Friday, October 23, 2009

Away Sick with the Flu...

well, we thought it was the flu. But, I think it was more of an intestinal flu. I never got the respiratory symptoms. Thank goodness with my my asthma. I just had fever, chills, aches and tummy troubles. And I had dizziness and weakness for a couple days that just wiped me out and required me to ask Hugh to stay home. I can usually just carry on through, but this one hit hard. So, I've been away from the computer for a while. I've even had my husband update my face book page a couple of times, letting my friends know I'm still alive, just very under the weather.
I've missed visiting all my blogs but, I have come across a new (or new to me) group called the Sisters. Have you heard of the Ruppes sisters? They are fabulous! Let me say it again! Fabulous People, FABULOUS! My husband introduced them to me one night last week. I was curled up on the couch, sick as can be, and he said I have something I want you to listen to. He played me the song I am about to leave here for you and all I can say is, I was weeping when it was over. I felt like I'd just been to church. You can feel like you have just been hit by a mack truck, and be overwhelmed with God is good. -Amen

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our New Preschool Ministry

I have been having such a wonderful time teaching our new preschool class at church. We don't have a curriculum for our new class, but, we have been making due with scripture, crafts and the help of my Christian Mother Goose book. Ms. Pat, our pastor's wife, always leads our time together for Master's club. She opens in prayer, takes up offering, and then we have our pledge to the American flag, Christian flag, and to the Bible. After that she reads our Bible story. We start with the Old Testament in the fall and work our way into the New Testament in the spring session.

I knew from working with her last year that she would begin with the creation story. Our class is using construction paper and stickers to make a wordless book of the creation story to take home. We will be doing this over a succession of weeks together. When we separated into our individual classes, I tried to build on what Ms. Pat read to us, by talking to my class about day one, where God separated he darkness from the light. As a prompt, we are using a peek-a-boo motion to remind them of day one. Then we talked about what God made to give us light: the sun, moon and stars, (day four.) I asked them if they knew the nursery rhyme "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Of course they were all very excited and wanted to share with me that they could each recite it together. Then I shared a new version of that nursery rhyme, a Christian version that says.....

Twinkle, twinkle little star, God has placed you where you are;
Up above the world so high, you're God's light hung in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, when you look down from afar,
What's that little light you see -shining here for God? It's me!

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, I can't reach you in a car;
But someday by Jesus' might, I'll fly to visit you each night.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, God has placed you where you are!

We added motions to it by opening and closing our hands like little twinkle stars, which is a great motor skill activity for preschoolers. Then we used rhythm sticks, bean bags, and shakers to work on our scripture verse from Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation..." I used eight quarter notes and two eighth notes to help them tap or shake out the rhythm. We did this several times together, giving everyone a chance to use an instrument or bean bag. Then we did other songs, where they could get up and move. Little ones have such a short attention span and can not stay still for long, so we kept things moving, always connecting what we were doing to our scripture, story and theme. We finished the evening with a craft to take home with our verse on it.

I am sharing this with you in hopes that you will be able to use it in your church or even at home with your little ones.

For our second week, we continued to build on week one. Our verse was from Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world..." We talked about how when we know Jesus/God, and we love Him and follow Him, we begin living a life filled with God's light. Other people can see that light, and we can share it with them by sharing Jesus with them and His love and kindness. That's how they get to know Him. Then we can bring them to church where they can learn about Him through the Bible, the pastor and other teachers. We sang songs like This Little Light of Mine, and we used the nursery rhyme Jack Be Nimble to make crafts with our verse to take home on it. We also reviewed Twinkle, Twinkle little Star, and our memory verse form the previous week together, as well as, other songs.

