Church Ideas Archives

Recipes for Cheesecake, Banana Bread, and Lasagna

Someone asked me for one of the following recipes, and I noticed that these 3 recipes were in my first book, but I failed to put them in my second book.

Italian Cheesecake

1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 lb. cream cheese
1 ½  cups sugar
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon extract
3 T. flour
3 T. cornstarch
½ melted butter (cooled)
2 cups sour cream
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 T. chopped lemon peel

In large mixing bowl cream ricotta and cream cheese. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract; Mix well. Add flour and cornstarch. Add melted butter. Fold in sour cream.

Grease 9″ spring form pan and sprinkle generously with graham cracker crumbs. Pour cheese mixture into pan. Bake in a preheated 325 oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave cake in oven for 2 hours. This is very important. Do not open the door for 3 hours after the cake is placed in the oven. After 3 hours, remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Best Banana Bread (350º for 60 minutes)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 bananas, finely crushed ( for a very moist bread, use 4 bananas)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and crushed bananas and blend well. Sift together flour, soda and salt, add to creamed mixture, and add vanilla. Keep well if refrigerated.

Santino’ Lasagna 

8 oz. olive oil
2 large diced onions
2 lbs. chopped carrots
3 lbs. ground beef.

Cook ground beef, onion, and carrots in olive oil until done. Add 5 cans of kitchen ready pastene tomatoes and 3/4 T. salt.

While this mixture is cooking in an open pan, make a roux with 2 sticks of butter, 4 T. flour, and 2 cups milk.

Have a pot of water boiling for noodles. Dip noodles in and out of boiling water. Layer noodles, spaghetti sauce, and milk sauce in pan.  Bake for 20 minutes and then add mozzarella cheese on top. Continue baking another 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Satan Wants to Defeat You and Your Church Today

Have you ever thought about this? “Satan is very organized with his team of demon. He has assigned certain demons to you, your church, and your people to try to defeat your church and everything you do.”

As we begin this New Year, we must be aware of Satan’s tactics as He tries to defeat us.  He will try to deceive us by targeting our minds and the people we serve. He will use his weapons of lies.  His whole purpose is to make us doubt God and be ignorant of His will for our lives. His goal is for us to believe his lies instead of God’s truth.

You might be thinking, “You just don’t understand…there are times in my life when I feel so helpless and weak that I don’t even have enough energy to read my Bible.”

Paul must have known that his fellow Christians had those same feelings when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to defeat Satan…YOU MUST STAY IN GOD’s WORD! The only defense you have against Satan is God’s Word.  How do you do it?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

  1. Present your body. The first thing to do when you wake up and set your feet on the ground is to tell the Lord, “I surrender my body to You, and I am preparing for today’s battle.
  2. Present your mind. The next thing to do is do reach for your Bible. Present your mind to God for spiritual renewal. It is only through God’s Word that we can renew our minds and transform them.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t read long chapters. As you are reading…, stop…when you get to a passage that speaks to you. Meditate on that passage. Memorize a verse that will help you in your battle for the day. I came across a wonderful app for memorizing Scripture. (Scripture Typer)

  1. Present your will. You do this by prayer. The Word of God and prayer always go together. Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Whatever you pray, always pray according to God’s will…not your own will.

Now it’s time to put on God’s armor. My husband and I got matching T-shirts for our Christmas pajamas that said, “Put on the armor of God…in smaller print below that it said…put on the whole armor”

Sometimes we go out of the house with partial armor on, and Satan attacks us in an area where we are not protected.

  • Girdle of truth: Since Satan is a liar, we must oppose him with God’s truth.
  • Breastplate of righteousness: Since Satan is our accuser and reminds of us our past sins, we must remind ourselves that we are justified through Christ’s righteousness. The breastplate covers our heart. Often Satan uses people—including Christians—to slander and accuse us, and we are tempted to fight back. But we must not allow these fiery darts to penetrate our armor.
  • Shoes of peace: Our shoes help us keep our footing…helps us from falling down. Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
  • Shield of faith: We have the promises of God to quench those fiery darts. That is why it’s so important to memorize Scriptures. When Satan hurls those darts…hold that shield up reciting a promise!
  • Helmet of Salvation: 1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. Depression and discouragement comes to all of us but…Praise the Lord…we are saved and we have the hope that soon Jesus will return and take us home.
  • Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God is our defensive weapon. A material sword must be handled with physical power, but the Spirit of God enables us to use the Word of God effectively to defeat Satan. Our Lord always said, “It is written!”

