Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's Celebrate Advent . . . Expectation . . . We Have Hope!

Christmas is only four weeks away!!! I love Christmas and I love celebrating, so Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year! As we begin Advent, let's take a moment to stop and focus on the reason for the season and celebrating! Advent is about waiting and anticipation. Before Jesus' birth, God's people waited for Him to come. Now, after His birth, we wait for His return. We anticipate with great joy the day Jesus returns for us and Advent helps us not only celebrate His birth, but look forward to His return!

There is a lot of symbolism related to Advent - 

Please Check Out Kidmin1124 - My New Post is About Reassuring Parents Our Ministries are Safe Places for Their Children

"With the news of the past week it is impossible to not have our hearts grieve for children who have been harmed at the hands of an adult they should have been able to trust. When news like this hits the airwaves, it leaves parents understandably shaken and in need of assurance they can trust the adults who have access to their children. So what can you do to help parents know their children are safe with you?" Please check my post on Kidmin1124 for the full post on this important topic.

Give the Gift of Honey Bees or Chicks . . . and Jesus with Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog!

For the past month I've been encouraging you to "Put Feet to Their Faith" by involving the children in your ministry with Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog. Children do think a lot about gifts this time of year, so let's use this to help them focus on living what they believe by giving to others! I love the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog because it gives you so may ways to help others - many are less than $50 - and each opportunity to help includes the opportunity for those who are being helped to learn about the Best Gift ever . . . Jesus! Consider these opportunities for the children in your ministry . . . 

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Giving away a Folkmanis Bear in Tree Stump Puppet!

Do you have a puppet ministry in your church? Do your preschool teachers like using puppets with the children in their classes? Or, is a puppet something you would love to add to your ministry this year, but one which you just have not invested in yet? Well, I'm delighted for the opportunity to give away an adorable little Bear in Tree Stump Puppet from Folkmanis! This little bear makes a great addition to any puppet ministry or preschool class!

Favorite Features -
  • this little bear can "pop" in and out of his tree stump!
  • soft, sweet bear 
  • made with all the fun, design, quality and attention to detail Folkmanis is known for - did you notice the little leafs on the tree stump??? :^)
Children are sure to love this puppet! Not only will your volunteers be able to have this little bear "talk" to the children in their classes, but they can have their bear "peek" out of his tree stump as well for more fun! If you have "liked" About the Children's Department using the tab in the "find us on facebook" box ON THE BLOG, then you are entered in my drawing which will be on December 2nd! If you have not "liked" this blog yet, please take a moment to do so and you will be entered in my drawing! It is this simple. Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and thank you for sharing it with the people you know!

I Have a Winner in My FFH One Silent Night Album Download Give-away!

I'm happy to say Stacia McKeever is the winner in my FFH One Silent Night album download give-away! (You will find my review at this link) Thank you Stacia for reading About the Children's Department (please message me your email so I can get the code to you) and thank you FFH for sending one download to me for review and for making another available for give-away!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy First Birthday About the Children's Department!

About the Children's Department is one year old today!!! Yesterday I posted about some of the things this past year brought and today I want to look forward to the coming year, but first off I want to thank you for reading my blog! I sincerely appreciate you all!

So, what does 2012 bring for About the Children's Department? Well . . . 

  • January will once again be focused on Vacation Bible School - this year for 2012! I'm already receiving VBS kits and so far they look like they will be excellent resources for you to use for VBS, Sunday School, summer camp, mid-week ministry and any other special event where you want to focus on a specific theme, passage or focus! My VBS reviews will once again include my Top Ten Countdown, individual reviews, a side-by-side comparison chart and much, much more!
  • Each month I will again focus on a specific ministry with which you could involve the children in your ministry to Put Feet to Their Faith!
  • I'll be talking about curriculum, recruiting and supporting, encouraging and thanking your volunteers
  • I'll share new resources and tools
  • and, I'll have give-aways and freebies!
So . . . please consider this your invitation to join About the Children's Department for another year of information, ideas and resources for children's ministry!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please Check Out Kidmin1124 for a Post on "Thankfulness . . . What If?"

For the past few weeks I’ve been writing about some of the things I’m thankful for. I recently saw a post on a friend’s facebook which made me stop and think about thankfulness . . .
Please check my full post on Kidmin1124 and think about what you can do to be intentional about being thankful all year long!

