Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Feng Shui of the Worship Space

Feng Shui is the ancient art of creating a spiritual space in one's living space. I have no understanding of it whatsoever but I like the word. It sounds really cool to say and whether or not I can explain it here is beside the point of this post. What is important, I believe, is creating a worship space that is inviting to worshippers. There can be so many distractions in worship already, such as shuffling papers, cell phones going off unexpectedly, fussing children or fussing adults, microphones screeching and so forth, that the space we occupy for worship ought to be as distraction free as possible. Not only that, it ought to relax us to the point of being able to settle down and breathe in the Spirit.

Almost two years ago we decided it was time to paint the sanctuary. The white paint that had been on the walls for many years had become like a grungy ivory color. It had no life to it. It inspired only sadness and sterility rather than the warmth and inviting feeling that we longed for. The character of the 100+ year old sanctuary was lost in a sea of graying white paint.



We decided it was time to do something about the paint. . . you know, every now and then walls do need to be painted. We had three color palettes to choose from and we got together and had a sort of straw vote about it. It was a hard choice because we had to use our imaginations, the white was all we could envision because it was what was right in front of us. 


Once we chose the colors, all three warm and inviting we took a huge leap and decided to paint the back wall a darker color. As the painter was painting that wall I would go in and look and I was scared we had made a wrong choice. But alas, when it was all finished, the worship space looked amazing. How can color make a person feel so welcome? How can colors make such a difference in the mood of the space? When we worship in our sanctuary now it is such a different feeling. I cannot explain it to you exactly but it is so much easier to settle in to the Holy that surrounds us, that was always there before but now seems more prominent. 


This may sound silly but I write this because I think there are things we can do in our worship spaces to help disciples WORSHIP. We can set the mood of worship by the lighting, paint, flowers,  candles, artwork, banners and more.  Everything about worship is to be evaluated, even the paint on the walls. It is the most important thing we do as a community of faith and we are responsible to help the faithful clear their hearts and minds of as many distractions as we can so they might enter into the holy and experience the divine. 

What do you think? How have you changed your worship space to facilitate more meaningful worship? Do you think the two are related or do you think I am off base here? Join in the conversation here.


Have a blessed Christmas season!

Pastor Amy Little


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Worship Wednesday: Kyrie Eleison

I have a confession to make. Are you ready? I am a cradle Lutheran. My mother faithfully took me to Sunday School and worship without fail, each week, where I would fidget in our pew, scribble pictures, accept bribes of candy bars in order to keep quiet during the sermon, and generally was disengaged with the whole process. A foundation was built somewhere along the line though, and as a 22 year old who had just graduated from college with a degree in biology and nowhere to use it I began my search for the God of my Lutheran heritage. The good news is that he found me and I have never been the same since.

It was then that I realized that I had not learned a darn thing about what it meant to be Lutheran. I had no clue about the liturgy. All that I remember from catechism was memorizing the Apostles' Creed. I had no idea that there was such a booklet as the "Small Catechism" by Martin Luther which contains explanations to things like the Creed, the Ten Commandment and the Lord's Prayer. As for the sacraments, all I knew was that I had to wait to be confirmed to partake of the Lord's Supper so I dutifully attended and appropriately wore a white dress to my confirmation service (with bright hot pink tights though!)

Why am I telling you this? Certainly not to criticize the pastors and teachers that I had in my childhood. Perhaps I was just zoned out and missed the whole catechetical experience. But on the other hand. . . perhaps the church as a whole had failed to understand the need to teach the faith to her youngest, those who be growing up and needing their faith, those who would eventually have their own children who needed their faith. So at 22 I began to devour scripture and a few years later off I went to seminary to learn more about who I was as a Lutheran and what this faith of ours is all about.

I want to share my passion with you as I have with my own congregation. I want to share with you all the things I never knew about our Lutheran identity and theology as a young person. I want to help you put some handles on the things that I never understood and frankly never had the audacity to even inquire about. That's what you will find here on Wednesdays. My hope is that it will as good for you as it has been for me.  So with that. . . the Kyrie!

Kurios in Greek means "Lord." In English we say Kyrie Eleison, "Lord have mercy." The biggest impression of my childhood around these words was a song that hit the Billboard Charts called  Kyrie by Mr. Mister. I never even put the two together; each week we chanted back and forth with the pastor, "Lord have mercy." Think about the impact of this sung prayer. . . first of all I teach my catechism kids that this piece of our liturgy is a SUNG PRAYER. What do we do when we are at the end of our proverbial rope? What shall we say when we have no answers, only more questions? What have human beings said since the beginning of creation in times of desperation, despair, sorrow and confusion? Kyrie Eleison. Lord, have mercy. 

This prayer is one that the church prays for all creation: for the peace of the world, for the unity of all Christians, for help, for salvation, for hope. Knowing that we can come into God's presence with intention and faith simply by uttering Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Eleison, such a deep comfort. Let these words be your mantra on the journey, when you want to be in touch with God but haven't the words. . . these simply words say it all: LORD, have mercy! Amen.




Pastor Amy Little

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Activity C3 - Lesson 2: Fish Tank Window Ornament

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 2: Jesus Calls Some Fisherman (Luke 5:1 - 11)

Create a Fish Tank Window Ornament - Materials Needed:
- Colored tissue paper - various colors
- Wax paper - two pieces per student
- Iron and travel ironing board or safe flat surface to iron on
- Scissors - one per student
- Permanent Markers

Plug in the iron and let it heat up being sure it is away from the children. Give each student several pieces of colored tissue paper and a pair of scissors. Draw a fish outline on the board as an example of a fish shape for the children. Have the children cut 5 - 10 fish out of their tissue paper. Next, give each child 2 pieces of wax paper. Tell students to lay their fish shapes on one piece of wax paper. The shapes may overlap slightly. Ask kids to place the second piece of wax paper on top of the fish. The teacher can iron over the top piece of wax paper; sealing the fish in place. Trim any ragged edges. The children can use permanent marker to writ the memory verse at the bottom of the ornament.
Option: If time allows have construction paper and glue available for the kids to make a frame for their ornament.

