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Christ’s Love Cleverly Disguised as a Tea Party

with Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth | December 15, 2009

Do you know a child that need to be encouraged? If so, join us today when Bobbi Wolgemuth and her husband, Robert, tell just how fun and easy it is to bless a child with Christ’s love by hosting a “tea party with a purpose.” Whether it’s a snowflake tea or a “Happy Birthday Jesus” tea, Bobbi tells how a little simple planning can turn into a sweet time that children will enjoy and remember.

Do you know a child that need to be encouraged? If so, join us today when Bobbi Wolgemuth and her husband, Robert, tell just how fun and easy it is to bless a child with Christ’s love by hosting a “tea party with a purpose.” Whether it’s a snowflake tea or a “Happy Birthday Jesus” tea, Bobbi tells how a little simple planning can turn into a sweet time that children will enjoy and remember.

Christ’s Love Cleverly Disguised as a Tea Party

With Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth
|
December 15, 2009
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  That may be the nicest introduction that has ever happened in the 18 years that we have been introducing guests.

Dennis:  I was thinking the same thing.

Bob:  But I want to know do you go to these tea parties that your wife hosts?

Robert:  No.

Bob:  Alright.  Give it up.  High five.

(laughter)

Bobbi:  Now, that is not true.  I’m here and I want to speak speaking of a strong willed wife.

Robert:  Well, I’m not a young boy.  It’s interesting because our office is in our home and I do have to go close the office door because Bobbi is completely irreverent about the level of noise she is making with her tea parties so I go close the door.

It’s really not for me and I don’t have the same magic with children.  Now with my grandchildren that’s different.  I don’t attract kids.  I attract dogs.   I’m a dog whisperer but I’m not for kids. 

Bob:  If it was root beer parties you’d be out of the office there in a minute wouldn’t you? 

Robert:  Sure.  Lots of foam. 

(laughter)

It’s really her ministry.  It’s not mine.  If I were to come and sit down at the table and you can’t respond to this sweetheart, because I think I know what’d you say, I don’t think it would be any fun anymore.  I’m German.  I’m all desks and straight rows.  No gum chewing.  No running in the hall.  That’s me and kids sense that with me.  But with Bobbi it’s no holds barred let’s go for it.  Let’s have a great time. 

Bobbi:  Actually Robert was invited to a tea party two weeks ago at my house because I had a little girl who is being raised by a single mom and a grandmother brought her over to my house specifically for a tea party so I would introduce her it Jesus. 

The little girl came in and because she is from a single parent home I asked Robert if sometime during the tea party he could come down and make sure that he walked through the room so I could introduce him.  I wanted this little girl to see what a mom and a dad together look like.  I thought that would be a great way to bring Robert into the tea party so he did at the right time. 

We were actually having a teddy bear tea party and we had ice cream cups with ears and little raisins for the eyes and we were having the ice cream cups and talking about bears and about her teddy bear and what she liked and at that moment Robert walked down and I said, now I want you to meet somebody very special.  This is my husband, Mr. Robert.  I talked about how wonderful it was and let him go. 

I thought just that picture our lives in every single area are to be a picture of Jesus.  Whether it’s our relationship in marriage, whether it’s our home, it should especially be our joy because the joy of the Lord is what attracts people to Jesus.  That is the wonderful thing.  It’s sort of like when you see a fire burning and you want to go and see what’s happening there.  That is the spark that is ignited in us is Jesus and then kids want to come around and say what is that?

Why are those people so happy?  I wanted this little girl to see a picture of what a mommy and daddy together look like.  The grandmother had told me ahead of time the whole story.  So whatever it is that we can use our homes, the little crackers we have in our pantry, the little cups we put out, I think anything you have you can use to share Christ’s love.  I say that really I’m giving out the gospel of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised in a tea party.

Bob:  You started doing these tea parties about 35 years ago when your kids were little.  When your girls got to be teenagers I would imagine there was a slowdown in the tea party season, right?

Bobbi:  Actually the older kids helped with the little kids and they enjoy that.  I have a 13 year old granddaughter who helps.  When we are having tea parties at her house she loves to help put out the things for the kids.  Older kids can get involved.  It’s part of what they learn to do in sharing the love of Jesus and often I had Abby who is 13 for a hands and feet tea party.  We have a little hand and foot that we put out for the centerpiece.  We always have something to attract the children as a centerpiece. 

It can be something as simple as construction paper with patterns on it.  So we have a little hand and foot that we put out for the hands and feet tea party and she wrote walk as children of the light.  And that was Abby’s contribution and I said Abby, I’d love to have your handwriting on this.  The kids like to make name tags.  They like to make little invitations and help with the crafts. 

I always have a story.  Not only do I have a Bible story but I have listed in the book a Caldecott or a good library book for every story.  Like if we are talking about under the sea tea.  God made the fish let’s talk about things God made.  It’s as simple as when you are telling the children a story to say isn’t that amazing how God made the fish?  Or we have a honey bee tea party.  Without bees there would be no fruit so we bring out fruit and we say do you that it is because of the honey bees that we even have this fruit, isn’t God amazing? 

