Not Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament? 8 Reasons to Start

 

Not Teaching Your Kids the Old Testament? Here's 8 Reasons to Start.

I always have to give one of my good friends a hard time about how when we started college she didn’t realize that the David of “David and Goliath” was the same person as King David. And she even grew up in the church! We like to joke about it, but it’s kind of a shame that this fundamental knowledge wasn’t passed down to her at an early age.

So often in children’s ministry settings (and even in the big church too!) the Old Testament stories are glossed over or even altogether skipped – presumably for the sake of focusing on the “gospel.”

You might be nodding your head here – Yes, yes, we should be focusing on the gospel. After all, we are under the new covenant now – why should be focus on the Old Testament?” Or maybe you began a study of the Old Testament with gusto until you got stuck somewhere in 1 Chronicles, thinking why am I doing this again?

Great questions! Today I want to share eight reasons why I think you should teach the Old Testament to your kids (and study it yourself!). And I’m talking about in it’s entirety, not just a few of the popular stories here and there – made fluffy and given a “moral at the end of the story” like it’s Aesop’s Fables instead of the Word of God (I’m looking at you Jonah!).

So, without further ado, when your kids learn about the Old Testament they will….

1. Gain a better understanding of the full scope of God’s character

The mighty hand of God that created everything from the vast universe to the invisible atom.

His loving-kindness delivering His people from Egypt.

His justice displayed in the words of the prophets.

Studying all the different stories, experiences, time periods, and people represented in the Old Testament give you so many windows through which to catch a glimpse of God’s character.

2. Understand the full story of our sin and God’s goodness

The gospel is powerful. It is rightly the center of our faith. However, we have to avoid the temptation to believe that the gospel story begins in Matthew. Yes, it begins with Jesus – but it begins with Jesus in Genesis 1:1.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -Genesis 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. -John 1:1-3

The story of God’s love and redemption through Christ is woven throughout the entire Old Testament. As we turn the pages of God’s story we find prophetic words, metaphorical foreshadowings, glimpses of His plan and purpose.

Through stories like Adam and Eve, Noah, and David we are brought down into the depths of the depravity and fallenness of humans. Only when we see ourselves in our place among the broken can we truly understand the magnitude of God’s love and mercy – and our need for His gospel offer.

Praying child.

3. Learn from a rich history of the saints and sinners before us

While I think that trying to tack on a neat moral to every Old Testament story does a disservice to the text, that doesn’t mean there is not a ton to learn in these pages. We learn of the characters strengths and successes and their sins and failures. We see God’s people love and obey Him, and also turn and forget Him.

One of the biggest lessons we see time and time again in the Old Testament is that God can and will use ordinary sinners just like me and you to take part in his big plans. We don’t have to be perfect to serve God, just trust Him and follow His commands.

4. Marvel at the perfectly planned lineage of Christ

To us, genealogies can often seem dry and boring. However, they too are an important part of God’s word.

Take, for instance, the genealogy of Christ found in Matthew 1. It would be easy to just skip on over it and get on to the story. However, have you ever stopped and looked at the names found in this passage?

Abraham (wife was barren) …

Rahab and Ruth (both non-Israelites) …

David (murderer and adulterer) …

… And the list goes on!

When we read of these people and their stories in the Old Testament we can see God’s faithfulness and plan in bringing his promised Messiah into the world.

5. Understand themselves in light of God’s story

Like I mentioned before, the Old Testament connects us with stories that mirror our own brokenness. We learn of our depravity in the story of Adam and Eve and see our same brokenness played out in the stories of God’s people time and time again. The Old Testament does not let us pass by without an understanding of our humanness, our dependance on God, and our lowly position before him.

However, in spite of our lowly position, the Old Testament also shows us how much we are loved and chosen by our creator. We see His plan to redeem His beloved people, no matter the cost. We see his love, patience, and mercy played out in the lives of ordinary humans. Ordinary humans that he allows to do great things for Him. Ordinary humans just like you and me … and your children.

8-reasons-to-teach-your-kids-the-old-testament

6. Be taught, rebuked, corrected and trained

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Timothy didn’t stutter when he said “all scripture.” In fact, during that time, the Old Testament probably would have been the primary scripture he was referring to! If you skip over the Old Testament as you seek to disciple your kids you are missing out on a huge chunk of what God has given to equip them.

