Conversation Starter: Let Your Heart Be Broken

Posted by Phil

Jeremiah 8:4-13,18–9:1
join God in His concern for the moral/spiritual condition of others

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
What makes you sad?

What does it feel like to be sad?

How can you be nice to people who are sad (and broken hearted)?

For School-Age
Ask you children what makes them sad and how it feels to be sad?

Invite your children to discuss what it means to have compassion and a heart that is broken for the needs of other people.

How can we as a family reach out and care for and serve the broken hearted?

For Students
Who are the people you know who have experienced heartache and a broken heart?

How do you care for someone and serve someone who has experienced great pain and loss?

What are the things that break your heart and cause you to feel great compassion? How do you think God feels about those things?

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Crafts with Teeny: Message Boards

Posted by Teeny

It is finally starting to turn warmer here at camp! Flowers are starting to bloom and the trees are getting their leaves back. Spring only means one thing: it’s almost time for camp! We are excited that camp is right around the corner. Our first staffers will arrive in about two weeks.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself always looking for a place to write down a reminder to myself or a note to someone else. Sticky notes are great, but they are pretty small. I found these ideas on Pinterest the other day when I was researching message boards. They are both fairly easy and quick to make. There are tons of possibilities on how to decorate them. I’ll show you how I did it, but it would be fun to see how your campers decorate their own!

Supplies for Chalkboard Tray:
– Tray (Dollar Tree $1)
– Chalkboard paint (Joann $6.99)
– Any decorations you want to add (ribbon, bow, etc.)

The first step is to paint the tray, or you could use an old picture frame, with the chalkboard paint. You can tape off the area if you want or paint the whole thing. Let your campers be creative! I used black paint, but they sell all different colors or you could look up a recipe on how to make your own chalkboard paint!

You will want to make sure that the paint dries completely before adding decorations or trying to write on it. It took two coats for mine and I let it dry over night. I added a bow at the top but there are endless possibilities. You could also use stickers or paint your name on it.

Supplies for Magnet Board:
– Cookie sheet (old or new)
– Fabric
– Mod Podge

For this project you can use an old cookie sheet or you can buy a new one. You’ll want to make sure you don’t cut the fabric too small. You can either wrap the fabric around the whole cookie sheet or you can just put the fabric in the inside of it. I chose to glue it to the inside of it. If you want the cookie sheet edges to be a different color then go ahead and paint or spray paint the whole cookie sheet before you glue the fabric to it.

Once you have measured and know how you want it to look glue the fabric to the cookie sheet. I didn’t use adhesive spray because I had Mod Podge already. I used a foam brush and painted the Mod Podge on the inside of the cookie sheet. Again, there are tons of options for decorating this message board. You can add some cork board to the bottom of it so you can use push pins or you could use chalkboard paint to be able to write on it. Since cookie sheets are magnetic you can even use your camp bubble magnets!

Both of these are great options for a place to write notes to your family or reminders to yourself!  You can also add holes in the top and hang it on your camper’s bedroom door! Send us a picture of your camper’s message boards! We love to see your projects.

See you soon!

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When Kids Lie

Posted by Phil

Just yesterday morning, it was a Monday, we were making sure lunches were packed and teeth were brushed before Piper and I rushed out the door to take her to school. I was quickly walking into the kitchen when I stopped at the door and my eyes locked with the eyes of my youngest daughter, Lily. She was caught “red handed” pouring her breakfast into the trash can. While I fought back the smile, I just stood and stared at her. She knew right away that she was busted. Her plan wasn’t hard to figure out… quickly pour out my cereal, leave the empty bowl on the table, tell Mom and Dad that I had eaten it all. Peace of cake.

I am aware, by the way, that this is a “little lie” and not a big deal. But somehow it was significant. This was one of the first times Lily had bold-faced-lied to me, or had at least planned to lie to me on purpose. And I couldn’t be happier how it played out. Catching your kids in a lie is precious, especially if we can catch them before they get too old, and it becomes one of their habits.

Plus, let’s be honest, kids beginning to lie to us isn’t all bad. They are starting to think for themselves…to make their own decisions… and to realize that Mommy and Daddy don’t know everything and don’t see everything. This is a good step to growing up!

So what do you do? How do you react to some of their first lies? Its a challenging question with lots of right answers, so here is what I did. I made a bid deal out of the lie. Who cares about the cereal, but the lie is the thing to focus on. There were 3 things I stressed when I sat on the floor to talk with Lily, wiping the tears from her cheeks.

1. In a very calm and loving tone I wanted Lily to know how sad it made me that she would lie to me. Oh, how it hurt my feelings that she wanted to tell me something that wasn’t true. I probably tried to say this same thing in 3 or 4 different ways to make sure she understood that we did not want her to lie…ever.

