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The Good Samaritan – A Sunday School Lesson For Kids

If you are teaching children the story of the Good Samaritan I’ve put together some resources that I hope you will find useful.  I’m teaching 3rd and 4th graders so if you are teaching younger or older kids you may want make some adjustments.Good Samaritan Kids

Before I get into the lesson I wanted to give some background to the adults.  Jesus said that the two most important commandments are to love God and love others.  1 Corinthians 13 gives us the definition of love:  Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love isn’t jealous.  It doesn’t sing it’s own praises.  It isn’t arrogant.  It isn’t rude.  It doesn’t think about itself.  It isn’t irritable  It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.  It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.  Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

I think that kind of love can only exist when the Holy Spirit has taken over our life, and that happens when we ask God to forgive us, trust and turn to him.  Through prayers, reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture, spending time with other believers and opening our hearts to Jesus he will transform our lives.

The Good Samaritan for Kids

Back to the Sunday School lesson.  After asking kids about their week bring up this questions:  what did Jesus say are the two most important commandments.  The answer is found in Matthew 22: 36-40  and Luke 10:27.

Jesus replies: “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  An the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two.

In the book of Luke, chapter 10 an expert in Moses’ teachings tests Jesus by asking the question:  “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  That is a question that has implications that will last forever and something that you can talk to your children about.

Jesus answered him by saying: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.  And love your neighbor as your love yourself.”

He went on to ask Jesus, Who is my neighbor? Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan.  “A man went from Jerusalem to Jericho.  On the way robbers stripped him, beat him and left him for dead.  By chance a priest was traveling along that road.  When he saw the man, he went around him and continued on his way.  Then a Levite came to that place.  When he saw the man, he too one around him and continued on his way.

But a Samaritan, as he was traveling along, came across the man.  When the Samaritan saw him, he felt sorry for the man, went to him, and cleaned and bandaged his wounds.  Then he put him on his own animal brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  The next day the Samaritan took out two silver coins and gave the to the innkeeper.  He told the innkeeper, ‘Take card of him.  If you spend more than that, I’ll pay you on my return trip.

Jesus then asked the expert which of these three men, do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked? That’s the question to ask the children.  Here are a couple videos that you can use to help reinforce the story of the Good Samaritan.  The first one is by Saddleback Kids and the Second by the Holy Tails.

 

If you have not visited Ministries To Children they have a lot of great free resources available on their website.  Just type in what you are looking for in the search bar and odds are pretty good that you’ll find a number of resources.

When I searched for the Good Samaritan I found these results:

Teaching Good Samaritan story to kids

 

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a great story to help us teach children learn to love all those that they meet.  Finally I’m ending with a story of someone who put into practice the message in the Good Samaritan.  I hope you enjoy it.  Consider ending your discussion of the Good Samaritan with how your kids can show love to others.

If you have other resources about the Good Samaritan you’d like to let people know about include them in the comments box.  If you’d like a free sample of the Memory Cross card, click here and put in the discount code “Facebook” and we’ll even pick up the shipping if you live in the USA.  If you don’t know how it folds watch the video below.

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The 7 hour challenge to a closer relationship with God

I’ve really been feeling convicted recently to spend more time with God.  I’ve been running around doing, but not being still and listening to Jesus.

Be Still and Know that I am God

The verse in Psalms has been on my mind which says “Be still and know that I am God” along with the story of Martha and Mary found in Luke:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary,who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I’m a doer by nature.  Given a choice between sitting or doing, I’ll be doing any day, but that has not helped my relationship with God, or other people but that’s another story.  I’ve felt separated from God, lost because I’m not spending time with him.  My relationship had stopped being personal and started to become something I do, but God has been calling me.  I’ve felt his urging to bring back my heart and walk with him in a relationship that is personal, to spend time praying, and just to be silent and know for myself that our relationship is real.

The 7 hour challenge

That is when I started thinking about the 7 hour challenge.  I probably took the idea from the 4 hour work week by Tim Ferriss or the 7 habits of highly effective people.  Wherever the idea came from I felt God telling me that I was spending to much time on things that don’t matter and not focused on the one thing that does.

I feel God calling; spend time with me so I committed to spend an hour a day with Him.  I don’t feel him asking me to put a stop watch on our time but to spend time on our relationship.  It is not about a legalistic time but  that my heart and mind should be focused on Him.  I’m spending time reading, praying, memorizing Scripture, writing,  listening to Christian music, walking and watching Christian videos.  Francis Chan is one of my favorite Christian speakers so I included one of his about living the Christian life.  Adam and Eve spent every evening walking with God in the Garden.  It must have been an amazing time since there was not yet sin to separate them from God.

As I’ve been spending more time with God I’ve found my relationship with Him getting closer.  My desire to spend my time doing other things has decreased and my desire to love and serve God seems to be growing, if not every day then every week.  I’ve found my focus to be getting better also.

I’m challenging you to spend 7 hours a week with God and see if your life changes also.  Sometimes you might have to force yourself to spend the time.  I personally have not, at least not yet but I’ve found that the more time I spend with him the greater the change in my life.

