Sacred Pathways for Kids: Connecting Children and God

Sacred pathways for kids, intro story and article

What are Sacred Pathways for kids, and why are they important for Christian families? Read on for a parable and explanation. Once there was a daddy with nine children. Yes, nine. Each Saturday, Daddy chose one child for a special date night. Over the years, each child got to spend many date nights with their daddy, getting to know him.  One Friday evening, a fight broke out in the home. The topic? Daddy’s favorite thing to do. Eli said that Daddy’s favorite thing to do was to go for a walk around the park, feed the ducks, and eat chocolate ice cream, exactly in that order. Claire said that Daddy’s favorite thing to do was go for a hike in the forest or on the beach.  Nathan said that Daddy’s favorite thing to do was play at the beach, building sand castles, covering himself with mud, and washing off in … Read More

How Protestant Prayer Beads Are Saving My Prayer Life

Make your own prayer beads

I didn’t realize until recently that Protestant prayer beads actually exist, but now they’re helping me grow my prayer life for the first time in a long time. The stresses of the day paraded through my brain. I could see each and every unmade decision, each possibility, each worry taking shape behind my closed eyelids. My body wanted sleep but my brain wouldn’t let me go there.  “God please…” I thought, then the worries reached their bony fingers back into my brain and snatched away the prayer.  I reached over to my end table, hand patting around in the dark. There they were. My fingers closed around the cool string of beads and I clutched them to my chest.  They were new to me, these prayer beads. For my whole life I had believed that using a tool to help me pray was an unholy cheat. Something used only by … Read More

Engaging God With All 5 Senses (Plus One Bonus Sense!)

How to connect with God using your senses

Engaging God with all 5 senses can truly help our faith grow. Historically the evangelical church has shied away from using senses (aside from auditory), but perhaps there is something to be learned from more ancient traditions. It comes every year: cinnamon-scented air, delicious desserts eaten without regrets, knitted sweaters snuggling our upper bodies in warmth, bright lights twinkling from eavestroughs, familiar songs being played in every building. What did those sensory images just evoke in you? Joy? Warmth? Excitement? I think the reason we love Christmas so much has something to do with the sensory experiences we enjoy every year, and that those sensory experiences have become traditions. Worship through the senses For the ancient Jews, the sense of smell was a key part of tradition of worship. The familiar scents evoked thoughts of God’s holiness, love and redemption. In fact, there was a very special incense blend that … Read More

How To Love God With All Your Mind

How to love God with all your mind by studying the Bible

Learning how to love God with all your mind can be a powerful tool toward connecting with God!   Hunched over my Bible, I sat on the floor in the hallway of the physics building during my first year of university. It may not have been the most effective place for quiet time with God, but it was sunny and, since class was in session, only the occasional student walked past. I was struggling with the purpose of the first covenant that God made with the Israelites: why did he even bother with it, seeing as they abandoned him on a bi-weekly basis and he had the whole plan with Jesus in the works anyway…?? I don’t even remember what verses I was reading at the time, but a heartbeat later I was shocked into an understanding of God’s purposes that I hadn’t had before, and it was thrilling. I … Read More

Raising Teens Who Know and Love God

A huge thanks to Monica Swanson, author of the upcoming Boy Mom book and homeschool mom of 4 amazing boys, for sharing her ideas on raising teens who actually love God. I have four sons, and two of them are suddenly more man than boy. (One will be 20, the other 18 in a few short months.)   There’s a lot I have loved about seeing my boys grow into young men, but more than anything I am grateful that they have thus far all personally chosen to follow Jesus.   Like:  get-up-before-the-sun-to-spend-time-with-Him follow Jesus.   Like: Lead Bible studies, share their faith with friends, and live intentionally for God’s glory kind of faith.  3 John 1:4 resonates with me now, more than ever:  “I have no greater joy than to know my children are walking in truth?”  Truly, there is: No Greater  Joy! It was always my hope that … Read More

How To Share the Gospel With a Child (and have them actually remember it!)

sharing the gospel with kids

Do you know how the share the Gospel with a child in the easiest way possible? With colors! You may have seen something called “the wordless book” or made beaded bracelets with the colors in Sunday School.  The colors are usually presented in this order: Black: Our sinRed: Jesus’ sacrifice for our sinWhite: Our new purityGreen: New growth in ChristYellow: For the hope of heaven But most of the color-presentations are missing something essential. They are missing God’s motivation. As a story-writer, I know that every character must be properly motivated. His/her actions have to have a reason, because that’s how things work in real life. We don’t do random things. Even if they may APPEAR random, they always have a reason. (Whether or not the reason is sane is another story altogether.) When we start our gospel presentations with sin, we have a motivation problem. Why on earth would … Read More

A Prayer For My Children To Know God’s Love

A prayer for my son

When I don’t know how to answer my child’s questions, I pray this prayer for my children. The question came out of nowhere. “How do I know God exists when I can’t see him?” asked my four-year-old son. My jaw dropped; I had never heard a young child ask such an existential question before. I hemmed and hawed and finally came up with an answer, and later that evening I remained extra grateful for the verse we had been praying over him every night at bedtime. A prayer for my children, right from the Bible: Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the … Read More

Everything You Need To Know About Teaching Kids to Pray

little multiethnic girl praying, kid, child pray

A huge thanks to Lisa from Graceful Abandon for this fabulous article on teaching kids to pray! You teach your kids to tie their shoelaces, to put on their shirts with the tag in the back, and to stop picking their noses. You teach them how to do math, how to navigate unkind kids on the playground, and how to smile sweetly when Grandma gives them a kiss even though it’s weird.  And you also get the immense and precious privilege of teaching them to pray. Can I Teach My Kids To Pray? Have you ever wondered if you’re equipped to teach your kids to pray? After all, you’re not a pastor, a missionary, or even a Sunday school teacher. You’re just their mom. But that, precious mama, is what makes you the PERFECT person to teach them. God entrusted your kids to you and He has given you everything … Read More

A Faith Path for Family Discipleship

faith path for families

Introducing a faith path for family discipleship, from the HopeGrown Faith ministry. Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, there was a farmer. The only thing this farmer had left in the world was a small garden and a fist-sized leather pouch of seeds. But she wasn’t worried. She had confidence that her soil was good. She had confidence that the sun would shine and the rains would come and in due time, she would receive a harvest many times bigger than her small leather pouch could hold. So she borrowed a spade and turned the soil, chopping up clumps, pulling out stubborn roots, and sprinkling in some compost. Then she borrowed a hoe and made neat, straight rows in the dark, moist soil.  Last, she pulled out her prize possession: the small leather pouch of seeds. She sprinkled them into the furrows and brushed soil … Read More

Fun Christian Easter Activities for Families

Fun Christian Easter activities for kids

The following is a list of do-able crafts, simple snacks, Easter egg hunt additions, and Easter books will help your family celebrate a meaningful Easter in a fun way. Without further ado, here’s the list of fun Christian Easter activities for families and children’s ministries! I worked in paid children’s ministry for 15 years, and before that I was a volunteer for many years. I also have kids of my own that I have experimented on extensively. 😜 These ideas are ones that I think would work well in either a children’s ministry or home context. Teaching the Easter Story Let’s start with the basics – teaching the actual Easter story. Here are several ways to do it: Directly from the Bible (that’s the easiest place to start!). You can find the Easter story in the last 1/3 of each of the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If … Read More