Friday, February 24, 2017

Mary Rose and Me #23 "Sweethearts"

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth
is far above jewels.


           Article 23 
By: Gwendolyn Schnell
“Miss Gwen”

“An empty shoe box. Red, pink, and white paper. Cute smiley stickers. Scissors, glue and a pencil to draw with. A sack of candy hearts, and pencils with heart shapes, for those in my class. And…2 boxes of cards.” Mary Rose said the name of each item as she took her valentine supplies out of the sack. She really liked Valentine’s Day because it is a time when so many are made to feel oh so special by the cards and sometimes sweet treats they receive. 

The cards usually had something unique about them like the shape, an especially drawn picture, a fun or kind message saying, "Be My Valentine" meaning they were special to someone. 

Mary Rose had to get busy though because all her valentines had to be signed an ready to take to school by Friday and her valentine box had to be decorated and her name written in plain sight so her classmates would know which box was hers, for everyone else in class would also have decorated boxes. She was excited thinking about the things they would find in their boxes from her. 

This year she would not only trade valentines with her classmates at school but also with those in her youth group from church!

There was a special Saturday afternoon marked on the calendar for a Bible Sweetheart Scavenger hunt and devotional time! This was the first year Mary Rose was old enough to go and said to herself, "This is going to be a lot of fun!"

Getting her lists out she laid them and the cards in front of her to easily choose a card for each person. She saw pretty cards, funny cards, and cards with kind sweet words. And speaking of sweet, chocolate is one of Mary Rose' favorite things to eat! She always gets some form of choclate from her Daddy on Valentines Day. "Yummy" she thought, "I can't wait!"

Her school Valentine's Day party was finally here and after lunch they put their work away and everyone got their boxes and put them on top of their desks. What a sight! All kinds of decorated boxes! It was nice to be up from their desks able to walk around in the room visiting with each other and making their "special deliveries" to each box where an opeing had been especially made for the cards to easily slide inside. By the end of the day each box had lots and lots of valentines!
to be fun!” Getting out her lists she laid them and the cards out 

The next day would be an adventure with her church youth group for she wasn’t sure just what to expect but she knew there would be valentines and a devotional. “Oh, I will also need to take my Bible.” So she set it out beside her Valentines and treats so she would remember to take it
"Hmmm," said Mary Rose to herself, "I don't think Valentine's Day is in the Bible but we do find love and kindness; and Valentines Day certainly is about that!"

After her family ate lunch they got in the car and drove to the churh's building. When they arrived, Mary Rose walked in the room used for such gatherings. It was decorated with red balloons, white tablecloths with red paper hearts scattered around on top. She turned around an was so excited to see everyone there from her particular bible class coming into the room! They joined her at a table with white sacks. To be part of the card exchange each person needed a decorated sack. They each picked a sack, wrote their name on it, and added a few hearts and stickers to the outside and set them back on the table when they were finished. When it came time to pass out their valentine cards, Mary Rose thought some of the older kids were acting very silly. 

It wasn't long and they were being divided up into 2 teams to play the Bible Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt game! 
There were 2 tables and on each table were 10 half hearts with a name and scripture inside. Each team had an adult to go around with them to make sure they stayed on task during the search. 

The object was to work together with your team to find the other half of the hearts following the clues and to win by being the first team havin gall 10 Bible sweethearts matched up correctly and all their team members back to their table when their last heart is matched up!

The teams were split up pretty evenly between older and younger players. Mary Rose could hardly wait to get started.

She was on team #1.

She had never really given it much thought as to how many couples or sweethearts were actually named in the Bible thought it seemed there were plenty for this game.

Her team actually knew some of the answers but they still had to read the clues and scriptues because those were the rules.
One clue read:

Delilah was a woman who knew what she wanted, but she was not someone to trust. She begged and cried to get her way with her sweetheart, and he who once was strong was now one of the weakest men around. Find his name on one of the handicap doors of the building. 
They read Judges 16:10 to find out the name of Delilah's sweetheart and off they went to find the other half of the heart with his name. 

It was a close race but they worked fast and team #1 won!! 
They were so excited they were jumping up and down, hugging each other. 
What fun!

After snacks they were called over to a circle of chairs. This was the devotional area. They began with singing. Mary Rose and her friends loved to sing and lifted their voices in praise to God. 

One of the young men led a prayer and then the devotional thought was given by their new youth and family minister. He had them turn in their Bibles to Acts 18. He had picked a Bible couple from the scavenger hunt game to share more about. These sweethearts were Aquila and Pricilla.

