Tuesday, December 28, 2010

from the lectionery:

Numbers 6:22-27: Not sure how old I was when I learned this benediction. There's God's shining face again...When did God bless them? Before He was totally annoyed with them or after?

Psalm 8: Verse 2 mentions infants & babies. The contrast between "what is man...?" and the fact that He's given man "dominion" is seems mind-boggling to me ...

Galatians 4:6
(still looking for kids) "And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God." I think one of the books I reviewed explored this in depth. Not sure which one.

Philippians 2:5-11
Someone made the comment that "every" would include children. When you visualize what vs 10-11 might look like, include children of all ages.

Luke 2:15-21 I've been pondering this passage a lot this season. The shepherds looked after animals all day. They were outside all day most days? everyday? And the angels came and sang to them. They were the first to hear this amazing life shattering announcement. They left their sheep to go and check it out. You don't just leave a field full of sheep untended. Maybe they left someone behind. Maybe they took the sheep. We don't really know...Apparently they verbal, they were credible. They exclaimed to people and people listened. More importantly, they exclaimed to God! You think God has a special place in his heart for sheep & shepherds? :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You may find some new ones on this list...ministry-to-children.com

Friday, December 17, 2010

Here's the readings from this week's lectionery

...Looking for kids...

Isaiah 7:10-16 We think about the miracle of the virgin birth, the promise of God fullfilled. I think about an unwed teen mother and the range of emotion she must have experienced. Mary called her son Immanuel "God with us."

At what age are kids old enough to refuse evil and choose good?An interesting point of reference... Is it cultural?

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
How long will you be angry O Lord? Let your face shine. I don't really think about God that way, the God with the shining face. What does that look like to kids? People with shining faces? What makes somebody's face shine? Do you have kids who know about eating the bread and drinking the drink of tears? How about laughing enemies? Here is a picture of God: the Good Shepherd enthroned on cherubim shining forth. People calling to their shepherd, "Stir up your might! Come and save us! Make your face shine on us." A call to the Shepherd, not the soldier...never noticed that before.

Romans 1:1-7 The season of advent is full of Old Testament prophecy. The Christmas story, the Easter Story- full of Old Testament prophecy. What is prophecy? Have you or your kids ever watched God bring His Word to pass? What was that like? What was it like for people around Jesus? The passage starts about Paul & prophecy. It ends up being about Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25 Here is more of Mary's story and that of a very gracious man, apparently sensitive to the spirit of God as Mary was. It seems God sovereignly chose them. Imagine. Mary & Joseph believed God. How did they know it was Him? I don't know. We all assume they just knew. If I remember right the scriptures say that every word of the Lord - if it is the Word of the Lord -comes to pass...a season of odd happenings, prophecy fullfilled, answered prayer & God's face shining.

Monday, December 13, 2010

An image for you. My daughter recently had opportunity to introduce my sister at a Women's Christmas Tea. My sister is a nurse, single. She finds ways to give to people. She's done a lot of misssionary work over the years. Now she's looking out for & caring for my parents. My sister A was in the Phillipines when my daughter M was born. I was disappointed because I really wanted them to know each other. A moved back and a couple of years ago M had opportunity to live with A for a season. One of the things she said in her introduction was that when she thought of A, she thought of Jesus. When she thought of Jesus, she thought of A. After they finished we told her, there's no higher complement than that. M was surprised but pleased.

People will tell you there's something about holding a real book in your hands. M's a craftsman. She's always been a very tactile, kinesthetic kid. Now, in her free time, she works with fabric and searches out very soft yarns. M said, "When I pick up Aunt A's Bible, the pages are so soft..." Just an image for you before you and your children all go virtual on us...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pondering lectionary passages

So I pulled some scriptures out of the lectionary and posted them below only because those particular verses jumped out at me for whatever reason or I saw something I hadn't noticed before...

If you use the lectionary in your church or want the fun of using it for devotions. . . This is The Revised Common Lectionary at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library. You'll see the year and the link on the left when you click.

Go looking for kids. You can use Bible stories that tie to the season. You can look for children in the text (reading it in context) or ask where were they? How did these words affect their parents, them, their community?  Look for promises to multi-generations. Look for imagery that is particularly appealing to kids or imagery that children can relate to. If children can't relate to the imagery and the ideas are age appropriate, (branches growing from a stump for instance) what can you do to add that experience to your kids so they have a point of reference? Do you see the passages about peace and being teachable? Don't you love the imagery of beating swords into plows and farm tools? Do you know a soldier turned farmer? A tree specialist? Do you know a metal worker?

I'm not talking long and complicated. Think snapshots in a big album, depending on the ages of your kids. Sure it's good to know the family and the stories and back stories that go with the snap shots but as kids grow you share a little more and a little more. And some day the whole picture of their Loved One makes sense.

Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Toddlers Again...

