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Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verses Two Through Four

This morning’s devotion comes from Rev. Paul Walker’s “Almost Daily Devotional,” delivered to inboxes…almost daily. Grateful for today’s message: “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that […]

The “Insane Refusal to Accept Help” – Kierkegaard and the Demoniac

What episode from the Gospels fascinates you? For John Kaag, it’s the Gerasene Demoniac. Even now, after leaving his churchy childhood and growing up into an agnostic professor of philosophy, that story still holds his focus. Apparently it’s grabbed Mockingbird’s attention, too, since the story has appeared a couple of times here on the site. […]

NOW AVAILABLE: StoryMakers – Adventure Two: The Flood!

Big news: we are pleased to announce that StoryMakers’ next kidzine has arrived and is available through the online shop! After the adventure of Creation, children will now explore the biblical Flood with prompts, striking visuals, shadow puppets, and more.

When we give kids stories that spark the imagination, we aren’t giving them distractions to tide them over until they can handle “the big stuff.” Stories are the entry into God’s ultimate account of love and mercy. StoryMakers offers kids a fresh approach: helping them to discover God’s redemptive narrative within their own story.

“Spiritual formation” can feel like the heaviest responsibility we carry as parents or church leaders. For generations, the church has confused the role of savior, and often grown-ups are left feeling they are completely responsible for their children’s salvation. When we take on this burden, the most impossible task, we leave no room for fun, freedom, and creativity. Grown-ups are left with the expectation of “getting it right,” which perpetuates worry, measurement, and, in the worst scenarios, disconnection from the children we are hoping to form.

StoryMakers recognizes that kids and grown-ups need GRACE first, recognizing our role as creatures, not creator. In that recognition, freedom, love, and discovery can begin to take root in our lives. So, how do we help young people connect to God’s grace? We tell them the stories of the Bible, even the hard ones. Our job simply becomes guide, one who points our children to a person, not moralism or a list of rules.

Through our zines, we are inviting ninos to delve into the stories of the Bible, even the hard and dark stories, using their imaginations, play, and creativity. We guide them to connect to the ultimate StoryMaker, our Creator. So, as they grow and encounter their own Flood accounts, they can know for certain God is there in the midst of every storm we encounter.

Jump into Adventure Two and discover how God is active, just, and merciful in the midst of the Flood. Ninos will discover that God covered Noah in an arc, just as he covers us in Jesus. They will also learn that God’s promises are ones we can count on, and he is actively reaching down to us.

  • Zine Two explores the story of the Bible over 12 weeks and includes art, fun facts, shadow puppets, and social-emotional connectors. There are plenty of fun details to dig deep. You can also order 5+ zines at a discount of 75% off!
  • The Guide helps grown-ups navigate the deep waters of the Flood. Sometimes it feels impossible to know where to begin. Our guide is here to support parents and church leaders. The Guide include: Field Notes, Thoughts to Ponder, History, and Activity instruction.
  • The Memory Cards are visual prompts to turn memorization into a fun game. Scripture is meant to encourage us and carry us through the challenging moments of life. Order this set of memory cards and get to know the Flood account and the visuals that prompt hope in the midst of chaos. Each card is visually compelling with cues to help your StoryMakers internalize God’s story.
  • The Playbook is tailored to help children enjoy Adventure Two by playing all the characters in the story. You can use your puppets, or jump into costumes and play all the parts to get to know this old story in a new way.
  • Adventure Two can be purchased in a set. Each kit includes a zine, a guide, memory cards, and a playbook. Every pieces enhances the StoryMaker experience and will bring Genesis to life.

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ORDER YOUR CHILD’S NEXT ADVENTURE TODAY!

Devotion #3 – Larry Parsley (Colossians 4:2-6)

This morning’s video, from our conference in NYC, features pastor and author Larry Parsley, speaking on Colossians 4:2-6. In this one, Larry discusses what it means to season your speech with graciousness and…garlic. Yum:

Devotion #3 – Larry Parsley from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Why Me Lord: A Brief Look at the Scoundrels, Buffoons and Ne’er Do Well’s Whom God Pursues in the Parables – Erick Sorensen

Next in our series of conference videos, Erick Sorensen discusses a God who couldn’t care less about our lists of accomplishments, as illustrated by the parables of Jesus. Press play for a fresh take on familiar tales, which Sorenson re-casts in light of real-life stories featuring scoundrels, sinners, and nobodies…like us.

Why Me Lord: A Brief Look at the Scoundrels, Buffoons and Ne’er Do Well’s Whom God Pursues in the Parables – Erick Sorensen

Always a Little Homesick

This reflection, drawn from a recent sermon, was written by Amanda McMillen. [Abraham] set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents… They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Mark Chapter Twelve Verses One Through Twelve (The Parable of the Wicked Tenants)

Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from […]

Get Out While You Can: A Defense of Escapism

Escapism has a bad name nowadays. It’s usually equated with those who play video games for far too long, get lost in fiction books, or never come back from their Hawaii vacation. Escapists are the ignorant who bury their head in the sand in the hopes that they won’t be devoured. In Christian circles, they are the hermetic […]

Between the Waves (Exodus Chapter Fourteen)

This morning’s devotion comes from Nick Lannon’s newly released book, Life Is Impossible: And That’s Good News. The following excerpt was taken from Chapter 4, “The Impossible in Scripture,” a tour of divine surprises. As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites […]

Jesus Didn’t Have a Pen

It struck me last week (not sure how, or why) that Jesus didn’t have a pen. St. Luke apparently had a pen. He had to write prescriptions. Did they have prescriptions back then? Certainly to be the “Dear and Glorious Physician” one would have to have a pen, or a quill, or a facsimile thereof. […]

The Promise of Scripture “to Come”: Qumran, Derrida, and Unfulfilled Desire, Part 2

Here’s the second part of Caitlin Hubler’s essay. For part one, start here. For too long, conceptions of scriptural authority have become identical with notions of scripture’s immutability and containment. However, as surprising as it might be to modern sensibilities, the scriptural text of late Second Temple Judaism was both open and sacred. Jews living in […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Eight Verses Thirty-One and Thirty-Two (Devotion #2 – Larry Parsley)

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32, NIV)

The next video from our annual gathering in NYC features conference chaplain and writer Larry Parsley. In this six-minute devotion, Larry discusses the gracious gifts of God and a short story by the brilliant William Trevor. For anyone with a case of the Mondays, the following will serve as a beautiful reminder. Volume up, press play:

Devotion #2 – Larry Parsley from Mockingbird on Vimeo.