September 26, 2012

Faith Works! (How the Believer Should Behave)

Don't worry, I am not going to preach a sermon on James...I still have too much to learn from the book myself!  But, I am going to give you the documents for the Reader and Non-Reader worship notebooks that will be available for the children, ages 4-5th grade, at Calvary this Sunday!

Non-Reader Worship Notebook

Reader Worship Notebook

Hope you find this helpful as your children worship with you this week!

September 24, 2012

Psalm 89:9

Oh, how my heart needs to cling to the truth of that verse!  "You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them."  For about the last two months I have just felt like I was drowning.  Every time I would think I had my head above water and could catch a breath, here came another wave.  I have just been overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and physically tired.  I just can't seem to get anything done!  But at the same time, I have also had many moments of true direction and passion straight from the Lord.  I don't know really the best way to describe it, so I'll just ramble in some bullet points (hope that's ok!):

  • I have had an overwhelming desire to "live smaller", yet an intense fear of actually trying to do so.  As I was sitting in the service one Sunday morning, I actually had the thought, "I just want to live in a little two bedroom house, get rid of all the stuff, and see what God can do."  What?!?!?  2 bedrooms?  I must be crazy.  And get rid of this stuff....do you know how much crap we have crammed into this house (that feels pretty little as it is, by the way!)  But my heart still can't stop yearning for less.  Less clutter, less stuff, less petty things, less distraction, less, less, less.  But, my brain just can't make me do it.  It's so counter-cultural and I don't want to be looked at as weird or crazy.  I don't want my kids to be treated differently, especially at church, because the aren't allowed to do or have the same things other kids have.  But, oh, how I long to want to give away every penny we don't absolutely have to have in order to live.  Oh, how I long for my kids to just dream up ways to give away money that comes their way.  Oh, how I long to put away all pride and selfishness and serve others-my family, my church, my neighbors, my community.  My heart is aching for it more than I can express, but my mind just won't follow!  I can't convince it to see the truth of James 1:27 (and a myriad of other scripture telling us to take care of the poor and set self aside for the glory of God.)  I just want to sit and scream and cry some days at the level of my selfishness and the level of selfishness I see I've taught my kids.  We have no idea how blessed we are.  We have no idea how needy others are.  We just have no idea!
  • In that same line of thinking, I cannot wait to jump into reading Jenn Hatmaker's book 7.  I can't wait to see what the Lord teaches me through the hardship of fasting from the excess of this world.  Of course, I am also scared to death of that same thing, because I am pretty sure I am not going to like anything I discover about myself!
  • I must constantly be reminded of how amazing the friends are that God has surrounded me with right here.  It seems the tears haven't stopped flowing since sweet friends announced they were moving on to pursue ministry elsewhere.  Don't get me wrong, it's a sad time and I miss them terribly, but to be crying about it for nearly three months?  Seriously?!?!  They aren't dead, they're just in AR (go ahead and insert AR jokes here)!  I can still text and talk to them pretty much anytime I want.  And, hello...I have way more friends who are still here than left, so I don't know what my deal is! (I am NOT pregnant, I promise...though that would be a much easier explanation!)  Some of the most Godly and wise ladies I know are still right here beside me in little ole Hannibal and in that, I can rejoice everyday!  Sara and Mandy, please know you are terribly missed each day, but I know that at some point, I just have to move on (as I know you do, as well!)  You will never be replaced (and neither will any of my friends still here), but my heart is going to have to be convinced to let you go!
Anyway, as you can see, I am a mess (I wish I could say a "hot" mess, but sweet readers, this would not be the truth and I am OK with that!)  Praying for peace, clarity, and focus...along with a clear purpose from God for my family relating to service and our finances.  I appreciate any and all prayers you send our way!

September 06, 2012

James 1:1-4

It's that time again!!!  Sophie will be in the service with us this week, so I am putting together her worship binder. Just want to give all you parents out there some words of encouragement: First, I encourage you to at least try bringing your children with you for the whole service at least once a quarter.  It will be an experience you (and your child) will not forget.  I know it's work and there's always the fear that your child will be disruptive, but don't underestimate this precious child you've poured so much into all week long!  They are capable of so much more than we give them credit for, I promise!  I also want to encourage you to take the time to make them a worship notebook of some kind so they can be engaged in the service.  But, not just engaged, engaged with the same topic that the pastor is speaking about (whenever possible).  The point of bringing your child to the service with you isn't to teach them how to sit still (I mean, let's face it, they learn this all week long in school, pretty sure they've got that one down!), but to pour truth into them in a way different than what they've gotten all week long.  I know that many are concerned because they'll be bored or it will be over their heads because it's not "geared toward them."  To that I say (at least at our church), they have Sunday School on their level, Family Quest on their level, Kidz Quest on their level, most likely family devotions at home on their level, and those who are home schooled have Bible classes on their level.  I just don't think it's too much to ask for them to have one time a week where they get the Bible in a different way on a different level.  After all, doesn't Scripture say that His Word will not return void?  If truth is going in, God can use that in their lives!  I also want to encourage you to be sure you are printing some things for their notebook yourself.  To me, this is so important.  When your child knows that YOU have taken time to put something together for them so that they can actively participate in the cooperate worship and teaching, it will mean so much more.  Now, for some of you, all that will mean is that you print off the documents you find here.  For some of you, that will mean spending 10-20 minutes during the week to put together something on your own.  Either way, put some effort of your own into it and I promise it will pay off!  It may be slow, but it will happen!!!

 Here are a few of the documents that I am putting in there this week.  Also, www.spellingcity.com is a great resource for printing things.  You just have to create an account (it's free for the basic account) and put in the words you want to use that week, then you can go to the games section and print activities for your child.  We use this site for school and for our worship notebook.

--This website will be useful for CBC members over the next two months or so as Bro. Jeff will be doing a series on the book of James.  You will be able to use some of this for the worship notebook and some of it possibly for some family devotions at home!:  James Children's Church Lessons
--James 1:1-4
--James 1:1-4 Fill in the Blank
--Draw
--Basic Intro Questions
--Agree/Disagree

I hope this helps as you prepare your little one for worship this week!!!