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What should I do to restore my faith in Christianity?

With each passing day my faith in God and Christianity is drifting apart and am inching closer to atheism. How do I restore my faith?

I came across this question on Quora and after reading the answers decided to also answer it and post it here on our blog.  Restore my faith in Christianity

You are not the only one who asks this question. I’ve asked this more than once and unfortunately still struggle with my relationship.

First I want to define what I mean by faith in Christianity. To me it is a personal relationship with God and Jesus, someone I pray to daily and someone who lets me know that He is there and that cares for me.

I wish it was a constant moving forward where every day I felt closer to God than the day before, but that rarely is the case. My path has been filled with ups and downs, time when I felt so close and times when I lived without thinking of Him or feeling His presence.

I’d love to know if Billy Graham or other leaders of our faith felt that way but I know that Mother Teresa did. She wrote about it and it was published in Mother Teresa- come be my light. I’d recommend you read this book. It might inspire you but I’m sure it will help you know that you are not alone. Others struggle with this question also.

Things you can do to restore your faith:

  • Spend time reading the Bible and praying. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” I know there will be times when you read and don’t get anything out of it or pray and feel like God is far away but don’t get discouraged. Keep it up and I believe God will draw closer to you.
  • Spend time with other people who want to get closer to God. Hopefully you can find this group in your church (if you go) but if not ask around and keep searching until you find one.
  • Find Christian friends. It is said you become like those you hang out with so if you want to strengthen your relationship with God, hang out with people who are following God.
  • Serve others with the right motives. There is something about giving your time and skills to serving other people that will draw you closer to God. Some of the times I felt closest to God was when I was on a mission trip serving others. We’ve built and repaired houses in the United States and abroad. I look back on those times not only with fond memories but remembering times when I knew God was real. If this is something that you want to know more about check out Poverty Resolutions. These guys went down to Haiti after the earthquake, not with any plans, but just to know what it was like to live in Haiti after the quake. Their experience changed their lives forever. They documented their story in a pretty powerful video that I’ve linked to here.
  • Memorize Scripture. Chuck Swindoll says: “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture…No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.” Joshua 1:8 says “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – NIV. There are several simple ways to memorize Scripture – The low tech and high tech methods.
  • Write down your thoughts. I’m not sure this will help everyone and I have been inconsistent over the years but I’ve found that writing down my thoughts helps me grow my relationship with Christ. If you are interested one of my business blogs that I write for can be found here and my personal one is at vitamvas.com.
  • Finally I personally find stories of other people who have struggled comforting and inspiring. One of my favorite resources, besides YouTube, is I am Second.

Don’t give up. I think every Christian who really wants a relationship with God has struggled. At the end of our life we want to say what Paul said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7.

The Bible says to pray for one another. I’m praying that you will take a step closer to God and that He’ll draw closer to you. I finish with one more Scripture from Philippians 4:7 “you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

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Roman Road Gospel Tracts: English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Romanian

Memory Cross has created the Roman Road Gospel tracts in English, Spanish and English, Haitian Creole and English and Romanian and English.  Each tract fascinates children with four panels that makes an endless loop.  The video below shows how each tract folds.

The tracts are printed in black and white so children can use their creativity to color the card, which makes it much more likely that kids will keep and read them over and over again.  They measure 6 inches by 6 inches so if you are taking them on a mission trips they pack easily into a suitcase.

After going on several mission trips and getting feedback from others who took these tracts on mission trips we decided to make them bi-lingual in Spanish and English, Haitian-Creole and English and Romanian and English.  We found that most children in other countries are interested in learning English, and by including English on the tract allows children to learn God’s plan of salvation in English as well as their own language.

Another benefit we’ve found is that once children learn the tract in English they want to tell their parents and friends, so they become little evangelists spreading the Gospel. One of the most important things you can do on a mission trip is to let kids and adults know that God loves them, and Memory Cross’ Roman Road Gospel tracts are one of the most effective ways to do that.

Roman Road spanish and english gospel tract

Roman Roads Gospel Tracts

If you are going to a country that speaks another language we can translate the card into any language.  It takes 3 to 4 weeks to produce a custom order.  If you would like a free sample or more information on any of the cards we’ve included some information below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gospel Tracts for Mission Trips – Sharing Jesus’ Love With Children

Memory Cross makes fun and creative Gospel Tracts for mission trips.  Each tract is designed using our exclusive endless loop design, which kids love.  They are printed in black and white so it can be used as a craft project.  The card is also in English along with another language which allows you to teach children that God loves them and has a plan for their life in English and their language.

