take it home | 01.22

Extreme Sayings Series

Extreme Saying of the Week:  “Love Your Enemies!”

Lesson in a Word:  Love

Story:  Joseph (Genesis 37:1-28 & 45:4-5)


Acting out the Bible Story

Bible Verse:  “Love each other.”  John 15:12

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, help me to love others in the way that you love me.  It is easy to love my friends and family but help me to show love to those who are hard to love or that don’t like me.  Amen


We want to be like “felt” not “sandpaper”

“Take-It-Home” Activities:

Parents:  Give your children extra hugs this week!  Reassure them of your love as you       interact with them through your words and physical touch.  Studies have shown that playful physical interaction such as tickling, wrestling, chasing and catching, etc. between a parent and child releases high levels or endorphins in the children and strengthens the parent/child bond.  So have fun this week and know that as you pour love into your child, you are showing them God’s love.  They will be much more likely to share love with others when they feel loved!

Birth – Age 2:  Tell your children you love them and everything that God wonderfully and uniquely created for them, then play “I love your…” with your child:  Say “I love your….nose!” and point to their nose, “I love your….ears!” and point to their ears, etc.

Age 3 – Kindergarten:  Remember that you can make “teachable moments” out of                 potentially negative situations.  Take some time to ask your child who they think an “enemy” might be.  It may be a girl who always makes faces at them or a boy who yells at them or pushes them for no reason.  Maybe it’s the kids who call them names.  Remind them that these are the kids Jesus asks us to love!  It’s not easy, but since Jesus said it in the Bible, we need to do it.  We can be extreme in our actions when we show love to others who hurt us.  The next time someone hurts your child, let them know it’s alright to feel hurt, then help them come up with a way they can show love to their “enemy.”   They can share a toy with them, or simply tell them “hello” the next time they see each other, or even have them over to play!



advent | love

2nd Sunday of Advent:  Love

Story:  Baby Jesus is Born

Bible Verse:  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank You for being the perfect gift.  Thank you for coming to earth as a baby so that someday I can live with you forever in Heaven.  I love you.  Amen


take it home

Chemical Reactions | Week 8


Praising God in the Meadow!

Series Bible Verse: 2 Peter 1:5-7 “…add this to your life: faith, and to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, service for God; and to service for God, kindness; and to kindness, love.

Character Element of the Week: Love

Story: Jesus and the Cross (Romans 3:23, 6:23 & John 3:16)

Bible Verse: “…and to your kindness, add LOVE” 2 Peter 1:7b

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You so much for loving me. Thank You for dying on the cross for all the bad things I’ve done. I want You to live in my heart so that I can live with You forever in heaven. Help me show Your love to others around me. Amen

We finished our Chemical Reactions Unit with a cool science experiment about God’s love for us (check out the whole thing here).  Thanks Christina Hill for the recommendation!

God, Sin & Us from Ryanne Johnston on Vimeo.

Take-It-Home Activities:

Parents: Take some time this week to write a letter to God telling Him why you love Him.

Birth – Age 2: Talk about Jesus with your children! Weave His love into as many conversations as you can with your child. Tell them Jesus keeps them safe when they are anxious, that He helps them sleep when they are having a hard time at bedtime, that He heals their body when they get hurt or are sick, that He provides food when you are eating, that He is always with them, etc. A relationship with God comes naturally when you bring God into the daily lives of your children!

Age 3 – Kindergarten:  Your children had an opportunity to pray a salvation prayer yesterday (in the Backyard and K-Street). Ask your child about it! Make a cross with your child this week out of some craft sticks or play dough and take a moment to remember how God showed His love for us on the cross.


Taking about the salvation prayer in K-Street


This is our last week of Chemical Reactions!  Next week we’ll be starting our Lenten series as we prepare for Holy Week!



meet Elijah

This is Elijah.


Elijah is one of our Kid City kids who feels called to share God’s word.

We teach our Bright Beginnings kids a lot of truths about God. However, one that we return to again and again is the fact that not only did God create each of them, but He did so with a purpose; a specific plan for their life to help spread His love and build His kingdom here, on earth. Woah. How cool is that?!

We also believe that it’s never too early to start living that plan and making a difference in your world. Whether you are four or eighty-four, God can use you and the talents He’s given you to further His kingdom.

So when we found out Elijah was looking for ways to share God’s word, we couldn’t think of a better place to start than in our very own Backyard! Once a month on Wednesday evenings, Elijah will teach our children from God’s Word as it relates to what we are learning that month and our Backyard kids will get to see one of their role models obeying God and living out his calling.


It doesn’t get much better than that!

our prayer


Thank you for creating our children.


Thank you for giving us these precious gifts to love and nurture; to raise up in the way they should go.


