‘Starblazers’ at Christ Church

Scroll down to see the daily posts for Starblazers, but just as valuable for all ages.

Welcome to our Junior Church page. ‘Starblazers’ was a name chosen by our children themselves.

Read the daily post from Emma, our children’s leader. A great resource.

January 2021 – All services are suspended. Services via zoom are being used.

16/03 – Hi everyone, hope you’re all ok. In the ongoing Lent and need for uplift I thought I would share this verse from Isaiah 30:18. I looked it up in various versions but I particularly liked the wording of this one:‘Meanwhile, the Eternal One yearns to give you grace and boundless compassion; that’s why He waits. For the Eternal is a God of justice. Those inclined toward Him, waiting for His help, will find happiness.’I love how it says ‘the Eternal One yearns…’ He yearns for us, he yearns for us to return to Him, to know him, to love him. He has given us Jesus, our saviour, it’s like all his love wrapped into a human body. If this verse does anything to uplift you today I hope it reminds you how much God loves you, how much He yearns for you and how we do find true happiness in Him.Hope you all have a blessed day and week

11/03 – Hope everyone is keeping well – sadly haven’t seen anyone yet on the school run but keeping my eyes open for those who go to Greenways 👀
An uplifting verse for today:‘I want you to know that the Eternal, your God, is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands.’Deuteronomy 7:9
Just to clarify, this isn’t saying God only loves those who love him but it’s that we love him in response to his love – how can we do anything except love Him who has shown us so much awesome, ongoing, sacrificial, mind-blowing love?? I bang on a lot about love but that’s what it comes down to isn’t it – just as Jesus says – love God and love each other as you love yourselves. I don’t know about you but sometimes I struggle to believe or accept that I could be loved by God – sometimes even by other humans – we are all too critical of ourselves, we see our failings, flaws and we focus on the aspects we don’t like (double chin and flabby tummy anyone? 🤣🤣) but you know what? Others are highly unlikely to see those ‘flaws’ and ‘failings’ but God certainly doesn’t, he loves all of us – he knows everything about us and completely and utterly loves us. You are loved, I am loved, and whenever you doubt just pick up the Bible and read Romans 5:8, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4-5, Zephaniah 3:17, 1 John 3:1,l and Romans 8:37-39 or if you have more time on your hands read the Gospel of Mark (takes about an hour to read). You will hopefully be left in no doubt that you are loved – and you better believe it my dear sisters and brothers 😘

10/03 – Morning everyone, hope you’re all doing well and you / your children are enjoying being back at school.
Today I wanted to share the following verses, if you get a moment try looking up the same verse in different versions, I really find it adds so much depth, just go on to a Bible website, I use BibleGateway.
“Don’t be intimidated or terrified by those who would terrify you. But give reverent honour in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:14-15)

We are about a year away from the church’s 100 birthday and we continue working towards our vision of seeing 100 new disciples coming to God before then. It feels like a mammoth task doesn’t it? – especially with the whole Covid issue but you know what? Nothing is too big for God. One step that we can make is by being ready to live our lives of hope, live as children of light, so that people see there’s something about us, so that they will ask about the hope that we have. The second is to be ready to respond to these questions (daunting isn’t it?) How can we do that? (I’m certainly not theological, and I have not studied all the scriptures in depth!) Though of course we do need to know the Gospel of Jesus – the basis of our faith 😉. There’s two ‘tools’ that Jesus gives us – firstly prayer. Jesus prayed all the time, he prayed by himself, he prayed before miracles, and when the disciples couldn’t understand why they couldn’t perform miracles Jesus explained that they weren’t praying. Prayer is critical to us as Christians, it should be like breathing. The next is the Spirit of God. Jesus tells us that when he returned to heaven he would send a Helper, Gods Spirit, and that we should not worry what to say to people but instead the Holy Spirit will speak for us. Two absolutely amazing gifts that we have been given – during Lent let us try and get closer to these by praying more and by asking God for His Spirit, for like a father does not hold back on giving his child bread when asked for it, neither does God hold back when we ask for His Spirit.
Father Lord God, you gave us your Spirit all those years ago at Pentecost, we open our hearts and lives to you, we pray that your Spirit will change our lives, will empower us to live for you, to do your work, to shine amongst your people for you. In the power of Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.

09/03 – Hi everyone, beautiful morning today, blue sky, sun shining, the world is taking its first steps towards some sense of normality and for me, and perhaps you as fellow parents, there’s some peace as routines fall back into place and we can focus on one thing at a time not the constant juggling and multi tasking that comes with having children around 🤣
Continuing with our verses for Lent, this one jumped out at me today as a great reminder of God’s love and mercy: We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all HIS idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Saviour, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
I love that last bit – ‘death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light…’ how amazing is that?
We don’t need to do anything, we are not called to sacrifice or carry out chores or acts of penance in order to make right with God, no! He has saved us because He was the only one who could. And how else can we respond to such love but through our own acts of love, of sharing love with each other and with Him. I know it’s sooooo difficult in our day to day lives to set time aside but we must (and I’m telling myself this firmly) set time aside, for our own well being but also for our relationship with Him. Today, with the sun shining, let’s find a spot outside and just spend even a couple of minutes focussing on Him, let His love surround us and just take it in and love him back.

05/03 – Morning all, hope you’re looking forward to the weekend and the promise of some kind of normality as children prepare to return to school. Praying for you and all the children as we look towards Monday.
Today I was looking at the sermon on the mount which I think is probably one of my favourite things to read. Although people can take Jesus too literally sometimes he was only going to extremes to emphasise the importance of things such as murder – why stop at not murdering, try to not get angry in the first place, this is just an example of what he’s trying to teach us here. But today I wanted to share this: ‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ it may seem like a strange verse for today but it emphasises something for me. God loves us ALL – the good, the bad and the ugly (to steal the film title). He provides the same weather to all, he is fair to all, he sent Jesus to die for all not just some of us. Jesus told us ‘my fathers house has many rooms’. Unlike other faiths the Kingdom of Heaven does not have a VIP list or an invite only list, it’s open to poor and rich, ‘educated’ or ‘uneducated’, 1st world citizens and 3rd world citizens. All races, genders, ages….we are all loved. You are loved… Each of our names are written on his heart (listen to hymn Before the throne of God above ❤️) We are all his children and as we realise and accept this love we are also called in turn to love each other, even those who we may call our enemies. Not so easy to do but Lent is a time of soul searching, of change, of preparation, so if there’s a time to start why not now? Maybe you and your children can think of a person (you don’t need to share with each other) who you may be struggling with – it doesn’t need to be someone you necessarily know personally, try and start by either asking Gods help to love this person and then each night pray for them. Love doesn’t mean we have to be their best friend but it means we don’t have negative feelings about them and isn’t that the best for them – and us – at the end of the day? So let’s Love and Be Loved for we are all wonderfully made by our God who loves each of us.

04/03 – I apologise, I’m not doing too well with the daily Bible shares at the moment but I’m relieved that I have people around me (you guys) who are very forgiving and supportive 😘. It may be my current mood (having been awake since 3.30 🥱😴) but I wanted to share this verse with you in the hope that maybe it will speak to you too: Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads. I will give you rest. Accept my work and learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will find rest for your souls.” Our personal worlds, the world of parenthood, of jobs, of school work, of general home maintenance (!) can feel like a weight on our shoulders – adding to that is currently Covid, lockdown, and all other worries that each of us hold.
Ive been watching a brilliant programme on Netflix which is about people who go and help individuals in their lives – their self esteem, their look, their environment etc. Anyway, there was an episode where a particular guy was struggling with the pressures of being a business owner, competing with larger similar companies, with the pressures that he feels his family put on him and his own pressures that he put on himself etc etc. The guy helping him took him to a field and slowly put weights on him and as he put each weight on he would say what that represented for him. He then go the guy to try and walk down the field – well the poor guy was sweating away and was really struggling. So the other guy, the ‘helper’ explained that it would be so much easier to share the load, share the weight. Of course together it was a much easier walk.
Jesus calls us to also take off our weights, he doesn’t ask us to carry these stresses, these pressures, he calls us simply to love, to help others, to worship God. Maybe over Lent, what’s remaining anyway, we should take some time to think about the weights we are carrying, why do we carry them. Are we carrying them alone? Write them down, pray over them. Ask for God’s help, ask him to teach you how to let them go, lift them to him. I will be trying to do the same too – currently it feels like easier said than done but I feel I’ve reached a point where I need to put my pride to one side and ask God to step in and help out – after all, that’s all he wants isn’t it? He loves us, he wants us to be like children again, not held down unable to enjoy this blessed life and the beautiful world he has given us. I’m praying for each one of you.

02/03 – Morning, I apologise for not posting yesterday – or earlier today! Time is flying by isn’t it? Where did yesterday even go?! Where have the last 2 months gone?!  Speaking to others at least I’m not the only one feeling this way…I thought today I would share the story of Jesus healing a Samaritan which is from Luke 17:11-19. This story is about a group of men with various skin diseases who are healed by Jesus. They all turn away to go to the temple but only one, a Samaritan, turns back to praise and thank Jesus.This story should remind us to always remember Jesus in good and bad. I’ve said already in another post that it is easy to turn our attention to God when times are bad but what happens in those times of plenty. Why don’t we think of all the things that we can thank God for – our homes, our families… for starters. Maybe the children can draw a picture of everything they want to thank God for – let’s praise him today and tomorrow and forever for his love, his grace, his mercies, his wonder…

26/02 – Morning all, I feel a bit silly today because every message I seem to be saying ‘this is one of my favourite stories’ and then today I find myself saying it again and you’ll all probably thinking – what isn’t her favourite then? Well to be honest maybe I love it all! 🤣 but hey, here goes – this is one of my favourite stories 😉, it’s the one of the paralysed man and Jesus – you know, the one where the man gets lowered through the roof by some friends? I read a book once about working with children, and the writer said that he was working in a church that was due to have a roof replaced so they decided to actually reenact the story but with a chainsaw to cut through the roof (how awesome is that??) – well in these days of health and safety overkill I expect we wouldn’t be able to do that but wouldn’t that be a way of getting children to remember it?? The story can be found in Mark 2:1-12, I’ll share a link. This story to me teaches us a few different things, firstly Jesus is with us, he is here waiting for us – we have to be the ones to move towards him just as this mans friends did. Secondly when we need his help we need to look up at him, to look for him just as the man’s friends had to look up to the roof, and lastly we need to accept that there is nothing we can do to get rid of our sins, to be freed from our past – it is only Jesus who can forgive us and enable us to get up and move on. So if for any reason you don’t feel good enough, you don’t feel that you’re worth Gods love because of what you’ve done, or do, then forget it, Jesus forgives us, he loves us, he wants us to get up, shake off the dust and move forward with our lives, walking with him in glory now and forever, children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, one with the saints, holy priesthood, blessed and LOVED ❤️ yep, thats you and that’s me and we better not forget it 😆🥰

24/02 – Good morning everyone, dare I say that it is a wonderful Wednesday morning today! Hope you’re all doing very well this week. Today’s reading is from probably one of my favourite Jesus encounters in the NT, it’s the one where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman by the well. Samaritans were hated by the Jewish peoples during yet Jesus doesn’t just talk to a Samaritan but he talks to a woman and just any woman but one who has been married many times and is currently with a partner – so not exactly someone who the Jewish people would have seen as worthy at the slightest. I love it because Jesus actually sits by the well waiting for this woman, he knows she’s going to come and so he patiently waits for her and then has this wonderful conversation. So if you feel that God doesn’t care about women just look at this story for a starter 😆Anyway, Jesus says this: Jesus answered, “Every person who drinks this water (the water in the well*) will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give will become a spring of water flowing inside them. It will give them eternal life.” *I added this bit for clarity.Jesus is the water of eternal life and he is offering himself to us all – whoever and whatever we are, rich or poor, male or female, young or old – so that we will never be spiritually thirsty again. Why don’t you have a bath today – go one spoil yourself with some nice oils or bubble bath 😁 – and while in there spend some time thinking about this and thanking God for all he does in our lives.

23/01 – Hi everyone, hope you’re doing well. I am in a very very good mood after hearing the governments announcement on the road out of lockdown!! I feel like we should have been outside throwing streamers and blowing trumpets etc 😂🤣 but we have to hold ourselves back until we actually get there… I’ll tell you something we don’t have to hold back on celebrating – God’s awesome love for us!! Oh yes! Shout it from the roof tops, bring our the streamers, clang the saucepan lids – He loves us! 😁🥰❤️❣️ and who better to confirm this than Jesus – enter our verse for the 5th (working) day of Lent: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 Jesus, the last sacrificial lamb, our Saviour, our King, died for us because of the love that this God, God who surpasses all our understanding, who we can never comprehend within our limited human knowledge and brain, he LOVES us. How can we keep that one in? Hope it makes you smile like it makes me 😆😁

22/02 – Morning everyone, hope you’ve all had a good weekend, at least we got some lovely weekend – anyone had a bbq yet? 😁Today’s reading is about Jesus calling his first disciples, rather than give you all the reading here I thought it may be better to give you a link:https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+1%3A14-20&version=ICB Or you can find it in a Bible. In Jesus’ time the teachers (or Rabbis) did not go about calling followers, people would apply to follow them – almost like a job, and a Rabbi would chose the followers carefully, after all these people would be responsible for continuing the Rabbi’s teaching. But here comes Jesus, who never does anything the way people expect, he doesn’t chose the creme de la creme but instead goes and calls fishermen – men who probably didn’t have very much education and certainly were not the type of people that a Rabbi would normally chose. But that is what the Gospel, the good news, of Jesus is all about isn’t it? God calls each one of us, from the person with a doctorate, to the person who never took any exams and has been homeless on the street, Jesus calls each and every one of us to him, he calls each and every one of us to follow him, to hear and learn what he teaches us, and to help others, to spread his good news all around the world. There is a long line of people in the Bible who have come up with reasons as to why they are not good enough to do Gods work but through the power of God we are able, we are gifted, we are good enough because we are children of God 🤩😁

19/02 – Hi all, I know this isn’t a Bible related message but, you know what, it made me chuckle so I thought I would share it in the hope it would also give you some light relief

18/02 – Today our second reading for Lent is John 1:19-34 it’s a long one! ‘The Jews in Jerusalem sent some priests and Levites to John. The Jews sent them to ask, “Who are you?”John spoke freely and did not refuse to answer. He said clearly, “I am not the Christ.”So they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”He answered, “No, I am not Elijah.” Then they asked, “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No, I am not the Prophet.”Then they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to tell those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”John told them in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am the voice of a man calling out in the desert: ‘Make the road straight for the Lord.’” (Isaiah 40:3)In the group of Jews who were sent, there were some Pharisees. They said to John: “You say you are not the Christ. You say you are not Elijah or the Prophet. Then why do you baptise people?”John answered, “I baptise people with water. But there is one here with you that you don’t know. He is the One who comes after me. I am not good enough to untie the strings of his sandals.”This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River. This is where John was baptising people.The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him. John said, “Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world! This is the One I was talking about. I said, ‘A man will come after me, but he is greater than I am, because he was living before me.’ Even I did not know who he was. But I came baptising with water so that the people of Israel could know who he is.” Then John said, “I did not know who the Christ was. But God sent me to baptise with water. And God told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down and rest on a man. That man is the One who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’” John said, “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven. The Spirit looked like a dove and rested on him. I have seen this happen. So I tell people: ‘He is the Son of God.’”’

