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Archive for the ‘Godly Play Teaching’ Category

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Happy Easter! Easter celebration points us to the unfathomable God who has raised Jesus from the death.

This Easter Sunday, we focused on The Great “I AM” sayings of Jesus; Instead of stuffing the slip of bible verse into the “empty easter egg” as object lesson, we used the “fortune cookies”, which we named it “blessing cookies”.

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After enjoying the cookie, each child recited to each other the “I Am” verse that they received in the cookie; then they placed the slip of the bible verse at the various stations, giving them a better grasp of who the Resurrected Christ personally meant to them.

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I AM the Bread of Life, whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

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I AM the Light of the world,whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

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I AM the Gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

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I AM the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

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I AM the Resurrection and the Life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. (John 11:25)

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I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

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Jesus said to Thomas:“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

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If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.(Romans 10:9)

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A Charlie Brown Christmas, the classic animated musical is a great way to ponder the true meaning of Christmas. After watching the beautiful show, our Sunday school children had the opportunity to share some interesting ideas of how each family celebrated this festive occasion. After a time of sharing about family traditions, we began to talk about how the church has historically celebrated Christmas. To do this we revisited the Enrichment Lesson on “The Mystery of Christmas” based on the Godly Play teaching curriculum (Godly Play Volume 3).

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The lesson suggests using the Christmas images taken from the book, The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990). The seven classical moments of the infancy narratives/paintings are seen through the eyes of Giotto di Bondone who was an Italian Renaissance artist. The depictions of the story are based on the Gospels of Luke and Matthew that include the stories not often told, yet are important to the narrative, even the sad parts (pg. 59).

According to the lesson plan, the reason the medieval frescoes of Bondon are used instead of “modern, realistic pictures or models” is to “honor the deep mystery of the Incarnation without the loss of its historical fact”. The original murals can be seen at Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy.

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Since there is a limited access to this book, a great thanks to Explore and Express for providing the downloadable link so we could enjoy the glorious images as we reflect on the mystery of Christmas.

Through this enrichment lesson, our grasp on some concepts of the religious languages such as the annunciation and the nativity, is enriched.

And yes, at the end of the lesson, we still let children add some “modern, realistic pictures and models” of their liking to enhance the knowledge of this glorious narrative.

The Epiphany
上主顯現人間的奧蹟

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The Annunciation 領報節
Luke 1: 26 – 38 (Angel visits Mary)
Matthew 1:18-25 (Angel visits Joseph)

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The Visitation 探視節
Luke 1:39-56 (Mary visits Elizabeth; Angel visits Zechariah Luke 1:5-25; 57-80)

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The Nativity 聖誕節
— which means the Birth
Luke 2:1-20

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The Presentation 殿中奉献
— where Baby Jesus was dedicated in the temple after the eighth day of his birth.
— known as pidyon haben in hebrew where he was circumcised and consecrated to God as recorded in Luke 2:21-22.
Luke 2:21-40

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The Adoration of the Magi 賢士朝聖
Matthew 2:1-12

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The Flight Into Egypt 逃往埃及
Luke 2:13-15

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The Massacre of the Innocents 屠殺嬰孩
Luke 2:16-18

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And the lesson concluded with: I guess the story is over then, isn’t it? No. The baby Jesus did not die in Bethlehem… (Pg. 62)

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The Return to Nazareth
返回拿撒勒
Luke 2:39-40; Matthew 2:19-23

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The rest of His story can be found in the glorious Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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On this Good Friday, we contemplated once again on Jesus sacrificial love for us on the cross.

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Our contemplation was based on the Seven Sayings of Jesus on the cross.
(Three sayings from the gospel of Luke;
Three from the gospel of John;
and one from both the gospel of Matthew and Mark.)

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Since pretzel is one of the food for lent. We started our session by listening to the captivating story of how the tradition of pretzel came about…. of how the monks in the monastery used their left-over dough from the bread baking… of how they thought of the idea to knead the dough into the shape of prayer posture of crossed arm over the shoulder, hence the famous pretzel snack.

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It was also said that monks rewarded children with pretzels when the young ones memorized their prayers. Pretzel comes from the word Pretiola — in Italian meaning little reward. After the interesting pretzel story, we prayed with our arms crossed over our shoulders in the form of “pretzel” and enjoyed this “lenten” pretzels.

