Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easter Devotions - April Newsletter Article

Easter is upon us this month and this is a wonderful time to help your children understand the importance of Easter and the events leading up to that day. Below are daily devotions for you to use with your family during Holy Week.  They begin on Monday and end on Sunday.  I encourage you to find a consistent time of day to use these devotions, so your children will look forward to this time of learning and discussion with you!

Monday -- Read aloud Mark 11:15-18. Tell your children that this area of the temple was the place non -- Jews could come to pray, but it had become a dirty, noisy, unworshipful place. Together, decorate a worshipful space in your home for Easter Week. Include a Bible, candles, and an area to display the items you'll use this week. You can review these items at the beginning of each devotion. A small, bare tree branch laced with white Christmas lights makes a nice backdrop. Light the candles or turn on the lights only during devotions to keep it special and meaningful.

Tuesday -- Read aloud Mark 14:3-9. This woman gave Jesus a gift that was very precious. We can give gifts that come from our heart, too. As each child shares something he or she can do to honor Jesus, spray perfume into the air or on the child. Decorate a beautiful piece of paper and form a cylinder around the perfume bottle for display at your family worship space.

Wednesday -- Read aloud Matthew 26:14-16. You'll need 30 dimes. Tell kids that Judas betrayed Jesus for about 120 days wages. Let the kids count the dimes and place them at your family worship space. Ask, "Was Jesus' life on earth worth more than 30 pieces of silver? Why or why not? What was the true value of Jesus' life to our family?"
Thursday -- Read aloud John 13:1-5. Jesus washed feet to show his love. Have a bowl, a bar of soap, and paper towels ready. Take turns washing each other's hands and drying them as you express love to each other. Display the soap at your family worship space.

Friday -- Read aloud Mark 15:21-39. You'll need two horseshoe or carpenter's nails, light gauge wire, and a shoelace for each child. Help children lay their nails across each other like a cross, then start wrapping the wire around the point where the nails intersect to bind the nails into a cross. Crisscross the wire in the center. Have the kids recall an event of the Crucifixion with each wrap. Wrap more wire around the top and make a loop to hold the shoelace.

Saturday -- Read aloud Mark 15:42-47. Take turns wrapping each other in toilet paper just as Jesus may've looked when prepared for burial. Talk about how the disciples might've felt when all their hopes seemed destroyed when Jesus died. Ask, "How would you have felt if you had been there when Jesus died? What would you have done?"
Talk about how the burial isn't the end of the story, but that it was a very sad day for Jesus' friends.

Sunday -- Read aloud Luke 24:1-9. You'll need cupcakes and a trick re-lighting candle. Light it and talk about how Jesus came to be the light of the world. On Saturday, it looked like the light had been blown out. Blow out the candle and wait in silence while the flame is gone. When the flame comes back, celebrate! Point out that nothing can ever snuff out Jesus, the light of the world.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Scenes {baby dedication}

Baby dedications are always a special day at Parkway and this Sunday was no different. Dr. King leads a touching, beautiful, and personal dedication for each family. Today, four month old Abrianna was introduced to our church family as her proud big sisters looked on and her parents committed to raising her in a Christian home.

Oberon and sweet little Anna

The girls all had matching dresses- yellow, blue, and pink

Dr. King holds Anna

and introduces her to her church family

New life is such a gift and to acknowledge and thank God for that blessing is indeed a beautiful showing of gratitude.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Children and Worship (Part 1)

Children and Worship (Part1)

     In the last 10 years that I have been involved in children's ministry, ideas that parents and ministers hold about children and worship and preferences for how children worship always cover the entire spectrum of possibilities. This topic is one that is very important to me- so much so that Iwrote my final seminary Capstone paper on this subject. It's hard to summarize a 30 page research paper but in essence, I came to the conclusion that a combination of learning both at home with parents and at church with ministers and Sunday School teachers provides the best worship enrichment possibilities for children.

     At Parkway, we think it's important for families to worship together. Sunday worship services are a community activity during which all of God's people gather to worship as one. This includes singing, praying, hearing, and giving to God. We believe that children belong in the worship service when they are at an appropriate developmental stage to participate, beginning at age 5 when they are learning to read. However, children do need help in understanding the service so they can worship God meaningfully. It's my desire to be your best resource as you help your children learn to worship.

