May 05

Viewing disruption as an opportunity for development: a lesson in resilience by Daniel Champer, LCPC

Two of the kindest eyes I’ve ever met resided squarely between a healthy set of laugh lines and due south from a shock of silver hair. His name was Pete, and he lived beside my family of rough-and-tumble boys who would have been much better suited for a cow pasture. Our suburban backyard resembled something out of the movie Sandlot and stood in stark contrast to his perfectly manicured cottage garden. My brother and I affectionately refer to this formative time as the “summer of the home run.” Unfortunately for Pete, his yard stood directly beyond our home run fence.

It was 1998 and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were battling for the home run title in the papers, while Daniel, Peter, and Jonathan were battling for the home run title of the backyard. It was getting late in the summer and our home run numbers weren’t quite keeping up with those of the professionals. So, in an act of pubescent wisdom, we opted for harder balls and bigger bats.

The pitch was perfect. And I don’t know if I was a little late with my swing or Jonathan peppered me a little outside, but it cleared the right field fence faster than my “oh yeah” could turn to “oh sh#%.” You see, Pete’s garden paradise was left field. Pete’s house was right field. To my horrified ears, the sound of the hard baseball smacking Pete’s meticulously maintained siding could be heard on Mars. Nobody moved. Nobody breathed. I had just moved into the home run lead yet all I could think about was how my life was going to be over the second my father got home.

And then, in painfully slow motion, a clump of silver emerged from a thicket of blueberry bushes not too far from the scene of the crime. A mass of fabric slowly unfurled to form a pair of khakis and a button-down flannel shirt. I was acutely aware of the pruning shears in the grizzled right hand. As they shuffled around the corner of the house to inspect the damage, I was too terrified to move.

Pete glanced at the frozen baseball players and he glanced at the house. And slowly, he started to laugh. He turned towards us with those smile lines fully pronounced and his crooked thumb stuck up in the air. “Great hit bub, you guys are getting pretty good.” That’s all he said. And then as if by magic, he disappeared back into his blueberry bushes.

This moment changed my life.

You see, at this time in my development I believed we were all destined to be products of our environment. If something negative happened, you were to react in a negative way. If someone in a position of authority spoke something into your life, you behaved in such a way to manifest that destiny. The 20 second interaction with Pete and his crooked green thumb initiated 20 plus years of attitude adjustment.

Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. I view it as the learned ability to see opportunity in the midst of adversity. Regardless of the chosen definition, the concept of resilience begins with a choice. We can choose to form a curse word or a smile.

As we all collectively huddle inside of homes with those whom we name family, it is easy to jump to a scenario in which our houses are being pelted with COVID-19 filled baseballs. I constantly hear the words fear, uncertainty, irritation, impatience, and others of their ilk zooming through the atmosphere. But I would challenge us to focus on one word.


I currently spend much of my day planted in front of a computer screen with an oft stinky, always wiggly toddler perched on my lap intent on inserting herself into the business of the day. My toenails are pink, and I have been instructed as to the “right way” to play Princess Tea Party more times than I can count by an assertive 6-year-old. Much of my body is grass stained and my allergies are ridiculous as I attempt to keep up with our four-year-old version of a cross between Princess Diana and Attila the Hun. I have a perpetual headache and my job has required me to make very difficult decisions. My routine is disrupted and my life has been changed.

And I refuse to see this as a detriment.

I will never again have the opportunity to build relationships with my family in such an integrated way throughout the course of my workday. I am receiving the gift of free time as my 1-hour daily commute has been reduced to the time it takes me to turn off my computer. My addiction to busyness has been temporarily slowed by external forces beyond my control and as a result I feel more rested than I have in a very long time.

These are but a few of the examples of opportunities which I have been blessed with during this unique time. We are all being afforded the incredible opportunity to learn resilience. Every one of us is confronted with this choice and tension hundreds of times every day. And like any skill, you will only improve if you practice.

