Let’s Paint a Memory (Verse)

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I wanted to take a quick sec and share this little memory verse artsy/craftsy that we did this morning with some of HiSKidZ. We have a pretty small group during our first service which allows us the chance to do things that can’t always be done in bigger settings.

Since I’m hugely passionate about discipleship and helping kids with Scripture memorization, I love it when we can come up with something new.

This was so simple and takes just absolutely no time at all.

Step 1)
Start with your verse and make a print out of it using some fun fonts. I chose to do mine like this because of step 2.

O my people

Step 2)
Grab an empty 2 liter bottle of pop, a paper plate and some paint. Put the paint on the plate. Dip the bottom of the 2 liter into the paint and press the bottle onto the paper. After we made the first press, we rotated ours to give the appearance of more petals.

Step 3)
Grab some markers and draw a stem, some leaves and a center. (you can also do this step before you paint.)

Step 4)
Step away from the table. Grab a Bible, look up the verse, say it together, and get back to business while your creations dry. It should be done by the time church is over if your team didn’t get overly aggressive in the paint department!

Success! In less than 10 minutes, we created art, made a memory, and learned our verse! Oh! Did I mention that even the boys loved it!!

Woohoo! Do you have a great idea that you can share? I’d love to hear it.

Plumb Bobs, Plumb Lines and Teaching Kids to Hear God’s Voice

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It hangs on the front wall of our KidZChurch room from an orange string. It’s unchanging. It doesn’t move and it’s always in line.

What is it?

A Plumb Bob. A simple weight attached to a string that is used as the vertical reference line or “plumb line.”

It’s one of the few things that doesn’t change in our room. Posters, and paint and staging may change, but the plumb bob remains.

It remains because it is one of the best visual reminders I know to constantly bring HiSKidZ back to the truth that God’s Word is our plumb line. He has set a standard for us that includes truth, righteousness and justness.

We regularly talk about all the different messages and standards broadcast into their lives and how they need to be careful to check and see how they measure up against God’s standard. He is what is true. His ways are right and we need to adjust our life to His reference line, and not expect it to be the other way around.

Here are a couple of ways we have used the plumb line analogy with HiSKidZ:

1) The world says you need to take care of yourself first.
God’s Word says to prefer others before yourself. (Philippians 2:3)

2) The world says you matter because of your accomplishments.
God’s Word says you matter because of God. (Isaiah 49:15-16)

3) The world says you need to fit in.
God’s Word says don’t be conformed to the pattern of the world. (Romans 12:2)

4) The world says there are many ways to heaven.
God’s Word says there is one way to heaven through Jesus. (John 14:6)

And so it goes. . .

and as we continually refer back to the plumb bob and the plumb line it represents for us, HiSKidZ are reminded of the sacred value of God’s truth for their lives. It is our desire that when they hear a message, a voice, or have a thought or an experience or situation where they need to know if it is God speaking, they are gaining the ability to measure what they hear by the plumb line of God’s Word.

Oh! And did I mention that they think it’s really cool to know what a plumb bob is! If we could just get some square pants for it!

I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line. (Isaiah 28:17a)

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. (Amos 7:7)

The Ugliest Cookies I Ever Made and What God Taught Me Through Them

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I had visions of the most beautiful cookies. Tiny little hand prints to remind lil HiSKidZ that Jesus healed a man’s hand.

However, my husband couldn’t decide whether they were supposed to be bird prints or animal tracks. He also thought they looked like a good opportunity to try out his new camera lens.

Hey! What?????? Leave my animal tracks, I mean, hand print cookies, alone! OK, maybe he had a point. These may have been the ugliest cookies I had ever made.

And God taught me a great lesson because of them.

Like I was saying, our preschoolers were scheduled to have a lesson entitled, “Jesus Heals a Man’s Bent Hand,” as part of a series we are doing on Jesus Makes Us Well.

In choosing a theme snack, I thought to myself, “Hand print cookies! That would be awesome!!” So I borrowed a hand print cookie cutter and off to work I went. Never mind the fact that I don’t make cut out sugar cookies, or that I don’t own a rolling pin or have any all purpose flour. I was not to be deterred.

