Monday, June 24, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1 review Waterbrook & Multnomah Partner

Releasing to the world- June 25, 2019.  A great summer read!

This is my favorite book by this author (Carrie Turnasky) so far! What I really loved was the integration of faith, praying to God in the moment, with the history, the character development, and the relationships of this captivating historical fiction book. The way that Laura, Katie, and Andrew learned and strengthened their ability to depend on God is inspiring and helpful for the reader to have their thinking aloud as a model.

Based on a true story, the characters captivate you, and you hear from a few different characters perspectives throughout the novel, adding to your understanding of what's happening in their lives, and how it deepens their trust in God Now I'm waiting for book #2 to learn of other family members experiences and continue to enjoy the story and also the blessings of good character.

Learning about emigration from England to Canada of the children of poverty, the streets, or bad fortune. Carrie Turansky's newest series gives vivid description, images, and heartfelt emotion to this historical era similar to the US orphan trains. But something I knew nothing about.

This is a great read- and even my children grasp why I couldn't just stop reading at a few different points in the book when I shared why I needed to finish a few more pages- believable events but those that kept you reading. I received an advanced copy of the book from Waterbrook Multnomah thankful to partner and read books in advance.

I don't share a lot of fiction books on my blog because they don't often connect with the whispering the Word theme in our lives. But this book did a great job thinking aloud about faith in life and experiences, and made it a great model for my own heart.  

Mama friends- I read this book in part at the pool.  It's been a long time coming in my life to be able to read fiction, know my kids are safe, and enjoy it.  But when your youngest is nine years old and brings a friend, I don't have to watch her every move at the waterpark, and I was able to read the book.  Your turn is coming too in the years of raising littles and we spread ours out with four years between kids, you too will get to read by the pool again one day.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Niko's Night and Day connections for learning

Concordia has a preview on their website

Here are some questions that connect with the story.

Here are scriptures that fit the story from Luke 15....and the book theme

This is a great book for young children, families, Sunday School. 
Thankful to read a digital ARC. 

Concordia Publishing Partner Review: Niko's Night and Day by Colleen Oakes, Illustrated by Erin Chan


I'm an elementary educator by training and children's ministry passionate director, so a picture book that focuses on God's creation, but is a traditional story of a child's adventure- is so me!!

I have to start with the illustrator's work- as it makes or breaks most books.  This illustrator I love for children and adults.  I can't wait to see a physical book!  The artwork in this book is the first standout point.  I read an e-version so I can't common on the feel of the book. But the images are texture rich, vibrant colors, a contrast that makes the story look almost 3 d on my screen, and warmth endearing animals, home, and nature.

The author's writing style is child friendly.  It has vivid descriptive words to hear and help imagine the tale, uses an adult friendly writing style, with sophisticated sentence structure, yet not too complex for a child to comprehend. The night 'was deep'.  is an example of descriptive words chosen.  It really makes the story come alive as you hear in the language chosen Niko's full experience- as he kisses his cat goodbye when he heads back to the woods.  There are bold words that connect to character, colors, common emotions, sounds of birds, numbers, excitement, and questions, etc.

The story is of opposites, you see images of day and night in his woods, complete with trees, day and night birds, lake, grassy hollow , field, great grandfather rock,  farthest fence post, etc.  You hear Niko's knowledge that God is big, with him, created his woods as well as the difference between day and night, etc.

It's a rich realistic story that could happen to a child, and if you were to read it aloud and not let your audience see the pictures, you could do a lesson on descriptive words, by having them draw each page as you read, and compare how similar they are to each other's because the author used concrete words.  And clearly painted a mental picture.  For a younger crowd, you could use this book to teach adjectives, compare/contrast, mediums of art, as well as the rich biblical lessons that the author clarifies and shares with the reader before the book is over.  Luke 15 lessons on the parables of the lost fits, as well as making notes about how to think about God in life situations, as Niko recognizes he feels small, but His God is bigger, etc.  And pointing out attributes of God.  You could extend the learning by writing a further Niko adventure if the train hadn't been found, what he does in the morning, or adventures with a specific animal or plant/tree, etc.

I'm not sure about the size of the font, it seems small on my screen, and I've had kids with wavy letter fonts not recognize words the same or think they can't read it like it's cursive.  The print a is a typed a, not the normal learning a, and some children's books are written for early readers with large print and matching handwriting a bit more.  Not a pro/con, just something to consider when you choose a book, this isn't one for the little's to read by themselves early on.