17/02 – Hi everyone, hope you’re all well. Today is the first day of Lent, there are some activities etc coming your way very soon, Simon is creating a new area on the website for Lent stuff so keep an eye out…And going with Lent, I thought we could do a series of Bible readings taking us through to Easter. If you have any songs or anything you would like to share during this time, maybe a Bible verse brings to mind a certain hymn or prayer or something, please do share.
The first Bible verse to kick us off is this from John 1:1-5: ‘Before the world began, there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him. Nothing was made without him. In him there was life. That life was light for the people of the world. The Light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overpowered the Light’
Maybe you could do something about light with the kids – when it’s dark light a candle or have a torch and talk about what that light means, how does it make us feel? Does it provide us with a feeling of safety, security, warmth, hope? As it’s Lent it’s good to think of those in need and lift them to God, what about people who don’t have electricity, or those who don’t know the light of Jesus in their lives? And in the dark nights we can also spend some time thinking of him. We have a glow in the dark cross that my mum had, I had and then my daughter has and it is brilliant at night time, can recommend.

16/02 – Hi everyone, it’s pancake day aka shrove Tuesday! I don’t know whether, like me, you had planned on some high level last night to do pancakes for breakfast – but then had breakfast all cooked before you remembered? Is that just me? 🤣 ah well there’s still tea time to try and remember 😆
I was looking for a good verse for today and decided to take a look on BibleGateway. Their verse of the day is a brilliant one but I thought, as usual, that I would look at the whole chapter (avoid just looking at a verse by itself if you can – it’s a great way of getting context and also reading a bit more of God’s Word) and actually I thought the start of the chapter is very uplifting:‘See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are.’  (1 John 3:1)We are His children, He loves us, each one of us, so so much – more than we will ever know or understand, more love than we can ever feel, and we are His children, not just His creation, not just His people, not His servants – we are higher than even the angels, we are His children. I expect, like me, you don’t feel you’re worth this love, you don’t feel good enough to be his child, it doesn’t matter, we ARE His children and He DOES love us no matter how many times we trip, or how many times we fail, or doubt, there is absolutely nothing we can do that will stop His love for us, I think that’s pretty awesome stuff right there and I hope it gives you that boost that it’s given me today, and it’s a good thing to remember as we look towards tomorrow – Ash Wednesday.
Would love to see some pancake photos (and photos of them being made) if anyone gets round to it. Miss you all.

12/02 – Morning everyone, it’s Friday!! 🥳🤩😆 these weeks are strange, at the beginning they feel like they are taking forever but then it’s shot passed before you know it – or is that just me? The verse I wanted to share today is from Ephesians 6 and it had a verse that jumped out at me (it’s not the one I want to share though) but it’s about taking joy in your work no matter what that work is, we should work as though it is the Lord we are serving, and it just gave me that reminder to be joyful in His blessings, to be grateful for the life that I have and that I should do everything for Him because He’s given it to me. It’s a good chapter to read I think as it’s about the attitudes we should have to each other (kindness, respect etc) but the verse I wanted to share is this:‘… Be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Wear the full armour of God.’ I love the vision of the armour, maybe as you put on your clothes, and the children put on their clothes, you can remind yourself of the armour of God – pants could be belt of truth (unless you do actually wear a belt of course), a vest could be the breastplate of righteousness, the socks are the readiness to share the gospel of peace, a jumper can be the shield of faith, as you comb or brush hair you could think of your hair being like the helmet of salvation – or maybe you put a hat on to go outside and then possibly the word of God as the sword that we carry could be our scarf? A bag? What ideas can you or your children come up with? Maybe you can make some armour using cardboard boxes or draw a picture / use the computer to superimpose armour on to your pictures … the important thing to remember is that just as every day we get dressed we must also remember the spiritual ways to ‘dress’ ourselves, and that will keep us strong and protected as we go through life.

11/02 – Today I thought I would share a few lines from the song that Moses and the Israelites sang after God had saved them from the Egyptians:“The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to him. He is my God, and I praise him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honour him.”Maybe you could look back at the story of the Israelites escape from Egypt, in the snow maybe you could pretend to do the Israelites crossing the sea and the snow being the water either side and then as the Egyptians start crossing the snow (water) comes tumbling down 😁 Have we ever had a moment where we want to escape from a situation? I know I’ve had far too many of wanting the ground to swallow me up 🙄😳 sometimes we have to step into what can seem an equally scary moment (crossing the sea) to move towards where God wants us to be, we just have to trust in Him. We just need to keep focussed on His promise, His love and His mercy. We will come out of the other side. The only thing I would try and do differently to the Israelites is to sing praises while I’m crossing through and not wait until I’ve reached the other side 🤣 after all the OT and NT tell us / encourage us to praise God through both the hard times and the good times, the pain and the joy. Hope your day goes well

09/02 – Morning all, the snow is falling, albeit a light flurry but it gives me a calm feeling watching it – I guess that’s a benefit of this lockdown, no worries about having to venture out on the school run or get to work… silver lining to a rather large cloud 🤣 but as the snow falls I know in the back of mind emails are also flurrying in (I know it’s a stretch of using the word) and work is mounting up. I don’t know how you are all coping with work – whether it’s school work or job work it can sometimes feel like a burden and hard to switch off at times, and I am sure you all feel the same as me that a holiday is long overdue. Good things come to those who wait – hopefully. But as my thoughts turn to what lies ahead of me today at work they also turn to Him who helps me through it all, as Paul says – “Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do.” Maybe that should become our new go-to phrase. As we face the mornings (or start of work shifts) repeat this verse to yourself, if things feel like they are mounting up, if you feel anxiety or stress start to creep up say these words and repeat them concentrating on each word. I heard a great way to learn a Bible verse is to say the verse and each time you say it you emphasise a different word, for example:  ‘CHRIST is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do.’ Then the next time you say it you would say ‘Christ IS the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do.’ And so on… I find doing this also brings a different aspect to the verse and it can add so much depth. Maybe we could all try learning it today – and if you have any other ways of learning verses please share.

08/02 – Morning all, hope you are all well and got out to enjoy the snow? I love snow – fresh snow that is, I love watching it fall and seeing everything disappear under it and the silence that it seems to bring. I remember on the farm after it had snowed it just looked like blankets of white had been laid on the fields, and then slowly you would see animal tracks appearing and life returning. Of course here in the towns the snow quickly turns a horrible black on the roads which isn’t as nice. 🤣 Inspired by the snow, I thought I would find snow themed Bible verse and surprisingly there’s quite a few of them. This is one that I felt was a powerful one with a fantastic message: “I, the Lord, am the one speaking to you. Come, let’s discuss this. Even if your sins are as dark as red dye, that stain can be removed and you will be as pure as wool that is as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18. Of course, Jesus’ blood has cleansed us, His death, His sacrifice, removed our crimson sins and we have been made pure as snow. What an amazing, loving God that he would take this action for us, what have we done to deserve this? That just shows how much God loves us, we don’t have to do anything for him to love us, he does anyway! And He seeks us out, all his lost sheep, all his prodigal sons and daughters, He calls us to Him, His arms wide open and we are made pure in Jesus so that we may approach His throne and join the angels and saints who have gone before us in worshipping him and living forever in His love – how wonderful is this??! Maybe this is something you can talk about with the children today when you get some snow time and enjoy a hot cup of chocolate afterwards 😉

05/02 – Morning everyone, hope you’re all ok. Keeping in line with the mission / vision verses I thought this verse may be quite a good one for us to think and pray on: ‘After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’ Luke 10:1-2100 disciples by next year feels like a mammoth task even without Covid causing disruption but nothing is impossible with God. As Jesus tells his disciples, and us, the harvest is plentiful (100 disciples is a drop in the ocean) but the workers are few, we need to pray to God for help, pray to God for wisdom as to how to move forward, it brings to mind a song I discovered last year ‘every move I make I make in you…’ we need His help, we need to pray to Him for His help, everything we do should be in prayer. Speaking to a few parents it seems we all feel like we are getting very little to no time to ourselves let alone to pray but we need to find ways to do this, it could be while eating, it could be while washing up, ironing, in the shower etc, we need to find ways in which to build in prayer to our lives. As said before, it is important that we build a sabbath into our day for our own mental and spiritual health. Hope you’re all ok and your day goes well. Please give your kids a hug from me.

04/02 – Morning everyone, as we approach the end of the working week hopefully you are all managing to find some time to think about ways in which we can reach out to those outside Christ Church. I thought maybe some verses around mission may help inspire us. “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ ”We are all called to preach in our own way, maybe we are called to stand up in church and preach, maybe it’s just a case of sharing our faith on a 1:1 basis, maybe with strangers or maybe with friends. It doesn’t matter whether we are children or whether we are adults, it doesn’t matter if we are good at talking or not (after all some of the well known disciples were not even that good at public speaking!) what is important is that we share the good news – the Gospel. To remind us of what we are called to do by Jesus (make disciples of all nations… baptising…teaching) why don’t you all draw round your feet today on a piece of paper and decorate it to remind us that our feet are beautiful, they are blessed, when we share the good news of Jesus. Would love to see some photos!

03/02 – Morning everyone, it seems like quite a nice morning out there, so let’s hope it continues today and we all manage to get some fresh air. It is so important to get out of the house and breathe the outside air. I remember when I was younger my grandma always used to say that the sea air was so good for us and we should breath deeply and then, when we visited the farm, my parents would tell us the farm air was very good for us as there was hardly any traffic pollution. Air, it’s one of those things we take for granted isn’t it? I hope you make time to get some today.  In the same way, God is also the air we breathe: ‘Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person’ (Genesis 2:7), ‘God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth’ (Isaiah 42:5),  ‘But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent’ (Job 32:8). We need Him to keep going, without Him our spirits, our souls, our everything, struggles far more – we may tell ourselves we can go it alone but why struggle, why claw our way through life’s hardships, when we have God who can carry us through? So today, make time to step outside, take a deep breath and while you do so take time to also breathe in God, thank him for giving you life and for all the blessings each one of us enjoys in this life. Make time for a little Sabbath today for you, adults and children, to spend some time with your Heavenly Father

02/02 – Hello everyone! Hope everything is going well. I guess a great verse for today to inspire us and encourage us when thinking about mission and our vision statement of creating 100 new disciples by 2022 would be: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ”Jesus is with us, each of us, to the very end. If you are feeling lonely in these times or maybe like you’re missing company of others why don’t you (and your family) start including Jesus in things for example – laying an extra place at the table for meals as a reminder He is with us, maybe leave a space on the sofa because he’s next to us all the time, whatever your doing speak out loud and have a conversation with him – doing the washing up or cooking, talk him through your day. Maybe you can suggest the children read out loud to him… love to hear what you end up doing – and anything you hear back from him.

01/02 – Morning everyone, it’s another happy Monday 😬 hope you are feeling refreshed after the weekend and not feeling weighed down or sluggish, which is quite an accurate description of how I’m feeling but I’m putting that down to needing some sunshine. 🌞 This verse is one that I feel is apt for today, Psalm 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high” No matter what you’re going through – be it the winter blues or the slog of lockdown or fight of ill health let God be your shield, let him enfold you with his glory and let his loving hands lift your chin and head high.

29/01 – Good morning everyone, I’m in a slightly better mood this morning – I didn’t pour orange juice over my eggs, it’s not raining, it’s Friday and puppy let me have a slight lie in 😁 so all is almost good in the world – now to get end of year accounts finished 😂 I hope you are all doing well, keeping safe and healthy physically, mentally and spiritually. 🙏🏻 Today I wanted to share a verse that I sometimes tell myself when I feel like I can’t see a light in the tunnel,‘I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order’ John 16:33 Jesus never told us that life would be smooth sailing, we weren’t going to get an easy ride of it for believing in him, there will be times of hardship and darkness personally and in the world, we know that the world will be going through ‘labour pains’ as God’s kingdom comes – things will get worse but you know what? There IS light in the tunnel! Jesus has conquered the darkness – light is there and will reign, Jesus is our light, our peace, our hope. We have a rock that will not move in the storms. As I write these words the song ‘Fight Song’ has just been playing and it’s struck me that Jesus is our Fight Song, he is the one that gives us strength to keep fighting, he is our power. So let’s 💪🏻 and keep going, marching, marching in the light of God

28/01 – Morning everyone, I don’t know about you but every morning feels like a struggle, not helped by being worked up at some horrible time in the morning by a puppy (I do love him really) and by my horrible alarm at 6am (I really don’t love that). And just to show you how tired I am – ans if you’ve done something like this please share as it will make me feel so much better – I was sitting down to eat my ultra healthy fried eggs this morning and went and poured my orange juice on top of them….. 🙄🤔 I REALLY hope that doesn’t mean anything for the rest of the day! And so, based on my current mood, I felt there was only one place I could turn and that was Matthew 11:28-29:‘Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest.’I absolutely love this verse. Just readi be these words I feel like a burden has been lifted already. We all carry heavy loads, the Jews back then carried all the rules and traditions that were being enforced (and seemingly invented) and the occupation of the Romans, today things may be slightly different but we are living under the occupation of the virus and the many (sometimes self enforced) rules and restrictions – from feeling bad at eating certain food (fried eggs anyone?), to whether we are supporting our children enough with home schooling. Jesus is calling us home to him, he is calling us to focus on him, to listen to him. He is what matters – He is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE. I hope these words help you as much as they have helped me… and now, back to my orange flavoured eggs….

