Halloween Evangelism Tracts for Children

Halloween is just around the corner and it can be the single largest evangelistic outreach for Christians in America.  What other day of the year do are there millions of children knocking on the door of Christians asking for a treat?  Statistics I found say there are 41 million trick or treaters between the age of 5 and 14 and 1.1 billion pounds of candy given away.Halloween Evangelism Tracts

What do you think the odds that those 41 million kids knock on at least one follower of Jesus?  What if that one follower gave them a Halloween Evangelism track that also invited parents to visit their church?  A recent study found that 82% of unchurched would consider visiting a church if invited.  This same study found that 98% of church members never invited even one person in a given year.

That could easily be changed at Halloween.  During every day of the year except Halloween Christians would have to be proactive to share their faith, which a lot of people are uncomfortable with, but during Halloween kids ask you for something.  Go ahead and buy some of the 1.1 billion pounds of candy but also give them a Halloween evangelism tract or an invitation to visit your church.

Some will respond.  If the number that responded is 1% that would be 410,000 families either visiting church or responding to the Gospel.  When Abraham was pleading for Sodom he asked God if he would spare the city for 50 people, finally saying he would not destroy the city for the sake of 10.  If Christians united in their desire to reach the lost at Halloween and only 210,000 people were saved is that worth the effort and expense?  Suppose only 105,000 respond?  What if the number is 52,500?  What if only 26,250?

Jesus last commandment found in all four Gospels is “Go and make disciples of all nations” – Matthew 28:19.  Let’s take advantage of the opportunity which Halloween offers us.

There are many Halloween evangelism tracts already printed and ready to buy.  A few even have a spot to include your church’s name and information.  Here is a link to some of the Halloween Gospel tracts available:

Halloween Gospel Tracts

  • Amazon – If you already shop on Amazon and if you are a Prime member you can find hundreds of Halloween Gospel tracts with free shipping.
  • Christian Book – They have a wide selection of Halloween evangelism tracts from a variety of companies.
  • Memory Cross – Origami Halloween tracts, many with room to put your church information.  See the video below that shows how each tract works.
  • Let the Little Children Come – I’m a big believer in making Gospel tracts creative because they capture attention and are far more likely to be read.  I think Memory Cross cards are the most creative, but then I work there.  The other company that incorporates the creative use of paper to share the Gospel with children is Let the Little Children Come.  Be sure to check out their products.
  • Crossway – While they don’t (as of this writing) have tracts specifically for Halloween they do have well written child friendly Gospel tracts.
  • Moments with the Book – They have the best selection of KJV tracts.  If you love that version check out their products.

The final option is to create a small card that tells what your church has for children and youth activities and invites the parents to visit.  It is more work, takes a longer lead time and is a little more expensive but is more effective.  Memory Cross can help you with the printing and design of your card.  The lead time is about two weeks.  Click here for more information.

If Jesus has changed your life and you want to share the Good News with others then Halloween is one of the most effective times of the year.  Simply drop a Halloween tract in with your candy and pray that God uses it to change lives.

I have included two videos below.  The first shows how each Memory Cross card folds and the second video is the story of someone whose life was changed because of a simple Gospel tract/invitation.

 

 

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Teaching Children to Pray: lessons, videos, crafts

Teaching Children To Pray

Teaching children to pray is critical in helping them develop a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

teaching children to pray

Here are some tips to help you teach children how to pray.

For younger kids teach them to pray out loud at first. Your child may not yet understand what praying is so try replacing the word “prays” with the word “talks.” Encourage them to talk with God. It is said of men of old that they walked and talked with God.

Teaching your children love and patience is important when they are learning to pray. These two virtues when practiced keep our hearts soft and teachable. The prophet Samuel was able hear the still small voice of the Lord because his heart was teachable.

Part of praying is asking the Lord to meet our needs. When we teach children that God loves them, we help them feel positive and hopeful about their future. Their prayers will be more uplifting and from the heart.

Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe and God’s love for us made it possible to have a relationship with Him.  When children are little they may not understand the word “love” but they certainly understand the emotion. You have been there for them from the beginning and you can share with them how God has been there for both of you.

Adults have learned that God may not immediately answer our prayers or answer them in the way we prayed for.  A child, however, has not yet learned this, therefore, we need to teach them patience.

Children can learn to be patient when we set a good example. When I look at the times I become impatient I see an opportunity to teach my children. When I am driving for example, I do not have to be the first person to arrive.  You can share with your children that this is patience. You are willing to wait a little longer to arrive at your destination just like you are willing to wait on the Lord.

When we teach our children to pray we also need to teach them about love. God does not always answer our prayers as we would like, but we can teach children that God loves us no matter what happens.   Sometimes we have to wait for the answer and sometimes the answer is not what we had prayed for.

Even Jesus did not always get the answer he would have liked.  When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed: “My Father, if possible, don’t make me drink from this cup.  But do what you want, not what I want.”  It is hard for adults to understand why our prayers are not answered in the way we wish and it is even more difficult for children but we have to teach them that God is love and that no matter how hard life gets he promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Discussing spiritual matters with young ones can be a challenge. If you have ever attempted it, you know that their insatiable curiosity will lead them to ask many questions which might end up stumping you. So when you are teaching your children to pray, you will have to be very strategic about it.

To start with, you should pray with your child on a nightly basis. He or she will be able to learn by example, and in seeing you bring yourself before the Lord, a good example will be set. But this isn’t limited to nightly kneeling sessions by the bed. Teaching prayer is something that should happen in your day-to-day life.  Watch the video below by Mark Schultz called She Was Watching.

Whenever even the smallest blessing occurs, point it out to your children and thank God for it. This will establish with your child that for everything precious in the world, God is to be thanked.

Be aware of when the prayer of your child is answered. It is too easy to pray for something, and then when it happens think something along the lines of “wow, that was lucky!” If you notice that some prayer of your child has come true, make a huge deal of it and show the child the importance of looking for God in daily life.  If your child is old enough to write, start a prayer journal.  This is a great way for kids to remember how God has answered their prayers.  There are many options for creating a prayer journal depending on the age of your child:  Paper, app, web solution.

From the beginning of your child’s life, teach him or her to enjoy the creation that God has given. Point out the sheer natural beauty of the world we live in, and point out how God has given us the gifts to enjoy.  Teach them to be still and listen to God.  Psalms 46:10 says: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Just as you appreciate beauty and miracles through prayer with your children, teach them to use prayer to cope with unpleasant situations. For example, if you pass a car crash, say a quick family prayer. This will teach your child that prayer is multi-faceted, and an outlet for showing gratefulness as well as appealing to God’s good will.  If you take walks with your children pray for the people in the houses you pass.

Teaching children to pray

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says: “Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.…”

Every evening, bless and pray over your children. Use the classic blessing before bedtime: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” This will help your children to realize that God is always present and protective.

Prayer, like anything taught to a child, is better taught through actions than by trying to explain. Show your child what it is like to pray on a regular basis. Bring prayer up regularly, and relate it to the current situation. If you can truly impress the importance and the significance of prayer on your child, you will have accomplished a truly great feat as a parent.

Here are some additional resources to help you teach your children to pray.

  • Prayer craft ideas on Pinterest.  1000 ideas that you can use to teach children about prayer.  There are many great ideas on this board.  I encourage you to check it out.
  • Ministry to Children Sunday School lessons on prayer.  Over 75 lessons, videos and crafts that can be used with your children or during Sunday School.  Ministry to Children has in my opinion the best resources available for children on the web and everything is FREE.  Tony is a remarkable person who has created an amazing resource to help raise children that love God and with 9 of his own he uses what he writes about.  If you would like to know more about Tony and Kellie check out their blog and mission work in Haiti.
  • Videos to teach children about prayer.  YouTube is one of my favorite video resources.  There are a ton of videos on children and prayer.  The link I included has 84 videos.  While I did not look at every one the ones I watched before including it in our resources were good, especially for younger children.

