March Free Family Events (Cleveland, OH)

We feel it has been a very mild winter (you may disagree :o). A few days of very cold, a few days of snow, but overall not bad (unless you were looking forward to more snow activities). Well March is here, so we may get a few more big snows yet, but any snow now is just swinging through to say “Good-bye” as winter turns into spring. God has created such beautiful seasons, and we are grateful for the opportunity to experience each of them.

So if it does snow, perhaps you can head out for a family time of sledding (best sled riding hills) or stay in for a family game night. Either way, we can be grateful for the changing beauty that God has created.

Here are some other events that you may enjoy during this month of March.

March Events

Other events that are not specific to this month

Ongoing Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

 

Weekly Recurring Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

Monthly Recurring Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

February Free Family Events (Cleveland, OH)

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Chinese New Year is on the lunar calendar so moves around a bit on the western calendar (similar to Easter).

Thousands of years of celebrating a holiday can develop quite a few traditions, and the traditions do make the holiday something to look forward to and help with remembering the holiday and creating a feeling around the holiday. However, these same traditions can just become things to do.

This is true not only of the Chinese New Year, but of all areas of our life.

This month is also the month of love and Valentines day. If you celebrate this holiday, is it with excitement to express your appreciation for one you love, or is it to meet the social expectation of the holiday?

Do the traditions of Christmas & Resurrection Sunday (Easter) point you more firmly to Christ… or are they meaningless (though possibly fun) activities that take your time and focus away from Christ?

Traditions can be great reminders, but our family is constantly reminded that we need to remember what is important and why and use the traditions to keep us focused.

Whether you recognize Chinese New Year, or Valentines Day, or Groundhog Day or the Super Bowl…we need to remember that everything, every blessing, all love, the seasons, and our abilities all come from Christ and are for him alone.

With that said, here are some events that can just be events… or they can be meaningful times to focus on God and His creation. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Our post for January had some great events that are continuing through the winter. This post will focus on new activities for February.
  • The events listed here will reflect the ages of our children and our location in the South/West Suburbs. This is not an exhaustive list of events in the area.
  • Some events need registration (usually free), others are drop in events. Be sure to check the weblinks to get the details.

February Events

Other events that are not specific to this month

Ongoing Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

 

Weekly Recurring Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

Monthly Recurring Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

January Free Family Events (Cleveland, OH)

Happy New Year!!!

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

As we celebrate the new year, we celebrate what God has done and what God is doing. “In the beginning God created…” and God is still working in His creation and in our lives. In fact, “the heavens declare the glory of God”!

To start the new year, we would like to highlight an amazing, meaningful, free activity that is great for the whole family at different levels. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has a temporary exhibit (9/29/2018-4/28/2019) called “BUILT TO SURVIVE: BIOMECHANICS”. We were there today and it is amazing!!! It’s as if it were created to show the amazing wisdom, power, creativity, etc. of our amazing Creator. Our 4 year old, 8 year old, Elyse and myself (It’s hard to speak for the baby), all thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit and it had the right mix of hands on, and deeper information to keep us all engaged and amazed. (See below for the “free” part, since the museum is not usually free. :o)

For those who are homeschooling their children, we have another exciting event to highlight. Bible Study Fellowship offers a great way to go deeper into God’s Word with a view to know him more. The day women’s class in Middleburg Heights has had the pre-school program for years, but that was difficult for families who are homeschooling. Starting this year, they will be adding the school age program for K-12!!! If you, or your children, would like to go deeper into God’s Word. This may be worth your checking out! BSF continues to be a huge blessing for our family and we are excited to pass this along.

With those highlights, here are other activities to celebrate God and his creation in the the month of January.

January Events

The events marked “Free RSVP” do require advance registration, which may fill up quickly. Be sure to check whether the registration is still open before you plan your trip.

Events marked “($$$)” have a fee.

So, How do I go to the Natural History Museum for FREE!?!

We encourage supporting the museums, etc. However, if finances are going to keep you from going and you’re willing to have a little extra hassle, there is a way to go for free through the public library.

