What the Book of Daniel can teach kids about character

Standard

I enjoyed so many things about my time in children’s ministry. I spent 2012 writing curriculum for the kids I was teaching. We started with the life of Jesus. Then we moved on to the Holy Spirit. We also learned about Daniel and the Armor of God.

The kids really seemed to enjoy Sunday school. The teachers did too. A few friends who worked with me encouraged me to publish my writing. I wasn’t sure at first. I wanted to bless others and not just make a name for myself. But if I didn’t publish, no one would be able to find the curriculum. Amazon lets me make my book free 5 times every 90 days. So every holiday, I go into my dashboard and make the kindle versions of my books free. (The next free day is my birthday, October 23)

I published 14 Things Kids Should Know about Jesus and Armor isn’t Just for Grown Ups! before Clarissa was born. Then I focused on my blog for a bit. Earlier this year, I finally got around to posting Acts of the Holy Spirit: Using the Book of Acts to teach kids about Spiritual Gifts.

Last week, I published What the Book of Daniel can teach kids about character. This is 6 lessons of stories from the Book of Daniel. The children will discuss the famous stories of Daniel in the Lions Den and the Fiery Furnace, among others. Each story presents the character of Daniel and his friends and how their character sets an example for us today.

What Clarissa has been teaching me about seeds

Standard

I think it’s easy to get frustrated with the people around me. Especially when I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time pouring myself into something for someone else and I don’t see much progress. Whether it’s helping a friend or trying to convince my five year old to eat an actual fruit or vegetable instead of a fruit squeeze and seaweed.

A few weeks ago, Tim and I were discussing Clarissa’s behavior. I said that I thought she would obey better when she was saved and actively following Jesus. Tim said, “I thought you said she was saved.” “Well, she says she believes in Jesus but I’m not really sure she understands sin and her need for a Savior.” Cue some interesting conversations with Clarissa that included, “So at gymnastics today one of my friends asked me what I was going to be for Halloween and I told her nothing. We love God.” I stand corrected.

Sometimes getting to church is such a battle on a Sunday morning and Clarissa says she doesn’t want to go. So then we finally get there, late as usual, and I get her all set up with her notebook to draw during worship time. Sometimes during the music time, she will tap me so I can look at her drawings. Sometimes they are polar bears hunting in Antarctica. But this week was different.

img_20180925_1320377562082115889199566.jpg

The first time she tapped me wanted me to see the Earth with all of the islands and that Jesus was in the clouds. The second time, she had added hearts and said that all of the islands love Jesus. At the end, she said, “This is me. I love Jesus. Can you please write at the top of the page: I am happy that Jesus exists.” What?! Little Miss “I don’t want to go to church” is having a real moment with God.

So I just wanted to encourage my reader. You never know what God is going to do with the seeds that you plant. It’s easy to get frustrated when you feel like what you are saying or doing isn’t going anywhere. But I was reminded this week that it’s not my job to make fruit happen.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

It’s my job to plant the seeds. It’s just my job to be obedient to do the things He tells me. God is going to do what God is going to do with those seeds. So keep plugging along with your kids, neighbors, and co-workers. We may not see the fruit of what we’re doing now. But God does have a plan for it.

Acts of the Holy Spirit: Using the book of Acts to talk about Spiritual Gifts

Standard

Back when I was the children’s ministry coordinator at my church, I wasn’t thrilled with the curriculum choices for Sunday school. There were some interesting things out there but they were either really expensive or didn’t fit the kids at my church. I’m kind of an all or nothing person so I couldn’t commit to spending the church’s money on something I wasn’t in love with. So I decided to write my own curriculum. As I was teaching each week, people were telling me that I should publish my curriculum. I finally got around to publishing Acts of the Holy Spirit: Using the book of Acts to talk about Spiritual Gifts in the spring and apparently forgot to write about it on my blog…

Before we studied the book of Acts, we spent 14 weeks learning about Jesus. Naturally, after Easter we talked about Pentecost and then moved into the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This curriculum is just a collection of the lessons that we did that summer. The really cool part about this series was that I found a spiritual gifts test for kids in the book Discover Your Kid’s Spiritual Gifts. So at the beginning of the summer, the kids took the test. Then we learned about the different spiritual gifts. By the end of the summer, the elementary school kids in my church were using their gifts by teaching and serving in so many cool ways.

