Communion, Children, and Concentration

Communion, Children, and Concentration

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Latest posts by Tracy Watts (see all)

Generally, when one has a kid, there is an understanding that worship will be different. You may not be able to listen to the sermon as well (at all?). You may miss some of the songs (discipline issues? Poopsplosion?). You may only get to hear the first half (or third?) of a prayer.

But, following the wise advice of an older mom, I have found that one area has improved for me. I have been better able to focus during communion.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I have stood and bounced, rocked, nursed, cuddled, and cajoled a fussy baby. We have our days. We have our weeks sometimes. Sickness, stubbornness, and silliness can all be a challenge on occasion.

But stay with me.

Communion might even get better after you have kids. Here is what my friend shared with me.

You might think of the Lord’s Supper as another high pressure point–after all, it should be at least somewhat quiet, just like in the sermon, which of course means that your kid is much more likely to cry, talk, giggle, etc. Toss goldfish, puzzles, and books in their direction until they find something to occupy them, right?

Maybe not.

What my friend did was something a little different. And of course, not every Sunday worked out like this. But the ones that did were amazing.

First, she would hold her two little girls in her lap. In an intimate whisper, she would tell them the best story ever told. She would tell them of Jesus. Of his life, of his great love, of his sacrifice, of his undeserved pain, and of the wonder of his resurrection. She would tell of the Last Supper. Of what the bread and grape juice symbolized.

And she told them how very special this was–and that some day, they too would participate in these special moments focused on the Savior. They too would get to take part in Communion. That they too would be a part of the greatest, blood-bought family there is: the church.

And in telling them that precious story, she herself absolutely focused on the most important subject there ever could be: Christ and his sacrifice. She was focused, not just in bringing herself closer to Christ but teaching her children to do so as well.

Today, her kids are grown. These beautiful, Christ-like women each have talents they use for God. And now, they each participate in the best supper there is–the Lord’s Supper. They give me hope and renewed energy. Their very lives and examples encourage me to keep on doing this tough but rewarding job of motherhood.

an-amazing-way-to-concentrate-connect-with-kids-during-communion

May you be encouraged to do likewise.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2

communion-children-and-concentration-pin

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Raising Kids in Church Fall Activities, Recipes, and Crafts Who or What is the church Me, a Prodigal

October: A Time for your Family to Shine Christ’s Love

October: A Time for your Family to Shine Christ’s Love

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1

I love the tradition of lighting the jack-o-lantern. It’s one we don’t do much anymore for safety concerns, but thankfully there are some really great battery-operated lights to use in their place. The glow from the pumpkins in the dark night is just really cool! There are many negative connotations with Halloween so it’s a holiday I tread lightly upon, but one idea I can get behind is being a light. It’s a topic we can talk about year-round, but I especially love to use this time of year to think about ways to shine God’s love.

let-light-shine

Here are some fun ideas to help your family focus on shining God’s light this October:

Learn a lesson from a pumpkin. 

In 2 Corinthians 4:6 we read: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 

If you think about the message in this verse, it’s quite like the light that we shine in our jack-o-lanterns. Liz Curtis Higgs has a wonderful children’s book titled “The Pumpkin Patch Parable.” This story compares a carefully selected pumpkin, cleaned up and transformed by its farmer, to what happens when we let Jesus take over our lives. It is a great story to read with your children in anticipation of a trip to the pumpkin patch!

Take a family glow walk. 

With the cooler weather and the sun setting earlier, now is a great time to take a walk in the dark with your kids. Grab a flashlight and maybe some fun glow sticks. On your walk, talk about how the light allows you to see where you are going. Use this a bridge to discuss God’s word being a light for us.

Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Say a special pumpkin prayer together. 

Here is a simple prayer you can say together as you carve your family pumpkin this year. There is a different line to say for each step of the process. Click Here:  Pumpkin Prayer

Along those lines, here is another great version of the pumpkin prayer in the form of a printable book (from Christian Preschool Printables) that you can use to say the prayer over and over again! Click Here: Pumpkin Carving Prayer 

Participate in a family glow worship night. 

Give everyone a fun light stick to use while you sing songs that praise Jesus. Don’t forget to sing “This Little Light of Mine!” One of my favorite parts of the pumpkin prayer is said as the eyes are carved: “Lord, open my eyes to see all of the beautiful things you have made.” Take some time to pass around a special light (or candle, if your kids are mature enough) and let each person share something beautiful in their lives that they are thankful for.

