Are you ready to review for the Big Game?

This Sunday at the downtown location, it’s time for the Big Game! Also known as Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?

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. We treat it as an end of school year celebration! (But Sunday’s Cool will continue during the summer.)

Big Game 2015 - 5th grade confiring on an answer

Class Teams work together closely. And checking the Bible for an answer is allowed (but you’d better be fast!)

The Big Game- a group huddle in 2011   The Big Game 2014 - checking the Bible for an answer

And, NEW this year! All parents are welcome to join the Parent Team to test their Bible knowledge against the 1st – 6th graders.

big game 2014 - Final scoreIn prior years the score has been close!

How will you prepare?

Review these stories: (And perhaps look at past review techniques I’ve suggested? Also here!)

See you at the Big Game!

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Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.

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What motivates you to get up every morning?

Youth Worship logo 2016Surely you’ve seen those on-line tests which reveal the Disney Character you are? (Or which Super Hero, or which Disney Princess?) These quizzes can be fun but if you are ranked as Belle, or Mulan, or Prince Charming, does that help you to know who you truly are? Does it push you to get out of bed in the morning?

What is your identity?

Identity is our sense of who we are in relationship to other people. Various elements affect our description of ourselves, including biological, cultural, psychological, and social.

Is there a spiritual side to our identity?

You bet there is!

Did you know that you were born a spiritual person?

(It’s the way God made us.)

some of our youth, 2015
    Some of our youth gather in a heart shape!
Join us this weekend as we explore this topic in Youth-led worship at FUMC. We will not be holding any Cool Disciple workshops on Saturday at Green Wood or downtown on Sunday, for grades 1st – 6th, so plan on attending this service!

How about a little pre-worship preparation? Around the family dinner table? (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) And de-brief afterwards!

Here are some potential discussion points/activities:

puzzle piecePlay a dinner table game of Twenty-Questions, focusing on identifying people.

chatting iconAsk your table guests: What words would describe who you are?

What if we describe ourselves as a violin player, but then, later on, we can no longer afford to play violin? Or what if we say that we are an athlete, but when we get older, we may no longer be able to participate in sports? How can it help to broaden our focus in thinking about who we are — to think beyond what we do, or what we look like?

chatting iconWhat words do you suppose Jesus would use to describe you? (Acknowledge the feelings expressed.)

I’m thinking that when we allow Jesus to define who we are, we get a much fuller picture!

open bibleHere is one way that is appropriate to see ourselves… Get out a Bible and read this verse from 1 John 3:1:

Open quoteSee what amazing love the Father has given us! Because of it, we are called children of God. And that’s what we really are!

chatting iconHow does it feel to know that you are a “child of God” – something that you never have to worry about growing out of?

“wiseFor older kids: How can we use the notion of being a child of God to protect us from society’s push to own the next best thing or to be the biggest money-maker?

“iconHere’s a potential “Write it on the fridge” project… Write on the top of a piece of paper “What I Want To Do In My Lifetime.” Allow family members and household guests to add their ideas.

Reflections from SoulFull Retreat
On the SoulFull Retreat this spring, youth answered a different sort of question.
“Reflections from SoulFull Retreat

I’m looking forward to hearing what the youth have to tell us about their identity!

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Photo credits:
Youth photos used by permission; rest of photos from my archives. Clip art from http://www.wpclipart.com/

Why is Confirmation important?

Confirmation Class, copyright 2013 by Peter DeHart
A past Confirmation class poses for a photo in the Memorial Garden

Spring time means Confirmation Sunday. I remember the year my eldest was confirmed in the church. The grandparents came from afar, and we had a big party afterwards.

Why was Confirmation so important that we served a cake?

That’s a very good question! How about some discussion questions to pose to your next gathering. Do so around the dinner table. (Or wherever your family & friends are gathered together.)

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:

'Remember 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.)

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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.

Prepare to worship (Yes, WITH your kids)

This weekend, if you are not at Family Camp join us in worship with your family.

There will not be any Cool Disciples workshops for 1st – 6th grades.

Don’t let this cause a panic!

How about a little preparation before worshipping as a family?

… To make it more meaningful for our kids?

(And/Or, use this material to discuss the service after-the-fact.)

Try it! Equip your kids to experience worship this Sunday.

