Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SPLINK for the week of the 27th

1 Out of 10

Items Needed: strips of paper (construction or copy) about 1 inch by 8-11 inches (whatever the length of the paper is)
Stapler or tape
Pencils or markers
Ask the kids to tell you the story of the 10 lepers Jesus healed (Luke 17:11-19.)
How many were healed? (10)
How many came back to thank Jesus? (One)
How can we be more thankful?
Make a paper chain of things for which you are thankful. Cut strips of paper and invite kids to write one thing they are thankful for on a strip of paper. Staple the ends together and then add the other chains to it, saying each thing as you add it. Leave the paper out all week and add things daily to see how loooooong the chain will get.
"I'm Thankful"
While you're riding in the car or waiting, play a game similar to “I Spy,” but call it, “I'm Thankful.” Designate one person to go first and to think of something for which they are thankful. (Ask him or her to think of one or two clues about it.) For example: I'm thankful for something and it is in this room (could be a person or object in the room; could give the color or size, etc).  The others will try to guess it. The one who guesses it should go next by picking an object and saying, "I'm thankful for something and it is ______________." (Give an extra clue if no one can guess what it is.)
We want to be thankful every day!
Learning to Say "Thank You"
"Thank you" are two of the sweetest words to hear from your child.
A good habit is to say "thank you" to the person who cooked or bought your meal. If your kids have not yet learned this good habit, model it and teach them to say thank you before leaving the table.
If someone forgets, make an extra chore or funny punishment they can do (clear the table, say Thank You 25 times, do something nice for the person cooking the meal, etc.)
It is right to say thank you to the person who does something for you!
On this journey with you,

Pastor Beau

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SPLINK for the week of the 20th

Creation Declares God's Glory

Item Needed: digital camera
Take a walk with the purpose of finding things (and taking a picture of them) that show God's glory; ie., things that show His greatness and power. Download them to the computer and look at them.
Read Psalm 19:1.
What does creation do? (Declares the glory of God)
What does it mean to declare? (To tell, to make known, to display)
How does creation show us God's glory? What can we learn about God just by looking at creation? (It shows us that He is wise to think up each creature or part; it shows us that He is powerful to create such an amazing world and keep it going; it shows His order; it shows His beauty, etc.)
God's glory is seen in so many things in the world. We cannot add to it, but we can tell about and do things that will show His glory to others.
    Reflecting God's Glory 
    On a clear night, drag a blanket outside and look up at the moon and the stars.
    Does the moon make its own light? (No)
    If the moon doesn't make its own light, where does the light come from? (From the sun)
    Just as the sun illuminates earth, the moon reflects the sun's light, making it bright in our sky.
    Why don't we always see a full moon? 
    The complete moon is always there, but you can only see parts of it as the moon orbits the earth and different parts of it are illuminated by the sun.
    The moon reflects the sun’s light on to us even when the sun is on the other side of the earth.  The amount of reflected light depends on the moon’s surface area, so we are fortunate to have a moon that is so large.  It is over a quarter of the Earth’s diameter—far larger in comparison with its planet than any other in the solar system. God's creation shows His glory.
    What can we see about God from looking at His creation? (It shows us that He is wise to think it all up; it shows us that He is powerful to create such an amazing world and keep it going; it shows His order; it shows His beauty, etc.)
    Just as the moon has no light of its own, we have no light on our own. Just as the moon reflects the light from the sun, we were made to reflect God's light and bring glory to Him.
    Read Matthew 5:16.
    How can we bring glory to God? 

    How Can We Bring Glory to God?

    Another way Jesus brought glory to God was the miracles He did. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the people knew that Jesus was no ordinary man; they knew He was God's Son. We can't do miracles like Jesus did, but we can do good deeds to bring God glory.
    Read Matthew 5:16
    How can we bring glory to God? (When we do good deeds, others will see God's glory in us)
    Ask every family member to choose one good deed they will do during the week.  Brainstorm ideas if needed—play a game with a younger sibling, do someone's chore, buy and give a small gift to someone, help an elderly person, bake some cookies for a neighbor, etc. Set a time for it to be done and then let each person tell what he or she did and how it went.
    We reflect God's glory when we love and do kind things for others.

    On the journey with you,

    Pastor Beau

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Where I spent last week...

    I spent all of last week being a counsellor at WES Camp (Whiskeytown Environmental School Camp) for a group of eight rowdy and rambunctious 5th grade boys!

    My daughter's school, Manzanita Elementary School, sends their 5th grade class to WES Camp for a whole week every year.  With over 120 kids going this year they needed a lot of counsellors to make sure these said kids stay alive :) so I volunteered...

