Aetherlight Bible and Game Key Giveaway

It can be a challenge to excite young people about the stories of the Bible, and it can be even harder when those stories have been told and retold so many times they seem to hold no surprises or insights any more. The better known the narrative, the more inoculated some children seem to be to the wonder of God’s story in those pages. That’s why we are excited about the work Scarlet City Studios is doing with The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance.

logo

The game tells the story of the Bible in an allegorical world, with fantastical inventions and exciting characters that capture the imagination and slip “under the radar” of a generation that might have seen one too many flannelgraphs. The latest Aetherlight release is the third episode, which introduces Jefferson, a brilliant but unintentionally arrogant scientist who may hold the key to saving the game world of Aethasia from a global catastrophe. It is an allegorical retelling of the story of Joseph, and it creates a way for young people to interact with the story beyond the surface facts they are used to hearing.

Jefferson has a remarkable and colorful mechanical suit, a nod to the technicolor coat everyone knows so well, and his story is picked up at the point where Joseph is thrown in a pit by his brothers. In the game, Jefferson has been researching the melting of the arctic Snowmoors region, but before he can complete his work, he is falsely accused and imprisoned by a vindictive recruit from the Usurper’s academy. While being held in the Grease Pits, he shows his capacity for problem solving and leads the player to solve the meltdown crisis there. The overseer of the Snowmoors, Baron Fairrow, then commissions him to repeat the task for the entire region, and in doing so he is reunited with the rest of the Resistance and helps complete their mission.

While there are obvious touchpoints in the story, what is most exciting about this retelling is the way the game explores the deeper themes of the scriptural narrative. The game’s creators have taken pains to explore what the story is about. From the outset, players are aware that they have been prepared for what is ahead, even if they don’t understand how or why. As the game unfolds, those preparations become apparent, revealing how even in the midst of Joseph’s troubles, God’s purposes were being worked out. Similarly, while the events of Joseph’s story are recognizable in the adventures in Aethasia, the deeper themes of Genesis come to life for players. Jefferson’s insistence on solving the problem of the environment melting reflects the heart of God to preserve life—all life—that is seen in the way the Egyptian famine was averted in Joseph’s day. As they work through challenges alongside the brilliant young scientist, players are given the opportunity to understand how God uses people’s skills and availability when they acknowledge his call. While the game’s central figure, the Scarlet Man—a kind of “Angel of the Lord” figure, a representation of the various theophanies of the Old Testament, who leads and guides the Resistance—is notably absent throughout this chapter of the adventure, his involvement behind the scenes is clear. This is shown most vividly in the Dreamweaver device players are able to craft, a tool that lets them see hidden clues and objects, preparations the Scarlet Man has made for them without them even realizing they were there.

Engaging young people with the Bible is a vital part of their spiritual formation, and inviting them to see their part in the grand narrative of Scripture will always be of the utmost importance. We are excited to see tools like The Aetherlight taking this challenge seriously and offering creative ways for kids to participate in the story of God and understand its rich relevance and timeless truths in a way they can call their own. The third episode of this groundbreaking game continues that trend, and we look forward to many more biblical stories coming to life for the next generation through the land of Aethasia.

 

Enter to win a FREE Bible and a FREE The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance game key! We’re giving away 10 of each to 10 lucky winners!

978-1-4964-1366-6

Here’s how to enter:

Fill out the Gleam form below. Follow the directions to earn extra entries. We’ll chose 10 winners on December 7th!

 

 

Aetherlight

Free #BethMooreNovel Live Stream Event (Enter to win a free book!)

Join Beth Moore for Beth’s Big Book Club! This free 2-hour web stream event is a great way to connect with your friends, and dig deeper into The Undoing of Saint Silvanus.

undoingstsilvanus_slides_final2

 

 

This seeker friendly book group is a great way for women and their girlfriends to gather at your church for a book group discussion like they have never experienced before! With Beth as your host, you know it will be a fun evening full of laughs and amazing insight straight from the Word. The first part of the evening we will explore the themes and backstory, meet a few of Beth’s friends that helped shape the characters in the book and have some time for Q&A. Beth will be speaking from her heart, encouraging women to lean into the hope of the Gospel for the undoings needed in their lives.

