lent 2017


Dear Parents,

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

“We join Christians around the world in honoring the Season of Lent. Lent is the forty-day season of reflection and preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. It leads us to the reality of Good Friday and the joy of Easter. Lent is a time to consider Christ’s sufferings and rethink how we are called to take up his cross in our world today. We usually associate Lent with repentance. But sometimes we forget what repentance really means. To repent is to change. It means that we allow God to change our minds and our hearts. It means we open ourselves up to the resurrected life.

People often talk about “giving something up” for Lent. But we want this season to be more than simply letting go of something. We want to drop some things, so we can pick up what God wants us to carry. Jesus set the pattern. He laid down his power and picked up his cross.”  Pastor Phil

So what does that look like for Bright Beginnings Kids?

This Lenten season in Bright Beginnings, your child will be given three opportunities to begin their own journey of preparing their little heart for the miracle of Easter.

  1. Memorizing the Lord’s Prayer
  2. Scripture Memory Program
  3. Lent Calendar

Memorizing the Lord’s Prayer:

This will be our fifth Lenten season of learning The Lord’s Prayer in Bright Beginnings!  It is amazing that such young children can memorize so much.  Each week during Lent we will be focusing on a different section of the prayer and working to memorize it.  You can help by reviewing each section at home with your child.  To help our little ones remember the words, we will also be learning how to sign the prayer.  Check back on this blog later this week for a video of the signs we will be using so that you can practice along with your child at home!

  • Week of March 1st :  Our Father in heaven, Holy is Your name.
  • Week of March 8th:  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • Week of March 15th:  Give us today our daily bread.
  • Week of March 22nd:  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
  • Week of March 29th:  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
  • Week of April 5th:  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Scripture Memory Program:

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11  What a powerful verse!  This is my prayer for every child as they “grow with God” and as a result, I have been diligently working on creating a scripture memory program for Bright Beginnings.  The program will extend far beyond Lent; however, I will be launching it during Lent this year, so I’m including it as an option for your family as you journey this season toward Christ’s death and resurrection!

Lent Calendar:

Your child received a Lent calendar tonight.  I encourage you to hang it in a central location of your home and give it a try.  I know your days are already full of to-do lists, reading logs, homework assignments, newsletters, sight words, rehearsals and practices, but this is so much more important than all those temporal things.  Don’t get hung up on it’s “one more thing to do”; don’t stress out if you miss a few days (or a week), just take a step of faith and see where the Lord leads your family!

The calendar is a tool to help you introduce the idea of Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday & Easter to your children and guide them on their own journey of getting to know God and how Amazing He is!  It’s alright to tweak some ideas to make them fit your style and forget ideas that don’t make sense for your family.  The calendar highlights a Lenten symbol each week which we will be making in class on Wednesday nights, so the hard part is already done for you!  I am simply encouraging you to “start small”; to take this small step with your children, while they are still young, that will facilitate conversation, encourage questions and begin dialogue, weaving Jesus into every aspect of their life so that He becomes a part of who they are and not just someone they hear about at church.  What more could you want for your child during this Season of Lent?!

Will you join us?

So are you willing to drop some things during Lent this year so that you can pick up what God wants you to carry?  Join us on the journey and commit to trying at least one of these options with your child over the next 40 days.  I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in your child’s heart, and in yours!


partnering with parents


Join us this Sunday at 9:30am in the Teen Center for Partnering with Parents!

Making more and better disciples out of our young people takes a collaborative effort.  Partnering with parents is a “fist bump” from our Family Ministry team to JaxNaz parents.  Hear practical stories, ideas, and encouragement designed to help us do family better.

See you there!


did you know?


We are hosting Matthew Deprez, Sticky Faith coach and speaker, tomorrow evening at JazNaz.  It will be a night filled with compelling research and practical ideas on how to give your kids a faith that will “stick” long term.  You won’t want to miss it!  This is a free event and childcare is available upon request (email ryannejohnston@jaxnaz.com). For more info, visit stickyfaith.org/family

What is Sticky Faith?

Kara Eckmann Powell, PhD on “What is Sticky Faith?”


Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including the forthcoming Growing Young (fall 2016), The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. She holds a BA from Stanford University, an MDiv from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Fuller. Kara lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband, Dave, who is a medical device engineer, and their children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica.

We hope to see you there!



Come on out and join us tonight for our next Sticky Faith event!

6:30-8pm at JaxNaz Church

This event is for parents, grandparents, mentors…anyone who influences the life of a child!

Learn how to create a flourishing connection with your children to help their faith continue into adulthood.

