Monday, September 28, 2009

Under His Feathers

Objects: Beanie Duck, down feathers & flight feathers, picture of nest & eggs

How many of you enjoy watching birds? Do you have a bird feeder? Bird houses? Just this week, I found a bird’s nest under my rose bushes. What kind do you think it was?

It was a mallard duck’s nest, and there were 11 eggs in it! As I looked at that nest, I was reminded of a Bible verse that tells us something about what God is like. Let’s see what it says about God...and about ducks.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.... He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust...” Ps. 91: 1,2,4a

I’ll bet you never thought of God having feathers, did you? Of course, He doesn’t really have feathers, but King David used a bird and its feathers to describe the way God protects and cares for His people.

Let’s see how a duck is a little bit like God.

The duck takes great care to make a nest in which to lay her eggs. She even pulls out soft, tiny down feathers from her own breast to make a cushion under the eggs. After she lays the eggs, she carefully sits on them to keep them warm until the little ducklings hatch. When she has to leave the nest to get food for herself, she carefully covers the eggs with...guess what? Feathers!

How long do you think the duck will have to sit and wait for her eggs to hatch into ducklings? (3-4 weeks) That’s a long time, isn’t it, but she knows that the eggs have to stay warm or they will die. She also knows that there are animals that like to eat duck eggs, so she sits on the nest every night to protect the eggs from danger. Her job isn’t over when the ducklings break out of the eggs, either. The same animals that like to eat eggs, like to eat little ducks. When she is taking her ducklings to find food and water, she will watch for hawks who might swoop out of the sky to attack her little ones. If a hawk appears, the ducklings will run right back under their mother’s feathers, so that she can protect them.

So, how is a duck like God?
God knows just what is best for us, just as He has made the duck to know that her eggs need warmth and a protected place
Jesus (who is God) loves us so much that He has sacrificed Himself for us, just as the duck has sacrificed her own warm down feathers to keep her eggs warm
God is very patient—even when we sin, He is willing to forgive us—just as the duck patiently sits and waits for nearly a month for her babies to hatch out
God is our strong protector—no matter what we have to face on this earth, He is always the place where we can run and hide—just as the ducklings can run to hide under their mother’s wings when danger comes close

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust...” Ps. 91:4a

Two Baskets

Last time we talked about Passover. Today we will talk about Easter. Today I brought an Easter basket. Let’s see what is in it...

Stuffed rabbit—Easter is not the Easter bunny

Remove the bunny and place a picture of Jesus and a small toy lamb in its place in the basket.

“The Bible says that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The Jewish people celebrated the Passover to remember how a lamb was sacrificed so that they would be safe from the Angel of Death when they were slaves in Egypt. We remember that Jesus, our Lamb, died to take the punishment for our sin.”

Easter eggs—Easter is not a basket of colored eggs

Replace the eggs with a wooden cross, preferably a crude one with slivers.

Although we often think of the egg as a symbol of life, the cross is a symbol of death, and Jesus had to die in our place before we could eternal life.

Sweet Easter candy—Easter is not sweet chocolate and marshmallow

Remove the Easter candy and place a bottle red wine vinegar in the basket.

When Jesus was dying on the cross, he was given sour wine (vinegar) to drink.

Colorful ribbon bow—Easter is not pretty ribbons and decorations

Remove the bow and tie a large steel nail in its place on the handle.

Jesus was not tied to the cross with colorful bows. His hands and feet were nailed there with sharp spikes.

Easter bonnet/new clothes—Easter is not a pretty new hat or new clothes

Remove the hat and clothes and replace them with a crown of thorns and long strips of cotton sheet.

Before Jesus was nailed to the cross, the Roman soldiers placed a crown made of thorns on his head and mocked him, calling him “King of the Jews”. After he died, his friends took his body down from the cross and wrapped it in long pieces of cloth before they placed it in the grave.

Flowers—Easter is not lilies and other beautiful flowers

Remove the flowers and place packages of spices in the basket.

After Jesus died, those who wrapped his body for burial placed spices around it .

Soft green grass—Easter is not a basket lined with soft green grass

Remove the Easter grass and put in a large stone.

Instead, Easter is a hard, cold tomb…carved out of stone…with a heavy stone rolled tightly across the opening.

The real gift of Easter IS NOT baskets of candy and eggs and toys.

The real gift of Easter IS God’s angel rolling away the stone to show the world an empty tomb. The real gift is a Savior who not only died in our place on the cross, but who also rose again to life forever.

Just as the Jews celebrated Passover to remember how God saved them from death in Egypt, Christians celebrate Easter to remember how Jesus became our “Passover Lamb”.

A Taste of Passover

Note: We used this explanation of the Passover meal just before Easter, but it could be used in conjunction with the Lord's Supper at any time during the year.
Props: Traditional Seder/Passover foods listed in lesson

Next week, we will serve the Lord’s Supper, and in three weeks, we will celebrate Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as our Savior. At about the same time, the Jewish people will be celebrating Passover and their Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Today, we will talk about why they have the Passover supper every year, and what Passover has to do with Easter.

Do you know when the first Passover supper was eaten?

Nearly 4000 years ago, God’s special people, the Jews, were slaves in the country of Egypt. They were forced to obey the Egyptians, and many of them worked to build stone temples to the many Egyptian gods. Then, the one true God chose Moses to lead them out of Egypt to the land He had chosen for them, where they could worship only Him. The king of Egypt, the Pharaoh, would not let them leave. So that the Egyptians would know that there was only one true God, God caused 9 special miracles or plagues to happen in Egypt. Each time, though, the Pharaoh refused to let God’s people leave.

