Have you ever watched the setting of the sun at the beach?
It is such a beautiful site.
We spent a November evening on a North Carolina beach watching the sun go down.
The Fall air was cool and crisp, but we didn’t let that hinder our joy.
There is something very special and exciting about being at the water’s edge.
The colors in the sky were beautiful!
The smell of the ocean and the sensation of breathing in the salty air is a completely different experience than our day to day experience. If feels energizing, like it is renewing something inside the body and the mind.
I could watch the ocean and sky for hours and never get tired of the view.
The sand feels amazing and was cool to the touch. We collected some seashells along the beach.
We saw a flock of pelicans flying above us.
Even though it was chilly, we decided to get our feet wet.
We tried to catch the waves coming into the shore.
The waves and the pull of the under tow current were quite powerful and knocked us off our feet several times.
One fella didn’t want to get wet. He said it was too cold.
But the rest of the group was eager to get wet from head to toe even though we only agreed to get our “feet” wet.
Even though the water was cold and the current was strong, I enjoyed getting my feet in the water too. The waves kept a constant rhythm with perfect timing.
It felt so peaceful.
We enjoyed an evening walk on the beach and walked to a fishing peer not far from where we played.
The sun set was stunning behind the peer.
It gave the appearance of a glowing fire off in the distance.
The fishing peer went out so far and then was blocked at the end. It seemed as if the peer would have gone further, but perhaps had been lost in a storm.
Even though a major hurricane, Hurricane Matthew, had come through days earlier, the rest of the peer was still in good standing and many folks were using it for fishing and enjoying the evening.
I loved the contrast of the peer and the evening sky and ocean waves.
You could sense the determination of this peer to withstand whatever the elements of nature could beat it with.
The structure seemed to rebel against the constant waves, the salty air, and the gusts of wind.
The setting sun was gorgeous! It peered through the dark clouds sandwiched between the sky and the water.
This experience reminds us of what it might of been like at the beginning. The bible talks about the beginning.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.”
Looking away from the sun, in the opposite direction, the sky and the water seemed to be a reflection of each other, a matching blue that seemed to go on forever.
But looking towards the sunset, the colors were vibrant and seemed layered like a rainbow that had been deconstructed.
Sitting above the waves, felts as if we were sitting on them. Resting on the benches of the peer was a special experience.
The peer puts you out on the water, away from the shore.
Though you are sitting still, everything around you is in motion and has a rhythm of it’s own. Everything is moving with a beat, the water, the sky, the salty air on your face, and the sound it all makes has a nourishing rhythm that feeds the soul.
All your senses are enhanced and focused on the beat, the soothing sound of the moving water and the amazing colors of the sky.
After we watched the sun set, we walked up the beach a little bit further for some food. Later we came back outside to watch the beach in the darkness.
We sat on the steps of a small gazebo looking out over the water. It was so peaceful.
A long way out, there was a small twinkle of light from ships on the water.
We could also see the lights of the fishing peer reflect on the water.
But otherwise, we could no longer depend on our eyes to understand our environment. We could not see the sky, and we could not see the water, we could only sense they were still there in the darkness.
Instead of using our eyes, we tuned our ears to the sounds of the night. All we could hear was the familiar sound of the waves hitting the beach in a soothing rhythm. It was peaceful.
The older kids and I wanted to stay outside all night, but the younger kids and daddy were getting sleepy, so it was time to head inside. Bedtime seemed to come too quickly, yet we welcomed the end of this day feeling relaxed and renewed.
We definitely want to experience the sun setting on the beach again soon.
If you would like to motivate and encourage your kids to learn stories from the bible, I would encourage you to read Bible stories with your kids and make the stories into Unit Studies. Unit Studies are cross-curricular and subjects (such as math, history, art, science, language, etc) follow a central theme and are adaptable so they are great for teaching all ages.
For example, if you are learning about apples, all the curriculum subjects will have an apple theme. You might do apple math, or apple science, or apple history, or write a poem about apples, etc. Unit Studies are hands on, they can be as simple or specialized as you design them to be, and they help children retain what they have learned. You can teach preschool, elementary, middle and high school all at the same time by varying the level of difficulty of the worksheets, experiments, and reading materials.
This school year we are doing lots of Unit Studies with a bible story theme. Each Unit Study is different, with different themes, but they all center around a theme that came from the bible. For example, if we are learning about musical instruments, we might choose the ones found in the bible, or if we are learning about castles or fortresses, then we can choose a story or few stories in the bible that mention this and then build on our learning about the history and construction of fortresses. Perhaps we want to learn about the eyes and we focus on sight and the brain, calculate vision, learn about colors and light, the disease of blindness, and the miracles of healing sight of the blind that Jesus did.
If you have younger kids, an easy teaching resource like the illustrated The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz is a wonderful way to get started. It contains 90 Bible stories at an affordable price of $16.99. They also have The Beginner’s Bible Website for families and teachers to use with lots of coloring pages and activities for free to compliment the stories you are reading.
A quick search on the interenet will provide you with lots of other ideas you can add to your Unit Study as you build it such as more free printables, lesson plans, craft and recipe ideas, etc. and you can use many of the printables to create lapbooks or keepsake notebooks of their projects too.
The stories in The Beginner’s Bible are written in a simple to understand way and include colorful illustrations that engage the kids and keep their interest. So I wanted to use this as the foundation of the Unit Study learning projects and built additional materials I found into our learning adventure.