    I was assigned a cabin full of eight rowdy and rambunctious 5th grade boys...

    My cabin, Cabin 10 (dubbed Haleakala), became a place where my profession and the real world collided... and I learned a thing or two about who I am and how God sees me.

    These boys and the staff at WES Camp, none of whom I knew before this trip, each in their own way confirmed what I have known in my heart about myself but never really truly believed.

    Some things God has shown and confirmed within me last week;

    1. We live in a fallen world
    2. God brings people into our lives who need Him
    3. God's creation is wondrous to behold if we just take the time to see
    4. Being a part of God's plan even if I don't see it at the time is spectacular
    5. Bringing hope into a child's life is breathtaking
    6. Speaking words of affirmation to a child who has never heard them before is amazing
    7. The human touch is powerful
    8. God really can hear silent prayers
    9. God really does care for everybody
    10. A lot of people are lost and lonely
    There is no way I can relay to you (or even remember) all of the God Moments that happened at camp. But what really sticks out in my mind is this:  I am surrounded by followers of Christ on a daily basis... I am a children's pastor and work at a church for crying out loud.  When I am taken out of the 'Christian Bubble' and placed in the 'Real World' I am confronted with the reality of a fallen world.  I am confronted with children who are not loved by their parents.  I am confronted with children who are severely depressed.  I am confronted with children who have parents who are drug users and pushers.  I am confronted with the result of a fallen world... and my heart breaks.

    God confirmed in my heart last week something that I have been wrestling with for a while now.  He confirmed to me that I am not doing all I can to reflect His light into this dark and lonely world.  For too long I have been living in my 'Christian Bubble'... content to go about my day living in denial, when all around me... in my own city, in my daughter's school, are hurting, lonely, dying children and families who desperately need Jesus.

    Last week I had a chance to share the light that Jesus has given me to a small cabin of eight rowdy and rambunctious 5th grade boys.  By letting the Holy Spirit work through me I was able to bring some of the hope and affirmation that Jesus has given me to a few children.

    Thank you Jesus for using me last week.  Help me to let you use me more for your glory.

    This week, let God use you to shine His light into your areas of influence.  Ask Him to bring people to you who need Jesus... but be careful, because if you ask Him to do this... He will :) Because the truth is, all of us are surrounded by hurting people.  Ask God to let you see through His eyes for a bit.  I think you may be surprised by what you see.

    On this journey with you,

    Pastor Beau

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    I Love Building...

    Yesterday, as I was perusing Youtube, I discovered Paganomation.
    (pronounced pa-GONE-no-mation, after the lead designer's last name, not PAGAN-o-mation :)

    And believe it or not, God reminded me of something while I was watching these little LEGO guys :)

    You see, these guys create unbelievable LEGO animations.

    I'm going to come clean here... I've never been a good LEGO creator.  I am the guy that follows the step-by-step guides to a 'T' and never strays from them.  In fact, once I build something... it stays built.

    I just don't think in LEGOese.  My son, on the other hand can.

    I am always amazed when he takes a pile of LEGOs and creates something out of thin air... without a step by step guide... a robot here, and spaceship there, a time machine just last week... always awesome and head-shakingly inventive.

    The guys at Paganomation take things to a whole different level though...

    Take a look at this video and prepare to be amazed.

    For a behind the scenes look at how Paganomation did this, check this out:

    After watching these videos I was reminded how our human creativeness is a direct reflection of God's own creativeness.

    The Bible tells us that we are made in God's image, and being made in God's image we humans are given the gift of creativity.  In fact, in Genesis 2:19-20 we learn that after God created all of the animals and birds, He brought them to Adam to see what names he would give them.  God let Adam use his God-given creativity to name all of the animals!  How cool is that?!

    Check out the middle of verse 19...  Truly amazing to me is that God, without the use of a step-by-step guide mind you, formed all of the animals (and us) out of the ground! THAT is awesome.

    Watching the Behind the Scenes video above reminded me of two things:
    1. Our creativity, given by God, is truly awe inspiring and amazing.
    2. Our creativity, given by God, is but a speck of God's own creativity.
    All the hours of painstaking, minuscule movements... all the planning and rehearsing... all the collaboration that went into a one minute video pale in comparison to God's creative glory.

    While it is true that video above is a wonder to behold... and a testament to God's creativity given to us, I can't help but be even more in awe of God's creativity that is so evident in God's creation all around us.

    I mean, just look at this poisonous, duck-billed, mammal that lays eggs:

    Pastor Beau's challenge:

    This week, as you're out and about with your children, slow down and take time to actually see God's creativity.  Talk about it with them... ask them what they think about God's creativity.  Believe it or not, kids have a lot to say on the subject :)

    And, as your children live out God's gift of creativity through their artwork, music, writing, dancing and personality take the time to remind them that their creativity comes from God.  That because they are made in God's image and loved so much by Him, He gave them the ability to be creative for the glory of Himself.