I partnered with Concordia to review a e-copy of the book.  As an educator, parent, and kidmin person, this book has great value and if I had kids at this stage of life/learning, would be worthy of my purchasing for my home library.  I love with an author integrates the walking and talking about Who God is-into a traditional book and does it well with fluent style, great transitions, imagery, and images.  It's a quality product.  I will likely give it as a gift.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Waterbrook Multnomah Book Partner: Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn

As we whisper the Word to our children, one way I've found to be walking and talking the Word is to read books that show me how the characters think about God throughout their lives, and this book is a great example and shows thinking that women can identify with about how God is with us.

We are living in a time where we need a haven in life. This is book #1 in the haven makers series. I can't wait for the next one. I've always enjoyed Robin Jones Gunn's story crafting ability, and I love that she writes stories for women across different life seasons.  This story involves Christy and Todd of her well known series- but Christy is not the main character but one of the circle of friends.  

 I found this book to be a place of safety and refuge. It’s a well crafted story told from Emily’s point of view about finding your self, your strength, style, and stronghold in the storms and joys of life. In true Robin Jones Gunn style there were tears of joy and laughter, as well as grief and struggle. This book wove faith and God being present and real in our lives as a theme underlying the characters growth, but not in an overpowering way. 

Other themes were motherhood, female friends, marriage, secondary infertility, finding yourself, relationships with your Mom, and art. This is a great example of why I read, it soothes my soul, and inspires me with new ideas, like a blessing of another as a celebration of a new season of life. Thankful to partner with Multnomah and read an ARC of an author whose Sisterchicks and Glenbrooke Series I had previously read.

Here is a video link of Robin Jones Gunn talking about her inspiration to write this series. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Harvest House Partner Book Review; An Unexpected Hero

Called and Courageous Girls Book Series, new book releasing May

A Bible Story about Rahab, An Unexpected Hero by Rachel Spier Weaver&  Anna Haggard
Illustrated by Eric Elwell

Especially with Children's books- we often judge a book by the cover-- so here is the front and the back.   This hardbound book, has glossy story pages, that are a thick quality,and will be durable for young children's hands. 

Here's a video intro to give you a feel for the artist's style and tone.

Things I liked about the book:

  • Before the story began, the scripture references were shared that mention Rahab.  And it explains that Rahab is a heroine of the Old Testament, and this is the author imagining how the events of the biblical narrative occurred.  
  • Illustration seem realistic and narrate a different time and culture for our current generation who may not be able to imagine a world without technology! The illustrations also help bring the story to life.  
  • Way Rahab's career is explained--"Rahab began spending time with people who didn't really love her and who treated her poorly. She made a lot of bad choices."  Child sensitive but honest. 
  • Rahab's wonders that reveal her thinking-- Could the God of the Israelites love me too?, Would God listen to Rahab? 
  • The way the dialogue and story is told with Rahab having many choices, and processing how her choice could impact her.  As well as the Israelites' God's role in her life.  
  • The story concludes with Rahab discovering that God loved her too, and that she became a part of the greatest Story on Earth- connected to Jesus.  
  • Reflection Questions at the end. Great higher level thinking questions to help children comprehend and apply the knowledge of God in their lives.  
  • Author/Illustrator note at the end of the book- how we celebrate Rahab's courage.  
  • Well written and true to the Biblical narrative, yet embellished to bring it to life.  
  • illustrations are layered and have a 3D element- I like them, but sometimes the faces might be creepy to children, and other pages they are clear and full of emotions. 
  • How the illustrator created them- with digital and traditional mediums.  I wish it told us more about it.  
  • This is my first called and courageous girls book- are the others this good? and well done? I think I may need to find out!
  • Could some of the verses be quoted about Rahab in the text to connect it better? 
I'll leave you with some sample page spreads from the book. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Worship Lesson 10: Worshiping God through the Lord's Supper

Worshipping God with Breaking of Bread
Review last supper (as Jesus initiated)
Teach Word choices for the whole body gathering to remember what Jesus did. Teach preparing
Last Supper Review (Luke 22)
Video link
Laminated images
Read aloud script/Drama

Lord’s Supper  (use ICB bibles)
I Corinthians 11:23-29
Handout choices- lord’s supper what do bread/wine stand for?, Cross/King, Jesus Crown, Word Find
Laminated Activities: Puzzle Picture, Spot the Difference
Take home: 1 Cor 11:26 verse