Finally, God told Moses that there would be one last miracle or judgment. All the first-born children of the Egyptians and all the first-born of the animals would be killed when God’s Angel passed through the land of Egypt. Then God told Moses how He would protect the Jews from this terrible judgment so that the Death Angel would not kill their children.

First, each family was to take a perfect lamb (either a sheep or goat). They were to kill it, and use hyssop branches to put its blood on the doors of their houses. Then they were to go inside the house and stay there. There they would be protected by the blood of the lamb. They were to roast the meat of the lamb and eat all of it. While they ate, they had to wear their coats and stand up, ready to leave when Moses told them to.

At midnight on that special day, God’s Angel went throughout the whole land of Egypt. Imagine the crying and wailing in the houses of the Egyptians when their first-born all died. Even the Pharaoh’s child was dead. Then he told Moses to take God’s people away from Egypt.

The people left so quickly that they did not even bake bread to take with them. Instead, they took just the dough without any yeast to make it rise. When they did bake it, it was dry and flat, like crackers, not soft and fluffy. God continued to lead and protect His people as they traveled to the land He had promised them. He also commanded them to remember the wonderful thing He did when He protected them from the Death Angel. Every year, as long as time lasts, they were to hold a Passover Celebration. They were to kill a lamb as a sacrifice to Him, and they were to tell their children how God had saved them from death.

That is why the Jewish people still celebrate the Passover today—nearly 4000 years later, but now they celebrate by reading God’s Word, praying, and eating special foods. Today we will look at some of the foods they eat and what they mean to them.

1. Roasted bone—to remind them of the lamb that was sacrificed so that they could be saved.

2. Cooked egg—to remind them of an offering brought to the Temple in ancient times.

3. Maror—bitter herbs (sometimes horseradish, endive lettuce, radish, etc) to remind them of the bitterness of slavery.

4. Haroset—a mixture of fruit, cinnamon, nuts, and wine. It reminds them of the bricks and mortar they had to make when they built temples for Pharaoh.

5. Karpas—parsley or watercress to remind them of the first greens of spring and God’s creation.

6. Salt water—to remind them of the tears that were cried by the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt.

There is also matzoth—cracker-like bread baked without yeast—to remind them of the bread that was baked in a hurry as they left Egypt.

Last, they drink wine made from grapes or grape juice.

Next week, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we will also use matzoth and grape juice.
Do you know why?

Jesus was also a Jew. When He celebrated the Passover with His disciples just before He died, they also ate unleavened bread and drank grape wine. He told them to continue to do that, and since Christians are also His followers or disciples, we still do that today. We call it the Lord’s Supper or Communion.

In the next few weeks, we will talk more about Jesus—about the Passover—and about Easter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Under Construction

Props: oil painting, wood carving, small quilt

If I asked you what “work” is, what would you say? Do you like to make things? What kind of things? Is making things you enjoy really work?

Did you know that the Bible says that God works? What do you think He is working on today? He is working on US--you and me. The Bible says that “...We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath foreordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10a) That’s a long verse, isn’t it? (Have them repeat it in segments with me) What does that mean? Let’s break the verse into smaller bites.

We—believers in Jesus Christ, Christians, people who are going to Heaven some day because they trust Jesus to save them from sin

His—God, Our Creator, Designer, Maker

Workmanship—masterpiece, great work of art or craft that is still under construction (Show examples of “works”—painting, wood carving—needlework—come back to them later)

Created in Christ Jesus—not just “born”, but “born again”. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, the Bible says that we become “new creatures”, new creations.

Good Works—Because God is working in us after we are born again, He wants us to serve Him and obey Him.

God ordained—When something is ordained, it means “planned or designed ahead of time”. God has a wonderful plan for every Christian...and each plan is specially made for each person, because we are all different.

We should walk in them—Even though God has a plan laid out for each of us, each of us must still “walk the plan”. When we disobey God, we are not living/walking according to His plan, we are walking according to our own plan. When God’s workmanship/work in us is finished, the Bible says that we will be like Jesus.

The people who make these works (indicate items) used special tools for each one.
Oil painting—brushes, paint, turpentine
Wood carving—chisel, awl, sandpaper, hammer
Quilt—needle, thread, scissors

God uses lots of different “tools” as He works to make us like Jesus. Sometimes He uses physical things like athletic ability...or disabilities. Sometimes He allows people to be very rich...or very poor. Nobody likes pain or war or not having friends, but sometimes those are the tools He uses to make us like Jesus. Just like the wood carver uses a chisel to cut away the parts of the wood that are not what he wants to see, God uses His tools to cut away what is not like Jesus.

We are His workmanship—His masterpiece. Created (born again) in Christ Jesus unto good works. When He looks at your walk (life), is He pleased by what He sees there?

Treasures of the Heart

Have you ever read "Treasure Island" or seen the movie? It's a story about pirates and stolen gold, cheating and murder. It's a story of what people really are like when they become greedy for treasure. Some people will steal or lie or even kill just to get treasure. Treasure is something we want more than anything else.

The Bible talks about treasure, too, when it talks about our hearts.

Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matt. 6:21

Our hearts are like treasure chests, filled with what is most important to us.

Do you have a jewelry box? What do you keep there? I keep these things in my jewelry box. (Rings, old coins, special keys) They are all important to me.

Do you have a toy box? What do you keep in it? Many things that really aren't worth much. Some are even broken. We keep lots of unimportant things, don't we?

