Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

It’s history repeating itself once again. The first was during the time of Moses, when the Jews or the Children of Israel were persecuted by the Egyptians, driven to the desert to suffer for 40 years. Then, the persecution of the Jews during the time of the Nazis, and now another round of suffering under the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Islamic State or ISIS.  Christian persecution is alive and real today.

Such incidents can lead to certain doubts and questions about the Christian faith. Are these signs to convert? Forsake Christianity to escape persecution? If there’s anything that the Bible tells us, however, it is the fact that God promised his followers that they would experience persecution, but also that Christ is victorious in the end.

Isaiah 49:16

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

The Lord will remember us in Christian persecution

Despite everything that’s happened to Christians in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the world, there’s still hope. God will never forsake His people.

Thanks to the Bible, fear need not strip Christians of their faith. Give your children this sword of Truth by reading the Bible and Bible Stories to them daily. To know more about Bible heroes, including Moses, who delivered the God’s people out of Egypt, their faith will be strengthened. Of course, for children to truly appreciate the word of God, they should be given a source that they can relate to. The Moses Bible story app can provide the great teachings at a level that they can understand.

Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

Children learn quickly and easily through stories. Accompanied by songs, puzzles and coloring games, they will be able to absorb what a story is all about. Moses’ life, his childhood and the burning bush are just some of the stories included in the Bible stories app.

So make it a habit to read the Bible and instill the same to your children. When they become familiar with the word of God, their faith will not waver, regardless of the adversity they face. Make this task easier on your part by using a Bible story app that’s fun and engaging, yet profound.

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal SonLast night, I read the Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32 to my two older children.

After I finished, the first thing the girls asked was:

“Why did the bad son get a party?”

Why, indeed? What does Christ want to teach us in the parable of the prodigal son? In the story we meet two sons—one who stays and nurtures his father’s financial legacy and another who leaves and squanders it.

But then the squanderer returns to the fold and his father rejoices.

I think that sometimes, each of us are the squanders. God doles out His everlasting and infinite love in equal portions to each of us. He hands out His legacy to everyone who is around and then, He lets us run away with it.

Some of us run far. Others of us stay nearby. But most of us, leave and come back over and over again. And God accepts us and when we return, He rejoices. We’ve been found!

To my children, I asked them how they would feel if they left the family, made mistakes and needed to come home—wouldn’t they want and need open arms and joyous hearts to fortify their resolve to do better?

We all need that fortification. And we all need to be reminded that it is never too late to be found and God, like our earthly fathers, is waiting up late for us to return home. God is waiting to give us the gift of unconditional love and everlasting life.

Our heavenly Father and our earthly Fathers give us so many gifts—we inherit their legacies and how we choose to spend it is entirely up to us. No matter how we choose, we can rest assured that our Fathers will forgive us, guide us and celebrate us!

“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has ben found.” (Luke 15:32)

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal SonWant to teach your children more about The Parable of the Prodigal Son? Share the story of the Prodigal Son, available in the App Store and as part of Sproutville! Sproutville is a great compliment to your family Bible reading and a great activity to get your children excited about the greatest story ever told!

4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up

4Soils Summer Road Trip Link Up

 

It is officially summer! Join 4soils every Tuesday, all summer long, for a Link Up featuring some of the best in summer inspiration, activities and joy for families! Stop by every Tuesday and share your most faithful stories, recipes, activities and inspirational wisdom for the long, hot summer. We can’t wait to read and share all the amazing links! Happy Summer.

After you share your link, share the love and read some of the other posts!

 

And if you are looking for the perfect Bible App to keep your kiddos busy in the car, don’t forgot to download Sproutville, the Bible Playground, free in the App Store! 

Guest Post: Mom’s Night Out Movie Review

We are happy to share a review of the new movie “Mom’s Night Out,” from our 4soils Faith and Family Blogger, Trish Adkins.