The development of a skill requires focus and intention. People rarely achieve milestones accidentally and prodigies are rare. Contact with the undesired outcome must be limited and redirected through supportive relationship. The beautiful paradox of resilience is you will undoubtedly fail at times in its pursuit. However, you are then immediately afforded another chance to try again.

And so, I challenge you to practice resilience. I challenge you to seek out opportunity. While we cannot change the current circumstances of our world, we can change the way we react.

My interactions with Pete helped to change my life. If you adopt his attitude, you can change yours.

Mar 26

Intermountain Moment: Stacey’s Safe Space

Recently, one of our cottage therapists gave an assignment to Stacey, a young girl in her care. She asked Stacey to draw a picture of her “safe space.” This had the potential to be a very difficult assignment, as Stacey had endured a significant amount of adversity and relational turbulence in her life.

However, after a year of Intermountain’s intensive residential care focusing on building healthier relationships, Stacey’s therapist felt she was ready to engage the assignment with hope rather than fear. Stacey’s “safe space” was defined to her as anywhere she felt protected, calm, and happy.

Stacey is now starting to feel safe

Stacey returned to her next session with her therapist, having drawn a picture of her residential cottage and included a note with her drawing which said, “Home is starting to be a safe space for me.”

Stacey’s challenge, in the time she remains in Intermountain’s care, is to transfer the skills she has learned in her cottage to her home. For now, her “safe space” is in the care of the amazing and dedicated cottage staff at Intermountain, and this care and safety has cultivated hope within her young heart. A hope she can return home and feel safe there, as well.

Stacey’s “homework” from therapy, where she drew Bridger Cottage at Intermountain as her “safe space” and then added, “Home is starting to be safe for me.”

Intermountain’s transformative approach of meeting a child where they are—developmentally and relationally—through sound clinical work and consistent, empathetic responses to difficult behaviors shows children and their families Hope & Healing are possible. Many like Stacey have found their “safe space” because of Intermountain. Thank you for supporting this life-changing mission.

Click HERE for a bulletin insert that shares Stacey’s story

Mar 04

Blaine’s “Words of Wisdom”

After spending over a year in our residential treatment program, riding the regular ups and downs of a young man working through significant mental health and relationship issues, Blaine found himself standing before his treatment team, his family, and his peers. He was surrounded by well wishing, shared favorite moments from his time at Intermountain, and hope everyone had for his future as he rejoined his family back home. This was his “graduation ceremony,” of sorts… and while each team or cottage in residential services does this a little differently, most often the graduating child is given a chance to share their words of wisdom with the remaining children in care. Blaine made the most of this opportunity – here is a summary of what he said:

“First, be honest. Be honest with yourself and about why you are here. Be honest with the staff. Share your feelings. Being anything other than honest won’t help you. It didn’t help me. When I started to be honest with what was going on for me, I started to get better.

Second, be nice. None of us want to be here. We’d rather be home. I’m going home and you’ll get there, too. But, for now, this is who you are living with. These are the staff taking care of you. Be nice to them. Be nice to yourself. When someone does something dumb or mean, just be nice. Be nice even when it’s hard.

(above) Blaine is ready to head home after treatment

Third, I’d say you need to have hope. Hope you’ll get done with treatment. Hope you’ll get home eventually. Hope kept me going… well, that and reading (note: his young man had a small library in his room and would read whenever he got the chance!). So, whatever you do, have hope.

Fourth, help one another. This is kinda like what I said about being nice, but goes with it. Work together when you can. It will be more fun if you can help one another. We each have had bad days here, and you have helped me, and I hope I have helped you. So, keep helping one another.

Lastly, I’d say you should be a friend. I didn’t have any friends when I came here. I don’t really have many friends at home. Making friends can be hard, so don’t make it hard on someone who is trying to be your friend. Be a friend. It can just be that you like doing one thing together. Everyone doesn’t have to be your best friend, but be a friend when you can. Some of you I just liked being silly with. Some of you I can be serious with. I like having friends. So, be a friend.”

So take a page from Blaine’s words of wisdom! Be honest. Be Nice. Have hope. Help one another. Be a friend.
I hope the children were listening to these wise words… I certainly was. I hope you will listen, too.

