Around this time of year grocery stores fill up with eggs and candy. There is talk circumventing cities and schools about Easter bunnies and egg hunts. For many children today, the true meaning of Easter is shrouded in mystery. I remember being a child and sitting through the lengthy two hour Easter service on Sunday morning. I can still envision my seven-year-old self counting down the minutes until church ended. I knew that if I could just make it through service, I would be allowed to hunt eggs to my heart’s content. Many years passed before I realized the true gift that was given on Easter, a gift far far more precious than candy. However, just like seven-year-old me, there are a lot of Christian kids that are more excited about the gift of candy than they are about the gift of Jesus.
Let’s not allow our little ones to believe that the fun part of Easter is reserved for an egg hunt. Here are some fun-filled kitchen activities that will leave your little ones giggling while teaching them the true meaning of Easter.
- Resurrection Rolls
What you’ll need: crescent rolls, marshmallows, red sprinkles, melted butter, a Bible
- Step One: Gather your family in the kitchen and read the Easter story from the Bible. Be sure to read from a translation that your little ones can understand. Don’t forget to bring up parts of the Easter story throughout the baking process!
- Step Two: Have your kids help you spread out the crescent rolls on a baking sheet.
- What you say, “These rolls represent Jesus’ tomb.”
- Step Three: Have your kids roll one marshmallow first in butter and then red sprinkles.
- What you say, “This represents Jesus’ death on the Cross. Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we can be with Him in heaven one day.”
- Step Four: Have your kids place the sprinkled covered marshmallow in the center of the crescent roll.
- What you say, “A man named Joseph wanted to make sure that Jesus had a proper burial. He took Jesus to his tomb and laid Him inside.”
- Step Five: Have your kids wrap the marshmallow up and press the edges together so the crescent roll seals.
- What you say, “This represents the Roman soldiers coming and sealing Jesus’ tomb.”
- Step Six: Bake the crescent rolls according to the directions on the package. Have your kids set a timer and wait for the rolls to finish baking.
- What you say, “Over the next day, everyone thought Jesus had died. Because it was the Sabbath, no one was allowed to go check on Jesus’ tomb. The disciples had to sit and wait. Waiting can be super hard and I am sure the disciples were really worried.”
- Step Seven: Allow the rolls to cool a bit, then gather your kids around you and open one of the rolls. The marshmallow should have disappeared!
- What you say, “Just like in the story we read, when they arrived at the tomb the next morning, the stone was rolled away and Jesus was no longer in it! He had risen from the dead just like He promised. Remember, the reason we celebrate Easter is because our Savior is no longer in a tomb, He is alive!”
- Easter Story Cookies
What you need: 1 cup of whole pecans, 1 tsp of vinegar, 3 egg whites, a pinch of salt, 1 cup of sugar, a gallon size Zip-Lock bag, a wooden spoon, and some tape.
- Step 1: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
- Step 2: Place your pecans inside your zipper baggie.
- What you do: Read John 19: 1-3, “Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. They came up to him saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands.”
- Step 3: Let your children take turns beating the pecans into small pieces with your wooden spoon.
- Step 4: Take out the vinegar and let all the children smell it. Explain to them that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, this is what the Roman soldiers offered him to drink.
- What you do: Read John 19:28-30 “After this Jesus… said , ‘I thirst.’ A bowl of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “it is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
- Step 5: Have your kids help you add the egg whites.
- What you do: Tell your little ones that the eggs represent life. Explain to them that Jesus gave his life for each and every one of us. Read John 10: 10-11“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
- Step 6: Add a pinch of salt to the mixture. Have your kids close their eyes and hold out their tongues. Drop a couple granules of salt onto their tongues.
- What you do: Ask them to describe the taste. Explain that the salt probably tastes a lot like the tears that Jesus’ followers cried when He died. Read Luke 23:27, “And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.“
- Step 7: Add in one cup of sugar. Ask your kids to close their eyes again and stick out their tongues. Sprinkle some sugar in their mouths.
