Browsing Tag

Service

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #54: Devos for Younger Kids

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 54 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

This one really doesn’t need an explanation. If your children are upwards of ten years old, then they can easily host a devotional for younger children. Of course, these younger children could be the children in your congregation or they could be community kids. Help your children plan a Bible theme, like “The Big Fish” (the book of Jonah) or “The Men Who Would Not Bow” (Daniel 3) or “When a Lame Man Walked”(Acts 3-4). Practice the storytelling and related songs with your kids. Make visuals or plan to use puppets to tell the story or help your kids dress up as Bible characters as they tell the story. Make sure your children are prepared to pray with the younger ones.

Make little invitations with your kids or have your kids invite the children personally.  Alternately, if you are inviting children from your congregation, your kids could write out the invitation and submit it to the one who is making public announcements or to whomever prepares the bulletin. It’s important to let the kids pick the theme (with help and advice) and do the legwork and artwork. It’s important to specify the ages of children who are invited on the invitation, as well. Having kids present,  who are older than the hosting kids, may intimidate the hosts, especially the first time around (and you really want this to be successful). On the other hand, having babies present (especially without moms) may also distract from your children’s ability to focus and complete their plans. Just think ahead and try to make the big day whopping success for your own children, by indicating, on the invitation, just who the devotional is targeting. It saves last minute angst. Then be loving and gracious when the day comes if there are hitches in your original plan. Remember, the goal is servant hearts in your kids, so, in every Mama’s K.I.S.S. activity you are, most importantly, modeling the behavior of the Lord.

As the time draws near, practice a game or activity with your kids– a Bible verse scavenger hunt or a sidewalk tic-tac-toe game where questions must be answered before the Xs and Os can be placed. It could be a treasure map locating theme-related favors or preparation of a Bible food. Any of these activities should be related to the devotional story your kids are telling and your activity should be something kids can complete within a thirty or forty minute time period.

Snacks and favors are optional, but your kids might love to make or buy story-related snacks. Pinterest is a great source for ideas.  Be sure, if you are hosting community kids, to include info about the church in any favor bags.

Just be sure to let your kids take ownership of this little event. Talk about young souls that are being influenced while you are preparing. Then have fun with this!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #53: Help a Homeschooling Mom

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 53 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

When our Hannah was about 12, she began tutoring a kindergartner who lived in our neighborhood. It was a big blessing for her and I think it was also a blessing for the family of little Lindsey, I was close by, just in case there were any issues that required an adult for any reason. Responsibility and service were great take-aways for Hannah. It was a hands-on prep for the school-teaching and home education that Hannah would be doing later in life, as well. Most of all, it gave Hannah some real-life experience in handling issues that required discipline and ethical choices.

There are home-schooling moms who can use a helper once a week. Why not have your teen approach one you know and offer their services as grocery store helpers, math tutors, piano teachers, once-a week casserole-makers or free Thursday backyard  babysitters for toddlers for an hour a week? It could be the beginning of a win-win situation for two families, as was the case in our neighborhood.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Remembering Greatness: Brother Flavil Nichols (1919-2018)

We traveled yesterday to Jasper, Alabama, a place that evokes fond memories for us. It’s the little town in which Glenn filled the pulpit at the Sixth Avenue church for about five years while my children made life-long friendships and learned some of their first lessons about politics, ethics, and social skills. It’s the place where Caleb put on the Lord in baptism and it’s the place where I lost my mother to cancer. It’s the place where Hannah owned both a fairy closet in her bedroom and an elf wonderland in the backyard. It’s the place where Caleb developed his first little neighborhood “company” at age eleven and where Hannah peddled homemade bread from her little red wagon all up and down our street, coming home with pockets full of change. They were good days. One of the best things about those days was exposure, for our children, to some of God’s most faithful children; children of God who were busy getting ready for their transport to glory.

When we drove past our old house on Wildwood Drive yesterday, recognizing the sheer rapidity of the passage of the days of our lives made me want to be sure I really live in every waking moment of every single day. I remembered our very first evening in that house and hearing the doorbell ring. I remembered Glenn’s eyes meeting mine and his saying “Who could that be?” I remembered looking around at stacks of half-opened boxes through which we’d been searching for bedding. I remembered looking down at myself and thinking that I was a bit embarrassed to be answering the door to this home, for the first time, in this bedraggled condition.

We answered the door, though, and there stood our brother Flavil Nichols and sweet sister Mary. As he always did for every visit, he had on his tie and sister Nichols had on her freshly pressed blouse and skirt and her freshly baked pie (I think it was chess) in hand. We could not even find chairs for them! We looked around and there was our couch, but there were no couch pillows to be found. It sat only about eight inches off the floor without its soft topper pillows, but Flavil and Mary Nichols had a seat there on that hard wooden couch and made themselves the kindest welcoming committee that Jasper, Alabama had ever proffered.

