Monday, November 21, 2016

Advent Devotion Booklet

Advent 2016

During the season of Advent St. John's will be using a Devotion based on the candles of the Advent wreath. On the back of each candle insert will also serve as the sermon notes for the Sunday and Wednesday of that week. There is also be a devotion for Christmas Day with the Sunday scripture readings.

Each devotion gives a background for the meaning of the candle, a scripture reading, a prayer and some activities to do during the week. The images found on each page are meant to be colored during your devotion time. The Christ Candle page is longer for the Christmas Day devotion.

Files to Download

Sermon Notes
Christ Candle front
Christ Candle back

Make your own Advent Wreath
page 1
page 2

Random Acts of Kindness
This can be for kids or adapted for adults, too. Feel free to add it to your booklet. Color in the flames as you do each act from December 1st to the 25th.

For printing purposes there are two of each devotion on a legal size paper. If your printer or copier can do duplex or manually feed the paper for double sided, the sermon notes file goes on the back of each candle page. Except the Christ Candle devotion that has a front and back of its own. The cover is also meant to be printed double sided with the inside and outside files. Fold these sheets so that the cover with the plain wreath is on top, the Advent explanation on the inside left, then the full candle wreath on the inside right with the extra space for notes on the back cover.

cover outside

cover inside

candle devotion

sermon notes for the back of the candle devotions

Monday, October 24, 2016

What Is On Your Priority Plate?

People often say, "I have too much on my plate." We are all so busy and sometimes forget the important things. Well, the other day while having a family meeting, my husband suggested we illustrate our priorities based on a plate. What are the important things we should be feeding? Or taking the time to be fed by?

The focus of our discussion as a family was to list the things we find most important, what motivates us, what gives us hope. How to practice gratitude and how to encourage each other. These are the things that drive us. Then, we listed them as priorities. From there, we talked about how to remember our priorities and what kind of tools we could use to help us.

Then the kids really took off with it. The plates had different foods symbolizing different things. God is the meat, our protein. Veggies were health or people. Utensils became the tools we use to help us stay on track. Desserts or drinks were the fun things we love to do. Napkins contained thankfulness lists.

It was a very creative way to think of our priorities and the tools to help us stay focused. Like, our bibles, prayer lists, faith books, planners and check lists.

Today the youngest was asked if he had done one thing with each of his priorities before media time. He said he forgot what were his priorities. So, I decided to have us process our notes from our family meeting and draw out nicely on a sheet of paper to fit in our faith books, our priority plates. Hopefully, the pages will serve as a reminder of those things most important to us. The youngest, by the way, loved it so much he said we should do family projects like that more often. And he also decided to draw a house symbolizing his priorities in his journal.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Daily Affirmations

I created a new insert for my faith book, affirm - DAILY. Big reminders for in those times of suffering. Or just a daily encouragement. Sometimes when we look at the word of God or the doctrine of man, all we see are the rules or how we fall short. That is only part of the story. The other side, grace, says God loves us more than we can imagine. Our pain is not in vain. He really does fight for us. That we do not have to do one thing to earn His favor. We do not have to appease Him. Sometimes we need to turn to God and be affirmed. And be reminded that our behavior and what we do does not affect His love for us. He really is unconditional. May you rest in that truth today. 
The verses or phrases may not be the whole scripture reference but a summary or glance of His message. 
I wanted each affirmation to be rooted in scripture.

Here is the file if you wish to print it for yourself   affirm - DAILY

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I finally got Memory Work done and the Confirmation Book files formatted into pdfs. I will post them here and under the Faith Book and Sermon Notes tab. Feel free to use these in your ministry or personal life.

I hope to start doing memory work along with my middle schooler. For the last couple weeks they have been working on the books of the bible. The adult me said, "Nah, I'll skip that. I know I learned those way back when. I'm too busy." No, excuses now! I'm posting it. My plan is to find out on Mondays what the memory verse is for the week. We have one for 5&6 grades and 7&8 grades, I can post both. I'm going to share them on my Instagram account. You can find me at melindaransdell the link is on the right =>

I have some suggestions on learning verses in the box in the lower left corner titled, practice it. Based on different research articles I've read these are some good hints to use. Also, not sure on the science behind it, but I have also read that if you want to remember something, it is easier if you write it in blue ink. Doesn't hurt to try!

Memory Work File

Being a Blessing

Weekly Prayers

Sermon Reflection

Worship Reflection
*edits have been made in file

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Examples of Faith Book Inserts

Here are a few photos of some of the Faith Book prayer and scripture sheets I have completed over the last couple months. Hopefully this gives you more of an idea of what I do in my Faith Book. I use my weekly planning sheets to reflect on bible verses and record memories of events. The other sheets are time spent in prayer or study while using visual faith to connect with God. For more on how to interact with visual faith, I suggest checking out Sybil MacBeth's Praying in Color website, Illustrated Faith's website and the blog Vintage Grace. click on each title for link.

Each of these pages are free to download and print under the Faith Book and Sermon Notes tab.

What reflecting and recording my week last week looks like.

The Blessings Prayer Sheet
On the right is thanking God for something that is a blessing in my life.
On the left is a doodled prayer asking God to bless that someone or something.

Sermon Notes example
Sermon notes are in our church bulletin with a space to write,
draw and and outline to color. Blank ones and designed ones can be found
under the Faith Book and Sermon Notes tab.

A Verse A Day
I use the youversion bible app for a daily verse.
This is what stood out to me; colors and images that came to mind.

Visual Prayer Sheet
Each blob is a doodle I did while praying for the person or thing.

Weekly Prayer Sheets for our church
These pages are in the church bulletin every Sunday and can be
taken home to use for daily prayer.

To read more about my Faith Book, there is a post highlighted in the upper right of the blog and a short description under the Faith Book and Sermon Note tab.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Stir Up One Another love and good works. Hebrews 10:24

Last Sunday St. John's introduced our theme verse for the year. We are following the school calendar so we can coordinate with them. We also had the school kids sing and installed our teachers. There was also a great after party for the staff at our place :)

As each member came into the sanctuary they received a paint stick with the verse printed on it. Here is ours hanging on our refrigerator.

We also had special sermon notes and an extra coloring sheet to take home to pray and color throughout the week.

You can find the print outs of the sermon notes and coloring sheet under the tab Faith Book and Sermon Notes. Scroll down to the Sermon Note heading and look for Stir Up.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Confirmation Faith Books

Here is a look inside the Confirmation Faith Books that St. John's will be using. Each student will also receive a Journaling Bible. The purpose of these faith tools is to help nurture personal prayer and Bible study practices. And to have it all in one place. Also, to encourage each kid to pray, connect and interact with God. Each binder is a blank slate that they have the freedom to express their faith by decorating it. The insert pages used will be available soon on the St. John's church's website.

 Confirmation Information

 Faith at Home Devotions


 Sermon Notes & Reflections


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

VBS Visual Faith Statioin

This year we added a Visual Faith Station at Vacation Bible School. So far it has been a big hit and a great experience for our kids.

Our theme is Cave Quest by Group Publishing. We do a 3 day VBS with six stations. Each group of kids visits a different set of 2 stations a day. Rotating through them all by the end. We introduce the fun loving characters and their bible stories one at a time at each station. It's different but it works.

We needed to come up with another station and one of the team members said to me, "How about doing some of the art bible stuff you like to do?" I was super excited! Of course I would!

I decided right away I wanted to some sort of coloring with prayer. Like a combination of the faith based coloring books and Sybil MacBeth's Praying in Color concept. We would color and pray and the same time.
I wasn't sure at first how to do this with kids or tie it into our cave them.

We had also decided to make a journal, booklet like, for their take home project. At the end of each night they would color a page of the characters and their bible verses that they learned about that day. The last night, we'd put them all together into a Visual Faith booklet. I figured their praying and coloring sheet could go in, too.

After much prayer and thought, I had the inspiration of doing a coloring page that looked like a cave with symbols on it. Just like the famous cave painting pictures you see. I drew an outline of a cave and then picked a symbol for each character their bible verse.

At the Visual Faith Station, I talked about cave paintings/drawings and about how symbols were used then showed examples. Then I told them we were going to do something called praying and coloring. I explained that some people like to pray while they are coloring or drawing pictures.

I had them color one symbol at a time. While they were coloring, I read the bible verse for that symbol and then said a prayer.

The kids really seemed to enjoy it. They listened, they loved coloring and I even heard a few say "Amen" with me at the end of each prayer.

After the praying and coloring, we made our journal covers with a spray painted relief hand. Just like the famous cave hand prints, which are thought to be a persons mark or signature. The kids definitely enjoyed that part. Now, they have a nice Visual Faith Journal to remember VBS by. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

More Prayer plus A Verse A Day

We are adding to our House of Prayer. The kids and I completed our Prayer Blessings Sheets. We are now starting a Visual Prayer blob a day and a Verse a Day in our Faith Books.

The Visual Prayer sheet follows the concept created by Sybil MacBeth called Praying in Color. She has a wonderful newly redone website at Each little shape, affectionately known in our home as a blob, is a space to draw or doodle a prayer for someone or something.

The Verse a Day sheet was developed as a way to add more scripture to our Jesus Time. I follow an Instagram account called goosekeeperdesigns. I love her tiny faith illustrations in her calendar. It is like a faith planner and bible journaling combined. Each day we will read a verse and write, doodle or draw what it means to us. We use YouVersion bible app to get our verse of the day.

I can't wait to see the new pages all filled up with the kiddos prayers and faith illustrations. Our Faith Books have been such a great blessing and awesome faith tool. Here is a picture of our Blessings Sheets.

All Faith Book Sheets can be found under the Faith Book & Sermon Notes tab. All are free to use and print on legal size paper. If you cannot print legal size you can print on regular paper and trim to fit.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Praying for France

This was the best way to express my desires to God tonight. The world needs Hope, Peace and Grace. Please pray for France and all victims of violence. Here is the file: Sermon Notes

Friday, July 8, 2016

Luke 10 Resources

"Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind." Luke 10:27

I have new Sermon Notes for this Sunday's Gospel Lesson, Luke 10:25-27.
I also have a new bible journaling worksheet for the lesson.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Becoming a House of Prayer

Phew, 1 month of summer vacation down! And lots of outdoor projects left to finish. It has been a busy summer so far. Definitely not the relaxed, chill break I was dreaming of, praying for. But it is all good, especially since it involves a pool. Although we have been busy, we have been doing some important things in our home.

We have been using several different prayer tools during out "Jesus Time." My kids have a small check list that they kinda sorta follow every day. "Jesus Time" is part of their routine. Back at the beginning of the year, we introduced them to a specific personal prayer list for every morning. Taken from Ann Voskamp's Soulutions. We took this awesome twist on resolutions and made it a personal prayer list that hangs on each of the kids' wall.

Influenced by the Powerful Prayer sermon series at St. John's, I decided to offer my kids and myself more creative options when it comes to connecting to our Lord through prayer. We started mid June with Prayer Cards. Simple index cards with the name of a family member with doodles and drawings of prayers for that person. We learned this style of visual prayer from Sybil MacBeth's Praying in Color book. While making each card, you are saying prayers of thanksgiving and blessings for that person.

My husband and I also have a prayer area on the side of our fridge with a drawing of our town and church, prayers for our children and other events, like VBS. It's right next to our coffee maker, an essential stop to start our morning routines. The prayers for our children are from a wonderful blog and precious child of God, Connie Denninger's Vintage Grace. Here is the link Prayers for My Children

For July we have started what I like to call a Prayer Grid. It is a simple layout on an insert for our Faith Books, read more about those here. This was also influenced by Praying In Color and Connie, off a book I saw at a Visual Faith workshop. It used a sketch book to create a page to record a daily gratitude and another page to pray in color. I call it our Blessings Sheet. There is room for two weeks of writing something that is a blessing to you on the left side of the sheet and then on the right side a hexagon to pray for something or someone to be blessed by God. As you can see, they are excited and thankful for the pool that's going in.

We have also used the Prayers Sheet from the Faith Book tab. There is also a Prayer List sheet that I have been using to keep track of my prayers for others. I also developed a Prayers for People with rectangles about the size of business cards to do praying in color on if I want to spend a bit more time in pray for that person. The sheet helps to keep it all together in my Faith Book instead of having separate cards. Another sheet is called Visual Prayer. On this one I started with a 'dear God' in the middle, like Sybil Macbeth does, then I added what are affectionately known as, blobs, around it. You put your prayers for people or events in them. 

As the summer keeps flying by, I hope to introduce the other Faith Book Prayer sheets to the kids. I also want to add another personal resource called a Prayer Tin. I've seen some at gift shops, it is an empty Altoid mint tin decorated and little blank notes inside. I'd like my kids to use them to write their personal needs to God in them. I also picked up a neat address book last fall that matches the decor of our house. I want our family to fill it with the names and prayers for our family and friends. That way we can flip through it's pages and offer prayers to our Lord for those we love.

Prayer is such a precious part of our relationship with God. It is the main way we communicate with Him. A strong prayer life builds a strong connection. Which ultimately helps us to know God's grace even deeper. I pray that our home will continue to become a House of Prayer over the summer.