Archives for posts with tag: #parenting

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!!!

“Yet when God entered time and became a man, he who was boundless became bound. Imprisoned in flesh. Restricted by weary-prone muscles and eyelids. For more than three decades, his once limitless reach would be limited to the stretch of an arm, his speed checked to the pace of human feet.
I wonder, was he ever tempted to regain his boundlessness? In the middle of a long trip, did he ever consider transporting himself to the next city? When the rain chilled his bones, was he tempted to change the weather? When the heat parched his lips, did he give thought to popping over to the Caribbean for some refreshment?
If he ever entertained such thoughts, he never gave into them. Not once. Stop and think about this. Not once did Christ use his supernatural powers for personal comfort.
With one word, he could’ve transformed the hard earth into a soft bed, but he didn’t. With a wave of his hands, he could’ve boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces, but he didn’t. With an arch of his brow, he could’ve paralyzed the hand of the soldier as he braided the crown of thorns. But he didn’t.”
Max Lucado, He Chose the Nails
“Want to know the coolest thing about the coming? Not that the One who played marbles with the stars gave it up to play marbles with marbles. Or that the One who hung the galaxies gave it up to hang doorjambs to the displeasure of a cranky client who wanted everything yesterday but couldn’t pay until tomorrow.
Not that he, in an instant, went from needing nothing to needing air, food, a tub of hot water and salts for his tired feet, and, more than anything, needing somebody – anybody – who was more concerned about where he would spend eternity rather than where he would spend Friday’s paycheck.
Or that he resisted the urge to fry the two=bit, self-appointed hall monitors of holiness who dared suggest that he was doing the work of the devil.
Not that he kept his cool while the dozen best friends he ever had felt the heat and got out of the kitchen. Or that he gave no command to the angels who begged, “Just give us the nod, Lord. One word and these demons will be deviled eggs.”
Not that he refused to defend himself when blamed for every sin of every slut and sailor since Adam. Or that he stood silent as a million guilty verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the giver of light was left in the chill of a sinner’s night.
Not even that after three days in a dark hole he stepped into the Easter sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a question for lowly Lucifer – “Is that your best punch?”
That was cool, incredibly cool.
But want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?
He did it for you. Just for you.” – Max Lucado
Max Lucado, He Chose the Nails
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Well-child policy.

Common sense tells us that when your child is vomiting, has a fever, or is blowing lots of thick green guk out his nose, you stay home with him until he is well. Your work would not be happy with you if you brought that child with you into the office and held him on your lap hacking stuff up during a meeting. And the schools all have “well-child” policies that would keep you from leaving your child in class that day puking in a bucket under his desk or passing out during gym. Doctor’s offices would make your child with a heavy cough wear a mask while there. So why do we treat church so differently?

I overheard a staff member whispering to another staff member once, “I would never ever leave my child in the nursery here. That place is a Petri dish of every bacteria known to man. No one leaves there healthy!” Several parents responded to our survey saying they wouldn’t use the nursery for fear of their child catching an illness. It was time to act. We researched well-child policies from surrounding schools and churches and came up with our own that matches our needs.

Some things we included in ours went something like this:

“If your child is displaying any of the symptoms below either now or in the past 24 hours, please keep your child with you, and have them sit out of children’s ministries until they are well. 

Keep your child home if they have:

Fever over 99, vomiting or diarrhea,runny nose especially with any color of discharge, heavy wet coughs, unexplained rashes, skin infections, impetigo, boils, ringworm, eye infections, childhood diseases such chickenpox, mumps, measles, rubella, pertussis, scarlet fever etc.

If a child develops any of the above symptoms while in our care, we will contact the child’s parents as soon as possible so that they might tend to the child’s illness.

Our Children’s Ministry staff will not administer any type of medication to the children placed in our care.”

At first we caught a lot of backlash. I had the volunteers call me over to speak with parents who were not being able to leave a sick child. I got a lot of excuses like “Well, the school won’t take him either and I really need a break. Here you take him!” And “Oh yeah, that rash has been spreading all over his legs since this morning. He caught it at daycare, but it’s not contagious.” and “This is a church. You have to take anyone!” No wonder people didn’t want to use the nursery. Again, I didn’t understand this until I had kids of my own and found out that one nasty virus could waylay our whole family for a week. The bottom line is that you need to do your research, come up with a solid well-child policy, and have your pastor approve it. Then you need to post it somewhere visible so you can make it apparent you are not targeting any particular child; this is the policy across the board.

NOTE: web20It is extremely important to make sure no parent feels singled out or embarrassed in front of others. Yes you do have to turn some children away if they are too ill, for the safety of all the other children and your workers, but remember to be kind and caring. That poor parent may have had a very rough week and thought “maybe we are well enough now to finally get out” when they just weren’t quite ready. Always use grace and kindness. But keep that kids’ area a “well-child area” as much as you possibly can.

