Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A wedgie from a donkey

This week it was Lily's chance to lead 'Super Family Bible Night' and being a few days before Christmas, she wanted to do 'Jesus being born'. So Lily and Adam headed off to discuss secret 'Super Family Bible Night' preparations and came out bearing sheets, angel wings and a hobby horse. And so... it was a night for dramatic interpretation.

Lily of course played the lead role of Mary, Toby was Joseph, Mum was the angel Gabriel (Lily made sure I knew that "that angel is a boy mum, but you'll be okay") and poor Dad got relegated with reading the story and being the inn keeper. The hobby horse was the donkey and Lily's dolly 'Olivia' played the part of baby Jesus. So with all parts assigned the story began...

The angel appeared to a very surprised Mary (I think Lily has some acting ability) and then Joseph took her on a donkey to Bethlehem. Toby's role was to lead the donkey while 'Mary' was riding it however the temptation was too much and he decided to give 'Mary' hobby horse wedges the whole way (Lily was not impressed). On arrival to Bethlehem, there no rooms available so we headed to the kids bedrooms (aptly named the stable). In the stable was Lily's doll cot and all kinds of stuffed animals playing parts of the stable animals.

The big moment arrived and Jesus was born, and there was a very proud mother 'Mary' who made sure Jesus was snug and warm, well fed and that Toby looked after him, although she was not impressed with Toby holding baby Jesus at all.
Lily finished the time with a shy awkward prayer – but it was prayer.

So how was this week – Lily had been preparing her story for a couple of weeks and was very excited to be able to finally lead her story. There are always some interesting and funny parts to Super Family Bible Night and tonight was no exception.

We hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Christmas and able to celebrate and remember the reason of Christmas – Jesus.

Merry Christmas
from our family to yours

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holy, holy, holy – wouldn’t that get boring?

Well it is the silly season and things have been a little crazy with kinder concerts, school concerts, and Christmas production rehearsals and so I'm a week behind on writing this blog – and we've even missed a week totally. So here is last week's blog... J

This week's Super Family Bible Night was run by Toby and he had been planning it since his last one, my only concern was that he wanted to do a story in Revelation. Now I love (and get totally confused by) Revelation and so how was an 8yo going to lead us in this bible story?? Well, thankfully, Toby was working off the Kids Bible which was a lot tamer and understandable.

Toby read the story of John's vision of heaven, of how the doors of heaven were opened and he saw what heaven would be like. When he got to the point in the story where the flying creatures looked too Jesus and fell down at his feet singing "holy, holy, holy", Toby stopped and stated – "wouldn't that get a little boring if all you did all day was sing 'holy, holy, holy'?" We had to laugh at the honesty and bluntness of an 8yo.

Toby had some creative ideas for this week - we'd make paper doors to open and inside we would each draw what we thought heaven would be like. We got the paints and paper out and with all our creativity set about painting our picture of heaven. Each person painted their own idea of heaven – Lily & I painted Jesus on his throne with a rainbow, Adam painted a new earth (amazing) and Toby packed his page full of ideas of heaven- Jesus on his throne with some red carpet, the flying creatures singing, a new earth and interestingly Toby playing on his skateboard! How great would it be if we could all skateboard in heaven!! lol

Afterwards, Toby had planned what questions to ask us each about heaven, our pictures and what we'd like in heaven and then he had thoughtfully written down his prayer and prayer points, and prayed an amazing and caring prayer.

So how'd it go? Well, our kids now really look forward to each week of Super Family Bible Night and they particularly like the weeks that they are leading it. I'm amazed at how much they remember from these nights. So as we come to the end of a year and look back on these nights I am thrilled, amazed and have to laugh at how each week went – but what is important is that we spend this time together getting into God Word in a fun, interactive and applicable way. Why not have a go in your family!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

3 Wise Men and googly eyes

This week is was Adam's turn to lead 'Super Family Bible Night' and the kids always look forward to Adam's night – they are always very clever, creative and fun! And this week's was no exception. Although it didn't start off so well (or end so well for that matter). Toby (8) has been learning piano and we'd printed off some music for him to learn how to play some Christmas Carols, however I got a little over excited and decided it was about time that I learn how to play the piano too – or at least learn how to play Silent Night. So the first 10minutes of Super Family Bible Night was with me and the kids trying to play and sing Silent Night together – completely out of tune much to the delight of us 3 and with Adam smirking and rolling his eyes at us all. Mental note – don't try and learn piano on a 'Super Family Bible Night' it will only end in singing – lol.

With piano practise aside we officially began the night. Adam's story was of the "3 wise men" a great idea to look at the stories around Christmas – I can't believe it's only a little over 3 weeks until Christmas. I do love the Christmas season. Adam read and discussed how the wise men saw the large star in the sky, and followed it to Bethlehem. What was doubly brilliant was that Kids Church this week spoke about this same story and so Toby was able to share lots about what he'd learnt in Kids Church. Toby & Lily had even been playing with our Nativity scene the day before, and so Toby had been teaching Lily about the 3 gifts that the wise men had brought for Jesus. Kids Church had even found mirth and Toby shared how disgusting it smelt – although Lily kept calling it "Perth." (I love my church!) This made it easier for Adam to talk about the story because the kids already knew lots about the story.