Intermountain brings Hope & Healing to over 1,200 children just like Blaine every day. With God’s grace, Intermountain’s highly-trained staff lead these children to become more resilient, capable, and confident – this not only allows them to return home, but also to be successful in their transitions. Thank you for supporting the work of Intermountain. If you would like to learn how you can help our Hope & Healing continue please reach out: (406)457-4850 or


Chaplain Chris Haughee

Click HERE to share this story with your congregation as a bulletin insert

Feb 27

Melt our hearts, Lord!

As we begin the season of Lent, and slowly make our way towards longer and warmer days, I was touched by this pastoral prayer from one of our partners in ministry. What you will read below is a slight adaptation of that prayer by Pastor Steve Hundley, of Mission Valley Presbyterian Church. You have his permission to use it in your own services, should you choose.

“We come to You, O Lord,

at a time when much of our valley

has been gripped by snow and cold –

when roads have been clogged

and winds have been strong

and some have struggled to keep warm.

Let the coldness of this season

raise the question

of our own spiritual temperatures.

Has our relationship to You been frozen and stiff?

Are the ways of our hearts clogged by snowdrifts of apathy and indifference?

Do the lines of communication between us sag and break beneath the iciness of neglect or doubt?

Send now a warming trend into our lives.

Let there be a melting of our hearts,

and a surrender to Your will and Your Way.

Grant that the icicles of pride and loneliness

may fall from our hearts,

and that the heat of Your love and grace

may break up the ice floes that have kept us apart.

Transform us into centers of warmth

that will radiate Your presence

into the cold-hearted world around us.

Show us how to be Your light,

like the warmth of the sun, warming the earth.

Grant peace to those who are anxious

and renewal to those who are tired.

Instill in our nation a longing

and a desire for the common good.

Grow in us a desire to do the good we can

for those you place on our hearts,

for those Intermountain serves and the children, youth

and families seeking hope and healing.

Let Christ come and touch us now

so that all our problems may be small ones,

dwarfed in the magnitude and beauty

of His presence.

For in Christ there is no coldness,

but eternal springtime. Amen.”

Feb 06

A battle with anxiety is one you can win! by Pastor Anna Viehland

Recently, I preached on John 1. I talked about what it meant for God to become a human being.

In my sermon, I talked about a very difficult period of my life that I rarely bring up. Between my late teens and third year of college I was very ill. My stomach seemed to launch a full-scale mutiny against the rest of my body. When I would try to eat, I’d immediately become nauseated. My throat would clench up, I would break into a sweat, and I’d spend the rest of the day feeling like I’d swallowed a pound of lead. I spent many late nights crying because my abdominal pain made it impossible to sleep. To make matters worse, my inability to eat gave me splitting headaches and debilitating fatigue. I lost almost 30 lbs…and I was small to begin with.

No one could tell me what was wrong with me. I underwent all kinds of tests, special diets, and blood draws. Some doctors wrote me off completely. My stomach hurt, but I was young. I still managed to get good grades, dance, and pursue music. I couldn’t be THAT sick, could I? I looked okay on the outside. I’m sure people assumed I was just petite. I was a dancer and was told I had the “perfect body” for it. People openly envied my slim frame. But I was miserable. I didn’t care about being thin. I just wanted to feel normal and feel okay again.

Eventually, we found the culprit: the anxiety disorder that I’d been battling for years. Scientists have long studied the connection between the brain and the gut. Both are extremely sensitive to stress and the chemicals that our bodies release when we’re nervous or scared. When a person suffers from anxiety, they’re always nervous and scared, even when there isn’t an obvious reason to be afraid. So it’s not uncommon for anxiety sufferers to have severe stomach problems with no apparent cause. I was put on medication and started regular therapy sessions. I put on weight. I started to feel more like myself again.

I learned a lot from those years. I learned how absolutely whack society’s standards for beauty are. It’s completely ridiculous that people envied my emaciated body when I would’ve traded it all for the ability to eat a cheeseburger without throwing up. I learned how difficult it is to have a chronic illness and be continually dismissed by medical professionals, particularly as a woman.

