It’s that time of year already! Can you believe it? Time to start making preparations for Christmas. Where did 2020 go? Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t discuss that. HA! But let’s do talk about Christmas.
If you have ever been a Children’s Ministry leader or directed a Christmas Program, you know that if you haven’t started making plans by the end of August, you may have a more difficult time keeping things organized.
A few weeks ago, Trisha Peach of Kidmin Ninja offered for me to review her upcoming release, “Finding Hope”. I was intrigued off the bat and couldn’t wait to dig in and read the script. Trisha Peach has been a Children’s Pastor for many years and has written books that I highly recommend for every Children’s Minister. (Her books contain tips that I have even used in other areas of ministry! Look for more information on her website, www.kidmin.ninja)
Finding Hope is about a little fish named Finn that runs away from home, combining the landscape of Finding Nemo with the parable of The Prodigal Son. The story covers sin, shame, grace, reconciliation, and more in a play script that is not complicated, Biblical, entertains, includes humor, and most of all: shares the Gospel message.
Intended to be an outreach, it has the potential to be just that if you set out with that as your prayer from the start. The author has provided many tools to help ease the workload from beginning to end, leaving little to be desired with checklists, forms, practice schedules, advertising suggestions, music lists, costume and prop suggestions, and more. There is even a follow-up letter template to use to reach out to those that attended the program. I also have to add, this former Media Team leader is especially impressed with the Sound/Tech/Lighting template that marks everything down to the minute.
Worried about possibly being in a Covid-19 lockdown this Christmas? That’s okay, she even has tips for how to still hold your Christmas Program online and how to host a distance production online. Trisha Peach has thought of everything! This production can also accommodate a small or large church with a few minor adjustments, whether in person or online.
If you are looking for a Christmas production for your Children’s Ministry that shares the Gospel, is anointed, fun, super cute, entertaining, and will help keep you organized, I highly recommend that you purchase Finding Hope as soon as it is made available.
(This post does contain an affiliate link. That means that if you click on that link and make a purchase, I will receive compensation for you doing so. The link in this post is in reference to the GROUNDED 2020: Faith Conference.)
Welcome, and thanks for being here!
I know, it’s been a while. A lonnnng while. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever make it back to blogging, but here I am, and I’m so glad you’re still hanging around.
I can’t believe it has been nearly 2 years since we’ve chatted on here! I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to!
After our family’s move from Southern California to Central Tennessee, a LOT happened. First, my oldest grew up and joined the military. That kept me rather busy for a bit. Then our family moved again to West Tennessee. We are finally home and LOVE it! We moved so recently that some of our possessions are not even in the house yet. I did recently find my clothes, though. So that’s a win.
The other girls of Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven/Women Bringing Heaven Ministries have been rather busy as well. But I’ll let them fill you in when they are ready. Want to keep more in touch or catch up sooner? Join us in our Facebook groups! The one we use most is Women On The Warpath – Intercessory Prayer Battalion. Let me tell you that if you ever need prayer, this group of over 430 women will pray for you. They are amazing!
Speaking of Women On The Warpath, we have some news coming up that I want to be sure you know about, so keep reading…
First of all, the blog will be returning. It may be different and it may not be very frequent, but it will be back. It may be more vlogs than blogs at times, but I will not be abandoning this part of our ministry and it has been on my heart to return to it very heavily.
Second… I want to make an announcement. :insert a drumroll here. You do it because I’m bad at making sound effects:
In April, I will be launching Prayer Warrior Boot Camp. (At one time I was referring to it as Spiritual Boot Camp, so if you are already in the Facebook group and now confused, sorry. I just slightly changed the name.) Boot Camp will be a devotional series with daily Bible reading and prayer challenges that will last a few weeks. Grow your faith, trust, and strength in the Lord! How much will it cost, you ask? Nothing. Not a cent. Completely free. But to keep up on news about it, I suggest joining the above mentioned Facebook Group.
Prayer Warrior Boot Camp will not be as involved as it sounds. You will be able to be as involved/uninvolved as you like. I hope you’ll be able to join me!