One Day Away From Our 1st Anniversary - A Look Back!!!

Tomorrow, November 24th, is the one year anniversary of About the Children's Department! First of all, thank you to all of you who take time to read my blog. I most sincerely appreciate it!

So, what has the past year looked like??? Well . . . 

And for the stats . . . we have people from 118 countries reading About the Children's Department, as of this moment we are at 59,736 page views and 197 facebook likes! Again, a heartfelt and sincere Thank you!!!! It has been a wonderful first year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pay Attention!!!!! Speak Up!!!!!

We all know about the children who were allegedly abused at Penn State . . . and sadly are hearing about similar situations in other colleges and universities. We in children's ministry, are around children all the time. We have to not only do everything we possibly can to insure the children in our ministries are safe, we also have to pay attention and speak up when we see or suspect a child is being harmed. 

Far too often we do not pay attention and do not speak up. It is not "just parental discipline" for a parent to abuse their child. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to strike our children. If children show up in our ministries with bruises, pay attention and speak up! If children who up in our ministries who are timid and who act as if they are afraid of being hit, pay attention and speak up!

For my other blog, grandma's cookie jar, I highlight one child each week from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Each day I receive email alerts about missing children - many of these are runaways. It breaks my heart to see these children. What must home be like if children who are only 13, 14 and 15 years old decide to run away? Wasn't there some person somewhere - a teacher at school, a leader at church, a neighbor, a relative . . . someone who noticed these children were being harmed and needed someone to pay attention and to speak up?

We MUST be the people who pay attention and who speak up. We MUST.

Only 39 Days Until My 2012 VBS Reviews!!!!

Okay . . . I realize you are likely thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and may not have given much thought yet to VBS 2012, but in just 39 days my 2012 VBS Countdown and Reviews begin to release! I received Lifeway's Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS kit and it looks wonderful! I'm looking forward to "diving in" and taking a closer look, but so far I do like what I see!

Beginning on January 1st I will release my Top Ten VBS Countdown for 2012 complete with individual reviews and a side-by-side comparison chart. The entire month of January will be focused on VBS with info, ideas and resources to help you find your best fit for VBS, Summer ministry, mid-week ministry and so many more opportunities for ministry where you can make use of VBS resources!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Your Thanksgiving Inventory . . .

Thanksgiving is only three days away . . . so today, since you aren't likely to see the children in your ministry again before Thanksgiving, this post about being thankful is for you. Are we truly thankful people? Do we get so "caught up" in the business of life we don't spend time "taking inventory" about all of God's many, many blessings in our lives?  Take a moment to watch this skit about "Your Thanksgiving Inventory" from the skitguys - it is sure to bring a smile to your face . . .

Okay, so what are you thankful for? What would your "inventory of blessings" look like? It should have simple, everyday things - even like zippers :^) - and those things which allow you to personally see the hand of God in your life. I'm thankful for God's love, grace, forgiveness, His Word, my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my family, the jobs God has blessed us all with, our homes, ministry opportunities and I'm thankful for the opportunity to write this blog and for each of you who read it! I have so much to be thankful for - my blessing inventory is overflowing! 

As you contemplate your "thanksgiving inventory" make the commitment to stop and think about it each and every day, all year long . . . not just for Thanksgiving. Make an early "New Year's resolution" to be a truly thankful person . . . all the time!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Put Feet to Their Faith With the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog!

Thanksgiving is this week and at my house as soon as dinner is over, the Christmas tree goes up and the gifts go under the tree! I love Christmas and I love giving gifts! It is pretty safe to say the children in your ministry likely love Christmas and receiving gifts, too, so this year help the children in your ministry shift their focus from receiving gifts to giving gifts with Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog

I love the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog . . . for as little as $5 the children in your ministry can send gifts to children and families in need and in so doing, "put feet to their faith" as they focus on giving and sharing the Good News of Jesus with children and families around the world! 

So . . . what gifts could the children in your ministry give? Consider the following . . . 

