RedeemingHalloween

How does that look, what are some practical examples? First, if you haven’t yet read Engaging but NOT Encouraging Halloween, I hope you will. There are some fantastic links in this article {a direct link to the 95 Theses}, a book recommendation and so much more. You really must read it! At the end of this article I have a link to cute pumpkin stencils with Christian symbols, links to other related posts and websites, and a FREE PDF of the Pumpkin Gospel we use with our children!

First off, setting out to reclaim or redeem anything takes intentionality and the help of the Lord. I was thinking earlier today on this topic and it occurred to me that we need to understand that reclaiming something for Christ, is something He does; and sometimes He allows us to participate.

Pumpkin Gospel

The Pumpkin Gospel is LIVE with links below and also in pdf form here at Leaving a Legacy!

Pumpkin Evangelism Printable

Click to Tweet:

Imagine kids everywhere reminded of God’s Grace when they look @ a #Pumpkin -click to tweet

Are you feeling a prompting to make this October 31st more meaningful & Christ focused? -click to tweet

If you are feeling a prompting to make this October 31st more meaningful, more Christ-focused, that prompting is from the Holy Spirit. I wish I could tell you it was going to be easy, but honestly, it takes some work. You are choosing to move and lead your family in opposition from the culture in a lot of ways.

Parents of little children have an increasing challenge to not only preserve their child’s sensitive heart, but also teach how to be spiritual discerning. I believe this time of the year offers that opportunity to teach… but at what age? This doesn’t have a cookie-cutter answer because every child is on a different spiritual journey. It’s our responsibility to be observant and respectful to that journey and not push our children to be older than they should. So mom, dad, if your little two-year old is scared during trick or treating, shouldn’t our response be that of great accomplishment and relief that they are spiritually and emotionally disturbed by the zombie with an axe? The closer we are to God’s heart, and in His word, the more we will despise things of evil nature and things that represent evil.

My perspective is that the “newer” the child, the less desensitized they probably are. I say probably because, the reality is that there is enough junk on tv and in video games these days that even young 2 year olds who have seen too much {my opinion} become desensitized from it as well. Don’t get me wrong, fear is not from the Lord. He calls us as believers not to fear man, circumstances or principalities. Rom. 8:38-39 But children are not yet prepared to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Their world view is still forming.

So when they become frightened by someone make-believing to be crude or sinister, we should teach them not by saying, it’s ok, don’t be afraid they are just pretending.” Instead we should comfort them, validate that their disturbed spirit is right. We should not want to play with darkness.

In the post I mentioned earlier, I pose the question, do we engage this holiday as an opportunity to be a light or do we flee from evil? For me, the way we decide is simple. It has two variables. And yes, I said decide because our family is growing. When they were younger, it was a season for protecting whatever innocense of heart and sensitivity in spirit I could. I was in the battle line for their hearts. And as my older children grow and become more equipped and ready to be arrows and warriors in the battle it may change and look different for our family.

fun pics
2 Decision Making Questions We Should Ask & Teach Our Kids to Ask Themselves:

1.) Am I willing to do what it takes to work at reclaiming/redeeming this?

The reality is that if I don’t have the energy to work at redeeming halloween, I probably should flee.   Isn’t that a good rule for dealing with anything worldly, of the flesh, or potentially tempting.

2.) Is the Lord calling me out to do this?

We need to consider all things in prayer and deep reflective study of the Word of God, not just our opinions, what we have always done, or what our culture has always done for that matter. The truth is that if God calls us to something, anything, it becomes a matter of obedience for us.  And, the reality is that even if we don’t feel we have the energy or know where to start in partnering with God to redeem something like halloween, it is Jesus that is the one who redeems. He will give you the power and strength to do mighty things if you will trust Him and follow Him where He leads.

The Battle of Hearts

Recognize we need to choose to do battle and redeem many things in life today {media, video games, tv, sports, music, etc.}. There are many things we have to battle as we fight for the hearts of our children. As parents we need to be careful not “to grow weary in doing good, for in due season, you will reap, if you do not give up.” Galations 6:9

Is carving pumpkins evil or wrong?

This is the perfect example of “redeeming” something for the Lord. The Jack-o-lantern actually has a legendary story, that, truth be told, could creep kids out.

Read the Mythical Tale/ Urban Legend of the Jack-O-Lantern and “Stingy Jack” Legend here. I think it is wise to know what might children might here from friends. There are a few popular books on this “legend” that are highlighted at the local libraries. So just beware of what is being taught so you can teach the truth.

Pumpkins are God’s creation. 