Activity - Caught in God's Net!
You will need a large area in which to run around. Choose two kids to be the "fishing net", and ask them to link arms. All the other kids will be "fish". In this tag game the fishing net will try to tag as many fish as possible. Any fish that is tagged will link an arm adding to the net. People on each end of the net will continue to tag other fish until everyone is caught!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Worship Wednesday: Nativity Scenes


Young children are fascinated by Nativity Scenes. (Even the not so young are as well!) How can you incorporate Nativity Scenes into your community's worship life? This is a photo of the altar at Trinity Lutheran Church, Monroeville, Ohio. Eleven Christmas ago I bought this nativity scene and first used it as a children's sermon.  It has become a tradition over the past number of years to place this white porcelain nativity scene on the altar during Advent and Christmas. Any added imagery that is tastefully placed within the worshipping context can aid worshippers to be drawn into the good news of Christ. Think of the icons in the Orthodox and Catholic churches. These images invite us into the scene so that Christ might meet us there in ever powerful ways. 

What about in the home? Do you have a nativity scene in your home for the children and grandchildren to look at, touch or even play with? My son's first nativity was from Fisher Price Little People and he played with those figures and we chatted about the story of Jesus' birth. As he got older his grandmother had a set of music box nativity figurines. Each one played a different Christmas carol. He would play with those for hours and what happened was that the story of Christ's incarnation became more and more real to him. 

I have several nativity scenes that I leave out all year long. One is on the children's piano. Every time they sit down to practice it is right in front of them, reminding them of their faith. What can you do to help remind your children of their faith and of God's love for them this season? The more you make it real for them, the stronger a faith foundation that is being laid. They will take notice of what is important to you and embrace that themselves on their faith journey. . . so if you like nativity scenes, put them out! If you have some that are particularly special, leave them out.





Share your ideas here of ways that you have used nativity scenes in the home and in the church. Be creative! Your creativity helps others experience the joy of Christ's incarnation!

Have a blessed day,

Pr. Amy Little

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Activity C3 - Lesson 1: Some Things Don't Mix

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C3
Lesson 1: Jesus' Temptation by the Devil (Matthew 4:1 - 11)

Experiment - Some Things Don't Mix - Materials Needed:
- Empty water bottle with cap and an extra cup
- Measuring cup
- Food coloring
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- funnel

Using the funnel, carefully pour 1/4 cup vegetable oil into the water bottle. In a cup mix the 1/4 cup water with several drops of food coloring. Pour the colored water into the water bottle. Screw the lid on the bottle and shake vigorously. Point out how the oil and water seem to blend together. Tell the children to keep watching - the oil and water will begin to separate because the two elements do not mix. Some things just do not blend together, like oil and water, Jesus and the devil, truth and lies. At times, a lie may confuse us. But if we trust God to guide us, and if we turn to his Word for help, things will soon become clear.

Activity: Biblical Game of Truth
Prior to class look up nine facts from the Bible and invent three lies. Write them all on note cards.  Read the children two facts and one lie. Ask the kids to vote which "fact" was false. Repeat with the other facts and lies. Explain that sometimes things seem confusing, and it can be hard to know what's true. Today's Bible story tells about a time when Jesus, himself, had to figure out what was true and what wasn't. It was God's Word he relied on to show him the truth!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 7: Giant Greeting Card

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 7: Job's Suffering (Job 1 & 2)

Create a Giant Greeting Card - Materials Needed:
- Poster Board
- Markers or crayons
- Glitter glue, stickers, etc.

When Job suffered loss after loss, he felt very alone. Think of someone (or more than one person) in your congregation who is suffering right now. It could be a hospitalized person, a family grieving a recent death, etc. Ask your pastor for some suggestions. Tell the students that when people are suffering, it can help to know that others are praying for them. Make a giant class card for that very purpose! Fold the poster board in half. Write, "God is with you!" or "Your are in our thoughts and prayers." on the front of the card. Ask older kids to write uplifting Bible verses on the inside. Some suggestions include: Psalm 46:1; Isaiah 41:10; 1 Peter 5:7: Psalm 34:8; Proverbs 3:5; and Nahum 1:7. Younger kids can draw pictures and help decorate the card with stickers or glitter glue. Be sure everyone signs the card. As a class, say a prayer for the person who will receive the card.

Activity: Lost and Found
Bring in one "snack sized" bag of M&Ms (or similar treat) per student. Invite students to hold out their hands, palms up. Put one M&M in each person's hand, telling them not to eat it. Ask what they like best about the treat (it's sweet, it's chocolatey, etc.) Then collect everyone's treat and toss them in the trash. Ask kids how they feel about losing their candy before getting to eat it. Today's story is about a man named Job who lost much more than candy; he lost everything! But Job continued to trust God. Then hand out the remaining candy for the kids to enjoy.

Worship Wednesdays

Good Wednesday. . . I am so happy to have the honor of posting on Sola Publishing now on Wednesdays. The theme for Wednesday's posts will be one of the most important aspects of our Christian life together (if not THE most important), worship. We worship God because he is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving!

So, it's ADVENT now. That time of anticipation for the church of Christ, as we wait and watch for Christ to come again. It is a wonderful opportunity for us as disciples to slow down the hectic pace of our journey, which is always easier said than done! The days are getting shorter, evening comes quicker, we have a tendency to want to hibernate. In the north the temperatures are getting much colder which means there is no grass to mow at least. What if we took this opportunity in Advent to focus ourselves on Christ's coming. . . during worship, but also at home? An Advent wreath for the family table would be a nice addition to the season's decor. Before dinner you could add a special prayer to your table blessing about waiting and watching and then light the candle(s) on the Advent wreath.  You might even incorporate singing a verse of "Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah" into your evening ritual. Think of the memories you will create for your children!



Here are four evening prayers you could add to your family time:

Week One: Gracious, holy God, bless our family as we gather around this meal. May we be ever diligent to wait and watch for Christ's return. In the meantime, help us to see Jesus in our neighbor, in the injured and ill, in the lonely and distraught.  We pray for all those who do not have food this night and those who are suffering. Grant them peace and provide for their needs. We light the first candle and give you thanks for the hope you bring to us through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Week Two: God of light and life, we give you thanks for all the good gifts you have given us. Be with us in our waiting and give us patience. Be with us in our watching and give us eyes to see. Be with us in our longing and fill our hearts with your never-failing love. Bless and strengthen our family so that we might be your faithful servants in the world. We light two candles and give you thanks for the love of Christ, who came to this earth to reunite humanity to you. In his name we pray, Amen.