The second part of the event will go into the book a bit more, exploring the events of the story more deeply, discussing the plot and the twists and turns. You will not have to had read the book to enjoy this, but keep your ears open for spoiler alerts. It will be a fun, one-of-a-kind evening with Beth you won’t want to miss!

Learn more at: http://bethmoorenovel.com/

 

Sign-up to receive reminder e-mails about the web stream event and you’ll be entered to win a FREE signed copy of So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. We’re giving away five copies!

Fill out the Gleam form below to sign up. When you sign up for the email list you’ll automatically be entered to win a free book. Follow the directions to earn extra entries. We’ll choose five winners on December 11th.

So Long, Insecurity Giveaway

November Kids GIVEAWAY!

lara-giveaway

This chapter book is about ten-year-old narrator Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class—Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

In this unique story, Laney communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax. And she weaves an unforgettable tale of a new girl who transforms an entire class and, in the process, reveals the best and worst in all of us.

Enter below for your chance to win this powerful and emotional story! 

Larger-than-life Lara Giveaway

Grateful Hearts That Last: 5 Ways to Keep Kids Thinking about Thankfulness by Kathryn O’Brien

thanksgiving-fallI love this time of year, don’t you? Leaves are falling. Temperatures are dropping. Cozy scarves, pumpkin spice lattes and brisk walks are once again an integral part of our lives. Hallelujah! And isn’t it nice, before the stockings are hung and the lights are strung, that we are able to pause as a nation, as families, and as children of God, to give thanks?

It’s that sweet time of year when we collectively stop to focus on our blessings before the flurry of the season hits. An entire day to focus our attention on family and friends, concentrating on the abundance of goodness in our lives. The chance for kids to make November lists of all they have before starting those December lists of all they want.

And then, just like that, it’s gone. We pray, we eat, we do the dishes. So long turkey, hello tinsel. Goodbye gratitude, bring on the garland.

Wouldn’t it be nice to keep our Thanksgiving thankfulness a bit longer? Hang on to those grateful hearts even after the gravy is gone? Try these five autumn activities at home to encourage your little ones to maintain an attitude of gratitude throughout the year.

1. Verse of the Month

  • Help your children create a list of twelve passages related to thankfulness (the book of Psalms is a terrific place to start or try www.biblegateway.com or www.biblestudytools.com). Assign each verse to a month of the year. Using construction or printer paper, create posters for every verse and decorate with crayons, marker, watercolor or paint. Each time the month changes, place a new poster on the fridge for a monthly memory verse and daily reminder to give thanks!

2. Thank You Notes

  • paper-thanksgivingDiscuss the important people in your children’s lives. Think grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, classmates, friends, teachers, coaches, neighbors, and pastors. Guide your children in writing good old-fashioned letters to each one (you remember, the kind with a real envelope, mailing address, and stamp!). Kids can share a favorite memory, retell a holiday or special event spent together, or simply express appreciation. On the first day of every month drop a
    letter or two in the mail to prolong a spirit of gratitude for those who mean the most.

3. Helping Hands

  • There are usually many opportunities in November to help at a local food bank, retirement home, or donation center. Have a discussion with your kids about the needs of others that we often take for granted: food, clothing, shelter, blankets, toys, books. Those needs may be more publicized around this time of year, but they don’t stop once the holidays are over. Make a commitment to serve at least once a month with your kids through the year, as a continuous reminder of our daily blessings.

4. Wreath of thanks

  • Ask your children to trace their hands on red, brown, yellow, and purple construction paper. Carefully cut out the shapes, labeling each with something for which to be thankful. Ideas can be serious, like doctors and warm beds, or silly, like chocolate cake and funny jokes. Glue the edges of the hands together to begin your wreath. Every month, ask for more ideas and keep attaching more hands of blessing. Watch the wreath grow bigger and bigger as thankful hearts grow!

5. Thankful Jar

  • Get a jar (or basket or box) and a post-it notepad. Keep the jar in an accessible place, like the kitchen table or counter. Every time someone in the family relays a blessing, an answered prayer or piece of good news, write it on a post-it note and place it in the jar. Kicked a goal at the soccer game? Put it in the jar! Got an A on a math test? Write it down! Kids will be amazed at how fast it fills up, and whenever a bit of encouragement is needed, you’ll know just where to look for reminders of God’s faithfulness. Oh, how He deserves our thanks!

