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Oriental Trading

Teach Children with The Rhyme Bible

Teach Children with The Rhyme Bible

I’ve been working on a project for my congregation that begins in January and I want to share it with you. I mainly work with K-5th grades, but am about to embark on a journey to provide our families of K-5th AND toddlers AND pre-schooler’s with family bible studies to do with their kids. One parent introduced me to The Rhyme Bible and I love it! So, for toddlers and pre-schoolers…

I am creating activity mats to go with each bible story rhyme. Of course, the first rhyme is called “A New World” and is all about creation. I am amazed by this author’s talent! The rhyme’s are cute and catchy while holding to scripture- perfect for the little ones! Today I am sharing the first activity mat to accompany the book. You don’t have to purchase the book to tell these bible stories and play with your kids to teach them the scriptures, but it’s a fun way to do it. You can purchase the book here: The Rhyme Bible and download the FREE activity mat here.

As for the activity mats, be creative. Print as many copies as you’d like and to make them last longer, laminate them or put them in these cool plastic pockets. Have fun learning from God’s word using play-doh, play foam, silly putty, thinking putty, kinetic sand, wikki stix… anything that let’s you form something. The idea is to make talking about God with your kids normal for your family. We want our kids growing up knowing their God loves them and that they are part of His great big plan.

Remember, studies show that families who pray together, serve together, talk about matters of faith regularly and have family devotionals outside of dinner time are more likely to raise children with an unshakable faith! This is the message I will keep on spreading because it is so important, especially in a world that keeps declining in morals and spiritual truth.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time to download the Holiday Planner with Weekly Family Devotionals for November & December. Sign up here… it’s FREE!

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Satan’s Battleground & Protecting Our Children

Satan’s Battleground & Protecting Our Children

We live in Satan’s territory. We are in a war to win souls on Satan’s battleground and he and his army have done a phenomenal job in crafting lies that many, many people have bought into. These days, we seem to have trouble calling sin what is, sin. I’m sure you’ve heard it, “A loving God will accept me for who I am” or “I know what the bible says, but it doesn’t really mean that anymore” and my favorite, “God made me this way so he must accept me.”  Of course, God loves us and meets us where we are, but God does not accept the willful sin (Hebrews 10:26).

I’m sure you’re wondering, “What does this have to do with our children?”  Our children are growing up in this world, in a world that over the years has allowed sin to take more and more souls every day. We can’t escape it. Turn on the television, even a children’s cartoon and see if it holds all the values you do. See what your kids are learning at school.  At one time the church was in an uproar because science taught evolution, but not creation. Then God and prayer was removed from schools. Now, our young elementary children are being taught they may be born a boy or girl, but how do they feel? They are being taught at this young age, early elementary school, that they have a choice to make. Confusing? I think so. My point is, the world is taking over and God is being pushed aside.

So, what can we do about it? Step up as children’s ministry leaders, teachers and parents. If a church is able to provide a healthy, biblical atmosphere for learning, that’s great! But most churches aren’t in this position; so, we need to really teach and train up our children in the way of the Lord. Parents who raised children faithful to God shared what they did. The thing that stood out most to me was that matters of faith were part of normal, everyday conversation. God wasn’t a separate conversation, but part of regular conversations. Their children grew up learning that God was naturally a part of every aspect of their lives. The other thing they did was have family devotional time and they prayed together. They spent time together as a family with what matters most, God.

Now, you will have to intentionally work to make God a part of your conversations; but I’ve got a solution for family devotionals. During November, I have weekly family devotionals teaching about gratitude.  In December, we’ll learn about the spirit of Christmas. It’s free so sign up and choose an evening each week to study God’s word as a family. All you need is 15 minutes (more if you want to spend time together doing the game or activity as a family)! You pick the night. Study in your pajamas if it’s easier… it’s all about sharing God as a family.

This is the one major way families can combat sin in the world. Train up your children to have an unshakable faith in Christ. Set up an atmosphere where your children come to you with questions before they accept sin as normal. Parents and Children’s Ministry Leaders have an incredible job, an important job. What an amazing opportunity!

Join the challenge to Focus the Family on God this holiday season. Many of you have already joined and I pray that your family is already being blessed by these times together with God.

