Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Family Devotion

These initial devotions were written for the Feeding Faithful Families classes in 2006-2007The over all theme was The Word.

Jesus is the Way
Scripture Reading - John 14:1-7

 1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going." 
5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
 6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Thought of the Day

There is a lot in the world that we don’t know. We can try to answer all sorts of questions about the world and about God, but it can be hard to know what is true or right. But this Bible passage answers all those questions for us. Jesus tells us not to worry or let our hearts be troubled. We have been given the way for all things: Jesus is our Way. Jesus is our Truth. Jesus is our Life. With him all things are possible and we can know the Father. Even when we don’t know something we can always rest assured in the faith that Jesus is the Way and has gone before us. We even get a room of our own!

Family Discussion Questions
1. What does it mean to you that Jesus is the Way? The Way to what?

2. Jesus says that God's house has many rooms. What would your room look like in God’s house?(If time, draw a picture of what you’d like your room to look like.)

Dear Jesus, 
When life seems hard and we have more questions than we can answer help us to remember that you are the Way and the Truth and the Life.  When we remember this it is easier t feel safe and loved.  Thank y ou for coming to Earth ad showing us the way to God the Father.  Amen. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Call for community!

Martin Luther wrote in The Estate of Marriage in 1522:

Most certainly father and mother are apostles, bishops, and priests to their children, for it is they who make them acquainted with the gospel. In short, there is no greater or nobler authority on earth than that of parents over their children, for this authority is both spiritual and temporal.

Martin Luther recognized that it was parents who held the most vital role in passing on faith to children.  We have a unique opportunity in the world today.  Thanks to a wide array of technology we have resources and connections all over the world to help shape our children, but the key educator remains parents.

I don't know about you but this strikes some fear in me.  I am a Christian Educator and yet the thought that I am my son's first hope for a living faith is daunting.  I know the Bible stories and teach them on a regular basis and still there is a big difference between a Sunday School class and instilling a life of faith in my own child.

Still with all of my own reading on the matter I realize that I cannot give into the fear of not succeeding.  The fear is paralyzing, it speaks to your own doubts of God and the world.  Anyone with a living faith will know that there are days when it is shaken to the point where it hardly seems to be there.  Other days are full of the bright colors of certainty.  Most days fall somewhere in the middle however.

The benefit of the world today is that we don't have to rest in our doubts and fears alone.  We have a community of faith at St. Luke's and all over the world.  We can share our joys and successes and our fears and doubts.  It is my hope that the blog can truly become a community to share our ideas and plans with one another.  But it cannot be a community of one.  Comments and conversation give us the ability to engage one another and partner church and home to the benefit of our kids.

My son turned 7 months old Saturday.  Already I see the community of people who love him surrounding him and see all of the wonderful gifts he is given because of that.  I want nothing less for each of your children.  We can surround each other and our children.

Martin Luther was right.  It is us who aquaints our children with the Gospel.  But we don't have to do it alone.  We have help.

Question of the day:

What is one parenting doubt or success you've experienced last week?  What is one piece of advice you'd give to a parent based on your own experiences last week?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Early Childhod Opportunities!

Stepping Stones
The First Steps on the way to Family Faith

Baby Stepping Stones: Saturday, October 3 - 9:00am - 9:45am
Toddler Stepping Stones: Saturday, October 3 - 10:00am - 10:45am

Baby Stepping Stones is offered for children ages 0-12 months, and their parents.  Toddler Stepping Stones is for children 12-36 months and their parents.  In each class we will explore the beginning foundations of faith through exercises in development, growth, music, movement and play.  There will also be a time of parent support and sharing.

Classes will meet the first Saturday of the month.  Baby Stepping Stones will meet at 9:00am and Toddler Stepping Stones will meet at 9:45am.  Both classes begin on October 3rd.  Please fill out registration form (found online or in the church office) by October 1st to reserve your spot in these classes.*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Expert Effect

In our world we routinely differ to experts in all areas of our lives.  If you are sick you go to the doctor.  If you have legal trouble, you see a lawyer.  We seek out those who will help us accomplish our goals: interior designer, plumber, dentist, realtor, etc.  And there are advantages to this.  Wellness is easier to achieve with the assistance of a personal trainer, dietitian, doctor, chiropractor and whoever else is on your team!