  • Gift 36 - Sheep - Sheep and baby lambs are mentioned over 400 times in the Bible, more than any other animal. Centuries later, sheep are still prized as a dependable source of thick wool that can be used to make warm clothing or be sold for extra income. Samaritan’s Purse not only provides the sheep for impoverished families, but we also teach them how to vaccinate, feed, and care for their flock. In the process, it’s natural to weave in the teachings of Jesus, who said, “I am the good shepherd, I know My sheep and My sheep know Me” (John 10:14, NIV). For $80, we can provide a sheep to a family in need.
  • Gift 11 - Hot Meals - A savory stew or fresh-baked bread needs no advertisement—the aroma speaks for itself. When Samaritan’s Purse supplies food to community kitchens, we enable them to reach out to malnourished children and impoverished families in the Name of Jesus. “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV). A gift of $7 can furnish a week’s worth of hot meals.
So, take a moment to look through the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog and select at least one project for the children in your ministry so this Christmas they can focus on giving to others and on sharing the Greatest Gift ever . . . Jesus with children and families in need around the world!

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    One Silent Night by FFH . . . We are Giving One Away!

    I had the opportunity to review the new Christmas release from the band FFH, One Silent Night. As they say, "it is a mix of original songs and Christmas classics. Founding member Jeromy Deibler comments, “We just feel blessed to be able to make this record and wanted to do the kind of Christmas music we like to listen to, something that’s not trendy but more of a classic style. For us Christmas is about remembering… slowing down to see what is important. And being reminded of the glorious impossible that was the birth of Christ. We hope this album reflects that desire and inspires others to do the same.

    John Elefante - Christmas Time Is Here . . . Great Gift for Volunteers!

    When you stop to think about Christian music, you can not help but appreciate the impact one person has had on it . . . John Elefante! For more than 30 years he has been singing, writing and producing some of the best Christian music we all have been blessed to enjoy . . . including my all-time favorite Christian band, Petra! So, when I saw where John was releasing three Christmas songs, I was completely delighted! After listening to these song, I have to say, I'm thrilled for the opportunity to let you know about them! (You can listen to a clip from the songs by following this linklinklink.)

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Child Safety and Our Ministries.

    Last month I posted about child abuse and with all the attention in the media on this topic, I decided to re-post and add a few additional thoughts. First, the re-post . . . 

    Child abuse. It is one of the things which most clearly shows our world is "broken". It is something which I'm absolutely surely breaks the heart of Jesus. Sadly, it is something we see all too often in children's ministry. Wayne Stocks, the guy who brings us Kidmin1124 and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids, has posted some excellent resources on child abuse . . . take some time to read and put them to use in your ministry . . . 

    Fun Idea For Volunteer Christmas Gifts!!!

    Christmas is just around the corner!!! I love Christmas time and I love giving gifts! If you have a budget for giving gifts and are looking for something to give your volunteers, consider  giving your volunteers a song! Check my reviews of the following new Christmas CDs and then go to Amazon and download a song for each of your volunteers!
    • Born is the King (Hillsong)I love all the songs on this CD, but especially the song, Born is the King! "Born unto us this day, the Savior! Gifted from Heaven to a manger! The Hope of the world's alive for all mankind! All of the world rejoice, it's Christmas time! So lift up your voice and sing out His praise (It’s Christmas) Born is the King, rejoice in the day (It’s Christmas) Make a joyful sound (It’s Christmas) Let His praise resound (It’s Christmas)" This song will cause your volunteers to rejoice in the reason we can celebrate Christmas . . . Jesus, gifted from Heaven the Hope of the world! This song will have you ready to make a joyful sound and celebrate Christmas! 
    • oh for joy (David Crowder*Band) - If you are a fan of the David Crowder*Band then you will be delighted to hear of their new album . . . oh for joy! On this album they "deliver their first Christmas record featuring classic Christmas songs interpreted as only the David Crowder*Band can. Highlighting the band's unmistakable creativity and originality, oh for joy finds the band re-inventing familiar Christmas songs into something new and unexpected." (And if you have zero budget for gifts, you could give your volunteers a link to a gift from the David Crowder*Band . . . a free download of their song, ""O, Holy Night""!!!)

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    The Heart of Christmas!

