Thoughts on a Worldwide Christianity
and how to open our eyes to it
This weekend there will be celebrations all over the world – predominantly in Asian populations – because it is the Lunar New Year. Except here in Chicago we’re celebrating next weekend; ‘cos the cool kids show up late to the party?!
I might have completely forgotten that it was the lunar new year except for a Chinese Friend and a Vietnamese friend posting on facebook this morning. I’m very grateful that Jesus brought us together for a time in our life and that I could learn so much from them. Also for the internet and – although it can be tricky to navigate in a way that honours God – all the blessings that come with it: the ability to communicate with others from across the world, the ease of sharing and reading the thoughts of others and the possibility of searching across the world for information about one specific thing.
I’m introducing you to Conrad Mbewe this week for Black History Month or maybe you already know of him as the influential blogger, writer and speaker he is. Reading blogs from Christians of different cultures and backgrounds is a fantastically easy way to open our eyes to the implications of Christianity in different circumstances and to open our hearts to glorify God for his barrier demolishing love, goodness and sacrifice!
I can highly recommend his blog – A letter from Kabwata – scroll down to the labels section and see what piques your interest.
and all the drama of a situation
The last of our first person dramas captures Onesimus’ side of the story Paul tells in his letter to Philemon. I find having a story told in this way, whether it’s read off the page or acted out, is a great addition to reading from the Bible; helping kids connect the historical events to real people who are a lot like them.
I like the worksheets too – obviously or I wouldn’t have written them – as a way of engaging your mind on a different level. I nannied a couple of children who loved to take their dolls to the park then pretend to be Mary and Joseph hiding from Herod. Games, dramas and activities grounded in real truths can help to young children to work out their feelings and responses in a way that being asked a question in a study cannot.
That said I’m a firm believer that even young children can participate in a ‘proper’ Bible study too. Like these youth orientated studies on Philemon.
Let me know what kind of activities you do with the kids to open up their responses. I bet you have some fantastic ideas.
Looking at letters
Helping kids access non-narrative texts
They’re one of the things we spend most of our time on in Church and Bible studies, they’re where most of our theology comes from and they’re crucial to how we interpret the Bible. Yet the New Testament letters (19 out of 27 books) are infrequently covered in a way that’s appropriate for children.
The next three first person story and worksheet help to bridge that gap. While it’s not comprehensive; it provides age appropriate context and application for the theology Paul (in this case) teaches. It’s a start! I particularly love the character of Philippa I created to help kids get to grip with … wait for it … Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
If you want more on Philippians check out this Sunday School series covering the book in more detail.
All about Paul
Although Paul would probably like me to point out it’s actually all about Jesus
We’re starting the year as we mean to go on: overlong blog post subtitles and excellent new material to help you prep for your Sunday School classes.
This first in the new series features A Scary Day for Ananias – subscribe below to catch the rest of the series inspired by Paul’s letters!
Each lesson in our four-part series includes a first person description, great to read or to act out as a monologue, and a worksheet that covers story elements; has an engaging activity to complete & allows children to consider how they figure in this story: what more could you want.
And, yes, Paul would be happy: through him and his interactions we get to see Jesus.
Complete the set!
The rest of the armour is here
I’ve uploaded the rest of the talks in the Armour of God series. Please enjoy! That is it for Ephesians for now but I will be returning to it later.
Here’s what was my computer background for ages because I love both Narnia and being a well protected soldier of God, (as the youth work section of this site shows).
Busy, Busy, Busy!
Apologies for a super late post.
I have been holiday-ing and holiday clubbing and holiday club prepping (not in that order) and I’m afraid that you may well have been waiting longer for this blog post than the 1st cenury church were waiting for Paul’s letter. And if I think I’m busy I imagine it’s nothing compared to the apostle’s work load! It hasn’t taken prison to slow me down enough to write this up at last but a bee sting to the face and the fact that the right hand side of my lip is trying to occupy the space where the left hand side of my mouth normally is #troutpout.
I, like many of you, am back to school this week bringing the joys of teenagers, paperwork and (unless the swelling goes down soon) jokes about insect instigated cosmetic surgery. Check this out if you’re looking for something on new beginnings.
and shining like stars
Alpha Centauri is the closest star to our solar system and it’s 4.37 light years away. Now I’m famously bad with numbers and anything in light years is unimaginable but I know that’s a very very long way away. And that means all the other stars are even further away yet we can still see them; through the atmosphere, through light pollution, even ones that are much smaller than our own sun!
That’s super encouraging to me as I reflect on Philippians 2. Following Jesus does make a difference, like a star it shines out beautifully, over long distances and through difficult circumstances. And that is true of everyone who is being made more like Jesus whether, like me, they’re pottering along ordinarily or they’re standing alone against great persecution or they’re a child who’s just decided they want to be Jesus friend.
Let’s pray then for the christian kids you know, for their leaders and role models, that they would shine brightly as they strive to be like Jesus and draw others to his glorious light!
I was attacked by pirates!
No honestly I was!
It sounds like the worst excuse ever, and admittedly I was a LOT bigger than the pirates in question, but it does take it out of you. I spent last week with Christians from a group of churches in Bicester (in the UK) at one of their venues helping to share the gospel with the local 4-11’s. It was a fantastic week, full of fellowship, craft, unexplainable bruises, wonderful people, miracles, challenges, prayers, biscuits, bad wigs, burgers, pirates, jokes and the spirit. They used John Hardwick’s adventure cruise (which I have to admit wasn’t my favourite – but is still very much worth a look if you’re thinking about holiday clubs).
Anyway, I’m safe on dry land again, Philippians Chapter 1 is here at last, with its strong focus on the Gospel; What is it? Why is it important? and What does it do?
Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
Phillippians Phillipians Fillipians
Please tell me I’m not the only one who always questions if I’ve spelt it right?
I was really excited to get to do this series; so much of what we do with kids is narrative based – and don’t get me wrong that’s great! – but as grown ups we spend much more of our time in the letters and that’s a big change to make if you’ve never looked at a letter before. Also there’s so much in them that’s worth looking at hence the new series looking at Philippians!
However, we’re kicking it off with a bit of Acts, so yes some narrative, but purely for context I assure you…
So here you are meet Paul the letter writer and through him meet Jesus the Saviour!