Celebration! Station in May

Dear Parents,

“Look how he has grown!”  “She is wearing the next size shoes.”

You have heard or made similar rmarks when a noticeable change in a child’s physical development has occurred. Physical growth is obvious.  Young preschoolers are also learning at a fast pace.  Mental growth is seen in the many things a young child accomplishes in the early years.

Spiritual development is a process.  Foundations are laid and built upon as a preschooler grows and develops.  You not only have a role, but a responsibility, to help in this process. (See Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  Consider the following aspects of early spirtiual training and development:

  • Does my child know that the most important people in his life can be trusted to meet his needs?  Amy I just as quick to meet emotional needs as I am to meet physical needs?
  • Do I sing or say words to my child that lets her know I love her and God loves her, too?
  • Do I delight in my child’s curiosity and his constant activity in exploring and discovering his world the way God planned?
  • Do I use everyday routines to set the stage for Bible teaching (for example, sing and thank God for the dog when my child is playing with the dog)?
  • Am I depending on God to prepare me to communicate His love to my child?

As partners with you in laying spiritual foundations, we teachers ask ourselves these questions.

This month at church, the unit theme is “Learn About Jesus.”  Your child will hear these Bible stories:

  • Work for Jesus’ Helpers (Based on Luke 6:12-16)
  • Lydia Learned About Jesus (Based on Acts 16:9-15)
  • Peter Learned About Jesus (Based on John 1:35-42)
  • Cornelius Learned About Jesus (Based on Acts 10-24-41)

We pray you enjoy the closeness of sharing God’s message with your child!

Celebration! Station

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“Desperate, Breathless, Dependent Parenting”

Check out this blog post that Carrie found.  It’s worth reading!

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/desperate-breathless-dependent-parenting

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Just be a Friend like Jesus

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

This past week in Children’s Church, we read the story about Zacchaeus– it seems to be one of those stories the kids love to hear over and over! For those of you who forget or haven’t read it, the story is about Zacchaeus, a man who is disliked because of his profession, often goes unnoticed because of his size, and he’s called a cheat and sinner by his community. Despite all the unfavourable qualities of Zacchaeus, Jesus goes out of His way, not only to say hello, but also to visit and have dinner with the man.

Although I’ve now read the story many times with my girls, this week when I read the story, it stood out to me that Zacchaeus just wanted to be noticed, and it occurred to me that children are the same! Often my girls start demanding my attention when I turn away to make dinner, or they want to tell all their stories when my husband and I want to have a quick conversation. It’s not because they are trying to interrupt, but often it is because they simply want our attention.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, there are many children who come from homes where parents are separated, divorced, work long hours, or neglect to spend quality time with their children, and it leaves children looking for attention from someone – anyone. Generally, research shows that by the age of thirteen, children become less dependent on their parents when making decisions, and they become more influenced by their peers, media, and pop culture. This often results in negative outcomes unless the youth has been given a solid foundation and strong moral compass to navigate through the tough decisions he or she may face.

So, what is my point? We have to be like Jesus! Whether we are around children regularly or infrequently, or whether we are in affluent communities or low-income neighbourhoods, we need to notice the kids around us. Even something as simple as admiring their hair-do or complimenting their dinosaur t-shirt can be the comment that a child beams about for the rest of the day (or even longer).

Beginning in May, we will be setting up Celebration! Station at the Main Farmers’ Market for our second season. This year, we will be helping every Saturday from the beginning of May until the end of October. It has been a huge blessing to be involved in this community event, and I strongly encourage you to take part. Regardless of what your skills or talents may be, you just need to bring one thing – a desire to be Christ-like and show the kids around you that Jesus can be their friend too!

Zacchaeus repented, gave half of all his possessions to the poor, and paid back four times the amount he had cheated anyone in his community….why? It was because Jesus noticed him and wanted to be his friend. Join us this summer to notice the children in the Old Ottawa East community, and take the opportunity to connect with them! Who knows how your contribution can influence the Kingdom!

Because Jesus loved children,

Amy

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April in C! Station

Dear parents,

We look forward to the many opportunities we will have this month to teach children about Jesus and how much He loves them.  During April, children will be learning that Jesus is their friend.  Teachers will use Bible stories, Bible phrases, songs, and activities to teach your child about Jesus.  Children will hear that Jesus loved His friends, and they will discover ways they can show love to their friends.