Unfortunately this turn towards experts has come to the church as well.  Too often we rely on a Pastor or church professional to tell us what to think about God.  We look to them to pray for us, or to lead us in worship, or to teach us about the Bible.  This is especially the case when it comes to the Christian education of children.  Is it fulfilling your baptismal promises to your children simply by bringing them to Sunday School? 

The book of Deuteronomy says this:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  - Deuteronomy 6:4-9

These key verses do not say "Bring your children to Sunday School to talk about [God's commandments] at church."  Instead it is parents who are called to share faith with your children in your home.  This does not mean we should abandon Sunday School or church as being unhelpful, rather we should look at it for what it is: an opportunity to partner with those called to pass on faith and work in tandem together bringing Christ to children.

I am no *expert* in the sense that a doctor is.  I have an education in Christian education but my time is limited with your children.  It takes the willingness of parents to talk about God at home to cement what they learn at church.  Otherwise church and faith will be nothing more than a Sunday morning diversion and not a real vibrant living faith.

I want a vibrant faith for my child.  I hope that you want it for yours as well.  Please join me in this partnership.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Question: What are you thankful for today?

Sometimes passing on faith is simply requires stopping in the midst of your daily lives and asking an important question to remind us of the gifts and grace that we are given by God.  Ask a question and answer it and pray about it together as a family.

This can be a simple addition to saying grace at mealtimes.  Choose one question and everyone answer it and the be sure to include those answers in your prayer before dinner.  Two minutes adds a connection for your family and for your relationships with the Lord.

Today I was reminded to ask: What are you thankful for today?  When I thought about this question my mindset for the day shifted.  It was no longer about my to-do lists or laundry piles, but instead about the gifts I've been given.

What am I thankful for today?

* For cooler weather.
* For a cold that is starting to improve.
* For our Tuesday staff lunches together.
* For my son and his smile that lights up the room.
* For the time to tackle my cleaning list tonight.
* For the volunteers who serve St. Luke's.

This is just a handful of what makes me thankful today.  What about you:
What makes you thankful today?

Feel free to answer here for yourself in the comments and then take it to your family.  You may be surprised at what you hear.

Friday, September 18, 2009


This blog is meant to be a resource for the families of St. Luke's as well as others in the world wide web searching for Children's and Family faith resources to use at home.  In order to make this blog more fully serve the needs of the community please take a minute to answer the poll question on your left to help guide the growth of this blog.  Thanks!

Parents Meeting Sunday!

To all Parents with kids in our CrossWoods Sunday School program (ages 3-5th grades), please join us immediately following the 9:30 am worship service for our annual parent meeting. Come and get the necessary information about the programs and changes in Children's Ministry this year!  Kids will remain in Sunday School until the meeting is over!

St. Luke's Parent Meeting
10:30 am - 10:45 am
Great Room

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Faith, Hope, Love

Every month I try to meet with at least two families and *interview* them.  The purpose is to get to know them better as a family and to help them to know the programs here at St. Luke's and get feedback about them.  They are always interesting but my favorite questions of my interview are the first two I ask.  I call them the *hard* questions.  They are:

1.  What do you love best about each of your children?
2.  What do you hope for in the future for your children?

With these two questions I seek to ground our conversation in what is really important when discussing children's ministry:  The children.  I love to hear parents talk with joy and pride in who their children are.  I love to hear them begin to articulate their dreams for the kid's future.

More than any other questions I ask, these give me a sense into the lives and love of their family, and the famlies of St. Luke's are full of love for each other.  Rarely do parents mention their love of a child's curly hair, or that they hope he'll be a rich professional hockey player when they grow up.

They talk instead about their child's creativity, or fearless excitement of the world, or deep love and compassion.  The dream about happy and faithful children.  Successful yes, but success in the sense of well-being and care for themselves and others.

