‘Starblazers’ at Christ Church

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

Don’t forget – Spring Harvest resources still on their YouTube site. Lots of great material for children of all ages. Take a look if you haven’t already. Special items being added for half term (this week).

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.

30/07 – We are planning services for families with children on the second and fourth Sundays. If you would like to attend please let Emma know to book your place. We are giving priority to families with children at these services.

15/07 – Hi everyone, hope your week has got off to a great start – I can’t believe it’s actually Wednesday already! Half way through the week and half way through July!!! SCARY!!!!  Today the reading I want to share with you is one that I absolutely love. It’s not one that sticks in my mind when you ask me to share a Bible story or verse but it’s one that when I read it I just feel all warm and blessed. I feel like Paul is talking to me. So today I would like to offer, as my own prayer to you all (stealing the words of Paul) Ephesians 1:15-23. There are a few things that I think we can learn from here and be blessed by too. Firstly Paul says ‘I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.’ This is so important, to give thanks to God for those in our lives who inspire us, those who give us hope, those who we can see growing in God’s love and power and that we should not stop giving thanks for them – we should hold them in our hearts at all times. I feel strongly that Paul would have felt uplifted and strengthened by this young church. This is the way I feel about you, our children, especially when you share your love for God, the things he has done for you, the stories you enjoy in the Bible and when I see you worshipping. You inspire me. I also feel inspired by you, parents, in all you do, in your faith in Christ and the love of God, for sharing your faith with your children. You all keep me going, you give me hope in the lights that you shine. The next few verses are my prayer for you all – adults and children alike. I pray that you will continue to know and love the Lord, I pray that you will continue to discover the immense blessings he offers us and the joy that comes with us. Not a short-lived joy, like opening a present, but the long-lasting joy, the joy that carries you through hard times and beyond. We are reminded of God’s power, that awesome power that created everything, that restored Jesus to life; that same power is offered to us in the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that totally amazing?? So, thank you everyone for all you do, for your support and encouragement, for sharing your worship songs, for the prayers, for the drawings. I thank God for you all. And to summarise Paul: I pray that you will draw closer to our creator, closer to our saviour and closer to our comforter, our helper, the one who can change our lives.

11/07 – Hi everyone, sorry that I have rarely posted this week, I don’t even know where it’s gone! If only there was an emoji for a spinning head – that’s how I’ve felt this week. 🤣  In fact it’s really lovely today to see the reading I’m going to share. It’s a reminder of how blessed we are and how special we are to God. With busy lives it’s easy to forget our calling with Him, what he has blessed us to be. It’s good to take that step back and bathe in the light he pours on to us. So what is the reading? Well you may have guessed from the above (the study Bible notes on Ephesians) that we have moved on to this book now! So let’s look at the first chapter, verses 3-14 and in my Bible (NIV) it’s called Spiritual Blessings in Christ. In this reading we learn about how we have been chosen to be holy, to be special (in fact that’s a pretty rubbish definition of the word holy – can you think of a better word?). God has adopted us as his children. Now that might not sound very special but when someone was adopted by a family they were given the same rights and privileges as the real children of the parents. So by being adopted by God we are promised all the same blessings and spiritual gifts that Jesus has been given. When we hear the good news of Jesus, and believe in it, we are marked with the Holy Spirit – he is like a promise of what will be given to us.  How amazing is that???? We are blessed, we have been chosen, we are holy, we have been adopted by God and are promised the same blessings that Jesus has already received! I can’t get over that! We should hold ourselves up high, lift our heads up in that knowledge. Life can be hard, sometimes we can feel like we are not seen by the world and those around us, we can feel like we don’t have a purpose; but hold on to these verses – you do have a purpose, you are seen and loved by the creator of this world, by the creator of this universe and beyond! You are holy, so make sure that you treat yourself as holy. Don’t let the world bring you down or change you. Keep yourself as close to how God created you as possible. Stay close to him through prayer, by giving thanks to him for everything good in your life, by worshipping him and, of course, by reading his word. Even if you can only manage a verse a day – grab it and hold on to it throughout the day. Each of you are wonderful people – adults and children alike – I thank God for you all and pray that you know your worth in him – our redeemer, saviour and creator. And I’ll finish as Paul started in verse 2: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