We can read the Bible from cover to cover and memorize hundreds of Scriptures but without Love we are nothing.  Prayer opens up our hearts to God.  There is nothing more exciting to me than to see people who are on fire for God, who pray and love God with all their heart, soul and mind, no matter what is going on in their lives.  You can help your child become one of those people who are on fire for God.  May each of our children burn with the love of God.

 

 

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Trick or Treat Bible Tracts for kids

If God has put it on your heart to share the Gospel with children this Halloween then there are a number of trick or treat Bible tracts available written specifically for kids that you’ll want to check out.

Halloween is the one day of the year when children knock on their neighbor’s doors asking for a treat. Along with candy handing out a simple Halloween Gospel tract, especially one that also invites parents to visit your church can be an effective way to let children know that there is a God and that he loves them and has a plan for their life.

I realize that Christians have differing views on Halloween and whether to avoid it, join in the activities or use it as an evening of evangelism.  Personally after reading the history of Halloween I find many of the customs are either directly Christian or have been taken from Christianity.  It has been mixed with elements that are not Christian just like Christmas so in my mind I’ve decided to use Halloween to plant seeds that God could use to further his kingdom.

When Paul was in Athens he found common ground with those who were worshiping other gods and used it as his starting point to talk about Christ. Acts 17:22 -23.  Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

If you are unsure which way God is leading you, read the Bible and pray about it.  For those who want to share the Gospel with children at Halloween here are a few trick or treat Bible tracts for kids that are worth checking out.  First a disclaimer, I’m a partner in Memory Cross and involved in the creation of Halloween tracts for kids, so I’m biased and I do receive compensation if you choose to purchase a Memory Cross trick or treat tract for children.  Having said that we work very hard to create relevant and engaging tracts that kids will want to keep and read over and over again.

With every tract we make we follow the following guidelines:

  1. Make sure the tract gets kid’s attention and engages them.  If it does not get their attention it will be discarded without even being read.
  2. Make it something kids want to keep.  We do this through the unique design, images and wording.
  3. Create Halloween tracts so they presents the Gospel in a kid friendly, positive and loving way.  They do not have to present the plan of salvation but if it starts a conversation, opens a door, or makes kids want to know more then a seed has been planted.  With most of the trick or treat tracts there is a space for you to invite parents to visit your church.  Hopefully that is where children will come to understand who God is and accept Jesus as their savior and become a disciple of Jesus.

Favorite trick or treat Bible tracts for kids

Trick or Treat Bible Tracts for kids

This Halloween tract shares the Good News in four panels that make a never ending loop.  The copy is as follows:

  1. Happy Halloween.  Have you heard the Good news?
  2. God loves you and has a plan for your life.
  3. For God so love the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16 ESV
  4. I have come that you may have life and have it to the full – Jesus (John 10:10).  Come visit us this Sunday and there is space to either stamp the church name and address or hand write it.  If you are ordering before September 30th you can also get it printed with your church name if you order 250 or more cards.

They are available in packs of 24 or 250 if you want your church’s name imprinted on the cards. The video below shows how every Memory Cross card folds.

Free Candy Halloween trick or treat Bible tracts for Kids

Free Candy Halloween Gospel Tract for kids

This trick or treat Bible tract asks the question what could be better than free candy?  That is what Halloween is all about.  Just dress up in a costume, say trick or treat and get free candy.  What could be better than that?  God’s love.

Panel 2 says: “God loves you.  He sent his Son Jesus to earth to die for your sins so that you can have eternal life.

Panel 3 says: “That is the greatest and sweetest gift in all the world and all you have to do is accept it.  Invite Jesus into your life and ask him to forgive your sins.  Simply say this prayer and long after the candy is gone Jesus will still be by your side.

Panel 4: “Lord Jesus I know I have done wrong and need your help to do right.  I believe that you died for my sins and that you are alive today.  I want to be like you and I want you to be Lord of my life.  Please forgive me.  I invite you to live in my heart.  I will obey you and live for you the rest of my life.  There is space to write the name of your church or other message.