What are the things you treasure the most? What is really important to you?
Money or gold
Sports or hobbies
Being popular, well liked
Toys and stuff
Your family
Having your own way, time for yourself
Good grades
Nice house or car or boat or …..
Important job
Jesus and His death to pay for your sin

What is in the treasure chest of your heart?

Think about the things you have in your heart's treasure chest. What treasures are most important to you? The things that we treasure are usually not WRONG THINGS. They may be very GOOD THINGS, but they should not fill our hearts.

When your body dies, what is the only treasure that is really important? Jesus and His death in our place, so that our sins can be forgiven. He is the only treasure that God promises that we can take with us to heaven.

Last week we learned that "…Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

He sees what you and I treasure most. When God looks into the treasure chest of your heart, what does He see?

Heart Exam

The last time we were together for an object lesson, we talked about sand, and how God knows just how many grains of sand there are on this whole earth. We have a pretty wonderful God, don't we? Have you remembered to pray for our missionaries now that they are living in a land of sand? It's important that we pray for each other. God already knows what we need, but He still tells us in His Word that we should pray for ourselves and for other people.

Last week, I know that some people were praying for me, and God answered their prayers.

I had to have a special kind of an x-ray last Monday, and I had to lie without moving at all for over an hour. God helped me to relax so that I could do that. He answered our prayers.

Have you ever had an x-ray? Do you ever wonder what you look like inside your body? We can't see inside our bodies, but a special x-ray camera can do that. That's how doctors can tell whether you have something wrong with your bones, and some special machines can tell if there is something wrong with your brain or your heart.

Did you know that God can see inside of you, all the time, even without an x-ray machine?

Can an x-ray tell the doctor what you are thinking, or whether you are happy or sad? No—but God knows that, and He knows it all the time. He also knows whether or not you love Him and trust Him…or whether you are just pretending that you do.

When God has a job for people to do, He doesn't look at what they look like on the outside…He looks at what they look like on the inside. He looks at the "real" person, not the color of their skin or eyes, or whether they know a lot, or whether they are handsome or sort of ordinary. God looks at their heart and mind to see whether they love Him and obey Him and want to serve Him.

The Bible tells us that long ago, God told the prophet Samuel that it was time to choose a new king for Israel. Saul had been their king, but he disobeyed God. The people liked Saul because he was tall and strong and handsome—just what they thought a king should look like—but he didn't listen to God.

God sent Samuel to the family of Jesse to chose one of his sons to be the next king. Samuel looked at the first son, and he thought: "Surely, this is the one—He is tall and good-looking." Do you know what God told Samuel?

"…I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

Samuel made the same mistake the people did—He looked at the outside, but God was looking at the inside. Samuel called six more of Jesse's sons to come before him, and each time, God said, "No."

Finally, Jesse brought his youngest son, David…the one who had been out watching the sheep so that his brothers could meet with the prophet. This time, God said, "Yes!"

Do you know why God chose David instead of one of his tall, handsome older brothers to be the new king of Israel? The Bible says (I Samuel 13:14b) "The Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart."

God wanted a king who loved His people and wanted the best for them, just as God, Himself, did. God knew David's heart. He knew that David wanted the same things God did. David obeyed God and worshipped Him in the way God wanted to be worshipped.

Are you a boy or girl after God's own heart?

It doesn't matter whether you are old or young, tall or short, whether your hair is blond or brown or black or even gray! God wants boys and girls and men and women who are "after His own heart."

"…Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

What does God see when He looks at yours?
Love for Jesus
Want to serve God and others

Number the Sands

Last week we talked about snow and how it reminds us of God. Do you remember some of the things it tells us about God?
God is the Creator of all things—snowflakes and US—both are unique!!
God is pure, clean, holy—like fresh white snow.
God has the power to wash away our sin and forgive us thru the blood of Jesus if we trust Him to save us—Though our sins be as scarlet, we will be whiter than snow.

Today, I brought something else for us to look at. (jar of beach sand)

What does the sand tell us about God?

Just as God creates the snowflakes, He has created the sand
We cannot count the snowflakes, we cannot count the grains of sand—but God knows how many there are. He is omniscient (knows everything).

The Bible uses sand as an object lesson…

God told Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the sands of the seashore. (uncountable)

King David used sand as an object lesson when he tried to describe how much God cared for him (and for us, too). In Psalm 139:17-18, he said, "How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand…"

Isn't it wonderful to know that God loves us so much that He spends His time thinking about us? Does it make any difference where you and I are when God is thinking about us?
No—God is there with us whether we are making snowmen or whether we are playing in the sand. He is the same wonderful, caring God no matter where we are or what we are doing.

Today, I would like us to memorize a Bible verse that reminds us that God will never leave those who trust Him…no matter where they are. It is something that Moses told the people of Israel just before he died, and Joshua became their new leader. "For the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6b (repeated in Hebrews 13:5)

What was Moses telling them?

God does not send us out to serve Him alone. He always goes with us.
Even if we cannot see Him, He is there.
To "forsake" means to turn away from. When we sin, we turn away from God…He never turns away from us. When we admit that we have sinned, He is right there, waiting to forgive us.

This week, our missionaries will leave snowy Wisconsin and they will fly to sandy Senegal. Will God be there in Senegal with them? Of course! God doesn't change, and He is with us no matter where we go.

We can't go along with them, but we can pray for them.
Prayer reminder: small bags of sand with memory verse attached.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snowflakes, Sin and Salvation

Riddle for the children: (cut a paper snowflake as you ask the question)
What makes no noise when it falls? You have to work hard to get rid of it, but it runs away when it sees the sun. It is born cold and dies warm. (answer: a snowflake)

Did you enjoy the snow this week? Newly-fallen snow looks clean and white, and everything it covers looks clean and white, too (even if it is just a garbage can!) Does snow have any light in itself? How does snow look when the sun shines on it? It sparkles like little diamonds when it reflects the light of the sun.