After the story Adam's creative side shone through again. He'd purchased some little gold boxes and he pulled out the craft box, and spent some time decorating our little gifts to remind us of the gifts that the wise men had brought to Jesus. There was pipe-cleaners, glue, stickers, sparkles and even some googly eyes (left over from our week on ladybirds ***blog insert here***) that was until the googly eyes decided they didn't want to stick onto the gift boxes and kept sliding off. Thus begins the tears... "My eyes won't stay on... sob... my eyes won't stick mum... bigger sob and the beginning of anger... why won't my eyes stick?" At first I was able to contain my amusement of how upset Toby was getting about his googly eyes and give him some thoughts on how to get his googly eyes to stick on his gift box but when he began hitting the googly eyes with his fists – my small hidden smirk – came out as a little giggle and then a good ole belly laugh. I know I shouldn't laugh at my children but sometimes they are so funny and I can't help it. So after some more tears, anger and a few camera shots Toby was able to calm down and I had to promise not to put up any photos of him having his googly eye tantrum. Of which I will keep. We then finished off our gift boxes and hung them on the Christmas tree for us to remember of the gift of Jesus.

So in summary how did the night go? The story was a fantastic idea especially leading up to Christmas – the craft idea was perfect especially since we'd just put up the Christmas tree the day before. The only downside of the night was the distraction of Silent Night piano practise and those rotten googly eyes. Mental note – consider throwing googly eyes out!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moses & the placemats!

This week it was my turn for 'Super Family Bible Night' and we decided to look at Moses, the baby in a basket. I considered for a split second that we could do a dramatised version of the passage but then thought about the use of water and children and thought that combination wasn't a good choice just before bedtime. So I went with a crafty option.

I grabbed the Kids Bible and read them the story of Moses being placed into a basket as a baby. I purposely chose not to show the kids the pictures as I wanted them to be able to use their imagination for the 2nd part of the night. After I'd finished reading the story everyone chose a coloured piece of paper and we spent some time drawing a picture about the story of Moses. Lily of course was infatuated with the princess – and made sure she was the first part, Adam being the very creative one in the family included the Pyramids and heaps of detail, me – well, I drew some blue lines for water and some reasonable stick figures. Toby on the other had created a magnificent picture. However, I am a little concerned, as you may be able to see in the photo – there is 2 sharks in the Nile River. Now I'm pretty sure there weren't any sharks in the story I read and I'm pretty sure there aren't any sharks in the Nile River – so that made for an interesting discussion (although they are pretty smart drawings of sharks).

So after some time, and a request for more time - we each presented our pictures and explanation of what we'd drawn. I was surprised at how much the kids got into drawing a picture of the story and we've decided to laminate the kids pictures and they can use them as placemats (I decided put mine in a very special place - the recycling bin J).

This week worked really well and it was super easy! And Toby & Lily have a lasting memory of Moses on their placemats!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The ‘exercise ball’s’ been rolled away

Tonight was Lily's turn for 'Super Family Bible Night', and she was super excited. She been planning for awhile – this was her 'most favourite' story and she couldn't wait to do it. The story required a grave, a stone, grave clothes, swords, a cross and angel, mean people and friends. Can you guess what story she chose – yep – Jesus' death and resurrection!

Tonight was a bit cooler so we stayed indoors – and headed for the kids bedroom, we created a grave with the kids bunk beds with a sheet and a large blue exercise ball to create the grave, an old sheet to become the grave clothes, we found some of dads wood and string to create a cross and of course fairy wings for the angel – however we had a dilemma – 'no sword'  (I know I can't believe it either) – what were we going to do?? Thankfully Lily had an idea – Barbie dolls!! I have no idea how Barbie dolls could also be a substitute as a sword. But it was Lily's night so I didn't bother questioning.

Lily had all the parts allocated for the night – she was (of course) Jesus, the rest of us swapped between friends, mean people, guards, angels and then friends again. We began with Jesus praying in the garden and his friends falling asleep and Jesus had to keep waking them up (Lily loved being able to wake us up over and over again). Then Judas arrived to betray Jesus. Toby was thrilled with the idea of being Judas until we told him that Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss (meaning that he had to give his little sister a kiss on the cheek) he was repulsed at the thought and didn't want to be Judas anymore, but after some coercion he reluctantly gave Jesus (Lily) a kiss. Jesus was then taken to the court to be judged and then crucified. Although I think Toby enjoyed the 'nailing Jesus to the cross' part a little too much. After Jesus (Lily) died (a quite dramatic death might I say) we wrapped Jesus up in the grave clothes (old sheet) and moved Jesus into the grave (bunk bed) and rolled the stone (exercise ball) into place. On the 3rd day and 'angel of the Lord' appeared (aka Adam) and informed the friends that Jesus was no longer dead but was alive – the friends were thrilled to see Jesus again.

Lily loved being able to lead this week, she especially loved being able to play the part of Jesus – it was really interesting to see how excited she was. She even told me this morning that her favourite stories in the bible – 1 Jesus death & resurrection and 2 Jonah & the whale. Interestingly both of those were ones that she led in 'Super Family Bible Night', and it made me realise that she was really engaged in the nights but she was especially loved it when she was the one in charge. It made me realise how much my kids were learning and loving these nights.

