Crossroads: Peace

Peace is a funny thing. We pray for peace in a world full of violence. We pray for peace in times of trouble. We pray for peace in times of stress. We pray for peace in times of worry. And at first glance, we think that peace means that our situation changes. The world puts down its weapons. Trouble ceases. Stress disappears.

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.

Crossroads: Music

The election is this week, and for the past several months, life has felt out of control…. And in the midst of all of this name calling, mudslinging, and other awfulness, the world is at war.

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: All Saints’ Day

It’s hard for me to believe that Sunday, October 29, makes two and a half years since my granddad died. Over the past two years, I’ve found myself remembering a lot of things about him: the way he smiled, how he smelled, and all of the memories of the things we did together.

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: You’re Not Perfect

As a first grader, I was a pretty big talker. I loved to talk to everyone about everything. And one day we had a fire drill at school. You were not supposed to talk during the fire drill, but I did.

Crossroads: The Lord Watches Over You

It’s almost Halloween, and this time of year tends to be a bit scarier than normal. People decorate their houses to look scarier, scary movies come on TV, and some people wear scary costumes on Halloween.

A View from the Pew: 5 Tips for Helping your Kids Pick a Church

We recently packed up our oldest and dropped him off at college for his first semester, setting off all the alarm bells parents experience when relinquishing direct control over their child’s choices.

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.

Crossroads: The Lord is Faithful

When I was a kid, my stepdad promised he would take us to Europe. Years went by and eventually he and my mom got a divorce. And in that whole time, he never took us to Europe. He didn’t keep his promise. He meant well when he promised to take us, but he couldn’t make it happen.

Crossroads: Pray for Everyone

When I was a kid, I wanted to pray for everyone. Every night as we said prayers at bedtime, I always added “God bless the whole world.” Every time we had prayer request time at GAs, one of my requests was for “the whole world.” Looking back, I realize that it may have been a little silly.

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: God Makes Beautiful Things

I’m very clumsy. And sometimes I break things. There have been times when I have broken dishes as I washed them. Usually, when I break something, I have to throw it away.

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.

Flame: God Protects Me

This activity, based on Psalm 139, comes in two parts—a game and a craft—and is best for children between ages five and eight.

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: By Faith, pt 1

As Christians, we believe in what we cannot see. We cannot see God, but we know He is there. But believing in God and becoming a Christian makes a take a leap of faith; because we cannot see God but we believe anyway. We have faith in a lot of things.

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.

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.

Crossroads: The Fruit of the Spirit

I am a terrible liar. I’m really bad at it. I tried to lie about not talking during the fire drill when I was in the first grade (I definitely talked during the fire drill) and I got in trouble for lying.

Crossroads: We Are Free

When I think of Jesus, I think of freedom. I think of the freedom grace gives us, the freedom to be ourselves, the freedom to be human, the freedom to mess up sometimes (because we are human).

Crossroads: Don’t Give Up!

When we were kids, my sister hated school. She didn’t want to do her homework or study, and so there were a lot of times when she didn’t understand things. But when she was in Middle School, she had a really hard time with math.

Crossroads: Pentecost

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the French language. And as soon as I got to high school, I started taking French. Because I went to a private, Catholic school, one of the first things I learned was the Lord’s Prayer in French.

Crossroads: Ascension

When I went away to college, I only moved to the other side of town. But even though I was still in the same town, my mother still had to leave me at Mercer. After we finished getting my stuff unpacked, there came a time when she had to go and I had to stay. She gave me a big hug and left me.

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: My Shepherd

Most of the time, I associate this well-known psalm with funerals. I don’t like to read it because it brings to mind sadness and pain. And yet, this psalm is all about peace. It is also about being treasured.

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.

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: Thirst

We went to camp one summer in the middle of July in the middle of Alabama. And man was it hot! The heat index was about 100 degrees every day.

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: Blessed Are You

We all have times in our lives in things are just tough. Your parents seem to fight a lot. You’re having a hard time in school. There’s a bully who keeps picking on you.

Crossroads: When God Asks

During my freshman year of college, my campus minister told me about a summer job he thought I was perfect for. It was being the children’s intern at a church in Macon. I laughed and told him I didn’t really work with children.

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?

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.

Guilt: A Meditation for Teachers

One unfortunate thing we often learn as small children is how to fling guilt at other people. We find that guilt is a sticky substance that seems to attach better to some than to others.

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.

Crossroads: Giving Generously

Has there been a time when you didn’t have much, but you still gave to the church or to someone else? Talk about that sacrifice: how it felt, how you had to step out on faith, etc.

Crossroads: Don’t Stop Believing

When my mom was a teenager, she really wanted to be a youth minister. She felt God’s call and she knew that she should be a youth minister. But in that time, women weren’t really ministers. And people discouraged her, saying that surely God wasn’t calling her to ministry.

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.

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.