God Always Keeps His Promises – Kids Ministry Idea

PhotoBoothProps-All

As I’ve been filling in as the Children’s Pastor at our church, I have discovered that Kids Pastors are a lot like school teachers in this . . . they always need new ideas!

This last Sunday I did something that I was nervous about at first. I didn’t know how the kids would like it, especially the older kids . . . especially the older boys. I was pleasantly surprised that all of the kids seemed to love it! So, I thought I’d share the idea, because I know how it is as a Kids Pastor – you always need new ideas!

Our lesson was about baby Isaac being born, and our main idea was, “God Always Keeps His Promises.” As an opening introduction, I did the following skit with photo booth props. The kids thought the photo booth props and funny voices and repetition of words starting with “P” were all hilarious.

Princess Penelope’s Birthday Party 

Characters – Hold up a different photo booth prop as you act out each character. Also, give each character a unique voice.

Princess Penelope – tiara prop & sweet voice

Her friend Poppy – glasses prop & nerdy voice, snorts when excited

Her friend Piper – green bow on head prop – silly English voice or some other accent

Popular Paula  – pink masquerade mask prop & snotty voice

Her papa the king – top hat and mustache props & royal King voice

Princess Penelope – “Hi, I’m Princess Penelope, and I’m so excited because I’m planning my birthday party! I got decorations and a ordered cake and I called my best friends and invited them to come. First I called my best friend Poppy!”

Poppy – Oh yes, Penelope! I would love to come to your party! I just love coming to your house, the palace and playing at your parties! We always have so much fun!

Princess Penelope – Well Poppy was so excited that I PROMISED her that she could come and that we would have the best time ever! Next I called my other best friend, Piper.

Piper – OH yes, Penelope! I want to come to your party! Thank you so much for promising me that I could come! We will have a blast!

Princess Penelope – So, I called and promised my two best friends, Poppy and Piper, that they could come to my party, but then I got an unexpected phone call from the most popular girl in our class, Paula. Popular Paula never calls me! I’ve always wanted to be friends with Paula and all of her popular friends, but they’ve never noticed me.

Popular Paula – Penelope, I’ve called to tell you that my popular friends and I want to come to your birthday party, however, you must make sure that those loser friends of yours, Piper and Poppy are not there. My popular friends and I would never go to a party with those lame-o’s.

Princess Penelope – Well I just didn’t know what to do! I had already promised Piper and Poppy that they could come, and we’ve been friends since Pre-K! But, I have always wanted to be in the popular group with Popular Paula and all of her popular friends. So, I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do. I asked my Papa, the king, for some advice.

Papa – Dearest Penelope, you promised your friends Piper and Poppy that you’d invite them to your party. We should always keep our promises. God keeps His promises to us, and we should try to be like Him, so we should keep our promises too.

Princess Penelope – I realized my Papa was right. I needed to keep my promises. So, my two best friends Piper and Poppy came to my party, and Popular Paula and her popular friends didn’t come, and Piper and Poppy and I had the most perfect time at my party!

This is a fun skit to go along with lessons about friendship or keeping your promises. Enjoy!

Living in the Novel

I’m fairly new at this whole writing thing, but one thing I’ve learned is this – –

 

In order to write compelling fiction, I have to live in the novel.

 

I know that sounds crazy, perhaps even a bit existential, but I’m not nuts or going off the deep end philosophically. Simply put, I write better when I can immerse myself in a story, and that means spending hours a day with the characters, thinking of their motivations, possible plot outcomes, how they would react, etc. – basically living in the world of the novel for a few months.

 

I’ve tried to write without doing this, and the results have been dismal. I tried to have a scheduled writing time and only think about the story and the characters during those designated hours, but I’ve learned that, for me, I can’t just turn the writing faucet on and off like that and produce a story that anyone would care to read. I mean, if I can just turn it on and turn it off, then that means that a future reader will be able to snap the book shut without a second thought, and I want readers to be addicted to my books until the very last page.

 

Perhaps if writers want readers to be immersed in their book, then writers must first immerse themselves in the world of the book.

 

So, if you see me driving down the road carrying on a conversation and there’s no one else in the car, or if you see me standing in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store staring off into space, then you’ll know that I’m talking to my fictional friends or mentally composing a scene. So that’s my excuse. I’m not crazy, I promise!

Married Life . . . Keep Working At It!

We were so dumb when we got married. Anyone else? I did dumb stuff. Kevin did dumb stuff. I’ll never forget the week we came home from our honeymoon. I was taking a shower, and Kevin thought it would be really funny to dump a bucket of cold water over the shower curtain on me! I’ll also never forget how mad I got at him when we were driving home after our honeymoon. I told him to let me get out of the car, that I’d just walk and couldn’t stand to be in the same car with him. He didn’t let me out.