06/07 – Hi everyone, hope you’ve had a good Monday. For those who missed our quiz yesterday – we missed you!! But don’t worry we will be having another quiz next week, hosted by the lovely Andrea and Phoebe. 😆
We are now reaching our last reading from Galatians – it’s only 6 chapters long so it’s not too much of a surprise. I’ve sent you a photo of the reading taken from the Word on the Street Bible which I think is a really good, and understandable, version. However the reading is from Galatians 6:1-10.
It can be a difficult reading as it is reminding us of the bad behaviours we can take on – such as thinking we are doing a good job, we are the best and comparing ourselves to what others are doing. This is something I have of course been guilty of but the important thing is to catch yourself and to remind yourself of how you are acting. And this is where having other ‘spiritual’ people, or people who are following Jesus, around us as they can give us a gentle nudge when our behaviours aren’t exactly like Jesus’ behaviours. We are also told that if someone we know starts getting tempted, maybe starts doing wrong things, then we need to gently – and with a lot of LOVE – make them aware and try to help them out of this. This is what friends – or, as Paul says, family – is for. It’s for being there when we slip up or being there for our family members when they slip up. They should know that what we are saying is from love and not from jealousy or condemnation (judging them badly). But – and here’s a big but – we must make sure that while we are helping those people that we do not ourselves fall into doing the same thing. I know, as many people probably do, that this can be easy to do, especially when you are trying to walk alongside your friend to help them. So the first thing I would like you to take out of this reading is: always be there for your brother and sister (in Jesus’ big family) but always protect yourself – always make sure you look after your spiritual life – this means your relationship with God. The next thing I would like is to look at is what Paul says about our lives – firstly it is important to share with one another – and those who teach us – what we discover about God’s word. Don’t keep it to yourself! Then Paul tells us that we reap what we sow. If we plant (sow) seeds for carrots then hopefully that’s what we will get and if we plant seeds for roses that’s what we will get (obviously we could get weeds but that’s a different Bible story altogether 😉). It is the same in our lives, if we live doing bad things and living a life that is bad – think of the things which are opposite to Paul’s writing about Love (1 Corinthians 13) – then we will get bad things in our life and we will receive death at the end of it. But if we follow God’s Spirit, what he is nudging us to, which is life of goodness and love and kindness, if we plant those seeds in our lives then we will receive life – we will be welcomed into heaven and when Jesus returns we will come back with him. How amazing is that!!!! So how can we plant seeds of goodness and love? What ideas can you think of? Maybe it’s helping people who are sad, helping people who have been left out of things, maybe it’s helping people who are in need, maybe it can be as simple as smiling at someone. There’s lots of ways. Many of you won’t remember Dave who used to come to our church. He had been through a really tough life and fallen into bad ways as he was growing up. But he found Jesus and his life completely changed, he helped people who were going through the same difficulties he had been through, he was a mentor and he was an amazing testimony to how Jesus can change lives. He was kind and caring and always warm. Sadly he passed away a few years ago but I know that he reaped many good fruits from his life when it changed, when we had his funeral at church it was packed full of people, all of whom had amazing stories of how Dave had made their lives better. They are the fruits that he sowed. He may not have realised the results of his hard work and the goodness but they were there. Sometimes it can feel really hard doing God’s work, we can feel like nothing is happening, that maybe you aren’t seeing people turning to Jesus like you hoped, maybe you don’t see a change in behaviours but we have to have faith that the seeds we plant – the good seeds we plant – are growing, some very very slowly, and we have to trust God to take care of those small seeds. And we must never give up! We must keep going! Because God has such a reward for us, better than we can ever imagine. 🥳😁 Paul went through hard times, he probably went through times in prison, being tortured and hearing about the problems that were happening in these early churches when he got depressed, maybe he would lose hope, maybe he felt like packing it in, but he didn’t; he kept going, kept fighting for the Lord, kept the Lord’s promise in his mind. We need to keep that same promise in our minds too and keep building the church as all those before us have done. We can do it! Xx

09/06 – Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a good day on this cold day 🥶 (ok well not that cold…). This week we are going to explore the book of Romans. This book was written by Paul (otherwise known as Saul) and he was writing it to the new church that was growing in Rome (that’s why it’s called Romans), a lot of the books of the New Testament are named either after the church the letter is being sent to or after the person who wrote the letter. Paul wrote so many letters that they couldn’t all be named after him. Today we are going to be looking at chapter 1, verses 1-17 or p426 in the Spark Bible. (Sadly the spark Bible doesn’t have many stories from the New Testament but try and read with us from the ‘standard’ Bible too.)
Paul starts his letter by telling his readers who Jesus is, reminding them who they are believing in: he says that Jesus was born a man – a descendant of King David. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit (remember his baptism?) and that meant he was also the Son of God and when he was resurrected (came back to life) it was obvious to his followers that he was the Lord. (For the older ones of you, take a look at Peter’s speech in Acts 2:14-41.) Paul then tells the Romans (and us) that because we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit that we are also Saints and that we are called to go out into the world and tell everyone about Jesus and God’s great big love for us. How amazing is that? We are saints and we called with such an amazing and important mission! We are given Jesus’s light and are told to take it into places where people do not know about his light. I’ve talked previously about how we might do this, but – and we’ll see this in Paul’s next bit – it’s just as important that we share this light with each other. Paul says that he longs to see the followers in Rome so that they can encourage each other. He knows how important it is for us to lift each other up. For example, we have a church leader – a vicar (Simon) and part of his calling as a leader is to support and encourage us but that doesn’t mean we don’t do the same. In fact the people who lead the church need our support just as much as we need theirs! Have a think about how we can support and encourage each other, sometimes it’s just by talking about what we believe, what we’ve learnt about our faith. There’s nothing that makes me happier and encouraged than hearing you all talking about your faith, talking about the things you pray about and maybe something you’ve learnt about God that excites you. We, as adults, love your pictures that you do about God, it all lifts us up. That’s how we can encourage each other.
Then Paul tells us that he’s not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus, he will take the Good News of Jesus all over the world, to all people. We should never be ashamed of the amazing, wonderful love and grace that we learn about in the story of Jesus and all the Bible.
So, this is an amazing way to start our week learning about Romans – being reminded about who our Saviour is, about the wonderful love he has for us, for the amazing community of Saints we have in the church family and in the glorious good news that we should want to share with anyone and everyone! That gets me so excited, I feel like I’m bubbling over with excitement. You know that feeling you get when it’s Christmas or your birthday and you know there will be presents and fun and family love?? Well that’s the bubbly feeling that I get when I read Paul’s letter. I hope you get that feeling too!