Also in April, I will be speaking in an online conference as one of 25 speakers. I am so excited about this as I know women are going to be touched by this conference and then make an impact on their families for generations to come. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll attempt to explain it a little better:
Do you battle daily with your faith? Do you feel like the Lord is far away and He simply doesn’t hear you or your prayers? Or you have made some decisions in your life that have made you feel less than you truly are. Or maybe you feel like your worth has diminished.
Sweet friend, if any of these sound familiar, you will not want to miss all of the incredible speakers that are going to share how their faith has helped them during some of the hardest moments in their life. And that being GROUNDED in WHO they are and to WHOM that they belong was the reason they are able to share with you.
Join us on April 6-8, 2020 at the first online conference brought to you by GROUNDED Ministry & Conferences, the GROUNDED 2020: Faith Conference where you will find the encouragement and hope that is found only in Jesus Christ.
This amazing bunch of speakers is going to bring such encouragement and hope to your life! Don’t miss out on hearing them speak on how being so GROUNDED in their faith has helped them through some of the toughest moments in their lives. Get your ticket now for this online conference, GROUNDED 2020: Faith Conference. Early Bird pricing is still available, so you may not want to wait.
SPEAKERS: Amber Lia • Sabrina Justison • Angie Schott • Tricia Soderstrom • Jena Fellers • Penny Koshiol • Anne Blanchette • Erika Hull • Terrie McKee • Katherine Newsom • Amber Durgan • Aurie Good • Melanie Krahn • Liberty Bramer • Chanda Reese • Dana Hanley • Denise Rodriguez • Vanessa Dirwai • Amiee Smith • Victoria Carline • Crystal Brothers • Ashley Heilemann • Natalie Mack • Tiffany Montgomery • Catherine Segars • Dr. Cheryl LeJewell Jackson
I do hope that I will get to see you at both of these events! I’m looking forward to what God has in store, not just with Prayer Warrior Boot Camp and GROUNDED 2020: Faith Conference, but for the remainder of the year as well. There are more announcements to come as more details unfold, but for now, let’s catch up.
How did God carry you through 2019? Was it a year of blessing? A year of only making it through because He carried you most of the way? Maybe 2019 was a year of complete change for you as it was for me. Thank God that He never changes! Let me know in the comments.
Last night our family was looking forward to FINALLY having a movie night together. We were all together under one roof and ready with our snacks when we sat down to watch Paul Apostle of Christ.
What is #PaulMovie?
Paul (Faulkner), who goes from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Christ’s most influential apostle, is spending his last days in a dark and bleak prison cell awaiting execution by Emperor Nero. Luke(Caviezel), his friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into Rome to visit him. Paul is under the watchful eye of Mauritius (Martinez), the prison’s prefect, who seeks to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. But before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. Their faith challenged an empire. But their words changed the world.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Andrew Hyatt
PRODUCED BY: T.J. Berden and David Zelon
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel
STARRING: Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley and John Lynch
Soon after turning on the movie thought we may have made a mistake by letting our 7-year-old watch with us. My tired brain didn’t consider the fact that persecution would include torture and execution, but it remained over her head and we had no issues.
As for the rest of us, we quickly fell in love with the film. The story is true to both history and scripture and was enjoyable. My husband and I were both pleasantly surprised with the humorous quips between Paul and Luke, showing that they were human while yet men of God. The end, oh my word, the end left me in tears.
One great factor of this film is that you do not have to be a theology scholar or history buff to understand and appreciate what is happening. One could even press play on this movie, having never heard of Saul/Paul or Nero, and follow along as it explains it all so well. That being said, if you do enjoy these things, you will find it especially interesting as well. Two of my favorite “characters” were Aquila and Priscilla, and seeing what they might have been like was really neat.
The Schott Family highly recommends Paul, Apostle of Christ!!! We also highly recommend discussing what is happening with your children so that they understand what persecution is and what it meant for those that have to endure it, even now. It is probably best to screen the film before allowing your children to watch to know if they can handle some of the scenes or not. (Example: There are Christians that were used as Roman Candles to light the streets. This was seen several times in the film.) Even so, we give the movie 5 out of 5 stars!
For more information, follow this movie on Facebook and Instagram!
Are you interested in winning a copy for your family to enjoy?
Alternatively, you can go to https://www.blessedfreebies.com/paulapostleofchrist.html to enter as well.
I’m going to just say it right off the bat… If you have a child that loves comic books, you are going to love BibleForce.