    If you are looking for Christmas music which will delight, encourage and challenge you, most certainly take a look at Matthew West's new Cd - "The Heart Of Christmas". In addition, if you are looking for an idea of something special you could give your volunteers, consider giving one song download as a Christmas gift to each volunteer this year!  "The Heart of Christmas. The 12 song record features an equal mix of Christmas classics and original holiday tunes penned by West. Fellow GRAMMY ® winners and nominees join West on the album including Vince Gill in “Leaving Heaven,” Amy Grant on “Give This Christmas Away” and Mandisa for “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” The Heart of Christmas was produced by Pete Kipley (MercyMe, Kristin Chenoweth). 

    “Since the beginning of my career, I’ve dreamed of making a Christmas album,” explains West, “and I’m so excited to finally get that chance this year! The Heart of Christmas is a collection of original songs I’ve written, and some of my favorite classics. I was honored to have iconic artists like Amy Grant, Vince Gill, and Mandisa from American Idol join me on a few of the songs, and those are personal highlights for me.”

    So for a few thoughts . . . 
    • first, I appreciate nine out of the 12 titles focus on what Christmas is really all about - they encourage and challenge and totally delight! (You can hear a bit of each song by going to this link)
    1. Come On, Christmas . . . 
    2. Jingle Bells . . . 
    3. The Heart of Christmas . . . "Wherever you are, no matter how far, Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas! Live while you can, Cherish the moment. The ones that you love, make sure they know it. Don't miss it, the heart of Christmas . . . You will find Him in a manger, The Heart of Christmas has a name!"
    4Leaving Heaven . . . "I'm gonna walk around that broken Earth, Trading in these streets of gold. So if you ever wonder how much you're worth, You should know, You're the reason why I'm leaving Heaven! . . . And when I get back home, I'm gonna make some room, So don't you worry, 'cause I'm coming back for you! And you'll say goodbye to that broken Earth, You're gonna walk on streets of gold. And if you ever wonder what My love is worth. You should know, I'm the reason you'll be seeing Heaven!"
    5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 
    6. One Last Christmas 
    7. Silent Night
    8. Give This Christmas Away . . . "Give this Christmas away, If there's love in your heart, Don't let it stay there. Give this Christmas away, And your life will be changed by the gift you receive, When you give this Christmas away! . . . It's doing what love does even when no one is watching you, For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son, So we could be His hands, His feet, His love!"
    9. O Holy Night
    10. Christmas Makes me Cry . . . "'Cause love can reach out into a silent night, And that's why Christmas makes me cry. I think of Mary and a virgin birth, And I'm amazed by how much God thinks we are worth! That He would send His only Son to die, And sometimes Christmas makes me cry!"
    11. O Come, All Ye Faithful
    12. Day After Christmas . . . "But before we have a breakdown, let us remember, The Light of the World is still here! So, happy day after Christmas, And merry rest of the year!"
    • second, these songs have beautiful harmonies, rich music and most importantly, solid messages . . . Christmas is not about what we "get", but instead it is about what we "give"!
    • third . . . if you are anything like me, you will be singing these songs all year because the message in them is for all year . . . not just for Christmas!
    We all need to hear, and be reminded of the messages in these songs . . . on difficult days . . .  Jesus is in Heaven, making room for us because He's, "coming back for you! And you'll say goodbye to that broken Earth, You're gonna walk on streets of gold. And if you ever wonder what His love is worth. You should know, he's the reason you'll be seeing Heaven!" . . . on good days . . . "If there's love in your heart, Don't let it stay there!" . . . on any day, "I'm amazed by how much God thinks we are worth!" So, if you are looking for new Christmas music, absolutely take a look at Matthew West's The Heart of Christmas

    Christmas In DiverseCity by TobyMac

    For the young, or young at heart, TobyMac's first Christmas record, Christmas In Diverse City (Forefront Records) provides a "pop, rock, soul, hip-hop and urban flavor" for Christmas songs . . . some familiar old carols and some new . . . "with an irresistible and distinctive Christmas spirit. Featuring memorable collaborations with Owl City, Leigh Nash and Jamie Grace, the album’s track listing also spotlights performances and songs from TobyMac’s long-time touring band, DiverseCity. TobyMac says: 'I just tried to think outside the box. It’s difficult at first to imagine some of these songs with a modern beat, but I think Christmas is about celebration and come on, on the inside everyone wants to dance. It has a bit of everything- six songs are my artistry: an eclectic blend of Christmas classics and originals. The other seven tracks are my amazing band’s (DiverseCity) individual artistic efforts. I love it.'"