Week Three: Holy One, we come before you this night in joy, knowing that you hear us, see us and attend to all our needs. By your mercy grant us grace to continue the journey to the manger, where we would meet Christ and he would live and reign in our hearts forever. We thank you for the great joy you give us and ask your care and protection over our family this night. We light three candles and recall the great gift you have given us, Jesus Christ who promised to come again and who continues to make all things new. Amen.

Week Four: God of peace, as we near the birth of our Lord, we ask that you would make your holy presence fully known to us. Be with us in our waking and in our daily work, be with us as we eat together, and be with us as we retire for the night. We are truly grateful for the peace you offer us through your dear Son, Jesus. We light all four candles on the Advent wreath and bask in the glow of the light of Christ. Amen.

May this season of Advent find you filled with hope, love, joy and peace as Christ Jesus draws you ever nearer to the divine heart.

Yours,

Pastor Amy Little

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 6: Dry Bone People

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 6: Ezekiel's Vision of the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1 - 14)

Create Dry Bone People - Materials Needed:
- Dry pasta in miscellaneous shapes (wheel, elbow, etc.)
- Card stock or heavy paper
- Glue (not glue sticks)
- Markers

Give each student a piece of construction paper. Have the children write part of the memory verse at the bottom of their paper: Thus says the Lord God to these bones:
"Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live." - Ezekiel 37:5 ESV 
Then give each student a small pile of dry pasta. Explain that the pasta is like the pile of bones in today's story. When God breathed on them, they miraculously came to life! Challenge students to use the pile of dry pasta to make a skeleton person (or several people). Wheel pasta could be used for the head, elbow macaroni for arms, etc. Use the glue to attach the pasta to the paper.

Activity: Amazing Bones Trivia
As kids work on the project above, share some of these interesting facts about bones. Or for older students, you could make these facts into a trivia quiz:
a) A baby has about 300 bones at birth
b) An adult has about 206 bones. What happened to those "extra" bones the adult had as a baby? Some of them fused together to make larger bones.
c) Your spine isn't one long bone at all; in fact, it is made up of 26 separate bones called vertebrae.
d) The smallest bone in your body is located in your head, behind your eardrum. It is called the stirrup bone and is only 2.5 mm long.
e) The longest bone in the body is located in your leg, going from the pelvis to the knee. It is called the femur.
It is amazing how God brought all of these bones together to form a human being!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 5: Hidden Messages

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 5: Handwriting on the Wall (Daniel 5:1 - 30)

Create Hidden Messages - Materials Needed:
- Heavy white paper (one per student)
- White Crayons
- Watercolor paints
- paper cups with water (one per student or couple of students)
- paintbrushes
- paper towels

Give each student a piece of white paper. Distribute the other supplies evenly, asking kids to share if necessary. Invite older kids to write the Bible verse on their paper using white crayon: "Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!" (1 Chronicles 16:11). Younger kids can simplify their message by writing, "Seek the Lord!" or by drawing a large cross with a circle around it. Ask all students to prop their papers up against a wall. Then tell them to walk to the other side of the room. Can they see the writing clearly?
Next invite students to paint over their messages with dark colored watercolor paints. As they work, their words will become visible. Discuss with the students how it might have felt to see handwriting appear on a blank wall, as happened in today's story. King Belshazzar didn't see God or try to obey God's laws, even though he knew about God. Belshazzar was more interested in impressing his friends. Remind the kids that God cares about them and their choices matter to Him.

Activity - "Say What?"
Before kids arrive, write this phrase on the board: "Od-gay ares-cay bout-aay our-ay oices-chay." Invite kids to see if they can crack the code and translate the phrase. Crazy guesses are okay. Finally, explain that the words are written in "pig Latin", where the first letter of each word is put a the end of it, and the sound "ay" is added (the phrase says: "God cares about our choices." Today's story was about a king who learned this lesson through a strange message written on the wall of his palace.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 4: Mosaic - Reformed Picture

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 4: Jeremiah: Potter and the Clay (Jeremiah 18:1 - 11)

Create Mosaic: Reformed Picture - Materials Needed:
- One sheet of drawing paper per student
- Four sheets of construction paper per student (each a different color)
- Glue or glue sticks
- Pencils

Explain that a mosaic is a picture made from bits and pieces of broken things (usually colored tile). Today, the kids will "re-form" bits of torn paper into a mosaic of their own. Give each student a sheet of drawing paper and a pencil. Ask kids to draw the outline of a vase or pot. Next, give everyone four sheets of colored construction paper. Tell the kids to rip their colored papers into many smaller pieces. When they have a pile of paper in front of them, ask how they might "re-form" this messy pile, in order to make it into something beautiful. Instruct the kids to spread glue inside the outline of their drawing. Next, press small pieces of paper onto the glue, filling the drawing, but leaving the background color to show between the torn paper. The kids can make stripes or mix the colored papers to give their pots a speckled look. Talk about the biblical story of the potter and clay as you work. Explain that if God looks at his people and sees mess (like those ripped pieces of paper), he does something about it.

Activity - Re-Formed:
Give each student a small lump of clay. Invite them to form their clay into the shape of a snake. After they have done this, ask what they think about the snake in the Bible (Genesis 3). Tell the kids to squish the clay and "re-form" it, making it into a useful item (a pot, cup, etc.).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 3: Caring and Sharing Bags

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 3: Elijah & the Widow of Zarephath (1Kings 17:1 - 16)

Create a Caring and Sharing Bag - Materials Needed:
- Small paper lunch bags (one bag per student)
- Assorted, wrapped candies (or other non-perishable treats)
- Markers or crayons
- Hole punch
- Ribbon or yarn
- Scissors

Give each kid a paper bag. Invite them to write, "God loves you - and so do we!" on one side of the bag (near the bottom). Have kids decorate the bag with cheerful pictures and symbols like crosses and hearts, etc. When kids are finished, divvy up the treats equally, and have the children put them in the bags. Fold the top of the bag down, and use a hole punch to make two holes - one on each side of the top of the bag. Give each student a piece of ribbon or yarn. Have them thread it through the holes and tie the ends in a bow. This will keep the bag closed. Explain that these gifts will be used to cheer up people in the congregation who are having a hard time. By sharing something they like, the kids will bring joy to someone else. Say a prayer with the class, asking God to bless those who receive these gift bags. Then, put the bags in a larger container and give them to the pastor. Whenever he or she visits someone, the pastor (or another church visitor) can bring a gift bag from the children of the church!

