I love all things Christmas. When people ask me how I am holding up during the holiday season my response is, “I love Christmas, what’s there to be stressed about?” That being said, it is important to note that there are times when the demands on my person and schedule can feel like too much. Besides my normal full-time job, family, and other regular commitments there are parties and gatherings, church events, decorating and Christmasifying our home, baking, and of course buying presents for the special people in my life.
I love shopping (I would say don’t tell my husband, but he is fully aware), and for the most part I find Christmas shopping to be a fun and joyful thing. But there are times when it seems like I can’t find the right gift. There are times when finances have been tight and shopping for gifts did not fill me with joy, but with anxiety. And there are times when I look around at all of the unnecessary stuff and wonder why I am wasting time and money on things that no one needs.
However, gift giving isn’t as much about need as it is about a tangible expression of my love for someone. It’s lovely to give people things they need, but it is also worthwhile to give gifts that are meaningful. They can be hand-made, donations made on the recipients behalf, or even gifts that are based in family or friend traditions.
This year, let’s consider giving the gifts we give with a little more thought and consideration. Not the “I should give you a present” gifts, but gifts that come from our heart, given to touch the heart of another in a tangible way.
Click here for a great article from Lifetree Kids with some input on giving less or more intentionally at Christmas time. If you are ever looking for good resources for faith and family, this is one of my favorites!
While only kids (and those lucky school teachers) have been on actual summer holiday, the rest of us have tried to capture the mood of Summer as much as we can: backyard barbeques, pool days, lazy days at the beach, sleeping in, hiking and travel. Summer still has 24 days left, but the beginning of school signifies the end of the summer. What old patterns are you falling back into? Probably a series of alarm clocks, school and sports schedules, and a return to the weekly activities that make up the bulk of our daily lives.
Have you considered falling into new habits this year? Most people think of fall as signaling the beginning of the end of the year, or the beginning of the rush toward the holidays. But fall is a time to consider new beginnings as well.
I hope that this year you will consider joining us for a new year of Wednesday night ministry at Sunrise. We have great things planned for our elementary boys and girls clubs. This fall the boys will be learning how to make step stools and talk about fire safety while learning Biblical values and being mentored by amazing men. The girls will be learning foundational truths about faith and their identity in Christ, doing some fun crafting and build relationships with other girls and the women who are investing in their lives.
Grown-ups can participate in various activities on campus including women’s Bible studies, exercise classes and open gym, choir, and Sunrise Common (open foyer for building relationships, drinking coffee, and well, you decide). And of course, start your night off in Sunrise Café, because who wants to cook dinner on a Wednesday night anyway?
There are so many ways we can choose to spend our time, but this year, let’s go “Falling Together”!
7 Ways to Teach Your Children to Give Cheerfully
- Model a thankful heart. Express aloud your thankfulness for God’s provision of your family’s daily needs.
- Explain what the Bible teaches about tithing, and show children how they can figure their own tithe. Let them see you tithing cheerfully.
- Explain that we are the managers, not the owners, of all the resources God has placed in our care. Model good stewardship for them as your family decides how to spend money.
- Explain how money is used when it is given to the church. If you have older children and teens, discuss the church budget with them.
- Introduce your children to the ministry personnel of your church and to missionaries who visit in your church and discuss how tithes help them do God’s work.
- Participate in ministry and missions opportunities as a family so your children can see their tithes at work.
- When God provides for your family in unexpected ways in times of crisis, call attention to His faithfulness by having a special time of prayer and thanksgiving.
This article, and more great stuff can be found at Lifeway.com.
What says “Bethlehem” to you? For me this question was brought on by a picture I had seen on Pinterest of a donkey and a lamb. This picture might not evoke a strong feeling in you, but it says a lot to me.
It says “Peace on Earth”. Anyone who has been outside when it is snowing has felt the incredible quiet that seems to envelope the world. In that moment you can feel it-Peace on Earth.
