The birds were singing sweet songs the day I made this video. I did not realize just how much until watching it back today. 🤗
I always loved spring. New life. Flowers of every color now warmed by the sun popping up through the cold, dark brown dirt of winter. Miraculous. Baby birds chirping as they await mama birds return with food. All of the many moments of spring remind me of time with my grandmother who was larger than life and a soul with more mystery and beauty than the brightest star I have ever seen.
From a young age, she would sing songs that I had never heard. One of my favorites songs she ever sang was one about sparrows. The discovery of a new nest each spring would stir the words and she would sing- “I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’d free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”
She taught me so much about Jesus, not always in words but with her life. I longed for the joy the smallest thing would bring to her. The wonder of it all still draws me to pursue Jesus daily.
She taught me about God’s love, the beauty of creation, to be grateful and give thanks in all things.
Jesus was truly her portion and constant friend. Could not share this video today with you and your children without thinking of her and living once again even for a moment in her gracious ways. I know God’s love and care because of moments walking right alongside of her. I can still hear her voice singing…..
When Jesus is my portion. A constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
Easter story stones (also known as resurrection story stones) are a fun and creative way to tangible engage with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. A wonderful way to help you tell the Easter story.
Easter is one of my absolute favorite time of year. We get to celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death, the promise of resurrection, and the promise that God will one day restore everything that is broken about our world.
One way to keep the real meaning of Easter at the forefront (instead of it getting lost amidst all those chocolate eggs and bunnies) is to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection each year with your kids. If you do this in a fun and creative way, it will make the experience more memorable and more likely to stick with your kids.
Easter story stones are a great way to get your kids tangibly engaged with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. They can play with the stones, and they can use them to retell the story in creative ways.
What are Easter Story Stones
Easter Story Stones are small rocks, or stones, painted with symbols from the Easer story. They are super simple to make, even if you have little artistic skill, and they add a great visual and tangible element to telling the Easter story.
Here’s a picture of the Easter story stones.
How to Use Your Easter Story Stones
You can use your Easter story stones in all sorts of different ways that will get your kids engaged with the Easter story. Here are some ideas.
• Grab your favorite Children’s Bible Story book or read straight from the Bible.
• Use your Easter story stones instead of Resurrection Eggs and have an egg (rock) hunt in your backyard.
• Hide them around the house on Easter morning and have the kids find all the stones. Once they’ve gathered them all, you can use them to tell the Easter story.
• Make your ow Ressurection Eggs with those empty plastic eggs that you can buy at the dollar store) and use your story stones instead of scrounging up all the items needed for the eggs.
• Have the kids put the stones in the right order as you tell (or read) the Easter story.
• Have the kids play with the stones and make up their own version of the Easter story. (This is great for working on remembering the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and for putting it into your own words.)
• Make a set to give as a gift.
• Use your Easter story stones during Sunday school or other kids’ ministry to help tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
How to Make Your Own Easter Story Stones
Making your own Easter story stones is super simple. All you need to do is select some Bible passages and symbols (you’ll find everything that we used for our set below) and paint some rocks to help illustrate the story.
• white paint if you are using dark stones
• Paint Markers or Sharpies
• Fabric bag store your stones (optional)
• spray sealant or Mod Podge (Dollar Tree)
You can buy craft stones that are ready to be painted, or you can gather some stones from nature (which adds an element of adventure to your story stone project, and it saves you some money).
Here are the stones that I included in our set, along with Scripture references for each symbol. You can use this as inspiration for your own set of story stones and make the same ones, or get creative and add your own symbols.
• donkey with palm fronds – Matt 21:1-9
• bread and wine – Matt 26:17-30
• praying hands – Matt 26:36-39
• money – John 18:2-3
• sword – John 18:12-14
• crown of thorns – John 19:2
• cross – John 19:17-18
• three crosses – Luke 23:32, 39-43
• temple veil – Mark 15:38
• boulder – Luke 24:1-2
• empty tomb – Luke 24:3
• angel – Luke 24:4-8
• fish – Luke 24:36-43
• risen Jesus – Luke 24:50-51
Use your paint pens (permanent markers work too)to fill in the details of your stones. To makes your stones really pop, outline all your symbols with a black paint pens or permanent markers.
