What vexing questions will turn up in July & August?

Questions asked in our video series

What’s up for kids and Christian Education this summer? Lots of learning fun based on questions!

Clive & Ian's Wonder-Blimp of KnowledgeQueries are the basis for our summer movie series: “Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge.” We are in search of answers to kids questions about God and about how we should relate to God.

Join us on the adventure! And use this series to continue the learning at home.

 
The downtown schedule of big questions will be…

Date Big question…
July 5 Worship with your family. (What questions do you have about Nancy’s sermon about practicing forgiveness as a choice and as a gift?)
July 12 Is God as Powerful as a Superhero?
July 19 How Do We Show Respect to God Through Our Praise?
July 26 What Should I do When I’m Afraid?
August 2 Worship with your family. (I’m wondering what we’ll learn about turning everything into a game?)
August 9 How Do We Show Respect to God Through Our Listening?
August 16 Does God Love Me When I Do Bad Things?
August 23 How Do We Show Respect to God Through Our Words?
August 30 How Do We Show Respect to God Through Our Actions?

At our Green Wood location, they’ll follow a more relaxed version of our series:

Date Big question…
July 4 Who created the universe?
July 11 Worship with your family. Mike Fedel will lead us!
July 18 Why we should show respect to God, and how do we show respect to God through our prayer?
July 25 Worship with your family.
August… Stay tuned for the August schedule!

Summer 2015 collage - ahh summer

Please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.


Photo credits:
The collage of summer photos is from my archives.
Rest of photos are from the producer of our video Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge, under a fair use category. (I made the collage of questions with help from the Wonder-Blimp folks.)

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How to respect God by virtue of prayer?

Clive & Ian & Monkey, in the Wonder-BlimpThis summer we’re off to the movies, joining Clive and Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge as we search for answers to big questions about God.

Last week we explored the big question of who created the universe. We learned that God did! We celebrated how amazing God is!

This week we added a twist to our series: we asked a question about ourselves and our relationship to God!

God desires a close, personal, connection with us. But to be near to God, who is after all pretty extraordinary, requires us to treat God with respect! Thus our question for today was:

How Do We Show Respect to God Through Our Prayer?

Use the discussion questions below to talk about what your kids learned. Start the conversation in the car on the way home from church. Continue around the family dinner table, or wherever your family is gathered together.

You can ask these questions even if you missed the video showing!

Have some family time discussion…

    Buck Denver starts off the show talking about respect
  • What does it mean to respect someone? [An answer: Respecting someone means that you treat them as if they had great value. You look up to them!]
  • Name some people whom you respect. Adults should answer as well!
  • What are some ways that you show those people respect? [Possible answers: You spend time with them, give them gifts, do things for them, you listen to them, or you tell them you like (or love) them…]
  • How do you get a close relationship with someone – like if you have a really good friend – how did you become close friends? [Answers: You spent time together, talking and listening.]
  • Do you suppose these sound like good ways to get closer to God?
  • Sunday school LadySunday school lady helped us to see that if we are not respecting God we ignore him or say, “I don’t need your help.” What are other ways to show respect to God through prayer? [Possible answers: when we treat our relationship to God seriously we don’t joke around when we talk to God; we listen when other people are praying aloud, we tell God all about our lives and our worries and our joys; we are honest with God about what is on our heart.]
  • How can taking something seriously, be a way to show respect?
  • What is a way to pray that uses the acronym: ACTS? [Answer: Each letter in ACTS stands for a type of prayer you lift up to God – Adoration, Confession, Thanks, and Supplication (or perhaps: “Send in help!”)]
  • Bonus question: What do you think Clive and Ian should paint on the side of the blimp?

Adults: Here’s an important video from the creator of our series, Phil Vischer. Phil has a message about how we can show love and respect to God as a family. (If you are reading in an email you may need to click over to YouTube.)

This summer, we hope you’ll join us on our movie adventure and also, continue the learning at home.


Photo credits:
Photos from the producer of our video Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge, under a fair use category.