Can you think of any other things we can find out about snow?
It is made of water
It is cold
It comes from above
Job 37:6a "For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth…"
Job 38:22a "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?…."
Only God has the power to create the snow and make it fall to the earth!

Would you like to take a bath in snow? Why not?
How do you feel after you take a bath in warm water?
Why do we take baths?
Can you be clean on the outside and still "dirty" on the inside?
What makes you feel dirty inside? Sin does.

The Bible says we are all sinners…dirty inside because we disobey God.
Taking a bath doesn't clean us inside…even being baptized doesn't make us any cleaner. Only the blood of Jesus can make us really clean enough to stand before God in heaven. Psalm 51:2,7b "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…..wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

When we believe that Jesus died for us and trust Him to take away our sin, the Bible says that we become "saved", and then we are called believers or Christians.

But…even believers often still disobey God after they have trusted Jesus' blood to save them. That doesn't mean they are no longer Christians…but they have hurt God's Holy Spirit and should tell Him that they have disobeyed.
I John 1:8-9 says " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Snowflakes remind me of 1. God wonderful power to create 2. God's wonderful power to save me from my sin 3. God's wonderful power to forgive me and keep me clean even when I still sin and disobey Him.

Give each child a snowflake and piece of paper to draw a snow scene showing God's power to create and His power to save and forgive.

A Box, A Baby, A Lamb and A Cross

For the last few weeks we have been talking about Christmas. Have you been counting the days until Christmas? Have you been wrapping gifts?

As I was wrapping gifts, I started thinking about the wonderful gift God has given us when He gave us His own Son. You know, I have a son, too, and it would be very hard for me to send him far away…especially if I knew that people would treat him badly, even though he was willing to die for them.

Right now, there are many mothers and fathers in our country whose children have become soldiers and have gone to Iraq to fight so that the Iraqi people can have freedom. Many of those American soldiers have been injured and some have been killed for the sake of the Iraqi people.

When Jesus left Heaven to come to earth, His Father God knew just what was going to happen to Him, but He loved all the people of the earth so much that He willingly gave us the gift of His own Son.

I brought along some things today that represent the greatest gift of all…Jesus Christ.

When I think of this box full of straw, I think of the cattle out in the barn. They might eat from this manger…maybe the chickens would roost in it at night…maybe mice would build a nest in the corner. A barn is a pretty dirty place, isn't it? It would be cold and drafty out there, and there would probably be dirt and spider webs…and it might not smell too nice, either.

BABY WRAPPED IN BLANKET (Place baby in manger)
But it would be the place where Mary would lay her baby…God's only Son…soon after He was born. She would wrap Him in blankets to keep Him warm, and Joseph would stand close by to protect this tiny baby that God had given him to provide for and to shelter.

LAMB (Place the lamb near the manger)
When God's angel told the shepherds out in the fields to go to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus, they knew where to find the manger…and the baby. The Bible says that they left their sheep to hurry to the barn where He lay. Sheep and goats were important to the people In the days when Jesus was lived on earth. Young sheep and goats were taken to God's temple in Jerusalem and killed there as a sacrifice to cover the people's sins. When the baby Jesus grew to be a man, the prophet John the Baptist, told people, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." God's Spirit was speaking through him to show people that some day Jesus would be the One sacrificed for sin. No more lambs and goat s would have to die, ever again.

THE CROSS (set behind the manger)
If you were going to run in a race, where would you begin? (starting line) How important is the finish line in a race? (it is your goal as you run) Jesus' birth in Bethlehem was only the beginning of the race He came to run. His goal was not to be born…but to die. All of His life was lived in the shadow of His death. When we celebrate Jesus' birth this Christmas, it is a happy celebration, but it is only the beginning of the work Jesus came to do. When you look at the little baby in the manger, don't ever forget the cross at the finish line.

A Candy Cane Testimony

What did we talk about last week?

*Christmas is not—
Presents, Tradition & stories, Trees, etc.

*Christmas is—
Jesus (Immanuel, God with us)
A miracle, never to be repeated

How can you tell other people about what Christmas really is?

I use objects—like the little Christmas tree—to teach and to remember something that is true. Today we will use another Christmas tradition as our object.
One of the traditions that many people have is special food & candy at Christmas. Did you know that we can even use candy as an object lesson to witness to people about Jesus?

Display candy cane. Do you know how to use a candy cane to tell people about Jesus? Why should we tell others about Jesus? BECAUSE HE TOLD US TO.
March 15:19 Jesus said to the healed man, "Go home to thy friends and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee."

What does the candy cane have to say? Let's take a look at it.
It began as a pure white stick of candy. White reminds me of Jesus. He never sinned in His whole life—There was no dark spot of sin in Him at any time at all. (I John 3:5 " Him there was no sin.")

He had to be without sin so that He could take the punishment for our sin. (Rom. 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

Turn candy upside down to form a "J". This "J" reminds me of His name…JESUS. The angel told Joseph to name Him "Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21

There are red stripes on this piece of candy. They remind me that before Jesus died, He was whipped and nailed to a cross. When He died, His blood ran down, just as these stripes do, for me. He died in my place…and in yours…so that we would NOT have to be punished for our own sin. Because Jesus did that for us, our sins can be forgiven and we can go to Heaven some day to be with Him forever.

