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Helping Children See Their Invisible God

“Mom, why can’t I see God the way I see you and other real people?”

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Gazing out the car window always seems to prompt deep or funny questions for kids. My 6-year-old wants an answer to everything that is happening in the world. Where does rain come from? Why do humans salivate? Can she have blue hair? (The answer to the third question was no.)

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Seeing God…What a wonderful question! Believing in a God we don’t see is not only a dilemma for children, but something even adults can struggle with every day.

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Jesus said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are
those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

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How do we help children wrestle through the fact that they can’t see God? What does the Bible teach us about this? Here are some suggestions for navigating this conversation:

  • God always makes a way for us to know Him. The Bible tells us that Moses asked for the same thing. He wanted to see God.
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 “Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”’

The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.  But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” (Exodus 33:18-23)

God told Moses that no one could look directly at Him and live.[1] Use this opportunity to explain to your child that God did not leave Moses wondering. God made a way for Moses to feel His glorious presence. He even protected Moses by covering him as He passed by.


 

 

Moses couldn’t look directly at God because of the sin in his life. When God created humans, they were perfect. But the first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. Sin and death came into the world. Every human born after them was no longer perfect. However, God had a plan to save people from their sins. And one day, God would be able to walk and talk with them face-to-face just as he did with Adam and Eve.

God made a way for Moses to see and feel Him. And He was preparing a way for all other humans to see him, too.

1) How did God make a way for Moses to see God? (God hid Moses in the crevice of a rock and covered him with His hand. He allowed Moses to see Him from behind.)

2) Why couldn’t Moses look directly at God? (Moses’ sinful nature prevented him from looking directly at the perfect, magnificent God.)

3) How did God protect Moses in this story? (He made a way for Moses to see Him without Moses dying.)


Have your child close their eyes and keep them closed. Hold a flashlight pointing toward the ceiling as you walk past them. Ask if they could sense your presence and if they saw the light emanating from the flashlight. Remind them that God’s brilliance is overwhelmingly more powerful.

This activity will work better in a darker room. But remember not to point the flashlight directly at your children’s eyes when you do this!

  • God took on human form. He came into the world as baby Jesus. It is through Jesus Christ that humans could see God again because Jesus is God.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Colossians 2:9)

“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave[2]
and was born as a human being.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

God’s desire is that we see Him. It is so important to God that we know Him that He came to earth in human form as the person of Jesus Christ.

God and Jesus are one.[3] The people walking on the earth about 2,000 years ago had the chance to see Jesus, and therefore also saw God. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.[4]

Jesus’ full divine glory was hidden by human flesh. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Even though people were seeing Jesus face-to-face, many did not believe in Him. However, many did. And this is how the Church started.

Jesus willingly died on the cross for all the sins of the world. He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for those who love and follow Him to be in God’s presence in the future.

Again, God made a way for people to see and feel Him.

1) Who is Jesus Christ? (Jesus Christ is God)

2) How long ago did Jesus Christ live on the earth? (Jesus lived on the earth about 2,000 years ago)

3) What did Jesus come to earth to do? (He came to die on the cross to save us from sin)

Ask your child to hold an ice pack or cubes with their bare hands. Acknowledge how the ice is cold and can feel like it’s burning. Then, take the cubes back and wrap them in a towel. Now, have your child hold it again. Explain to your child that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. He chose to wrap himself in human form so we could know him.

Ice is the best for this activity—hot materials may burn yourself or your child!

  • In what ways can you help your child see God now?
  • We can see God in creation.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)

 

 

God created everything! All the things we can see around us—and even the things we can’t see. This is one of the ways God shows himself to us.

1) What have people seen since the creation of the world? (People have seen the earth and sky)

2) What did God create? (God created everything)

3) How can we see God in creation now? (We can see His power and divine nature through His beautiful creation)

Take a field trip into nature (the mountains, beach, or a local park). Or simply have your child look out a window up at the sky and clouds. Contemplate the Creator together and talk about how intricate creation is. No human hand could design the oceans, skies and mountains.

  • We can have God’s Spirit in us. Introduce your child to the Holy Spirit. If you’ve never talked with your child about who the third person of the Trinity is—this is the time.

“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[5]who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

1) How can we show God we love him? (We obey His commandments)

2) How does the Holy Spirit help us? (He leads us in all truth)

3) Why can’t the world recognize the Holy Spirit? (The world is not looking for Him so they can’t recognize Him)

God has made a way for us to experience Him in a very deep and personal way. When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit. And when we believe and receive Jesus Christ, God comes to live in us through the Holy Spirit.[6]

Explain to your child that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us to guide, empower, teach and help us to follow the Word of God, and He shows us our unique purpose here on this earth.

