Monthly Archives: December 2010

10 Things to Teach Your Child About Behaving in Church


Teaching your children how to behave in church (or other places they need to be quiet) is an on-going training session and sometimes a battle.

  • If your child learns to have a quiet body, it will make it easier for those around him/her to focus and enjoy the experience more.
  • If your child learns to have a quiet mind, it  will help him/her learn how to focus and enjoy the experience for him/herself more.

Below are ten ideas (in quiz form) to discuss with your child over several weeks/months. As a refresher or to check how much s/he knows or remembers, take this quiz together.

Fill in the blanks from the following list of words. All the words are used only once.

A Message … Best … Bow … Giggling … Pew … Quietly … Run … Sermon … Service … Think About

  1. As you sing the worship songs, ______   ______ the words.
  2. Be on your ______ behavior.
  3. ______ your head during prayer.
  4. Don’t rattle or throw papers, donation envelopes, etc. during the ______.
  5. Expect to hear______   ______  from God.
  6. It is best to not ______ in the sanctuary.
  7. Keep your feet, pens and sticky food off _____ cushions.
  8. Listen to the ______.
  9. No ______, whispering, or talking.
  10. Sit ________.
To find the answers, click on the More button below. 

Your Turn . . .

  1. How well did you do? How well did your child do?
  2. What would you add to this list?
  3. Take off the list?

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Hate Your Name, Job and Life? So Did This Guy Until . . .


Are you happy with your name? Do you have a job that brings no gratification and is just plain hard work? Is life miserable?  Read on for one who found meaning in life.

He thinks his name should be . . .

Beloved,  Most Beauteous, and Exalted King of All.

Instead he is called Humphrey.

To add further misery to Humprey’s life, his job comes with no perks, gratitude, and is hard physical work. He recently lost his most precious possession and he is c-o-l-d! So cold!!!

Humphrey follows a manipulative plan to change one thing in his life – to find a replacement for his most precious possession.

Instead what Humphrey finds is the Child and how meaningful it is to give.

This book, Humphrey’s First Christmas, by Carol Heyer, has engaging artwork and an imaginative storyline. This children’s book will remind you of what’s truly important at this Christmas season. It might even prompt you to think about what gift you’ll give to Jesus.

CNC Folks, remember that we will be giving gifts to Jesus this coming Sunday, December 26th, during the service.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What is your most precious possession?
  2. Would you give it to Jesus?
  3. What will you give to the Christ this year?

Related posts . . .

9 Ways to Make Church Attendance More Meaningful


Are you looking to add meaning to your Sunday church experience? Would you like to find a sense of belonging? Want to connect with people and God on a more regular basis? Read on for 9 ideas on how to do this.

PDF of Meaningful Church Experience Quiz

Below is a quiz on these points. Match the letter with the correct number.

  1. ____ Apply sermon points to your …
  2. ____ Attend church with an …
  3. ____ Be involved in a …
  4. ____ Each Sunday look for …
  5. ____ Go to church expecting to …
  6. ____ Since your time, talent & treasures are God’s …
  7. ____ Thank God for the freedom to …
  8. ____ The church (attendees, building, & ministries) belongs to …
  9. ____ Use your talents and spiritual gift(s)

to …

A. attentive, grateful , humble attitude.

B.  give them back to Him cheerfully, liberally, & willingly.

C. God, not a denomination or people.

D. hear a message from God.

E. own life, not the lives of others.

F. read the Bible for yourself  & to worship openly.

G. serve in a ministry.

H. small group.

I. ways  to help someone.

Click on the More button for the answers.

Your Turn …

  1. Which points are most meaningful to you?
  2. What would you add to this list?
  3. Would you take anything off the list?

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Perfect Gift Takes Reflection and Sacrifice


Have you purchased or made all your Christmas gifts yet? What do you get that one person who means the most to you? Ever have a hard time figuring out the perfect present?

I have all the Christmas gifts on my list – all except for one. I’ve been thinking about what to get ever since Pastor Mike told us we would be giving presents at church on Sunday, December 26th. These presents are not for mere mortals, but for Jesus, the King, and Saviour of the world.

Last night I watched a movie that also talked about giving a gift to Jesus. The movie, The Bishop’s Wife, has David Niven as the bishop. Loretta Young is the bishop’s wife. And Cary Grant? He is the … No, you have to see the movie to found out who he is.

Anyway, at the end of the movie, the Bishop gives his Christmas Eve sermon. This is a sermon that could be preached at our church this coming Sunday. In fact, it could be a “trailer” for Pastor Mike’s sermon. Read on for the Bishop’s admonition and suggestion for a gift.

David Niven’s Introduction to Pastor’s Sermon on Sunday

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear there was a child’s cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wisemen came with birthday gifts.

We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts. But especially with gifts.