This candy cane is mine, isn't it? I bought it, and I can do whatever I want with it. If I want to give it to you, you don't have to pay me for it because it is mine to keep or mine to give away.
Jesus says that He has bought our salvation so that we may have our sins forgiven. We cannot pay Him for it. It pleases Him to give it to us as a gift.


Just as this candy will not be yours unless you take it when I give it you, the forgiveness and salvation that Jesus wants to give you will not be yours unless you accept it. If you truly believe that Jesus has died in your place, take the forgiveness that He is offering you. Thank Him for dying for you…and tell others about Him so they can have His free gift of salvation, too.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christ-less Tree

Props: small Christmas tree, representative ornaments

How many of you have decorated your houses for Christmas? How many of you have already put up a Christmas tree? Have you baked cookies? Bought presents for other people? Do you like to sing Christmas songs?

None of these things are bad things to do, are they? But sometimes even good things can cover up the best things.

I brought along a little Christmas tree today, and I want us to think about whether any of the things we hang on this tree show us what Christmas really is. There are lots of fun make-believe things people talk about at Christmas, and there are lots of traditions (big word—things that we do every year) that we have…and they are not all bad. Some of them are good things, but even good things can cover up the best thing.

Display Christmas tree and point out that the stories & traditions about Christmas (as demonstrated by ornaments) are not what Christmas really is.

Stocking—How many of you put out Christmas stockings? Lots of fun to find candy and little gifts in them on Christmas morning.
Presents—Do you like to get presents from people? Do you like to give them? It's fun to give people we love something special, isn't it?
Santa & reindeer—The story of Santa is a Christmas tradition for many people. You will see pictures of Santa on Christmas cards and maybe see people dressed in Santa costumes.
Bells—Many church buildings have bells that are rung to tell people that it's time to come and worship God.
Christmas tree—Green trees and wreaths and garlands are pretty and real ones smell wonderful, don't they?

But…What is Christmas? Can you tell me?

All these things are just traditions and stories…The truth is, Christmas isn't any of these things.

Take each ornament off.

Christmas is a miracle. Only God can do miracles. Remember that God is really three persons in one—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. The great miracle of Christmas is that God the Son put Himself into the body of a tiny baby and was born to a young woman named Mary. That little baby, Jesus, was both God and man. No one else has ever done that before and no one ever will do it again. That is Christmas. Nothing else.

Christmas trees and stockings and presents and lights and cookies and Christmas cards are not wrong…but just make sure that the good things of Christmas don't cover up the best thing…the REAL Christmas. And the real Christmas is Jesus. Just Jesus, and nothing else.

Soccer and Salvation

Hold up a soccer ball—How many of you like to play soccer? Did you know that I can use this ball for something besides playing soccer? This ball reminds me of God.

Can you tell where this ball begins and ends?—God, who created everything, has no beginning or end, either…He is eternal. He has always lived, and He will always live.

This ball also reminds me of good news…and bad news. When you kick this ball into the goal, it's good news for you and your team. It is bad news for your opponents. If you win, that means they lose.

God has good news for us, too. He loves us and wants us to live with Him in Heaven forever. That's really good news!

The bad news is—we can never score enough points to win the game and get to Heaven. We are all sinners and cannot please God by the good things we try to do. Instead of living with God in Heaven, we will be separated from Him forever in Hell someday.

The good news is—God already knew that we couldn't win the right to go to Heaven, so Jesus won that right for us when He died on the cross to pay for our sin. He died so that the real you—the YOU we talked about last week—can be with Him forever!

God has done everything possible so that you can be saved from your sin and spend forever with Him….But….

(Throw ball to one of the children) It takes two people to play the game. (Catch the ball as it is tossed back) You have a part in reaching the goal of Heaven, too.

Here is the game plan: (Bounce ball as you say each number)

You must admit that you have disobeyed God's rules. That is called sin. God is not like a referee in a soccer game—God can see everything, and He calls all the plays fairly because He is just and holy. He is perfect and good, so His rules are right. (Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.") No one has the right to enter Heaven. All of us deserve to be separated from God in Hell forever.

God loves you so much that He did not change the rules for you! Instead, Jesus died for you, in your place. He played as your substitute…AND HE WON! He died, was buried for 3 days, and took back His life again. He is in Heaven waiting for you today.

You can be part of Jesus' winning team in Heaven if you truly believe that He has died for you and if you agree with Him that you cannot save yourself. The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:3l)

(Blow on whistle) When the referee blows his whistle at the end of the game, what happens? Can the losing team continue to play and try to make more points? No! They have no more chances. This whistle reminds me that when your life is ended, you will have no more time to decide to trust in Jesus to save you from your sin. The Bible says, "Now is the day of salvation…" (II Cor. 6:2)Don't put off trusting in Christ to save you…Tomorrow may be too late.

The Real You: Your Soul

Walk in wearing a disguise and invite the children to come to the front by gesturing to them without talking.

Who do you think I am?
How many knew who I was? How did you know? How do you know that I am who I say I am? (take off disguise)

I am more than just my name. For __ years, my name was not ________. It was _________. When I married, my name was changed. Did the real me change? When I was a little girl, about your age, my grandmother used to call me Sally. It didn't make any difference whether she called me Sally or my mother called me ________. I knew who I was. I am more than just my name.

I am more than just my face. (Show wedding pic) This picture was taken 37 years ago. My face has changed…and the rest of me has too. I have lots of wrinkles I didn't have then. Did the real me inside my face and my body change? If I don't look in the mirror and see the wrinkles, I don't remember that I just had another birthday…and probably lots of new wrinkles. I don’t think of myself as getting older. I am more than just my body.