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Who created the universe?

Clive and Ian's Wonder-Blimp of KnowledgeThis summer we’re off to the movies, joining Clive and Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge as we search for answers to big questions about God.

Buck Denver is interrupted by a special news alertOur video started off with our old friend Buck Denver giving us a news report. But then Buck was interrupted by an emergency video call.

 
A kid had a question about God!

It was a really big question: Who Created the Universe?

Use the discussion questions below to talk about what your kids learned. Start the conversation in the car on the way home from church, or around the family dinner table, or wherever your family is gathered together. (If you missed the video showing on Sunday, you can watch it below.)

  • So, who made the universe?
  • What is something that God created? (Easy answer: everything!)
  • What did God think of his creation? (Hint: Genesis 1:31)
  • What is one thing in God’s creation that amazes you?
  • What does God’s creation tell us about God?
  • God created and is still creating through the process of evolution. What are some ways we can be more aware of God’s wonderful creation?
  • Bonus question: I wonder if kangaroos like being so bouncy?

Parents and caregivers: want to get a feel for our first video? Click below to watch. (If you are reading this in an email, you may need to watch on YouTube.)

This summer, we hope you’ll join us on our movie adventure and also, continue the learning at home.


Photo credits:
Photos from the producer of our video Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge, under a fair use category.

Are you seeing ads? They are not from me! They are placed by WordPress, who otherwise offers a free platform from which to share lots of good-ness. If you see an inappropriate ad, please report it to support@wordpress.com. Include the URL, the date/time the ad appeared, and a screenshot of the ad.

What’s happening for the rest of June?

a collage of summer photos

What’s up for kids and Christian Education this summer? Lots of learning fun!

At our Green Wood location, kids will have one more workshop on The Great Commission and then they’ll play a review-the-year game. In July they’ll start up our summer video series. Their schedule for June will look like…

Date What’s happening…
June 20 Art Workshop – create quilled-paper handprints, to remind kids that Jesus commands them to “go out” in their everyday living.
June 27 Review the year with a fun game that is sort of like the old TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

Downtown our summer film series kicks off on June 21st, featuring selections from “Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge.”

Clive and Ian in the Wonder-Blimp of KnowledgeClive and Ian help us explore big questions about God. (When we understand who God is, it helps us to trust God.)

This will be a fun way for kids to enjoy a change of pace from our school-year Rotation lessons. And you’ll be able to continue at home with family discussion!

This video series is by the creator of Veggie Tales, Phil Visher. Here’s a short video clip of Phil explaining about why it is important to teach kids about trusting God. (If you are reading this in an email, you may need to watch this video on YouTube.)

The downtown schedule of big questions will be…

Date Big question…
June 21 Who created the universe?
June 28 Why we should show respect to God, and how do we show respect to God through our prayer?

Please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.


Photo credits:
The collage of summer photos is from my archives.
Other photo from the producer of our video Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge, under a fair use category.

Are you seeing ads? They are not from me! They are placed by WordPress, who otherwise offers a free platform from which to share lots of good-ness. If you see an inappropriate ad, please report it to support@wordpress.com. Include the URL, the date/time the ad appeared, and a screenshot of the ad.

This summer: How to share your faith with your kids

Summer is here! This means it’s time for sunshine, lazy days, the beach…

Kids in the lake at sun set

And our annual summer movie series at FUMC!

Just like last year, this summer’s film series launches a way for you to share your faith with your kids. How?

By spending time together, wondering about your questions.

Questions are at the forefront of our videos.

A bunch of questions about God

So many good questions!

Each week we’ll address one question with the help of “Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge.” Perhaps you recall Clive and Ian from last year’s series? That’s them on the left below.

Clive and Ian from the video series What's in the Bible?Clive and Ian's Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge

 
This year Clive and Ian go on adventures in search of answers to questions. They soar in a Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge! (Or is it an Airship of Intelligence?) Check out the questions for July and August.

