Finding the gospel in “The paper dolls” by Julia Donaldson

Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson

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This is a beautiful story about a little girl and her mum who make some paper dolls and go on an adventure. When the paper dolls are dramatically chopped up by a boy the book gives hope that they still live on in the memory of the little girl and when she grows up she then passes on the legacy of paper dolls to her daughter.

As well as being a great story to read (with bits to sing too!) it made me think of our family legacy and what we pass on to our children. The most wonderful gift my parents gave me was telling me the gospel and introducing me to Jesus. Not just using words but also through the action of love.

Activities

    1. Making paper dolls.
    Meet the family. We cut out and coloured a paper doll for each member of the family.

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2. Clay pots

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I followed this link from Pinterest to make some air dried clay and made a pot. I explained to the kids how it says in the Bible that Jesus is the potter and we are the clay. The more we allow Him to mould and shape us into the people He wants us to be, the more we become like Jesus.

http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/03/clay-recipe.html

3. Legacy
Sometimes I get caught up in the every day hum drum of washing, cooking, getting the kids to school routine and can to be honest feel a bit of a failure for not keeping on top of things or for shouting at the kids.  When I started to think about legacy I thought of some of the positive things I would like and hope the kids to remember about growing up. Some of the things that came to mind were cuddles, Walks in the woods, love of birds, and the great outdoors.

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4. Missionary books

We we have collected some of this series of books about famous Christians. All of my children have enjoyed reading or listening to them. It has been a great way of introducing the idea of mission and the amazing legacy these men and women left when they chose to live their lives telling other people about Jesus.

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5. DVD – The adventures of Toby – Crunch time.

http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-adventures-of-toby-crunch-time/full-movie

This is a great short film about a boy called Toby who learns that his the thing he desires most is not his greatest treasure – Jesus is. Really good lesson on building character with Jesus.

Thoughts

There are a few words to describe me but sporty is probably not one of them. However, as you will see from this short clip, with my hubby’s expert tuition I appear to have a great golf swing (what the clip doesn’t show is the many times before that where I missed the ball altogether).

5ad0d29b175e0d452e589595cd749c46.mp4

Andy said that each time you swing your golf club you are aiming to have the same swing technique. Apparently the reason you have different types of golf clubs is so that you can assess which one is best for each shot. Your club may change but your swing technique remains the same. Anyway this got me thinking about the gospel and how it is central to everything we do and to who we are as Christians.

Earlier this year a wonderful man in our church family who was a faithful servant of God lost his lengthy battle with cancer. He was a man of integrity who loved Jesus and loved his family. I remember our minister Sandy explaining what the word integrity meant. He said the word comes from the Greek word “integra” meaning “without cracks” and explained the process of clay jar being formed into shape. Before firing in the oven or furnace as it was then, the pots would all look the same. However, once they had been through the fire the potter would hold them up to the light and the ones that had impurities would have cracks. Held up to the light of Gods perfection all of us have impurities. We can’t fix ourselves.

I am challenged daily about living a life of integrity, especially in the way i live at home. I need to remind myself that character shows up not when we are at the front of the church or in the limelight or even with friends. C.S Lewis describes integrity as “doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” Our character shows up in the many small choices we make each day. When things are going well but particularly when we face the fiery trials of life, when no one is there to see the good or the not so good things we do or think.

Whether we are missionaries in a foreign land, working 9-5 or looking after our children our true identity can only be found “in Christ”. Whether baby christians or those who have known Jesus for years we need to hold to the promise that we belong in Him not because of anything we have done or will do but because, only because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

As Christians God does not look at us and see our failures or shortcomings or even our achievements and accomplishments but as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” God looks at us and sees Jesus. Amazing!

Trust v fear

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Chapter 13 – The Warrior Leader

Activities

1. Communion

I wanted to give a bit of background to the story of Jericho. I used the family App from the gospel project which I would thoroughly recommend. The Joshua series is called “Life in the land”.

The Gospel Project for Kids Family App by LifeWay Christian Resources
https://appsto.re/gb/fdRDH.i

One of the videos in the App shows the Israelites crossing the river Jordan. At the end of each clip in the gospel project they point out the connection to the gospel. After the Israelites crossed the Jordan river they made an alter with 12 stones to remember what God has done for them.