I cannot claim credit for these questions I ask, because they are merely articulations of what God gives us:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

Children's Ministry is in the *business* of teaching faith, but the reality is that it is through the love and hopes for your children that leads us to seek God and ask him to walk with us and our children.  This is faith. Faith is not the absencse of doubt, or having all the answers.  Faith is seeing love and hope at work in the world and recognizing that it is God who is the source of these things.

As we begin this online journey together to deepen our own faith lives and those of our children I ask you:

1.  What do you love best about each of your children?
2.  What do you hope for in the future for your children?

In Christ,

P.S.  My hope for this blog is not me talking and you reading, it is for conversation.  Please feel free to comment and respond so we may work together as a community of faith making Christ known.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Camp St. Luke's

Camp St. Luke's, St. Luke's Wednesday night program for all kids from 3 yrs old to 5th grade kicks off tonight.

For grades K-5th, Camp St. Luke's is a blend of children's choir, led by our Minister of Music Tawny Homesley as well as fun practical applications to Bible stories in a summer camp style. The children's choirs sing in worship approximately once per month, including leading an Advent worship and putting on a Spring musical.

Our TIM Team (Teens in Ministry) help coordinate the other activities for the children. Every Wednesday is different. One week may be games, another crafts, a third a service project, or computer game or drama. Come and have some summer fun the whole year long!

Our preschoolers are not left out however. Camp offers a unique blend of guided play and lessons to supplement the Sunday School lessons and encourages social interaction and development!

Camp begins TONIGHT, Wednesday, September 16 from 6pm - 7:30pm. Stop by and check it out! Registration is $30 per child, or $75 for a family maximum. (Scholarships are available upon request).

Come and give Camp a try!

Rally Day Photo Fun

One of the big hits at our Rally Day celebration was the photo booth that our members Joe and Vanessa provided. Stop by and see some of the crazy pictures taken by our congregation members! Prints are available for ordering if you want!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rally Day

Let's get this blog going! Yesterday was Rally Day here at St. Luke's and once again I was invigorated by the energy that comes when children and families are in the church. This year we made some big moves in Children's Ministry and with some creative space management we have moved all our classrooms down into the education wing! What a joy it was to see all of the children together in the CrossWoods hallway from the smallest 3 yr olds to the "cool" 5th graders.

It was great to touch base with the kids and hear what happened to them over the summer. I think most of them grew a foot at least! Their trailguides were pleased to see them again or for the first time. We'll be featuring our Trailguides here on the blog as we get going but they were very excited to see all of the kids here.

Rally Day was a wonderful time. The bouncers, balloons and facepainting was a huge hit. The photo booth led to some crazy antics (I have copies of the photos to prove it!). Still, my favorite part of the morning was when all the Sunday School children came into worship to be blessed for the new year.

This may seem like a minor event. There was little fanfare. No bright colors or "entertainment" but in that moment the congregation looks into the eyes of the kids here at St. Luke's and tells them that they are an important and vital part of the church. And a kid can never hear that too much!

Beginnings can seem overwhelming. School starts, and sports, and activities, and Sunday School and the kids get swept up in the newness of it all. The blessing on Sunday was a way to ground them in the importance of asking God to be with them in the new beginnings. A new school year has infinite possiblities, what better way to begin than to acknowledge the giver of those possiblities and ask God to be with us during the year.

We did this at church but it is easily done at home as well. Light a candle and take time as a famly to pray for the new year. Give your kids a chance to talk about their hopes and fears and give them up to God. Pray. The words aren't important. You can never get a prayer wrong. And if you are afraid of saying it out loud ask your child too...you might hear a beautiful message yourself.

I love the opportunity of the new year and the excitement it brings. Thanks for being a part of it on Sunday. Did you feel the energy?

What is something you do as a family to mark the new school year? How do you ask God into this time in the lives of your kids?

(Did you miss Rally Day? Don't worry, you can still come to Sunday School. We always take registrations from new members and old.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Technology has changed the way that the church does ministry. Sunday School no longer works in flannel-gram form and so we must adapt and use technology to help share our message and ministry with the world. This blog is one attempt to reach out to the families of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Bloomington, MN, but it is not limited to them. The beauty of technology and ministry means that the whole world can share as we begin a conversation about what it means to teach children faith today. Please join us here as we journey together in faith.