Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Lesson Plan - Teaching Hope


Purpose: This is the Christmas Lesson Plans, and it is designed to teach the kids about the HOPE that the birth of Jesus brought into the world, and how it works, so they can both feel the hope and teach the hope to others.



Opening Drill: Modified Basket Pong - teaching the students what it feels like when they are in control, what it feels like when someone helps you, and what it feels like when the impossible is made possible.


Materials needed:  A Table; one or more ping pong balls, a basket, a cup (like the famous red solo cup) and a small cup like a dixie cup.

How to Play the Game:  
1) Have as many children as you have time for, try to bounce a ping pong into the BASKET.  Give them up to three or four tries.  You will find that some get it in, some do not, and nearly never does someone get them all in.  Get the kids to cheer like crazy when one gets in.
1a) When you are done with the basket part, ask them how hard it was.  If they say it was easy, point out that most of the balls did not in fact make it into the basket.  Ask them what THEY could do to make it easier?
1b) Give the basket to a partner of each child, and let them assist by trying to catch the ball with the basket.  This should make the results better.  You might have to show them how first.  When they are done, ask them how hard this was.  Ask them if it was easier with help. Ask them if it is impossible?

2) Replace the basket with a Cup, and repeat the exercise.  You will get that it is much more difficult.  You might have to give them more tries to succeed at all.  When you ask if it is impossible, make sure they get that it is very much harder, but still doable

3) Replace the Cup with a dixie cup.  They should fail.  If by chance they succeed, crush the cup, so they can not succeed.  When you ask them if it is impossible, they should say yes.  Make sure they do.

The you say NO, it is not impossible.  I will change the rules.  Watch.  Have child bounce the ball.  Catch the ball.  Put it in the cup.

Ask them what happened.  They will say you cheated or changed the rules or something like that.  Once you lead them to that answer, say yes, I did change the rules.  That is just what the birth of Jesus did for us.  Before Jesus, there was not hope; it was impossible for us to get to heaven, no matter what we did.  After Jesus, he made it possible.

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.

You might want to have them sing happy birthday to Jesus.
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Luke 2 - English Standard Version (ESV)

2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,


14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.


1) Read them the Verse using the team reading method. Have 2 or three adults or helpers who like to act sit in a chair, and select 1 child who can handle re-interpreting the verse.  Have someone who can read well read a line or 2 at a time, and then the people in the chairs take terms retell the line.



2)  Ask them what the most important parts of the story were.


3) Tell them what you think of when you read this story.

4) Tell them that every Jew who heard this story had to know that if it was true, that the promise of God had been met, and that Hope had entered the world.  Many rejoiced, because now heaven going to be was possible for them.  Many refused to believe.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pre-Christmas Easy Lesson Plans # 2 - Luke 1:26-45



Luke 1:26-45 - (MSG): "In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.

She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

The angel answered,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
the power of the Highest hover over you;
Therefore, the child you bring to birth
will be called Holy, Son of God.

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

And Mary said,

Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.

Then the angel left her."
Purpose: This is the Second Lesson in our Christmas Lesson Plans, and it prepares the children for the birth of Jesus, buy telling the story of the Angel Gabriel telling Mary, the mother of Jesus, that she has been picked to be the mother of God.



Opening Drill: Balloon Walk Drill - teaching the students what it feels like to trust the others about things they can not see.


Materials needed:  As many balloons as you have or expect to play, pairs of children, and 1 blindfold per team.

How to Play the Game:  
1) Give a balloon to one of the team members, and blind fold that team member.  Then tell them that the sighted member needs to guide the blind member toward them.  The object is to put the balloon between their foreheads, and then walk from the starting place to the finish line.  If the balloon falls, the sighted person can not touch it with anything but his forehead, so he has to guide the blind one to pick it up and continue.

2) First one across the finish line wins.

3) Play the game until everyone has played

How to Explain the Game

Ask them what the key to winning the game is.  You are trying to guide them to say they had to trust their partner and obey his/her words.

Once you get them to this point, then relate the Angel of God to the sighted partner, who is normally a guide.

Ask them how they would feel if an Angel were talking to them.  Would the believe or disbelieve what they were told and told to do?  How would they know if it was a Angel of God? (Holy Spirit)

Tell them that Mary the mother of Jesus was told that she was going to be the mother of God by the Angel Gabriel. Ask what would have happened if she was not courageous and believed?

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.
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Luke 1:26-45 - (MSG)

1) Read them the Verse using the team reading method. Have 2 or three adults or helpers who like to act sit in a chair, and select 1 child who can handle re-interpreting the verse.  Have someone who can read well read a line or 2 at a time, and then the people in the chairs take terms retell the line.




2)  Ask them what the most important parts of the story were.
   a) Lead them to mention The Angel talking to Mary
   b) Lead them to mention that the story was tied to John's Birth too.