Through the Holy Spirit we know God is with us, always. Once again, God made a way for us to be with him – until we see Him face-to-face, once and for all.

Sit with your child. Ask if he/she would like to pray with you. Ask God to show Himself in a powerful to you and your child today, and for them to receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

  • We can see God through His Word. Jesus is the Word of God (the Bible). He is God. 

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Jesus has many names – one of them is the Word. Jesus is the Word of God. God speaks to us through His Word. The more we know and understand the Bible, the more we know and see God. This is why it’s important for us to learn the Bible and memorize what it says.

1) Why should should we read the Bible? (To know and see God)

2) Who is the Word of God? (Jesus is the Word of God)

3) How can we hear God speak to us? (Through His Word)


Set aside time each day for devotionals with your child. Read a Bible story together, ask questions and let God speak to you.

You can also find great resources at: http://onehope.net/feature/parentresources/

 

Related:

5 ways to help kids understand the Bible
Catechism
Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids

 


[1] Exodus 33:20
[2] Servant
[3] John 10:30
[4] Colossians 1:15
[5] Comforter, Encourager or Counselor.
[6] 1 Corinthians 3:16

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Thanksgiving Activity Guide

No matter what’s going on in your life and the world around you, Thanksgiving is a time to pause and point our hearts in the direction of thankFULLness. We’ve put together a great resource for families full of inspiring stories, conversation starters, and activities to calibrate our hearts to a biblical attitude of gratitude.

Enjoy this great FREE activity guide that helps us focus on what we DO have instead of what we don’t.

Download your Thanksgiving activity guide here!

Related:

HELP KIDS GO FROM COMPLAINING TO CONTENT IN 60 SECONDS
6 WAYS TO ACTIVELY SHOW THANKFULNESS
HOW TO HAVE A DAY OF REST WITH YOUR KIDS

Honor Your Child’s Positive Character Traits

Parents, what are you doing to honor the positive character traits you see in your child/ren?

Whether they are brave enough to voice it aloud, or if it’s the question that runs silently through their minds, every grade-school boy and girl wonders: “Am I good enough?” … “Am I good enough for my parents? For my teacher and friends?”

The way they answer this question will shape their confidence for years to come. Child development by definition is the process of growth. And as parents, we have the main responsibility in guiding and informing that process.

Proverbs 31 begins with

“The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1)

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, held dearly in his heart and into his old age the words his mother had spoken to him throughout his life.

If we would see the power our words have over our children, and if we answered their silent cry with a, “yes, you are more than good enough!” there is no limit to the good that would fill their young souls!

The challenge at times is the need for genuine words. Children of this era desire truth and can see right through hypocrisy. I realized this when in praising my “special” eight-year-old son he replied, “Thanks mom. But aren’t we all special?” Stunned at his wisdom I began to describe what about him was special and was forced (in a good way) to articulate his uniqueness and positive qualities. I saw relief in his eyes. He understood I truly meant it when I called him special. I, too, was relieved and was enjoying a “proud mommy moment,” until my younger daughter who was listening asked, “And what about me?”

What makes Proverbs 31 a commonly cited passage of Scripture is the specifics it provides. It describes the character of a noble wife in every unique area – family, work and spirituality. It doesn’t just call her “noble,” it articulates the how, when and where and paints a clear picture about her.

This is what our children long to know – the specifics and uniqueness about them that we as parents have the front row seat in discovering and identifying. And when we voice it to them with authority and love, we shape a healthy esteem and sense of purpose.

The Bible commands us to “…encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). God’s Word is specific. Its vocabulary is ample in describing a Christ-follower who is full of the Spirit in the way he or she thinks and acts.

To help you in this journey, we’ve created two sets of downloadable certificates to guide you in recognizing and building up the unique character traits in your children. Highlighting their positive qualities, and seeing their value through God’s Word will not only answer their question of “Am I good enough?” it will change the course of their destiny!