27/01- Morning everyone, Tuesday seemed to go on forever yesterday but finally we are on Wednesday! Another midweek reached, although I feel a pang that I’m wishing my life away – which I’m not of course 😬 Today’s reading is from Romans 15:13, I hope it provides you with much encouragement: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’. Can I also suggest that you take some time to read this first section of chapter 15 at the least as it does have some good stuff in there. Maybe we should all spend a bit of time today asking God’s Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter, to enter our lives, to help us. Let us admit that we cannot live our lives without Him, without Him our lives will be hard work, like we are pushing against a wall but God sent His Spirit to us that He may lift us up. ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord God Almighty. And as we pray let us hold each other in prayer, maybe open up the list showing the names of all the people who are on this group, pray that the Holy Spirit will enter the lives of each one of us, and that we will all find hope, patience and encouragement in Him.

26/01 – Good morning everyone, I don’t know about you but it feels like we are already nearing the end of the week so it’s quite a shock to think it’s only Tuesday 🙄😩 maybe this verse will help us all:‘The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ Psalm 27:1-2This is a song David wrote obviously at a time when he was going through a troublesome period, although if you know anything about David it seems like his whole life was like that 🤣These words have completely new and more powerful meaning to us as Christians doesn’t it? We know that Jesus is the light of world (John 8:12) and He is the Saviour of the world (Romans 6:23). With Jesus, God, on our side who will we fear? What will we fear? How can we fear? Why should we fear? He is with us at all times, his love and mercy will get us through anything, and when life throws trouble us we laugh back and say (using the words of Simba) “I laugh in the face of danger” for we have Him, our rock, our fortress, our Saviour, our King, our God on our side and whatever is thrown at us we can push aside and focus on the glory of heaven that is promised to us through Jesus Christ. So let us lift each other up,  straighten our path, set our compass to our true north and fix our eyes on him, together, pushing forward, one force of Christians united in one body.Feels a bit like a war cry, maybe that’s what I need to get me through the rest of the week 🤣 hope it helps you too xxWar cry isn’t the right word is it – you know… one of those powerful speeches people give before they go into battle… 😁

22/01 – ‘The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness’ lamentations 3:22-23I quite like The Voice version too:‘How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.  Here they are, every morning, new!  Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day.’I love that phrase ‘inexhaustible compassion’ his love goes on and on and on. So with this new day we find our rock, our steadfast rock, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, beginning and end, his love will never change. He loves you all, from the baby not yet born 😁 to the oldest amongst us, his love is greater than we can imagine, he holds us all within him – each of special to him in our own ways, give yourselves a hug today because He’s already got his arms around you all

21/01 – Morning everyone, the verse I thought I would share this morning is from Romans 8:38-39: ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Nothing in all creation can come between the love of God and us, His children. I don’t know if you’ve got any favourite songs about love, the first one that tends to come to my mind is A Thing Called Love by Johnny Cash. It’s about the transformative power of love and how it can change lives. Gods love can absolutely do that of course. It can change the way we behave, the way we view life, the way we treat others and the way we treat ourselves. We know our value through his love, we are not just some fluke that happened on a one in a million million chance. We were created for a purpose, we were created to be His children, to have a relationship with Him. God is love and he wants to share that love. I really pray that you all know that love because right now for many of us it’s that love that will pull us through these times, it’s our life jacket, our lighthouse, and nothing – not some virus or lockdown will get in the way of that. Sending you all a virtual hug

20/01 – ‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen’- 2 Corinthians 4:16-18I stumbled across this verse this morning and it just seemed to hit me in the face, I must have read these words before but right now they just seem to have so much more meaning to them than I’ve given them in the past. It reminds us to not lose heart, there are better – more wondrous things – that await us in our life with God, living in glory with Him, sharing in Jesus’ inheritance. These last few days I have to say that I have really been feeling the weight of lockdown, the weight of rising covid cases and the weight of fear that this virus brings but this verse just seemed to lift that weight, gave me a jolt that I should not linger in this moment, that I should instead focus on the promise to come, focus on His love, focus on His glory. I hope that these words also give you the boost they gave me and I hope they enable you to shake off the weight of things that may be pulling you down, that they enable you to stand up proud in the name of our Father, Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator of all things. To Him shall we look and in Him we trust. So do not lose heart, this moment is temporary and we have a bigger promise lying ahead of us. Take care

19/01 – Morning everyone! ☀️You had to chose a well known Bible verse from the OT I expect most people probably would think of this one: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me’. Psalm 23:1-4. I absolutely love these words and find great comfort in them, as many before me have also. We are not told that in life we won’t go through dark places but we are told that He will guide us and keep us safe. I don’t know if any of you have ever watched crufts? I love it although I don’t seem to be able to watch it much anymore. my favourite activity is the agility. I used to love the sheepdog trials but I’m not sure they still do them as I haven’t seen it on tv for ages. Anyway, there is a point here, if you get a chance today watch, on YouTube maybe, a shepherd using a dog to herd sheep. With the children look at the relationship between the dog and his master. I think that this is a perfect representation of our relationship with God. We should be totally honed to his word, our ear should always be listening for him, our bodies ready to act. We should be at peace in the fact that he has it all in hand. So we are the sheep – being led and protected by our shepherd but we are also a sheepdog – always listening for our master, always ready to respond to his call in the knowledge he will protect, feed and guide us through life.These encouraging Bible verses that I set out to share have become a bit more than that haven’t they, it is very hard not to share His word without writing alongside it, hopefully it just shows how much I love the Bible and if you don’t love it already hopefully some of my passion will rub off and during lockdown you will be encouraged to also read it – you won’t regret it!

18/01 – Good morning all, it’s another Monday. I read this morning on the news that today is a Blue Monday but that we should instead change it to a Brew Monday – make a cup of tea (or coffee) and call a friend or a family member and have a chat. Thats what the Samaritans are encouraging us to do today and I think its a brilliant idea 😁So as we face another week things are looking up – cases have fallen, vaccination rates are going up and this week millions of people will be able to take a sigh of relief when Biden takes over the presidency in America 😂 (let’s hope he’s a force for positive change). So what verse can help this week, I think this one can:“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9. The Israelites are waiting to go into the promised land, they – like us – are waiting patiently for change, for the hope in the promise, they are scared – unsure what the future holds, unsure they are up for it, waiting for that moment when everything will change. Ok, so we aren’t waiting to go into a new land or waiting for a new life to start but we are waiting for freedom to be returned, for lives to return to some kind of normality. The Israelites can crack on and take their land while we need to continue to wait and be patient. And that is why I think these words – that are repeated 3 times by God in Joshua 1 and then again by the people – are so relevant to us now. Let us be strong and courageous. Let us keep going, keep our heads up because God IS with us, let us not be afraid or grow discouraged because God IS with us. Let us build each other up – whether through brew Monday or another way – check in with each other and remind each other that God is with us, he has not abandoned us, he is carrying us through this. Let us be strong and brave – not through our own strength but through God’s, through his Holy Spirit. We do not need to carry this alone, let us fall on his wings, let his wings carry us. Remember: we ‘can do all things through him who strengthens’ us (Philippians 4:13). Hope you have a brilliant brew Monday and that it leads into a fantastic and blessed week for you all

15/01 – Morning everyone, thank God its Friday 😂 todays verse is Isaiah 40:29 – ‘He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.’There are many many days when i feel completely powerless, when things feel out of control, when i feel weak and tired. I expect you have days like that too. This verse reminds me that i have God on my side, hes got my back, he can give me power, he can give me (self) control, he can make me feel strong again. Oh its not always easy and sometimes i do have to spend some time eyes closed deep breathing and reaching out to Him in prayer but focussing on Him and reading his word really lifts me up and i hope it has the same affect on you too. In this situation we can feel powerless and, yes, we are not in control in what is happening in the world right now but we have power in ourselves, we have the power to not let darkness in our lives, we have the power to not let despair get into our lives, we have the power to not let panic enter our lives, we have the power to live as children of light, children of God, children of the almighty. So as we move forward to the weekend – Be Bold! Be Strong! For the Lord your God is with you!

14/01 – Morning all, hope you’re all doing ok and keeping safe. It’s feeling like a bit of a slog this lockdown for me, 2 weeks in and I already feel like I did at the end of summer last year – oh it’s going to be a long one 😬 however the verse from today gives me encouragement because it reminds me that we have a God who is not aloof and disconnected from the pains of his people. He has lived here, as one of us, he has felt pain, felt loss, felt suffering, felt the harshness that this world can bring. He has lived through more suffering than we can claim to come close to. He knows what we are going through, he knows what it’s like to be away from those we are close to, he knows….Hebrews 4:16 ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’He is with us, he is approachable, he reaches out to us, bringing us into his arms of comfort. All we need to do is stretch out too, all we need to do is snuggle into those arms, all we need to do is bring ourselves before his throne so that he may wrap his cloak around us. He loves us, his children, more than we can ever know. That will get us through, it will certainly keep me going. So: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all today and moving forward whatever you may be doing and who ever you may be with.

13/01 – Morning all, this Bible verse I have to say I was not aware of but having stumbled across it I think it’s brilliant and possibly one that could become a favourite:2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline’Paul is writing to Timothy and telling him that he gives thanks for him and talks about his faith and the gifts that God has given him. He tells Timothy to let those gifts grow like a small flame turning into a fire and that’s when he writes the verse above.Yesterday my daughter was struggling with her maths – worded problems (one of the worst aren’t they?) and I was trying to boost her by telling her that we believe in her, she can do it and she needs to believe in herself too. This is what Paul is telling Timothy, and us: God has given each of us gifts, we must allow those gifts to burn bright like a fire. To be bold to use those gifts and to know His Spirit who fills us with power and love and self discipline. That self discipline stops us from giving up. These lockdowns have been hard on us in different ways but we have the Pentecostal spirit, we have God’s own spirit, we have the Comforter, we have the Spirit of creation, we have the same Spirit that filled Jesus at his baptism, the Spirit that enabled him to do his ministry. His same Spirit will keep us moving forward, will keep us strong, will keep us together, will keep us close to him. As Paul said to Timothy, I give thanks to God for each and every one of you, for the support you have given me through your messages and sharing your own faith with us, I thank him for the gifts that I see in you as parents, as church family members and also for the children – the wonderfully gifted and blessed children that we are so lucky to have at Christ Church. I just pray that each of you, including the children, believe in the gifts God has given you, that you allow them to burn like a great fire for Him and that you know the Spirit of power, love and self discipline that He has blessed us with.

12/01 – Isaiah 43:1-3 ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.’This verse reminds me of one my favourite worship songs, I’ll send you a link – sadly no lyrics but it’s repetitive so you should be able to pick it up 😁There’s so many stories of amazing things happening to people who show strong faith – Daniel being saved from lions, his three friends being saved from the flames, Peter walking on water (until he panicked) and so many more. What I absolutely love about these poor disciples is that they are so relatable, despite the fact that they walked with Jesus, heard his teaching straight from his mouth, saw the miracles first hand they still frequently showed a lack of faith – not in Jesus or God but in themselves. They doubted maybe that they were important enough ‘why would he use me?’ Maybe it’s because they couldn’t believe they weren’t gifted enough, they were only human, etc, I can relate to this totally but this verse should remind us that it isn’t through our strength but it’s because God is with us. We can make it through the rushing waters of life when it feels like we are being overtaken, we can make it through the fire of stress and worry when we feel it’s burning us up, we can make it through the darkness of the lockdowns and separation from loved ones and the church family. But He is with us and He will not leave us, He has called us by name, we are His, He is the Lord our God, our Saviour. This is something we should remind ourselves – and our children – every day, God is with us, as you read this he is with you, as you are working he is with you, as you are home schooling he is with you, as you are eating he is with you, He IS with you

11/01 – Hello everyone, hope you are all well and managed to get some rest in over the weekend. Today’s reading follows on from last weeks theme:Philippians 4:6 ‘Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’I think just the action of praying, actually sharing our concerns and stresses with God really helps. I don’t know about you but I always feel such a burden lifted when I pray. We have to trust that God has our best interests in his plans and though we may not see it at the moment he knows the future. Leila got a happy journal for Christmas from my parents, in it she has to list three things that made her happy that day. Maybe this is something we should each do too, I know all too well that it is easy to go to bed thinking of the negatives, the worries, allowing stress to disturb sleep. So let’s lift our requests to God, our concerns and stresses to our Heavenly Father but let’s also finish our prayers each night by thanking him for a maximum of three things that made us happy each day – they don’t necessarily have to be new things each day as I’m sure we are all grateful for having a roof over our heads and family around us 😄 And I pray for each of us that ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ Amen

08/01 – Morning everyone, we’ve reached the end of the week!! 🥳 it’s been a bit of a slog for me, I don’t know about you. Hopefully next week will go better.Today I felt a connection between two verses so being Friday I thought it would be a little bonus 🤣Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayedHebrews 12:1-3 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’That second verse is one of my favourites but despite knowing it all these years I still don’t know if by heart – but I know the message from it and that’s what’s important I feel.There’s a lot of things happening in the world and the last year does seem to have raced past before I reached April. I feel like I’m in one of those photos where the person is in focus but the world around them seems to be spinning around – do you know what I mean? But we have a focus point to keep us steady in the whirlwind, the hurricane that is life, he who is God, our saviour. He ran the race, he has lived it and he is waiting for us at the end. As I write this I am picturing him as the person in the photo, he is standing there, peaceful, hand outstretched to us, the world is spinning around him, let us keep our eyes on him – like Peter when he was walking in the water. As soon as Peter took his eyes off Jesus the chaos of the world gets to him and he begins to sink. With the chaos, the stormy waters, around us at the moment it is so important to focus on what is in front of us – Jesus.If I were an artist I would try and create an image like this but I’m not 🤣 can the children do a picture of a race with Jesus at the end cheering them on?