Gospel Tracts for Mission Trips

If you are getting ready to go on a mission trip and will be working with children here are some Christian tracts that are worth checking out.  Tracts are available in a variety of languages using the unique Memory Cross endless loop design.  Most are black and white, allowing kids to color them.  If you don’t know how the card works, watch the video.  I think you’ll be impressed.

Gospel Tracts for mission trips in other languages

They are available in English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, French, Romanian, Wordless and can be translated into any language with a minimum of 250 cards.  Most cards are in English and another language.   This allows people going on the mission trip to share God’s plan of salvation better with children.  Many use this card to teach kids the English words, which really helps make the card special, plus kids will then go teach the tract to their friends and parents.

 

Here are a few of the tracts available for mission trips.

 

The Memory Cross Gospel tracts offer a hands on experience for children, which helps kids better understand God’s plan of salvation.  Kids everywhere love the endless loop design, which they will continue to play with even after you leave.  The card also makes a nice craft project allowing children to make it their own through coloring or stickers.  Finally the Gospel is presented not only in their native language but also in English.  Most children in other countries want to learn English and what better thing to learn in English than God loves them and has a plan for their life.

Most cards are in stock and will be delivered in less than a week with free shipping on orders over $50.  Custom orders take 2-4 weeks to produce.

If you would like to receive a free sample add the item below to your shopping cart and use the code “Facebook” and we’ll pick up the freight or you can call us at 800-799-0260.  If you would like to receive the samples in another language besides Spanish, let us know in the comments section.

 

To see all the tracts available visit our store.

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Fair Trade Gift Guide – Christmas, Valentines and More

If you are looking for a gift that makes a difference not only in the lives of people who receive it but in the lives of the people who made it then this Fair Trade gift guide for 2017 is a good place to start.  Before we get into the list let’s define what fair trade is and how it helps people.

THE FAIR TRADE FEDERATION PRINCIPLES ARE:

  • Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.
  • Develop transparent and accountable relationships
  • Build capacitywfto_global_rgb
  • Promote fair trade
  • Pay promptly and fairly
  • Support safe and empowering working conditions
  • Ensure the rights of children
  • Cultivate environmental stewardship
  • Respect cultural identity

Artists are paid a fair price for products with most receiving 50% up front and the balance upon shipment. This allows them the ability to purchase raw materials and hire other craftsmen.

As you may imagine these principles are much different from the “Big box retailers” whose major objective is to earn a profit for their shareholders and big bonuses for themselves.

If you are looking for unique gifts that also make a difference in the lives of others then check out our Fair Trade Gift Guide for 2017.  We’ve included information from each company about how they are changing the lives of people.  If they had videos we’ve included them as well.

Fair Trade Gift Guide 2017

cuddle-kind  As parents, we believe all children should have enough food to eat and the opportunity to thrive, so when we saw a documentary on the devastating impact of childhood hunger on millions of children around the world, it inspired us to help. Oncuddle and kind best toy aware that day, we decided to start a company whose purpose is to help improve the lives of children and to make a difference.

We created cuddle+kind because we wanted to make beautiful hand-knit dolls that help feed children. So for every cuddle+kind doll sold, we give 10 meals to children in need.

Our goal is to provide one million meals a year.

We’re proud that our dolls are made with natural, high-quality cotton because it’s important to us that they’re safe, soft and cuddly.cuddle and kind dolls

We’re also super proud that every doll is lovingly handcrafted by incredible women artisans in Peru, providing them with a sustainable, fair trade income.

cuddle kind christmas presents

Alaffia Christmas logo  Empowerment Projects are Alaffia’s mission in action, funded by the sales of Alaffia products. Alaffia invests in our communities because it is our moral responsibility and to ensure African resources empower African communities. The goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Our Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM Eradication, Eyeglasses and Reforestation.  To explore their store click here.

Fair Trade Christmas Gift Guide

beza-threads  Beza Threads is a growing community that values the life, freedom and worth of all people. We serve our Ethiopian friends because we cannot imagine sitting back and doing nothing if our own sons or daughters, brothers or sisters were being abused and treated like commodities.