But I also learned about things that matter. There are times when I’m uncomfortable with the way my body looks these days. I get nervous when my jeans fit a little tighter than they used to. I do need to start treating my body better, which includes eating healthier and exercising. But on the days that I look in the mirror and hate myself, I look back at who I used to be. I look at that little girl. I look at the valleys under her collarbones and the bags under her eyes. The ribs that my family used to joke about playing like a xylophone (lovingly, I promise). I remember the hopelessness in her hungry eyes. And I remember how she prayed to be where I am today. There is more to life than how I look. Being healthy, being happy, and being able to do the things I love to do with the people I love—and being able to be the best Anna I can be to my family, friends, and congregations—are so much more important than the size of my waist.

Most of all, I learned what I shared with my congregation this evening. I learned what it meant for God to take on human form. Being sick taught me that having a body is very hard. For even the healthiest among us, having a body means enduring a great deal of pain. And yet…we’ve just spent an entire season celebrating the fact that God took on a body. A frail, vulnerable, human body. Why on earth would God actively choose to take on flesh and all of the drama that comes with it?

Because God loves us. Recklessly, unendingly, and regardless of whether or not we deserve it. God does not only love us through our trials and tribulations but understands them. Jesus subjected himself to things like fear, anger, sadness, and loss. He subjected himself to physical pain, to abuse, agony and death–all of the things that make having a body difficult. He didn’t have to…but he DID. I think back to how it felt being sick–how I sat up at night holding my stomach asking where God was, and why I was here, alone and suffering. Jesus gets it. Jesus became human, suffered, and died, because he cares about that scared, sick girl crying herself to sleep every night, and everyone like her. When we are suffering–in mind, spirit, or body–God is with us.

Treatment has helped me immensely but I still struggle. Anxiety is a lifelong battle, particularly combined with other mental health issues. It is painful and it is isolating. It still gives me a nervous stomach, sleepless nights, and bad headaches on occasion. But I know that I’m not alone. I never was. I never will be. And you aren’t alone either.


Anna Viehland is a pastor and divides her time between Helena United Methodist Ministries and Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran church in Townsend, MT. Originally from Florida, she moved to the Big Sky state in May of 2019 after marrying her husband, Daniel. In her spare time, she likes to read, sing, play the piano, ski, and spend time with her pets–two cats, Henry and Marilla, and a border collie mix, Auggie.

Jan 30

Free Lenten Object Lessons!

In over twenty years in children and youth ministry, the object lessons I have used for children’s sermon times have been a very effective way of communicating the truth of God’s Word.  Many of the adults in the congregation would tell me they preferred my children’s sermons to my “regular” sermons!  Jesus taught in object lessons and word pictures, too, so it should be no surprise to us that this method is highly effective—surely Jesus knew what he was doing and set an example for us to follow!

These lessons have been carefully crafted around the stories of the Lenten season (Revised Common Lectionary Readings- Year A), how the Easter story impacts our hearts and lives, and the ways in which your church can connect to the ministry of Intermountain. I hope this resource blesses you, saves you time in preparation, and makes your workload a little lighter. It is my hope that our relationship will truly be a partnership of mutual benefit. As Intermountain’s chaplain, I want to be a resource to you and an encouragement in your work with children and families.

If you want to pair these lessons with a Change for Children can drive which will benefit the children and families that Intermountain serves, please reach out to me at 406-457-4850 or

Dec 05

Flashback Thursday: Managing holiday expectations



While far from ideal, my childhood provided me with great memories of the holidays. I recall special days of decorating cookies with my Aunt Shirley, sharing a bowl of homemade Chex mix with my Grandpa Haughee while watching football, candlelight services at church, and special meals where family came together. We were a firmly entrenched middle-class American family, and one of the few times of excess and celebration centered around the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seemed a time when it was “all about the kids,” and being a kid, therefore, was pretty great.

