On the Instagram page today – a simple craft using bun cases.
Tomorrow (9th April) is a special day – it’s “Name yourself Day”, a day when you can have a think about what you’d like to be called if you weren’t called what you are called.
What might you call yourself?
When a guy called George was asked that, he went a bit too far and actually changed his name so that he has the longest name in the world today. He’s now called: Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined. His name used to be George.
The longest ever name belonged to a man born in1904. His name is Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegel-stein-hausen-berger-dorft Senior
I wonder who has the longest name here today? (find out by a show of hands)
The longest Christian name today belongs to a Hawiian boy:
The name means “The Beautiful Aroma of My Home at Sparkling Diamond Hill is Carried to the Eyes of Heaven”. In Hawaii, it is the custom to give children long, descriptive names. Dont worry though, they call him Joe, of all things, for short.
Now, these names are rather brilliant, but they’re far from being the best name ever. The Bible tells us that there is one name that is the best name, because it says that this name is the one that comes above all other names – and that is Jesus’ name!
Philippians 2 says this:
Jesus became like one of us… He obeyed God and even died on a cross. (and we know He did this to forgive us for our sins if we follow Him)
Then God gave Christ the highest place and honoured his name above all others.
So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
So Jesus’ name is the most important name, because He died for us and because He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.
So, remember, next time you hear of a new baby’s name, or learn a new friend’s name, or even think about changing your own name, remember the name that is more important than all other names – the name of Jesus, because He loves us, He died for us and He rose again and lives today, praying for us!
This is an adaptation of a ‘Prayer Bingo’ idea I heard about. Each child receives an A4 grid (8 (the number of different colours of Smarties in a tube) by 4). The children then write a prayer point in each box (I’ve added a few generic ones to the grid I’m giving them to get them started).
They then take a Smartie at random and turn the arrow on a spinner – where the Smartie colour and the spinner number meet, that’s the thing the children pray for. Perhaps they could do this three or four times each evening when they pray.
(I’ve also made up a Fruit Pastilles version for anyone who can’t eat chocolate).
These are available on request if you email me.
(Performed in the style of an infomercial – the purchaser stands front and centre with his purchase, and the text is read in a confident salesman-type voice, off-stage)
Congratulations, you’ve just purchased the brand new Loose-leaf Bible, the Bible of choice for the discerning 21st Century Christian. (Purchaser looks pleased)
The Loose-Leaf Bible is available in a variety of colour schemes to suit your individual needs – the binder is interchangeable so that you can mix and match to compliment your wardrobe choices, or even to fit in with your mood. (Purchaser flicks through a number of files before selecting one)
All 61 books of the Bible are enclosed for your reading pleasure (for convenience sake, we’ve taken the liberty of removing some of the less narrative-driven books, to save you having to bother flicking past Leviticus and 1st Chronicles). We’ve also reduced the font in some of the less well-known parts of the Bible (like Haggai, Obadiah, Nahum and the bulk of revelation) so that these books can be quickly skipped past (let’s face it, when are you likely to read them?) On a related point, we’ve also enclosed a useful phonetic pronunciation guide to Biblical names, to enable you to separate your Balaams from your Baraks, and your Machpelahs from your Mechezideks. (Purchaser looks happy at this)
A useful feature of the Loose-Leaf Bible is the ability to arrange the books as you wish! Forget about the unfolding narrative of God’s Salvation Plan – if you like the book of Matthew best, put Matthew first! Terms like Old Testament and New Testament are passé in our cultured times, so don’t worry about those ancient index scales. Additionally, this enables you to put the least important books in the Bible (in your own opinion, of course) towards the back or, if you should wish, in an alternative folder to be stored in a bookshelf or attic for reference at a later date, whilst you keep the main bits of the Bible close to your heart. (Purchaser removes half the pages and put them to one side)
Now, what’s that you say? You’ve selected your favourite books, but there are still parts of those books that you’d rather not have to wade through? Well, this is why the Loose-Leaf Bible was created!
