Things we are doing for Christmas in Uptown: Uptown Christmas Catalog.

Last year we started something in response to our adults doing for the Advent conspiracy. We were looking for ways to get our kids involved a few of the charities our church was supporting were Love146.org an amazing organization but what they do wasn’t the easiest to translate to our kids. We decided to use our Uptown store as an outlet for our kids to learn that Christmas is not about how much we can get but about what we can give to others.

We partner with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse – Gift Catalog. We choose a few items from their catalog and make our own and allow kids to discuss with their parents which ones they would like to use their points to buy. It creates a built in opportunity for us to discuss how Christmas is about what we can give and what we have been given not just what we can and will get. More importantly it gives parents an opportunity to discuss these same things with their kids at home.

We use the Bible Bucks 2.0 software kids buy stuff from the catalog at our store at the end of the Christmas season we add all the items up and order them online from Samaritan’s Purse. It was a hit last year and we are looking forward to it again this year.

[Below is a copy of the letter we send to the parents and the catalog we give them.]

The Uptown Christmas Catalog

It seems like with every flyer and every TV ad pointing our kids towards the newest greatest toy they can’t live without, the message of Christmas gets more and more faint. As a parent I know sometimes the title wave of all the things Christmas isn’t can be almost overwhelming.

In response to this this year we want to offer the following items for purchase from the Uptown store. You and your child can decide if they want to spend points on any of the below items. More than just offering these items to your children to use their uptown points to make a difference, please use this as an opportunity to talk to your kids about how they can make a difference in their world one small step at a time. Jesus came into our world to serve not to be served. Thanks for making a difference.

Merry Christmas.

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.

I Love My Yankees!



So I have been inundated by well wishers from Texas asking about my mental state. Thanks for your concern…

1. I am just fine
2. I have recently become aware that the Rangers have more than 3 fans. Twitter is crazy awesome right.
3. Most texas fans don’t realize but for any true Yankee fan getting to world series is great don’t get me wrong but seeing the Red Sox not even make the playoffs brings us as much or more joy as a trip to the World series. I know that is hard for you to wrap your mind around but it’s true. I think Ranger fans underestimate the hate we have for the Redsox. For example I asked my son what team he loves he said “The Yankees” I asked him what team he hates “The Red Sox” I asked him what about the Rangers he said “Who are they”
4. Lastly I thought I would make a little chart to show you that I am just fine.

Congratulations Texas you deserve to advance it’s not officially over yet but so far you have been the better team “This week.”  Best of luck, Redsox suck.

Things we are doing for Christmas in Uptown: Happy Birthday Jesus Party

We started something last year called a “Happy Birthday Jesus Party”. It was great around 4 weeks before we informed the parents about it by giving out flyers that were actual birthday cards. We encouraged kids to invite their friends to a Birthday Party for Jesus. We taught our normal lesson about 2 weeks before Christmas we did our normal icebreaker, we did our normal lesson talking about the birth of Christ then for the second small group and in our Preschool rooms we had birthday parties complete with balloons, streamers and cupcakes. The small group leader talks to the kids about the true meaning of Christmas it’s when we celebrate the birth of our savior.

I am really excited to do this again. I loved it last year because I think it is a great way for kids to understand the true meaning of Christmas. The challenge we face as Christians is that although (spoiler: don’t let your kids read this) Santa isn’t real your kids can see him at any mall and even thought Jesus is real and was really born to a real person we can’t see him. Kids understand concerete concepts and I think that having a birthday party for Jesus and explaining the story of the first christmas over cupcakes is an amazing way to cement the true idea of Christmas in their minds. Kids may not understand mangers but they sure as heckfire understand birthday parties.  Just a thought. It works for us.

Free Bible Lesson: Esther

Esther

– Book of God’s Love

Key Point – God’s love never ends!

Memory Verse – John 3:16 – “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only son,”

Skit – God loves us no matter what – even when we do something we shouldn’t he still loves us – Have a bully type boy steal something have a Christian boy see him steal something the Christian boy follows him out and tell the Bully boy that Jesus loves him and the Bully says that God couldn’t love me I am to bad. The Christian explains that he saw the bully steal something the bully puts his head down and says see God can’t love someone like me. The Christian boy explains that God love for us never ends! It says in the Bible In Romans 5:8 that when we were still sinner when we hated God he still loved us. Many people have done worse things than you and God still forgave him. The bully: really you really thing God’s love never ends! The Christian boys says nope never ends what do you say we return the candy bar you stole ask the shopkeeper to forgive you and then God to forgive you. Bully: It’ll be hard but it sounds to me like it is worth it. Christian boy: lets go. (both leave the stage skit over)

Object Lesson – (Mt. 7:10) God is a good father he loves us he would not give us a stone if we ask for bread he would not give us a snake if we ask for fish. Have a kid come forward and ask the MC for a gift the MC then gives the child a broken toy. Another child comes up asks for something to eat the MC gives the child an empty bag with only crumbs in it. The MC asks if he was being kind or mean the kids will say that the MC was being mean. The MC will then explain that God is nothing like that. If you ask for a gift he will give you a gift you ask for food he gives food. God is a good father who loves you and me!

Object Lesson – Christmas Gift – You give gifts to people you love God gave us Jesus as the first Christmas present. How many of you give gifts to people you can’t stand. Most people give gifts to people they love. God showed us how much he loves us by sending his son Jesus to earth. God gave us all a gift to show us his love and his mercy. God is a good father who loves you and me!

Object Lesson – God’s love never ends – have you ever counted ever star in the sky the sand in the ocean – it would take forever (ask a kid to come forward and have a bucket of sand or dirt ask the child to count all the individual pieces of dirt if they can’t do that offer them the option of counting every single star in the galaxy it can’t be done it is unending– God loves us with that same kind of unending forever love.

Puppet – Comes up singing Jesus loves me this I know. Another puppet comes up and asks if the puppet knows what he is singing about. The first puppet says its just some song he heard somewhere. The 2nd puppet explains to the first one that God loves us so much that not only did he come to earth and die for our sins that is how much he loves us it is more than a song you are singing you are singing about God’s great love for us.

Bible story – Tell the story of Esther how God used her to save God’s people – Even though in the book of Esther God’s name is we see God in action demonstrating God’s love to his people by rescuing them.

God demonstrates his love for us.

  1. God has a plan for us. – God placed Esther in the kingdom for the special purpose to preserve His people
  2. God uses people to carry out his plan. – God used Esther to carry out the plan that he had to rescue his people. God also sent his son Jesus to earth as a man to rescue us. We can be used by God to show the love of God to others.

Where has God placed you? Who has God called you to show His love to? This week remember that God loves you and that he has placed you where you are near others for you to demonstrate the love of God.

Esther Small Group

Activity

Have hearts cut out – inside the hearts draw a picture of the things you love the most. Explain to the kids that no matter how much you love something or someone, God loves them more.

Questions

How did God show us how much He loves us?

Does God love some people more than others?

Will God ever stop loving you?

Can you measure God’s love?

Can you do anything to make God love you more?

How do you know that God loves you?

How did God show His love for Esther and her people?

How do you know that Esther loved God?