Check out the lastest blogs about kids, ministry, parenting and more posted every Friday!

Games

Who doesn’t love games?!  I mean, we love games so much that there are TV channels dedicated to card games, questionnaire games, physical challenge games and more!  We play games during holidays or invite people over to play games just for fun!  Games are a big part of our life, and it’s actually a big part of kids ministry!

It’s no secret that kids have short attention spans!  My wife and I are currently learning that with our 8 month old daughter.  It feels like we are putting a new or different toy in front of her every 2 minutes just so we can clean the house, make dinner and even get ready!  But as kids grow, they learn how to keep focus on one activity for a longer period of time.  Most elementary age kids can focus on something that interests them for about 10-15 minutes without getting distracted by other things going on simultaneously.

When planning a kids ministry service we keep their attention span in mind and no one activity last more than 15 minutes!  One thing that helps to break things up and keep kids interested is games!  Depending on the Sunday we usually play 2 to 4 games in a 60-90 minute service schedule.  The majority of the games we play are just for fun to shake up to service, but the best thing about kid ministry games is that we can use them to help reinforce the message!

Every week we learn or review a verse and one of the last games we play are to help the kids learn the memory verse!  Just last week I was teaching the kids James 4:17 and I wrote parts of the verse on dress labels that were then put on cups and mixed up.  The kids had to unscramble the verse and put it in order to win.  We also turn review questions into a game where the kids have to guess the correct answer or work as a team to figure riddle out that have to do with that day’s lesson.

So the next time you go to pick up your kid from kids church and you see them playing a game, please don’t write it off as the children’s pastor just trying to entertain your child while you're in service.  They have worked very hard to create a game to help your child remember what they learned!  And once you’re in the car ask them what they games taught them!  They will love to tell you all about it; and maybe you can even play it at home!  Have a little contest at home and let them teach you what they learned!

Worship

One of our goals in Community Kids is to pattern our kids services after the adults service at the Main Gathering.  We don’t do Sunday school or classes because we want our kids to know what church really is like!  It also makes an easy transition for them as they grow out of kids ministry.  This means that every kids service has a message, we take offering, make announcements and have praise and worship!  (Of course we add games through out to make it more fun and appealing to kids!)

Leading praise and worship for kids is one of my favorite parts of our Sunday morning kids gathering!  There is nothing better than hearing little voices worship Jesus!  Here are 4 reasons why we have praise and worship for kids!

1. It’s who we are

God created us to have a relationship with Him and worship Him!  Singing is one of they ways that we worship God!  There are so many scriptures in the book of Psalms that tells us to worship and lift our voice to God!  We were created for worship and having it as a part of our kids services teaches them that!

2. It teaches them how to worship

If we didn’t have worship in our ministry and kids grew up to go to the adult gathering, they would most likely have no idea what to do for the first thirty minutes of the service!  Part of our goal with kids worship is to teach them how by raising our hands or kneeling to seek God!

3. Kids love to dance

Now, there is a difference in kids worship verses adults which is that we add hand motions and some dance moves!  I mean, who doesn’t love to dance?!  We do it because we want the kids to feel comfortable with the raising their hands in worship.  It’s sad but true that even some adults don’t feel comfortable raising their hands and we don’t want that for our kids!  If they can do the electric slide in worship, then raising their hand is much easier and comfortable for them!

4. It draws them closer to Jesus

Worship, like prayer, is one-on-one time with God!  It’s our opportunity to praise and thank Him for all that He has done!  It’s also a time for us just to be in His presence!  We desire that our kids have a relationship with Jesus and worship is one step towards that!  After all, James 4:8 does say that if you “come near to God…He will come near to you!”


We currently have a playlist on Spotify with all of the songs we sing for praise and worship!  Search for "CommunityKidsWCC"!  If you don't have a Spotify account, you can create one for free by clicking here!

