Archives for January 2011

Fun Friday Photo — January 28, 2011

Callie (7), Caleb (5), and Katie (3) bring out the personality for Daddy during a family photo shoot!

94_FunFridayPhoto_Jan21.jpgThanks to Carrie P. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to parentlife@lifeway.com. Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

 

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers by Rhonda Barner

Sunday School teachers are heroes. Have you taken time to show appreciation to your child’s Sunday School teachers? Enjoy this sweet poem in their honor!

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Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who tell the children the truth about Jesus,
For they will be called the teachers of God.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who love and hug the children,
For they will be embraced by God’s glory.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who endure the talkative children and the ear-piercing screams of little girls,
For they will hear God’s joyful laughter among them.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who behave and play like the children around them,
For they will receive youthful vigor for the next 10-15 minutes.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who listen to the children’s concerns,
For God will reveal His heart to them.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who teach the children to pray,
For they will experience God’s power through answered prayer.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who lead one of the children to saving grace, through Jesus Christ,
For they will have treasures in heaven.

Blessed are the Sunday School Teachers …
Who call on God for wisdom in teaching His Word,
For the Holy Spirit will speak the truth in love through them.

For some creative ideas to show your appreciation to your child’s Sunday School teacher, don’t miss "Sunday School Heroes" in the January 2011 issue of ParentLife.

How have you shown love to the Sunday School teachers in your life? Share your ideas with others by leaving a comment.

Why I Miss the Backyardigans

Are your kids growing up too fast? I am living that today. My youngest son, Christopher, is a big first grader. We are so proud of how he is learning to read, playing basketball, and memorizing his books of the Bible. He is such a big boy in so many ways!

We love him so much and treasure every moment together, but we sometimes miss those days gone by — before homework, sports practice, and video games — when entertainment involved snuggling on the couch watching his favorite cartoon. Ask Christopher today what his favorite cartoon is, and he will tell you the latest incarnation of Scooby-Doo. But it wasn’t too long ago when we were watching shows like The Backyardigans, laughing at the silly characters and singing those clever songs.

backyardigans.jpgThat was before he somehow realized that show is "for babies." For the longest time, we kept our collection of Backyardigan episodes on the DVR — probably 30 shows! Then the day came when I deleted them one by one … all except our favorite "Race Around the World." I kept that one several months longer. One day my wife actually got Christopher to sit and watch it with her, and they laughed and enjoyed it so much! After the show was over, Christy asked Christopher, "Now wasn’t that fun?" Christopher replied, "Yes, but please don’t tell any of my friends I watched it!"

So goes that part of childhood. The Backyardigans has become part of our parenting history as we move on to other fun challenges and exciting times. But occasionally it is fun to "remember when"! It helps us remember how precious every passing moment is together!

What are some of your kids’ "old favorites" you have left behind?

Snowflake Adoption: Jon and Jodi by Bill Conger

This past Sunday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. One of the many ways that Christians can honor God’s gift of life is through adoption. Our January 2011 feature "Choosing Life" by Bill Conger celebrates three families who chose life by choosing adoption.

Another very special form of adoption is embryo adoption … also known as snowflake adoption. Jon and Jodi have a powerful testimony about embryo adoption to share! Enjoy their amazing story!

Jon and Jodi

For six long years, Jodi longed to be pregnant, but that didn’t seem to be part of God’s plan for her and her husband, Jon. The Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, couple quickly nixed the in vitro fertilization (IVF) option for moral and ethical reasons so they pursued domestic adoption.

"I kept wondering why would God give me such a deep desire to become pregnant that wouldn’t go away if there wasn’t going to be a pregnancy," Jodi recalls. "There’s got to be a reason for that."
They eventually chose to adopt embryos.

"In embryo adoption, you’re providing a solution for the extra embryos created though IVF. You’re giving children life that wouldn’t otherwise reach birth."

Just like a traditional adoption, the Jon and Jodi filled out reams of paperwork and were properly screened to make sure they were a suitable adoptive family. The doctor prepped Jodi’s body through a series of hormone shots before transfering three embryos.

"Our prayer the whole time was that God would protect each embryo through the process," Jon said. "We didn’t go into this with anything but the belief that life begins at conception. These embryos deserve every chance at life possible, and we shouldn’t do anything that would put their lives at risk. We felt that was totally God’s business and not ours."

At the ultrasound appointment, the future mom and dad discovered a triple blessing. "When they showed us one, we were just thrilled to death, and then they showed us two and we were just overwhelmed with joy," Jon said. "And then they showed us three, and we just burst out laughing. We were laughing so hard that the stenographer had a hard time finishing her work."

Jon_rodda_kids.jpgAaron Isaac, Ginger Ann, and Sarah Rose were born February 2, 2008 at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. Although they were two months premature, they were strong and healthy for preemies.

Through years of struggling with infertility, Jodi couldn’t imagine what could be better than just getting pregnant. Yet she and Jon learned to trust that God’s ways are better even when we don’t understand. They now celebrate the privilege and blessing of giving three children the opportunity to live.

What are some ways your family has celebrated the sanctity of human life this month?

Mary Beth Chapman on Choosing to SEE

If you’ve picked up our January 2011 issue of ParentLife, I hope you were blessed as much as I was by the feature "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman. Back in November, I had the chance to sit down and talk one-on-one with Mary Beth to get the inside scoop on her book

Mary Beth Chapman on Choosing to SEE from ParentLife on Vimeo.