Honor Your Character Traits | Experience the Story | OneHope

Download positive character trait award certificates:
  Perseverance, Obedience, Courage, Peacemaker, Forgiveness, Good Attitude, Honesty, Fairness, and Good Choice

 

Honor Your Character Traits | Experience the Story | OneHope

 

Download the Fruits of the Spirit award certificates:
Goodness, Faithfulness, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Self Control, Love, and Gentleness


Related:

Owning the Spiritual Growth of Your Child
4 Drucker Principles For Better Parenting
Your Child’sName in Bible Verses

Soccer and Scripture (Part 5) #GiantKillers

Over the last century, many terms have become a part of soccer’s unofficial lexicon; phrases that perfectly describe situations that any avid fan of the game would understand. For example:

  • “It’s a game of two halves” –if your team has played terribly in the first half, there is a chance of redemption in the second.
  • “He’s got chalk on his boots” – this particular player is an old-style winger who loves nothing better than to run the length of the field and cross the ball from the wide positions.
  • “Punching the Old Onion Bag” – this has nothing to do with vegetables! Soccer fans know this as a reference to scoring a goal.

The game is littered with colloquialisms, and one of the most recognizable is the term, “Giant Killers.”

This phrase has a special place in the vocabulary of soccer. When a “small” team beats a “big” team in a knockout style competition, news sources report the team as, “Giant Killers.” The papers and TV love nothing better than a good “giant killing.” Over the last century there have been many of these slayings for reporters to publish:

soccer

 

Everyone gets excited when the underdog pulls out a win.

Ask any “Giant Killing” team and they will tell you that, yes, they may have ridden their luck a bit, but what took them to victory was having a game plan. Most underdogs know that they can’t match their opponent’s strengths, so they devise a game plan that identifies their opponent’s weaknesses and plays up their own strengths. Knowing their identity as a team and being confident in their strengths allow them to stick to the plan and slay the giant.

Long before the game of soccer was invented, Jesus talked about the importance of having a game plan to succeed against unfavorable odds.

“What king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:31)

A game plan and belief in your own strengths are paramount in “giant killing.” The young shepherd boy David knew this. Goliath, the giant from the city of Gath, was a huge intimidating foe as he came out day after day for 40 consecutive hate-fueled monologues against the people of Israel. Dwarfed in size, the young David used what strengths God had given him to beat the giant. Confident in his slingshot skills, David exploited the giant’s weakness by drawing the giant into close proximity where he could more easily be defeated.

Just like any giant killing team and the shepherd David, we will all experience facing a giant. Only by knowing who we are in Christ will we truly be victorious. Even Jesus needed to know His identity to be prepared to do what lay before him.

The best way to help our children become “giant killers” is to bolster confidence in their identity by immersing them in Scripture’s truth. Surround them with verses declaring that they are loved by God, unique in His eyes and that they have been given specials skills and strengths that can overcome any giants they will face—with the help of the Lord.

Soccer + Scripture #Assisting (Part 4)

Growing up in the northeast part of England my friends and I would often find ourselves playing soccer on any surface possible. Grass or concrete, flat or uneven—it never mattered. We simply played for the love of the game.

As a child, all I wanted was the glory of scoring the goals that won the game. Back then I would imagine myself having the finishing qualities of one of the greatest English goal scorers of all time, Gary Lineker. I would try my best to replicate his finishing ability combined with his “sixth sense” of positioning. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

As I grew, I tried to couple these attacking qualities with what I saw introduced by a new legend of the game, Thierry Henry. In August 1999 Arsenal paid Juventus an estimated fee of £11 million for this mercurial French winger. It wasn’t long before he was converted into Arsenal’s main striker and netted 175 goals for the club. It’s hard to suggest that there has there been a greater forward in the Premier League era than this brilliant architect of the modern game. Henry had the ability to glide across the pitch like a gazelle and calmly slot the ball past the goalkeeper. He was coolness personified.

SOCCER + SCRIPTURE | ASSISTING | UNDETERRED.NET

Alas, I never did make it anywhere close to their finishing standards. I came to realize that my own personal strengths on the field lay in the position behind or to the sides of the strikers. Practicing daily to use both feet to supply a pass that would split a defense or create a goal scoring opportunity from a crossing position became “my game.” I started to study different kinds of players—like Glenn Hoddle, who could pass a ball around the corner of a brick wall and still find the intended recipient. I analyzed the terrific David Beckham’s ability to cross the ball from wide areas and land it on a dime. Recently, the great Mesut Özil has captured my attention with his 180 assists in 449 games, and a passing accuracy rate of 86%. This is, simply put, incredible. Midfielders may not get the obvious glory that the striker gets for scoring goals, but without assists there are no goals.