7. Deepen faith through wrestling with tough topics

The flood, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, the story of the hardships of Job – these stories (and many others) aren’t Disney fairytales. The stories of the Old Testament are big, messy, and often hard to understand. When we wrestle with these stories, the concepts they hold and the questions they bring, we deepen our faith and understanding. This provides our children with a steadfast foundation that will stand the test of time.

8. Develop a deeper awe and reverence for God (and gratitude we can have a relationship with him)

Something that can often be missing in churches and Christians these days (including myself!) is a reverence, fear, and awe of a holy God. We get so focused on his love displayed through Christ that we can easily forget about his justice, power, and holiness.

Generally speaking, as they are set before the work and grace of Christ, the Old Testament stories give us a great picture of what it looks like to be in awe of a holy God. The creation account shows his strength, majesty, and sovereignty. The accounts of worship in the temple displays the lengths to which sinful people had to go to come anywhere close to God and his glory. Over and over again God’s chosen people and prophets declare themselves unworthy to stand before him.

These accounts do two things. First, they deepen our awe and reverence for God. Second, they make us all the more grateful for the relationship we can have with God because of the work of Christ.

Ready to get started?

Hopefully these eight reasons have encouraged you to give the Old Testament a chance. There are so many great reasons to dig in!

Plus, at the very least, you’ll know who King David is. 🙂

Do you have any more reasons you’ve found for studying the Old Testament?

EDITED TO ADD: I compiled a post with some great resources for teaching the Old Testament – find it right here!

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

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My Favorite Bible Study Tools: 5 Simple Things to Help You Dig into the Text

My Favorite Bible Study Tools_ 5 Simple Things to Help You Dig into the Text

As Summer begins to come to a close and the new rhythms and routines of Fall come near, I am realizing that I have done a terrible job with personal Bible study over the last few months. So, as I prepare to get myself back in gear and (re)start some good habits, I want to share with you my favorite Bible study tools! They are nothing terribly groundbreaking, but they do a great job of helping you really dig into your Bible.

Here they are…

#1 A simple notebook

What kind doesn’t really matter. It could be a plain composition notebook, a journal, a sketchbook, or whatever. It just needs to provide a place to write down notes, prayers, verses and quotes, doodles, and whatever else you can think of jotting down.

#2 Colored pencils

I like using colored pencils over pens to write in my Bible or notebook because they are not quite as permanent. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the color bleeding through to the other side of your page. I just recently bought this Sargent set for my son as a step up from Crayola. They are really nice and I think I’m going to have to swipe them for my Bible study. 🙂

#3 Commentaries, word studies, Bible atlas, concordance, etc

While we do have quite a few commentaries and the like, I’m going to be honest, they don’t leave the shelf all too often. That is because my absolute favorite resource for studying the Bible is found in a super convenient place – online!

I love biblehub.com for pretty much anything you could need for studying the Bible. Commentaries, word studies, maps, concordance, different translations, devotionals – they have it all!

If you are looking to take your Bible study up a notch, I highly recommend giving this website a try.

#4 The Bible

Of course! Can’t have a Bible study without one of these important little books. 😉 For the longest time I used an NIV Bible until it was finally falling apart like crazy and I bought a new one. I had seen how popular Bible journaling was and I loved the journaling Bibles. So, I decided to buy an ESV Journaling Bible. I love it!

I’m definitely not one of those super amazing artistic Bible journalers, but I love having extra space for making little doodles or writing notes.

#5 A Bible Study Guide

Now, I definitely don’t think a devotional or Bible study guide is at all necessary to have a great personal Bible study. However, it can be helpful to have a plan and a little help as you dig into the text. Right now my personal favorite Bible study devotional is the “Journal and Doodle Through the Bible” series by Kari Denker. If you are looking for something new and fun that will also dig you deep into the text – look no further. Go grab her free Ephesians study right now! (I also reviewed Kari’s studies right here.)

Well, those are some of my favorite tools for studying the Bible. Are you getting ready to start a new study this fall? What are some of your favorite tools?