This tract is available in packs of 24 or we can imprint the cards with your church name and address in packs of 250 or more.

These are just two of the trick or treat Bible tracts for children that we’ve created.  To see the entire line of Halloween tracts, visit our store and pray that God may use all of our efforts to build His kingdom and bring children into a relationship with Jesus.

Here are a few other resources worth checking out:

  • LifeWay has several good trunk or treat tracts.  Click here to check out their supply.
  • Amazon has a number of tracts from a variety of suppliers.
  • Christian Book also has a number of tracts available on their website.
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Evangelism – Simple Ways to share the Gospel

Simple Ways to Share the Gospel

Christians are all called to spread the Gospel to the whole world, but many assume that thisSimple Way to Share the Gospel kind of work is only for those who are called in the ministry of evangelization like the missionaries and the evangelists but Jesus calls each of us to spread the Good News.

During my teenage years, I felt like only evangelists were called to tell people the Good News. I thought that I could be a Christian without telling others about Christ.  I felt that way despite the fact that I grew up in the church and my parents are both in the ministry of sharing God’s word.  I still found it hard to share the Gospel, even to my closest friends and classmates. Looking back, I believed I was afraid to be rejected, to be ridiculed and to be the subject of bullying.

Later on, I found out that sharing God’s word is not a hard task at all. You don’t have to travel afar and share the Good News to strangers in a strange land, although, I highly salute all the commitment of our Missionaries, because as they say, mission is not only going across the ocean, most of the time it’s just across your street or even inside your home.

Today, I’ll share to you simple ways that I have been able to share Jesus with others, especially with my family, friends and neighbors.

Invite Them – Invite people to church especially during events and church celebrations like Christmas and Easter.  Kids can also invite others during VBS and youth can invite each other to youth activities.  Another wonderful opportunity is to invite others to a concert or musical, especially if you are involved.

Technology – Technology has been getting everyone connected, so why not use this medium to share Jesus to others. You can post verses or a story of how Christ has worked in your life on your social media or you can send a friend an email or a message of encouragement thru the word of God. With the vast variety of your audience, you can never know who needs an inspiring word. We are inviting you to join us in our #30DaysofBibleScripture. Click here for details and join us as we spread the word of God thru social media one Bible Scripture at a time.

Give a Gift – Who doesn’t want a present? Everyone loves a gift. So why not use this excuse to share Jesus to your friends and others. When you want to appreciate a colleague or a friend, why give him a Christian gift, or when you’re going to give a birthday gift, why not give a Christian book.

Gospel Tracts – I know it sounds old and traditional but tracts have been one of best tools in sharing the Word of God. Besides, as the world changes so is the design of the Gospel tracts. Here at Memory Cross, we design Gospel tracts that you will never be ashamed to share with others and that whoever receives it will surely find it amazing and unique enough to read the message. We design tracts for Mission Trips, tracts that are good for adults, tracts that will teach kids bible scriptures and stories and we even have cards for Special Occasions and Holidays. So next time, whether you are going on an outreach program, or you want to send cards to your loved ones or even you just want to say Thank You to the waiter who served you, try giving out Memory Cross Cards. You’ll be amaze how effective this piece of paper can be in spreading the Word of God in a fun and creative way.

Whether you choose to follow all of these simple steps or you opt even for just one, I urge you to pray for everyone who you might touch. Pray that God will reveal Himself to them and that your action will create an impact in their lives that will lead them to Christ. I believe, no one goes to heaven blindfolded. God will always find a way to reveal the gift of Salvation.  Let us be a channel of God’s way love.

Lastly, for me the best way to share Jesus to others is to become a good example to others. Be the Christian that God wants you to be and live a life that will shine the love of God. Who knows, your life is the only bible that others get to read.

How about you, how do you share Jesus to others? Care to share your tips and ways below?