I need to seriously revise something in this post. In case anyone misunderstood, it wasn't my intention to reference the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness following Jesus' baptism as a story about baptism for toddlers. My intention was to reference the part about the Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove. Even that may be realistically out of the reach of toddlers. Watching a baptism in church. That's concrete. Water is concrete. Being in the water, going under and coming back up is concrete. The Holy Spirit healing you when you're sick is concrete. You could tell the story using a paper dove with wings that flap or tell a simplified version of the baptism story with puppets or dolls. You might even be able to come up with a finger play if there isn't one already. Remember that each story or church activity is an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary (words) to toddlers & preschoolers especially if you have older toddlers who can talk: Jesus, water, baptism, dove. The Holy Spirit isn't neccessarily concrete to toddlers & preschoolers. The devil isn't concrete. Which brings us to why I even went back to that post.

Someone searched "explaining devil to toddlers". The works of God are concrete. The works of the Holy Spirit (healing) is concrete but I don't know that toddlers make that association. The dove is a concrete God- given symbol for the Holy Spirit. Do you see a God-given concrete symbol for the devil? The serpent? Good angels, bad angels, maybe but I still think even that may be confusing or completely off the radar for a toddler.

I would rather spend the first 6 years of a child's life teaching them to be responsible and accountable for their own actions and about making choices, making good choices. "Keeping the commandments," if you will.

Love God. What do we do that says we love God? What does that look like to a toddler or preschooler?
Love your neighbor as yourself. What do we do to love our neighbor as ourself. What does that look like to a toddler or preschooler? Go through all 10 commandments. Make them toddler/preschool simple and ask yourself what does doing this right look like to a toddler or preschooler?

Have no other gods before Me.

Don't make an image or bow down and worship anything in heaven, on earth, or in the waters below.

Don't misuse God's name.

Remember the Sabbath & keep it holy. Six days we work. On the 7th day we rest from our work.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." (My kids used to hear that a lot for the promise attached.)

Don't murder.

Don't take someone else's husband or wife.

Don't take anything that isn't yours.

Don't lie about someone.

Don't want something that belongs to your neighbor, (to your friend).

Those are the 10 rules God gave his people. Jesus summed them up into two.  Take responsibility for your actions.

Search the scriptures for references to the devil. Look for the stories attached. Who were those stories for? Is there a God-given biblical picture or image attached?  Did it strike fear into the hearts of men? Children?

My mother-in-law was an art teacher. She loved kids. She was also very involved in her Episcopal church. She'd grown up Russian orthodox so she was familiar with iconography. Much of her artwork for her church was simple, clear, clean line & color. When she died we found ourselves with a library of art books, among them a book of art depicting the life of Christ. Another was a book full of artistic and cultural renditions of the devil. I'm only bringing this up because children need concrete association and we often draw on visual images but they aren't all biblical. So before you go scaring little children needlessly, go back to scripture. Scripture talks about a healthy fear of the Lord. It also talks about cowardice not getting us into the kingdom of heaven.

Someday, if I understand scripture correctly, we will all face our Maker and give account. For Christ's sake and for the sake of the children in your care, prayrefully ponder and search the scriptures before you conjure up scary images that will be hard for kids to put aside when they grow up and into greater understanding. Consider what's age appropriate. Consider those words and understanding that are concrete for the very young. What's in the scriptures for them? Look before you leap. Go search the scriptures like the Bereans and "see if these things be so."

Christmas is a wonderful time to pull very young children into the scriptures. A mom & dad, a Baby, animals, angels, kings, a donkey, camels, sheep, shepherds, stars, songs, treasure, smells, things to touch...keep going!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

from the lectionary 12-7-2010

Isaiah 35:8 NRSV

"A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray." (In context)

Luke 1:49-50  NRSV

"...for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation." (In context)

Matthew 11:4-6 NRSV

"Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." (In context)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

This isn't for kids, this is for you. I haven't read A.W. Tozer in 25-30 years. He wrote The Pursuit of God. Most of you are probably too young, but apparently someone is re-publishing the old and publishing some of his work that has never been published before. If you've never read his work, here's the amazon link. Here are some quotes. You can google to find more.

"When faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed." - A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest

",,,I wonder whether there is on earth anything as exquisitely lovely as a brilliant mind aglow with the love of God. Such a mind sheds a mild and healing ray that can actually be felt by those who come near it. Virtue goes forth from it and blesses those who merely touch the hem of its garment.”
- A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest

Friday, December 03, 2010

If you're doing kids' ministry in a small church check out Smalltownkidmin blog.

10 things that'll ruin your childrens ministry at Childrens Ministry.com

New e book "What Matters Now in Children's Ministry". A review here at Dan Scott's blog

Jamie Doyle blogged a series "These Kids are Bored" back in August if you didn't see it.

A list of lists & this.

and the CM blog patrol. There are actually a couple of blogs doing what Kidology was doing...anyway...

Now that you're totally overwhelmed...consider it a Christmas present - more resources ...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I seem to keep seeing orange, ha ha. I don't know anything about it but here's a little info if you're interested. People breaking out of their boxes & learning to hear one another and love one another despite their differences is a good thing...
Doctors' orders! Enjoy the outside world God created ...even if it's currently hiding under a white blanket...