3) Ask them what promises he made about Jesus.  Make sure you mention Son of God, Throne of David, Ruler of the House of Jacob.  Then ask them if that part came true.  (yes)

4) Did she agree to follow the word of the Lord.


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If you have time, download the 1/2 page cards shown at the top of the lesson plan, cut them into enough 1/2 page cards for every student, and have them color them.  Download cards by clicking here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pre-Christmas Easy Lesson Plans # 1 - Luke 1:5-25



Luke 1:5-25 - (NKJV) "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name wasElizabeth.  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.


So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.  And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me,to take away my reproach among people.”

Purpose: This is the First Lesson in our Christmas Lesson Plans, and it prepares the children for the birth of Jesus, buy telling the story of John The Baptists birth and his mission to prepare the way for Jesus' birth too.

Opening Drill: Balloon toss Game: Have them experience the benefits of being Prepared by teaching them how to "win" a game before the play the game.


Materials needed:  As many balloons as you have or expect to play, pairs of children.

How to Play the Game:  
1) Have half the class, or 1/2 of the people playing the game, leave the room, or go to some place where they will not hear the rules or get to practice.  When 1/2 are prepared, bring the other half back.

2) You say go.

3) You need to make sure the prepared group knows how to pass the balloon and play them game. This is how the game is played. "Two children face each other, and toss, slap, punch the balloon to their partner. The partner catches it, and steps back.  Then repeat the process until the balloon hits the ground, or the person catching it has to move FORWARD to catch it.  The one who is still playing wins."

How to Explain the Game

Ask them who won, and why.  If the ones who were not prepared won, ask them how they knew how to play.

Once they have established that knowing how to play, and what the rules are, ask them how it feels to be prepared. 

Ask them what else they might want to be prepared for. Lead them to the answer as everything.

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.
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Teaching Luke 1:5-25 - (NKJV)

1) Read them the Verse using the team reading method. Have 2 or three adults or helpers who like to act sit in a chair, and select 1 child who can handle re-interpreting the verse.  Have someone who can read well read a line or 2 at a time, and then the people in the chairs take terms retell the line.



2)  Ask them what the most important parts of the story were.

3) Ask them how John prepared the people for Jesus coming.

4) Ask about any miracles they heard about in the verse. Then ask them why there were any to begin with. (God is directly involved with John's life.)


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If you have time replay the game with everyone being prepared.  With each winner, have them scream, "Prepare the People for Victory."

We print up postcards, or purchase them from www.GoodJobNotes.com, and give them to the winners.  If you want to download them for free, you can get them by clicking Here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Psalm 107:1 - Thanksgiving Easy Sunday School Lesson Plan



Psalm 107:1 - (NIV1984): "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Purpose:
 Teaching the children what they need to be thankful for, and how to express there thankfulness.

Opening Drill: Have the play Random Dice, and have them experience success of failure with no control over the outcome:


Materials needed:  You either need some dice, or make some. If you want to make some, click Here to go to a website on how to do this.

How to Play the Game:  Start the game with two children, each with a single die or multiple dice.  Have them both roll the die (dice) at the same time, and have the lowest number lose.

Continue to have the winner play those in the class who have not played yet.  When you are done, make a big deal about how awesome the winner is.

How to Explain the Game
1) Ask the winner how they won and the losers how the lost. Make sure when you have gotten all the ideas out of them, that they realize that it was Random.  Nothing they did had any effect on the outcome, other than playing the game to begin with.
2) Ask them if there is a way to insure they DO NOT WIN.  You will get many strange answers.  Lead them to DON'T Play.
3) Explain that the feeling that they have when they win, that they are lucky, that they did something, perhaps their best, but in the end, they were not in control. This is the feeling we are talking about today.
4) Ask them if there is anything in their lives today that they have they did not earn, but they did participate in.  You will get strange answers, and you might get some to point out salvation.  (I have given an example of the difference between earn and getting with respect to God's interaction in our lives, and you can read that by clicking here.) Once you have played this out, get them to understand that Salvation is a unearned Gift, that they have to accept, but they have no reason to think they have earned.

If you get other ideas, don't reject them, just let them talk it out.

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.
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Teaching Psalm 107:1 - (NIV1984): "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."


Read them the Verse.   


1) Ask them what "Give Thanks" means.  

After all the ideas are out, focus on "Saying Thank You."  Have them practice saying thank you to each other and/or to you or teachers. One way to do this, is to have them cue up into lines in front of you and any other teacher you have, and as they get to the front of the line, you give them a compliment, and the say "thank you."

2) Ask them what Good is. Don't edit for God is Good; you are looking for what feels good, looks good, is good.  Once you have them understand what good is in our lives, lead them to good behavior.  Ask them to give you examples of Good behavior.

Now ask them if they know anyone who is Good all the time.

