For over a month now I’ve been on a rant in the Children’s Moment. When the musicians begin playing “Jesus Loves Me,” just before the Pastor’s sermon, I have been heading up to the altar with my bible, a yellow rope, and a resource.
After asking the children how many hours there are in a day (24) and how many days in a week (7), we calculate that there are 168 hours in a week. Inviting 2 children to hold each end of the yellow rope taught, I share they are holding a rope of 168 inches long. One inch is marked in a black marker about 2/3 of the way in. Each Sunday for the last 6 weeks, I then add…
“If we have 168 hours a week and only take 1 hour a week to devote and honor the Lord by coming to church, how will we ever learn to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind as God’s people are told in Deuteronomy and Mark (and I say the “D” book in a funny way)? And that’s if we come to church every single Sunday and don’t miss a Sunday….ever, never miss a Sunday.”
Then I show a different resource each week to give the Lord more than an hour, more than an inch, each week. How can we practice and learn to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind? Each week, I used a single resource:
Cake mix & can of frosting – Bake a cake with Mom, Dad, or Mimi and give it to a neighbor saying, “God loves me and He loves you and I wanted to share something special with you.” And I give a cake mix with a can of frosting to one child at each service to do at home. (I will do for one what I wish I could do for everyone.)
Muffin Mix – I would wake up the earliest on Sunday than any other day of the week to make it especially special when my children were still living at home. I would bake muffins for the whole family and bring them breakfast in bed. That was the one day a week that no one woke up to an alarm, but me. I would bring Mr Bob a cup of black coffee with a muffin. I would bring a huge glass of OJ to #1 Son with a muffin. I would bring a cup of hot chocolate to Baby Girl with a muffin. And the house smelled like muffins. Then I give a muffin mix to one child to use at home.
Glory Bell – A hotel dinger bell (found at Staples). Psalm 100 tells us we serve a God of celebration, so any time something happens that is praiseworthy, we ring a Glory Bell kept in the kitchen. Get a good grade? “Ding” and shout “Glory!” Get up early on Sunday for church? “Ding” and shout “Glory!” I have teeth to brush each morning? “Ding” and shout “Glory!” And I give a glory bell to one of the children to use at home.
Bible – Leave the bible out on the table at breakfast for everyone in the family to read that day. If they are very good readers (tweeners), we open the bible to the Proverb chapter that matches the day of the month. Even a children’s bible with cartoon pictures is worthy of reading at the kitchen table over breakfast for everyone.
Prayer – I speak of and show my prayer journal and how I have traced the hands of those I love and mean so much to me in my journal. When I pray for each one, I place my hand on their traced hand in my journal and pray that they would love the Lord our God with all their heart, soul, and mind. Then invite a child at each service to allow me to trace their hand in my prayer journal. The child then writes his/her name in the traced hand. If any other child wants me to trace their hand in my journal for me to pray for them, they see me after services…one did.
Mirror Marker – The #1 way God’s people grow closer to Him is by reading the bible. Mirror markers/dry erase markers are great to write a bible verse on the bathroom mirror to be sure we pray or memorize scripture when we brush our teeth. How many times are we supposed to brush our teeth? (2x each day) For how long? (2 minutes) We can pray God’s Word back to Him, and memorize scripture twice a day for 4 minutes. I even suggest they might like Luke 12:35 “Be dressed and ready for service.” Or Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Moms love those!) One child would get a mirror marker to take home.
Blessings Journal – If a blank composition book or journal and an attached pen were to be left somewhere in the house (kitchen table, counter, bathroom) with the title “Blessings” written across the top, we would be able to write down what we see as blessings given to us by God. Kind of like a family blessings journal and anyone is welcome to add something. One child get’s a journal to take home from each service.
Bill Hybels wrote in the Afterword of Follow Me: What’s Next for You, “First, Christ-Centered people need to be reminded that they’re not crazy for taking Christianity so seriously. They need to be reminded of the Scriptures that tell us that making our lives a living sacrifice is a normal part of the Christian life. Second, Christ-Centered people need resources. They are actively building relationships, sharing a verbal witness and helping their friends explore Christianity. They’re learning more and more to die to self and to humbly do whatever Christ calls them to do. But many of them are asking, ‘Could I get a little help here?'”
What else can we do to give our families a little help offering Christ-Centered experiences and give Him more than an inch, more than an hour this week?