Music for Kids

There is no doubt that music is a big part of our culture in the U.S.!  Wherever you go you’re gonna hear music.  The grocery store, restaurants, salons, the mall, and your car!  Your car radio doesn’t even have to be on and you will most likely still hear music because someone will be blasting it!  There are even TV channels dedicated to music and musicals are being created everyday!  I would say that it would be near impossible to live without music!

However, being a parent in a world of music can be scary because not all music is appropriate for kids.  I’m not saying music is bad; but there are songs that kids shouldn’t hear at least until they are older.  Like the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”

I have heard countless stories of parents who have the secular radio on in the car while their kid is in the backseat.  They have it on thinking that their child is to young to understand the words or even repeat them until it’s too late and they hear the sweetest little voice start singing along!  Again, not all music is bad, but not all music is for children.

When we were on vacation with family down in Arizona, we decided to watch the newest Disney movie Moana which most of my family hadn’t seen yet including my 2 year old nephew.  While we were waiting for everyone to get situated, the DVD menu was on the screen playing the background music to one of the songs from the movie.  Out of no where my nephew points and says, “You’re welcome!” naming the song.  His mother was shocked that he knew the name of the song without ever seeing the movie before, but it turns out that he had listened to the song a couple times with his father.  Even so, it goes to show that little kids are listening to what is around them and can even recognize music without lyrics!

One thing that we need to recognize is that our kids are watching and looking up to us!  They wan’t to be like us which means they will copy the things we do, say and even listen to.  We need to set the example for them about what Christ followers think, say and do!

So what kind of music should we let our kids listen to?  Here are some “filters” I use when picking out song for my kid:

1. Message

When the Bible talks about music, it’s mostly about songs of praise and worship to God.  So Christian music is always a good idea to play for your kids; a. because we want our teach out kids to how to worship and b. because they message is always good and clean!  But there is music out there that isn’t by Christian artists but still has a Christian or good and moral message to it.  Just because it doesn’t have a “Christian” label doesn’t mean it’s off limits for Christians!  We just want our kids to hear positive messages in music.

Now I’m a die hard Disney fan and Disney music is played daily at our house!  In fact, it’s part of our nightly bedtime ritual for Michaelyn.  Disney has tons of positive messages in their song but we have to remember that Disney also deals with villains and evil and sometimes demonic themes.  One of my favorite movies is The Princess & the Frog which has a great message about working hard to make your dreams happen; but it also has voodoo, witchdoctors and demons which are very reals things.  There is even a song that the villain sings about his “fiends on the other side”.  This is an example of a song that we will not be playing around Michaelyn - until she’s older at least.  Which brings us to the next “filter”.

2. Age

As parents, its our responsibility to introduce our kids to the world.  That means introducing mature things over time as they get older and that includes music.  As our kids get older our boundaries need to loosen.  Currently, Mikayla and I aren’t going to actively listen to Katty Perry with Michaelyn, however, as she grows into her teens there will be select song that we will be able to listen to with her.

3. Emotions

Imagine you’re watching your favorite movie at the storyline’s climax…without music.  It probably wouldn’t be your favorite movie then!  Music can evoke happiness, sadness, anger, fear and other emotions.  We need to be careful what our kids listen to because it can play with their emotions.  An angry, sad or scary song that is listened to on repeat could cause anger issues and even depression.  It’s okay to listen to those types of songs because we need every emotion, just make sure there is a mix!

4. Artists

Every artist is different and they all believe different things.  Just because an artist has one positive song doesn’t meant all of their songs are positive or has a good message.  One of my favorite artists is Katty Perry, and like everyone else, I love the song “Firework” because it has such an uplifting message.  Even so, there are beliefs she has that are apparent in her songs that I don’t agree with.  That doesn’t mean I won’t listen to them, but they won’t be played in out household for many years as long as there are kids who can be influenced by them.

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There are tons of songs and artist in the world, it can be hard to find music that is just right for your kid.  Community Kids as a Spotify account with playlists that were created specifically for kids that has safe, family friendly and uplifting music.  You can create a Spotify account today for free and start listening by searching for “CommunityKidsWCC” or click this link: https://open.spotify.com/user/communitykidswcc!

Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge

Missions is a big part of our church and the Assemblies of God Network!  If fact, its one of the main reason the AG exists!  Early in the 20th Century, the Assemblies of God was established in Springfield, Missouri and believers couldn’t wait for Jesus to return and take them to heaven.  They realized one of the reasons that Jesus hasn’t returned is because the Bible says in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  

If Jesus hasn’t returned, that means the gospel hasn’t bee preached to the whole world.  So they decided to help speed things up and sent missionaries to unreached places all over the world!  Churches back home would take offerings and send the money to the missionaries to help them spread the gospel in hopes that Jesus would come back soon!

It has been over 100 years since the Assemblies has been formed and Jesus still hasn’t returned which means there are still people to reach who have never heard about Jesus!  One of the largest and fastest growing people groups who need to be reach are kids!  In 1949, the leaders of the AG realized that there were missions programs for adults and teens but nothing for kids.  They knew that if kids were to grow up to have a heart for missions, then they must be taught about it while they are kids.  And thus, the Boys & Girls Missionary Challenge - or BGMC - was created!

BGMC is a missions program for kids!  It’s a program that fits all churches.  At Westwood Christian Community, we use it to feature current missionaries that our church supports so kids can see and understand what missions is all about!  Every church uses it differently but they idea is that each kids receives a “Buddy Barrel” which is a piggybank barrel.  All month long they collect loose change, and on the appointed BGMC Sunday, they bring it in too see who brought in the most weight in coins; the boys or the girls.

Here is how it works at WCC: For three months we focus on one missionary and learn what they do to help spread the gospel.  Each kids gets a little biography about the missionary and a Biddy Barrel.  On the last Sunday of the month, kids bring back their filled barrels and we have a competition to see who brought in the most weight in coins and the winners get a prize!

Now, they money doesn’t go directly to the missionary.  Instead, we send it to the BGMC at the AG Headquarters in Springfield.  Missionaries can then request money from BGMC, but is has to be used for one purpose: to reach boys and girls in their mission field!

So BGMC is a missions program when kids can help spread the gospel to kids all over the world!  Since January 2017 , WCC have given $1,000 to BGMC!  BGMC supporters have given $2,944,192 since January 2017 and $144,360,758 since 1949!

If you would like more info on BGMC, you can visit their website at bgmc.ag.org!  If you would like to know how you can support BGMC through WCC, give us a call at 206-763-0585!

Tithe & Offering

Tithes and offerings are a big part of our faith!  They are taken every Sunday and usually at other church gatherings.  A tithe is simply giving 10% of our income to the Lord and an offering is anything above 10%.  We give out of obedience to the Lord as it is written in Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe not the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not trow open the floodgates of heaven and poor out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Since adults have jobs, work and get paid, it makes sense that we are able to tithe.  But should kids?  My goal as a children’s pastor is to create a Sunday service for kids that reflects how the main gathering is structured.  This allows for an easy transition from kids service, to youth and then to adults.  Really the only difference between a kids service vs adults is that we add games!  Since I want my service to reflect the adult’s, we take tithes and offerings every week.

Of course kids don’t earn a salary, so it is no big deal if they don’t give.  But some do earn allowances that they can give from!

Here are three things that kids learn from giving tithe and offerings:

1. Math

Figuring out how much 10% of our income is fairly easy!  When I’m teaching kids about tithing, I sometimes ask them to figure out how much 10% is from a specific number.  For example, 10% of $100 is $10; 10% of $10 is $1; 10% of $1 is $0.10; and 10% of $0.10 is $0.01!  They love figuring it out!  If you give you child an allowance try having them figure out their tithe; or, even if your child doesn’t earn allowance, have them help you figure out your tithe!

2. Obedience

We see figures from the Bible giving a tithe to God from Genesis to Revelation!  It’s a command God has given us!  When we teach out kids about tithes and offerings, we are teaching them to love and obey God!  That’s the most important part of this!  We want to raise our kids to know, love and serve God, and tithing is just one way to insure that!