What is BibleForce?
From the company: “BibleForce is a brand-new Bible storybook that is illustrated with exciting, comic-style artwork that kids will love. Children will love the detail and action of BibleForce, and parents will love having a book that gets their children engaged in reading Bible stories. Vivid art, incredible detail, and easy-to-follow text will get readers of all ages enthusiastic about reading this chronological and fast-paced retelling of the Scriptures. It includes nearly 200 fully illustrated stories that take children through the adventure and action of the Bible and help kids understand the full story of the Bible. The focus on Bible heroes makes the stories even more thrilling.”
Our family has been reading BibleForce and I have one particular child, Tommy (age 10), that has fallen in love with this book. Since putting this book in his hands, all he wants to do is read. He especially loves the free app that comes with the book that helps him read along through stories with particularly difficult words for his reading level.
It does not seem that much has been left out of the Bible when translating it into a comic style storybook! The book itself is very thick and somewhat heavy. There are pages with history, maps, and even “Hero Profiles” that state facts on different heroes of the Bible. Hero Profiles were one of Tommy’s favorite features as he loves to learn facts.
I love that it has my child interested in Bible heroes, reading, and looking up scripture in the Bible to see what more he can learn about the hero and story he has read about. In fact, a few times we have had to go in and tell him it is time to put the book away to go to sleep/do chores/eat/etc. If you are a parent of a reluctant reader, you know how excited this has made me.
The following is what Tommy has to say about BibleForce:
“I think this is a great book. The art style is really good. It is really easy for me to read. I’m learning lots of new things. My favorite hero is Moses.”
I’ll be honest, we have a lot of different Bible storybooks. I didn’t expect this one to be too much different, but I have been pleasantly surprised with the way it has ignited a fire in my son. Our family highly recommends BibleForce!
Are you interested in entering a giveaway to win a copy of your own? You can do that here!
By now many have seen the movie I Can Only Imagine. Unfortunately, even with the best-laid plans, I have not. That did not stop my husband and me from enjoying the I Can Only Imagine Small Group Curriculum though.
For this review, I was supplied with the 28 Day Study Journal, in which, through studying the life of Jesus, a week is spent on each of the topics Rejection/Approval, Guilt/Forgiveness, Brokeness/Redemption, and Death/Eternal Life. Also included was a leather journaling notebook and a DVD containing a series of 4 episodes, one for each week in the study, to be watched as a group.
The 28 Day Study Journal was well laid out and didn’t leave you feeling lost or as if you missed something. Including scripture, quotes, questions, and even hymn lyrics, it assists you in digging into the hidden places of your heart to allow God to heal your brokenness and move forward.
The DVD was exceptional and really got us talking about how we related the topics to our own lives. Bart Millard shares raw emotions about his life story and how, with God, his life, the life of his father, and their relationship was redeemed.
As for the journaling notebook, much like the other products, there was nothing left wanting. While blank, the pages were well laid out with pages for various types of journaling and the cover very sturdy.
Let’s face it, in this day and age (well, any day and age) there is no one that has not experienced hurt. These products by City On A Hill make a great tool for discovering your identity in Christ while becoming whole in Him. Taking it a step further, and doing that as a group, really helps as you know that you are not alone in having gone through these emotions.
If you are considering purchasing the I Can Only Imagine Series and/or Journal from City On A Hill, you can save 10% using the code frontgate10 at this link: https://cityonahillstudio.com/shop-3/i-can-only-imagine/
Want to enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself? Enter at the following link before 5/25/18: https://www.blessedfreebies.com/indescribablestudygiveaway.html
Have you seen the movie or tried the Bible Study series? I’d love to know what you thought of them!
Even though it may feel like you have multiple enemies in your life, there is really only ONE!