- What you do: Tell your kids that although the story has been sad, it is still sweet. Explain that Jesus died for our sins because he loves us! Read John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
- Step 8: Beat the mixture with your mixer on high for 12-15 minutes until small peaks form. The mixture should now be pure white.
- What you do: Explain to your children that this symbolizes Jesus’ purity. Explain to them that Jesus was the only man that never sinned. Read John 3:1-3, “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
- Step 9: Fold in the beaten pecans. Drop the batter by the teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
- What you do: Tell your children that the mounds represent the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid after His crucifixion. Read Matthew 27:58-60, “He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.”
- Step 10: Place the cookies in the oven, and turn the oven off.
- What you do: Give each child a piece of tape to “seal” the oven. Read Matthew 27:65, “Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the sepulchre secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.”
- Ask your kids how they think the disciples felt when they had to leave Jesus’ body in the tomb. Explain to your children that they must leave their cookies in the sealed oven overnight, even if it makes them feel sad. Read John 16:20 and 22, then go to bed.
- “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
- Step 11: Gather your kids in the kitchen on Easter morning and open the oven. Give each child a cookie break in half. The cookies should be hollow, just like Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning!
- What you do: Read Matthew 28:6, “He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”
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This week’s Giveaway is a Charlie Paige Reindeer Leg Warmers
The Charlie Paige Reindeer Leg Warmers in grey and cream are decorated with snowflakes and reindeer. Be sure to stop by Emily’s JimS today and register for the chance to win, and remember if you like them on Facebook you can double your chances to win.
You’ll certainly find yourself singing “Fa La La La” from the moment you slip this cozy Charlie Paige Sweater Dress on! If you needed that one special thing that brings on the Christmas cheer like no other this is just the thing that you need! Soft to the touch and simply ready to get you dressed and out of the door in style. The dress is paired with Black Pattern Print Pantyhose, Taupe Suede Booties, and accessorized with a matching three strand gemstone and crystal necklace from the Euro Collection.
Congratulations to Donna Ness for being the winner of last week’s Charlie Paige Tote!
Extended Holiday Hours from December 12-23
Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
by Chris Field, Mercy Project Founder and CEO
I’ve read hundreds of books in my lifetime. None have impacted the direction of my life like the one I read in May 2009. It was called “Jantsen’s Gift,” and it told the story of children in Ghana, Africa, who worked all day on fishing boats. As soon as I read the book, I was agonizingly uncomfortable with the truth it illuminated. Kids as slaves? Parents so poor and desperate they felt compelled to sell their children? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but I knew I could not walk away. I immediately Googled the author’s name and called her. Ninety days later, I stepped off an airplane and onto the ground of Ghana, Africa.
On that trip, I began meeting the young boys and girls who spent their long days on rickety wooden fishing boats. They were children in age and size, but had hands like an old farmer. Swollen and calloused hands that had already held more than a lifetime of fishing nets, paddles, and hooks. Hands that were soon wrapped around my heart, with no intention of letting go.
I spent that first trip soaking it all in and doing my best to hold it together. I was simultaneously captivated and being broken. At no point was that more true than in the story of Tomas.
Tomas was a little boy, around nine years old, whose village we visited near the end of the trip. The group leader with whom I had traveled, was trying to negotiate with Tomas’ master for his release, which left Tomas and me sitting alone for an hour. We couldn’t talk — not with words anyway — but we didn’t need to. He was hoping for the best. I was too. He reached over and took my hand and held it like only a desperate child daring to dream of a different future would do. I’ll spare you the play by play, and I’m honestly not even sure what happened, but the negotiations broke down. Tomas wasn’t going anywhere that day — maybe not ever. We turned to leave with many of the village children following us, as we walked back to our boat. I couldn’t find Tomas. I looked back to where we had been sitting and finally saw him. His head leaned against a wooden pole, and the look in his eyes haunts me to this day. His empty eyes said, “Of course it didn’t work. Why did I ever expect anything else? I’ll be here, working, forever.” I turned away quickly so no one would see my tears.
I returned home just a few days later and remember sitting on the couch talking with my wife, Stacey, about the trip. She was six months pregnant with our first child, a little girl; and we had recently decided we would name her Micah. Her name comes from one of our favorite verses in the Bible, Micah 6:8, which basically says, “What does God want you to do? Act with justice, love mercy, and walk with him.” I remember looking at my wife’s growing belly and thinking, “How could I ever ask this child to act with justice and love mercy if I’m not willing to do the same?” The answer soon became clear: we could not do that; we would not do that. We soon began a new non-profit organization named Mercy Project.
It wasn’t long until I quit my job as a pastor and began working as Mercy Project’s lone employee. My wife and I moved back to our hometown of College Station with our 9 month old, our dog, and a big dream of changing the world. That was four and a half years ago.
Over the last four and a half years, Mercy Project has had the distinct privilege of walking alongside the beautiful people of Ghana. Do you remember the old proverb about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish? Mercy Project has entered into these fishing villages in Ghana — villages that utilize the labor of trafficked children — and literally taught the people there a new and better way to fish. This new method (called aquaculture or cage fishing) effectively replaces the labor of the children — allowing the village to voluntarily release them to be reintegrated back into their families. As of today, Mercy Project has been able to rescue nearly 70 of these children. By the end of 2015, all of these children will have been reunited with their families and attending school, many for the first time. After reintegration, we continue walking alongside the children and their families to make sure the kids are never trafficked again.
Over this same time, we’ve grown and now have a staff of 17 people, more than half of whom work directly on our projects on the ground in Ghana. This includes two American families who are missionaries living in rural Ghana in a small village that has had electricity for less than a decade. This isn’t traditional missionary work. They are building relationships, teaching innovative and valuable ways to work, and modeling a new way of life. As The Message says of God in John 1:14, they too have “wrapped themselves in flesh and blood and moved into their neighborhood.” It’s a beautiful witness and reminder of the way God moved into our neighborhoods, to walk alongside of us, to teach us a better way to live. It’s not easy, but we can’t imagine doing it any other way. This is the kingdom come for which Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. We get to see it every day, as formerly trafficked children run and play again, and the fishermen who owned them are empowered to work in ways in which they can now take pride.
Our goals for the next five years are lofty. We want to bring new businesses to Ghana: a fish hatchery, cold stores to sell the harvested fish, and a factory to make our own fish food. All of these businesses would employ and empower Ghanaians. Most importantly, our goal is to rescue 1,000 children and reintegrate them back into their families. We want to love the fishermen, the children, and their families with the love of Jesus. To bless them, challenge them, encourage them, and walk with them. We want to do life with them in a way that changes all of us forever. Thankfully, it’s happening already.
This community has embraced us and our little dream in beautiful ways. We’ve started fundraising events like the Baylor Scott & White B/CS Marathon, Red Carpet Casino Night, Mommy/Son Dig Day, and more. We’ve written a children’s book, which we’ve been able to share with thousands of local children in schools across town. Many of you have even invited us into your churches and homes to tell this story. Thank you. Please believe us when we say we couldn’t do this without you. Your support is a gift of grace and love. Let’s keep working together for freedom.
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him.” It begins with a single step. God, give us the courage to take it together.
Chris Field is the Founder and CEO of Mercy Project. He and his wife, Stacey, live with their four children in College Station. For more information about Mercy Project, or to get involved, visit www.mercyproject.net.
Mercy Project’s second rescue group from Sabonjeda
Yesu, a formerly trafficked girl practicing handwriting
Afia, a formerly trafficked girl from the village of Sabonjeda
Tomas, the boy Chris met in Ghana in 2009
Mercy Project’s second partner village Sabonjeda
by JoAn Majors
When you walk through the department stores, grocery stores, or any mall this time of year, do you wonder if there’s room for Christ in Christmas anymore? Many times it appears to be about boxes, bows, big gifts, and fancy décor. As a mom I know that it is critical that our large family remember exactly what this season is about — the one we celebrate not be a jolly old guy and what he brings us, but a risen Christ and what we bring Him. Do you bring honor to Christ at Christmas?