You are bringing God into everyday experiences and just that little word that God made the bees or God made your hands or God made the fish or whatever it is that you are talking about it is sort of like a little ah-ha that the kids put in their brains.  I call it furniture for their minds.  You have to give children some pictures of God in order to have something to think about.  They have to think high and holy thoughts of God but where are they going to get the picture.  They get it from us.  I love talking to the children about things God made and that He is the creator. 

Dennis:  I loved how you tied the honey bees and the honey to Proverbs 16:24 about how the person who has wise words and good words is like the sweetness of honey. 

Bobbi:  Yes.  We go around the circle and I say now you give a good word to someone on your left.  Then we go around the circle.  I give them help because lots of times the children do not want to come up with it on their own.   I’ll say, let’s give a kind word to Sue.  Sue you look like a sparkler today.  Your smile is so bright.  Then we talk about how did that make you feel when I said you look so happy today?  Did you feel happy when I said that?  We talk about the difference of sweet words and sour words.  When you go home tonight practice.  Don’t tell anybody but give everybody a sweet word and see what happens? 

Bob:  You are one of these people that we can just throw out an idea and you can run with it on the fly and make it up.  The kids are going to connect.  There are a lot of moms who are going that is not me.   But that is what the book is for, right?  It is to give those moms who wouldn’t come up with it on the fly.  They may be thinking I want to have Miss Bobbi over to my house to do a tea party in my house.  You can’t do that but you can send them the book and they can do their own.

Bobbi:  And words of affirmation and laughter…if you can just laugh in your home with children.  We even have fishy jokes in here and little knock-knock jokes in here because children love to laugh.  For the under the sea tea party we have a little tongue twister.  The kids have to say as fast as they can “Susie sells sea shells down by the sea shore.”  We do it really fast and then everybody starts to laugh.  Isn’t laughter fun?  God made smile and for us to laugh.  At the end of the tea party we always hold hands and I say thank you Jesus for these wonderful friends and for the fun that we had today, amen.  It’s as simple as that.

I have had children when I say we are going to pray they didn’t know what it was because they had never prayed before.   I always say to moms a second with Jesus Christ is enough.  That’s enough.  He can change a child’s heart for eternity.  It’s just amazing.  He needs so little to work in their hearts.  The truth is children are such an incredible resource often I say would you pray for Miss Bobbi because I’m having trouble with my hand or whatever it is.  A child praying for you is just a fabulous connector.  I think the Lord uses children and they can teach us so much.

Dennis:  As I was reading your book and looking it over I created an adaptation of one of your ideas. 

Bobbi:  Okay.

Dennis:  Your idea was to create houses…

Bob:  Wait, is root beer involved?

Dennis:  No, there is no root beer involved. 

Robert:  But there are knives.  There are sharp steak knives.

(laughter)

Dennis:  No, there isn’t that either.  You talk about how you can use the story of the three little pigs.  This may be too sophisticated for a tea party but I thought of how most neighborhoods today are made up.  They are made up of some intact families that are together.  Some blended families.  Some families that are in transition or broken families because of divorce or death or something that has taken place. 

The story of the three little pigs is really the story of the house that withstood.  You could read Matthew 7:24-27 and talk about the house that is built on the rock around Jesus Christ.  These parties are evangelistic.  You are trying to introduce them to who Jesus Christ is and explain God to a child.  What a noble calling.  I think of the number of moms who see their ministry as so small. 

They think they are just raising children.  But they are raising the next generation of leaders, moms and dads and those who provide the foundation and structure for our society.  What you are talking about is reaching out into a neighborhood and perhaps not just touching a child but touching a family and introducing them to who Jesus Christ is.

Bobbi:  The last father’s day Robert gave a Bible to every dad in our neighborhood.  Because I had been working with the children and giving them out the Bible they know that Jesus is very important in our home.  I felt like giving out the word of God in any form whether they are coloring a picture of a fish or if they are looking at Christmas cards of angels and we were having an angel tea party whatever it is.  We are giving out glimpses of God. 

In that tea party where we are talking about the homes we use the three little pigs because we build houses out of crackers with the three little pigs and then we talk about the most wonderful home of all is in heaven.  Jesus said I go to prepare a place for you and if he goes he is going to come back and get us.  Some day when we believe in Jesus someday we will go live in that house with him.  That will be a wonderful house.  So we introduce eternity which is a huge concept to a little child by reading them the story of the three little pigs and having them build with pretzels the one house and with crackers another house and the house of straw is made out of shredded wheat.  They build those three little houses with peanut butter and then we talk about your home in heaven.  It’s opening up their minds for a moment and then when they are at home in their house maybe they will be like I was when I was eight years old.  I had been to church with Martha and I lay in bed at night and thought how do I get Jesus in my house?  Martha told me that Jesus was in her house.  Why isn’t he at my house?  So I went and asked Martha’s mother and Martha’s mother told me how to get Jesus in my heart.  Then I took Jesus home with me.  Within two years both my parents and my sisters became Christians.  That was because Martha’s mother had a little tea party for me.  The tea party was inviting me to sit at her kitchen table and talk to her. 