Here is how:

  1. Get a Cleveland Public Library card. (Bring your Cuyahoga County card and they can use the same card) – FREE
  2. Ask to check out a “Family Pass” for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. This is good for six people to enjoy the museum AND the planetarium for FREE!
    1. The branches sometimes run out. If they don’t have one try again later, or try another branch.
    2. These do not need to be returned. You turn them in at the museum in exchange for tickets.
  3. Tell a friend… share the good news! (Especially while the “BUILT TO SURVIVE: BIOMECHANICS” is still at the museum!)

Enjoy your New Year as you focus on the Beginner and Sustainer of all things!

Other events that are not specific to this month

Ongoing Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

Weekly Recurring Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

Monthly Recurring Events (Some may have different schedules this month)

September Free Family Events (Cleveland, OH)

As a father, I am excited to lead my family to know Christ and reflect him as a family as the Holy Spirit works in our lives to make us more like Himself. As a man, I know that I can be lazy and selfish, wanting to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. Any good is truly due to the Holy Spirit’s work in me.

Part of following Christ is to choose to flee from temptation (including the temptation to do my things, or just to rest, when I should be spending time investing in family and others).

One thing that can help is to get away from the house, and be able to focus on my family. These times away cut the distractions and make a great investment in family.

To that end, I am grateful for my amazing wife keeping track of the various (repeating) events we have enjoyed through the years. Here are some of the (free or very inexpensive) family events that are coming up in the Cleveland area in September. We may not be at all of them (some quiet, down time is also precious), but these are events that have blessed us that we will be considering for this month.

Ongoing Events

  • Library Events – See library listings near you (FREE)
  • Metropark Events – See the Metroparks event schedule, or just go take a walk in the woods or path or visit a nature center (Rocky River Nature Center has a lot to do, as do other nature centers)

 

Weekly Recurring Events

 

Monthly Recurring Events

  • 1st Saturday Home Depot Children’s Workshop (FREE w/ RSVP)
  • 2nd Sunday Cleveland Museum of Art Family Day (FREE)
    • Canceled in June for Parade the Circle (Wonderful FREE event)
  • 1st Wednesday Mad Scientists – Bay Village Library (Free w/ RSVP)
  • Chinese Story Times
  • Last Tuesday Volunteers of America half price day

 


 

9/1

  • Home Depot Children’s Workshop (1st Sat of each month) FREE w/ RSVP

9/1,2,3

  • Air show (Labor Day weekend) FREE to look at the sky, paid to go in
    • You can’t hide an air show!. Park nearby and look to the skies. (Especially for the Blue Angels precision flying team!)

9/5

9/7

9/8

9/9

9/11

  • Women/Children’s BSF 9:20am at Grace CMA FREE
  • Men/School Age BSF 6:55pm at Parma Heights Baptist Church FREE
    • Men’s BSF is usually on Monday night. This week only is on Tuesday for the first week of the new study.

9/13

9/15

9/21

  • young Explorers: Collage Art – Grades K-5 Berea library 10 a.m. FREE

9/22

  • Chinese church Chinese storytime 4 p.m. (every Saturday) FREE w/ RSVP

9/28

9/29

9/30

Perhaps we will see you with your family at one of these fun events!

Do you have another favorite event? Please share it in the comments below.

Homiletics Post 3 of 3: Examples, Tweaks & Additions

Previous related posts: Part 1 of 3: “My story”, Part 2 of 3: “What is Homiletics?”

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Colossians 3:16a

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

In the previous posts, I shared my story and when and how I started learning homiletics. Like me, you may tweak this design or add to it as you get more into God’s Word and see what helps you to draw near to him. As I have done my own homiletics and read more about homiletics, I also have added sections to my homiletics, but still use the above mentioned plan as my base.

