My friend Tony Kummer at Ministry-to-children.com is doing a children’s ministry blog madness competition. The SojournKids blog is in the running for the West division. Show your support for SojournKids by heading over there to vote!
I used to joke about a “blood relative” rule when it came to taking an interest in the lives of children who weren’t mine, and although it was largely driven by fear of incompetence with respect to kid’s ministry, I now think the joke was unchristian and indeed unmanly. The last verses of the Old Testament look forward to a time when ‘Elijah’ would turn ‘the hearts of the fathers to their children’ Malachi 4:6.
The God fearing father in Israel was concerned for more than himself and his time. He knew the importance of passing on the ‘decrees’ of God and the story of Israel, so that the nation might ‘always prosper and be kept alive’ Deuteronomy 6:24. Personally he looked forward to the blessing of seeing his children’s children Psalm 128. Israel, of course, were not particularly good at following decrees, including decrees to pass on decrees, and so we find the time of Malachi assuming an age in which fathers were indifferent or hostile towards their children, waiting for a future age when this would no longer be the case. Continue Reading…
This month we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell the story of Patrick, the child-slave-turned-Irish-missionary who provides an excellent example to the kids of several principles: God is with them in difficult circumstances, He will answer prayer, He saves people through Jesus, He helps us love our enemies, and He calls us to share the gospel with others. After last month’s St. Valentine’s Day lesson, and this month’s St. Patrick’s Day lesson, rest assured we’re not promoting the celebration of saints’ feast days; Patrick was just too good of an illustration to pass by. Who knows? Now when their classmates and friends are wearing green and pinching each other, your kids might just tell them about the real Patrick who preached the gospel to the people who enslaved him! If you want to read more on Patrick, the History Channel http://www.history.com/topics/who-was-saint-patrick has a very brief introduction on the more critical reading of his history. Here’s http://stpatricksday.com/history/stpatrick/confessio.shtml an account of his life in his own words. Here is the liturgy for this month:
Wise advice from C.J. Mahaney to a concerned dad who fears that that the way in which he insists his kids obey him in the Lord could lead them to think of God the Father apart from love and grace:
* You have the privilege of introducing them to God the Father and describing the ways in which he is different from you, different from all sinful fathers, and how in any way you are like him it’s only because of grace that you reflect him. See Luke 11:11–13.
* Your honest confession of your sin to your children will protect them from having hard thoughts about you or God.
* Communicating your affection for them—and joy when you are with them—promotes both good and accurate thoughts about God.
* Initiate time with them at both planned and spontaneous times. Don’t leave them with the impression that they get most of your attention when they disobey. Let them know you are so grateful for them and love being with them as much as possible.
* Bless your children with many gifts in many forms! See Luke 11 again. Study your children in order to discern what gifts would genuinely bless them and then purpose to surprise them as often as possible.
* Requiring appropriate obedience does not promote hard thoughts about God. This only happens when we do so in self-righteousness or anger. See point 2 again.
* Frequently preach the gospel to them (and not at them). Reveal to your children just how far God has gone to show his love for sinners like us.
Do you want to teach your kids the Christian message behind St. Patrick’s Day? Then try this short video from Veggie Tales. It originally appeared on their DVD titled “The Sumo of the Opera.” The clip is also available on the new DVD “Lessons from the Sock Drawer” from Big Idea. It does a great job of telling the story of Saint Patrick in a way that children can appreciate.
The video is about 8:32 minutes long, which may push the attention span of younger children. Most kids will really enjoy the story and love learning about Saint Patrick from this video clip. It is presented in 2D storyboard animation, but has very engaging narration. The story ends with this pronouncement, he was “a great man who loved Ireland and loved God.” This story could easily lead into a talk about missions or loving our enemies.
The people at Veggie Tales did a good job of telling the story of Patrick in a way that all Christian groups could embrace. He is recognized as several Christian traditions. The Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans all esteem him officially. Other protestant groups often appreciate him as a missionary pioneer from the early church.