Summary – although I was a little concerned about how the re-enactment would go on the death of Jesus the kids did a really good job of it, and I think they actually began to understand the sacrifice a bit more. It was a big one to cover – and I think our little 5yo did a pretty good job of it. She even had a magnificent prayer time afterwards thanking God for the cross, for the bible and for her family – priceless (and a tear jerker). The only problem was that most of the night I had that song "The Stone's been rolled away" in my head but instead of stone – I kept thinking "the exercise ball been bounced away" – didn't have the same ring to it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Talking Donkey & a cricket bat

This week was Toby's turn for 'Super Family Bible Night' and he was very excited – that could have something to do with the fact that it involved a cricket bat and a donkey - Or maybe it was just the Word of God – mmm but I'm guessing for an 8yo boy it was the former. As you may have guessed Toby's choice was the passage in Numbers 22 about the talking donkey.


We were directed onto the grass in the backyard but we were missing someone, Toby couldn't be found. It was his night to lead 'Super Family Bible Night' where on earth was he???


Little did we know that hiding behind the trampoline was a little boy dressed as a donkey. So with all family members accounted for, 'Super Family Bible Night' began. But just what did Toby have planned... yet again we were acting out the story. Toby played the part of the donkey, (I don't know about you? But don't own a donkey costume, so Toby held a hobby horse and covered up with a brown sheet) Lily was Balaam (which looked totally funny in her nightgown and gumboots), Dad was narrator and Mum was king and also marvellously transformed into an angel.


The story began with the king commanding Balaam to put a curse on God's people, and Balaam agreeing (glad we were reading from a kid's bible that explained a curse much better than I would have). So Balaam left on his journey with his donkey, to curse Gods people but then an angel (amazing transformed from a king) appeared, and the donkey saw it and went ballistic. Balaam was so angry...


Lily knew this bible story and was looking forward to her part which involved a cricket bat and her brother (I mean a donkey, or maybe it was her brother). We had strictly advised her to only hit the donkey's head (the hobby horse) not Toby. Thankfully she listened, but I think it took everything within her not to hit her brother with a cricket bat. And so she gave that poor little hobby horse a hiding.

Back to the story... cowering the donkey, spoke to Balaam and asked why he was beating him, then suddenly to angel appeared to Balaam and instead of cursing he blessed God's people.
Summary: a very fun night, however it could have been a very dangerous night with the inclusion of a cricket bat and permission to hit a donkey. Mmm very thankful that it turned out as well as it did.


Next week is Lily's turn, and just what will a 5yo have in store for us??

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jesus heals ‘Big Ted’

This week was Adam's turn for 'Super family Bible Night' and we decided to do it on Tuesday this week as we had a day off (love having a public holiday for a horse race – thank you horseys). The kids were thrilled when Adam asked them for all their stuffed toys to be able to use in the bible story, that was an easy task for Toby as he sleeps with more than 20 stuffed toys – Lily is the opposite and only sleeps with her 'Sheepy', so she had to go searching for her stuffed toys (and was very disappointed that 'Sheepy' couldn't be involved).

So with arms full of stuffed toys we headed outside to our pergola, where there was a ladder and a box tied up to the roof with a pulley system. As soon as Toby saw it, it yelled in delight "I know what the story is, it's 'Through the Roof', it's 'Through the Roof'" and sure enough when Adam opened the bible the title in the kid's bible was 'Through the Roof'. Before we started we needed to decide on who was going to be the sick person – Big Ted from Play School was chosen. The next choice was which stuffed animal was going to play Jesus – and 'Flames' the flying Dragon was chosen because he's the most powerful and he can beat & kill anyone (mmm interesting choice but let's go with Flames).

And so the story began, all the stuffed toys were gathered around Jesus (Flames) listening to him teach, when 4 friends brought their sick friend (Big Ted) to the house in a box to be healed by Jesus, but they couldn't get near Jesus, so the friends carried Big Ted up a ladder in the box, and lowered him into the roof (well when I say lowered – I really mean – Big Ted had a carnival ride into the house – similar to the 'Giant Drop' at DreamWorld, you know the one... where you are slowly taken up very high and then when you least expect it are dropped at a ridiculous speed and stopped just before you hit the floor. Poor Big Ted, I think he was injured more from being lowered into the house than he was beforehand). So when we got Big Ted in front of Jesus, it was met with cries of 'let's do it again, let's do it again – I want Beanie Teddy to have a go'. After letting Toby & Lily know that all the stuffed toys can have a go after the story – we got some focus back.

Thankfully, we eventually got to the part of the story where Jesus healed the sick man and Big Ted was all better. We were able to chat to the kids about the importance of caring for our friends, how these people cared for their sick friend – enough to dig through the roof of a house to get to Jesus and after he was healed they were very thankful & praised Jesus for healing the man.

After some time sharing and praying, the kids got back up the ladder and gave each one of their stuffed toys a carnival ride, some stayed in the box – most fell out – which they thought was hilarious!!

Summary, the kids loved being able to involve their favourite stuffed animals in the bible story. Whether they got the point - not so sure - but they'll forever remember taking their toys for a ride on the Giant Drop.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And on the 7th day God created... cars

This week 'Super Family Bible Night' was my night and I thought we'd do creation! Genesis Chapter 1 ... [Insert singing here ... "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start"]. It had been a very crazy busy week, and so my prep time was limited to 20minutes beforehand, although I had thought about it during the week.