You give me a book. I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange-squeezer. And Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. But we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled.

All that is except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. A stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s His birthday we are celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then let each one put in his share. Loving kindness … warm hearts … and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.

Have you thought about what gift you will bring to the Blessed Child on Sunday? Will it be loving kindness, a warm heart, or the stretched out hand of tolerance? An improved attitude? A material possession?  An action? A new habit?

During my walks this week I’ve been reflecting upon this same question. I have a general sense of what I think would please Jesus most. I also sense it will require sacrifice on my part. A giving up of my will for His. I am trying to narrow down the idea into a sentence or two. I am confident that by Sunday, I will be ready to present my gift to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

Will you be ready too?

Related Posts . . .

7 More Ways to Decommercialize Christmas


Click the following link for the first 6 ideas about 6 Ways to Decommercialize Christmas

Do you feel that the true meaning of Christmas has become lost in the wrappings, trappings and political fights? Read on for 7 more ways to put Christ back into Christmas.

1. Memorize the Christmas Story from Luke 2: 1-20 and/or prophecy from Isaiah 9:6.

Meditating upon and memorizing these words will strengthen your resolve to have a meaningful Christmas.

2. Watch Christmas movies and read Christmas books that reinforce the vision you have for the Christmas season.

Talk about the themes and how and why certain characters act as they do. Movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas, and books like The Legend of the Poinsettia or Christmas in the Big Woods with the Ingalls family might be ones you’d enjoy. What would you add to this list?

3. Learn some of the old Christmas songs and the back story as to why they were written.

Or learn more modern Christmas songs like Mary Did You Know? Listen to Precious Jesus. While not a Christmas song, it definitely uplifts. Filling your mind, mouth and home with such melodies will bring you truth and encouragement. Learning these songs and back stories will let you know again how intimately involved God is with mankind. They will show you how blessed we are to have a Saviour like Jesus. Have any other song suggestions?

4. Make this Christmas about worshipping God.

How can you do that? Brainstorm some ideas. Maybe you could …

  • Attend church more often …
  • Tithe – maybe for the first time in a long time or give to the benevolent fund at your church …
  • Sing worship songs to the Lord. Here is a sampling of songs
  • Thank God every day for your blessings …
  • Participate in a Christmas program or live nativity at church, in the community, or at home …
  • Ask God what you can do to worship Him more fully …

What are some ideas you came up with?

5. Make this Christmas about helping the less fortunate.

There are many ways to do this.

  • Give to a Salvation Army bell ringer …
  • Give a meal or practical present to a neighbour in need …
  • Give to your church …
  • Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision and CAMA Services all provide worthwhile help to the underserved …

You probably won’t have to look far to find a need. So what did you decide to do?

6. Practice gratitude.

Christ probably wasn’t born on December 25th, but that doesn’t take away from the intent of Advent or the meaning of December 25th. The world may view Christmas through the haze of advertisements and an adherence to external delights, “but, for the church, Christmas is an excuse for us to exalt Jesus Christ in the face of a world that is at least tuned in to his name” (M.P. Green). Let us thank God and Jesus Christ for the many gifts we have because of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. We can do this through daily prayers, writing on our blogs, and by living in such a way that men will praise God because of our lives.

7. Celebrate Jesus’ Birth.

Whenever one of my kiddos had a birthday, we celebrated. Ok – we celebrated the adult birthday’s too!! So why do less for Jesus? Have a cake, decorations, and presents. Get creative with the presents you give to Jesus. Will it be something you’ll give up like a bad habit or something you’ll do more of like pray 10 minutes a day. Or will you give presents to others in Jesus’ name like give money to the local crisis pregnancy center. See #5 for more ideas.

Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas became fed up with the folks he was surrounded by. Sally wanted “her fair share” from Santa, Lucy was ungrateful to the point of depression, and Snoopy decorated his home to win the prize not to share the magic with others.

At first, Charlie Brown was also depressed. Then he threw off that depression and started celebrating on his own terms. He bought a tree that needed a home. He listened to The Christmas Story. He let it impact his heart. He extended forgiveness to the “blockheads” around him. Finally he joined with the others in singing and worshipping God through the song, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.

Friends, refuse to follow the expectations and actions of others, the advertising aims of multi-national corporations, the agenda set by our polytheist culture, or even the claims that familial tradition has upon us. It’s not too late to make this a commercial-free Christmas.

Your Part . . .
• Do you think commercialism in Christmas is a problem today?
• What would you add to this list? Detract from the list?
• Is there something that you are going to do or are already doing differently to make it a commercial-free Christmas Season?

• Or are you satisfied with your traditions and balance for this holiday season?