     In Kindergarten and 1stGrade, children attend children's worship where they have their own worship service and learn about the specific elements of worship at the end of the year. We also provide worship bags which your children should use to help them participate in worship (the children's bulletin, worksheets, drawing pictures of things that they hear in the service, and writing down questions and thoughts on the paper provided).

    At home, children learn appropriate table manners by eating together with the family, night after night. Eventually the family reaps the benefits: mealtimes become more meaningful, ordered gatherings-true family time. In the same way, children learn to worship by worshiping. This will happen over time, through regular attendance, and strong parental support.

     I'll spend a few months worth of newsletter articles exploring children and worship andproviding you with ideas and resources to enhance your worship experience as a family. Let's start this month with ideas for prepping at home.

Preparing for worship athome:
-Start Saturday night. Establish a Saturday evening routine that avoids the Sunday morning rush. Lay out clothes the night before so that everyone is ready.
-Get plenty of rest. Sundayis a special day and we want children to be well rested for it. Allowing children to stay up late on Saturday will not help anyone worship!
-Make Saturday evening and Sunday morning special. Have a special breakfast on Sunday or do a special activity on Saturday evening. Repeating these activities creates security and reminds children that Sunday is a special day.
-Worship throught the week.Worship opportunities can be spontaneous or planned, but if your family hasn't worshiped prior to the worship service, worshiping there is more difficult.

The children's sermons are also an introduction to the service for our kids.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Scenes {Palm Sunday}

Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" Mark 11:9

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yes Lord - Children's Sermon

written with Jane Redman (my amazing Speech Writer) and going along with Dr. King's sermon God's "Yes" and Ours from the lectionary passage 2 Corinthians 1:18-22

There's a Christian songwriter named Kyle Matthews and he once told of how he visited many different churches while he was in college so he could experience different styles of worship.  One Sunday, he visited an African American church.  When it was time for the sermon, the preacher stood at the pulpit and said "Yes, Lord!" and the congregation responded "Yes, Lord!"
The preacher said it again, "Yes, Lord!"
The people responded, "Yes, Lord!"
They continued this for 20 minutes and each time the preacher said "Yes, Lord!" he got louder and more excited, and the congregation responded more enthusiastically.  At the end of those 20 minutes, the preacher quietly prayed: "Lord, you have heard our answer, now tell us what it is that you want us to do."

They were saying yes to God about something that they didn't even know was being asked of them!
This is important for us to hear because sometimes it feels like we live in a world where he hear "no" too much.  At school and at home, the answer to many of our questions and requests is "no." You probably say "no" a lot, too! When you were very little one of the first words you probably learned was "no" and I bet you used it a lot!

This week, I want you to practice saying "Yes."  When your teacher asks you to help clean up a mess that you didn't make, say "Yes Ma'am." When your mom asks you to do your homework or eat your vegetables, say "Yes, Mom." When your Dad asks you to turn off the video game, say "Yes, Dad."

When you have a choice between doing something that you know is wrong or doing what is right, say "Yes, Lord" and do the right thing. The more that you say "Yes" now to what you know is right, the easier it will be to say "Yes, Lord" when you fell that God is calling you to do something special.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Showing Love - A Children's Sermon for Valentine's Day

Work gloves
Greeting card
 Since Valentine's Day was during the upcoming week, I decided to do the children's sermon on LOVE.

One volunteer held each item and we talked about what each thing made them think of doing and then ways that went along with that item that they could show love to someone else.

 Work gloves: working in the garden with grandma. dad working in the yard.
Ways to show love: helping mom or dad in the yard. helping a neighbor shovel snow.

 Greeting card: made them think of birthdays and holidays.
Ways to show love: send someone a note or a card to tell them that you care and are thinking about them. valentine's cards. Tell someone that you are glad to see them or that you like their smile.

 Game: playing games with friends and family.
Ways to show love: spending time with people. playing games, helping mom with dinner, help parents clean.

 Then I had two children stand up together with nothing in their hands and hug. You can show love by hugging a friend or family member.

 Next, they all stood by the way that they liked to be shown love the most. I told them to think about the ways that they can show love to the people in their lives this week. It could be in a way that they like to be shown love or a way that they know that other person likes to be shown love. God wants us to show love to others and there are many ways to do that. Be creative and come up with more!