Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rahabed!


I was thinking of Tangled when we did this activity. Usually I see something and visualize how we could use it in our lesson, but I was outdone by my co-worker on this one. The story was about Rahab, the spies and the scarlet cord.

Monday, January 28, 2019

DIY Empty Tomb

Our neighbors gave us this pop-up tent years ago for the girls and I to sleep out in the back yard. We used it once for that. But in children's ministry I use it at least once a year. Next to duct tape and a kiddie pool, it is one of the most versatile tools I have used in ministry.


It has been the inside of a cave.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

For the Love of Camels and Rebekah


After spending one year in the New Testament, I find myself back in the old with a whole set of new children. I have visuals from some of these lessons, but the children are younger now, so I am finding that I have to change things up.

I always start to prepare by reading the Bible story first. As I read, I try to visualize the story happening in my mind's eye. When I read this story of Abraham's servant going to find Isaac's wife, I was struck by the fact that he took ten camels. The Bible is very specific to mention that. It is also very specific that Abraham's servant watched closely as Rebekah drew water for those ten camels. Why? That was a lot of work! A camel can drink 20 to 25 gallons in 10 minutes and up to 40 gallons in one session. And there were 10 of them. The camels are key in understanding the story.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Musings from the Laundry Room


The laundry room, in a children's blog, really? Well, this musing is for everyone, children's workers included. And it is free, so it fits the frugal part of this blog.

Most hometown papers has several columns written by local contributors. Ours has one called, "The View from Hickory Hill" written by a woman whose home is located on, well, Hickory Hill. She shares her viewpoint on all manner of things from class reunions to haying to hand-me-downs.

One day this past summer, while we were in North Carolina on a medical leave of absence, I was inspired to write my own column...in the laundry room. So I thought, if Miss Hickory Hill can write a column about the view from her home, I can write one about my view from the laundry room. I have named it, "Musings from the Laundry Room," just in case I ever get inspired to write another post while in the laundry room. 

Our own laundry room was right in our apartment in Chapel Hill, complete with a new washer and dryer and wire shelving on an entire wall.  One day while I was doing the wash, I pulled the bottle of Purex laundry detergent from that shelving and a memory came flooding over me. I had gone to the Walmart in Chapel hill by myself to buy that bottle of detergent because I knew I could get the size and brand I wanted there. I remembered the heat. I remembered clearly where I had parked the car. I remembered the traffic when I left the parking lot. But most of all, I remembered it was well over a month ago that all of that happened. We still had a lot of time in Chapel Hill. Leaving to go home was not even on my mind that day at WalMart. 

As I set about washing towels for perhaps the last time in Chapel Hill, and as I poured out the depleting liquid into the lid, this wave of emotion just came over me - like when you are at the Jersey shore in the ocean, and you don't see the wave coming up on you until it is too late. It came out of nowhere and its dark shadows spread over my spirit that had been so gay a moment before. Our time in North Carolina was almost gone. We were leaving in six days. 

As I stood there with the bottle in hand, I felt how we cannot hang onto anything, I felt the fleetingness of life and moments. I felt my total lack of control over any of it, try as I had to hold onto all the moments and seize the day. The day was still coming that we would have to leave. A sadness hung over my spirit. And then I was comforted by God. Strengthened by the knowledge that come what may, God will never be moving or leaving or changing or depleting. He is a surety, a stability - one I can anchor my soul in. The rock that is higher than I am. He is the ONLY sure thing in my life, or any of our lives. But what a surety he is. And my soul was opened by the warmth of his love and presence and the knowledge of who he is that will always be by my side.

No wonder that David wrote in the Psalm 62: 
Hear my cry, O God
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower...

I don't know what life has brought your way, but I do know that none of us can control it. I hope that you have found the rock that is higher than you are and are anchored in Him so that come what may, you have anchored your soul in God. When those moments come - and you never know when they will - remember the one who never changes and pray with David, "lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Thank God that because of who he is, he IS higher than us, he IS a rock and he can ALWAYS answer that prayer. 




Sunday, October 7, 2018

I Quit!

National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA

OK, be honest, how many of you have a letter of resignation hidden away in a drawer somewhere? I have been in the ministry long enough to know that almost every pastor out there (lead, senior, youth, kidmin or otherwise) has seriously wanted to quit at least once in their lifetime (for some it might be every Monday morning).

Every once in awhile I come across this file in my documents entitled, "Letter of Resignation." Hmmm, what's that I wondered the first time I saw it. So I opened it. It was a letter I had hurriedly typed to our governing board. It was only a rough draft, but there it was, typos and all. "Wow." I thought as I read it, "Did I really feel like that?" And so I decided to keep it, just to remind myself when I get down, that I have been down before, and kept on.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

To Have Children's Church, or Not To


Hamlet's famous line, "To be, or not to be:" rings through the ages. As a children's director in a small church, one of my biggest questions is, "To have children's church, or not to: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler to make workers suffer the slings and arrows of a work force already stretched thin, or to take up arms against the congregation and subjugate them to noisy children in the service." OK, I confess, that is a totally wrong view of ministry to children for either side of the argument, but it was fun to write.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pentecost DIY Pins


This was a fun, simple craft for the kids to make for Pentecost Sunday and yet it had a big impact. After a lesson about Pentecost, we made these lapel pins from craft foam.


I made some cardstock templates. The older kids helped trace. Adult helpers cut. Younger kids peeled the sticky back off of the fun foam and placed the yellow flame on the red ones. Some pins had 2 flames, and some 3.