Who me? Deny Christ?

a to-do listI start off my day with a list of what I need to do.

But I wonder… in all of my busy, everything must be perfect, planning… have I left room for God? Is “cultivate my faith” on my to-do list?

Am I denying God entry into my life?

 
Peter pretended like he didn’t know who Jesus was. Now, that is denial. But do my choices make me just as guilty?

The Denial of Saint Peter-Caravaggio (1610)

Paraphrased from John 18:16-18, 25-27, Peter said…

Open quote markAre you talking to me? I don’t know who that man is!

What does denying Christ look like for us today?

Here’s a discussion for your family, at the family dinner table (or wherever your family is gathered together).

a blue line

  • When was the last time you faced denial?
  • Tell about a time when someone pretended like they didn’t know you.
  • Have you ever denied knowing someone?
  • Adults: share a story from your growing-up years. And then share Peter’s story.
  • It is easy to see that saying you don’t know someone is denial. Do you suppose that we ever deny Jesus? How about when we…
    • speak harshly?
    • are quick to follow the crowd – trying to make them like us?
    • forget to pray?
    • turn the other way when someone needs our help?
    • are mostly concerned about our needs?

All of us, through our lifestyles, actions and attitudes, have denied Jesus. But, be reassured, there is hope!

Open quote markSo turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven. Acts 3:19

I am thankful for God’s grace!

a blue line


Photo credits:
A to-do list by John Athayde, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
The Denial of Saint Peter by Caravaggio, circa 1610; in the Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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Ripples of Hope: Fill My Net

Ripples of hope Youth Worship logoI hope it doesn’t rain today.

I hope I got a good grade.

I hope she’ll be my friend.

Hope is a word which gets a lot of use in everyday life. We sure could use a dose of hope these days!

Hope is also talked about in the Bible. You can find lists of verses about hope. One of my favorites is:

 
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  Proverbs 23:18

This weekend is Youth-led worship at FUMC. We will not be holding any workshops on Saturday at Green Wood or downtown on Sunday for grades 1st – 6th, so plan on attending this service!

Youth Worship 2013 banner logo

How about a little preparation? Around the family dinner table? (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

The focus by the Youth will be hope. This even ties to our current Rotation on Peter’s story! Peter was likely down in the dumps about what he’d done to Jesus. Deciding not to just sit around and mope, Peter chose to go fishing.

a speech bubbleAsk your kids: When Peter went fishing, what do you suppose he was hoping for?

  • A diversion: Something to take his mind off of what he’d done?
  • A net full of fish?
  • Jesus’ forgiveness?
  • Your ideas?

a speech bubbleWhen was the last time you hoped for something?
Did you have to wait for what you were hoping for?

Perhaps Peter chose to go fishing because he was consumed by thinking about what he’d done to Jesus. His mind was probably racing in overtime. He couldn’t stand to be still!

a speech bubbleHow is waiting for what is hoped for, hard?
What do you do while you are waiting for hope?

a speech bubbleOnce Peter had spent time in the boat, quietly fishing, that is when Jesus called. Ask: The next time you are waiting for something, what do you think of the idea of turning to God for some quiet time?
What are ways you could have quiet time with God?

Jesus did offer Peter forgiveness. And because of that, we have hope! Jesus forgives us as well. And Jesus’ forgiveness empower us! We can have hope!

The Youth will be using this prayer in worship, adapted from the book Pray Like Hell. This will be presented in a very cool ripple effect that the youth created!

Bless to me this day the power of God to do good work.
Bless to me the power of Christ to love well.
Bless to me the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me for what lies ahead.
Bless to me the power of the Holy Trinity to give me hope.

I hope you’ll attend one of these worship services!


Photo credits:
Ripples of Hope logo design by Deb Wood. Used with permission.
Photos of the youth from last years youth-led worship service used with permission.

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Feed my lambs

Linking Bible stories to life: that’s one of the goals of our Cool Disciples program at FUMC. This past week some of our kids got to put into action a key concept they’ve learned from our current Bible story. It had to do with Jesus’ advice to Peter. (If you’re not sure what Jesus’ charge was, ask your kids.)

railing & steps project railing & steps project
Oh yeah, feed some sheep?

Or use power tools and pick axes, rebuild a porch and dig a trench, or fill pots with soil…

Ditch digging crew Greenhouse work
Working on being the all around “church” in the community.

(No actual sheep are necessary.)

We were a part of a crew of 54 people from FUMC – from grandparents to six year olds – on a family mission trip to Henderson Settlement.