Optional: once your stones are completed and dry, give them a coat with a spray sealant or Mod Podge. Your stones are complete! Now use them in creative ways to engage with the Easter story.
Telling the Easter Story with Story Stones
We like to use our Easter story stones to tell the Easter story from memory. You can use yours to do the same, or you can read the story from a Bible or your favorite age appropriate children’s Bible.
Here is the basic sequence of events in the Easter story, along with the corresponding Bible passages for each story stone.
Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, people laid palm branches on the road and sang “Hosanna”, which means saviour. (Matt 21:1-9)
The Last Supper
The night before Jesus was crucified, he shared a meal with his disciples and told them that one of them would betray him. He shared bread and wine with them, and told them that the bread represented his body and the wine represented his blood. His body would break, just like the bread, and his blood would pour out, just like the wine, but this is the way that God would rescue the world. Through Jesus’ death, he would wash away all their (and our) sins, and heal God’s broken world. (Matt 26:17-30)
The Garden of Gethsemane
After his last supper with his disciples, Jesus went with a few of his closest disciples to a garden to pray. He prayed that he wouldn’t have to suffer crucifixion and death, but he also said that he wanted to do his Father’s will, and not his own. Jesus said that he would be crucified if that was God’s plan. (Matt 26:36-39)
While in the garden, some soldiers came to arrest him, after Judas (who was bribed with thirty pieces of silver) told them where to find him. (John 18:2-3; 18:12-14)
The soldiers led Jesus away to be crucified.
They made a crown of thorns and placed it on his head, calling him “king of the Jews”. (John 19:2)
They nailed him to a cross, between two thieves. (John 19:17-18)
One of the thieves insulted Jesus, but the other one defended him. The second thief asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom, and Jesus promised that that day, he would be with him in paradise. (Luke 23:32;39-43)
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil inside the temple – the veil that separated the place where only the priests could access God from the rest of the temple – was torn in two, from top of bottom, signalling that there was now no barrier between people and God. (Mark 15:38)
A man named Joseph took Jesus’ body down from the cross, after he had died, and laid it in a tomb. Roman soldiers rolled a giant boulder to block the entrance to the tomb and guarded it, to make sure that no one could get in or out.
The Empty Tomb
On the third day, just before sunrise, Mary Magdalene and some of the other women went to the tomb to wash Jesus’ body. When they got there, they discovered that the stone that was blocking the entrance had been rolled away. (Luke 24:1-2)
When the women entered the tomb, they discovered that it was empty: Jesus’ body was not there. (Luke 24:3)
They encountered an angel who told them that Jesus was no longer there, that he had risen from the dead. The angel told the women to go tell the other disciples. (Luke 24:4-8)
Later that day, Jesus appeared to the disciples. He let them touch him to show that he was real, and he ate a meal of boiled fish with them. (Luke 24:36-43)
After Jesus stayed with the disciples for a while, he told them that he was going to leave and return to heaven, but that the Holy Spirit would come to be with them. Jesus blessed them and he was taken up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)
How many of you exchanged gifts with your family members @ Christmas?
Giving someone a gift they enjoy is one way to show love. In order for others to know what your interests are, you might have come up with a list of items for gifts that you wanted to receive.
If you made a Christmas list for your family, I want you to take a minute to think about what you had on your list that you would love to get.
For some of you, this might come really easily. For others, you might not remember what you asked for. Maybe it was a certain toy or a special doll, a pair of headphones, or maybe even a pony!
Now that you’ve had a chance to recreate your list, I’m wondering if you got everything that you asked for?
All that I wanted for Christmas was an Instant Pot, a new robe and my family to be together at my house. I got everything wanted and am still enjoying my gifts.
If you did, are you happy and content with what you got?
I pray you are still enjoying your gifts and not wanting anything new. If you have already started another list of things that you want, things that you think will make you even MORE happy- we have a wonderful lesson to remind us about being content and thankful.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly our hearts look for the next big thing? Why do you think this is?
Wanting new and better things in life isn’t bad. However we need to be careful not to be consumed by those things. God always deserves to be first in our lives.
I have two bags here that will hopefully help us understand this more.
This bag is going to represent our hearts without God at the center. Wonder what might be the message of this bag?