I collected my supplies (I thought we had a blow up ball with a map of the world printed on it – but it turns out I'd chucked it whilst on one of my 'cleaning sprees' to the horror of my kids. Oops, who would have thought a large blow up ball of the world would actually come in handy). So we had no globe. But I found toy animals, sea animals, cows, sheep, fish etc.. I found a blue bath mat for the sea, a bed-light for the light, darkness was pretty obvious – just turn off the light. And so we began...

We all sat on the floor in darkness and I had memorised the first few sentences of Genesis (until the part where God created light) so that we could hear and sense the idea of the universe being blank and dark, kids thought the darkness was funny and an excuse to be silly. So we moved quickly to the first day, where God created 'light' so I could actually see what the munchkins were up too. As we read through each of the days we brought out items that reflected that day and as with each new day we went back over the days before so by the end they remembered what God had created on each day.

Day 1 – light (used a bed-light)
Day 2 – sky (swung hands in the air – couldn't figure out an item for this)
Day 3 – water & land, trees, fruit & flowers (we had a blow-up palm tree – go figure???)
Day 4 – sun, moon & stars (if you have those glow in the dark stars that'd work really well here)
Day 5 – sea animals, birds (we have plastic animals of these)
Day 6 – land animals & humans (thank you to Fisher Price for farm animals & Little People)
Day 7 – rested (sleeping)

This was a pretty simple but fun night – although I did leave the box out that I'd collected the land animals out of, which it also had the trucks and cars in it and every new day Lily would ask if she could play with the cars, and each time we said 'no'. And so by the 7th day when God rested Lily was very disappointed that God didn't create cars because she wanted to play with them. Toby asked 'So what day did God create cars? Why didn't he do it instead of resting?'

In summary, a really fun night, with lots of laughs and the kids actually remember the order and days that God created the universe & earth. Love it!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jonah and the whale and a gumboot in the head

Tonight was Lily's turn to run 'Super Family Bible Night' and she'd been looking forward to it all week. And of course she chose Jonah and the whale (which she was going to do last month until 'Window biscuits' – if you haven't read that one have a look here http://milktomeat-kyliebutler.blogspot.com/2010/09/jesus-likes-window-biscuits.html ). Lily had lots of ideas for telling this story and the most important aspect was that she was going to be Jonah. The night began with Adam and Lily locked away in
secret meetings discussing ideas for the night – Toby and I were very excited to see what they would come up with – and as Adam ran into our backyard and Lily stood guard at the door refusing to let us see out - we became even more intrigued as to what this night would offer.

Once everything was ready – Lily instructed us that we all needed to rug up – coats and beanie's on – Super Family Bible Night was going outside!! All rugged Adam began the story inside with Jonah (Lily) hearing God tell him to go to Nineveh and Jonah running away, with that we all headed outside to our boat shaped cubby (did I mention that I have a very handy hubby who made the kids a cubby out of fence paling). Once inside the 'boat' (very cramped – and cold) the storm came and we acted out being on a boat in stormy weather (including some pretend sea sickness – which Toby loved – and continued to 'faux vomit' a little bit longer than we'd have liked).

Then we came to the part where Jonah was thrown overboard and so we tried to 'throw' (climb out) Jonah out the window of the boat, unfortunately Lily got a little excited with the 'acting out' of being thrown into the sea – she swung her foot a clocked Toby in the face with her gumboot – which resulted in many tears and we had to put Super Family Bible night on hold for some TLC.

After TLC, we came back to Jonah being tossed around by the waves and then being swallowed by a whale – which was very cleverly created by pegging a tarp over the top of our trampoline – we read and acted out the remainder of the story from the belly of the whale (on the trampoline) until Jonah is spat out of the whale's belly (enter 'faux vomit' noises again). We then tried to go to the more serious part of the evening, however as we were chatting about obeying God and sharing God's love with other, the temptation of the trampoline was all too tempting (especially with the tarp on) and so we cut that part short and had a jump on the trampoline together.

Summary – this was a very fun and creative night. Being outside added a great element to the night and I think this is one night the kids will definitely remember. A very fun night – well except the part where Toby got a gumboot in his head.

For more ideas and resources on Bible Engagement or to buy Kylie's 'Milk to Meat' book go to http://www.milktomeat.com.au/

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

And the answer is... Moses...Noah... God... Jesus... pray more...

Well after such a great 'Super Family Bible Night' last week I was thinking we were getting the hang of it but tonight I had to hold my tongue and allow my newly 8yo (Toby) fumble his way through the story of Mary and Martha. We (mum & dad) had so many great ideas of what Toby could do with this passage, different locations, different ideas and angles but as we started to share them we were shut down 'Mum, dad I already know what I'm going to do' and so a little unsure we began Super Family Bible Night.

Toby had dad read the story and the rest of us were to act it out; Lily as Mary, Toby as Jesus and mum as Martha (mmm is there anything in that??). The scene was set, actually it was quite literally set our dining room table seemed to look strangely similar to the table in the kids picture bible. It was not long after this point that we soon realised that Toby had spent most of his preparation time working out how he could copy each picture in the bible rather than thinking about the actual story. So we had flowers in a vase, a mortar and pestle, a broom - but very little attention was on the actual wording (note for next time get Toby to read from a bible without pictures first).