Now the best way to teach our kids to obey God is to be obedient ourselves!  I know how hard it can be to put that cash or check in the offering or to click “give” on the church website!  We all have bills to pay, mouths to feed, clothes to buy and so on.  I know that it sounds crazy that God would want us to live on 90% of our income when we have a hard time living on 100%.  But this brings us to our last point that our kids will learn from tithes and offerings:

3. God is Faithful

The command that comes from Malachi 3:10 comes with a promise: that God will give back and take care of us!  When God gave this command and promises, He knew what He was doing and knew that He could take care of us!  Check these two verses out:

Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be given to you.  For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Deuteronomy 10:14, “Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.”

That means that when we give 10% of our income, God says He will give back to us the same amount or measure: 10%!  If everything on earth belongs to God and He gives us 10% back, we are actually getting more back!  This will teach out kids that God is faithful, loves us and takes care of us!

If you have yet to tithe, I want to encourage you to step out in faith and obedience this Sunday and give and see if God will give back.  After all, He told us to “test [Him] in this”!

Summer Camp, Should I Let My Child Go?

June 21st means that Summer is here; and Summer means camp is just around the corner!  Something that both parents and kids get excited for or dread.  For kids, they get to hanging out with friends all day, stay up late, camp fire and smores, swim, ropes course, sleep on the top bunk, and have a week off from parents!  For parents, its a week off from kids!  On the down side, they both get a week off from each other, which can be really hard.

The first time I went to camp I was in 4th grade and was so excited!  When we got there I met the awesome counselors, got to go swimming, played on inflatables and had so many smores!  I was having a great time until it came to “lights out”.  That’s when I realized I was in a different bed away from the comfort of my home and parents!  Even though I had spent the night at friend’s and family’s houses before, this was different.  I wanted to go home.  I felt alone and scared and cried myself to sleep that first night.

Now, please hear me.  That first night doesn’t compare to the fun I ended up having and what God had planned for me.  Camp is where I realized my relationship with God had to go deeper.  Its where I saw the power of the Holy Spirit moving in my life and I received God’s calling to go into ministry.

Fast forward 18 years, I’m still going to camp, but this time I’m taking kids to camp and get to experience another perspective: parents!  I hate to say it, but parents are the #1 reason kids don’t end up going to camp.  It’s not the kids, money, or location, but parents!  Every year I hear some variation of “they’re too young” or “they’re so dependent on me”.

First of all, every single camp there is has been created for specific ages by people who have studied and worked with kids for many years.  Most overnight camps require kids to be 8 years of age or older.  It’s not true that “they are too young” and should never be used as a reason for not sending your child to camp.

Second, saying that a child is too young or too dependent is just an excuse that says a parent isn’t ready to let go.  BUT THAT’S OKAY!  THAT’S NORMAL!  From the moment they are born we do everything for them.  They truly are dependent on us!  However, although it’s a harsh reality, parenthood isn’t about doing everything for your child, but learning to let go at the right time and teaching them to be independent from you.

I can understand and relate to a child being dependent on their parent.  My daughter, Michealyn, just turned 5 months old a couple of days ago.  For the past month and a half she has shown signs of wanting to turn over from back to front while laying on the ground.  Many times she has gotten so close but always flops back.  Her mom and I see that all she has to do is throw her leg over and she’ll get it.  We want to help her so bad and just move her leg for her, but we realize if we do that then she will never learn how to roll by herself.  She would always be dependent on us to turn over.  It just so happened that on the day she turned 5 months she was finally able to roll over all by herself.  Mikayla and I we so proud!  Soon she will be crawling, walking, doing what we currently do for her and even heading off to camp.  Eventually, we will have to learn to let go!

 

Here are the benefits of camp that I hope will encourage you to send your child when the time comes!

Friendships

On a weekly basis, kids spend between 2 to 4 hours at church.  That’s not a lot of time to develop strong friendships with other kids.  They probably have closer friends from school than from church.  The activities at camp are designed to have kids work and play closely together, and even build trust amongst each other.  Since camp is all day, everyday for a week, it’s a great place for them to develop deeper friendships with their church friends that can last a lifetime!