Related Post . . . Christmas Posts Table of Contents

6 Ways to Decommercialize Christmas


Does it bother you that stores start selling Christmas decorations and Christmas themed gifts as soon as Halloween is over? Are you offended that many stores are bowing to politically correct pressure and requiring their clerks and cashiers to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas? Do you feel that the true meaning of Christmas has become lost in the wrappings, trappings and political fights? Read on for 6 ways to put Christ back into Christmas.

1. Ignore the advertisers and set the environment for your own home and mind.

Do you remember your mom telling you to ignore the taunts of others? Have you heard the saying that “No one can make you feel bad without your permission?” Same principles apply here. You set the environment for your home and mind. You choose what to listen to and you choose how you feel about it. I’m not saying it’s an easy task, but it is one within your control.

2. What do you envision as a decommercialed Christmas?

Get pad and pen and put down ideas – all of them – good, bad and indifferent. Decide how you will handle common categories such as …

  • Christmas cards …
  • holiday food …
  • seeing family and friends …
  • decorating …
  • gifts …
  • music …
  • church attendance …
  • acts of service.

Be sure to talk this over with those you’ll be celebrating with. Pick the ideas that are doable and embraced by all.

3. Discuss a sane gift-giving strategy with your family, friends and co-workers.

Here are some ideas.

  • Maybe you will only give to the children under a certain age …
  • Pick a name out of a hat and give to one person instead of everyone …
  • Determine a limit on how much can be spent …
  • Say that all the gifts have to be handmade with common supplies found in the home or bought from the Dollar Store …
  • Decide to not give anyone a gift but make a donation to a charitable organization instead …
  • Give each person the gift of a letter detailing why that person is special to you, highlighting a memorable experience or two from the last year and end it with a blessing and gratitude for their friendship and presence in your life.

4. Celebrate the four Sundays of Advent.

“The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. Scripture reading for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.” Robert Longman Jr.

5. Use a Jesse Tree or something similar to remind you and your family of the values you treasure.

This link and this link explain this concept of Jesus’ family tree or Jesse Tree. The authors pair specific ornaments with specific Scripture to show that it was always God’s plan to have Jesus explode into real time to take on earthly flesh and then our sins to die and rise again in triumph.

6. Do what you can to simplify the holiday calendar.

Nothing takes away our patience and commitment to all that’s good for us faster than a calendar that is overwhelmed with too much to do, to see, to be, and to buy. Pick wisely what you will be involved in. Pick things that support your dedication to a commercial-free holiday. Pick the activities that highlight Jesus.

See any ideas that are helpful? That you’ll be trying this year? Come back Monday for  6 more ways you can decommercialze Christmas.

Your Turn . . .

  • What is your relationship to Christmas?
  • What would you add to this list?

Related Posts . . .

A Charlie Brown Christmas Quiz


I’ve been watching A Charlie Brown Christmas for 45 years now. In my younger years, this is the special on TV that signaled “Christmas was near.” I watched it again last night and enjoyed it as much as I have every other year.

I noticed that even when this movie was first shown, commercialism was something that tended to spoil Christmas. However, this simple movie recounts what Christmas is all about. It is a reminder of Who is behind the hoopla. I love that it includes the Biblical account of Christ’s birth and worship. Ending with a hymn-style Christmas song that proclaims Christ as King makes my heart respond in gratitude and worship. As an adult watching this movie, it signals that “Christ is near.”

Below is a little quiz to see how observant you’ve been while watching this movie.

1. What winter activity are the children involved in at the beginning of the movie?

  • Making a snowman
  • Having a snowball fight
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding

2. Charley Brown talks to Lucy (for $0.05) to get help with his depression about Christmas. Lucy’s answer is . . .

  • Uncharacteristically kind in that she offers him the job of director for their Christmas play.
  • “Come play football, Charley Brown. The exercise will do you good.” While playing the game, Lucy moves the ball away as he is about to kick it so that he falls to the ground.
  • “What a block head you are, Charley brown. Christmas is the best season ever!”
  • “Listen to Schroeder play the piano. Isn’t he dreamy?”

3. What is the name of one musical piece Schroeder plays on the piano?

4. Lucy admits that she is also depressed by Christmas because she never gets what she wants. What does Lucy most want as a Christmas gift?

  • Doll
  • Clothes
  • Games
  • Real estate

5. Linus tells Charley Brown what the meaning of Christmas is and quotes from which Biblical passage?

6. Who finally says, “I won’t let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas?”

  • Lucy
  • Schroeder
  • Charley Brown
  • Linus

7. What song do all the children sing at the conclusion of the movie?

Your Turn . . .

  1. Do you think commercialization and Christmas is a problem?
  2. If yes, what do you do to de-commercialize Christmas?
  3. What is one thing you will do to remind yourself of the true meaning behind Christmas?
  4. What is your favorite part of this movie?

For answers to quiz click “More.” Read the rest of this entry