Betty Crocker and I got mixing things up and life was good. Since I didn’t have that rolling pin, I just scooped the dough out and patted it down in my whole wheat flour blend and then cut out my now slightly speckled little hands, laying them carefully down on the cookie sheets. Sure they looked a little lopsided, and perhaps they looked like they needed to be washed. Maybe the fingers were bent a little here and there. I mean, c’mon, it was a lesson about a man with a bent hand after all.

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As I scooped, and patted and cut and baked these cookies were, ummm, well, they were not exactly looking like little hands. Rather, they were crooked, bent, a bit disfigured animal tracks. They did taste good, though!

The more I baked, the more I laughed. I sent texts to some friends, and we laughed together as they tried to console me.

cookies 3

But the coolest thing is, I didn’t need to be consoled. I was perfectly fine with my perfectly imperfect cookies. Something that may not have been true about me a few years ago. In fact, you would be correct to assume that I would have been out at the store late on Saturday night to buy more ingredients, starting all over until everything was just perfect.

But because a man’s hand wasn’t the only thing Jesus healed, I stayed at home, finished my baking and thanked God for doing miraculous things in the lives of imperfect people.

My imperfection may not have been physically obvious, but it was still there. Because Jesus had healed my striving, perfectionist heart, I was now free to laugh at mistakes and creative oversights, confident knowing that He cares more about my heart than my perfection.

Because of Jesus, I was able to be happy, joyful even, with the decision that the cookies would simply be hands before the healing, rather than after. Either way, the kids would love them and they would learn that Jesus had the power to heal a man with a bent hand, and I was reminded that He had the power to heal their imperfect leader, and that’s what really matters.

Oh! One more thing: Tonight during our 6th grade discipleship group, we shared some of the left over cookies. The kids thought they were jellyfish (just turned upside down), and my husband did this:

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He called it Wilson!

Taste and See the Lord is good!

God Speaks

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God Speaks!
Uh-huh! He does! You betcha!

HiSKidZ in our KidZChurch are finishing up a series of lessons entitled, “God Speaks” from the folks at High Voltage Kids Ministry. Personally, I’ve been loving these lessons, and from what I’m hearing the kids are, too.

One of the highlights of a great series for me is when it becomes more than just a series or a great teaching for kids, but when God really speaks to me through it.

So, of course, it’s been super fun to see (or hear) how often and, all the ways, God has been speaking to me lately. I’m not completely sure whether He’s talking more or I’m listening more, but either way, it’s been so much fun!! Even when it’s not been so much fun–discipline isn’t always pleasant at the time, BUT. . . . in the end it’s soooo good, and it reminds me of how much I am loved.

It’s kind of funny, because with the exception of a few really dry times in my spiritual life, it always seemed to me like God has made His presence very real in my life. But this week, it’s like we went on a trip together and have just gotten in some extra great, extra good quality time.

Throughout the last couple of weeks we have taught that God speaks through people, circumstances, thoughts and the Word to correct us and direct us and comfort and encourage us. I think that in just this week alone, He has revealed Himself in all of those ways.

I’ve been encouraged, inspired, instructed, directed, corrected and cared for by the King of Kings, Father God, the Savior of the world, and I love, absolutely love, that it’s so personal.

What about you? Has God been speaking to you lately? If so, I hope it’s something you can share with someone so that He can speak to them through you, or share here, I’d love to hear how God has been speaking to you lately.

If you haven’t heard him lately, don’t give up, friend. Continue to seek Him, wait for Him, surrender to Him and praise Him until you hear Him speak again. As we say in early childhood, “Put on your listening ears!” God is here. God is real, and . . .

God Speaks!

Artwork courtesy of High Voltage Kids

Joshua Prayers–Teaching Kids to Pray Through Discouraging Times

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This week, HiSKidZ at our church will be learning from the story of God’s encouragement to Joshua that “God speaks to comfort us and encourage us.” Thank you Brian Dollar and the folks at High Voltage Kids!