The Lord created pumpkins, and though they are often associated with jack-o-lanterns during the halloween season, we can attempt to reclaim part of God’s creation for His glory. One way we attempt to reclaim this part of halloween/harvest season is to do a pumpkin gospel teaching while we are carving our pumpkins. Teaching the “pumpkin gospel,” as many know it, could be looked at as a silly attempt to justify having pumpkins and participating in a culturally and historically sac-religious holiday. But the reality is that pumpkins are part of God’s creation. They always have been.

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The truth is that we live in this world. We are called as Christian not to be of the world, but we do live in. As parents we have such a challenge to find the balance between teaching what is good and fleeing from evil. We are not to hide our light under a bushel, but also teach our children how to be wise in fleeing from evil {not partaking in it}. Because our children see carved pumpkins everywhere, just simply going to the grocery store or to a friend’s house, we felt pressure to participate in the traditional carving of pumpkins. What could it harm, right?

To many it is nothing. Simple fun, right? Honestly, parenting is hard, amen?! I didn’t want to be that stingy parent to withhold the fun of visiting a pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, and roasting pumpkin seeds. But I also didn’t like the scary pumpkin faces; especially after writing out the Interview with the Occult Convert back in 2005. I really didn’t want to have anything to do with the halloween after that. But I knew it was my responsibility to teach my children to shine their lights, even on halloween. No, ESPECIALLY on halloween. This is a day the Lord has made. It isn’t anyone’s, but His. But how?

I set out looking for resources to help me redeem or reclaim this holiday somehow… even a little bit. I wanted to make it fun for the kids and to start a new legacy, a new tradition of intentionality during this season.

3 Lessons to Teach:

1.) An awareness of the darkness in this world; teaching about spiritual warfare and how God wants us to be prepared for this war and actively engaged in it {the war of hearts and the against the fleshly desires}

2.) How to Shine Jesus Light that Lives in Us, even on a day that feels like it celebrates everything opposite from what we believe should be celebrated {witches, ghosts, and dressing up as villains and horrifying representations of sin}

3.) Don’t give satan more power than he has. Jesus has conquered death. We do have an enemy. The enemy is real, demons are real, but with the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, we can stand firm against his evil tricks, temptations and even the power of sin.

What started out as a quest to find some fun activities to do with the kids during halloween that wouldn’t convict us as compromising, turned into a great tradition that has truly “redeemed” what my little ones see when they look at a carved pumpkin. Every year our pumpkin gospel carving time gets more involved and changes a bit based upon what the kids find most interesting and what is on their hearts to talk about more. But the point of this activity is to see that through a simple piece of fruit, a pumpkin, we can share the gospel message to our children and teach them to be reminded of the yucky sin in each of our lives and how Jesus cleans out that yucky-ness and makes us a new creation. And they can hopefully remember that every time they see a carved pumpkin.

I have created a simple pdf to help guide you through the simple bullet points of going through a pumpkin gospel activity with your kids. This is to be used as a tool for parents and educators who want to teach Christ-centered and gospel-filled truths during the harvest season. Feel free to print off as many copies as you want. They are free for your using. You may also change it however works for your family… this is just what we will be using this year as our template.

Remember, that as parents we have to be intentional about utilizing every opportunity to teach our children the gospel and to really disciple them. This can be such a fun activity that truly invites God back into this day, which is His creation as we have some fun with pumpkins, which He created for us to enjoy during this time of the year… harvest time.

So today I thought I would share with you about a family tradition we have. We carve pumpkins during the month of October. Yep, we go to a pumpkin patch and we grow them in our garden most years also.
pumpkinsare godsWe let our kids run around looking for their idea of the perfect pumpkin. Some choose short, fat and perfectly round ones; some kids choose tall skinny ones, and some even like the really lopsided, warty ones. Everyone has a great time picking out their own pumpkin to carve.

This is where the lessons begin:

In the car ride we talk about how there is no such thing as a perfect pumpkin, just like there is no such thing as a perfect person. God can use each of us for His mighty purposes, we are all capable of doing great things, and that He created us with a big purpose in mind. {You can insert verses here like Jer. 29}

We talk about how the pumpkin is round, shiny, and tough on the outside. And how sometimes we pretend we are tough and perfect too, don’t we?! But we all know that isn’t true. We all make mistakes and we all have done bad things, haven’t we? Have you ever wanted to lie before? This time often becomes a time of confession and repentance. Parents, feel free to lead your children in prayer during this time as well. Make sure they know that they have been forgiven and praise them for confessing and being honest about their sins. During this time, you may find a child or two really quiet and listening… not really participating. This is a good time to talk about how we are kind of like pumpkins and that sometimes, even after we have done something naughty or sinful, had thought some mean thoughts, or even didn’t forgive someone; sometimes we keep these mistakes or sins hidden, thinking no one can see past our toughness.