Kevin and Martha Wedding PictureWhew, we’ve come a long way, baby! I think one of the most important keys to our marriage becoming the fun, love-filled, and strong marriage that it is today is a dogged determination to keep working at it.

 

There will be disagreements. There will be frustrations. There will be stress. It won’t always be sunshine and lollipops, and both husband and wife have to know this and be determined to never quit on their marriage.

 

There are some things husbands and wives need to commit to no matter what:

  • Commit to pray for your spouse daily.
  • Commit to become a better spouse.
  • Commit to putting forth effort to make your spouse happy.
  • Commit to make your home a place of peace.
  • Commit to better communication between the two of you.

 

The list of things to commit to goes on and on . . . the point is that we should COMMIT to actively, purposely striving to make our marriage better. It is worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Reviews . . . A Surprise

Something that has surprised me about this whole writing thing is how I feel about reader reviews. I don’t know if every author feels this way or not – maybe it’s just me – but I LOVE reader reviews. There’s something so special about reading how other people have been impacted by my books. I recently received a reader review that absolutely touched my heart. I’m sharing an excerpt of it here. Thank you so much for your review, Justine!

Justine's Review of W&D

What Makes a Human?

Certainly not what we see, for skin, hair, and eyes have a variety of hues,

height has a vast range, and noses can be snubbed or ski sloped.

Our humanity is neither determined by what we hear,

for some speak with a twang, some with a lisp,

some gentle and soft, some loud and abrasive,

some sing about love, and some shout words of hate,

but all are humans.

So then what makes a human?

Not gender or any interpretation of it.

Not age, because some are unborn and some a very old.

Humanity is more than two eyes, one nose, one mouth, and two legs.

Humanity is something you cannot see or hear.

What makes a person?

A Soul.

You see, God sent His one and only son for SOULS, and everyone has one of those.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that a

soul is anything less because of this or that,

You stand up straight and tall and remind them that

God loved us all so much that He sent Jesus to die

for something we cannot see –

the soul on the inside, even theirs.

Whispers & Dreams Discussion Guide

Whispers & Dreams Discussion Guide

***Spoiler Alert – Do NOT read this if you haven’t read the novel!!!***

These ten questions can be answered and discussed after you read the novel. These are great for book club discussion or just conversation starters for friends who’ve read the novel. You can also read the questions and comment on my blog or respond to me through social media. I’ve answered the first five questions.

 

  • One of the characters is a metaphor for a Biblical person. Do you know which character that is and who the Biblical person is? What is some evidence of this?

Author answer: Dreamer is a metaphor for Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph had a coat of many colors that was given to him by his father Jacob because he was the favored child. Dreamer has a baseball cap signed by Adam Wainwright that was given to him by his father Jacob because he was the favored child. When Joseph was kidnapped, his brothers said, “Look, here comes this dreamer.” (Genesis 37:19) In the book, Dreamer is also kidnapped, and recognized by his ball cap. Joseph leads his father, Jacob, and the rest of his family to safety in Egypt. Dreamer leads his father, Jacob, to the Lord. I wanted to add this metaphor in the book to show how special it is for a young person to change the destiny of their whole family. I’ve known many young people like Dreamer, young people who have families that don’t know God, and those young people have made the decision to follow the Lord and led the rest of their family to Him, thereby changing the course of their whole family.

  • Who is the hero of the novel? The hero I had in mind when I wrote the novel, might not be who readers might guess. This person is not a major character. This whole story was made possible because of this character.

Author answer: I wrote this story with the idea that Sierra is the hero. Sierra became so sick after she gave birth to Whisper that she became bedridden. When she was on her sickbed, Sierra started listening to radio preachers and started praying. She prayed that Jacob, Dreamer, and Whisper would come to know God one day. She also prayed that her house would be home to a loving family. Because Sierra prayed, God called Kirk and then Melissa to Diniyoli. If Sierra hadn’t prayed, this story wouldn’t have happened. At the end of the book, Melissa is looking at the clouds. The novel reads, “High above the others is a cloud that has a series of peaks, like a range of sierras watching over all the others.” This refers to Sierra being the hero of the novel, looking down from Heaven, seeing her prayers finally answered.

  • The last paragraph of the novel uses the images of clouds to remind the reader of things that happened earlier in the story. The cloud images also tell the reader something that happened that was not described in the story. What was that?

Author answer: The last line of the novel, “The biggest cloud in the middle of the sky is tall and thin with wispy pieces sticking up and out of the top, like a bride wearing a halo of flowers around her head as she walks through a field of flowers to meet the man of her dreams under the big Oklahoma sky.” describes Melissa and Kirk’s outdoor wedding.

  • Did you identify with any character in the book? Why did you identify with that character? Who is your favorite character in the book? Why do you like him or her?