…..and now the rest of the story…
We left our little inn in Accra and headed for Manso-Amenfi about 8 hours inland. In the crowded little bus with some seats made from wooden slats, we crowded in and ventured forth into parts unknown to us Brunies (broonies) (that’s what we were called because we are white)… so here we go, a bus full of Brunies along with our beloved host pastor and Mary, one of our interpreters. Since it was the rainy season, rain would come down suddenly and the steam would make the non-air conditioned bus like a sauna & we would all be dripping – what a ride we had with all the sweat & laughter. How could such an uncomfortable, close-quartered ride in a rainstorm be joyous? We were about to find out. We didn’t know the driver who never said a word to anyone – Pastor said he was a Muslim. As he drove cautiously in the rainstorm on a mud road, we passed by large log trucks stuck in ditches next to the hills along the way – even they couldn’t get back on the road. As we drove around one, our bus went headlong into the ditch. There we were stuck in the mud in the rainforest with a Muslim driver who didn’t like our laughter nor our gospel songs. The driver got out and looked at the wheels and told Pastor there was no way we could maneuver our way out, even with pushing. So what did we do? We prayed & everyone started moving back & forth in the seats and just prayed “Jesus” over & over.
I KNOW angels are NOT little, feminine, wimpy, fairy-like creatures because one of them had to have miraculously picked up the back end of the bus & slide us right back onto the road – that is the only explanation possible. We felt the bus move right back onto the road & no one was outside it. It was such an awe-inspiring testimony to the Muslim driver, he gave his heart to Jesus right there. Someone had a video camera & we have it on record – our first convert in Ghana was our Muslim driver who said he wanted to serve an awesome powerful God who listened and answered prayers. Sometimes all it takes is a Christian doing what comes naturally to a Christian & praying our way out of a muddy mess & letting others see the loving, powerful Savior who can & will do amazing miracles.
I love Him.
Sometimes during the day, we need little reminders of God’s love and faithfulness to keep us going.
Prone To Wander LA is a company that is focused on helping you do just that. Each product displays a scripture, Biblical promise, hymn lyric, Godly greeting, or something similar.
A few weeks ago I received a beautiful banner and pillow cover in the mail. First of all, I have to say how amazing these items smelled when they arrived. I kept holding the packaging and items to my nose because they seriously smelled SO good! Sometimes, when you order something online, it arrives smelling unpleasant so this was nice. 😉 Second, I was amazed by the quality! Being someone that sews, unintentionally, I look at things like seams, creases, and zippers. These products are not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but are constructed to last with durability. The fabric is top notch and the seams are strong.
But most of all… It has been wonderful to see this banner as I walk through my home or on my way out the door and find myself humming or singing “Be Still My Soul” as I go about my life. I have had a rough couple of weeks and to remember the Lord is on my side has meant so much to me. The pillow rests on my couch and when my kids are being silly with a mess on the floor I remember that even amongst the toys, my nest is abundantly blessed. It’s the little things sometimes, more than the big things, that bring the most reassurance of His love for us when we need them.
If you are like me and enjoy little reminders of God’s love and faithfulness throughout the day, but also prefer that these items be of higher quality, I HIGHLY recommend making a purchase from Prone To Wander LA.
Also, there is a giveaway! Prone To Wander LA also offers phone cases and are giving away a set. Enter now for a chance to win! Fill out the form below or go to this link to enter.
Watching TBN a few minutes ago – Restoring The Shack – brought back a vivid memory of my visit to a Catholic mass. Today’s Shack program was an eye-opener. A Protestant was visiting with her Catholic friend and went to mass in a huge palatial Catholic Church. The priest delivered a message and then came time for the Holy Eucharist Communion. The ladies got up to get in line – but the Catholic lady had the Protestant lady go back to her seat with the words -“This is only for Catholics”. The lady went back to her seat alone feeling very conspicuous. The priest went immediately to the lady who was told to sit down & gave her communion with the words, Christ died for all not just Catholics…
When I was a child around 9-10, I visited St. Francis DeSales Church in my hometown with a friend. Upon entering those massive, ornate doors I was pulled aside by a very old bossy lady in teeny, tiny spectacles looking frantic. “Hurry hurry – put on this robe and get in line!” I had no time to respond before I was fully clad in a bright red, long skirt – and white over-garment. Given the old lady’s demeanor, I dared not refuse. I was very shy and quiet as a child. In the meantime, my friend had gone in and sat down waiting for me. Then came time for the grand processional into what can only be described as a Gothic Castle – I was near the back of the line and petrified trying to look for my friend. I finally spied the back of her curly head as she turned and saw me in the processional- Wide-eyed and red-faced is only a minuscule description of her reaction. I never visited church with her again.