SOCCER + SCRIPTURE | ASSISTING | UNDETERRED.NET

It is much the same in our own personal walk with Jesus. The longer I walk with Him the more I realize that the moments of “glory” don’t belong to me, but to God. The desire to be the leader or the hero is strong in all of us but that desire does not serve us well. Jesus Himself modeled what true leadership should look like. Luke penned these words about Jesus in the opening verse of Acts,

“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”

I love this about Jesus’ style of leadership. He was never the overlord who dictated to people what to do, but He first set the example by doing, and then He taught us. Jesus could never be accused of seeking His own glory in leadership. He taught us that servant leadership is the best form of leadership. The kind of leadership that requires us to be humble and not self-seeking of personal advancement. The aim has always been to assist others.

Furthermore, servant leadership doesn’t demand recognition. In Matthew 6 Jesus told us not to practice our righteousness in front of others so that you will be noticed. He went on to warn that to do so forfeits our reward from the Father. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, believed that Christians should do all things wholeheartedly, not just those actions that can be seen. He reasoned, “As our Father makes many a flower to bloom unseen in the lonely desert, let us do all that we can do, as under His eye, though no other eye ever take note of it.”[1] Assisting others may never be noticed by others, but God is watching and keeping an account.

In the Gospel of John, we see one of the greatest examples of being a servant leader when we read that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. As He arose from supper and laid aside His garments, washed their feet and wiped them dry, Jesus taught us how not to seek our own glory but rather how to serve one another in love. In a time and age that tells children and youth that they have to be number one, the Word of God teaches us to assist others. Only then can we become great leaders for the Kingdom of God.

What are some ways you can assist others? Download this great worksheet to help your kids keep track of how they are assisting others!

DOWNLOAD

 

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[1] https://bible.org/illustration/do-all-things-wholeheartedly

Helping Children Navigate Hard Situations

Do you remember being taught at school that plants need light to grow?  It is actually not true! How else do you think seeds manage to sprout and push up through the soil before they reach the surface?

“Mom, I don’t want you to die, too,” said my 6-year-old one night. It was a bad night. Her dad was sleeping on the sofa in the living room while I tried to help her fall asleep in our bedroom.

My husband, Joe, wasn’t dead but he sure looked like he was going to die. He had just been released from the hospital after surgery to remove part of his colon. For a month prior to the operation, he maintained a liquid diet to make sure his intestines wouldn’t rupture. Because of the danger of the surgery, we needed to buy as much time as possible for a better chance at a safe procedure with a good outcome.

He survived the surgery and now he was home. Still, somehow my daughter was verbalizing what I was feeling – Joe looked half-dead and I was falling apart.

Anxiety was keeping my daughter awake. This was her first time experiencing the nearness of death so personally. She needed to hear my comforting words affirming that her daddy was going to be okay.

I couldn’t say the words she needed to hear. I had no idea if my husband was going to survive this ordeal or not. He was in a lot of pain, down to 147 pounds, and unhooked from the IV and antibiotics that had helped him look more alive in the hospital.

What can we do to help our children grow in the midst of dark times?GROWING IN THE DARK | UNDETERRED.NET | ONEHOPE | LEIIZA GOMES

Be an example to your children. You have heard this before: “Children are little sponges.” Well, they are! They will learn from you and incorporate what they see into their own lives. Teach them that they can find real peace in the darkest of times. But you can’t show them what you don’t have. Let them see you seeking God for peace. Seek Him together. This will be one of the most important life lessons you can teach your children.

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”
Psalm 29:11

Be honest with your children. Talk about your feelings and your situation. Be a good listener and point them to the promises we have in Christ. God doesn’t want us to be frightened of the future.

Death is a hard topic for children, but it is a reality in all of our futures. God created a perfect world for us but sin corrupted it bringing sickness and death. And while that made God sad, He made a plan! Those who accept Christ as their personal Savior are going to live eternally with Christ in heaven. No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has ever even thought up what heaven is going to be like.[1] Our children need to hear this story and the hope of its ending.

Be consistent with your children. Show your children that we can always come to God no matter whether the problem is big or small. Remind them that God says we can come to him and He listens to us. He is our ever-present help in time of trouble.2 In your dark night, come to   God’s throne with your child to find the measure of mercy and grace you so desperately need.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

In our somber night God heard us.

Praise God Julee’s dad is now fully recovered! And she has been sleeping well ever since. While it was painful to watch her go through such a hard situation, it was beautiful to watch her tiny faith grow as, together, we fought fear with truth and experienced peace that can only come from God.