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right pointing arrowIntroduce the start of a new (very short, don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it!) Church Season.
Seasons of the church year - Lent, Ordinary Time, etc.In the Methodist tradition we have “Church Seasons” that separate our Liturgical Year. Each season focuses upon a different aspect of our Christian experience.

I wonder what season we are in?

Did you know that we have been in the season of Eastertide — or Easter Season — covering the 50 days after Easter? Well, this Sunday is the start of the shortest Church Season! It lasts one day! It’s called Pentecost.

Ask when in worship…

  • Ask: How can you tell what season we are in? (ans: Look in the bulletin)

    what season is it - Pentecost

    Compare that to last week’s… (pardon my rather tattered looking bulletin from last week):

    what season is it?

  • Ask: What do you notice that is different in the Sanctuary? (Hint: Look for changes in the colors used in worship – the cloths (called “paraments”) that cloak the altar or hang from the pulpit, or are worn by the clergy.

right pointing arrowRead the Bible story we’ll be hearing. 

What is Pentecost? Why not read about it in the Bible? Pentecost is a Jewish festival. It so happened that the disciples of Jesus were in Jerusalem celebrating Pentecost when the Holy Spirit arrived.

There are two times during our worship service on Sunday when we will hear scripture. The first time will be during the “Call to Worship.” We’ll be alternately hearing and saying a portion of Acts 2:1-4. Practice reading this as a family. Choose one person to read the non-bold words and everyone else reads the bold words… just like we’ll be doing in worship.

Open quote marksWhen the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Pentecost is celebrated by Christians as the day when God’s Spirit was given to his followers.

Other ways to “read” this story: Use the Beginner’s Bible, or watch the first 2 minutes of this video, or watch a portion of the video series “What’s in the Bible?” shown below. (If reading this in an email, you can watch this video on YouTube.)

right pointing arrowPonder the sermon topic. The title of the sermon to be given by Rev. Doug is “You Can’t Handle the Truth.” I’m wondering what that has to do with Pentecost? Perhaps this is where the 2nd Scripture reading comes to play. Read John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15. This deals with Jesus promising the coming of the Spirit when he is no longer present with his disciples. The disciples’ were undoubtedly confused! Do you ever question whether Jesus is with us?

right pointing arrowListen to the hymns. (And perhaps sing them at home!)

  • Listen to “Surely the Presence of the Lord.” We’ll be singing the first verse of this hymn as a response to the Unison Prayer.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place;
I can feel his mighty power and his grace.
I can hear the brush of angels’ wing, I see glory on each face;
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

  • Practice singing “Jesus Loves Me.” We’ll sing this one when the younger kids go off to Sunday’s Cool.

right pointing arrowPractice praying.

Pray this prayer: God of Grace, you sent the promised gift of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the women, upon Mary the mother of Jesus and upon his brothers. Fill your church with power, kindle flaming hearts within us, and cause us to proclaim your mighty works in every place, that all may call on you and know life abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

See you in worship!

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Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.
View the pie chart of church seasons that I created.
Arrow clipart from public domain via WPClipart.com.

Youth Worship: Be Still & Know That I Am God

This coming weekend the youth lead worship.

Youth worship 2014
Youth Worship downtown 2014

Why should this be a do-not-miss event?

  • Young kids need mentors – mentors beyond their parents; mentors whose shoes they will one day wear. Watching the youth (kids in 7th-12th grade) allows your kids a peek at their (potential) future self.
  • We’ll hear about being calm in situations that look far from peaceful. God is always with us!
  • We encourage attendance on Saturday and Sunday by not holding any Cool Disciples workshops.

Youth Worship 2015 Logo

This year’s theme for Youth Worship is from Psalm 46:10a

Open quote mark Be still, and know that I am God.

How about a little bit of discussion before hand? And by all means afterwards too! How about at the family dinner table (or wherever your family gathers). Use these discussion points:

  • Sit still! When did you last hear that command?
  • Why should we be still?
  • What are ways we can be still? (Be calm, quiet, silent…)
  • What are situations where being still can be especially important? (Bird-watching comes to mind. What about listening for God?)
  • How do you suppose being quiet enhances our ability to hear God?
  • What are ways we can help ourselves “be still” – both our bodies and our minds? Some ideas: Going to a quiet place. “Emptying” our mind of worries. Holding a particular item from nature such as a pine cone or a rock. Breath prayer
  • Should we be thankful for conditions which require us to be still? (I know. I know. You can’t wait to be active again, but I’ll bet now you’ll be able to think of something to do while you are waiting!)

