A Tisket, A Tasket: The Joy of Hosting
About the Guest
Last year when FamilyLife challenged listeners to host a neighborhood Easter egg hunt as part of the "World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt", many stepped up to the plate. Today on the broadcast, Dennis Rainey and children's performer, Miss PattyCake, talk with hunt participant, Theresa Clendening, as she tells how exciting it is to reach out to her community for the sake of the gospel.
Theresa Clendening tells how exciting it is to reach out to her community for the sake of the gospel.
Bob: A child's heart is like good soil. The question is what are you planting in your child's heart?
Dennis: We're recruiting gardeners.
Miss PattyCake: Gardeners.
Dennis: To plant the seeds.
Bob: Seed planters.
Miss PattyCake: That's great. Here is what I love about working with this age child – you really never have to talk a preschool child into the existence of God. I tell people all you have to do is tell them His name. Ecclesiastes tells us that God has set eternity in the hearts of all men. So for us to plant these seeds, we're only stirring up what I hear in children. They go, "Oh, that's what His name is – Jesus." And they get it.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, March 10th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We need you to join with us this year and help us share the Easter story with a lot of children.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. You're kind of a connoisseur of the fine arts, aren't you? You like good literature and classical music.
Dennis: I do. Barbara and I have enjoyed several museums.
Bob: I thought we would start the day with a poetry reading. Would that be all right?
Dennis: High and lofty poetry reading?
Bob: I just have to read some poetry to you here.
"I'm so glad you are here today
To read and sing, to laugh and play.
What does Miss PattyCake always say?
Every day is a pattycake praise day.
Eggs, eggs everywhere
High and low, here and there
These bright-colored eggs are so much fun
They tell a story for everyone.
Dennis: Oh, I'm touched.
Bob: I'm probably not doing this exactly right, am I? You'd do it a little differently, wouldn't you?
Miss PattyCake: I wasn't going to say that.
Bob: The actual Miss PattyCake is here with us on FamilyLife Today.
Dennis: Jean Thomason joins us.
Bob: Would you like to continue with the poetry reading?
Miss PattyCake: I think you have that lovely voice, but it seems to me for a two-year-old you need must a bit more energy.
Dennis: So put on your Miss PattyCake …
Miss PattyCake: I'll put on my PattyCake voice, and if you know about FamilyLife's Resurrection Eggs then you will understand how these eggs tell the story of Easter. Here we go –
Eggs, eggs, everywhere!
High and low, here and there! – that's the Easter egg hunt part.
Bob: Oh, I got you.
Miss PattyCake: Okay.
These bright-colored eggs are so much
They tell a story for everyone!
Now, in the dark blue egg what do you see?
Oh, look! It's a little donkey.
Hosanna! Cried people from all around
As Jesus rode the …
Bob: … donkey …
Miss PattyCake: … into town!
Bob: I'm getting this now. I'm getting a feel for it, keep going.
Miss PattyCake: Now –
Take the light purple egg
And open it up
A tiny cup!
Bob: Cup, right.
Miss PattyCake: Jesus drank from that cup,
And He shared the bread,
"Remember Me" is what Jesus said.
Look in the orange egg, and you'll find
Something we use all the time.
Hands held together in this special way
Show us that it's time to pray.
Bob: Pray, yeah. How are we doing?
Miss PattyCake: You're doing great.
Bob: Oh, good, I'm just making sure.
Miss PattyCake: Now –
The light yellow egg
Holds something round
It is stick with thorns
But it's shaped like a crown.
The soldiers made this crown for Jesus to wear
And then they hit him and they hurt him
They didn't care.
Now, what's in the yellow egg?
Open it wide
A cross made of nails
Is found inside
Those soldiers nailed
Jesus' hands and his feet to a cross
Where He died on Calvary
How sad that those soldiers
Did not know that Jesus the Savior
Still loved them so.
So they put His body into a grave
Not down in the ground
It was more like a cave.
Then a great big stone they rolled, rolled, rolled
In front of the cave to cover the hole.
Now, the pink egg holds a small lock, it's true
But the stone on Jesus' grave was huge
God's power rolled that stone away
On the mighty Resurrection Day.
Bob: Hang on, could I read the last one here?
Miss PattyCake: Oh, yeah!
Dennis: I think you may be able to pull it off, Bob.
Bob: Let me get some caffeine here, because you sounded kind of caffeinated while you were doing this. Here we go –
The last egg is like blue, see?
Wow! This egg is empty
It shows that the grave was empty inside
And Jesus is not dead, he is alive!
(Miss PattyCake sings)
Bob: For those listeners who are wondering why …
Dennis: We have not become a children's program, but we are all about children.