Activity: Share and Share Alike
Bring a box or cookie tin, with small trinkets or treats (one per student). Also bring a CD or MP3 player to play music. Invite students to sit in a tight circle, playing music as kids pass the box around. At random, stop the music quickly; whoever has the box takes out a prize. Finish the game when half the students have prizes. Then give those kids a choice: they can keep their treat, knowing that several classmates have nothing; or they can return their item to the box and start again trusting that by doing so everyone will get something in the end.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 2: Prayer Scrolls

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 2: Solomon Asks for Wisdom (1 Kings 3:3 - 15)

Create a Prayer Scroll - Materials Needed:
- brown paper lunch bags (one per student)
- scissors
- markers or crayons
- ribbon or yarn

Give students a brown paper lunch bag, and have them cut off the bottom of the bag. Then have them cut the bag along the side seam to make a large piece of brown paper. Tear the edges so the paper looks old. Ask kids to think about an ability or character trait they would like to have (for example: courage, strength, kindness, a happy heart, etc.). Then invite them to write a prayer on the paper, asking God to give them this gift (younger kids can draw pictures to illustrate what they'd like). Students can decorate their scrolls with little pictures, symbols, shapes, etc. When everyone is finished, go around the room and invite kids to show the class their scroll. Have them name what they asked for; then have them say how they could use this gift from god to help other people, rather then just helping themselves. (For example, someone who asked for courage might be able to stand up for another child who is being bullied at school.) Finally, roll up the scrolls and tie each with a piece of ribbon or yarn.

Activity - Wise Choices:
Prior to class, put pairs of food items in a bag, one healthy, one less healthy (e.g. apple and candy bar; carrots and chips; bottle of water and bottle of pop). When the students have gathered, go through the bag and take out one pair of items at a time asking the kids which snack they would prefer. Then, ask which ones the wiser choice would be and why. In today's lesson, King Solomon had the change to ask for anything in the world. What did he ask God for?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Activity C2 - Lesson 1: Samson's Hair

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C2
Lesson 1: Samson Knocks Down the Walls (Judges 16:4 - 31)

Create Samson's Hair - Materials Needed:
- 1 - 2 skiens of yarn
- Construction paper
- Scissors, stapler, and masking tape
- Markers

Before class, cut six strands of yarn per student. Each strand should be 12 - 16 inches in length. When it is time to do the activity, give each student 3 strands of yarn and a piece of tape. Invite kids to tape the top of their yarn to the edge of a table or desk, to keep it secured. Demonstrate how to make a simple braid (take the left strand of yarn and fold it over the middle one, placing it between the right and middle strands; take the right strand and fold it over what is now the middle one, placing it between the left and middle strands; repeat). Tie the braid at the top and bottom with shorter pieces of yarn. Have kids do the same thing to make a second braid.
Next, cut construction paper into 1 - 2" strips, and fit them around each student's head. Staple strips together to make headbands. Using masking tape, have the student attach a braid to each side of the headband. If some finish before others, they may help younger classmates or decorate their headband with markers.
Note: If you have time and extra yarn, you could have each of the students make seven braids to represent Samson's seven locks of hair.

Activity: True Strength
Bring in two index cards for each student. Give each student one card and challenge everyone to make the card stand upright on its own without bending the card. Next, give students a second index card, and repeat the challenge (kids will succeed by leaning one card against the other). In today's lesson, students will learn about a man who thought he was strong on his own. He needed to learn that true strength comes from leaning on God.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 7: River Crossing

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 7: Crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3:1 - 4:10)

Create a 3-D River Crossing - Materials Needed:
- brown and green construction paper
- sand in tub with a spoon
- glue, markers, small pebbles
- plastic wrap (clear or blue)

Take a 9x12 piece of brown construction paper and set it down horizontally. Use a pencil to mark out the banks of the Jordan River so it flows from the left side of the paper to the right with banks on the top and bottom of the page. On the bottom edge of the paper write, "The Lord does amazing things."  Tear bits of green construction paper and glue the bits to both banks of the river. Take some of the plastic wrap and glue the edges to the paper a few inches in from the left edge of the paper. Crumple up the excess plastic wrap so it looks like "heaped up" water. (It may need dabs of glue in different areas to get it to stay on the paper.) Spread glue over the surface of the marked out river area to the right of the plastic wrap and sprinkle the river bed with sand. A pile of twelves small pebbles can represent Joshua's marker in the midst of the Jordan.

Activity: Don't Forget to Remember
The key word for this lesson is remembrance. Either work together as a class or in teams and see who can remember and list various examples of miracles from the Bible. Have the students make another list to name events or special things God has done in their own lives. Remind the students most of God's miraculous wonders are not "supernatural" or strange. God often used ordinary earthly things as the means to do his work and show his glory.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Education Workshop in Nebraska


Attention: LCMC, NALC, and Lutheran CORE members in Nebraska!

This Saturday, October 6th, Trinity Lutheran of Gothenburg will be hosting a free workshop for area congregations, featuring Pastor Steven King, managing editor of Sola Publishing, who will be presenting the topic: God’s Word in Action: A Workshop on Scripture-centered Bible Study.” 

Pastor King will be talking about what makes Bible Study more than just a book club,  support group, or self help seminar, but a real encounter with the Living Word: Jesus Christ.

