Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lord’s Supper—When Should Children Go to the Table?

by Sally Matheny

The Lord's Supper--When Should Children
Go to the Table?
     Observance of the Lord’s Supper varies in churches from style to frequency. However, there is one common concern among many Christian parents: “How do we prepare our children for this special part of the worship service?”

     Why do we have the Lord’s Supper?
     How do we explain the bread as the body and the wine (or grape juice) as the blood?
     How old should children be before allowing them to participate?
     A good place to start is by reading the following:

Exodus 12:24-27

Matthew 26:26-28

Mark 14:22-24

Luke 22:19-20

Acts 2:42-47

I Corinthians 11:23-31


     The first Lord’s Supper occurred as a Passover meal that Jesus hosted the night before his betrayal. The traditional foods were ready to serve but Jesus gave them a fresh meaning that night.
     Traditionally, the host reminded the people of the history of the Passover. The bread represented the affliction of the Israelites. Jesus conveyed to his guests that the bread now represented the afflictions he would take upon himself—his body would be broken for us. He would die for our sins.
Jesus died willingly on the cross
as a sacrifice for our sins.

     Then, Jesus said the wine symbolized his blood that he would shed in order to save us. Jesus died willingly on the cross. He was innocent of all sin, which made him the only sacrifice acceptable to cover the cost of our sin, which is death.
     In the past, people sacrificed animals. But they were only representatives of the perfect sacrifice to come. The animals did not have the power to take away sins. They merely pointed the way to the one who would come, and is able to cleanse us from all sin.
     Jesus asked those at his table to observe a new covenant in remembrance of Him.
     According to Vine’s Dictionary of Bible Words, the original word used for “remembrance” in this text does not refer” to ‘in memory of’ but in an affectionate calling of the Person Himself to mind.”
     The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, something sacred and set apart. It is an outward testimony of a change that has taken place on the inside. We live our lives based on what we believe to be true.
Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life
     Children may become confused when they hear the words, Take, eat. This is my body and drink, this is my blood. 
     Show them a photo of one of their friends. Is the photo itself the friend? No, it is only a representation of the friend. Likewise, draw them a picture of a red heart. When they see the heart, what does it make them think of? The heart itself is not love. It symbolizes love.
     The bread is not the actual body of Christ. The juice is not his actual blood. These are used as symbols of what Christ did for us. He loved us so much he died for our sins, so that we may live forever in heaven when our bodies cease to exist on this earth.
     The Bible doesn’t mention an appropriate age for participating in the Lord’s Supper. The best policy is to talk with your child before he asks, “When can I have the snack and drink from the little cup?”
     Receiving the Lord’s Supper is not to be taken lightly. The apostle Paul says,
“Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
I Corinthians 11:28-29 (NIV)    

     Examining ourselves means understanding who Jesus is and accepting him as Savior and Lord. We understand our need for Christ and we believe he forgives our sins. Our lives are changed because of Christ. Whoever takes the Lord’s Supper needs to be able to perceive this.
     Some parents may think their children will feel left out of the worship service if they do not take the Lord’s Supper. If your child is not yet a Christian, one way to include him in this part of the service may be quietly teaching him about what is taking place.  
     Perhaps as you hold your bread, your child can cradle his hand underneath your hand. Hold the cup of juice in the palm of your hand and share with your child how it reminds you of how Jesus took on the pain of your sins when his hands were nailed to a cross.

     Allow your child to hear you pray as you receive the Lord’s Supper.  He will hear how to ask God for forgiveness and how to thank him for the promise of eternal life. He will witness your sincere sorrow, your reverent attitude, and your thankfulness for Christ.
Allow children to hear you pray.
    Most of all, parents need to demonstrate their love for Christ by how they live their lives outside the church. Be consistent in showing your child how to love God and to love others.  

     Parents can explain to children what it means to be a Christian. We are all sinners. Give examples of sin (lying, stealing, greed). Talk about our need for Jesus Christ and why he was the only one who could pay the price for our sins (Acts 4:11-12). No one is worthy of taking the Lord’s Supper, but as Christians we come remembering our need and our joy. 
     We can explain and teach, but we must let God do His calling in His time.

     Children are eager to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Parents know when their child is ready—as an act of their own faith. Don’t rush them. Patiently wait on the Lord to work in their hearts.   
     While waiting in anticipation for the day their child accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior, and then for the day when he takes the Lord’s Supper, parents can pray for wisdom as they provide salt and light in their homes.

 What suggestions do you have for parents on teaching their children about the Lord's Supper?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Celebrating National Sibling Day

by Sally Matheny

Siblings with an imagination!
     National Sibling Day is April 10.
How will you celebrate? No gifts necessary.
     May I suggest gathering around a fire pit, or calling on the phone, to swap childhood memories with one another?

