Special Days Archives

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

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Grandparent’s Day

Grandparents Day is the first Sunday after Labor Day. It originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. This day is celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.  September was chosen for the holiday to signify the “autumn years” of life. This day’s purpose is to 1. To honor grandparents 2.   To give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children. 3. To help children become aware of their grandparent’s strength, information, and guidance.  This year Grandparents Day will fall on Sunday, Sept. 11th.

GRANDPARENTS.
Few can bring the warmth
We can find in their embrace,
And little more is needed to bring love.
Than the smile on their face.
They’ve a supply of precious stories,
Yet they’ve time to wipe a tear,
Or give us reasons to make us laugh,
They grow more precious through the years.
I believe that God sent us Grandparents
As our legacy from above,
To share the moments of our life,
As extra measures of His love.
~Author Unknown.~~

GRANDPARENTS.
Grandparents bestow upon
their grandchildren
The strength and wisdom that time
And experience have given them.
Grandchildren bless their Grandparents
With a youthful vitality and innocence
That help them stay young at heart forever.
Together they create a chain of love
Linking the past with the future.
The chain may lengthen,
But it will never part….
~~Author Unknown.~~

GRANDPARENTS AND CHILDREN.
Grandparents and grandchildren,
Together they create a chain of love
Linking the past,
With the future.
The chain may lengthen,
But it will never part.
~~Author Unknown.~~

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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
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Jelly Bean Story

 Little jelly beans, tell a story true
A tale of our Father’s love –
Just for you and me.
Green is for the waving palms
Red is for His precious blood
Black is for the sin He washed from your soul and mine
White is for our hearts now clean from sin
Purple’s for the sadness of His family and friends
And Yellow is for the glory of the day He rose again.
Now you’ve heard the story, you know what each color means.
The story of our Father’s love told by some jelly beans.
So every morning take a bean, they’re really very yummy.
Something for the soul, you see, and something for the tummy.

If you need coloring pages and stories for Resurrection Sunday check out http://ministry-to-children.com/childrens-ministry-links-for-easter/. This is a great resource for Sunday School lessons, coloring pages, video clips, etc.

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Thanksgiving Poem and Quotes

I have taken this poem and quotes from the book my brother Gary Smith wrote entitled Life Changing Thoughts. If you do not have this book, I would recommend ordering one. Gary spent several years collecting poems, quotes, and ideas about many different subjects that you could use in your ministry. I have used his book many times when I have needed information to prepare bulletins,seasonal banquet programs, etc.

In Everything Give Thanks

Thru sunshine, cloud or stormy days,
When hope abounds or care dismays;
When trials press down and toils increase,
Let not thy faith in God decrease;
“In everything give thanks.”
For we know all things work for good,
Nor could we change them if we would;
It will be well if only He commands,
For all of His promises forever stand;
“In everything give thanks.”

• Be grateful for door of opportunity and for friends who oil the hinges.
• If I spend my time filling my heart with regrets of yesterday, and worries of tomorrow, I will have no time for giving thanks today.
• Thanksgiving is not a time of the year, but an attitude of the heart.
• It is better to appreciate things you don’t have, than to have things and not appreciate them.
• When all of our earthly resources have failed we can still give thanks, for we know God will never fail us.
• One of the most embarrassing moments for an atheist is when he knows he has been blessed, but he has no one to thank for it.
• I murmured and complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.
• 0h Thou, who hast given us so very much, please grant us one thing more, a grateful heart.
• Be thankful for the Giver and not just the gift and for the Blessor and not just the blessings.
• When you are discouraged don’t just sit and frown; instead, get a piece of paper and write your blessings down.
• Don’t be sorry when your purse is half-empty; rather, be thankful that it is half-full.
• Boy to his sister: “I just don’t get it, dad thanks God for giving us our food, then he bawls mom out for the grocery bills!”

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Idea for a Yearly Baby Dedication Service

This is a service where Christian parents dedicate their children to the Lord. They promise the Lord and church to raise their children in a godly way until children can make their own decisions to follow the Lord. Pastors should contact families who have had children during the previous year and invite them to a meeting to discuss the service. He can use this meeting to teach and explain the reason for the service and reinforce a biblical vision for Christian parenting.

Actual Order of Baby Dedication Service

• Parents stand before the congregation with their children, and the pastor asks the following questions:

Do you today recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God’s blessing?

Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you all, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?

Do you pledge as parents that, with God’s help, you will bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the Word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?

Do you promise to provide, through God’s blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children, looking to your own heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?

Do you promise, God helping you, to make it your regular prayer that, by God’s grace, your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?

• Insert these same promises in the bulletin to reinforce a Biblical vision of parenting for the whole congregation. The pastor can invite all parents silently to re-commit these promises.

• After the parents have confirmed their promises, the pastor can pray a prayer of dedication.

Prayer of Dedication

(child’s name), together with your parents, who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God, surrendering together with them all worldly claims upon your life, in the hope that you will belong wholly to God for ever.

• After the ceremony, the pastor can present parents with a Child’s Bible, a certificate, and a pastoral letter to give the child on his 12th birthday.

Sample of a Pastoral Letter:

Name of Church
Address of Church (City, State Zip)
Date of Dedication Service
Infant’s Full Name

Dear (child’s first name)

I would like to wish you a Happy Birthday today. I am writing this letter to you on the day that your Parents dedicated you to the Lord at (church name). As you read this letter, you are celebrating your 12th birthday. I hope today is a special day for you.

God blessed you with two very special parents. They prayed for you during your mother’s pregnancy. Earlier today at your dedication, I reminded your parents of their responsibility to provide you with a home that would honor Christ.

As a church, we prayed that you would grow up to know and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Up to this point, your parents have made most of your life’s important decisions. Now you are 12 years old, and there is one decision that only you can make. You alone must accept Jesus as your personal Savior. If you have already done this, I pray that you will continue to grow, as a Christian and that, you will stay close to Jesus in your years ahead.

May God bless you on this special Birthday.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor’s Name

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Teacher Appreciation Day

Consider having a special day to promote attendance by recognizing all teachers. (Public school, Christian school, University, etc) You could plan this day for the spring or fall.

• Announce two or three weeks in advance that the church will have a Teacher-Appreciation Sunday.
• Encourage everyone to invite a teacher for that day.
• On the special day, have all the visiting teachers sit in a reserved section. (The person who invites a teacher could sit in that section with him)
• Pastor could speak briefly about the appreciation the church has for the teachers and how difficult their jobs might be.
• Have each teacher stand, give his name and the department and class he teaches. As the teacher stands, have someone ready to present the teacher with a wrapped gift. (Gifts should be of a spiritual benefit to teachers such as a Bible, a one-volume commentary of the Bible, a Bible dictionary, or a picture with a spiritual theme)
• Pastor could then offer a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving for all the teachers.

Quotes about Teachers

Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

A great teacher is a great artist; his medium is not canvas, but the human soul.

A Good Teacher is like a candle; it consumes itself to light the way for others.

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.     ~Dan Rather

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.    ~ William A. Ward

One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.    ~ Forest Witcraft

When God created teachers, He gave us special friends to help us understand His world and truly comprehend the beauty and the wonder of everything we see, and become a better person with each discovery.

God understood our thirst for knowledge, and our need to be led by someone wiser;  He needed a heart of compassion, of encouragement and patience; Someone who would accept the challenge regardless of the opposition; Someone who could see potential and believe in the best in others… So He made teachers     ~ Unknown

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Meanings of Most Flowers

As every flower lover knows, flowers have a language of their own. Every sentiment is expressed in one form or another by these delicate blooms. Of course, even the experts disagree on the “true meaning” of many flowers and most have different meanings to different people. So, while all flowers convey thoughtfulness and love, here are some of the more traditional flower meanings.