I gained a lot from “Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages“ by Haddon Robinson, which was recommended by my pastor as a main book used in seminaries. From reading this book, I added a section to my homiletics which further broke down each Division into a Subject, Compliment, Idea, Application and Principles. I further broke down the Application sections into “What does this teach about God?” and “How does this impact my life?”.This also gives mom and I areas for deeper spiritual discussions and applications as we both love God’s Word.

When I was learning, I know that examples were as, if not more, helpful than explanation. My homiletics for John 2 make for a fairly clear and complete example. More examples, as well as glimpses into what God was teaching me at the time, are available here: Revelation, John. You can also copy my template, which I update as I think of new areas that would be helpful. (Again, mine are not the best homiletics, and I have grown over time. Don’t let mine limit or intimidate you.)


A word of caution & insight

Develop your own style, don’t just copy mine – I encourage you to develop your own style. Part of the growing for me has been in tweaking my homiletics sheet as I learn more about God and His Word and see ways that would help me to focus to know him even more. It’s all about the process!

Viewing others homiletics – I am hesitant to include the links to my homiletics other than one example for John 2. I don’t want them to be something you look at first, but as you are doing homiletics yourself, sometimes it is fun to discuss yours and see others. I also want to have them available for if I am gone, so you can see a glimpse into your dad’s journey before you. I would enjoy seeing your homiletics as well, and to see how the Lord is speaking to you!


Remember, the goal is to draw near to God through His word, not to simply have an academic understanding of the Bible. Pray that God would open your eyes to see Him and His truths and applications in His Word.

May the Word of God dwell in you richly!

Dad

Note to Others: In keeping with the purpose of our site, this is a letter to our kids and grandkids to leave as a legacy if something should happen to us. If you find any benefit, praise God!

Homiletics Post 2 of 3: What is homiletics?

Previous related post: Part 1 of 3: “My story”

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Colossians 3:16a

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

So, what is homiletics?

Homiletics is taking you, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit and wrestling through and hashing out what God is saying in a systematic way. Commentaries, while they have their place, are not invited to the party at this time. (As an aside, if you read a Bible Outline, it is basically someone sharing their homiletics. If you listen to an expository sermon, it is likely based on the framework of the pastor’s homiletics.)

There are variations on how to do homiletics. I have no opinion on which is best other than whatever draws you closer to Christ. What I will share below is my story, how I started, that worked for me. I will then briefly mention some changes I have made as I saw what may be useful for me and read about other ideas for homiletics.IMG_20160725_172435040_HDR

Think of homiletics like an hourglass. The whole passage goes into the wide top of the hourglass. It then gets shrunk down until it can come through the hole in the middle, then it expands again.

Part One: Preparation

  • Pray for God to open your eyes to see Him and His truths and applications in His Word.
  • Read the passage several times to just let it sink in and the Holy Spirit to speak through His Word.
  • Have only your Bible, paper and pencil (I do mine on the computer, but have to be careful to shut out other distractions.). NO commentaries, etc.

Part Two: Content

  • Summarize the entire passage in 10 to 20 lines. Give the reference for each line. You are basically taking notes on the passage.
  • This should only have facts, not your interpretation.
  • It does not have to be full sentences.
  • If you are doing a chapter of 20-40 verses, this isn’t too hard. If you are doing multiple chapters, you are really needing to summarize.

Part Three: Divisions

  • Divide the whole passage into two to four divisions. Give the reference for each division.
  • Have a complete sentence summarizing each division.

Part Four: Subject Sentence

  • Write a sentence that uniquely describes the passage. If someone knows the Bible and reads your subject sentence, they should know what passage you are studying.
  • The sentence should be 10 words or less. (Forcing you to really get down to the core.)
  • Have facts, not interpretation.

Part Five: Aim

  • Write one main truth that the Lord is teaching you and that you want to pass along to others.
  • ONE main truth, not several smaller truths.
  • Start with “Cause audience to learn….” or even “Cause myself to learn…”
  • This is starting to deal with application, not just facts.

Part Six: Application

  • These should be in the form of a question. The questions should cause thinking and change, convict and/or encourage and change the heart over behavior.
  • Write at least one application question for each division.