 

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If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self… (#1 of 4)

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

My little sister is getting married this Summer and it has got me thinking back to when I was preparing for my own wedding seven years ago. The excitement and the unknowns of it all. The first couple years of figuring out what marriage is all about.

The truth is, we’re still figuring out what this thing called marriage is all about, but if I could go back in time and share with my young(er) self my advice after seven years of marriage, I think I’d tell myself four main things.

Today, I’d like to share the first thing…

#1He will mess up - forgive and love him anyway

#1 He will mess up – forgive and love him anyway

Have you ever heard this quote?

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
― Robert Quillen

It’s true. Really true. You may think you’ve gotten to experience what it means to have to forgive your husband-to-be, but you’ve only just begun sweetheart.

You know the common saying, “nobody’s perfect”? Well, I’m going to tell you right now – that’s the understatement of the year.

Yes, no one is perfect. However, the truth is, it’s more than just not being “perfect”. We are all fallen sinners. We bring to our marriages baggage from the past, mixed motivations, sinful attitudes, and selfish actions.

Your husband is going to hurt your feelings. He is going to frustrate you. He is going to make stupid mistakes.

You think you realize this, but the truth is you won’t really see how your husband’s sin affects your life until you are in the daily trenches of doing life together as a married couple. 

Just like you have your own sin habits and struggles that you may never fully shake this side of heaven, your husband will too.

When you remind him for the 100th time to please stop doing that thing you hate, and when he comes to you apologizing once again for that thing that’s much more serious, your response must be one of love and forgiveness.

 

Responding with Love and Forgiveness

Why must you respond with forgiveness? Well, the first and most important reason is because God first forgave you. 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. In this parable a servant owed a great debt to the king and was to be sold into slavery because he could not pay his debt. He begged the king to have patience and give him time to pay back this debt.

The king had mercy on the servant and forgave his debt, setting him free. 

However, when the servant left, he found another servant who owed him just a small amount and, when he could not pay, the servant had him thrown in prison.

When the king found out he was not too happy. This is how the parable closes…

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
-Matthew 18:32-35

Yikes.

Bottom line – when you think of how much God has forgiven you, it makes it a lot easier to keep on forgiving your husband.

Forgiveness keeps you humble

Speaking of the sin you have been forgiven of, having to remember this and forgive your husband is going to keep you a lot more humble.

It’ll be really easy to forget about your own sin when you see your husband’s. You don’t want to go down that path.

Forgiving your husband will help to guard you against becoming like the Pharisee who prayed while pointing a finger at the “sinner” and exalting himself.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Luke 18:11

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

Forgiveness brings freedom

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

When you hold onto your anger and your grudges instead of letting them go in forgiveness, it’s like locking yourself in jail.

When you forgive it brings freedom.

Freedom to love without wondering if he “deserves it.” Freedom to have fun and be joyful instead of being stuck with a hard heart. It gives you freedom to learn and grow alongside your spouse, moving closer together instead of farther apart.

When Jesus said that in this world we would have troubles (John 16:33), our marriages were not immune from that. However, you need to learn early on that these problems don’t have to take the wheel of your marriage.

Yes, address the problems and the sin. Yes, attack them together. Then, put those problems on the back burner and be free to love each other again – lack of perfection and all.

What advice would you give to your newlywed self?

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

Memorizing Scripture is a common Bible activity for children. Whether it’s through programs like Awana, by using Bible verses set to music, or even one of the lesson plans here on Steadfast Family – there are lots of recommendations and resources for Scripture memorization.

Once you’re a grown up, however, you don’t hear it talked about quite as much.

So, today I want to share four reasons I think we should jump in there and memorize right along with our kiddos!

1. To Be a Good Example

Kids are natural imitators. Monkey see, monkey do. Unfortunately you often realize this after they’ve imitated something you’d really rather them not. AmIright?  🙂

What better way to harness that imitator nature than by leading them to the power of God’s Word? 

I hope my boys have strong memories of their mama saying, singing, chanting, shouting, and whispering their memory verses right alongside them. And not only that, but also being able to recall scripture during the moments we need it. Which brings me to my next point…

2. To Be Able to Recall During Daily Moments

One of my favorite benefits of knowing and memorizing Scripture is the way the Holy Spirit will bring to mind these verses that you have hidden in your heart.

