Pack Up My Backpack :: Karen MainsPack up your backpack for 50 days of fun!

Sometimes it seems there are more questions than answers in life, especially for today’s children. That’s why it’s so important that they be equipped with a sound biblical foundation on which to build their lives and make their choices. To help them do that, we’ve enlisted the aid of Sydney the squirrel and his Critter County friends. They’re armed with activities to help children learn how to trust Jesus during the mixed-up times in life.

Critter County is an enchanting land where animals talk and sing. They share Bible verses and practical applications for everyday life. Your child will laugh at the antics of Sydney and Lester and will identify with the “childhood” experiences of Lunchbox and Beautiful. Critter County is a great place for kids who like to have fun while learning biblical principles.

This is a read tome book, allowing you to interact with your child as you encourage his or her spiritual growth. Features include:

  • 50 days worth of activities (plus two warm-up days)
  • Ideas for discussion and practical application
  • A weekly Scripture memory focus (always on Saturday)

So hop on board and get ready for a wonderful 50-Day Spiritual Adventure with your child. For older children, use our Children’s Journal for grades 3-6.

Kids Journals K-2 bulk order pricing:
1-19 at $7.00 each
20-99 at $6.00 each (save 15%)
100-299 at $5.50 each (save 22%)
300+ at $5.00 each (save 29%)

Order your copy of Pack Up My Backpack now.

I also pray that in the family of God we never make our brothers and sisters in the Lord, spiritual sons and daughters, experience the pain of feeling unloved just because they don’t perform up to our expectations. If there’s anything that should characterize the family of God, it is unconditional love—the kind of love our heavenly Father extends to us.

In Ephesians 5:1 the Apostle Paul refers to us as “dearly loved children” of God. That’s a great phrase. It has all kinds of warm overtones, doesn’t it? Dearly loved children. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us” (vv. 1-2). In the previous verse Paul instructs all in the Church to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (4:32).

A word of clarification: The fact that God loves us unconditionally doesn’t mean He excuses our wrongdoing. But be aware that while He calls us to walk His better way, He doesn’t stop loving us when we stumble or fall.

Because God loves us unconditionally, we can extend the same kind of love to our church family. We can say to others, “I accept you and love you for who you are. You don’t have to conform to my standards. But in this family we also want Christ to teach us to become more like Him. We encourage each other in this regard … sometimes with tough love, love that confronts … but that’s still love. In this special family, love is never withheld. At least, it’s not supposed to be.”

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CHURCH GROWTH FACTOIDS

The 2012 Olympic Winter Games will be front-page news in America soon.  These upcoming events occur from July 27-August 12 in London, England, and feature world-class competitors who are vying to become recognized athletic champions.   Pastor, you can leverage all that media attention into spiritual lessons taught at your church!  Preach through the brand new sermon series Go for the Goal: Becoming a Spiritual Champion.  While they watch others on TV strive to become athletic champions, you’ll encourage your congregation to put into practice what the Scriptures have to say about becoming spiritual champions!

The 50-Day Spiritual Adventure is a church-wide journey into the life-changing Word of God, lasting seven weeks within eight Sundays.   The goal is to equip listeners to recall and apply God’s Word in practical ways on Sundays and beyond. Then they can experience the transforming presence of our risen Lord on a consistent basis, overcome the sins that regularly beset them, and become more righteous and holy, like Christ, while living here on earth.  Click on the photos below to preview 50 – Day Spiritual Adventure Sermon Series by Mainstay resources  online.

                                                                             

God’s dreams for us seldom unfold as quickly as we would like. That’s frustrating, but the experience is not uncommon.

Do you remember the account in Scripture of young David being brought home from watching the flocks? Samuel was attempting to discover which one of Jesse’s boys had been chosen by the Lord to replace Saul as king. Having looked over all the candidates presented to him, the prophet still had no positive word from the Lord. “Are these all the sons you have?” he asked.

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” His comment im
plied that David was hardly of age to be a serious possibility. But when David got home, the Lord told Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one” (see 1 Sam. 16:1-13).