    Christmas in DiverseCity Track Listing: (you can hear a bit of each song by going to this link)
    1) Christmas This Year (Featuring Leigh Nash)-TobyMac 
     . . . "It's all love, the season is a gift, when love came down to let us live. Let's open up and let our hearts embrace this moment, for Christmas this year! . . . Holy, Holy, Holy, God is coming near, Unto us a Savior's born, on a midnight clear!"
    2) The First Noel (Featuring Owl City)-TobyMac
    3) Mary’s Boy Child (Featuring Jamie Grace)-TobyMac
    4) O Come All Ye Faithful-TobyMac
    5) Little Drummer Boy-TobyMac
    6) This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless)-TobyMac
    7) Carol of the Kings (Featuring Gabe Real & Liquid) –Maj
    8) Birthoflove-Superherose . . . "
    9) What Child Is This? – Arch Nemesiz
    10) It Snowed- Tim Rosenau
    11) Angels We Have Heard on High- Nirva Ready
    12) Santa’s Comin’ Back ‘Round- Toddie Funk
    13) ChristmasTime- Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers

    The songs on this Cd have a definite TobyMac touch . . . some of them you may think you know, but you have never heard them like this! I think your teen and the 20+ grandchildren will particularly love this take on Christmas music! I appreciate the way TobyMac and group were able to communicate a solid message and keep the "fun" "intact"! 

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Are You Ready for Christmas? Enjoy "oh for joy" From the David Crowder*Band!

    If you are a fan of the David Crowder*Band then you will be delighted to hear of their new album . . . oh for joy! On this album they "deliver their first Christmas record featuring classic Christmas songs interpreted as only the David Crowder*Band can. Highlighting the band's unmistakable creativity and originality, oh for joy finds the band re-inventing familiar Christmas songs into something new and unexpected."

    I've only heard a few David Crowder*Band songs over the years . . . this was my first opportunity to listen to an entire album. So, a few thoughts . . . 
    • first, I'm very happy to see an album of the "classic Christmas songs" . . . (You can listen to 30 seconds of each song by going to this link)
    1. Joy to the World . . . "Oh for joy, lift up your voice. For Christ has come, the Christ has come. Let the whole world, See the Lord, Christ has come, the Christ has come!"
    2. The First Noel . . . "And when angels sing, It was heavenly!"
    3. Go, Tell It On The Mountain . . . "Down in a lowly manger, The humble Christ was born. And God sent us Salvation, That blessed Christmas morn!"
    4. Angels We Have Heard on High . . . "Glory, on high,Glory, on high! Sing Glory!"
    5. O Come, O Come Emmanuel . . . "Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come! He has come!"
    6. O, Holy Night . . . "Truely He taught us to love one another . . . Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices, O night, divine!"
    7. Silent Night . . . "It started so quiet. So quiet, woah. It started so quiet, so quiet. Then what a night! Oh what a night!"
    8. Carol Of The Bells /Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)

    • second, since I'm not familiar with the David Crowder*Band, I did find these classic songs "re-invented into something new and unexpected". I especially loved the Carol of the Bells/Christmas Eve! Beautiful! And this is one grandma who loves "it's still Christmas time!" Let's celebrate! This song is sure to get you celebrating, too!
    • third - I love all the stringed instruments - guitars and banjos!!!! If you also enjoy stringed instruments, you will love the end of the song, "Silent Night"! It is amazing and is sure to get your toes a tappin'!
    • fourth - a gift . . . the David Crowder*Band has provided a link for you to download "O, Holy Night" for free! What a treat! Of course, if you hear this song, you will want the entire album! :^)
    This CD is one which will leave you rejoicing in the Gift . . . Emmanuel has come! It was a silent night and because of it we can lift up our voices in pure, complete joy! Aptly titled, "oh for joy" is all about the joy Jesus brings us!

    Put Feet to Their Faith with Samaritan Purse's Gift Catalog . . . Give an Alpaca!