This is not only helpful when fielding spiritual questions from my very inquisitive four year old, but is a constant source of encouragement for me personally as well.

Just today I was pondering how badly I need more contentment in my life and I was thinking to myself “I sure do wish I could ask Paul how in the world he found contentment when he was stuck in prison!” Immediately the answer popped into my head:

For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

3. To Exercise Our Brains

I’m not gonna lie, more days than not you will find me in the fog known as “mom brain.” With everything I have to do and keep track of, plus the constant demands of caring for small children by the end of the day my brain is mush.

Doing brain work such as memorization is like exercise for the brain. It keeps things sharp and working smoothly. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely benefit from my brain being in tip top shape.

Want to read more about the brain benefits of memorization? Check out this article on Ten Proven Brain Benefits.

4. To Meditate on God’s Word

I love studying the Bible. I love learning about historical context, original languages, and the layers of meaning. I enjoy taking notes, reading commentaries, and listening to teaching.

However, I’m also learning that sometimes I need to put away the study Bible, and just meditate on God’s Word.

Read it just to know it. Just to let the truth sink in. To get lost in the wonder and grace of it all.

Memorizing scripture provides plenty of opportunity for just that.

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids-2

These are just a few reasons why memorizing scripture alongside your children is a beneficial practice. I’m sure there are many more!

What benefits can you add to this list?

 

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Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids Even When Life Gets Busy

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids

Life has been crazy busy for our family lately. Some of the commitments are choices we’ve made and some are out of our control – but one thing is for sure, the days are short and the to-do lists are long!

A while back I noticed that I was slipping in my intentionality when it came to discipling my son. We used to have plenty of time for fun Bible and character building crafts and activities (like Play Through The Bible and Hero Training), but lately I had been rushing through the day without giving much thought to activities like these.

I knew that this needed to change, but I also knew that life wasn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. I needed to find simple ways to be intentional about discipling my son that would fit into our current lifestyle.

I did some brainstorming, tweaked a few things, and I’m pretty happy with how things have been going lately. We haven’t been perfect, and I look forward to when life slows down a bit so we can do even more, but it has been working well.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

1. Discipling In Moments of Discipline

Moments of discipline are some of the best times for pointing your child to the gospel. Little hearts are often tender and in tune with their own shortcomings and need for a Savior.

I am often reminding my son during these moments that God is the only one who does only good and that is why we need Jesus.

2. Simplifying Bible Study Time

It is very easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that kid’s Bible time must always be fun, exciting, and special. Now, believe me, I have no problem with it being those things. In fact, I love making learning about God’s Word a fun and meaningful time for my son. However, it is okay to just keep it simple too.

Here are some ways we’ve done this:

  • Read straight from the Word – taking just a verse or two and reading it at breakfast, talking about it for a moment.
  • Use a simple devotional – I got my son this book for Easter and we have really been enjoying reading a page or two at a time.
  • Read through a children’s Bible – snuggle up on the couch and read a story or two. This is our favorite kid’s Bible

3. Listening to Christ-Centered Music

We love listening to music around here and we tend to listen to all different kinds. However, I do try to listen to Christian music often because of how my son picks up on the message. We will be listening and he will say “they are talking about Jesus!” or “that said the cross!” and he always gets so excited when he hears these familiar concepts.

The great thing too is that Christian music has come a long way since when I was a kid. There are a lot of quality options in different styles and genres. We enjoy listening to a “Toby Mac” station on Pandora that often plays Lecrae, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North, Capital Kings, and of course Toby Mac.

We actually don’t listen to a ton of kid specific music, but some of our favorites that we do listen to are Steve Green and Seeds Family Worship.

Another awesome way to listen to music that I am discovering is through your Amazon Prime account. Did you know that you can stream tons of music through Prime Music? I had no idea until recently! A lot of the above listed artists can be streamed through Prime Music for free!

Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial

4. “On The Go” Chats

My son and I talk about pretty much everything. Even when he was a baby and toddler I would talk with him about things that were probably above his comprehension. I figured that when he was able to understand he would, so we might as well start now.

Now, as a very inquisitive four year old, the conversations continue. Because we started early making talking about God a normal part of life, I am constantly fielding questions like:

“Is God really everywhere?”

