• Heartprints

    Called To Disciple

    Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to have experienced and learned from Jesus during His earthly ministry?  The other day my husband and I were having a conversation regarding the way we respond towards different people and their circumstances.  He told me that I was like the apostle John and he was more like Peter.   Who was John?  Well, John was spoken of as the disciple Jesus loved.  (John 13:23) The Scripture is clear that John was the brother of James and the son of Zebedee. (Matt. 4:21-22; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16).  He was a fisherman by trade and an ordinary man.  Many are familiar with John because he wrote five books…

  • Heartprints

    “Embracing God When You Want To Run”

    Spring is a time for new flowers, budding trees, green grass, sunshine, insects, and yes, snakes.  Snakes out already? You bet…as temperatures start to climb those dreadful reptiles come out of hibernation and begin to enjoy the greater outdoors.  I realize that some snakes are considered good, but for me, I have never been one to stick around when I see one.  Instead, I become the fastest sprint runner on the track, leaving everyone behind. A few weeks ago, I was walking in our pasture with our grandsons enjoying the warm sunny Kansas day. As we walked, our conversation centered around God’s creation marveling at the beauty He has given us.  As we walked, we…

  • Heartprints

    Why We Need the Whole Bible

    One time I talked to a believer frustrated with his Christian radio station. Now, if I said nothing else, you might assume he wanted the station to play more music, or that he disagreed with some doctrinal point covered in a sermon. But if you thought either of those things, you’d be wrong. He simply didn’t like that some of the radio pastors preached from the Old Testament, because (from his perspective) only sermons from the New Testament are truly edifying. He added that some of the Old Testament stories might be okay for children’s Sunday School classes, but weren’t something adults needed to hear. A few weeks later someone in…

  • Heartprints

    Easter Follow-Up Opportunity

    Easter Sunday was a little over a week ago, but that doesn’t mean its accompanying opportunities have ended. Chances are you saw some new faces in your church or in your children’s ministry programs. Let me encourage you to follow-up with them. If you are a Sunday school teacher or helper, then this post is especially for you. You have a chance to reach your visitors and their families in ways that your church staff members may not be able. As a volunteer, you have a connection with them because you have already interacted with them. As a lay member, you are not as intimidating as a pastor. So, if it…

  • Heartprints

    4 Phrases to Stop Using in Evangelism

    Sometimes confusing phrases occur in evangelism, which tend to muddle people (especially children) and fail to communicate the clarity of the gospel and the need to trust in Christ alone. Now please don’t misunderstand. People still get saved even when our words aren’t perfect. A person’s salvation is not dependent on us (thankfully), but on God. When I came to Christ, it was right after hearing one of the phrases below, and I remain forever grateful to that teacher who shared Christ with me. Still, whenever possible, let’s make sure our language communicates the gospel message in the best way possible. Phrases to Avoid: #1—Give Your Heart to Jesus The…

  • Heartprints

    The Right Perspective Makes all the Difference in Evangelism

    Many of us experience fear and trepidation over the thought of sharing Christ with a child. “What if I make it too complicated?” “What if I don’t have all the answers?” Sometimes it’s because we put too much pressure on ourselves to perform, or even think a person’s salvation is our responsibility. Scripture has much to say about keeping a proper perspective in evangelism, including both those involved and what roles they play (cf. John 4:34­–38). Three types of people play a role in evangelism: (1) those who are a part of the harvest––unbelievers, (2) the One who sends out the laborers––God, and (3) the disciples––believers. Unbelievers share several things in…

  • Heartprints

    3 Ways God’s Love is Different from Human Love

    If you’ve stepped into the grocery store recently, more than likely you noticed large displays of chocolate, flowers, and conversation hearts—iconic symbols of love. With Valentine’s Day approaching, I got to thinking. We set aside a special day to celebrate romantic relationships, but how often do we celebrate God’s love for us? At the very least, amidst all the celebration this month, I want my kids to realize at least three unique things about God’s love: God’s love for us is unconditional—God does not love us based on merit. We can never be good enough to earn God’s favor, nor can we ever be bad enough to diminish his love.…

  • Engage

    Destination Theology: Is the Gospel mainly about going to heaven?

    I grew up with the Wordless Book—one page black for sin, one red for Christ’s blood, one white for being cleansed of sin, one gold for going to heaven, one green for growing. It is a strategy often used in children’s ministry to explain the salvation message. It has no doubt been helpful to bring many to Christ. But I think in my own life that gospel message and the children’s ministry I was a part of nurtured a “Salvation is a ticket to heaven” mentality. The main thing was to get rid of my sin, escape hell and get to heaven. I think there were some adults in my…

  • Heartprints

    12 Scripture Memory Verses for Toddlers

    We’ve all heard the adage “Hide God’s Word in your heart.” But that’s easier said than done, right? And, when it comes to helping younger children it’s often tricky. It can’t be too long or they won’t remember the words, but not all short verses are meaningful. If you’re struggling to come up with some good verses to teach your toddlers, try starting with one or more of the options below. (The version below is The Net Bible, but use whatever version is your family’s preference.) Creation: Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning God createdthe heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:31—“God saw all that he had made – and it was very good…” Psalm 19:1—“The heavens declare the glory of God…” Salvation: Acts 16:31—“Believe…

  • Heartprints

    God’s Power Tools – #7

    Our most powerful tool in teaching empowers and enhances the use of all the other tools. It could easily be compared to a battery; it powers and recharges all the power tools God has placed in our hands for ministry. Our seventh power tool is love. God’s desires a relationship through us with each child; His love will flow to us then through us to them. Like a lantern it will project His light and dispel the lies of darkness which bombard them daily. How do we learn to wield this tool, to cut a path through the tangle of lies embedded in a child’s heart? Only love can unlock…