From “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch” available on Amazon

In our age of technology linking us all across the globe, information and training has never been more accessible or more affordable! Google puts answers at our fingertips, almost instantly. More and more churches are doing their training seminars for staff and volunteers though “webinars”- training done entirely online from the comfort of home or the church building. Webinars have many benefits including low cost, no travel expenses, no time away from home, and flexibility with your own schedule. I love webinars; they are absolutely valuable in reaching and training today’s leaders. I even speak for several webinars. Does that mean that I no longer believe in sending teams away for “off site conferences”? Absolutely not. Traditional conferences still have enormous value, offering what webinars cannot. With a lot of churches in a budget crunch, and so many under resourced children’s ministries leaders, we have to ask, “Are off site conferences worth the expense?” I answer, with a resounding “Yes.” Here’s Why:

 

10. Laser Focus-There are a lot of conferences/trainings out there on every imaginable ministry topic- leadership, outreach, worship, discipleship etc. etc. etc. But if your passion and heartbeat is children’s/family ministry- if the faces of those kids and parents keep you up at night- then nothing beats a children’s/family ministry conference for putting all the best of everything right towards your calling.  Instead of finding one or two things that will benefit your ministry at a website, you will find that most, if not all, of the large group services, worship services, resources and breakouts will directly speak to, equip and impact YOUR ministry right now. There is a lot to be said about the effectiveness of that kind of focus- everything, absolutely everything, applies to your kid’s and family ministry.

9. Resources Galore- Every year, I see several children’s leaders arrive with cash in hand to buy their curriculum, training materials, books, worship DVDs, and supplies for the whole year. These events offer the chance to go through MANY vender booths, talk directly to the creators of many of the products, handle and examine the resources (as opposed to buying online)- all under one roof! And every single thing is for kid’s and family ministries! It’s like Christmas for kid’s ministry leaders.  I even saw a few teams that brought their senior leader WITH them (great idea!) to help them purchase most of what they would need for the next year all at once. Great idea, very efficient.  It also gets your senior leader in the loop, excited about the possibilities and increased vision for the family ministries area! Some booths also offer conference discounts that you can only get at the conference.

8. The Speakers- Quality, dynamic speakers present each year the main sessions at conferences, and live always trumps recorded. There is power in “being there.” Want to hear from the most successful and in-demand children’s/family ministry leaders? You’ll probably find all of them in one place. And every single year, I and my team have been inspired, challenged and encouraged to let God use us in bigger ways! I took so many notes last year at one conference, that I ran out of paper, and had to write on random scraps of paper in my purse.  I still reread those notes several times during the year (some are tear stained).  The impact of those large group services goes on well after the conference is over.

7. The networking- The very best part of off site conferences is NOT the amazing services or breakouts- sorry.  The BEST part of the conference is the networking that happens organically among children’s leaders.  Everywhere I see children’s leaders connecting, exchanging ideas, praying together, commiserating….they’re exchanging emails and Facebook info in the hallways, classrooms, after services, late night activities.  They are bonding over lunch! We are always better when we are working TOGETHER. I have met some of the most amazing friends and ministry collegues at these conferences!

6. College credit- Did you know, that several conferences now offer classes that count for college credit? Awesome right? I highly advise you to check this out on the conference website, especially if you are going or thinking about going after a ministry degree. All of us should we working to do better, to BE better at what we do. Because we have the greatest job on earth!

5. The workshops- Every year, I find so many workshops that I cannot WAIT to attend. In fact, usually there are usually two or three I want to visit every time block, SO my teams split up and each attend a different workshop. Then at lunch or dinner we compare notes and share what we learned.  Coming by yourself? You may find yourself wanting to order copies of certain classes so you don’t have to miss a thing! And some conferences let you pick a “track” of classes to attend: for example, “recruitment” “family ministry” and several more. And if you choose a track, remember you are not locked into that track.  If you see a workshop you really can’t wait to be a part of- go ahead and go! The track gives you great ideas of workshops to benefit your biggest needs.  I think it’s a great new idea that will work well.

4. The activities! – It’s not all “heavy” learning.  There is a lot of fun! Games, demonstrations, giveaways- late night stuff! It is part of the whole experience- touring the area around the convention halls, local attractions (if you like), great food, swimming and more. There is always a lot of laughing and fun to be had even when the classes are NOT in session. This is bonding for your team that is priceless. This bonding flourishes when you get away together.

3. Those amazing God moments in the hallway….  I cannot say enough about this one. I go to a lot of conferences all over the country (USA), and I love seeing children’s leaders praying together in the hallways, workshop leaders praying over people in classrooms after sessions and people having such deep God-conversations over lunches.  One such “God moment” happened to me 3 years ago. Two women I had never known, along with a workshop leader, prayed with me in the hallway. I was so inspired that I went home and finished writing my first book “Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch”- an all inclusive guide, to help children’s leaders launch or rebuild a dynamic kid’s ministry from the ground up.  I referred back to my notes from that conference many times during the long editing and publishing process, and it gave me the courage to keep going.  Since going live on Amazon, the 1st book has already sold over 2000 copies in 11 countries in 4 languages, and has become a mandatory textbook at several universities.  What ministry could God be growing within you right now? Go with an open mind and a ready heart.  And look for God to speak to YOU, in AND out of the services.

2. One on one coaching- CPC (Children’s Pastor’s Conference) offers sign ups for a one on one session with the children’s ministry expert of your choice (from the conference)- the cost of which is FREE with paid registration to the conference. The point is to “Go Home with a Plan!” that you can immediately implement- practical tools and strategies just for you and your situation. Other conferences offer these encounters in a less formal way; CMCONNECT conference gives you the chance to talk with “experts”, rubbing shoulders with them in every hallway. The intimate feel puts everyone on the same level, giving you the chance to really open up to those who have been in your shoes.

1. Team bonding- Effective growing ministries do not grow and thrive from one man (or one woman) shows. The future of your children’s ministry depends on the strength of your TEAM. Want to bond and inspire your team for years to come? A get away is the place to do that. It is so difficult to come home from a conference and try to relay the information to people who weren’t there. There is power in experiencing those moments, the laughs, prayers and tears TOGETHER.  “You had to have been there”.  Your team may just come home solidified as one team, with a strong vision for ministry- and totally stoked to take things to the next level!

