Help Your Kids Honor Jesus This Christmas

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Last Christmas I learned about a new tool for helping my family focus on Jesus from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas – and it is VERY cool! It is called Cradle for the King – and the concept is simple. As your family notices the fruit of the Spirit in each other, the manger is created and prepared for Jesus at Christmas. STARTING AT THANKSGIVING is ideal, but you can start any time before Christmas to get the focus of the season where it belongs – on Jesus and the impact He should be having on our lives. Through the book included in the set, children witness a family who joyfully exhibits the spiritual gifts in Galatians chapter five and “prepare the way” for Jesus who finally appears in the cradle on Christmas morning. While it is ideal for families, you can also get a set to give out at church. Check out the Cradle for the King 12-pack. Our family is using this fun tool this season, and I invite you to join us as we prepare for season with a reason! LEARN MORE AT: Cradle for a King available on Kidology.org

How to be an AWESOME Small Group Leader

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Many churches today use a Large Group / Small Group format. That simply means all the kids first gather together for a large group teaching that may utilize videos, skits, object lessons, puppets or games, and a gifted teacher who is able to engage a large group of children effectively. Then, the kids break into small groups for discussion, a simple game perhaps, and other activities to help dig a little deeper into the lesson topic. If you are a small group leader, here are FIVE TIPS to make your time as effective as possible: #1 Understand how important you are! Often small group leaders sell themselves short. They may not have the “up front” skills of the Large Group teacher and so they may mistakenly think that they aren’t as important. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Your role is critical. No matter how amazing your large group teacher may be, they are teaching to a LARGE group. They can’t have the relational impact that you can. Notice, Jesus amazed large crowds, but he poured his life into a small group called the disciples. The crowds ran when Jesus was dying, but it was those disciples who carried on …

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Get Results From Being Positive

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Have discipline issues in your class, club or program? How do you train kids to behave? Hopefully no one will take offense at me comparing training kids to training my dog, but house training our Teddy reminded me of the power of positive reinforcement. As first time dog owners, we had to learn to house train our little puppy by trial and error. We listened to people, read articles, and even signed up for doggie training at our local Pet Smart… but the results were discouraging. Months into him joining our family, I was secretly thinking of giving him away because of being weary of cleaning up the unpleasant “gifts” he was leaving around the house. (Though, I knew that wasn’t really an option if I wanted to keep living in house!) Then we had a break through. A friend told me – give up scolding him or correcting him when he messes up. (He can’t understand you anyway.) Instead, when he does do his business outside where you want him to, CELEBRATE it to the MAX! So when he did it right, we jumped up and down, we clapped and cheered yelling “GOOD TEDDY.” Basically, the advice was go overboard …

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Finding the Reflection of God

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One of the highlights of Yosemite, is seeing the reflection of towering granite cliffs in the water of the valley. In fact, one of the lakes in Yosemite earned the name “Mirror Lake” due to the beautiful reflections upon it’s surface. While not technically a lake, visitors enjoy seeing in its smooth surface the mirror image of the cliffs towering above. Mirror Lake it actually a man-made lake, from a time when sand and ice were exported from the area for use down in the coastal cities. Today, it is being allowed to return to it’s natural meadow conditions, so each year this once famous lake reflects less – and becomes filled with more grass and rock as the surface drops and widens into a meadow. Nevertheless, a creative photographer can still find places to capture a reflection of Half Dome that rises majestically above it. The reflections can be amazing… but to be seen, something is required. Without this one thing, there can be no reflection of the grandeur above. Waterfalls and flowing rivers and creeks pour over rocks and around bends throughout this incredible park, all working their way to the Merced or Tuolumne Rivers and ultimately to …

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Visiting Awana HQ for the Inside Scoop

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As a grown-up clubber, frequent blogger about Awana, and as the man who introduced Sport Stacking to Awana Game Time and a children’s pastor who has seen the impact of this ministry – I am always looking for opportunities to drop into the Awana HQ in Streamwood, Illinois. I’ve been hearing some exciting news coming out of Awana – and noticed their brand new website, so after speaking at camp for a week in Wisconsin, I headed down to Awana to sit down with Michael Scarbrough, who is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Awana to get the inside scoop on the relaunch of Awana going on right now! LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE! I also snagged me an official Awana sport coat (off a freebie table) so that I can sport it at the next Awana Conference. I think this coat gives back-stage access or at least snacks in the employee room. Forget GQ magazine, I think I could be on the cover of AHQ magazine! Got a great Awana story? Have questions about the club? Want to share some feedback for Awana leadership? Visit the podcast discussion forum and let’s talk Awana!  

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