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SSTN # 37 - March 17, 2003

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--> God's Top 10

1) St. Patrick's Day
2) Leaving church
3) Leaving church   
4) Incentive rewards

--> Armor of God Playing Cube

5) Leaving church
6) Lighthouse Curriculum   
7) Leaving Church
8) Leaving the church


9) Leaving a church   
10) Leaving Church
11) Lighthouse Theme
12) Lighthouse Theme

--> Egg-shaped Easter Story Cards

13) Huge problem
14) Lighthouse VBS   

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God's Top 10

The Ten Commandments contain many "Do Nots". They teach us God’s holy
standard and show us how far we fall short of his perfection. But they are
more than this; in these "Do Nots", one can find a positive message: a
message of God’s love. To learn more, go to the following page:


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1) St. Patrick's Day

I love using shamrocks to help teach the Trinity / Triune God to children.
I like to bake shamrock cookies (spritz or cut-outs), and give each child
a piece of a shamrock plant as reinforcement.  A craft activity could be
gluing together three green construction paper or poster-board
shamrock-leaves onto chenille stems (pipe cleaners) and writing "Father" ,
"Son", and "Holy Spirit"
(one on each leaf).

Karen in Minnesota

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2) Leaving church

I'm in a similar situation at my own (small) church.  I am the parish
secretary, in the worship music ministry, and teach religious education.
This woman at my church has told outright lies about me (and others),
glared at me, ignored me, and (apparently) has instructed her three
teenaged daughters to treat me the same way.  They are downright
miserable, not only to my family, but several others in the parish as
well.  One beautiful lady in our parish, a recent widow, seriously
considered leaving our vibrant and wonderful church community because of
the way this family has treated her.  It is SHAMEFUL.  Our pastor nearly
came to the point where he felt compelled to expose their lies and
behavior to the entire parish so that they would stop.

The family I am speaking of has many problems, one of which is bi-polar
disorder.  They are also a very envious bunch.  They used to constantly
volunteer for various ministries & projects, but they would never show up.
However, if someone else takes over, they are furious and defensive.
They create a lot of discord in our parish, and they like it that way.

I refuse to leave.  That parish and the people in it (except for this
family) are the reason I am the Christian that I am.  I will not allow one
angry, unhealthy family to drive a wedge between me and a parish I am
deeply committed to and love so much.  I have prayed, prayed, prayed - for
wisdom,  for strength, and for this family to be healed of their anger.
It seems to be helping...they have stopped telling their lies (for now)
and spreading their hate and anger.  I will not back down if it starts
again.  The Truth always comes to light.

I wish I could give you some advice.  But you must go where the Spirit
leads you.  If the Lord wants you elsewhere, pray that He will show you
the way.  If He wants you to stay, pray that He will make that clear to
you.  Pray for your husband's heart to be opened and trusting again in
whatever faith community you choose.  The Lord can do anything.  Perhaps
this is a journey you need to take.

I just wanted you to know that I have been there, too.
God Bless, Heidi/NY  <(((><

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3) Leaving church   

It greatly pained me to read about what you have experienced.  Sometimes
it is nearly impossible to believe that such people could attend church and
claim to follow Christ. However, when you REALLY think about it, it's not that hard to believe.
This world is satan's domain.  As Christians we should never forget that.
People who have fallen prey to his deceit are everywhere, yes sometimes even in
church. My suggestion to you is this:  Give this problem to God.  You say that
other women have also been treated badly by this woman?  Then I presume that
their are many nice and Godly people at your church.  Perhaps instead of leaving
and allowing satan to work through this woman, the people who have been
affected by her could come together in prayer, for their strength, the
growth of the church and most inportantly: for her!!  Perhaps she is not saved.
Her behavior certainly is not of a mature Christian.  But whatever the case,
God has placed this woman in your path.  SHE NEEDS PRAYER, not abandonment.
And your church, as well as the growth of many people in your church will only
benefit by seeing God work his miracles in someone even as miserable as
she is :)
As far as not needing to go to church to worship God; all  can say is have
faith that you are truly trying to follow Christ, after all, why else
would satan be  trying so hard to rip your family away from the path you want to
be on? Anyway, the main point I'm trying to make is this: if she is your only
reason for being unhappy at your church, if your are being fed by your pastor's
message,  if other things about your church further your walk with the
Lord, then lift this woman up to God and pray for her.  Pray to Him that you
will be able to stay strong under the circumstances and attend church to WORSHIP
our glorious LORD!!
I will be praying for you.  You can email me if you like at
In His service
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4) Incentive rewards