We did 'act out' the story and it was really fun but when it came time to look at what it means and how to pray we abruptly stopped. Toby was stuck – and as we tried to help – we saw the pout begin, the arms cross and he slouched into the couch. He's forgotten that we needed to not just tell the story but also to see what God is saying to us today through this story and to pray together.

And so I asked Lily what is God saying to you in this story about Mary and Martha? – Lily "I should love God... that we should pray more" – true but the way she said it reminded me of how kids often answer Sunday school questions "Moses"... "Noah"... "God"... or "Jesus".

Eventually we got to sharing about the importance of spending time with God, not just doing things for God (which is important) but spending time with God is more important.

In summary, a good fun night but I need to spend some time helping Toby (& Lily – who is next week) with the passage and reminding him about praying afterwards.

For more ideas and resources on Bible Engagement or to buy Kylie's 'Milk to Meat' book go to www.milktomeat.com.au

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
Luke 10 38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught.40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."   41 But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Daniel 3 - Responding to a vision

My Daily SOAP Journal Entry


Daniel 3
Daniel 3
4 Then a herald shouted out, "People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king's command!5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue.6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."
7 So at the sound of the musical instruments all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is amazing to hear. Altho I do have a couple of questions - where is Daniel in this chapter? In the previous chapter Daniel has prayed with these 3 men and Daniel is again in Chapter 4. But what about here? Did he bow to the statue or not? We are not told so we can't assume either way.

Also, why did king Nebuchadnezzar build this statue? In the immediate verses before he is claiming how great God is and that he is the revealer of all mysteries. Did he get the idea of building the statue from his own dream, his own vision? Maybe. In the dream the statue’s head is made of gold and Daniel's interpretation of the dream is that the head represents Nebuchadnezzar.

I love how kroach write this up on http://www.youversion.com/ Contribution: 'Wrong response to a vision':

"It is implied in the text that this dream came from God, inasmuch as it was true and prophetic. So the situation is, Nebuchadnezzar has had a dream from God, interpreted by God's wise man, that in no uncertain terms he is a great king like a head of gold on an enormous statue. Unfortunately, Nebuchadnezzar draws all the wrong conclusions. Rather than see the statue as a symbol of who he is, he believes he must actually build the statue. It becomes a proxy for who he is: if people of every nation and language fall down and worship the statue, then they worship Nebuchadnezzar. (He seems to have forgotten entirely the whole thing about other kingdoms coming after his, and then the whole thing being crushed by God's eternal kingdom. He's only concerned with the part about himself.")

"Have I let the vision/dream God has given me turn into something about me? Have I let the thing I am trying to build--a ministry, a business, a family, a legacy--become a proxy for me? Do I want the world to adore my projected image of myself? A good test is, do I find myself angry at those who don't respect my image? Do I want to throw into a furnace of my own wrath, those who just stand there and pay no respect to The Great Thing I am building? If I do, perhaps it is time to revisit why God gave the vision in the first place. It's a wonderful thing to get a part in God's story. But it's His story."

Lord, I that I would keep my focus on you, not on me. The vision/dreams you've given me are for your story not for me. Lord continue to remind me of this and help me to continue to lay it at your feet.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The kings disturbing dream. Daniel 2

Daniel 2: 14-19
14 When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.15 He asked Arioch, "Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?" So Arioch told him all that had happened.16 Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant.
17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened.18 He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon.19 That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.

Daniel uses amazing "wisdom and discretion" to what was his death call, to be willing to say and do all that he did. As I read this passage I am struck by 3 things: 1. Daniel's wisdom & discretion in a time of crisis. 2. Daniel's prayer (him and his friends) when he has found out the problem, he seeks God's insight. 3. Daniel's praise to God as soon as he receives the vision.

Daniel's reactions to these circumstances challenge me, how do I react?

I'm not sure that if I was in Daniel position, (facing death) that I would have responded the same way Daniel did with wisdom, prayer and praise. Often when I'm faced with a crisis (not that I've had anything like Daniel) I jump right in, making quick decisions (good or bad) and don't really give them much thought.

Lord, I pray for wisdom, not for my own sake, or my own glory but Lord that through wisdom your name would be gloried and praised. Just as Daniel praised as soon as he had received the vision from you, Lord I pray that my heart would immediately turn to praise.

Daniel's choice. Daniel 1

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

I can't even imagine the courage that Daniel would have had to even ask the chief official to change their food. It wasn't like the chief official was one of his mates that had invited him over for dinner. This was the chief official of the king. Daniel had an unswerving conviction that was he was to ask was of God.

I am recognising in myself (and in others) more and more that my convictions of the cross are being persuaded by the culture I live in, by the views of the media and by the passionate arguments of others. Instead my convictions should be on that of Jesus Christ, on what he has called me to and what he has asked of me. In the big and seemingly little things (like Daniel's choice of food), what God asks of us isn't as important as the obedience he calls us to. I am so challenged by the faithfulness of Daniel.

Lord, I pray you would increase my convictions of you and my passion and ability to obey you in all that I do and say. Lord I pray I would know you more and love you more each day!