ACACIA – Concealed Love, Chaste Love
AMBROSIA – Your Love is Reciprocated
AMARYLLIS – Pride, Pastoral Poetry
ANEMONE – Forsaken
ARBUTUS – Thee Only Do I Love
ASTER – Symbol of Love, Daintiness
AZALEA – Chinese Symbol of Womanhood
BACHELOR BUTTON – Single Blessedness
BEGONIA – Beware
BELLS OF IRELAND – Good Luck
BITTERSWEET – Truth
BLUEBELL – Humility
CACTUS – Endurance
CAMELLIA (PINK) – Longing for you
CAMELLIA (RED) – You’re a Flame in My Heart
CAMELLIA (WHITE) – You’re Adorable
CARNATION (GENERAL) – Fascination
CARNATION (PINK) – I’ll Never Forget You
CARNATION (RED) – Admiration
CARNATION (PURPLE) – Capriciousness
CARNATION (SOLID COLOR) – Yes
CARNATION (STRIPED) – No, Sorry I Can’t Be With You, Wish I Could Be With You
CARNATION (WHITE) – Sweet and Lovely, Innocence, Pure Love
CARNATION (YELLOW) – You Have Disappointed Me, Rejection
CATTAIL – Peace, Prosperity
CHRYSANTHEMUM (GENERAL) – You’re a Wonderful Friend, Cheerfulness and Rest
CHRYSANTHEMUM (White) Truth
CHRYSANTHEMUM (YELLOW) – Slighted Love
CROCUS – Cheerfulness
CYCLAMEN – Resignation and Good-bye
DAFFODIL – Regard, You’re the Only One, The Sun is Always Shining when I’m with You
DAISY – Innocence, Loyal Love, I’ll Never Tell, Purity
DANDELION – Faithfulness, Happiness
FERN – Magic, Fascination, Confidence and Shelter
FIR – Time
FLAX – Domestic Symbol
FORGET-ME-NOT – True Love, Memories
FORSYTHIA – Anticipation
GARDENIA – You’re Lovely, Secret Love
GERANIUM – Stupidity, Folly
GLADIOLI – Give Me a Break, I’m Really Sincere
GLOXINIA – Love at First Sight
HEATHER (LAVENDER) – Admiration, Solitude
HEATHER (WHITE) – Protection, Wishes Will Come True
HOLLY – Defense, Domestic Happiness
HYACINTH (GENERAL) – Games and Sports
HYACINTH (BLUE) – Constancy
HYACINTH (PURPLE) – I am Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Sorrow
HYACINTH (RED OR PINK) – Play
HYACINTH (WHITE) – Loveliness, I’ll Pray for You
HYACINTH (YELLOW) – Jealousy
HYDRANGEA – Thank You for Understanding
IRIS – Fleur-de-lis, Emblem of France, Your Friendship Means so Much to Me, Faith, Hope, Wisdom and Valor, My Compliments
IVY – Wedded Love, Fidelity, Friendship, Affection
JONQUIL – Love Me, Affection Returned, Desire, Sympathy, Desire for Affection Returned
LARKSPUR (PINK) – Fickleness
LILY (WHITE) – Purity, Majesty
LILY (YELLOW) – I’m Walking on Air, False and Happy
LILY (CALLA) – Beauty
LILY (DAY) – Coquetry, Chinese Emblem for Mother
LILY (EUCHARIS) – Maiden Charms
LILY (TIGER) – Wealth, Pride
LILY OF THE VALLEY – Sweetness, Return to Happiness, Humility, You’ve Made My Life Complete
MAGNOLIA – Nobility
MARIGOLD – Cruelty, Grief, Jealousy
MISTLETOE – Kiss me, Affection, To Surmount Difficulties, Sacred Plant of India
MONKSHOOD – Beware, A Deadly Foe is Near
MOSS – Maternal Love, Charity
MYRTLE – Love, Hebrew Emblem of Marriage
NARCISSUS – Egotism, Formality, Stay as Sweet as You Are
NASTURTIUM – Conquest, Victory in Battle
OLEANDER – Caution
ORANGE BLOSSOM – Innocence, Eternal Love, Marriage and Fruitfulness
ORANGE MOCK – Deceit
ORCHID – Love, Beauty, Refinement, Beautiful Lady, Chinese Symbol for Many Children
ORCHID (CATTLEYA) – Mature Charm
PALM LEAVES – Victory and Success
PEONY – Happy Life, Happy Marriage
PETUNIA – Resentment, Anger, Your Presence Sooths Me
PINE – Hope, Pity
POPPY (GENERAL) – Eternal Sleep, Oblivion, Imagination
POPPY (RED) Pleasure
POPPY (WHITE) – Consolation
POPPY (YELLOW) – Wealth, Success
PRIMROSE – I Can’t Live Without You
PRIMROSE (EVENING) – Inconstancy
ROSE (BRIDAL) – Happy Love
ROSE (DARK CRIMSON) – Mourning
ROSE (HIBISCUS) – Delicate Beauty
ROSE (LEAF) – You May Hope
ROSE (PINK) – Perfect Happiness, Please Believe Me
ROSE (RED) – Love, I Love You
ROSE (TEA) – I’ll Remember Always
ROSE (THORNLESS) – Love at First Sight
ROSE (WHITE) – Innocence and Purity, I am Worthy of You, You’re Heavenly, Secrecy and Silence
ROSE (WHITE AND RED MIXED) – Unity, Flower Emblem of England
ROSE (WHITE-DRIED) – Death is Preferable to Loss of Virtue
ROSE (YELLOW) – Decrease of Love, Jealousy, Try to Care
ROSEBUD – Beauty and Youth, A Heart Innocent of Love
ROSEBUD (RED) – Pure and Lovely
ROSEBUD (WHITE) – Girlhood
ROSEBUD (MOSS) – Confessions of Love
ROSES (Bouquet of Mature Blooms) – Gratitude
ROSES (Single Full Bloom) – I Love You, I Still Love You
SMILAX – Loveliness
SNAPDRAGON – Gracious Lady
SPIDER FLOWER – Elope with Me
STEPHANOTIS – Happiness in Marriage, Desire to Travel
STOCK – Bonds of Affection, Promptness, You’ll Always Be Beautiful to Me
SWEETPEA – Good-bye, Departure, Blissful Pleasure, Thank You for a Lovely Time
TULIP (GENERAL) – Perfect Lover, Frame, Flower Emblem of Holland
TULIP (RED) – Believe Me, Declaration of Love
TULIP (VARIEGATED) – Beautiful Eyes
TULIP (YELLOW) – There’s Sunshine in Your Smile
VIOLET – Modesty
VIOLET (BLUE) – Watchfulness, Faithfulness, I’ll Always Be True
VIOLET (WHITE) – Let’s Take a Chance
ZINNIA (MAGENTA) – Lasting Affection
ZINNIA (MIXED) – Thinking (or In Memory) of an Absent Friend
ZINNIA (SCARLET) – Constancy
ZINNIA (WHITE) – Goodness
ZINNIA (YELLOW) – Daily Remembrance

