Friday, March 20, 2015

VBS 2013 Courageous: Faith over Fear

As I began praying about what theme to write about, I thought about our country right now as well as the world and what is happening to Christians. Persecution is on the rise and is swiftly coming to our county's door. More than ever we need courage to stand for Christ and we need to teach and show this generation of children how to do the same. With the guiding of the Holy Spirit, I chose 4 different bible accounts of people having courage, facing their fears, and above all, placing their faith in God. These people are tried to the max, yet show courage to stand up for "God and the right". They have "the right stuff". And always God was there, even if the outcome doesn't quite come out like they planned/hoped/thought.
I didn't want to tell these "stories" like they were ancient history. I wanted to bring them into the modern age, having them interviewed on the daily news, as "Today's Top Story".
This is the first VBS curriculum I have ever wrote, so please excuse the mistakes. I wrote this for my small church. We had two groups: Pre-K-3rd gr. and 4th gr. and up. Our VBS lasted for 2 hours. It is four days of lessons and Friday is Family Night. We didn't do "themed" snacks this year. Feel free to use any or all parts of it, and if you do, please share about it in the comments!
"Courageous" by Casting Crowns was our theme song

All the following links are to Google Docs:
Poster to edit for distribution
Characters for daily television skit
Lesson: Day 1
Lesson: Day 2
Fear Factor Challenges for Day 2
Lesson: Day 3
Lesson: Day 4
Fear Factor Games

The lessons are a News cast, so wherever you will be doing the lessons, you will need a "TV." large enough for your actors to be behind. Or, if you are tech-savvy, you can make an actual video of the newscast to put on a projector screen! That would be awesome. I, however, am not tech-savvy, so we did it the old fashioned way.
The only decoration we used was a television. Our pastor had made it using cardboard pieces put together with small pieces of wood in a tri-fold fashion.

I was the news anchor, so I just set on a bar stool in front of it. We put an old projector screen in back of the actors and sheets on each side to close in the "set". On the front of the TV, you will notice a curtain rod and blanket. We used that to put up in the "screen" part of the TV while the actors were not being shown. Under it are the "dials" and the brand name.. lol! We had recorded the nightly news theme song on a CD and played it off stage at the beginning of each "segment". You can make it simple or go all out! You could have a desk for the anchor to sit behind and have "WWJD NEWS" on the front of it. Maybe have some cameras, a microphone boom, etc.... Get ideas from your local nightly news.

Believe it or not, we did not do themed crafts this year. We had an abundant of "left-overs" of craft supplies from earlier years and decided to use them. Instead of 1 craft a day, we like to set up craft stations for all week. We have a jewelry table that gets used every day, plus a table that we do different crafts on each day. We did paracord bracelets, sand art, foam visors, rock painting, pot decorating and planting a morning glory in it.... stuff like that.
At my old church, we always did a photo frame as one of the crafts. Photos were taken of each of the children on Mon. and Tues. We got the photos developed on Wednesday and then the children got them on Thursday. Everyone always enjoyed this keepsake each year. Once we started having large attendance, it was easier to just take a photo of each group.
I did find some cute themed craft ideas on Pinterest for each day. You can check them out on MY BOARD. 

 Our little church has games they play every year.... like a football and basketball throw in which the kids can win a new ball. Wednesday's are always water day and that fit in perfectly this year. We had a water balloon toss that everyone (young and old) got involved in and then the kids enjoyed splashing in the kiddie pool used in the lesson. We also had Fear Factor games for the kids. These were really fun! I have 3 ideas above in the links. The website is on the document so you can search for other fun games. I also found some themed games on Pinterest and you can look at them on MY BOARD.

Family Night
Fridays are always Family Night. We sing our songs and the pastor tells about our week. The children all receive a certificate. Then we watch a slide show of all the photos taken during the week. Afterwards we enjoy grilled hamburgers and fellowship with all the families.

If you have any questions or have trouble with any of the links, please e-mail me at:

Everything for HIS glory!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's time to plan for VBS!!!!!!!!!!

Vacation Bible School is my absolute favorite thing to plan for!!!! As a child I went to ALL the VBSes in my small town and after I had kids, I love to be a part of the VBS planning. The church I attend now is TINY and my sister-in-law and I get to plan our VBSes. We have come up with our own the past 2 years and will again this year. I always follow the leading of the Lord when picking a theme and usually they have to do with a need in our community/world. Below are what we have done so far.

     2013: Courageous: Faith over Fear
In this VBS we showed how people in the bible showed bravery in face of extreme opposition. Each day the lessons were shown on a "television" as a newscast and the bible characters were interviewed.

     2014: Army of the Lord
This VBS was a boot camp to learn how to prepare ourselves to be in God's Army, learn who the enemy is and what our weapons are.

     2015: DinoQuest: Digging for the Truth
This year's is in the planning stage and is coming together very quickly! In lieu of the new Jurassic World movie coming out, I wanted to go with a dinosaur theme. The lessons will be on creation. Did you know that one of the main reasons children who have been brought up in church all their lives leave the church as adults is that there is conflict about the creation of  all things? They are taught in school about evolution and Darwinism and if the church doesn't disprove it, they disregard the Bible as truth. (derived from the book: Already Gone)  That is why it is important to teach children what the bible says about creation, the scientific evidence behind that truth, and why faith is important!