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is almost here. Such a joyful time! Here’s to the food and the fun, the family traditions, and keeping our kids focused on thankfulness all throughout the year.


obrien

Kathryn O’Brien has been published in numerous parenting and teaching magazines, including ParentLife and Shining Star. As a former elementary school teacher, Kathryn continues to write on education topics and blogs regularly at kathobrien.com. She is an award-winning author of two children’s books, including I’d Be Your Princess, which won the 2005 ECPA Christian Book Award for Best Picture Book. David C. Cook recently invited her to join their writing team at HomeFront Magazine. Visit Kathryn at her website, or find her on Facebook or Instagram.


One of Kathryn’s newest children’s books, Give Thanks, presents the powerful verse Psalm 136:1 (“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!”) in a way that helps lay a foundation for a love and comprehension of Scripture in young readers. Purchase your copy today at Tyndale.com!


 

 

Over the River and through the Woods: 6 Fun Tips for Holiday Travel

photo-1461435218581-ff0972867e90

Now that Halloween has passed, we are hearing Christmas songs coming through TV ads, and turkeys are flying off the shelves at the grocery store. It’s officially the Holiday Season! And for many of us, that means holiday travel. For those with kids, this may elicit nightmares of cross-country airplane trips with screaming toddlers or hours packed into a van with siblings whose inability to form a peaceable coexistence makes hours stretch into days. Is it possible to arrive at your relatives’ front door on Thanksgiving or Christmas with your holiday cheer intact? “Sure,” you say, “but that means gluing my kids’ eyeballs to the iPad.” While a little extra screen time on long trips is a good way to pass the time, here are some tips for surviving the holiday travel season with your sanity and without screens.

photo-1415859295608-27921edab0ac

 

  1. Play visual games. This works better for road trips than air travel, but especially with new flyers, there is a lot to observe in airports and on planes. Games like I Spy, the License Plate Alphabet Game, and Twenty Questions occupy a lot of time and will have your whole family engaged together. Click here for a great list of twenty car games.

 

  1. Bring new-to-them books. Hit the library before a big trip and pick out several books. Pack them away so kids are not able to read them before takeoff. The novelty of new reads will be well worth the wait.

 

 

  1. Dig out your favorite old-school toys. There’s a reason toys like Etch A Sketch, Magna Doodle, Wooly Willy, and Rubik’s Cube are classics. These timeless games are durable, easy to pack, and tons of fun. Introduce them one at a time to maximize your mileage with each.
  1. Provide a variety of snacks. Think mess-free and slow-to-eat when it comes to travel snacks. Ideally, a snack break will pass time without leaving crumbs and sticky fingers. Suggestions include day-old bagels (a little dryness means slower snacking), raisins, granola bars, string cheese, carrots, and apple slices. Steer clear of sweets to avoid a sugar rush hitting while you’re confined to a small space.

 

almonds

 

  1. Pack simple craft items. Stickers, coloring books, pipe cleaners, yarn, construction paper, and a little creativity can go a long way. For road trips, cookie sheets can be used as lap trays; the rim will keep supplies from rolling off the edges.
  1. Listen to audio books and radio theater. Dramatic readings of old favorites and new stories are sure to provide hours of entertainment. A bonus is that most are captivating enough to entertain even the adults! For plane trips, load audio onto your phone or even pick up a cheap CD Walkman for kids to operate themselves. An earphone splitter is a good solution to evade fights when everyone wants to hear the same story.

 

Will you be traveling this holiday season? What tricks and tips do you have for passing the time?

 

radio-theaterExperience an audio movie that plays on the biggest screen of all … your imagination. Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre has been entertaining and enriching the lives of both young and old for decades. From timeless classics like Dicken’s Oliver Twist, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and Ben-Hur, Radio Theatre makes timeless stories come alive and real to a whole new generation of listeners. Radio Theatre features award winning actors, orchestral scores and riveting scripts that will draw in the entire family. Browse our Radio Theatre collection to unleash your child’s imagination today.