Stories your child will hear this month:

  • April 1 – Children sang for Jesus (based on Matthew 21:1-11, 14-16)
  • April 8 – A Special Night for Helpers (based on John 13:3-7, 12-15)
  • April 15 – Jesus was a Friend to Zacchaeus (based on Luke 19:1-10)
  • April 22 – A Special Gift for Jesus (based on Mark 14:1-11)
  • April 29 – Friends saw Jesus! (based on Luke 24:36-49)

Continue Bible learning at home.

  • April 1 – SING with your child.  Make up simple songs to familiar tunes.  For example, sing “I love to sing, I love to sing, I love to sing with my family” to the tune “God is So Good.”
  • April 8 – ENCOURAGE your child to be a helper.  He can pick up his toys or set the table.  Remark: “When you help someon, you are showing that you love him.  Thank you for being a helper.  Jesus helped His friends, and you are helping me.”
  • April 15 – PRAY with your child for his friends at church.  If possible, invite a friend and his mother over for a visit.  The children can play, and you will have an opportunity to visit with another mother.
  • April 22 – TALK about gifts and how happy we are when a friend gives us a gift.  Encourage your child to help you make a gift for someone you love.  It could be a picture for a grandmother or homemade cookies for a neighbour.
  • April 29 – PLAY with your child and tell her you love her.  Through joyful family times seek opportunities to affirm your child and assure her she is love and valued.  If possible, plan a ‘date night’ for you and your preschooler to do something special.
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The How-To Book

This afternoon, as I was sitting in a waiting room for a doctor’s check-up, another mom-to-be sitting across from me pulled out a book and started reading.  The title of the book caught my eye….”How to be an American Housewife.”  The first thing to pop into my head is, ‘Wow!  There really is a How-To book for everything!’ and the second thought was ‘If only it was that easy!’

If someone told me four years ago that reading a How-To book would be the answer to having a perfect home with polite children and a wonderful marriage, I probably would have put it on my list of books I had to read  – can you imagine how much easier things would be!  But sadly, I don’t really think that book exists.

This past week, I was in desperate need of a ‘How To Discipline Your Children” book.  It felt more challenging this week than usual, and I was in need of anything or encouragement from some author to say ‘You’re doing a good job, you just need…..’  As the week went on, I realized that my answer was in the ultimate How-To book – the Bible!  It’s also funny that sometimes when our children misbehave, we think there is something wrong with them, but this week, God made me realize there was something wrong with me!

Although there aren’t specific books or verses in the Bible that deal with potty training or teething or any of the number of things you will experience as a parent, there are verses that will help shape us to be the parents that God has called us to be so that we can have wisdom to deal with all these issues we will be faced with.  With my own daughter, I was trying to figure out why she was misbehaving and acting the way she was, and through it all, I realized that I wasn’t responding to her in the patient, loving way that God wants me to be acting.  (I think God was as frustrated with me as I was with my daughter!)

When you walk through any bookstore, there are shelves of “How To” books, and it saddens me to think that people would rather read these books which are written by someone who claims to be an ‘expert.’  Although the Bible may not have easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions for changing diapers, how can we ignore the fact that it was written by our Creator!  Now, there’s an expert we should trust!

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Bedtime Blessings

I just wanted to pass on this article if you are looking for some bedtime ideas.  This is a great article that has some great ways to bless your children as you go through your bedtime routine.

http://www.focusonthefamily.ca/parenting/school-age/goodnight-blessings-making-the-most-of-bedtime-discussions

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Family and Faith

Have you ever thought of your family as your own ‘small group’ or ‘point group’?  Do you have prayer time, worship time, read the Bible, or spend time talking about God together?  I started reading a book recently that challenged me to consider my family as just this – a mini-church!

The book I’m reading talks about how in early church times, if a man felt called to be a pastor, he had to demonstrate that he was actively teaching and leading his family.  It was a resume essential!  Although you may not be applying for a position in church leadership, consider how you are doing with leading your family.

There are many statistics indicating that children’s spiritual growth is strongly based on their parents’ influence.  For example, less than 10% of children accept Christ after they leave the home.  Of all the children who grow up going to church, 60% decide to stop going around the age of 15 years old!  As parents, we have about 3000 hours of influence on our children in a year compared to 40 hours of influence by the church.  What do you think when you read those statistics?  How does it change the way you see yourself and your role as a parent?

No matter how old your children are or what your regular routine may be, it is never too late to start teaching and discipling your children.  A great verse is Deuteronomy 6:7 which says “Impress them [the commands of God] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  God calls us, as parents, to take our job seriously and to constantly be pouring into our children and teaching them about Him throughout the day.  Although this is not possible for all of us, we still need to take every opportunity we have.  Looking at the verse in Deuteronomy, how often do you get the opportunity to sit and teach your children or spend some time in worship with your children?  When you are in the car, do you take the time to have a spiritual conversation, learn a Bible verse, or just spend time praying with them?  Do you spend time in the morning and at night praying or reading the Bible with your children?