·         To review that the last supper and Jesus death- started the New Covenant, connected to the Passover,  where we don’t have to make blood sacrifices because Jesus was our Rescuer, shed His blood, and stood in our place (a substitute).  We worship Jesus as King by remembering Him weekly with the emblems He suggested as a local church! 
·         To connect that My King, Jesus, is worthy of my worship because His body was broken for ME! His blood was shed for ME!  He was my substitute- He was my sacrifice once for all!  I love Him and am thankful/grateful- so I respond with Worship! (reoccurring theme)
·         To use and compare the different words for Communion/Lord’s Supper/Breaking of Bread/Time of Remembrance to help understand that they are names used by different people or cultures for the same thing.
·         To discuss the words used for the symbols that Jesus asked us to use to remember his death and give thanks regularly for it. Bread/Cup, Bread/Wine, Symbols or Emblems.  We use these words as labels for the food/drink that represents this.
·         To teach that we are to prepare for remembering the Lord to take in a worthy manner. (for believers only, focused on thinking about Jesus)
·         Worship- to bring honor, assign value, make a priority- God is worthy and deserves our glorifying Him as King!
·         Lord’s Supper, Communion, Breaking of Bread, Eucharist- all names for the Worship time where we remember  AND GIVE THANKS for what Jesus did for us on the cross with His death and resurrection- shedding His blood and sacrificing His broken body as the Lamb of God who forgives our sins- a substitute sacrifice (instead of regularly sacrificing animals.)
·         New Covenant- a new covenant is started with Jesus sacrifice for us.
·         Bread/Cup, Bread/Wine, Emblems or Symbols- the food and drink that we eat (partake) of as we remember what Jesus did.  Sacrament

Choose an attention getter- review, a puzzle, props, drama, etc.. 

Then Review:
Story Card review option- laminated pictures of Luke 22 Last Supper and Script.  Or Drama.
·      What is the Lord’s Supper? An act that symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on the cross for us and our sins- it’s God focused- honoring and remembering His work.
·      Why did Jesus want His disciples to break bread and drink with him? To remember Him and His death on the cross
·      What happened after the Last Supper? Jesus is betrayed by Judas and then is crucified

Discussion questions as you read I Corinthians 11:23-29 (remember kids are literal and need simple clarifications)
·      Does it matter what type of bread or drink we have for itNo, they are just symbols- but we traditionally use bread and fruit of the vine (wine or grape juice, not grape kool aid)
·      Who can take the Lord’s SupperThose who accept the gospel personally- have a relationship with God. 
·      What do we traditionally do when we take the Lord’s Supper?  Remember Him! We use a theme with an opener, bible reading, prayer, singing, then the emblems are passed.
·      How do other churches have Communion? Some go to the front and have a Pastor or Elder directly give you the emblems, others have you take it from a table, many only do it monthly or quarterly.  Each denomination is different.
·      What should we think about as we take the Lord’s Supper? Jesus- Gratitude for His actions Remember what He has done and is doing in our lives.   
·      When do we confess and ask for forgiveness? In preparation—we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, we examine our relationship with God- our week- our connection
·      Should we pray as we take it? Yes- giving thanks- remembering- gratitude. Prayer is talking to God. Telling Him of our love- our devotion- our commitment to knowing Him!
·      Why do you think it’s important that we do the Lord’s Supper? Jesus asks us to! Why do we do it weekly? Remember Him- or we would forget like the Israelites. 
·      How are we to come to the Lord’s Supper? Prepared, having examined our relationship with Christ, confessed our sins, and connected to God (commune).

What are we told to do in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26? ICB
23 The teaching that I gave you is the same teaching that I received from the Lord: On the night when Jesus was handed over to be killed, he took bread 24 and gave thanks for it. Then he broke the bread and said, “This is my body; it is[b] for you. Do this to remember me.” 25 In the same way, after they ate, Jesus took the cup. He said, “This cup shows the new agreement from God to his people. This new agreement begins with the blood of my death. When you drink this, do it to remember me.” 26 Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show others about the Lord’s death until he comes.

What does the Lord ask of us? I Corinthians 11:27-29 ICB
27 So a person should not eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in a way that is not worthy of it. If he does, he is sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone should look into his own heart before he eats the bread and drinks the cup. 29 If someone eats the bread and drinks the cup without recognizing the body, then he is judged guilty by eating and drinking. 
Complete a handout where students write- what the bread and cup stand for- as a closure.