The workshop will be held at the Comfort Suites Event Center, 301 Platte River Drive in Gothenburg, NE, from 10 am to 12 noon, with a full display of Sola educational products that you can take a look at after. Coffee and donuts will be provided.  The workshop is free and is open to anyone.  Call Pastor Jeff Cottingham at Trinity (308) 537-2055 for directions.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 6: Marshmallow Rock

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 6: Water from the Rock (Exodus 17:1 - 7)

Moses Figure Template
Create a Marshmallow Rock - Materials Needed:
- copies of the Moses figure to color
  (click on template to the right to enlarge, then download jpg file)
- blue decorative frosting (squeeze tube or canister)
- chocolate flavored marshmallows
- chocolate frosting
- plastic knife
- large paper plate
- markers

Around the edge of the plate, have the children write this Bible verse: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38) Each child will need four chocolate flavored marshmallows on their plate. Use a dab of the chocolate frosting to "glue" the marshmallows to the plate and to one another in a pyramid-like shape. Have the children dribble a stream of blue frosting to represent the water coming from the rock. Give each student a copy of the Moses figure and have them color the picture. Then cut out the figure leaving 1/2 an inch of paper to fold at the bottom so that Moses can stand. Use another dab of frosting to glue Moses onto the plate standing near the rocks.

Water Pressure Experiment:
Warning: This will make a mess so you may want to do this over an empty plastic tub or sink. Place a straw in a water bottle fill 3/4 full with water. Then use clay to cover the rest of the opening of the bottle so the only opening is the top of the straw. Blow hard into the straw, then quickly back away. The pressure in the bottle will increase enough to drive the water out of the bottle. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 5: Baby Moses

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 5: Baby Moses in the Basket (Exodus 1:8 - 2:10)

Baby Moses Egg Carton Craft - Materials Needed:
- Egg carton - cut in individual units
- eggs (hardboiled or plastic)
- raffia (palm fiber strands) or Easter basket grass
- glue, scissors, yarn, markers and fabric

Cut up the egg carton so that each student  has an intact section for their project. Have the children cut off bits of raffia and glue it to the inside of their egg carton section.  Have the raffia stick up so that it looks like straw in a basket. Then have them decorate the egg to look like a baby, by drawing a face, wrapping its bottom in fabric and cutting and glueing bits of yarn for hair. Place the baby egg in the basket. Talk about how fragile and breakable an egg is. Then remind the children how fragile babies are, and why they need others to care for them. As God's children, we all need God to protect and take care of us.

Ice-Cream Pail Lid Review:
You will need ice-cream pail lids cut into rings and small index cards with various words written on them; such as: Moses, Miriam, Jochebed, Midwives, Babies, Pharoah, Hebrews, Reeds, Nile, Basket, etc. Place the cards around the floor. Each student tosses a ring trying to get it to circle one of the cards. The student then needs to ask a question that matches the "answer" on the card.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 4: Putting Pieces Back

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 4: Joseph Forgives his Brothers (Genesis 45:1 - 20)

Activity: Putting Pieces Back Together - Materials Needed:
- one copy of the story coloring pages from the C1 lesson book p. 17
- black construction paper
- crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue sticks

Have the students color the coloring pages from the lesson book and shade in as much as they can, including the background. When they are done, have them cut the header and footer from the pages, leaving just the picture. After they have finished coloring have the students carefully tear the picture into small mosaic-like shapes, about 1 to 1.5 inches in width. Encourage them to make the shapes somewhat irregular, but not too small. Using the torn papers like the pieces of a puzzle, have them reassemble the picture on top of the black sheet of construction paper. When the picture pieces are in the right arrangement, they should use a glue stick to attach them in place. If they leave a small 1/8th inch gap between the pieces of the "puzzle", it will produce a stained glass window effect.
Like the pieces of a torn puzzle, God brought Joseph and his brothers back together after many years. Use the craft project to remind the children that even when our relationships with others are torn apart, forgiveness allows the change for people to come back together again.

Relationship Web:
Have the children spread out in the room. The teacher begins by holding the end of a ball of yarn. Upon saying their first name, each person throws the yarn ball to be caught by a student across the room, who keeps hold of the yarn and throws the ball to another, until all have had the ball. Start again by having each person say their last name. The result should be an interconnected web of people, reminding the students how God binds us all together in one family.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 3: Dream Telescope

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 3: Joseph's Brothers are Jealous (Genesis 37:1 - 35)

Create a Dream Telescope - Materials Needed:
- paper towel tubes, one for each child
- tape and aluminum foil, craft materials
- a copy of the star pattern on lightweight paper

Print off the star pattern on a sheet of lightweight white paper. Copy enough so each child has one copy. Fold the cut-out circle around the end of the paper towel tube (the paper will look like a cupcake holder). Tape the clip art to the end of the tube making sure it covers the entire opening. Have the children cover the sides of the tube with aluminum foil (taping the edges), and decorate their telescopes with stickers, jewels, markers, etc. When they hold their tube up to the light, they should be able to see what Joseph saw in his dream: the sun, the moon and 11 stars.

Envy Activity:
Ask the class if they now what "envy" means. Ask the students to give examples of when they have felt envious of others, or wished they had something special that belonged to someone else. Brainstorm ideas on how to resist those feelings (e.g. counting your blessings)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 2: Noah and the Ark

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 2: Noah and the Ark (Genesis 6 - 7)

Complete the Animal Pairs - Materials Needed:
- Animal pictures from magazine or internet
- 9x12 construction paper
- scissors, glue, crayons, markers, pencils

From magazines or the internet, collect an assortment of animal pictures, about 8x10 in size. Cut the pictures in half lengthwise. Provide each child with a piece of light-colored construction paper and have them glue the half picture on the paper leaving room for the missing half. Then have the children complete the animal by drawing the other half on the paper. Since the pictures were cut in half, when the students are finished, there should be animal pairs.

Option: Use butcher paper cut in the shape of the Ark (a simple crescent shape would work). Post the animal pictures inside the boat.

Activity:
Animal Alphabet: Have the students stand in a circle. Go around the circle having children name an animal, starting with the letter "A" and going through to "Z". If someone gets stuck, allow others in the class to offer suggestions. But that same student should go the next letter and name an animal before the turn moves on. Examples: A = Ape, B = Buffalo... Y= Yak, etc.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Activity C1 - Lesson 1: Days of Creation

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Green Unit C1
Lesson 1: Days of Creation (Genesis 1:1 - 2:4a)

Create a Mural - Materials Needed:
- Large piece of "butcher paper" or blank poster
- Miscellaneous art tools and craft items: fabric, craft glue, scissors, feathers, construction paper (including yellow and gray), markers, yarn, paint and brushes, etc.