Childcare is provided.  If you are planning on utilizing the childcare, please register your child by contacting Ryanne Johnston @ 517-240-5771 ext. 301 or ryannejohnston@jaxnaz.com

Photos from one of our previous Sticky Faith events.  (All are encouraged to attend even if you haven’t attended any of the previous sessions).


take it home | 02.28

Word of the Week:  FEED

Recipe We Made in Class:  Soft Pretzels with Salt

Bible Verse:  “Feed the hungry and help others.”  Isaiah 58:10

Story:  Salt of the Earth  (Matthew 5:13)

Prayer: Dear God, Thank You for all the You have done for me.  Help me to show Your ways to others around me.  Show me how I can make a difference to help others.  Help me to find someone who needs “joy seasoning” in their life and encourage them with my words.  I want to be able to feed others the way that You have fed me with Your love.  Amen



“Take-It-Home” Activities:

Parents:  The next time you order food at a drive-through, pay for the car behind you.  You’ll be living out this week’s lesson for your child!

Birth – Age 2:  A servant’s heart starts at home; encourage your child to help with simple tasks around the house such as pulling the clothes out of the dryer, putting their shoes away, throwing away a piece of trash, bringing their plate to the sink…any simple task!  When they do thank them for their help.

Age 3 – Kindergarten:  There are many “kid-friendly” opportunities through the compassionate ministries at our church for your family to serve together.  Discuss your options as a family and pick one to do this week!  If you need help finding a good fit for your family contact Terry Williams (terrywilliams@jaxnaz.com) and he will be glad to help you.

Recipe to Make at Home:  

Each week during this series we will be looking at a “recipe for our life” from God’s own recipe book, the Bible, and pairing it with a common food we often eat.  This week we paired salt with the word FEED every time your child eats something salty, you can remind them that God wants us to be kind and share what we have with others! 

Try out this simple soft pretzel recipe this week.  It’s quick and simple and your children will love making different shapes and letters with the dough!


We’d love to see pictures of you and your child in your kitchen on our facebook page.

Happy Baking!

a note from ryanne | starting small with lent

Last year I was given a Lent calendar by my mentor, Lori Tate (shameless plug here…if you are looking to take your relationship with God deeper, I highly recommend checking out Soul Dig!).  I didn’t really think much of it because honestly, Lent was a relatively new concept for me until about five years ago, and even then, it wasn’t something I thought about practicing with my young children.  I mean, I’d heard of it in high school; I had Catholic friends who gave up chocolate every year, but it didn’t become something more until I started attending JaxNax and learned how Lent can be a personal journey that prepares your heart for the miracle of Easter and grows your relationship with God.

And who wouldn’t want that for their children?

So I figured why not try out the Lent calendar.

We hung it up in our dining room…012

and did our best to check off each day.  We talked about why people choose to give up things during Lent and prayed about what we might give up ourselves.


We made a prayer list; I wrote down exactly what my children said and we prayed for strangers to stay safe, dogs not to get hit by cars and children to follow directions.


We opened our Bible and read scripture, learned new things about Lenten traditions and historical religious leaders, memorized a Psalm, did secret acts of kindness, and most importantly began a conversation about the miracle of Easter and how it impacts every single day of our lives.

And that’s what starting small is all about.

Taking small steps with your children, while they are young, to facilitate conversation, encourage questions and begin dialogue that will weave Jesus into every aspect of their lives so that Jesus becomes a part of who they are and not just someone they hear about at church.

This calendar is a perfect tool to start small and that is why we wanted to make it available to all of you this year!  We’ve handed them out at our recent Sticky Faith event and to our Backyard and K-Street friends last Sunday and Wednesday.  If you’ve received one, I highly recommend hanging it up and giving it a try.  I know your days are already full of to-do lists, reading logs, homework assignments, sports practices and school newsletters, but this is so much more important than all those temporal things.  It’s alright if you don’t get to every day.  It’s alright if some days don’t seem to make much sense to your children.  Know that you are planting seeds and that God will bless your efforts.

So join us this year and start something small that will impact your children for eternity!

* I have a few calendars left, so if you haven’t received one and would like one, please leave a comment or let me know at church and I will be happy to get one to you.





free tickets!


A member of our church body graciously gave four tickets to the Parent’s Night Out with Dr. Randy Carlson event coming to Jackson THIS Saturday evening!

Take a look:

If you would like to attend, please leave a comment either on this blog post or on our Bright Beginnings facebook page and two winners (each winner will receive two tickets to the event) will be drawn Wednesday evening at 10 pm.

You can check out the event details by going to Experience Jackson.