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:
Start by telling “Alexa, open the Firefox browser”. This should display the Firefox browser that is built into your Echo Show.
In the search/address bar of the browser enter “jw.org” and press GO. This will take you to the JW.ORG website.
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.
Once the LIBRARY page loads, scroll down to the Videos section and select the See All box.
On the Video page scroll down and select Music under the Video Categories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you wanted to expand your family worship by inviting others to join you? Are there older ones, single ones, or single parent families in your congregation? Inviting such ones to join your family worship can truly result in an “interchange of encouragement” (Romans 1:12). The October 2017 L&MM Workbook offered this suggestion: “Interview a publisher who has been serving Jehovah for many years, perhaps in the full-time service. What sacrifices has he made to give his best to Jehovah? How has Jehovah blessed him?“. Plan ahead as a family. Discuss who you would like to invite and let them know you will be interviewing them. Then as a family, come up with questions that you would to like ask the brother or sister. Perhaps each family member could take turns asking different questions. Even if you are not able to invite someone, you can still enjoy hearing the encouraging interviews of others by using the additional suggestion in the workbook: “Go to JW Broadcasting, and look under INTERVIEWS AND EXPERIENCES. You will see and hear the expressions of joy of many who have spent a lifetime in various avenues of sacred service.”
This idea came from another family’s family worship this past week. They watched the video “With Jehovah, I Can Do Almost Anything” about the encouraging experience of a sister in Panama, Sabina Hernández. What is amazing is that she auxiallary pioneers in spite of a severe handicap she has had from birth. Her handicap has left her with very limited use of her hands and she has adapted by using her mouth instead for things like turning the pages of her Bible. Her joy and zeal are infectious.
One part of the video shows Sabina signing her name on an auxiliary pioneer application. She does it with precision and grace. The family decided to try the same activity. Each person tried to write their name using only a pen held in their mouth. Doing this helped them appreciate the challenges she has overcome and the efforts she makes in serving Jehovah. This provides an opportunity to discuss what challenges each of us may face and how we can continually improve our service to Jehovah.
Everyone loves movie night! One of the suggestions in the article Ideas for Family Worship and Personal Study, found in the August 15, 2011 issue of the Watchtower, is to watch and discuss a Bible-based video from time to time. There are many videos to choose from on the JW Broadcasting website. The article Family Worship – Can You Make It More Enjoyable? , in the March 15, 2014 issue of the Watchtower magazine, suggests preparing questions ahead of time. You can go over the questions before watching the video and then discuss them afterwards.
We recently decided to review the history of the modern-day organization by watching the video series Jehovah’s Witnesses-Faith in Action over two weeks. The first week we watched Part 1: Out of Darkness. The following week we watched Part 2: Let the Light Shine. For each video we used the questions found in the April 2012 Kingdom Ministry and the May 2012 Kingdom Ministry. Each article has 14 review questions for each video. This provided an easy and simple way to prepare for our family worship and to get the most out of watching each video.
Below is a list of other videos and corresponding articles with review questions:
Our children’s generation is a video generation. They enjoy watching amateur videos via YouTube, Instagram and other like sites much more than traditional TV that we grew up watching. They also enjoy making videos of t
heir own and are very good at using the variety of powerful yet simple video editing software available today. With this in mind we decided to do a video project for family worship.
The goal was to create a video about a Bible character. We didn’t want to be to rigid on how to do it but instead wanted to encourage our children to be creative and have fun. We outlined that the video should include background abo
ut the person and their family, details about the major event(s) in their life, and what we can learn and/or imitate from their example. We did this over two weeks. Week one we picked the person and began researching information about them. They worked on their videos throughout the week and during our next family worship evening we watched and discussed their final video projects.
The end result was great, as our children created video projects that exceed our expectations. They not only learned more about their Bible character but also learned more about how to do research using the variety of tools provided. They put in a lot of effort and really enjoyed the process. Our daughter created a video about Rahab using various pictures, video clips and a home made video she created using her dolls. Our son created a video trivia game about Noah doing all of the programming and research himself. We were surprised at how well it turned out and how much they got out of the exercise. Attached below for download are the Rahab video and the Noah trivia game (for both Mac and Windows) that our children created. Enjoy!
There are a lot of great videos on jw.org and we like to review them as part of our family worship. Recently we watched the video Does God Have a Name?. Afterwards we played a Jeopardy-like quiz game to help review the key points from the video. I got the idea from another brother who shared several websites that can help make such games. A simple Google search of something like “make your own jeopardy game” will show several web sites that can help creating such a game.
I created a game on my iPad using an app called “Buzz-monster“. The app is very well done, allowing for up to 3 people to play together on the same iPad. Each having their own button to “buzz” in. The app makes it very easy to create questions and multiple choice answers. It also enables you to easily add pictures, audio and video to the questions. Like Jeopardy, the questions are grouped in categories and assigned point values. Each player takes turns picking a category and point value. A question is displayed and the first person to press their button is shown a list of multiple choice answers to choose from. If they select the correct one they get the points associated with the question.
For the video Does God Have a Name? I created 5 categories: Using God’s name, Other languages, Many gods, Archeology, and Scriptures. Each category had five questions, like “In english God’s name is rendered Jehovah, and it is also sometimes rendered this“. Using this along with the video really encouraged our family to take notes and play close attention to all of the detail presented in the video. It also led to much discussion after each question, especially on the hards ones that were guessed incorrectly.
Here is a great video that we used as part of our family worship evening that we spent talking about Jehovah’s creations. We discussed as a family the chapter “Who designed it first?” in the brochure Was Life Created? (you can find it on jw.org). As part of our discussion we watched a video called Underwater Astonishments. It is a video of a talk given by David Gallo, an oceanographer, at a TED conference about Technology, Entertainment and Design.
David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. It really helps show the amazing design in Jehovah’s creations.