, “Children should be seen and not heard”? Well, that is the opposite of the Bible, where Jesus himself says to let the little children come to me.

Spending time together as a family means that you are seeing and hearing your children. Part one of this series spoke of the importance of disciplining your children. Part two reminds us that we need to disciple our children. Part three is loving your kids and to do that, you need to spend time together.

Proverbs 3:1-6 says, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

You can’t teach if you aren’t spending time with your kids. You need to be a model for your children. If they see Jesus in action through you, that is going to go a lot further than if you tell them to go read their Bible. PK has done his share of visits to the hospital and he said never on someone’s deathbed have they wished for a better job or more money. People always wanted their family with them.

How do you spend more time with your kids when the reality is the world we live in is so demanding, expensive, and busy. You don’t need more time because you will just fill it with more stuff. You need to make more out of the time you do have. Use your time wisely.

What’s important to us as parents, will be important to our kids.     -PK

I’ve put PK’s quote in all three parts of this series. You need to think of this and remember it when you are frustrated that you are out of time. Let’s face it, things are never going to go the way we planned. If we wait until conditions are perfect, well, we’ll be waiting a long time and life will slip by. PK said someone once told him to, “Enjoy the suck”. Yup, it’s all part of life. How are you going to deal with it and spend time with your kids?

Kids know the difference between a hard worker and ambitious greed. They will respect you for hard work. I mentioned previously that I’ve just finished musical season. The week of the show, I was gone from 7:00 in the morning until 9:30 at night. My kids came to the show and afterwards, my oldest (who isn’t really into shows) told me it was really, really good. Hard work is noticed by kids.

I want to finish with this quote that PK shared. Barbara Bush said it at commencement in 1990 for Wellesley College. It’s a little long, but read to the end and then be sure you go out and live it. Love your kids.

“Cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends. For several years, you’ve had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work, and, of course, that’s true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer or business leader will be, you are a human being first and those human connections — with spouses, with children, with friends — are the most important investments you will ever make. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent. Maybe we should adjust faster, maybe we should adjust slower. But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children — they must come first. You must read to your children, hug your children, and you must love your children. Your success as a family … our success as a society depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

 

John 14:3 – If I Go, I Will Come Back

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am going.” John 14:3. How many times do you think the kids you teach have been let down? How many promises have been broken? You have such a great privilege of teaching young children the word of God.

I will come back. Jesus makes this promise and He will fulfill it. There are so many unknowns out there for kids. But when you teach the Bible, they will learn the truth. They might not believe in your class, but they will remember and your words of the Bible and Jesus will work in their hearts until they are ready to accept Jesus as their savior.

20160320_080350For this craft you will need:

  • one paper with pieces per child John 14 3
  • one straw per child
  • one piece of blue paper per child
  • stapler, glue stick, crayons, scissors

To put this craft together, I did a few things ahead of time. I suggest stapling the blue paper in half and cutting a small slit for the straw in the blue paper. When you are ready, have the kids color Jesus and the grass first. Next they can cut out all the objects. Glue the grass and clouds to the blue paper and tape Jesus on the back to the straw. Pop the straw through the slit in the blue paper and then read the verse and the kids can move Jesus up and down.

20160320_081346It was my son’s idea to do the video, I mean, why not! Straws are great tools for crafts. If you need tongues of fire or a bronze snake, check out how straws were used for them.

 

Disciplining, Discipling, and Loving Your Kids – Part 2

DISCIPLING

Last time it was disciplining your kids, which can be like playing the “bad cop” routine. Today, it’s the “good cop” turn to shine. Who is discipling your children? Do you leave it up to the church, teachers at school, the TV, or the internet? Hmmmm, what about you?

What’s important to us as parents, will be important to our kids.    -PK

Like discipline, how to disciple your kids can also be found in the Bible. Proverbs 23:19-26 says, “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path…Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old…My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways….”. The Bible tells us, as parents, to tell our kids to listen to us and addresses them as mine. Sounds like what we should be doing to God too. We need to listen to Him and we are His.

Jesus said for us to follow Him. Follow means to come after me, to do what I do. Isn’t that what we want our children to do? To follow you? You are your children’s greatest teacher. What would be on your report card? Sure the church can disciple on Sunday mornings, but what about the rest of the day Sunday and the rest of the week?