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The Parable of the Young Mother

The young mother placed her foot upon the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard. You’ll be old before you reach the end of it, but the end will be better than the beginning.”

The young mother was happy, and she just couldn’t believe that anything would ever be better than these years. Along the way, she played with her children, gathered flowers with them, and bathed them in the clear streams. The sun shone down upon them and life was good. The young mother said, “Nothing will ever be better than this.”

But the night came, and the storm. The children shook with fear and were cold. But the mother drew them to her, and placed her arms around and covered them with her coat. The children said, “Mother, we’re not afraid for you’re here and no harm can come to us.”

That night the mother looked up at the stars and said, “This is better than the brightness of the day; for I have taught my children courage.”

The next day came and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary, and the mother became tired and weary, but she smiled and said, “A little further and we’re there.”

That night the mother said, “This day has been better than the last. My children have learned fortitude in the face of hardship. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength.”

The third day came and there were storm clouds that overshadowed the earth. Clouds of war, and hate, and evil. The children stumbled and groped along the way, but the mother said. “Look up. Lift your eyes to the Light.” The children looked and saw beyond the clouds to an Everlasting Glory that guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.

That night the mother said, “This has been the best day of all for I have shown my children God.”

The days passed, and the weeks, and the months, and the years. The mother was old and she was little and bent, but the children were tall and strong and they walked with courage. When the way was hard they helped their mother, and when the way was rough, they lifted her.

As last, they came to the top of the hill and in the distance they could see a shining road with Golden Gates flung wide. The mother said, “I have come to the end of my journey, and now I know that the end is better than the beginning. For now my children can walk alone and their children after them.”

But the children said, “Mother, you will always walk with us, even when you have passed through the gates.” And they stood and watched as she went on alone and the gates closed after her.

But the children said, “Mother is with us still…for a mother like ours is more than a memory—she is a Living Presence.”

—Author Unknown

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Poem to Give with Baptismal Certificates

For Your Baptism

You’re taking this step of faith
In obedience to the Lord
To be baptized in His precious name
And heed the Master’s call

To rise up with faith in God
And go where He may lead
To share God’s love to everyone
And touch them in their need

May God pour out His blessings
Upon your life today
So you may walk in His abundance
As you commit to Him your way

Keep on trusting in the Lord
No matter what you face
And keep your eyes on Jesus Christ
And live in His sweet grace

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