Jesus Rescues the Lost Unit Study & Lapbook
We took advantage of all of the free printables and suggested activities from The Beginner’s Bible Website. They have lot of resources to choose from including two FREE sample curriculum lesson plans. They sell a curriculum kit too. We do not have the kit, but the free lesson plans give you a great teaching format to use to build your own lessons.
I printed out the free lesson plan called “Jesus Rescues the Lost” and created our own unit study. These resources are made especially for The Beginner’s Bible and help kids understand the stories and truths even more as the activities engage more of their senses (listening, coloring, drawing, eye hand coordination, decision making, etc) in a hands on way.
I made a “Bible Teaching Binder” for myself, and a “Bible Lapbook” for the kids with all of these wonderful free printables. On the front of the binder I put the suggested reading schedule. Inside the binder I put the printalbes and any lesson plans I find or create myself.
I keep all of the Unit Study and Lapbook materials in a basket, with pencils, crayons, markers, glue, etc with our Bible so we can easily set this up for our learning time each day. I also put in any other resources we will be using that relates to the story such as a science experiment, crafts supplies, recipes we will make and other activities, and other books related to the subject we are learning. There are lots of varieties of ways you can set this up easily so if you don’t like the basket idea, then you could put the printables in folders or daily workboxes or use another method that works in your home.
My binder is huge and will hold all the lesson plans from the Unit Studies I create using The Beginner’s Bible. I added dividers to help me stay organized. I kept the first section inside the binder for the Unit Study we are currently working on. This is where I put a copy of the free lesson plan “Jesus Rescues the Lost” in my teaching binder. The lesson came with 8 pages of free lesson plans! Next, I added in various coloring pages and other printables and craft ideas and directions. I will use the additional sections in the binder the same way for more lesson plans as we create more bible themed studies. I plan to have about a years worth of plans in the binder by the time we are finished. The kids will have completed about 30 Unit Studies and 30 Lapbooks by the time we are finished.
The “Jesus Rescues the Lost” Lesson Plan suggested reading three of the stories from The Beginner’s Bible and watching a video, a list of several “Bible Verses” to read from a regular Bible, and a “Memory Scripture Verse” for the kids to memorize, as well as a helpful “Teaching Point” to focus the lesson on. The lesson plan provided me with a master supply list for activities, and suggested optional supplies for craft projects (we made sheep puppets and a shepherd staff), printouts, and a skit for the kids to act out with props, and a take home family page. You could spend a week on this lesson, or take three weeks while focusing on understanding one story each week.
The Unit Study in Action
Jesus Rescues the Lost Unit Study based on the illustrated stories in The Beginner’s Bible and the free lesson plan and suggested printables from the website:
Bible Reading and Speaking:
Read 3 bible stories outloud: “The Lost Sheep“; The Good Samaritan“; and “The Lost Son“.
Audio Video Observation:
Watched the Free Video for Lesson Plan#23 Jesus Rescues the Lost.
Watched a video about the modern life of sheep in Idaho. This video goes over many different things such as economics, land management, herd management, wool, and contains interviews with the sheep farmers too.
Learned about the history of shepherding sheep.
Counting: Younger kids counted cotton balls to represent sheep’s wool.
Graphing: Older kids learned to make a graph that followed the sale price of sheep over a period of time. They also made a graph for the lambs showing the amount of food the sheep eats compared to the rate of growth.
Learned the major body parts of sheep.
We found this worksheet on Page 23 of a 4H manual we found online and it has worksheets for different animals.
Practice writing pages. Here my youngest son is practicing the letter “P” from the story of “The Lost Son” about the prodigal son who wasted his inheritance and ended up in a pig pen and later returned to his father who welcomed him home.
Additional letters to practice are: J (Jesus), R (rescue, redeem), L (lost), I (inheritance), H (healing), S (Samaritan, shepherd, save, and sheep).
We also practices spelling the word “sheep” with this printable.
Colored print out pages from The Beginner’s Bible website that correspond to the stories we read. In this picture, my daughter is coloring a page from the story “The Lost Sheep”.
Created paper sheep puppets with printouts included. You can glue cotton balls onto the sheep (younger kids can practice counting the cotton balls) and put construction paper on the back and attached to a popsicle stick, and the children can hold onto the stick to retell the story. You can also glue the printout to a toilet paper roll and that helps the sheep stand up on their own.
We used two folders and some glue and created a Jesus Rescues the Lost Bible Story Lapbook to store their finished learning activities. If we continue to create lapbooks like this for the entire illustrated Bible, combining two or three stories per lapbook, the kids will have 30+ Bible Unit Studies and Lapbooks for the year.
The last step in our learning adventure of Jesus Rescues the Lost, was to create a Lego sheep and shepherd diorama and use them to retell the bible story of Jesus (the shepherd) looking for the lost sheep (us).
Building with Legos or other building blocks to create scenes from a story you have read is so much fun.
I hope to have time for the older boys create a movie with these props they made where they can record their own retelling of the story. They love to make stop motion animation movies with Legos. We ran out of time to make the movie, but I hope we have it completed soon for a followup story.
Optional ideas to include in this Unit Study are:
Field Trip ideas: take a field trip to a sheep and goat farm.
Crafts and activities ideas: that would make this project lots of fun such as make a donkey, horse, pigs, a farm, a special ring, a shepherd staff, create a money bag, etc. Older kids would have fun creating (sewing or crafting) costumes to use to retell one of the stories. Perhaps they could also wear the costume and retell the story to a homeschool coop class or at a family gathering.