Amazon lets me make my kindle books free for five days every 90 days, so I try to go in to my promotions and make it free on holidays so it’s easier for me to remember. So the next time you can download it for free would be Monday, September 4, 2018 for Labor Day. Now Amazon also has a feature that you can actually order a print copy of the book, so you can order that way if you prefer. But I can’t make that version free because of the cost of printing the book.

Usually, I publish a curriculum version and a family devotion version of each unit. But this one is different because many of the lessons were spent acting out the Bible stories. I felt like it would be harder to do that around a dinner table.

God’s Girl Says Yes

Standard

Wynter Pitts wrote a book with her husband last year about praying for your daughter called She is Yours. I loved it. She also has a new podcast that I have been listening to. So when the opportunity presented itself to be on her book launch team for her latest book, God’s Girl Says Yes, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Her last book was for parents, but this one is for girls. There are not any pictures so it will probably be a few years before Clarissa is ready to read it, but I look forward to reading this book with her one day. Wynter also has a magazine for girls that looks great!

Each of the 16 chapters in God’s Girl Says Yes has a specific message for your girl with scriptures, a prayer, and personal stories about either Wynter or a girl in elementary school. I think these stories will really help to build Clarissa’s faith and to show her that you do not have to wait until you are a grown up to do big things for God. She goes through the fruit of the spirit as a whole passage of scripture and then breaks up each individual fruit into its own chapter.

The book is very relatable. It sounds like a conversation between friends. There are several places to answer questions that will really make your girl think. Some of my favorite thoughts from the book:

  • “The Israelites’ story shows us how difficult it is to make good choices all the time. Sometimes saying yes day after day can be really hard…God loves His people and wants His people to choose Him. He entered into a relationship with Israel on purpose. He knew what was best for them, and He knows what is best for you.”
  • “As you say yes to the things God asks you to say yes to, you will have to say no to other things – to things that are unhelpful and that He doesn’t want for you. When you say yes to God and walk with Him on the path He has chosen for you, amazing things can happen. “
  • She does a good job of explaining why we have rules and learning self control.
  • “God gave us more than rules-He also gave us a relationship with him… Our life is not about rules. It’s actually about being free to live an amazing adventure with God.”
  • Chapter 15 was probably my favorite. She talks about trusting God to have a plan for your life and using your gifts and talents for him.

I really enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading it again with Clarissa soon.

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC Book Review

Standard

Reformed Free Publishing Association

Clarissa usually enjoys alphabet books, so I was excited when we had the opportunity to review T is for Tree: A Bible ABC from Reformed Free Publishing Association. I am always looking for ways to introduce Clarissa to scripture. Reading scripture in an illustrated book is a great way to do this.

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC 

Every letter has it’s own page. It is mostly consistent that the page will say something similar to “A is for Ant.” X is a hard letter to find a verse for so that one is different, it says, “X is in fox.”

Each letter has a word focus with a short, three line poem that rhymes. It has a beautifully illustrated picture of the word focus. Then, a Bible verse is also listed at the bottom of the page. Each page also has a unique border that references the verse.

This book has excellent pictures. They look like they are hand painted and are very professional. The pictures have vibrant colors and the illustrations are lifelike. I can tell that a lot of thought went into each picture and how to make it relate to the words in this book.

For the most part, I liked the focus words and choices of Bible verses. Some of them confused Clarissa when she was trying to read the book to herself. For example, “B is for Bow” but it is a rainbow. “D is for Dawn,” and Clarissa wanted to say sun every time. I was surprised to see that “L is for Leopard.” I expected to see lion, lamb, or even Lord there. However, Clarissa said that L was her favorite because “Cheetahs are my favorite animal and leopards are like cheetahs.” She also enjoyed “Q is for Quails” and “R is for Ravens.” I really liked the verses and illustrations for “T is for tree,” and “P is for path.” Apparently Clarissa likes birds and I like trees.