Convinced yet? Need more info? Check out these upcoming conferences. I am so excited to be speaking at each of these this spring. If you will be there, please come up and say HI! Do you still love going to offsite conferences? Which is YOUR favorite?

Love Trisha

Children’s Pastor’s Conference- Orlando, FL, Caribe Resort and Conference Center, Jan 24-26, http://www.incm.org/events/

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CMCONNECT Conference- Louisville, KY, Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, Indiana, February 20-23, https://cmconnect.org/cmconnect-announces-2017-site/

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AGKidMIN Conference-Fort Wayne, IN April 19-21, First Assembly of God (sponsored by the National Assemblies of God), http://kidmin.ag.org/conference/

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“Don’t call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.  Look, I will do something new, now it will spring forth, will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert….” Isaiah 43:18-19

“Don’t park at the point of your pain.” -Joyce Meyer

We used this as our children’s church theme verse for quite a while- we look at it a lot and remind eachother that God is trying to do something new!!  As with anything in life, when things have gone extremely well, it is so easy to rest on our laurels and glory in past victories…. But God always seems to be pressing us on, on on…. Ever wonder why?  A very long time ago, God took his chosen people out of slavery and bondage, out of a barren desert, to a brand new land.  They saw His amazing miracles on almost a daily basis!  On the edge of this beautiful new home, God admonished them over and over (about 15 times)- DO NOT leave any of this land unsettled, or the few inhabitants left will forever be thorns in your side and smoke in your eyes!!  I am giving you ALL of this land, make sure you claim it ALL and don’t stop until it is all settled.  And when it is all yours and you are happy and content, don’t forget Me.  You may know how the story went- the chosen people went in, took a fraction of the land and said, “God has given us this and done so many miracles, we have come so far.  Let’s just rest now and enjoy this piece we have.”  The story is a tragedy because they never did receive all of what God planned for them- what He was HANDING to them- because they didn’t want to try anymore, didn’t want to live by FAITH, didn’t want to march or fight anymore.  They settled for a fraction of what they could have had.  And worse, all that God had warned them about happened- the inhabitants of that land that they never finished settling made their lives SO miserable- and the war between Israel and those Canaanite descendants (Palestine) continues to this day!!!

So I am asking, “Has God done wonderful things for you, for your family, for our church??” You bet. Now ask yourself, “Has God done everything He wants to for you, your family and our church?” My answer is “no way.” I believe we are merely at the edge of the promisedland of blessings that God has for us.  And when God makes promises He always keeps them.  It is always His will to save people, heal people, restore people, etc.  When God looks at Sheboygan today He is not thinking, “Job done!” We are just getting rolling here.  Our challenge now is not to get tired and quit when things are going well.  God says, “Take all the good things I have for you, and when you are happier and content, don’t forget about me!”  So this week, let’s thank God for how far He has brought us, and then let’s look to what He has for us next! Who will we reach for Jesus now? Rest of the Promisedland, here we come.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” The Apostle Paul, Gal. 6:9

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE PEACH PIT!

Merry Christmas! We hope God grants you peace and joy in His Presence this Christmas.  We are so appreciative for all of our family and friends- thank you for being in our lives! Here were some of our family’s stand out moments in 2016:

Scott: My beloved husband of 17 years, Scott, has just celebrated his third year at the Southern Illinoisan newspaper. He is enjoying his promotion to Creative Services Director/I.T. Manager. His coworkers love him- in fact on “costume day”, two of his coworkers dressed up as “Friday Scott” in funny Batman T Shirts. This week, Scott has been helping Logan with a science fair project. They are programming a computer to do higher math functions. YIKES! Good for them; I’m glad one of us can help him with it! Scott volunteers helping our church with I.T. He is a great dad to these kids, and spoils me for sure. Love you Scott!

Trisha- More and more traveling and speaking for me this past year (and even more scheduled in 2017!) I usually speak out of state once a month. This was another big year, in that my second book came out last January”Your Children’s Ministry Beyond Basics”. This sequel to“Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch” (Amazon) has also been picked up as a textbook at North Central in Mpls, (my alma mater) and Valley Forge in PA. This past year, I spoke at CPC East (Chattanouga), CMConnect Conference (Louisville), Carmi Assembly of God in Illinois, the Minnesota District (AG) Twin Cities Area Children’s Pastor’s luncheon and other camps and workshops and consulting work. I am now 18 months into my Master’s program at Bethel Seminary in children’s and family ministry. I have 12 months left! I expect to graduate this coming December 2017, right before my 40th birthday. This year I also came on as a contributing editor for my favoritie magazine “KidzMatter.” It is a dream come true for me to get to write about my passion for kids and family! I am very excited for 2017, as I will be speaking at several of my favorite conferences. This spring I will be sharing at CPC (Children’s Pastor’s Conference) this year in Orlando Florida!!!, CMConnect Conference in Louisville, and the AGKidmin National Conference in Fort Wayne.One of the best parts of this year was bringing my kids along to several ministry opportunities and ministering as a family! The kids did puppetry, skits, worship leading and more. On a personal note, after a 3 year battle with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, I feel that my body is doing so much better. I have lost 22 pounds this year and I’m feeling great!