Some of the things they learned about them included:

  1. They were husband and wife. Acts 18:2
  2. Both of their names are mentioned together at least 5 times in the scripture. Acts18:18-19, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19
  3. They were christians. Romans 16:3
  4. They were tent makers and Paul had that in common with them. Acts 18:1-3
  5. They opened their home to the church and Paul stayed with them. Acts 18:3, 1 Corinthians 16:19
  6. They traveled with Paul. Acts 18:18-19
  7. They worked together as a good team to help others know how to obey the gospel. Acts 18:24-26
  8. They loved God and others. They showed that by what they did.
Another song and a prayer and the afternoon was over.
Mary Rose had lots of fun getting to know the youth group better ands was happy she and her friends had been welcomed so nicely. And it was wonderful learning about Aquila and his wife Pricilla. What a great team they made!

Once she was at home she was looking so forward to opening all her valentines, but before she began she noticed a beautiful pop-up card standing up on the table with a heart shaped box of chocolate candy next to it. It had her Mama's name on it. It was from her husband, Mary Roses' Daddy. 

He had written:
Heart of my heart you will always be, 
For you are the Valentine especially for me! 

"Sweethearts," she thought. It was nice to think about how much her parnets loved each other and showed taht love by how well they treated each other. "They also do a lot in the church" she thought. "Kind of like Aquila and Pricilla."

Then she saw a smaller card and smaller box of chocolate candy on the other side of the table and these had her name on them. 
She opened the card and read: 
"My Dear Mary Rose,
Hearts and flowers, and chocolate bites, 
Having you for my Valentine
Is a true delight!
You are my Sweet Girl. 
Love, Daddy"

"She thought this was the MOST special valentine!" And felt happy inside knowing her Daddy loved her and thought she was someone special to him. Of course she knew that, but it is always nice to be told, and she took a bite of chocolate, "Yum."

To my Sister Bible class teachers,
Mary Rose not only enjoyed the “party” aspect of their time together but she thrived on the Bible game and devotional as well. Holiday gatherings are a fun reason to get together but let’s remember it is always important to take advantage of that time and gear our youth toward Bible truths. They didn’t just have a game. They had a Bible game with Bible sweethearts that actually went with the idea of the holiday. Then in the devotional, they focused on one couple from the game. 

If you will notice in the clue about Delilah, she has a sweetheart not a husband. This is because Samson and Delilah were not married they just “liked” each other.
I hope you enjoy this month’s featured visual aid!

The Bible Sweetheart Scavenger Hunt!
Just lick on the gold star below!
A Gold Star Just For You!

If you don’t want to do the scavenger hunt use the Bible sweethearts in the classroom with teams, questions, and answers. Just read the clue and if they know the match put the heart together, but if they don’t know who it is have them look up the scripture and then complete the heart. Have a wonderful rest of the month!

My prayers and encouragement go with you.
Serving in Christ,
Gwendolyn Schnell


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mary Rose and Me #22 "Hidden Within"

Your adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 
but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, 
which is precious in the sight of God.
           Article 22
By: Gwendolyn Schnell
“Miss Gwen”

Today was the day when Mary Rose was to visit her Great Grandparents! She really liked spending time with them and she was looking forward to showing off her brand new shoes! 

As they drove down the road she saw many different houses. Some big, some small, some old, some new. But there was never anywhere as special to visit as her Great Grandparents house. The car finally pulled into the driveway. She could see the house with its faded paint and an over grown scraggily looking rose bush that had grown up and over the porch railing. One good thing about it is in the spring it would be covered with roses. Mary Rose ran up the worn steps listening to her new shoes tap every time her foot touched one of the steps. She opened the screen door and knocked. Soon the heavy wooden door opened with a creek. She liked the way it sounded. Even though the outside of the house was a bit worn, she knew the inside was warm and cozy and had some really fun hiding places for playing hide and seek. Plus it always had yummy smells coming from the kitchen. 

Her Great Gramma and Grandpa greeted her with smiles, hugs, and kisses. Her Great Grandpa said, “Oh Mary Rose how good it is to see you!” He walked with a curved stick, sort of like a cane. Thump, thump it went as they walked down the hall.  “How do you like my new shoes, Grandpa?” Mary Rose asked. “I FINALLY got them and all the girls wear them at school. They will WANT to play with me when they see I have new shoes just like theirs!” Her Grandparents looked at each other and didn’t really like what they were hearing. Gramma would find time to visit with Mary Rose later.

When Mary Rose came they always tried to have something special planned to do. Today they were making pinch pots! One of the things Mary Rose liked the most about their projects is how her Great Grandparents always had a story to go along with whatever they were doing. 