Shine your light through family service projects. 

Matthew 5:16 says,

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

A great way to put this verse into practice is by doing a special service project together. It could be something simple such as baking pumpkin muffins for a new mom or an elderly neighbor. If your children are older, try volunteering at your local food bank or help someone with their yard work. Brainstorm together one night around the dinner table ways to shine the light of Christ and put a plan into action!

Place reminders in your home! 

At this stage in my life, I’m not a huge craft person. However, I do enjoy coloring sheets because they are EASY and my daughter loves them! These coloring sheets from Christian Preschool Printables focus on Christ and shining your light. After your kids have colored them, display them around your house. Each time you see one, your family will be reminded to shine the light of Jesus this season! Click Here: Free Coloring Pages 

I hope you’ve found some ideas to keep Christ at the center of your home through the month of October! Have a wonderful season shining for Christ!

shining-together-activities

2-corinthians-4-6

Be encouraged by these posts as well!
6 ways to shine for Christ during Halloween Teaching Kids about sin We all struggle Fast against laziness

Let It Go! A Lesson in Control

Let It Go! A Lesson in Control

Candace B

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am currently a stay-at-home-mom and I help my husband in every way in his position as a youth minister (It's a true labor of love and we wouldn't be anywhere else!). I am also working on my teacher certification so when both my kids get into school I will have a job that I am passionate about, get to see my kids all the time, and will be out when they are out. I am most importantly a Christian and strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

Latest posts by Candace B (see all)

Does this sound familiar?

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.”

Yes, that is a part from the well-known song “Let It Go.”  If you have small children, you have heard this more times than you would like to admit. But have you ever really listened to the lyrics?  These are some beautiful words of truth to live by in everyday life!  I would like to focus on one topic that plagues me on a daily basis: control.

Yes, I said it, control.  I feel that as parents, it is hard not to control everything.  Things would be better, run more smoothly, and you would get things done a LOT faster if you did things rather than the little people.  I would like to point out–I do not have all this figured out, hence the reason why I am writing this post!  But I hope this may be a source of encouragement for all the parents out there who want to “help,” “guide,” etc. your kids in all they do.

let-go-of-control-let-your-childs-talents-shine

Here are some points to consider:

1. Give them space.

Kids need space to do what they need to do. If you are over their shoulders they do not have the capacity to express what they would like to do.  You will realize your kids are capable of SO much more than you think.

2. Let them make mistakes. 

Instead of calling them “mistakes,” let’s say learning by trial and error.  They will make mistakes, but this is how they will learn, grow, and understand what they could do to make it better next time.  You want them to understand that there will be tough times, but they need to learn to work through it on their own.

3. Be present.

Be there, love them, lend them a hand when they need it.  It is always important that you are still there with them so they know you are available when they need you.  There is a fine line between hovering and hanging back to let them figure things out. Make sure your kids know that when things get tough, you will be there to assist in any way possible.

letting-go-of-control-to-let-your-kids-talents-shine

I wanted to write this post because every day I try and want to do EVERYTHING for my kids.  I tend to assist, hold their hand, insist that I do it for them.  But what I have learned is that when you let go, you let your kids show you just how much they can amaze you.  Recently, I wanted to do a painting craft with my daughter.  I knew that my instincts to not let her would creep in. So I decided to embrace what she could do.  The time we spent together painting blessed me tremendously because I learned what an encourager she is!

“Mommy, you do a really good job!”

“That is beautiful!”

“You are the best Mommy ever.”

It brought tears to my eyes because just letting her paint by herself showed me one of many talents God gave her!  We serve an awesome God!

Make no mistake, God works in all of us when we let him and he works in your children as well.  He blesses, he cares, and when you let go…you let God take control.  What a beautiful sight it would be if we let go and have full faith and trust in God!

How do you “let it go?

proverbs-12-25

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Building a Prayer Wall with Kids Kindness Cookies Random Acts of Kindness A Refuge for the Struggling Soul Christians dealing with Anxiety

Sin Is Not a Game, But This Is

Sin Is Not a Game, But This Is

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

Sin Is Not a GameHave you ever played the “hand slap” game?

In this game, one person’s hands are held palms up. The other person holds their hands hovering above with palms down. The person with their hands below tries to slap the top of the hands of the other person by either being fast enough or by being tricky. My kids love this game!