05/06 – Today we are going to hear about a man who may be one of the most famous writers of the New Testament letters. Can you find p408 of the Spark Bible or the book of Acts chapter 9 verses 1-18. This man was called Saul and he hated – and I mean HATED – Christians. He had many of them killed. This story is about how Jesus reached out to him and how he became a disciple of Jesus. On the road to a place called Damascus Saul is surrounded by a bright light and Jesus speaks to him and tells him to go the city where he will be told what to do. When the light disappears Saul is left blind – he cannot see anymore. How do you think he would have felt? I would have been very scared I think. Jesus then speaks to another disciple (Ananias) and tells him to go and find Saul. But the disciple has heard all about Saul and is scared; he knows why Saul has come to Damascus. Jesus tells him that He has chosen Saul as an instrument to take his Gospel (his good news) to everyone (the Gentiles). So the disciple goes to Saul and prays for him; Saul is healed and can see again. So what can we learn from this story? I think this story shows us that God uses anyone to do his work – and he can change anyone, no matter how much hate is in their hearts. It also shows how sometimes God can ask us to do things that can seem scary but he has a purpose for why he calls people to different things. For some people he might call them to work in dangerous parts of the world, for other people it might be that they are called to go and help sick people and for other people it might be to work with dangerous people. There is a woman, Jackie Pullinger, who left England, (after speaking to her vicar), and went to Hong Kong. She ended up working with people who could have been quite dangerous, but under God’s protection she has done a lot of good work there. However, for many people, we are called to do God’s work in our own homes, schools, clubs and communities. There is nothing more important than doing God’s work – it doesn’t matter where that may be or who you may be with. While we are in lockdown we should all spend time thinking and praying about what God wants us to doW. What is he calling us to do for him? Maybe we could treat this lockdown like when Saul was made blind. Maybe this is our ‘blindness’, maybe this is an opportunity to think about what we are doing in our lives. What are our beliefs and values (what do we put as important in our lives) and where does God fit into our lives? When we come out of this lockdown, if you would like more guidance or support, maybe you feel you know where God is calling you but you don’t know what to do next – speak to Simon our vicar. In the story of Saul we find how even those people who are called to do God’s work need help from other Christians, for different reasons. We should never try to do anything alone. And never stop listening to what God is calling you to do as it may change as you grow. So….. what is God calling you to do?

04/06 – Good morning everyone, hopefully you were all far too busy to notice that I hadn’t posted anything yesterday 🤣 my apologies, the day disappeared before I knew it. But we have a new schedule in our house and hopefully if we can stick to it then I’ll be able to make these posts in the morning before the day runs away with me! In my last post we thought about how the disciples may have been feeling after Pentecost and what they had started doing – they had started doing what Jesus had been doing. Today we are going to explore what that early church would have been like. Let’s look at p402 of the Spark Bible or Acts 2:42-47. There are a few words that I can think of to describe the early church: family, community, fellowship, kingdom of heaven. That’s a pretty amazing description, isn’t it? The early church was showing us what it would be like in the kingdom of heaven. So why do I think this? Let’s have a look at a few things these people did: devoted to apostles’ teaching, fellowship, prayer, awe, wonders, miracles, everything in common, gave to each other (shared), praising God, enjoying favour. Sounds like an amazing place, doesn’t it? This doesn’t mean that people were all the same because they had everything in common. I’m sure that they didn’t share the same taste in music, in food, in their personal histories, in their clothing choices. I think what this means is that they had everything that was important in common – they believed in Jesus, they believed in his good news (the Gospel). When people focus on that we realise that all our earthly differences really don’t matter. We all love God and he loves us, he loves us all exactly the same no matter what differences we have. Let’s think back on the story of the Bible, that first story of humans turning away from God’s love through disobeying him and eating the forbidden fruit, think about the Israelites and how many times they would turn away from God and yet when they called on Him he would always save them (maybe not straightaway but he always did in the end) and then we think about Jesus, who died for each and every one of us on the cross. ‘Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16) I think it’s amazing when I think about everyone at Christ Church, all our different ages, all our different cultures, our different histories, our likes and dislikes, it’s amazing how God brings us all together, as Christ’s body. And each one of us, whether we are 1 or 100, we all have an important part to play. What words can you think of to describe Jesus? The word I think of is LOVE ❤️ and we are Christ’s body here on earth, and as Christ’s body we should also be made up of love; we should love our families, our friends, every member of Christ Church, but we should also love the stranger and our ‘enemy’ (the ones we don’t like or don’t get on with). This doesn’t mean you have to give everyone a hug (hug-time! 😁) and it doesn’t mean that you even have to speak to that person, but it does mean that we should have kindness to each other, compassion. In fact, have a read of 1 Corinthians 13; this shows us what love is all about. And when we have love then we can bring the Kingdom of Heaven, Paradise, to earth – and we will know what that early church felt like with awe and amazement, praising and fellowship. Can you turn 1 Corinthians 4-7 into a picture? Maybe you can use the computer, painting, crayons, chalk or even a mixture of all those things. Send us a copy to see and we can put it on the website. And let’s pray hard that soon we all be back together at Christ Church, sharing together, eating together, learning together, praising together and praying together.