“How come I can’t see God?”

“Is Jesus going to die on the cross again?”

“Can God hear me?”

These conversations are usually short and sweet, but I love that his wheels are always turning and he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and questions. I think these conversations are a great example of my favorite Biblical parenting advice:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

It is my goal for the Word of God to be so on my heart that we can’t help but talk about it as we go through daily life.

5. Simplify Life

I’m preaching to myself here.

Like I said, life is busy for us right now. And while some of that is just a season, I do know I need to keep looking for ways to simplify life. I don’t want to be rushing through my days, to-do list in hand, not having enough time to be intentional with the things that are priorities to our family.

If you are looking for a resource to help you live your life more intentionally, I highly recommend the eCourse IntentionalByGrace Unplugged: 10 days to live more intentionally from my friend Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace.

IBG Unplugged

How do you find simple ways to intentionally disciple your children? I’d love to get some more ideas!

 

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The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

Easter. Quite possibly the cutest holiday of them all.

Fluffy bunnies, baby chicks, little lambs.

Easter baskets, painted eggs, and lots of candy.

Definitely cute. Precious even!

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

This, however, is where the problem lies. Because, if we are trying to focus on the true meaning of Easter, what do we find?

Betrayal.

Pain.

Sorrow.

Death.

Yes, on Easter Sunday we celebrate resurrection and new life. But to get there we must travel the heart wrenching path that leads you to the cross. 

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

The last few years when Easter rolls around, I’ve found myself dragging my feet when it comes to covering the story with my son. Sure, we talk about the gospel routinely, but there is something about Easter and the nitty gritty aspects of the story that gives me pause.

You see…

We talk about Palm Sunday and I see myself among the crowds who don’t understand Jesus.

We talk about the disciples napping while Jesus prays and fleeing while he is bound and I am confronted with my own weakness. 

We talk about the crowds shouting for Jesus to be crucified and my own hard heart is exposed.

We talk about Jesus hanging from the cross and I am reminded that it is my own sin and rebellion that nailed him there. 

It is messy, painful, and humbling. Decidedly not cute.

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

So, what is a parent to do? Skip over the pain and death altogether? Maybe fluff it up a bit? Save the hard truth for later…for when they are more… ready?

The problem with this plan is where the fluffy version of Easter may be light and happy, the way of the cross is the way of depth and meaning. Yes, it is the way of pain, but it is also the way of ultimate joy.

The suffering of the cross is the path to the joy of Resurrection Sunday. The empty tomb. Humanity redeemed.

It is a difficult path. But it is a path forged by our Savior.

So, I face my own sin and I lead my children down that same path.

They may not understand the full depth of the betrayal, the crowds, the thorny crown, and the forsaken Savior. But their small hearts are open wide and ready to know of this God who loved them so.

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

Looking for resources on sharing the Easter story with your children? Try Resurrection Eggs or this round up of easy last minute ideas. I also loved this post from ohAmanda on talking to kids about the hard parts of the Easter story.

 

The ULTIMATE Operation Christmas Child Round-Up

The ULTIMATE Operation Christmas Child Round-Up

Can you believe it?! There is less than a month until National Collection Week!

Are you participating in Operation Christmas Child this year? We’ve been packing shoeboxes since K was really little and it is one of our favorite Christmas traditions!

As we prepare to pack our boxes, I thought it would be fun to do an OCC round-up. I know I learned a ton while gathering all these posts together. Now you’ve got all the info you need right at your fingertips and you’ll be able to pack an awesome box too!

Are you doing OCC with your kids? Get my FREE Operation Christmas Child Five Day Mini-Devotional by subscribing (it’s free!) either in the sidebar to the right or at the bottom of this post!

 

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OCC Official Info

Order free materials and promotional items

OCC Evangelism and Discipleship

Packing a box

Volunteer opportunities

Stories, photos, and videos 

Can’t get out to build a box? Build one online!

Ultimate Operation Christmas Child Round-up

What is OCC Anyway?

Mama Jenn covers the Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? of Operation Christmas Child is this post.