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30 Days of Sharing the Good News through social media

Share the Good News through social media for 30 days

Jesus calls us to tell others about him.  The Good News transforms lives and we are called to share this news.  If you’ve experienced God changing your life share it with others.  Penn Jillette, who is an atheist said “if you believe that Jesus is God’s son and came to save the world then how much do you have to hate someone to not let them know?”

Jesus said in Mark 6:15  “And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” – NLT.  It has never been easier to share your faith or invite people to church.  If you are on social media you are sharing something: pictures of your children, what other people have said, how your day is going and hopefully your faith.

One of the best ways to share the Good News is by posting one of your favorite scriptures and comment about why you like this verse.

In the month of August we’re challanging Christians to post a favorite verse for 30 days.  God’s Word changes lives.  Billy Graham said: “I am convinced that one of the greatest things we can do is to memorize scripture.”

As mentioned in other post Simple Ways to Share Jesus with others, social media can be one of the greatest and best tools to share the word of God. With the internet, our posts can reach a wide audience.  We do not have to travel across the world to preach the Gospel, just by pressing a few buttons on our computer we can share Jesus and remind the world about His promises and unfailing love.  (Note:  We encourage you to go on a short term mission trip.  It will be an experience that you’ll never forget and one that can have a huge impact on your life.)

The 30 day challenge: Share the Good News through social mediaShare the Good News a 30 day challenge

Today, we are inviting you to join us in 30 days of Bible Scripture posts via social media. Whatever social media you use share the word of God with the world.

  1. Every day, choose one of your favorite verses and post, then tell why this verse is important to you.  Encourage friends to share the post.
  2. Use the hashtag #30DaysofBibleScripture and #SavingtheWorldOneScriptureatATime. (#30DOBS for Twitter).
  3. Pray that every post will inspire someone will be encouraged and brought closer to God.
  4. Do this for 30 days starting the 1st of August until the 30th

My verse for today:  Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – NIV

Another way to share the Gospel is by letting people know what is going on at your church and inviting others to come.  Make this a regular habit on Friday or Saturday and encourage other friends to do the same.

Together let’s spread the Good News.

Here is one other idea.  It’s not Social Media but one on one evangelism.  If you come across this article around Halloween check out Memory Cross trick or treat Halloween Gospel tracts.  They are a simple way to share Jesus with children.

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New Halloween Gospel Tract for Children – Simple Evangelism

Memory Cross has a new Halloween Gospel tract for children that makes evangelism simple.

Halloween is the only day of the year when children knock on your door and ask for a treat.  With this new Halloween Gospel Tract for children you’ll not only give them something that is really “cool” but let them know that God loves them.  Kids love candy, but candy won’t change anyone’s life, at least not for the better, but Jesus can.  Here are some interesting statistics:

  • Eighty two percent of people would consider visiting a church if asked.
  • Ninety two percent (92%) of church members never invite one person in a given year.
  • Two thirds of people are willing to receive information about a local church.
  • Most people come to church because of a personal invitation.

Memory Cross’ new Halloween tract is a creative way to share the Good News with children while inviting the parents to visit your church.  The copy on each panel is shown below.

Halloween Gospel Tract for children

As you can see this evangelism tract for Halloween lets children know that God loves them, has a plan for their life and wants them to live a full and abundant life.  On the last panel there is a space for to write in the name and address of your church and a link in case children or adults want to know more about following Jesus.

As Christians Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples.  The first step is telling people about Jesus.  In America 92% of people do not share the Gospel nor invite even one person to church.  At Halloween if you have 25 kids knock on your door, you can let 25 children know that Jesus loves them and invite them to church.

Does handing out a Halloween tract make a difference?  We are called to sow the seed.  God is the one that makes it grow but every year we receive stories of children who have asked Jesus into their hearts and adults who decided to start visiting a church.  You never know how God is working in someone’s life.  The video below is one person’s story of how an act of kindness and tract changed her life, the life of her husband and those of their friends.

The evangelism tract for children can be used for trick or treat or trunk or treat.  Either way it is a simple way to share the Gospel that children will appreciate receiving.