Qualified Camp Staff

The counselors that attend camp with the kids are hand selected by the children’s ministry leadership.  That means they have filled out an application and had a background check done before they can even serve in the kids ministry.  On top of that, every year we have to fill out a 12 page “Cabin Staff” application from the camp and have another background check done.  Your child will be in a safe environment led by qualified camp staff!

Personal Growth

It doesn’t always happen, but there are kids who do have a hard time being away from home.  I’ve had kids come up to me in tears because they miss their parents or even their pets, and I’ve heard kids cry themselves to sleep.  Being independent isn’t easy but it is necessary for a child’s personal growth.  Like I said before, your child will be in a safe environment led by qualified camp staff who have had training on how to guide kids through these sensitive situations.

I’ll tell you flat out, we never promise a child they can call home because the moment they hear their parent’s voice their camp experience is over.  All they can think about is going home.  There are even camp staff dedicated for this specific situation. And when these situations arise, our goal is to get them through the night because we know they will be fine and happy in the morning!  When they are able to get through a week of being away from home and away from parents, kids will have a sense of accomplishment and that they can do anything!

Spiritual Growth

Camp is a place where kids can leave their usual distractions behind and have the opportunity to focus on Jesus!  Going to camp with Biblical teaching, leadership and encouragement is the equivalent of attending church every Sunday for a whole year!  I have no doubt that when your child seeks Jesus at camp, they will come home with a deeper relationship with God and even having received a revelation.

It’s Just Five Days!

Actually its really just four day with three full days at camp and two half days that are spent traveling!  I understand that it’s hard to be away from your child with next to no contact save social media and mail time.  People post about camp all the time on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!  Just follow your children’s pastor or ministry page and you will get to see all the fun your child is having as if you are really there!

Since camp isn’t a full week, it can be hard to send your child mail and have it arrive on time.  I would suggest you write three notes with some goodies and give them to your children’s pastor before camp. That way they can personally deliver your message to your child at camp.  This can even help with homesick kids!

 

If you have any other concerns with your child going to camp, I want to encourage you to talk to you children’s pastor, leaders and even parents who have sent their kid to camp before.  Summer camp is too important for a child to miss out!

Why Should I Send My Child To VBS?

What is Vacation Bible School?  Why is it such a big deal that so many churches host one?  Well, VBS is a much bigger deal than most of us probably think!  It’s origin dates back over 100 year ago in Hopedale, Illinois in 1894.  A public school teacher, D. T. Miles, who was also a Sunday school teachers, felt that she didn’t have enough time to adequately teach the Bible to children.  Using a local school, she had forty kids enroll in a four week daily Bible school.  (Wikipedia, 2016)

Today, churches all across the US host some sort of Vacation Bible School.  Even though the names, themes and subjects are different, they all have one goal: to teach kids about Jesus!

As of 2016, Lifeway Press stats that on average 2.7 million people are enrolled in VBS.  73,000 accept Jesus as their Savior.  3,000 people commit their lives to so form of ministry.  And 5,600 people choose to attend church.  (Lifeway Press, 2016)

VBS is more than just an opportunity for parents to get their kids out of the house for a few hours.  It’s a chance to introduce them to Jesus and teach them sound doctrine that will help them grow into mature Christian adults.

Judges 2:10 tells us that after Joshua, the leader of the Israelites after Moses, died, a generation grew up who didn’t know about God or what He had done for them!  That literally means that parents didn’t teach their kids about God.  We don't want that to ever happen again!

Here are five principles that guide the development of VBS curriculum:

1. Flagship Church Event

Not only is VBS a fun and distinctive church event, but it’s an opportunity for everyone attending to grow spiritually.  Not only do the kids learn in-depth Bible teachings but the leaders do as well.  It encourages me when a leader says that they grew from the experience of teaching kids and the content.