07/01 – Exodus 33:14 My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Rest – sounds good doesn’t it? I would love a rest from what feels like the same thing every day, it’s all a bit ‘meh’. But in God we can find a renewal, a meaning, an escape – a rest. It’s difficult to find time in the day to read the Bible but it is so important. Yesterday I was reminded that we need to run to him who provides shelter and protection. In the same way we must also make time to be with him, we will never find rest if we don’t make time for it will we? That’s why the sabbath is one of the 10 commandments, to make sure that we get rest – and we are reminded that even God rested after he created all things – we cannot keep going without rest. At this time we are all feeling drained, all feeling fed up. So, I’m going to try and put something in my calendar for every day to spend some time, with or without Leila, to pray and listen to some worship, to rest in God our Father and Comforter. Maybe you could do the same – maybe we could all chose the same time and then, although apart, we would feel a sense of connection to one another. I’m not saying that this will work for you – maybe going for a walk would be better for you to focus, maybe a bath (can’t remember the last time I had one of those 😂), maybe a hobby like gardening or painting or stroking a pet. I don’t know about you but I tell myself I don’t have time to rest, I don’t have time to sit down and relax – I have too much to be doing – but we must do it, we just relax, we must rest and we must spend time with our Father. His presence is with us, with each of us, he’s there if we just take the time to be with him. Sorry for the long message – just a bit of a brain dump 😂 this is me telling myself what I should be doing but I hope it helps you too

06/01 – Morning everyone, We are midday way through the week, I hope you are all ok – physically, mentally and spiritually.‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe’. Proverbs 18:10In these times of struggles, hardships, stresses and tiredness it is even more important that we put aside time to read the Bible, to pray and to worship. God is our tower but we must run to him for safety. Can the children draw a strong safe tower? What would it look like? Maybe they can draw themselves in it with their family (you can do this too of course). When life gets hard use this image of the tower and remember this verse and run to Him he keeps us safe. Maybe a game of Jenga would be a good way of talking to the children about this verse – and relieve some stress hopefully…

05/01 – Morning everyone, a beautiful verse here which I absolutely love, take a moment – with or without children 😁 to breath deeply a few times with eyes closed, imagine yourself as a great bird soaring high in the sky, carried on the warm air flows that come from God, high above the worries and stresses from below, just hold yourself there and thank God that he will carry us, that he will allow us to soar, that he will keep us from being tired. Use this image when it’s getting tough, we are in it together with Him who lifts us up. XxBut they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

January 2021 – Hi everyone, I don’t know about you but these lockdowns are exhausting and I want nothing more than just returning to normality and being together again. As always, please let either Simon or me if you need any support, we are of course continuing to hold you all in prayer. This is a difficult time for the children as well and I really hope they are all ok. I will endeavour to share supporting verses each day in the hope that these may speak to you (and me) and give us encouragement and strength.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7Hope you are all ok


18/05 – Hello everyone, apologies for the late message, hope you all have had a good day in the sunshine ☀️ – sadly I’ve been indoors all day working but it looked wonderful. For the next couple of weeks we are going to be looking at 2 Bible stories each day – yes you heard or read me right 😁 2 stories! The first will be from the Old Testament and the second from the New Testament and they will be (hopefully) preparing us for Pentecost Sunday. So let’s begin. The first story we are reading is from p136 in the Spark Bible or 1 Kings 6 (you could also read chapter 5 if you want). This is all about the building of the first temple and, oh my, what a temple it was 🤩 it was absolutely incredible, marvellous, beautiful, glorious and all the other words you can think of and it was built by David’s son – Solomon. You see David really, really REALLY wanted to build a temple to show God how much he loved him but God wouldn’t let him; he told David that his son would build the temple instead – and so he did (with some of David’s guidance). Inside the temple was an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place, and everywhere inside was gold – yep gold! In chapter 8 we read that when the priests placed the Arc of the Covenant (which had the Ten Commandments inside) into the inner sanctuary, and they left, the whole of the inner sanctuary filled with a cloud which was the glory of the Lord. The Lord has told Solomon that he was to stay with Israel in the temple. Now we know that God can’t be contained in a temple but I think the Israelites needed to feel that God was right there, in a place they could see, and a reminder of the fact that he was their God. So here was the first temple filled with God and for many, many years people went there and worshipped and prayed but only the high priests could enter the inner sanctuary. Can you imagine going to church but being told you couldn’t go into a certain area because you weren’t clean enough, you were too sinful? And that leads us nicely on to our New Testament readings, which sadly aren’t in the Spark Bible. First, can you find John 2:19? In this story Jesus has entered a temple but found people using it for selling things, exchanging money and all kinds of things, so of course he gets angry and starts turning over tables and telling people to get out. When the Jewish leaders challenge him he says ‘destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days’. Of course they thought he was talking about the actual building temple; they didn’t know that he was talking about himself. He was a temple – God was in him. How amazing is that? But better is still to come – now, can you find Matthew 27:51 (although I’m going to tell you what happens it’s still good for you to find it and read what happens before). This verse happens after Jesus has died, it tells us that as soon as he dies the curtain of the temple was torn in 2! Can you remember what is in the middle of the temple? What special place was there? The veil stopped normal people like you and me from going into the place where God ‘lives’. But now, through Jesus’ death, God was no longer living in the temple, he was no longer just for high priests – he was for EVERYONE!! For you and for me!! Now we can pray straight to him, we don’t have to use a high priest!! Now each one of us is a temple for God to live inside (1 Corinthians 3:16). Isn’t that totally amazing, wonderful, incredible, marvellous and all the other words you can use! I think you are better than any temple Solomon could have built and God loves you and me far more than any building. It’s important to look after ourselves; we are temples for an awesome God so we need to make sure we take very good care of our bodies, our minds and our spirits. Why don’t you talk to each other about what you can do to look after yourselves? – maybe draw a picture of yourself and around it, and inside it; write down what you’re going to do.

16/05 – Good afternoon everyone 🙋‍♀️ hope you’re all having a good day.  Today we are looking at a story which is probably one of the most famous Old Testament stories after Noah and Jonah… it’s a story of a battle that never happens because a little person stood up to a big bully …. can anyone guess what it is? It can be found on p130 of the Spark Bible or 1 Samuel 17. It’s the story of David vs Goliath. David hadn’t yet become king; he was still a shepherd (when he wasn’t working for the king as a musician, – he played the harp). He was probably a teenager in this story. We’re here in the Valley of Elah. On one hill we have the terrifying Philistines and on the other hill we have God’s people, the Israelites. So far all we’ve seen in this battle is a giant of a man – 9ft tall – he goes by the name of Goliath. He’s been teasing and scaring the Israelites for 40 days. The Israelites were too scared to attack the Philistines and they had no soldier who could take on Goliath. But what’s this??? It looks like a young boy; is this a joke?? He’s not even wearing armour or carrying a weapon. What are the Israelites thinking?? 🤦🏼‍♀️ I can’t look – this is going to be horrible. What is this boy doing now – he seems to be looking for stones? What does he expect to do with that? Well, shepherds do have to protect their animals from lions and other predators; this could be interesting. Oh dear, Goliath is not looking happy; he is unbelievably angry at being faced by a boy. Oh no!!! Goliath is on the attack path – wait, what is happening??? I don’t believe this – this young boy is actually running towards this monster – I really can’t look!!! 😩 what’s this?? Goliath is down, I repeat Goliath is down!!! The boy threw a stone; it hit Goliath in the head and the giant has fallen – it’s a complete knock out! But the boy hasn’t finished – he has now cut off the giant’s head and is holding it high for everyone to see. 🤢 Well, this is a shock – after 40 days of thinking they had won this battle, the Philistines are running for it – now they’re the ones who are scared and the Israelites are celebrating like never before. And the boy’s name, David, will go down in history for what has just happened here – it’s amazing. Someone is really looking after this boy. Isn’t that an amazing story? It’s got a giant, it’s got soldiers, it’s got bravery, it’s got celebration and hope – what more could we want?  The key thing here is that the whole time David was on that battlefield facing down that giant of a man he stayed focussed, completely concentrating on what was happening, but most importantly he has complete and utter faith in God. He says this a few times – he tells the king that the Lord will protect him and he tells Goliath that God will protect him and make him successful in the battle. This should teach us how important it is to keep our faith in God, to keep ourselves reminded of his promises and love, to keep ourselves completely focussed on the path we have been called to follow – the one Jesus set out for us – and when times are hard or when distractions come, when people try to tell us there isn’t a God, or when they make fun of us because of our faith, we must concentrate even more on God and his word (the Bible). If we keep ourselves focussed on that, then we WILL make it through and Jesus will be waiting for us to celebrate. Can you make a picture of a big party? Imagine Jesus has the best party ever for us, what would be happening? On your picture write the words of Jesus from Luke 14:15 ‘How happy are those who will sit down at the feast in the Kingdom of God!’ Use that when you are struggling to remind yourself that Jesus loves us and can’t wait for us to reach the Kingdom of God.

15/05 – Hi everyone – it’s almost the weekend! 🥳🤩😁 Today’s story is about a person we should all know. I’ll give you some clues: he’s a shepherd, he kills a giant (well almost a giant), he becomes a king; God loves him very much but he does have a lot of failings – do you know who it is yet?? Drum roll please…… it’s David! Let’s find him in 1 Samuel 16:1-13 or p126 in the Spark Bible. Samuel, the boy who God was calling in yesterday’s story, is now a grown man. There is a king, Saul, in charge of Israel but he’s lost it; he no longer looks for God’s help with decisions. It’s not looking good for him or Israel. God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem (who else comes from Bethlehem? Hint – he died for us 😁) and that, when he goes to Bethlehem, he should meet with a man called Jessie. So Samuel does what he’s told (with a bit of grumbling) and meets Jessie. He sees Jessie’s oldest son, Eliab, and thinks ‘well, he’s got to be the next king – big man like that,’ but God says (and this is very important) ‘ignore how he looks or how tall he is, I don’t want him to be king. I don’t look for the same things people do – I look at the heart.’ That is very important; it doesn’t matter what we look like, if we’re tall or short, fair skin or dark skin, wear glasses or not wear glasses, good at sport or not good at sport, all that’s important is what our heart is like. Do we think kind thoughts? Do we want to help people? Are we compassionate? Do we love God and do we want to do what he asks us to do? In fact we can see what God wants us to be like if we look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. So Samuel looks at all of Jessie’s sons but God doesn’t want any of them to be king; but it turns out that Jessie’s youngest son is a shepherd and is looking after the animals. They send for him and here enters David; God tells Samuel that David would be king, so Samuel anoints him, as a sign of being chosen by God. There are quite a few things that are the same between David and Jesus aren’t there? Both of them come from Bethlehem, both are called for a purpose, both are kings – David is the king of Israel and Jesus is the king of all and they were both shepherds (John 10:1-21). The difference is that David was not holy – he fails many times but Jesus is holy, he is without sin. Today I would like you to draw a BIG picture of a heart (inside your prayer journal) and inside the heart write all the things that love is (you can find them in the reading from Corinthians above). Pray to God that he will help you in living in this way, that your heart will be the way he wants it to be. I would love to see photos

14/05 – Hello everyone, hope you’ve all had a good day. Sorry for the late message, busy day! So who did we meet yesterday? We met a lovely lady called Hannah who was desperate for a baby, God answered her prayer and gave her a boy, Samuel. When Samuel was old enough she gave him to God, for him to serve in the temple. And here is where we meet him in our story today. Let’s find p122 in the Spark Bible or 1 Samuel 3:1-21. So it will be worth giving you a very quick background to what has happened to Samuel since his mother left him at the temple. Samuel has been under the care and guidance of an old man called Eli. Eli had some sons who had also grown up in the temple but they were not doing good things in God’s eyes. It was time for a change! It was evening and Eli and Samuel were preparing to sleep. We are told that Samuel heard God calling him and Samuel thought it was Eli so up he got and he ran to Eli’s room, ‘here I am’ he says. I expect Eli was quite surprised, maybe he had just been nodding off. Can you imagine, maybe he was a bit irritated, have you ever just been nodding off and then someone or something has woken you? It can be very frustrating. Eli tells Samuel to go back to bed, that he didn’t call him. God calls Samuel again; again Samuel jumps up and runs to Eli who again says, ‘it’s wasn’t me, go back to bed!’ A THIRD time God calls Samuel. Now, either Samuel isn’t very clever and hasn’t caught on or he’s so tired that he’s just going into automatic mood here because he jumps up AGAIN and runs to Eli AGAIN and says ‘here I am’. Maybe he thought Eli was trying to teach him something or maybe he thought old Eli was finally cracking up. 🤣 Finally Eli realised (you would think he would have caught on earlier, what with him being a High Priest) and tells Samuel that next time he is called he should say ‘speak, for your servant is listening’. And that’s exactly what Samuel does. And so starts Samuel’s story of his walk with God. There is so much we could learn from this story. We could learn how important it is to have times of quiet and stillness to allow ourselves time to hear God calling us; we could learn how God calls us all – whether we are children or adults; we could learn how we should respond to what God tells us to do (to respect and acknowledge his authority over us, just like a servant; you can also see this same attitude in Mary’s response in Luke 1:38). But what I want you to learn is how important it is for us to help each other in knowing God and learning how to see what God wants us to do with our lives – this is called discernment. We need to support each other in our work for God; it’s not always easy. Look at Eli: he’s an old man, he’s going blind, but he can still guide and help Samuel. Samuel is young but he can help Eli in things that Eli can no longer do. What can you do in your home to help support each other? Write down 3-5 things you are going to do to help other people in your home. And try to spend some time every day sitting quietly praying and reading the Bible, asking God what he wants you to do, how you can serve him. In 1 Samuel 12:24 we are told: ‘Obey the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.’ We are disciples of Christ. This means we should copy Jesus and how he lived; he told us that he had not come to earth to be served but to serve, to help others (Mark 10:45). I look forward to finding out how you are going to serve Him and others in your lives.

