Just found that Traidcraft has produced an excellent four-week Sunday School (or Vacation Bible School) series on fair trade focusing on honey production in Bolivia.
The pack consists of a four summary sheets detailing activities and the programme plus activity sheets to photocopy for each child. The pack is available as a PDF download here. The pack is well recommended.
Another school holiday; another book to read. This time one that I would not normally pick up. The kind of book that does not usually attract me. But at the moment, I’m fascinated by Heaven and that’s what this book is all about. “The boy who came back from heaven” is the story of a young boy Alex Malarkey (I know, I couldn’t believe the name either) who is in a serious car crash with his father Kevin Malarkey. Together, they retell the events after the crash and the experiences from each of their perspectives. They tell of miraculous encounters and answers to prayer in a totally down to earth way. As if they are saying “This is what happened; you decide what you make of it.”
I don’t really know what I do make of it, but I did appreciate the honesty surrounding the Dad’s personal doubts, the strain that his marriage was under and the apparent lack of complete physical healing for Alex. I found Alex’s section on demons particularly fascinating. (p169-172) –
“I remember the devil telling me a lie in the car accident: “Your daddy is dead, and it’s your fault!” He is the father of lies and I am so glad I know now that he is a liar.”
Well, I can relate to that. I have spent my whole life living with lies. I just didn’t always see them for what they were. Looking back, I can see that I was brought up in what for me was a negative environment. Some would say realistic. For fear of succumbing to pride, we were encouraged to be down on ourselves. In a desire to keep our feet on the ground, we were constantly reminded of how unworthy we were. Positive thinking was positively frowned upon. Such an approach keeps you humble. It also keeps you defeated.
This is how Alex describes being around a demon –
“Well, it’s evil, scary, and ugly! They accuse me of things, bring me doubt, make me feel sad, and tell me that I will never be healed and that God won’t protect me.
I know these things sound bad, but I also know something much better: “The Spirit who lives in [us] is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4). My God is true and faithful and loving. He’s perfect!”
I don’t know what to think about the personification of the devil and demons but I do know this. Just the evening before, I had been laying face down on my bed. I never wanted to get up again. I could not face going downstairs. I was drowning in a sea of lies.
“I can’t cope any more. I am not up to this. I am getting it all wrong. I am a complete failure. I am not cut out for this.”
I lay there listening to these words repeating on a loop in my head. I believed it all. I was completely defeated. Lies were being whispered into my mind and taking a hold.
And when I read Alex’s words the next day, I knew he was right. My God is true and faithful and loving. My God is greater than the lies. Listening to lies leads to defeat. Concentrating on the truth will give me the strength to lift my head from the pillow and go downstairs.
It’s worth a read.
You can buy “The boy who came back from heaven” from Amazon UK
I have always struggled to make sense of the Trinity. Even more so when I have tried to explain it to my kids. I came across this that helped me and my kids:
Athanasius compared the Trinity to a lighted candle: the lighted candle is a flame; the flame is light and the flame is heat, but it is all one flame. The One God is the creator of all, the one God is the incarnated light of Jesus, and the one God is the warming presence of the Holy Spirit. All of these manifestations are at the same time the flame of the lighted candle. This remains the best analogy I have found to describe the Trinity.
Rufus H. Stark II, retired Methodist minister, writing to The Christian Century.
With five children with the most varied abilities and emotional needs imaginable, the sibling rivalry displayed in our home knows no bounds.
Especially on a Monday morning.
Imagine our joy when our nine year old son who developed a fear of ghosts at Christmas and has not slept alone since, slept through the night alone last night in his own bed.
Imagine how proud he was to announce to the family that Mum and Dad had had their first night together in their own bed in four months.
Imagine his excitement when the incentive of buying a new puffle (think Club Penguin) finally became a reality
And then imagine the rage of his younger sister –
“It’s not fair. I sleep in my own bed every night and you never buy me a puffle. I go to bed nicely. I let you shut the door. I even sometimes let you turn the light off. You never give me anything for all that. Why should he get a puffle and not me? It’s so not fair.”
She’s spoiling the moment. She’s ruining the celebration. I start to get angry.
And then I remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Her reaction is just like the older brother –
“It’s not fair. I do everything you ask of me and you never throw a party like this for me. I work hard. I behave appropriately. I don’t waste your money. You never give me anything at all. Why should he get a party and not me? It’s so not fair.”
So I try the loving parent line –
“ Come here to me. You know that I love you. You know how much I appreciate you going to bed nicely. This is something that your brother finds really hard and today, we are celebrating his achievement with him. There are other things that you find really hard and when you achieve them, I will celebrate with you too. So today, be happy for him if you can.”
And actually, I’m not just saying the right words. I really, really mean it. I do love her and look forward to celebrating with her too. And that’s how God is with us. When I’m jealous of the person giving the talk at the front of church or wish it was me who had been healed by God, I need to remember this story too.
And when the two older ones get in from secondary school later, this parable will be replayed. I received a postcard from the school this morning praising my daughter for her outstanding work in PE recently which is great as she struggles to apply herself to her work in any subject. But when I celebrate this achievement with her, I know that my son will go mad –
“What are you praising her for? I work hard in every lesson. I get good results all the time. And what do you give me?”
The Bible brought to life by me and my dysfunctional family.
I love it.
Body Matters is a series of eight sessions on the body of Christ for children aged 5 to 11, followed by an all-age celebration.
|Download the first session for free|
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This series was written for use in the Sunday School of my local Anglican church in Lobley Hill, Gateshead. There were three leaders, each playing a different role, and about twenty children each week. Some of the material was delivered to the whole group and for some of the time, the children were divided into smaller groups for age-appropriate activities. The objective was to teach the children the Bible truths found in Paul’s letters about the body of Christ by pretending to be a sports team with a team coach, a team physiotherapist and a team sports psychologist.
This material could easily be adapted for any size group, geared towards a particular age within the range and delivered by any number of leaders. You will need to tailor the material to the group that you have, but there is plenty of variety and choices of activities to pick and choose from.
This material is best delivered within the context of a Sports Clinic. The hall should be decorated with anatomy- and sports- related posters and objects. There are three different sports professionals named in the material and they should be dressed in a medical uniform (white coat or blue tunic) or sports and fitness gear. They should treat the children as part of a team.
If these are to be served at some stage throughout the session, it would be great if they could be healthy drinks and snacks – water or fruit juice and fruit / raisins / cereal bars.
At our church at the end of the eight sessions, we held an all-age service for all the Church family. The children could bring their parents along and there was a presentation, all-age worship and an insight for the adults into what the children had been doing and learning about. The order of service is available as an idea for use by you in your church.
|Buy all 8 weeks for just £10. Pay via PayPal and we will email you the final version in Word and PDF formats.|
Welcome back to the relaunched Fools4Christ. Over the next few weeks we are going to be working hard on launching a wide variety of free and paid materials. So whatever your work in the church you will find useful resources to help you. The first raft of materials will be aimed at working with young people in groups.