Through my adolescence and young adult years, music and movies took a significant role in shaping my images of the holidays. I still love to crank up Bing Crosby’s Christmas album, and watch the Christmas classics when they come on TV. One of the best parts of moving from the Pacific Northwest to Montana a decade ago was that I could sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” with an expectation that my “dream” will actually come true! I love the lights and the decorations, and can honestly say that the holidays are my favorite time of year. This is despite the fact that they are also the hardest time of the year for me. Try as I might, my holidays don’t look like they do in the movies.

Only as an adult can we appreciate the stress that the holidays must have brought our own parents. It is as if, through our own experience as parents and adults, we can look back on those memories of childhood with a clarity we didn’t have then. Behind the bows and lights, and hidden in the dark corners where the candlelight didn’t reach, there were all the stresses and hurt I feel now as an adult. I am sure my parents were missing their loved ones that had passed, just as I miss my mother who passed away this year. The running around from school program to church service to the mall for Christmas shopping undoubtedly tempered their enthusiasm for our celebrations. There were substance abuse issues, strained marriages heading to divorce, and dire health diagnoses that existed throughout my childhood that were as ever-present as our family gathered to share meals and make memories.

By Produnis - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Produnis – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

That’s why my expectations of the holidays, shaped by the movies to conclude with a happy ending despite any difficulty, leave me confused and always a little melancholy as an adult. Intellectually, I recognize how silly it is to mourn the loss of an ideal holiday that never truly existed, but my heart longs for that happy ending and saccharine sweet Hollywood storyline. So, what should we do when we are stressed out, disappointed, or depressed at the prospect of the holidays with no sign of immediate relief? I have a few suggestions that have proven helpful for me.

  • First, name false expectations out loud. Sometimes just speaking the words, “I can’t have a great Christmas unless [fill in the blank]!” helps you see how silly it is. Our joy shouldn’t hang on the outcome of the weather, our family’s gratitude, or getting that item on our Christmas list. Joy comes from within, not without. Take a deep breath. It will be okay, and okay is good enough.
  • Secondly, manage moments and take time for people, not tasks. Some of the greatest moments during the holidays can be found in chance encounters. If you rush around getting tasks done, you’ll miss these moments of joy. Plan for connection with people, realizing that being together is what’s important—whether it’s over a store-bought cookie or one you spent six hours baking in your kitchen. It’s about being fully present at your child’s concert or performance, not capturing it for Instagram or other social media.
  • Third, get outside yourself by serving. When our holidays are about our experience and how we feel about them, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. But, if we look for opportunities to serve someone else and brighten their day, lightening their load, we shift our gaze from our expectations to another’s need. It just may tap us into a deeper reality behind the holidays, especially as we celebrate the birth of the one who came “not to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

Lastly, if you take good care of yourself as a parent or caregiver this holiday season, you’ll be better equipped to provide that wonderful holiday you want for yourself and your family. Your children will thank you for it, and they will appreciate the tradition you build around a more balanced and relationally-focused holiday more than any present you could buy them.


Chaplain Chris Haughee

Dec 02

Children’s Sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Advent: Beyond “The Giving Tree”

Object needed:

A copy of the book, “The Giving Tree.”

Theme/Main Idea:Giving-Tree-image

Even when things seem hopeless, God gives us hope. When nothing is left of the tree but the stump, there is still life there… just waiting for the right season to spring up again. Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree, ends with an old man sitting on a stump and the “tree” is happy again… but the ending of the book is pretty sad, really! The story of Isaiah, in today’s passage, is MUCH more hopeful.


“How are you this morning, children? My object lesson today is a book, and I am guessing it’s one that many of you have seen or had read to you before… anyone want to guess?

[take time for children’s guesses… I’d be amazed if someone got it!]

No… though those are all good guesses and well known stories. The book I have [reveal book at this time] is called, The Giving Tree! Do you know this book? Oh, it’s really good. We don’t have time to read it all now, maybe later we could, but for now I want to point out how the Tree in the book and the boy are friends. The book moves through the story with the boy getting older and returning each time to take something more from the tree. At the very end, what is left of the tree?