This week’s take away verse: “Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show others about the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Worship Lesson Part 9: Worshiping God through His Word

Worshipping God- the Word
Preaching (Sermon, Message)

Making Jesus my King
2 Timothy

Luke 11:28

Mark 7:6b-7/
Isaiah 29:13
Psalm 9:1
Worship definition, what did those who recognized Jesus as God make Him? King.
Is He your King too?
-highlight Psalm 95- in class or as take home- how and who we are worshipping
-Christ is King Word Find
-Cross/King Folding and Coloring
-Jesus Crown Coloring

Teacher Notes:
Review Worship: could be thought of as “Worth Ship” to bring assign worth or value to. We assign value and worth to God for Who He is, and to Jesus for Who He is and What He has done. 
Could be thought of as to honor, revere, praise. A simple way to think about WORSHIP of God- to give glory & praise, honor to God.  When we are seeking God with our whole hearts, we are able to remember and CELEBRATE who God is.  On our own and each week in the Lord’s Supper. 
We worship God because of Who He is.  Our focus is on God and the Lord Jesus and who they are, what Jesus has done for us, and we respond with praise the comes from our hearts overflowing with gratitude. 
How does making Jesus my King connect to Worship? (new concept for this week)
·         We love Him. We delight (take pleasure) in Him.  (Command- Mark 12:30 Love the Lord Your God- heart, soul, and mind or in kid terms- Love God Most).
·         We choose Him to be our Authority (in charge person) to follow His commands/Obey
·         We want to celebrate, bring honor, treasure Him. (Cheer, applaud, sing, treat with importance or priority)
·         We honor him as a King- we bow down and worship Him for who He is, what He has done.
·         We know Him intimately- He is our best friend and we love to spend time in prayer, in His Word, and celebrating Him with song, adoration, praise, prayer, learning more about Him.
·         Worship is our life.  It includes: The Word, Praise/Adoration, Giving Thanks, Singing, Giving, Serving, Loving God and bringing glory to Him.  (making God look God). 
·         Worship must be done in Spirit (emotions/heart) and Truth (knowledge/head)- John 4:24
·         Worship in truth is done by knowing the Word of God (Bible) by being taught the Word of God.
·         We respond in worship after hearing, studying, meditating on the Bible because we know God better. 

What is the goal of worship? (newish concept)
bringing glory to God for Who He is or to make God look good.   God’s our priority, treasure. It’s Vertical or Up worship and it’s all about God and who He is, not horizontal or point to self and all about me.  We take delight (please Him greatly) in Him- He makes us smile- we are happy, excited, giddy to celebrate who He is.  We are created for worship.  It is our life (Romans 12)

How do we worship together as a local church?
·         Call to Worship » Calls us to seek after, worship and draw near to God » Vertical focus on God
Could be a song, scripture, prayer- but it will focus on God.  Anchor will open with scripture. 
·         Praise and Adoration » Directed to God or about His character » Expressions of love, trust, praise and thanksgiving » Focuses on attributes of God from the lesson Teaching »
·         Prayer- giving thanks or praise to God, who He is, He has done, Remembering Him
·         Singing- together bringing the focus to GOD and who He is- as one voice.  Must be songs of Truth. 
·         Word/Teaching- scripture reading, message or sermon, reading on your own your Bible. Learning about who God is through His Word and the History- alone, with direction of the speaker or pastor or elder who has prepared to help you know God better through His Word, by understanding the setting, people, place, concepts, teaching new vocabulary words, context, etc. 
·         Remembering Him and what He has done for us as He commanded- Lord’s Supper, Communion, Breaking of Bread (all names for the same thing)

·         most important command is to love God most of all (Mark 12:30)
·         We show God our love with Worship. 
·         We must worship in spirit (heart/emotions) and truth (head/knowledge).
·         We worship by knowing Him better- and we know Him through His Word the Bible. 
·         Preaching is a way to worship God in truth- hearing from the Word of God passionately.
·         Review: God calls His people to remember Him—to not forget what He has done- and we need to keep learning about Him so that we know Who He is- and REMEMBER. 

Review: what do you know about Worship? About Jesus as King? About who Jesus is? About who God is?

Kid Concept: How do I make Jesus my King?  (a way of loving Him the Most! And not forgetting)
·         Show Him love, honor, praise, bowing down, celebration, making Him look good, serving Him,…
·         Every Knee will bow- tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord.