This is one of several Halloween Gospel tracts Memory Cross has created to share God’s love with children.  They can be ordered below or by visiting our website where you’ll find our other Halloween Gospel tracts and order a free sample pack.  You’ll pay $3.00 to help cover the cost of shipping.

Halloween is a tremendous opportunity to reach children with the Gospel and bring new families into your church.  “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19.

 


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Evangelism – Jesus really did call us to go make disciples

I just finished reading an article in the Layman titled “Presbyterian Evangelism?  Maybe $50 bills in every bulletin would work.”  The article can be summed up by Emily Williams who is a young adult advisory delegate.  She said “we’re not suppose to preach outside the church.  Our resources are better spent on deeds not words.  If we’re worried about filling pews, just put a $50 bill en every bulletin.”  The full article can be read here.Evangelism Children

I’m not downing Emily.  I don’t personally know her but the feelings she expressed are echoed by Christians in every major denomination, who are all seeing declines in their membership.  I don’t want to make the article about membership.  We have a tendency to get caught up in membership and growth instead of disciples and relationships.  Jesus did not call us to grow large churches but he did call us to go into all the world and make disciples.  It is hard to accomplish that goal if we’re not presenting the Gospel and inviting people to church.

Here are some interesting statistics from back to church:

  • “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” –Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
  • “Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” –Dr Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
  • “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  • “Four percent of formerly churched adults are actively looking for a church to attend regularly (other than their previous church). Six percent would prefer to resume attending regularly in the same church they had attended. The largest group, 62 percent, is not actively looking but is open to the idea of attending church regularly again.”–Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “Clearly we can encourage Christians to pray that the unchurched would sense God calling them back, but God works through His people.” “The survey showed that many would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance (41 percent), their children (25 percent) or an adult family member (25 percent).” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “The issue of affinity also surfaced in the responses. Thirty–five percent indicated that they would be inspired to attend church ‘if I knew there were people like me there.’” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
  • “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little’ crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research

Clearly people in America are still open to attending church and there are more evangelism resources available than ever before.  Here are a few you should check out:

  • Back to church Sunday September 18th is the largest organized outreach event.  Could your church get involved?
  • Outreach.com.  They have everything a church could ever want to reach out to the community:  direct mail postcards to existing and people who have recently moved to the area, banners, signs, door hangers.  The list goes on and their pricing is very reasonable.  Could your church order a few door hangers and pass them out in the neighborhood?  They have a newsletter that gives all kids of ideas for your church to reach their community.  Could you sign up for it?  (at the bottom of their home page).  If you are on Facebook, like their page and visit it on a regular basis.
  • Evangelism Coach offers personal and church resources to help share your faith.
  • Church Marketing Sucks – One of my favorite names because it is so true at least in America.  They have marketing articles, ebooks, podcasts all designed to help churches do a better job of making disciples.
  • Memory Cross – Provides effective Gospel tracts for children and adults.  Tracts that people actually are thankful to receive, will keep and read.  Our message really is GOOD NEWS!  Why not share it in a engaging way?  You can order a free sample pack by clicking here.  Enter the code “new” and receive the shipping free also.  No obligation, simply the best way to share the Gospel using print.

There so many ways to help your friends move into a relationship with Jesus.  If you are on Facebook, what’s wrong with sharing a Scripture that means something to you once a week or posting what your church is doing or sending a personal message inviting them to church?  As the video shows one small act can have life a life changing impact.

Christians have never had so many resources available to share their faith, yet in America evangelism and outreach is on the decline.  Why?

I’ve thought about that for years and here is the unfortunate reality, in my opinion.  We are SO busy we don’t allow the Holy Spirit time to transform our lives.  We are like the seed that fell among the thorns in Matthew 13.  We hear the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

In Revelation 3:16 Jesus says:  “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

In America to many Christians have become lukewarm.  We attend church but don’t allow the power of God to overwhelm out lives.  We don’t experience God’s amazing love in our lives.  We don’t experience joy, peace, patience, kindness.