God is the only answer.


Thanksgiving Craft: If you have the time, you can download this coloring craft, the card shown above, by clicking HERE.

Print this 4 cards per sheet on white card stock, and cut it into quarter.  You can also send it to Staples or some other printer, having it printed on white card stock, cut in quarters.  You get 4 cards per sheet.

If you have many teachers and students, break into groups, and have them talk about things they are thankful for, and how God allowed that to happen in their lives. If you want a story to explain how thankfulness can be done wrong, I have written a explanation about this very verse, and you can read it by clicking HERE

Then have them color their cards.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

1 Corinthians 16:13 - Easy Sunday School Lesson Plan

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV1984)

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."

Purpose:
Teaching the students why and how they need to stand tall and be strong in their faith.

Method: Have them experience and understand what "standing through a storm is," and what it means to believe that you can and will survive the storm, so courage is easy.
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Opening Drill: Dropping You

We used a drill in an earlier lesson plan that is very similar to this drill.  The difference is, in this drill YOU rather than t he students, are holding the Right end of the Rope.

Materials needed:  A rope, 6 to 20 feet long.  You also need  someone to catch the student on the left of the rope, so they do not get hurt.

How to Play the Game:  You hold the rope and slowly lower the student to the floor.  There goal is to hold the rope, not let go, and remain perfectly straight.  They do it right, and win, if they stay stiff as a board, and make it to the floor that way.

Explain the Game: 
1) Ask them if they trust(ed) you to lower them to the floor.
2) Ask them what caused them to fail (lead them to fear)
3) If someone succeed, ask them how the overcame their fear (lead them to faith/trust in you.)

Tell them a story from your life or a story you know about, where God stepped into a human life, and made the impossible happen. ( Matthew 19:26 - (NIV1984): Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”)

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.
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Teaching 1 Corinthians 16:13: 
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."


Read them the Verse.   

1) Ask them if they know of anything that is Supernatural. (Explain what supernatural is)  It does not really matter at this point what they say.  Once they say enough, to get them talking, explain some of what they said.  

You will hear that "they are saved," which is indeed supernatural.  You will hear that God created the heavens and the earth, which they are probably just saying because they know you want to hear it.  If you hear anything like that, repeat it, and ask them WHY it is super natural. You will hear magic, but they are probably talking about illusion, not magic.  Ask enough to know what they are talking about, so you don't give them a nonsense answer.

Lead them to the truly supernatural like Salvation and Grace, and Jesus' entire life.

2) Once you convince them that supernatural is real, tell them that Satan is also real.  Make sure they know that Satan can not attack them directly, if they are Christ's, but will tempt them and attack them through other people.  Give them examples of situations where you know that has happened if you feel the need.  Ask them if they know of any attacks in their lives or their families lives.  Listen, but stop the ridiculous and the dangerous.  You can get some very scary answers, and it is generally best to deal with the weird one on one.

Tell them that in their lives, like the game you played earlier, they too will be attacked by temptations and other people, and that God wants them to know that they ARE strong enough to stand tall until it passes.

On of my favorite analogies for this, is 'sometime God will not calm the storms that are all around you, but rather calm you.'  This verse is meant to give you faith that when those times come, you will be safe with him.

If you have time, play the game again, and encourage them to have faith in themselves and in you.

End with a pray to have courage and strength.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Women of Honor and Letting God Guide Your Actions - 1 Samuel 25

Easy Sunday School Lesson Plan - Samuel 25

Purpose: Teaching the students how to follow the guidance of the Lord, and why they might want to.

Method: Have them experience the feeling of accepting guidance, and discovering that it is easier to be guided if you are already moving. The Story from the Bible is 1 Samuel 25, the Story of a Women of Honor (Abigail) doing what was right for God, by being courteous to one of God's people, David.

The section of the story that explains how Abigail was led to David is 1 Samuel 25:32- 35 (ESV) ~ And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from working salvation with my own hand!  For as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.”  Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. And he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition.”  This section is not the only one you are going to read, but it is the one you are going to teach as the proof of "being lead by the Lord."
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Opening Drill: Guiding You #1


Supplies - You need 3 person teams of students, a starting point and an ending point at the opposite side of the room.  We use painters tape to mark the points.  You will also need pool noodles or something to use as a pool noodle to prod the students.You will also need a blindfold of some type.

You put the blindfolded student on the starting point, tell the guides to prod the blind folded one to the ending point without talking or leaning on them, but by only using the tip of the noodle as a guide.  Place the other students in the class between the starting and ending point, and say Go.  Watch what they do to get the blind folded one moving.  Stop the game when the arrive or touch one of the seated students.

Explaining the Drill - As the students if they noticed how the blindfolded ones were encouraged to start moving.  Ask if they know what would happen if the blind folded one never moved, or if they were reluctant to start moving at the beginning of the game.  Ask if it is easier to guide someone who is already moving, or someone who is fighting you by not moving.