02/06 – I hope everyone had a good day yesterday and got out to enjoy the sunshine? For anyone who has started back at school – adults and children alike – I really pray it went well, being back together. I’ve been thinking about what those few days after Pentecost would have been like for Jesus’ followers. Do you think they would have been excited? Scared? Do you think they would have been too busy and excited to sleep, or would they have slept like babies as soon as they got home? These men and women had seen so much; they had followed a man who had taught them about a new way of living. He had revealed things about God and God’s kingdom they they hadn’t heard before. They saw this man die and rise again before going literally up to heaven! And they thought that changed things! Now they are the ones filled with the Holy Spirit. Now they are the ones speaking to hundreds of people, now they are baptising (on the day of Pentecost we are told 3,000+ people were baptised), and they are healing people. How amazing is that?? Pentecost is something to be really celebrated but it is also something to be continued. That is how the Christian church, the body of Jesus was born. We are called to copy Jesus, to do the things he did, to share his good news – his Gospel. But to do so we must read his word and understand his words. The other thing we must do is pray. These are two of the most important part of any disciple’s life and we are disciples of Jesus. You are his disciple and I am his disciple – amazing! Can you spend some time maybe talking about something Jesus said or did that really inspires you? Maybe you have a favourite story or Bible verse that relates to Jesus. Can you make a poster, story book, or comic strip about this? Maybe you can make up a poem to remember it, or a song with actions. Maybe you could act it out with members of your family. If you could send us photos, video clips or anything else so that we can see what you’ve done that would be fantastic.  Tomorrow we will find out more about the early church and what we can learn about it for our church today.

30/05 – Good morning everyone! Well, tomorrow is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the Holy Spirit being released onto the whole world, the day the church of Christ continues the journey of Jesus. Tomorrow is the day when we remember what happens but also take time to realise that the church of Christ is still going, from those 2000 years ago we are still moving, we are still growing and we are still doing Christ’s work. Isn’t that amazing! Over the last week we have been learning lessons from Jesus’ own journey to help us in continuing what he started. So, before we dive into learning today’s lesson, let’s do a quick recap on the lessons so far: No 1: we need the Holy Spirit in our lives to do God’s work. No 2: we need to know God’s word, we need to use God’s word (the Bible) to do his work, to protect ourselves.  No 3: we need each other, we need our family in Christ, to support, encourage and to share together. We cannot do it alone. No 4: we must pray. We should want to pray, to seek guidance, to talk to our Father, to use it as encouragement, to gain our strength from prayer. And so today we come to our Lesson 5 and, to know what this is, we need to find Luke 22:39-46 or p370 in the Spark Bible (although, to be honest, the Spark Bible doesn’t cover the bit we will be looking at). This story is near the end of Jesus’ time on earth. He has healed many people. He has taught many messages. He has revealed himself in many ways. He has entered Jerusalem on the day we now remember as Palm Sunday. He has shared the Passover meal with his disciples when he told them he would be betrayed. Now we are in the Mount of Olives with Jesus. He has come here to pray with his disciples – again showing us how important prayer is. But there is one line that I would like you to read and this is verse 42. Jesus is scared; he knows what is going to happen; he knows it must happen. This is the first time that we see him admit that he doesn’t want to go through the pain and suffering that he will go through. He must have felt it all this time. From the start of his journey, possibly since he was young enough to remember, he has always known that he would die; but in this story we see Jesus praying to God and he says, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done’. And this is what I want you guys to think about. Jesus did not beg God to stop him dying, he didn’t sit there begging and begging, saying ‘I don’t want to suffer, I don’t want to die. Stop it now please;’ he just says to God that if it will be His will then He could stop it. We say a similar thing in the Lord’s Prayer, don’t we? Can you remember what it is? Say the Lord’s Prayer and try and work it out. This is what we, as Christians, are told to do. It’s what we should want to do, to put God’s will – God’s plans – above our own. We may want a bicycle, we may want to do well in exams, we may want lots of things, but what about God’s plans? One of the messages Jesus gives us is that we should not worry about things that happen on earth, about money, nice clothes, nice cars, etc because they will disappear at some point. They can be lost, and what do we have then? But if we focus on God’s work then we have a rock to build our lives on. God is not going anywhere, he does not change, and we can help other people in the process. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t study, you shouldn’t work, you shouldn’t wear clothes. Please, please do those things! But do not make them the reason for living, do not make them the thing that you focus on. Instead God should be what we focus on. I have prayed some very difficult prayers in my life. I’ve prayed for difficult situations to be improved, I’ve prayed for people I love to be healed, – but as much as I have wanted those things I have remembered that what God’s plans are is the most important so I have finished those prayers with ‘not my will but yours’. So when we pray for the things we feel we need, what we want, we should remember to say although these are what I want Lord, I know you can see further than I can and I know that you know better than me, so if there is a reason in the outcome, the reason in something happening that I don’t want, if it is your will, if it’s in your plans then let it be so and give me the strength to trust in you. Not my will, but yours Lord’. And that is my last Lesson from Jesus’ journey. Lesson 5 is: always seek God’s will to be done, no matter how much you may want something else to happen, no matter what it may cost you and what pain it may bring you, we must always trust in God. Like Jesus did all those years ago, we must always seek his will. Because God is not a father who wants bad things to happen, he is not a father who wishes to destroy or hurt his children, so we must trust that even though something may cause us pain, that we may not understand why something has happened, we MUST trust that God has something good to come out of it.  I use Colossians 1:9 as my prayer for you all today: ‘We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives’. Talk together about what you think God’s will is for us. Let us know your ideas. Love to you all.