 

Guest Post: Moms Night Out Movie Review

A few weeks ago, I was treated to a sneak peak of Mom’s Night Out the movie. I went knowing it was a comedy; but not realizing that the film is absolutely Jesusy and real—funny, delightful, truthful and the best comedy I’ve seen in a long time.

The movie chronicles a failed Mom’s Night Out. Main character Allyson is at the end of her rope, following a very trying Mother’s Day weekend. She arms herself with a Groupon, invites her best pal and the minister’s wife for a girl’s night out.

Of course, there are a few, tiny missteps here and there (which have you laughing until you cry and then crying because it all works out and is just so adorably beautiful.).

The movie has an all-star cast: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, David Hunt, Andrea Logan White, Robert Amaya, Abbie Cobb, Harry Shum Jr. Kevin Downes, Alex Kundrick and Trace Adkins. Heaton nails it as the delightful and super normal Pastor’s wife, which the right side of wisdom. And Adkins has a voice made for telling Biblical truths (and selling oatmeal and doing that whole country music thing).

Mom’s Night Out does this marvelous job of portraying Christian mothers as who we are—beautiful disasters who are just trying to survive and at the same time raise children who love God. The characters in the movie are as real as they get—with imperfections and insecurity and sin. There is nothing artificial about the main characters—they love God and their families; but at the same time, they just want to run away screaming.

You will laugh and you will go home totally recharged and ready to tackle motherhood head on, because, you are not alone. You’ve always got God on your side to remind you to laugh at the chaos and you’ve got your girlfriends to laugh right along with you.

Not convinced? Here are my ten reasons why you must go see Mom’s Night Out this weekend with your best girl friends:

  1. Your beautiful, artistic children painted your walls with nail polish (or poop or peanut butter or sharpies) at some point this week.
  2. You may or may not have spent a tiny part of church on Sunday in a very non-zen place kicking your husband to keep him awake during the sermon, while one of your beautiful, artistic children pulled a stranger’s hair and another lifted up their dress and screamed that they hated underwear.
  3. You have these GORGEOUS going out shoes that you’ve never worn. And since the movie theater will be dark, no one will see you stumbling and wobbling in your heels.
  4. If you don’t laugh at the nail polish and the hair pulling and the strange, horrific smell emanating from the refrigerator, you will go mad.
  5. You compulsively purchase Groupons/Living Social Deals/etc for fancy restaurants.
  6. Apparently, a preschooler requests his or her mom’s attention 210 times a day; but this is a low ball estimate. In my house it is approximately 210 MILLION times a day.
  7. You’ve text messaged during Bible Study about things not directly related to Jesus/The Holy Ghost/God/The Bible
  8. Your children deserve a night with Dad—and well, you don’t care what happens as long as everyone is alive.
  9. You want to see Christian motherhood portrayed in areal-way, complete with the humor.
  10. And of course, because of Proverbs 17:22:

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

So, go, grab your mom, your best friend and see Moms Night Out the movie, opening nationwide, May 9.

Guest Post: Moms Night Out Movie Review

About Trish Adkins (Yoke

Trish writes over at Yoke and is a lover of Jesus, her husband and her three kiddos. Her three children are true miracles: Lily born at 29 weeks and a survivor of ependymoma, a type of brain tumor; Chloe, born at 31 weeks and Nicholas, her full term miracle that she never thought be. When Trish isn’t blogging or avoiding blogging, she is raising money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, cheering for Temple Lacrosse and the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, and teaching yoga. Trish writes. She teaches yoga. She starts reading books she will never finish. She forgets to switch the laundry. And she curses. 

But God loves her anyway.

Follow Trish on Twitter:
@trish_adkins

Five things to do with your Palm Sunday Palms

Five things to do with your Palm Sunday PalmsHappy Palm Sunday! Today marks the beginning of Holy Week and the journey of Christ to the cross, death and ultimately, the miracle of the resurrection.

Every Palm Sunday, my family comes home with arm loads of palms. I like to keep my palms in a prominent location to remind me of the sacrifice God made for me.  When I was a kid, my mother used to tuck the palms behind her vanity mirror as a reminder everyday of the sovereign Christ and his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Here are five things you can do with your Palm Sunday palms to keep the spirit of the day fresh in your hearts all year long.