I’m pretty sure no church children’s ministry operates 24/7. YOU are the ministry your children need 24/7 and as a parent you are already hired for the job. What is important to you? Discipling can be fun for both you and your kids. Maybe it means having the team over for the after game party or going to another birthday party. Your presence and how you act is you discipling your child. When children see that they are important to you, they will take in all you do, and they will remember and learn from it. Action counts.

Discipling your children is not up to the church, it’s up to you. It’s not someone else’s job, it’s your job. How we raise our kids over time will mold them into the adults they are destined to become. Start teaching your children how to be the church, not just go to church.

Acts 2: Tongues of Fire, oh my!

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Sometimes the Bible reads like a sci-fi thriller. And I quote, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:2-4. That is some good imagery.

Since it’s probably not a good idea to use an open flame in the lesson, I modified it a little to make the story more kid friendly and approachable. So, using a trusty straw (they are so handy and good for crafts), some crepe paper, fake flames, and Google translator you have a great craft for the kiddos.

20160313_074437For this craft you will need:

  • one flame paper per child Acts 2
  • crayons, tape, hole punch
  • straws
  • crepe paper (I had some) or ribbon or even construction paper will work

20160313_074237To put the craft together, have the kids color the paper flames different colors and cut them out. I punched holes at the ends to make it easy to put on the straw. Then alternate putting on the flames with crepe paper on the straw. My straws had a bend at the top and so I just folded it over and taped around it to hold everything in place.

Now, go over what each flame says. Just do the best you can or some kids might be able to help you out! Ask the children to imagine being able to hear “Jesus loves you” in their own language. For kids, it is like when they learn something new at school. It can be confusing until someone else shows them and then they understand and it makes it so much easier. We don’t want the story of Jesus to be scary for the kids. Use this craft to help tell it to them in a way they will understand.

Disciplining, Discipling, and Loving Your Kids

DISCIPLINING

I just finished up an intense couple of months at my job. I’m a secondary music teacher and it was musical season. You can read about that here. Many days I spent more time with my students than I did with my own kids. So, the message PK gave on Family Time really hit home. I didn’t completely ignore my kids, they had lunches made, laundry was clean, and dinner was always available. But, I missed them and the little interactions we have at random times together when we are home.

So, the question is, “What do you want your kids to remember?” I’ve cried before thinking that all my kids will remember is me yelling at them to pick their stuff up. Will that overshadow the great love I have for them? I hope not and so I try not to get so worked up about all the junk! Really though, I need to cry over the question, “If I die, will they still love Jesus?” This forces me to look at myself and how I am living and how my children see me.

What’s important to us as parents, will be important to our kids.       -PK

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” In order for our kids to know Jesus, whether we are by their side or not, we need to discipline them. Disciplining your children is not necessarily a popular topic, but the Bible does talk about it.

Proverbs 23:12-14, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.” This is not saying how to punish them, but why children need discipline. Disciplining your children doesn’t mean you hate them, but it means you love them and want them to know that they were wrong. And when you love Jesus, and share His love with your children, you are giving them the tools to save them from death.

Then, when you have text conversations like this (yes, I believe butthead is a multi-generational word):

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You remind yourself that Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.” Therefore we encourage our children to give hugs not hits, kisses not kicks, and to say words that build each other up. And we do that because it shows them how to love and we have text conversations like this where big brothers ask if little sister is ok:

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The truth is, disciplining your child is part of your job as a parent. Sometimes you have to bring out the discipline that will really impact your child. If that means no electronics, then stick by it and mean no electronics. You, and only you, will know what discipline works best for your family. Use discipline as an act of love so they learn what is important to you. Then, you will be confident that you did your best and that they will not turn from your teachings, which, if they are based on the Bible, are excellent teachings for them to know.

Next time, some thoughts on discipling your child.

 

 

Luke 24:6 He is Risen!

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So, my son asked me what the craft was going to be one Sunday and I said I wasn’t sure yet. He then wanted to know what the story was about. Well, we are going through the Story of Hope for kids and were at the resurrection of Jesus. Good stuff! Well, he is familiar with that and says he will do the craft. Ok, so off he goes. A little bit later he comes back with this.

20160228_072030A pop up card activity! Who doesn’t like a good pop up book or card? So, we polished it up. I did the writing, he did the drawing and I think it turned out well. The kids had fun putting them together. And although many had heard the story, this craft just gives them another way to remember it.

20160228_072047“He is not here, he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.” Luke 24:6. This is the good news and I’m so glad my son wants to help share it!