Logan- Logan is now officially a teenager. AHHHHH!  I am overjoyed at his passionate love for Jesus.  He reads his Bible every single night to his sister, and has a lot of faith when he prays. Logan still loves drawing comic books, playing with his dog Ursani, playing Minecraft, playing any and all board games (our family plays board games almost every night), and creating video games on a site called “Scratch.” He wants to design video games for a living someday. Logan was inducted in his school’s “Beta Club” honor society this fall, for academic achievement. He also surpassed 1 million words of reading for his school contest in just the first few weeks of school. He is enjoying school, especially hanging out with his friends. He is so compassionate, creative, funny and still full of energy.

Eliana- This creative fireball has straight A’s in fifth grade. She is now in an honors math class, in the top 3 percent for Math in her grade. This year, she started Clarinet in band, and loves it. For her school’s “Nutcracker” musical, she played clarinet AND the Asian dancer dall. She draws, makes crafts, and has a beautiful singing voice, and snuggling with her cat Midnight. Every day she makes us smile. She loves our family board games a lot. I am most touched by her passionate love for Jesus. She reads her Bible daily and keeps her “prayer list” on the wall of her bedroom. Many of you are on that list! She prayerfully prays for everyone EVERY night. I love the vibrant young lady she is becoming.

We loved seeing family a lot this year, and reconnecting with longtime friends. Some wonderful people are just your friends for life!

Please keep up with us by following us at facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pastortrisha, or my weekly blog: peachT@wordpress.com, website: http://www.kidmin.ninja, or twitter: /ptrishapeach

Love you all so much.  God bless you this Christmas and all through this new year.

Love Trisha, Scott, Logan, Eliana, (Ursani, Danny and Midnight)

 

Each November, our family does something a little different for the whole month before Thanksgiving.

 I don’t know about you, but this year was a roller coaster at times of highs and bitter lows. Many people are expressing worry or trepidation about 2017. And it can become easy, to focus on the negative, or to take all the good in our lives for granted- to not realize the beauty in our lives until it’s gone.  Our American culture at times pushes us to be entitled, without even realizing it. We’ve all met children (and adults!) who are completely ungrateful and clueless as to what they already have.

So this November, I announced to our family, that we were going to cover a wall in our living room with butcher paper, and every single day before bed, we would write at least one thing we are thankful for. No repeats! So every day the four of us wrote at least one thing we were grateful for.  I got a box of brightly colored markers and we set up the large wall of paper.  At first I got a few lame excuses, “Oh mom, I don’t know what to write…..this is so different.”  But after the first night, everyone has been having fun with it. And the best part? We all have to walk past that wall so many times a day, and just seeing it, reminds us all how amazing God is. And I love seeing my kids stop to read everything on the wall before we thank God at the end of the night. That visible reminder of God’s goodness changes your view of everything else that day…..God tells us in His Word to be thankful, and grateful, no matter the circumstances. We are to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in our homes, and we as parents lead the way. What has God done for you and your family this year? This is the perfect week to stop, remember and say, “Thank You Lord”.

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If you are having a fantastic holiday and so is everyone you know, fantastic.  That’s wonderful. But this blog may not be relevant for ya, at least not this year. I would like to have a word with those of you who may NOT be having a great holiday season right now….

Seven years ago, Christmas Day- As my little 2 year old daughter began opening her third gift, I heard my phone ring. I was confused at first seeing that my phone wasn’t on; THEN I saw it was the on call phone. I picked up the phone and answered.  On the other line I heard the tired voice of an older man.  He asked me, “I want you to give me one good reason not to end it all right here and now.”  Hey family, I need to go outside for a bit. I need to take this.

You have probably heard it said that the Holidays are the hardest time of year for some people. When I was younger I never knew how true that was. Coming on staff at a large church, I thought the reason none of the staff wanted to be on call during the holidays was purely due to family obligations. But having holiday time with the family was only PART of the reason that the pastoral staff did not relish being on call for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. My first year, as the newbie on staff, I was on call during Christmas Day. It really changes your whole perspective on the holidays talking to people who are suicidal on Christmas. And your eyes are opened to the very large number people all around us who are hurting at the “happiest” time of the year.

Perhaps we are not as aware of this sadness in the church, because we have created a culture that says, “If you are really a good Christian, you will be happy all the time.  You will live in victory daily.”  This causes many Christians to hide their very real feelings, and the fact that they need a friend, because they are pretending to be “happy”. And some of these Christians wonder, “Is there something wrong with me, because I am not happy right now? Would other Christians understand or even be able to help?” We live in a broken, fallen world. The church and our American culture have created this artificial reality- that we are immune to heartbreak if we do the “right” things.  We can stay young, wealthy, have all we want and need.  As the poet aptly said, “Childhood is the Kingdom where nobody dies.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay. When you grow up, you begin to see, on planet earth bad things happen to ALL people, good, bad…etc. And if we will be honest, that is exactly what the Bible says- and what Jesus told us would happen: “In this world you WILL have trouble….they will persecute you and throw you out of synagogues for My Name’s sake….some of you will be delivered over to death…but the end is not yet etc etc etc” I do not believe Bible stories are just “stories”.  The accounts of certain lives are there for a reason! EVERY single one of the heroes and patriarchs of the Bible went through terrible times. And we are not exempt. We weren’t promised to be happy all the time.

I have two separate friends who lost their moms this year.  Another good friend lost a baby. One needs major heart surgery for herself, and she has 2 small children at home. I know they are going into the holidays uncertain.