Without God at the center, our hearts can be filled with greed, envy, jealousy, pride, and selfishness. Only God can remove these from our heart. He is the One who knows what makes our hearts happy and content because He is the One who made us.
Let me ask you another question. If you didn’t get everything you asked for this past Christmas, do you think that means you are loved any less?
Of course not! Our love for each other can never be measured by things of this world. True love comes from God and He showed His great love for us by giving us the greatest gift, His Son – Jesus!
When Jesus left His throne in heaven to come to earth, He wasn’t treated like royalty. He didn’t get a comfy warm place in the inn or a chair with pillows and a snack like all of you. He was laid in a manger with the animals, a humble spot, kind of like those of you sitting on the floor.
Instead of being served, Jesus came to serve. Jesus demonstrated love that was not of this world. He was always thinking about His Father and kept Him at the center of everything He did. Even though Jesus was mocked and mistreated, His heart remained humble. We know this because of how He spoke to others.
The Bible says in Luke 6:45 that our mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Think about the people you have been in contact with this week. Have your words been encouraging and forgiving or have you been impatient and frustrated with others?
Grab a piece of paper, look deep in your heart and write down ways that you may have failed this week. Then simply ask God to forgive you, maybe you need to make right some things and commit your way back to the Lord.
Remind: God loves you and freely forgives.
Jesus was the only One who was without sin and yet He switched places with us! The penalty for our sin is separation from God. Jesus paid that penalty for us. With His death on the cross and our belief in Him, we can be close to the Father.
Through His life on earth, Jesus shows us what His Father’s love looks like. I’m going to need some more volunteers to read what’s inside this heart, with God at the center.
Jesus showed us divine love that is perfect.
What did we do to deserve switching places with Jesus? What did we do to deserve that kind of love?
Romans 5:8 says,
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The type of love that is in this heart always falls short of God’s perfect divine love (point to one with the cross)! The King shed His own blood for us. Nothing compares to that kind of love!
We can only show that kind of love to others when Jesus is the King of our hearts. This is one of the battles that you will fight every day in your Christian walk. The battle to keep Jesus at the center of your heart. Other people and things will want to take His place but He is the only One worthy of your heart.
When Jesus is at the center, our hearts will know joy. Our hearts will know peace and contentment. Even though our hearts will never be fully satisfied until we are in heaven, we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us produce fruit that comes from the Father.
The Bible says that one day Jesus will return to earth. Listen carefully to what He says to those who believe in Him in the book of Revelation.
My friends, we are to guard our hearts against the enemy and anyone else who wants to take God’s place. As a follower of Christ, we must remind ourselves of the commands He gives us in Matthew 22:37-39.
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Love is our mission today.
“We love because Christ first loved us.” John 4:19
As you head into this week, be encouraged! You are loved by the King! There is no greater love!
Check out this amazing Valentines Science Experiment about how sharing love grows!!!
Email me how your experiment goes!! email@example.com
Morning Thirteen: A Daily Prayer that leads us to rejoicing.
28 Days Of Morning Prayer Focus
“Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
Thank you for loving us and caring for our needs as You do. For You know the plan ahead for us and know how to guide our steps to be in line with that plan. It’s not always easy to rejoice and remain hopeful in You when problems and circumstances arise, but we have to think back on the times we have been in similar positions and remember how You blessed us more than we thought possible. From big to little, we can count the blessings that You gave us before and discover they are more numerous than we ever thought possible. That is because You know our needs before we ask them, You know our heartaches before we have them, and You know what will grow us the most to be all we can be in Your eyes. So, let us rejoice and be glad as we give You our prayers, knowing when we least expect it, You will bring them into fruition. We give all of this to You in Jesus’s name. Amen.
As followers of Christ, we should rejoice always, in good times and bad. Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, in Paul the Apostle we have a steadfast model for finding joy in times of great struggle through trust in Jesus.
In his mission to spread the Christian faith, Paul endured persecution, imprisonment, threats to his life and ultimately death. Yet, his writings are full of joy and rejoicing because of Christ’s promise of salvation.
So, the next time you are seeking joy in the face of challenge, try turning to Paul for a bit of inspiration:
May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. – Philippians 4:4-9
Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends. – Romans 5:10-11
Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. – Colossians 1:11-14