13/05 – Good morning everyone, hope you’ve all had a good rest?  Have you ever wanted anything really, really badly? In fact you wanted it so badly you would beg for it, crying out because you want this thing so much? I can’t say I have ever felt that strongly about something – have you? In our story today we meet a woman who is very, very desperate for a child; this lady is Hannah and we can find her in 1 Samuel 1:1-20 or p118 in your Smart Bible. Hannah is desperate; she’s married but she’s not been able to get pregnant. She’s seen other women around her celebrate the birth of children but she’s never had that joy herself. Have you ever wanted anything very badly and then seen other people get that thing? Maybe you wanted a particular toy, maybe you wanted to achieve something really badly but, however hard you try, you haven’t got there but you’ve seen your friends achieve it and seen them getting excited about it? How did it make you feel? So here is Hannah; she’s at the temple (which is a church) and she’s crying. She’s praying non- stop. In fact she’s praying and crying so much that the priest thinks there must be something very wrong with her. Hannah then offers God a deal. She tells God that if he gives her a baby then she will give the child back to God to serve him. Can you imagine doing that? Imagine all wanting something so badly but once you get it you then offer it away? I expect, although it may be difficult for Hannah to do that, it would also have made her very proud to see her own child serving God in the temple, to know that her child was close to God. Soon Hannah did have a child, Samuel, and she loved him so so much but when he was old enough she did what she had promised God and she took him to the temple. This is what sacrifice looks like. Sacrifice is about giving something, anything, that comes from the heart, something that means a lot to you. If you offer something to God that doesn’t affect you then it isn’t really sacrifice. Think about Abel in Genesis, and others that came after him; we hear that they sacrifice the first-born animals. This is important as the first-born animal is a sign of all the hard work that you have put in to get that new animal; imagine then sacrificing it? When we worship God we should put everything into that worship, put our whole heart, our whole body, our whole voice into that worship, that is called a sacrifice of praise. If we just sing a hymn without thinking about it then we might as well be singing any old song; we aren’t really worshipping, are we? And if we sacrifice our money as a donation during collection, is it a sacrifice if we aren’t pushing ourselves with what we are doing? I’m not telling you to give all the money in your piggy bank to church 🤣 – even God wouldn’t want you do that, but we should try to give as much as we can, even if it means we can’t buy sweets that week – or whatever else you may use your piggy bank money for. Can you think of something that you can sacrifice to show God how much you love him? Maybe it means you spend some of your day praising God with music and craft instead of playing; maybe it means choosing some of your toys to give to charity as a way of thanking God for everything he gives us; maybe it’s working extra hard on your school work. Think of one thing you can do today to show God how much you love him; what can you sacrifice to say thank you to him who created you?  ‘So through Jesus we should never stop offering our sacrifice to God. That sacrifice is our praise, coming from lips that speak his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God.’ Hebrews 13:15-16

12/05 – Hello everyone, hope you are all well. It looks like a lovely day out there. ☀️ Today we are going to learn about one of the early leaders of Israel. Before Israel decided they needed to have kings they had judges. These judges led Israel by telling them what God wanted them to do. This particular judge was special as it’s a woman! Her name was Deborah. We can find her story in the book of Judges chapter 4 and on p107 of the Spark Bible. We have left Moses behind: the Israelites have walked in the desert for a very long 40 years after escaping Egypt; they’ve got the 10 commandments; they’ve fought lots of battles with God helping them along the way; they’ve arrived at the promised land. But, despite EVERYTHING that God has done – all the miracles – the Israelites would always end up worshipping another God, forgetting who saved them, and they ended up ‘doing evil’. 🤦🏼‍♀️So we are told, in this Bible story, that because of the way the Israelites have behaved God ‘sold them’ to another king and that they were treated very badly, maybe almost as badly as they were treated in Egypt. Then they remembered their God and for twenty years they cried to God for help. And our God is a big softy for his people🤣 these are his children, and although they keep turning away from him, ignoring what he tells them, forgetting what he’s done for them, his love for them remains the same and he can never leave them ❤️. So just as he saved them from Egypt he is going to save them again. Enter Deborah onto the scene. She is given a message by God that they should go into battle against the people who are oppressing them. So Deborah calls a man named Barak and tells him to get 10,000 men and go into battle. Now, I’m not quite sure if it’s because he doesn’t trust her or whether it’s because he feels safer with her being there but he tells her ‘I’m only going to go on this mission if you come too, and if you don’t go then neither do I’. I can imagine Deborah rolling her eyes a bit here but she agrees to go, because she completely trusts God, but she teases him by saying that if she goes too, then everyone will say that the battle was won by a woman. 😂 So in a short sentence, they end up winning of course! They are free of their oppression, free from the king and they ‘grow stronger and stronger.’ There are two things here from this story that I want you to take away: 1. God uses anyone and everyone for his work. He calls men, women and children (think of Samuel, David and Jesus) to follow him, to get to know him. All he wants us to do is to listen to him, love him and remember him. 2. Don’t forget God. Now I’ve been there: ‘if you’re real God show me a sign’, that is something I have said so many times in my life. It is something that has also been said so many times in the Bible. The Israelites see so many amazing miracles from God and yet they always end up turning away from him, forgetting him. The disciples, even with Jesus alive in front of them, even when he’s JUST done a miracle, they still say ‘show us a sign that you are our Messiah’. How many more signs do we need that God is real? Pick up your Bible, this book contains so many miracles, so much proof that God exists. He came down to earth as Jesus to die on a cross for us, and rose again. We need to remember that is the most amazing sign that God is real. If we don’t accept that then I’m not sure what else he can do to prove himself. Let us be more like Deborah, completely trusting in God, in his word and in his commands. Even though she can’t see him and even though it may have been many years since God had last sent a ‘sign’ she still kept her faith, still listened to his word and still trusted in his love for us.

11/05 – Good morning everyone! What a windy night it was – well, it’s still a windy day isn’t it! At least it wasn’t strong enough for our house to fall down 🤣 In today’s Bible story there are a lot of buildings that can come tumbling down. Let’s find p102 in the Spark Bible or the Book of Joshua chapter 5:13-6:27. The Battle of Jericho. I think this is a very exciting story and whenever I read it I can almost imagine being there, hearing the trumpets blowing, the feet marching, the shouting, the shaking ground, the dust as the buildings collapse – so exciting, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be in Jericho, would you? Can you build a tower of bricks, maybe out of boxes or building blocks, maybe you have a Jenga set, build a tower and then march round it; how hard do you have to stamp before the tower falls? Can you remember how many days the Israelites has to walk around the city before it fell? It didn’t happen in a day, did it? There was a lot of preparation and the Israelites had to follow God’s instructions closely, didn’t they? Jesus gave us lots of instructions when He was on earth; two of them we looked at yesterday – look at the previous post to see if you can find out what these were. We’ve also looked before at the fact that God does not work at our speed. Just because the Israelites arrived at Jericho didn’t mean that God just gave it to them; they had to work for it and wait for it. Waiting doesn’t always mean we sit and wait for God to do something. We wait but being busy, by preparing ourselves, by learning about God and about how he wants us to live. We wait by doing what he told us to do (can you remember the Great Commission that we looked at before? – see if you can find it again to remind yourself). We must be busy for God while we wait for Him to answer prayers and busy while we wait for Him to come back to earth again. You can also look at Matthew 25:14-30 for the parable about being busy for God. Today I would like you to try and learn this verse (Galatians 6:9): ‘We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up.’ Keep learning this and try to teach others in your family. Good luck!

09/05 – Hello everyone, I’m afraid I lost track of time today, got to blame it on the lovely weather. Hope you’re all getting out for a bit of exercise, whether it’s cycling or walking or running. It’s good not just for the body but also for your mind. Today we are reading about the crossing of the Red Sea; it can be found on p86 of the Spark Bible or in Exodus 13:17-22. Water is a very important thing in life, isn’t it? Can you find out some interesting facts about water? How much of the planet is covered with water? What percentage of our bodies are made up of water? How many different types of animals live in water? How long can we survive without water? I’m sure there’s lots more out there that you can find out. There are also lots and lots of stories involving water in the Bible. We’ve had the creation story, mentions of rivers in the Garden of Eden, of course Noah and the Arc, and now we come to this story. Here God’s chosen people, the Israelites, have been freed from Egypt but they haven’t got very far before Pharoah thinks ‘Oh no, you don’t!’ And he goes after them! Can you believe it! I think he’s realised just how much work the Israelites do in Egypt and therefore how important they are. So ‘they’ll be coming round the mountain’ after the Israelites. But the Israelites are stuck! Oh no! They’ve reached a river, they can’t go over it, they can’t go under it, oh uh they’ve got to go through it. 🤣 But in order to do that they need just a little bit of help from the big G; the water is a bit deep and a bit fast to do it themselves. So Moses steps out from the crowd and he stretches out his stick and – lo and behold! – the waters start separating! Quickly the Israelites have to decide whether they are going to trust in God or stay behind. They start moving, with walls of water either side, they cross over. And when all of them are safely over, and only when they are safe, does God allow the waters to close – capturing Pharoah and his soldiers! Can you think of any more miracles involving water in the Bible? I can think of Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33 or p262 of the Spark Bible). Just like the Israelites crossing of the Red Sea this story is also of trust. Peter gets out of the safety of his boat and also walks on the water. All the time he is looking at Jesus and concentrating on Jesus he is fine – he actually walks on the water, but as soon as he starts looking down at the water, and the waves, and realises that it isn’t normal then he starts sinking. In life there will be difficult times. Maybe you have had difficult times already; maybe you’ve had times when you’ve lost someone; maybe you’ve struggled with school work or with friends, everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – goes through difficult times. But we must remember that in those difficult times whether it looks like life is rushing past like a river of water, or when it feels like we aren’t in control, we MUST focus on God, on his words. We must trust that he can help us; he can give us the strength to get through things. Hopefully you are all happy and have no worries but try and remember these words as you go through life and they will help you. Why don’t you make a picture of either the walls of water or feet walking on water. Then use these words from the Bible – ‘when you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. For I am the Lord your God.’ (Isaiah 43:2-3). What an amazing promise that is, isn’t it? I think that’s something you should definitely put in your prayer journals. Keep strong everyone and focus your eyes on God

08/05 – Hello everyone, it’s a beautiful day out there isn’t? How many of you are going to be enjoying a BBQ today?  Today we are celebrating and remembering VE Day. This is the day that marks the end of World War 2 in Europe. It was a time when people could feel hope, had a feeling of safety, could look to a future. It was the end of the war. Have you seen any photos or videos from this time? How happy do those people look? They couldn’t hold it in, could they? I think that those pictures were probably similar to what the Israelites would have been doing when Pharoah finally told them that they could go. They had hope; they could see a future outside of slavery. They were probably starting to feel safer already. But I think, just like those people on VE Day, there would also have been a feeling of sadness for the people that were lost, who had died and maybe their minds were still on what was to come, the journey and continuing fights that lay ahead. When we think about the images of VE Day and picture in our heads how the Israelites may have been celebrating we should also think about Jesus saving us. That was greater and means more than the finish to any human war and it means more to be freed from a slavery to sin that a slavery to humans. So how much should we be celebrating and thanking God every day? Today, why don’t you make a flag on a stick to save, maybe you could write something like ‘our God saves’ or ‘Jesus saved us’. We should use every opportunity to remind ourselves of our amazing saviour and the sacrifice he made so we can be FREE!!!! God is Good….

07/05 – Hi everyone, the weather seems to definitely be improving so fingers crossed it will be beautiful for the bank holiday tomorrow (something I’m definitely looking forward to). Yesterday we read all about the 10 plagues that God brought to Egypt as punishment for how they had treated the Israelites, but they haven’t escaped yet. There’s one more thing that has to happen before Pharoah finally does the right thing and let’s them go. And what is that thing? If you have a Spark Bible then it’s the last verse on p85 or Exodus chapter 12 verse 30. The reason why I wanted us to look at this story is because it again tells us more about Jesus. While we go through these stories of s I would like you to keep a record of the similarities of these OT stories and Jesus’ story as they are very interesting. In our story today God tells Moses that every firstborn son in Egypt will die, including animals! This shows Egypt that there is a difference between them and the Israelites. God tells Moses that all the Israelites should take a lamb or share a lamb with their neighbours. They should take some blood (pretty gruesome stuff isn’t it?) and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of their houses. They should then eat the lamb roasted (God is very clear as to how it should be cooked and what they should eat it with) he even tells them how they should be dressed while they are eating it! That same night while they are feasting on the lamb the spirit of God is going to pass through Egypt and all the first-born children will die. God then tells his people that they should eat this meal every year to remember that night. This becomes known as the Passover. So you may be wondering why this story is important to us – Why, Emma, are you making us read a horrible story about people and animals dying? God told the Israelites to kill a lamb and they will be saved. Jesus is our lamb, he was killed for us, his blood was on the wooden cross just as the blood was on the wooden door frames. Instead of Passover we have communion, where we eat bread and drink wine to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made to save us all. We don’t have to kill any animals any more to show God how much we love him, or to remember what he’s done for us. Jesus was the final sacrifice of blood made for us, on that cross. He changed everything so that we can live a new and exciting life closer to our Creator Father God. Isn’t that amazing!! So next time you have communion, or have bread at communion, whether it’s this Sunday or next time we are in church, remember all these things that God did for us and remember Jesus dying for us to save us. Why don’t you spend some time thanking God, maybe through prayer or through worship for all these things.

Can you make your own actions to this song? Would love to see a video if you can:

06/05 – Good afternoon everyone, hope you’re all well and enjoyed your day. We don’t know about you guys but we can’t get the ‘I am a “C”’ song out of our heads, it’s quite catchy isn’t it? Today is an interesting story from the Bible. It’s a story that shows God’s power and his control over nature. We are reading about the Plagues! So let’s find the story in Exodus chapters 7-11 or pages 80-85 in the Spark Bible. You may remember that yesterday God called Moses to return to Egypt and speak to Pharoah about freeing the Israelites. So here is Moses (with his brother Aaron) in front of Pharoah (who he most probably knows from his own time in Egypt) telling him to release the Israelites. But Pharoah’s heart was hardened – why? Maybe it’s because in Egypt the Pharoah was treated like a god himself so maybe he didn’t like being told what to do by a real God. So, because Pharoah refused to let the Israelites go, God brought down different plagues on Egypt – can you count how many? We might think this was a bit harsh but remember that the Egyptians had made the Israelites suffer; they had worked them very hard as slaves, they had starved them and they had killed all their baby boys. God was sending a very clear message to all the nations, and the Israelites, about who he was and who his people were. After praying to their God for so long I think the Israelites should have been very excited about what was happening; they should have been filled with hope that finally they were going to be saved. In the New Testament Gospels God shows his power in a different way when he saves his people. He shows it through love, through healing, forgiveness and vulnerability when Jesus came to earth to die for us. The devil was the New Testament version of the Pharoah and Jesus really shows us that his power is greater than anything. He can heal people, control nature and beat death and the devil. So, although the story about the plagues is full of action, suffering and God beating a ‘bad’ nation, Jesus’ story is even better as there is no one to feel sorry for, there’s just complete and utter love ❤️❤️ God’s love for you and me, for the whole world. So next time you read the story of the plagues, remember the even better miracles that Jesus did on earth for us. But we haven’t quite seen the Israelites freed yet, have we? Guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that one 🤣

05/05 – Good morning everyone, I am very sorry to have missed yesterday – the day came and went in a flash! Hope you didn’t miss our usual bible reading too much. Our Bible story today follows the one from Sunday. As a quick reminder we read about the birth of Moses and we learnt about the three connections between Moses and Jesus. Can you remember what they were? Both were born at about the same time as baby boys were being killed (Moses was born during the killings ordered by Pharoah and King Herod killed all of the baby boys in the hope that he would kill baby Jesus. Not nice people were they?); they were both baby boys who had very big roles in God’s story with us, and lastly the fact that they both saved people – Moses took the Israelites from Egypt and Jesus saved all of us from sin. We must not forget however that there is a big difference: Moses was a man while Jesus was God in a human body with all our human weaknesses. Anyway, today we are reading one of my favourite stories – the burning bush. 😁 Moses is a grown man now, he was brought up as a rich and respected man but he saw how badly the Israelites were being treated and he killed an Egyptian who was beating some men. As a result he ran away from Egypt to Midian and there he settled and worked as a shepherd. Moses was on the mountain of the Lord when he saw a bush on fire; the interesting thing about this burning bush was that the bush was not actually burning! Its leaves were not going brown and black and turning to ash. Isn’t that amazing! (At the end of the month we will be hearing another story with this fire; it’s called Pentecost.) The fire of the Lord’s spirit does not hurt whatever it is on. Moses is called by God who reveals who He is. God tells Moses that he has heard his people crying to him from Egypt, from their slavery, and that he is going to use Moses to save them. Moses challenges God: ‘who am I?’ he says. Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever feel unimportant or unable to do things? God’s response to Moses is something he says to all of us: ‘I will be with you.’ God is always with us; he helps us and walks with us; he guides us and supports us. All we need to do is open our eyes and ears to see him and hear him. Moses then asks God – ‘who shall I say you are?’ God says ‘I am’. Do you know that the name that was, and still is, used for God is Yahweh? This means ‘He is’ or ‘He will be’, now obviously God doesn’t refer to himself as He, that’s why he calls himself I am. Can you think of someone else in the Bible who says I am? It’s Jesus! Jesus says ‘I am the…’ and by using ‘I am’ he is showing people that he is God. This one Bible story helps me understand who Jesus was and I hope that what I have shared with you also helps you understand that Jesus was God and that God heard our cries from our slavery of sin, and instead of sending another human like Moses he came down here himself to save us. Isn’t that amazing! Today, create a collage that reminds us that God was in action all those years ago and that he still is. Perhaps you can make a collage of a burning bush and then write ‘I Am’ on the top. This can remind you that God’s power does not hurt us. It is powerful though and can do amazing things in our lives. Please do share the photos!