    Christmas is a very big time of year for those of us in children's ministry because it is a very big time of year for children! Yes, it is the time of year to focus on the most amazing Gift ever . . . Jesus, but, if we are honest, most children are excited about Christmas because of the gifts they will find under their trees on Christmas morning. So, while it is inevitable for children will be excited about the gifts they receive, let's try to help them focus on and be excited about giving to others! Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog make it so easy for us to do this . . . consider the following "gift" the children in your ministry could work to give to others in need this year . . . 

    • Gift #43 - Livestock - Suggested gift - $350 or Share the cost for - $35 . . . See how this gift helps families in Bolivia with their alpacas -  "Most families in the highlands of Bolivia are livestock herders. They have been raising alpacas for generations, but the harsh conditions of the land present many challenges. The alpacas were always sick and many of them were dying. Parasites were getting into the brains of the animals, causing them to get thin, loose hair, and stop eating. Community health promoters trained by Samaritan Purse staff began going to each family to give anti-parasite medication and vitamins. They built seven pens so families could keep their livestock warm in the evenings when the temperature dropped, introduced high-quality males to the herds to improve the quality of the animals, and provided seed for nutritious fodder. Samaritan’s Purse also held training sessions in the community, coupled with Bible studies, for education and to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.(Which is THE most important thing they do!!!) They not only learned how to better care for the alpacas, but also about Jesus Christ.

      Soon, the herds were bigger, healthier, and stronger. After the training, they also separated the males and females based on the color of their fur so they could get pure colors for wool and then sell it at a higher price. They used to get two kilos of wool from the herd. Now they are getting up to 12 and are making more clothing to sell.” 
    You can involve the children in your ministry in giving to others by raising money to send to Samaritan's Purse to buy alpacas for families in need in Bolivia. Not only will they be giving a gift which physically helps families, but they will be giving the opportunity for these families to learn of Jesus! There is no better Gift! 

    Select a gift from the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog for the children in your ministry to work on and in so doing, Put Feet to Their Faith!

    Samaritan's Purse's Sudan Refuge Camp Bombed . . . Pray

    "The refugee camp operated by Samaritan's Purse in Yida, South Sudan, was bombed by the government of Sudan at approximately 3:20 p.m. local time on Thursday. Over 23,000 people are living in the camp in the northernmost part of Unity State, after being displaced by fighting across the border in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State. Four bombs are reported to have been dropped. One bomb fell on a schoolhouse, but thankfully it did not explode. Another hit the marketplace, and two others fell on the fringe of the camp. All of Samaritan’s Purse staff have been accounted for and are safe. They have not been able to confirm any casualties among the refugees.

    Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham, who visited the camp six days before the bombing, called for the world to take action in the immediate aftermath of the attack. 'I urge the United States and the international community to enforce a no-fly zone in the area to protect not only the innocent civilians there but also those who are trying to help them,' he said. 'My prayer is that the world will not just sit by and watch and hope for the best like they did during Rwanda, where close to a million people were massacred. We need to make it clear to the government of Sudan that attacks on innocent people will not be tolerated.'

    The President of the United States strongly condemned the aerial bombardment by the Sudan Armed Forces and demanded the Government of Sudan halt aerial bombardments immediately.  

    Since early August, a Samaritan's Purse DC-3 cargo plane has been airlifting tons of food and other supplies to the refugees, who are stranded in a swampy area in Unity State near the border between South Sudan and Sudan. The camp has been accessible only by plane because the rainy season washed out the roads. Our team had to airdrop food into the area for the first few weeks until we could clear a landing strip for our plane. The Samaritan's Purse team at the camp has distributed more than 420 tons of food staples, with material support from the UN’s World Food Program. They have also provided temporary shelter, medical care, and other assistance to the growing number of refugees."

    Pray for the people of Sudan, pray for the Samaritan's Purse workers and pray for those working to stop these attacks.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    The Grace Effect!