1. Make the classic Palm Cross from your branch. Tuck the Palm Cross in your Bible, place on your desk or like my mom, tuck behind your vanity mirror.  Here is a great tutorial on Youtube.

2. Include your palm branches in your Easter centerpiece. Tuck your palm fronds in your Easter flower arrangement as a reminder of Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week.

3. Have a family Palm Sunday parade. Get our kids in the spirit and march around your backyard joyously shouting “Hosanna.” Afterwards, share the story of Christ and Palm Sunday from Sproutville!

4. Return your palms to your church for Ash Wednesday next year. Some churches still follow the tradition of burning last year’s palms to use as the ashes on Ash Wednesday.  Ask if your church follows this tradition and if they do not, they may be able to direct you to a local church that does.

5. Offer your palm to a friend or neighbor or stranger. Offering the palm branch can be a way of sharing God’s love, the miracle of Christ’s resurrection and the Good News of the life everlasting.

Want to know more about Palm Sunday and how to share the Good News with your children? Read our Palm Sunday and Easter Guide. 

John 21:6-9

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna  in the highest heaven!”

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

In preparation for Easter Sunday, 4Soils has teamed up with David C. Cook publishers of great Sunday School curriculum to bring you resources for you and your child!

Of course, don’t forget to read the story in Sproutville! Which is made available for FREE to everyone between now and Easter Sunday 4/20/14

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

Three chapters of the Easter story from Gethsemane to the cross to the resurrection on Sproutville!

Parent Devotional

Why do you believe that Jesus is alive? Luke 23:46—24:12 reports Jesus’ victory over the grave as historical fact. Other eyewitness accounts in the Bible as well as Old Testament prophecy support Luke’s account. But the women who went to the tomb did not go expecting to find Christ alive. They went because they had known the love of Jesus. They wanted to honor their memories of Him.

When the 11 disciples were told what the women had seen, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive. Even though Jesus had told them it would happen, they didn’t believe. Did Peter run to the tomb expecting to find Christ alive? He went away wondering what had happened (Luke 24:12). What did it take for Peter and the other disciples to believe that Jesus is alive?

The women, Peter, and the other disciples believed that Jesus is alive when they had a personal encounter with the risen Lord. Not until we encounter the risen Lord can we truly believe that Jesus is alive.

As you celebrate that Jesus is alive, thank Him for what His death does for you. Prepare your heart to worship our risen Lord. Then let that excitement overflow as you worship with the children.

Tips for Discussing this with your Children

Children this age are eager to embrace the wonder of Bible stories that teach about God’s power. They don’t need to understand how God does a miracle in order to accept the fact that He can do miracles. This lesson is an opportunity for you to encourage their natural sense of wonder about God.

  • Children are very trusting. Don’t assume that they, like Peter and the disciples, will doubt that Jesus is alive. They will believe the Bible. Encourage their faith by confidently stating that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive.
  • Share with the children your own joy and wonder over the Resurrection. Share what is meaningful to you about the ways your family/church celebrates that Jesus is alive. Point out to them special decorations, traditions, or music that show the joy of this occasion.
  • Give the children time and opportunity to respond to the lesson. Each part of the lesson is designed to help you interact with the children and what they believe about Jesus being alive.

 

Activity: True or Not?

This activity will teach children they can believe Jesus is alive. The activity will get children thinking about things they believe.

Instructions to children: Listen to some sentences I read. If you think what I say is true, show a thumbs-up. If you don’t believe it’s true, show a thumbs-down.

Read each statement below one at a time. After each one, let the children show what they think. All of the statements are true. The information following the statements gives details on why they are true. 

  • It snows in the middle of summer. The snowflakes almost always melt into raindrops before they reach the ground, except in very cold places like the North Pole. 
  • Your fingernails and your hair are made of the same stuff. Both are made of keratin. A bird’s feathers are also made of keratin. 
  • A little frog in South America is the most dangerous animal in the world. The skin of just one poison arrow frog contains enough poison to kill hundreds of people. People put the poison on the tips of arrows. Lions and poisonous snakes are dangerous, but it would be hard for one lion or snake to kill hundreds of people. 
  • The humps of a camel do not hold water. The humps are fat. Fat gives food energy so camels can go a long time without food. Their stomachs hold a lot of water. 
  • Hummingbirds can fly backward. Hummingbirds can rotate their wings similar to the way we can rotate our shoulders. This allows them to push backward just as we can swim in a backward direction. 
  • Sponges are animals. Sponges are like sea anemones. They are animals that attach to rocks. They don’t have eyes. 
  • Glass is made from rock. Sand, lime, and soda, which come from rocks, are melted together to make glass.

All these statements are true. You should have believed every one and given it a thumbs-up. Let’s talk about what you believe.

Sharing Time

  • What is something you know is true? Let the children tell their ideas. Some children might tell things you are certain are not true. This is okay. Simply acknowledge what they say.
  • What does it mean to believe something? Believe means we accept something is true. We believe things we are completely sure of. Make sure your children understands what it means to believe something. Give an example, such as: The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.
  • What are some things you believe? They might talk about believing people love them, the day of the week, their name, God’s love, the Bible is God’s Word, and so on

 

Bible Story Review Questions

Q: Who died on a cross?
A: Jesus died on a cross. 

Q: What is a tomb?
A: A tomb is a cave for burying dead people.

Q: Why did the women go back to the tomb?
A: They wanted to put spices and perfume on Jesus’ body.

Q: What surprised the women at the tomb?
A: The tomb was open. The stone was already moved away.

Q: Who suddenly stood beside the women?
A: Two angels.

Q: What did the angels tell the women?
A: Jesus is alive.

Q: What did the women do?
A: They remembered what Jesus said. They went to tell the disciples what they saw and heard.

Q: Who believed that Jesus is alive?
A: Peter, the disciples, and the women believed Jesus is alive.

Q: What can we believe about Jesus?
A: We can believe that Jesus is alive.

Prayer Time

Let’s use our prayer time to talk with Jesus about what we believe. You might want to tell Jesus that you believe He is alive and thank Him for rising from the dead. Begin a time of silent individual prayer, then close your prayer time.

Here is a suggested close.

“Dear Jesus, thank You for rising from the dead and that You are alive. In Your name I pray. Amen.”

Movie Review: Noah

The big Hollywood movie has been highly anticipated, so we went on a team outing to watch it and see how they portrayed this powerful story.

Movie Review: Noah

First, some team bonding over yummy Indian food Movie Review: Noah

Movie Review: Noah

Team Outing Indian Food before Noah Movie

Now, where were we, oh yes, the movie.

NOTE: SPOILER ALERTS!!!

As story tellers ourselves, we appreciate the difficulties of imagining and filling in the real-life interactions that are left unsaid, or only hinted at, by the Bible. If the director only used the details provided by the Bible, the movie would have a 15 minute run-time!

Some of the imaginative parts: like the watchman rocks who helped Noah build a lot of the ark, felt a bit “action movie” ish, almost like they recycled transformers

We liked how it explored the concept of sin and wickedness of men, and was not so black and white about “good” vs “bad” people.  Noah recognized that even within himself and his family, there are wicked intents, it is within mankind itself because of the fall and the seed of Adam. We saw that even in Noah’s family, with the strife between father and both sons over their children and future.  Ham would betray his father over a girl he barely met for a few hours, but the desire to procreate and have his own family is strong I guess.

The descendants of Cain wanted to control their own destinies, not let God.  While I see how it really helped with the human elements of the plot to have Noah be that decider of the future of mankind with his own family, this is fundamentally where the movie missed the “point” of the Bible as a whole – that God had a plan to redeem mankind from the beginning.  The choice was not Noah’s, the sacrifice was made by God by sending Jesus, his own Son, down to earth to redeem mankind and take on the punishment for our sins.  God didn’t make it up as he went along, he had this plan even in Genesis, though he was heartbroken at the rebellion of man.  God loved us so much that He would give up His only son to be killed at the cross by man, for man.  THIS is the gospel, and THIS is why 4Soils exists, not to re-tell an old story, but to tell an on-going story, that applies to you and me today.