The Bible says that I am a living soul. And so are you.
(Read) Gen. 1:7 tells us that God made the first man, Adam, from dirt. He made him a body, and He gave him a name, but what was the most important thing He did to Adam? He breathed the breathe of life into him, and "man became a living soul."

The real Adam was the part of him that you couldn't see.

The real me is the part of me that you can't see, either. And that doesn't change if I change my name or if my teeth fall out or I get wrinkles on my face. . It's the part of us that will keep on living even after our bodies die.

Several weeks ago, we learned that God knows your name. We know that God has made each one of you to be different than anybody else…He knows what you look like. But more important than anything else is that He knows the real you…your soul. The real me and the real you…your soul…and mine are the part of us that Jesus came to die for. It's the part of us that will either go to Heaven and live forever with Jesus…or it's the part that spend forever separated from Him in a place called Hell.

If you are not sure about where the real you, your soul, will go someday, please talk with your parents about or you can come and talk with me about it.
The real you is really important.

Have children draw a picture of themselves and the other children here. Label your picture with your name.

God Wants Me to Pray for Myself and for Others

Review: Last week we learned that we should pray to God and thank Him for who He is and all the wonderful things He has done for us.

Today we will see what else God wants us to pray about.

Forgiveness for sin (What is sin?—anything that displeases God)
What are some sins you might do?
1. When you do something that hurts another person, and you feel bad that you have done that, what should tell them? (sorry—please forgive me)
2. When you know that you have done something that has made God sad, what should you do about that? (sorry—then He is faithful and just to forgive)
God's strength so we won't do what is wrong
We want to please God by the things we do
The things we need (food—protection—wisdom)
God will help us make wise choices

God's Word shows us that we should also pray for other people (Who?)

Other Christians (Eph. 3:16-19; Phil. 1:9-11)
Love for others and love for God (Phil.)
Spiritual strength
Continued faith
Experience & understanding of the love Christ has for them
Filled with all the fullness of God
SUM IT UP—That they will have their lives full of God every day, no matter where they are or what they are doing!
Those who are sick or in trouble (Jas. 5:14-16)
Missionaries and other Christian workers
Ask God to send more (Matt. 9:37-38)
Unbelievers, that they might be saved
Those in authority over you (I Tim. 2:1-3)
Church leaders
Government (President Bush, Gov. Doyle, others)
Your enemies! (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:28)
On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who put Him there

Which are the easiest people to pray for?
Which are the hardest?

Take a prayer calendar home and write down the names of people you will pray for in the coming month—Then look at it each day and use it as your prayer reminder. You may draw a picture on the back today of some of the people you wish to pray for.

Survival Kit

This object lesson is...someone else's! I saw this great object lesson over at Godly Sheep and thought I'd link to it. Go there, and take a look.
Also, if you have an object lesson I might like to use, please comment and leave a link to your's.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

God Wants Me To Talk With Him

Props: Puppet (Sheldon) and large box

Review object lessons "God Knows My Name" and "What Language Does God Speak?"

Does God know me? He knows my name! He made me.
What language does God speak? My language.
How has He talked to us? Thru His Word, the Bible.
What do we call it when we talk to God? Prayer.
Today, we want to talk a little bit about prayer.
How many of you pray? When do you pray?

(Interrupt the discussion using Sheldon, who is in the box (prayer closet)

He speaks from the box (closet) as he prays. "Dear God…I need help! Mumble, mumble."

(Teacher to kids) Did you hear something? (Teacher as Sheldon mumbles again) "And Trixie was mean to me… Mumble, mumble…"

(Teacher to kids-I think it came from here-indicate "closet"-Let's take a look)

Teacher..."Sheldon! What are you doing in that box?"

(he appears from box, speaking) "Go away! Can't you read? I'm praying to God—The Bible says in Mathew 6:6 to go into your closet and shut the door and pray to God and I'm trying to do that and you're interrupting me!"

Teacher..."Praying? Sheldon…You don't really have to go into your closet to talk to God.
I don't? No…The Bible just means that you have to quit thinking about other things and just think about God when you talk to Him. You can do that anywhere."

Sheldon..."I can?"

Teacher..."Sure. Sometimes it helps if you close your eyes, so you don't see what's going on around you, but you can be alone with God even if you're in a crowd of people… Like those people out there? Right. Just pretend they aren't even there… It's just me and God? That's right—just you and God."

"Oh…" (Sheldon turns to face blackboard) "…and, dear God, as I was saying before we got interrupted, Trixie was mean to me, and I don't know what to do about it… mumble, mumble. Amen!" (walk him down)

Teacher to kids...Sheldon had a problem. What was it? He thought he had to go into a closet to pray.

When Jesus said to pray in a closet, He was talking about some people He called hypocrites (people who said one thing, but really did something else). These people went out on the streets and stood there praying very loudly about how good they were, so people would think they were extra spiritual.

Jesus told His disciples not to pray just to impress people, but to close out everything but God, because God is everywhere and knows everything. When you want to talk with God, you can do that anywhere--at home, at school, with other people...or even in your closet.

Children draw a picture of some places where you can pray.

God Knows My Name

Choose one child, but do not call that person by name.

I am thinking about one person here, and I would like that person to come and be my helper, please. (No one will respond)
Why haven't you come? I didn't say your name, so you didn't know who I was thinking about you.

