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

Lectio Divina for Kids: Teaching Kids to Pray Through the Bible

lectio divina for kids

A huge thanks to Steph Thurling from Raising Prayerful Kids for this helpful and inspiring article on Lectio Divina for kids! My 7-year-old son, Calvin, has been downhill skiing for over a year. He took two days of lessons at Mount Crested Butte in Colorado, and because kids are fearless and completely unaware of the fact that bones break, he was skiing down the entire mountain by the end of his two days. Just recently we took him to our local ski hill in Minnesota. Calvin decided that he wanted to try the tow rope, which is something he had never done before. My husband took him over to the rope, showed him how to do it, and off they went. Calvin did it perfectly fine. He skied down to me as fast as he could and declared that he wanted to do it again. My husband was already off … Read More

Toddler prayer: A Primer for Christian Families

Toddler prayer | Toddler boy closeup

A huge thank you to Lois McKiernan of Where Truth Lives for this fabulous article on toddler prayer! “Is there anything you’d like to pray?” My toddler nodded, then squeezed his big eyes closed. “Thank You, God, for all my friends playing with me in the garden in the sand pit… In Jesus’s name… Aaaamennnnn!!” He grinned as he closed his eyes and settled down to sleep, and I smiled in gratitude that he, though so young, was intimately communicating with his Creator, sharing his heart and his gratitude with the Source of every blessing. Each night, my husband or I (whichever one of us is putting him to bed) will pray for our son – for his safety, his peace of mind, his obedience and his character. Then we’ll ask him if he wants to pray, too. There have been one or two nights where he’s shaken his head … Read More