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Who do you want to become?

September 11, 2014
Do you remember that persistent question you faced from a very young age?

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I always hated that question. (Because, how did I know?)
I believe we are asking kids (and ourselves) the wrong question. Instead we should be asking…

Who do you want to become?

We are surrounded by a culture where the focus is on “appearances.” Who thinks about what a person can become? People are impressed by good looks, by how well you speak or how strong you are. How are we to help our kids combat this bias?

By teaching them to look inside.

Our current Rotation is a good place to start. In our story, David is chosen as the next king of Israel. Can you hear his family sputtering, “Him? He’s just a young boy; a lowly sheep-keeper.” Ah, but we learn that God doesn’t look at outside qualities, he looks at our inside, at our heart. Here’s what God tells Samuel about why David’s older brother, Eliab, wasn’t the one chosen king:

Samuel, don’t think Eliab is the one just because he’s tall and handsome. He isn’t the one I’ve chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.1 Samuel 16:7c

What did God “see” in David’s heart?

word art created in a heart-shape with inner quality words

Potential!

David is thought to have been between 10 and 15 years old when he was designated as Israel’s next king, but he didn’t take the leadership right away. No, David continued to care for sheep, building courage, a good leadership quality. David also wrote Psalms. We can look in his Psalms to find other seen-by-God heart characteristics.

Bring out a Bible and read the following Psalms with your child(ren).

  • Psalm 23 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…” (Potential expressed heart-quality: Trust)
  • Psalm 5:7 “I am filled with wonder as I bow down to worship.” (A worshipful attitude)
  • Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. 
Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.” (Gratitude)
  • Psalm 5:3 “Each morning you listen to my prayer, as I bring my requests to you and wait for your reply.” (Asking for help)
  • Psalm 19:11 “By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded.” (Obedience)
  • Psalm 25:11 “Be true to your name, Lord, by forgiving each one
of my terrible sins.” (A repentant attitude)
  • Psalm 16:2 “I say to God, ‘Be my Lord!’ Without you, nothing makes sense.” (taken from The Message) (Realizing the importance of a connection to God)

God sees these qualities and possibilities in each one of us; each person is important to God. God looks at who we can become.

Discuss with your family about what heart-attitudes you see in each other. You may be surprised!



Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Heart-shaped word art was created using Image Chef Word Mosaic.

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A Chosen King – September 2014 Schedule

September 4, 2014
I’m a summer kind of gal… kicked-back, long days, sunshine, and gardening! Yes, please! So fall is not my favorite time of year. But there is one thing that I do find appealing about fall: the return to a full program of the Rotation Model!

The Workshop Rotation Model of Christian Education at FUMC rocks! Here’s why I get excited:

  • A Bible story is explored and learned in-depth through a variety of creative teaching mediums (workshops) over a period of several weeks.
  • Each new workshop visited deepens kids lesson memory.
  • Adults who help out in our program are learning right along with the kids! (It’s adult ed disguised as a children’s program!)
  • Kids from age 3 to 6th grade, whether attending Sunday’s downtown or Saturday’s at Green Wood, are all focusing on the same story, which allows families to share learning at home.

To kick off September we are studying about how a lowly, shepherd-boy, David, was chosen by God to be the King of Israel. The prophet Samuel anointed David with oil (shown below).

Why did God choose him as king??

Read about our story in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. And come along with us as we begin our year of Rotation!

Stained glass from a cathedral in Ely, England

To see a growing list of opportunities to foster faith learning at home…
for this month’s story :: click here.

For Saturdays at the Green Wood location, here is the schedule…

Date Workshop Activity
9/6 Creative Writing Create an acrostic poem using the word “heart” and describe your inner character.
9/13 Bible Skills & Games Play a variety of games – voting with your body, a game of “Spoons,” and a quiz game that involves collecting “heart” qualities (graffiti-style).
9/20 Cooking Two teams of students will make muffins with two different recipes. One has something special in it and one does not! Students will note that both look the same in a raw state. I wonder about the baked muffins?
9/27 Art Create modern “name” art and contemplate your inner character as you work.

And on Sundays, at the downtown location.

Date Our workshops for 1st through 5th graders…
Art Cooking Creative Writing Bible Skills
& Games
Room 212 Social Hall Room 215 Room 211
9/7 5th grade 1st & 2nd grade 3rd grade 4th grade
9/14 1st & 2nd grade 3rd grade 4th grade 5th grade
9/21 3rd grade 4th grade 5th grade 1st & 2nd grade
9/28 4th grade 5th grade 1st & 2nd grade ** see note below
for 3rd grade

** On the 28th the 3rd graders will be receiving Bibles in worship during the children’s moment. Then they’ll head for a special class about the Bible.