As a mother, I wouldn’t dream of honoring or celebrating one of our children’s birthdays without their input. Including what makes our child happy is an important part of “their” special day — perhaps it is a favorite activity, gift, trip, or meal. It goes the same for a parent or spouse. Then why in the world, would we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, without considering what matters most to Him? Keeping Christ in Christmas should be intentional in our homes and in our holidays. I too, love giving gifts and decorating, but at the beginning and end of every day during those special holidays, we are intentionally thankful for the birth and gift of Christ. After all, “Jesus is the reason for the season!”
As you prepare for the holiday, make plans for how you will keep Christ in Christmas. Perhaps, it is a Christmas ornament with one to three small ribbons on the end. Place one ornament per plate at a meal. Each person passes around a beautiful dish and places their ornament in the dish (which begins and ends as part of the centerpiece), they share one to three things or instance’s (based on the number of ribbons on the ornament) that they are thankful for in the past year. This is based on 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV, in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Share the verse or place it in calligraphy or a nice graphic on the container(s) the ornaments are held in.
Another option with younger children is to have small stockings throughout the house. You can purchase small stockings or have the kids make them. Place them throughout your home on cabinet knobs and in any areas where guests are. Inside the stockings there are $1 and $2 bills. At the table, each person opens his or her stocking (close with Velcro, cute buttons, or double sided tape) and shares an example(s) of “Christ like love” they have offered or experienced, one or two based on their surprise gift. The younger kids are so excited, and their sweet stories will make everyone smile! Based on 1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV, But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. Family and guests bring at least one to the table for meal(s). The kids are happy to share more than once from the excitement of the prize.
There is no right or wrong way to keep Christ in Christmas, just the intention to do so. You can be as creative as you want to be when rediscovering how blessed we are to have the birth of Christ to celebrate. It is such a special season, and many times we are with family and friends we don’t see as often, so keeping the focus on Christ keeps us joyful and content with the moments that matter. Moments that matter help us keep Christ in Christmas.
JoAn Majors is a professional speaker and published author. Her articles have appeared in over 25 magazines and newsletters. She is a member of the National Speakers Association, Global Speakers Network, and International Speakers Network. She also assists in the marketing of her husband’s Bryan/College Station dental practice, MajorSmiles.com. JoAn is happiest being mom, nanny, sister, or honey to her family. To learn more about having her speak to your group visit www.joanmajors.com or call 866.51.CHOICE. The Time is Now, The Choice is Yours! (JoAn gives back equivalent to 20 percent of her total in speaking fees per year in gratis work for local groups.)
Thank you to our American Veterans who sacrificed parts of their lives (or given the ultimate sacrifice) for the freedoms we enjoy every day. We are grateful for your service and we appreciate you!
My friend Brian Morgan wrote this, and it really struck me. My prayer is that it encourages you today.
“Not Good Enough”
by Brian N. Morgan
Not good enough. Has that thought ever crossed your mind? Has it ever felt true to you? There are times when we try to do something – such as start a new business, work on a relationship, write a book, or create a work of art – and are plagued by the thought that, no matter what we do or how hard we try, whatever we do is simply not good enough.
I remember this thought coming to my mind while in the midst of a relationship. During a time of prayer, I distinctly remember telling Jesus, “I just don’t feel like I am good enough for her.” The Lord, in His graciousness, then reminded me, “My blood makes you good enough.” Despite the goodness of God, how often do we instead focus on our supposed inadequacy? Have you ever stopped and tried to find out where these negative thoughts and feelings come from?
I had an amazing experience a while back and felt compelled to share it. I was in a counseling class several months ago at Word of God Christian Counseling, and we broke up into smaller groups. As we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit who were to be the counselors and who were to be the counselees, I knew immediately that I needed to be a counselee.
I sensed that I needed to deal with this thought of not being good enough. The counselors prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to take me back to when this feeling first began. I remembered almost immediately the time when I was around five years old, when my parents divorced. From the age of five until about the age of ten, I continually prayed and asked God to bring my parents back together.
Eventually, when my parents did not get back together, the thought was planted in my mind that my prayers were not “good enough.” After all, I prayed and nothing happened, right? So I thought. Then, one of the counselors asked Jesus to show me what my prayers looked like in Heaven.