I remember at least one holiday season that was  the worst time of my life.  I ended up curled up over the steering wheel of my car, listening to the sleet pelting the roof, outside of Lowe’s, crying my eyes out.  I knew I had to go home and make Christmas as wonderful as possible for my two young children.  But I remember thinking to myself, “Is this really Christmas for us this year??? This isn’t supposed to be how it is! Wait, where is the ‘holiday magic’ that somehow swoops in and makes this all ok?”

So if we know that the holidays are harder for us (even Christians) sometimes, then what can we do to get through the holidays on a difficult year? What can we do to help those in our lives who are struggling this season? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Know that you are not “bad” or “abnormal” to feel down at times during the holidays.  It is perfectly normal to be reminded of a loss at important events. It is normal to feel down, stressed and even blah. The thought of being on a huge emotional high through the whole holiday season is an unreasonable and unrealistic expectation for anyone.

2. You are not alone.  A lot of people have major lows during the holidays.

3. It is ok to go talk to someone and get help.  You owe it to yourself and your family to be honest and take care of YOU. That doesn’t make you less of a Christian, a strong person or a parent.

4. It is ok to have some happiness during the holidays even if you have had a major loss. Some people feel very guilty if they feel happy during the holidays if they have lost someone. It’s ok to laugh and have fun too…there’s no rule book for how you have to feel.  And more than likely the person or people you are missing would love to see you smile too.

5. Create some new traditions.  It is great to keep up old traditions. But one thing that is very healing after a loss is to incorporate a new tradition or two.  A tradition to remember the good that was, and a tradition to look forward to the good that will be. Which brings us to:

6. Remember that there WILL be better seasons to come. Everything in this life comes in seasons. In the middle of a tough holiday season, it is easy to think, “This is how things will be from now on. It will always be this way.”  But a good friend once told me, “There is life out there beyond this. And no it’s not the same as before.  But it’s a good good life.”  I hung on to that during a dark time, and it proved to be so true.  Life will continue to change; but good IS coming.  God’s Word promises us that God’s plans for us are GOOD.  And that “all things work together for GOOD for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

7. Last but not least: Make a list of all you are thankful for. Now before you shriek, “Wait? You want me to be THANKFUL after the year I’ve had?” remember that pain can blind us to everything that is still good in our lives. Remember the story in the Bible about the widow and her two mites? Jesus said she gave more than anyone else because she gave all she had.  Perhaps the one who is sad on Thanksgiving, but who stops to thank God for all the good still in their life, is so very precious to God, because it probably takes everything they have. “In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God.” It is easy for someone in a good year to be thankful; but if you’ve had a rough year, your thanks and praise are much more of a sacrifice.  And I have found that stopping to thank God, when there seems to be nothing going right, is when I seem to feel Him here, and sense His working the most.

Are you having a wonderful, fun filled Thanksgiving and Holiday Season? Fantastic! That’s great. Are this year’s festivities particularly difficult? I am wishing to send you a great big hug right now through my laptop and say, “you are loved, and good IS on the way”. God bless you this Thanksgiving and Christmas and all through this next year- whether a good or a bad year- may you feel Him with you, working in your life. Love Trisha

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For many Americans the earth starting spinning in the other direction early this past Wednesday morning. Many woke up feeling that their whole world had changed over night. I have lived through 5 elections now, but I have NEVER seen or even heard of one quite like this past election. It is safe to say that our nation has not been this divided since the Civil War. For a year now, our TV screens, tablets, social media, radio etc etc have been bombarded by an avalanche of name calling, ugly ads, uncovered corruption, “secret emails” and “secret tapes.” The anger has boiled over in the ballot boxes and into the streets of our nation. I looked at five major newspaper headlines today, each asking the question, “What do we say to our kids about this election?” Many parents and children’s leaders are mulling that question over. Here are a few thoughts I have, as a parent of 2 children and a children’s pastor, teacher. After this election, Christian adults ARE:

1. Safe people for a child to ask questions, even tough ones. Unless your child is VERY VERY young, you will probably not be able to shield your child from hearing about the election. Both of my children came home from school talking about the lunch discussions with their friends. They saw several ads on youtube channels as well. I do not want my children to hear about it from everyone BUT me. I am deliberately initiating the tough conversations with my children, because I want them to know that I am a safe place to ask those questions. I do not want political questions to be off limits with my kids. With all that has gone on, and is still going on, they will have questions. In fact, we talked about the voting process, their rights and responsibilities as an American citizen. I even took them with me to the polling station so they could see how voting works.

2. Good citizens of whatever nation we live in (Mark 12). We are in the world, not of it, meaning we SHOULD be salt and light in American politics, without letting our culture of greed, anger, corruption taint us. This includes following laws, paying taxes, doing our due service and praying for those in authority.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. …Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13:1-3

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority.” (1 Peter 2:13)

“We are also to pray for, and see the peace of the place God has us serving: “And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7

Jesus tells us to pay our taxes, and to help out if pressed into service (Mark 12). However, Jesus DID speak up with the governing authorities were mistreating others and abusing power (John 2:13-22, Luke 13:32, Luke 13:1. The Apostle Paul appealed to his Roman citizenship when he was about to be beaten/interrogated illegally (Acts 16:37)

3. Are accountable to GOD first. We are CHRISTIAN Americans, not American Christians. That means that if we must choose between what God has said and what our culture says, we will choose to do what God said. What is legal is not always right and vice versa. For example, slavery used to be legal, but it was still horribly wrong. It used to be legal to beat to your wife, trade your child for a horse etc. etc. The Bible teaches over and over again that we are accountable to God first. The early disciples said it best when they were threatening by the rulers and ordered to stop preaching Christ: “But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” Acts 5:29. The Apostle Peter states, “”Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among outsiders that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12

4. Can be afraid, but choose to put their trust in God. I advise parents to be honest with their children when they are facing someone of great importance. It is a powerful thing for a child to hear their parent say, “Hey, I am scared in this situation too. But I know what the Bible says. And I chose to trust God.”A Good friend of mine put it this way: No matter who is President, God is on the throne. Nothing can change God’s plan as laid out in Revelation. He knows what He is doing. He is loving, and He cares about us so very much.