02/05 – Hello everyone, hope you’re all having a good day. Can you remember who we met yesterday? We met the colourful and dreamy Joseph 🤣 but we didn’t leave him in a good place, did we? He had been sold as a slave by his brothers and his father thought he had been killed by an animal. All very sad. But things are looking up for him in today’s Bible story. Read up on what has been happening with him – Genesis 39-41 or Spark Bible pages 56-61. Poor Joseph’s luck had continued to disappoint him. Things were looking up at the start, he manages to get a position of respect in an important person’s house but he ends up in jail due to someone else’s lies. While in jail he interprets some prayers for two of Pharaoh’s servants. When they get out of jail one of them remembers him and tells Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh asks Joseph to interpret his dreams which Joseph does. There are going to be seven years of amazing harvests, lots of food being grown BUT after those seven years there will be seven horrible years where nothing will grow and people will go hungry, they will starve. Joseph is given the responsibility to ensure that during the seven good years they gather up enough food to keep them fed during the seven awful years.  Isn’t this amazing! God works in mysterious ways. Joseph was in some awful situations but God had a plan for him all along and now he was able to help the whole of Egypt – and more people! And he is respected by everyone. There are times, like now, when we can feel like the world is going wrong; maybe you are feeling sad or down because you’re missing friends or school or maybe you’re just struggling anyway. Remember Joseph, remember him being a slave, remember him in a dark and horrible jail and remember how God looked after him in the darkness and brought him into the light and gave him more than he could imagine. Remember Joseph’s coloured coat and the rainbow? Use these things to remind you that God gives us hope even in dark, sad times. Look at Psalm 23:4 and John 14:27. Jesus is the light in the world. Keep close to him through reading the Bible, prayer and worship and you will get through anything. Why don’t you make a really cheerful colourful picture with one of those verses to make you smile when you are sad. Have a great afternoon.

01/05 – Hello again, hope you’re all ok today. Did you all have a good night’s sleep? Anyone have a dream or two? I had a couple of strange dreams – probably caused by watching Star Wars recently 🤣 In today’s story we are going to meet a man who is very famous for his dreams and his ability to understand what dreams mean (interpret dreams). Does anyone know who I’m taking about? Let’s head back in time to Genesis 37:1-36 or page 50 in the Spark Bible. We have learnt about Abraham, this is Abraham’s great-grandson, Joseph. Joseph was the 12th child of Jacob (what a lot of children! – imagine living in a family that big!) We are told that Jacob (whose name had been changed to Israel) loved Joseph more than any of the other children because he was old when Joseph was born. He made him a special coat or cloak which was ‘richly ornamented’, you may have heard about Joseph’s multi-coloured coat. All the other children probably wore boring clothes as they looked after the animals so I expect they were very jealous. Joseph then starts having dreams which seem to be telling him that one day all his family will bow down to him. How would you feel if you were Joseph’s family? I thing I would be a bit angry and possibly a bit jealous. So one day the brothers tricked Joseph and put him down a well in the ground, then they sold him as a slave! Isn’t that horrible! I know that sometimes I got angry with my brother and I wouldn’t talk to him or maybe we would fight but I can’t ever imagine selling him as a slave! Well, there’s a saying that God works in mysterious ways and we will find out how God was working in Joseph’s life tomorrow. God does talk to us in many different ways; our dreaming is one of those ways. I have experienced this myself. However it is very important that when you have a dream that you believe is from God you must share it with church leaders for their prayer and guidance. You must also pray too and most importantly you should look at what the Bible says to help you work out what your prayer could be. This is where your prayer journal will be useful too – to record things that you think could be from God.  Why don’t you make a picture of Joseph in his decorated coat? There’s lots of ideas on the internet. I would love to see photos.

30/04 – Hello everyone! The sun is out and rain seems to have gone – make sure you get out for a bit today, get some exercise and try and get as much sunlight as possible. Today is our last story with Abraham, although to be honest he doesn’t really appear in the story that much – but he plays an important role. Find Genesis 24 or if you have a Spark Bible it’s on p42. In yesterday’s story God promises an elderly Abraham and Sarah a son, and a year later along comes Isaac. In this story Isaac is now a grown up guy needing a wife. Abraham doesn’t want him marrying any of the women who live around them. He wants there to be a connection to where he came from, but he’s far too old now to go travelling so he sends a servant with strict instructions but also telling him that an angel of the Lord will lead him to the woman who will be Isaac’s wife. It shows how strong Abraham’s faith is that in the story the servant also relies on that faith; he also prays to God for guidance. In the end he does meet the beautiful Rebekah and brings her back to Isaac. There are a few things that we can learn from this story but what I would like you to take away is how our own faith can affect other people. If they see us strengthened by God during difficult times, times when maybe most people would struggle, and if they see us behaving in a different way to the way the world behaves then that can affect them and maybe bring them closer to God too. The servant sees what God has done for Abraham, how Abraham’s life is led by God, and how Abraham trusts in God. As a result the servant puts the same faith into God and he sees the result. Today I would like you to think about what our Father God and Jesus teach us about how we should behave. Can you remember the new commandments that Jesus taught us? Love your God and love your neighbour as you love yourself. Your neighbour is anyone – not just the person living next door to you.  The name of our Christ Church children’s church is Starblazers and our Bible verse is ‘you must shine in the world like stars lighting up the sky’ – this is taken from Philippians 2:15; can you find that in the Bible? Make a large star today, decorate it to make it as shiny and bright as you can, then stick a picture of yourself in the middle or maybe you can hang pictures of all your family members from the star. On the star you can then write the verse Philippians 2:15. This calls us to be different from the those in the world, to allow the light of God to blaze out from within us so that we can inspire others to look for God too. Love to you all

28/04 – Hello everyone! What a miserable day it is today – rain, rain go away! Although, looking at the dying grass where we live, maybe rain is needed. Life is like that sometimes. Things may not go the way we want them to go but something or someone else may be very happy that things have gone their way instead. Maybe remember the rain when things like this happen to you. Today’s story is all about a promise. Find Genesis 15, or if you have a Spark Bible the story starts on p34. We are still with Abram who is currently living in Hebron which is in Israel. Can you find it on a map? In this story God promises Abram that his descendants will be as many as the stars in the sky. He challenges Abram to count the stars – how many stars can you count in the sky? I love looking at stars, it makes me realise how small we are and how much more there is that God created for us to explore. It also makes me realise that my little brain can’t quite understand what or who God is – he has powers that we can’t even imagine. Isn’t that amazing!! I find it funny that when God first calls Abram he sets off travelling without questioning or doubting God (or at least it doesn’t say anything in the Bible) but this time when God tells Abram what he’s going to do for him Abram challenges or doubts that they will happen. Do you remember what I said yesterday about always reminding yourself and each other about what God has done for us? It’s very important that when we lose hope or feel sad that we take time to look at what God has done for us but also what God promises us. Look at 2 Peter 1:3-11, John 3:11-21 and John 14:1-3. There are many more promises in the Bible that can give us hope when we feel sad. The important thing is to trust in him – God promises Abram that his descendants would be as many as the stars that Abram could count; I am pretty sure that God did exactly that! He did what he promised for Abram and he will do what he promises us too. So next time you look at the stars in the sky remember that God always does what he promises. If you haven’t made a prayer journal then I want to encourage you to make one today – or maybe find a notepad and decorate it. You can write verses from the Bible to help encourage you when you are stressed or sad, write down things you want to thank God for, things you want God’s help with (remember to write down when he answers those prayers) and maybe even write down stories from the Bible – or names of people from the Bible who inspire you. Remember the Bible is a living book – if you have a bible of your own you can highlight passages from the Bible that you like or write little notes when you learn something about it. We will be making our own here and we will share photos of it once they are done – please share your own too! Have fun creating!

27/04 – Good morning everyone, hope you all had a good weekend. It was lovely seeing some of you yesterday on Zoom, for those who couldn’t make it, we did miss you. Today’s story is about a journey. We’re taking our own journey through the OT at the moment, from the stories we’ve read so far what journeys can you think of? Today we will be reading about one of the Fathers of Israel. He has this name because Israel (the people not necessarily the country) started with him. Gods promise of Israel started with this one man. His name was Abram. We can find his story in Genesis 12 (you can read a bit about his family line in Genesis 11:10-32 if you’re interested). If you have a Spark Bible then his story starts on page 30. We don’t know very much about Abram at the beginning, we know something about his family from chapter 11 and we know that he has no children because his wife, Sarai, was barren (couldn’t have children) and we know that he had already travelled a bit before God calls him. Then when he was 75 God says to him that he should take his family, with everything they owned, all their servants and animals and that he should follow God and go somewhere. Isn’t that amazing? He didn’t have a map or an address for where he was going. He was just going to start travelling and listen closely to where God wanted him to go. He must have had a very good life where he was living so it can’t have been an easy thing to do. What do you think? Have you ever moved house or maybe even gone on holiday? Think about everything you and your family had to do. It’s a lot of work, isn’t it? God promised Abram that he would bless him and make Abram the head of a very large nation and that Abram’s name would be famous. So they travelled until they arrived at Shechem. Then Abram built an altar to God to show him, and other people, how much he loved God. This story is about faith and should teach us a lot about what it is like to have great faith. When someone is talking to us what do we have to use? 👂🏼what happens if we block our ears up? Try it while someone is speaking. What happens? Sometimes we block our ears and minds to God’s voice. Maybe we keep ourselves too busy and don’t take time to listen to him. Maybe we are spending too much time listening to other things like TV or music or listening to other people who aren’t following God. If we are doing all that, then how do we know when God is calling us or speaking to us? It’s also important then when we feel God is calling us or speaking to us that we share this with other people who are close to God. This is important as we should pray about what God is saying to us, to consider whether it is God talking to us or not. But sometimes God wants us to act quickly and we have to walk in faith with him, trusting that he will look after us. And the last thing is that we must always thank God for what he does for us, we must always worship him. This doesn’t mean we have to build an altar! It does mean that whenever something good happens the first thing we should do is praise God. If you win a prize or do well at school, remember to thank God. You can do this however you want to: you can sing songs, dance, make something (like Abram did) or just spend time quietly with him in prayer. Sometimes as a family we sit down and talk about the good things that have happened in our lives. We tell our daughter about things that have happened to us, how God has helped us and what he has done for us, how he has answered prayers. A note to parents: It is very important that children hear how God has impacted our own lives. It doesn’t matter if you repeat stories but children need to know that our God is alive and working in our lives. Children: it’s important for you to look at your own lives, for you to look at the good things that have happened to you and to your family. Keep a diary every day where you keep a record of the good things God does so you don’t forget them. Today make a prayer journal or diary. Write down all your prayers and then every now and then look back at your prayers and write underneath how God has answered them. Be aware that God doesn’t answer all prayers – you may not get the present you are praying hard for and maybe a family member doesn’t get better from an illness but we have to trust God that he knows best, we have to keep our faith in him, just as Abram did all those years ago.

25/04 – Good morning, everyone! I can’t quite believe it’s the weekend! I feel like maybe it’s pretending to be the weekend and then people will jump out saying ‘it’s only Wednesday!’ 🤣 In today’s story we have a lot of emotion going on: we have jealousy, we have anger and then we have sadness. We are going to look at the story of Cain and Abel. Sadly, it’s not in the Spark Bible which is why I have sent you a link to the reading as a cartoon for the younger children. For the older ones of you, please find Genesis 4:1-16. This story is about Adam and Eve’s first two sons; their names were Cain and Abel. Abel’s job was as an animal farmer (maybe he had goats) and Cain’s job was as an arable farmer – that means he grew plants, maybe like wheat for bread, and fruit and vegetables. One day the brothers come together to make an offering to God. This was to show God how much they loved him. We are told Cain brought things he had grown while Abel chose the best bits from the firstborn animals of his flock. What we learn here is that Abel put more thought into what he was giving God – he chose certain animals and certain bits from those animals to give to God. As a result God LOVES Abel’s offering but he wasn’t so impressed with Cain’s. This wasn’t because he preferred meat to vegetables (!) but it was because he could see the thought that went into the present. Imagine people gave you gifts; now obviously everyone loves a present don’t they? I know I do! Someone gives you something that is nice; it’s ok – maybe it’s some new socks (groan) and then someone else gives you something that shows they have really thought about what you would like, imagine the best present ever – maybe they even made it themselves to show you how much they love you. Well, I know that I would probably drop the socks and would put all my attention on the other amazing present. What would you do? Well, when Cain saw that God loved Abel’s present more how did he feel? 😡 he was jealous and that made him angry. God knows what this means and warns Cain that sin is crouching at his door; it’s hunting him. It’s ready to jump into him – to make him do something bad. But did Cain listen? Oh no, he didn’t! He went out to the field and killed his brother! Oh no! Cain did not feel sorry. He didn’t regret it and when God punished him all he thought about was how he was feeling and what would happen to him. There is a big lesson here, maybe a few. The first lesson is to know how you are feeling and to think about why you are feeling that way. If Cain has realised he was jealous and had thought about why, then he could then have thought about what he needed to do better next time – what lesson he could have learnt. Maybe he could have learnt from Abel to put more effort into his gifts. We are told that we should do everything to the best of our abilities to praise God (look at 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:23-24). So whatever you do today, and all the days coming, do everything to show God how much you love him – whether you’re laying the table, doing some school work, playing games. Whatever you do, do it so that you are showing God how much you love him. The next lesson is to control your anger. Look at Matthew 5:21-24. Jesus tells us that we need to learn not to get angry. When we get angry we can lose control of what we say and do. I know I do and then we can end up hurting people around us. Have you ever been angry and said or done things that you wished you hadn’t? I know I have. 😞 So let’s learn a lesson from Cain and Abel that we should do everything to show God how much we love him and that we control ourselves when we are angry. You could make yourself a bracelet (yes boys can wear bracelets too!); maybe you can just make it out of string or maybe beads. When you get angry remember to hold on to the bracelet and use it to calm yourself down. Maybe learn Romans 12:21 ‘Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good.’ Is there anything else that you think we can learn from the story of Cain and Abel? Talk together about it and maybe share any ideas you may have.

