Crossroads: God Is Our Refuge

Last week our devotion was on times when it seems like God isn’t there. This week’s psalm is a reminder to us that God is always there and that God is our refuge.

Crossroads: Where is God?

When I was a child, bad thunderstorms used to terrify me. The rain was okay, but I was very afraid of the thunder and the lightning. Thunderstorms that happened at night were always the worst. There was no way I could sleep during them.

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: Small

Has nature ever just wowed you? Have you ever felt small when looking at the ocean or the stars? Talk about a time when you felt awed by something in nature.

Crossroads: The Answer Is Prayer

I’m a worrier. It’s who I am. I worry about test results, about family members and close friends, about the future, etc. Sometimes my worry feels overwhelming. And so I pray.

Crossroads: Children

“Children should be seen and not heard.” “Go sit at the kid’s table.” Did you hear things like this when you were a child? Maybe you were taught that you should sit quietly and not interrupt the grownups who were talking.

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: Do Something

Theory and practice are two very different things. I may believe that I can do something, but until I actually do it, who knows whether or not I can?

Crossroads: The Armor of God

Have you ever seen some of the equipment that comes with playing sports? Football players put on helmets, chin guards, mouth guards, cleats, and shoulder pads in order to protect themselves when they play.

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).

Crossroads: Watch What God Does

Have you ever been in a foreign place where you didn’t know what to do and how to act? Most of the time, when we are in places like these, we watch others to see what they do and how they act.

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.

Crossroads: The Body of Christ

God has given each of us different gifts. Some are called to preach, others to teach, others to make snacks for Vacation Bible School, still others to fix the air conditioner when it breaks.

Flame: A Lesson in Self-Control

Today we continued studying the fruit of the Spirit by looking at self-control. We tried a game to start that involved marbles and cut up paper towel tubes.

Crossroads: Roots

Today’s Scripture is all about our roots growing in God’s love. How do you feel about your life’s roots? Have they grown deep in God’s love?

Crossroads: King of Glory

The LORD Almighty is the King of glory. The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it. Praise the LORD! Sometimes we forget that everything is God’s and that God created everyone.

Crossroads: Our Guide

We recently finished Everest VBS. As the leader of Base Camp Sing and Play as well as Summit Celebration, I was known as a Sherpa. A Sherpa is an expert guide on Mount Everest whose job it is to guide climbers safely up and back down Everest.

Crossroads: Giving

One of my favorite stories of giving comes from one of the children at church. At six years old, she received a dollar from the tooth fairy for losing a tooth. But she didn’t use that money to buy something for herself.

Crossroads: The Storms of Life

I was always terrified of storms as a child. The thunder scared me the most, and my mom could never convince me that the thunder couldn’t hurt me.

Flame: Cardboard Tube Cross

Last week my children’s ministry team and I visited our church’s preschool to run a prayer workshop for each class in celebration of the church’s 10 Days of Prayer initiative. This was one of their favorite activities.

Crossroads: God Knows

Talk about a time in your life when you felt invisible, when you felt like no one else knew your pain and it seemed like you were on your own. Did you turn to God?

Crossroads: Holy, Holy, Holy

God is different from everything else in our universe. He is the Creator, and the only One who is holy. I am most reminded of God’s holiness during communion and during Holy week.

Crossroads: A Blank Slate

It’s no secret that I loved school as a child. One of my favorite parts about going back to school was buying school supplies. Even if I had pens and pencils at home, I wanted new ones for school.

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.

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: 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.

A View from the Pew: When Your Kids Don’t Like Church

We make our children do lots of things they don’t want to do. Homework. Brush their teeth. Go to school. Take a bath. Go to bed. Eat their vegetables. Share their toys. The list goes on and on. And many of these activities are non-negotiable for our children.

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!

Crossroads: Why Are We Called Children of Abraham?

When I was a kid, we used to sing a song called Father Abraham. “Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. And I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s all praise the Lord.” I always wondered why we sang that Father Abraham had many sons.

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.

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.

Crossroads: The Wonders of Winter

Winter can be a dark, dreary time. But it can also be filled with wonders. I absolutely love snow. As soon as it starts falling, I want to go out in it and take pictures. And if it sticks, I wait impatiently until there’s enough to build a snowman.

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: The Calling of Levi with Colored Cards

We’re always trying different ways to tell stories in visual ways, so here is what we tried in our scaled-down summer group (3-11 years old). We told the story of Jesus calling Levi (Luke 5:27-32) using colored pieces of paper to represent the characters.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Crossroads: The Friend in the Night

My favorite word as a child was “why”. I know my mother got tired of me asking “Why?” all the time. I was a very curious child. In fact, as a small child, my mother had a hard time getting me to sleep. She said it seemed as if I always wanted to observe the world, to know what was going on.

Crossroads: Forgiving Others

When I was a teenager, my youth group planned a summer mission trip to Myrtle Beach. One of my best friends, John, was in our youth group, and we were both excited about the upcoming mission trip. John and I had roomed together on every church trip. We were great friends and enjoyed spending time together. As I arrived at the church to leave for the mission trip, I learned that John had decided to room with someone else.

Flame: Creation Story Circles

I get really excited by visual ways of telling stories, so I thought I’d make some for us to use. I chose to use cork and paper as we are trying to get away from plastic, if possible!

Crossroads: Staying Connected

I have always loved wisteria. I know that it’s a parasite, but it has always been beautiful to me. One of my favorite parts of driving to my grandparents’ house as a kid was driving past the beautiful wisteria growing in a patch of trees.

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: 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.

Crossroads: Ash Wednesday

I always feel the weight of the ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. It wasn’t until I went to a Catholic middle school that I began participating in Ash Wednesday services. From that first Ash Wednesday service until now, it never ceases to amaze me how much I feel those ashes.

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.

Crossroads: Love Your Enemy

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth” (Matthew 5:38). Many of us live our lives in this way. All you have to do is watch the news to see people responding in this way. For example, someone is attacked and their country responds with war.

Crossroads: I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I didn’t always feel pretty as a teenager. I went through the usual gawky teen phase, with braces and acne and glasses. There were times when I wished that I looked like someone else.