Tuesday, 17 October 2017


The Dreamer awakes
The shadow goes by
The tale I have told you,
That tale is a lie.
But listen to me,
Bright maiden, proud youth
The tale is a lie;
What it tells is the truth.
~ Traditional folktale ending
Of course, sometimes it doesn't. Which is why you need discernment. But you need that for non-fiction too.

Friday, 13 October 2017

It's a new new day

One of my customers told me about her brother's new album of kids' Christian songs.

Lots of fun songs for kids, but I liked this one for myself. When tempted to focus on failure, it's good to remember that his mercies are new every morning.

Buy from here.


A random thought I just had:

In Narnia, the sea is on the east, and beyond it, in the 'utter east' is Aslan's country.

In Middle Earth, the sea is on the west, and beyond it* is Valinor, the home of the immortals.

No idea of the significance of this - just interesting.

Anyway, I'd better get back to hoovering...

* technically, since the world was made into a sphere, it is no longer on the surface of the globe. Still, you sail west to get there, should you have a boat capable of escaping the 'circles of the world'

Thursday, 12 October 2017

New stickers!

I've added three more sets of stickers to the collection. More coming in 2018...

Ideal stocking fillers!

The 'Christmas' set has 12 stickers focussing on who Jesus is and why he came. It would be most suitable for older children or children who are familiar with the Bible.

The 'Nativity' set is suitable for everyone, and ideal for making nativity scenes. I've provided two Mary figures for pedants like me, so you can have the wise men coming separately from the shepherds, as they did in real life :-)
And finally, a set of 6 shaped cartoon stickers on the theme of God's word, and how it describes itself. Each has a reference for the Bible passage it represents.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

New testament money (part 2)

You'll need to read part 1 for this to make sense.

Some examples

Judas betrayed Jesus 

for 30 pieces of silver - that's £1,800


Parable of the talents

He gave them 5, 2 and 1 talents - £30,000, £12,000, and £6,000 respectively. Not just a few pounds!

Parable of the two debtors 

One was forgiven a debt of 500 denarii, the other a debt of 50 - that's £30,000 compared to £3,000


Parable of the unmerciful servant

The servant was forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents, yet threw his fellow servant in jail for a debt of 100 denarii. The first debt was £600 million(!), the second was £6,000.

So it's important not to imply that the smaller debt was insignificant. It was a real debt - other people do us real wrongs (for some people - horrendous wrongs. And Jesus is not saying these don't matter). We should forgive, not because it doesn't matter, but because we realise how impossibly large is the debt God has forgiven us (do we?)

Widow's mite

She put in two small copper coins - that's 62p.

It was not 2p, as we sometimes imply. 2p is worthless, so you might as well put it in. 62p could buy something to eat, yet she gave it.

Friday, 6 October 2017

New testament money (part 1)

I find it really helpful, when reading (or teaching) passages that involve sums of money, to translate them into modern money. After all, what does 'silver coin' or 'talent' or 'copper coin' actually mean to the average 21st century person? Was it a lot? A little? How much? How little?

So here's how I do it. It's not foolproof, but it's helpful


(aka silver coin/drachma*)

1 Denarius = a days's wage for a worker.
So take this to be minimum wage.

In the UK the minimum wage is currently £7.50 per hour.
Assuming an average 8 hour workday, that's £60 a day.

So 1 denarius = £60.



A talent was 100 denarii.
That's £60 x 100

So 1 talent = £6,000



(aka copper coin*)

This was the smallest coin at the time.
192 in a denarius (what a weird number!)


So 1 mite = 31p

Of course, different things had different value in those days - clothes were incredibly expensive; rent was cheap. Some food was dearer than for us; I think some was cheaper. Still, it's a help.

Come back for part 2 of this enthralling story tomorrow...

*Same thing, different translations


I know the bits in the middle of daisy-style flowers are seeds...

But I don't think they're supposed to sprout when it's still in the vase!

Sneak preview

Stickers coming soon...

Sunday, 1 October 2017

A good reminder

A good passage to remember when tempted to put too much reliance on clever teaching ideas and fancy lesson plans in Sunday School:
When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2v1-5

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Jemima, Kezia, Keren-Happuch

Very rough sketch - I quite fancy working this up into something more finished.

