This Week - Dec 21st - Team 1

grades K-4
Carla C
Ethan L
Joanne S - set up
Kelli G
Matt or Elinor M - clean up

Preschool (3s-young 5s)
Dave G
Laura A
Rose S - set up

Babies, 1s & 2s
Hannah A - set up
Andrea G - clean

image from: http://www.metro.co.uk


Quote of the day

In keeping with our recent series through the Beatitudes:

SANTA says, "You better not cry."
JESUS blesses those who mourn.

-Roger Fields

See the whole post here.


The Jesse Tree

Ok, this is too cool. Has anyone ever heard of this? It's an advent calendar of sorts, but combined with family devotions and tons of meaning! It's called the Jesse Tree.

You hang an ornament on the tree every day and there are devotions to go with each one. It's basically a journey through the lineage of Jesus and the Story of the Bible as you count down the days to Christmas. I think this is a great idea. Imagine how much of the Story your kids would learn each year as you continue this tradition. Maybe next year we'll have a Jesse Tree party and make the ornaments together for families to use throughout the Advent season.

The information is put out by the RCA (Reformed church in America). Here is a description from their website:

The Jesse Tree

"Advent is a time of waiting, a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus. There are many ways to get ready for Christmas. One way is through a Jesse Tree.

What is a Jesse Tree? It is a tree branch decorated with symbols representing the stories of people in Jesus' family tree. In Isaiah 11:1 we read, "A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Jesse was the father of David, Israel's greatest king. And it was from David's lineage that Jesus came. That's where the idea of using a Jesse Tree to celebrate Advent came from. Before a symbol is hung on the branch, a Bible passage or a story from a story Bible is read."

Seriously, go check it out!

or buy a book with patterns...


More of What I'm reading

Sojourn Kids has an interesting series of posts called 9 Reasons Not To “Ask Jesus Into Your Heart”

Don't worry, they believe in the power of the Gospel and in teaching it to children.

So do I, so do I.

I find their thoughts on this to be really interesting!
I especially enjoyed point 2 of this post.

What do you think?

Middle School Gathering

The Middle Schoolers are gathering once again on December 14th!

Keep your ears open for the time and place.

We will have a Bible discussion, eat something yummy, hang out, and wrap presents for a needy family.

Looking forward to it!

Advent Conspiracy

If you missed the video on Sunday, or you'd like to share it with someone else, here it is.

What if we did things differently? What if we could give more, but spend less.

If you're looking for a way to get involved with clean water, try our friends at Charity:Water.

Prayers for Advent

Last year, Johnny and I started a new tradition of having an Advent wreath. Each week, we light one candle. And the First day of each week (Sunday) we read a set of prayers and scriptures as we light the new candle.

If you are looking for prayers and Scriptures to read with your family each week of Advent, Scot McKnight is posting some. The first one is here.

image from ladinka on flickr.

What I'm reading

Scot McKnight's thoughts on young people and church. Here.

The Kingdom is for Everyone

The elementary kids read from the beatitudes on Sunday. I found N.T. Wright's translation so beautiful and helpful:

“Wonderful news for the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours.
Wonderful news for the mourners! You’re going to be comforted.
Wonderful news for the meek! You’re going to inherit the earth.
Wonderful news for the people who hunger and thirst for God’s justice! You’re going to be satisfied.
Wonderful news for the merciful! You’ll receive mercy yourselves.
Wonderful news for the pure in heart! You will see God.
Wonderful news for the peacemakers! You’ll be called God’s children.”
-Matthew 5:1-12, translation by N.T. Wright

We talked about how God's Kingdom is any place where God is King. He wants to be King in our hearts and in our lives. And he wants that, not just for us, but for everyone: the broken-hearted, the lonely, the hurting, the homeless. Your kids shared some amazing stories of how they have blessed and shared the Kingdom with others - serving food on Thanksgiving, delivering gifts to single moms, helping the elderly with chores and yard work, delivering lunches with Salt on the Street. They are being hugely impacted by the ways we are living out the Gospel as a community and as individual families. It blesses me big time. God's Kingdom is here, now, and we are helping others to see who He is and how He works, and that He is good.

Advent is here!

Christmas is coming!

We are preparing at Mosaic by putting together a sweet and simple Christmas program with the children. If your kids are interested in joining us, make sure they are present this Sunday, December 7th to rehearse!

image from t.moos on flickr.

Preschool Lesson from Sunday, Nov 30th

Our preschoolers got a special treat yesterday! They watched a video about Stanley the Stink Bug and learned that, "A friend loves you all the time." - Proverbs 17:17

Here's a summary of the story:

There's someone new coming to the garden's Summer Camp this year, and, well he has a problem. He stinks! But that's what stinkbugs do. So, when Stanley arrives at Camp-Bug-a-Boo he creates quite a, well, stink. Everyone tries their best to put up with the unusual odor, but things don't go so well. But then God helps the summer camp to realize that the reason Stanley stinks is because he is afraid. And the thing he is most afraid of is others not liking him and accepting him the way he is. Our garden friends soon learn that God created each of us for very special reasons and that even though Stanley is different, they need to show him love and be his friend.

This week - Dec 7th - Team 4

Team 4:
grades K-4
Delia - set up
Rob & Willow W - set up
Ian M
Amanda A

Preschool (3s-young 5s)
Meghan V - set up
Lauren R - set up
Katie & Madison

Babies, 1s & 2s
Lael A - clean up
Drew F - clean up

image from: http://www.metro.co.uk