Live the Stories: Jesus Gives Peter Instructions

Remind the children that many of the disciples who followed Jesus were fishermen before they left their jobs to learn from him. When Jesus died, they returned to their jobs of catching fish.

Crossroads: Friends

I was at school when I got the call that she was gone, and a friend of mine found me crying in the hallway. He comforted me and then we went our separate ways.

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.

The Spiritual Significance of Star Wars

The same excitement that makes Star Wars a great entry point to the rudiments of physics, for example, also makes it a great resource for spiritual reflection and discussion.

This’ll “Get Your Goat”

My southern grandmother had a saying she used most every day: “Get your goat.” It was one of those wonderful phrases that could be employed in any number of relevant situations.

Crossroads: I Doubt It

When I was a child, we always played a game called “I doubt it” when we went on vacation. It was a card game and the point was to be the person who got rid of all of their cards first.

Crossroads: Good Friday, A World in Ruins

Have you ever had a week start off well, but by the end of it all hope seems lost? Terrible things happen all at once, and you just aren’t sure how you’re going to make it another hour, let alone another day.

That Dark Thursday Night: A Maundy Thursday Reading

“Go into the city,” he said. “A friend of mine will show you a large, upper room, furnished and ready.” Strange. Peter and I rounded a corner and there, coming out of a narrow alley was a man we didn’t know, but he looked at us as if we were expected.

Crossroads: Jesus Is Transformed

God has changed my life in a lot of ways. For starters, I’ve never felt totally alone because I know that God is always with me. God has helped me get through some difficult times.

Blessed Interruptions

I imagine Mary thought about what this moment was going to be like a million times. She had it all planned out.

Crossroads: Jesus is Here

I confess that I have a favorite Christmas story. I love Luke’s story of Christmas. This is the Christmas story that my family read every Christmas Eve.

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.

Crossroads: Recognizing Jesus

Jesus tends to break into our lives in unexpected ways. Maybe for you, it’s the bully of the school doing something nice for someone else. Maybe it’s the popular kid sitting with an outcast at lunch. However it is, Jesus usually works through surprising people.

Presenting Portraits of Jesus

When Mark sketched out our first Gospel account of Jesus, he was not simply writing a direct history or creating a photo account about Jesus. He was doing something far more significant than recording a Vine. He was providing a testimony about the figure he believed was the most important person who ever lived.

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.

Crossroads: Jesus Is Transformed

I became a Christian when I was seven years old. For as long as I can remember, church has been an important part of my life. I loved going to church as a kid and I loved Jesus (and I still do!).

Catching a Glimpse

The first Christmas comes and goes, and most people don’t notice. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and a few others catch a glimpse of what is happening, but they’re just a handful.

Crossroads: Jesus Gives Us Hope

When I was in the sixth grade, it felt like my life was falling apart. I didn’t have any friends, there was a lot of bad stuff happening at my church, and my mom and my stepdad were getting a divorce.

Crossroads: Jesus Gives Us Hope

When I was in the sixth grade, it felt like my life was falling apart. I didn’t have any friends, there was a lot of bad stuff happening at my church, and my mom and my stepdad were getting a divorce.

Crossroads: The Command that Jesus Gave

Every year, our church has a service day called Beyond Our Walls. On this day, more than 300 people go out into the community to serve. Some of our families and children spend time with senior adults at assisted living facilities.

Jesus’ Use of the Psalms

For ordinary Christians who experience opposition and negative feelings, we are invited to bring the full breadth of these experiences into the realm of God.

Crossroads: Recognizing Jesus

Talk about a time when you were surprised by a friend/relative who you didn’t recognize initially, but who recognized you. Was it a time when you got lost and that person found you?

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?

“Come and See”

After witnessing the weeping of Mary and her surrounding community, Jesus is greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved (v. 33). But he does not weep himself until the people entreat him to “come and see” where Lazarus’s body has been laid (v. 34).

Jesus Would Not Have Denied Me Communion

My husband Paul and I have been married for more than 47 years! We are as alike as jelly and jam and as different as whole wheat and rye. He grew up in the northern United States; I grew up in the South. He’s Catholic and I’m Baptist; for the most part that distinction has never been an issue.

Reimagining “Church” and “Christians” as the “Jesus Tribe”

This may be unsettling to some, but the earliest followers of Jesus did not refer to themselves as Christians. I am rather glad about this because the word “Christian” has too much baggage attached to it.

“Thank You, Jesus”

For years a friend of mine faithfully visited his mother in a nursing home. On each visit, en route to her room he passed a thin Alzheimer’s-ridden woman in the hallway. Red-faced and wheelchair-bound, she repeated, “I want a good deal.”

Reading through the Lens of Jesus

Jesus opens up the depth of meaning in the Scriptures so that we can find depth of meaning in our lives and in our discipleship. In relationship with Jesus we become participants in the kingdom of God.

Kaleidoscope

Most of us probably had at least one kaleidoscope during our childhood and so we know what one looks like and what it does. It’s a tube with a lens at one end through which someone looks, telescope-style.

Flame: Doubting Thomas, Recognizing Jesus

This Sunday we’re telling the story of Thomas. A lot of the time when we cover this story with children, we focus of the idea of faith and being able to believe even though we don’t see.

Flame: Loom Band Advent Stars

Here’s a way to use up some loom bands in a reflective Advent activity. After sharing the story of the WIse Men, make 5 popsicle sticks into a star shape and secure each point of the star with a loom band.

Thrive: Couldn’t You Stay Awake with Me? – Cynthia Insko

I love the beach. I don’t go often, but when I do, I pay close attention. Engaging my senses, I take it all in. I smell the musty, fishy breeze, taste the salty air, feel the sand between my toes.

Thrive: Loving – Allison Kentle

Love God with all that you are and love others as you love yourself. Having this kind of love takes courage. Living out this kind of love means that I am no longer the center.

Thrive: Questions – Allison Kentle

The tension could be cut with a knife, questions flying all over the place. Matthew 21-22 make it pretty clear that Jesus and the religious leaders are not BFFs, for these chapters are filled with questions.

Thrive: Jesus Curses – Allison Kentle

When I try to imagine Jesus, I typically think of words like strong, humble, confident, devoted, brave, and loving. It seems strange to think of Jesus with four letter words dripping from his lips.

Thrive: The Request – Valerie Burton

The mother of James and John may have been the first “helicopter parent,” one hovering a little too closely to her children as they climbed the ladder of discipleship.

Thrive: The Generous One – Valerie Burton

Living with children has turned me into a champion negotiator. They will bargain with me as long as I will let them. It has been assumed from the earliest practices of religion that humans could bargain with the gods to get what they want.

Thrive: Be on the Lookout – Lauren Brewer Bass

And he was transfigured before them . . . Just like that. He was the person they traveled with every day (and if you have ever traveled with someone for any length of time you know that you get quite acquainted with their look, their smells, their quirks).

Thrive: When Jesus Calls a Woman “a Dog”… – Melanie Storie

This gentle Jesus who welcomed children, healed a blind man with spit-mud, and consorted with women of questionable moral character and height-challenged tax collectors certainly did some shocking things, but insulting a woman on her knees begging for mercy seems a little extreme.

Thrive: Jesus Feeds Five Thousand – Kyndall Rae Rothaus

If all you’ve got of Love in your trembling hands is a measly five loaves and two fish worth, then start distributing what little you’ve got to your friends and neighbors, and immediately it will begin to multiply.