Crossroads: Hope

I saw the Star Wars movies much later than many others. I was in my early twenties before I watched any of them, but when I did, I found a familiar story: of hope.

Advent Journey Spirals

This craft explores the idea of a journey towards the birth of Jesus, echoing the journey that Mary and Joseph take to Bethlehem and our own waiting for Jesus to come again.

Crossroads: For the Least of These

My youth group went to serve lunch at a homeless shelter when I was a teenager. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wanted to help. We began by helping prepare the food and by making sandwiches for the people to take with them when they left.

Crossroads: Using What God Gives You

I’m a good organizer and I like to plan events, but I didn’t realize how these gifts would help me in ministry. I had planned on being an accountant, but God had other plans for me.

Crossroads: Tell Me the Story

I grew up in church. For as far back as I can remember, I had Sunday school teachers telling me about Jesus and how much God loves us. My preacher knew who I was and he told me about Jesus too. My mom told me about Jesus and my grandparents told me about Jesus. I knew that I was surrounded by God’s love.

Crossroads: Blessed Are You

Every time I read the Beatitudes, I think about Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa spent her life caring for the poor and forgotten. She showed mercy to those who seemed unlovable, and she did her best to bring about peace.

Crossroads: What Is the Greatest Commandment?

As a rule follower, I also want to know the order of the rules. Which rules are most important? Are there rules that we can actually ignore? Which is the rule we absolutely must follow?

Crossroads: Who Goes with Us?

My grandfather fought in the Korean War. In fact, he almost died in that war. In the few times that he ever talked about it, he told us that after he had been wounded, when he thought he was dying, he saw an angel.

Crossroads: How Should We Live?

I am a worrier by nature. I worry about all kinds of things. I worry about my family and my friends. I worry about safety. I worry about whether an event is going to turn out well and if people are going to show up. I even worry about other people’s problems!

Crossroads: Being the Best

One semester in college, I asked my professor what I got on my final exam. He said something like a 94, and I asked what questions I missed. I’ll never forget his response: “Why does it matter? You got an A.”

Crossroads: Our Attitude

I loved school. When I was a kid, I loved everything about school. And I loved good grades. I wanted to be the best. But here’s the thing: there was always someone better than me. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, there was always that one person who was smarter.

Crossroads: That’s Not Fair!

“That’s not fair!” Growing up with a younger sister sometimes meant that I said “that’s not fair” a good bit. There were times when she got to do things much earlier than I had gotten to do them, or she got her way when I really wanted mine.

Crossroads: God Always Finds a Way

Looking back and seeing God’s fingerprints in your life is a lot easier than seeing them in the moment. There are times in my life when things seemed impossible. When I was upset and hurting in the 6th grade when our church fell apart, it seemed impossible that I would ever be happy again.

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.

Crossroads: Paying Attention

Moses could’ve easily walked on by. After all, a burning bush probably wasn’t that unusual. But when Moses looked at it, he noticed something. The bush was burning but it wasn’t burning up. So he went over and the Lord spoke to him. Moses was paying attention.

Crossroads: God’s Love Is Eternal

David’s psalm is a great reminder that God’s love never fails. God never quits on us. God sees and knows everything about us and still loves us. And when people hear what God has to say, they will sing about the glory of God. Their response will be one full of thanks.

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: Standing Up for Others

Joseph was the favorite son and it seems like he liked to tell on his brothers. So Joseph was a tattletale and the favorite, and his brothers hated him for it. They hated him so much that they plotted to kill him. But Reuben knew how much Joseph meant to his father, and so he stood up for him. Kind of.

Crossroads: Don’t Give Up

I love learning different languages. I took French for seven years in high school and college and I absolutely loved it. I knew what I was doing and I was good at it.

Crossroads: The Love of God

When I was a child, I loved singing the hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story.” I loved telling people about God and this hymn reflects that. As an adult, it is sometimes harder to tell others about God. I am more worried about what they will think of me or how they will react than I was when I was a child.

Crossroads: Our Bighearted God

When I was in preschool, I had a teacher named Miss June. I loved Miss June. She had a really big heart. She was very sweet. But the thing I loved most about her was that she kept me company when everyone else was taking a nap. I had to do a breathing treatment for my asthma every day after lunch.

Crossroads: We Are Called

When I was in eighth grade, I had a friend who knew about Jesus, but she didn’t have a relationship with him. Even so, she was open to talking about Jesus.

Crossroads: Sharing Jesus with Others

As a young teenager, I remember telling one of my best friends about Jesus while we were at a slumber party. She was having a hard time and she was crying. Her parents argued a lot and she was worried about what was going to happen.

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: God Is Our Fortress

There have been many times in my life when it seemed like a storm was raging around me. Sometimes it was because there were actual storms happening that came with tornadoes. In those times, I prayed for God to protect me and keep me safe. I prayed for God to calm my fears and remind me that God is always there with 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.

Crossroads: Celebrate the Lord!

I loved to make up songs as a child. Most of my songs were songs of praise to God. They were celebrating what God was doing in my life. Sometimes, it’s easy to celebrate what God is doing.

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.

Crossroads: My Hope Is in the Lord

I am a worrier by nature. When things go wrong, I get anxious. Even when things have the possibility of going wrong, I get anxious.

Crossroads: Guilty

When I was in the first grade, I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to tell everyone everything all of the time. So being asked to be quiet wasn’t easy for me. One day we had a fire drill at school and our teacher instructed us to walk quietly outside. Honestly, I tried.

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: Anger and Words

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” How many times did we say this to someone growing up? How many times have you heard it before? When I said this as a kid, it was because someone had said something hurtful and mean to me, and I said it to cover up the fact that those words did hurt.

Crossroads: This Little Light of Mine

When we accept Jesus, we become a light for God. Our lives change because of Jesus. When we listen to God, we are kinder to others and we show them how much God loves them. In this way, we are a light. It’s kind of like we’re all walking around with candles.

Crossroads: What Does God Want from Us?

I like to know exactly what is expected of me. If someone asks me to do something, I ask questions to make sure I know what I’m supposed to do.

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: Fishers of People

Going fishing takes patience. You have to wait awhile (sometimes a very long while) before the fish start biting. First you put something on your hook that you hope the fish will want to eat. Then you plop that hook into the water and you wait. Sometimes you may move it around some, but you have to wait for the fish.

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.

All Is Joy

My youngest children are just old enough to have developed a growing curiosity about Lent. They are asking more questions about why and how we Christians observe this liturgical season.

Crossroads: The Lighthouse to the Nations

My mother loves lighthouses. She loves to collect them and she loves to visit them. So when I was growing up, every time we went to the beach, we tried to find a lighthouse.

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.

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.