2. Centered Around A Theme

If there was no theme, VBS would pretty must be a regular day at school, and that’s not fun for kids.  The theme allows the kids to have an experience that is different from Sunday morning.  Church go all out with decorations to create a fun filled environment!

3. Promotes Effective Teaching

VBS curriculum allows teachers to establish relationships with kids to help lead meaningful learning experiences.  It allows everyone to teach kids according to their abilities!

4. Sound & Revenant Bible Study

Everything we do at VBS is based around specific Bible content from games to snacks to crafts and more.  We want kids to know the Bible and VBS allows kids to experience and respond to the gospel message.

5. Strategic Outreach Tool

Vacation Bible School is an opportunity to introduce kids to Jesus who wouldn’t normally come on a Sunday morning.  Its an easy way for church kids to invite their friend to experience Jesus in a way they will always remember!

 

References:

Wikipedia. (2016) Vacation Bible School.  Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacation_Bible_School.

Lifeway Press. (2016) Galactic Starveyors VBS 2017 Administrative Guide pg. 5

Prayer

Cell phones are one of the most amazing technological advances ever!  I mean, you can use it to talk to someone on the opposite side of the world!  I remember when cell phones started to become more common in households and now most people don’t even have a home phone anymore.  With smartphones available, it almost impossible to do anything without them!  They allow us to stay in communication through voice calls, texting, emails and social media!

How incredible is God that He created a way for us to talk to Him?!  The Bible is probably the main way God talks to us; and prayer is the main way we talk to Him.  Just like a cell phone, we can be anywhere in the world and He will hear our prayer!

Once back when I was 12 or 13 years old, God answered my prayer over night!  I was in 8th grade, a middle-schooler, and I was asked by a 9th grade high school girl to be her homecoming date.  Now this girl and I were friends, we went to the same church and were in the youth drama ministry.  We had known each other for about a year and I thought it was so cool to: 1) be asked to a dance and 2) be asked by an older girl!

I wanted to go, of course, but when I asked my parents, they were skeptical.  Not ruling it out, they encouraged me to pray about it and see what God said.  So that night, I prayed and asked God if I should/could go to my friend’s homecoming.  When I woke up, I sensed in my spirit a gentle and simple “No” from God.

A moment later, my mom walked in and to let me know that her and my dad prayed about it and thought it was okay that I went.  I told her what the Lord had told me and made the decision not to go.

I was taught at a young age how to pray which is why I believe we need to teach our kids to pray from the moment they are born.  Now, of course babies can’t pray; but they do watch and that’s how they learn!  Everyone in my family prays all the time.  As far back as I can remember, we prayed for everything: food, needs and bedtime!

Here are some things to consider when teaching your child to pray:

Keep It Short

Kid’s attention spans are much shorter than adult’s and if you pray for long periods of time, they can forget why and what you were praying for.  And besides, do you like listening to others praying for a long time?  I doubt God does either.

Check out Luke 18:9-14.  Its a story of a Pharisee (someone who represents believers) and a tax collector (someone who represents sinners) praying to God.  The Pharisee prayed a long exasperating prayer, but the tax collector simply asked God to have mercy on him and admitted he was a sinner.  Jesus concludes the story saying that the tax collector’s short and honest prayer was answered.

Remember: Your prayers don’t need to be long or eloquent for God to hear you.  He is always listening, willing and waiting to answer!

Use Scripture

The Bible is full of all different kids of prayers!  Psalms is mostly prayers and in Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray.  Pattern your prayers after prayers in the Bible!

Also, use Scripture as a prayer.  For example, using Psalm 117:2 you can say, “Lord, thank You for Your great love and that You are faithful.  Help us to love like You love and be faithful in all we do.  Amen.”

Pray For Different Things/At Different Times

There are different types of prayer: thanking, asking, and praising.  We probably do a lot of asking in prayer.  When I don’t know what to do in a situation I ask God to show me how to handle it.  Our kids are going to go through hard situations and if they see that you go to God for help, so will they!