David slays Goliath with the help of God... and sheep???

Well this week's 'Super Family Bible Night' didn't start out as planned, it started with me excitedly asking Adam when he got home from work "Have you got something fun planned for Super Family Bible Night' tonight?" Answer: "Oh, I hadn't given it a thought at all". Not such a good start! However, lack of preparation was certainly made up for in creativity and excitement (this week's was probably one of the most fun and interesting weeks). So, with props ready and bible in hand Adam began our journey of discovery.

With a grand opening line "Welcome to Super family Bible Night" (imagine the voice over at the theatre) "tonight we are looking at the story of David & Goliath." (Cheers from the crowd, well all 3 of us anyway). "Please take your seats". Adam, reverting back to his normal voice, begins to read the story of David and Goliath, of course we need a Goliath (the obvious choice is Adam as he stands 6'3" (190cm) tall), with his battle armour (a puffy jacket and cap) and his sword (a broom handle).

The next part to be allocated was that of King Saul (which of course I put my hand up for – lol), leaving a battle of siblings (between Toby & Lily) as to who would play David and who would play all other parts. The debate was settled with David being the youngest of all his brothers and so Lily being the youngest in our family played the part of David – much to the protest of Toby 'but David is a boy, and Lily can't be a boy'. As we read through the story we acted out each part, when we got to the part where David put on Saul's armour Lily put on Adam's huge coat, cap and we used a broom stick and plastic lid as sword and shield. It's looked hilarious on her, and she moaned, 'Daddy do I have to wear this it's too big' then promptly tripped over the jacket and fell flat on her tummy (thankfully she didn't hurt herself so we could all have a laugh) but it illustrated the point perfectly – David couldn't wear Saul's armour - it didn't fit.

Now we were at the interesting part of the evening – just what did Adam have prepared for David's sling? Adam had found a couple of pieces of scrap material and some string and we cut out makeshift slings with string attached (very clever) although I think Toby may have found a new "toy" to play with outside, probably aiming at some poor defenceless animal. As we made the slings, Adam chatted about what David did, looking after the sheep and that lions, tigers or animals would prey on the sheep to eat them, and so David would often use his sling to kill or scare off the predators. David got very good at using his slingshot and probably practised often in his time in the wilderness. Then once we'd finished making the sling, of course we had to have some practise shots (warning – find a soft ball to practise with especially if you are inside and near glass or mirrors).

Back to the story, David met Goliath, found it 5 smooth rocks, aimed at Goliath and threw it and... hit the wall behind him... then the chair... then backwards into the laundry... until finally (with mummy's help) hit Goliath and knocked him down. Then, of course we had to enact out David cutting of Goliath's head and holding it up (to Toby's delight) but as soon as Lily had acted that part out, she ran over to Adam and said "I'm sorry Daddy I didn't mean to cut your head off, did I hurt you?"

Now to the application part of the story: it came in 2 parts. We chatted to the kids about that...
  1. God has created each one of us individually – and that we aren't made do things exactly the same as everybody else. Just like when David put of Saul's armour – it didn't fit him. Sometimes we do things differently and that is ok. We don't have to be the same as everybody else.
  2. Who did David trust in? Toby (obvious answer) - "God". Lily's answer – "the sheep" (interesting). Not sure where that came from, but at least she was listening.
So, in summary, a great fun night had by all, and very memorable for the kids. That goes to show you don't have to be super organised to run a fun family bible night.

For more ideas and resources on Bible Engagement or to buy Kylie's 'Milk to Meat' book go to www.milktomeat.com.au

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ladybird, Ladybird – Fly away home

Well, week 4 and so far (miraculously) we haven't missed a week. It's the final week of Round 1, with each member of the family having a turn of 'Super Family Bible Night'. I would like to say it's be a huge success but in reality it's gone ok, it has been quite difficult to think of interesting ways to help each family member interact with the Bible. The most difficult part is keeping a 5yo and 7yo intrigued and wanting to listen, interact, and not being distracted by everything and anything.
So, thus begins my week of 'Super family Bible Night', truthfully I hadn't given it too much thought until the morning, but then I found this great craft idea and little insight about Ladybirds. Now I know what you may be thinking... what do Ladybirds have to do with the Bible – well apart from being created by God, not very much but they are helpful little insects (more of that Later). My kids love being outdoors and particularly love animals (including ladybirds). Toby's had a cocoon in his bug catchers for about 4months, waiting for the butterfly to come out. He checks it quite often, I keep trying to tell him that I don't think the butterfly is going to come out but he's determined to wait, and confidently tells me that "it's making its wings bigger and needs more time". Just how do you convince a 7yo that the butterfly is dead?

So back to the Ladybird, an interesting fact I found out this week that Ladybirds aren't just cute. Even though they are tiny, they are really very useful because they eat garden pests like aphids that damage plants (especially all my new spring growth). A ladybird can eat 50 aphids a day and they don't even realise how helpful they are being. So considering how helpful these ladybirds are, and how God too asks us to love and help each other – what would be a good story to match? The Good Samaritan – now I know that some theologians have stated that there is more of a salvation message in this parable than helping each other message (which I can definitely see in the passage) but for the sake of my 5yo and 7yo we're going with the "helping one another" idea.