I saw Jesus standing in an office. He had no room to move around, because there were filing cabinets crammed around Him from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall. I saw all of this as if through a video lens, but then the camera began to pull back. That office was just one room on one floor of a ten-story building. Each room on each floor was filled with filing cabinets, stacked from floor to ceiling. There were even filing cabinets stacked up on the lawn outside of the office building, three or four high and many rows deep. Every filing cabinet was completely filled with folders, and each file folder contained just one of my prayers.
This picture was so unexpected that it completely caught me off guard. I was overwhelmed by the love, kindness, and gentleness of my Savior. It was such a vivid and personal picture, and it reminded me that my prayers do matter and that the results are not based on me or the “power” of my prayers.
God hears our prayers because we matter to Him. The results are in His hands and in the hands and hearts of His children who either choose to obey, disobey, ignore, discredit, disown, or own what He speaks. That is how much our Father God loves and cares about each one of us, His children.
We are His, and He is ours. Be blessed and encouraged in our Lord Jesus Christ. You and your prayers do matter to our Father God; He hears each and every one of them.
SDG-Soli Deo Gloria.
If you love Jesus and sports, here’s an opportunity for you. Brazos Valley Fellowship of Christian Athletes has an immediate need to fill the position of Administrative Assistant/Event Coordinator. This position will be responsible for coordination of day to day activities in the FCA office including scheduling, correspondence with board members, volunteers and donors, and assisting the Area Director and other staff with on-going ministry activities. In addition, this position will also coordinate logistics of fund raising and outreach events such as the annual Fall Gala, Spring Banquet, Golf tournament, and Fields of Faith outreaches as well as FCA camps.
Questions can be directed to Kyle Salmon at firstname.lastname@example.org. A job description is attached.
More details :
Administrative Assistant/Event Coordinator
Reports to: Mulit-Area Director
Under moderate supervision, performs administrative and clerical duties for the Director(s). Maintains organization systems, communicates with ministry partners, vendors and other staff. Maintains appointment schedules and meeting calendars and makes travel arrangements for the staff listed above. Provides coordination and support for various FCA events.
- Maintains appointment schedules and meeting calendars; makes travel arrangements and arranges meetings.Assists in scheduling and coordinating appointments with ministry partners, vendors, and other staff members.
- Provides secretarial and clerical assistance to designated staff members, requiring thorough knowledge of organizational procedures and precedents.
- Initiates activity for development of assigned projects with total responsibility, while meeting deadlines.
- Event coordination for fund raisers, golf tournaments, and staff retreats. Examples include: FCA Camp, Ministry Events, Board dinners and Banquets.
- Maintains correspondence files; file organization and retrieval systems. Keeping files up to date in a timely fashion,
- Very comfortable with computer software programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Intranet and Internet. Experience with fax, copier and other office equipment.
- Provide support in managing and enhancing local FCA Web sites. Provide assistance in developing and designing staff newsletters and correspondence.
- Board relationship, correspondences and Board meeting reports
- Coordinates with committee members for fund raising events and ensures logistics of events
- Web Page- weekly update and implementation with coordination of development and staff
- Correspond with FCA national office
- Financial Responsibilities (all with direction and guidance of Multi-Area Director)
a) Accounts payable (checks and data entry)
b) Contribution transmittals
c) Reconcile monthly bank statements
d) Monthly Home Office Reports
e) Board Finance Committees monthly reports
f) Travel voucher records
- Order and maintain office supplies for office and staff
- Maintain staff leave reports
- Distribute and process mail
- Assist with staff, board, ministry and development events
- Assist Area Director with other duties as required
- Two years administrative experience preferred
- Ability to communicate clearly and concisely both verbally and in writing to a wide variety of people; demonstrating problem-solving skills; working independently from general instruction; and maintaining effective work relations with those encountered in the course of employment.
- Correct business English usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary necessary to perform duties
- Ability to type accurately from a clear copy at 50 words per minute; answer telephone using correct etiquette; file organization; planning, organizing, and completing assigned work in a timely manner.
- Knowledge of the Internet and Microsoft Office programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint required.