We’ve seen that compassion and love through radical action can overcome even the greatest pains and scars of child slavery. We believe any effort that promotes freedom in the life of an enslaved child has immense value.  Click here to visit their store

Bezathreads products

 

Memory Cross Fair Trade Products  This is one I personally can write about.  Our story, my story really, is similar to others you’ve already read.  While on mission trips I met a lot of talented artists who were struggling because of a very limited market.  They could sell to the local population and the occasional tourist.  Fair Trade exponentially increases their ability to earn a living, support a family and as their business grows employee others.
Memory Cross Fair Trade Gifts

 

Part of the proceeds from each Fair Trade product sold supports the Foundation Center of Helping Hands Orphanage located in Barahona, Dominican Republic, which is close to the Haitian boarder.  The Orphanage was founded by Pastor Pedro after the Haitian earthquake sent many orphan children into the Dominican Republic.  There is still a tremendous need at the orphanage.  If you would like to sponsor a child, click here to get more information.

The video below is representative of many of the fair trade organizations we work with.  Memory Cross sells fair trade jewelry, candles, housewares, apparel, toys, baskets, Haitian art and more.  Click here to visit or store.


Solo Hope logo I love this story because it shows how one person can make a difference in the lives of people. Products they have developed are creative and unique.  This is how it all started.  When I was 16 years old, I went on a mission trip to Honduras. For me, it was like coming alive for the very first time. I loved the people, the culture, the food, even just “the different”. Over the years I continued to travel back to Honduras and as I did, I came face to face with extreme poverty. I looked into the eyes of women who were desperate to provide for their families but not having the means to do so.

That’s when slowly, gradually the idea for SoloHope began to evolve. These women needed jobs that renewed hope and gave dignity. So the journey began…

April 2012: I had an idea to create bracelets out of pine straw + thread. I met with Dilcia (our first SoloHope artisan in Honduras) showed her sketches and asked if she thought it was possible. She said yes.

December 2012: At a youth rally, I began selling SoloHope (Spanglish for “OnlyHope”) bracelets in the States!

August 2013: I felt God pushing me to take a risk. I quit my full time job with comfy salary and benefits and moved to Honduras for 4 months to create a product line. We grew to 3 artisan partners.

November 2014: The LUXE Collection // Christmas ’14 launched with bracelets, necklaces, earrings, ornaments and coasters.

January 2015: Approved as a non-profit corporation by the State of Georgia. Tax-deductible 501C3 status granted. Our SoloHope HQ in Cairo, GA opened.

They carry bracelets, earrings, gifts, headbands, necklaces, and scarves.  Click here to visit their store.

 

solo hope products

Feed Fair Trade fighting hunger Lauren founded FEED in 2007 with the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. Every one of our products has a number stamped on it that signifies the amount of meals or micronutrient packets provided with its purchase. Nine years later, we’ve built a movement connecting our customers to the cause, one bag at a time.

Feed provides fair trade gifts, bags, accessories and tees, each helping to eliminate hunger.  Click here to visit their store.

Feed Christmas Gifts

 

Mata Traders Christmas presents  Mata Traders – a design driven, fair trade brand helping to end global poverty and inspire ethical companies and consumers to change the fashion industry. Made by artisans in India and Nepal, our colorfully original designs are now sold in 50 states and 12 countries, and provide a stable source of income for families in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Click here to shop their store.

Mata Traders Christmas Gifts 2016

 

Pebble Child Christmas gift ideas  Shortly after arriving in Bangladesh, Samantha Morshed started Hathay Bunano ps, a non-profit organization. Through a local NGO she invited 12 young women to her home in Dhaka and taught them to knit in her spare room. After three weeks practicing knitting they started to work on the first order.

Hathay Bunano, means hand made or hand knitted in Bangla. The women create contemporary, beautiful soft toys all by hand.  Click here to check out their site.

Pebble christmas products

 

Tribe Alive Fair Trade Products  Tribe Alive utilizes a passion for fashion and responsible commerce as a platform to help alleviate poverty among women. We work with artisan partners all over the world to employ impoverished women at fair trade wages and give them access to a safe job, sustainable income and a chance to determine their own future.

We strive to create positive change in the lives of women by providing market place access through the fair production and sale of our beautiful and unique pieces. We believe that every purchase should be made with a purpose, and that there is nothing more stylish than giving back. Hope is our message. Fashion is our medium.  Click here to learn more.

Tribe Alive Fair Trade Products

 

I thought of you christmas gift ideasI Thought of You’s mission is to expand the global marketplace of hardworking people in developing countries. We sell Fair Trade, handmade products that are not only beautiful, but also have beautiful stories behind them. Each piece purchased represents a building block for constructing a sustainable business that will provide income to people who need it most.