And through the years, Brother Flavil came over many times. He would come over when the youth devotionals were in our home and do the most amazing magic tricks with nine magazines and an old curtain rod on our living room floor. Sometimes he would do them with dollar bills, or with string or with the bathroom mirror. There are two or three faithful gospel preachers that have emerged from that youth group. You see, Brother Nichols knew that he was really about a whole lot more than entertaining young people.

He came over to make a speech about our great nation when we hosted the annual fourth of July parade in our neighborhood. There were watermelon seed-spitting contests, tug of war contests, a fire-truck to lead our parade and Glenn was Uncle Sam, the Grand Marshal. But the climax of the day was the little speech by Brother Nichols. He was, once again, doing more than talking about our country. He was doing his best to make the church look good in our community. He was, as always, about that better country (Hebrews 11:16).

I’m really glad that my children got to know the man we memorialized yesterday. His and sister Mary’s influence was so direct and positive in every way in their little lives. But yesterday, I started to think about all of the people who surely are still being indirectly influenced by the Nichols family in churches all over the world. I would daresay that most Christians today in Alabama, should they be able to explore the history behind their conversions to the Lord, would not go very far into that history without the events intersecting in some way with brother Gus Nichols or one of his sons. They literally taught and baptized hundreds of people in and around Walker County, Alabama. The sons of brother Gus traveled and settled in other states, too, and the influence broadened. There is no way to accurately count the number of gospel preachers who got their starts at the feet of brother Gus or brother Flavil. And the gospel moved on. Missionaries were converted by those who were converted by those who sat at the feet of the Nichols preachers. And the swelling around the eternal throne of God is incalculable.

So it was an honor for Glenn to get to speak to an audience yesterday that was largely preachers at the funeral service of a great man of God.

It’s important for us moms to realize, though, that Flavil Nichols was once a little boy. His mom washed his hands before supper, she mended his overall bib, she rehearsed his memory verses with him and she kissed his skinned knees. At his supper table, every child had to recite a new memory verse each night before turning over his plate for serving up the beans and meat. This little boy sometimes heard his Bible story and was put to bed before his father arrived home from his preaching appointment. And sometimes his father would arrive home asleep on the back of the horse he’d ridden to that preaching appointment. That faithful horse knew the way home. The gospel was the centerpiece of the life of that little boy, who held his first debate about the scriptures while still a teen and began preaching at the tender age of 15.

That kind of rearing renders greatness for the cause. Little snippets from a life of greatness (Mark 10:43), made me want to do the things that Flavil’s mother, Matilda Nichols, did for her children as they grew. Flavil told stories of accepting chickens in exchange for preaching the gospel. Once, at the end of a gospel meeting, he graciously thanked a farmer at a non-paying church, for the gift of a small pig. He just strapped it in a little crate on the bumper of his car and drove home. On another occasion, he went around a small town to which he had moved to preach and paid the debts of the former preacher who had left town owing money to the merchants. He once walked several miles to purchase the unleavened bread and grape juice for the Lord’s Supper for a church that explained that they could not afford those things. (That same church told brother Nichols that they would just pay him whatever the total contribution was that Sunday. When they paid him, he sadly realized that he, himself had contributed more than the amount they had paid him.) No ill-treatment or discouragement even slowed down his proclamation of the gospel. The power that is in that gospel is still emanating from him today. The reunion with those who reached the saving blood because of His work must be very sweet right now. I want my children to be like brother Flavil.

I hope I get to sit down with brother Flavil and sister Mary again one day soon because of that great gospel. I hope you’ll be there, too.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #49–Babysitting for Free!

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 49 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

This one needs no explanation, but it’s an all-time favorite for the servant heart. Both of my children, a girl and a boy, learned so much from volunteering to help Christian moms accomplish errands to his glory, study with others, have a date night with their husbands or just catch up on being keepers at home. Sometimes, when our kids were younger, they would keep the children in our home, so adult hands and eyes were present if they needed guidance. As our kids became teens, they were adept at keeping babies in their own homes or even tagging along as helper during a mom’s outing. Finally, they both were able to transfer those car seats to their vehicles and take the children on outings to give the busy moms a break. I remember when Caleb was a college student and working at Apologetics Press, the AP moms were amazed that he knew how to maneuver those car seats and take those kids shopping or out to eat. Best of all, he would ask the parents for these opportunities rather than the other way around!