Once, when we were playing it, I had a thought from which an impromptu lesson flowed.

It was my turn to be “the slapper.” My hands were on the bottom and I was trying to slap the tops of my son’s hands. His two brothers watched in excitement to see who would be the victor. I was bringing my hands up every few seconds, not letting much time lapse in between strikes. My son sat on the edge of his seat in full alert mode, laser-focused, soberly watching for my next move.

I was missing his hands quite a bit!

sin-is-not-a-game-but-this-is-pinterest

Then I changed my strategy.

I just let my hands be still. I didn’t strike. Instead, I let time pass while I calmly lay in wait. I waited until my son started to relax. He began to nervously giggle and even exclaim, “Mommy! What are you doing?”

I just smiled at him, kicking back my feet. Then I started to jerk my hands a bit, but no movements that alarmed him enough to be overly concerned. It didn’t take long for him to become used to even those jerks and so comfortable with it all that he let down his alert and relaxed his guard almost completely. When I saw that happen, with a maniacal laugh, I swooped up and SLAP!

I caught him off guard!

Laughter all around!

Sin Is Not a Game-2

The Trickery of Sin

Once we settled down–and I did my victory dance–I told them the game was like the trickery of sin.

I pointed out how I frequently missed his hands when he was on high alert, watching me like a hawk and pulling his hands back often. This is like a person who practices this verse:

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

 

1 Peter 5:8

This person is watchful, looking out for the deception of sin. He pulls back from it when he sees it coming. This person also reads the Word of God so that he can discern what sin is, right from wrong, according to the Word and flee from it.

But when I changed my strategy to staying still, I pointed out that he became relaxed and let down his guard. Even when I jerked a little every so often, he got used to that movement also and let his guard continue to fall until SLAP!

This is like a person who becomes numb to the sin in their life. They let down their guard enough to let in “little sins.” Sins that they might consider unharmful. At first, the “little jerks” of the Holy Spirit stir their conscience, but eventually they become used to that stirring. They relax even further, letting in more and more sin until SLAP!

Bad things start happening and they wonder how they got to where they are. The bad things can be obvious, like going to jail or falling into different life-controlling addictions. Or perhaps the bad things are more subtle, like a dead prayer life, a lost desire to know God and read His Word, or an inability to even recognize sin anymore through justification of actions.

How Little Sins Lead to Bigger Sins

I now open up, saying that at different times in my life, I have been both of these types of people. Already fully knowing their mother is a seasoned sinner, they look unsurprised (Ha!). A good discussion followed on how little sins might cause numbing in our hearts. We talk about how little sins can lead to bigger sins, followed by a hard SLAP–either in this life or in eternity.

On a personal note, I know I need to read God’s Word more diligently. By doing so, I will be able to discern right from wrong and know Him more. I know I should memorize more scripture so that I can use it against the enemy’s lies about sin.

Since the beginning of this school year, I have started praying this verse over my children, myself, and my husband. Now I pray it over you who are reading this right now.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

 

Philippians 1:9-11

philippians-1-9-11

philippians-1-9-11-pinterest

To what sins have you become numb?

Do you consistently do anything contrary to God’s Word?

Do you know His Word well enough to know if you are acting contrary to His Word?

Feel free to share in the comments and we will pray with you.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Fast against laziness What My son Taught Me About Faith We all struggle Building Up Your Leaders

A Letter to My Toddler

A Letter to My Toddler

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Latest posts by Tracy Watts (see all)

I love…

  • the way your hair looks when you first wake up. Poking out, bed head, carelessly askew.
  • how you yawn, bleary-eyed and sweet. It’s contagious, did you know? Even to me.
  • the way you eat. Somehow you’re always hungry. Your excitement, your expressions, and  your great love (still!) for milk.
  • the way you sing, lustily and clear, or when you drowsily hum right before you sleep.
  • the way you never walk–you’re too energetic for that! You tiptoe, run and hop and jump. And that is only the start!
  • the way you fold your hands right before we pray. They’re so small and innocent and I love them just that way.

a-letter-to-my-toddler-pinterest

And I love…

  • how much you love to read. You never tire of it, even when it’s been an hour and I am ready to quit!
  • how much you love little dogs, bunnies, cats, and armadillos. Anything that’s your size is such a fascination.
  • the way you hug me with chubby arms around my neck, or when you throw your whole body at my knees, or when you just give a side peck.
  • your wet sloppy kisses, how you don’t know how to kiss. I love that sweet milky breath and I don’t care that I get wet.
  • to watch you puzzle out how things work. I love to watch you every day with something new to learn.
  • your awe and surprise because the whole world is new. I see God’s creation in a different way, all because of you.
  • how much you grow each day, or sometimes, it seems, each hour. I’m not exactly sure where time’s gone; I just know that it’s expired.

sweet-child-i-love-you-but-not-more-than-your-heavenly-father-who-i-pray-you-learn-to-know

Sweet child, I love you oh so much–more than you know. But not more than your Heavenly Father, who I pray you learn to know.