 I came across a prayer in Warren Wiersbe’s book The Strategy of Satan that is a great prayer for us to pray every day:

Father, thank You for the provision You have made for victory over Satan. Now, by faith, I put on the girdle of truth. May my life today be motivated by truth. Help me maintain integrity. By faith, I put on the breastplate of righteousness. May my heart love that which is righteous and refuse what is sinful. Thank You for the imputed righteousness of Christ. By faith, I put on the shoes of peace. Help me to stand in Christ’s victory today. Help me to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker. By faith, I take the shield of faith. May I trust You and Your Word today and not add fuel to any of Satan’s darts. Thank You that I can go into this day without fear. By faith, I put on the helmet of salvation. May I remember today that Jesus is coming again. Help me live in future tense. Protect my mind from discouragement and despair. By faith, I take the sword of the Spirit. Help me remember Your Word and use it today. Father, by faith I have put on the armor. May this be a day of victory.

I remember when we were living in Rhode Island, I planned some pretty intense Christmas plays. The nice thing about it, we had a Christian school, and we could practice every afternoon for several months. It took much  planning, hard work, and commitment for me and the children. Most smaller churches don’t have the resources or time to this.

Don’t feel that you must have months to plan and rehearse a children’s program to be a blessing to your church. Here are a few suggestions to help you plan a simple children’s program.

  • Keep it simple.
  • Don’t be too intense with the children…have fun with them.
  • For very young children, use a few inexpensive musical instruments like bells, drums, etc.
  • Begin your program by letting the children enter the auditorium carrying battery operated candles and singing a Christmas Carol.
  • Have an adult or teen narrate the Christmas story by reading it from Matthew or Luke.
  • Use power point slides as the children sing.
  • Download some of the Christmas Carols from a Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Use the picture on the sound tract as a slide and play the music as the people are entering the auditorium.

Thanksgiving Promises

WHEN YOU COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, BEGIN HERE

Thank God for His Promises to Us

By Dr. Paul Chappell | November 19, 2015

When you begin your Thanksgiving gratitude list, what do you include? Most of us probably begin with God’s gifts of salvation, family, church family, and friends. We then move to tangible gifts such as shelter, clothing, vehicle, and financial provision. If we stay at our list long enough, we add events and highlights of the past year.

I want to encourage you this year to add a new category to your list. This category represents one of the greatest reasons to be thankful—and every item on the list can be found between the covers of your Bible.

What is it? God’s promises. Through God’s promises we have comfort for today and hope for tomorrow. Regardless of what we’re facing in the moment, God’s promises provide an unending reason for gratitude.

If you want to count your blessings, begin with God’s promises! Here are ten to get you started:

1. God’s presence: I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.—Hebrews 13:5

2. God’s protection: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.—Genesis 15:1

3. God’s power: I will strengthen thee.—Isaiah 41:10

4. God’s provision: I will help thee.—Isaiah 41:10

5. God’s leading: And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.—John 10:4

6. God’s purposes: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.—Jeremiah 29:11

7. God’s rest: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.— Matthew 11:28

8. God’s cleansing: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:9

9. God’s goodness: For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.—Psalm 84:11

10. God’s faithfulness: For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake.—1 Samuel 12:22

Outreach Ideas for Small Churches

35  Outreach Ideas for Small Churches

  1. Sponsor a school or classroom
  2.  Annual revivals
  3. Christian-Family movie night
  4. Neighborhood dinner
  5. Community festival
  6. Halloween alternative
  7. Honor community heroes
  8. Christmas play
  9. Community garden
  10. Buy school supplies for poor children
  11. Parents’ night out or Mother’s morning out
  12. Homecoming…invite former members back
  13. Recognize veterans and military
  14. VBS
  15. Community thanksgiving service
  16. Church day camp (Good soul-winning and training tool for children)
  17. Day trips for senior citizens
  18. Senior adult programs, lunch
  19. Church yard sale
  20. Free carwash
  21. Host English as a second language class or a computer training class
  22. Grief ministry (Check obituaries and deliver baskets with goodies and a pastor’s letter)
  23. Grandparents day
  24. Mother’s day and Father’s day
  25. Church Anniversary
  26. Nursing home ministry
  27. Report card rewards and recognition
  28. Lock in or lock out
  29. Door-to-door food collection for community food bank (Good way to hand out tracts)
  30. Christmas parties for seniors, kids, families, target groups
  31. Volunteer recognition (Could be for church volunteers or community volunteers)
  32. Addiction programs
  33. Single adult or single parent programs
  34. Neighborhood inventories and assessments
  35. Prayer ministry

• Pay attention to the time you have to prepare. If you are planning a complicated play, don’t wait until November or December to begin practicing.
• With smaller children, keep your performance simple by narrating the program yourself. Parents and church members love to watch children perform no matter how elementary the program.
• For a fun touch, let your angels wear battery operated halos or carry battery operated candles.
• Use your teens as much as you can. (They are full of ideas, and sometimes younger children will listen to them better)
• Let small children use inexpensive musical instruments when singing carols. (2 years old can play
Toddler Glockenspeils or Rhythm Instruments such as blocks. If they are 3 years or older, they could play children’s Xylophones or use Kids’ Maracas. (If a child doesn’t have an instrument to play, let him hold a battery operated candle)

Ideas for a Christ-Centered Christmas

• Instead of putting up a tree, put a large manger scene in your family room. Place your gifts in front of the manger.

• Wrap presents alike by the givers. When Christmas morning comes, let each child place the presents he has near him. He can systematically give out his gifts. This takes the focus off of receiving and puts the emphasis on giving. (Gifts don’t have to be expensive; children could draw special pictures, color, and frame them)

• Focus the season on Jesus’ sacrificial love by taking your children shopping for a person who is unable to give anything in return.

• Send a Christmas box to a missionary family. Allow plenty of time for your children to earn money their own money to buy gifts for the missionary children.

• Involve your children in sending shoe boxes to Franklin Graham’s project Operation Christmas Child.

• Plan to give a gift to Jesus. (In my son’s church, he places a Chest of Joash at the front of his pulpit. This is a great way to give a Christmas gift to the Lord and to help with remodeling projects around the church.

• If you know someone who will be spending Christmas alone, invite him to your home.

• To show the love of Jesus, volunteer time to a particular ministry. (A homeless shelter, a children’s home, or hospital)

• Send a Christmas card or gift to a soldier.

• Gather a group of friends from your church to go Christmas caroling.

• During the month of December, do random acts of kindness in Jesus’ name. (Pay for person’s meal behind you, rake a neighbor’s lawn, pay for person’s coffee standing in line behind you)

• Take food to a family in need.

• Bake goodies for your neighbors, family, and friends.

• Place indoor and outdoor decorations that reflect Jesus really is The Reason for the Season.

• Hand out Christmas tracts wherever you go…and say Merry Christmas.

Ways to Keep Your Family Spiritually Healthy

If you are a missionary or a pastor, here are a few hints to help keep your family spiritually healthy. I pray that these tips will be a blessing to you.

• Each day display ways to your family how you love the Lord with all your heart.
• Don’t get so busy with the ministry that you fail to help your children develop their own personal relationship with the Lord.
• Be a father who leads his family in spiritual matters so that your children will not feel rejection or turn away from the Lord.
• Be a parent who helps his children work through stressful situations that they might experience on the field.
• Develop meaningful family traditions on the field. (Birthdays, holidays, rewards)
• As a parent, show affection to your children and to your mate.
• Have fun with your family. Some of the most godly families are those families who have fun together.
• Use your children in the ministry. This will show them that you respect and value them, and it will also show them that they are not just tag-along children.
• Give them responsibilities and enlist them in doing wholesome work.
• Give Biblical reasons for the rules you set. Live more by the principles of God’s Word instead of “I said so…rules”. Search His Word together to find verses that are relevant to your rules.
• Pray at different and unusual times and places together.
• Always try to sing together. (car, working, playing)
• Memorize verses together.
• Look for different and creative ways to do family worship. You don’t have to do them every day, but on the days you do them, make them meaningful.
• Teach your children the importance of delayed gratification. Instill in their minds the value of self-denial for the sake of their futures.