     What do you think of when you think of your siblings?
     I have one sibling. She is my elder by ten months. We enjoy telling people we’re twins during a two-month span each year.  

     Growing up it was nice having a sister close to my age. We played everything together. Our favorite summer pastime was sitting in our dirt driveway making mud pies and ant hospitals.  I’ll let you use your imagination on that one. But, let me mention, we were kind to our half-smushed patients and served them sugar water as we tried to make them stay on their tiny, toilet paper beds.
     We enjoyed playing together. We loved board games and using our imaginations. Barbie doll episodes sometimes lasted for days, as we made houses out of books, and clothes out of scrap pieces of cloth. We also spent hours writing and illustrating stories, usually about talking dogs. Each of us had a suitcase filled with paper, pencils, and crayons. Her suitcase was black and mine was blue. After we finished a story, we would staple it into a booklet and let each other read it. Good times.

     Living with siblings isn’t always entertaining. Sometimes we fussed. She was a pincher and I was a biter. I should’ve given more thought to my choice of weapons. The evidence stacked against me, I received more discipline because teeth marks last longer than pinch marks.
     Sometimes siblings torture one another. My sister knew I hated to feel the texture of velvet.  Whenever a devilish mood struck, she’d chase me around the house, threatening to throw a velvet blanket on top of me. Occasionally, she captured me in it, and then my yelling drowned out her giggles. I still hate to touch velvet.
     Of course, I tormented my sister as well, but mine was not intentional. Apparently, my eyes stayed open when I walked in my sleep and that freaked her out quite a bit. So much so, she kept a big, red plastic ball bat beside her bed.  I learned quickly to deal with my own nightmares and not enter her room in the middle of the night. Even when I assured her I was fully awake, and just wanted to sleep with her because I had a bad dream, she would grab that bat and start yelling for me to get out.  I stopped trying to convince her the night she swapped out the plastic bat for a metal baton.

We defintely make life
interesting for our mom.
     Ah…the memories. We grew up and developed different interests. For a time we were separated by distance during our college years and early years of marriage.
     Thankfully, we live close to one another now. We minister to each other through prayer, conversation, and sharing an occasional meal together. Even our most serious conversations eventually end up with sisterly giggles. We joke about who is going to take care of who as we age, because we each are a handful already.  We daydream of one day living in a cottage together, our husbands out puttering in the garden, and we’ll be inside laughing and writing our stories, together again.  

     You never know about sharing a house with a sibling. I think it would work—if we kept one rule.
     No velvet blankets.


Sister Writers, Pam Martin and Sally Matheny

(Happy Sibling Day, Sister. I love you very much and I’m continually blessed by your precious life.)

Hey, readers, it’s your turn! Share with us a favorite memory about your siblings!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Write2Ignite 2014: Snag the Blessings

by Sally Matheny
Author, Edie Melson chats with other writers.

God’s mercies and miracles misted over the campus of North Greenville University this weekend. As with any conference, a few snags popped up. That’s always a great thing—to have a few unforeseen circumstances—because they provide opportunities to witness God at work.
Ignoring Satan and trusting God allows us to snag the blessings.

God's work was evident throughout the conference. It’ll be exciting to watch how He continues reworking those “snags,” weaving His will into something perfectly beautiful.   
Dear reader, whatever complications pop up for you today, know God is in control. Trust the Almighty Creator of the universe. Sometimes the impediments in life are just God’s way of ripping out our incorrectly sewn steps.
Allow Him to rethread and redirect as needed in order to achieve something perfectly amazing.
"Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths."
Psalm 25:4

The conference proved to be wonderful. It's always a joy to learn more about the craft of writing, make new friends, and reconnect with old friends.
Shaing a few photos of the Write2Ignite 2014 conference with you this week.
W2I Conference Director, Jean Hall (center) with
Cathy Biggerstaff and Mary Jane Downs

Artists & Illustrators Tony Snipes and Samantha Bell 

Opening the conference up with a humorous skit. The audience laughs at the "writer" sticking gum on her manuscript.

Clubhouse Jr. Editor, Joanna Echols and
Author, Crystal Bowman

Write2Ignite Teen Team:
Alec, Benjamin, and Katie

Writer, Editor, and Mentor: Kim Peterson

Author and Musician: Donna Earnhardt
and me

My husband, Stephen (left), helped out at the conference this year.
I loved having him there with me & introducing him
to wonderful people such as actor, writer,
& Christian comedian: Torry Martin.
I can't wait until the 2015 Write2Ignite!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Social Media Sincerity (and Book Winner Announced)

by Sally Matheny

Social Media Sincerity
Did you know there are well over three hundred social media websites? For writers, some sites have the potential to build a larger readership, grow their platform, and expand their business. However, it’s essential you weigh your social media sincerity for its value.