28/05 – Evening everyone, sorry for the late message – it’s been a full on day. Had lots of meetings and then I decided, probably against my better judgment, to go for a run. Well, 8 x 1 minute runs – but I’m slowly building up to actual running. It really isn’t easy; in fact I found it very difficult but I got there in the end – and do you know what kept me going? It was because my daughter was there with me; we were encouraging each other when we wanted to give up. Friends and family are important, aren’t they? Today’s story is about this. Let’s find p232 in the Spark Bible or Luke 5:1-11. This is all about the calling of the first disciples. Jesus did not travel alone; these disciples were strangers to him at first but gradually they would have become close. They would support each other and talk to each other about their doubts, worries, and hopes. They would have laughed together; we know they cried together (when Jesus died) and they experienced life together.  Can you remember the 1st lesson that I shared? It was that we cannot do anything for God without the Holy Spirit; we can try but it won’t be easy. Can you remember Lesson 2? We learnt how important the Bible is, that we must build our lives on the rock that is God’s word. So what is Lesson 3 – we need each other in this journey for God. We must support each other, encourage each other, share stories and miracles together, question and find answers together – share life together. We, together, are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:25-27). In Hebrews 10:24-25 we are told: ‘We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other’. We can encourage, lift each other up, reveal God’s word to each other, inspire each other and much, much more. Why don’t you draw a (big) picture of a silhouette of Jesus and inside write as many names of people from our family and church as possible (make sure you include yourself). All these people are your family, whether through blood (like your parents or siblings) or through Christ. In fact, isn’t it amazing that you have millions of brothers and sister all over the world, and they are all there to support you in doing God’s work. Isn’t that absolutely amazing stuff? ‘So finally all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble’. (1 Peter 3:8)

27/05 – Good morning everyone. I hope you’re all keeping well. The weather has been so beautiful, I’ve almost been tempted to work outside or just put work to one side and enjoy the sunshine but I know I’ve got to stay focussed. 😕☀️ What do you find to be your biggest temptation – for me it’s either chocolate or cake; I know I shouldn’t eat it but I love it 🤤 what’s yours? Do you manage to fight your temptation or do you give in? And if you manage to fight it HOW DO YOU DO IT??? Please share!!!! 🤣 Today we come to the next stage of Jesus preparing for his journey, his work for God. After he was baptised in the story we read yesterday we are told that he goes into the desert for 40 days (and 40 nights) can you find Matthew 4:1-11 or Luke 4:1-13? Unfortunately the Spark Bible doesn’t have this story. I don’t know why as it has a VERY important lesson for us. So in this story Jesus becomes very hungry, and I expect he becomes very thirsty too (what with him being in the desert 🥵). The devil (boooo) comes to tempt him (just like he did Eve back in the Garden of Eden). He always wants to destroy something good. So the devil (boooo) tells Jesus that if he’s the Son of God he should turn the stones into bread so he could eat but Jesus replies by quoting the Bible: ‘man does not live on bread alone’ (Deuteronomy 8: 2-3); well, that told the devil, didn’t it? But the devil hadn’t given up yet so he says to Jesus that if he (Jesus) worships the devil then he will make him ruler over everything. Well Jesus had a response for that too: ‘worship the Lord your God and serve him only’ (you all know where that comes from, I’m sure – it’s one of the Ten Commandments but you can also find it in Deuteronomy 6:13). Well, that showed the devil again, didn’t it? But the devil was going to give it one more shot. So he takes Jesus to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem and tells him to throw himself off because angels will catch him, and he also quotes a Bible verse to support his instruction; but Jesus has one better – he says, ‘do not put the Lord your God to the test’ (Deuteronomy 6:16); and with that the devil waves his little white flag and surrenders until another time. And Jesus started his journey. Yesterday we had Lesson 1 – we can’t do anything without the Holy Spirit. Today we have Lesson 2: we can’t do anything, we can’t fight temptation or do God’s work – without knowing God’s word. We also have no power – the power is in God’s word. Jesus never responded to the devil using his own words, he didn’t try and argue himself – he quoted scripture (Bible verses) and that alone was more powerful then any long and wordy debate or argument. I cannot stress enough how important it is for us to live in God’s word, for us to live in the Bible. In fact it is so important that we are told to ‘Remember these commands I give you. Keep them in your hearts. Write them down and tie them on your hands and wear them on your foreheads as a way to remember my laws. Teach these laws to your children. Talk about these things when you sit in your houses, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.’ (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). Now I’m not saying that you have to remember every single line of the Bible, but we must read it regularly – every day if possible – and we should try our hardest to remember verses that help us in life so that when we need the power of God’s word we have it there in our heads ready to use. Psalm 119:9 says: ‘How can a young person live a pure life? By obeying your word.’ This week I would like you to learn the Bible verse that Jesus first quotes ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’. Can you make up a rhyme, song, rap or actions to learn this? Maybe you can do a word-search or crossword, maybe a puzzle with a picture? There’s lots of ways to learn Bible verses but we just use them regularly otherwise we can forget them. Good luck! Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