The great thing about prayer is you can do it anywhere at anytime!  When you’re driving with your kids you can pray for a safe drive wherever you are going.  We know that everything we have is a gift from God, so when you receive anything, thank Him for it.  When you wake up, thank God for another day!

Your kids love you and want to be like you.  When they see that you pray in all circumstances, they will do the same.

Celebrate Answered Prayers

God hears and answers our prayers!  Its usually a yes, no or not right now; but it’s so exciting when God answers our prayers!  Celebrate as a family when your prayers are answered!  It even gives you another opportunity to teach your kids to pray a prayer of thanks to God!

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This Sunday, May 21st is the National Day of Prayer for VBS and a great time to pray as a family!  VBS is an amazing opportunity for churches to reach the kids in their community for Jesus!  Almost 3 million kids attend VBS in the US!  This Sunday, would you pray for kids all across the nation to be able to attend and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior?

Mother's Day

Your mom is probably the only “person who has done more for you than anyone else in the world.”  Our mom holds a special place in our heart, so I’m sure you can image my surprise when I found out that Mother’s Day has only been celebrated in the US for 103 year as a national holiday!

Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother.  Ever since, Anna campaigned to make “Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the US.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, a national holiday to honor mothers.  (Wikipedia, n.d.)

However, thousands of years before Anna Jarvis, mothers have been recognized around the world at celebrations such as the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration.  Today, we celebrate along with over 80 countries on the second Sunday in May!  Some countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday in Lent, second Sunday of February, the first Monday of July, and even on specific dates.  (Wikipedia, n.d.)  It amazes me that we can live in different parts of the world, have a different culture and even different beliefs, yet we all recognize the significance of motherhood.

Four months ago, my wife and I became parents to little Michaelyn Marie, our first.  Which means that 2017 will be a year of firsts for us.  I’m so excited to celebrate Mikayla as a mother!  The love that she has for our daughter and her attentive, sweet spirit are just the beginning of a long list of attributes that make her an amazing mother!

Both Mikayla and I have been incredibly blessed to grow up with amazing mothers!  It is only by their unconditional love that we have learned to love.  However, I do recognize that not everyone grew up under the same conditions.  Some mothers aren’t as attentive or as loving; and some mothers weren’t around at all.  But there are a couple things we all should remember.

First, no matter how old we get, we will always be children; whether or not our mother was present during our childhood, or even if she has passed on.  The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promises; ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’” (Nelson. 1982)

For those who grew up with an amazing mom, honoring her comes easier than for those who’s mother wasn’t.  If you are the latter, I want to encourage you to set aside any resentment you have towards your mother, obey what God’s Word says and honor your mother at least for giving you life!  Remember that this command comes with a promise!  Obey and see how the Lord will bless you!

Second, Genesis teaches us that both male and female were created by God.  While we celebrate our mothers this Sunday, remember to give thank and honor to God.  He was the one to give life and He continues to give life through all women today!  Just like we wouldn’t be here without out mom, none of us would be here without God!

 

References:

Wikipedia. (n.d.) Mother’s Day.  Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother's_Day

Nelson, T. (1982) The Bible, NKJV.  Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ephesians+6&version=NKJV

What Bible Should My Child Have?

Most of us have walked into a Christian bookstore to buy a new Bible, but when we arrive at the “Bible Section” of the store and see shelves and shelves of Bibles we become overwhelmed with all the choices!  We consider which translation to buy, with or with out a concordance or commentary.  Do you want maps located in the back or devotions?  And then there is the cover to consider.  Finally we pick the best one, buy it and are so proud to carry it on Sunday.

Now it’s time to pick out a Bible for your child through the same seemingly impossible process, except now you have to find one according to age!  An already complex system just became harder!  You could barely pick one for you, how are you going to pick one for your child?  After all, the Bible is a very special book; it’s God’s Word which we hide in our heart and use to raise, train and teach our children!

When you are searching for the perfect Bible for your child, here are some things to consider:

Age

Every child should learn about Jesus at their level!  Of course babies aren’t expected to bring a Bible to the church nursery but that doesn’t mean the Bible shouldn’t be read to them.  Many Christian bookstores sell “Baby Bibles”, however, they usually are just a regular Bible with a cute picture on the cover.