That is why I am desperate to give out the gospel of Christ with every child I meet.  If I can’t talk about Jesus I will hug them and I will ask Jesus to light up their life somehow.  Just to give them a smile…the joy of the Lord is my strength that I want to give to them. 

Dennis:  As you’ve been talking here this thought continues to bounce around in my brain so I am going to express it.  Bob is going, oh no, what’s happening now?  I’m thinking I would like one hundred moms to step forward and say I want to be a part of one hundred moms in neighborhoods all across America.

Bob:  I want to be a tea party mom, is that what you are saying?

Dennis:  Yes.  All I want you to do is pray a simple prayer.  Lord, am I one of the one hundred?  Am I supposed to reach out to the children in my neighborhood?  If you think about this over the next ten years one hundred moms could touch thousands of children across the country.  My challenge is are you one of the one hundred moms who is going to become a tea party mom?  Maybe you host one of these tea parties at Easter time with Resurrection Eggs which is a great resource to use from an evangelistic standpoint to share the gospel. 

There are a lot of resources we just need some women, some moms, who are passionate and who have a vision for children and want to do something about their eternal destiny.

Bob:  I’m wondering if the next time I’m in your neighborhood do I come to the door and if there is a note on the door I can knock or if there’s not a note on the door, which is it? 

Bobbi:  I put a little hanger on the door and it says Shhhhhh.   That’s the only time the kids know they can’t ring the door bell.

Robert:  Except Bob can always come in.

Bobbi:   That’s right Bob is always welcome at our house.

(laughter)

Bob:  Will you have root beer there for me?

Bobbi:  Actually, now I want you to know the tea parties really don’t have tea.  We don’t serve tea.  I have a root beer float in there for one of the heavenly teas.  You put any kind of soda over ice cream and it foams up so that is my angel tea. 

Bob:  Okay, I’m in.  Now we are talking.

(laughter)

Bobbi:  So I have root beer floats in various forms.

Dennis:  Bobbi, thank you for your ministry to the children and thank you for sharing this with our listeners.  Robert I want to thank you for one of the finest introductions of a guest we have ever had on FamilyLife Today.  That was tremendous.

Robert:  I’m very grateful for my wife.  I am very grateful that the Lord…

Dennis:  It’s not good for you to be alone. 

Robert:  That’s right and this is the one for you.  I’m very grateful for that.

Bob:  Well, and we are grateful that you guys would stop by and spend some time with us.  Our listeners can go to our website FamilyLifeToday.com where they can find out more about how to get a copy of the book Tea Parties with a Purpose book. Ten simple and fun party ideas for kids of all ages.

It's in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center and I want to encourage you to go to FamilyLifeToday.com and look this information over or maybe order a copy from us online. Again the website is FamilyLifeToday.com.

Let me also mention you will find online our interactive nativity scene which is called What God Wants for Christmas®. We designed it with kids in mind.  It’s a great tool to have around the house at Christmas time whether it’s with your own children or with children from the neighborhood or maybe relatives that come in during the holidays.   This is a way to introduce the Christmas story and to use the mysterious box #7 to tell them what the real meaning of Christmas is all about.  You can find out more about What God Wants for Christmas® when you go online at FamilyLifeToday.com. 

I should also mention the book your wife, Barbara, has written.

Dennis:  Yes.

Bob:  It’s called When Christmas Came where Barbara takes an extended look at John 3:16 through the eyes of Christmas.  Again all of the resources we’ve talked about can be found at our website.

You can also call us toll-free, 1-800-FLTODAY—1-800-358-6329.  That’s 1-800 F as in “family” L as in “life” and then the word TODAY. When you get in touch with us we can answer any questions you have about the resources we've talked about here today, or make arrangements to have the ones you need sent to you.

You know with Christmas now just a few days away there are probably a lot of you who are in the same situation I’m in with a long list and a lot to try to accomplish before you can relax and enjoy your Christmas celebration next week.  I hope that one of the things you’ve added to your list of things to do in recent days has been to take a few minutes and contact us here at FamilyLife and make a year-end donation to our ministry. 

We've had some friends of the ministry who have stepped forward and they have offered to double every donation we receive this month on a dollar for dollar basis up to $1,250,000.  

This is the largest year-end matching gift that we have ever received as a ministry and we are hoping to take full advantage of it.  To do that we need folks to go online at FamilyLifeToday.com or to call 1-800-FLTODAY to make a donation of your own because we don’t get the matching gift money until we hear from you. 

So if you can donate $50 dollars, we get $50 from this other group.  Whatever you can do.  Make a year-end contribution for the ministry of FamilyLife Today and your donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $1,250,000.  We do hope to hear from you and I want to say thanks in advance for whatever you are able to do to help support this ministry. 

Now tomorrow I want to encourage you to be back with us Rick Horne is going to be here and we’re going to move from talking about tea parties and little children to talking about teenagers and tantrums that they throw.  Rick has written a book called Get Outta My Face and I hope you can be back with us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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