[turn page to where the old man sits on what is left of the tree… now just a stump]

Right! Just a poor old stump. But still, the story tells us, the tree is happy because the “boy,” now really an old man, can sit on her and she feels connected to the boy once again. And that’s it. That’s the story… kind of happy, and kind of sad. But, of the stories I know that talk about stumps, and I am not sure there are too many, The Giving Tree is only the second best story. I know a better one. It’s in the Bible! It’s a great story… really!

Hmmm… you guys don’t look convinced. Maybe I better explain…

Do you know about Advent? Advent means “the arrival of an important person or event.” It’s the start of the church year, and throughout the season of Advent we recognize the coming of Jesus as a baby. We celebrate that particular miracle on what day that is coming up? Do you know?

[let kids respond]

That’s right! Christmas! So, Advent is the time leading up to Christmas… It’s a time when we look back on the Bible passages that foretold Jesus’ coming so we can learn more about the wonderful gift Jesus was to the world! In the passage from Isaiah that we read this morning, for instance, the prophet talks about the promise of a ‘branch’ that was going to come and save everyone. Do you know what God was actually talking about? Or, maybe I should say… Do you know WHO God was talking about? [kids guess] That’s right… Jesus!

Jesus was the branch Isaiah wrote about. That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? It gets a little less weird if you understand why God promised that branch in the first place.

Back then, the people of Israel were pretty discouraged. They had messed up big time, and they were suffering the consequences of some pretty bad choices. They had turned their backs on God and decided to do things their own way. It didn’t work out very well for them. So, like a big beautiful tree getting cut down, all of the ‘amazingness’ of being God’s people was taken away. They had to leave the places they were living and go live somewhere else. They were sad. They had gone from feeling like a big, important and beautiful tree to a lowly little stump. And, as they felt lowly like that stump, without any hope, that’s when God told them that out of that stump they had become a new tree would sprout! At first it would be so small, it would just be like a little branch coming out of the side of the stump!

Wow… incredible! When they felt their worst and felt like maybe God would just throw up his hands and be done with them, God gave them a promise. God told them that they would have a future leader, a great great great (you keep going on and on for a little while…) grandson of King David, who would help make them the type of people who are ‘right with God,’ close to him, and part of God’s family! That’s a wonderful promise to look forward to.

So, here we are in Advent, just starting out. Let’s remember how God kept his promise to send the branch—the seedling from the stump of Jesse (that was King David’s dad)—and that branch is Jesus, and most importantly… God still keeps all his promises today. In our own small way, we can help extend the hope that God gives us by supporting the work Intermountain does with kids and families.

We handed out change cans last week and have some more for you if you missed that (pass out cans to any that weren’t in church last week), and we’re hoping you fill them up between now and Christmas. You’ll hear a little more about Intermountain as we continue to move through the Advent season. But, for now…

Let’s pray:

God, thank you for your presence in each of our lives. Help us remember the promises that have come true and those that will come true in the future. Give us patience to wait for all the good things you promise to those that love you and place their trust in you. Help us hold out for the best, YOUR best God—for us, and for our church and our community. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”


Key Text: Isaiah 11:1-10 (NIrV)

Jesse’s family is like a tree that has been cut down.
A new little tree will grow from its stump.
From its roots a Branch will grow and produce fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on that Branch.
The Spirit will help him to be wise and understanding.
The Spirit will help him make wise plans and carry them out.
The Spirit will help him know the LORD and have respect for him.
3 The Branch will take delight
in respecting the LORD.
He will not judge things only by the way they look.
He won’t make decisions based simply on what people say.
4 He will always do what is right
when he judges those who are in need.
He’ll be completely fair
when he makes decisions about poor people.
When he commands that people be punished,
it will happen.
When he orders that evil people be put to death,
it will take place.
5 He will put on godliness as if it were his belt.
He’ll wear faithfulness around his waist.
6 Wolves will live with lambs.
Leopards will lie down with goats.
Calves and lions will eat together.
And little children will lead them around.
7 Cows will eat with bears.
Their little ones will lie down together.
And lions will eat straw like oxen.
8 A baby will play near a hole where cobras live.
A young child will put its hand into a nest
where poisonous snakes live.
9 None of those animals will harm or destroy anything or anyone
on my holy mountain of Zion.
The oceans are full of water.
In the same way, the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the LORD.
10 At that time, here is what the man who is called the Root of Jesse will do. He will be like a banner that brings nations together. They will come to him. And the place where he rules will be glorious.