    We have been given the gift of creativity to glorify God and reflect His creativeness to the world!  How unbelievably SWEET is that!?

    On this journey with you,

    Pastor Beau

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    Family Dinner Friday

    It's time for a Friday Family Dinner...this week our 'cook' is Pastor Kirk the associate pastor at Redding First.

    Pastor Kirk with his beautiful wife, Maria
    Now some Q&A with Pastor Kirk

    Question:  How many people are in your family and the ages of the kids?  
    4 people in family Ben is 11 Carson is 9

    Q: How many times a week do you eat dinner as a family?

    Q: Do you have picky eaters in your family?
    Not so much

    Q:  Do you have any weekly activities that make dinner together hard?
    Many - Exercise schedule, evening meetings and commitments as a result we don't always eat at the same time every night

    Q:  Do you ever feel like NOT making dinner?
    At least 4 times a week. So Maria and I share the responsibilty. That way no one get to burt out. 

    Q:  What is something you think is important about eating together?
    Family conection. It is priceless to have a regular event that everyone attends. We talk about the day and mostly simple stuff but it reinforces our connection. I can't image life without this time. 

    Q:  Do you have any major dinner time rules?
    No games or books at the table. No one can begin eating until everyone is at the table and we pray. Wash hands before dinner. Use good table manors. Eat what is in front of you until you are full, but you don't have to clear your plate. 

    Q:  Where do you grocery shop?  And who does the grocery shopping in your family?
    Winco. Safeway, TJ

    Q: And what is one of your favorite throw-down meals (a meal that doesn't take much time to throw together/down)?
    Actually many of our meals fall into this category. I do a lot of stir fry because it is fast and you can put any vegetable in it. I will often use up little bits and parts of stuff from the week, throw it in a walk and add sauce. We also like tacos and salads and spaghetti all of which can be made in around 30 minutes

    And the meal/recipe that Pastor Kirk is sharing with us today is a great throw down meal and creative to boot...Tuesday Night Throw Down Dinner : 

    Spaghetti with a twist
    Ingredients (only 3!)
    Whole Wheat Spaghetti Pasta
    One Jar of Spaghetti Sauce (what ever brand is on sale that is not high in sugar or salt)

    Step one:  Cut Sausage into 1 inch pieces and insert dry spaghetti into the pieces (check out picture below)

    Step two:  Cook spaghetti (w/ sausage pieces) according to directions on package.

     Step three:  Drain and serve with pasta sauce of your choosing!
    Sides: Spinach Salad with croutons

    Thanks Kirk!
    Do you have regular meals as a family?
    Do you have family meal traditions?
    Do you  have a favorite family throw down meal that you'd like to share on Family Dinner Friday?  Just leave a message and I'll get in contact with you!

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    SPLINK for the week of May 6th

    May 6-12
    Keep Your Eye On The Ball
    Play a game of catch or hit the ball with the kids. As you pitch the ball to them, say, "Keep your eye on the ball." After playing an inning or two, assign someone (secretly) the role of distracting each person, as he or she is about to hit or catch the ball. (He could yell their name, jump out and scare them, walk on the field with a drink of water, etc.)
    Afterwards, ask:
    Which was easier—hitting the ball with or without the distractions? Why? (Easy answer!)
    Staying focused on the ball (or on whatever you are doing) is important. This week's Bible story about Peter walking on the water showed the importance of having faith and staying focused on Jesus.
    What happened when Peter was distracted by the waves swirling around him? (He took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink)
    What can distract us from having faith (believing) that Jesus will take care of us? (Feelings of fear, doubting that He is with us, focusing on other things instead of Him, etc.)
    Jesus is able to take care of us; we need to trust in Him.

    Connecting The Dots
    Items needed:
    Pencils or crayons 
    How did you complete the picture? (By following the next number)
    (or the person who made the page) knew what the picture would be before you started it. You only had to follow the numbers. There are times when we are not exactly sure what is happening or what to do, but we can trust in Jesus who ALWAYS knows what is happening. Jesus knew the storm was coming; He walked on the water to the disciples in the boat, and He was able to keep Peter safe. Knowing that Jesus knows what is happening and will help us can build our faith in Him.