Explain to them that people are a lot like this game.  When we are unsure, we would rather hide, or wait for instructions.  It is very hard to teach or guide someone who is waiting to start, because you have to spend all your energy on just getting them to move.  In physics this is call inertia.  You must over come the static objects inertia just to get started.  (You might want to tell them a story of having to move a car that would not start, and how hard it is to get it moving, but how easy it is to keep in moving and to turn it, once it is rolling.  I used to park my VW in the 70's on a hill if I was having a bad battery week, and that way, I would just have to start it rolling, then jump in, and pop the clutch.)

Then tell them God is much like this as well.  He expects us to use our own abilities to determine what is right or wrong, to follow our hearts, but to stay aware of his prodding us, once we start moving.  It is hard for God to guide us anywhere, if we are waiting for him to start us moving.  We must start moving, then he can guide us.  (If you have an example in your life where you recognized God moving you in a direction once you had started a project, now is a good time to share it with them.)  Pray for them and you to be open to God's suggestions, and to have the courage to walk in the right direction or any direction, rather than letting fear control our actions, causing us to wait.

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.
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Teaching Samuel 25

You should read to them the entire story using any method you wish to keep them on track, though I suggest for the next 90 days, you should use which is shown in the video below. By using the same method over and over, you and the students build familiarity with the method, and they enjoy the story telling. About the time they are getting bored with it, in our experience 90 days, you will change the method anyway.

Cool Bible Reading Way # 1



Read Samuel 25 to them, giving many breaks to explain or act out parts of the story, to keep them engaged. I Sometimes have them read a sentence, then interpret it in a loud or funny voice. Sometimes, if it is obvious, I just repeat it, sometimes I put it into children's speak.

Once you have read the story, and answered questions they have asked, you should ask some of your own.

1) What does Samuel 25:32 in the post card above mean?
2) What was Abigail's act of faith that made David so happy?
3) Who started her actions back at the farm? (She did, using common sense and her heart.)
4) How did God Guide her? Humility and Wisdom.
5) What would have happened if she did not start the process, but just stayed at home. 
6) Ask them what situations in their life have occurred, where they did nothing, because they were unsure. (You might want to suggest meeting new friends, play games even some video games, telling an adult about someone doing something dangerous, but you were afraid.  Etc.)

Final Drill: Guiding You #2

Play this game just like the one above.  I print up the postcard at the top of this blog on photo paper, and give it to the blind guys who make it to the goal.  It should be few, if you set the course up right.  You might want to print up a few extra so you can give them to the guides too.

The advanced version is played the same way, except the students in the middle are standing, with their hands extended, spinning in place, to make it more challenging.


Enjoy ... teaching is easy if you love the Lord, and you Love the kids .... be open to his guidance, and do not be afraid to move off the path, if your students need you to go in a different direction.  After all, you ARE moving already, and is is very easy to guide people of the Lord who act with their heart.  The Holy Spirit is there for YOU.
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Some supplies that you might want to acquire:

  


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Psalm 27:1 - Of Whom Shall I Be Afraid - Easy Sunday School Lesson Plan

Postcard used by Permission: www.GoodJobNotes.com
Purpose: Teaching the students that living for the Lord should not be a fear filled experience, but rather one filled with Life and Light.

Method: Have them experience the feeling of Faith in physical actions, and how faith overcomes fear of failure. Then relate that to a biblical story, in this case, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3:8-30 and in particular, their statement of faith in Daniel 3:16-18 "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

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Opening Drill: Now We Lay You Down


Supplies - You will need a 6 to 10 foot piece of rope and and trusted adult/teen, as well as from 2 to 5 children for this drill.  (5 children is much more effective and easy to teach, but two will do it as well.)

Four students hold one end of the rope and at the other end, the further away the more dramatic an example, is the student who needs to trust the others.  Place and adult or trusted teen helper behind the one who is trusting, making sure they do NOT fall to the floor.  Instruct those holding the rope to slowly let the rope move toward the one who is having his/her faith tested.  The one being tested must be instructed to hold the rope in front of their body, and keep their body ridge, as the four let him/her down.  

As you can see, this is a dramatic example of trust.

Explaining the Drill - If the student failed, and could not trust them, have them tell you why.  The answer is fear they would fall or lack of trust leading to fear they would fall.  

If the student succeeds, then ask them how they succeed, leading them to answer faith or trust in the four.

I would not have everyone who wants to do the drill do it at this point. You only need 1 to 3 examples to get the physical feeling of faith or fear for the beginning of the lesson.  Later on, you will keep it up until they have a higher success rate.

Explain to them that God is like that.  He holds us up, no matter what, and we have nothing to fear.  In the end, no matter what, God has our backs, when we die.  We get to go live with Him Forever.  Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for God's loving support and for courage in us to accept it.

