Unless You Come unto Me as These

This one is going to be a problem for us. You know that most adults have forgotten that they were children once upon a time. In fact, how long has it been since most adults have included “once upon a time” in any sentence?

Crossroads: Following God

I loved to talk when I was a kid. I talked all the time. And at school, there are times when you’re supposed to be quiet. But sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I talked to the people around me. And of course, I got in trouble. I got I’s (needs Improvement) and sometimes U’s (for Unsatisfactory) on my report card for talking.

Flame: Sharing God’s Love

The rainbow is a great symbol for Christians of God’s love and promise to us. It’s also the symbol of new beginnings, a key message of Christianity. This activity helps children to think about their own ability to share God’s love with others and to pray for those who don’t yet know that love.

Flame: Strength in Christ Yarn Craft

This craft is very messy, requires some patience and is very effective for exploring the idea of Jesus giving us the strength we need (e.g when looking at verses such as Philippians 4:13).

Flame: God as our Anchor Craft and Prayer Activity

Here is a prayer activity that older children could do independently to help them think about trusting in God for their strength. It could be used especially if you were exploring stories that involve the sea or storms!

Flame: Pentecost Flames Salad Spinner Art and Prayer Ideas

I found a cheap salad spinner ($4 in IKEA!) and was finally able to try out some spinner art! It’s brilliant: quick, clean (because the spinner sits in its own bowl) and each piece is unique! The process of making the art really lends itself to Pentecost themes so here’s an idea to help celebrate the occasion.

Crossroads: Ascension, A New Chapter

New chapters are exciting, but also a bit scary. Moving to college was an important step for me, and it was part of being able to do things on my own. The disciples face a new chapter of their own that begins in the book of Acts.

Flame: “God Loves Me” Stained Glass Windows

This week one of our focus stories is the Prodigal Son. The main point we want to get across is that God loves us and wants to be involved in our lives. This is a craft we will be doing with our 3-5s group on Sunday and also with the 5-7s.

Crossroads: The Shepherd

“Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s what my mother told me all the time growing up, and I’m sure it’s what you tell your own children. Strangers aren’t safe because you don’t know them.

Crossroads: Don’t Be Afraid

The disciples were afraid. Jesus had been arrested and killed because of who he was. And the disciples were afraid that they, too, would be arrested and killed because they followed Jesus. So they hid, locking the doors and hoping people would forget about them.

Flame: Palm Sunday Spinner

We are getting into Easter planning mode at the moment and needed something a bit different for Palm Sunday. This is a great activity because somehow the hosanna appears on the palm leaf. The children love watching the trick of the eye happen!

Flame: Light of the World Lantern

Lanterns and lamps appear in many Bible stories and they’re so easy to make, but I’ve always been disappointed that it’s difficult to put a light in a lantern without risking the whole thing going up in flames.

Crossroads: My Shepherd

Most of the time, I associate this Psalm with funerals. I don’t like to read this Psalm because it brings to mind sadness and pain. And yet, this Psalm is all about peace.

Flame: Esther’s Strengthened Heart

Esther showed great love for her people and for her uncle Mordecai, but she also showed that she had a great deal of courage in her heart. Ask the children to think about times when they have needed to show love to others or needed to be brave so they could help others.

Flame: Pipe Cleaner Intercessions

I love the versatility of pipe cleaners and children seem to feel the same! They are great for playing with and they are also great for praying with.

Bells: A Meditation for Teachers

Telephone bells, doorbells, school bells, and fire alarms all alert us and prepare us to go into action. Our modern use of bells is totally different than one hundred years ago. Church bells rang the hour of the day and told of a death.

Flame: Playdough World Map Prayers

This is a very hands on and tactile way of praying! Ask children to choose a country to pray for and give them some playdough.

Pass the Parcel Nativity Story

I wanted a simple, interactive way of telling the Nativity story, as my Sunday group can be a bit lively, so I decided that we would use some of our leftover Christmas cards.

Flame: Advent Prayer Bags

Lately, I’ve seen a variety of lovely ideas online for helping children and families to get involved with the Advent season. Drawing on some of the ideas I’ve seen, I’ve come up with a little bag of items that will take children through some of the main Advent themes.

Flame: Jesus Calms the Storm – Sensory Bottles

I’ve been doing a little bit of experimenting with sensory bottles this week as I wanted to make some to help the children under 5 years old to explore the story of Jesus calming the storm.

Flame: Praying for Sad Situations

Children can really identify with a sense of sadness, and, as a fact of life, sad things happen. They occur in our lives, in the lives of people we know, and in the world as a whole. Here is a prayer station to help children (especially younger ones) pray that God will bring joy and happiness to those experiencing times of sadness.

Crossroads: Easy vs. Difficult

There have been many times that I have put off doing something because I either thought it was going to take a while or I thought it would be hard to do. For example, I tend to put off washing pots and pans after I cook because I think it’s going to take forever.

Crossroads: I Know Whom I Have Believed

When we ask Jesus to be our friend forever, when we tell God that we know that Jesus died for us and that we want to follow God, we are committing our lives to God. We are saying that God knows better than we do and that we will listen to God and follow what God tells us to do. We will act like Christ by following God.