    How can we get more faith? 
    (We can read the Bible to learn more about what Jesus is like and what He can do; we can remember how He helped us in the past; we can choose to believe in Him even when we're afraid, etc

    Happy Mother's Day!
    This Sunday is Mother's Day so get all the kids involved in planning a special day for Mom. To start, ask Mom, "How would you like to spend the day?" (After all, it's HER special day.)
    Check out all the fun ideas at familyfun.go.comOne of my favorites is to buy a blank notebook and make an alphabetical listing of the things you love about Mom.For example: for the letter C there could be a picture of a cookie because she makes the best cookies. Decorate with markers and pictures.
    If you have a mom with great faith, lavish her with praise—“her children and her husband rise up and praise her" (Proverbs 31:28). 

    On this journey with you,

    Pastor Beau

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Children <> spiritual understanding? I think not...

    I recently listened to a podcast saying that all children do not have the mental capacity to understand spiritual ideas and thoughts.  As I listened, trying to understand where this pastor was coming from, I found myself getting more and more agitated as what he said absolutely did not jive with what I have experienced... at all.

    What follows is just a recent example of many:

    Last Sunday the kids and I continued our discussion on the many "I Am's" of Jesus and talked together about what Jesus meant when he said in John 6:35 that He is the Bread of Life.

    For kids, who tend to take things pretty literally, Jesus' statement of being bread conjured weird and funny pictures in their minds... one child started laughing and said that she didn't know that Jesus was a loaf of bread, another said he wasn't ever going to eat bread again :)

    Still another child, a 6 year-old, connected some dots regarding communion.  He remembered that when we take communion we say, "This is my body, broken for you..." as we eat the bread.  This led to a wonderful discussion and an opportunity for me to explain that just as the bread we eat sustains our physical bodies, Jesus sustains our spiritual bodies.  Too little of either kind of bread and our bodies get weak and ultimately die... physically or spiritually.

    As we were discussing this, one of my students, an 8 year-old, shot up his hand and said, "Pastor Beau!  I think I understand!"  Clearly a lightbulb had gone on and he was excited!

    This is what he said:

    Reaching out for the Bread of Life is like asking God into your heart.
    Chewing it is accepting Jesus into your heart.
    Washing it down with water is praying every day.
    Digesting it is keeping your faith in God.

    I told him, "You know what just happened here?  The Holy Spirit just talked to you!  A little thought packet from Heaven."

    I asked him to write it down so we wouldn't forget and here's what he gave me:


    Who says that kids can't grasp spiritual ideas and thoughts?

    Not me... and certainly not Jesus :)

    Today I encourage you to ask your children what they think about something spiritual (who is God, who is Jesus, tell me about what Jesus did for us, what is sin, etc...).  I think you'll be amazed at what they tell you.  Besides, starting a spiritual conversation with your children is never a bad thing.  It gives us a glimpse into their thoughts about God and a chance for us to speak truth into their lives (and the other way around!).  We should do it more often.

    If you need some help talking to your children about spiritual things or if you just want to talk to someone about kids and God in general, drop me an email.  I would LOVE to chat with you as we discover God's will for our children and families together!

    On this journey with you,

    Pastor Beau

    SPLINK for the week of April 29th

    April 29 - May 5
    100 Gifts Challenge

    Items needed: piece of poster board or long piece of white paper
    Will your family take the 100 Gifts Challenge?
    Can you think of 100 things that you are glad God has given you or provided for you?
    If so, write the numbers 1-100 on the paper and keep a running list. Every time anyone thinks of something they are glad they have, add it to the list. Don't forget to add simple things like jelly for toast, running water, clean socks, etc.
    See if you can think of 100 things in 1 week! (I dare you!)


    Lunch Box
    Just as God used the boy who shared his lunch with Jesus, He can use US to help others in need. God often uses people to meet the needs of others. If a family needs groceries, God does not throw groceries from Heaven. He uses the church family to bring meat and soup and pasta and fruit to give to the family to meet their need.
    Pack a box of your favorite foods to share with a family in need; check with Pastor Beau to see where you can give your Lunch Box.
    If money is tight for your family, brainstorm ways you can share that doesn't require money—time to help a neighbor clean out a flower bed or a talent that can be shared in children's church.
    The Share Award
    Items Needed: small badge (made of construction paper or cardstock) that says,Share Award
    Announce that one person will win the Share Award each day.
    Look for examples of sharing during the day and point them out. "Thanks for sharing your popcorn with me.  Seth let Gabe play with his cars this afternoon.  Anna, that's kind of you to let your sister play with your art supplies."
    Announce the winner of the Share Reward each evening at dinner and reward him/her with a special privilege—stay up 30 minutes later, choose a game to play, pick a snack, choose an extra book to read, etc. (Praise is a good way to reinforce the behavior you want to see more.)
    God has given us what we have so we can share with others.

    On the journey with you,

    Pastor Beau