Henderson Settlement is a mission agency of the United Methodist Church. It is located in Frakes, KY – a small town in southeastern Kentucky – a place of high unemployment and persistent poverty. Henderson Settlement aims to provide basic needs for people in Appalachia, and one of the ways they do this is through work camps.

Volunteer teams from all over the United States come to Henderson to repair homes in the community. Every year 150 to 200 families are helped with projects that otherwise wouldn’t likely happen — projects like installing a railing on a porch, or installation of steps or replacing porch boards. (Porches are important in this area. Three of our four in-the-community projects involved porches!)
porch railing project

There are also projects on the Henderson  “campus” – projects like digging a drainage ditch or stringing up goat fencing or mucking out the barn or sorting onion sets. (Henderson Settlement also has an agricultural ministry.)

Enjoy this slide show of some of the photos from our trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

group photo of mission trip attendees
The group from FUMC (some missed out on being in this photo)


Photo credits:
All photos used by permission: Trench digging by Richard Rupp; thanks also to photos by Amy Unsworth, Wendy Everett, Ruth Ann Church, Mary Danforth, Jeff Wason, and the staff at Henderson Settlement.

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Peter is Forgiven: April 2013 Schedule

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The Workshop Rotation Model of Christian Education at FUMC rocks! Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • A Bible story is explored in-depth through a variety of creative teaching mediums (“workshops”) over a period of 5 weeks.
  • 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.

In April, we are continuing our study of Jesus’ forgiveness of Peter.
Can you imagine how Peter felt when he heard the rooster crow?

An angry-looking rooster

What had Peter just done? What was it that Jesus had told Peter about a rooster crowing? Ask your kids! Read our story in John 13:33, 36-38 and John 18:15-18, 25-27 and John 21:1-17.

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

Date Workshop Activity
4/6 No workshop Worship with your family.
4/13 Art Workshop Create a positive space/negative space cut-paper or a stencil collage using symbols from the story.
4/20 No workshop It’s youth-led worship!
4/27 Games Workshop Participate in a quiz game.

For Sundays at the downtown location, here is the schedule of workshops…

Date Our workshops…
4/7 Enjoy worship and Communion with your family
Games Drama Cooking Video Art
Room 211 Room 215 Social Hall Pine Room Room 212
4/14 3rd grade 5th & 6th grade 2nd grade 4th grade 1st grade
4/21 Youth-led worship! Attend with your family.
4/28 4th grade 2nd grade 1st grade 5th & 6th grade 3rd grade

What’s happening in each workshop?

  • In the Drama Workshop students will enact the story of Peter’s denial and restoration using shadow drama.
  • In the Art Workshop students will create a cut-paper collage using symbols from the story and the Japanese design principal of “Notan” (dark and light).
  • In the Games Workshop students will participate in a quiz game (using the game wheel) to reinforce their knowledge of story details.
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will create Peter’s Trail Mix and tell the Easter story with each ingredient.
  • In the Video Workshop students will watch portions of the live-action video The Gospel of John, exploring the story of Peter’s denial and restoration.


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).
Rooster by Christopher Craig, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Easter has come: Now run towards Jesus!

Mary Magdalene has reported that Jesus’ tomb is empty! Disciples John and Peter waste no time in quickly running towards the tomb; wondering what they would find (John 20:1-4).

Disciples John and Peter on their way to the tomb on Easter morning

Of course they didn’t find his body at the tomb, because Jesus is alive!

Later they would see the risen Jesus several times. And once more Peter would find himself “running” towards Jesus. (Okay, there was probably some swimming involved, see John 21:7).

How often do you find yourself wishing for an opportunity to run to Jesus?

What is holding you back?

When was the last time you reminded your child(ren) that running towards Jesus is always an option?

What is holding you back?

Open quote marks So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven.
Acts 3:19

A cross decorated with palm branchesAn Easter blessing:

On this day and everyday,
regardless of where you are at or how you are feeling,
turn and run to Jesus.

Happy Easter !
— Carol


Photo credits:
Disciples John and Peter on their way to the tomb on Easter morning a painting by Eugène Burnand. Offered by crazyapplefangirl, on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Darkness and light; so goes life

Dark and light. Polar opposites, yet we can’t have one without the other.

I remember a picture book that I used to “read” to my kids when they were young: Fast-Slow High-Low, by Peter Spier. It was a book of few words, inviting discussion over the meaning behind it’s numerous artful drawings.