5. Leads by example. What do the children in my life see in my attitude and actions? Am I showing fear, rage? Am I showing trust, compassion? Our children often grow up to do as we do, not as we say. They may follow our actions right now. How will they react to this election? They are watching you for cues.

6. Prays for our government and for our leaders. EVEN IF THEY WEREN’T the ONES WE WANTED. This is especially hard for us as Americans. But the Bible is clear, “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers,intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men 2for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.…” 1 Timothy 2:1. It is very hard to hate someone that you are praying for. I told my children, “I did not pray for our last President as much as I could have. But I am going to pray for whoever our new president is every single day.” And I am going to. And I want my kids to hear me pray. If I spent as much time praying as I have complaining, this nation would be a much better place for my kids.

7. Does not resort to ugly tactics when hurt, angry, confused. Remember, our kids are watching us, learning from us how to react to success and to hurt and to defeat. Are we taunting and teasing? Are we yelling? I believe our kids need to know that hurting others, threatening people, destroying things, demeaning others is never a way to handle emotions. We as parents and teachers have to show our kids a better way. We need to teach our kids to be change agents in this world, and there are right ways and wrong ways to go about effecting change.

That has been my strategy in these tough times- modeling prayer for our government, participation, a (hopefully) better attitude, and a heart willing to seek God’s will and do it.

I am not perfect, and I know I will stumble, but that can be a good lesson too. God using each of us, in our brokenness, to work His will here on earth.

So, have you had “the talk” with your kids about the election? How did it go? What strategies do you recommend?

Praying for God’s peace, compassion and healing in tough times, Trisha

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How you noticed that this is election has become all about personalities and not issues? I have heard it said that more than any other election in history, this vote is about who people are voting AGAINST, not what issues we are voting FOR.  I propose that every American should vote, not for or against a personality, but for the issues that matter the most for our faith, our families and our future.

Our future starts with educating ourselves on the issues at hand. And I do not mean just glancing at CNN once in awhile. Like it or not, one of these candidates will choose up to 5 Supreme Court justices, whose decisions on several pending cases WILL greatly affect churches, denominations, Christian schools and colleges. Yes, I believe God is Sovereign- but I also believe we need to stop jumping off of high places expecting angels to catch us before we hit the ground. We have to do our part, educate ourselves, and vote.

I have been researching the issues at stake for awhile now, and I do have to say, I am surprised at the conflicting information, or missing information out there in the media. It can be difficult to get a concise, side by side look at what each candidate really stands for. So, I am compiling one here for your convenience, and I will list my sources at the end for your own reading/research. Feel free to discuss, share as you wish. These are not in any order of importance.

1. School Choice. This one is very dear to my heart. School Choice means that the parent is allowed the right to choose the school that they consider to be best for their child. This includes public schools, private schools, charter schools, Christian schools, home schooling etc. Several states offer voucher programs in support of parent school choice.

Trump: He is very pro-school choice. He believes that no one school system works for every child, and that competition will help the schools improve (I do not know if I agree with that part. Anyone have any information on school competition and quality of schools?)

Clinton: She used to be pro school choice, but in order to get the endorsement of the teacher’s union this year, she had to agree to be anti school choice in all of its forms. Her current position is: “I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system – not outside of it.” She goes on to say that other forms of education may support “values that are not America.” So support for, and legal rights for anything outside of the public schools may be soon to fade away.

2. Death penalty- Surprisingly, both candidates are pro-death penalty.

3. Abortion-

Trump- He is not for abortion rights, and has states he would like to see Roe v Wade repealed. He is also for an end to late term abortions and partial birth abortions. He does say he supports abortion in the case of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

Clinton- She used to be against abortion. In the past few years, her stance has changed to be very pro abortion in any form, and for any reason- late term, partial birth abortion etc.  “I have been proud to stand with Planned parenthood for a long time and, as president, I will always have your back,” Hillary said. “We need to protect Planned Parenthood from partisan attacks (defunding).” She was also on video recently stating, “The unborn person does not have Constitutional rights.”

4. Gun Rights-

Trump-He is for unlimited gun rights and opposes any new restrictions.

Clinton-She strongly opposes gun ownership rights. She claims guns are responsible for the wave of violence in our nation right now. In a recent speech, Hillary claimed that the 2nd Amendment was one of a “few” amendments, that needed to be “looked at again” in the light of modern cultural changes. Which ones? What exactly are we “rethinking”?

5. Lawsuits pending against churches, denominations, and Christian schools

Under Obama’s controversial Title IX law, there are currently a tidal wave of law suits “on hold” against religious organizations over transgender bathroom issues, refusals to marry gay couples or offer gay couples married housing etc. The Christian groups are claiming religious freedom/religious right to object. Whomever is appointed to the Supreme Court will decide the outcome of all these cases and the many to come.

Trump- He plans to appoint conservative judges who will lean towards protecting religious rights.