As it happens our minister Sandy Weddell was preaching about communion that week.  He relayed the story of Gullivers travels written by Jonathan Swift and how in the book the author was criticising the church, who were caught up in endless arguing about whether the bread and wine were actually Jesus’ flesh and blood. In Gullivers travels the two kingdoms are at war with each other because they couldn’t agree about how best to eat an egg. One side said it should be eaten from the top down and the other said from the bottom up. Sandy pointed out the key for them was not about about how to eat an egg but just to enjoy the egg. He said “The key to communion is that you must meet Jesus in the breaking of bread”.

As a family we talked about communion, read the verses from Matthew and had communion together. We thanked God for everything he had taken away from us like our sin etc and for everything he has given us, especially the blessing of being in His family.

2. Hide and seek

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We went to the local park and played a variation of hide and seek called “capture the flag” I got the idea from Pinterest. See link below. The kids loved it. On the way back I told the story of the spies and how Rahab believed in God and had hidden the spies and how God was faithful to her and her family by saving them after the fall of Jericho.

http://www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk/activities/playing-things/capture-the-flag-game/

3. Veggietales battle of Jericho

A fun and silly version of the fall of Jericho

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yDpM_j1MZG8

4. Trumpets

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We made some trumpets and talked about the story and how God was going to fight for His people. They had to trust Him and obey the instructions.

5. Tower drama

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We built a tower of cushions in the living room. Then using our trumpets we marched around the “cushion Walls” of Jericho. The first 6 times we went round very quietly and Jacob insisted we have a sleep at the end of each day. He then played Joshua and led us round the city 7 times. On the 7th time round (feeling rather dizzy) he shouted “Shout for the Lord has given us the city”. They then had great fun making as much noise as possible and jumping on the cushions.

6. Picture frame

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As usual I got this idea on Pinterest. We made a picture frame in the shape of a house with the words “As for me and my family we will serve the Lord”, Joshua 24:15

7. Meaning of names

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At the beginning of the story “The warrior leader” Sally Lloyd Jones explains that the name Joshua means “the Lord saves”. She ends the chapter by pointing out that although Gods people didn’t manage to keep their promises, God still had a plan to save His people.

We looked up on Google what all of our names meant and Esther and I made a bookmark of her name.

Poached egg house

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I got this idea from “Bake through the Bible” by Sarah Bentley Taylor and Bekah Moore and adapted it to make beans on toasts houses for those who weren’t so keen on eggs. Talked to the kids about how God promised His people a new home and that God always keeps his promises.

Thoughts

Like many households across the land ours is filled with the songs from Disneys “Frozen”. In the song “Let it go” the main character Elsa reaks havok and destruction when she unleashes her powers. In one of the lines she says “there’s so much fear…”. Although we may not set off an eternal winter when we are fearful we can, even as Christians be controlled by fear. Some of the things that we can allow to control and debilitate us are fear of the future, money, job situations, relationships, what people think of us. When we allow fear to control us this can lead to making bad choices to try and control our situations. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul challenges the church saying;

“God gave us his Spirit. And the Spirit doesn’t make us weak and fearful. Instead, the Spirit gives us power and love. He helps us control ourselves.”

In the story of Joshua and the Israelites defeating the city of Jericho Gods people made a choice NOT to fear but to trust and obey God. This was probably one of the highest points for Gods people as they chose to obey Gods’ commands and not to give in to fear. One thing this required, was patience. They needed to wait for Gods instructions, and obey them as strange as they seemed. The Israelites held onto the promise of Gods faithfulness to them. They had relied and depended on Him for 40 years in the wilderness. They knew they could trust Him to deliver on His promises.

It is sacrificial love in the film that overcomes fear and this is also true of our Christian lives too. In 1 John 4:17-18 the apostle John says;

“Love is fulfilled among us when in this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. Instead, perfect love drives away fear”

But how do we become like Jesus, surely not by our own efforts. Sometimes we can find it hard to even be nice or show acts of kindness to our friends and family never mind our enemies. We can’t just look to Jesus as an example to follow, we need to know Him, spend time in His presence and allow Him to work through us by trusting Him in every area of our lives.