26/05 – Hello everyone!! How are you all? Anyone got any plans this half term? Maybe you can visit some famous places (online anyway), you can create your own lockdown holiday album by finding photos of different places in the world and then sticking your photo on top of them to make it look like you’re there! Did you also know that a lot of art galleries, zoos and museums are letting you visit virtually? Maybe you’ve got some dolls / playmobil / Lego, you can take them on ‘holiday’ by taking them on a walk with you and taking photos of them as though they are the ones travelling. So there’s no reason to be bored this half term. Talking about travelling, how do you prepare for a journey? Do you  write a list? Maybe you pack a bag? Do you get your room all tidy? Do you pray for God’s protection before you leave? There are many ways to prepare. Our story today is about the start to Jesus’ journey; let’s find p224 of the Spark Bible or find Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:4-11 or Luke 3:21-22. Before Jesus starts doing anything he first comes before God (through John the Baptist) and is baptised, and receives the Holy Spirit. He is equipped for his journey and the work that he must do. This is an important lesson for us that we cannot do any work for God without the Holy Spirit. He gives us all we need; in fact we should be asking him (the Holy Spirit – God’s Spirit) to help us with everything because everything we do, whether it’s school work, playing with friends, helping family, everything we do we should do it for God – we should be thinking of God all the time. As you all know 😉 this Sunday is Pentecost when we celebrate the Holy Spirit being ‘released’ on to everyone – the whole world – and the Christian church is born!! So, as we read these stories of Jesus starting his work for God we need to learn as much as we can from what he did so that we know what we must do. Lesson 1 – ask for the Holy Spirit to help us, to guide us and to bless everything we do. When we do this, ask for his help; when we want to do everything for God then we will make him so proud. Maybe we will one day hear him say ‘you are my child, whom I love, and I am very pleased with you,’ just like he said to Jesus. How amazing would that be???!!!! We already know he loves us (John 3:16), let’s make him proud too! 😁😍 Spend some time tonight before you sleep asking for God’s Holy Spirit to help you, to guide you and to strengthen you for doing God’s work.  I pray that God’s Spirit will show you what you can do, that he will make you know that you are very important to him and that you are very important as a member of Christ’s body – the church. You are not the church of the future, you are the church now and you can help us make our church the best church ever; you can help our church be God’s kingdom here on earth. 😁

25/05 – We have come to our last OT Bible story for now; that’s not to say that we have read them all – oh no. There are soooooo many amazing OT stories so please do continue to flick through the Bible, explore God’s word, and if you find a story that you would like us to include please let me know. This week we are preparing for Pentecost; this is when we celebrate the Holy Spirit being released over the whole world and the start of the Christian church. So what better way to start the week than to look at another prophecy of Jesus and at one of the early stories of Jesus. Can you find, and read, Micah 5:1-5 or p184 in the Spark Bible. In this story, God is speaking through the prophet Micah. He is giving messages of doom, disaster and distruction 😫🥺 but also of hope 😁🥳. The verses we are looking at are one of those messages of hope and we believe that it is clearly talking about Jesus. What’s our first clue? Let’s look at who Micah is talking to – the people of Bethlehem, and where was Jesus born?? (Matthew 2:1) 😉 and what does it say about the saviour’s background? It says his origins are from old – in fact we are talking ancient old. Let’s flick to John 1:1-2: the Word is Jesus and we are told that the Word (Jesus) was with God right at the start of creation – can’t get any more ancient than that, can we? Then we are told that he will be the shepherd to people (his flocks) well I don’t need to say anything else about that, do I, as you all know what Jesus said about that 😁 – and lastly, we are told that he will be our peace. Can you find John 14:27 and 16:33? So I think that’s a lot of evidence that Micah is talking about Jesus – don’t you? Let’s think about what peace means – what does it mean to you? For some people it means silence, time to themselves; to others it means no fighting, no wars, no chaos, and for others it means calmness in their minds, no stresses or worries. What do you think it means? How do some people find peace? Some people find it by meditating, by exercising, reading, colouring or drawing (or other hobbies). Some people find it in the people they love, from relationships, hugs and laughter. How do you find peace? We are told that we can find the purest, greatest peace in Jesus, by trusting in God, in his word, in the love of God and through focusing on his messages. Some people use verses from the Bible to give them peace when they are stressed. Others find worshipping through music gives them peace. Others find it through praying. Can you find your own way of getting that amazing peace through Christ, through our saviour? Can you find the story of Angel Gabriel and Mary in Luke 1:26 or p186 in the Spark Bible? Mary was a young girl; she could be as young as 11 or 12! She’s not married yet but here comes this angel to tell her that she’s going to have a baby – and not just any baby – The Son of the Most High! And what did Mary do? What would you do? I think I would freak out; I may get quite stressed, worrying about what was going to happen. Is that what you would do? But what does Mary do? She seems to just accept it. She tells her relative, and then she sings a song. I think that Mary was filled with peace, a deep peace that made her know that everything was going to be ok. So if Mary – with this massive bombshell landed in her lap – can find peace in God then we should be able to, too!  We are in a very unique time at the moment. We can’t see our friends or family outside of our homes. We are spending a LOT of time together in one house and sometimes it can be difficult to find some peace. So I would like you to think about the questions I have asked – what does peace mean to you? How do you find peace? How can you find peace in Jesus / in God. Maybe with a parent you can search on line for Bible verses about peace, or find out what the New Testament says about finding peace in Jesus. Choose one verse and create a bookmark or a picture that is focussed on that verse. When you begin to feel like you are losing some peace or you need peace use this Bible verse to help you. And I will leave you for today with this verse from 2 Thessalonians 3:16: ‘Now may the Lord of peace give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.’