Jesus has called us to go make disciples and I’m feeling like the most effective way to start is by allowing God to fill my heart and mind.  When Christians start having a relationship with Jesus that causes their life to change, people will notice and I believe they will be drawn toward the fire that is now burning in our lives.

So I challenge you.  Start spending an hour a day with God and see if your life does not erupt from a small flame to a blazing fire, changing your life and the lives of those around you.  If you also feel convinced that God is calling you to spend more time with Him, take the challenge with me.  Put a comment below and share this post with your friends.  Maybe God is taking to them also.

May the fire of God settle in on your life so that you experience it lighting up your life.

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Why teach children to memorize Scripture

Why teach children to memorize Scripture?  Assuming you are a follower of Jesus what is the downside?

Drawback:  It takes work.  My six year old grandchild does not like learning her spelling words, but that does not mean we don’t make her memorize her spelling words.  We do it because we know learning to spell will benefit her throughout her life.  It is the same thing with memorizing Scripture except the benefits last beyond this life.

What other reason is there not to help kids memorize God’s Word?  The only other reason I can think ofteaching children to memorize the Bible for not helping children memorize Bible verses is because you doubt that God’s Word will make any difference in your child’s life.  How many things do kids learn in school that they will never use again?  In school the problem is we don’t know the future so we can’t tell what will help them and what is unnecessary.  With learning the Bible everything we learn will make a difference, maybe not tomorrow but someday, plus you are obeying this command:

Deuteronomy 11:18 says: “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.”  Later on in the same chapter God says: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today.”  We have this choice today.  We can live for ourselves or live serving God.

What have Christian Leaders said about learning Scripture

Billy Graham:  “I am convinced that one of the greatest things we can do is to memorize Scripture.”

Franklin Graham:  One of the things he thanks his mother for is the value of God’s Word. “My mother always insisted that I memorize Scripture — and I’m glad she did,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “She said that if we didn’t have the Word of God with us, we could always have it in our hearts.”

Chuck Swindoll – Pastor, Author Insights for Living:  “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.”

Rick Warren – Pastor Saddleback church.  Author Purpose Driven Life.  “Scripture memory is a habit that most Christians never even tried, but getting your members to hide God’s Word in their hearts brings personal revival and renewal.”

Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California –  “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs.”

Martin Luther, father of Protestant Reformation, knew so much of the Bible from memory that when the Lord opened his eyes to see the truth of justification in Romans 1:17, he said, “Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory,” in order to confirm what he had found.

John Piper, pastor, author Desiring God said: “here are a few reasons why so many have viewed Scripture memorization as so essential to the Christian life.

  • Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer.
  • As sin lures the body into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing word of Scripture and slay the temptation with the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what sin offers.
  • Daily triumph over Satan
  • Offers comfort and counsel for people you love
  • Communicating the Gospel to unbelievers
  • Communion with God in the enjoyment of His person and ways.

Charles Spurgeon says: “The Bible in the memory is better than the Bible in the book case.”

Francis Chan had this to say about God’s Word

We take time to teach our children many things but nothing is more important than teaching them God’s Word.  It is a foundation that will help them in this life and open their hearts to an eternity spent with God.  I hope these words will inspire you to start helping your children memorize Scripture.

What are some ways to help children memorize Scripture?

iPhone and Android apps to memorize Scripture

I started my search on my iPhone since my grandchildren always want it.  The last time I searched for a Bible memory tool specifically for kids I found nothing.  This time I came across Noah’s Bible Memory.  I just downloaded and tried it so I’ll update this blog post in a month after my grandchildren and I have had a chance to try it out, but I like the colors and the kid friendly design.  It was a free app.  There are 25 Bible verses.  Hopefully as more people install the app they will add more verses.  You can find it on iTunes by typing Noah’s Bible Memory.  It is also available for Android phones.  Joel Carson has several other apps to help children learn the Bible.  I encourage you to check them out.

 

teaching children to memorize bible verses

Bible Memorization Coloring Pages

Another fun way to help kids learn to memorize Scripture is by giving them Bible verses that they can color.  Most children love creativity and coloring so why not have them color Bible verses and then help them learn the verse.  Here are a few I found.

  • Joel Carson, creator of the app above also has a free PDF of Scripture verses that kids can color in.  It is beautifully well done and again free.
  • A Kid’s Heart has a number of verses illustrated that you can print out.  Some also allow you to color online.
  • Hubbard’s Cupboard has verses that kids can color, charts and cards that you can make a game out of that is similar to Go Fish.
  • Lori Lindeman has put together an extensive list of Scripture cooling pages on Pinterest.
  • Tony Kummer’s Ministry-To-Children is always one of my favorite resources; always free and is full of great ideas, plus I really like his heart and what he is doing.  Check out what he is doing ministering in Haiti.

Memory Cross Cards

The idea for Memory Cross started with Andy Lambert, a pastor with the United Methodist Church, who was looking for a creative tool that would capture kid’s attention while helping them memorize Bible verses.  We now have a variety of printed and blank cards available.  Click here to learn more.  The video below shows how each Memory Cross works.

If you have other resources share them with us and if you know anyone with children that could benefit from this post please consider passing it along.

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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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