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For this craft you will need:

  • one paper per child Luke 24 6
  • crayons, scissors, tape or glue
  • hole punch
  • something to tie it together (my son got out twisty ties for his class to use…he is thrifty!)
  • something to cover the table

20160228_073109Have the kids color everything first, then cut out Jesus and the cross. Kids might need help accordion folding, but they’ll get it. Fold your paper into a book and glue the pop ups down. Then you just need to punch and hole and tie it together. There you have it a great craft by an eight year old, sure to please and be understood by other kids! Have fun.

If you are looking for other Easter time ideas, check out: A Heart Cross, Matthew 26 Events,  or an Easy Last Minute Easter Craft.

1 Peter 3:18- Jesus Loves You so Much!

1 Peter 3 18The greatest love is God sending His son to earth, to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life. Jesus loves us so much that He was willing to do this. He knew it had to happen and He did it!

Jesus carrying His cross and being crucified is not a story that should be reserved just for Easter. Kids need to be reminded of what happened throughout the year. As they learn other stories in the Bible, they need to see how they all point to Jesus.

Today’s craft uses 1 Peter 3:18 which says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” See, Jesus loves you!

1 Peter 3 18 materialsFor this craft you will need:

  • one cross paper per child 1 Peter 3 18
  • different colored construction paper for hearts
  • glue, crayons, scissors
  • something to cover the table

Let the kids cut out their own hearts. I cut the paper into strips ahead of time so they could just fold it in half and have about the right sized hearts. Glue the hearts on and let them decorate. As you put the craft together, share stories about a loving God! Don’t be afraid to let the kids personalize theirs, it’s a little window into their hearts!

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Here are a couple of other love crafts your kiddos might enjoy!

1 John 2:15 – Love the Father

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice, He is Risen!

Is Your Worship Better than Mine?

Is Your Worship 2Sometimes I wonder what my worship looks like to others. We live in a world where we constantly compare ourselves to others or try to keep up with the Jones’. I imagine if we are honest with ourselves, we have all judged others “way” of worshipping at some point. I got to thinking about this when I saw this clip by Tim Hawkins. He’s a funny guy and he did this bit on people in worship.

Did that make you smile? Good, because you know what, sometimes a smile is all you are going to get out of someone in worship. And that is OK!

Honestly, I’m not a hand raiser. In fact, I’m barely a hand clapper…which is ironic since I’m a music teacher and I’m quite good at keeping a steady beat. I’m more of just a “standthereandtakeitallin” kind of worshipper. I love listening to the music and singing along – with my hands at my sides.  I love listening to my husband preach – while trying to keep the red in my cheeks from elevating as I wonder, “Why did he share that?”. And I do this while never once nodding my head up and down in agreement, letting out an Amen, or feeling the pressure to.

Remember I just said I sing with my hands at my sides? Well really, my favorite way to worship with music is when my little girl lets me hold her and she rests her head on my shoulder and I hear her singing along. Or, when my son, who sings with so much gusto (on pitch thank you very much),  pulls my arms around his neck and holds them. It’s then that I can feel his vocal cords vibrating and I’m amazed that God has given my these beautiful children. My worship continues when I look at my other two sons, stone faced, slouchy, and totally bored. It’s ok, that’s how they worship and I know they are listening, but they would probably prefer if the whole worship experience included a video game battle or came in four quarters.

You see, God created us all as individuals. Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” He made us, with HIS hands. He knows how we will worship and whether our worship is genuine. Let’s face it, anyone can raise their hands to “fit in” with everyone else, but if it’s not you, then it’s not really a genuine act of worship. Trying to keep up with everyone else is exhausting. You don’t have to do it.

So, the next time you gather for worship, don’t judge others and consider your worship supreme to those around you. Maybe that person sitting down is weary from a long night or illness and it took everything to get there. Maybe the mom running around after her kid doesn’t care what you think about her child’s behavior and how it is “interrupting” your worship because it took five years of trying to get a little one to run after. Maybe that man in front of you never sings a word, but inside his heart is bursting with song, however somewhere along the line a buddy told him he sounded awful and so now he doesn’t open his mouth. Maybe we all just need to remember that in the end, worship isn’t about us. It’s about God. It’s about His son, Jesus who could be doing a whole song and dance in front of you trying to get your attention, but we just don’t see it because we are so worried about what others see us doing and we want to fit in.

The answer to, “Is your worship better than mine?” is no. And mine isn’t better than yours. What matters is that we take the time to worship God in the way He has enabled us to and then to share that love and reason we worship with others.