It’s such a daunting task that you have trusted us with. Yet you promise to guide and direct us, giving us wisdom and grace.


For as much as we love them, You love them more.


You Word says that You knew each one before You even formed them. How amazing (and comforting) is that?!


You know the very number of hairs upon their head and you have set each one apart; all their days were ordained before one of them came to be.


So please, draw their hearts to yours.


Help them seek you,


to love you with their whole lives,


and to realize the very amazing plan you have for each and every one of them.


In Your Precious and Holy Name we pray,


Happy Epiphany!


Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Epiphany.


Today we celebrate the fact that God invited the Magi, the outsiders, to The Party.







Today we are thankful that God sent His son for everyone!


Today we can be like the Wise Men and Seek Him!







Happy Epiphany!

happy birthday Jesus!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


I’m so glad it’s Christmas.


All the tinsel and lights


and the presents are nice,


but the real gift is You.


Happy Birthday, Jesus!


I’m so glad it’s Christmas.


All the carols and bells


make the holidays swell


And it’s all about You.


Happy Birthday, Jesus;


Jesus, I love You.


third sunday of advent

This week in Bright Beginnings we learned about the wise men that followed the star to find Jesus.


Both our Garden & Backyard Friends “followed the star” to find baby Jesus!



Our Bible Verse This Week: “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” Psalm 119:10



Our Prayer This Week: Dear Jesus, thank You for being the perfect gift. Thank You for having a plan for me. I pray I will seek you and follow you my whole life. Amen



We also made our own stars so that we can remember to always seek HIM!








i’m back!

I’ve been off the past six weeks getting to know this little guy:


We welcomed our third son, Nicholas Lane, into our family September 1st and it has been pure bliss chaos every moment since! Ok, maybe it hasn’t been chaos every moment but I had forgotten so many things about having a new baby (it’s been three-and-a-half YEARS since we’ve had one around).

It’s amazing how incredibly fast two hours go by…how ridiculously long it takes to get loaded into the van to go anywhere…how genuinely hard it is for siblings to adjust to the changes (especially for that poor baby who is suddenly the infamous middle child)…how quickly things can go from “everyone is happy and I’m rockin’ this new mom thing” to “everyone is crying, pooping and screaming simultaneously and I’ve lost all control”…the list could go on and on! However, despite my amnesia we are finding our groove as a family of five and defining our new normal as I head back to work.

Sunday was my first day back and it was so much fun! Your kids are some of the coolest kids on the planet and they bless my socks off every time I’m with them because they just get this whole Jesus thing! They are kind and compassionate, they have faith like, well, children and they understand that they are worshiping God when they obey their moms and dads (they told me so second service). So hats off to you! You are doing a great job modeling what it means to live your life for God and it’s rubbing off on your children.

It is such an honor and a blessing to serve the fantastic families, teach the wonderful children, and work alongside the phenomenal volunteers of our church body.

And I just thought I should tell you so.

It’s Good to be Back!

– Ryanne

* Slight Side Note: When we first created startingsmall, it was my intention to make personal posts such as the one above on a regular basis. I wanted to be able to share with our Bright Beginnings community anything from what God is teaching me at the moment to why we serve animal crackers in the Garden. I wanted these personal posts to always have the same title; however, I never could come up with one that fit, so I simply haven’t made the posts! So, if any of you have an ideas for a title to my posts, leave it in the comments and we just might use it!

fellowship | 5-25-14

beeToday in Bright Beginnings, we talk about fellowship. It is an amazing thing that God did for us–invite us into his family. Share this truth and be grateful for fellowship this week!

Word: Fellowship

Bug: Bee
Bees live and work together as one big family. God created us to live together with our families at home and at church.

Bible Verse: We are all a part of the family of Christ. Romans 12:5

Story: Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla (Acts 18)
Paul became friends with Aquila and Priscilla when he was in Corinth. They had the same kind of work. They made tents! Aquila and Priscilla invited Paul to stay at their house. They were brothers and sisters in Jesus’ family — just like we are with our friends in Bright Beginnings.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I know it is important to spend time with other people. Please help me to encourage others around me. I love you. Amen.


How can you help your child fellowship with friends at church? One idea is to attend the same church service each week so your children will develop a good relationship with their teachers and other children in their class.

Birth-Age 2
Find pictures of your family members and make them into a book (it can be as simple as punching a hole in them and tying them together with string). Look through the book often with your little one, saying the name of each family member. Help them understand they belong to a family that loves them!

Age 3-Kindergarten
Plan a play date! Ask your child for names of some of their close friends. Then think together of some children, perhaps from church or school, who could be new friends. Remind them that God wants us to include everyone because we are all a part of His family! Sit back and watch them having fun (fellowship).