But God knows each one of us and has since he created us.

Psalm 139:1 “For you have searched me and know me”

Once you get home, have a snack or a nap, or both and you get everything ready for the carving time. Pull out the PDF provided and your Bible.

Let’s Reclaim Pumpkins in the Name of Christ

{The entire outline is included in the pdf}
 

Cut off the Top of the Pumpkin

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**optional opportunity to pray for God to open our minds to learn more about Him and have fun while we are talking about the freedom we have in Christ and how He makes us a new person.

Remind the kids about the conversation in the car and how hard the pumpkin is to cut. How it seems all pretty on the outside, but once you cut into it and look inside the yucky guts are revealed.

Talk about GUTS

The guts symbolize the sin in our lives. It doesn’t matter how pretty you are on the outside, everybody has sin. Ask the kids to reach in and scoop out the pumpkin guts. As they do, and they are saying, ew.. yuck! Tell them that is exactly how God views our sin. Some kids actually think the guys are cool… and they want more seeds, right? You can turn that into a talk about how God created the pumpkin to have seeds to make more pumpkins, etc… and how that is cool. But for now let’s try to stick to the sin analogy! ok.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Show the kids how difficult it is to get the stringy, clingy, guts off your hands. Sin is just like these guys. It sticks, and hangs onto us, making us feel guilty, like bad habits, and if you don’t get it all off, it will start to sting your hands after a while.

Romans 6:23 “ For the wages of sin is death”

Talk to the kids about how you have to use water to wash it off your hands. Jesus is like that water that cleanses us from our sins. He washes us and purifies us.

Isaiah 1:16-18 says,

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”

goo

Making the Pumpkin Clean Inside

Just as we scrape the yucky goo out of the pumpkin to make it clean inside, in the same way, as we tell God we are sorry about lying, unkind words we said or thoughts, He forgives us for the wrong things we have done. He can make us clean inside. But we have to be careful, not to allow our sin to entangle us, like this stringy pumpkin guts. We need the Body of Christ to help us sometimes. As we confess our sins to one another, our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can help to hold one another accountable and heal… much like how we are helping to clean out the pumpkin. We are the body of Christ… here. {1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Eph. 2:19-22}

How can God make us clean?

God sent His only Son, Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. So that the wages of sin, that is death, have already been paid on our behalf.

 “For the wages of sin is death, BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Carving the Pumpkin

pumpkin templateAs you are carving the pumpkin, tell the story of Jesus crucifixion. We use different children’s bibles that have pictures to help make it more visual for the kids, while another adult is helping doing the carving.

**We encourage our children to choose to have either a Christian symbol {cross/fish} or a happy smiling face carved into the pumpkins– shining Jesus light to the world as a sign of being a new creation with joy in the hearts. This always provides an opportunity for one on one teaching with at least one child who, like our culture, is attracted to darkness. We all have that temptation within us and what a better time to talk it out with your child. Teach them about the darkness and sin nature in our hearts and that we should want to play joy filled, because our play is practice for the future. Parents this takes time… these are those opportunities for deep good discussions and discipling. Engage these talks!

Candle Lighting

After you are done carving the pumpkins, get the candles inside the pumpkins and get your lighters or matches ready!
Shut off all the lights and teach the kids that just before Jesus died on the cross there was darkness everywhere. Linger in silence for a minute. Then light the candles.

 “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” Mark 15:33

You are the Light

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16, ESV

Let’s Pray Together

God, thank you for loving us that much that you would send your only Son to come to earth, to be persecuted, to serve, and die for us so that we might be able to go to Heaven and be with you one day. Help us, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to be a light in this dark world. Help us to be lights that shine brightly bringing joy to others, as ambassadors for you, especially on this night. Thank you for rising up men and women who love you Lord, today and throughout the ages. We especially thank you for the work you did in Martin Luther’s heart to lead him to write and nail the 95 Theses on the door of the Catholic Church. We celebrate the freedom we have because of your Son Jesus and the work He has done and continues to do in the church today. May we see a new revival in your church Lord. May you continue to rise up leaders to speak and teach your truth. Amen.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15, NIV

May you be equipped in Him as you study His Word and pray through all the hard issues as parents.

FREE RESOURCES & Links

Pumpkin Gospel

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pumpkin Evangelism PDF

MarsHIll

harvest season

Click the image to read “Engaging But Not Encouraging Halloween”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Click here to listen to Ann Dunagan talk on Equipping Your Family for Harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

May God Truly Bless Your Family and May You Grow in Him more and More EVERY day!

Your Sister in Christ,

Angie