Watching JW.ORG Original Music Videos on an Amazon Echo Show

The JW.ORG skill for Alexa is great for anyone who owns one of the various Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. One of the things I like is the ability to play original songs by simply asking, “Alexa, play original songs from jw.org”.

Amazon has an Echo Show line of devices that include video screens. The one thing that the JW.ORG skill for Alexa can’t do yet is play the videos on JW.ORG, such as the music videos for the original songs. I really wanted to be able to do this so I went searching for a solution. I found that the Echo Show has a built in browser that can be used. If you own an Echo Show, here is how you can set it up to watch the music videos for the original songs page on JW.ORG:

  1. Start by telling “Alexa, open the Firefox browser”. This should display the Firefox browser that is built into your Echo Show.
  2. In the search/address bar of the browser enter “jw.org” and press GO. This will take you to the JW.ORG website.
  3. On the JW.ORG website you will see a navigation bar in the upper right corner that is an icon with three horizontal lines. Click on the icon, scroll down and select LIBRARY.
  4. Once the LIBRARY page loads, scroll down to the Videos section and select the See All box.
  5. On the Video page scroll down and select Music under the Video Categories.
  6. On the Music page (under Library > Videos) click on the See All box found under Original Songs. This will load the page that has all of the music videos for the original songs.
  7. Now at this point we want to pin this to the Firefox homescreen so we can quickly find this page in the future without having to navigate to it using all of the steps above. To do this you have to use your finger to scroll upwards. This will make the Firefox menu bar appear again. Press the pin icon on the menu bar. This will add the page to the homescreen.
  8. To start playing the music videos select Shuffle under where it says Original Songs. This will randomly select and start playing one of the music videos.
  9. The next step is to make the video play full screen instead of in a box. To do this scroll down a little bit so you can see the bottom of the music video that is playing. Now tap on the video with your finger to make a controls box appear. Press the fullscreen icon (two opposite arrows) on the far right. This will play the videos in fullscreen mode.
  10. You can tap on the screen again while a video is playing to open the controls box again. With the controls you can pause, fast forward, repeat, skip and control the volume.

Once you have done the above it is simple to play the music videos on your Echo Show. Now all you need to do in the future is say “Alexa, open the Firefox browser”. You can then press the shortcut box on the Firefox homescreen that is labeled jw. This will take you to the page with the music videos. From here select Shuffle and then press the fullscreen icon once it starts playing. Its not too hard once you set it up the first time. Hopefully in the future this capability will be added to the JW.ORG skill, but until then the above can enable you to enjoy the music videos on your Echo Show today.

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Make Ancient Dishes from Biblical Times

Have you ever wondered what meals were like during Bible times? A fun project can be to make some ancient dishes from Bible times that are based on ancient recipes found by archaeologists. The Biblical Archaeology Society has a recipe eBook that you can download. The eBook includes a collection of recipes, all in the hope to introduce you to a new—yet old—kind of cooking. If you have ever wanted to eat like an ancient Babylonian, Roman, etc., now you can. They have tracked down ancient recipes and tried to recreate them using modern ingredients, so that you, too, can enjoy these dishes. You will not only learn what ingredients and cooking methods were favored, but also the setting in which meals were typically shared and with whom. Take your family on a gastronomical adventure! You can download your free recipe eBook at the following link:

Recipes from the BAR Test Kitchen

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FAITH Bingo

This simple and creative idea was submitted by one of our subscribers. She wrote, “I made up a game that is played like bingo. The card board carries the word “FAITH” in place of Bingo. I have about 100 cards and instead of numbers I use a Bible character name. Instead of calling out numbers for them to match, I have cards with the description of the Bible character.

We have played this after pioneer meetings, and when we go on unassigned territory“. Thanks for this great idea. If you have a unique idea please let us know in the CONTACT US section.

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Playing Bible Games on Zoom

Many of us have found ourselves quarantined at home due to the corona virus outbreak. Being able to associate with our friends can be a challenge, but with many of us using Zoom for our meetings we have a new option to have fun remotely. With Zoom you can setup your own free account and then can invite others to join your own private meeting. Here are some Bible games that can be played using Zoom.

Bible Charades – To play Bible Charades, all you need is to see others and your own imagination. Since Zoom gives all the players the capability to see each other, take turns acting out your favorite Bible character or story and see who can guess it first.

Bible Pictionary – To play Bible Pictionary you use the Whiteboard feature in Zoom. One person shares their screen and selects the whiteboard. The same person who is screen-sharing uses the tools on the toolbar to draw a picture of a Bible character or story. Everyone else’s tries to guess what the picture is. Each person can take turns sharing their screen and drawing while others try to guess.