In order to give our “bigs” a concrete tool to help them as they learn to pray and seek God for themselves and their friends when they are discouraged, lonely or scared, we came up with the “Joshua prayers,” a simple acrostic method for praying specifically in hard times.

SO this week HiSKidZ will be learning to pray for:

J—Joy to return in our hearts
O—Open hearts to hear God’s voice
S—Safety and Protection from the devil’s tricks
H—Humble Hearts to trust God in hard times
U—Understanding that God is faithful in trials
A—Answer God’s encouragement with obedience

Each child will be given two cards like the one in the graphic above. One is for them to take home and use to pray for themselves or their friends, and the other is to share with someone who needs to know that God is there to comfort and encourage them, too.

I’ve always loved the stories of Joshua and the thought that the guy who grew up with Moses, and scouted out the promised land and saw God ruling over all when others saw giants big and tall (10 were bad and 2 were Joshua and Caleb!), still needed God’s encouragement for the tasks that would lie ahead. Even more, I love how, of course, God knew it, too, and was there every step of the way–which is a great comfort and encouragement to me!

That’s the Goal–Setting Goals That Keep Us Moving Forward

GOAL!

I didn’t used to be a goal setter, and I have to admit that I don’t always love the process, but I do love the results. I love the forward motion, seeing progress happen, and knowing that a difference is being made.

Today I am finishing up some staff and children’s ministry goals and it brought my mind back to this post I wrote a couple of years ago when the whole goal setting process was much newer for me.

http://whosthefarris.com/2012/01/19/1st-and-goal/

If you are new to the whole goal setting thing, let me be the first or second or third to encourage you to stick with it, find some one to hold you accountable and don’t be afraid to be a little specific and put a completion time on whatever it is you are working towards.

Thank you Karl Bastian and Kidology. Thanks, Todd McKeever for encouraging me through coaching to stick with it. Thanks husband dear for letting me glean from your expertise and thank you, Jesus, for guiding to me the goals that You would have me accomplish for your Kingdom.

Fun/Pun Volunteer Gifts for the Leader on a Budget

12 days of Christmas

I love our volunteers! I love how they love kids, how they sacrifice, how they let God work through them, and how they love to have fun. I love those things and so much more. And I love to let them know how much I appreciate them. However on a budget, that can often be a challenge. This year, my gifts for our teams were simple, but a lot of fun, or should I say “pun” to put together.

Awkwardly enough, this year I may have gone a bit overboard. But it’s too late now–the gift ship has sailed! Truth be told, I don’t know what really happened. It all started so innocently, and  before I knew what was happening, I was in a full-blown pun mode! Every gift needed a witty saying, kitschy tie-in or corny pun!

I’m not exactly sure what all my volunteers thought, but I know I had a good time!!! As I thought, and bought, and wrapped and taped, I smiled just knowing that leaders would roll their eyes, groan a little or whisper those 5 little words we hear so often these days from gift recipients, “I saw that on Pinterest!”

But in case haven’t seen these on Pinterest and you are looking for a few fun ideas for your volunteers or friends for your next appreciation night or holiday, here’s a sample of what I did.

My Wednesday night leaders each got a gift bag filled with gifts for the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Oh, we’ll just never mind that Christmas was more than twelve days away, it fit a theme and that was good enough for me! I was on a roll for heaven’s sake! (I’ll share what I gave to our other leaders in upcoming posts!)

I attached each item to a card, wrapped them and labeled them 1-12. My items included: Extra gum, a small scented candle, chocolate covered peppermints, individual packs of iced latte mix, lip balm, hand sanitizer, Lifesavers, hot apple cider mix, popcorn, cookies and creme Santa, Crystal Light lemonade mix, and Tootsie Rolls.

ExtraEXHIBITIONI mint itThank You for Making Jesus so

Balm-Diggity halfway Lifesaver -Owl- have to say picking you for our Popping text here Thanks for being willing to make Thanks

As you can see, none of the items cost a ton, but they were fun, and expressed my heart for this team and all they give throughout the year to help HiSKidZ know Jesus.

An extra plus– they were all done on time, and who doesn’t love being “Pun-ctual?!”