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 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 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

5 Sanity-Saving Christian Picture Books For An Anxious Child

Mother Sitting With worried Son Reading Story

Use these Christian picture books to help your child with anxiety feel secure. Type the phrase “is childhood anxiety on the rise?” into any search engine, and you probably won’t receive a single “no”. Instead, the headlines look like this: The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders The Rising Epidemic of Anxiety in Children and Teens Childhood Anxiety Steadily On the Rise Since the 1950s Mental disorders. Epidemic.Steadily on the rise. It all sounds very serious, and the sad part is that it’s true. Childhood anxiety IS on the rise. There are many factors, from lack of play and sleep to increased school stress and time spent online. One book I read said that children are actually more intelligent in each generation, and intelligent people can easily tend toward anxiety. There are no simple reasons for childhood anxiety, and as parents, this can make us feel helpless. I … Read More

How To Change An Old Habit

change an old habit

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward.  Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.  In the previous lesson I taught the brain science behind creating a brand new habit. So now let’s talk about how to change a habit.  THE BEDTIME HABIT For example, let’s talk about bedtime. What is your family’s bedtime routine? Some people have awesome bedtime routines, but for a lot of families, bedtime is frustrating. Everyone’s tired and cranky, and kids know how to push mom and dad’s buttons. Parents want to just chuck their kids and shut the door but kids want to get 18 … Read More

How to teach your kids to ask good questions (about their faith)

teach your kids to ask good questions

My middle son asked the same question for an entire year: how do I know God is real? You might expect this question from a teenager, but this kid was 4 years old. Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out how I deal with those big faith questions! If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe on Youtube or Like my Facebook page so you’ll get notifications when new videos are up! Each one contains short, sweet, hope-filled ideas for spiritually parenting our kids. You can find this book, “Does God Take Naps?” by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley on Amazon. (that’s a referral link, which means I get a small commission if you purchase through it. Thanks for supporting this ministry!) If you love the books I suggest, you can download my free list of the 10 best Christian picture books! Save (TRANSCRIPT) Do your … Read More

Bible memory for the chronically forgetful

Bible memory for the chronically forgetful

Bible memory stinks. Well, it doesn’t stink. Rather, I stink at Bible memory. It frustrates me because I have so many great ideas of verses I want to memorize, but when it comes right down to it, I…forget to get right down to it.  Sometimes I joke that I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight…I say it’s a joke, but deep down I know it’s the truth. I forget to memorize Scripture, but when I do get something in my head, it’s not long before I also forget what I memorized. My long-term memory seems have to have a leak. (Fun fact: I can watch a movie several times and still not remember what happened in the movie. Sometimes I don’t remember even watching it. Ask my husband about how much he loves that…) I stink at getting the Bible into my head, but I love … Read More

The easiest parenting habit with the biggest eternal impact

The one habit

He screamed and clutched me as if monsters were trying to drag him into the pit of hell. Maybe that’s how he felt. The first day of kindergarten can be rather rough on a child, but I wasn’t expecting the teachers to have to PEEL my son off me. I walked into the parent meeting, late, brushing tears off my cheeks. This parenting gig is hard on the soul. I find it extra hard to help my eldest with his emotional struggles. He’s a sensitive and creative fellow with an anxious streak a mile long. I had always hoped that his separation anxiety was more of a trick to induce mommy-guilt than a real, true-blue anxiety, but it turns out I was wrong. The anxiety was real, and it bled into his entire kindergarten year. Dropping him off at school was a nightmare, and he cried every.single.morning. His teacher reported … Read More

What Micah 6:8 means for moms

Micah 6:8 for moms

I’ve been feeling spiritually dry recently. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that schedules are changing around here – Dodger has given up his afternoon nap so my at-home afternoons are no longer as quiet as they used to be. Going back to work in April has also been a challenge because our office space has changed: I used to have a room near the back where I could shut the door and pray in peace, and now I have a shared office with a giant window that’s right off the main area. Not that those are insurmountable odds, but it makes spending time in private prayer and the Word a little more challenging to work into my schedule. I imagine there are others of you who struggle with the same thing, no matter what kind of life you lead! For some reason, what is … Read More

3 reasons to meet with God every day

What does "I am the vine, you are the branches" really mean?

The motto of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, is “Nisi Dominus Frusta”, which means, “without the Lord, frustration”. This is a feeling I know well. Nothing in my life has showed me the extent of my sinfulness and inabilities as parenting. Being a mom has brought out parts of my personality I would much rather have remained under the surface! I’m sure that I am not alone in this confession. Docile women become angry moms, flexible people become brick-wall parents, and unflappable men find themselves snapping in irritation at their children. No one is a perfect parent, but you and I have a choice about how we respond when we’re overwhelmed: a) Will we continue to parent out of our depleted reserves? b) Will we try to fill up our own reserves with me-time and hobbies? c) Or will we turn to the Well that never runs dry to be … Read More