24/04 – Hello everyone, I hope you’re all ok? So yesterday we were introduced to Man and Woman who lived with God in the Garden of Eden – it was paradise. Do you remember what was in the middle of the garden? There were 2 trees… what were they for? (Life and knowledge of good and evil). Which one did God tell them not to eat? So when man and woman lived with God in the garden they could eat from the tree of life, and they were happy. They didn’t care they weren’t wearing clothes, they didn’t see a problem with it, and they walked and talked with God. I would love to have that innocent beautiful life with our creator – wouldn’t you? But it all goes wrong… oh no! Let’s look at Genesis 3 or if you have a Spark Bible look at the story on page 18. A snake comes on the scene, a horrible mean old snake (‘boooo!’ 👎🏼). He comes along and encourages the woman to take the fruit from the tree of knowledge. He gets the woman to doubt what God said about what would happen if they ate from it (can you remember what God said – look back and find out). So the woman takes a big bite. Have you seen the Snow White film? I almost imagine the snake being like the wicked witch – telling the woman just to take one bite and how beautiful the fruit looks. And the woman takes a bite and then gives it to her husband; he eats it too. And then the Bible tells us that their eyes were opened. Suddenly they knew good and evil and they knew they weren’t wearing any clothes so they make something to cover themselves. Then when they hear God coming they hide because they feel guilty and afraid. So God tells them off and punishes them and the snake. And then he tells them that they have to leave the beautiful garden and no longer eat from the tree of life. Poor man and woman! I’m sure they regretted what they had done, aren’t you? But, even then, God had a plan – Jesus – and God still loved his people and wanted them to walk and talk with him again. When we talk about sin in church, and when we are talking about Jesus saving us from our sins, we are also talking about this first sin and all the sins that humans have done since. Jesus was born a man to correct what that first man and woman did all those many years ago. He did this so that when we die we can return to paradise, back to that beautiful garden, back to God, and walk and talk with him again. For the older ones of you, take a look at Revelations 2:7, 22:1-5. You may feel a bit confused when we talk about sin in church, and when we do our confession together. Hopefully this helps you understand a bit more about sin and how Jesus dying for us, and then beating death by coming back to life, is so important for us. Today I would like you to think about that man and woman. How do you think they felt after leaving God? Make a sorry card or letter for God, think about what you think they would say. You can also write your own sorry card for God too. We all do things every day that make God feel a little sad. Maybe we shout at our mums and dads and don’t do what they tell us; maybe we aren’t very kind to our brothers and sisters when they annoy us; maybe we don’t spend time with God, reading his word or talking to him in prayer. Think carefully. It’s important that you know that when we say sorry to God, and we really mean it, that he does forgive us because he loves us so much, but we have to try hard not to do those things. Look at 1 John 1:9. How great and loving our God is!

23/04 – Today’s story is about two very famous people, in fact some say they are the parents of all of humanity, imagine that! Do you know their names? Let’s find out, please find Genesis 2:4-25 or, if you have a Spark Bible please find the story on p12.  In this story we are told that God formed a man out of dust and breathed the breath of life into him. Do you know that we are the only thing God created that he breathed his breath of life into? Imagine every time we breathe we breathe God’s breath in and out. Take some time breathing and listen to the sound. Let’s thank God for his breath in us. So God put this man into a special garden, can you find out what this garden was called? In the middle was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said the only tree man could not eat from is the tree of knowledge, more about these trees tomorrow! God saw that the man was alone and knew it was not good for him to be alone. So he brought all the animals to man and the man named each of them. I can imagine him being very imaginative at the start and then getting bored after the 100th bird 🤣 however with all those animals there was none that was a suitable companion for the man. Can you create your own animal, think about where it lives, what it eats etc? Now give it a name. This can be a reminder that God created us to be creative and imaginative like him! So what did God do next? He put man into a deep sleep and took one of the man’s ribs and made a woman! Wow, where are your ribs? Do you know that your ribs protect the most important parts of your body – your heart and your lungs? I like to think that this means we are important in protecting each other from harm, we need to protect each other from anything pulling us away from the breath and love of God. So today we will leave the man and woman together living the amazing life in a beautiful garden and walking and talking with God. Close your eyes and imagine this garden, what would you smell, hear and see? Draw a picture of the garden or maybe you can make a miniature garden in a container. Use moss to create grass and think of other things you can use for trees etc. You can find lots of ideas on Pinterest. Or create a garden using play dough or clay. We would love to see pictures, we can put them on our website.  Father Lord God thank you for creating us, for putting your life into us. Thank you for our friends and family. Lord we pray that we know how to help each other and be the best friend and family to each other. Amen

22/04 – Good morning everyone, I hope you are all well. Anyone enjoyed a BBQ yet or is it still too cold?  So we’ve been reading about everything God did in creating this beautiful world for us to live in, enjoy and, most importantly, look after. But what did he do on the 7th day? Most of the time when we do the creation story we spend a lot of time on the creating but the 7th day is just read – we don’t spend any time on it. I’ve decided that I would keep it for a day all by itself. On the 7th day God rested. This doesn’t mean he’s tired and worn out by all this hard creating work! (For the older ones of you look at what Isaiah 40:28-31 says about this.) When I was younger I used to imagine God so tired that he would be sitting in a big armchair not able to move. 🤣 but it’s not like that at all! God is showing us it is important to take time to not do anything, to just take time to enjoy life – to enjoy creation. In fact it was so important that it was even one of the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses! God wanted us to have a day of rest, a day to enjoy life, to enjoy his creation, to enjoy our families and friends. Jesus even tells us that God created the sabbath (the day of rest) for us (Mark 2:27). It can be easy for both children and adults to be busy everyday, with school, work, hobbies, cleaning, chores, etc but we must take time to rest, to be together and enjoy all our hard work. If we can spend a day doing this then that’s brilliant! But if this isn’t possible then try to make sure you choose a time and a day where you all (mums, dads, children) agree that you won’t do any work or chores but you’ll rest together – enjoying what God has given us. Maybe you can make a STOP sign like lollipop people hold, and when it’s time in your house for your ‘rest’ then you can display your STOP sign so that it reminds you all to STOP🤚🏼and rest. If you can’t do it together, maybe your parents work different days of the week, then you can choose a time and day that you want to rest (make sure your mum and dad agree with it though) and maybe you can get one of them to join you. You can then encourage your other family members to rest whenever they can – and help them do this too. Use your rest to get closer to God – read his Bible, pray or listen to worship music.

21/04 – Good morning everyone, in advance of the activity etc that I’ll send you later this morning I thought I would share this brilliant video from Saddleback Kids for the Creation story.

21/04 – Hi everyone, so following on from that lovely video and from the reading yesterday we are going to finish the creation story so please find Genesis 1:14-31 or if you have the Spark Bible you will be finishing the Creation story.  So we’ve had God forming the earth, preparing it for what he is going to put on it. Now we come to the exciting days of filling it up! The first thing God does is fill the sky, he creates the sun for the day and the moon for the night along with all the beautiful twinkling stars. Find some time to look at the sky both during the day and night (don’t look directly at the sun 😎). Really take time admiring it and thank God that he created it. If you have some black paper and some white paint or sticky stars or glitter create your own night time wonder! Then it gets even more exciting, he fills the earth with animals! Wonderful animals of so many different shapes and sizes! How many animals can you think of? Play the alphabet game, go through the letters of the alphabet naming as many animals as you can, for the younger children each person uses a different letter, for older children how many animals can you think of beginning with ‘a’? Once you’ve exhausted it move on to ‘b’ …. we love this game in our family! Then God made…. drum roll please… us!! Wahoo! We are made in God’s image. This doesn’t mean that we look like God (God isn’t a person, remember) but it means that we are made to be like him, to be able to love, to have relationships, to be creative, etc. Draw a picture of yourself and write everything that you want to thank God for, maybe you love your hair, your eyes, maybe you love football or tennis. Maybe you like drawing or reading, thank God for making you … you! God then said that we were going to be responsible for every animal and for his world. Although he is the creator God and our King he is placing us in charge of his kingdom. Isn’t that amazing! It’s also a very big responsibility. Talk to each other about how you can look after his creation. Do you know what I love about the ending to this reading? After all the other days the Bible tells us that God looks at what he’s done and he sees it is good. But on the 6th day, when he’s finished, and he sees it’s VERY good! 😁 I do think that God made an amazing planet don’t you? There are so many different things for us to explore: different countries, different animals, different foods – and different people. We can never get bored! Maybe today you can learn something new about this planet. Spend some time thanking God for this world and asking for his help in looking after it and each other.

20/04 – So ‘In the beginning….’ read the story from Genesis 1:1-10 or if you have a Spark Bible it’s p7-9 (stop when you get to the fourth day). The first three days could be looked at as the ‘forming days’; this is how God prepared the earth for the things he was going to put in it. Close your eyes for a while, what do you see? I don’t see very much, maybe a little bit of movement sometimes but I can’t see any shapes of anything. Imagine that this is what the world looked like before God made any changes. And right at the start the Spirit of God is there. This is so exciting isn’t it – that God created this beautiful planet from nothing – from something that was a complete mess! Today I would like you to create a world too – maybe you can use playdough or clay, maybe do a picture or you can use the computer. You can also take pictures from magazines and create a collage. I love the fact the God creates each one of us. Look at Psalms 139:13-15 and Ephesians 2:10. I like to think that our lives, before we know God’s love and let Jesus into our lives, can be a bit like the earth – it can be a bit messy and a bit chaotic. When Jesus comes he brings light (John 8:12) he brings peace into our lives (John 14:27) and he prepares us, through everything he has taught us in the Gospels, to do God’s work – to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So as we create our own little world pray together that God can change us and prepare us for his work, bringing light into our lives and his Holy Spirit will be in us changing us.

20/04 – Good morning everyone, I hope you had a good weekend? It was lovely to see some of you yesterday for the zoom service. I’ve fed back some comments to Simon of what I would like from this type of service please do make sure you also feedback – maybe what is happening is actually spot on for you, maybe there is something more you would like to have. And hopefully we will have the readings sent round so we can volunteer for those. Another reminder that I’m still working on the daily sessions for January, this week we will be going back to the start of Genesis. If you or your children have any favourite stories from the OT please do let me know so that I can try to include them.

18/04 – Hi everyone, hope you are all well? We’ve read some very interesting things about Jesus this week haven’t we? Maybe it has made you really think about ways in which we can share the Gospel of Jesus with others, or maybe it’s got you reading the Bible more? I hope that has excited you about Jesus though. Today we are leaving behind the Gospel books and we are moving on to the book of Acts – this is probably the most exciting book from the Bible after the Gospels as it is all about the early church. Our reading today comes from Acts 1:1-11 or if you have a Spark Bible you can also find it on p398. This is the last time that the disciples see Jesus before he goes back to Heaven. Do you remember what he told them in our reading yesterday – the Great Commission? Well this is how they will do it. You see Jesus didn’t just go straight to heaven and leave them without any help. We are told that after Jesus rose from the grave he visited his disciples for 40 days and continued to teach them about the Kingdom of God. He then told them not to leave Jerusalem but instead that they should wait for a gift from God. How exciting is this?? How excited would you be if you were told you were getting a gift? I know I love getting presents – don’t you? But what is this gift – it’s the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is another form of God. Can you think of anywhere else in the Bible where the Holy Spirit or Spirit is God is mentioned? Let’s go right back to the start of the Bible, Genesis 1v2. We are told that spirit of God moves over the waters. There are other places where we are told that the Spirit of God enters people, like Exodus 31:1-3, Judges 3:10 and 1 Samuel 10:10, to enable them to do certain things. We also know that when Jesus was baptised that the Holy Spirit came down on him like a dove (Mark 1:10). In our reading today Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit will fill them with power and that will enable them to do God’s work. After this Jesus goes up to heaven. How would you feel if we were told that you would be getting such an amazing gift but that you have to wait for it – and that you don’t know when you would receive it? I think I would be very impatient, I don’t think I would be able to sit still! We do have to have patience when we are doing God’s work; things don’t happen as quickly as we would like them to happen. Are you a patient person? I’m not always patient but we have to remind ourselves to be and we need to always pray for God’s help. So next time you’re getting impatient, maybe with your family, maybe when waiting for presents 😃 or maybe when you want God to do something, just pray and read the Bible. Today I would like you to make a bird out of white paper. I’ll send a link below. In the bird I would like you to write: ‘Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time’ it’s from Romans 12:12. Hang it in your prayer area or somewhere where it will be useful to you. We’ll find out what happens to the disciples when they receive their gift very soon!