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Teach About God With Jack-O-Lantern Activity Mats

Teach About God With Jack-O-Lantern Activity Mats

There are so many fun ways to work with the holidays to teach Christ to our children. This October, I wanted something hands on for my kindergarten through third grade children that could work as a short devotional and activity parents can do at home AND something I could use to fill the time in children’s church when the preacher gets a bit long winded. I LOVE activity mats so I came up with a simple Jack-O-Lantern Activity Mat.

I will share verses from Colossians 3:9-10. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Then, we can dive into the devotional. I want our children to understand that with Christ, we get rid of our sinful self and become a new self. A self that loves God and is an example of him to others. We dig out of the pumpkin all of the gross insides. We make it clean just like Jesus makes us clean, free from sin. Now we are ready to really do God’s work! We will turn our plain old pumpkin into a happy Jack-O-Lantern!

It needs eyes to see those in need, a nose that’s not stuck up (it’s humble), a mouth to share the word of God, and even some ears to hear the word of God. A pumpkin that’s been cleaned out of all the seeds and yuck is clean and ready to serve. The light we put inside shines for God! Expound on each one and you’ve got a full lesson that kids can apply in their week.

Download a FREE copy of the Jack-O-Lantern Activity Mat here. (Use with play dough, play foam, wikki stix, slime and more. Laminate it and you could even use dry erase markers.) Already a subscriber? You’ll receive this in your email automatically!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Pumpkin Gospel

BOOK REVIEW: The Pumpkin Gospel

Looking for a good book that brings the focus of Halloween back to God; after all, shouldn’t God always be our focus? Check out “The Pumpkin Gospel.”

I love children’s books. My kids are grown, yet I still find myself buying these fun little books. Thankfully, I work with kids in children’s ministry so I have a good excuse! As I was searching for new book, I stumbled across “The Pumpkin Gospel” by Mary Manz Simon. I ordered it off Amazon. (No one contacted me for a review.) It did not give me a look inside, so I was not sure what I was getting. I’m glad I got this one. It’s a keeper!

For starters, it’s a hard back book with hard pages inside too so good for young kids. The pictures are bright and colorful. I had this book laying on my desk the first night I got it When I turned the lights out to call it a night I was thrilled to see a glowing Jack-O-Lantern face smiling back at me. Yep, it glows in the dark!

There are 12 pages, six with pictures and six with words. This book is a poem with a stanza on each of the six worded pages plus a short and applicable bible verse. Now the part that really matters… what’s it about? It is a story of God’s forgiveness.

It’s a great object lesson! This book shares with us how the inside of a pumpkin is a bit like us, gooey and gross compared to our sins. BUT, we scoop out the gushy mess just like God cleans out our sin, God forgives. When the insides are clean, the Jack-O-Lantern wears “a smile” and shines it’s light from within just like we are “beaming” from God’s love shining from us. It ends with, “To glow like my big pumpkin and have nice clean heart, ask God to please forgive you. You’ll have a brand-new start.”

This is a simple book, “The Pumpkin Gospel,” that gets kids engaged in God’s message. We can expound from there. I think this is an excellent read before or after letting families make happy Jack-O-Lanterns. (I think we may try this in our small groups with families!)

If you enjoyed this, you may also like to read up on “The Pumpkin Prayer” craft- a popular “prayer” for the season!

And if you missed it last week, make sure to check out this article to download you “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark” with Lessons & Activities.

By the way, I am super excited to share with you that I’ve been working long and hard on two separate daily planners, planners missing from the marketplace (at least the way I want to use them). One is designed specifically for bible class teachers and the other for parents who want a little help getting organized to make GOD the focus of the family. I’m putting in the finishing touches now so if you’ve got some special requests, things you would love to see in your daily planner, send me a quick email (courtney@raisekidsforchrist.com). Like I said, they are almost ready for print, but if I missed something important, I want to make sure to get it in! I appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

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The Bible’s Got It All – Even Scary Stories (Perfect for Halloween)

The Bible’s Got It All – Even Scary Stories (Perfect for Halloween)

Halloween is often a questionable holiday for Christians. Do we participate or do we abstain? I am not here to debate this subject, but to share how we use it.

My prayer is that we reach every child with the word of God and raise them with a strong foundation in Christ so that they not only keep their faith through adulthood; but continue to grow. I want kids to hear and read scripture seeing God’s word as exciting, spooky, encouraging and everything else they find in the secular world (that is good and God approved).  Holidays are a great opportunity to reinvigorate our kids and reach out to others.