Math ideas: you could practice counting sticks to make a fence or pig pen, or count money in a money bag. Perhaps they could figure out a pretend hospital bill for services and supplies used for the injured man.
Science and Health ideas: You could also learn about health by making a first aid kit or herbs for healing supplies to care for the wounds of the injured man and nurse him back to health. You could learn about bacteria and healing wounds and learn the feed rations, nutrition, and digestion for pigs, sheep, and horses.
Cooking: You could also throw a feast and serve guests to represent the father welcoming home the prodigal son. You could research meals that were served to back in bible times to include in your feast. You could wear the costumes you made or decorate the table with the crafts and props you made.
There are so many fun ways to create a Unit Study with this illustrated Bible as the central foundation for your themes. I am very pleased with how this has turned out and I think this is a wonderful way to learn. I think Unit Studies and Lapbooks are a special way for kids to share what they have learned, and store the worksheet pages they have completed.
I’m spending time reflecting on this past year, as 2016 winds down and 2017 begins. It has been a busy year. Many goals have been met, and some left unmet, as life events have come and gone.
Normally at this time of year, I spend time prioritizing and writing goals and setting new routines for the year ahead. I still have much left over from last year that I want to achieve in this coming year. It would be easy to feel disappointed. But if I allowed myself to be disappointed in areas I see a lack of progress, it would be non-productive at this point.
I can’t be disappointed that I didn’t get it all done, because truly no one can do it all. It is a lie to believe that you can do everything you want to do. Unless you are financially wealthy, there is a reality for most people that puts some boundaries and financial limitations on goals. No one knows what tomorrow may bring or what next week or next month will look like. We can try to shape the future, setting goals and new routines, but the truth is that the future is not 100% within our control.
If you are discouraged about a lack of progress toward your goals, don’t let it get you down. Your value is not in the goals you achieve or don’t achieve. Your value is not in the amount of money you earn. Your value is not even in what other’s think of you. Look for your answers in God’s word, the bible.
Your true value is what God says about you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He was there when you were knitted together. He knows every hair on your head. He knows what you need before you do. He is always there ready to assist you in the challenges you walk through in life.
I have come to learn that the true measure to look at your life with is what Jesus said. Everything about life and eternity is summed up in his words. If you want to know the truth, FOCUS on the words of Jesus in the scriptures and I promise it will change your whole entire perspective!
Jesus taught us to pray this prayer with complete trust in Father God:
“Our Father, who are in heaven,
Hollowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done.
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation.
Deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
Amen!” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Don’t Worry Be Happy!
I am thankful my life is 100% in the hands of God the Father, and I don’t have to worry about the future. I am thankful that HE knows the future and I can trust Him completely even though I do not know the day or hour of events in my own life until they happen.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek.
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:24-34)
I am thankful for the new year ahead. I am thankful for new beginnings, and I am thankful that I am totally secure in spending eternity with God through salvation in his son Jesus who gave his life for me and rescued me from sin and eternal damnation. I have hope and I have a future in HIM!
I am ready for the new beginnings that Father God ordains for my life. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I am not the author of my story. I am not my own god. He wrote the story and he knows it from start to finish, and I trust him with my life completely.
I encourage you today to pray to Father God, to lay down your worries, and trust him with your life, your goals, your desires, and trust him with all of your new beginnings too.
I want to encourage you today to keep going and not give up. Whatever struggle you may be facing in your life, trust your life in God’s hands and believe in his son Jesus. Believe God is in control, and he can reach you right where you are at, believe that he wants a wonderful future for you and he will protect and guide you when you put your life and your hope in him.
Circumstances do not define who you are and are not an indicator of your value. People’s opinions don’t define you either. Instead of these thoughts, only allow what God your creator says about you to define you. His written word, the bible, says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says he has a hope and a future for you and he will direct your path when you seek his counsel. He will answer you when you call on him, and he will show you many things that you did not know.
We are stewards of what we have been given. We need to be good stewards of these gifts no matter what the circumstance looks like. Some people have been given more, and some less. But no matter how much we have been given, we can be the best stewards of it today. Because when we care for what we have, even if it is very little, we multiply the blessings it produces.
Perhaps all we have in our ability today is to choose to have joy. That is HUGE! By choosing joy, you will see it multiply for yourself and it will multiply in the lives of those around you. This simple choice can bring huge blessings into your life and give you a lot of hope beyond measure even in the toughest situations. Being joyful is contagious and it can change the way we feel and the way others feel who come in contact with us.
Even if the only thing we have control over is the body we live in, we can choose to be the best steward of that body as we can be, and we will reap a blessing. We are given one body to live in. We each have different gifts and talents, but we are similar to each other in that we have a body, and it is fragile at the same time it is strong. We can learn to be good stewards of this body and multiply the blessings in our health and our emotions.
How can you be a good steward of your physical body? We can learn how to nourish it, rest it, challenge it, strengthen it, and care for it. We can be good stewards of our body, multiply the blessings, and overcome limitations, illness, neglect, and injuries, and be the best we can be.
Perhaps all that we have today is a loaf of bread, then we can share it and see the blessing multiply in another person’s life too.
Hope, Faith, and Blessings
There is a story in the bible about a widow who only had a little flour and oil left to make one meal of bread for herself and her sons. There had been a long drought and everyone was out of grain and out of money and she knew that their life was over and there was no hope of any food even in the near future because there was no rain to plant and grow any future crops and no money to buy food even if anyone had some to share.