And here’s what the 6th graders will be doing this month… (They’ll always be in the Pine Room!)

9/7 9/14 9/21 9/28
Art Workshop Creative Writing Workshop Cooking Workshop Special Activities!

What’s happening in each workshop?

  • In the Art Workshop students will create modern “name” art based on the style of artist Paul Klee. Contemplate your inner character as you work!
  • In the Cooking Workshop two teams of students will make muffins with two different recipes. One has something special in it and one does not! Students will note that both look the same in a raw state. I wonder about the baked muffins?
  • In the Creative Writing Workshop students will create an acrostic poem using the word “heart” and describe their inner character. What attitudes are in your heart?
  • In the Bible Skills & Games Workshop students will participate in a variety of games – voting with your body, a game of “Spoons,” and a quiz game that involves collecting “heart” qualities (graffiti-style).

If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.



Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Stained glass of David’s anointing by Lawrence OP, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License. (Found via photopin).

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To the mother who was so embarrassed…

August 31, 2014
I’ll bet you cringed when your child sighed loudly at all the wrong times in worship this morning.

Did his twitching, I-can’t stay-still-I’m-a-kid, bother you? Were his seemingly constant, questioning whispers so distressing?

Please know: It didn’t bother me!

Really. I welcomed his presence.

I'm bored

I’ll bet you wanted to melt away at the number of sheets of pew note papers he doodled upon. Or the way he dragged at your arm and gave you those sad eyes.

No matter! I rejoiced that I shared your pew!

I saw good parenting in action.

He may not be able to tell you who was a major (or a minor!) character in the Bible story, or what sort of music was played during the service, or list the finer points of the sermon. The important thing…

He was there! He watched you worship!

He held the hymnal with you when we all sang and followed along with his finger on the words. (At least for the first few hymns).
He heard everyone pray together the Lord’s Prayer.
He saw the offering plate encircling the Sanctuary.
He was vigilant when the pastor lifted his arms to invoke the Benediction.

He was learning about worship.

Don’t be embarrassed!

And please keep bringing your child to worship. It’s your job as a loving parent. Keep up the good work!

Love, Carol



Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Bored child adapted from a photo by on Flickr, under a Creative Commons License, via photopin.

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Are we good enough?

August 19, 2014
Buck Denver and Chester Whigget's Popsicle Stick Theater

Where has summer gone!? There is one week left to join us on our movie adventure. In the meantime, continue the learning at home!

Last week we learned about Esther. Our video included a presentation by Chester Whigget’s famous Popsicle Stick Theater. Watch the start of Esther’s story in this video. (If you are reading this in an email click here to view the video).

Yep. King Xerxes definitely had too much coffee. Here are some questions to talk about at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) You can ask these questions even if you missed the video showing last weekend! For other sets of discussion questions view here. If desired, print out this family discussion guide here. (Spread this out over several days.)



HAVE SOME FAMILY DISCUSSION…

  • Pass around a Bible. The person holding the Bible gets to be the one who shares their glads and sads for the day. (Or perhaps you call them peaks and pits?)
  • Just as a library has different types of books, so does the Bible! Did you know that there are books we call “History books” in the Bible? What sort of history do you suppose those books tell?
  • The books of History tell of the interaction of God with people in history. Why do you suppose that learning about God’s past interaction with people is important?
  • Esther is a book of History. What can you tell me about Esther?
  • Esther is good storytime reading. Read it together with feeling! (You may wish to paraphrase parts for the younger set.)
  • Did you know that in the book of Esther, God is never mentioned!?! Why do you suppose that is? (Scholars continue to debate this question!) Do you suppose it is for us to see that God is always with us even though he doesn’t get talked about?
  • Puppet Brother Louie from What's in the Bible? DVD

    God is always with us, but are we good enough for God? I mean, as humans we mess up all the time! (And we forget to ask God for help.) How can we be good enough for God? (Brother Louie asked this question in our video.)

  • Do we need God in our lives or can we do it on our own?
  • We are humans. We fail. We do things that separate us from God and from other people (we call that sin). What we learn from the historical books of the Old Testament is that people throughout history have tried and tried to be good enough for God. What usually ends up happening? (That’s right – they fail. Just like we do. But rather than being depressing, it points out our need for Jesus as our Savior!)
  • God used an ordinary woman named Esther to save his people. Do you suppose that God could use you to do something special? How does it change your life to know that God has something special planned for you to do?



Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Other photos from the producer of our video What’s in the Bible, under a fair usage 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.