Whether or not you do any of these things, it may seem overwhelming to try to fit them all into your schedule, so try starting small.  Watch how God uses that time, how He blesses you for being obedient, and how your family will grow spiritually!

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Passionately Following Christ

For those of you who know anything about me, I love to be outside.  I could be running, walking, just sitting and reading, or playing with my kids at the park, but I love to spend time outdoors.  Over the past few years, being at home with my kids has given me the time and ability to spend more of my day outdoors which is something I really enjoy.  We are always outside doing something or going somewhere, and I have gotten to know several of my neighbours, several other parents from the community, and on a few different occasions, people have recognized me because they see me out walking so much.  The point is, this is clearly something I am passionate about, and people notice that.

Recently, I started reading a book that talks a lot about being a passionate follower of Christ, and it has had some really interesting points that has got me thinking.  All the people in the community that I see outdoors so regularly, they may recognize that I’m passionate about being outdoors and being active, but do they recognize my passion for Christ?  For some of us, the things that we are passionate about aren’t always as noticable, but if it is something that you love doing and you ‘can’t get enough of’, it becomes something obvious to everyone around you.

My kids love being outside just as much as I do, and it is clearly something they have inherited, but I wonder if I am demonstrating how to be a passionate Christian.  How are you demonstrating your passion for Christ?  Is it evident in how you serve, how often you attend church or small groups, how often you have quiet time, or how you live your day-to-day life?  I pray that we, as parents, don’t just settle for a mediocre relationship with God for ourselves, but instead, we have a vibrant and passionate relationship with God, and that our children will not be able to resist having the same for themselves!

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Looking for Lonely Places

My day started off pretty normal, but when my youngest daughter decided she didn’t want to nap, I decided to bake some cookies with her….that’s when it all went downhill!  She loves doing the ‘dumping’ and ‘stirring’ of the ingredients, but today, when I turned to grab something, she decided to add the eggs – shells and all!  As soon as I finish fishing shells out of the batter and cleaning up the eggy mess, my older daughter comes down from her nap noting that she had an ‘accident’ (potty training isn’t so glamourous at times!).  So, after changing clothes, doing some laundry, managing not to burn any cookies through this ordeal, and getting everyone entertained again, it was time to make dinner.

Ok, so it’s not that bad, and I am certain that anyone who has kids have their share of days where everything goes wrong.  With kids, you truly learn how to expect the unexpected!

Lately, I have been challenged by some of the scripture in Luke that we are going through in both church and in Pointgroups.  On a couple occasions, there are examples where Jesus goes off by himself and have time alone with God.  In Luke 5:16, the Bible says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  I have been challenging myself to figure out where my ‘lonely place’ might be and how to spend time there in the midst of messes, laundry, dishes, cooking, and whatever else is thrown my way.  I don’t think it will look the same for all of us, and it may even look different depending on when and where we are at the moment.  For me, sometimes I can really connect with a worship song on the radio as I’m preparing dinner or maybe I can actually escape to a place where I can have a really great time connecting with God through His word or through prayer.

Where is your ‘lonely place’ and how often do you get to go there?  Can you go there even in the midst of chaos?  Jesus was a person who probably was sought after by many people, yet he was still able to escape from the demands to heal and teach and perform miracles.  I am convinced that even as a parent, when there is not a quiet place in my house, I can still find a lonely place where I can connect with God!

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December at the Station

I’m not really sure where this year has gone, but it has definitely seemed to fly by.  For me personally, I love December because it means we get to celebrate Christmas!  This month in the Station, we will be celebrating the season with a variety of stories and activities based on the birth of Jesus which will be a great way for all the kids to learn why we celebrate Christmas.

Also, don’t forget to mark the following dates on your calendar:

Sunday, December 11 @ 5pm – all the kids are invited to a special Birthday Party for Jesus!  This will be a night full of birthday games, activities, and even a few surprises, so we hope everyone will join us to celebrate the best gift of all – JESUS!

Thursday, December 15th – kids and parents are welcome to join us to hand out Christmas cards to local businesses.  This is a great way to teach our children about evangelism and meet people in the community.  For more information, email thestation@celebrationchurch.ca.

Saturday, December 24 @ 5:30pm  – We will be having a special Christmas Eve service where families can come and celebrate the special gift of Jesus.  Everyone is welcome to join us!

There is a lot going on this month, so we hope you will join us for the festivities!

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