Gospel Resources

This Bonus Blogpost includes a special offer this month from Ligonier Ministries! Continue reading

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Songs to Sing with Children

“Music is a powerful tool God created to glorify Himself and to help us enjoy Him.  The tones can delight our emotions.  The lyrics can engage our minds and help our memory.  We can actively participate in music by playing instruments, singing along, clapping our hands, or moving our bodies.  Because music can have such a deep impact on the emotional, intellectual and physical development of people, especially children, my desire is to use God’s gift of music to impact children and their families for eternity.” – Ross Harper, musician and composer Continue reading

Let’s Talk Q1-Q3

Welcome to my new Bible study, “Let’s Talk about the Elephant in the Room – Gluttony.”  Each Saturday, I will post three questions that correspond with three chapters from my Christian fiction novel, “Elephant in the Room.”  Grab your Bible and a notebook and let’s get started.  Throughout the study, click on a Bible verse reference to read it on BibleGateway.com. Continue reading

Two Perspectives on Santa

With only a few days before Christmas, I’m not going to convince you to change your traditions for this year.  But now is a great time to think about this important issue while you’re in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle.  Do you have babies that are mesmerized by the sparkling lights?  What will you tell them about Santa in a few years?  Do you have children who see the fat guy in the red suit on every street corner?  Can you help them discern between real and fantasy?  Do you have teenagers looking for hypocrisy in your speech?  How you talk about Santa matters.

santa-fireplace

To help you think about how to deal with Santa, I wrote an article called Let’s Talk about Santa Claus about telling the truth about the fictional character.

When I write my first Christian fiction novel, “Elephant in the Room,” I was surprised when a professional Santa Claus showed up as one of my characters.  I remember thinking about weight issues and into my mind popped the man acclaimed for his tummy that shook like a bowl full of jelly when he laughed.  You can read more about him in the article, Meet Nick Saint.

One More Bonus Perspective: I enjoyed Michelle Lesley’s recent blog post about Christmas Tradition Do-Overs and Do-Overs-and-Overs.  Here’s what she wrote about talking about Santa Claus with her children.

8. I’m glad we handled Santa Claus the way we did.

We decided before we had children that we would not lie to them about the existence or omniscience (he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, etc.) of Santa Claus. The Bible says that lying is a sin, period. There’s no exception for jolly old elves who pass out toys (or for tooth fairies or Easter bunnies, for that matter). But there’s nothing wrong with the fun of Santa as long as he arrives on the scene without lies or claims to attributes only God possesses. So we sang Santa songs and told Santa stories, but on Christmas Eve, our children knew it was Mom and Dad filling the stockings. When they were very small, my husband or I would don a Santa hat and say something like: “You know how you like to play pretend? Well, mommies and daddies like to play pretend, too, especially at Christmas! Now it’s time for you to go to bed so we can pretend to be Santa Claus.” So far, no one is in therapy from us handling the Santa Claus story this way, plus there were no conspiracies with the older children to keep the secret from the younger ones, and no moments of devastation as each child grew up and found out the truth.

How do you talk to your children about Santa?  Do you need to confess to your children that you have been lying to them?  How can you help them worship Christ at Christmas?

 

Plan for Thanksgiving – Feast Your Mind on the Bible

Are you already planning your Thanksgiving feast?  Do you have your grocery list itemized?  Have you sent out invitations to family and friends? Here’s a quick list to remind you to spend time with God, filling your soul with the wisdom from His Word, so that you are ready to minister to the family and friends you spend time with over the holiday season. Continue reading

How to Make a Gift Bag for the Needy

Many people have asked me about the Gift Bags that the Harvey family put together to give away to needy people (described in Chapter 21 of my book, “Elephant in the Room.”).  I’ve been making them for years with my daughters and friends, so I’m happy to share some instructions with you.

Rather than try to write out detailed directions to assemble the bags, I have made a four-minute video with my friend Charlotte showing you How to Make a Gift Bag for the Needy!  CLICK HERE to view the video.

KH and Charlotte 10 17

Charlotte and I had a fun time together making a video about How to Make a Gift Bag for the Needy!

I hope you find that video helpful so that you will try making Gift Bags and give them away at the next opportunity.  For more information, I have also provided some free printed documents that you can download (just CLICK on each item below):

  1. a list of supplies, non-perishable food and hygiene items to fill the bag,
  2. sample information about services from our local Rescue Mission, and
  3. a copy of John 3:16 for children to color and tuck into the bag for encouragement .

Please comment below if you make and give away some Gift Bags.  Or share your ideas of how you can meet the needs of hungry and hurting people in your community.

Natural Disasters: What Can You Do?

Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Fires.  These natural disasters have dominated our attention lately.  Because they have hit close to home, those of us who dwell in safety right now are looking for ways to help others.

KH with Liana 1 far with book

That’s me – Kristen Harper – with the former Volunteer Coordinator for CHF, Liana Hofer.

I would like to highlight my favorite charity: Children’s Hunger Fund.  It was the model I used to write about food distribution to the needy in my Christian fiction novel, “Elephant in the Room.”  Since 1991, 97% of all donations have directly supported programs that serve suffering children and families.  CHF has received a score of 100% from Charity Navigator for accountability and transparency. (Source: childrenshungerfund.org/disasterrelief/)

Children’s Hunger Fund has an ongoing ministry to deliver hope to suffering children by equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry.  They accomplish this by distributing food and care items in Food Pak boxes to churches whose members personally deliver them to families to meet their physical needs, along with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ to meet their spiritual needs.  In the wake of the recent natural disasters, CHF has activated its already-established ministry networks to deliver food and care items in the affected regions of Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Florida and Texas.

So, what can you do?

1. Volunteer: give time.  If you’re near Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas or Los Angeles, please consider spending a couple of hours at Children’s Hunger Fund.

2. Donate: give money.  Here’s a link to CHF’s Disaster Relief fund.

3. Collect: develop a habit of redistributing your resources

  • collect coins in a CHF Project Coin Pak;
  • clean out your closets to donate clothing and household items;
  • buy extra non-perishable groceries to share with others;
  • always have Bible tracts available to give away.  (My favorites are available from Living Waters.)

You might be feeling fearful in these uncertain times.  Just like all of the victims of these disasters, someday you will die.  (See the video 10 Out of 10 People Die.)  Now is the time to consider what you will say when you die and meet God at His judgment throne.  If you take the Good Person test, you will know that you are guilty and deserve to go to hell.  But God is offering to you the free gift of salvation. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Read your Bible to find out more.  Then live like you know that you’re going to heaven!

With all this attention on the global disasters, we don’t want to overlook people in our communities that need help, too.  Next week, I will share a video about how to make gift bags for the homeless.