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These stones...

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Reminders of God’s Faithfulness
In Joshua we read that God saved the Hebrew people by leading them through the Jordan River. They found themselves safely on the other side. The LORD then told their leader Joshua to instruct the leaders of the twelve tribes to pick up a stone each and carry it back to camp. Joshua used these twelve stones to create a memorial. We read, 

“In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 
tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant  of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:6-7
These stones were a physical reminder of a spiritual moment. Every time their children saw them it acted like a prompt. The pile of stones created an opportunity for their family to talk together about the past and God’s faithfulness. 
What are your ‘stones’?
What is in your house, church or community that remind…

Waitangi Day

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Te Kawenata o Waitangi (the Covenant of Waitangi) The Treaty of Waitangi  signed 6 Feb 1840
“Te Kawenata o Waitangi is the name Maori gave to the Treaty of Waitangi. It means, the ‘Covenant of Waitangi’, and reflects the influence of the gospel on New Zealand history. The signing of the Treaty was not simply a contract but a covenant, in the Biblical sense of the word.” (Mark Grace, The Gospel and the Treaty of Waitangi, 2014)

Waitangi Day is a great opportunity to reflect on our history as a nation, but also the part that Christians played in this historic event. Here are some ideas you might like to use in your Sunday School or children’s programme or together with all ages in your church services. Click on the links below to view and download free resources. We are keen to add to this collection, so if you have an idea or activity we would love you to share it with us. Email: annette.o@sunz.org.nz




A few main points: 
Click here for a brief overview of the Treaty.

Good background readin…

Sand and Stone

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I recently ran the evening devotions for an intergenerational camp, and it was wonderful to see people of all ages worshipping, exploring the Bible and praying together. So, I thought I would share these with you to pick up and use, or adapt to suit your own situation. 
This resource is two 40 min sessions, suitable for all ages. It is based on Jesus' story of the wise and foolish builders, found int Matthew 7. This would work well for a weekend church camp or it could be adapted for a Sunday morning service. 

Sand and Stone:
Matthew 7:24-29 is one of Jesus’ most well-known stories. Two builders, two foundations, two houses. And the point of the story? The one who hears Jesus’ words and puts them into action is called wise. This resource includes reflections on the story of the wise and foolish builders, small group activities, key questions and stations to explore. It's all here for you to pick up and use!
All you need:
Service outline (two sessions) - The whole script for both se…

Leap to flame...

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‘We read under the eye of God until the heart is touched and leaps to flame.’ Dom Columba Marmion
These words provide a beautiful picture of what reading the Bible can be. We read in the presence of God. We read until God's words burst to life, like a bonfire on a cold winter’s night. What an exciting approach to the Bible, one that can inspire our children as well as all ages. 

God wants to speak with our children through the words in the Bible.

Dom Columba Marmion is talking about an ancient way of reading the Bible called Lectio Divina. This method involves reading the words slowly and thoughtfully, working through four steps. The four steps are: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditatio), oratio (prayer) and contemplatio (contemplation). 

When I use this method with children I phrase it this way:

- Read
- Reflect
- Respond
- Rest


Here's what happened on one of our children's camps. 
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It was early morning…

Joy to the World!

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The Christmas season is one of those times of the year when families head along to church either for the first time or as part of a yearly tradition. Some come to sing carols, others see it as important for their children to know the Christmas story, and others come because it’s what their family has done every year for as long as they can remember. These families may not attend church at any other time. 
There are a growing number of people in our communities who know very little about the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. While we may have heard the story over and over to the point of complacency, for them it is new and fresh and intriguing. 
As we plan for the variety of services and activities that run during Advent, it is good to make sure that we take these things into consideration. For that new family who has walked through the door for the first time:  · Will they feel welcome in our church?  · Will they be able to celebrate together as a family?  · And most…

Everyday Wisdom - the Book of Proverbs

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This is a two part service outline, exploring the book of Proverbs with all generations,  and this question:  What is wisdom and what does a wise person look like? 
We look at wisdom as seen in action, through the whole range of gifts that God has given us, and examine what it means to ‘fear the Lord’. As Lady Wisdom says, “listen up!”
Here is what you need: Week One: - Service Outline  - PowerPoint  - Proverbs overview sheet (like image above) - 3 signs 
Week Two: - Service Outline - PowerPoint - 7 Proverbs for Acting or Water Leak Proverb - La Luna Pixar Film 

Additional links for more info: The Bible Project: This service is based on the wonderful content at The Bible Project. You can check out their YouTube channel and their website: YouTube Website
Lost Sheep: Check out Lost Sheep for some great illustrations of the Proverbs: LostSheep


Be a peace maker...

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5 November On the 5th Nov 1881 government troops marched on the peaceful settlement of Parihaka, Taranaki.  The events that happened at Parihaka are an important part of our New Zealand history, but they are not very well known.  They tell a story of peaceful resistance and belief in a God of peace, not violence.  This story is so important that Gandhi and Martin Luther King referred to it as helping them to make their peaceful stand against injustice. It is a story our children should know.  5th of Nov is known as Parihaka Day.  

Programme: I have written a one-off programme to be used with children to explore the events of Parihaka. It is approximately 30mins in length. This programme focuses on the value of Community and Participation, Porihanga. It focuses particularly on PEACE, Rangimarie, and what it means to be peace makers.
* Activity ideas  * Story telling ideas and a script to use * Discovery questions. 

If you would like a copy of this programme please click here download it from…