Dawn from Mama Knows shares 10 Things You Should Know About Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

OCC-3

Box Packing Ideas

General Ideas

20 Items to Pack in Operation Christmas Child Boxes – Mary from Homegrown Learners shares 20 great essential items to pack in your box.

Kelly from Faithful Provisions shares 101 ideas of items to pack in your shoebox that will work for both genders and most ages!

Jules shares some great tips for packing a box on a budget.

Some great shoebox packing tips from Simple Girl.

Boy 2-4

What to pack for 2-4 year olds – Boy or girl!

Operation Christmas Child: Ideas for 2-4 Year Old Boys & How to Build a Shoebox from wife. mom. superwoman.

Boy 5-9

Ideas for a boy 5-9 shoebox gift

Boy 10-14

According to this article, the boxes they receive the fewest of are boys 2-4 and 10-14. Here are some great ideas for boy 10-14!

Eleven Gift Ideas for Boys Ages 10-14 – Some more great ideas for this underrepresented group!

Girl 2-4

100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls

Girl 5-9

Ideas for Girl 5-9 Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

The details of what they packed in their girl 5-9 box from Kalyn of Creative Savings

Girl 10-14

Packing for older girls can be difficult, but can make such a difference in their lives! Check out these great ideas.

Ideas for a girl 10-14 shoebox

Packing Boxes of Love had a great idea of packing clothespins and rope in an older girl’s box

Ultimate Operation Christmas Child Round-up

Hosting a Packing Party

Preparing for the Operation Christmas Child Packing Party from Jenae at I Can Teach My Child

Clip With Purpose has a great idea for encouraging your church to donate materials for boxes all year long!

Shoebox Stuffing Party ideas plus free printable organization labels from The Flanders Family.

Amanda shares her experience with both a big packing party and a low-key box packing playdate.

Waddlee-ah-chaa shares some great ideas for a birthday party packing party – plus a link to a neat OCC All About Me Printable to include in your box!

Ultimate Operation Christmas Child Round-up

Crafty or DIY Ideas for Your Box

3-Step, Five Minute Drawstring Totebag for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Necklace or Bracelet Bead Kits

Super fun ideas for using the inside of your shoebox lid for an extra surprise!

Fat Quarter Bags – a simple sewing project for your boxes

This awesome family had a great idea to put a bandana in the bottom of their box as “reusable wrapping paper”

Write a special message on the inside of your box.

Free Small Doll Sewing Pattern for Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Ultimate Operation Christmas Child Round-up

Behind the Scenes

What I Saw In An Operation Christmas Child Shoebox (from Hungry for God Starving for Time) – take a peek into a distribution center.

Delivering OCC boxes in Ecuador – Join Mary from Homegrown Learners on her trip to Ecuador to deliver boxes to children

A missionary’s advice on shoebox packing – Unsolicited Advice About Shoeboxes

Erin from the Humbled Homemaker shares five things she learned from participating in an OCC distribution in Costa Rica.

Jessica from Smarter Each Day shares the amazing story of a boy greatly impacted by a OCC shoebox gift, plus some great packing tips.

Ultimate Operation Christmas Child Round-up

Additional Information

Should you pack your box in cardboard or plastic? Mama Jenn tackles this question in her post “Operation Christmas Child: Paper or Plastic?

10 Ideas to Pack an Operation Christmas Child Box – Tons of ideas for packing a frugal box. This mom packed 45 great boxes for only $45!

Some great ideas for writing a note to put in your box from faithful provisions.

Are you packing a OCC box this year? What are your tips? I’d love to hear them!

Operation Christmas Child Round-Up

Affiliate links included.

Summer Search for God – Week 8 – Do a Random Act of Kindness

*UPDATE*
An updated version of this eBook is now available in the shop.

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can find links to the previous weeks below…

Week 1 – Build a Fort

Week 2 – Make a Special Treat

Week 3 – Go for a Hike

Week 4 – Create a Masterpiece

Week 5 – Go on a Treasure Hunt

Week 6 – Get Wet

Week 7 – Conduct a Science Experiment


 mission 8

Mission Description

For this mission you need to do a random act of kindness. If you’ve never done a random act of kindness before, it is really simple. First, you choose a person or people that will receive your act of kindness. Then you need to think of something really nice to do for them. Try to think of something they’ll really like! It is even more fun if you keep it all a secret!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 NIV

What We Did

This is the last mission! Can’t believe we are already to the end of July!