So in desperation she planned her last meal. But in the midst of her despair, God heard her and sent a messenger, a prophet of God. He told her to go ahead and “make the last meal”, but to give some of it to him. Do what? This was all she had, and her family was about to die, so how could she give this away? But letting go, and placing her trust in God and his plan for a better future for her, she obeyed the instructions.
1 Kings 14 : 7-16
“Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
It is an incredible story of doing our best in the midst of terrible circumstances, sharing the best (even if all we have is very little) we have to bless another person and meet their need, and putting our trust and faith in God to work out the outcome, in return, we will reap a huge blessing!
Be encouraged today, that no matter what your situation may look like, by acting on your faith in God as your provider, healer, deliverer, multiplier, protector, and the source of life within you, he will reach into your situation and deliver you. He says his arm is not short! His arm is long enough to reach you right where you are. With the help of the Lord, you can and will overcome and reap a blessing that is more wonderful than you have imagined!
The Lord God offers you eternal life. The only door into his eternal kingdom is a narrow gate.
The path to the narrow gate is straight. You can’t turn to the right or left as you walk along, because it will send you in a different direction. To reach the gate, the doorway of the kingdom, you must stay on the straight path. The path of the road is not fancy, and it has ups and downs, hills and valleys. But if you keep walking straight ahead, and don’t look back, you will find the gate.
One sure way to miss the gate is to get off the straight path. For example, the path of personal gain and worldly possessions will lead us a different way.
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (NIV)
To find the gate, you must seek Jesus, the only son of God, as your savior, believe in him and repent of your sins, and follow him. He asks that you love God with all your heart, forgive others, and love others as you love yourself meeting their needs. He is the light of the world and he lights the path God wants people to follow.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (NIV)
Be blessed today and seek to enter the narrow gate and follow the one who saves and gives eternal life! His name is Jesus.
Then get your kids busy reading, building, and re-telling bible stories! Check out The Beginner’s Bible, or another youth bible you have on hand, for an easy to use resource for kids. This is a great way to build family time together and a great way to incorporate daily devotions into your kids learning. Your kids will have so much fun interacting with the bible stories and building props and seeing the stories come to life!
Noah’s Ark is a great story to retell with Lego’s because just like your child building with blocks of different sizes, Noah was also a builder and he built a big boat with different sizes of wooden boards. In addition to building the largest boat ever created, called an Ark, Noah was also a husband, a father, and the “ultimate prepper” and “homesteader” and he had to store feed and safely house and care for a huge amount of animals as well as his whole family for an entire year on the floating zoo-boat /house-boat called the ark. The story of Noah and the ark can be found in Genesis 6, 7, and 8. As they read the bible, kids will learn about the man called Noah, his faith in God, and also about righteousness, judgement of sin, and God’s plan to save a pure remnant of the human race that were willing to put their faith in him.
God told Noah it was going to rain, and it would become a flood that would wipe out every living thing on the earth. Noah was instructed to build a big ark (boat) and he was given the blueprints with detailed instructions to create it. He built different size pens inside the ark and he was given instructions to save two pairs of every wild animal, three pairs of every “clean” animal, seven pairs of animals that were to be sacrificed, and to also save his family including his wife, three sons, and their wives, by loading them all onto the ark before the start of the worldwide flood.
God told Noah that people had become evil and violent and he must cleanse the earth and wipe them out with the flood. He could no longer stand to live with mankind and watch their evil deeds. God caused the earth and sky to give forth water for 40 days and nights to flood the earth. But God promised to protect Noah’s family and anyone righteous who had faith to believe in God. God gave Noah the plan. He gave him the specific dimensions, told him what wood to use, and how to build it and save his family and the animals. His sons helped him build the ark, but the rest of the world mocked him as he worked and preached and did not help him.
Noah preached and preached to the people about God and the coming flood, but no one believed him and they did not turn from their wickedness and did not worship God. They had never seen rain or a flood before. They did not care about doing right. They did not turn away and repent of their wicked sins. They did not want to trust that Noah had heard the truth from God. They thought Noah was out of his mind to believe a God they could not see, and believe in a flood and rain that had never happened before, and work so hard to obey God and build a big boat.
If you don’t have Lego’s on hand, make your boat with paper, or other recycled materials you have on hand, or use other toys your kids might have in their collections. Besides building a boat, they might have mini characters, and animals, trees, etc. they can also use. Perhaps they can also create items to represent the weather changes, the flood, and make a rainbow too. You can use as many props as you want to add to the effect of retelling the story.
Another wonderful way to use this learning opportunity is Language Arts (have the kids read, re-write the story), Science (weather, engineering, physics), Arts and Crafts (create Noah’s Ark themed art and craft projects), Math (how many legos?, build to scale, use grid paper and draw their own blueprints to scale, etc), Geography (draw or color a map of where Noah was from and where the ark landed), Movie Making (use props and make stop motion animation), Unit Study and LapBook, and have the kids Share their project with Grandparents, Neighbors, and Sunday School class too. There are lots of ways this method of learning can be used and incorporated into your curriculum.
Your kids will really enjoy this activity. In addition to building up their faith as they read the bible, kids can relate in a hands on way as they put the story in action and retell the story with their own mini-size boat.
Here are a few Noah and the Ark themed videos we found:
Noah and the Ark Bible Story Animated by Beginner’s Bible
Noah’s Ark Lego Movie Trailer
Arts and Crafts
Noah Preschool Paper Plate Craft and Story
If you don’t have a printed copy of the bible, check out Bible Gateway for a digital online version. You can read it from your computer and your phone and digital reading devices.
