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Seeds of Kindness

Scripture
Hosea 11:1-4

Decorations
Anything to do with the garden: flower pots, seed packets, plants, garden tools. Be creative! Make a 'garden bouquet' - fill flower pots with dirt, plant a pansy or other colorful plant in the dirt then fill in behind and beside it with a few small garden tools and seed packets glued to sticks. Use floral cloth squares as table toppers.

Food
Salad buffet - provide everything imaginable for a make-your-own salad - both for garden salad (of course!) and pasta salad (tip: cook, cool, then season pasta with a favorite dressing in advance to boost flavor, put ingredients you would usually use in bowls around pasta for women to help themselves). Assorted greens, veggies: sliced, shredded, chopped, marinated items such as olives, artichokes, beets, mushrooms, pickles; assorted shredded/crumbled cheeses, garbanzos, crunchy things such as sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, "bacun" bits, chow mein noodles, croutons, and flavored nuts; and a selection of salad dressings. You may wish to include other more substantial salads as well such as potato, macaroni, broccoli, and coleslaw.

S.I.P
Have a basket of pansy shapes and pens ready for ladies when they arrive. Have them select a shape and write a prayer concern on the back, then place in another basket. At the end of your event, redistribute shapes asking women to include the concern in their personal prayer time.

Music
Anything to do with sun and gardens
Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
I Come To The Garden Alone


Devotion
Read through the scripture verse (Hosea 11:1-4) again if you have already read it. What a beautiful passage! You can feel the anguish and concern that God is voicing. God, our creator, someone who could force, destroy, change anything He wants is expressing Himself in very human terms much as a parent would do. "I loved him, I called him my son, I taught Ephraim to walk taking them by the arms...I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them". How heartbreakingly beautiful this passage is.You can clearly visualize a parent agonizing over the unwise choices of a child.

In verse 4 there is an interesting phrase: "I led them with the cords of human kindness, with ties of love". This portrays kindness and love as things that connect and facilitate drawing in. The whole passage reflects a gentleness, a tender reaching out to a wayward child.

We know well the story of the Israelites, and if we continue the parent-child analogy  in human terms, gently hugging and tenderly loving them is not what many of us would do! A good spanking seems in order here, along with a long lecture! And yet God knows what is needed, what will help the wayward child to respond in a positive way. And what kindness He shows! It isn't the superficial kindness - something done because it is the right thing to do. It goes deep - a genuine kindness and desire for well-being for the individual.

Cords of Human Kindness. What a beautiful phrase. If God is continually kind and patient - shouldn't we emulate His character? Won't kindness accomplish the same things for us that God desires for mankind? And, if we wish to draw people in with kindness shouldn't we be kind at all times, not just during a planned activity?

Let's pray for the type of kindness and love that God shows to each of us, and the ability to share that kindness with others.

Ministry
Gather clay pots, potting soil, and pansies from a garden center.
Also have available:
wood plant markers and pens
Blank cards
stamps, markers, stickers, etc to decorate cards

As a group - draw up a list of ladies who have been missing from church or people they would like to come to church
Have ladies re-pot pansies and create plant markers (write a Bible verse or kind word on marker)
Each lady should select a name to deliver to the flower to. Then decorate a card for that person. On the inside of the card write 'This card is good for..." and think of something to do for or with that person in the near future.Think of things that will bring women together with cords of kindness.

Ideas for cards:
  • A pot of tea, scones, and good company
  • A movie and popcorn
  • A walk in the park
  • A hand massage
  • Help around the house
  • Babysitting
  • Letter writing
  • A batch of homemade cookies
Deliver the plant and card, then follow up with a phone call or email setting up a date for the item in the card.

Other Ministry Ideas
Consider starting a Heart Call ministry in your church. For more information click HERE