To hear about Mary Beth’s passion for adoption and to see how your family can get involved, go back and watch part 1 of my interview with Mary Beth

And … be on the lookout this May for the final piece of the interview … great encouragement for new moms! You won’t want to miss it!

Fun Friday Photo — January 21, 2011

Two-year-old Jack is enjoying a day of playing in the snow!

FunFridayPhoto_SnowDay.jpg

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to parentlife@lifeway.com. Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

A Sneak Peek at Theo from Kids Ministry 101

Today we wanted to give you a sneak peek into a new LifeWay product, our first video-based curriculum for kids, releasing in June 2011 — Theo. (ParentLife Connection: ParentLife’s very own Editorial Project Leader, William Summey, is also heading up the Theo project!)

Is your church or children’s ministry looking for a small group curriculum to go deeper with your kids? Theo the Animated Theologian offers a rare combination — packaging rich theological content with high entertainment value. Making the biblical content come alive through fun, age-appropriate Bible curriculum that revolves around the Bible stories imbedded in each episode of Theo. 



The first volume, focusing on foundations of faith, releases June 1, 2011, and offers four sessions on the topics of faith, obedience, forgiveness, and the armor of God. It also features a bonus session "Good News!" that is evangelistic. Succeeding volumes of Theo will follow in the fall and winter of 2011. 

Help your kids grow in grace with Theo! 

Check out this preview video of Theo’s "Good News!"

Theo’s Good News – Premiere Video! from LifeWay VBS on Vimeo.

After you check out "Good News," we’d love to hear what you think about Theo!

**This post was adapted from a post on the Kids Ministry 101 blog. Click here to see the original post: http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/kidsministry101/2010/11/a-sneak-peek-at-theo.html

Getting Kids Into God’s Word by Bill Emeott

We’re thrilled to have Kids Ministry 101 blogger Bill Emeott as our guest blogger today! Since 2003 Bill has served as the Lead Childhood Ministry Specialist for LifeWay. His passions include childhood ministry leadership training and development, leading children’s Bible Study, and being an Uncle! Bill has been teaching children at First Baptist Nashville for seven years. He has some great insight into getting kids into God’s Word! Check it out!

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billBWsmall.jpgI think one of the most important things parents do is help equip boys and girls to live out their faith, day by day.  It’s called DISCIPLESHIP and I’m afraid that many parents have given this responsibility over to the church and are simply hoping/praying that their kids will somehow grow up to be a Christ follower, a mature believer… a Disciple!

It’s really not all that difficult … and to tell you the truth, it’s a whole lot of fun … but somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the “time” to really disciple kids. I’ve often said that children are the greatest blessing in the life of a family.  That’s true; BUT WITH EVERY BLESSING COMES RESPONSIBILITY and I believe that parents (partnering with the church) must take on their responsibility to disciple boys and girls not only to conversion but to become growing followers of Jesus (disciples).

So where do you start?
Perhaps the most important part of the disciple-making challenge is helping kids to learn the value of reading God’s Word on a regular basis. The challenge includes not only reading, but learning what they read means (both literally and to them personally). After the hearing and the knowing, we want boys and girls to understand personal application and what that scripture is telling them to do. They cannot know if they have not heard (or read) and they will not do if they don’t understand.

Encourage, lead, teach, and yes, disciple kids to get into God’s Word. Help them know the value of having a daily time with God. Equip them with the tools that will allow them to be all that God plans for them to be.

Bottom Line: If we never teach kids to hear God’s Word for themselves (read and understand what they are reading), it becomes more difficult for them to join God in His plan for their lives.

May I recommend these daily devotional resources for kids:
1st & 2nd Graders:  More
3rd & 4th Graders:  Adventure
Preteen 5th & 6th Graders: Bible Express

What are some ways you encourage your child to spend time in God’s Word?

Talking About Differences by Amy Fenton Lee

Handicap_person.jpgRecently my 5-year-old son noticed an army veteran strolling through the grocery store in her wheelchair.  Aware of the veteran’s injured legs my son began asking questions aloud about our fellow shopper.  Rather than briskly hushing my son, I recognized the opportunity to begin shaping his world view of disability.

Because the word disability often produces negative images, oftentimes not adequately reflecting an individual’s capacity for contribution, I avoided using the term in our conversation.  Instead, we talked about the lady’s “differences,” noting that her unique life experiences (and service to our country) may have affected her ability to walk. I explained that God creates everyone to have unique physical traits and unique life experiences. As a result, we would expect each person to have different strengths, weakness, abilities, and special needs. And in the case of our fellow shopper, her unique experiences and traits meant that she required a wheelchair to maneuver from place to place. 

Continuing on the subject of differences, I reminded my son how his body does not digest milk easily.  His difference requires us to buy special foods so that he can absorb nutrients and avoid getting sick.  I then asked my son to begin naming other types of differences people may have, and he quickly recalled his cousin’s need for eye glasses and a friend’s need for speech therapy.

While as adults we know that some diagnoses are easier and more commonplace, the goal in these first conversations is making differences an expected part of our child’s world. Conveying our respect for and acceptance of individuals affected by special needs is crucial to shaping our child’s view of disability. Addressing a child’s questions and discussing recognized differences may remove fears and ultimately promote better inclusion of other kids who are different.

Amy Fenton Lee equips churches for ministry to children with special needs through the The Inclusive Church Blog.

Have you ever had to talk to your child about someone’s differences?

Fun Friday Photo — January 14, 2011

Two-year-old Isabella is ready! She’s got her riding boots and her horse saddled! "Yee-Haw!!"

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Thanks to Tina W. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to parentlife@lifeway.com. Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!