Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Are you using the Power of Kindness?

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Romans 2:4 NLT

One of my all-time favourite podcasts is Focus on the Family. I particularly enjoy listening to the ever entertaining and brilliant Shaunti Feldhahn. Shaunti is not only a Harvard graduate and a former Wall Street analyst, she is also a fabulous author and speaker. I have given her books as gifts and they are always a great read.

Why not grab your own copy of The Kindness Challenge. Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship.

Are you using the gift of God’s kindness in your life and your ministry or maybe your classes?

I was listening to the podcast, ‘Changing Your Relationships Through the Power of Kindness’ when I heard Shaunti define KINDNESS. It is a great definition and something simple and catchy.

Kindness is three things, according to Shaunti.

1. Withholding the negative. Eliminate negativity.
2. Finding things to praise. Being positive and affirming.
3. Doing something. Doing an act of generosity or kindness.

As soon as I heard this, I just had a song in my head. Try to google ‘Accentuate the Positive’. There are great versions of this song by Aretha Franklin, Bing Crosby, Bette Midler and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few. In fact, even Paul McCartney has released a version of this song.

‘You've got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between’

Songwriters: Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen

This is the kind of Kindness Jesus asked us to have.

Shaunti has done the research and trialled this. She encourages you to pick one relationship you wish to improve and try this plan for 30 days.

Why not play the song to your class or let them read the words? The song even mentions Jonah and Noah? A great discussion starter.

Students might write their own ‘Kindness’ rap. Maybe we could just pray about kindness?

How kind are you?

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Stories key for spiritual growth

This is my favourite website in the area of ministry with children. I have posted this before but it is worth checking out again.

Children's story books are a great way to help children (and adults) explore spiritual themes and ideas emerging from the Bible. There is something very subversive about a really great story book. It is hard to stop listening or to take your eyes off the art. Jesus knew the power of stories and frequently used them to engage his audience.

An excellent resource in this area is a site called Storypath, that can be found at http://storypath.upsem.edu/

Storypath is a very useful resource. There are reviews of children's story books which include a summary, key literary elements explored, a link to scripture and theological ideas and a list of faith talk questions. The book is also categorised according to age, themes and biblical links. This means you have the ability to find books reviewed or suggested for particular books of the Bible. The site also provides story books that link with weekly lectionary readings.

A useful resource for worship or religious education. There is also a section with intergenerational lessons.