Think Genesis 1-9 is a collection of myths? Take it out! (Purchaser rips out some pages and bins them – does this for all the following)
Think Exodus goes downhill after the actual Exodus? Just get rid of everything after chapter 20!
Think some of the Ten Commandments don’t apply to you? Murder, indeed! Just retype the list and slot the new page in place!
Think that some of the Bible’s attitudes on marriage, sex and family are clearly from a more primitive time? Fine! Bung the stuff you don’t like in the nearest bin!
Stuck on the begats? Be gone!
The idea of a virgin birth’s a bit hard to swallow? Hard to believe that a guy can rise from the dead? Think some of those miracles are a bit more like cheap parlor tricks? Reckon those prophecies were probably twisted into the life of Jesus by the writers? Get rid! If it was really important, it’d be a bit clearer.
(Purchaser removes a huge bulk of the pages)
So, there you have it! The Word of God available in one handy binder – at your convenience, and at your level. (Purchaser is left with a few pages – looking baffled)
Lights go down, and a voice reads:
“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. Deuteronomy 12:32
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6
I recently had the pleasure of being involved in a debrief session for three Missionary Kids (MKs) who are on Home Assignment. The children’s ages ranged from about 3 to 8, so the debrief had to take on more of an activity-based feel. I thought I would share the session plans here in case anyone is planning something similar. I am indebted to OMF and Wycliffe for some of the ideas.
Emotions Board – use a page full of facial expressions to indicate various emotions and tell the children that we’re going to play a game about feelings. Give each child a counter/select a toy and place it on the emotion they may feel when:
- You’re going to a party
- You fall over and hurt your knee
- You go to school
- You eat chocolate cake
- You fly in an airplane
- You watch something fun on TV
- You go on holiday
- You have a sore tummy
- You think about (the country they were in)
- You think about (their sending country)
We want to learn about life in (the country they were in) – I have never been there. We also want to learn about life in (their sending country) and to see what things are the same and what things are different.
Use a globe to show the location of both countries. Do they remember the route that took them there?
Show a map and everybody to mark on the places they’ve lived – play ‘global graffiti’ with the map (see additional post).
Show a couple of precious items from (the country they were in) (ie photo album and a couple of wee keepsakes).
Show us your house / your school / the places you played / the people you knew
What were your favourite places?
Who were your favourite people?
Use ‘paper suitcases’ (ie A4 pages) to draw the things that you couldn’t bring back with you.
How does this make you feel?
It can be hard to say goodbye to people and places and things that we love. We can feel sad. Can you still stay friends when someone is far away?
Using “scratch art” (or use chalk on black paper) draw down some of the feelings you have about being back here. Some feelings are happy and some are sad and some are big and some are small and all of them are OK.
Use two circles, intersected – left is the country you were in and right is ‘home’, and the middle is the same to show the things that were different in both places and the things that are the same:
Mum and dad
Draw together and pray, giving thanks to God for His constancy no matter where we are.
I was talking with a group of children about Jesus’ authority to forgive sins and heal people. Some of them struggled with the idea of ‘authority’ so we talked about it by showing them a number of cards of people who help us:
doctor, dentist, bus driver, teacher, firefighter, police officer etc
We then asked some questions, such as:
Who has the authority to give me medicine if I am sick?
Who has the authority to drill holes in my teeth?
Who has the authority to drive you home from school?
Who has the authority to drive a fire engine?
Who has the authority to give you homework?
Who has the authority to put criminals in prison?
If someone else (like me!) tried to do any of these jobs I’d be in trouble because I don’t have the authority to do these things – I’m not able to do them, I’m not allowed to do them. These people can do these jobs because of who they are.
When it comes to forgiving sins and healing people, Jesus has the authority to do these things because of who He is – He is God’s own son, and the only one who has lived a perfect life.