Often, the teens in our congregation offer free baby-sitting at the building for the parents in the church. It’s a highlight, for sure, for the young ones involved. (Think cartoons on a big screen and popcorn and crafts and hide and seek in the auditorium.) It’s a super opportunity for the parents to get Christmas shopping done or have a date night. But the biggest spiritual bonus, again, probably happens in the hearts of the youth group. They become closer to the young families in the church, more comfortable with the tiny ones, better prepared to teach in the cradle roll and the primary classes and we see them sitting with families on Sundays and helping parents to offer better worship.

Now, all of this is not to say that it’s a mistake for your teens to have “real”, for-pay baby-sitting jobs. In fact, this is great practice for that scenario. First, though, it’s important to let your kids become better for the service. As a bonus, smart parents of toddlers will one day be looking to hire the teens who’ve shown that they enjoy being with their little ones. As your kids grow into the teen years, they will have lots of opportunities for both paid and not-for-profit baby-sitting.

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #48: “Pure On Purpose”–Reader’s Special Today

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 48 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

 

“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering without hypocrisy.”  (James 3:17).

This verse, that my children sang throughout their childhood, draws a clear line from purity of heart and life to a heart that shows mercy to others; mercy resulting in good works. In fact, it places purity as the first step in cultivating God’s wisdom in our lives. This purity of heart ends in the bearing of good fruits with sincerity. That development of heart was something for which  I prayed often as my children were growing.

When Hannah was in college, She and I made several trips over to Chattanooga to a television studio to produce a study DVD series about purity of heart and life for teen girls. It was a fun mother/daughter project for us. We tried to include activities and discussions about the mind of purity and also the practicality of purity in our relationships, ending with maintaining sexual purity. The workbook is jam-packed with age-appropriate projects. This study has been used in lots of classes, but I wanted to include it in this Mama’s K.I.S.S. series, as well, since I’ve been thinking about this verse that connects purity and service.

Glenn says I can offer this set (a DVD and workbook) –a set which retails for $35.00– to blog readers today for $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping. Here’s how: Just email the phrase “POP Special” within the next week to  colley@westhuntsville.org . Your package will be on it’s way . Then please just send a check for $25.00 to:

Glenn Colley

234 Powell Street

Gurley, AL. 35748

or you can deposit it in PayPal at the above email address.

Hope this is helpful to some Mama who’s praying for this heart!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mama’s K.I.S.S. #47: Christian Camps

As you know, if you’ve been reading, for quite some time, I’ve occasionally been running little installments called “Mama’s K.I.S.S.” I know that lots of readers could give many more and far more creative ideas than I can offer, but these installments are just a few tried and true and mostly old-fashioned ideas for putting service hearts in our kids.  This is number 47 of a list of one hundred ways we train our kids to serve. K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “Kids In Service Suggestions”.

Christian summer camps can be  great service oriented experiences for your children. When I first began writing the Mama’s K.I.S.S. series, though, I would have recommended different camps than I would today. I say that just to place the burden of responsibility on parents to check out the camp before assuming your kids will benefit from going. I heard just today from two unrelated campers in different states who were very young and exposed at camp to conversations with sexual content that wasn’t fit for anyone’s ears, much less the very young. Just be sure the camp has a very high ratio of staff to campers and that the staff is fully committed to guarding the innocence of your young children and guiding them in holiness. I highly recommend the Apologetics Press weeks of Indian Creek Youth Camp (http://www.indiancreekyouthcamp.org) and the amazing West Huntsville week at Camp Neyati in Guntersville, AL. I love POINT camp in Corinth, MS, as well and you can contact Sami Nicholas (https://www.facebook.com/sami.nicholas.3) for more information about that one. 

The point, though, of today’s post is that it’s a great idea to become involved with your kids in a good and sound summer camp. Parental involvement is why we have only about three children to every one adult at Camp Neyati. If your children see you sweating, serving, cooking, and cleaning…and loving it, they are well on their way to doing the same. As you get involved, you can make sure the kids have a healthy balance of fun and Bible study and service, too. Every craft doesn’t have to be carried home with the campers. Gifts can be made in the craft hut for widows or nursing home patients. I recall walking in a a huge group from Maywood Camp, in Alabama, one year, to visit an elderly couple who lived nearby. And I’ve made literally scores of loaves of bread with teens in camps to deliver to those who needed encouragement and to teach the girls to continue a kitchen ministry. We’ve made cards to encourage teachers and visited congregations to conduct children’s classes..all while at camp. We’ve trained to do personal Bible studies and learned to serve at ladies days. 

Camp can be a great service training mini-course. Just be picky and, whenever possible, be a volunteer!