Here are some more great verses you share with a child who is going through a tough time:

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Leiza Gomes | OneHope | Undeterred.netLeiza Gomes has a passion to see children and youth find their true identity and purpose in Christ. Together with her husband, she served in overseas missions with youth in Germany and at-risk youth and children in Brazil. Leiza is both a graduate from the International School of Ministry in Boca Raton, FL and of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism. She currently works as a Project Design Manager developing tools to share the Gospel with children and youth around world with OneHope.


[1] 1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Psalm 46:1

 

Soccer + Scripture: #Teamwork | Part 3

In soccer, like most sports, there are many ways to approach a game. A wide spectrum of tactics and play styles are available, and coaches like to develop their own philosophy about the game. They are often determined to select a style of play that will both define them and their team. All the time hoping and praying that their particular brand of soccer will bring success. But here’s what is interesting: seldom do you find a style of play that highlights just an individual player. Usually teamwork is the thing that is both emphasized and regarded in high esteem.

There have been several “soccer philosophies” throughout the years. A team from England called Wimbledon had a meteoric rise from non-league soccer to winning the oldest domestic cup competition in the world—the F.A. Cup. Their philosophy was what we call the “long ball.”  Simply thump the ball up field to your attacker and then bust a gut trying to support him. It often caused chaos, but that was often the key to its effectiveness. In the mid-90’s Everton FC had a rather low-skilled squad, but with plenty of heart. Managed by Joe Royle, this team fought for each other, and were affectionately labeled “The Dogs of War”. This ethos of teamwork characterized the entire team and resulted in them claiming the F.A. Cup in 1995. And then we have what is probably the greatest soccer style—when executed correctly—the short quick passing along the ground. Whether that is Brian Clough’s teams of the 70’s that believed the “ball travels faster than the man” or the Johan Cruyff inspired Barcelona of the new millennium with their “Tiki-Taka” one touch soccer. When a team is moving the ball along the ground at pace, it is poetry in motion. Not to mention expending less manpower because you are playing smarter rather than harder.

Soccer + Scripture | Undeterred.net

All these strategies about good game play remind me of what King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”

Similar to the previously mentioned soccer tactics, we should endeavor to not work in silos. When we are determined to achieve a result by our own effort, while rejecting the help of others, we place ourselves in a poor position. Like the “Dogs of War,” the power in supporting teammates, friends or colleagues produces unbelievable victories. We can help each other through some difficult circumstances and pick each other up when we fall. It is the same with “Tiki-Taka” play style. You can conserve so much energy, last longer, go further and finish stronger. It is like that old African proverb,

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Teamwork is of vital importance in our Christian walk. We were not designed to be alone or work alone. We cannot succeed as the lone star of the team—we must work together.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

As you are parenting or mentoring a child to be a great team player, remind them that teamwork requires people to work cooperatively with others towards a shared purpose.

  • Talk about how great it feels to be a part of a team, and how upsetting it is to be excluded. Then encourage your child to look for those who are often left out and make sure they are invited.
  • Being competitive is admirable, but being a great sport and having a positive attitude in any situation is a great way to be a good witness to teammates and onlookers.
  • Practice teaming up by working on a project together at home—it could be artwork that everyone contributes to, planting a garden or coming up with a service project.
  • Play a board game in teams.
  • Organize a friendly game in your yard or park and have a chat beforehand on what it takes to be a good team and how each player can achieve excellent teamwork. Then extoll it when you see it!

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David GoundryRev. David Goundry was born in England before moving to the United States. He uses his abilities to teach, mentor and “prepare those who will go.” He enjoys traveling to many countries with the message of Jesus Christ to the children and youth of the world as well as an “ever-present” on foreign medical missions through International Christian Institute. David and his wife Luiza serve together in the music ministry at their church and have two children, Sarah and Samuel.

God’s Great Heart for Children

I was born into a Buddhist family. And to be born into a Buddhist family is to suffer abusive treatment, which is known as a disciplined life. This is a normal way of life. I know firsthand the experiences of a child growing up in a Southeast Asian country.