To help you share your faith with your kids, continue the discussion after class!
Each week receive follow-up topic starters for family discussion. Sign up to this blog (up on the right) and receive an email as class lets out. Start your family talk time on the way home from church!

Important Note:
You may be saying: But what if I can’t answer their questions?

It’s okay! Agree as a family, to dig deeper. Are we allowed to wonder at the mystery of what God is up to? You bet! Sometimes we have to live in the mystery!


Photo credits:
Top photo copyright by Tracy K. Used with permission.
Other photos from the producer of our video Clive & Ian’s Wonder-Blimp of Knowledge, under a fair use category.

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How to equip for the big game? Challenge memory!

This Sunday at the downtown location, the Big Game transpires!

We’ll be playing a large group game to review Bible stories we’ve covered since September. It will be sort of like the old TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” This game is always loads of fun.

A group of kids works together to determine an answer
At a previous big game, a class confers on an answer
How can you help your kids to prepare for this event? How about playing a game!

Everyone likes to play games; how about around the family dinner table? After all, dinner table games can lead everyone into dialogue. And what could be better than a family talking – especially with regards to their faith journey.

Here’s a game idea… Play the game “Things that Belong to Something.”

With older kids you can name a list of items and have everyone guess what they “belong” to; for example: A bag of snacks, a blanket, and maps. (Answer: What’s inside my car.) Use the list below to review our Bible stories.

For younger kids ask them to name three items in a category. For example: name three things in your bed. This one works for older kids too! Ask them to name three characters in a Bible story or to identify three verbs or three adjectives, that describe a story.

Here’s a list of the stories we’ve covered this year and some “belongs to” suggestions:

  • David, God’s chosen King, 1 Samuel 16:1-13
  • Sheep; Anointing oil; Samuel

    Eight sons; A man after God’s own heart; Bethlehem

  • Jesus calls disciples, Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9 and in Mark 3:13-19
  • Fishermen, Tax collectors; Sons of Zebedee

    Apostles; Follow me; Can anything good come from Nazareth?

  • The overall story of the birth of Jesus (a compilation of gospel stories in Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 2:1-18
  • Gabriel; Nazareth; Immanuel

    The Holy Spirit; A census; Shepherds

  • Esther, the book of Esther
  • Haman; Mordecai; Xerxes

    Risky; Praying; Bow now!

  • David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17: 1-49
  • A slingshot; Trust in God; “Giants” in our life

    Armor that’s too big; Philistines; Relying on God’s power

  • The tomb is empty – Resurrection appearances of Jesus, Matthew 28:1-10, and in John 20:1-20
  • Mary Magdalene; Spices; A big stone

    An earthquake; An angel; Woman, why are you weeping?

  • The Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20
  • Important instructions; Teach; Baptize

    Go; Some doubted; I’ll be with you

a blue line

We’d love to have you join the fun at this Sunday’s game: “Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader” at FUMC in Ann Arbor, MI.


Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.

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How to gain something from Confirmation Sunday

You may not have a child who is being confirmed this Sunday in worship. But the fact that it is Confirmation Sunday should impel you to be in worship with your kids. (For kids in 1st through 6th grade, this Sunday is a worship-with-your-family Sunday, including Communion.)

Be there, even if it’s just to watch.

Confirmation Class, 2013 by Peter DeHart
Our last Confirmation class poses for a photo in the Memorial Garden

Watching is good. Even though your child may not appear to be paying attention, they are taking it in.

They are seeing what is coming up for them.

As preparation for attending worship this Sunday, why not discuss what they are likely to witness, and why it’s important. Do so around the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

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A boy gives a thumbs upConfirmation? What is that?

To “confirm” means to “make something definite.” When we confirm flight reservations we say, “Yes! I will be on that plane.” It’s like giving something a great big thumbs up! Confirmation at church this Sunday is a chance for young people to say out loud, “Yes, I believe in God!”

Why make such a big deal? (After all, I believe in God.)