Personally I think they have some of the most amazing products.  Click here to visit their store.

i-thought-of-you-products

 

Land of a thousand hill coffee companyLand of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co. partners with farmers and local community leaders to develop the coffee into a sustainable income, pay a just Living Wage, and strive to further meet the needs of the people. When you buy Land of a Thousand Hills, you are receiving coffee that is 100% Arabica, fairly traded, and roasted fresh.

Jonathan Golden, founder of Land of a Thousand Hills, recognized a simple and tangible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the Rwandan people. This realization led Golden to start a coffee company that pays a fair wage to the farmers of Rwanda, helps them with their basic needs, and brings a quality product to coffee lovers.  Click here to visit their store.

Thousand Hill Coffee

Toms Shoes  I think most people know of Toms Shoes but just in case here is some information.  TOMS works with more than 100 giving partners to deliver Toms shoes, sight, water, safe births and bullying prevention to people in need.  With every purchase Toms will help someone in need.

Toms carries shoes, sunglasses, bags, apparel, backpacks and coffee.  Shop Now

Toms Christmas Ideas

manos-zapIn 2009, Manos Zapotecas founder Shelley Tennyson was volunteering with a microfinance non-profit in the small Zapotec village of Teotitlán del Valle in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. She was offering business classes to the female loan recipients, many of whom were weavers. Shelley realized that no matter how exquisite the product, or how savvy their business skills, without buyers, these hardworking and skilled artisans were not able to support themselves or their families adequately.

Three years later, Manos Zapotecas was born out of a belief that commerce can, and should, change lives for the better. What began as a wild idea to sell Zapotec bags globally, in a village where most of the women had never even left the state, has grown into a fair trade fashion brand run by a team of five women in the US that supports over 50 weavers in Oaxaca.

We strive to make a positive impact on the lives and communities of the artisans, by nurturing lasting relationships and always abiding by fair trade principles. Our designers work closely with the weavers to incorporate traditional handwoven tribal designs with modern styles, the results of which are beautiful, expertly crafted and unique bags.

Each MZ bag holds an element of discovery. From the significance of the Zapotec designs, to the bold color combinations, and most importantly, the distinct story of the artisan who wove it.  Visit their store

Manos Zapatoes products

Mitla Moda Logo  Mitla Moda is a social entrepreneurship startup that focuses on increasing economic development in artisan communities and preserving traditional artisan techniques through ethically made and fairly traded clothing, accessories, and jewelry.

The talented artisans we work with are the crux of our business. They live and work, in small, family cooperatives in Oaxaca, Mexico, and we’ve had the honor of visiting each workshop we collaborate with, through fair trade procurement practices. Mitla Moda is a very small business, manged and run by Mitla Moda’s founder and director, Dusana. Dusana has had a love of Latin American artisan goods and clothing for as long as she can remember, a love she credits to her father, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, who filled their home with handmade items he had purchased from artisan friends while abroad.

Mitla Moda is a fair trade shop that specializes in bringing you unique, artisan-crafted clothing and accessories. We are committed to the slow fashion movement, offering you high-quality items meant to last for years, that are made sustainably, using natural materials and on traditional, foot-powered looms.

They carry dresses and tunics, tops, bags and purses, iPad and tablet sleeves, purses, backpacks, scarves and shawls and ponchos.  Click here to visit their site.

Mitia Mode Christmas ideas

Purse and Clutch logo  is an online based boutique that partners with artisans in developing countries who create their products with an emphasis on design & quality. These artisans are treated with respect & are paid a living wage for their region. Our mission is to help support sustainable, long-term employment for men & women with limited opportunities by connections to international markets.

As their name suggests they sell primarily handbags, purses and clutches.  Click here to visit their store.

 

Purse and clutch Christmas gift ideas

 

Cheppu from Himalaya  Creating a broader world consciousness and a satisfying exchange between cultures are intrinsic to Cheppu from Himalaya’s mission. Our Nepalese artisans produce unique one of a kind pieces reflecting the care and tradition of their ancient cultures, while appealing to Western marketability.

Giving Back

Cheppu from Himalaya helps to provide sponsorships for students in need. We presently have 34 young Nepalese on scholarship programs throughout the country, ranging from Kindergarten to University, Nursing Programs, and Chartered Accounting Degrees. Cheppu from Himalaya supports individual students and also establishes direct relationships with students and Western sponsors.

Click here to visit their store.

Cheppu products

Ten thousand villages logoTen Thousand Villages is one of the oldest and largest Fair Trade organizations in the country.  They carry almost anything you could think of.  Their mission statement:

Ten thousand villages mission statement

Ten Thousand Villages sells jewelry, scarves and bags, kitchen and dinning, wall decor, home accents, baskets and holiday gifts.  Click here to visit their store.

ten thousand villages products

I hope you will take time to check out the amazing resources offered by these companies. If you would like to add to our list of fair trade  gift ideas, include a link and description in the comments box.