Author answer: I identify most with Melissa. I’m an introvert who acts like an extrovert when necessary, and I recharge by being alone. Like Melissa, I keep a journal with random thoughts, prayers and poetry, and I would die if anyone ever read it. I don’t draw like Melissa does, but I wish I could. I like to have a plan and follow my plan to the letter, but God has been teaching me that I need to grow in my trust of Him and not always have to have a plan of my own.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m also a little like Chelsea. I’m a girly-girl. I love make-up and fixing my hair and getting dressed up. I also have some air-headed tendencies sometimes, like Chelsea. I think Chelsea has some good qualities too, though, like being quick to love and quick to forgive.

Devin is one of my favorite characters. I am nothing like Devin at all. She is tough, strong, and unafraid. She kicks rear and takes names! I love how she is so fearless and wants to make a difference. I wish I were more like Devin.

Dreamer is my other favorite character. I am a mother of three boys, and I want my boys to be like Dreamer. He stands up for Whisper and takes a big brotherly interest in her before he even knows she’s his little sister. He protects kids who are weaker than he is. He is a leader, and he changes the course and destiny of his family. Wow. What a kid.

Kirk is modeled after my husband. He is a hard worker, the life of the party, always has a story to tell, has a passion to lead people to Christ, and is extremely messy. (My husband also always has stains on his clothes.) Kirk is not perfect, but I love him. Just for fun, I gave him a name that starts with K, like my husband Kevin, and I gave Melissa a name that starts with M, like my name.

  • What is The Whisper?

Author answer: The Whisper is the Holy Spirit guiding Melissa. The Bible says that (John 10:27) the Lord’s sheep with know His voice. Melissa is definitely one of His sheep, able to hear and distinguish His voice. Because she listens and obeys, her life is blessed, as are the lives of the people around her. Prayer is a conversation, not one-way talking, and Melissa realizes that over the course of the novel. I think we can all get to that place where the Lord whispers to us and we hear and recognize His voice. The more we obey, the louder and more distinguishable His voice becomes.

  • What did you think of the poetry included in the novel? Why do you think that is included in the book?
  • Do you think this book should have a sequel? What would a sequel be about?
  • What does this book have to say about the spiritual need in rural America?
  • What do you think of the racial issues in this book?
  • What does this book have to say about the impact of an active church upon a town?

 

I hope you enjoyed Whispers & Dreams.– My next book is a novella titled, The Mother’s Day Letter. It will be available in the next couple of days, and I’m so excited to share it with you. It’s the story of Natalie, a wedding planner who gets a letter in the mail on Mother’s Day from her deceased great-aunt. I love Natalie’s story, and I hope you love it too!W&D Discussion Guide

Thanks for reading, and God bless you,  

Martha

 

 

When I have to wake up a little bit earlier than normal

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When I have to wake up a little bit earlier than normal

I wake up every thirty minutes or so

Look at the clock

And do the math – figuring how much longer I have to sleep

But it takes me longer than most people

Because I’m terrible at math.

And then I think,

“Might as well get up and do some Algebra while I’m at it.”

Then I lay still

And quiet

And try to breathe deeply

Because I read somewhere that’s how you make yourself sleep.

Then my husband makes a noise

Kind of a mix between a cough, a snore, and a hiccup

And it makes me laugh

I look at the clock and do the math.

And I have to get still and quiet again.

Feel the breeze on my arm from the ceiling fan

Turn my pillow over

Lay still

And quiet

And try to breathe deeply

Shoot, I have to go to the bathroom.

 

Luke 19:10 (God’s Obsession)

Thought-provoking read. Thank you!

THE RIVER WALK

Gods Obsession

For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10)

Read: Joshua 16:1 – 18:28, Luke 19:1-27, Psalm 87:1-7, Proverbs 13:11

Relate: I remember a time when I was walking through the mall in Syracuse, NY, and I happened to hear a mother sternly lecturing two of her children. I’m not sure which oof the kids spoke or what exactly they said, but the mom’s finger came out and she wielded it in their direction with an angry force. She said, “I don’t care what you want. You sit there and don’t move until I find your brother.” Those two kids sitting sullenly on that bench were preteen or perhaps early teens and my guess was that their brother was the oldest in the family.

But what if he wasn’t? What if their brother wandering around that mall was only five? What if he didn’t get caught up…

View original post 313 more words

Whispers & Dreams Discussion Guide

W&D Discussion Guide

Whispers & Dreams Discussion Guide

***Spoiler Alert – Do NOT read this if you haven’t read the novel!!!***

These ten questions can be answered and discussed after you read the novel. These are great for book club discussion or just conversation starters for friends who’ve read the novel. You can also read the questions and comment on my blog or respond to me through social media. I’ve answered the first five questions.