A long time ago they had been missionaries in Africa and Mary Rose loved to listen to them tell about the land, the people who lived there, animals they saw, and what they did while they were there. It had been their special job to teach these people about Jesus and how to be added to His church and then help the people learn how to continue to obey God. It was and still is such an important job! 

Before they began their project Gramma was thinking of the best way she could help Mary Rose see “beyond” her new shoes. 

She began by pulling out a picture album telling Mary Rose of how they came to love the people. She showed just how they had looked. Most of the people they saw were not well dressed. Mary Rose looked down at her new shoes still being excited about having them. And some had dust on them from working in the dirt and did not smell very well. “Sounds like they needed a bath.” Said Mary Rose. “Yes, they did.” Said Gramma. “But we took a chance and spoke with them. 

We were with them just about every day so we got to know them more and more and were able to see the beauty and the goodness many of them had hidden within, way down in their heart. 
One man who had obeyed God had become a very special friend to us and it was this man who made your Grandpa’s cane. Years ago when Grandpa was a lot younger he used it as a walking stick to help him climb the hills to tell others the good news about Jesus. But now your Great Grandpa needs help walking everywhere and each time he uses it he remembers his special friend.” 

Gramma walked down the hall and Mary Rose followed. She opened the door of the room in which Mary Rose had never been allowed to play and in they went. She knew it was a special room because it had all kinds of things inside brought back from Africa. Great Grandma told Mary Rose to look around and see if she saw anything that was pretty or caught her eye. Mary Rose looked around and could see the outline of a few different shapes sitting on the window sill. They were clay pots. She saw other things in the room but nothing that seemed very special to her. She said, “I like the shape of the pots but they are not fancy at all and in fact are dull brown, old looking, and just plain worn out and one of them is even cracked.” Grandma brought Mary Rose closer to the pots and told her one of the things that made them special is that they were handmade. She took one down that had a lid and held it in her hand and then told Mary Rose that upon seeing the outside of the pot one may not think it was very special and wouldn’t be anything anyone wanted. “But,” she said, “You never know what you might find inside.” She took the lid off and Mary Rose peaked inside. She was so surprised to see a bright yellow background overlaid with a gold flowery design edged in black. “Oh,” Mary Rose gasped, “the inside is so beautiful!” Gramma said, “One thing we learned from meeting so many different kinds of people is that it doesn’t really matter what people look like on the outside or even smell like, its how they are on the inside that really matters.” 
Gramma looked at the new shoes that Mary Rose had on and said, “We are happy about your new shoes but I am sorry you feel like the only reason these girls would want to play with you is because you now have them. What matters most is the kind of girl you are on the inside. The good, sweet, honest girl WE know. A girl with a gentle, quiet spirit who loves God. This is what matters most! The hidden person inside is what made all those people we met in Africa worth knowing, and that’s what makes you worth being around and played with, not new shoes. 
Someday your new shoes will be old-looking and then what will you do? Things start out all new and pretty but then they get old and wear out. We are ESPECIALLY made by God and we have to remember that even though we grow old and get wrinkles, our true beauty is still found inside us. Like this pot.” “And kind of like this house.” Added Mary Rose. "At one time it must have been new and pretty, but now the paint is faded, the steps are worn, and the door creeks when you open it, but when you get inside, it is warm and cozy and I love being here with you and Grandpa.”  She looked down at her new shoes and said, “I guess I can still like wearing my new shoes but now I know it is what is hidden down INSIDE me that matters and makes me special and likeable. Her Great Grandma hugged Mary Rose and set the pot back on the window sill. 

They headed out to the table to begin their project where her Great Grandpa was waiting. Mary Rose told him just how she wanted to make her pinch pot. "Old looking on the outside and bright and pretty on the inside, because it's what's inside that really matters!" 
Her Great Grandparents eyes met and they smiled.

To my Sister Bible class teachers,

As I was sitting in the car at a stop light I happened to notice a manicure business that had this quote on the outside of their building.

“It’s where true beauty begins.”

How sad it is that we are tempted to believe this lie! I like style but that is NOT where true my beauty begins. Our true beauty begins with God and planting his teachings deep down inside of us. I know the outside of a person is what we see first but let's not forget to look beyond all that to the heart of the person. Also let's encourage our students to take a closer look at themselvs and remember that they are made in the image of God and it is Him and following after His ways that make us truely someone of value.

This month’s featured visual aid is the making of a pinch pot! Remember to make the inside bright and colorful as a reminder of where our true beauty lies. You may also want to add the scripture reference 1 Peter 3:3-4
Find out more about how to make a pinch pot here.

My prayers and encouragement go with you.
Serving in Christ

Gwendolyn Schnell