Being impressive or obedient – which one are you?

August 13, 2014
A collage representing parental involvement with their kidsAdults! Join your 1st – 6th graders on our movie adventure. It gives you an “easy in” for continuing the learning at home! Asking questions such as the one in this post’s title!

Here are some questions for the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) You can ask these questions even if you missed the video showings. (For other sets of discussion questions on our summer movie series, view here.)

If desired, print out this family discussion guide here. (Spread this out over several days.)



HAVE SOME FAMILY DISCUSSION…

  • Pass around a Bible. The person holding the Bible gets to be the one who shares their glads and sads. (Or perhaps you call them peaks and pits?)
  • Take a look at the Table of Contents of your Bible. Find 1st Samuel. Does your Bible have a topical index – perhaps a Concordance – at the back? Look up Samuel and do some research!
  • Let’s see if we can quickly figure out the important characters in the book of 1st Samuel. What would be a way to do that? How about checking out the headings! (if your Bible has them.) Look at the heading at chapter 1; it probably mentions Samuel! It’s expected that a book by the name of “Samuel” means that he is an important character! Headings at chapters 9 and 16 give us other clues of who is in here.
  • Puppet 8 year old Michael-the boy in the car seat
  • Samuel was a prophet. Michael, the boy in his car seat who introduces every video, says some funny things; I wonder what he would have to say about prophets? (He would probably think they were a type of candy bar! Isn’t it good to know it’s okay to get confused about words?) What do you know about prophets?
  • A prophet is someone that God uses to deliver messages; a prophet is God’s messenger. What message was God trying to tell King Saul? Here is a short video to see the answer:

    (If you are reading this in an email click here to view the video).

  • Read together 1 Samuel 13:13-14. God was trying to tell King Saul that he should serve only God. But Saul served God “halfway.” King Saul wasn’t always good at doing what God wanted him to do… when it came to following God, he was a failure! How good are we today at hearing God’s messages? Do we pay attention to God all the time? (To be honest, I’d say no!) How can we take better care at paying attention to God?
  • Read 1 Samuel 13:13-14. Samuel was telling Saul that because he hadn’t obeyed God he would be replaced… with someone who was a “man after God’s own heart.” What do you suppose it means to be a “person after God’s own heart?” (Lots of possible answers but I’ll bet that one of them includes someone who wholeheartedly serves God!)
  • In the video we watched above, Sunday school Lady says, “God doesn’t want us to be impressive, he wants us to be obedient.” What do you suppose she meant by that? How are we sometimes guilty of trying to be “impressive” rather than obedient to God?
  • God does replace King Saul with King David. What stories do you know about David? Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13b, about God sending Samuel out to find and “anoint” David. [Note: We’ll be studying this story in September 2014!] What does “anoint” mean? (Anointing is the process of pouring oil on someone, or something, as part of a ceremony that marks that person, or thing. for a special task.)

Join us for our last two weeks of movies!


Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Other photos from the producer of our video What’s in the Bible, under a fair usage 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.

How’s your home environment?

August 9, 2014
We are blessed to have homes that contain familiar “environments” — times and places where certain events take place. As our kids grow up they presume that at home they will find…

…a designated spot for family dining…

two kids at the dinner table

a space for play

…opportunity for play…

a child reads

…and time for reading (hopefully every day!)

Other environments we set up for our kids include a place to get some much needed shut-eye and an area for study. (Yikes, coming soon!)

It’s the way things are. Eating, sleeping, studying, playing… You could say:

It’s how we do it around here.

But something important is missing.

What about purposefully setting up space and time to experience God?
So it feels normal.

Here are some suggestions for adding this critical environment to your home:

Dad reads The Jesus Storybook Bible
  • Include the Bible in your daily reading roster. And make sure your child “catches you” reading your Bible.
  • Practice being grateful. (Documenting your gratitude brings attention to God’s gifts; they are everywhere! Even in the midst of darkness!)
  • Spend time as a family with everyone sharing one glad and one sad for the day – AKA: Glads and Sads, or Crowns and Thorns! Don’t try to fix anything, just listen and celebrate and commiserate.
  • Start every meal with a table blessing. Try here for some new ones.
  • Introduce new ways to talk with God – prayer. (Get out markers to pray? Yes!)
  • Offer your child a daily blessing – words said out loud that reassure your child that they are loved and accepted.
  • What ideas would you add?



Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email). 
Dinner table by Sean Dreilinger; Reading by John Morgan; Swing set by Wouter Verhelst; Bible reading by Travis Seitler, all licensed on Flickr, under a Creative Commons License.