Bob: That's right, and we're all about enlisting you to join with us this year in the Second Annual World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
Dennis: It's an outreach to young people in your neighborhood, and I would say it's an outreach to anyone from two years of age probably to 99. In fact, I have a letter from Sue Bridgeman. Sue is from Maysville, Missouri. Do you know where Maysville is?
Bob: I don't know where Maysville is.
Dennis: It's not near St. Louis, I guess. She writes, "Due to scheduling conflicts, we had our party early this year. As a teacher at the school, I made a flyer that called it a community-wide Easter egg party. I was allowed to pass out the flyers to all the children in the school – 520 students. Despite the rain and other conflicts with basketball tournaments, we still had a turnout of 63 children, 42 adults, and 26 helpers. Of the 42 visiting adults, 31 of them were unchurched. Now, we're a relatively small town, Maysville, Missouri, so this kind of response is tremendous. The event was a major success. Thanks for the wonderful idea and materials. I sent home coloring books with each child and used two of the games – the egg and the spoon relay and the pushing the egg with the nose. We also had a craft where the children made popsicle-stick crosses dipped in glue and colored rice for a lovely take-home craft. We got to share the Easter story with many adults and children who have never heard or understood the depth of Jesus' love for them. The most exciting part was that of the 31 unchurched adults, 16 were in church the next Sunday, and we had a record 27 kids for our childrens' church service during worship. We are going to make this an annual event at our church," and she signs it "Sue Bridgeman, First Baptist Church of Maysville, Missouri."
Bob: Well, that's exciting. We're hearing from churches, we're hearing from individuals, folks who were a part of this event last year who are signing up again to be a part of it this year. We want you to join with us, and it's simple, it's easy, and yet it's an effective way to share Christ with neighbors and with their children, and that's the reason we asked Miss PattyCake to come and join us, because Miss PattyCake has an Eggs-travaganza video, which is designed to tie together the Resurrection Eggs with songs like the one we just heard, right?
Miss PattyCake: Yes, eggs-actly right.
Dennis: I thought you'd say that.
Miss PattyCake: I knew that was coming, well, I thank you so much for the tool that was created through FamilyLife that we are able to use to communicate the Gospel to children. I am more and more excited that people are becoming aware of the need to speak into the lives of children younger and younger all the time. I don't know if you're familiar with George Barna's recent study, but I have found this to be incredible, and I tell people that it has poured gasoline on my already-raging bonfire – the one that the spirit of God has put into my heart, and he tells us this – "In our culture today, what is true today is that 85 percent of all of us who are Christians, who know Jesus Christ, came to Jesus by the time we were only nine years old." Eighty-five percent, and he made this kind of staggering statement that I have in his book here. When he did this research he realized after spending most of his life discipling adults, that he said, "Not only did I miss the boat, I missed the ocean, because how imperative it is for us to reach into the lives, because even by the time children are eight years old, these are the crucial years in which they develop lifelong habits, values, beliefs, and attitudes."
Dennis: And that's why we're partnering with listeners in apartments, in homes and neighborhoods, maybe in a rural area, the community where you're going to have to go to town to a city park to host an Easter egg hunt.
Bob: It's something you can do as an individual, you can do it with friends from church, you can do it on the church grounds if you want to. We are hearing from folks who, last year, took part in this event, and they did it in all kinds of ways, and they're calling us back to say, "You're doing it again this year, aren't you?" And we're not only doing it, we're hoping it will expand and multiply and more and more people will be a part of this year's World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
Dennis: And we're hoping that a million children, 1 million children, are going to hear about the Savior of the world.
Bob: And, you know, you stop and you think and, Jean, your heart, I know, is for preschool kids – one to four, one to five years old.
Miss PattyCake: One to five, right.
Bob: What you plant in the soil of a three-year-old, it takes root, doesn't it?
Miss PattyCake: Sure, it does, especially if you plant this through music, because music is the thing that sticks with us all. We all know that that is true, but when you plant these seeds then even after years and years and years, the spirit of God can call those truths back up to their mind and no matter how old they are, later, most of us know that we know "Jesus loves me, this I know," because it was planted into our lives and our hearts, our little spirits, many, many years ago.
Dennis: You may be sharing the story at Easter with a young person who someday is going to record a record that sells millions, he may be or she may be a congressman or woman, could be a famous doctor – you do not know who these children are going to become. It's just – that's the wonder of the whole thing.
Miss PattyCake: Here is what I love about working with this age child – you really never have to talk a preschool child into the existence of God. I tell people all you have to do is tell them His name. Ecclesiastes tells us that God has set eternity in the hearts of all men. So for us to plant these seeds, we're only stirring up what I hear in children. They go, "Oh, that's what His name is – Jesus." And they get it more than we know.
Dennis: And we're recruiting gardeners to plant the seeds.
Bob: Seed planters.
Miss PattyCake: That's great.