So we all sat round the table and I read Luke 10:25-37, asking questions along the way about 'Was that a nice thing to do?' 'Who is your neighbour?' I was surprised by their accurate answers. Then at the end we talked about times we had seen people be helpful and times where people had walked straight passed. That Jesus calls us to look out for people (whether we like them or not) and he asks us to love and help each other. This created a nice segway to my Ladybird craft where I explained just how helpful Ladybirds are in our gardens and that we were going to make our very own Ladybird. We spend the next 30minutes cutting, pasting and sticking our Ladybirds together. I wrote on the back of their Ladybirds "Luke 10:27 Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself" and they have stuck them on their bedroom door as a reminder. (craft details below)

So how did it go? LONGGGGG... took over 1hour tonight and that is way to long; the little munchkins weren't in bed till 8.30pm (and I'm paying for that today as I'm trying to write this blog). They've both been sent to their rooms for some "quiet time" – separately!!

The idea was good just the time factor was the issue. Even earlier today they were playing with their Ladybirds and remembering and reciting what it means to love and help one another (if only they'd remember that nowL ) My advice is if you do this activity that you cut out the Ladybirds beforehand to save a lot of time and make sure you've got googly eyes and pipecleaners.

Luke 10: 25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: "Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"  26 Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"  27 The man answered, "`You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.'"s
  28 "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"  29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied with a story: "A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.  31 "By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistants walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.  33 "Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,s telling him, `Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here.'  36 "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?" Jesus asked.  37 The man replied, "The one who showed him mercy."
  Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."

Ladybird Craft (I used 2 different sized bowls to make the pattern)

Ladybugs with Movable Wings Craft for Kids
from http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/ladybugcrafts.html

What you will need: Black and red poster board, oval movable eyes, something for the nose and mouth, two paper fasteners (the shorter ones), pipe cleaners and pompoms for the antennae, and glue.

What to do:
1. Draw the outline of the pattern on black poster board and cut out.
2. Cut the head off the pattern and trace onto red poster board.
3. Cut the red circle in half to form the wings.

Cut out small circles from the black poster board and glue to the wings.
4. Position the wings on the body and poke holes through the wings and body in the place indicated on the pattern with something sharp.
4. Poke paper fasteners through the holes so that  the wings will move up and down.

Glue on mouth, eyes, nose and antennae.

For more ideas and resources on Bible Engagement or to buy Kylie's 'Milk to Meat' book go to  www.milktomeat.com.au

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jesus likes window biscuits

Week 3 of 'Super Family Bible Night' and it was Lily's first turn at leading the night. What would a 5yo have in store for us tonight???... All week Lily had planned for 'Jonah and the whale', she'd planned a cubby to be the whale's belly and who was playing each part... but then... window biscuits!! "Window biscuits?" I hear you say – where did that come from? Well, over the weekend our church ran kid friendly services during the school holidays and gave us a booklet of ideas and activities to do with our kids, one of those activities was making window biscuits. As soon as she heard that – Jonah was ditched pretty smartly and all she wanted to do was 'Jesus is the light' so she could make window biscuits!

 So with a last minute scramble, we looked up Matthew 5 – you are the light of the world. She needed a light (candle), a bowl, a dark room and of course some window biscuits. First stop - kitchen for biscuit making (see recipe below), the recipe was really easy and Lily was able to make them on her own (with some instructions along the way). So with the biscuits in the oven we headed to the kids room for 'Super Family Bible Night'. Lily had positions for everyone to sit (we all sat on the floor – while Lily sat on the bed, no surprises there). With lights off, candle lit, the time began. As we read the passage we pretended that we were in the bible times and had no electricity – how different it would be to read a book, to play with toys and even clean our teeth. Then Lily put the bowl over the candle and it was dark. Toby remarked "why would you put a bowl over a light? That's a silly idea! I can't see anything." BINGO! Point made!

We shared about what it means to shine God's light to others – by being kind and thoughtful to others, doing good things, sharing God's love with others. But to cover up the light with a bowl means not doing those things or being nasty or mean to others. We began a great discussion together and just as it was getting good ... beep...beep...beep the oven timer went off. Window biscuits ready. The discussion abruptly finished... biscuits were ready :)

The biscuits however weren't as successful as the bible time. The holes we'd put in the middle were far too big for the lollies inside and so we only had ½ a window pane, and I used dodgy baking paper and so the lolly centres stuck to the paper, so we ate paper covered window panes (mental note: add baking paper to shopping list). In spite of that the biscuits were a great hit for Lily (she's still talking about shining God's light like light shines through a Window biscuit).

Summing up: very fun night together, a bit of preparation in the baking and a tricky passage to explain to a 5yo and 7yo, but Lily and Toby loved it and remember it, so that's the important part, even if it was just the food they remember. Oh, and it's worth eating all the biscuits within 24hours cause after that all the lolly centres begin to melt and there's no window anymore :)

Matthew 5: 14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Window Biscuit Recipe
115g soft unsalted butter
55g caster sugar
185g (1 ½ cup plain flour)
1-2 tbs milk
1 small bag boiled lollies (or life savers)
Icing sugar, to dust

Preheat oven to 180deg. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and creamy. Sift in the flour and stir in the milk. Use your hands to form the mixture into a soft dough and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface until ½ cm thick. Use a cookie cutter and cut into shapes. Cut a 1-2 cm circle (or any shape) from the centre of each biscuit. Carefully transfer the biscuits to the lined tray. Place boiled lolly in the centre of each hole and bake in the oven for 15minutes. Set aside on the tray to cool. Dust with icing sugar.