Hopefully, I will be able to publish these VBS programs on this blog soon. I have Pinterest boards about these themes with great craft and decoration ideas as well! Check them out... and ....

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Family Bible Study

I wanted to share the bible study my family is doing right now. My niece-in-law introduced me to David Platt's teaching last year (I think) and we started off by reading his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream .  WOW, what an eye opener!!! Then about half-way through, we stopped and started a video series by him called Threads of the Gospel. We are finishing up this part and then we will return to the Radical book.
I cannot say enough good things about both of these. The book helped me to see how that our culture has influenced how I interpret the Bible and what my purpose REALLY is.
I thought I knew the Gospel until I watched and studied The Threads of the Gospel. Now I feel confident that I not only understand it, but can explain it to others!!!  Something I have ALWAYS struggled with is sharing the gospel. I realized after this study that it was because I really didn't understand it. The videos are an hour long (my kids always whine) but he is a younger guy and keeps my teen's attention. Also included are "helps": message notes, small group guide, and a family worship guide that is divided into age groups. We are throwing in some additional lessons on Understanding Salvation that hopefully I will be able to share very soon.
If you are looking for a better understanding of the Gospel, or looking for a good family bible study (especially great for Teens!) I highly recommend these :)

My testimony and confession

I want to share a little about myself that I'm not proud of. I love teaching and always have. When I was 13 years old, I wanted to start a Children's Church in the VERY small church I attended. Most Sundays I had 4 kids. But that was ok.... usually I was the only kid in my Sunday School class. I got hooked! I have been teaching in church off and on (mostly on) since. About 5 or 6 years ago my baby (he wasn't really a baby at the time), said something to me that really knocked me off my feet. I was preparing for my class and he asked what I was doing. At the moment I was preparing a really fun party night to celebrate the end of a unit. I told him and he asked me, "Mom, why don't you ever do anything like that with us?"  I was taken aback for a moment, but quickly recovered and blew it off. I couldn't shake it though..... that question came up to me for the next 2 years. Each time it did, I would quickly remind myself that I was obeying my "calling" by teaching my class at church and my children had their own classes and teachers.

Then my life took a crazy, CRAZY, CRAZY turn. I'll not go into details, but our family life suddenly became very complicated. At the time I was the Girls' Ministry Leader at our church and was over 6 different teachers/classes. Suddenly I became very overwhelmed and EVERYTHING was going wrong... at home, at work and at church. I was very much disgusted with everything! I stopped going to church, but didn't stop seeking God. (Stop right there... I know you who were brought up just like I was have already decided I was a backslid sinner... but that was far, far, far from the truth) Every time I searched the WORD and prayed I kept getting the same message... "You need to de-church yourself and YOU need to only teach YOUR children". "De-church myself"?????? What in the world? After many months my eyes were finally opened to the truth. MY church, MY position, MY class, became  IDOLS to me. It's a very real thing. I had become soooo very wrapped up with every "event" my church had, the "girls" at my church that I was over, etc..... that I had lost my way. I became obsessed with SERVING (Martha) that I no longer had time to just sit at my Savior's feet (Mary). And my children... my precious gifts that had been given to me, I had handed over to someone else to teach (because I didn't have time, with all the "ministries" I was involved in). Deut.11:18 and Prov. 22:6 were a constant reminder of my duties as a parent. Duties that I had miserably failed.

You wouldn't believe the ways the Lord worked on me and affirmed what He was trying to teach me. But that's how the Lord works! So, here I was, trying to teach my children at home, with no curriculum, no classroom, no bulletin board, no dry erase board, no copy machine, no coloring pages, no closet full of teaching "helps", no posters.... I was LOST. I had no idea where to start..... I had no idea HOW to do this. My mom was just like me.... she had her own class to teach, so I got taught at church and not at home.  This became the HARDEST challenge I have ever had to face. I know you are wondering "Why?", since I had all those years of practice... and I can't really answer you, but IT IS WHAT IT IS.

I feel I'm finally getting the hang of it (after 4 years!!!!). But I still don't feel as comfortable as I did teaching at church. The main thing is that I'm trying.

That is one very big reason I wanted to get this idea going... to help other families Teach them at home. Is this only for home use? Of course not! I would have loved to have these resources when I taught at church! I just want parents, or grandparents, or Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, next-door neighbor, friend.... whoever you are to the ones you love to know that God has given us a very important duty to teach. Don't ever feel like you have to be "called" to teach to be able to teach your kids. In the above verses there is NO calling required. In fact, don't even think about it as "teaching"... think of it as "sharing" or "reminding".

I'll end on this note.... when you start sharing with your family at home, be sure to get them to tell about what they learned "in class". I know from experience that not everyone believes the same way, even if they are in the same denomination. Children who hear one thing at church and another at home will be confused about it, then ultimately drop both views as "irrelevant". That is why it is so important to talk to your family about what they hear and what you believe. Many times I have had to explain things to my kids that were different than what the teacher and sometimes even the preacher said. I myself chose not to send my kids to a class at church and exclusively teach them at home. We listen to the preacher as a family and discuss the sermon. I do NOT think everyone has to do this.

I hope this has somehow helped you to have the courage to start "sharing" at home. Hopefully you will be able to use the resources I can find to help you out! And the younger your kids are when you start, the easier it is :) And I hope that if you don't have anyone at home, but are a teacher in the church, that you too will benefit from these resources.