    The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief

    By - Larry Alex Taunton
    Publisher - Thomas Nelson

    I am so delighted for the opportunity to share an amazing story with you! A story which literally show how the "Grace Effect" has the power to heal and save us! 'Simply defined, the ‘grace effect’ is an observable phenomenon — showing life is demonstrably better where authentic Christianity flourishes.' What does Christianity give us beyond televangelists, potlucks, and bad basketball leagues?  Not much, according to the secular Left. The world, they say, would be a better place without it. Historian and Christian apologist Larry Taunton has spent much of his career refuting just this sort of thinking, but when he encounters Sasha, a golden-haired orphan girl whose life has been shaped by atheistic theorists, he discovers an unlikely champion for the transforming power of grace. Through the narrative of Sasha’s redemption, we see the false promises of socialism; the soul-destroying influence of unbelief; and how a society cultivates its own demise when it rejects the ultimate source of grace.  We see, in short, the kind of world the atheists would give us: a world without Christianity—cold, pitiless, and gracelessAnd yet, as Sasha shows us, it is a world that is not beyond the healing power of 'the grace effect.'  Occasionally infuriating, often amusing, but always inspiring, The Grace Effect will have you cheering for the courageous little girl who shamed the academic elitists of our day."

    This powerful, true account is one which will have you cheering and crying along with the Taunton family. It will help you better understand what it is faith in God brings to our lives and to the world around us . . . Grace! This grace is so taken for granted here in America, but in other places around the world where they have worked to remove all traces of God and His grace from their lives, it is starkly evident what they are missing. 

    Read this book. Use the discussion questions in the back to help you understand how the "lack of Biblical Christianity cripples a nation and it's future" and why "Christianity should be a primary influence in a society". In this day and age with an ever growing push for communism and atheism, we need books like this to help us think though and understand the "Grace Effect" and why we all need it!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Please Check Out Kidmin1124 for a Post on "Thanksgiving . . . I'm Thankful For My Family!"

    Last week on Kidmin1124 I posted about what I'm thankful for and wrote about being thankful 
    for God's grace and gave three ways to show we are thankful! This week I posted about the second thing I'm thankful for . . . my family! I wrote, "When I think about families I realize how families show us a picture we can experience of God’s love for us! It is no wonder families are under attack by Satan – he certainly does not want families to be healthy and point people to God. So, what can we do to support, encourage and pray for families?" and gave four ways to support and encourage families! Please check my post and while you are there, take a look at all the other wonderful resources you will find on Kidmin1124!

    Please Check Out CMBuzz for a Post on . . . Christmas is . . . Giving!

    Creative Ministry BuzzI'm honored for the opportunity to write for CM Buzz and my current post is about "Christmas is  . . . Giving!" As we enter the Christmas season, check this post for three ideas of ways you can, "help kids focus on giving!"
    Christmas is . . . Giving! Children\s Ministry

    While you are there, be sure to check the other resources you will find on CM Buzz . . . and their new YM Blitz for resources on Youth Ministry!

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    How Can I Be Intentional About Praying For You?

    Okay, I'm all for praying for one another, but how often when we pray for others do we pray "generic prayers" opposed to prayers specifically for someone? Even when we know someone has things we can pray about, how often do we actually talk to them to find out what they would most appreciate being remembered in prayer on their behalf? Yes, it takes time to sit down and actually talk to someone, but if we are serious about praying intentionally for those in our church and ministry, how can we pray intentionally if we do not first talk to the person we are praying for?

    So, how can I be intentional about praying for others? Consider the following . . . 

    • be intentional about praying for each of your volunteers individually and specifically . . . approach, call or at least email a volunteer and tell them you would like to pray intentionally for them for the coming week. Ask them for a few specific prayer requests you could pray about for them and then take another moment to pray with them.
    • be intentional about praying for the children in your ministry . . . watch for visitors, children who are missing, children who are sick, children who you know are experiencing difficult times and ask specific people to pray intentionally with you. Again, approach the children and ask for specific prayer requests. Ask for their permission to share the requests with your prayer team and again, take a moment to pray with the child. If possible, have one prayer-er for each child - this one person could be the child's prayer-er for the entire school year! Just imagine what your ministry would be like if you had people specifically praying for each child on an individual level!!!! (of course you could do the same thing for each of your volunteers, too! Wouldn't your children's ministry be amazing if you did? You'd just have to stand back and watch with amazement all the things God would do!!!)
    • be intentional about praying for families . . . again, follow the steps above for parents, too!
    Yes, we need to pray for others, but when we are intentional about our praying and invest the time to find out specific needs, concerns and happenings for us to pray about the results will be beyond anything we can imagine!