Here is something that has worked very well for my Sunday School class
(Grades 1 - 3).  I believe it would work well for any age.  I made a chart
(on neon posterboard) with 100 squares.  At the bottom of the chart I left room for
a 3 x 5" card (a contrasting neon color) which announced what the reward would be
for completing the chart.  The students earned stars for bringing their Bibles
and saying their memory verses, but what I really emphasized was their
behavior.  They got stars for not interrupting, not being silly (there had been a huge
problem with this) and for being happy when others win a game.  The results were
amazing.  They eagerly looked each week to see how many new stars had gone up (I did this
after class or midweek, so they never saw me do it.  It worked best that way
rather than doing it in class and having them tell me how many stars I should put up.
This gave me time to think and evaluate whether they had really earned stars, and
how many). Our first reward was a donut party in class -- just a box of donuts and a
thermos of hot chocolate.  Our second one was a waffle breakfast just for them,
cooked by my husband, before Sunday School one morning.  We had a special tablecloth
(dollar store), placecards, and even lighted candles!  They felt so special.  The
best thing of all is that the behavior changes are becoming ingrained in their lives.
Hope this helps!
~ a Sunday School teacher in New England

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Armor of God Playing Cube

Kids can make it and take it home. A great memory tool!
Only $3.00 to download and print out as many as you need!
Go to the following webpage to get the free lesson and to learn more: 


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5) Leaving church

Dear Leaving Church - Hi, I know exactly what you are going through.  I
was only 21 when I took over our children's ministry.  We had a lady
(about 26) who was extremely jealous of me.  She thought I was too young.
Anyway, she started causing trouble.  I went to the pastor one day after
the lady yelled at me in front of other people.  He met with her and her
husband and she apologized.  She had many more issues than that and
eventually left the church when she didn't get her own way.  I think you
should go talk to your pastor.  YOU should not have to be the one that
leaves... because she's still there causing trouble.  She needs to know
that it's NOT okay to cause dissention.  As for your husband, I don't know
what to say.  Yes, a lot of people in church are not behaving like they
should, but that doesn't mean we quit going.  They are human, they make
mistakes.  God knows who they are... let Him deal with them.  We just need
to be concerned that WE are doing all God wants US to do.  The Bible does
tell us to come together in a local church (Acts 2)  I will be praying for
you all.

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6) Lighthouse VBS Curriculum   

--from SSTN: i've received numerous responses to this request. To save
space in SSTN I'll post the info once:
Abingdon Press is currently producing this curriculum.

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7) Leaving Church   

I hope you will reconsider going back to your church.  It sounds like
you may have enjoyed it there but had a problem with one individual.
There are a couple of things I'd like to say and not be too wordy.
People who have accepted Christ as their savior and admit their sins
are ensured salvation. However, we can not think we can get by with sins
due to His Grace. What the woman you mentioned is doing is sinning
against God.  Leaving the church is not solving anything I'm afraid.
There will be people like her where ever you go.  Have a meeting with
she and your pastor and confront her as your sister in Christ.  If other
people in your church know of this problem, and she is truly 'hurting'
members in the congregation - then she needs to be held accountable by
the church staff, members and especially her Christian friends.  To say
'that's the way she is', is holding those people accountable as well.
Satan got a foot hold in this situation and he's winning this battle
cause you left this particular body of Christ to whom you loved and
glorified God with your work.  Say out loud "Satan, you will not win
this battle!" (Satan can't read our minds!)  This isn't easy but I truly
believe your kindness and steadfastness will win out.  I will be on my
knees just as soon as I finish typing this email - praying for a victory
for our Lord.  Then meet with your pastor and the two of you along with
your pastor - get on your knees and pray together.  It may be the
hardest thing you've ever done but you will reap the fruit.  You will
make and give a great testimony.   


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8) Leaving the church

I  recently left my church of several years, but not because of one
person.  I am sure there were others who felt the same way about me from
the time to time (receiving recognition, using my talents in the church
for God's Glory), however, we must keep in mind the bible verse in
Ephesians 6:11-18.  I am sure you have heard verse 12 quoted "For we
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places."

You also mentioned that you had been praying.  Hopefully for this woman in
the church.  You also mentioned that she had been cruel to other women in
the church.  Therefore, I don't believe she is simply singling out you in
her attacks.  You need to schedule an appointment to speak to your Pastor
before you leave the church.