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This is the part of the service where we do praise and worship, and take an offering.

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Read Daniel Chapter 3 to them, giving many breaks to explain or act out parts of the story, to keep them engage.  I Sometimes have them read a sentence, then interpret it in a loud or funny voice.  Sometimes, if it is obvious, I just repeat it, sometimes I put it into children's speak.

Once you have read the story, ask them who and where the act of Fear should have been, with normal people, and where the act of faith was.  Ask them why they were not afraid.  Ask them who would have happened if God did not rescue them they way they were rescued, but instead let them die to make the point.  Ask them who they think the 4th person is.  (Some people think that the fourth person was Jesus, some just an angle; you are not asking as a matter of doctrine, but rather as a way to get them engage.

Opening Drill: Now We Lay You Down Advanced

Replay the game with fewer people holding the rope, or blindfold the trusting one.  Insure safety by having a trusted adult to catch the falling person if they do in fact fall.  SAFETY FIRST!!

When you have repeated the drill as many times as you have people and/or time to do, then ask them for places in their life that they might be afraid.  Read to them the Postcard at the top of the lesson plan with Psalm 27:1.  Ask them who the Light is?  Ask them How they can trust "the Light" in the difficult situations in their lives.

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Deal with Mean People - Easy Sunday School Lesson Plan

Used with Permission www.GoodJobNotes.com


Purpose: To teach our students one way to deal with mean and nasty people.

Key verse: Psalm 8:9 "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (ESV)

Brief: I have discovered that in my life, the key to everything is recognizing the Majesty of the Lord.  With out that reverential awe, his is just an other thing you have to learn about, but don't really understand.  Like E=MC2 (squared). This lesson will give them some things to look at that point to the Majesty of the Lord, and give scriptural backing to those observations, and then teach them to apply that truth to their lives.  Basically, if you stop to smell the roses, you will notice how awesome and intricate creation is, and then realize that he made it all for us.  Why would a God who did not love us, do so much for us before we were even born,  Once we recognize that, we can take the time to reflect that love by returning blessing for curses, just as we are asked to.  Not an issue, when you know you are loved.  Only an issue if you have to do it all for yourself.
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Opening Drill: Standing Push Ups - Have students who want to play the game select a partner near their own height/weight (size) so you have a number of paired teams.  Then you show them how to do a standing Push up. [two people stand facing each other and extend their arms straight out in front of themselves, chest high, and touch palms, with elbows locked. Then, together they bend their arms slowly, keeping their backs straight, as the lower themselves toward each other by bending their arms.

Depending on how many people you have who want to do the drill, you can either have them all line up, and bring their faced an inch from each other, or time each team before the fail.  The last team to fail, or the one with the longest time without failure wins.

Teaching the Meaning of the Game:  Ask them to tell you what they think allowed them to win.  You will probably hear things like strength, power, maybe balance, all of which are part of the solution, if they have the first and foundation quality.

That quality is trust.  They must first trust their partner, or they panic, and try to fix it themselves or bail out.  Make sure, if they do not bring up trust or faith in their partner, that you do.  The last thing you mention from the drill will be faith in their partner.

Used by permission: www.GoodJobnotes.com
Once you have arrived at trust, tell them that faith in God is just like that.  If you believe that God loves you, unconditionally, then you trust him unconditionally.

If you trust him unconditionally, then you will not be overwhelmed by fear, doubt or even a desire to do everything by yourself.

Calm trust.  That is one of our gifts from God.


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This is the section where we do Praise and Worship, as well as offering.
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Teaching Drill: Standing Push Ups #2 - Again, have the students divide themselves into teams, this time teams of three.  The purpose of this drill is to drive home the difference between our strength, and faith/trust.

Have two partners set up for standing push-ups, and one set up for step for standing push-ups using the wall as his partner.  Say go, and see who lasts longer.

When the drill is done, ask which team most often won, the person with a wall as a partner, or the two using each other.  It will be VERY odd if the people using partners win, but you have to make sure you are the judge, disqualifying them if they cheat, wobble or fail, but do not sit down.

Explain to them that the reason the people with the wall won most often is again faith, but this time, it was faith founded on reality, strength and power of the wall.  The wall was NOT going to let them down.

Again tell them that God is just like that, only more so.  Read them the Key verse: Psalm 8:9 "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (ESV)

Make sure you explain what majestic is after you read the verse, and them ask them what they think it means.  You really don't have to guide them much, just prod them to volunteer what it might mean.  I suggest you might also ask why the author might have said, Lord, Our Lord.  (Because he was making sure that God and we know that he is Our God, and we are His people.) You might also ask what God has done that is majestic.  Things like making the oceans, them, plants and animals we can eat to survive, Salvation in the Name of Jesus.  Keep it coming.