Clinton- She plans to appoint Progressive liberal judges who will vote that non-discrimination rites override religious objection. She says the first judge she plans to appoint is Barack Obama. This will be a radical left turn for our nation. “Open season” on churches and Christian schools to say the least. I do not think that some of our Christian colleges will be able to stay open. In response to those objecting to paying for abortions, citing their religious convictions, Clinton responded, “Deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to change.”

6.  National security/terrorism-

Our nation is facing an unprecedented wave of terrorism and violence. Every single day there is more death and tragedy.

Trump- Prides himself on being the “law and order” candidate. He promises to support police, spend more on our military, be “tougher” on violent crime. He has been endorsed by our largest national police society ‘The Fraternal Order of Police.” Every presedential candidate except Clinton has actively sought this endorsement.

Clinton- She believes that our police are biased, whether intentially or unintentionally, perpetuating systemic racism in our country. Her plan involved “reeducation” for police officers nation wide to be more tolerant. She has stated that she believes that crime nationally is better than it has been and is improving. Clinton believes that the violence in our nation is due to racism and guns, and that by reducing the number of guns across our country, we can reduce the violence.

7. Immigration-

Trump- He is against allowing illegal aliens to remain in the country (amnesty). He is against providing monetary benefits to illegal aliens. He has been VERY vocal about enforcing stronger borders (even a wall). Trump does NOT believe our nation is vetting immigrants very well. He has proposed limiting or excluding Muslim immigrants, either refugee or migrant, from “terror” nation, at the very least until we can come up with a safer vetting system. He has said that he would support a faster path to legal immigration and would continue taking in the same number of immigrants as in years before, but not from “terror” areas.

Clinton- She has been instrumental in helping Obama bring in the first 11,000 Syrian Muslim refugees. She has promised to continue Obama’s policy (even though it has been vigorously criticized by Congress). But she claims that Obama has not gone anywhere near far enough in bringing in Muslim migrants. She has promised to assist her friend Angela Merkel, in bringing over “at least” another 160,000 in the first year of her presidency. Her overall goal is bring in ONE MILLION Muslim migrants in her first term alone. She believes our current vetting process is working well. The cost of Clinton’s plan will be 400 BILLION for U.S. taxpayers to pay. Clinton proposes allowing illegal immigrants to stay, be given amnesty and full benefits.

8. Voting rights-

Trump- He wants stricter regulations on voting. He has expressed concerns on voter fraud. He is against allowing illegal immigrants or felons to vote.

Clinton- She is against stronger regulations on voting. She is for voting rights for felons, inmates and illegal immigrants.

9. Taxes-

Both candidates are for higher taxes on the rich.

Trump is for lower taxes on businesses (in an attempt to bring jobs back to the U.S.) He wants higher taxes on foreign businesses for the same reason.

Clinton’s tax plan will impact the rich, certainly, but taxes for everyone will have to go up some in order to pay for 100 million migrants. Taxes on the middle class will “ONLY” increase by “0.6 percent” is the plan.

10. Defeating Isis-

Both candidates are for partnering with Russia to attack Isis. Neither candidate wishes to send in a ground invasion of troops into Syria to defeat Isis.

Trump- He has been secretive as to his strategies. He has been critical of our current generals. What we know of Trump’s plan, is that he wants to send in Navy Seal and Special Forces teams to wipe out Isis.

Clinton-She has stated that she will continue to do what we have been doing under Obama. She will partner with other Muslim nations in the area, gather intelligence and continue drone strikes of the area. (Drone strikes have been very controversial lately, because the U.S. has repeatedly accidently killed innocent women and children- literally hundred to thousands in the last 4 years).

 

So these are the 10 key reasons I MUST vote in this crucial election seasons. I am not voting for a personality. I am not voting for a perfect person. I am voting based on my conscience, a lot of prayer, and a lot of research. These 10 keys are far to crucial to ever let slide by. What keys are driving YOU this election? Did I miss any of yours? Please check out my sources below for more information. Keep educating yourself, register and get out to vote!

SOURCES

http://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clintons-school-choice-1470000357

http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/14/clinton-resettle-one-million-muslim-migrants-first-term-alone/

Hillary’s Refugee Proposal Would Run Taxpayers $400 Billion

Hillary Clinton Tells Planned Parenthood: “As President I Will Always Have Your Back”

Hillary Says Americans Will Have to Change Their Personal and Religious Beliefs

https://www.myheritage.org/news/why-parents-should-be-able-to-choose-their-childrens-school/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/10/03/supreme-court-cautious-on-new-cases-as-term-begins-under-cloud-vacancy-politics.html#

http://ijr.com/2016/09/697757-hillary-blames-systemic-racism-for-tulsa-police-shooting-it-appears-something-else-was-in-his-system/

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-obama-administrations-drone-strike-dissembling/473541/

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/06/06/four-ways-president-hillary-clinton-will-work-to-end-gun-ownership.html

http://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2016-03-16/clintons-position-on-schools-creates-barriers-not-opportunity

http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/compare/40-70/Hillary-Clinton-vs-Donald-Trum

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/04/03/hillary-clinton-unborn-person-doesnt-constitutional-rights/

I was delighted to meet Becky Fischer last year at CPC (Children’s Pastor’s Conference) in front of her booth in the resource hall.  She was literally surrounded by dozens and dozens of curriculums and other literary works she has written. This woman has been BUSY. Here are some of the things she has been up to according to her ministry website http://kidsinministry.org/about/becky-fischer/  :

“Ms. Fischer spent twenty-three years in business before answering the call to full-time ministry, serving first as a children’s pastor for ten years. She later joined Tasch Ministries International, which had taken over 700 boys and girls on mission trips. She was later employed as the children’s pastor and as a graphic artist by MorningStar Publications and Ministries, Inc. in Wilkesboro, NC. Becky Fischer founded of Kids in Ministry International (KIMI) in 2001. KIMI is a multifaceted ministry that trains children and adults to walk in the supernatural power of God.