I created this book “Scary Bible Stories to Tell in the Dark” in 2018 and was surprised to hear a few people ask why I wanted to scare kids. It wasn’t from the masses, but regardless, I thought this was an interesting take. The goal was never really to scare kids, but to show them that God’s word has it all, even scary stories that are perfect for Halloween.  Kids turn to all kinds of secular stories, movies and costumes. They want to be a little spooked, just not so afraid that they can’t sleep alone at night. Maybe my kids were the weird ones, but they’d see previews for scary movies and beg to watch. Of course, we’d use our judgement on which were okay and which were not. They’d have sleep overs and pull out the flashlights in the dark telling each other “scary” stories. This is all during elementary AND middles school years. So I say, bring on the spooky with a little scary!

It turns out there are plenty of “scary” stories in God’s word. We don’t need to check out books with ghost stories we are supposed to believe are real. These bible stories are scary and true. And they have a good ending- with God, we don’t need to worry about any of these scary things. Legion may be scary, but not for long. The Holy Spirit lives in me so demons can’t touch me! God said not to get involved in sorcery or witchcraft and we see what happens to King Saul when he calls up the ghost of Samuel so stay far away from voodoo, Ouija boards and the likes. There are so many scary stories with valuable lessons.

Let’s help our children see that God has it all.  Move over Disney, God’s got this!

Last year I shared my e-book with coloring pages. This year I’ve added to it! Now there is a lesson with an activity to go with each “scary” bible story. They are all simple and perfect for a bible class, a small group lesson, family night or story and activities at a Trunk-or-Treat type event. And it’s all FREE- No Strings Attached. I’d love to hear how you use these to help build excitement for God in children. Email me your experiences at courtney@raisekidsforchrist.com

If you’d like to read this later, please save it to Pinterest.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: Easy Pumpkin Craft and Creative Storytelling: The Witch of Endor

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A Relationship, Not An Acquaintance

A Relationship, Not An Acquaintance

Johnny, a very bright 5 year old, told his daddy he’d like to have a baby brother and, along with his request, offered to do whatever he could to help. His dad, a very bright 35 year old, paused for a moment and then replied, ” I’ll tell you what, Johnny, if you pray every day for two months for a baby brother, I guarantee that God will give you one!” 
  
 Johnny responded eagerly to his dad’s challenge and went to his bedroom early that night to start praying for a baby brother. 
  
 He prayed every night for a whole month, but after that time, he began to get skeptical. He checked around the neighborhood and found out that what he thought was going to happen, had never occurred in the history of the neighborhood. You just don’t pray for two months and then, whammo- a new baby brother. So, Johnny quit praying. After another month, Johnny’s mother went to the hospital. When she came back home, Johnny’s parents called him into the bedroom. He cautiously walked into the room, not expecting to find anything, and there was a little bundle lying right next to his mother. His dad pulled back the blanket and there was — not one baby brother, but two!! His mother had twins! 
  
 Johnny’s dad looked down at him and said, “Now aren’t you glad you prayed?” 
  
 Johnny hesitated a little and then looked up at his dad and said, “Yes, but aren’t you glad I quit when I did?” (http://jokes.christiansunite.com )

This was too funny not to share. My mind has been on prayer a lot lately. Last week I released “My Prayer Journal” for children and youth, a guided prayer journal to download, print and start praying. I want so much for kids to understand that God is always here and wants a relationship with each one of us. He doesn’t want us sitting on the sidelines just waving now and again. It’s easy for all of us to put God on the back burner and forget he’s there. When you can’t see Him and get an immediate answer to our questions or troubles, we sometimes turn to other people instead of our Heavenly Father. No one has the power or wisdom that God has. He will always choose to do what is best for us. Now… we just have to get this message across to the kids in way it sinks in. We will need a lot of repetition for sure.

There are so many examples of prayer in the bible. Our we teaching our children how to pray, how often and what for? Our we teaching them who we are praying to and what our attitudes should be? In scriptures, talking to God is not some flippant conversation. And when anyone was in the presence of God, they were full of fear and reverence. Our children need taught to truly respect God while understanding that he truly cares for us.

If you’re interested, I created a Play Dough Mat to teach The Lord’s Prayer. Download a copy here. It keeps things simple, in a way they understand while they have fun so they want to do it again and again. I love it when kids enjoy learning about God!

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