Eastertemplate.com/dove-cut-out-template/

17/04 – Good morning!! It’s Friday (wahoo!!). How has your week been? Have you learnt anything new or done anything surprising this week? Maybe you’ve done something that you didn’t think you could do? If not, then I’m going to encourage you to think of something like that to do next week. Our walk with God should always be about pushing ourselves – asking for His help along the way. How many journeys can you remember us learning about from the start of the New Testament? I’ll start you off – Mary visiting Elizabeth…. see how many more you can think of. Put them in a list if you can and post it on here to share with each other. Today’s story takes the disciples’ journey to a completely different level, and it connects with us too! Find Matthew 28:16-20; if you have a Spark Bible then find p396. The Great Commission. This story must be one of the stories that we all, as Christians, should know very well. This is the last thing, in the Gospels, that Jesus says to his disciples and it is a clear instruction. Jesus tells his disciples (and us) to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us. He finishes by saying that he will be with us to the very end of age. What is a disciple? What do they do? Look it up yourselves on your computer. It would be interesting to know what you find out. So we are called to go out into the world, to teach people everything Jesus has taught us, to make them disciples and baptise them (something only vicars can do in our community). But how do we teach others the Gospel of Jesus if we don’t know it? That is why it is so important for each of us to read the Bible every day, to talk about it together and to learn about it from church leaders and other books.  You may think that because you are children Jesus isn’t speaking to you? Jesus was and is speaking to you too! You are very, very important in spreading the message of his love and teaching others about what he has said. But remember: being a disciple is not just about what you say, it is also how you behave – how you act. This is very important. We need to be the light in the world. It is not always easy but we have our rock, our God to help us.  Today I would like you to think of a way to remember Jesus’ Great Commission. Maybe you can put it in a song, maybe a poem, a poster or actions (look up British sign language or make up your own actions). I would love to see the results.

‘Everyone a child should know’. It’s mini biographies about lots of different Christians and about how their love for Jesus impacted their lives.

16/04 – Good morning everyone! It’s looking like a lovely day out there at the moment. Do you get excited like I do when you open the curtains in the morning and you see a beautiful sky? It just makes me feel so happy and that there will be lots of opportunities in the day. Today’s story is also about hope and promise and of new starts which is what a morning is all about. The story follows on from the one we read yesterday. However, in order to understand how important it is we have to read another story first. So let’s find Mark 14:27-31 and then Mark 14:66-72. If you have a Spark Bible you can look at p374-375; however the next story we are looking at won’t be in the Spark Bible sadly so you may also want to look in a ‘standard’ bible. This story always make me feel very sad. Peter is one of Jesus’ closest disciples; in fact he was the disciple who recognised Jesus for who he really was (the Messiah/saviour). He was also the disciple that Jesus said would be very, very important in building the new church – so you can see how very close he was to Jesus. In the first story Jesus tells his disciples that some of them will turn away from Jesus and will be ‘scattered’ but Peter says to Jesus that he will always stick by him and will be loyal. In the next story Peter is then asked by three different people if he knows Jesus and each time he says he doesn’t; he denies Jesus. When he hears the cockerel crow (what does that sound like?) he then realises what he has done and breaks down in tears. Why do you think he denied Jesus? What do you think would have happened to him if he had said he was a disciple? How would you feel if you were Peter and you knew what you had done? It really makes me feel sad for him and a bit guilty as I know that I probably would have done the same thing. This is why I love the Bible. None of the people we read about are perfect; they have big failings and yet God loves them and he uses them to do his work. Can you think of anyone else in the Bible that God used, despite their failings? That makes me love God so much. But there is a very happy ending to this story, and it gives us hope for new starts. Let’s find John 21:15-17. Jesus has appeared again to the disciples; they have caught lots and lots of fish and they have eaten together. Jesus then asks Peter a question (- what is this question?) He asks Peter if he loves him – if he truly loves him. How many times does Jesus ask this? Three times. Can you remember how many times Peter denied Jesus in the other story? Yes! Three times. By asking Peter if he loves Jesus three times Jesus is giving Peter the opportunity to take back his denial. Jesus is giving Peter a fresh start. Isn’t that amazing!! Here is a man who denied his closest friend, his teacher, the man he knew was his saviour and yet, despite that, Jesus still forgives him and still offers him a fresh start as a very important person within his new church. When we accept Jesus into our lives God gives us a fresh start; all is truly forgiven and we can walk closely with him in our new journey. And just like all these ‘heroes of the Bible’ we are all human; we make mistakes but God loves each one of us, even though we fail and make mistakes. And each time we mess up God tells us to stand up tall, shake ourselves off and start again – he will always be with us, helping us. Let’s pray together to ask Jesus to come into our lives today: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that sometimes I do wrong things and say wrong things and I make you sad sometimes. I sometimes think of myself, the way I feel or the things I want. I am sorry and I ask that you forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me to save me. You did what I could not do. I come to you now and ask that you take control of my life. I give my life to you, Jesus. From today I ask that you help me to live every day for you and in a way that makes you happy. I love you Lord and thank you for everything you have done for me. Amen.  Today I would like you to make a card for Jesus to tell him how much you love him. You can write down the things that Jesus has done that you love him for if you want. Make it as beautiful as you can. Do you know that worship isn’t just music? It is also making things like cards, or spending time praying to him and thanking him for everything he does. So today let’s spend some time worshipping him in as many ways as we can.

15/04 – Good morning everyone, hope you are all well? I can’t believe we are already half way through the week – where is time going?? Today’s Bible story is about another time Jesus appeared to his disciples after being resurrected. Do you remember when Jesus called his first disciples? Can you remember what their jobs were? I’ll give you a clue – something to do with the sea! Remind yourself by looking at Matthew 4:18-22. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how these men just dropped what they were doing, left their jobs and their families to follow Jesus! How would you feel if you were called to leave everything you had? Jesus does call us to follow him but what this means is different to every person. Some people leave everything and go to a different place in the world (look up Jackie Pullinger or Corrie Ten Boom) and some do God’s work in their home towns and countries. The story we are looking at today is from John 21:1-14. The disciples have returned to fishing, they have been out all night and have not caught anything – how do you think they were feeling? Why do you think they have gone back to fishing after everything that they have done with Jesus? When morning came who did they see standing on the shore? – Jesus of course! He tells them to put the net the other side of the boat and when they do they get lots and lots of fish! How amazing is that!! In fact they catch so many fish that they can’t even pull the net in!! Wow!! Sometimes when we are doing things it can seem really hard, can’t it, like when we are doing homework or chores? Sometimes it can even feel like we aren’t achieving anything. As Christians we are called to go out into the world and tell others about God’s love for us and what Jesus did for us – tell them about his Gospel. But sometimes it can feel like nothing we do is working, we aren’t ‘catching any fish’. I think this story reminds us that we must look and listen for Jesus, we need to stop trying to do things our way but instead ask Jesus to show him his way. If we do that then quite often – if not always – we find all the ‘fish’ come swimming into our ‘nets’. The most powerful gift that Jesus gave us is the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we will be finding out more about him in a few days time. So, we are all called to be Jesus’ disciples, to follow him and to share his Gospel with the world. And when times get hard we need to listen to where he is telling us to ‘throw our nets’. Today I would like you to draw a picture of a boat with a fishing net, or if you have some netting maybe make yourself a net. In that net I would like you to write or place in there (on pieces of paper) the things you would like Jesus to help you with. Maybe you are struggling with homework, keeping your room tidy; maybe your brother or sister is annoying you and you need help being kind and forgiving; maybe you want help from Jesus in telling others about him. Write everything down and put it into the net or write it on top of the net. Then spend some time praying to God for his help in doing all of this. Maybe every time you struggle with things, go to the net and spend some time praying for his help. Look at Philippians 4:13. You can write this verse above the net or tie it to your net. Say it every day, you can say it by yourself or together with your family – let it become your motto 😄

15/04 – Thanks Andrea for sharing. As many of you know Corrie (Ten Boom) has been a massive inspiration in my life. One of my favourite bits in the book ‘Tramp for the Lord’ is when she is in the concentration camp with her sister and they are walking together but she says Jesus is with them and the three of them are talking and sharing together; Corrie says something, Jesus responds and Bessie says something else and they are laughing together. I would love to have that relationship with Jesus – something we can all achieve if we work to be closer to him – it is all in our hands.

14/04 – -Good morning everyone, hope you are all ok? Today’s Bible story is about the Road to Emmaus. This can be found on p388 in the Spark Bible or Luke 24:13-35. The story is about two of Jesus’ disciples walking together away from Jerusalem after Jesus had died. The Bible tells us they were sad; why do you think this would be? Maybe it’s because Jesus, their friend and person they thought would be their saviour, had died. Then Jesus appears to them but we are told that they are kept from knowing who he was – heaven put a disguise over him. Why do you think this may be? I think it’s because they had to be reminded who Jesus was and if they had known it was him they would have been too excited to listen. Have you ever been too excited to listen to your parents or other people? I know I have been; they can say whatever they want but I just couldn’t sit still and wouldn’t be quiet to listen to them because of my excitement. In their calm and sadness Jesus then told them (revealed to them) everything that had been said about him in the Bible so that they could really understand who he was. They then had dinner and it was when Jesus broke the bread that the disciples realised who he was! Jesus is revealed to us in many ways; the important thing is that we should always be looking for him – he can be in very strange places and found when you don’t expect him! The Bible is the most important thing we have that can help us in knowing Jesus. So today I want to challenge you to look back at some of the stories Jesus told about himself. You can find them by looking out for him saying ‘I am the…’ how many can you find? Which one do you like the most? Remember Jesus is always walking with us, we only need to stop and listen to him. Make some space in your day every day to sit quietly and just listen out for Jesus talking to you. I would also like you to create some footprints, paint your feet and put your footprints on a piece of card or paper. On the paper write 2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘for we walk by faith, not by sight’ (King James version). Father Lord God I pray today that we take some time out to be close to you, to hear your voice, to know, to understand, who you really are and what we mean to you. In Jesus name, Amen

13/04 – A reminder that Spring Harvest @ home has now launched on YouTube. It’s completely free and has tons of new resources.  https://springharvest.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/1596SH-SH-Home-Programme_Final4.pdf

13/04 – Good morning everyone, I hope you slept well – and slept through the wind (unlike me!). I wonder if the disciples would have had any sleep last night, all those years ago. Imagine everything that would have been going through their heads – excitement, joy, wonder, amazement, maybe confusion… I think they would also have been scared; other people, including the Romans, would know that Jesus’ body was missing. If you had read Matthew 28:11-15 you would see that people were being told that the disciples came in the night to steal the body. That means they are probably hiding away. Have you ever had some really really exciting news that you can’t wait to tell everyone about? Imagine if you couldn’t tell anyone – how would you feel? Today’s story is about Doubting Thomas. It can be found on p392 of the Spark Bible, and John 20:24-29. Why do you think Thomas refuses to believe when all the other disciples were telling him Jesus was back? What do you think he was feeling? It can be very difficult to believe in something or someone when you can’t see them but that’s what we are being asked to do. To be believe in something that happened a long time ago. That is why it is so important to read the Bible every day, to pray together, and most importantly to share together. Sharing things that God has done in our lives is very, very important. We need to show each other and the world that Jesus is still at work in our lives today. Jesus tells us that the people who believe without seeing are truly blessed. Read Hebrews 11:1 if you can use BibleGateway.com look it up in the Good News version. Create a picture like the one I’ll send you below. The early church used the sign of a fish to show each other where they would be secretly meeting. They couldn’t tell people because they would be arrested. So today we are going to remind ourselves of this freedom but also remind ourselves to believe even when we can’t see God in our lives. Thank you God for your son Jesus, for all he taught us and has done for us. Lord we pray for all those who believe in you but can’t worship you freely. Father we thank you that we live in a country where we can speak about you and worship you without being scared. We also pray that we will be filled with faith and courage to tell others about you and that their eyes will be opened and that they will also see you. Amen

12/04 – I expect you all know the reading for today, for those with the Spark Bible it is p382: The Empty Tomb and for those with ‘standard’ Bibles, and depending on ages, take a look at all or one of these readings: Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20:1-23. Talk about how people in the story/stories would have felt. How many different emotions can you think of to describe what they felt? How would you feel if you were one of the disciples? Make some cupcakes today (our family favourite recipe is http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/31111/vanilla-cupcakes-for-children.aspx) decorate them as beautifully as possible – send some photos- hopefully you have all managed to get relighting candles; light them and get the children to talk about what we have read the last couple of days. When they talk about Jesus dying get them to blow out the candle. When the candle relights (hopefully) explain that just as the candle refuses to go out so Jesus was never meant to stay in the grave. He was always meant to rise again; he had beaten death and the devil all for us! How amazing is that?? Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for everything he has done for us, and for raising Jesus from the dead. And my prayer today is that the joy that the disciples felt on this day all those years ago will be in your hearts, and will stay in your hearts as you continue in your walk with him.  And as an added note, it was so wonderful to see you on the zoom service this morning xx

11/04 – Hello everyone, so we are almost at Easter but oh no it’s Black Saturday, we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ll have to go through it (can’t resist dropping in the Bear Hunt reference). What do the children think we mean by Black Saturday (otherwise know as Holy Saturday)? Why is it called that? Think about what we read yesterday – what happened on Good Friday? How do the children think his disciples, friends, family would be feeling today? What would they be doing? Some of them may be in hiding from the Romans, some may be disheartened. Can we think of a time in our lives when we felt a bit confused, sad, scared, lost maybe? Maybe we felt all alone? Maybe the disciples comforted each other by sharing memories of Jesus. What is your favourite story about Jesus? Out of everything he taught us while alive what is the thing you remember the most? Share as a family your favourite quotes or/and stories. Maybe you can create a poster about it. If you have a favourite story maybe you can work together to create a short book or a comic strip to tell others. There are always times in our lives when we feel alone but we aren’t – God is always with us. Read Romans 8:31-38, Isaiah 41:10, Joshua 1:9 and Psalm 23:4. Have a look and see if you can find any more verses to provide encouragement. Create a bookmark with the verse on so that you can be reminded that you are not alone. Again if you don’t have a Bible please feel free to use Online bible resources such as BibleGateway.com.

10/04 – Hi everyone, really sorry to have missed yesterday’s activity. I do hope however that you have been able to do some of the activities above and please do let me know if I forget – even if it’s afternoon / evening! Today is Good Friday, but why is it called that?? What do we remember on this day? See if the children can guess what it may be. Read Matthew 27:32-56. It’s not an easy reading but it’s one that is the critical foundation to our belief. For those with the Spark bible read The Day Jesus Died page 376. Talk about how his disciples may have felt. For those older, read the chapter or 2 beforehand and really think about what Jesus went through. Read Romans 5:6-8 and John 3:16. Remind the children about the Passover and what Jews were remembering at that time – their escape from Egypt. They had to sacrifice a lamb to protect themselves so that they could escape Egypt and go to the promised land. Jesus is our lamb; he was the sacrifice made for us so that we would be protected, so that we would be saved from sin and so that we could enter our promised land, the Kingdom of Heaven. If you have not already decorated a cross, do so today, and write in the cross John 3-16. Spend some time in prayer thanking God for his sacrifice and praying that we will get to know him better.