Share this fair trade gift guide with your friends.  Together we can make a difference.

 

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Trunk or Treat Ideas for 2016

Trunk or Treat Ideas for 2016

Trunk or treat  has grown in popularity as churches have found it a very effective way  to reach out to the community.Trunk or Treat Ideas 2016  Here are a few ideas that will help make your Trunk or Treat more fun and effective.

Plan Ahead.  Determine how many cars you need and get people to sign up ahead of time.  If more people show up that will be great, but you don’t want to run out of treats and you don’t want the parking lot half empty.

Get as many people involved as possible.  Most trunk or treats were started by youth groups or the children’s ministry but to make it as successful as possible encourage other groups to get involved.

Have live music.  Get your praise band or members of the choir to put some music together.  A concert will encourage people to hang around.

Use a Nintendo Wii or Xbox, projector and screen, and a dance game.  Kids will enjoy imitating the dancers on the screen.  I could not find any Christian Dance games for the Wii, but here is the dance revolution bundle on Amazon. If you use it preview the music first.  There will be some that is not appropriate for a Trunk or Treat.  If you know of a Christian dance program for the Wii or Xbox put it in the comments box.

Serve food.  Hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza are a good choice because you can quickly cook more if your crowds are larger than you expected.

Include games.  They don’t have to be games specifically for Halloween, just something the kids will love playing.

Have a craft area.  Many kids enjoy creating something and a craft area makes a nice addition to most trunk or treat festivals.  Memory Cross has created two coloring cards for trunk or treat that can be colored and embellished with stickers but also lets the children know about God’s gift.

Have a welcome table.  Use it to let people know what is going on and costs if any.  Make up a flyer in advance that tells them something about the church and the activities that are coming up.  If you have another event coming up print up tickets that and put a complimentary pass on it, good for the whole family.  Even if you are not charging for the event it is a great way to encourage them to come back and visit.

Show a movie.  Look for one that is around an hour.  Usually kids have school so getting them to stay for 2-3 hours may not work.

Have a pumpkin decorating table – If your church is also selling pumpkins set up a table with the mini pumpkins, I believe they are called Jack Be Littlekids-decorating-pumpkins pumpkins, paint, markers and stickers and let the kids decorate the pumpkins.  Kids love this activity.  If your church is not selling pumpkins you can buy them for around $1.00 each and probably work out a discount on a large quantity.

Collect email addresses.  Have a prominent sign up where parents can put their email to find out about other things going on at the church.  Have a check box that lists categories they  might be interested in such as worship, children’s activities, scouts, daycare etc.

Share the Gospel.  Hand out a Christian trunk or treat tract that ties the candy into the great gift that God is offering all of us along with a flyer that lists activities that parents might be interested in.

Promote, Promote, Promote.  Create flyers and posters to put up around your community.  Send an announcement to local radio and TV stations and newspapers.  Post on Facebook and online communities.  Send a flyer home with  the children of your church and ask them to invite a friend.  If you have daycare at your church send a flyer home with each child.

If you have other suggestions let us know.  We always appreciate the comments.

Shop Memory Cross Halloween Tracts on Amazon

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Top 7 Trunk or Treat Ideas

This year there are more churches than ever holding Trunk or Treats so I decided to put together 7 ways a church could reach children who attend their trunk or treat with the Gospel.

Mike’s Top 7  Trunk or Treat Ideas for Sharing the Gospel:top-7-Trunk-or-treat-ideas

  1. Have several cars hand out Christian tracts.  They need to tell the Gospel story but also something that children love.  At Memory Cross we have created tracts for trunk or treat that are available on our website, but other companies have also created tracts that you can us.
  2. Consider handing out a Christian children’s book.  This can get pricy if you have hundreds of kids but talk to your Christian bookstore.  They will often cut a deal on a large order.
  3. Hand out information on your church, worship services and other activities that children or parents might be interested in.
  4. Set up a mini movie theater and show a short Christian video.  There are several at I Am Second including Bailee Madison and Bethany Hamilton.
  5. Have plenty of adult volunteers around with name tags that are available to answer any questions that children or adults might have.
  6. Have your praise band play Christian Music.
  7. Have a welcome table set up where parents can register their kids.  Ask parents for their email address so you can keep in touch with them about upcoming events.