Jemima, Kezia, Keren-Happuch

Based on the meanings of their names.

No attempt at any kind of historical accuracy here :-)

Monday, 25 September 2017

Optical illusion

Was tidying my bookshelf. Space is a bit tight, so I wondered if stacking books vertically might help.

I looked at my RJ Anderson books. A row of 7 books.

(ignore the shelf labels. They are left over from a youthful attempt to label all my books like they were in a library.)

Since the row is longer than the books are tall, I could save space by rotating them and stacking them vertically.

So I did.

It's shorter.

This is a scientific fact, proven by experimentation.

I still don't believe it.

Beautiful names?

If Job had his daughters today, and called them the same names, but in English, they would be called: Dove, Cinnamon and Mascara-Tube. (That's what Jemima, Kezia and Keren-Happuch translate as).

Now I want to draw a picture of them! [Edit - I did]

Sunday, 24 September 2017


Came across this picture in an antiquities website.

It describes it as a 'stone disc idol'.
Personally, I think it's more likely to be a giant fossilised aspirin.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


I really need to remove my childhood sticker collection from my chest of drawers. Other things are a bit more of a priority, though.

If only I can keep it this way...

Took almost 3 albums worth of time.

Unfortunately, this was one of the easier bits...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Return of the King

Reading the Lord of the Rings. Hadn't realised how eschatological bits of the Return of the King are. Probably noticed it because I've been reading Revelation and the prophets recently.

There is peace, reuniting after (presumed) death, joy, healing, feasting, thrones, a coronation, a renewed city, the nations come together, judgement, forgiveness, the ancient tree replanted, no more fear of night, a long-awaited wedding... "Is everything sad going to come untrue?"

Some of the language is decidedly messianic:
"ancient of days he seemed and yet in the flower of manhood; and wisdom sat upon his brow, and strength and healing were in his hands, and a light was about him."
There's even a psalm:
"Sing now ye people of Minas Anor
for the realm of Sauron is ended for ever
   and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
   and he is victorious.

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you,
   all the days of your life.

And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
   and the City shall be blessed.

   Sing all ye people!"

But of course, it falls short. Sauron was the enemy - but not the ultimate Enemy. 

Aragorn may be the king around whom all this centres, but the enemy's downfall was not brought about by him. His bride is marrying way beneath her. And he is just a mortal human, not divine.

The healing is not complete, and it's not forever.

To quote Paul (out of context): 
"These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is Christ."

Friday, 1 September 2017

Ticking clock

And we just can't get used to being here
Where the ticking clock is loud and clear
Children of eternity
On the run from entropy
~Andrew Peterson

Here's the song:

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A better thing

And when the world is new again
And the children of the King
Are ancient in their youth again
Maybe it's a better thing
To be more than merely innocent
But to be broken, then redeemed by love
~Andrew Peterson
Yes, I think so. If the Fall hadn't happened, everything would be good. 
But what will be will be even better.

Here's the song: 

Monday, 28 August 2017


In Leviticus, the quality of the sacrifice—not the worshipper—was inspected. The same is true today. And ours is flawless.
~Andrew Wilson

Monday, 14 August 2017

That Hideous Strength

Picked up a copy of That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis in a charity shop.

That hideous cover

I first read his Cosmic Trilogy when I was a teenager, and have read the first two (Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra) many times since. But I thought That Hideous Strength was weird. Will be interesting to see what I think this time round.

I remember very little, though I have read some stuff about it since.

This is what I think I remember:

  • Happened on earth, in an English college, not another planet (less interesting, didn't fit with series).
  • Ransom, the main character from the first books, who was a realistic, ordinary man, became this unrealistic, almost symbolic, character with a golden beard (not an improvement).
  • Merlin came alive again and put everything right. There was some stuff about King Arthur coming back to rule England and how that was a good thing (silly and out of place)
  • Although the two main characters were married to each other, it was wrong for them to have sex because they weren't Christians yet (this seemed completely nonsensical - I assume I had misunderstood, because if not I agree with my teenage opinion.)
  • I thought of the books as an 'adult Narnia', and therefore expected to series to finish with the end of the world. Was rather disappointed that the very mild apocalyptic events near the end simply resulted in a return to the status quo.
  • These included a tower of Babel-like incident when all the evil conspirators, who thought they were so wise, lost the power of speech and began to make animal noises. That bit was good).
  • Evil scientists. Was there a head in a jar?
  • One of the good guys was tortured by being put in a room with a pattern of dots on the ceiling, and a pattern of dots on the table which almost, but not quite matched (I really appreciated this - I would say it is my main memory of the book.)

