A whole heap of things…

…is an accurate description of what I’m supposed to be doing…

…and what’s in this blog post.

Apologies for not posting earlier this week: we’re moving house (to a different continent!) and are spending the summer holidays packing, organising, getting rid of things,  visiting friends and family, having visitors, throwing parties, throwing away junk and researching our new city/country/culture.

What this means is…

I will be posting erratically (more so than usual!) this summer. But once we’ve arrived and settled (October-ish) I’m not able to work so will have more time to write material for this blog. I’m also looking forward to seeing church and children’s work in a different – albeit still western – culture and will have lots to learn from how things are done differently. You’ll get my thoughts on that when I have some.

In the future…

  • Writing up thoughts on children and youth engagement in church with a particular eye on those tricky beasts known as all age or family services.
  • Partially written a series on the 10 commandments for children which I’ll finish and post.
  • Checking this site to make sure that all my currently posted content is up to date and easily accessible – Spelling and grammar check on!
  • Games young people love to play – for all group sizes and situations!
  • Linking to other fantastic websites and blogs with great resources for teaching kids and young people in a Christian context. Any you use regularly or think are brilliant (especially your own) let me know!

Something for today…

The BBC posted this info on Makaton today. I often turn to Makaton or BSL when looking for actions for song words or to help teach memory verses. There are some great reasons why parents will find it a useful tool and I see no reason why Sunday School teachers wouldn’t find it helpful too!

There’s no place like home

The Promised Land at last

and a promised rest as well.

The second day of our kids material for our church weekend away is here at last! If you missed last weeks you can find it here.
Unfortunately, I forgot to put the video we used up with the rest of the stuff last time – I’ve added it now and there’s another in this week’s so it seems a great opportunity to recommend yet another fantastic resource to you.

Check out the God’s Story videos from Crossroads Kids Club. They’re beautifully produced with a nice clear simple explanation that’s neither just facts or just application but the right amount of both. The animation styles differ but they all look great (they’ve also produced a few in Chinese and Spanish) and they cover a broad range of stories not only narrative. We used ‘Joshua Becomes Leader’ and ‘God’s Reminders’ for our weekend away but there are so many I’m sure we’ll come back to them later. They’ve also got a whole load of songs, verses and something called ‘the kitchen’ which I haven’t had a chance to check out yet but I’m looking forward to seeing more of what they’ve got!

My problem with Daniel…

He’s great

and so are his friends…

…and so we never get past chapter six!
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are fantastic examples of godly living, of standing up for what you believe in, of faithfulness, bravery, putting your relationship  with God first, speaking the truth and it doesn’t hurt that they are young and handsome either! I’m as guilty of it as anyone here (in fact I’ve ignored Rach, Shach and Benny) but I have dreams of writing children’s materials on  chapters 7 through 12 explaining the various beasts and introducing the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days! Maybe one day – not soon but one day…

Jesus is the King

Ruler over everything

Jesus is the One. Promised One. The Son of God.

Now try getting that tune out of your head (and if you don’t know it check out the song section of Jesus is the New and Better David for a link).

The Timeline activity this week makes use of a fun but slightly bizarre resource: The Brick Bible. The makers of this website have devoted a lot of time to creating and photographing stories from the Bible out of Lego. They are often pleasingly accurate although I have found that I have to choose pictures carefully because a few red bricks on the floor looks surprisingly brutal and because they are just Lego they don’t skimp on nudity and sex. If you are in the US you can buy child friendly books in the same style (I don’t live there so I can’t comment on what they’re like – if anyone knows please comment below).  They have also added speech where appropriate – it’s an amalgamation of different English-language translations and uses Yahweh frequently which I find a bit annoying. It’s not always sympathetic in its portrayal of events which sometimes works well at removing any soppiness but also removes reason and context. However with a wise selection of pictures it’s very handy – I definitely recommend you check it out.

Early in the morning my blog shall rise to thee…

The world is far from perfect

but a far, far better one awaits!

It’s too sunny for me to sleep past five this morning apparently. Yesterday, I made a cake for a friend that collapsed instantly on taking it out the oven. These are two very small problems but, unfortunately, all it takes to make me mopey and miserable. So what a joy that writing up Joshua this morning got me to refocus on a God who calls us to joyful obedience not self-pitying wallowing. On a land which overflows with good things and where the presence of God lights up the world! On a future free from sin! On a rescue that cost sooooooooooooooo much to ensure that this time no-one (not even me) could screw it up.
Onwards to a new day…

Jesus is the new and better Joseph

Joseph is here at last!

Thank you for your patience

I remember planning this and trying to think of which part of Joseph’s life did we want to borrow to show something true about Jesus and the more I looked for one thing the more I was like ‘they’re just the same!’
So here we have the tale of the beloved son who becomes a suffering servant, is innocent but is punished and who is elevated to being the right hand man and brings reconciliation to his family. BOOM!
It makes me really happy that God is able to plan so meticulously the lives of people thousands of years apart just so we’ll recognise his son when he comes. Also that good planning is clearly a godly quality – every time I make the effort to sit and plan children’s and youth work I’m becoming a little more like my heavenly father.

Jesus really is great!

Isn’t he just?

How Genesis 22 points us to Jesus.

Yet another week where I can’t decide which is the better comparison to make: Is Jesus the new and better Abraham; the man of great faith who trust God even in the hardest situation? Is he the new and better Isaac who goes willingly to the slaughter? Is he the new and better ram, the planned for sacrifice that will take the place of those meant to die? Yes, yes and YES!

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.

Well said Paul (in 2 Corinthians 1:20).

New Series!

Where is Jesus in the Old Testament?

All over the place!

Super excited to announce a new series of Sunday School stuff! This time it’s all based on how our favourite Old Testament heroes and stories foreshadow Jesus. Inspired by this Tim Keller talk, we won’t look at all of history but certainly at some familiar stories; potentially in a new light.
We’re starting, fairly obviously, with Jesus is the new and better … Adam. So click the link to find Songs, games, a talk, activities, prayer ideas and more!