Monday, May 13, 2013

A.C.T.S. Part I: Discover the Joy of Serving!

Join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!
Adventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos, and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.

This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve, everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas, kids will discover that serving can be a blast!

How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:
Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.

A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners (one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to another country with a parent! The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at You don’t want to miss it!

Why serve?
"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:43b-45
Our culture puts an extravagant amount of energy into raising kids who will grow up to feel good about themselves. In schools, clubs, homes, and even at church, adults have made a decided effort to bolster children’s “self-esteem” –not by actually encouraging kids do something that’s worthwhile, but by simply telling them they are important and valuable. At the turn of the century, researchers predicted that the next generation would respond to these efforts of raising self-esteem by being filled with optimism and civic duty. Unfortunately, recent research shows the opposite. Kids coming of age today are more self-centered, disrespectful of authority, and depressed than ever before.

In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with them into adulthood—which is the greatest gift any parent can bestow on their child. In addition, our kids can discover their talents through service. The believers' gifts (talents) are not to be laid up for self but laid out in service. Serving is a privilege and honor.

My husband and I have always encouraged our children to use their time, talents, and treasures to serve God and others. We are involved in a weekly outreach ministry to the international students who attend a local university, the annual shoebox project for Operation Christmas Child, our annual baking and handing out yummy goodies & gospel tracts to neighbors, etc. In 2011, our daughter served on the Logos Hope (a ministry of Operation Mobilization) in Malaysia. You can watch her video of her mission trip here. She also has served in a preschool class at our church since 2010 and has served as an online missionary for Global Media Outreach since 2012. After 12 years of doing Steps for Life and being inducted into the Steps for Life Hall of Fame for raising over $10,000 for the Pregnancy Resource Centers of Greater Portland (PRC), my daughter passed the baton to her younger brother last year. He raised a total of $1,450 last year! Please consider giving to PRC by donating through my 11 yo son's Steps for Life page. Please help save lives! Only 5 days left (the website will be closed at noon on May 17th)...he still needs $510 to reach his goal! Any amount helps and adds up :)!

 Check out the free downloadable mp3 file of the AIO Service episode at (note: downloads are only accessible through this link) and the free PDF download of summer service ideas for kids at .

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