Who Am I – This game is based on the Heads Up! Board Game but uses the Bible character cards from jw.org. If everyone has some of the character cards printed out at home, then this game could easily be modified to be played over Zoom. See this previous post showing how to play this game: Who Am I Bible Character Game

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Installing Watchtower Library on a Mac

Over the years there have been several tools and instructions on how to get the Watchtower Library to run on a Mac. Since it is a Windows application it will not run natively without using some sort of Windows emulator that enables a Windows program to run on the Mac.

With the release of the latest macOS, Catalina, a lot of the previous methods to install and run the Watchtower Library on a Mac stopped working. Since I use a Mac I ran into this issue and had to figure out how to get it working again. I have created a separate page showing the steps to install and run the Watchtower Library on a Mac running macOS Catalina. If you need help with this you can find this page here: Installing Watchtower Library on a Mac with macOS Catalina

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Non-witness Relatives

This is not an idea for family worship, but is just a funny spoof of a Nike commercial. Anyone who grew up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and had non-witness relatives will get this. Click the picture or link below to watch.

TheInvitation.mp4

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Research Projects

We have found one of the most beneficial family worship evenings is when we do a family research project. We pick a subject and have each person research a different topic related to the subject. Each person does research and presents back to the family what they have learned. There are no rules on how the information is presented and each are encouraged to be creative. This makes the project more fun and interesting as each gets to express themselves in a way they are most comfortable. Doing the research helps develop good study skills and teaches one how to better use the Watchtower Library. Presenting the topic helps us all continue to develop our speaking skills in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

For our most recent Family Worship we chose the subject of prayer. The topics we researched were:

  • Improving one’s prayers
  • Public prayer
  • Head covering for women
  • When a householder wants to pray together and When a non-witness prays

We used a variety of ways to deliver the information. One was delivered as a talk, another as questions and answers, some as PowerPoint presentations and one as a video similar to the Sample Conversations on our mid-week meeting. Below are links to download some of the projects that we created. We all learned something new and found that doing research can be fun.

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House2House Board Game

House2House is a board game specifically designed for Jehovah’s Witnesses and can be a part of a fun family worship evening. The game involves creating a territory map that players move around. Depending on which type of space the player lands on they draw a card and are asked either a scriptural question, a how-would-you-respond scenario, or given a conversation stopper. The player then tries to respond with an appropriate scripture and response based on the scenario presented. Answering correctly can earn a player a bible study, a return visit, a magazine or brochure placement, or hours. These basically act as points that are tallied at the end as each player’s final score. The game is based on the 2013 Revised New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and the book Reasoning from the Scriptures.

The game is a great way to become better acquainted with the scriptures and to practice responding to certain questions or scenarios. It can easily be adapted for all ages as you play so that the whole family can enjoy the game. The tiles used to create the map can be placed in hundreds of different combinations so that it is different each time you play. It takes about an hour to play a game. It is a little expensive for a board game, but is very well made. Considering that is it is being made for a very specific audience it is understandable that it would cost more than mass produced games. It can be purchase online at ministryideaz.com.

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Bible Story Puzzles

Here is a simple and fun project that creates puzzles from Bible stories. First step is to find and print a picture illustrating a Bible story. Great resources are the books Lessons you can learn from the Bible and My Book of Bible Stories. Both of these can be found at JW.org. If you use the online publication you can click on one of the pictures and print it out. The one we used is a picture of Noah’s ark from lesson 6 Eight Survive Into a New World from Lessons you can learn from the Bible.

After printing the picture cut it up into even squares, or if you want to make it challenging cut it up into random pieces. We have found using a paper cutter/trimmer makes it easy to cut even lines for projects like this. Now you have a simple puzzle to use when discussing a Bible story. One idea would be to mix up the pieces and work on trying to figure out what the Bible story is by putting the picture together. After solving the puzzle, you can then read and discuss the story together.


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Bible Town

Crafting a town from Bible times can help make a Bible story come alive. I found a website, mylittlehouse.org, that has free, downloadable templates for crafting a variety of buildings, people, animals, and accessories from Bible times. All that is needed is a printer to print out the templates, scissors to cut out the items, and glue to put them together. The pdf downloads provide easy to follow instructions. One thing to note is that this website is not run by Jehovah’s Witnesses and does contain some content related to the holidays, so you will want to be selective in what you may choose to download.

  

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