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More Big Questions (about Genesis and Psalms)

July 29, 2014
Captain Pete's cannon

It seems appropriate that Pirate Pete would introduce us to a new word: “Canon.” But wait Captain Pete, I think that your cannon has two many n’s. What’s a canon (with just one n) and what does it have to do with the Bible?

Ask this sort of question at your family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) Ask these questions even if you missed our video showing last weekend. Join us for another movie adventure on August 10th!

Note: To print out this particular family discussion guide, click here.
For other sets of discussion questions view here.
In the meantime…

HAVE SOME FAMILY DISCUSSION!

  • The word “canon” comes from a Hebrew word which means “measuring rod.” Over time, the word canon came to refer to a norm or a standard. “Later it came to mean a rule of faith, and eventually a catalogue or list. In present usage it signifies a collection of religious writings.” [1] We came to talk about canons (not cannons!) because our big question with Buck Denver was:

    Who picked the books to be in the Bible?

    Big Questions with Buck Denver

    We got a little bit of church history in our video when we heard about how the church leaders in the 4th century picked or canonized, the books to be in the New Testament of the Bible.

  • All of the books in the Bible tell us one big story. What would you say is that one big story? (Lots of answers, but the one we are focused on is that the Bible is the story of God and what he’s done for us.)
  • What do you suppose God has done for us? (Lots of answers, including promising to always love us, to have a special relationship with us, and to give us second chances – i.e., grace – when we mess up.)
  • Abraham has a son

    God has made promises to people in the Bible. Who remembers the promises God made to Abraham? (many off-spring, & land to live on, & to be a blessing to the whole world.)

  • Why do you suppose we can trust God’s promises to us? (It’s okay if we’re not sure why! It is hard, but it takes having what we call faith — believing that God will do what he says he’ll do.)
  • Do: Play a rhyming game (start with “after a while crocodile… In a blizzard little lizard…”) After a bit tell everyone that in a sense, what you’ve been doing is creating poetry – a way of expressing ideas in rhyme. Did you know that the Bible has poetry in it? (Though not the rhyming type of poetry.) There is a whole book of poems; do you know which book it is? (Psalms!)
  • Psalms are poems written by people expressing their feelings to God. Go on a Psalm Hunt! Open the Bible to Psalms. (Ask your 3rd grade and up child to tell you the quick way to find Psalms.) Read each Psalm and see if you can figure out which category it belongs in. (Read one a night?)
Psalm Possible Categories
Psalm 8 Thanksgiving
Psalm 9:1-2 A complaint!
Psalm 22:1-5 Praise
Psalm 37:1-4 Words of Wisdom
Psalm 38:6-11 Journey Psalms – sung while traveling to Jerusalem
Psalm 100
Psalm 122:1-4
Psalm 133:1
Psalm 136

How did you do on this quiz? Check out some answers here.
It’s amazing to realize that we can tell God exactly how we are feeling!


[1] From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.


Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Other photos from the producer of our video What’s in the Bible, under a fair usage category.

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Big Questions with Nancy Lynn

July 23, 2014
This summer we’ve been delving into the movie series What’s in the Bible? with our star, Buck Denver. An exciting moment is always when they announce it’s time for…

Big Questions with Buck Denver

I love questions! (Well, okay. I didn’t always love them. Especially when my kids were two and asked why, why, why… over and over and over…) Questions were at the core of day three at our recent Vacation Bible Camp. You heard it lots of times that day…

Even when you don’t understand…Jesus loves you!

But let’s admit, even though we know that’s true… it doesn’t erase the nagging thoughts that come with all of that mystery! We still have questions!

Kids have lots of questions!

To acknowledge this quandary, in the “Imagination Station” the elementary kids thought up questions they would like to ask God. (Because it’s okay to ask!) They wrote their queries down inside big question marks.

They asked such great questions! In fact, their questions were so thought-provoking that for the next three weekends this summer, Pastor Nancy is going to do a sermon series on three of their most common questions!

  • What does God look like?
  • Why do people do mean things?
  • What happens when we die?

It sounds like it’s time for…

Big Questions with Nancy Lynn

Since your kids asked the questions, we want to extend a special invitation to attend worship on July 26/27, August 2/3, and August 9/10! You can come to Green Wood on Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. or to the downtown church on Sundays mornings at 9:30.

Hey! How about doing this…

A suggestion on what to do as a family on the weekends.

I cant wait to hear some possible answers to some tough questions whether it’s with Buck Denver or Nancy Lynn!



Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Other photos from the producer of our video What’s in the Bible, under a fair usage category. I’ve altered the one about Pastor Nancy.

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.