Dennis: We need you to call 1-800-FLTODAY or go online at FamilyLife.com to find out more about how you can host in your neighborhood or your cul-de-sac or your city park and be a part of the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
Bob: We've got a seed planter on the line with us from Lindenhurst, Illinois. Her name is Theresa. Theresa, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Theresa: Well, thank you, Bob.
Bob: We wanted to hear a little bit about your participation last year in the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. You heard about it on FamilyLife Today and said, "I need to do that, right?"
Theresa: Absolutely. I remember just saying, "I can do this. This is something I can do."
Dennis: And then you asked a friend to join you?
Theresa: Yes, actually two friends. I began right away when I got to work that day, e-mailing a friend saying, "I need to do this, but I need your help."
Dennis: This was a friend who was good in working with children in church, is that right?
Theresa: Correct, she was, at the time, doing puppet shows for the younger children at church, and I just could see the Resurrection Egg story, the story of Easter, through a puppet show being a huge success, you know? The kids really engaging in that.
Dennis: So how did you get the word out in your neighborhood that you were hosting an Easter egg party?
Theresa: Well, just like you said, Dennis. I went to the website and printed down your invitations, the invitations that were there, and we went around and handed them out, and got the word out.
Bob: So you spread the word in the neighborhood.
Dennis: Like, how many homes did you go to?
Theresa: Every home in our neighborhood with children.
Bob: And would that be 20, 30, any idea?
Theresa: I would say we probably hit about 50 homes.
Bob: And did anybody stop you and say, "Why are you bothering us?"
Theresa: No, no, nobody.
Bob: Or "What kind of religious nuts are you?" You didn't have any of that?
Theresa: No, an Easter egg hunt is not threatening.
Dennis: It's a safe event, isn't it?
Theresa: It is.
Miss PattyCake: And everybody wants to come to an Easter egg hunt.
Theresa: Everyone did, and it was wonderful.
Dennis: How many came?
Theresa: We probably had around 25 or 30 children, and then moms and dads, so it was wonderful.
Dennis: How many moms and dads came?
Theresa: You know, I couldn't give you a number, but I would say most kids were accompanied by a mom or dad.
Bob: And so you've got the houseful of kids and moms and dads, and are you thinking what have I gotten myself into?
Theresa: I'm thinking, "This is wonderful. Thank you, Lord." We kind of had cleared out our house. The weather is kind of unpredictable in Illinois here, and kind of cleared out our living room a little bit, because we decided we'd do relays and games in there, and cleared out our kitchen a little bit.
Bob: In the living room you're doing relays?
Theresa: Oh, yeah. We had it set up.
Bob: You're my kind of mom. I want to come live at your house.
Theresa: And the kitchen was the craft area, crafts were happening over there, and we kind of separated the kids out – the younger ones doing the games together, and then the older ones would come and do that together. So it worked out a little bit nicer that way. And then we all went down in the basement for a wonderful puppet show around the Resurrection Eggs.
Dennis: Good, so you didn't actually hide the eggs, you did a puppet show around the eggs, then?
Theresa: We did. What we did is, as the kids came down to the basement, they had made their own little bags that were their Easter baskets; they had decorated them. They each got to pick an egg from a basket, and we numbered 12 of the eggs. So as Buster and Freddie – Buster the Bunny and Freddie the Frog – came up on the puppet show, they would ask me, "Mrs. C, to come and grab egg Number 1," and then they would tell a story, the first part of the Easter story around that egg. So the kids got to interact in this, which was really nice. I was a little concerned that if they did the Easter egg hunt first they might be too excited with everything in their hands to really focus on the story.
Bob: Or too much sugar in their system at that point.
Theresa: Yes, exactly, exactly. So it really worked out wonderfully. The kids got to participate, and Buster and Freddie had their attention, and I kind of sat on the sideline and presented the items that were in the eggs, like the crown of thorns – I had a big crown of thorns so I could put that on my head. Kids love visuals, so anything they can see and touch and have it be alive for them, you know, they can really engage in.
Dennis: It sounds like a bit of stage production, the way you did it with the puppets and …
Theresa: Well, that's why you need help. That's where friends come in handy.
Bob: You know, that's a great point. I think if a mom can link arms with a couple of other moms, it makes this so much more achievable than if one mom says, "I'll just do it all myself."
Theresa: And so much more fun. I had other people in the neighborhood that knew we were doing this that were planning on coming saying, "Hey, can I put some eggs together for you?" We had 300 Easter eggs.
Theresa: And, I'm, like, oh, that's wonderful.
Bob: Here is my question, since the hunt have you had opportunities to have any kind of spiritual interaction with folks you hadn't had those opportunities with before?
Theresa: I would say what I did have the opportunity to do is to open my home up to people in our neighborhood that I didn't even know, and that gives way to opportunities to get involved in their life.