If not monitored, social media slowly slurps away your time. At the end of the day, many realize the productivity gauge is still on empty. They struggle trying to find a balance between networking and actually writing. Are the games, news, and videos the distractions? Decide what it is you want.

Be true to your calling first. Which do you want to do the most—circulate or create? Networking is important to the writer’s business, but what’s the point if the writer is never in the business of writing?
When you do socialize on Facebook, YouTube, and the like, stand firm in your Christian beliefs. Don’t fade into the background in fear or camouflage your heart in order to conform. Be courageous. Choose authenticity over popularity.
Another checkpoint of sincerity is endorsements. One popular practice among business professionals is reciprocal recommendations. One social media venue for this is LinkedIn. Professionals build contacts, promote their skills and businesses, and provide endorsements for other professionals. However, I question the authenticity of some of the endorsements.
Once, I had a gentleman endorse me for my poetry writing. That’s fantastic. Except I’ve never written poetry, so how can he endorse it? I removed the endorsement and sent the man a message thanking him, but explaining the situation. A cordial invitation to visit my blog followed so he could see what I do write. A few days later, I received a nice note apologizing for his hasty error. He added there should be a tab for endorsing integrity. Now, he reads my blog.
So many LinkedIn profiles sport the all-too-familiar photos under their endorsements that one questions their sincerity. Obviously, some people are just out to see how many endorsements they can give and receive. Their recommendations are untrustworthy.
If you see endorsements by me on LinkedIn, then you can trust I have actually experienced their work in some form. Even if a good friend lists cake baking as a skill—if I haven’t tasted one of her cakes, or know for a fact that she won a blue ribbon for one, I won’t endorse it. So, bring on the cakes!

Our words mean diddly to the majority of the world but they should stand for something.
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  Luke 6:45 (NIV)   

Be sincere in whatever God is calling you to do—whether that is writing something excellent, engaging others in a conversation, or recommending a good book. Let your words not be empty but empower them by carrying the weight of truth.

We would love to hear feedback on this post!
Have you questioned the integrity of social media? In what ways do you practice sincerity when using it?

And now to announce our giveaway contest winner of Vanessa Fortenberry’s book, Mama, I Want to See God.
Using the integrity of Rafflecopter to make a random selection, our winner is Rosaura Maria Cluxton. Congratulations, Rosaura! I’ll be sending you an email requesting your address so I can mail your book.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mama, I Want to See God

by Sally Matheny

"Mama, I Want to See God" Book Review
Usually, on this blog, you’ll find a word of encouragement as we ponder ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light. While the topics vary, they often lean toward Christian living and Christian parenting.

Today’s post is a bit different. One aspect of Christian parenting involves encouraging our children (and grandchildren) to read literature that is honoring to God.
Promoting this type of literature is a joy. Recently I was asked to review a newly published children’s book, Mama, I Want to See God (BQB Publishing), so that’s what I’ll be posting today.


Another new thing we’ll try is the use of Rafflecopter.
The author has graciously offered to give away a free copy of her book so read below how to enter the drawing.
Rafflecopter will randomly select a winner.
We’ll announce the winner in next week’s post (3/24/14). Be sure to check back and see who won!


Mama, I Want to See God, is an engaging picture book for children four to eight years old. Inspired by a comment her grandson made one day, author Vanessa Fortenberry responds to the natural curiousity children have about God.
Through her experience as a teacher-librarian, Fortenberry understands not only the questioning nature of children but also their attention span. Her rhyming verse quickly carries little ones along as they learn about God and his love.
Throughout the book, children pose questions about God, followed by loving responses from mothers.

“Mama, can I sing to God? Will he like my voice?”

            Mama sang a little tune, “He wants us to rejoice.” 

The illustrator, Leah Jennings, does a beautiful job filling each page with vibrant colors—nature settings and various scenes of children with their mothers. Including children from all ethnic backgrounds gives the book a special touch.
In Mama, I Want to See God, I think Fortenberry sucessfully reveals many delightful ways children can behold Him.

Vanessa Fortenberry

About the Author

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Vanessa Fortenberry wrote plays, poetry, and short stories as a young girl. After graduating college with a degree in music education with a concentration in voice, Vanessa taught general music, chorus, and voice. But, Vanessa’s passion for books, reading, and research soon led her to return to school for her master’s and specialist degrees in Media. Presently, as a teacher-librarian, Vanessa enjoys story time with her students.
Author Links:   


To register for the drawing of a free copy of this book, follow the instructions below. You may also obtain a copy at Amazon.
To read an inspiring interview with the author,Vanessa Fortenberry, about her journey to publishing her first book go to Write2Ignite!  

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a Rafflecopter giveaway