Then when you have run out of time and things of majestic proportions, ask them if a God like that is stronger than the wall they used to win the game?  If he is, then when they get made at someone who is being cruel, then all they have to do is remember how awesome their God is.  How much he has already done, and relax. God will make it work out.  He always has.  He always will.

Now they can ask God to help their tormentor come to Him, so they too can be healed.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life is Supposed to be Enjoyed

Game Drawing with Permission from www.GoodJobNotes.com
Purpose: To teach that we were not made for degradation or defeat, but rather joy and victory.

Method: Show the difference between Hard Work and Not Fun, by having them experience and read (biblical) Hard Work that is fun.

Main Verse: Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."


Part 1: Play the Game

Materials:
1. You need as many Red Solo Cups or other paper or plastic drinking cups as you have teams - 2 Cups per team.
2. Table to play the game on, or use the floor,
3. 1 ping pong ball per player on each team.  For example, you have 2 teams with 5 players each, you will need 10 ping pong balls.

Rules: Each team members gets 1 chance to bounce the ping pong ball on the table (it must bounce) and into the basket - up turned plastic cup.  The team with the most ping pong balls in the cup at the end of the game wins.  If you have time, you can give them each 2 or more ping pong balls to make it last longer and for them to experience the work involved to develop the skill to win.  You can have teams play at the same time, or one team at a time.  The timing is up to you.

Explaining the Game and Starting the Class: Call all the students in to you, and ask them if the game was fun. You can also ask them what would make the game more fun, just to make sure the get into the spirit of the thing.  Once you are done answering that question, then ask them if it was hard.  Depending on their age and how they were raised, some may think it was easy, even if they failed, so you might have to teach them that easy means doing it right without effort.  Once they understand it was NOT easy, point out to them that they had Fun even though the Worked Hard.

Tell them being a follower of the King of Kings is a much like that.  It is not always easy, and at times it is very hard, but if you love the Lord, it is full of Joy, since we win!  Then pray with them about enjoying their lives, both the easy and hard parts, buy doing it for the Lord.

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Praise and Worship: This is where we teach by doing praise and worship.  We use recorded songs, teach hand movements which we make up, and also take an offering.

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Used with permission of www.GoodJobNotes.com
Part 2: Tying in the Scripture

Step up the Game: Repeat the game above, but make the stack higher, to make it more of a challenge, harder work and more fun. (Some of you might not understand this logic, but easy, even for a 2 year old, is not fun. Everyone seeks challenge, and it is seeking the right level of challenge to grow the students that will make it fun. If what you pick is too hard, as the success rate is lower than 50 - 70%, make it easier, and if it is higher, then make it more challenging, or it will NOT be fun.  Impossible and easy are the enemy.)

Learning from the Game: When EVERYONE has played, sit them down. (do not allow fear, social dysfunction or learned behavior allow them to avoid the game.  I have a brain injury and have severe ADHD, Social Anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia and more, and I assure you, facing the challenge makes you strong.  Letting them avoid it totally makes them dependant.  You offer enough help and encouragement to assure a positive experience, and no more.)

Start by asking:
1) What made this version of the game harder?
2) When you failed, did you want to give up because it was too hard, or did you want to do it again to do better?
3) What motions did you have to do in order to get the ping pong ball in the cup?
4) How did you learn those motions?

Feel free to let the spirit lead you here, or you own experience in life, to ask more questions in order to have them understand that Fun can also be Hard.

Once you have established that relationship, read them Psalm 16:11"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Depending on what you feel your group of children needs, and your own experiences in life, you might want to focus on one part of this verse more than the others.  I see 3 separate but related thoughts here:

1) You make the path known: If you have ears to hear and eyes to see, if you are a Christian, and you can slow you life down enough to wait on the Lord, he is promising to show you the way you should go in every aspect of your life;

2) In the Lord's presence there is Full Joy.  If you hang out near the Lord, in the Scripture, in the Spirit, in relationships with his other children and followers, you will have Full Joy;

3) Handing out at the side of the Lord, the side of honor, the right side, will bring you eternal joy - meaning that if you follow the lord as in the two examples above, if you are a saved Christian, than your reward is eternal joy.  You get to hand out with Jesus, forever. 

I teach these sentences by stating them outright, and then asking them how to do it or what it means.  I wish to have them think about what the bible is telling us, rather than just knowing it is a good book.  It is the living Word of God, and we are blessed to teach our charges just how awesome that is.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Potter's Hands - Romans 9:21

The Purpose of of this lesson plan is to teach your students what clay is, what it means to be a potter, and what it means to us and others to be clay, without abandoning free will or salvation.