Cover of the book Fast-Slow High-Low

We often would make-up lively stories about the various opposites portrayed; leading to interesting tales! Light and dark were illustrated in the expected way – with the lights on and the lights off. I don’t recall that dark and light were depicted beyond the brightness of bulbs; it would be hard to sketch light and dark as a way to describe life circumstances.

The contrast of light and dark is evident in our current Rotation on Peter’s view of Easter. Peter, who was one of Jesus’ disciples, the one Jesus called the “Rock,” had reason to want to hide in the dark. Peter, who no doubt wonders if Jesus could forgive him for what he did?

Our story starts off in the dark. Well, sort of. There is probably some light as the disciples gathered with Jesus in the Upper Room to share the Passover meal; the one that we call the “Last Supper.”

But there were “dark” moments during that meal. Like when Jesus tells his disciple Peter that he will soon deny him. Can you imagine Peter’s shock? “Who me?, Peter says, “never! I am ready to die for you.”

“Really?” (Can you imagine the incredulous tone of voice that Jesus uses?) “Really? You’ll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times.” John 13:38

Then there is the dark moment in our story when Peter does deny Christ. (John 18:15-18 and 25-27). Let alone the darkness that envelopes Jesus’ followers to see their beloved Jesus hanging on a cross.

On the third day, morning comes and with it light! Great light! Jesus is alive! He visits his disciples, several times. But how is Peter feeling? Luke’s Gospel has Peter weeping bitterly. (Luke 22: 60-62)

We will find out that Jesus forgives Peter (John 21:1-17). But it brings to mind a question:

What do you do with failure?

Pass it off as I’ll do better next time or continually beat yourself up?

Jesus offers forgiveness.


Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).

Easter & Beyond: Peter is forgiven (March 2013 Schedule)

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At FUMC on Saturday nights and on Sunday mornings, our Christian education for children is based on the Workshop Rotation Model. This means that kids spend six weeks learning a particular Bible story, each week encountering a different kid-friendly multimedia workshop. When they are done they really know the stories!

In March, we are studying an Easter related story. Easter comes once a year, allowing us the chance to focus on a different aspect of Easter.
(View the last couple of years of Easter stories here and here.)

This year our focus is on Easter through the eyes of Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. The big question to ask your kids:

What happened to Peter that gives us a powerful message
of what Easter is all about?

Jesus and his disciples share breakfast on the beach (John 21)
Jesus & his disciples have a post-Resurrection breakfast on the beach

Reading all the various parts of our story takes lots of jumping around in the Bible. (Good practice!) Read our story in John 13:33, 36-38 and John 18:15-18, 25-27 and John 21:1-17.


Here are the schedules of workshops for March

For Sundays at the downtown location…

Date Our workshops…
3/3 Enjoy worship and Communion with your family
Drama Art Games Cooking Video
Room 215 Room 212 Room 211 Social Hall Pine Room
3/10 3rd grade 5th & 6th grade 1st grade 4th grade 2nd grade
3/17 1st grade 4th grade 2nd grade 5th & 6th grade 3rd grade
3/24 4th grade 2nd grade 5th & 6th grade 3rd grade 1st grade
3/31 Enjoy Easter worship with your family!

What’s happening in each workshop?

  • In the Drama Workshop students will enact the story of Peter’s denial and restoration using shadow drama.
  • In the Art Workshop students will create a cut-paper collage using symbols from the story and the Japanese design principal of “Notan” (dark and light).
  • In the Games Workshop students will participate in a quiz game (using the game wheel) to reinforce their knowledge of story details.
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will create Peter’s Trail Mix and tell the Easter story with each ingredient.
  • In the Video Workshop students will watch portions of the live-action video The Gospel of John, enjoy popcorn (can’t have a movie without popcorn!) and explore the story of Peter’s denial and restoration.

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

Date Workshop Activity
3/2 Puppets Wrap up the story of Joseph and his brothers by acting out the story with puppets.
3/9 Cooking Workshop Create Peter’s Trail Mix and tell the Easter story with each ingredient.
3/16

Update!

Due to a plumbing problem Green Wood is closed this weekend.
3/23 Video Workshop Explore the story of Peter’s denial and restoration while watching the scripture come to life in the live-actor video, The Gospel of John.
3/30 Cooking Workshop Focus on the Resurrection story of Easter making “resurrection rolls.” Experience the empty tomb, just as the women did on the first Easter morning!

What did you think of doing six-week Rotations? Please, give us your feedback!

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).
Jesus eats breakfast with his disciples an illustration by O. A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland from the Standard Bible Story Readers: Book 4 (in the Public Domain).