If you are leaving the church in tears as you say, you have not followed
the word according to Ephesians 6:16 "Above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked."  Please do not think I am being critical of you, but we live in a
cruel world and that was what the Apostle Paul was warning us about in

Ahreita Griffin
Charlotte, NC

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When assembled, New Life Puppets turn inside out to change from a tadpole
to a frog, or a caterpillar to a butterfly. They're easy-to-make and
children will learn about becoming new creatures in Christ! Get a free
puppet skit too! In our Curriculum section:


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9)  Leaving a church   

There are times in our lives when we switch
denominations for one reason or another.

The church I grew up in, and was very active with as a
teen/young adult, turned against my family when my
parents separated and, subsequently, divorced.  Like
your husband, my heart turned against organized

I then started working with the organization I've been
with for 22 years, and had the opportunity to observe
my boss, who is a Deacon in his church, and also to
observe his family.  To me, they personified how Jesus
told us to live our lives...and it's not just an act,
but is deeply ingrained in everything they do.  They
repeatedly invited me to their church, and then when I
had children, invited all of us.  We finally accepted
their invitation because I felt a need to attend
church and to expose my children to God's word.  That
was seven years ago, and my kids and I have been
faithful attendees (in fact, my 15yo son is part of
the youth group who will be heading across the country
to attend our church's conference in Atlanta, and
works in the nursery and has taught VBS).  The people
in my church have stood by me during good times, but
especially bad when I needed their love and support.

I think it's just a matter of having your husband keep
his heart open to the church experience, and realize
that, like people, churches are different and it's a
matter of finding the one that addresses YOUR needs. 

Hugest hugs!

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10) Leaving Church

Dear Sister
I know she treated you wrong. I know that it didn't feel good. I don't
think Jesus felt good either as the unbelievers spat upon him and cursed
him. The Lord took their sins upon him because he loved them. It must be a
challenge to continue to love someone who despitefully hurts you? Whether
she treats you bad or not she still has a soul. She needs you to pray for
her, even if it takes fifty years or more for her heart to change.  In the
meantime the scar is in your heart. I would not let the devil defeat me by
making me run. Are we not more than conquerors through Christ which
strengtheneth us? Did your previous Pastor know about your situation? If
not, you should tell him. Maybe, he could talk to the other lady and
encourage her to ask the Lord for help. I've been through a lot in my
life, but, the one thing that kept me going was the love from the people
of God.  May the Lord bless you as you find the place that God wants you
to be. Love You!
You can e - mail me at hellyerc@wwdb.org
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11) Lighthouse Theme

>I am looking for ideas for a "Lighthouse" theme for vacation bible school
>this coming summer.  Anything to do with light (Jesus is the light of the
>world, etc.)

You should be able to obtain some "trick" birthday cake candles - i.e. the
ones that appear to be extinguished when they are blown, but after a few
seconds flame up again.

With one of these candles you can summerise the history of the church. For
example :-

Jesus came as the light of the world (lite candle), but Satan used wicked
men to try and put out this light by crucifying Him (blow out). However on
the third day He came alive again (flame rekindled). Jesus has now passed
this light on to the church. Over the centuries Satan has continued trying
to put out this light by persecuting the church. At times he seemed to
have succeeded (blow out), but each time this light returned brighter than
ever (rekindle).

Maurice Sweetsur.

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12) Lighthouse Theme

While I am unsure of the age groups that you will be teaching VBS to, I
hope you will find at least one, if not all of these ideas helpful. A song
that immediately came to my mind, fitting the light theme is of course
"This Little Light of Mine" I am sure you already know the words to that
one, but in the event that you do not, they can be found at:
http://www.dltk-bible.com/this_little_light.html. "Shine, Jesus, Shine" is
another good song about light, the lyrics for that one can be found at:
http://www.grahamkendrick.co.uk/songs/lyrics/shine.htm in case you are
unfamiliar with it.

I am not sure as to whether or not you are using incentives or any sort of
prizes or rewards, but items like lighthouse stickers, mini flashlights
(available from Oriental Trading Company, Party City, and other like
stores), seashells, and glow in the dark stars which are available just
about anywhere (Wal Mart, Oriental Trading Company, Toys R Us, etc).