We, like Joshua and the Israelites have a choice to make each day. Do we choose to trust in our faithful God whose love never ends or do we look to our circumstances and choose to fear. In Joshua’s final speech to Gods people he reminded them of Gods faithfulness and goodness. He then challenged them saying;

“So have respect for the Lord. Serve him…. But suppose you don’t want to serve him. Then choose for yourselves right now whom you will serve. You can choose the gods your people served east of the Euphrates River. Or you can serve the gods of the Amorites. After all, you are living in their land. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14 – 15)

Owl babies

Owl babies “worry” story sack

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Activities

Worries give away

“Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)
At the start of the new term there are usually few anxieties starting nursery and school. One of the mums at Bible study had a great idea that before her daughter goes into school they talk about her worries. Her daughter then hands over all of her worries which she puts in her pocket promising to flush them down the toilet. Our ever wise group leader suggested we could also say that we can give our worries to Jesus. This along with a few songs (see below) and lots of cajoling has been a great idea and has encouraged my daughter to chat about feelings as well as giving her something tangible to do.

Owl baby picture

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Fairly self explanatory really. We used a bit of glue to stick down some grass, leaves, twigs and feathers then got a sponge and painted the owls, stars, beaks and feet (forgot about wings). While she was painting we talked about how the owl babies were worried about their mum not coming back. Lastly we added the googly eyes. The different sizes for older, middle and younger owl was Esther’s “unique” idea!

Books

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Story of Jesus calming the storm (most children’s bible books have this story. I like Nick Butterworth’s version, “A mouse’s tale” written from a mouse’s perspective. Great for preschool. We added in a bit of noise and action using a rainmaker when telling the story.

Bird feeders

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I read out the verse from Matthew 6:25-26 (See below) to all the kids and reminded them Jesus told his followers not to worry, that He was interested in every part of their lives and would provide for all their needs.

We then made some bird feeders. I used the recipe from RSPB for the big feeder and we also made some shapes and put a hole at the top to put string through to hang up. We wanted to share the love for birds around so gave some away to granny and neighbours.

Kids songs

DVDs

http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-adventures-of-toby-monsters-and-me/full-movie

“The adventures of Toby – Monsters and me”
This is a great animation featuring Toby who is frightened to go to bed after watching a scary movie. He meets up with Jesus who gives him a special gun that fires words, but not any words. They fire verses from the word of God. Great!

Verses to “preach” to yourself when anxious;

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Thoughts

One of my Dads favourite jokes about worry is; “There once was a man who just couldn’t stop worrying. One day he met his friend Bill who said he didn’t worry about anything. ‘How do you do that?’ he asked. ‘Well’ said Bill, ‘I pay someone to worry for me’. The man replied ‘That’s fantastic, how much does that cost?’. Bill replied ‘It costs £1,000 per week.’. The man was taken aback and asked ‘How on earth can you afford that Bill?’ to which Bill responded ‘I can’t, but I let him worry about that!’

My 3 year old has just started nursery and their first topic was based on the book “Owl babies” by Martin Waddell. The story is about 3 baby owls who are anxious about their mother who has gone away. As I was scrolling Pinterest for ideas on the theme I came across some bible related activities on anxiety that gave me some ideas for a story sack.

One of my recent challenges has been how to “pray the scriptures” and at a bible study recently we were looking at Psalm 3 written by David who is running for his life as his son Absolom has made a claim for the throne. He is scared, downcast and disheartened. BUT like the other psalms of David he chooses to trust in God.

The bible is full of people who worried. A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a church where the pastor was talking about Hagar in Genesis 16 and how God not only hears prayers, He also intervenes. Often, like with Hagar He throws us back into the midst of difficulty with renewed strength and the knowledge that He is with us. The pastor pointed out that David describes God in Psalm 23 as his Good Shepherd, leading him beside still waters and restoring his soul. Importantly David also recognises that “the valley of the shadow of death” is not actually the wrong route. Jesus Himself promised us that in this world we will have trouble. But rather than leaving us hopeless He encourages us to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). In the midst of our trouble, He is there.