Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

During our service yesterday, we did something I've wanted to do for a long time--a Happy Birthday, Jesus cake with all the symbolism that goes with each decorations. There are so many ways to do one so I mixed and matched from several different sources.

You start by baking two- two layer cake mixes (1 white (half colored red/half colored green) and 1 chocolate). You use three of the layers to make your cake. Frost with white icing. Decorate with heart candies and yellow decorations including a star on top.

We talked about each symbol and read the Scripture references that coincided with the symbol.

Symbols and Scriptures:

Cake is round to represent the world
John 3:16
Icing white to show Jesus' purity covers our sins
1 John 1:7
Psalm 51:7
Star led the wise man to baby Jesus
Matthew 2:9-10
Red candies show God's love for us
John 3:16
Candle represents Jesus is the light of the world
John 8:12
Ephesians 5:8
Chocolate layer represents the sins of the world
Romans 3:23
Genesis 6:5
Red layer reminds us Jesus' blood shed for us
Ephesians 1:7
Green layer represents eternal life
Isaiah 9:6
John 3:36

There are different variations on this like putting an angel on top as the first bearer of the Good News (Luke 2:10-11). Some make the entire cake chocolate and use red candles to represent the blood Jesus shed and surround the cake with evergreen for everlasting life. I would suggest doing a 2 layer cake if you have a smaller gathering because this makes a whole lot of cake. The kids especially enjoyed this edible "object lesson" of the season. Happy Birthday, Jesus! May our gift to you this year be our undying devotion to worship and serve You!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday of Advent

Today was the first Sunday of Advent. We used our hymnals and did a responsive reading from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3-5, 10-11 lighting the first candle of Advent, "hope". We talked about what it meant to "prepare the way of the Lord"- to be ready for the coming of Christ.


We then listened to a song Tera has been working on, and we sang as she played "Silent Night". Then we moved on to our "Destination Christmas Prayer".


We started, a few years back, to adopt a number of traditions for the Christmas season to help our kids focus on others during the Advent season. One of these is our prayer drive. The first time we did this we took slips of papers in various envelopes and hopped in the van. The kids took turns opening an envelope and reading a clue about where we would go next such as, "sick people go here" and they would guess, "hospital". This would be coupled with a related scripture reading and we would drive to the destination. In the parking lot, or nearby the area we would all take turns praying for the person(s) related to the destination.


This, of course, consumed a lot of time (and gasoline) so this year we put together a large map on posterboards with icons representing the destinations. We took stamp pads and stamps of large praying hands. Again we used the hints and scriptures adding many more destinations (the benefit of not having to drive there). We then took turns praying for each individual or group and then stamped on or around the spot on the map.


It was really neat seeing the map
fill up with praying hands.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bible Study...Anything But Boring!

We have been spending the last few weeks studying the Book of James using a book from the Lectio Devina series as a guide. It is amazing how a step by step walk through this little book can evoke so much discussion. Our kids are really processing the lessons pulled from the verses each week. We simply take turns reading the scripture verses for the week and then use a few of the questions, stories or examples to spark the discussion. Often the discussion answers the rest of the questions before we even get to them!
The emphasis has been on building the Christian character. We spent the first two chapters discussing; how we treat others while avoiding favoritism, letting scripture help us to resist temptations. and how to be sensitive to the feelings of others with our words, actions, and attitudes. This week we also pulled out the instruments again for a great time of worship. The kids played on the djembe and shakers while I accompanied on guitar.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pentecost Prayer Stations

Pentecost Prayer Stations
Taste and See Acts 2: 42-47

Spirit Move in Me- Acts 14-21


Tongues of Fire- Acts 2:3


Praise Him- Acts 2: 4-13

Set our Hearts on Fire- Acts 2: 36-39


Strong Storm-Acts 2 :1-2


Wind- Acts 2:1-2

The prayer stations at the end of our service:



These prayer stations were adapted by us from ideas found on the web as well as our own original ideas based upon the Scripture.

Here are two websites featuring prayer station ideas on Pentecost:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen...He is Risen Indeed!


Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket

Photobucket Photobucket
Photobucket Photobucket

Each year we have an Easter egg hunt in which we hide along with regular plastic eggs, our set of Resurrection Eggs. Resurrection Eggs tell the basic Easter story.
Starting with the donkey, as a symbol of the Triumphal Entry- Jesus' arrival into Jerusalem. (Mark 11: 1-10)
The next symbol are 3 coins, symbolizing Judas' betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. (Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6)
Then the cup, which represents the Passover meal or the Last Supper in which Jesus broke the bread and passed the cup. (Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-23)
Next, the praying hands for the prayer in the Garden (Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)
Then, a strip of leather which symbolizes the beatings Jesus received at the hands of the Roman soldiers. (John 19:1-3)
A crown of thorns for the one placed upon Jesus' head (Matthew 27:29)
Then 3 nails welded together to represent the three nails that pierced his hands and feet. (Matthew 27:32-56; Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-49)
A die for the soldiers casting lots for Jesus' clothes (John 19:23-24)
Then the spear that they pierced Jesus' side. (John 19:31-37)
A linen piece of cloth to symbolize Jesus being wrapped in cloth for burial (Matthew 27:57-61)
A stone for the one rolled in front of the tomb. (Matthew 27:57-61)
Finally an empty egg- to symbolize the empty tomb and why we celebrate today and everyday. (Matthew 28:1-10)
We have our children open the eggs and tell us what each symbol stands for as we fill in the gaps of the story. This Easter we watched The Story of Jesus for Children, a great passion story for children that has a wonderful gospel presentation at the end. After lunch, we had a time of worship together. Our prayer is that next Easter will be shared with others who will be a part of our house church.
But for now we are being reminded that we must :
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5: 17
These times alone are important for us to rejoice, give thanks and most of all to pray without ceasing.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Our Palm Sunday celebration centered around Luke's account of the Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:28-40) and what it means to give God praise. We asked the question- "If the rocks cried out, what would they have said?" We had the basket of stones on the table, we asked each person in turn to select a stone. Then tell a story from the Bible from the point of view of the stone witnessing each event. For example, one told of how amazing it was that God used a small stone as himself to slay a warrior giant. Therefore that stone would have proclaimed Jesus as a deliverer. The kids enjoyed it so much, they couldn't stop telling stories holding up the rock and pretending it was talking. I was surprised at how many stories came to mind.

We had a wonderful time of praise and worship with lots of songs appropriate for Palm Sunday:
Blessed be the Name -Chris Tomlin
Blessed be the Name of the Lord
Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
Sing (or the rocks will)

Our daughter made her own palm tree branches to wave as we had our worship time. She has always loved Palm Sunday.

As a point of interest we read this legend:

Legend of the Donkey's Cross

"Bring me the colt of a donkey."

was the Master's request.

A young donkey was brought to Jesus

to carry Him into Jerusalem.

A week later Jesus was ordered

to be crucified.

The little donkey so loved the Lord

that he wanted to help Him carry the cross.

But, alas, he was pushed away.

The sad little donkey waited to say

goodbye until nearly all had left.

As he turned to leave, the shadow of

the cross fell upon the

back and shoulders of

the little donkey.

And there it has remained,

a tribute to the loyalty

and love of the humblest of God's creatures.