For this project, have the whole class work together to create a wall mural, following the pattern used by God in the days of creation.
First Day: Start with the lights off in class. Then, to represent the first day, turn on the lights. Present the paper as the canvas for the rest of the activity.
Second Day:  Paint a blue sky in large sweeping brush strokes.
Third Day:  Add the ground and a body of water in the same way. Now let the children dig through the craft supplies provided and make plants, fruit trees and grain, with fabric, yarn and paper. Add them to the mural.
Fourth Day: Use yellow and gray paper to make a sun and moon and put them on opposite sides of the mural. Then cut out little yellow stars to add to the sky.
Fifth Day: Use the craft supplies to make birds (feathers, felt, eyes, etc.) and sea creatures (foam sheets, glitter, etc.)
Sixth Day:  Use fur and felt scraps to make wild animals, reptiles, and people.
Seventh Day:  When all is done, rest and have a treat for the class, remarking on how "good" the class creation is.

Mural Review:
Go back over the mural picture, using a "movie voice" to announce the days: "On the first day God created...."  See if the children can verbally "fill in the blank" by remembering the order of creation.

Monday, July 2, 2012

New 2012 Women's & Men's Group Study

Through This Vain World

A Bible Study on the Book of Ecclesiastes

Sola Publishing has just released the Participant's Book and the Leader's Guide for its new group Bible Study series for 2012, based on the Book of Ecclesiastes.  The study, titled "Through this Vain World" was written by Rev. Steven E. King, general editor of Sola Publishing.  Go to the Sola website HERE for more information or to order the study.

NEW FOR 2012: This year's study makes use of a larger three-page-per-session format, with more material added into each lesson.  Also, at popular request, the new Leader's Guides include the full text of the Participant's Book, so that study leaders don't have to switch back and forth between books!


From the website description:

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3)

The Book of Eccelsiastes has a unique place in Scripture, reflecting on the life of faith with an honest and realistic perspective. This Bible study takes a Christ-centered approach, by looking at the book of Ecclesiastes through the lens of the Cross. It asks the hard questions of purpose and meaning in a world that often seems empty and vain. From the perspective that Martin Luther called a Theology of the Cross, the questions and discussion in this study focus on our calling to take up our cross and follow Christ in faith "through this vain world."

“Through this vain world He guides our feet,
 and leads us to His heavenly seat. His mercies ever shall endure,
 when this vain world shall be no more.”  (Isaac Watts) 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Children's Workbook: "My New Bible"

Sola Publishing is introducing a new Sunday School workbook, titled "My New Bible."  This information and activity book is meant for congregations as they present for elementary-aged students with the gift of the Holy Scriptures.  The booklet was prepared specifically for use with The American Bible Society's "The Holy Bible Children's Illustrated Edition" CEV*

This five-session study introduces students to the layout and contents of their new Bible, shows them how to identifiy books and find verses, and gives them an overview of the major parts of Scripture. To order from Sola, or to see a sample pdf of the booklet's first session, go HERE.


children-s-cevsm.png
*Recommended Scripture Edition:

The "My New Bible" Sunday School workbook was prepared for use with The American Bible Society's CEV "The Holy Bible Children's Illustrated Edition" Contemporary English Version (see cover picture to the left).  The workbook contains specific page references to this CEV edition, which is also available for purchase through Sola Publishing. To order the CEV Bible, click (HERE).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 7: Praise Band

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 7: Multitudes Before the Throne (Revelation 5:1 - 14)

Create Instruments - Materials Needed:
- A copy of the memory verse, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"
- Anything that can be used as an instrument (see examples below)
- Various stickers, gems, yarn, glue and markers to decorate instruments

For this project each child will need to try to memorize what the multitudes were saying to prepare for their march. Come up with different band instruments for the praise band to march with; i.e. small containers to decorate and use as drums, plastic bottles with rice for maracas, aluminum pie tins for cymbals, two single size cereal boxes with sand paper glued to them - rub together for a unique sound, etc... Let the kids prepare and decorate their instruments.

Marching Praise Band:
March around showing the parents and other classes the praise band while chanting the memory verse.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 6: Help Wanted Ad

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 6: Timothy Learns How to Be a Leader (1 Timothy 4:6 - 16)

Create a Help Wanted Ad - Materials Needed:
- Wanted ads from newspapers for examples
- Copy paper or sheet with pre-printed headers (see example below) for each child
- Pencils

For this project the children will make a want ad for a "leader", just like someone would put into a newspaper looking to fill a position. For younger children, make a want ad together as a class. For older children, have each child write their own want ad (review examples). Go through the lesson and discuss what the qualities actually mean, how can you tell if someone has those qualities, etc.
Example - Wanted: A Good Minister of Jesus Christ - Must have ability to hold tongue (discuss what this means), desire to learn about God (how do we do this), works well with children (how important does the class feel this is). Hours: 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Benefits: Relationship with God (discuss these benefits). You could even collect the ads from the kids, copy them so the kids can bring them home; or type them up to look like a newspaper and make a copy for each child.

Erase It Memory Work - Write out the memory verse on an erasable board. Have everyone recite the verse together several times. Give one student an eraser and ask the student to erase one word. Have everyone recite the verse again, saying the missing word. Repeat the process until there are no words left on the board. Then have the class recite the whole verse by memory.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 5: Being Hosts

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 5: Lydia Hosts the Apostles (Acts 16:1 - 15)

Being Hospitable Hosts - Materials Needed:
- disposable cups, plates and napkins
- lemonade or other drink
- snacks like cheese and crackers or celery/peanut butter/raisins
- construction paper and markers for placemats

For this project the kids will become good hosts to one another. Work together with other classes to host a quick "luncheon". If you do not have multiple classes break the kids into groups, maybe have a couple of extra parents help that day. Assign various things needed to be a proper host: some makes lemonade, others prepares food (i.e. cheese and crackers, peanut butter on celery with raisins, others makes place mats. Have one class service and clean up for another and switch roles; alternatively, have the children do this for the adults after service. Smaller children can pass out napkins. Impress upon the children that they are the hosts - they should offer a short prayer before beginning, they need to ask if people are finished so they may take away their plates, etc.
Our church has Adult Forum during Children's Sunday School, with that format have the kids host a quick luncheon prior to the beginning of forum then return to class and read about Lydia.

