Monday, June 20, 2016

FAMILY: Dry Erase Prayer Board

One of the things that people seem to struggle with is teaching their children to pray. Many, many people know and pray the common table prayer, but many families may need some hints about how to start praying more freely.

Today at dinner I brought up a few prayer requests for my teenage step-children because we've got some health issues in the family and I want them to start (if they don't already) talking to God about them. That brought me to this great idea about the prayer board. We have a dry erase calendar in our kitchen. Why not have a dry erase prayer board? The whole family can add to it and at dinner every night, after praying the common table prayer, everyone can pick something off the board to pray for. Adults can go first and last to model how simple praying for specific things can be.

Be sure to encourage prayer that's not just wishful thinking or "genie" type wishes. God is not a genie to whom we ask for stuff off of a Christmas list. We want to tell God how much we love Him, have some sort of confession or admission of our sinfulness, and thank God for the great things He has done in our lives (everything good comes from God). Among many other things, we want to:

  • thank God for His Son's great sacrifice.
  • thank God for giving us faith.
  • thank God fot every good thing.
  • ask that we can handle difficulties at school or at work.
  • ask that a friend can experience the peace of the Lord.
  • ask for strength to do what God expects of us.
  • admit that we don't deserve the good things He does for us.
  • ask God that in Him we can have confidence.
  • ask God to help us trust Him more.
  • ask God to work in us to help others.
  • ask God give us strength of faith.
  • and many other examples.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

UGH!! I hate the word DONATE!

Ugh! It's come to this! For a few years now I've been giving away most of the resources I've created (pretty much every one except my books) and I've come to the point where I have to either start charging for them or need to accept donations to the cause of more meaningful congregational education. Hence, the new page on this blog called...

I have another book in the works called The Art of Teaching Sunday School that will be for any congregation that has no idea how to train their wonderfully loving Sunday School teachers, I'm working on the Bible Reading Guides for the Gospels and Acts, and I am currently writing or updating Environmental Learning Curriculum for Camp Omega in Waterville, MN. It will have an intentional faith element and reference MN state education standards. I also have a number of other projects that I would love to share, but sadly, I can no longer do all of this for free. I am hoping and praying that God will provide a way for this educational ministry to flourish and grow.

I'm asking that you pray about it and if you've found the blog and resources helpful, that you give a small (or even medium size) donation.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 
Psalm 32:8

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

MEN'S MINISTRY: How can I help?

I have a friend whose husband passed on to be with Jesus. It's been about a year and she's struggling along as all widows or widowers do. She recently posted on Facebook that she has some chores that she needs help with around the house. She's sad and lonely and frustrated because when her husband died those people who said they would help have suddenly found themselves too busy. She doesn't want to be a burden, but there are things she can't do and she doesn't know where to turn. She can't carry her air conditioner from the shed to the house so she opened her windows and the one for the AC has no screen. Her irrigation system stopped pumping and she couldn't get it started. The ice maker in her refrigerator stopped working.

As Christians it's our job to help so it's time we start promoting that in our congregations. It's time to start noticing and taking care of those around us. I told my friend to call her church. The question is... what will the church do? Every congregation has people who can take a few minutes out of their week to stop in and check a problem out, perhaps solve it, and/or at least give some advice.

EVERY congregation has adults who can volunteer to help these people with these things. Don't push it off on the youth. Yes, there are things they should help with too, but true service is learned through the example of giving adults.

EVERY congregation has people who need a little assistance. What is happening in the church that we get so upset over church politics, but forget about those in our community that need a little of Jesus' love in the form of carrying an air conditioner and going the extra mile to put it in?!

What you need to do: men will volunteer to help if they know it's just a job or two once in a while. I know they will. They like to feel needed and appreciated.
  • Start praying.
  • Start asking. 
  • Start expecting. 
  • Start a list of helpers and how they can help: home repairs, odd jobs, lifting/moving, computers, small engine repair, etc.
  • Let the elderly people in your congregation know you (as their congregation) are there to help and start a list of needs: emergent and not-so-emergent.

My heart aches for her that she's reaching out to Facebook for help and not her church. Have we become so consumed worrying about kids and our silly congregational politics that we've forgotten that we're here to help?


Sunday, June 5, 2016

YOUTH: Video -- Christian Mingle

It would seem that they're making some Christian movies these days that aren't all bad. One I recently ran across on Netflix is called Christian Mingle. It's about a young lady whose friends are all getting married and she wants to too. She keeps seeing commercials for Christian Mingle so she signs up, not really being much of a Christian, and buys the book, Christianity for Dummies and a Bible. She wanted to find a man, but Jesus found her instead.

It was funny, the acting wasn't stiff, it didn't show a weird version of Christianity (like many do), and the message was positive and showed how putting Christ first helps in finding the right guy. If you have a girl group, this is a good movie night movie!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

EDUCATION: Luther's Prayers for Younger Kids

I love Luther's morning and evening prayers. I think they are something we should teach our children and when I taught 7th and 8th grades in a Lutheran school, every morning we would say the morning prayer before we began the day. I created an 18" x 24" poster to make it easier for the kids to remember. You can see them below and get a file on my posters page.

The problem with the younger children is that the way they're worded makes them difficult to understand. Valuing the prayers and wanting younger children to be able to say them and understand them more easily, I reworded them for a children's message. I tried to keep the message while using simpler, more understandable words for younger children. Posters for each prayer are below and can be found on my posters page along with directions about how to order them for $4 each. For the children's message on Sunday I created some cards for each of them to take home and put in their bedrooms to remind them to say the prayers every day/night. People have been asking for them ever since so I thought they might be worth a share.

Feel free to download Luther's Evening Prayer Card and Luther's Morning Prayer Card for your the kids in your church or school. There are two on one page so they can be printed back to back and you'll get both prayers on one card. (I know, I should charge for these things!)

Luther's Prayers


Kids version of Luther's Prayers