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Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Luke 23:34

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Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Luke 23:43

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Here’s your son, here’s your mother
John 19:26-27

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Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
=My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

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In this “darkest”station, we pondered how it felt like to be forsaken.

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I am thirsty.
John 19:28

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It is finished.
John 19:29-30

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Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.
Luke 23:46

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The children were intrigued by the old testament sacrificial ritual and had a better understanding of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us on the cross.

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After journeying through the Seven sayings, children paused to reflect on which saying of Jesus meant most to them.

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Children reflecting on family (yellow table represents warmth)
and “I am thirsty” (blue represents water).

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Of course, purple represents God’s kingdom.

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Children writing down their names and believing in Jesus promise of paradise!

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*The Bridge by William Ressler

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Yup, today is Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost in Greek means the fiftieth day.

Pentecost – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the 50th day after Jesus Christ ascended to heaven.

The Mystery of Pentecost according to the Godly Play Curriculum:

– brown rectangle represents Jerusalem

– the small squares are symbols of the disciples

– the circular shape represents Mt. Olive where Jesus ascended to heaven.

– the overlapping symbols inside “Jerusalem” represents the disciples praying & fellowshiping with one another.

– the radiating image outside “Jerusalem” represents the spreading of the gospel by the disciples — from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth — as the Holy Spirit filled them and empowered them to do so with the gift of languages.

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Here are the disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem…

Jesus brought the disciples to Mt. Olive…

Acts 1:1-11 (Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven)

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.

He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Acts 2:1-12 (The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost)

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.

Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, hrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”…

With the Holy Spirit leading, I pray to be a missionary in…

Pentecost is not only a day for us to remember the outpouring of the Holy Spirit by God to His people, it is also a day to remind followers of Christ to set our hearts aflame for God.

Pentecost is represented by the color RED which symbolizes fire, Refiner’s fire where the Spirit of the Living God purifies us and ignite our lives when we yield to Him.

Pentecost urges followers of Christ to seize the moment to be a witness of Christ.

Pentecost reminds us that Jesus is coming soon…

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In the Godly Play teaching curriculum on the Desert Story of Abraham, Moses, the Exiles, we have to memorize the following passages to comprehend the harsh setting:

The desert is a dangerous place. People do not go into the desert unless they have to.

There is no water there, and without water we die. There is no food there. Without food we die. When the wind blows, it changes the shape of the desert. People get lost; Some never come back.

In the daytime, the sun is so hot that people must wear lots of clothes to protect themselves from the sun and the blowing sand. The sand stings when it hits your skin. The sun scorches you by day. At night it is cold. You need many clothes to keep warm.

The desert is a dangerous place. People only go there if they have to.

The above description on desert life reminds me of this beloved song by Heavenly Melody called “生命中的雲彩”.

This piece of music is so magnitude that friends and I had the same mind to translate the song into English as we couldn’t find any out there.

We were having fun for days just to come up with the best description for “cai yun”, and in the end we decided to stick to our own version of pillar of cloud:

Hers — the Glorious Cloud;

His — the Magnificient Cloud;

and mine — the Luminous One!

luminoused by the Stained Glass

“生命中的雲彩”
That Luminous Cloud in my Life

他們在曠野的時候
When they wandered in the wilderness

放眼望去一片無邊的沙漠
All they saw was an endless stretch of desert land

能抓住什麼
What could they grasp

只有腳下的塵土
But the dusty sand beneath their feet

漫長的旅途
On this long and weary journey

誰來指引 眷顧
Who would guide them and care for them?

他們在曠野的時候
When they wandered in the wilderness

禰用雲彩不分日夜的守候
You watched over them —
with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night

一天又一天
Day after day

帶領他們停停走走
You led them in their waking and resting

漫長的旅途
On that long and weary journey

從沒有缺席一直在左右
Your presence was always there, surrounding them

四十年來 衣服沒有穿破
For forty years, their clothing did not tear

四十年來 鞋子沒有穿壞
For forty years, their sandals did not wear out

四十年來 每天吃飽嗎哪
For forty years, they were well fed with manna from heaven

神跡總跟隨雲彩
Under that luminous cloud, miracles upon miracles were revealed

主啊 讓我看見
O Lord, let me see

生命中的那朵雲彩
That Luminous Cloud

是禰不眠不休 信實可靠的記載
is the sign of Your unchanging faithfulness and trustworthyness

遠古到現在
From the ancient to present day

現在到未來
And from the now to the future

主啊 讓我看見
O Lord, let me see

生命中的那朵雲彩
That Luminous Cloud in my life

無論我腳步 走到什麼地方
No matter where my footsteps lead me

有禰同在就有希望
With Your presence, there is hope

有禰同在就有期待
With Your presence, there is yearning

Wall mural painted by our youth who were the Sunday School Teaching team.