Activity - Finish being a proper host by cleaning up thoroughly and thanking their guests for attending their luncheon.

Friday, March 16, 2012

For Children: The Life of Martin Luther

The Life of Martin Luther
Children's Coloring and Storybook
This easy-to-read coloring and storybook presents children with an introduction to the life of one of the most influential Christians in history, Martin Luther. From his childhood, to his days as a monk, to his becoming a teacher and pastor in Wittenberg -- the stories in this book trace Luther's life of faith through many struggles and challenges, showing us what it means to be faithful to God's Word and bear witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.  The book is written and illustrated by Rev. Steve King.
Go HERE to order from Sola Publishing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 4: Transformation Art

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 4: Transformation Art (Acts 9:1 - 31)

Create Transformation Art - Materials Needed:
- one white piece of paper per student; 1/2 sheet if time is short
- multiple colors of crayons and 1 black crayon per student
- one craft stick or something to scratch the black crayon off the paper per student

Have the children fill their entire piece of paper with different color patches in what ever shapes/patterns they like. Remind them to press hard to get good full color coverage of the paper. When the paper is completely colored with different colors take the black crayon and color over the other colors. Again they must press hard to cover the whole page making it black. Then using the craft stick; have the children draw a scene from the story by scratching a layer of black crayon allowing the picture to show with all the multiple colors originally used.
For younger children: A story scene may be too complicated, have them draw a butterfly and think about the transformation Saul made when he changed to Paul - like a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Act Out the Drama with Props:
Act out the drama using basic props: a flashlight for the light that blinded Paul, fake flower petals to drop in front of Paul's eyes like the scales falling off when he regained his sight, etc.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 3: Feed Your Neighbor Race

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 3: Deacons are Chosen to Serve (Acts 6:1 - 15)
Feed the Neighbor Race - Materials Needed:- Several empty food boxes
- blindfolds
- large box for each team


Break the kids into teams of two - or have bigger teams and rotate through the leader role and food delivering role.
This is a trust/cooperation game. One child will guide the blindfolded person on their team with verbal commands from one end of the room to the other. The goal is to bring the food (empty boxes) to their neighbors in need (large box/bin) one at a time. Whichever team finishes first wins. Place chairs and other obstacles in the way so the blindfolded person needs to trust in the honest commands of the leader directing them.
For younger children, the teacher could direct each of the students one at a time without making it a team competition.
Option: Have the children bring full boxes of food for the game. Once the game is complete the food can be donated to a local food shelf.

Help Your Neighbor Letters:
Choose a group and write letters of encouragement or thanks. Children could write letters of thanks to veterans, smaller children could make pictures to be dropped off at the local senior home, write letters of thanks to the pastors, etc.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Sola Scriptura Worship Setting

In 2012, Sola Publishing will be releasing a number of worship resources. Many of these will come in the form of free downloadable files that can be used and "tested" in congregations. We seek advice and constructive feedback from churches that give them a try. Here is one we hope you take a look at:

The Sola Scriptura Setting
A Spoken Liturgy for Holy Communion
— using Scripture Verses for Dialog and Prayers

This setting of the service for Holy Communion is being made available from Sola as a free downloadable file. The spoken dialog and prayers in this setting are taken directly from the English Standard Version (ESV), with the appropriate citations listed throughout. Verses were chosen to convey the same sense and meaning found in the traditional liturgy, emphasizing the biblical basis for our worship.Since this is a spoken liturgy, relying on musical accompaniment only for congregational hymns, it is well-suited for places where professionally-trained accompanists or vocal soloists are not available to lead a musical setting of the liturgy.

• Individual Half-Page Format (download pdf)

• Pages Formatted for Printing Back-to-Back as a Booklet (download pdf)


Other free worship-related materials can be found on Sola's website: www.solapublishing.org under "Free Sola Resources."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catechism Devotional Book

Sola Publishing has just released a new devotional book written by Peggy Hoppes. This 35-day devotional book follows the sections of Martin Luther's Small Catechism, and is designed for daily reflection on the Scriptures and the faith that we believe. Guiding the reader through a journey of Law to Gospel, the devotions are meant to show readers their need for grace, and where that grace is found in Jesus Christ.  The book is not only meant as a basic daily devotional and prayer resource, it also serves as a brief overview of the themes of the Catechism.


Go HERE to order from Sola Publishing.
Author Peggy Hoppes has been doing devotional writing for years, both online and in print.  Her “A Word for Today” devotionals can be found online on Facebook™ as well as on her own site at:  www.awordfortoday.org.
Look for another devotional book from Peggy on the theme of "Vocation" -- coming soon from Sola!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 2: Power Experiment

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 2: Peter & John Heal a Lame Man

Power Experiment - Materials Needed:
- large heavy book
- table strong enough to have a child sit on
- thick plastic shopping bag without holes

Read the memory verse from the Picture page. Ask, can you lift your friend off of a table without touching them? Lay the bag on the table (near a corner) so the top third hangs over the edge. Place the large book on top of the bag and have one of the children sit on it with their legs over the adjacent corner. Have another child (or teacher) gather the open end of the shopping bag together so the opening is small. Then blow hard, like you are blowing up a balloon. Blow until the child sitting on the book is lifted off of the table. You may want to give everyone a turn. God gave the miraculous power of healing to Peter and John by simply using the name of Jesus Christ.
God made pressure to work in such a way that one child can lift another off of a table without toughing them. God provides miracles in other ways throughout our world we just need to notice them. For younger children, the teachers should blow up the bags and have a spotter for the child sitting on the book.

Bible Bowl Race Activity:
Everyone starts at one end of the room. Quiz the children from today's lesson, i.e. name the disciples that healed the beggar. If they get it right they walk two steps forward, if not they do not move. Keep asking until someone makes it across the room and wins. If time allows try it with the lesson from the week before and see how much the children remember.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Activity B4 - Lesson 1: Fishing Boat

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B4
Lesson 1: Jesus Appears by the Sea (John 21:1 - 14)

Create a Fishing Boat - Materials Needed:
- brown Construction paper one per child

  and extra various color scrap construction paper
- several long pieces of string and scrap fabric bits
- scissors, glue, and tape
- markers

Draw an outline of the body and mast of the boat (similar to the drawing on page 5 of the lesson book) on the brown construction paper. Have one prepared for each child. The children should cut out the boat and mast.

