Coming in February

Here’s a look ahead to see what we’ll be learning in Heroes Gate this next month:

February 1: Toddlers through 4th grade will hear the Parable of the Talents as Jesus told it to His followers and learn we are to use what God has given us to help others know Him.  Club 56 kids will discuss the topic: Why and how should I listen to God?

February 8: Toddlers through 4th grade will celebrate Peter’s boldness as he proclaims Jesus is the Christ, the One who came to save us.  Club 56 kids will take some time to chat about why God asks us to encourage others.

February 15: Toddlers through 4th grade will hear another of Jesus’ parables, this one about a servant who needed to learn about forgiveness. Club 56 kids will work through the question: How do we see people the way God does?

February 22: Toddlers through 4th grade will meet sister Martha and Mary and discover the most important thing is to make time to learn from Jesus. Club 56 kids will discuss the question: How do I overcome fear?

The Value of a Night Out

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By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Who couldn’t use a night out? As parents, we long for opportunities to take a break without kids, whether it is alone time, a date, or fun with friends. Yet, how often do you get a break in your life? There are all kinds of reasons why breaks are few and far between: no babysitter, guilt, too expensive, overbooked, too tired, kids are sick, etc.

Besides giving parents a break, nights out without kids are a necessary component in raising children to be loving and healthy adults. In the process of parenting, we are modeling good choices, relationships, active faith, healthy eating, and taking care of ourselves. If we are giving all our energies towards others and don’t leave anything for our own development, we will eventually run out of steam. This may come in the form of illness, angry blowouts, fatigue, criticalness, missed opportunities, and even broken relationships.

So there are good reasons to take a night out away from the kids, but there are still a few obstacles like cost, childcare, and opportunity.

Well, you’re in luck! Woodland Hills Church is hosting a Night Out event that provides childcare for kids ages birth – 5th grade, a dinner, and a movie at the Plaza Theater – all for a low price of $15 per couple or $10 per individual. You can enjoy an Italian meal and a great movie while your kids are having fun with volunteers and staff from Heroes Gate and Echo (youth)! You can set up a date, go out alone, or connect with friends.

Night Out is Friday, February 13th from 5:30 – 9 pm at WHC.   Space is limited, so reserve your spot by clicking here

Now, get out there and have fun knowing that you are investing in your well being as well as your kids.

It’s January

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By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Yep, it’s January, that time of year we all dread in Minnesota. The fun and excitement of the holidays are over, we may have gained a few pounds, and we are living in the frozen tundra. I thought it might be fun to give a few cheap and easy ideas to survive the cold dark month of January.

I did some research and I found this great link with all sorts of ideas: http://www.todaysparent.com/family/activities/50-essential-winter-activities/

I thought I would highlight a few that I think will work for a variety of ages and will cost you next to nothing to do:

  • Make a stop-motion video or any sort of video with your kids- this gives your kids a chance to be silly, creative and can fill up hours! All you need is a phone or a video camera.
  • Have a fort building contest- Get your whole neighborhood involved on the next snowy day to build community and have fun
  • Have a pajama day- Who doesn’t love a pajama day?
  • Have a hot chocolate party- Invite friends over! Your kids play with their kids and everyone is happy!

I liked so many ideas on the above site, it was hard for me to limit myself. When my kids were little, we used to love to make blanket forts with cushions and blankets. The kids would giggle and play for hours. What activities do you do to make it through the coldest months of the year? Please share in the comments section below.

New Year – New Resolutions

By Patrick Showers, Associate Elementary Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

Our household has long-standing traditions when it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve. We fondue, invite friends over, play games, eat a lot of food, and, of course, stay up late and celebrate at midnight.

Resolutions, however, haven’t been a part of our traditions. As adults, we’ve tried them and then failed, so we just haven’t wanted our kids to have the same experiences.

This year, though, God prodded my wife to challenge that thought-process and reclaim it for a better purpose. We were reminded of the value in reflecting over the past year, to see God’s hand in our lives, to count our blessings, and to see growth. Then, we could take that reflection piece and merge it with a God-given goal or direction. Most resolutions seem to fail. Yet, the beauty of this resolution was letting God empower and equip us to accomplish it, as well. Needless to say, we were very excited to get started!

We began this process by asking questions during a few dinners.

  • What’s a favorite memory from 2014?
  • What was the best part of 2014?
  • What was the hardest part of 2014?
  • How do you think you’ve changed since the beginning of last year?
  • What are you looking forward to in 2015?
  • How do you think you will change this year?

We’d take our time and not stuff too many questions into a single mealtime. Everyone had multiple opportunities to share; even our 5-year-old shared often. When people were stumped, family members reminded each other of ways they’ve changed or other great memories.

Then we asked this question: What one word would sum up what God wants to do through you this year? This one word puts the future into God’s hands. I loved watching the process as they prayed, chatted with each other, read their Bible, and ultimately wrestled within to determine if the word they chose was from God. As parents, we modeled this process by verbalizing our thoughts, our struggles, and our reasoning.

Now that we’ve each got a word, now the fun really begins. Throughout the year, we will revisit our God-given resolution and remind each other to continue asking God what He wants us to do, as well as sharing what He has done already.

Our resolution method may not work for everyone. It may not even work for us, but it is a worthwhile experiment we hope will refocus our hearts on Jesus.

I’ve found a blog with printable sheets that have similar questions to what we’ve used. Feel free to try your own resolution experiment with your kids!