23/05 – Morning everyone, apologies for not sending a Bible reading yesterday, the manic chaos that is a Friday! But it’s a calm and beautiful Saturday so all is well again! Hope you’ve all had a good week. Today we continue looking at the OT and what it is saying about Jesus, so we start by looking at Isaiah 11 or the story on p166 in the Spark Bible. Just like the reading before, this is also a prophecy, one that Christians believe points to Jesus. What do you think the prophecy is telling us? What is this person going to be like and how will he change the world? What can we find in this story or prophecy that makes us think of Jesus? First, Jesus is a descendant of Jesse, he was David’s dad (look at Matthew 1.) Second, the ‘Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him’ – can you think of a Bible story where we see this happening with Jesus? That’s right! – the baptism! (Look at Mark 1.) So those are 2 things that point us to Jesus as the Messiah – the saviour of all people. Verses 3-5 are all about how he will behave and what will happen.  Can you think of any stories about Jesus that show these characteristics?  Some people think that verses 6-9 are telling us what the world will be like when Jesus returns, that it will become like the garden of Eden again, with animals lying next to each other instead of killing each other. Some people believe that it is using animals to represent other things such as people. Think of the people who followed Jesus – we have a tax collector in his group of disciples; tax collectors were not generally liked by people but Jesus welcomed him as a disciple and he travelled, and would have become friends with, the other disciples. We have Saul (also known as Paul) who hunted Christians and had them killed but in the end he became one of the most well known Christian writers in the Bible and would have also known some of the disciples. There are many, many stories of people who love Christ who love each other despite who they are – people from different countries who may have hated each other before but with the love of Christ came to love each other. There are lots of stories about how Jesus’ love and instruction have made enemies lose their hatred.  What an amazing world this would be if we all loved each other like Jesus loves us? What animal would you want to snuggle up with? I think I would like to snuggle up with a polar bear or a lion. And what animal would you love to play with? I think I would love to play with a gorilla. What about you? I would like you to do something today that can sometimes be a bit difficult. I want you, in your prayer journal or in a notepad, to write a few names of people you don’t like, maybe people who haven’t been nice to you or people who scare you maybe. Every day pray for those people. I don’t want you to just say their name. I would like you to imagine them in your heads and pray for their families, pray for their health, pray for their happiness but above all I would like you to pray that they would know the love of Jesus and that one day the bad feelings between you will go. And I would like you to make sure that you do this every single day, maybe in the morning, maybe in the evening. And one more thing: When I was younger my brother and I would often fight and fall out; my parents would always make us pray for each other, it didn’t matter how angry I was at him but as soon as I prayed all that hurt and anger would leave me. Sometimes we don’t want to pray for someone because we don’t want to lose that anger, but to be a follower of Jesus – a disciple of Christ – we must fill our lives with his love and that means letting go of anger and hurt. So if you ever go to bed angry at someone, whoever that is, make yourself pray for them – really pray for them – and ask God to help you love them. ❤️❤️❤️ I’ll leave you with this thought – every single thing we do – every word or every action – brings either a bit of the Kingdom of heaven or a bit of evil into the world, – I know which one I would rather bring into the world. I’m sure you do, too

21/05 – Good morning everyone, hope you’re keeping well.
Today’s stories are looking towards the first coming of Jesus – when he was born as a baby (he’ll be coming back again at some point).
Let’s find Isaiah 7:14-15 or p162 in the Spark Bible. This writing is called a prophecy, it is a man (known as Isaiah) telling a King about what God will be doing to his kingdom in the future as a result of what they were doing now (turning away from God – will the Israelites never learn?? 🙄) and so Isaiah tells the king that there will be a virgin (a young girl who has not been married) and that she will have a son and that she will call him Immanuel. This means ‘God is with us’. Let’s fast forward to Luke 1:26-38 or p186 in the Spark Bible. This is the story of when the angel told Mary she was going to have a son, Jesus. You may wonder why he’s called Jesus and not Immanuel?? Well let’s remind ourselves of when we first met Adam and Eve, when Adam (called man) first met Eve he didn’t call her that, he called her woman. It’s only later he calls her Eve. Woman wasn’t her proper name, it’s just who (or what) she was. Jesus was his name but he was Immanuel (God with us). The angel also tells us how special Jesus will be when he tells Mary that Jesus will be called ‘the Son of God’.
So why am I telling you or sharing this with you? It is very important that when we learn about the story of Jesus that we also understand what has been said about him before he turns up on earth. This let’s us understand much more about how important this man is and what he should mean to us. Do we think he is just a man with special powers, or a prophet like Isaiah. He is God in a human body, he is God with us. How completely amazing is this??? Woweeee!!
Why don’t you chat to your mum, dad or other family member about what you know about Jesus, what have you learnt about him. Is there anything else you would like to learn about him or that you are unsure about? Post it on here and I can put together some more stuff to help you all learn more about our shepherd, our saviour, our king – our God!
Spend some time praying, ask God to reveal (show) you who Jesus is and invite Jesus into your life.

