Encouragement and Tools for the COVID-19 quarantine

help for the pandemic

Hey friend, I know you’ve been flooded with COVID-19 emails, blog posts, and memes this week. I’m not here to spread any alarm (or toilet paper), but rather, some hope! First, I have a short devotional. Then, some resources to help if you’re suddenly at home with your kids for a couple weeks. In This World You Will Have Trouble… Bad things happen. Death and disease and disaster have touched us all. And yet, in the midst of all this, I’m reminded of this conversation Jesus had with his disciples: (very paraphrased from John 16) Jesus: Things will be bad. Yes, I just told you more than you can bear. But the Spirit will help you. Soon I will leave. Disciples: Wait, what?! Did he just say he will leave? Hey Jesus, we don’t get it. Jesus: Yes, I’m leaving. I’m going back to the Father. Disciples: oooooooh. Now we get it. (raising eyebrows at … Read More

How To Develop Moral Values In Your Child

how to develop moral values in your child

Author Bio: Thanks to Ryan Howard for this article on how to develop moral values in your child. Ryan runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers. Parenthood comes with many different joys and responsibilities. One of the most important jobs for patents is to keep their kids safe and healthy. Another high priority is to prepare them for the world, and this has many different facets. One way to prepare kids for the world is to ground them with factual information about all sorts of things like parks, grocery stores, and even driving. Beyond facts though, it’s important to teach kids about how to behave and also to develop a sense of morality. This … Read More

An Object Lesson on Faith That Kids Will Beg to Do Again!

Trusting God object lesson

INSIDE: An object lesson on faith and trusting God for Christian kids, plus a book that will help your kids understand WHY they can have faith in a loving God. It’s hard for kids to have faith in an invisible God. Let’s be honest – it’s hard for adults to trust an invisible God too! Here is a great object lesson you can use to help your kids understand what trusting God is like, and a book to show you WHY God is worthy of our faith and trust.  A while back I did a science experiment with my kids that turned out to be the perfect object lesson on trusting God. All you need are these totally normal supplies that you probably have laying around! SUPPLIES: a plastic zip top sandwich bag filled with water several sharp pencils someone who’s willing to trust you! WHAT TO DO FOR THIS … Read More

How To Change An Old Habit (Like a Tired Bedtime Routine!)

change a bad bedtime routine

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

Why I’m not going trick-or-treating this Halloween

halloween pumpkins

The black and yellow wings tugged at my shoulders and the tights scratched my legs. Little bits of sugar clung to my chin as I peered behind my grandma passing out candy to the neighbor kids. We were passing out candy and in my preschool mind, Costumes + Candy = Best.Day.Ever. But except for the one time I helped my grandparents pass out candy, my family didn’t really *do* Halloween. Most years we avoided the issue altogether by hiding in the basement, and other years we had a fun family night at the indoor amusement park. One year we attended a “harvest festival” put on by a local church and I discovered that Pentecostals are a lot of fun. True story. As a teenager my friends weren’t terribly interested in trick-or-treating (although we were known to go Christmas carolling in mid-summer…) and as a young adult I helped out with my … 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 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 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