Oriental Trading

Teacher Gifts

Wow! I cannot believe how fast Christmas is coming this year and gifts are on top of my mind!  I made pumpkin bread for all of our church leaders, but wanted something for my teachers that wasn’t edible.  Several of my teachers are on strict diets… so I figured food might not be a good gift in this case. Trying to find something affordable, but nice, was not easy.  I did it though.  (Well, I’m guessing God had a hand in it.)  I thought I’d share in case you found yourself in the same predicament.

If you haven’t bought your teachers a Christmas gift yet, here are a couple of ideas:

This Christmas, I’m giving all of my teachers a Kindle book, Pocket of Prayers by Max Lucado.  It’s only $2.99 on Kindle!  At the holidays everyone gets so much “stuff”  so I think a Kindle book is perfect!  Give them a nice Christmas card but really, all you need is their email address.  Amazon let’s you send it as a gift making it so easy!  Then, they can read it from their smart phone, tablet or computer.  It’s perfect!

Another suggestion, one I’m saving for mid-year as a teacher appreciation gift, is a potted succulent plant with a message, “Thank you for helping our kids grow in God’s love!”  It costs a little more per teacher, about $5 each for 5 teachers or order another set of plants and it ends up being $3.50 per teacher.  The plants come in sets of 5 while the pots come in 10.  You can order what you need from Amazon and it’s super simple!  I can manage to kill just about any plant, so I like these low maintenance plants.  Plus, they are great for the teacher with allergies.

I hope you find this helpful. I would love to hear your ideas, things that have worked well for you at the holidays!



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Say a Prayer Entering Into 2018

As a kid in bible class each week, did you ever wish God would talk to you like He did with Adam in the garden? Or like Moses from a burning bush? Or perhaps like Jesus did with the 12 apostles? These people got to talk to God and God worked through them.  I admit, I also wished I could be an angel at one point and wondered if there was a way.  My point is, God did great things through these people!  As I got older I remember learning how God used normal people, people with fears and deficiencies ti love out His plan.  Why couldn’t that be me?  Then, as I was working with kids at church, I realized He was working through me.  This was empowering and an answer to my prayer. There is a point to my ramblings.

Christmas is around the corner and then it’s time for those New Years resolutions. Will we go into 2018 with big dreams for the spiritual welfare of our children and their families? As children’s ministry leaders we can’t help ourselves.  We want great things for our children.  Like the great leaders of the Bible, hopefully like them, we begin with God. This is His church after all and we are merely allowing our amazing God to work through us to shape His children, the future of His church. What an awesome thought! Think over scripture and remember the men of the Old Testament, how they went to God before tackling problems.  When they did, God gave them success.  When they didn’t start with God, they often failed.  Let’s learn from them.  Let’s begin with prayer and let’s remain humble.  God is using us and it’s not to the reverse.

I will leave you with this thought from 2 Kings 6:17 – Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  Can you imagine Gods church, its unshakable faith, when God answers our prayers to open the eyes of our children to see and know Him, to know the love He has for us and what that means for them?  We serve an amazing God and I believe He will guide us in our endeavors as children’s ministry leaders.

I love these wall decals!


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Santa vs. God at Home

Tonight as I was watching The Santa Clause with my family, my mind wandered off to children’s ministry again.  I started thinking about how hard so many parents work to keep their children believing in Santa. We even go to elaborate lengths with the mischievous Elf on a Shelf. I remember one year when my kids were really little.  We stayed at my parents house on Christmas Eve.  My mom went outside the window of the room they were sleeping in, rang a jingle bell and guided a red light past the window so they’d think they saw Rudolph.  My kids were so excited! They closed their eyes tightly pretending to sleep so Santa would come with presents.  I am sad to say I cannot remember a time my kids got that excited about God, and He is real.

Do we, as parents, go to these same lengths to ensure our children believe in their Creator, their Heavenly Father?  I venture to say that sadly, in most cases the answer is no.  This is disturbing.  What is even more disturbing is knowing I have children in our church who believe in Santa, but are questioning God’s existence.  What do we do about it?

Let’s look at what we do special at Christmas time.  We read holiday stories, watch holiday movies, build up gifts and Santa, spend more time in fellowship with family and friends, attend special events and more.  We need to take a page out of our holiday life and start applying it year round to our spiritual life and raising our kids for Christ.  Spend time each week reading and bringing God’s word to life.  Take that same enthusiasm you have when reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and read about Daniel or Jonah.  Instead of sharing what great things Santa is doing, share what amazing things God did and does even today.  For family movie night, watch a movie with a spiritual message.  I haven’t tried Pureflix yet, but thinking I may give it a shot.  Fellowship with your church family.  Enjoy a meal or outing together building Christian friendships.

There are so many ways we can build up God in our homes year round.  Talk about God year round in your home, just as often as you talk about Santa in December.  We remind our children that Santa is watching; now remind them that God is watching.  Remind them that God sees them and hears them.  Instead of writing letters to Santa, pray to God.  Instead of baking Santa and reindeer cookies, bake Angels, lions for Daniel, animals for creation or Noah’s ark.  Wow! With a little effort we can show our kids that God is important and loves them.  As you are setting your goals for the new year, I challenge you to write a plan that includes making God more important than Santa in December!

Share things you’ve done to keep God alive in your home throughout the year.  I would love to hear your ideas.


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