The scripture references are King James Version, which isn’t my favorite. I prefer something modern like New International Version. This book is marketed to preschoolers but I really don’t think it fits that age group. I think that it would have been easier for Clarissa to memorize scriptures and understand them if they were written in a different version. Older elementary school children would understand better with this version of scripture.

However, Clarissa said she enjoyed the book. I think the beautiful pictures and the fact that most of it rhymes are the reasons why.

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC {Reformed Free Publishing Association Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Jesus has friends

Standard

This lesson was faster because we used less Bible stories. We started by reviewing our lesson from last week. If I say, “I have hidden your word in my heart…” Clarissa will say, “That I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:1” She doesn’t say the whole thing on her own, but I will take it.

We talked about how Jesus was God but when he was on Earth, He was also a man. He was born, had parents, was dedicated, went to church, and was baptised just like we do today. The main difference was that although Jesus was tempted, He never sinned like we do. So He is a good example for us to follow.

For this week, we talked about friends. I asked Clarissa who her friends were and what she liked about them. Then we talked about what it would be like if she didn’t have any friends. She thought she would be very lonely. We talked about what we can do to be a good friend.

Then, we talked about Jesus. We read in her Bible about how He chose his disciples and they left everything they had to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22). We talked about how these guys weren’t famous or rich. They didn’t seem like they would be important. But Jesus still chose them to be his best friends. We don’t have to be famous or really talented for God to use us. We just need to be obedient.

Then we talked about how Jesus gave his friends the power to do a lot of the things that Jesus did (Matthew 10). They could pray for people to be healed. They could tell people about Jesus. We talked about how God can use us to help people too. We also talked about how if we have friends to help us, a big job can get done faster.

Jesus, Fully God and Fully Man

Standard

We have taken a break from our regular preschool curriculum twice this year. During the month of December, we took a break and did Truth in the Tinsel to celebrate Christmas. We spent most of March doing A Sense of the Resurrection.

When we started back into God’s Little Explorers in April, Clarissa was frustrated that we were back to doing the same story several days in a row. She still enjoyed the activities, but wanted a new Bible story every day. Though she still isn’t thrilled with writing her letters.

We are in the process of using other programs for Homeschool Review Crew so I decided to stop doing our normal preschool curriculum. For a few days I struggled with not having a set plan for our Bible reading. But then I felt like God was like, “Ahem. You wrote Sunday school curriculum. Why don’t you use that?!”

Clarissa is four, so she wants to read the story in a book with pictures instead of me just telling her a story most of the time. But it has been fun to look at what I did with the kids at church and break it down over a few days with Clarissa. Our first lesson is about how Jesus was fully God but when He was on earth He was also fully man.

We talked about how Jesus was born, like everyone else. He had parents. We have read the Christmas story several times so we flipped through the pictures of Jesus’s birth in her Planet 316 Bible and I had her tell me the story.

Next, we talked about how Jesus’s parents brought him to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord when he was 8 days old. That was a very normal thing to do back then. We found the story in her Beginner’s Bible. Then we talked about how we dedicated her to the Lord at her first birthday party. We looked at pictures and talked about what that meant (and of course we had to look at the pictures from when she was born as well).

A different day, we talked about how Jesus was a kid. We read When Jesus was a Little Boy (not necessarily accurate but talks about what kinds of things Jesus probably did as a kid). Then we read about Jesus in the temple when he was 12 years old. Jesus went to church and celebrated holiday festivals just like we do.

The following week we talked about baptism. That John the Baptist was going around preaching repentance and baptising people. Jesus didn’t need to be baptised because He never sinned, but it was part of God’s plan. So we talked about why people get baptised today as an outward expression that we believe we are a sinner and believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Clarissa asked about being baptised when she is an adult. We talked about how kids can be baptised too but she isn’t interested right now, which is totally fine.

Then we read about how Jesus was tempted in the desert. Just like us, Jesus was tempted. But unlike us, Jesus never sinned. One reason for that is because He knew the Word of God and could use it against everything Satan said. So we practiced our Bible verse a few more times so that we would learn some scripture.

Each day before our reading, I read her our Bible memory verse and had her repeat it a few times so she could learn it. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:1

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you order Truth in the Tinsel or God’s Little Explorers through this post, I will make a small commission. However, it does not add to your cost.