For the net, cut four lengths of string long enough to wrap around the top edge to the bottom edge of the boat. Tape the ends of the four pieces of string approximately 1/4 inch apart to the top of the boat on the back side. Drape the string over the front of the boat tucking it under the bottom side of the boat and taping it on the back leaving the 1/4 space between each piece. Cut smaller pieces of string (5 - 7 pieces) to weave through the vertical piece making a net shape. Tack the small horizontal pieces of string down with a dab of glue. Cut a few small fish shapes out of the scrap construction paper and glue them into the net.

Use the scrap fabric to add fabric to the mast - gluing it down. Add horizontal lines to the boat giving it a wood look. Write "Lord, help us to gather others together in your name. Amen" on the boat. For smaller children you may want to draw the net on the side of the boat, have the verse printed and ready to paste.

Letter:
Have the students write a personal letter to one of the characters in the story, or have the students write a letter as if they were one of the characters telling what they saw. For younger children brainstorm and create a letter as a class. The teacher writes the letter on the board.

Sunday Schoolhouse - Red Year Complete!

Sola Publishing has released the fourth and final installment in the "Red Year" of its Sunday Schoolhouse reproducible Sunday School Curriculum.  Now, two complete 4-unit years (Red and Blue) are available!  The third and final year of the series will be released for the 2012-2013 school year.


With this installment, we are pleased to welcome Kelly Hanson as a children's writer to staff of Sola Publishing.  Kelly has many years experience in writing curricula, and also brings artistic skills to her work.  She collaborated with Pastor Steve King on the B4 unit, and will take primary responsibility for the third year of the Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum.  Kelly is also a mother and wife of Pastor Dwight Hanson, who serves a two-point NALC parish in Wisconsin.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pastor's Theological Conference - ILT/Augustana

Sola Publishing will be at Pastor's Theological Conference jointly sponsored by the Institute of Lutheran Theology and the Augustana District LCMC, being held in Bloomington, MN, starting on Sunday.

Dr. Fred Baltz, President of ILT, has produced a booklet for congregations under the title "Lutheran Evangelism Initiative." We hope it will be the first of many resources released under that title and theme. Pastors attending the conference will receive a free draft copy of the booklet from Sola. Look for it to be "officially" released in the coming months.

Look on the Free Sola Resources - Adult Education page for downloadable brochures on the topic of witnessing to faith, along with other subjects helpful in the area of evangelism.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Free Confirmation Tests & Study Sheets

Look under the "Free Sola Resources" tab on the main Sola website to find a number of documents and educational resources that are available for download.  Congregations are welcome to photocopy these resources for local use.

For example, on our free Confirmation Page, we now have tests and study sheets for all four units of the Sola Confirmation Series: Apostles' Creed, Sacraments, Ten Commandments, and Lord's Prayer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lenten Drama Series - "Will You Betray Me?"

Will You Betray Me?   Five-Part Lenten Drama Series
“Will You Betray Me?” (Luke 22:48)  This was Jesus’ question to Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was arrested.  In our lives of faith as Jesus’ disciples, it is a question that could be asked of each of us as well.  
Meant to be featured as part of a mid-week worship service during the season of Lent, this five-part drama series focuses on “betrayal” as a central theme. Written in a direct and edgy style, the monologues feature biblical characters that (knowingly or unknowingly) contributed to the betrayal and death of Jesus.  
 1. SIMON, THE UPSTANDING PHARISEE
(themes: responsibility, morality, and self-righteousness)
 2. RACHEL, THE CONCERNED MOTHER
(themes: ingratitude, gossip, and the assumption of guilt)
 3. SIMON, THE INNOCENT BYSTANDER
(themes: duty, personal distance, and not getting involved)
 4. DINAH, THE FORGIVEN ADULTERESS
(themes: scorn, resentment, and suspicion of motives)
 5. JUDAS, THE GOOD DISCIPLE
(themes: disappointment, disenchantment, and failure)
Scripture texts are assigned for each of the dramas, along with notes for actors.  Discussion questions are included with each, to be used as the basis for a sermonic reflection or mini-Bible Study. Each drama is about 10-12 minutes long.  A suggested order of worship is also provided at the back of the booklet. Go HERE to order.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Errata: Correction

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverb 9:9)


Dear Colleagues using the Sola Lord's Prayer Curriculum:

One of our faithful beta-testers, Pastor Pentti Maki, found a small error on page 9 of the new Lord's Prayer Confirmation booklet, in the section regarding Jesus' parable of the two sons called to work in the vineyard (the erroneous text said "second son" where it should have noted "first son" as the obedient one).

You can download a full 11x17 corrected page online HERE for those would like to replace the entire back-to-back sheet in booklets.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Activity B3 - Lesson 7: Empty Tomb Craft

Sunday Schoolhouse Series Activity - Red Unit B3
Lesson 7: The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1 - 15)

Create an Empty Tomb - Materials Needed:
- piece of large size construction paper (not white) for each child
- a piece of paper bag (approximately 4"x4") for each child
- variety of fabric scraps including white fabric
- yarn scraps and paper fasteners for each child
- scissors, glue, and markers
- a copy of this lesson's prayer (older children can re-write it; one each for younger children)

Have each child crumple their paper bag piece repeatedly until it has a rough stone look. Flatten out the paper bag piece and cut it into a boulder shape. Lay the large construction paper piece horizontally and attach the boulder to the left bottom side with the paper fastener. The fastener should be applied to the bottom left of the boulder. This will allow the boulder to slide up on the paper. Slide up the boulder and write "He is Risen!" underneath it. Lower the boulder back so you cannot see the words until the stone is "rolled" away. Have the children cut out robes for the angel and the two Marys. Use the white cloth for the angel's robe. Use yarn for the hair and markers for the faces. Write the prayer from the lesson at the top of the paper. For younger children: pre-cut the fabric, boulder, prayer, etc. so they can simply attach the pieces to the paper.

Act out the drama: Act out the drama provided, make noise and fall down for the earthquake; have two guards fall to the ground, etc.