A collection of games, worksheets and other light related resources can be
found at: http://www.mssscrafts.com/newtestament/lightoftheworld.htm and
all though the page looks like it refers strictly to Hanukah, many of the
items listed like Jesus Is Our Light, A Light Matter, and The Fog Lights
can be used for any occasion. An easy lighthouse themed craft idea that I
discovered a few years ago in a book is to take a Styrofoam cone any size,
and a "pop top" style lid from a water bottle or dish soap container. Use
a knife to cut off the very tip of the cone to make it flat on the top,
then use tacky glue to attach the pop top to the top of the flattened
cone. The whole thing can then be painted using standard outdoor craft
paint, pottery paint, or model car paint. I do not know of any paints that
work on this project besides the outdoor craft paint that are washable.
You can use glow in the dark paint on the windows of the lighthouse for an
added touch. Another easy lighthouse craft is to use a cork as the base of
the lighthouse and a colored ball headed pin for the top of the
lighthouse, you stick it into the narrow end of the cork, paint the cork
in any manner you choose with car model or outdoor craft paints, and then
use a piece of blue crumpled felt, or blue cellophane on the bottom, just
a little larger than the base which you can attach with tacky glue to
resemble the waves. Again you can use glow in the dark paint on the
windows, or you can use a star shaped bead, with a headed pin of the same
color holding in place on top to be a shining star lighthouse. I have
quite  a few other resources pertaining to lighthouses, both craft
related, and lesson plan related, far too many to list here. Have used a
lighthouse theme a half dozen or so times at home with kids I baby-sit,
both in a Sunday School summer day camp like setting and a typical child
care setting. Please feel free to e-mail me directly at
living_life_my_way@earthlink.net for the URL's to more lighthouse crafts,
or the entire Bible based lesson plan pertaining to the light house theme.
Hope this helps

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Egg-shaped Easter Story Cards

Ten Egg-shaped cards that tell the Easter Story - When the cards
are cut, colored and assembled, players can play Easter Egg Scramble and
learn the Easter Story! Reproducible so your whole class can make a set!

In the Curriculum section: 

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13) Huge problem

Unfortunately, it seems that there will always be parents who drop off
their children.  However, would it be possible to add to the program a little?
Perhaps you could write a "covenant" and have each participating family
sign two copies - one for them to keep and one for you.  Even the children
could sign it.  The covenant could state reasonable expectations such as being
on-time for arrival and departure, agreeing to provide a specified service
(snacks, craft supplies, Bible story reader, setting up, cleaning up,
etc.), positive behavior expectations (no putdowns, no name calling, etc.), and
you could put that the leaders (I'm praying that your ministry will grow to
include others with you!) will provide a safe place for the children to
learn about the Bible and God's love for them.

We did this with our youth group.  It had a very positive effect.  The
parents still dropped off the kids.  But they also knew that there were
times they needed to help.  So when we asked for something (specific),
they said yes.  Depending on the number of families involved and the number of
children, each family may have some contribution on your monthly basis.
Many parents felt uncomfortable about staying with the youth, but those
fears were relieved when they were assured that they would not have to
"teach".  (All parents are teachers - my opinion)  The key was to be very
specific about what would be required - help little hands glue & cut,
participate in the games in order to help hold the children's interest,
etc. This will also give the parents a chance to see both desired and undesired

We presented this idea to the families at a potluck dinner.  This added to
the comfort level and gave the parents a chance to see each other. The
beginning of building these relationships between the families who are
part of the ministry is aided by putting faces with the names.  We did
encounter the excuses for not being able to help.  But before the excuses
snowballed, we addressed it with a idea borrowed from the business world.  Excuses are
like throwing a couch.  It takes some effort and accomplishes nothing.
The original problem still exists.  (problem-need volunteers)

Every children's ministry encounters the difficulties of involving parents
and the behavior of the children (two sides of the same coin).  But seeing
God at work in their hearts is so rewarding!  May you be witness to many
such events.

Together in Christ,

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14) Lighthouse VBS   

Here are some ideas:
Make "candles" from toilet paper tubes. See this website for details:

Let kids make colorful chalk drawings on black paper. Cover the artwork
clear contact paper. Show the kids a prism and talk about how refracted
light makes color. When we let the Light of the world shine through us, we
bring beauty and color into the lives of others!

Here's another idea that will actually lend itself to two crafts:

Decorate a bulletin board to say "Jesus is the Light of the World" and
purchase an inexpensive pair of sunglasses for each child. Take polaroid
shots of each child standing in front of the board.

Then have the kids make sunglasses holders out of craft foam. Cut the foam
into 7" x 7" squares and round the edges. Fold the foam in half and punch
holes around the open edge. Only punch holes in one side of the foam at
the top of the holder. Use bright colored cord to lace the holder closed. Add
a bead after each hole and at the end. Be sure to leave the top edge open!

Next, have the kids make picture frames from foam or poster board to take
their polaroid shots home in.

The kids will leave with a picture in a frame for parents that tells what
they learned and a pair of cool sunglasses in a holder for themselves to
help them remember about the "Light of the World".

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