You can choose from several languages and several versions to use. They also offer free bible studies and a free verse of the day they will email you if you desire.
Have you wanted to remember your bible study? Do you easily forget what you have read? When I think about history, and how people remembered stories to tell the next generation, they often used a variety of stick figure pictures to convey their message. Stick figures are universal and easy to make and understand for most people of all ages. The artifacts we have left show that people either drew them with charcoal or painted them onto rocks or cave walls, drew or carved shells or beads, and some people carved them into walking sticks, bone or wooden boxes, and totem poles. However the story was shared, simple stick figure drawings have been a form of communication and remembering stories since the beginning of time.
Stick figuring through the bible is a revolutionary yet ancient idea for helping your kids understand and remember their bible verses. You can bring the story to life and make the stories easy to share with pictures like ancient people’s did. I have seen this phenomenon going around for the past few years, some folks use doodles and paints, and some bible studies use stick figures. I came across a homeschool mom’s website a few years ago who had been stick figuring through the bible with her kids and I was fascinated with the idea and put it on my “someday” to do list to learn more. Well my “someday” finally arrived a few months ago when we were sent GrapeVine Studies curriculum to review in our homeschool.
Birth Of Jesus: Multi Level
For Elementary Age Students
e-book PDF Download (other formats available)
Price varies depending on format you choose, see website for purchase details.
This is a whole new way to do Bible Study with your family!
What We Received:
Birth of Jesus: Multi-Level Student e-Book:
Traceable for Multi-Level e-Book:
Birth of Jesus Teacher’s e-Book:
stick figure drawings,
lesson goals & key points,
review questions & answers.
How We Used GrapeVine Studies
The first thing I did when I received my e-books was print them out. I hole punched them and placed them into a 3 ring binder, but many of my friends also take them to the local office store and have them spiral bound for ease of use. You can also purchase GrapeVine Studies books already printed and bound and ready to use, they come in several format options to fit your needs.
Next you need to get your supplies ready and put them in a basket, milk crate or an easily accessible container for bible study time.
Supplies Needed To Complete GrapeVine Studies Include:
Lesson pages for each student
Teachers Book pages for lesson instructions
Atlas of the Bible Lands
Dry erase board and/or a chalk board (for mom)
Dry erase markers and/or chalk (for mom)
I gave each child their own binder, and we worked on the GrapeVine Studies with our bible study for 10 minutes to 20 minutes four days a week. For my younger children I give them the traceable pages, and the older children I give the blank pages for them to draw out the story. This study is meant to last 5 weeks by doing 4 lessons each week or a total of 128 lessons. Each product from GrapeVine Studies is different so be sure to check the length of other products if you are looking for a longer or shorter time frame.
Schedule 10 to 20 Minutes Each Day
Monday: Timeline Review Page
Tuesday: Lesson page 1
Wednesday: Lesson page 2
Thursday: Student Drawing Page
Extra Day 5 (Friday). We added our own ideas to further the learning for Fridays. We did a variety of things like have the kids retell the story, make a lego creation to retell the story, act out the story, etc. Check out our Further the Learning Ideas posted below if you would like to do this study in 5 days a week instead of 4. This product is very flexible and you can adapt it to your needs.
Further the Learning:
These are our “extra” ideas for making the GrapeVine Studies into a 5 day curriculum. We love Unit Studies, and I felt this curriculum was easy to expand into a fun bible unit study for my kids to enjoy. This is a great curriculum to accompany what you are already doing or to stand on its own. You can include it for circle time with younger children, individual study for older children, or family bible study too. We made it into the bible portion of our unit study learning about the Birth Of Jesus. This is such a flexible curriculum and easy to adapt to any situation.
Take a field trip to a local museum and look at artifacts that contain stick figures. Have the children compare these with their stick figures of bible stories.
Take a virtual field trip online and learn about stick figures on ancient artifacts and on cave walls.
Recent discoveries of ancient Jewish artifacts reveals a rich history of stick figures and even their written language reveals stick figures. Here is a picture of the story of Jonah discovered on a tomb in 2012. You can find many examples like this to look at with your children in museums and online.
Ancient Greek and Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, as well as many other languages look like stick figures. Find examples of these languages online and have the kids guess what story they are telling, or what the different characters stand for. See if they can identify stick figures and a story in ancient writings. Check out wikipedia for an explanation of the history of stick figures in history.
Have the kids make a stick figure bible verse card for someone’s birthday, holiday, or anniversary.
Using cinamon sticks or tree branch sticks and hot glue, have the kids recreate a scene from their GrapeVine Studies and give this as a gift.
GrapeVine Studies stick figure scene painted or drawn onto rocks to give away as paperweights or give a whole story on rocks that can be displayed to retell the story.
Have the kids make pretzel stick figures with pretzels, raisins, mini marshmallows, olives.
They could also use cheese sticks and olives with the help of a toothpick inbetween to hold them together.
Another fun idea would be to bake a stick figure scene from the GrapeVine studies with a bread stick dough. Have the kids shape their stick figure scene on a cookie sheet and bake it to look just like their page. This could be their centerpiece on the table at supper as they share the bible story with daddy or company who might come to visit, especially if using the Birth Of Jesus or the Resurection of Jesus GrapeVine Study near the holidays.