Becky Fischer has trained thousands of children, teens, parents, and children’s workers. This was done through conferences, Bible schools, mission trips, churches and resource materials. She is the author of the book Redefining Children’s Ministry in the 21st Century, Jesus Camp My Story, and three children’s books. She has also authored/co-authored eight unique and dynamic children’s church curriculums.”

Her latest Kid’s in Ministry International (KIMI) curriculum-Kingdom of Light- is coming soon, and I’m honored that I was able to get an opportunity to preview it and review it.What is “Kingdom of Light” all about? Well here’s what it says on her site:

“Kids in Ministry International curriculums, designed for children’s church

encompassing kids from ages 6 to 12, are very unique in content. Not only do

they cover the foundational truths and doctrines of the Bible not readily available

in other curriculums, but even familiar topics are taught in very distinctive ways.

Our materials are written specifically for Spirit empowered churches who believe

in the baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, hearing God’s voice,

healing, that the gifts of the Spirit are for today, and who believe in walking in

the supernatural lifestyle of God found in Scripture.”

After checking out this upcoming curriculum, I have a few thoughts on it. Here are a few of bright points, the “Shining Stars” of Kingdom of Light, if you will:

  1. Great Potential for Truly Engaging Your Current and Even New Children-The bright colors are great. I am a visual person, and the first thing that grabs me about KOL are the vivid colors. It looks modern and FUN.The themes of light and royalty are usually big hits with kids. I think the fun activities would also generate a lot of excitement, willingness to bring friends and an anticipation of what’s to come next!
  2. Diversity- If churches are not careful, they can make the mistake of featuring curriculum with all white kids, a white Jesus, white disciples and so forth. I believe it is important to VISUALLY let all kids know, “We want you in church here this morning. Jesus wants you here. You belong here.” KOL is packed with pictures of children from all over the globe. The settings are very diverse. This is probably because Ms. Fischer travels extensively all over the world, and has always had such a passion for reaching children of every language, economic and racial background.
  3. Holy Spirit Emphasis- This curriculum is ideal for Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. I know from experience (I’m ordained through the Assemblies of God) that it can be tough to find quality curriculum that speaks to our Pentecostal distinctives and heritage. In the past, my teams have just found the best curriculum we could and then added our own Holy Spirit emphasis on- or written our own. This curriculum is unabashedly Spirit-filled from the get go.
  4.  Great Tie-Ins- The theme of “LIGHT” lends itself easily to some great events. I would do a black light night to kick it off or as an end point rally. I also think that with Halloween coming up, many churches try to do a Halloween alternative. I think a night with an emphasis on breaking free from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light would work well in a lot of our settings. This curriculum would be an effective tool in talking about tough topics this fall season.
  5. Built-in Teacher Training Tools- I like the fact that Ms. Fischer puts great emphasis on giving your leaders the training they need. In fact, from the beginning of the series, she starts with training. Volunteers often complain, “I didn’t get the training I thought I would/should.” This curriculum seems to come with the training ideas built right in. Correct and thorough training for volunteer leaders can make all the difference!
  6. Parent-Home Ministry Component- Not all curriculums include any connection between the church and the home. But wise churches know the powerful impact that parents have on their child’s spiritual journey; and SOMETIMES those children will minister powerfully to their parents! So Ms. Fischer has included a section on each lesson that goes home for family ministry. I get excited at the thought of the light shining out from our homes all week long!
  7. Kinesthetic Learning- This is not a “I speak and you sit and listen” kind of curriculum. These are “Kid’s Church Services” and they are EXPERIENCE as well as knowledge based. They do not just learn ABOUT prayer, they then participate in prayer. They talk about the power of God, and then begin to engage with a living God. There are costume characters, object lessons, movement…This curriculum would appeal to many different learning styles.

Potential Drawbacks of Using “Kingdom of Light” Curriculum:

  1. KOL would not be a good fit for churches opposed to prayer for the sick, praying for miracles or church who do not believe in the supernatural.
  2. You and your team would need to be prepared to answer a lot of questions and do ministry to non-Christian parents of children who attend your services. Yes, you probably will atract some new kids who are not from Christian families (which is so great that they are coming!) No kidding, we have had several occasions of parents wanting to meet with us, asking, “Why is my child wanting to pray every night?” “You aren’t actually telling my child that Jesus ACTUALLY rose from the dead??” The best thing to do is to expect and be ready for those interactions. They are actually potential God moments- ministry openings! So do not be defensive. For us, many many of these curious parents ended up joining our church and becoming just as committed as their kids! This is extra work, but it’s so worth it. It’s why we are here!

If you are interested in seeing more on Becky Fischer’s work and ministry, check out her website mentioned earlier in this post.

To see titles and sample lessons visit

http://kidsinministry.org/childrens-ministry-curriculum

After you check out samples for yourself, please let us know what YOU thought in the comments below.

Love Trisha Peach

Author of Your Children’s Ministry From Scratch and Your Children’s Ministry Beyond Basics, now available on Amazon.com