·         Glorify God by Knowing Him: To make God look Good- I need to know Him.  His Word the Bible- is His letter to me.  So I need to learn about Him by reading, studying, being taught, and meditating on the Bible.  And when I know Him- my heart is full and I long to worship Him! 
·         Preaching, Message, Sermon- all the same word and meaning—Synonyms.  Defined: Hearing from God’s Word.
·         Preach= Herald, Announce, Proclaim (like the Town Crier did for a King- public exultation over good news/truth) and Jesus is My King, bringing the best news of eternal life!!
·         Why do we need preaching (teaching, sermon…) Why not just read the Bible on my own? Word of God
·         What does God say about preaching?  
·         Worship in Spirit and Truth (John) – the Word helps us See God and allows us to Savor Him. (enjoy)
o    Emotions and Knowledge
2 Timothy 3:16-17 …. Have all he needs for good work.
·         ICB: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching and for showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching how to live right. 17 Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be ready and will have everything he needs to do every good work.
·         ESV 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
What does God say about preaching?
2 Timothy 2:15- Using the truth of God correctly      (awana verse)
·         ICB: 15 Do the best you can to be the kind of person that God will approve, and give yourself to him. Be a worker who is not ashamed of his work—a worker who uses the true teaching in the right way.
·         ESV15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  (approved means being tested)
2 Timothy 4:1-5 Preach the Word!  Emphasis verse 2.
·         ESV I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
·         ICB 4:2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times. Tell people what they need to do, tell them when they are wrong, and encourage them. Do these things with great patience and careful teaching.
Luke 11:28
·         ESV “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
·         ICB 28 But Jesus said, “Those who hear the teaching of God and obey it—they are the ones who are truly blessed.”

Why is the preaching of the Word so important? …. Review last semester’s discussion of the Word- the Word is God- the Word is Jesus- The Word is the Bible- God’s message to us- His love story.
·         Worship-In Spirit and Truth (twofold) always understanding with the mind (truth) and feeling with the heart (spirit) .Piper calls it: Seeing God and Savoring God.   Expository and Exultation-
·         Preaching-“faithful exposition of God’s Word”  exposition is telling about.  Passionately- in spirit and truth!

How do I respond to the teaching of the Word?
Choice:  Mark 7: 6b-7 or Isaiah 29:13
·         ICB ‘These people show honor to me with words. But their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is worthless.  The things they teach are nothing but human rules they have memorized.
·         ESV “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
Choice: Psalm 9:1
·         ICB I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.     I will tell all the miracles you have done.
·         ESV I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

Handout Created: (in class or take home)
Today we will practice worshipping God by studying His Word. 
Psalm 95:1-7  What does it say about who God is?  Highlight that. 
What does it tell me about how to respond? Underline that.  First Verse is done for you. 
95 Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord.
    Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.
Let’s come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let’s sing songs to him.
The Lord is the great God.
    He is the great King over all gods.
The deepest places on earth are his.
    And the highest mountains belong to him.
The sea is his because he made it.
    He created the land with his own hands.
Come, let’s bow down and worship him.
    Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us.
He is our God.
    And we are the people he takes care of
    and the sheep that he tends.
I count 7 things for us to do. 
I count 11 lines that tell us about God. 

Are these ways that you can show honor, praise, worth, value to your King? For His gifts to you. Yes they are! 

Notes for the teacher to consider: Theological Matters Preaching is Worship
Quotes:  Preaching is re-presenting the God of the Word by faithfully explaining how He represented Himself in a way that we are lost in ever wonder, love, and praise of God. If worship is the missing jewel of the church, then preaching is its setting; a setting by that its theological parameters so that God can be glorified and worshiped to the highest. Jesus said in John 4 that true worship was to worship Him in spirit and in truth. I think applied to preaching that means at least three things.
 First of all it means that preaching as worship must always be God-focused. Preaching is the act in which we explain the text of Scripture, and in the explanation of Scripture the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ points to Jesus, and Jesus always points to the Father. Preaching in its essence is a Trinitarian act. Second, preaching must always be text-driven. Preaching is not invention it is proclamation. Third, preaching can never showcase man. Someone said no one can at once think the preacher is clever and at the same time think God is mighty to save.
Notes for the teacher to consider: Desiring God the Place of Preaching in Worship  info adapted from.