It’s a big deal because it’s making a public statement of their belief. Confirmands (what we call those being confirmed) have taken two years of classes to prepare for this special worship service where they will be “confirmed.” In these classes they have studied what it means to be a Christian, a United Methodist, and a member of First United Methodist Church. They started these classes as 7th graders and those who are now 8th graders, may be confirmed — if they are ready.

Why wouldn’t they be ready?

First off, they need to have attended these classes, and worshipped, and done service projects, and gone on retreats (see the full requirements) but also, they need to be personally ready to take this step on their faith journey to say “Yes” to their faith in God. It’s a big decision.

Is that the end of their journey? Are they all done with Sunday school after they get confirmed?

No, it’s not the end! We all continue to need to grow our faith!

What will happen in the worship service?

a youth gets confirmedPart of what happens is called “the laying on of hands.” The laying on of hands is a symbolic act, a ritual that comes to us from the Bible.

The youth kneels up front, and the ministers and their parental units put their hands on the confirmand’s head and/or shoulders. One of the pastors imparts a blessing to each young person. They will say:

Open quote markRemember your baptism and be thankful. And may the Holy Spirit Work within you, that having been born through water and the Spirit, you may live as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

(Except, if the youth hasn’t yet been baptized, then they will at that point in time be baptized.)

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Here’s a short video about Confirmation from “Chuck Knows Church” produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. (If you are reading this in an email, you may need to watch this video on YouTube.)


Photo credits:
Group photo of confirmation class, copyright by Peter DeHart, 2013. Used with permission.
Thumbs up by Michael Bentley, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
Laying on of hands during a post Confirmation Sunday, from my archives.
The Chuck Knows Church video #43 copyright by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, used with permission.

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If every day were a day to remember

A holiday set aside for honoring men and women who died serving the U.S. military, Memorial Day got started in the late 1860’s. That’s legions of seasons for reminiscence!

Memorial Day 2011, at San Francisco National Cemetery

What if every day were marked as a day for remembrance? Could we do it?

Probably not. It would take scads of intentionality. Sticky notes everywhere?
A sticky note with the words - Today. Remember!

It takes work to call to mind even ordinary stuff. But reminders can help.

In the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, we read of people building cairns as a way of recollecting that God was at work in their lives.

Jacob built such a monument after distinctly experiencing God’s presence. He stacked stones and called the spot Bethel meaning “God is in this place.” Jacob would never forget that night.

In Joshua 4:1-7, God tells the Israelites to set up a “memento” made up of 12 stones. The purpose? So that when their children asked: “What is this memorial about?” they would then be able to tell the story of the great act that God had done to take care of his people. It was to be a reminder to those who were not there to witness this act, that God was great!

For times when you aren’t sure that God is real and present in your life. (Because those days happen, don’t they?) For questioning times.

a boy stacks stones on a beachThis month our Rotation key Bible verse is about remembering. Jesus advised his disciples and gave them a reminder:

Open quote markGo and make disciples of all nations … and surely I am with you always.   Matthew 28:19-20

 

What reminders can help us to not forget the every-day, great things that God does? That God is always with us?

What “memorials” — memory tools — can we set up to help us every day, to remember? Try creating something simple…

  • Stack stones: Go out for a walk to collect stones. Once back at home, in a family gathering (perhaps at the dinner table), artfully arrange your rocks while discussing God in your lives that day. Encourage contemplative manipulation of your rock pile.
  • Display a cross: Need a cross to display in your home? How about making one? Check out these ideas (goes to my Pinterst board).
  • Create an “altar” of sorts. Fill a space in your home with reminders of God at work. Allow touching and rearranging and additions and subtractions. (Photo on right is at the Nelson home around Easter time.)

 
Set up reminders to tell our children the stories of what God has done in our lives.


Photo credits:
A Memorial Day scene by Daniel Parks.
Sticky Note created from a Public Domain image.
Stacking stones by Roy Luck, on Flickr. Flickr images offered via Creative Commons.
Other photo thanks to the Nelson family.

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