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

If Stargate SG1 were missionaries


OK, that's a bit of a stretch, since none of them are Christians. But in an alternate universe... Actually, there are a lot of similarities - travelling to other places, rescuing people and telling them the 'gods' they worship are not real. So we know how their characters react in those kinds of situations.

The following is based on what I know of them in most of the first seven seasons.

Daniel would immediately start adding their new language to his twenty-four(?) others, and would work on Bible translation.

I can see him also being involved in apologetics. He would be a peacemaker like Mary Slessor - though possibly not knitting while he did so :-)

He would have no problem with the 'all things to all men' thing. He would fit into the new culture in no time, trying their food, adopting their dress and customs. He'd end up marrying a local girl (hopefully on purpose this time!)

He would be fascinated by their culture and beliefs, and not assume 'different' always meant 'wrong'. He would see the best in everyone, even if they were attacking him. I can see him getting on well with Elisabeth Elliot.

However, a certain naivete and lack of discernment could lead to him accepting cultural practices without understanding them, and could even lead to syncretism.

Jack would not have this problem - he would find it hard to see that any way but our way of doing things could be OK. Especially if it involved bringing up children in a way he disapproved of. He'd have no problem stealing children from temples, like Amy Carmichael.

He would be a more in your face proclamation kind of guy. No subtlety or tact - he would call a spade a spade.

Jack on his soapbox while Daniel looks on in exasperation (Red Sky 5:5)
He would be well able to cope in a technologically simpler society and could turn his hand to any practical work, like fishing, or making nails.

He would lead the kids' work, and they would all love him.

Sam solves problems with science, so she'd get involved in well digging or radio broadcasting or whatever was needed. If they used motorbikes at all, she'd keep them running. Her big problem would be not taking time off. 

Although she's a capable lecturer, I can't really see her preaching. Maybe she'd be involved in training.

She would be particularly concerned with oppressed people. Maybe she'd work with young women? She would find it hard to fit into a culture where women were not treated as equals.

She would see the potential in people and be willing to give them a second chance.

Sam & Jack might get married, as there would be no military regulations preventing it - but I'm really not sure how that would work out.

Teal'c already had to adapt to a completely different culture when he came to earth. Therefore he'd probably cope well in this new one. He also would have the advantage of coming from a non-western, pagan culture.

I'm not sure what his main work would be. He could hardly spread the gospel by pointing a weapon and saying "Renounce Apophis [or whoever] as a false god and join us ... and I will spare you." :-) Though in dangerous situations he could be very useful just by looking scary.

If persecution or martyrdom was on the agenda, he'd face it without flinching.

I don't know if he'd remarry, but if he did, he would find the 'leaving wife & children for the sake of the gospel' thing too easy.

Oh - and wouldn't it be cool if he could somehow replace his forehead tattoo with a cross?

Jonas - I'm imagining he joined them again - could use his quick learning skills to help both Sam and Daniel. Perhaps his own focus would be theology - I can see him being particularly interested by prophecy.

Like Daniel, he would be fascinated by the new culture. His friendliness would be helpful, though could lead their opponents to thinking he could be easily manipulated. They would be wrong - no matter how many beautiful women they tried throwing at him.

As his current job is an ambassador, his new role as an ambassador for Christ would be very apt.

So, there you are. I don't know if you're interested, but at least getting this on paper has got it out of my head :-) Because I have nothing else to do with my time... though I have been writing this for quite a while, now, in bits.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Church service worksheets

Did these ages ago for my own church - finally made them available for everyone!

6 different general worksheets
PLUS 4 communion worksheets
Print as many as you want
Black & white photocopiable versions included

(I've altered this one now, to say "Who read the Bible to us? Draw them."
So can be used even if kids aren't in for the sermon, or if their church uses other terminology like 'preacher')

Friday, 4 August 2017


Cleaning the church during a Holiday Club: the dust is so much more colourful and sparkly than usual :-)

Friday, 14 July 2017

What if God was one of us?