• Come in early and prepare the pastor’s office for him by turning on his lights, setting the temperature, preparing FYI sticky notes and placing them his desk.
• Make sure his office is stocked with items he uses daily. (paper paper, Kleenexes, pens, paper clips, staples, bottled water, coffee, creamer, sugar, etc.)
• Keep counseling books together. If the pastor asks you to find a certain book before a counseling session, you will be able to find it quickly.
• Never ask the pastor to do something that you can do. (making or receiving phone calls, receiving and sorting mail, preventing  interruptions and attending to trivial requests, hosting unexpected guests, etc.)
• Be careful never to isolate your pastor on very important matters. Ask God to give you discernment about ways of protecting him without becoming bossy with others and isolating him from his ministry.
• Don’t waste your pastor’s time with too much conversation and giving him too many unnecessary details.
• Never come across with a know-it-all or prideful attitude.
• Never give him negative information before his messages.
• At the end of the day, clean your desk, clean office floors, empty trash in his office and yours.
• Be flexible concerning your pastor’s desires. Although you might have your day planned, he might want you to do something completely different.

The rule of thumb when planning a banquet is, if you are honoring someone, you usually plan a sit-down dinner. If it is more of a casual get together, plan a buffet.  If possible, always opt to do a buffet. Sit-down dinners are more work and more expensive.

Tips for Planning Buffet Meals

• Get friends’ recommendations for good caters. Independent caterers are usually cheaper than large companies. Don’t be embarrassed to negotiate for price break or ask if they’ll throw in more appetizers for the same amount.
• Keep a laminated copy of proper placement of food for buffet settings on hand.
• Before food arrives, label area where want your food placed. You can do this by putting a slip of paper where you want each dish placed. This also helps others know where to place the food.
• Decide if you want to set up a for one or two-line buffet. For a one-line buffet, guests move around all four sides. For a two-line buffet, set table with twin arrangements of plates, food, silver, and napkins on each side.
• Use warming trays or crock pots to keep food hot.
• Don’t serve everything on buffet table. Use a different area for appetizers and another area for coffee and desserts.
• Make sure to leave space between dishes so that people can put their plates down to get food.
• Use small frames to label items such as decaf coffee, various flavored coffees, and sugar free desserts.
• Do not be afraid to use prepared foods when necessary; just display in a beautiful way.
• If serving a bland food, serve a tart or spicy food to complement it.
• Serve a cold dish with a hot dish. (Use crushed ice to keep certain foods cold)
• Serve a soft food with a crisp one. Bread sticks are an example of a crisp food.
• Use color in planning meals. If color is drab, consider garnishing with parsley, cherry, tomatoes, or beets.
• Plan a variety of foods by considering flavors, textures, and temperatures.
• If you use prepared foods, display them in a beautiful way.
• Plan an entree, a vegetable, a fruit or vegetable dish, and a dessert and beverage.

Entree -This is usually a meat dish. It could also be meatless pasta dish.
Vegetable -Fresh or frozen vegetables are the best for color, texture, and flavor.
Fruit or vegetable salad –This will also supply the color and flavor.
Dessert– They can be elaborate or simple.

Tips to Help Feed Large Groups

• The best meals to cook for large crowds are spaghetti and meatballs, soups and salads, and casseroles.
• Have everyone bring a dish and create big buffet.
• More selections equal smaller portions.
• Stick to easy recipes with simple ingredients.
• Use 6 oz. protein per person meat selection.
• Use 1 # 10 can of vegetables per 5 person.
• Use 1 potato per person.
• Use 1 head of lettuce per 5 people.
• Use a 9×12 main dish to serve 10-12 people.
• Add plenty of bread when feeding large groups.
• If you are not using chafing dishes, choose foods that taste good at room temperature.
• For an inexpensive meal, prepare 2 kinds of soups and 2 large salads. Add chips and cut-up veggies.
• Do not serve tough meats if using plastic utensils.

Tips to Help Prepare Drinks for Large Groups

• Use 1 lb. coffee for 50 8 oz. servings (2-cups cream).
• Use 1-cup tea leaves for 50 8 oz. servings.

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