Names are very important, aren't they?
We use names all the time
When we think of a person's name, we think about lots of other things we know about that person
Anna and Ruth—are raising chickens and selling eggs
Dawson—was very sick in the hospital just a few months ago
Tessa—is in 5th grade
Charlie has a new baby sister named Molly
Emma and Ethan have a new baby, too, called Elli
Yvonne—was baptized after she became a Christian
Alex and Meghan—are both my granddaughters—Alex likes Caillou and Winnie the Pooh. Meghan's bedroom will be purple and green!
Kimberly's name is painted on the back of a bookcase here at church
Derick has brown eyes like his mother

Who knows what your name is? (parents, friends, neighbors, your teacher) Somebody else knows your name, too…God does!

Sometimes we forget people's names
God never does
He knows the name of every person who has ever lived
He knows the name of every person even before they have been born

How do we know that? The Bible tells us!
He called Adam and Abraham and Samuel and Saul by their names
He told Jeremiah "Before I formed you inside your mother, I knew you."

Why is it important that God knows your name?
It means that He cares very much about you
He knows everything about you…and He knows just what is best for you
He wants you to be in Heaven some day with Him forever
It means that when Jesus died on the cross to pay for sin, He died to pay for your sin
Have you trusted Jesus as your Saviour? If so, you have a new name—Christian

Take home—Name tags to color and draw a picture of yourself on the back

The Bible: God Speaks My Language

Greet children by saying: "Hola (ola)!" "Bonjour (bonshoor)!" "Guten tag (gooten tahk)!"
Did you understood what I said? Why not?
Unless we learn another language, the only language we understand is the one that is spoken in our homes where we live (English).

If you wanted to tell someone who spoke a language that is different from yours about God, how could you do it?
Find someone who speaks both English and also the language of the person we want to talk to—They could translate for us (ask adults if anyone can translate Hola, Bonjour, or Guten Tag)
You could learn the other language so you could talk directly to the person

How many languages do you think God knows?
Did God learn all the different language?
God knows everything—even the things we only think
God speaks your language! (no matter what it is)

When the Bible was written, it was written in several different languages.
OT written in Hebrew
NT written in Aramaic and Greek
Most of us do not read Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek
In order for us to have our Bibles written in English, someone had to translate it

Today, the Bible as been translated into many different languages, but there are still many people who do not have it in a language they can understand.
How will they ever hear that Jesus died to take the punishment for their sin if they do not have the Bible in their language?
People will have to learn their language
Then they will have to translate the Bible into their language

Our church has sent out missionaries to other countries so that the people of those countries will be able to hear the good news that Jesus died for them.
Some have learned French so they can teach the people in Senegal about Jesus in their own French language
Some have learned Indonesian so they can teach the people in Papua Indonesia about Jesus
Some have learned Tagalog—a language in the Philippines—so they can tell the people there how Jesus died for them
Maybe some day you will be able to learn another language, and maybe God will use you to tell someone about Him in a language other than English.

Color the sheet with different translations of John 3:16 on it.

Communion: A Supper to Remember

Hold up Bible.
I bring my Bible along to church every week—why?
How do you know that everything written in here is true? (God said it)
If the Bible tells us to do something, should we do it?
Hold up camera
Lots of times I bring my camera along to church—Why do you think I take pictures? It helps us remember the things we have done together as a church. (Bring pics to demonstrate)
We remember best the things we see. That's why I try to bring an object for us to think about as we talk each week.

When Jesus was on earth, people had no cameras to take pictures, but He often used objects to help them understand and remember important things He was telling them.

The night before Jesus was taken away to die on the cross, He used objects to help His disciples understand and remember what was going to happen to Him.
He and His disciples met together for a very special meal—We call this their "Last Supper".

They called it the "Passover Supper", because God had commanded all Jews to eat this meal once a year to remind them of the time long before when their ancestors were slaves in Egypt. God provided a leader, Moses, to lead them out of Egypt. God's death angel went through the whole land of Egypt, punishing the Egyptians by killing the first born child in each family, but He did not kill the first born in the families of His own people who sacrificed a lamb and put its blood on the door posts of their houses.

When Jesus and His followers sat down, there was bread and wine made from grapes on the table. Jesus used both the bread and the wine as an object lesson for them. (Read Luke 22:19) First he broke the bread in pieces for them to eat and told them that it was like His body which would be hurt and killed on the cross. (Read Luke 22:20) Next, He took the cup of wine and said that it was like His own blood which God would accept as His payment for their sin (and ours).

When the disciples ate the bread and drank the wine, they still didn't understand everything Jesus had said, but they obeyed Him, anyway. Later, after Jesus had died on the cross, was raised up from death, and went to be with His Father in Heaven, they did understand what He had meant.

Ever since that time, those who have trusted in Jesus' death to take the punishment for their sin have remembered His sacrifice when they celebrate what we call the Lord's Supper or Communion. When Christians share the bread and grape juice or wine, it is a picture of what Jesus has done for us. Let us thank Him for it.

Picture of juice & bread to color.

The Bible: One Book, Many Books

What is another name for the Bible? (Word of God)
Whose message or word is it? (God's)
Who wrote it down? (God chose people to write down His Word)
How did He do that? (He inspired them or whispered in their minds & breathed His thoughts into them)
What message did God want us to know? (How we can be saved thru Jesus Christ, who took the punishment we deserved for our sin, and how we can live pleasing to God today)

Hold up a clothesline: How is a clothesline like God's Word? (Many strands, but one rope)

Hold up Bible
How many books do I have?
The Bible is one book composed of many books—66 in fact
God used about 40 different men over a period of 1600 years. They did not all live at the same time, but what they wrote down always agreed
God used many different people, but the message or word was always God's word…His thoughts

Who wrote it down?
A runaway murderer who finally listened to God (Moses)
A little boy who listened when God spoke to him in the night (Samuel)
A shepherd who became a king (David)
A priest being held prisoner in another land (Ezekiel)
A disobedient messenger (Jonah)
A tax collector (Matthew)
A doctor (Luke)
A fisherman (John, Peter)
A lawyer (Saul/Paul)….And many, many others!