Remember the children and adults are there to have a good time so sharing the Gospel needs to be incorporated into the strategy.  Your goal should be to convince them to come back and visit your church at other times and give them a few things that they’ll value that also share the Gospel.

Memory Cross has created a number of Halloween Tracts for Trick or Treat and Trunk or Treat.    We’ve put together a video that shows how our cards work.

They may be purchased from our store.

If you have other trunk or treat ideas, post them below.

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Teaching the Beatitudes to Children using Videos

I am teaching the 4th and 5th grader Sunday School class about the Beatitudes and decided to use videos and was so impressed with what was available that I decided to create a blog post and list them.  I spent several hours going through each video and picked out the ones I liked best for this age group.

Each video is on YouTube but if you don’t have internet connection at your church, you can download each one either by clicking the link that I’ve included or adding “ss” to the YouTube file.  For example if the video is http://YouTube.com/watch…. your would put ss in front of the file so it would look like this:  http://ssYouTube.com/watch…  If you get a security warning, which shows up on some browsers with certain security settings, the site is safe.  It will allow you to download the video to your computer.

Saddleback Church Kid’s program put together one of the best series of videos to help children understand the Beatitudes which is why I’m including them first.  There are five videos each covering a couple of the Beatitudes.

Link:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=zzhBF569pRY

Link: https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=1kBAY_pxTCw

Link:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=sqNWBUjadi0

Link:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=AWTs-H03Zp0

Link:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=wSyiIGRNDmc

Link:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=eUx6QOz1Uow

Saddleback used these videos over a 6 week period but you could fit them into one Sunday School lesson if you did not have any discussion but they would be best spread between at least two weeks.

A few other videos about the Beatitudes that I liked are listed below.  I personally did not have time to show them to the kids so I don’t know how they would have reacted to them but I liked them and they certainly should work.

In this video Hillsong sings The Beatitudes.  This video would make a good into into the discussion of the Beatitudes.

Link to download video:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=8clFkbP0lQw&index=77&list=PLDtb6MuZ5Mf61WhMTLjeA17cid5qQBg9Z

Finally this short four minute video puts the Beatitudes into today’s language.  It could be used all by itself if you are just looking for one video to show kids about the Beatitudes.

Link to download video:  https://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=aml9KYredtI

I talked about using these videos to help kids in Sunday School learn the Beatitudes but you could certainly use them in a small group setting other than SS or even at home with your own children.

Finally if you are looking for a way to help children memorize the Beatitudes check out this card by Memory Cross.  It is a unique way to help children memorize any Scripture, including the Beatitudes.  When you browse our store you’ll find printed cards that teach all kinds of Bible verses and Bible stories along with blank cards that can be used to memorize any Scripture verse.

Watch the video to see how it works and if you are interested click one of the links above.  If you find other videos that do a good job teaching children about the Beatitudes, list them in the comments section below.  Normally we ban links but for this post feel free to post any appropriate links.  Links not relevant to this post will be removed.

 


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The Story of Moses for Kids

The story of Moses – Lessons to teach kids

If you grow up attending Sunday School, you know that the story of Moses is one of the most taught and most familiar stories in the Bible. You know about the story of the baby in the basket, 10 plagues, the 10 commandments, God’s miracle in the Red Sea, the water flowing from the rock for the people of Israel, the gold calf and many more stories related to Moses. We learned so many lessons from the story of Moses that we never forget. Moses is one of the well known leaders in the Bible and his life has always been God’s instrument in helping the Israelites free from the bondage of Egypt. Children can learn so many lessons from the life of Moses which is why we continue to retell the stories to children.

Today, the Story of Moses is still one of the stories most often taught in Sunday School. Over the years, the churches and Sunday School organizations have come up with so many innovations and ideas to make our bible lessons a fun-filled one. Here are some resources, activities and crafts that we can use in teaching the life of Moses to our little ones.

1. Ready-to-print Lesson Plans

Lesson plans are the first things to bear in mind in preparing for bible lessons during Sunday school. Thankfully, there are many organizations and churches that have created some great resources that help children learn the lessons of Moses. They offer free lesson plans we can use to help us get started with our lesson for our little ones. Most of them have an outline, bible verse and activities we can do in church to help kids remember the verses and the lessons easily.

A. Baby Moses in the basket free lesson plan from Ministry to children.
B. Moses and the burning Bush lesson plan from Kids Sunday School.
C. Lesson plan about The 10 Plagues from Bible Fun for Kids.
D. Crossing the Red Sea lesson plan from Sunday School Center.
E. Moses and the 10 commandments from DLTK’s Growing Together.