After I read the mission and explained to K what a “random act of kindness” is he got to work brainstorming. First, he thought of people he wanted to do something nice for (I wrote them down) and then together we came up with something we could do for them.

Make cookies!

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K drew some cookies next to our list of people and then we got started!

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K wanted to make chocolate chip cookies and I was happy to oblige (my favorite!).

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While the cookies were baking, K worked on making some notes to go with them.

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I even snuck in some name writing practice – don’t you just love those first attempts at writing? So cute!

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When the cookies were all done we packaged them up and took a walk around the neighborhood to drop them off at some friends! It was a fun afternoon activity and a good introduction to doing something nice “just because.”

What’s your favorite random act of kindness?

 


Do you have your copy of Summer Search for God yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

Summer Search for God – Week 7 – Conduct a Science Experiment

*UPDATE*
An updated version of this eBook is now available in the shop.

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can find links to the previous weeks below…

Week 1 – Build a Fort

Week 2 – Make a Special Treat

Week 3 – Go for a Hike

Week 4 – Create a Masterpiece

Week 5 – Go on a Treasure Hunt

Week 6 – Get Wet


mission 7

Mission Description

For this mission you need to conduct an official science experiment. There are many different types of science experiments you can do. You should take a guess at what will be the outcome of your experiment (that’s called a “hypothesis”) and then do the experiment to see if you were right! Two good places to find ideas for your science experiment are the library and the internet.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1 NIV

What We Did

K was very excited when I told him that the next mission was to do a science experiment. We’ve just recently started doing more science for homeschool preschool and he loves doing the experiments!

For this mission we decided to do the classic “sink or float” experiment!

First, I had K gather some objects together…

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Then, I wrote them down on a paper with space to write the predictions and results.

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We filled up a bin with some water…

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…and got to work testing our objects!

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We kept track of the guesses and results – and K enjoyed learning the word “hypothesis.”
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And of course you can’t have a bin of water laying around without a little water play time!

 

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The verse for this mission was Genesis 1:1. We talked about how God created the whole world and science is how we learn about the world God made. We kept our discussion pretty simple, but if you’ve purchased your copy of Summer Search for God you will find more discussion points, verses, and ideas.

 


Do you have your copy of Summer Search for God yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

Summer Search for God – Week 6 – Get Wet

*UPDATE*
As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can find links to the previous weeks below…

Week 1 – Build a Fort

Week 2 – Make a Special Treat

Week 3 – Go for a Hike

Week 4 – Create a Masterpiece

Week 5 – Go on a Treasure Hunt


mission 6

Mission Description

For this mission you need to get wet! There are so many ways you can enjoy spending time in the water. If you live near a beach, lake, or pool you could go swimming. However, even if you don’t there are lots of other fun things to do in the water. Have a water balloon fight, run through a sprinkler, set up a slip-n-slide, play in the rain – those are just some ideas to get you started. You can do whatever sounds fun to you, just as long as you get wet!

Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. – Psalm 51:2 NLT

What We Did

K was super excited about this mission! After I read him the description, he got right to work drawing “rain” on his journal page.

 

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After he finished drawing, he decided he wanted to “get wet” in the sprinkler.

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After he played in the water for a while, I called him over for a little object lesson.

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We just happened to have a 5 gallon bucket full of dirt handy, so I had K come join me by the bucket. First, we reviewed how everybody does bad things except God and those bad things are called sin. I told him that sin is kinda like being all dirty and we can’t wash off the dirt. Then, I had him rub his hands in the bucket of dirt.

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We talked about how when we are all dirty we can’t be with God because He is clean and good. We need someone to wash us clean too. I told him that when Jesus died on the cross he washed our dirty sins. Then, I sent him back out to the sprinkler to wash his hands clean.

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He came back and did the lesson a few times before he moved on to other things. It turned out to be a fun and memorable experience!

 

If you have purchased your copy of Summer Search for God, then you also have access to additional ideas, scripture references, and parent material. If you haven’t downloaded your copy yet, what are you waiting for?!


Do you have your copy of Summer Search for God yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover