Close
office@springsforth.com

Springs Forth! Blog

A Four Denomination Childhood

A Four Denomination Childhood By Doris Unruh   My faith story begins in a small town in extreme southern Iowa where there were four different churches. These four churches held many community events together, and I was as comfortable attending the United Church of Christ or the Methodist church as I was my own Mennonite

LEARN MORE
God in My Passenger Seat

God in My Passenger Seat By Kristin Kaufman     Growing up, I would say I was a “routine Christian.” I grew up in a Christian home and we did all of the routine things that Christians do. We attended church very regularly on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. I went to church camp and

LEARN MORE
Holding Scripture

HOLDING SCRIPTURE By Mitch Stutzman   “Was Jesus fully man?” That was the opening question from the professor of the first course I ever took in seminary. The eyes of my peers darted around the room, questioning each other, silently wondering together what agenda was beneath this question, and wondering how our answer would tie

LEARN MORE
I’ve Barely Scratched the Surface with God

I’ve Barely Scratched the Surface with God By Beth Lichty   Our house was void of any resemblance of church.  No Bibles.  No crosses.  No Jesus.  No God.  The verbal, emotional, and physical abuse from my father after attending church was too much for my mom to endure.  Life was more tranquil for us not

LEARN MORE
Faith Journey in a Parka

Faith Journey in a Parka By Dorothy Nickel Friesen I grew up in Minnesota where summer never began before July!  After school was officially over at Memorial Day, the casual time at home on the farm began.  The ground was still cold; the grass was very green; the routines for summer were starting. Saturday, at

LEARN MORE
My journey with Scripture

My journey with Scripture   By Gordon Houser   I grew up in a fairly nonreligious family in Emporia, Kan. While my mother attended the local Methodist church semiregularly and we kids went to Sunday school through catechism (junior high), then dropped out, there were no prayers at the table, no devotions, no talk of

LEARN MORE
Growing in my faith through hosting MCC IVEPers

Growing in my faith through hosting MCC IVEPers by Lois Thieszen Preheim On our family farm we hosted thirty-seven Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) visitors from eleven different countries. The young people ages eighteen to twenty-five worked, worshiped, and lived with us; they were family. This first-hand cultural exposure influenced our

LEARN MORE
The pandemic meets the church

The Pandemic meets the church By Dorothy Nickel Friesen My last public worship was in March 2020.  It was a funeral for my cousin.  The country church was full, the service filled with hearty singing, and of course, we ate a satisfying meal of potato salad, ham sandwiches, homemade cookies with scoops of ice cream. 

LEARN MORE
We need darkness and light

We need darkness and light By Dorothy Nickel Friesen   Sometimes a light surprises the child of God who sings. It is the Lord who rises with healing in God’s wings.  When comforts are declining, God grants the soul again a season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain, to cheer it after rain.

LEARN MORE
New Software

New Software By Carol Duerksen What happens when you hold a book called God Calling by “two listeners” in 1932 in one hand, and in the other hand you hold one by Franciscan priest Richard Rohr in 2016? What happens when you read the two together and watch for the Spirit’s synergy? What happens when

LEARN MORE
More Than I Did at First

More Than I Did at First By Beth Lichty   Running was an elusive sport to me for many years.  I watched many people I knew lace up their special running shoes for a daily run of a predetermined length.  Sometimes these runners would join friends and other times go solo.  I was absolutely fascinated

LEARN MORE
A Praying Mantis, a Poem, a Prayer

A Praying Mantis, a Poem, a Prayer By Carol Duerksen   It was our first indoor church worship service since the pandemic lockdown in March. Like many congregations, we experienced our share of controversy over when to re-open. Our church chair person, Gayle, knew that all too well. As Gayle was sitting outside in front

LEARN MORE
Of Donkeys and our Faith DNA

Of Donkeys and Our Faith DNA By Carol Duerksen I love my donkeys, noisy brays and all. So when I come across donkey stories in the Bible, I notice them. Balaam’s talking donkey is a favorite. But I didn’t know about the lost donkeys in I Samuel 9:1-10 until Meghan Larissa Good mentioned them in

LEARN MORE
Just another horrible day at sea

  Just Another Horrible Day at Sea By Carol Duerksen   Are you tired of having every preacher/teacher/writer endeavoring to give you spiritual insights connected to the pandemic? I am, at least part of the time.  But it seems to be the thing to do, and for good reason. We all need ideas on how

LEARN MORE
If Jesus stopped by

  By Carol Duerksen If Jesus stopped by and wanted to see my house, I would say: “Well, when we bought this old fixer-upper farmhouse in 1988, it needed a lot of fixing and upping. The limestone rock and concrete foundation looked pretty solid, and we needed the extra room, so we added an A-frame

LEARN MORE
Mom, did you see that?

  “Mom, did you see that?” By Beth Lichty   “Look mom, no hands!” I exclaimed as I ran down the face of a rock.  I was an adventurous little girl.  I wasn’t afraid of getting dirty or heights or trying something a little more on the edge.  My mother had been a much more

LEARN MORE
A new normal for Jacob, and us

A NEW NORMAL FOR JACOB, AND FOR US By Karen Ediger       Jacob’s story begins with Isaac (Abraham’s son) and Rebekah. In Genesis 24, Abraham wanted his son Isaac to have a wife from Abraham’s homeland, so he sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac. Eliezer prayed and asked God

LEARN MORE
We’re in the lion’s den

“We’re in the lion’s den” By Dorothy Nickel Friesen Read Daniel 6 I discovered that if you go to church over 70 years, as I have, there are some Biblical stories that get repeated over and over.  One of them is Daniel in the lion’s den. To tell the truth, I haven’t read that story

LEARN MORE
Blown Away! The Holy Spirit and Pentecost

50 DAYS WEEK 7: Blown Away! The Holy Spirit and Pentecost SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:1-21, 4:23-31   By Carol Duerksen   DAY 1 I know exactly where I dipped myself into the mysterious pool of the Holy Spirit for the first significant amount of time. I was with some high school friends in an “upper room”—otherwise

LEARN MORE
Who’s In and Who’s Out? (Everybody’s In!)

50 DAYS: WEEK 6   Who’s In and Who’s Out? (Everybody’s In!) By Kathy Neufeld Dunn   Peter and Cornelius Acts 10.1-48   Biblical Background: Cornelius was from Caesarea.  As a Centurion (commander of 80-100 troops) in the Italian Cohort, part of the Roman Legion, he would have been expected to worship Caesar Augustus along

LEARN MORE
Peter and the Living Stones

50 DAYS WEEK 5: Peter (The Foundation Rock) And the Living Stones SCRIPTURE: Matthew 16:13-29 and 1 Peter 2:1-5   By Carol Duerksen DAY 1 A skit to act out with your family   CHARACTERS: Detective, Peter PROPS:  Peter wears a costume that makes him look like a rock. It could be a brown or

LEARN MORE
Jonah: The man who didn’t get away: a different kind of fish story

50 DAYS WEEK 4: Jonah—The man who didn’t get away: a different fish story. By Carol Duerksen DAY 1 A skit to act out with your family from the book of Jonah. PROPS a very large fish that Jonah can hide behind or a large pile of blankets or crumpled newspapers covering up Jonah. a

LEARN MORE
Unprecedented Family Time

50 DAYS WEEK 3: Unprecedented Family Time By Beth Lichty   DAY 1 “Look mom, no hands!” I exclaimed as I ran down the face of a rock.  I was an adventurous little girl.  I wasn’t afraid of getting dirty or heights or trying something a little more on the edge.  My mother had been

LEARN MORE
Week 2 of 50 Days of Easter and Wilderness

50 DAYS WEEK 2: Holy Humor Sunday, Rebekah and Jacob By Carol Duerksen DAY 1 HOLY HUMOR SUNDAY “BRAY WITH ME” Note: Families can read this together, and there can be more than one Detective. Just divide it up as needed. Preparation: Listen to several donkeys braying on YouTube. Practice braying like a donkey. The

LEARN MORE
Eastertide–a week of reflections and activities for all ages

EASTERTIDE WEEK READING Rocks that talk!  By Dorothy Nickel Friesen As a farm girl, one of the spring tasks was picking up rocks from our Minnesota acreage.  Before we planted soybeans and corn, the black loam needed to be cleared of rocks.  It seemed that the winter snows and then spring thaws had yielded a

LEARN MORE
What do these stones mean?

What Do These Stones Mean?      The conversation went something like this:   Look at these stones, my children. These are God rocks. Because you see, Yahweh God held back the waters of the Jordan River when it was overflowing its banks, and it was time for our people to cross. When the priests

LEARN MORE
If I had a camel. . .

  We don’t have a camel. Our farm has at least one of many different critters, but we don’t have a camel. Ah, but if we did. . . If we had a camel, I would invite children to come see, smell and hear this unusual creature.  If the camel didn’t cooperate and talk to

LEARN MORE
Clothes and Wounds

  “Clothes and Wounds” by Dorothy Nickel Friesen Text: Luke 10:25-37 Often when I re-visit a familiar biblical story, something new emerges.  Sometimes that new thing is a simple truth, other times it’s a detail that I simply overlooked as if it wasn’t important.  This happened when I re-read the story that Jesus told to

LEARN MORE
Jesus heal us!

Last Sunday, the children’s story teller at Tabor Church said “Our story today is about ten lepers. . .” But before she got any farther, 5-year-old Boyd piped up, his face bright with both innocence and wisdom:  “I know that story! They said ‘Jesus heal us!’ and Jesus said, ‘Go show yourself to the priests!’”

LEARN MORE
Ranting and Singing

RANTING AND SINGING By Dorothy Nickel Friesen   Advent, that unusual but powerful season in the Christian liturgical cycle, begins four Sundays before Christmas.  From the high octane eating celebration of turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, we make a decided turn from food to spiritual nourishment.  It’s a change of pace and a change

LEARN MORE
The Real Shepherd Experience

  The Real Shepherd Experience by Carol Duerksen      Facebook told me the estate sale would have primitives. Several days later, Facebook added “Cinnamon rolls.” I would be there. I don’t need any more stuff, primitive or not. I definitely don’t need another cinnamon roll in my body—there are enough rolls as it is.

LEARN MORE
Slippery Slope

For those who wonder about going down the “slippery slope” of “the world” and its culture, here’s an answer: No motors. Last week Maynard and I drove to Missouri for an Amish wedding. We had some of his relatives along, and they wanted to stop at an Old Order Mennonite community to see some friends.

LEARN MORE
Immersed

Junior high boy Gary was my brother and he two friends, Rod and Rod. They were good boys….it’s just that they were. . .junior high boys.  If you have ever been one, parented one, or taught one, you know what I mean. My friend Leanne and I were brand new at teaching Sunday school.  We

LEARN MORE
Jeremiah and Wilma

If you have a nightmare of what might happen to your partner or your child, it happened to Wilma. Not once, but twice. Recently, Wilma’s friends encouraged her to write a book. “You have something to say,” they said.  She wasn’t interested. She was afraid of going back to those horrible, painful times. In her

LEARN MORE
Understanding the Bible is like the Dumas Walker song

My friend Cindy Hastings told me a story the other day that I have to share. The Kentucky Headhunters band has a song called “Dumas Walker, ”and that’s where the story begins.  Cindy says: I understood the song to be: Let’s all go, down to Dumas Walker. We’ll get a slaw, burger, fries and a

LEARN MORE
The camel that came to church
The camel that came to church

What happens when a congregation uses one of the Springs Forth! VBS units? A camel comes to church, or course!!! This two-person, two-humped camel showed up at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, Kansas, just in time to help VBS students learn about Rebekah and her camel “issues,” along with discovering where God was

LEARN MORE
Summer, and who learns anything about the Bible?

Spring is slipping into summer, and for many congregations, that means a scaled down version of Sunday school/faith formation because people are gone a lot.  So, what do those who are still coming learn from the Bible in the summer? Here’s an idea. Check out the two VBS units on the springsforth.com website and say

LEARN MORE
Testing testing testing your Bible knowledge

What do Rebekah and a popular TV ad have in common? Who’s the boy that said “No thank you” to God?  Who is the un-graceful prophet? Answers to these and more in Smelly Camels and More!

LEARN MORE
Are we having fun yet?

YES!!!!! We are having fun! The excitement is building about Detectives of Divinity!

LEARN MORE
We’re talkin’ ALL AGES!
We’re talkin’ ALL AGES!

Just when you thought Vacation Bible School materials were just for children! Then Springs Forth shows up with VBS for ALL AGES! You don’t have to use all of the sessions at the same time, but you can. You don’t have to study the stories together, preschool through adults, but you can! You don’t have

LEARN MORE
the burning bush
the burning bush

To the untrained eye, this might appear to be a bit of broccoli sporting  Dorothy Lynch dressing. AH, BUT there is more than meets the eye! This is really a burning bush! Like the one Moses saw. Like the one in the Detectives of Divinity VBS PLUS curriculum! Vacation Bible School with God-connections, great snack

LEARN MORE
happy leader!

We used the Detectives of Divinity material for our Wednesday night grades K-5 material this year.  We really enjoyed the way it was written—in a very clear message. My co-teacher and I appreciated the memory verses and the snack ideas. The coordinating craft ideas were exceptional and worked well with our wide age span of

LEARN MORE
Do the math!

Do the Math! If your congregation invests $130, here’s what you get: 13 creative Bible story sessions for children grades 1-5, packed with more games and crafts than you can ever use; PLUS 10 fun but also thought-provoking youth sessions on the same Bible stories; PLUS 10 sessions geared just towards pre-schoolers on the same

LEARN MORE

This woman is looking for signs of God. Aren’t we all? Don’t we all want to know and feel God’s presence in our moments and our days? Don’t we want to hear stories from the Bible that assure us of God’s faithfulness to ALL GENERATIONS and ALL AGES for ALL TIMES? YES! Can I get

LEARN MORE
This guy is looking for God

  This guy is looking for signs of God. Aren’t we all? Don’t we all want to know and feel God’s presence in our moments and our days? Don’t we want to hear stories from the Bible that assure us of God’s faithfulness to ALL GENERATIONS and ALL AGES for ALL TIMES? YES! Can I

LEARN MORE
Rebekah and the Smelly Camels

There’s more than one way to study the story of Rebekah and the Smelly Camels, and there’s more than one age group that can discover how God weighted in on this story. Check it out!  Detectives VBS PLUS Smelly Camels and More!  

LEARN MORE
A pug and a pig

How do you tell your children the story of the Good Samaritan? Maybe you start with a Pug and a Pig….. A Pug and a Pig PROPS fake mud hole made from a black tarp, sheet, or blanket CHARACTERS Detective Diego, a person prepared to look and act like a pig, a person prepared to

LEARN MORE
Launched!!!

Detectives of Divinity VBS PLUS is officially launched!  We had a great time sharing about this new VBS concept last Saturday!  These children know what it’s like to become Detectives of Divinity and look for God in Bible stories and their lives, and hopefully many more children AND the youth and adults in their congregations

LEARN MORE
Calling all Detectives of Divinity!

No matter your age, you too can become a Detective of Divinity! Families can look for God together! Congregations can study Bible stories TOGETHER to see God at work in the stories and in their lives! For more info, go to springsforth.com, or ask me, or come to our Launch event this Saturday in North

LEARN MORE
Lydia is a Detective of Divinity

Lydia is a Detective of Divinity! She is learning how to look for God in Bible stories and in her life! You can do the same for your children. Come learn about the Detectives of Divinity curriculum for vacation bible school AND for youth and adults. This event is free and open to the public

LEARN MORE
Behind the new Vacation Bible School packages are. . .
Behind the new Vacation Bible School packages are. . .

 This team created new Vacation Bible School materials about Rebekah and the smelly camels, the nighttime sleuth named Nicodemus, Jesus and the children, and much more! And not only are there sessions for children, but youth and adults in your congregation can study the same stories! Check it out online at www.springsforth.com. Come to our

LEARN MORE
SET THE STAGE!
SET THE STAGE!

Set the stage! Invite all ages to be Detectives of Divinity! Travel back in time with Detectives Diego and Dakota to discover God at work in the lives of Bible people, AND invite children, youth and adults in your congregation to find God connections in their lives right now! Discover these online products at www.springsforth.com. Come to

LEARN MORE
When your hand becomes a camel
When your hand becomes a camel

Here Susan Nafziger shows that your hand really can become a camel!  This is just one of the many crafts and activities that bring Bible stories to life in Detectives of Divinity. Invite your congregation’s children to learn more about Rebekah and those smelly camels!

LEARN MORE
Falling and Flying

Plunging into the Word: Isaiah 40:27-31 Pondering on the Way: When a baby eaglet is old enough to learn to fly, her mother takes her for a wild ride on her back. While she’s flying, the mother eagle flips over, and the eaglet begins to try to fly. The papa eagle oversees this flight school.

LEARN MORE