Miss PattyCake: My pastor calls what you have done, "Raising a faith flag," because what you have done through this is made it known that you have a relationship with God so that at some point in their lives when they begin to have questions about spiritual things, they might think – you are the first person they may think of.
Theresa: Absolutely, and that's why it was exciting having these moms and dads here. You know, many of them I knew but some I didn't, and just to really focus this day, the day before Easter, on Easter and have it be fun, crazy fun. This house was fun.
Dennis: I can imagine. It sounds like you had about 50 people there.
Theresa: Yeah, we probably did. It was packed, and I am looking forward to another opportunity to do something this year.
Bob: Well, that's what I wanted to know. I wanted to make sure that you're signed up and enlisted for this year's World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
Theresa: I'm working on it, Bob, I'm working on it.
Bob: Well, Easter is just around the corner, now, Theresa.
Theresa: I know, I know, it's really exciting. In fact, I remember the three women, two friends that helped me – one that helped with the games and then the one who put the puppet show together – I'm not good in front of people, not even kids in presenting things, but to do something in a fun way to where you can hide behind a puppet show, well, there's potential there. And I remember at the end of last year we were all so excited. It was, like, okay, next year, what are we going to do? You know, this is so much fun. And even though our kids are getting older, they were able to help. When we sent these invitations out, we did this from two years old to third grade, the Easter egg hunt, but younger kids were welcome, and older kids were welcome to come and help, and I had special treats for them if they helped. We also raffled off a set of Resurrection Eggs, which was a great opportunity to put this in someone's home so that they can do this with their own family.
Bob: Well, I'll tell you what, we look at you as a hero, you know, for stepping out in the neighborhood, for connecting with your neighbors and for just being open and transparent about your faith.
Dennis: In fact, Miss PattyCake referred to you raising the flag of faith, I've heard of homes being turned into lighthouses. I think what you've done there in your community, Theresa, in your neighborhood, has turned your house into a lighthouse, and we'll look forward to getting an e-mail or a letter from you, and also write us and let us know what happens this year. Will you do that?
Theresa: I sure will, thanks so much.
Bob: Thanks, Theresa.
Bob: You know, if Theresa can do it, so can you, right?
Bob: Everybody who is listening – a mom, a dad, in fact, I'm thinking single people.
Dennis: Oh, yeah.
Miss PattyCake: That would be great.
Bob: We think of parents doing this.
Dennis: This would be a great assignment for an aunt or an uncle. Maybe you aren't an aunt and an uncle, and you've always wanted to be one.
Miss PattyCake: What about teenagers?
Bob: There you go.
Miss PattyCake: What a great opportunity. Kids who want to babysit? What if they said, "We are throwing a neighborhood Easter egg hunt, we want all your kids to come, and not only to share the Gospel – they can get business.
Dennis: We have a ton of homeschoolers who listen to FamilyLife Today, a lot of young people, and easily a 13, 15, 16-year-old could help host this along with his parents or her parents.
Bob: Your babysitting opportunities will skyrocket following your participation in the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. We have made it as easy as possible by putting all you need on our website at FamilyLife.com. There are invitations that can be downloaded, posters, there's a handbook that tells you exactly how to do this with all kinds of creative ideas. If you need a set of Resurrection Eggs, you can order those from us, or you can stop by your neighborhood Wal-Mart, go by your Family Christian Store, they are the Easter egg hunt headquarters this year. They've got all the supplies that you need. You can pick up Miss PattyCake's Eggs-travaganza DVD or the new book for children that has the poem that we read earlier in today's program. If you've got older kids, we've got resources for them as well. We just need you to enlist. We need you to sign up the way Theresa did and others have done, and make the Second Annual World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt even bigger than the first annual.
Dennis: We need some gardeners, some folks who will plant some seeds, and this is the seed that will never perish. This is a great seed, because these are the seeds of eternal life and what a great way to introduce children to the greatest story ever told. And the Easter season – hear me on this – the Easter season is not commercialized. It's not like Christmas. People aren't overwhelmed with a lot of things. They may get caught up with an Easter dress or a new pair of shoes, but they need the message of Easter now more than ever.
Bob: That's right. Our website again is FamilyLife.com or if you need to call us, the number is 1-800-FLTODAY. That's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY or, again, stop by your local Christian bookstore, your Family Christian Store – they've got all the supplies for the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. Wal-Mart has the eggs, we've got them here at FamilyLife, and then we want to hear from you. We want to know that you're signed up and that you're going to do it, and we want to hear from you after the fact. Let us know how your Easter egg party went. You can drop us a note here at FamilyLife or give us a call at 1-800-FLTODAY. But join with us and be a part of this year's World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
Well, tomorrow we're going to be back to talk more about how you can engage the kids in your neighborhood and plant those spiritual seeds that Dennis is talking about. I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.
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