You see, it’s God who gave you to your daddy and to me. Every good thing comes from Him–and you are one of those things!

I pray your faith begins to sprout and blossom, bloom and grow. I pray that hope will ever spring even when you’re feeling low.

I pray so many things for you, my dear, but most importantly, I pray for you to love our God–to know him eternally.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!
5 Fun Simple Things to do with Kids for Christmas Thanksgiving Kids Craft Creating a Fall to Remember Recipes Crafts Activities God Creating a Perfect Mess in Our Lives

The Vast Ocean of God’s Love

The Vast Ocean of God’s Love

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

 

Discovering the Vast Ocean

Recently, I took my almost-two-year-old to the beach for the first time. Watching her discover the vast ocean was truly a sight to behold. As we walked along the boardwalk she giggled at the bumpy logs. Then, as we moved on, she became curious about walking on the sand. It didn’t take long for her to notice the shells. She bent down and took such delight in the fact that I was encouraging her to touch them.

Then the sand began to get wet…all of a sudden she noticed the ocean. She looked out at the unending water and was amazed. She giggled and walked toward it, thrilled when the water splashed over her feet. Her eyes remained fixed on the immensity of the ocean. There was no end in sight, only water. She’d never seen something so big before. Something as big as the ocean.

IMG_6839

As her mom, there was so much to think about as I watched her in that moment, but there was one thought that rang over the rest:

 

“How deep the Father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure.”

As Romans 5:8 tells us,

“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

It’s a truth I so often forget to savor. That God loved me enough to let his son die for me. Honestly, it’s impossible to wrap my mind around what that even means. That sort of love is not something we know on this earth. The ocean, so vast that it’s impossible to see its entirety in one view, reminds me of God’s immeasurable love. The love God has for us is so deep, so wide, so all-encompassing that we can’t wrap our minds around it here on earth, for it’s too great. 

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is…”
 Ephesians 3:18 

Redeemed by the Son

On our own, we are full of fault–too dirty to be in God’s perfect presence. He sent his Son to this earth to redeem us. Jesus gave his life on the cross so that we could be made clean and pure before the Lord and live in his glorious presence for eternity. It’s a gift we could never earn or deserve–even the most “perfect” Christian you know is undeserving of God’s great grace. Salvation is given out of grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not sure where you are on your walk with God, but friend, God loves YOU so much! Have you discovered his love for you yet? If not, we’d love to help you find it. (Please send us a message or comment below if you’d like to know more.)

If you have discovered and accepted his love, are you remembering his love often? Are you taking time to dwell on it? I’m not sure I meditate on God’s love enough, but I’m thankful for the reminders He so gently gives me.

vast ocean

 

Message of Love

I love the worship song, “How Deep the Father’s Love.” It’s a beautiful reminder of how God demonstrated his personal love for us. I want to stand in wonder of God’s love the way my daughter stood in wonder of the water. Witnessing the amazement in my daughter’s eyes as she discovered God’s great ocean was a reminder to me of God’s vast love for us.

If you have a moment, I encourage you to listen to “How Deep the Father’s Love.” The video I’m attaching is an a capella version by Keith Lancaster and the Acapella Company. If you don’t have time to listen, you can read through the lyrics below. Even if you’ve heard the song hundreds of times, the message is a beautiful one. It’s the message of God’s great love. With a sweet message like that on your heart, you’ll be able to create a great day for sure!

How deep the Father's love for us. How vast beyond all measure.

How Deep the Father’s Love

Click HERE to hear “How Deep the Father’s Love”. 

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss–
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life–
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart–
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Famous Soup Creating a Fall to Remember We all struggle  Clean up for an emotionally healthier you

the-vast-ocean-of-gods-love-pinterest

Pin It on Pinterest