New Series!

A Pilgrim’s Progress

and how it helps us realise what it really means to be a Christian

I cried the first time I read it.

When Christian loses his burden in the shadow of the cross: I broke down.  I knew what that felt like and to my embarrassment I knew (and still know) I was picking up that discarded burden again and again; fighting Jesus for the right to carry it. That’s why although PP isn’t one of my favourite books – I really value it as an allegory. There are no perfect Christians here only redeemed sinners struggling along.

I hope that this series, which is a heavily abridged version of the story accompanied by questions to link it to its Biblical inspiration and apply it to our lives, helps your young people. It may prepare them for struggles ahead or help them to realise they’re not trusting Jesus yet.

It’s largely adapted from Geraldine McCaughrean’s retelling of the classic, although I turned to the original for help sometimes. I also used Jason Cockroft’s beautiful pointillist illustrations in my powerpoint where I could (because they’re stunning!) but since I have no rights to them I haven’t shared them. You could buy the book and scan them in as I did. That’s why, in my version, Christian is young and Hopeful is female – it matched the illustrations.

More in this series next week.

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Updates:

Dealing with Exam Stress

and more on Parables

So exam stress first: GCSEs started this week which means plenty of stressed out teenagers. Here‘s a study that aims to put exams in their proper place with a bit of Biblical perspective.

I’ve also updated the parables I posted last week. They now have a full complement of games, talk, prayer and songs to go with the dramas I put up already.

Subscribe if you like them as there will be more parables in the coming weeks; and more studies for youth looking at living as a disciple of Jesus in a fallen world.

Jesus meets a poor witness and a good friend

Jesus meets Mary Magdalene

and sadness turns to joy!

While, as a woman, her experience would have counted for nothing in a court of law what Mary Mag saw that day changed the world forever!
I always have this verse (1 Corinthians 15:17) in mind whenever I read/teach about the resurrection:

 if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

He has been raised FACT
Our faith is fruitful FACT
We are free from sin and alive in Christ FACT
And Mary’s testimony tells us just how wonderful that is!

Inspiring Art

Pilate is running late

but I rediscovered some amazing Bible based artwork to share with you instead!

I’ve been a big fan of Graham Kennedy’s art for a long, long time. Not only is it beautifully drawn and specifically designed to accompany Bible stories it’s also incredibly well researched. His desire to draw accurately has led to meticulous research into the cultures, buildings, landscape and traditions written about throughout the Bible.

serpent_in_wilderness_gkHis blog is a fascinating record of this: it covers everything from would the Pharisees have had dark blue or black lines on their prayer shawls to the shape of the stone tablets (probably square!). It’s made me double check a passage to find out if Jesus was talking to a crowd or just the twelve or an unspecified number of disciples in between – things that if I hadn’t considered it from an artist’s perspective I may never have noticed; but which can change the way you apply a passage.

AngelHe also does the best drawings of angels! Unlike the slightly soppy kind that usually adorn my Christmas Cards; you can understand why these angels always have to open every conversation with ‘Don’t be afraid.’
Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Read his blog at bibleillustration.blogspot.co.uk and get a free samples of his work (including pictures for when Jesus met the woman at the well) here. Unfortunately all the links I know of to buy his illustrations are broken: I’ll update you if I find any.
Enjoy and subscribe below so you don’t miss it when Jesus meets Pilate.