What ideas do you have for being still? Perhaps you’ll meet God.
Youth on the Soulfull Retreat
Youth on the Soulfull Retreat, 2015


Photo credits:
Photos & logo design by FUMC members, © 2015. Used by permission.

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A Lenten service project: How can your family help?

Three crosses on a hill at Henderson Settlement in Kentucky

Does your family include service projects in your Lenten activities?

In the past I have traveled with a group from FUMC to a place known as Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky. We (adults and kids!) were on a mission trip so that meant we worked hard, and got dirty.

A young boy with a pick axIt takes two to cut lumber

At the same time it was satisfying. We learned new skills, strengthened friendships, and helped the residents. We served as the hands and feet of God.

Working at building a porchFour muddy boys take a break from work

Lots of drills were usedA happy homeowner with two workers

In April we’ll do another Appalachia Mission trip to Henderson Settlement. Even if you aren’t going along, there are two ways to get involved with serving others:

oneEat breakfast with us this Sunday, March 15th.

Join us from 10:30-11:30am at the downtown location. Suggested donation is $10/adults, $5/child. Proceeds will go towards purchasing supplies for our home repair projects.

Photo ad for Breakfast on March 15th to support Appalachia Mission trip

twoDonate supplies to help our Appalachian friends.

Visit our “tree” outside the church office and select a tag (to help you remember what to bring). Or just select from our wish list:

  • To help create food boxes: self-rising flour, sugar (both in 5 lb bags), cornmeal, or cooking oil.
  • For Hygiene kits: bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, or deodorant.
  • For the Maternal/Infant Program: diapers size 2-6, Pull Ups, baby food, Good Start Formula, Baby Food, Infant & or Children’s Motrin/Tylenol.
  • To re-stock the thrift store: new or gently-used clean clothing in good repair (any size, infants to adults), housewares, or children’s toys/games.

Please bring your donations to church by Sunday, March 29th. Leave them at the base of our “Giving Tree” or in the church office. Thanks!

It’s easy to indulge your family in a little Lenten service project love!

Photo credits:
Photos shared from various Appalachia Mission trip participants, Richard Rupp, Ruth Ann Church, Amy Unsworth, Wendy Everett, Jeff Wason, myself, and Henderson Settlement staff.
Orange numbers from public domain via WPClipart.com.

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Big Questions with Nancy Lynn

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.

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Vacation Bible Camp starts next week!

Next week Vacation Bible Camp starts! Are your kids excited?

the logo for VBC - Kingdom Rock

The theme this year is Kingdom Rock, where kids will discover that by trusting God, everything is possible! We’ll learn about standing strong.

  • DAY 1: “God’s love helps us stand strong.”
  • DAY 2: “Family and friends help us stand strong.”
  • DAY 3: “Prayer helps us stand strong.”
  • DAY 4: “Trusting God helps us stand strong.”
  • DAY 5: “The Bible helps us stand strong.”

As usual there will be great music. Take a chance to learn the theme song ahead of time!

Got that stuck in your head yet?

I hope we see you there!

~~ Carol (on behalf of the VBC team)

Registration for VBC this year is now closed! But you can still sign up to help!

Join our readers! Receive new posts to this blog by email by entering your address in the box on the upper right side of this page. (And then clicking the button). There will be one post every day next week of VBC, but usually there is one post a week. No sharing of your email!


Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
VBC Logo used by permission of Group Publishing.

Vacation Bible Camp starts next week!

The logo for "Sky" Vacation BIble Camp

Next week Vacation Bible Camp starts! Are your kids excited?

The theme this year will be based on the Sky, as in as high as the sky, “Everything is possible with God” (Mark 10:27c). We want kids to discover that by trusting God, everything is possible! (Oh, boy. This could be some learning that I need as well!)

We’ll spend Monday through Friday mornings digging into God’s Word in fun, unforgettable ways. As usual there will be great music. Take a chance to learn the theme song ahead of time! It’s not too late to sign up, do so here.

Got that stuck in your head yet?

I hope we see you there!
~~ Carol (on behalf of the VBC team)

Join our readers! Receive new posts to this blog by email by entering your address in the box on the upper right side of this page. (And then clicking the button). There will be one post every day next week of VBC, but usually there is one post a week. No sharing of your email!

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Photo credits:
VBC Logo used by permission of Group Publishing.

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.