God came to earth. He lived here for between 30 & 40 years. He spent most of that time working as a tradesman.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Judean to Babylonian

Started work on Daniel chapter 1.

This was fun!

The Judean clothes are based on the seige of Lachish reliefs that are in the British Museum.

In that the younger boys wear simpler clothes, and the older boys are dressed like adults. I've gone for the adult version, but omitted the turbans as a) I think it makes them look younger and more vulnerable and b) they're difficult to draw!

I have no idea how their tunic/kilt thing is constructed. That's the good thing about simple pics like this - just draw it as they drew it; no need to understand.

Also, although they're all barefoot in this picture, I've drawn the leggings and boots from this other relief which looks to me like Judeans too.

Here's a Babylonian picture (not a great one - there are better ones). I'm pretty certain what they're wearing is essentially an ankle length Scottish style kilt.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

New Heavens and Earth

Last day of SS.

Learned about Jesus' return and the New Heavens & Earth.

When Jesus comes back to Earth, he will get rid of all the bad stuff and make everything new.

Had a gold box and a black binbag, and put things in them depending whether they will be in "Jesus' new world" or not (idea from here):
  • Photo of tombstones (no more death)
  • Box of tissues (no more crying)
  • Calpol (no more pain)
  • Card that said 'sin'
  • Gold bracelet (city made of gold!)
  • Blue voile scarf (river so clean you can drink it)
  • Lamp (won't need them; God will give light)
  • Apple (fruit trees with fruit that can make you live forever)
  • Picture of people (Jesus' friends, from every country: those who have had their sins washed away and love & follow him)
  • Picture of Jesus as king - his friends will see him, be with him forever, and work for him.
It turned out really well, and was nice and simple - important as the preschool kids were joining us.

Then we enjoyed a 'wedding party (aka the Marriage Supper of the Lamb). Hopefully the real catering will be a bit more substantial :-)

Glad no-one asked whose wedding the party would be for - that might have been a bit hard to explain!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Free light show


(It's the light through the trees shining through the skylights)

Odd thing

There was something strange under one of the seats at church. A large moth?

No, just a pterodactyl.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Reclining at the table

My willing models are helping me out for my next illustrations. Reclining at the table first-century style. (I don't have enough, so will have to copy two)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


We need to speak definitively where scripture speaks definitively and not speak definitively where scripture does not.
~Russell Moore

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Why did Jesus die?

And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.

So often we focus on the future hope (which is true). But it's supposed to change everything now.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Goliath's church

Apparently a new little boy at our church calls it 'Goliath's church' to distinguish it from his old church :-D

A life size mural of Goliath in my church
Our Goliath mural

Friday, 5 May 2017


What I've been working on.

Took rather more time than I'd budgetted, and there's so much more that I could do, but I needed to stop and call them finished.

I don't usually do shading, but I felt that with dark scenes inside tents, sunrises etc, it would really help. Probably bit off a bit more than I could chew, but I do feel it's heading in the direction I was aiming at, though it didn't quite get there!

Click to see big

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Monday, 24 April 2017

Emmaus craft

We did the road to Emmaus on Sunday, and I wanted to focus on the bit which says:
"Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."
Only I didn't word it quite like that :-)

Here's our craft.

I stole/adapted the tagline from The Bible Project - simplified for wee ones.
I got the popout idea from Pinterest.

They could draw any Bible stories they liked inside, or copy out memory verses.

Shameless sticker plug: buy them here. I was pleased that one of the kids said, "I love those stickers" - because he didn't know I drew them!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


It's very annoying, that the same Hebrew word can be used for 'boy' or 'servant'. (Same with 'girl'). Annoying, because when drawing a picture it's helpful to know roughly how old someone is. At least are they an adult or a child.

I suppose it's the same as in American slavery, where a slave would be called 'boy' no matter his age. Or, indeed, a stable lad, who can be a 'lad' till the day he retires.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Work in progress

Trying out some ideas for an illustration. I don't usually do shading on thumbnails, but it really does help. I should do that more.