Jesus wants passionate followers.  If your life has been transformed from one of sin and self centeredness, of one of anger and frustration, or no hope into a relationship with Jesus where you experience his love and power, then you’ll want to tell other people.  God’s relationship becomes one of not good news but Great News and something you can’t help but sharing with others.

As your life changes it will have an effect on the people around you.  Your friends and family will see a difference.  You should have excitement in your life.  Paul, who was one of the early apostles was beat, whipped and thrown in jail for talking about Jesus, yet in jail he sang songs of praise to his God.

That is the kind of life God wants you to experience.  If you want to know more check out Frances Chan’s book, Crazy Love.

 This is the kind of life Jesus calls us to live.
https://youtu.be/TYAv4Q9dg70

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How to change your Dennis The Menace into a firecracker for God

Meet my granddaughter, Autumn.  She is a three year old with more uncontrolled energy  than any child I’ve met and with a determination that rivals Rocky Balboa or Louie Zamperini from the movie Unbroken.

Dennis the Menace Firecracker God

I’ve never helped to raise a child with so much energy, determination and stubbornness.  When she sets her mind on something it is almost impossible to deter her.  At three most of her actions result in mini disasters at our house.

She is fast also.  Leave her alone for one minute and it could be a disaster.  Her calmer five year old sister will usually come in yelling come see Autumn, it’s a disaster, it’s a disaster.  Usually she is right.  We spank her, put her in time out and talk with her, all of which seem to have zero effect in deterring her behavior.

When I listed to the book Unbroken (don’t watch the movie.  It was very disappointing compared to the book.) I realized that Louie and Autumn share a common temperament, unwilling to quit and always getting into some trouble.

If you have a child like this, you know what I mean.  They keep you constantly on the move and a respirate is just a temporary lull in the storm.  So how do you guide them growing up?  You know if they stay away from drugs and other life destroying temptations that they are going to be someone who changes their world, either for God or evil.

So how to you change your Dennis the Menace into firecracker for God?

Here are my thoughts.  If you have a hyperactive, strong willed and stubborn child write your experiences in the comment box.

First expose them to God and his love for us.  That is the one thing that is life changing.  In the book Unbroken Louie survived terrible torture in Japan only to come back and fall apart after the war.  His wife convinced him to attend a Billy Graham event.  That night he gave his life, along with all the bad experiences to Jesus and his life was forever changed.  (The movie left that part out.)

For your kids it might happen at home, church, summer camp or retreat.  I can count in the hundreds the kids I know that have had their lives changed through youth group, summer camp or retreats.  As I write this my granddaughters are down at summer camp at Mt. Shepherd, a Methodist retreat center in Asheboro NC.  At three and five they’ll get to go swimming, do crafts, get exposed to the outdoors, hear God’s Word and get exposed to God’s love through the counselors.

Next help them to find something that they are passionate about and let them focus on that one thing.  At three it is hard to tell but she loves anything involving a ball.  So while she has been to young to participate in soccer there are soccer summer camps available for three year olds in my area.

Going back to the book Unbroken one more time Louie’s life was turn around when his brother got him involved in running.  Ends up he was fast, really fast.  So fast that he probably would have set the world record had WWII not put an end to his career.  For me growing up it was sailing.  I got pretty good, usually capturing one of the first three places in any race, except for the world cup where I placed 13th in our fleet.

Any child needs something that they are good it.  It gives them self confidence and teaches them skills they will use throughout life.  When you have a strong willed child they’ll throw their hearts and minds into a sport they love, allowing them to not only learn a skill but excel as well.

If you live in the United States or other developed country send your children on a short term mission trip.  It will expose them to other cultures and help them realize the Christianity of America is not the norm.  In Francis Chan’s book, Crazy love he says:

During my time in India, the commitment level of believers there shocked me.  I visited thousands of Christians who had been beaten or watched relatives murdered for their faith.  At one point, I said to one of the leaders, “Every believer seems so serious about his or her commitment to Christ.  Arn’t there people who just profess Christ but don’t really follow Him?”