What did you think of the movie?  And are you taking your children to see it?

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re-release of the Christmas app!

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

We first learned about Joni and Friends several years ago, when our friends Ji-Young and Diane started disability ministries at churches we attended.  Our connection to JAF deepened as we supported Diane on mission trips with Wheels for the World and Family Retreats, programs JAF runs to share Christ’s love with people who have disabilities.

Joni has an amazing story that humbles me each time I hear it, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to visit JAF’s headquarters and meet Joni and her wonderful team earlier this year! She even signed (with her mouth!) a Chinese copy of her biography for my parents!

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

Joni’s Biography in Chinese

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

Signed by Joni to my parents, by her mouth!

Here’s a brief snippet of her story if you don’t already know it, but check out their website for more amazing testimonies and teachings!

When at the age of 17, Joni Eareckson faced life in a wheelchair after a reckless diving accident, she could barely hold on to hope. But through the help of Christian friends, Joni found hope and faith in Christ. And that’s why now she wishes to share that same encouragement with you. Because whether you are sitting in a wheelchair, struggling with a broken marriage, stressing over school, or enjoying a life with very few setbacks, we all are in need of hope in Jesus Christ.

Today, we’re excited to announce the fruits of the beginning of 4Soils’ partnership with Joni and Friends: we’re re-releasing of our Christmas Story app of Jesus’ birth with narrations by Joni Eareckson Tada herself!

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

Narrated by Joni of Joni and Friends

In partnership with JAF, we’re planning more apps and extra content for Sproutville. So stay tuned in the coming year, there’s a lot to be excited about!

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!

The 4Soils team is writing to you from Durham, NC!  Part of the team just moved here today and have gotten settled into our new home.  God has really led and provided for us in this journey, including a fully furnished home that we were able to rent from a family who loves the Lord, a free upgrade from the car rental company (otherwise I’m not sure the compact car reserved would have gotten all of us and our luggage back in one trip), and generous parents of a friend who dropped off some additional linen and a bucket of South Carolina peaches.  Not to mention the many friends who have reached out to their contacts for welcoming faces that I look forwarding to seeing and meeting while we’re out here.

It’s a day of many firsts for several members of the team:

First trip to Cracker Barrel (a personal favorite of mine) and finding the challenges of the peg game (best we got was 2 pegs left, moving up from “eg-nor-ra-moose” to “pretty smart” over the course of waiting for brunch) A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!

Stocking up with Costco and Li Ming Chinese supermarket (thank God again for the upgraded car!)

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!Finding out that cost of living in indeed cheaper here all around, not only greatly with our house but even the Costco rotisserie chicken is $1 cheaper

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!Lastly breaking in the kitchen with our first home cooked dinner – Taiwanese beef noodle soup and baby bok choi, with some fresh watermelon & raspberries for dessert (the team all loves fruit and veggies, so I think we’ll be eating pretty healthy)

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!We’re looking forward to our time here, connecting with customers, partners, investors, and future teammates.  May God continue to lead us in this new journey!

A Song to Remember

Songs have a powerful way of helping us remember things. Whenever I try to think about the 50 states of the US, I still return to a song that I learned in elementary school.

God told his people to use Song to remember His goodness on various occasions, such as with Moses and David.

In Deuteronomy 3:19-22, the Bible says:

“Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. 20 For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. 21 Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.” 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the sons of Israel.

This is why 4Soils has partnered with the Child Evangelism Fellowship to bring you “SING” in the Bible Heroes apps. Our first song, God’s Power, is available on all Bible Heroes apps for free. Look forward to more songs in store coming soon!

What are some of your favorite Bible songs to teach your children?