My daughter, Michaelyn, is four months old and doesn’t have a Bible.  When Baby Dedication Sunday comes around we plan on getting her a Bible that she can use when she is older, but until she can read it by herself, my wife and I take time to read it to her.  (I would suggest skipping over some parts though.  I mean, what baby should hear about Sodom and Gomorrah or demon-possessed people?)

When your child enters the preschool class on Sundays would be the perfect time to introduce bringing a Bible to Church.  They can’t read it and they most likely won’t use it in class, but it will develop a discipline at a young age to bring their Bible to church.

Any Bible with the word children’s or toddler in the title would be appropriate for preschool aged kids.  These Bibles will have lots of pictures and rewritten stories for their level.  Now, Bible are more than something we bring to church.  It’s our sacred book that gives wisdom and insight for living.  Even though it’s a kids Bible and not what we would consider “Scripture”, make sure you read it to them.  They need to learn that it’s a book that we consistently use!

Once your child enters kindergarten and begins attending classes where they will actually use it, buy them an actual Bible.  This is an age where they begin to read and most church programs begin to teach the books of the Bible.  By this age, most kids know what books are and how the table of contents works, and the Bible can be used in the say way.  Kindergarteners who attend our Awana clubs will learn all the New Testament books.  In 1st grade they learn all the Old Testament books; and by 2nd grade they can quote all the books of the Bible and start learning how to look up scripture.  Having an actual Bible help them understand how to use it.

The Adventure Bible is great for elementary age kids.  It even has fact about the characters, maps, book introductions and even a dictionary/concordance.  However, my personal favorite is the Fire Bible for Kids.  Not only does it have everything the Adventure Bible has, but it also has an interactive smart phone app with activities for each book of the Bible!

Translation 

Although we have one Gospel, it’s been re-written many times for readability.  The King James Version would probably be the hardest for kids to read because it’s written in Old English.  New King James Version just replaces the Old English words for their modern terms.  The New Living Translation and English Standard Version are probably the easiest for kids to read.

Check with your church’s kids ministry and see what version they use.  You want your child to have the same translation the kid’s pastor is teaching from so it is easier to follow along in their Bible.  The New International Version has been the most commonly used in churches and kids ministries.

Reading Level

Every book as a reading level and that includes the Bible and all of the many translations.  Having a Bible with the appropriate reading level for your child will help them read and understand it better.  A 5th grader shouldn’t have a 2nd grade reading level Bible translation, however, it would be better for them to have a Bible with a higher reading level.  Even though it might be harder for them to read, eventually they will be able to read at that higher reading level; and reading at a higher reading level will help their vocabulary.  (A resource list of Bible translations and their reading levels is provided at the bottom of the page)

Provide the Complete Bible

When purchasing a Bible for your child, make sure it has both the Old and New Testaments.  Lots of Bible just provide the New Testament along with Psalms & Proverbs.  The Bible as a whole tells the story about God’s redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation.  Giving a child a New Testament Bible won’t provide them with the foundation (the Old Testament) that the Gospel (the New Testament) and our faith is built on!  Many things that Jesus did, such as celebrating Passover and dying on the cross and coming back to life, are shown in the Old Testament.

The book of John in the New Testament says in chapter 3, verses 14 & 15, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (NIV, 1984)  How would they know what Moses did if they only have the New Testament?  The Old Testament points to Jesus and the New Testament reveals Him!

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For me, the bottom line is that we need to get God’s Word into the hands and hearts of our child no matter their age.  One promise we have from God is that when we train up a child in the way they should go, they won’t depart from it when they get older! (Proverbs 22:6, translation my own based on NKJV, 1982)  We need to train our kids to love Jesus and His Word so that they love Him when they are older!

(A resource list of Bibles for kids are listed at the bottom of the page)

resource type: file

Bible Translation Reading Levels

 
 
resource type: file

Kids Bible List