Did you know that the Bible tells us about…many different things?
How many of you like to read about animals? (talking donkey)
Do you like stories about girls? (Naaman's servant girl)
About kings and queens? (David, Esther)
About boys? (Daniel and his friends…children can serve God, too)
True stories about real people? Poems?
Stories about things that haven't even happened yet…and some that have

One message (God's) told in many different ways
Where everything came from…Who God is & what He is like
Who made us…Why we disobey God…How God punishes sin
Like the many strands of this rope, all the books of God's Word work together

Activity: II Peter 1:21 Draw a picture of a story you know from the Bible

The Bible: Who Wrote The Word?

Review previous object lessons in series

The Bible is not a "do it yourself book"
It is a "done it for you book"
It is like a

Give a piece of paper & marker to a child, then whisper a message to him to be written down. (Hello)
Hand the written word to another child and have her read it to the group.
Pass it to another child or two to read, then hold it up.
Whose message or word was this? (Mine)
Why wasn't it __________'s (the scribe) message? (She just wrote what I said—It was not her thought, it was mine, and she just wrote it down for you to read)

Hold up Bible
What is another name for the Bible? (Word of God)

Who wrote it down?
God used many different people, but the message or word was always God's word…His thoughts
We call the Bible the inspired Word of God
Inspired means "breathed into"
God "whispered into" or breathed His thoughts into people's minds so that they knew what He wanted them to write

Why did God want His thoughts written down?
So that we would all hear the same thing and we could know that what we heard was true
If I tell you something and you tell the next one and she tells the next one, we could make mistakes in what we think we hear

What was the most important thing that God wanted us to know?
II Tim. 3:15 "scriptures…wise unto salvation thru faith in Jesus Christ…"
How you and I can know God and be with Him forever
We are sinners and cannot save ourselves
God has provided Jesus to take the punishment for our sin
If we trust Jesus to take our punishment, we can trust Him to help us please God by the way we live

Activity: II Tim. 3:16 coloring sheet with memory verse
Draw a picture of something that God's Word tells you to do

Monday, September 14, 2009

THE BIBLE: A Mirror, A Map, A Compass, A Sword

God's Word is like…

A mirror
Shows every flaw, every freckle, every scar
It shows us that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23)

A map
Map in a mall shows "You are Here"
Maps show how to get someplace from where you are
OT shows us how God was planning to send a deliverer for us
He would come to earth and take the punishment for our sins in our place (substitute)

A compass
Always points north
Bible always points us to Jesus

A sword
The Bible is our spiritual defense as Christians
Jesus used Scripture when He was tempted in the wilderness
"The Word of God is quick (alive) and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…it exposes the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb. 4:12
"Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God." Eph. 6:17

Take Home or Complete During Service:

Give the children a sheet of paper divided from corner to form 2 triangular sections
Label the top "God's Word is like…"
Label the bottom "God's Word is not like…"
Children should draw or write to complete the sentences.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

TWO BOOKS: Do-It-Yourself or Done-It-For-You

Objective: To show that salvation is of faith or belief, not work on my part
Objects: Cookbook and Bible
Same – like something else
Different – not like something else
Faith or Believe – rely only on God/Jesus to save me
Work – rely only on my self and what I can do to save myself

Indicate the two books—the cookbook and the Bible
What are these?

How are they the same?
Both are books
Both give directions to do something/both are "how to do it books"

How is the Bible different from the cookbook?
It is God's Word (God doesn't make mistakes)
The Bible tells us how we can know God
It tells us what God is like, that He is always right in everything He does and says
It tells us how God has told us to live
It tells us that we are sinners and that sin must be punished
It tells us that Jesus has died to take the punishment for our sin
It tells us that all we must do to have our sin forgiven is to trust God and believe what He says

How is the cookbook different?
It is a person's words (People sometimes make mistakes)
Tells us how to cook or bake something, like cookies or soup or fried chicken
We can't just read a recipe for cookies and then believe that there will be cookies—We must get the ingredients and the pans and make the cookies.
We have to do the work ourselves or there will be no cookies
If we don't want to follow the recipe and choose to forget some of the ingredients or put in too much of something, there will be awful cookies!

Cookbooks are important when we cook because we all want the cookies to taste good. Cookies are the result of work, of what we do, not what we believe.

The Bible is important when we want to know God and have our sin forgiven so that we can be with Him forever some day.

Going to Heaven is not like baking cookies. There is nothing we can do to be forgiven and saved. Being saved comes from what we believe about Jesus—That He is God who came to earth to live a perfect life, to die in our place to take the punishment for our sin.

There is nothing you or I can do—There is no recipe list of things like…
Going to church
Obeying your parents
Reading your Bible
Being really good and nice to people even when they aren't nice to you
Giving money to missionaries
That God has said will pay for your sin.

The difference between the cookbook and the Bible is that this one (cookbook) is a do-it-yourself book, and this one (Bible) is a done-it-for you book.

Jesus has done it for you and me. The only thing we can do is believe Him, and accept (take) what He has for us.

Have you done that? I have something for you. I have already done the work in your place (just like Jesus died for you), and you may have this gift…Just like Jesus' payment for your sin is His gift to you, you can't do any work for it.

Now it's up to you to decide whether or not you will accept it...It won't really belong to you unless you do.
Hand out homemade cookies to the children.