There are many verses in the bible that reference the potter's hands, and the one we are teaching in this lesson plan is Romans 9:21 - "Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?" - (ESV)

PLAYING THE GAME:

The class starts with a simple game of follow the leader, that we have used several times in these lesson plans, and that both children and adults seem to love to play.  You do not need to control the outcome, as any outcome is just as good as another.  This game requires that you have a blind fold and that you set up chairs as obstacles for student to negotiate.  You will also need one chair on one side of the room and another chair on the other side of the room.

In the position of YOU in the picture to the right, you place a student, and in the position of PLAYER on the left, you place a blind folded student.  You then give them these commands, and no others.  "Please sit down.  Johnny (the one that can see) your job is to get Susan (the blind folded one) to where you are, and give you a high five.  Go!

They are likely to ask questions like: "can we get up?" or "can I grab them?"   Tell them the game has already started.  Most likely they will follow rules they use in other games, but sometimes the sighted one gets up and drags the other one over.  I have even seen the blind one fight the help.  Whatever happens, it is good for the lesson.

Teaching with the Game:

Ask them what happened in the several games that were played, and how it went.  Ask what they could do to make it better, and finally, ask who the helper was and who the helped was.  Then explain that God is like the sighted one in the game, and knows everything, and wants what is best for us.  That we just have to do what is asked of us.  To follow God.

I then lead the class is prayer thanking God for his Love an constant help and grace, and ask that we all be given ears to hear and eyes to see what He wants us to do.

WORSHIP, PRAISE AND OFFERING:

This section is where we teach them the power of music, the meaning of the songs, and how to pray with others.  We also pray for and take an offering.

The Play-Doh Experience

(This is where I told a story of going to Old Sturbridge Village in MA, where the 19th century actor was making pots to be used on the farm.  There was a 8 year old child right up front, and she asked the potter, "why are you making such boring pots?"  He told here that he made pots for specific reasons, and all his pots were for farmers, so they were inexpensive and easy to make.  He also told her that the potters in his time had to decide what the purpose was long before hand, because they were very busy.  Once I told them this story, I asked them it that made sense?  It did, so then I asked them if the clay had any say in what it was going to be made into?  We then played with Play doh.)

You can make your own play-doh, but my experience is that the brand name actually creates excitement, and they already know how to do it.

We set a few tables out, in our case flat on the ground without the legs out, to make it easier to clean afterward.  We break the kids up into 5 teams and have them make 1 or 2 things.  If they make 2, one of them has to be alive, like a person or animal.

When then give them some time to make whatever they are going to make.  Resist the urge to teach them how to be artists, and just let them go.  It is important that THEY, not we, control the clay.

When they have had enough time, then have each group move their creation(s) and interact with each of the other creations, without destroying any of them.  For example, we had a dog pretend to eat a hotdog. Move the groups along, so it does not take to much time, and when it is done, you will ask them some questions about the nature of being a creation made of clay.

For example, I suggest you ask them:

1) Did anyone hear the Hot dog complain about the Dog eating it?
2) Did anyone hear the tree complain that the snail climbed up it?
3) Did anyone hear the clay complain at all?
4) Does clay have the ability or right to complain?
5) What makes the clay into creations?

Once I had them understanding the nature of clay, I read to them "Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?"

Before I launch into my adult explanation, I ask them about the verse, starting with the first part, Has the potter not right over the clay.  I ask them if they had right over the clay they were playing with, or did the clay complain about being clay or being a dog etc.  Once they talk that out, I explain that we are God's clay.  I then read the next part, and ask them what it means.  This verse has caused considerable disagreement within the body of Christ, so I suggest that you ask you Pastor what your churches doctrine is if you are unsure of its meaning.  I also suggest you pray about it.  I believe that it means that God uses us as we are and have become.  Just because he knows what we are going to do, since he lives outside of time, does not mean we do not have the right to pick our behavior.  If he uses some of us to preach, some to teach, some to heal and some to be the people the faithful must overcome, that is his will.  For example, I do not believe that Pharaoh was, the day he was born, destined to be killed under the Red Sea, so as to create a moment for God's Glory.  I do believe that God has the power and the right to use Pharaoh as anything he wants, and once Pharaoh had picked what he was going to believe, who he was going to follow, the potter, God, picked him for an example.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Luke 11:5 - Keep on Knock Knock Knocking on the Door



There is a HUGH difference between Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit. Don't get me wrong; we need both in life, but one is human and the other of God.

This Lesson Plan teaches Luke 11:5
(NKJV) - 5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

It does that by drawing the students attention to the physical and spiritual differences between Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit.

Perseverance = Work of an act of will.  You decide to not stop.

Indomitable Spirit = Act of Faith - you know you have already won, that success is part of the package, that you were called by God, and all things come together for the Lord ... so you look forward to the reward of success rather than enduring the action.  

Faith verse Works.  Both are needed in life. Both make you tired.