This week (week 3) we talked about sin and when Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden. Side note:(I was so happy when they remembered that the first man and woman were Adam and Eve, from the week before.) Again, I truly believe this is because we are using songs, games and prompts to build on the Bible story Ms. Pat shares each week. She talked about how Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with leaves, but it didn't help, and God knew that they had disobeyed Him (enter -sin.) She connected it to how we sometimes disobey our parents, and it makes God very sad just as it did when Adam and Eve sinned. And how even when our parents punish us, they still love us, just as God still loved Adam and Eve. She also talked when Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, and how the Lord made a covering for them out of animal skins. And how we think they might have been sheep skin, because in other places in the Bible we had to sacrifice or shed the blood of a spotless lamb/sheep to cover our sins until Jesus came. And how Jesus shed his blood on the cross to cover our sins, so we wouldn't have to sacrifice sheep any more. (Pretty deep, I know. But it's an introduction to what they will hopefully come to know and understand later as they get a little older. She is also sharing this story time with children up through the six grade.) We used the verse Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. in our class time to connect with what she had taught for the night. They took the verse home on the bottom of the cotton ball sheep they made at craft time. We also used a Christian version of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full:
One for the Lord, and one for my family too, And one for the little boy that says, "Thank you!"

Since we use the sign for Jesus already when we sing our songs, i used this opportunity to teach them the sign for "Thank you."

This next week we will continue to talk about sheep and using these two Christian nursery rhymes....

Mary's Lamb
Mary had a little lamb,
It's fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.

Now Jesus has a little lamb,
That little lamb is you!
And He is pleased when all His lambs keep following Him too.

Little Bo-Peep
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep
And doesn't know where to find them;
But, Jesus knows and can bring them home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

We will also use the Christian book One Lost Sheep by Rhonda Gowler Greene.

And our verse will come from John 10:27 The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to my voice; and I know them and they follow me. Please pray over this children's ministry, and our little class if you have time. It would mean so much to me! The majority of the children we serve do not attend church and don't even own a Bible in their home. I know this from giving seven Bibles to little ones last year in my k-1st grade class. I am praying that they will share all we are doing with their families at home and their excitement will bring their families to visit our church. I'll leave you with a few pictures of our craft ideas that we've used to go along with our theme and lessons. -Blessings!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Gentleness of my Savior

Oh, how sweet the Lord is. He is so gentle and merciful in our weakness and pain. It brings tears to my eyes just to type the precious moment He gave me last night. If you have lost someone in your life very dear to you, a loved one or family member, you know that there are times, some little something will spark a rush of memories to wash over you. I had such a moment last night. I was sitting here alone. The babies were asleep, and my honey was at work, and I was thinking about and missing my mom. It started out sweet and then all of a sudden, I was crying a flood of tears and I just couldn't stop them from coming. I lost my breath and I buried my head in my hands and just sobbed for a few minutes. It ached way down deep inside, I missed her so much. "It's not fair. It's not fair," is all I could think or feel for a few moments. "I just wish you were here. I need you."

Then I heard a little creek, and out came my sweet little girl from around the corner. As, she toddled in with her blankie, I could tell she was still half asleep. "Hold you, momma," and she crawled up into my arms, and laid her head on my shoulder. She snuggled in, and I quietly held her close and let the tears continue to fall.When she was ready, I carried her back to her bed and tucked her in. I leaned over and kissed her softly on her the side of her head and whispered, "I love you so much." Then she turned over and wrapped her arms around my neck. She gave me a little pat pat on my back and whispered, "I love you so much momma." And she kissed me goodnight. It was such a sweet and comforting moment. And the Lord knew it was exactly what I needed. Other people may just shrug it off as a coincidence, but, I know it was a "God" moment. A healing moment. I have always said that the Lord gave me my son to sustain me through the heart ache of losing my mom so unexpectedly. And He gave me my daughter, a year later on my mom's birthday, to help me heal. We mirror image so much of the closeness and the bond I had with my mom. And it helps me feel close to her, like she is still everyday a part of my life. Not just as a memory, but in a real tangible way.

Oh how sweet His love is for us. With all in the world that He has to take care of, He still has time to show us that He cares about the small things our hearts ponder over. He takes the time to say I see, I know, I do care and I love you. That is how sweet my savior is. That is the God I know and love. Do you know Him that way? Not just know about Him and who He is, but, know Him. Do you share things and moments like this with Him?