2. Craft Ideas

Memory Cross has three origami coloring cards that teach children about the life of Moses plus a number of cards about the 10 Commandments.  Each card has four panels that makes an endless loop.  The video below shows how each card folds.  To order free samples, click here.  The cost is only $3.00 for shipping and handling (in the USA).

2. Activity ideas

Activities after bible lessons are what the children look forward to. Children are known to be energetic and we want to take advantage of that by giving them wonderful activities after the lesson that will help them remember the bible lesson even more. Activities are very effective in repeating the lessons to the children without them getting bored. Below are some activity ideas we can do for our children:

A. Baby Moses in the Basket

Baby Moses in the Basket Craft

Via michellepaige.blogspot.com

Activity: Baby Moses Sensory Play
Source: Michelle Paige

Materials Needed: For small baby baskets – Paper towels, Juices boxes, plastic tapes, material scraps, glue sticks & glue guns, popsicle sticks, sharpies

  1. Have each kid drink a beverage.
  2. Wrap brown material over the top half and the sides of the box.
  3. Glue the material in place.
  4. Adhere the plastic tape over the seam of the material all the way around the box.
  5. Using sharp scissors cut a small rectangular opening on the top of the box. Have each child dry out their box with a paper towel.
  6. Have each child use a small piece of felt to wrap up a broken popsicle stick to make Baby Moses and have each child draw on two eyes and a mouth on the popsicle stick.
  7. Have each child make a bed for Moses with a cotton ball then put Moses in the basket. Have the kids decorate their baskets using Sharpies.

For the river – Big water tub, blocks of Styrofoam, fake plants and water.

  1. Fill a great big plastic tub full of water for ‘the river’.
  2. Load blocks of Styrofoam with greenery to hide the baskets.
  3. Have each child try out their basket making sure they floated in the water.
  4. Review the lesson and talk about God’s protection to Moses while he was in the basket.

B.

Story of Moses Craft

http://pikadillycharm.blogspot.com

Activity: Paper Bag Fall Tree
Materials Needed: Brown paper lunch bag, Scissors, Glue, Paper (Fall colors)
Source: Pikadilly Charm

  1. Cut lunch bag into half inch strips. Start at the opening and cut half way down the bag.
  2. Open bag and stand it up.
  3. Hold base of bag with one hand and twist the middle of bag to create the trunk of the tree.
  4. Twist two of the bag strips together to create branches.
  5. Rip strips of colored paper into tiny pieces and glue them all over the branches of the tree.

C. The 10 Plagues

Story of Moses Coloring Page

Via orientaltrading.com

Activity: Drawing and coloring the 10 Plagues
Materials Needed: Pencils, crayons

  1. Download this free coloring sheet or this coloring from Bible Pathway Adventures online and reproduce to distribute to the kids.
  2. Assist the kids while they draw and color their work sheets.

D. Crossing the Red Sea

Story of Moses Craft

Via bibleschoolteachers.blogspot.com

Activity: Re-enactment of crossing the red sea
Materials: plastic blue tablecloths, outfit for Moses and the Israelites, Moses’ rod
Source: Bible School Teachers

  1. Retell the story and have one child act as Moses.
  2. Ask assistance from the helpers to hold the plastic blue tablecloths.
  3. Have “Moses” raise his rod and the helpers raise the “waters.” Then let the children who were not Moses cross on dry land.

E. Moses and the 10 commandments

Story of Moses Craft

Via daniellesplace.com

Activity: 10 commandments folding craft sticks
Materials: Permanent Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
Source: For more information on this craft please visit Danielle’s Place

What other activities that aim to teach children about the Story of Moses do you know? Please share!

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Halloween Gospel Tracts

Halloween Gospel Tracts – Fun Tracts that Kids Prefer to Candy

Halloween has become one of the best times to reach children with the Gospel.  There are an estimated 41 million children that will trick or treat this year.

Memory Cross has created fun Halloween Gospel Tracts that children prefer Halloween Gospel Tractsto candy.  Each card has four panels and is designed to create an infinite loop.  Watch the video at the bottom of the page to see how it works.  Children and their parents are amazed at how the card never stops folding.  The design captures their attention so they’ll fold it multiple times trying to figure out how it works and as they do they’ll read the salvation message on the Halloween tract and since parents look over what their kids receive they’ll take a look at the Halloween tract also.

Besides giving God’s plan of salvation most cards also have a place on the back to invite the parents to visit your church.