Flame: Psalm 23 – Overflowing Cup

Verse 5 of the twenty-third Psalm speaks about the overflowing cup that God gives and this craft is a way of exploring and thanking God for His many gifts. Each creation will be unique!

Flame: Boxes Prayer Game

Children love this game and may well be familiar with it, but here’s a twist that adds prayer to the mix. Draw some dots in lines and columns on the paper (see below). I used 10 rows of 7 dots.

Crossroads: Entertaining Strangers

Have you ever helped someone you didn’t know? Or has someone come into your life at just the right time and it felt like they were sent from God? Pick one of these times to talk about with your family.

Crossroads: Doing What’s Right

Sometimes we lose sight of our purpose. We get so caught up in what we’re supposed to do and in the rules that we forget how much God helped people and how He calls us to help others.

Crossroads: By Faith, pt 2

Tell your family’s story of faith. If your ancestors were immigrants, your family faith story may begin with something like “by faith my great-great-great grandparents left the home and land they knew and came to America in search of a better life.”

Crossroads: Greed

As an only child for seven years, there have been times in my life when I wasn’t great at sharing. Even now, I want to make sure someone is going to take really good care of my stuff before I let them borrow anything.

Flame: Oil and Paper Suncatchers

This is an activity that can be done by children of all ages and is a great illustration of Christ’s light shining through us. Gather the necessary materials and wait for a sunny day.

Live the Stories: Noah’s Ark

Remind the children of how Adam and Eve made a mistake in last week’s story. That mistake caused the world to be an unhappy place where people didn’t treat God or each other the right way. Begin by asking the children if they know what an ark is. They may respond by stating that an ark is a boat or something that Noah built.

Crossroads: Being Busy

I like to be busy. If I’m watching TV or even a movie, I want to also being doing something else so that I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. So when I watch a movie or TV show at home, I also find myself looking at Facebook, my email, or even playing an online game like Candy Crush.

Strangers: A Meditation for Teachers

They walk, run, tumble, and drag into your room on the first day of school—complete strangers. At the beginning of the year they all seem to look alike.

Crossroads: The Good Samaritan

As a young teenager, I went with my youth group to a soup kitchen one Saturday morning to feed the homeless. Several of my friends were going, and I wanted to have fun with my friends.

Flame: Joshua and the Walls of Jericho

The walls of Jericho were closed to God’s people. No one could get in or get out. The walls were tall so no one could climb them, either!

Flame: Pentecost Painting

I know it’s a bit early for Pentecost, but I like to be ahead of the game and there are so many stories where flames are useful! This is a really great idea for all ages.

Crossroads: Seeing Is Believing

Has something ever seemed too good to be true? Was it? Talk about a time when you didn’t believe something someone said until they showed you proof. Why didn’t you believe? Did the proof change your thinking?

Crossroads: Waiting on the Lord

I find myself anxious a good bit of the time. I worry about what will happen, whether or not something will actually occur, and if things will turn out okay. It seems like Psalm 27 was written for worriers.

Crossroads: Everyone

My granddad loved to fish. And I wasn’t a fan of fishing. In fact, I thought fishing was pretty boring. But one day he talked me into going fishing with him for a tournament. We have pictures to prove that I caught a fish that day (that I wouldn’t touch).

Flame: Sensory Prayer Path

I was inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest recently of a sensory pathway and it got me thinking about how we could use the idea to help children to connect with God.

Crossroads: God’s Great Plan for You

As a child, I never liked to see people unhappy. I always wanted to do what I could to help. When I was about five, we went to a local nursing home to sing for the residents. While we were there, we met a lady in a wheelchair who really wanted to go home.

Crossroads: The Body of Christ

Talk about a time in your life when you had to work as a team with others. Talk about what your role was and how each person had a different role. What were you trying to accomplish?

Flame: Memory Verses with Duplo Blocks

As part of our lesson looking at endurance (a link to athletes preparing for the Olympics), we used Duplo blocks and labels to put together the memory verse we were looking at.

Crossroads: How Big Is God’s Love?

I can remember saying “I love you this much!” as a child, with my arms open wide. I’m sure you’ve seen children do this before: they open their arms as wide as they can and say “I love you this much!” Or they give you a bear hug and squeeze and say the same thing.

Crossroads: Why We Baptize

I have loved Jesus for practically my whole life. I grew up in church, and we were there pretty much every time the church was open. At seven years old, I told Jesus that I wanted him to be my Savior and I was baptized.

Paradox

Ugh, we had a tough night. It’s been a tough month really. Such a paradox. I read this verse this morning and it jumped off the page. Like Paul was in my head. He has had to discipline the church he loves so much. He disciplined because he loved and he tells us in verse 4 that he was “heartbroken.”

Flame: Advent Wreath Craft

We’ve now entered Advent and I was thinking of how families could use the tradition of the Advent wreath at home in a craft and prayer activity. Of course it’s great to have the real candles to light, but here’s an alternative to make and do.

Crossroads: Thanksgiving

This is a time when families gather together around a table filled with food, and remember all of the things for which they are thankful. Some years it’s easy to remember the blessings you’ve been given. But other years, it seems as if nothing has gone right.