A Word of Caution and Insight

Caution

Homiletics, as with anything, can also become “computerized”, something you do without really processing, or thinking about the words and missing the meaning. The key has always been and will always be, prayerfully coming before the Lord and experiencing the Holy Spirit bring the Word to life. Homiletics is simply a tool in helping to dig deeper into the Word. It may also appeal more to some personalities than others.

Insight

While I love homiletics, my homiletics are not very “good”. As I hear others share from their homiletics, I delight in hearing the ways they make the divisions flow, or the Subject Sentence catch the meaning almost poetically, etc. While I love hearing theirs (and I really do), I love mine more! (sound vain?) The fact is, mine is mine, it is what God spoke to me. The result may not be as beautiful, but it is through the process of thinking through the Word in communion with the Spirit, that real impact is made. It’s the process, not the result that really matters. I hope I am growing in my results as well, but it is growth in the process of becoming absorbed in God’s Word through His Spirit that really matters.

Don’t let comparison keep you from experiencing the depths of God through His Word!!!


To be continued… Part 3 of 3: “Examples, Tweaks & Additions”

Homiletics Post 1 of 3: My Story

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Colossians 3:16a

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica;
they received the word with all eagerness,
examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11

Hi Elijah & Isaiah,

This is for my “buddy buddies” :o) who are now five and two.  I love you guys. Hopefully, I will be around to teach and model this for years to come, but just in case… I want to share with you this joy… and look forward to seeing you in the twinkling of an eye. ~ Dad

(In keeping with the purpose of our site, this is a letter to our kids and grandkids to leave as a legacy if something should happen to us. If others find any benefit, praise God!)

God has given us a letter. It is a letter of love. It is a letter of sacrifice. It is a letter of guidance. It is a letter of encouragement. It is a letter of correction. It is all these things, and much, much more. Most of all, it is a letter of God revealing himself to us!!!IMG_20160725_172507316

Do you read God’s letter? (If not, I’ll keep praying for you till I go Home to be with Jesus.)

Assuming you do, you may be like I was for years even after going to a strong Bible teaching church, Christian college and being involved in participating and leading Bible studies. I really didn’t know how to study the Bible (though I didn’t fully realize it). I would read the Bible, which was good. I would see what it would say, which was good. If I saw application, I would try to apply it, which was good. I may have a Bible Study guide, which was good (but can pull away from actually reading the Bible). I sometimes looked at commentaries for ideas, which was good (but again can be a distraction).

But I still didn’t really feel like I knew how to study the Bible. I thought about my pastor and others who teach the Bible. How do they study the Bible? Is it just reading, reading some commentaries and getting practice and putting a message together… or is there a way to really study the Bible that I am missing. (I sure felt like I was missing something.)

Then I joined Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), which was amazing. The BSF format is four fold: 1. Study on your own with some guiding questions, but no other resources. Just me, the Holy Spirit and the Bible. 2. Discuss our week’s study with other men (or women for mom) to hear other’s insights (still no commentaries, just prayerfully allowing the Holy Spirit to open His Word to us). 3. A lecture from what we had already been studying on our own. 4. Reading notes/commentaries to gain additional insights (after we already put the first focus on God’s Word). I love it! It spoke to my heart and brought the Bible to life. I love it!

But… then I became a BSF group leader and was introduced to a whole new world of Bible study… the joyous introduction to homiletics. (Mom mentioned and I agree that this is the 5th fold of the BSF study method, the other “folds” in our minds being in the area of prayer and fellowship with strong believers and their insights into God’s Word.) The Holy Spirit used Homiletics to bring the Word to life in my life and sharpen its sword to pierce my heart, give limitless hope, reveal God and show me what His Word says about living life.

I love homiletics and have seen it impact my life, family and walk with God!  

To be continued…
Part 2 of 3: “What is Homiletics?”
Part 3 of 3: “Examples, Tweaks & Additions”