2. The second thing I wanted Lily to know was that she could always tell me anything. I would always listen and help her. She doesn’t need to be afraid to tell Mom or Dad the scary or hard things. We won’t turn our backs on her. We love her.

3. The last thing I wanted Lily to know was that not only do we love her, but Jesus loves her too, even more than we do! And Jesus can forgive her just like Mom and Dad.

Simple I know. Nothing ground breaking. But if we aren’t intentional, we end up telling our kids all kinds of stuff, especially in moments of frustration.

Do you have any comments or words of wisdom about when your kids lied to you? Any great stories? What about when kids get older? Comment below…

Phil Berry
Ridgecrest Summer Camps


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How Your Teen is Wired

Posted by Phil

Here are some tangible ideas to help you connect with your teen… Don’t try to make the conversation too serious. Enjoy this article from Focus on the Family by Joe White, Larry Weeden

Is your teen on the track to a meaningful future? Are you finding out what a joy it can be to help make the most of how God has wired him or her?

Many of us want to help our teens dream big, fulfilling, God-honoring dreams. But how do we do that?

The first step is to understand the great experiment known as your teen. In all of human history, there’s never been another person with your teen’s exact mix of God-given personality, talents, interests and spiritual gifts. As the two of you get to know that unique wiring through self-tests like the ones in the book Wired by God, you’ll start to see which kinds of dreams might make a good fit.

Your Teen’s Basic Bent

Here are some questions you can use anytime to find out how God has wired your young person:

  • “What really drives you?”
  • “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had helping someone else?”
  • “What dreams do you think God has given you?”
  • “What can you do that most people can’t?”
  • “What ability would you most like to develop? Why?”
  • “If God hired you for a summer job, what would you hope it would be? Why?”

And this one from Doug Fields, a youth pastor: “If you could design a specific way to serve God and knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?”

Remember that your purpose is to listen and learn, to better understand and appreciate your teen’s uniqueness. This is not the time for lectures and advice. Figuratively speaking, you need to have big ears and a small mouth, tough skin and a tender heart.

Another way to learn by questioning is to talk with others in your teen’s life: teachers, youth group leaders, coaches, school counselors, Scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, parents of close friends. Ask what they’ve observed about your child’s likes and dislikes, interests and passions, abilities and aptitudes.

Often these people will confirm your own observations. Sometimes, though, they’ll describe a side of your teen that you hadn’t noticed — or offer an insight you’d overlooked.

Your Teen’s Interests and Passions

Here’s a way to help your teen pinpoint his or her interests and natural abilities. It’s based on “The Vision Quest,” a tool developed by Tim Sanford, a counselor at Focus on the Family who works with a lot of young people.

Give your teen these instructions:

On a piece of paper, list the things you’ve done since the fourth grade. We’re talking about academics, sports, social events, the arts, student government, hobbies, interaction with family and friends, personal adventures, youth activities, socials, special events, camps, worship, leadership, volunteer work, mission trips, “helping out,” clubs, service projects, job duties, volunteer or assigned tasks, and chores.

You don’t have to compile your whole list at once. Allow two or three weeks, adding to it as new memories come to mind. If you don’t know whether to include something in the list, go ahead and put it down anyway.

Now give each activity a “positive” or a “negative” rating. How did it turn out? How did it affect you?

After several days, pull your worksheet out and think again about the events to which you gave a negative value. Look for patterns. For example, if events connected with mechanical things (fixing the car, building something, helping with props at the school play) consistently ended in disaster, you’re probably not the mechanical type.

Now move to the positive side of the worksheet. Ask yourself the questions below as you look over those events.

  • “Is there a pattern or anything these events have in common?”
  • “Are some of the activities things I’d like to pursue more?”
  • “How can I begin doing more of these kinds of activities?”
  • “What kinds of qualities, talents, character traits and skills do these activities require?”
  • “Do I have some of those qualities and traits?”
  • “Are any circumstances or events missing from my worksheet? If so, what are they, and why might they be missing?”
  • “Are there any activities I’ve never done before, but I’d like to try?”
Adapted from Wired by God: Empowering Your Teen for a Life of Passion and Purpose by Joe White with Larry Weeden, Copyright © 2004, Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.

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Conversation Starters: Make No Excuses

Posted by Phil

Jeremiah 1:4-14,17-19
no excuses for when God calls

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
God made you. What are some of the good things about you?

What are some of the things you see and hear that God made?

How can God use you to help someone else

For School-Age
What are some of your strengths, the things you do well?

How might God use those strengths?

What do you do when you don’t feel like you can do something well?

What are ways you see God use people’s weaknesses?

For Students
What does it mean to be called by God?

What are some ways God uses believers to serve Him and others even with their weaknesses?

Have you ever sensed God calling you to do something or to serve in some way? How did you respond?

What do you think is the biggest excuse people give for not following God’s call?

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