  1. One of the characters is a metaphor for a Biblical person. Do you know which character that is and who the Biblical person is? What is some evidence of this?

Author answer: Dreamer is a metaphor for Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph had a coat of many colors that was given to him by his father Jacob because he was the favored child. Dreamer has a baseball cap signed by Adam Wainwright that was given to him by his father Jacob because he was the favored child. When Joseph was kidnapped, his brothers said, “Look, here comes this dreamer.” (Genesis 37:19) In the book, Dreamer is also kidnapped, and recognized by his ball cap. Joseph leads his father, Jacob, and the rest of his family to safety in Egypt. Dreamer leads his father, Jacob, to the Lord. I wanted to add this metaphor in the book to show how special it is for a young person to change the destiny of their whole family. I’ve known many young people like Dreamer, young people who have families that don’t know God, and those young people have made the decision to follow the Lord and led the rest of their family to Him, thereby changing the course of their whole family.

2. Who is the hero of the novel? The hero I had in mind when I wrote the novel, might not be who readers might guess. This person is not a major character. This whole story was made possible because of this character.

Author answer: I wrote this story with the idea that Sierra is the hero. Sierra became so sick after she gave birth to Whisper that she became bedridden. When she was on her sickbed, Sierra started listening to radio preachers and started praying. She prayed that Jacob, Dreamer, and Whisper would come to know God one day. She also prayed that her house would be home to a loving family. Because Sierra prayed, God called Kirk and then Melissa to Diniyoli. If Sierra hadn’t prayed, this story wouldn’t have happened. At the end of the book, Melissa is looking at the clouds. The novel reads, “High above the others is a cloud that has a series of peaks, like a range of sierras watching over all the others.” This refers to Sierra being the hero of the novel, looking down from Heaven, seeing her prayers finally answered.

3. The last paragraph of the novel uses the images of clouds to remind the reader of things that happened earlier in the story. The cloud images also tell the reader something that happened that was not described in the story. What was that?

Author answer: The last line of the novel, “The biggest cloud in the middle of the sky is tall and thin with wispy pieces sticking up and out of the top, like a bride wearing a halo of flowers around her head as she walks through a field of flowers to meet the man of her dreams under the big Oklahoma sky.” describes Melissa and Kirk’s outdoor wedding.

4. Did you identify with any character in the book? Why did you identify with that character? Who is your favorite character in the book? Why do you like him or her?

Author answer: I identify most with Melissa. I’m an introvert who acts like an extrovert when necessary, and I recharge by being alone. Like Melissa, I keep a journal with random thoughts, prayers and poetry, and I would die if anyone ever read it. I don’t draw like Melissa does, but I wish I could. I like to have a plan and follow my plan to the letter, but God has been teaching me that I need to grow in my trust of Him and not always have to have a plan of my own.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m also a little like Chelsea. I’m a girly-girl. I love make-up and fixing my hair and getting dressed up. I also have some air-headed tendencies sometimes, like Chelsea. I think Chelsea has some good qualities too, though, like being quick to love and quick to forgive.

Devin is one of my favorite characters. I am nothing like Devin at all. She is tough, strong, and unafraid. She kicks rear and takes names! I love how she is so fearless and wants to make a difference. I wish I were more like Devin.

Dreamer is my other favorite character. I am a mother of three boys, and I want my boys to be like Dreamer. He stands up for Whisper and takes a big brotherly interest in her before he even knows she’s his little sister. He protects kids who are weaker than he is. He is a leader, and he changes the course and destiny of his family. Wow. What a kid.

Kirk is modeled after my husband. He is a hard worker, the life of the party, always has a story to tell, has a passion to lead people to Christ, and is extremely messy. (My husband also always has stains on his clothes.) Kirk is not perfect, but I love him. Just for fun, I gave him a name that starts with K, like my husband Kevin, and I gave Melissa a name that starts with M, like my name.

5. What is The Whisper?

Author answer: The Whisper is the Holy Spirit guiding Melissa. The Bible says that (John 10:27) the Lord’s sheep with know His voice. Melissa is definitely one of His sheep, able to hear and distinguish His voice. Because she listens and obeys, her life is blessed, as are the lives of the people around her. Prayer is a conversation, not one-way talking, and Melissa realizes that over the course of the novel. I think we can all get to that place where the Lord whispers to us and we hear and recognize His voice. The more we obey, the louder and more distinguishable His voice becomes.

6. What did you think of the poetry included in the novel? Why do you think that is included in the book?

7. Do you think this book should have a sequel? What would a sequel be about?

8. What does this book have to say about the spiritual need in rural America?

9. What do you think of the racial issues in this book?

10. What does this book have to say about the impact of an active church upon a town?

 

I hope you enjoyed Whispers & Dreams! – Martha