Arts and Craft Ideas:
Decorate a binder with stick figure animations to personalize it and hold their GrapeVine Studies bible study pages. You can also create a lapbook, or create lapbook flaps they can keep in their binder to store maps, or mini booklets, etc that you might want to include if doing this as a unit study.
Go outside and find some sticks and and make puppets re-create one of the bible story’s they studied in their GrapeVine Studies. Use the GrapeVine Studies pages as a script to re-tell the story with their stick figure puppets.
Use chalk and draw their GrapeVines Studies onto the side walk at a park or public area to share the gospel with others.
Paint rocks with the bible story using stick figure story ideas from GrapeVines Studies. Retell the story to family and friends. Could make a special bag or box and give this as a gift to a loved one that they could then display in their home. This would be great to stick figure paint the nativity on rocks for Christmas too.
Lego Skit Ideas:
Legos look kind of “stick figure like” and every kid I know loves to play with Legos. Using the pages from GrapeVine Studies as their written skit, have the kids re-tell the story using Legos. This is one of my kids favorite “extra” learning activities.
I was really excited to review this product. When I was younger, I used to doodle in my bible and made notes in the margins. It was my attempt to understand what I was reading and remember it. Nowadays, I mostly use a spiral bound notebook to keep my bible study notes.
Handwriting out long notes during bible study doesn’t really work for most of my children, especially my younger children, because they are not yet strong readers or writers. Thanks to GrapeVine Studies we now know the kids can keep their bible study notes drawn in stick figure form, and they will remember what they have learned and be able to retell the story themselves.
Be sure to check out GrapeVine Studies on their social media links for all the latest news and product updates.
Have you ever come under attack because you stand up for something? Have you been critisized because your talents and skills cause you to stand out? Be encouraged today, because God has placed talents and gifts inside you that are meant for you to stand up and shine brightly with them, expanding the light of his Kingdom, illuminating a dark world, and bring Him glory through it all.
As I listened to the words of Jesus this morning in my bible study, I realized he is saying he wants you and me to Stand Up, Stand Out, and Shine Bright. He wants you to do good and stand out so others can see his light shining from you. That is not boastful. That is not prideful. Those are the words of Christ Jesus.
Jesus told us to “DO” and to “STAND” and to “SHINE”.
To “do”, to “stand”, and to “shine” are ACTION words. They are the opposite of “take a seat”, “stay seated” and “you may be seated” words we hear spoken today. I don’t think Jesus would have defined his followers the way they appear today, seated and asleep.
If you asked the average person today how they would define a Christian, most would say something like: “A Christian is a person who follows a religious teacher named Jesus by going to a building with four walls on Sunday to sing about him, pray, and hear a bible story”. Jesus NEVER ever said for his followers to live like that. Jesus gave his followers an assignment to stand out, to do good, and to shine and illuminate the darkness. He told them to go out two by two to heal the sick, cast out demons, feed the hungry, set captives free and preach the Kingdom of God in all the earth. Yet sadly, the “Christian life” amounts to sitting in a pew on Sunday for most believers of Jesus today.
If a person, or group of people, are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, then they will do what he did and obey what he said. The churches who are doing, standing, and shining, are the churches we see growing exponentially today, just as the early church that Jesus created did. Miracles are happening as those believers pray for others, cast out demons, heal the sick, restore sight to the blind, raise the dead, and set the captives free, and thousands of lives are being fed, clothed, and transformed, and the Christian believer is a bright light in that city.
Christians, and their churches, that shine the brightest in a city, also take the most criticism from other Christians that don’t choose to shine. They have let their lamps grow dark outside of their four walls of their buildings, and they criticize those who stand out and shine bright.
This happens constantly, but I will use this one recent example to illustrate this point. I recently heard a pastor of a small church in a decaying city criticizing pastors of larger churches. He often points fingers at them and puts them down in discussions with his congregation. He says that these larger churches are not truly following God or else they wouldn’t have such large congregations of people. He says that they are prideful to have musical instruments and singers on stage and putting on a show. He says these pastors are misappropriating funds to have large budgets for their church to fly around the US and the World and put money into these large outreach efforts. He says they are showing off and worldly to draw in large crowds.
Yet while he critisizes others, his own church’s light is dying. He has no impact in his decaying city. Even though he stays busy going here or there doing this or that, he and his congregation contain no new life and no change or growth. In the community and even within the four walls of his building, there is no opportunity for the followers of Jesus to shine, even though he states weekly that they are in the midst of “revival”. They host revivals (evening sermon meetings that last from anywhere from 3 days to 7 days) monthly through out the year. I have attend several at that church and other local churches, I have spoken to these pastors and their guest evangelists, and from what I can tell, these churches are not really in revival. It is just a word that label their meetings that they host that are different than Sunday service.
Revival is basically spiritual CPR. To revive is to breathe new life into a dying or dead situation. Their church and their city continues to die despite their efforts at “revival”. It is not effective. There is no spiritual CPR happening in the revival meetings that I have seen for many years. Many years ago in the 1970’s and mid 1980’s I did witness true revivals that changed cities. But after that, except for a few dynamic on fire churches, what I witnessed across this nation was a sleeping church who’s light grew dim in their communities.