It says “I am your provision”. Figuratively, the lamb of God, who is our provision, standing alongside the donkey who carried him to the manger, providing transport and rest.
It says “you are covered”. As the snow blankets the earth in a layer of white, covering all blemishes, so does the promise of covered sin. Not far away, wrapped in a blanket, lies the covering of sin. Our Savior, come to earth as a baby, bringing the promise to wipe away the blemishes of humanity and cover us in a blanket of forgiveness.
It says, “I am with you”. The lamb of God, standing alongside a lowly donkey. Jesus Christ, walking alongside just me and just you. Immanuel, God with us.
I pray that you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas. I pray that no matter the circumstances you will be filled with true Peace on Earth. I pray that your heart might be drawn toward the Savior. Merry Christmas!
As Sunrise Kids Ministry it is our desire that your children would live lives of faith based on the Word of God and a real relationship with Him. Colossians 2:6 & 7 says, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
We want to see our kids grow in Christ and establish deep roots of faith that will last a lifetime. It is our great privilege to join your famly on the journey of childhood and faith, and it is your privilege to lead your children on that path at home. Our families are all very different: family structure, personalities, skills, abilities, and parenting styles. Sometimes we look around and it seems like every family has it all together except for our own. Everyone arrives at church on Sunday perfectly dressed, perfectly mannered and with cheerful “we did not argue in the car” faces. Let’s stop comparing our families to the seemingly perfect ones we see around us, and instead be faithful to pursue the parenting path that God has put in front of us. Let’s choose not to be perfect parents. Let’s choose to be the best parents we can be. It is our hope to come alongisde you in any way we can.
You might not have noticed, but each week when you go into the Kids Check-in area there are shelves that have resources to help you on your journey. On these shelves you find information about Sunday mornings and Wednesday night kids programs, fliers for women’s groups, information about Monday Storytime where you can connect with other parents, and FREE books and magazines. Please take advantage of the things you find here, and help yourself to the parenting books, magazines, and kids devotions. If what you are looking for is not here, let us know and we will do our best to connect you with the right resource to encourage you and your family.
Last week kids had the opportunity to participate in Ingredients for Life. It was a day filled with cooking, fun, and some great time hearing from Gods word. We learned that when you bake a pizza one of the most important parts is the crust. Without the crust as your foundation, the pizza will not hold together. It is the same for us! Without a foundation of Jesus Christ, our life just doesn’t hold together.
We talked about baptism and communion: what they are, when we do them, and why we do them. We talked about growing in our relationship with Christ; and finally, we pulled out our Bibles and learned about where the Bible came from, who helped write it, and how to find things in it.
We went home with aprons, chefs hat, and recipe cards: one card for each recipe we cooked and one Recipe for Life card that contained information from our lesson on learning how to living a life of faith.
We ended our day of cooking by decorating cakes as a competition. After the judging, the parents and siblings who came for pick up were served cake! So we had our cake and ate it too!
Our last Summer Family Event is “Meet you at the Movies” on Wednesday, August 9th. We will meet at the theaters on Greenback and Garfield for the 10am showing of “Sing”. Be sure to get there early as they tend to sell out. Tickets are $1/person. See you there!
It’s crazy how fast the summer seems to speed by each year. Even though it is the same length as the other seasons, something about the sweet goodness of summer makes it pass all too soon. It is already July, and some of our best weeks of the summer are behind us. Kidtastic Adenture, where we learned about the God of the universe, was galactically amazing; and just last week some of our elementary students were able to attend Wagon Train at Hume Lake Christian Camp. I hope that you click the links to enjoy glimpses into these events.
Don’t let all of this nostalgia for our last two events make you feel like you missed out on summer! It is our desire to gather families together for some “meet you there” events. You can read all about them on our Summer Family Calendar.
And lastly, mark your calendar for our only event that you need to plan ahead for! Click on the link and register for Ingredients for Life, a cooking and digging deeper Bible study day for kids entering 2nd – 5th grades. It’s on Thursday, July 20th and is going to be a day that you don’t want your kids to miss!