Nov 14

Are you ready for the holiday season? This may help…

Recently Intermountain sent hundreds of letters to our faith-based supporters. These letters thank you for your prayers and supporting Healing Through Healthy Relationships, as well as invite the opportunity to give in 2019 if you have not already done so. Perhaps you and your congregation have not had an opportunity yet this year to be a part of bringing hope and healing through healthy relationship?

If you didn’t receive that letter, there is a link in this post, as well as a poster that can be printed off and placed on a church bulletin board or used on pre-service announcement slides.


As a thank you for your faithful support, I would also like to make available to you and your church free Advent children’s object lessons! While written primarily for a Children’s Sermon format, these object lessons could be used in a Sunday school setting, youth group, or even as sermon illustrations! Though written as a companion and a resource to couple with change CFC-logocans, none of the lessons are dependent on Change for Children (CFC) participation! Our desire is that they would be a gift to you and a thank you for your support. If you choose to dovetail CFC into these lessons, it’s as simple as contacting us and requesting our prayer cards or setting a goal of numbers of cans returned by Christmas!

Click here for: CFC 2019 Children’s Sermons – Year A in Lectionary

In my twenty-three years in children and youth ministry, the object lessons I have used for children’s sermon times have been a very effective way of communicating the truth of God’s Word.  Many of the adults in the congregation would tell me they preferred my children’s sermons to my “regular” sermons!  Jesus taught in object lessons and word pictures, too, so it should be no surprise to us that this method is highly effective—surely Jesus knew what he was doing and set an example for us to follow!

These lessons have been carefully crafted around the stories of the Advent season (Revised Common Lectionary, Year A) and how the message of God’s love for us in Jesus impacts our hearts and lives. I hope this resource blesses you, saves you time in preparation, and makes your workload a little lighter. So, enjoy these lessons, and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you and build a stronger relationship between the chaplain’s ministry at Intermountain and the good work you are doing in your church and community.

Chaplain Chris Haughee

Nov 12

Intermountain Moment: Camden’s Story

Ten-year-old “Camden’s” mom was highly abused throughout her life. In fact, horrific abuse goes back three or four generations in their family. Camden’s mom is both hyper-protective and terrified of her children’s emotions. Camden and his mother needed help to keep their small family together. Intermountain’s Community-based Services provided that help.camden

Camden has a “light up the world” smile, according to his Intermountain therapist. When he first came into therapy, he had one emotion that he was willing to express: happy. As he progressed in treatment though, he became willing to express other big emotions. He learned to do this by hiding under his therapist’s desk and building a fort of pillows around himself. His therapist would try to guess his big emotion that day. When the therapist got it right, Camden would burst out of his fort, sending the pillows flying.

At the same time that Camden was learning how to safely express emotions other than happy, his mom was doing the same. She was taking Intermountain’s Circle of Security parenting class, learning to be “Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, and Kind” for her kids. In the past, her immediate reaction to her kids’ strong feelings was anger. She’s now learned how to talk to her kids instead of yell and scream. In a recent joint therapy session, Camden was able to sit in his mom’s lap and just “be sad.” It was a breakthrough for them both.

While it used to take almost an hour for Camden’s therapist to get him to express his emotions, it now only takes a few minutes. At home things are better too. Camden’s mom is continuing to improve the way she reacts to her kids’ strong emotions. She now has a steady job. She’s determined to break the cycle of generations of abuse in her family, and Intermountain’s determined to help her succeed.

When you support Intermountain, you are helping hundreds of children like Camden, and you help families be more successful. For more information or to support Intermountain, call 406-457-4804.




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