Christians speak about revival, but many have become lukewarm in allowing God to be Lord in every decision. They trade out God’s word about living: eating, raising children, marriage, healing and raising the dead, casting out demons, etc. instead for an acceptance of government guidance in regards to daily living, education of children, health care, jobs, morals, etc. They enjoy a “tax exempt” status and follow the social / political rules. They may get a pat on the back or their name in the paper if they do a good event, but sadly most churches, don’t bring positive change to their communities. Though God is honored during the service on Sunday or Wednesday, God is not the Lord of their daily living decisions 24/7. Instead the congregation often seems to hide behind the four walls of the church building, hides their gifts and talents that were purposed to expand the Kingdom within their cities, and wait…wait…wait…asleep…until Jesus returns…all the while they never realize their lamps ran out of oil and they no longer were effective to shine God’s light into a dark world.
I just want to shout from the rooftops “WAKE UP O CHURCH! WAKE UP O BRIDE OF CHRIST WHO HAS FALLEN ASLEEP. YOUR LAMPS NEED TENDING. KEEP SHINING BRIGHT AND STAND UP AND STAND OUT”.
“Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark.” Mathew 6:22-23
How do we keep our lamps supernaturally full and shining bright? Jesus is returning for a Bride who is awake and her lamp is full of spiritual oil and she is shinning bright and doing good, obeying the commands of Isaiah 58 while she loves God with her whole heart and loves her neighbor.
Jesus said to becareful because you will fail at shining if your light goes dark. That seems obvious. But he made it very clear as if it were not obvious or like we might forget if not reminded. As if we are like the man who looks in the mirror and steps away and forgets what he looked like in that mirror. He is right. We easily forget that we must not let our light go dark. Jesus said if your eyes are bad, and you let darkness into your life, you can not shine. How can your eyes bring darkness into your life? The eyes are the door that Satan uses to tempt you. When you follow through with that temptation you bring darkness into your life. So it is key to remove the darkness and temptations from in front of your eyes and look upon Jesus and obey him.
Jesus said if you love him, you will obey him. He said to shine bright, stand out, and beam as brightly as you can like a lighted city on a hill, and a lamp on a high stand in your house. Think about that for just a minute. Has your power in the house ever gone out and you had to light a candle or use a lamp for light? I have had this happen many times in my life, and I put that candle or lamp on the highest table in the center of the room so that the room is lit up and I can see where to go and what I am doing. That candle or lamp can shine so bright that we can even cook a simple meal, or play games by it’s light. However, if I placed that light in a corner of a room, it would not light up the room well enough for us to see.
When we stand out and shine, we send forth HIS light that is in us so that God will be glorified. Others will give God praise when they see you doing good and shining bright. Christians who stand out, who shine bright, often come under attack from both other Christians and non-Christians. It can be a hard and lonely choice to stand out, and would be much easier to hide, or sit on a pew and let others do the shining. But to obey Jesus (not your denomination, not your pastor, not religious rules or traditions), as a child of God, you must be placed on a high place and stand out so that everyone around you can see what is around them with the light that you are shining forth. The darkness of their situation is transformed and lit up by the light you shine. You are the lamp that must shine bright while you are doing good. Don’t get burned out doing good, don’t fall asleep, and don’t hide your light or let it go out.
Think about it. If every Christian obeyed the words of Jesus and stood out on a high place and shined forth God’s light while doing good, surely this world would experience true revival. It would look a whole lot different. Surely multitudes of people would come to Jesus and give God praise for the good they see you do and the church would truly experience a spiritual CPR revival and grow exponentially.
“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” Mathew 5:14-15
Wake up, stand up, and be the light of the world, giving light to everyone while we stand out and shine bright while doing good.
UNDER DRAKE’S FLAG
Audio CD Theater Presentation of Under Drake’s Flag by G.A. Henty
Retails for $29.95 plus shipping
For ages 6 to Adult
Under Drakes Flag is about a famous ship captain named Sir Francis Drake and a boy named Ned who travels on his ship. They have one adventure after the next, and the learning adventures are so fascinating you can’t step away. The suspense and excitement of these stories keeps you biting your nails, laughing, and learning all the way through.
About the audio production from the website: “This movie-quality audio theater—recorded in London—features a cast of stellar actors, including acclaimed British actor Brian Blessed, state-of-the art sound design from award-winner Mark Drury (The Chronicles of Narnia audio series), and a stunning music score composed by John Campbell (Lamplighter Theatre®, Focus on the Family Radio Theatre®, Adventures in Odyssey®). Adapted from the book, Under Drake’s Flag, by G.A. Henty”
What we received and how we used it:
We received a two-volume CD set and a small Abridged Study Guide. The CD’s cover 2 hours of listening divided up between 19 short chapter stories. The chapter stories include: The Opening; The Otter; The Invitation; The Plymouth Harbor; On Board the Poncha; In the Carpenter’s boat; The Voyage in Earnest; The Attack; Treasure and Retreat; Donna Anna; A Lull Before the Storm; The Storm; In Spanish Territory; With The Africans; War with the Spaniards; To The Coast; The Inquisition; Familiar Waters; and Disturb Us Lord.
The abridged study guide includes study helps for each story on the CD’s. For each story you will find: comprehension questions (Listening Well); open-ended questions (Thinking Further); and vocabulary words (Defining Words). There is also a Bible Study section that helps your child understand Godly Character. There is a larger complete study guide available too at www.hentyalive.com/studyguide.
We used the Under Drake’s Flag CD’s and Abridged Study Guide for our Sunday learning with our kids. We held faith-based adventures for our Sunday School learning in the van over the course of several Sunday’s and put the CD’s in to listen to while we drove around. The kids pretended our van was a big ship and they too were sailing the seven seas right along with Ned and Sir Francis Drake.