Before the Class Game:

Purpose: To get your students so pumped to be in Sunday School, they jump on their parents bed, 2 hours before class, and make them get up, cause the "gotta go to church."  This is awesome for two reasons.  1) The kids come to your class 2) The parent's come to church too, making sure that the life your kids live is one of faith.

This game is called Snake in the Grass - it teaches the kids that "Everybody Plays," even if they are not good at it.  It also teaches that a large diverse group of kids can play and work together.  

Required Material: You need a ring/square/play area. You need a soft something that they can throw at each other that will not cause damage.

How to Play:   If a child gets hit by the "ball" and it has not yet hit anything else, including the floor, someone else, chair, wall or invisible alien, then the child that got hit is a SNAKE.  They go to the ground, on their knees, and are still part of the game.  They now can touch standing members in the game, and they too become SNAKES, or they can throw the ball at standing members.  If standing members are hit by the ball from SNAKES, they are SNAKES.  Last one standing wins.




Letting Them Feel The Lesson:

Purpose: It is way easier to teach a concept, any concept, if your students have FELT the lesson, or parts of the lesson before. So, the purpose of this part of the lesson plan is to get them to feel the main elements in the lesson, which are Perseverance & Indomitable Spirit, so you can teach Luke 11:5-13.

Required Material: You need a target.  I use a paper plate.  A piece of paper, a postcard, nearly anything that is flattish will work.  You need a ball.  Any ball will do.

How to Play: First off, you DO NOT WANT TO TEACH THEM HOW TO WIN THE GAME.  It is our natural urge to tell them how to do it so they succeed.  You want them to experience failure and success on their own this time.  It is necessary to the lesson. 
1) Place the target 10 feet away or so.
2) Tell them they have to stand in the same place and throw the ball at the target.  They win if they get the ball to stay on the target. (Do not tell them to roll it - tell them to throw it. If they ask if they can roll it, repeat the rules - do not answer the question any other way.)
3) They are allowed to get off the throwing spot it go get the ball.  NO ONE MAY HELP.  After a few attempts, start counting to ten.  If they throw the ball, start over at 1.  If they fail to throw the ball before you get to 10, make a noise, I use a horn like noise, and tell them they lost.  Whatever they say, is OK.  Just pick the next person without additional comment.  I give them about 3 minutes for this part, though it is easier if the first person fails.
4) THEY REALLY WIN IF THEY KEEP THROWING THE BALL.  NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS AT THE OTHER END.

I suggest you watch the video to get an idea how this part works.  The explanation is included at the end, so you will see how to teach the lesson.




Teaching them About Perseverance & Indomitable Spirit: Ask them why the person who won, did win?  The answer you are looking for is " They Never Gave Up."  Once you get it, or lead them to it, then ask if why they never gave up.  Chances are VERY HIGH that they trusted you.  In other words, they know there was something more to the game than getting the ball on the plate.  If they give that answer, right the bells .. be happy.  You just taught Indomitable Spirit.  Tell them that.

If they only give the never gave up answer, tell them that is called Perseverance.  Tell them that the word means you force yourself to keep on task, no matter what.

Either way, you now teach Indomitable Spirit, and how much easier it is to look to the reward at the end if you know you will win.  Then tell them that God is just like that.  Today you will hear a story about how God wants you to know he is on your side, and if you really want to live in the spirit, to live as Jesus wants us to live, that you will get there.  Because you have faith.  Because you have indomitable spirit.


Teaching the Biblical Verse and Application:

Read the Verse: Read the verse above.  I have them get their bibles, and help them find the verse in the bible.  I then have one of the children read the verse, one sentence, or sentence part, at a time.  I then reinterpret the part they just read, putting it into context in their lives, and perhaps into the game they just played, but that is just me.  You can just read it.

Explain the Verse: I like to start this section with a life story from my life, or from another teacher/helpers life.  They trust you, and want real stuff they can believe and understand.  No matter how much they read the bible, they question it's application to their lives.  YOU are the link to the reality of the bible.  Tell them a story like the story you just read from your life, and how Perseverance & Indomitable Spirit allowed you to get through a situation in your life, and how the walk you took to get there brought you closer to the spirit of God.

Making it Their Verse: Ask them to tell you stories from their life that they have lived or heard about Indomitable Spirit.  You might have to lead them to get them started.  Suggest: School Work, Getting along with a sibling, Getting a Friend to be Nice to them, Helping someone else with a bully .. once you get them started, remember the RULE:  FIND GOOD IN WHAT THEY SAY, OR THEY WILL NOT TALK AGAIN.  Once you get the story, if it can not be worked into the lesson, move on.  If it can, tell them, or suggest to them, how the bible verse and their story are the same, or could have come out differently.  THIS IS WHERE THEY MAY ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT ISSUES IN THEIR LIVES.  IF THEY DO, DING, DING ... YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT A TEACHING MOMENT.