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Leaping for joy!

Today is a “leap day” and here’s something that makes me leap for joy!

I was chatting with a comrade  and she suggested I should post more of our Godly Play teaching experiences here at Janiecross.

I used to post a few of the lessons up but somehow didn’t get around to do it further.

Creating this Godly Play room has brought me tremendous joy.

I recalled when I was scouting for a place to suit this program, there was no room available.

Then through much head thinking and physical labor, I was able to create a space just perfect for a godly play-ground!

I remembered praying fervently in the room and claimed it to be Holy Ground and that the leadership would grant us this sacred room.

Many major stories of God and object lessons from Genesis to Revelations are displayed and well utilized by children and teaching team in this room.

Thank God for answered prayers and for the many creative and available people who helped with  BTS tasks!

It has taken our team four years to build this room up to what it is today;

and we rejoice in seeing how God has built those children and teachers up in their faith journey through this approach of  encountering Him.

Until next time!

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Candle light is beautiful, intriguing and often call for attentiveness
Young and old enjoy candle lighting
Twice or thrice a year
The children in our church have the privilege to “play” with candles

Seriously… for the longest time
I could never grasp the meaning of Advent…, not until this year
Since t’is the season to observe Advent again
Thought I’ll share briefly what I’ve learned on the significance of it

@Church Year on Advent Sundays

Advent is observed 4 Sundays prior to Christmas
It is a time of anticipating and getting ready for Christmas
It is observed through the lighting of candles
Traditionally symbolizes the Hope, Love, Joy, Peace & Christ Candle

The first candle symbolizes the Candle of HOPE
Just as the Old Testament prophets pointing people to the promised Savior
Who is the Hope of Glory in the seemingly hopeless world and life
We light this Candle of Hope to anticipate the Second Coming of Christ

The 2nd candle is the Candle of LOVE
It reminds us of God’s supreme and perfect love
For God so loved the world…
Human love is limited but God’s love is boundless through eternity

The 3rd candle symbolizes the Candle of JOY
Joy to the world the Lord has come
Jesus gives us everlasting joy in the midst of our sufferings
Happiness flatuates but God’s joy is constant

The 4th candle is the Candle of PEACE
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”

The White Candle in the center is the Christ Candle
Christ the holy and sinless One is the One who has cleansed us from sins
When we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us all our sins
This candle is lighted on Christmas Day to celebrate Christ’s birthday
and to declare that Jesus is the Light of the world!

The following is a prayer on peace by one of our pastors…
“Lord, as we light this candle symbolizing PEACE, we are aware that there are probably many amongst us whose lives are far from being peace-filled. So we pray now for those whose Christmas this year come with ‘mixed feelings’ or ‘sad feelings’ that are difficult to name; we pray peace into those lives.

We pray that Your strong sense of presence to abide amongst those of us who are feeling the loneliest at Christmas time. We pray Your peace into families who may be going through family conflicts. And in facing the days ahead, whether it be the last few remaining parties or conflicting demands of family and friends,  we pray for Your peace that surpasses all understanding to guard our hearts and minds.

We pray for Your peace to all those that are being challenged with terrible financial burdens, especially at a time of the year when we are most pressured to buy things which we cannot afford.

We pray for peace and Your comfort over those that are going through this Christmas with loved ones that are sick. In this world of brokenness and imperfection, we continue to cling to Your hope, Your love, Your joy, and Your peace.

Abba Father, You did not shun our world and its poverty, conflict, and brokenness. You embraced it. So, right where we are… right where we are feeling most distant and lost… right where we are feeling least “religious” and “ready”,  come into our hearts to be our Savior, our Peace, in these challenging days.  In Jesus name we pray. Amen.”

Candles -- called to be light in darkness

Guess which one is joyful Joyce, youthful Yuni & jiggly Jason 😛

so which one is enthusiastic Esther, quintessential Queeny and ecstatic Elaine^

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