I have often considered myself a Zacchaeus among other people as I have always been below average height. Growing up, I felt small and insignificant. I grew up in a very tiny village and often was neglected by my parents. My father was an alcoholic and my mom was always occupied taking care of her nine children. Whenever visitors came to our home, we were expected to leave and eat on the roadside. I felt totally abandoned. I was fearful to spend time at home, which meant most of my time was spent out on the streets. My parents never knew if I attended school or not. Even at the age of 10, I had to pick my dad up from the streets after he had been drinking.Buddhist

At age 13, my friend invited me to a youth camp. It was there I accepted Jesus Christ. I immediately began witnessing to my friends and family. I brought more than thirty teenagers back to youth camp. I encouraged my father to drink at home where I could watch over him and talk with him about the Gospel. I began leading family devotions in my home every night. After three years of prayer for my family, my father and mother became Christians.

Out of the 70 to 80 children I grew up with, I was the only one to graduate from high school and attend college. I chose to attend Bible College. After completing my degree, I taught for twelve years. In 2009, I attended the Global Congress Conference at OneHope. God began to stir in me a desire to work with the children of my country. I also attended a children’s conference in New York. A woman approached me and began to prophesy about the ministry I would begin with children in my country.

As I arrived home, I realized my own story is intertwined with the children’s stories I encounter everyday in Southeast Asia. I decided to resign as head of the Bible College and being a senior pastor, and begin a children’s ministry. I started with no resources for the children. I had to write my own Bible lessons. Despite difficulties, I knew that God had called me to minister to the children of my country. God revealed to me my great desire to reach the next generation. In 2011, OneHope brought the 17 Stories curriculum as a resource for my ministry. I know God prepared OneHope to reach the children of Southeast Asia.

I get the unique opportunity to see children’s lives changed by the Gospel everyday. *Victoria, one of the girls who attends our Bible clubs, walks two or three miles every day to do so. She knows the walk is worth her time because the Gospel transformed her own life. She received a new Bible story every week from the 17 Stories program. Her friends at school would eagerly wait to hear the new story she learned. Now that she has accepted Jesus, she tells her parents the same stories she learned. She hopes they will believe so the whole family can be in heaven one day. Victoria’s favorite story is Noah because she wants to see that story become real in her family too.

Although Victoria is small, her reach is large. Her age doesn’t limit her influence. I want to see my nation rich with the Word of God and lives like Victoria’s transformed by the hope of Jesus. I desire to see the 20 million children of my nation reached with the truth of the Gospel. God values children and encourages believers to receive the kingdom of God like a child. I know He uses children to impact the world. In my country, oftentimes the worth of children is missed. God loves to use those whom society least expects. I know firsthand because God is able to use me, a Zacchaeus, to reach the children of my country. 

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*Note: Names changed in this testimony to protect the identity of the individuals involved.

Help kids go from complaining to content in 60 seconds

Recently my fashionista daughter was struggling with her outfit for church. And by “struggling” I mean complaining that she did not have shoes that “matched” her outfit.

My hippie child is morphing into a hipster daughter…the one who NEVER matches. She is fearless in what she wears–loud colors and prints mish-mashed together, even layered to achieve her intended look. So when she complained that she had no shoes to match her outfit, I was truly at a loss.

I cocked my head and looked at her hard for a minute. The issue wasn’t with the matching; the “issue” was something deeper.

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We lined up the four pairs of summer shoes she had to choose from and picked the “least awful” pair–some plain black flip-flops.

Then we sat down and had a chat:

me: Look at your flip flops. Can you think of three things about them that you are thankful for?

her: <haughtily> I have shoes.

me: Yes. I can’t tell you how many children I’ve seen in poorer countries who don’t have a single pair of shoes, much less four pairs to choose from. What else?

her: <a tiny bit less haughtily>They aren’t broken yet.

me: That is something to be thankful for. Do you know that in some places, you are not allowed to go to school unless you have a uniform and shoes? Some kids want to go to school so much that they wear broken flip flops or shoes that are too small and hurt their feet. It’s a privilege to have shoes that are not broken and fit you perfectly. Can you think of one more thing?

her: <begrudgingly> They are comfortable.

me: Who gave you those shoes?

her: God.

me: How do you think it made God feel that you complained about the good shoes He gave you?

her: Sad.

I was proud that she had come to a solid conclusion and could see the effect of her actions. By turning situations where we are prone to complain into a time to practice observing at least three ways we can be thankful instead, we are teaching our children to live out Ephesians 5:20:

“Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give thanks to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Jenna has been in love with words all her life—especially God’s Word that helped her realize her need for a Savior in the first grade. She loves using words to help advance the message of OneHope. She is married to Dan and has 4 children ages 8, 10, 11 & 13.