20/05 – Good morning everyone, I think today’s story may be very apt, given Jo’s sentiment and how many of us, adults and children, may be feeling at the moment as this lockdown continues.
When I was younger I grew up on a farm, we had an old shepherd who lived in the bungalow with his wife and I loved spending time with them, listening to their memories of when there had been sheep on the farm. The thing that sticks in my mind from all the stories I heard is that being a shepherd is about kindness, compassion, sacrifice and relationships. There was a story about how a lamb was born in cold weather and they put it into the aga (old style oven) for it to warm up, there was a story about an old sheep who used to come into the bungalow with them. Then I have my own memories of a lamb that was on the farm, when I used to go to the gate it would recognise my voice and come bounding over bleating away and it made me feel so happy. So why am I talking about shepherds? Because those are the two stories we are looking at of course! Can you find (and read) Psalm 23 and John 10:1-18 – or stories starting on p158 and 350 from the Spark Bible.
Psalm 23 is probably the most famous of all the Psalms and is one that I strongly recommend everyone learns (even if it’s certain verses to start with). Take time reading the psalm, read each sentence (or verse as they are called in the Bible) and then close your eyes and imagine what that would look or feel like, imagine the calmness and safety that these words are trying to make us feel.
The shepherd always puts his flock, his sheep, first. He fights wild animals to protect them, he knows how each one of them sounds, he knows how they behave, what their personalities are, he knows what they need and he will lead them to it. Jesus tells us that he is this shepherd. He looks after us, he guides us, he protects us, he knows each and every one of us (even more than we know ourselves), he knows what we need and he puts us first. And what should we do? Well what do sheep do? They listen for their shepherd, they watch him and follow him, they trust in him completely. Sure some sheep may wander off the path but the shepherd, Jesus, will always go after them and save them – if they let him. Sometimes we may feel down; maybe we will feel like we haven’t done enough for Jesus or done enough for others; maybe we will feel like we don’t spend enough time with him or we don’t talk to others about him. Let Jesus be your shepherd, let him take these worries away – let him lead you besides calm water and restore your soul, let his rod and staff comfort you. Maybe spend some time lying down (or sit) in a comfortable place – in your bed, on a rug or on the floor, maybe on the grass outside, close your eyes, listen to your breathing, breath deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. As you do this, focus on Jesus being our shepherd, imagine him in front of you, and try and let your worries and any other bad stuff just disappear into the ground. You can talk to each other about what you see and how you feel, maybe share what you think Jesus may be saying to you, or how he’s looking at you. Every time you start feeling worried or sad, close your eyes and imagine the cool grass and calm water and picture Jesus your shepherd calling your name, and let him lift you up. Because did you know that when sheep hurt themselves or struggled and fell behind the flock, the shepherd picks them up and carries them? Jesus will carry us too.
In your prayer journal, or on some paper, draw what you think the green pastures and calm water looks like, maybe draw Jesus our shepherd there, and draw yourself with him. Then underneath write ‘Psalm 23: the Lord is my shepherd’.

19/05 – Good morning everyone, hope you all had a good night’s rest. Today’s stories are very similar and are all to do with something I love – food!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 😂
Can you find 2 Kings 4:42-44 or p144 in the Spark Bible. Here is a man called Elisha who is a prophet of God. A man brings some bread as an offering to God, in fact we are told that the bread is baked from the first ripe grain – and we all know how important those first things are in a sacrifice, don’t we? Well, Elisha doesn’t take the bread as a sacrifice for God; instead he tells the man to give it to the people there – and there were quite a few – can you find out how many? And do you know … at the end everyone was full and there was still bread leftover (12 baskets)!!! (I’m sure they could find room for some dessert like I always can 🤣). Does this story remind you of a New Testament story of Jesus? Well, let’s look at the book of Matthew 14:13-21: now this story is very similar except there are waaaaay more people (5000 men and that doesn’t include the women and children) and only 5 loaves of bread and 2 bits of fish. But Jesus doesn’t care, he doesn’t push them away saying ‘is that the best you can do?’ Oh no he doesn’t; instead he offers the food to heaven (almost like a sacrifice) and gives thanks for it. It’s then shared out to everyone there. And do you know what happened – everyone was full and there were 12 baskets left (like the OT story). As always with Bible stories there are many things we could learn from these stories (so much that our heads would be full and there would still be more to learn 😁) but I would like you think of the food that was first brought to Elisha and Jesus. Although the owners of the food thought it wasn’t much it turned out to be MORE than enough. They offered the little that they had and God used it to help so many people. You may feel like you don’t have gifts or talents, maybe you think that you are too small to be of any help to God’s Kingdom. YOU ARE WRONG!!!! The first thing we learn from the stories is that we must bring what we have (maybe we don’t even know what we have) and we offer it to heaven and give thanks to God for it; we ask him to show us what to do with it, and then without waiting we just start doing something. Maybe it’s being kind to people around us, maybe you have an offering of smiles 😁 maybe you love cooking, maybe you are creative. There are so many things that we have, that we don’t know we have, that God can use, but we must offer ourselves to God and give thanks to him for making us, and for giving us skills and gifts even if we don’t know what they are.
Today I would like you to do something that will help you and your family. It’s something I did in my house a long time ago, find some post-it notes or something similar and write lots of wonderful things down, 1 per bit of paper. Things like ‘you have a beautiful smile’, ‘you are amazing’, ‘God loves you so much’, ‘you are so clever’ and then put them around the house. They can be on mirrors, inside cupboard doors, on the front door or backdoor, anywhere that people will see, as you are sticking them up say thank you to God for each member of your family and thank him for making you YOU!
Psalm 139:14 says ‘I praise you because you made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was!’
Let today be all about feeling good to be us because God made us, each one differently, and each one with our own gifts and skills to serve him. ❤️

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!


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.