So God Himself said through His prophet that David was to be the next king. But many years would pass, involving any number of hair-raising escapades, before David would finally sit on Israel’s throne. God’s promise didn’t come true immediately. In the meantime, I’m sure this former shepherd boy had frequent reason to doubt that the Lord’s dream for him would ever be realized.

Here, then, is another barrier to seeing God’s dreams validated in our lives. It’s the inability to recognize His involvement in our everyday world and, therefore, giving up too soon on His long-range promises.

- by David Mains, Mainstay Ministries

For some years now I have made it a point before preaching my sermon to a congregation, to preach it to Jesus. So, whatever day I feel the message is finished, I find time to give it out loud to this special audience of one. When I’m finished, I attempt, to the best of my ability, to ascertain my Lord’s reaction regarding how I plan to represent Him.

Sometimes I get the impression Jesus would have me be more loving. In contrast, there are occasions when I sense He wants me to actually be more forthright—I’m not as direct as He would have me be. In all honesty, there have also been times when I feel there’s a bit too much of “me” showing. And, it’s not impossible to believe that occasionally I am representing Him well, and He is quite pleased with the overall effort that’s been put forth.

What this exercise does is to give me a sense of approval or disapproval from the one who is allowing me to speak in His place. What people listening to me feel is one thing; it’s quite another to experience peace regarding the God I serve.

I value congregational input, and sometimes listener feedback helps me get a better handle on what Jesus is thinking. But in the long run, it’s the opinion of my Lord that’s most important to me. Am I saying what He wants said, and in a way that reflects positively on who He is?

by David MainsMainstay Ministries

This Sunday my pastor begins a special summer series. It will continue through the middle of August. We talked about it, and not only does he have his subject clearly in mind, he can also articulate the precise response he wants.

“About what percentage of the congregation will eventually do what you are asking?” I questioned. “Wait,” I added. “Let’s both get a figure in mind and see if we’re close in expectations.”

Our combined figure averaged about 15%.

This wasn’t because he isn’t a good preacher. Just the opposite—he is a gifted communicator. It’s just that both of us know how hard it is nowadays to move people.

On the other hand, if 15% of the congregation make these measurable moves forward in their spiritual walk during the upcoming “dog days of summer,” that would be really quite a remarkable accomplishment.

Sometimes preachers get discouraged because their level of expectancy is unrealistic. I like where my pastor is in his head. And, I have a feeling that when he gets into August, he might be surprised that his response level is up to 20 or even 25 percent, which would be awesome.

But, if he thought unrealistically that half his people would instantly commit to his challenge, he would, of course, be disappointed. Clearly, he’s had enough experience to know that’s not going to happen.

Incidentally, what if I asked you the same question I put to him: “About what percentage of your congregation will do what you’re asking of them?”

“The number-one factor in a good sermon is the content. And, I believe I have a better chance of getting across content if I initially script what I am going to say.”

Dr. David R. Mains
Mainstay Ministries

Ministers need to recognize the pervasive problem of the sermon sucking black hole and open themselves to instructions about how to correct it. Sermon-Coach Podcasts discuss techniques to help pastors create more effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons. Each Podcast offers very practical tips and explains the implementation of the Sermon-Coach sermon development process.

How about getting mom these Gold medallion award-winning books? These fully illustrated books tell allegories of good and evil. It follows the adventure of Scarboy and his friends by following the one True King to overcome the Enchanter and his hold on the oppressed residents of the forbidden city. Mom would surely love getting a unique and heartwarming gift this mother’s day. And as a bonus, she’ll get autographed copies from authors Karen and David Mains.

Available at Mainstay Ministries.

The Triumphal Entry is the first part of The Victorious King‘s three-part sermon series. This is meant to be preached on Palm Sunday to prepare your congregation for the Lenten season. Here we introduce Jesus as King, who He is and what He came to do. This lesson will take a look at the true kingship that Jesus spoke about and how we can honor Him as our King today.

Available at Mainstay Ministries.

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