He answered by explaining that nominal Christianity doesn’t make sense for India.  Calling yourself a Christian means you loose everything.  Your family and friends reject you, and you lose your home, status, and job.  So why would anyone choose that unless he or she is serious about Jesus?

Mission trips can be life changing.  Matthew and Andrew Jones founded Poverty Resolutions after visiting Haiti and living for 30 days on a dollar a day, which is the average wage in Haiti.  I’ve included their story below.

Finally pray for all your children, especially your high energy, high maintenance child.  God can use them in a special way.  Don’t get discouraged and don’t stop praying if they don’t come to God as teens.

Comments or suggestions?  Be sure to write them in the comments box.

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The story of Abraham for children

If you are teaching children either at home on during Sunday School the story of Abraham we’ve put together a comprehensive list of resources including lesson plans, videos, songs and crafts.story of abraham

Abraham is the founding father in Judaism, Islam, and is an important figure in Christianity.  His story is found in Genesis 12 – 25.  Wikipedia does a good job telling Abraham’s story from a variety of perspectives and includes a family tree.

Lesson plans on Abraham

Crafts that teach story about Abraham

Songs about Abraham

Video stories about Abraham

 

We hope that you find these resources useful as you teach children about Abraham.  If you have any other resources that have been useful to you, let us know in the comments section below.

Memory Cross has a number of origami cards that help children learn Bible stories.  One is being created on Abraham and will be posted when ready but you can check out some of the others by clicking on this link.

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God has a special purpose for your life

God has a special purpose for your life

Did you know that God has a special purpose for your life?  In the Bible we see God working through his people.  In Genesis there is the story about how God worked in Abraham’s life.  Abraham made mistakes but he trusted God and because of that God blessed him.

God wants to work in your life also.  Through the 10 Commandments and Jesus we’re told what we are given guiding principles.  In Matthew Jesus is asked what are the greatest commandments.

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Later on in Matthew we are told to:  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

These are the three principles that should guide our life if we are following Christ:  Love God with all your hear, soul and mind, love others and bring them into a relationship with God.  We can do that no matter where we work or live.

God will also guide us in specific circumstances.  Sometimes that is through His Word.  The Bible is filled with advice on living.  Besides the ones above some others include: pray always, spend time with God, avoid debt, don’t get caught up in material things and contentment in life will come from following God, not accumulating a lot of stuff.  Life is short, don’t waste a minute of it.

I read that the average church goer spends 10 minutes a day in prayer and thinking about God, and 4 hours watching TV.  What would happen if we reversed it?

There are also verses that speak about God’s plans for us.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Philippians 2:3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Matthew 5: 13-16  You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

God has a special purpose for your life

God also will direct us on specific directions in our life but it is important to clear our mind as much as possible from the influences of our culture.  I just finished listening to Team of Rivals which was the story of Abraham Lincoln’s life.  One thing that stood out was there were Christians on both sides believing that their cause was right.  The result was the greatest loss of American life in any war.

You don’t know how much your culture influences your decisions until you experience life in another part of the world.  That is one reason I encourage everyone to go on a mission trip out of the country.  You’ll come back with a different perspective and hopefully with a life that has been changed.

I’ve included some videos of lives that have been changed as a result of their encounter with God and some videos that will challenge you to look at your life.  As you watch them look for how God is working in their lives.

Nick Vujicic was born without legs or arms.  When he was 15 and struggling with why God made him like this he read the story in the Bible about a man born blind.  In the story found in John 9 Jesus is asked by his disciples:  “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  Nick realized that God could use even him, with no legs or arms for his purposes.  

In this video 4 guys decide to go to Haiti after the earthquake and live on one dollar a day.  The results are that two of them devoted their life to making a difference in the lives of the Haitian people.  You can find out more about their work by clicking here.
https://youtu.be/VGeFpz10baw
The last video encourages us to look at our life from an eternal perspective.

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