Here are what a few people have said about Memory Cross Halloween Gospel Tracts:

  • “Love this product! Our church does “Trunk & Treat” in the fall, kids were so excited to receive candy but took time to look at the Memory Cross that I handed out.” – Penny Ott
  • “We used the Memory Cross Halloween cards for our Trunk or Treat. When we use regular tracks for children they would often get thrown away without being read. This gets children to want to look at them and read them.” – Tina Baughman
  • “I’ve used many a tracts to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have found this to be an incredible tool.” – Constance Revels
  • “Memory Cross has the most creative tracts that I have ever seen.” – Holly B
  • “Your Memory Cross ministry is so over the top, I can’t even explain the powerful tool your cards are.” – Brenda
  • “Our church has experimented with tracts in the past at various children’s outreach events. Most of them get tossed aside and never read. The one tract that seems to captivate the attention of the kids (and parents) is the Halloween Memory Cross card. It is creative, innovative, and most of all biblically sound and gospel-centered. I want Christians to realize the treasure they have in this product for child evangelism. There is nothing better.”- Derek Combs Pastor Jessieville First Baptist Church

Halloween Tracts for Children, Halloween Tracts for Kids

At Memory Cross we are committed to helping you reach children with the Gospel through Scripture memory cards, Bible story cards and Gospel tracts for kids.  Our Halloween tracts for children compare the gift of candy to God’s gift of salvation.  They are fun, creative and positive.  On the back panel they either provide online resources or have a space where you can stamp the name of your church.  Memory Cross Halloween Gospel Tracts can be given to your trick or treaters, handed out at a trunk or treat at your church or used as a craft activity.

If you would like to receive a free sample just click the link below.  You’ll only pay $3.00 for shipping and handling.  Besides Halloween Gospel Tracts Memory Cross makes Crafts for Sunday School, Christian Tracts and Bible Memorization cards, each using the four panel design that never stops folding.  If you would like to see all the cards we produce visit our store today.  We also have added a Amazon store.  If you prefer to shop there click on the following link:  Halloween Tracts.

The video below shows how this card folds.

 




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How Halloween Can Increase Attendance Church

How to Use Halloween to Increase Attendance at Your Church

Here is a simple and inexpensive way to invite a lots of people to visit your church this fall.  Create a flyer that lists everything going on related to children’s ministry and ask members to give it to their trick or treaters along with candy.  That’s it.  It does not have to be anything fancy.  Something put together with your word processing program and run on a copier will work.

What makes it so effective?

  • First very few churches are doing this so you won’t be cluttering up the kid’s trick or treat bags.Halloween Increase Attendance Church
  • Every parent will look at it as they go though their kid’s candy
  • The cost is cheap.  You are not paying postage and there is no requirement on the kind of paper it needs to be printed on
  • The number of children that you can reach can be significant.  As an example suppose you have 100 members who are willing to hand out flyers and on average they give out 20.  You just invited 2,000 kids to your church!  How many times a year do you reach this many kids outside the church?  Plug in your own numbers to see how many children you can potentially reach.

If you decide to try it here are a few suggestions to make your flyer as effective as possible.

  • Make the heading as powerful as you can.  Write several potential headings and ask people to tell you which they like best.  Remember to write it based on a parent who has young children and is NOT presently going to  church.  This is who will receive most of the flyers.  If your heading is not strong they will pitch it.  You have about 2 seconds to capture their attention so keep it short and powerful.
  • Highlight or emphasize key points.  This could be benefits or things the children might be interested in at church.
  • If your church has a preschool or after-school program include this information.  They may not be ready to visit your church but may be interested in your preschool or after-school program.
  • Make the flyer kid friendly and keep it short.  I recommend a half page which is 5.5 x 8.5.  If you are printing in color use bright colors.
  • Include a couple testimonials from members with children.  This can be the most powerful thing on the flyer.  Include their pictures if possible.
  • Include the church website and if you have a video with reasons parents should take their children to your church include that.
  • Add a QR code on your flyer.  Over 50% of smart phones are now equipped with a QR code reader.  If your video is on YouTube then it is probably already mobile enabled.  I recommend sending them to webpage that includes a video.  You can create a QR code for free at this site.
  • Review the flyer for the following:  spelling, readability, persuasion to take action, and that it is written from a non church member standpoint.
  • Remember you are not selling.  You want people to read the flyer and say: “wow I want to check this church out.  My kids and I could benefit from becoming involved there.”

You’ll find this to be an effective way use Halloween to increase attendance at your church.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions, post them in the comment section.

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