Great website: Found a great interactive website this week with stories and activities for primary aged children based through discovery and family time. Check it out: http://www.biblesnackpacks.com/

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jesus fed the 5000 with fish and lollies??

Well its week 2 of 'Super Family Bible Night' and what a night it was!! This week it was a bit trickier to make sure it happened, between work commitments and Lily's kinder "dad's night" we nearly postponed it – but that wouldn't be a good start – one week in and having to postpone already. So we pushed through and began at 8pm (probably not the best idea!).

This week was Toby's turn to lead the night. We'd chatted to him throughout the week about what bible story was he going to do and what ideas he had. He swapped between Mary and Martha, Jonah and the whale but finally decided on Jesus feeding the 5000 bread and fish (in Mt 14; Mk 6; Lk 9 and Jn 6). He'd been reading it and thinking about it for a few days and then spent about 45minutes "preparing" his ideas. I tried to go in and offer help and suggestions but told in no uncertain terms that "I'm fine mum, I know what I'm doing, and you'll just have to wait". And so with great anticipation (and slightly concerned about what we were in for) we all sat down waiting the 'super family bible night' as prepared by Toby...

Toby had prepared parts for each of us to play (and of course Toby was again to play the part of Jesus) mummy was 'the disciples', daddy was the '5000 people' and Lily was 'the little boy'. Toby had assigned a place for each of us to sit and gave us little green slips of paper with our reading lines on them, that we were to say out loud when it was our turn. He had even thought through the use of props, he wanted to have some 'real food' to represent the bread and fish, and thought that lollies would work best because we'd need lots of lollies to feed 5000 people. Mmm – I think this was just a ploy to eat lollies but I went along with it anyway! Toby began by reading from his Kids Bible and we needed to act out the story as he went and reading our lines as directed. All was going along very smoothly until a very tired 5yo decided she wanted to eat the lollies early, the stern reply from Toby – "no we haven't got to that part yet". Which of course meant that we had an absolutely, beautiful, polite response – NOT! "I want to eat my lollies now" while lying on the floor kicking her legs. The finishing of the story sped up a bit quicker and we all got to eat our bread and fish (lollies) and our 5yo was nice again.

Toby finished off by talking to us about God's power to multiply the bread and fish and also the little boy who was willing to share his lunch and finished off with prayer. Quite profound insight from a 7yo!
How did I think it went? Well... initially I was very unsure about how Toby would cope, what he'd say and do. But he really loved it and got into the night enthusiastically and is looking forward to his next one. I was surprised at how much he wanted to do on his own and then how much he actually knew. I think he actually learnt more about God and the bible by doing this himself than when we do it with him.

We will definitely do this again ... well actually we have too... This week was such a success in Lily's mind that it's her turn next week. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Super dooper rocket looper family bible devo

Yesterday the Butler family embarked on a new adventure: the world of "family devotion time". We have read the Bible to our kids (Toby 7 & Lily 5) during story time. We've regularly chatted to them about God as we go about our day and prayed together, but we wanted to start interacting together as a family with the Word.

I'd often heard about family devotional time (and truthfully thought them geeky) so when Adam (my hubby) and I started chatting about family devo nights we wanted them to be fun, active, to read a passage and for every family member to be involved and have a go. How on earth were we going to do that???????????

So begins the journey...

After dinner yesterday we chatted to the kids about what we wanted to do and the first decision was what to call our new family devo night. The voting was on... the debate began... what was the best name and why... the finalists were "family night", "super family bible night" and "super dooper rocket looper bible family night". And the winner is... "Super family bible night" with daddy proudly announcing that his name won because we are a super family! lol (daddy joke)

With that we all thought daddy should go first (hehe). He had to think quickly but came up with a brilliant idea. An interactive drama of Matthew 8:23-27 Jesus calms the storm. We needed a some water (our blue rug did the trick) and a boat (we moved our couch onto the rug), and everyone jumped onto the ship(couch). Adam read through the passage and we began. The drama began with the disciples (Lily & me) played scared as the storm raged and swayed from side to side and many times nearly falling off the couch (I mean out of the boat). Meanwhile Jesus (played by Toby) was sleeping (sort of, as he was continually distracted by the imaginary jellyfish and stingrays). The disciples yelled out to Jesus 'Lord save us, we're going to drown' and suddenly Jesus (Toby) awoke from his slumber (or stopped being distracted by the stingrays), prompty stood on the side of the couch, arms outstretched and calmed the storm (reminded me of the movie Titanic, I could imagine the dramatic music playing in the background)

After the laughter subsided we chatted about the importance of this story and why God wanted us to know that Jesus can calm the storm. We talked about how afraid the disciples were and the times when we are afraid and that we can know that even when we are afraid, God is with us.

Verdict on first "super family bible time" = Great fun!! Very little preparation and props needed and (much to the delight of the kids) involves the whole family.

Next week Toby has his turn... this could be interesting.