What other things does Jesus have the authority to do?
I’ve been mulling over how to explain the term “ransom” to younger children, to help with a Club I’ve been involved with – it’s a difficult term to understand at the best of times, especially if you’re very young.
With that in mind, I thought about how what we pay reflects the ‘preciousness’ of the thing we’re buying, and also indicates who is involved in the transaction, so I thought of a few things you might want to ‘ransom’, or buy back from a particular person, and what you might be willing to pay…
Mr Tayto (the face of a brand of crisps here in Northern Ireland – you might also use Julius Pringles (for that is apparently his name!)) has taken your favourite hat – what might you pay him to get it back? Potato
Bob the Builder has borrowed your hammer – what would you give him to get it back? Rawl plugs/screws/nails
Optimus Prime wants to sell you some furry dice for your car – what might you pay him with? De-icer or similar
Lady Gaga has taken your sausages to wear – what might you use to convince her to give them back? Hairspray
You want to buy Jack’s cow – what might he sell her for? Magic Beans
When it comes to buying something back, or paying a ransom for something, we can use all sorts of things to buy and swap. But did you know that we need to be bought back too? We are all caught up in sin – which means the wrong things we do – it’s like sin has trapped us and owns us and we can’t get out of it. So God wanted to buy us out of it – but because we are so special to Him He didn’t use potatoes or magic beans or even gold or money. We are so precious that God gave the most precious thing He has to ransom us – His own Son.
(Mark 10:45 is the verse we’re using to hang this on)
Brilliant, simple, catchy – and fab to use with Makaton.
Easter is almost upon us again and that means that, like me, your house has probably got a few of these in it (show Easter egg).
What is the best thing about Easter eggs? (take answers – they have a packet of sweets with them; they’re delicious; they’re made of chocolate; they’re a cool shape etc)
(If you have enough types of Easter eggs to hand, you could vote on your favourite egg)
I think the best thing about Easter eggs is that they’re really good storytellers!
Y’see, Easter eggs can tell us the story of the first Easter… here’s how:
The people of Israel were trapped, as though inside a box (show egg in box) – they weren’t really trapped inside anything, but they were trapped in the ways they thought and lived – they were always trying to live perfect lives and they kept on getting it wrong and making mistakes. They were worried that God would not love them if they kept on making mistakes but they didn’t know what else to do, so they felt sad and hopeless and trapped.
But then Jesus came. Jesus was not like the other people – He showed them how to live (take egg out of the box). He showed them what God is like; He showed them how to love; He healed them when they were sick… He was perfect when they were not. It was like He freed them from a wrong way of thinking and showed them that there was another way to live. (Show sweets that come with the egg) He made their lives sweeter and gave them good things.
(Put egg aside)
But they still worried about the mistakes they made – they needed someone to take away all the bad things… so Jesus helped them there as well. He died on the cross to take the blame for all the wrong things in the world ever, so that people could be sure that God loves them and that these wrong things weren’t getting in the way.
(Open the box out to show a cross (this is something you might like to prepare earlier))
Jesus died and was buried in a cave, and a large stone (show egg) was rolled in front of the cave’s entrance.
And that was the end of the story…
Except it wasn’t! The egg has something else to tell us: on the third day after His death, some of Jesus’ friends went to visit His grave and they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the cave! When they looked inside the cave, they found that it was (open egg) empty!
Jesus is God’s Son, and Jesus is perfect, so He didn’t stay dead! He rose again and is still alive today!
So that’s how an Easter egg can tell you the story of the first Easter – the people were boxed up in wrong ways of thinking, but Jesus came to help them think in a different way; He gave them good things and died in their place. He was buried in a cave, but came back to life again. Forever!
I came across this “Star Wars” scroll generator, and thought I’d play about with a couple of ideas for Easter (the idea of “A long time ago in a country far, far away” really appealed to me). It needs some work, but what a fun way to set the scene this Easter!