We are in-between churches right now, and looking for where we FIT IN to serve and fellowship. That concept just sounds strange to me, because everywhere believers in Jesus are, should be a good fit to serve and fellowship, because we are all serving the same Lord. But sadly that is not the case in today’s church. Sadly we hinder the work of the Lord by wrong attitudes, denominational rules, and looking for differences in people. We are facing this challenge to learn what God wants from us as a positive opportunity to explore different churches, as well as a great opportunity to lead our own kids in hands on service ministry while teaching them the gospel. If it is a Sunday that we travel anywhere within an hour of where we live, we put in various bible learning CD’s and faith-based adventure stories for the children to listen to and discuss together.
I believe Under Drake’s Flag CD’s were a perfect fit for our bible study learning with the kids, because they are mobile (use at home, on the road, or anywhere at any time), they teach Godly character, and show how God is always with us and will help us when we turn to him. We decided to spend every other Sunday visiting a local church (also visiting churches on Wednesday nights), and the other Sunday’s listening to faith-based programs and “doing something” (Mathew West has a great Christian song called Do Something that our kids love), to put our faith in action in a hands on way to meet the needs of others. Basically we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a lost and dying world. Some people may judge us for this decision, to serve outside of the church building on a Sunday, but we believe it is the right decision for our family at this time. Isn’t that what missionaries and traveling Evangelists do? Isn’t this what Jesus did? Did he only sit in the temple and hear bible stories, or did he go out and do something and be the answer to people’s needs? Didn’t Jesus say to go out 2 by 2 and tell everyone about him? Didn’t he say to meet the needs of others by feeding them, visiting them, encouraging them, and more? As we seek the Lord in raising our children, this decision seems like a powerful way to show our children faith in action and what we as the body of Christ need to be doing. Our faith must be courageous and go beyond the church building and into the towns and cities and places people are living if we are truly to be the salt and light in this world.
This opportunity to be mobile, and use Godly character building audio CD’s like Under Drake’s Flag, has allowed us to encourage our kids to reach outside of our comfort zone, and the four walls of the church building, to trust God and touch the lives of complete strangers. The kids are learning to trust God for the needs of others to pray with them, feed them, and meet some of their physical needs in a tangible way. Some folks we have met are homeless and some are not homeless. Some have given us their address and we have been able to maintain continued correspondence with them and sent them things they needed through the mail too to further their faith. Traveling from place to place in a moving vehical, listening to faith building stories and adventures, really enhances the kids excitement.
The kids were so excited to listen to every word of these stories. They were on the edge of their seat the whole time as Ned experienced one faith building adventure after the next. That is how real life is, one faith building adventure after the next, trusting God all the way to meet your needs and take care of you. With these Heirloom Audio Productions CD’s your kids will follow along on exciting adventures, learn exciting historical facts, learn exciting new vocabulary of historical sailors and pirates, and build an exciting faith. With Under Drake’s Flag your children will learn right along with Ned to trust God in all things.
Some of the fun, dangerous, yet faith building adventures Ned has with Sir Francis Drake include a shark attack, a shipwreck, he experiences fierce battles on both land and in the sea, and he comes face to face with the Spanish Inquisition. How scary right? But Ned allows God to use each of these experiences to grow his faith.
Sir Francis Drake lived from 1540 to 1596. He was considered by others as a hero in England but a hated pirate in Spain. He captured 93 Spanish ships as he traveled the globe. He had a strong faith in God and allowed God to guide him on his journeys and in his conduct. He helped England defeat the Spanish navy’s invasion of English waters. He was the first ship captain from England to travel across the world. Also Queen Elizabeth had Sir Francis Drake knighted which was a huge honor.
There are all kinds of words used on this adventure that make it even more of a unique experience your kids will love. Some of the new words my kids learned about include: flag ship, Spanish Inquisition, penance, mainmast, yardman, constellations, soul, leverage, recant and so many more.
What excited me the most is how Ned grows from an inexperienced young boy into a young man through all of these challenges he faces on his journey, and how he puts his faith in God instead of being afraid. It truly is a tale of faith, strength, and courage as much as it is a fun listening adventure.
About G.A. Henty
G.A. Henty authored the book Under Drake’s Flag. He lived from 1832 to 1902 and authored over 122 books. G. A. Henty was very athletic and adventurous, and he loved to travel the world and experience it first hand. He wrote historical fiction stories and his writings bring history to life with great details interwoven from his own experiences visiting those places.
Be sure to check out the website for more options on ordering and also follow them on Facebook for all the latest news and updates.
Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about this wonderful product.
Did you know that offering praise to God can bring blessing?
God inhabits your praise, and exchanges your praise for blessings.
We frequently speak by faith that Jesus said “where two or more are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst of them”. We speak this forth knowing with confidence that Jesus is wtih us when believers gather together and he hears our prayer and intercedes for us.
But did you know that Father God also said that he inhabits (dwells/lives in) the praises of his people? God is there with you and he is physically dwelling inside your praise.
There is also an exchange that happens when we praise. An exchange is when you give something and receive something back. There is a promise of blessing according to Psalm 112:1 “The Lord will bless EVERYONE who praises him and gladly obeys his teachings.”
That is awesome! You can receive blessings today, right now!
There are at least 477 verses in the bible that mention praise. That is a whole lot and it is very clear that God wants us to know about praise and what pleases him.
My earnest prayer is that you will take time today, and each day, to give him PRAISE and be BLESSED!